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ESO Alchemy Guide: How to Level Alchemy

Alchemy is one of the most important crafting skill lines to know in Elder Scrolls Online, and is arguably the most important crafting skill line in combat. The other crafting skill lines can improve your weapons and armor before a fight, but Alchemy is what keeps you going in the heat of battle. The potions and passives in the skill tree give your character a leg up on the rest of the competition. Whether you’re outlasting your opponent in PvP or taking heavy damage during a veteran trail, Alchemy is your best friend for getting through the fight. 

Below, we’ll explain why Alchemy is so important in Elder Scrolls Online, discuss how to start crafting potions, and recommend some essential potions you’ll want to have on your character. Let’s get into it!

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Why Level Alchemy?

Alchemy is a skill that most players hate leveling due to the sheer amount of resources you have to burn through to create potions. Its importance isn’t immediately obvious compared to the other crafting skill lines, either — you can buy potions from other players, so its useful passives are often overlooked. This is especially true of Medicinal Use (we’ll cover this in more detail later on, but it essentially makes all your potions last longer, leading to less downtime while your potions are on cooldown).

Image: Zenimax Online Studios via HGG

Alchemy is obviously important for crafting useful potions, and saves you a lot of money in the long run when you don’t have to haggle with guild traders. Alchemy provides what you need at your level, whether you’re looking to regain important resources or increase your weapon/spell damage and critical rating.

Poison crafting is another benefit of Alchemy, as poisons are a must on any stamina-based character. You’ll want the highest health-damage poison you have available on your front-bar for the best raw DPS. For PVP, poisons can be customized further to immobilize or slow other players, among many other effects.

Finally, Alchemy is a great way to make extra money — once you’re a master at crafting potions and poisons, you can sell them to your guild trader. Potions are in high demand, as every character should be using them regularly. Compared to other Elder Scrolls games, the consistent use of potions is by far more important in ESO. If you aren’t actively using your potions whenever the cooldown is available, you’re probably losing out on a lot of potential damage. Don’t forget to quickslot your favorite potions for ease of access!

Where to Find Alchemy Materials

There are a lot of different plants, flowers, and mushrooms that can be used to to make potions. That’s not even to mention the various bizarre substances like Dragon’s Blood or Clam Gall that are used for higher-level potions and even certain provisioning recipes. Don’t forget to harvest from bugs as well, as they give you helpful supplies like butterflies for their wings and torchbugs for their thorax. Just don’t let Mirri see you do so, as this will lower her rapport with you.


Alchemy plants can be found anywhere throughout Tamriel, but specific plants are located by certain geographical features. A classic example is Nirnroot, the beautiful glowing plant that hums, which can be found sitting by any source of water. Water Hyacinth can also be found by water, as its name suggests.

As a general rule, mushrooms can be found near dying material (ex: tree stumps), while flowers and other plants can be found where other plant life grows, such as grassy plains or fields. The Keen Eye: Reagents passive will help you pick apart the useful ingredients from the general landscape by giving Alchemy-related plants a glowing aura as you near them. 

Pure Water Node
Pure Water Node

The other important ingredient you’ll need for Alchemy is the base (potions use a type of water, and poisons use a type of oil-based solvent). Water nodes called “Pure Water” can come from any source of water, and provide you with anything from Natural Water to Lorkhan’s Tears, depending upon your Alchemy solvent proficiency. They usually hug the edge where the land meets the water, so don’t waste your time swimming in the middle of the water to find them.

Water Skin Harvested
Water Skin Harvested

You can also find water skins that carry water for Alchemy anywhere throughout Tamriel, so keep an eye out for them. Oil-based solvents can be collected off of enemy creatures in the form of grease, alkahest, etc. 

Crafting Station Locations and How to Get your Own

Crafting stations can be found most easily within any major city in each zone. These cities generally glow a pale white when mousing over them in the map menu. To find an Alchemy crafting station, search for a symbol that looks similar to a bouquet of flowers, often found nearby the other crafting stations and/or an alchemist who can sell you various potions. Feel free to search around and figure out which city has the best layout for you.

Image: Zenimax Online Studios via HGG

Generally, I prefer how close together the shops, crafting stations, and wayshrines are in Rimmen, Northern Elsweyr and Vivec City, Vvardenfell. Leyawiin in the Blackwood zone is also a great spot to settle away your crafting needs. If you don’t have DLC content, I would suggest Deshaan, Mournhold as the next best place. 

Image: Zenimax Online Studios via HGG

If you want to cut the traveling around to cities to craft your potions, you can always opt to get a crafting station of your own. You can buy one outright for 3000 crowns, but as this is quite a hefty sum, I suggest getting it through the long route.

You’ll first need to level up to Crafting Rank VIII to get solvent proficiency in Alchemy, which is required for max-level daily crafting writs. Turning these crafting writs in occasionally nets you a Master Writ as a reward, which in turn earns you writ vouchers that can be used to buy items from Rolis Hlaalu (who can be found in the capital cities of Elden Root, Grahtwood, Mournhold, Deshaan, Wayrest, and Stormhaven). Alchemy crafting stations sell for thirty-five writ vouchers. Once you have one, you can place it in any of your player homes.

