There are six weapon types in ESO (there are more varieties of weapons but for all intents and purposes there are six types) and it can be hard to pick which one to use. Each weapon type has its own very specific skill tree. The weapons are as follows:

  • Two Handed
  • One Hand and Shield
  • Dual Wield
  • Bow
  • Destruction Staff
  • Restoration Staff

Each weapon is designed for a specific role. Bows and Destruction Staves are ranged weapons. Two-Handed and Dual Wield are melee DPS weapons. One Hand and Shield are defensive. Finally, Restoration Staves are support based.

Every class can equip every weapon, so even Nightblades can heal and Templars hit things with bows. Class only affects three unique skill lines, which you don’t even have to use (making your class basically pointless outside of the passives).

Which weapons do I pick?

I would personally go for weapon slot one being your main build for PvE and weapon slot two being for some kind of ranged weapon if you’re DPS or Tanking / Healing. The reason for this is that melee DPS is terrible in PvP because it forces you to get up close and personal when a lot of fights are going to happen at keeps and chokepoints, where melee gets to stand around and do nothing. So having the ability to attack with a ranged weapon is critical. That being said, a lot of ranged weapons don’t really work for solo PvE because they’re focused on keeping an enemy away and often times enemies are going to be up in your face, so why bother, right?

You can switch weapons at any point and any time in the game, and the only cost for choosing a different weapon is the skill points and the time investment in leveling it up (which appears to get less the higher level you are anyway). So never really worry about which one you choose. Below we’ve got the different weapon sets listed and their playstyles, so you can choose for yourself which direction you want to go.

Where do I put my skill points?

This is a big question and the answer is in all of the passives in the specific weapon you’re primarily going to use and all of the passives for your alternate weapon set. After you buy the skills that you want to slot, there isn’t much use to skill points outside of buying skills you don’t want to use (or in morphing skills), so use the extras to buy the passives. A lot of passive skills are unimpressive, but they do provide a bonus. So you should definitely do that.

As for skills, each of the six weapon lines usually has a gap closer (for melee weapons) and a knockback. You probably want one of these two as they’re useful for getting close to something to hit it (for melee) or knocking stuff back (for ranged).

We’re not going to go over every single skill, but focus primarily on which weapon is best for your specific playstyle.

Two-Handed Weapons

These are your melee DPS weapons. I personally prefer it over to dual wield because it has stronger skills like Cleave, a knockback, and a gap closer all in one line whereas Dual Wield only has strong physical attacks, but they’re both great at bringing the pain. It’s great in PvP for getting up close to someone and even better for hitting your enemies with a giant weapon.

One Hand and Shield

This is the defensive / tanking set and it’s loaded with stuns, a charge, and more stuns. The primary focus of this set is to lower enemy damage, taunt, stun, and disable the enemy. While you don’t have to be a tank to use it, it does do less damage just based on the skills being focused more on damage mitigation than anything else.

Dual Wield

This is a high DPS weapon set focused on bringing the pain and bringing a ton of it. It’s one of the only melee weapons that has an unmorphed ranged attack (Hidden Blade), and does have a bleed. This is the weapon set for dealing a lot of damage and looking cool with two weapons.


Bow is ranged physical damage. I’ve always been a little bit unimpressed with bow’s early game damage output and find it vastly superior in PvP than in PvE. Anyway, the skills focus on AoE damage, poison effects, and general ranged havoc. If you’re wanting to go ranged for PvP, I would definitely suggest bow because Volley is great in choke points.

Destruction Staff

Status effects are integral to the Destruction Staff which primarily focuses on ranged DPS. A lot of its damage is dealt through burning and other effects as skills are morphed (including knockbacks and the such). It’s really good in PvP as well as an off-set.

Restoration Staff

This is the healing weapon, designed for support in dungeons. It is primarily focused at healing others, so it’s best to just shelve it until you’re in PvP or in dungeons. Leveling it up in PvP isn’t a terrible idea since there is always a lot of people who need some healing.

Well that’s the weapons of The Elder Scrolls Online. Now get out there and fight!

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

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Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.


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