How to Level Up Alchemy in ESO (Crafting Potions and Poisons)

The most painful part of Alchemy is how long it takes to level. Taking advantage of the 10% crafting inspiration bonus you get from being an ESO+ member, as well as the champion point passive Inspiration Boost (which boosts crafting inspiration by 10% up to three times) will help reduce the time it takes by a large chunk. Altogether, you get 40% extra crafting inspiration experience, which helps expedite your leveling by quite a bit. You can also earn crafting inspiration by turning in daily Alchemy crafting writs.

Image: Zenimax Online Studios via HGG

Leveling means creating a lot of potions and poisons, which will eat through your resources pretty quickly. Be sure to invest in those CP, do Alchemy crafting missions, and (most importantly) put points in your passives as soon as they’re available. After all, making a three-plant potion with purified water (Rank 5) will give you a lot more experience than a two-plant potion with natural water (Rank 1), and uses up fewer ingredients in the long run.

Alchemy Skills

The most important Alchemy skill is Medicinal Use, which causes the potions you take to have longer lasting effects. Laboratory Use will be more useful for helping you level, as it helps you create more complex potions as mentioned above.

Solvent Proficiency Allows you to work with new types of water and oils.Potions: Natural, Pristine, Cleansed, Filter, Purified, Cloud Mist, Star Dew, and Lorkhan’s Tears
Poisons: Grease, Slime, Gall, Terebinthine, Pitch-Bile, Tarblack, Night-Oil, and Alkahest
Keen Eye: ReagentsAllows you to see plants and water sources more easily by illuminating them. 20 / 30 / 40 meters.
Medicinal Use Potions effects last longer. +10% / +20% / +30%
(40s / 43.6s / 47.3s)
ChemistryProduces an extra potion and four extra poisons per crafting.+1 potion or +4 poisons / +2 potions or +8 poisons / +3 potions or +12 poisons
Laboratory UseAllows the use of up to three reagents for potion or poison crafting. 3 Reagents Vs. Initial 2
SnakebloodReduces the negative effects of poisons. -50% / -80% / -100%

To give an example of these skills in action, the Medicinal Use passive equates to your Crown Tri-Restoration Potions (or similar crafted versions) having its 30% increased health, magicka, and stamina recovery effects last for much longer. Without the passive, the potion lasts 36.3 seconds, resulting in around nine seconds without a buff while you wait for the 45-second potion cooldown to wear off.

With the passive in place, your potion’s buffs will last until you can activate the potion again, giving you 100% uptime rather than the initial 80%. See below for an illustration of this effect.

Finding Ingredient Traits and Essential Potions to Know

Each Alchemy ingredient has a total of four different effects, and the first can be discovered easily by tasting it. Some ingredients are extremely rare, however, so we don’t recommend tasting an ingredient like Clam Gall or Dragon Rheum. Mixing together different ingredients into a potion is probably the fastest way to learn the effects of the different reagents, but you can also search out each ingredient online and see which other ingredients are compatible. The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Wiki can be invaluable for quickly checking on the various traits of an ingredient and compatible plants, which is great if you’re trying to complete crafting writs.

The best potions in ESO are hard to define, but there are some that always come in handy no matter the situation. Here are the most important potions and poisons we think you should know, as well as their ingredients:

⚗️ 1. Tripot (tanking and general use): Mountain Flower, Columbine, and Bugloss/Lady’s Smock

⚗️ 2. Weapon Power (stamina DPS): Blessed Thistle, Dragonthorn, Wormwood/Water Hyacinth

⚗️ 3. Spell Power (magicka DPS): Corn Flower, Lady’s Smock, Namira’s Rot/Water Hyacinth

⚗️ 4. Immovability (knockback immunity, health, stamina/magica): Columbine, Namira’s Rot/Wormwood, Mountainflower (for stamina) or Bugloss (for magicka)

⚗️ 5. Damage Health 1X Poisons (stamina main hand): Fleshfly Larva, Nightshade, Nirnroot/Corn Flower

⚗️ (Honorable Mention) Invisibility (great for a quick getway): Namira, Nirnroot, Scrib Jelly/Namira, Blue Entoloma, Blessed Thistle

Writs: Crafting Missions

Image: Zenimax Online Studios via HGG

Writs for Alchemy can be found at each major city’s crafting missions boards, and will automatically match your crafting level. If you already have the knowledge of the reagents required to make the potion/poison, it will show you the possible combinations when you have the “Quests Only” box checked.

Once delivered to a crafting delivery crate nearby, you will obtain a shipment of related items, giving you back several randomized reagents as well as both water and oil that match your crafting level. As we mentioned before, you may also receive and Alchemy Master Writ, which will be much more difficult to fulfill. These writs From this shipment, you can also receive an Alchemy Master Writ, which will be much more difficult to create. You turn in these to Rolis Hlaalu for 2–5 writ vouchers, depending upon what kind of Epic Alchemy Master Writ you receive.


Become a High Grounder

Being a master alchemist will give you the edge in combat with better potion uptime as well as more versatility with what potions you have available to you. For the latest on Elder Scrolls Online, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.

Happy brewing!

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