Choosing your class and race in ESO can be difficult when you’re starting out. The more you play, the more you see other players with their different builds and class/race combos. Many players stick to leveling up their main, while others test out plenty of other characters before Level 50.

There are advantages to both types of playing, and it ultimately comes down to depth vs. breadth. You can either deep-dive into one class/build, or experience more character combos in the same amount of time. Maybe your first character is actually your least favorite class in the game!

Is there a right way to play? Of course not. Should you branch out and have more than one toon (character) even at lower levels? Probably!

In this article, we’re exploring how many characters you should have in ESO. We’ll cover the benefits of playing multiple toons to help you decide which approach is best for you.

Let’s get started!

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How Many Characters in ESO: Do Altaholics Have it Right?

Yes and no. Altaholics are players who make new characters over and over, filling up their first nine character slots quickly. They go on to unlock nine more with crowns and end up with a whopping eighteen. They’ll even delete some just to start over again with newer characters!

This may sound daunting to new players, and that’s because it certainly is! I wouldn’t suggest making that many, even as a veteran player. It’s good to cut loose and try out different playstyles, but it’s overkill in terms of practicality. Don’t delete any characters until you’ve at least hit that nine character limit — even then, consider getting an additional character slot before you do. 

The Magic Number Is…

Character Slots Screen Shot
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios & Bethesda Softworks via HGG / Angus Green

So what is the number of character slots that is best for most players? More importantly, what is best for you? Personally, I feel that the magic number is six — it allows you to experience every class at least once.

Testing out the different classes gives you a huge advantage in both PVE and PVP, as you’ll really get to know the strengths and weaknesses of your allies and enemies alike. You only really need six, as the new armory system allows you to jump between multiple types of builds (and CP allocations) at the press of a button.

The only thing you really miss out on is optimizing your race for all these changes. This leads us to the next magic number — ten. This sounds like a lot, but it gives you the largest range of customization by allowing you to play every race in ESO. You won’t see groundbreaking differences, but you’ll notice changes in ease of use, overall damage, and survivability. You’ll also be able to more easily optimize for tanking, healing, and magicka/stamina DPS, depending on the current meta.

When Should You Make New Toons? Pre or Post Main?

Making Alts in ESO
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios & Bethesda Softworks via HGG / Angus Green

It’s definitely beneficial to try out each of the classes in the game, but should you do this before or after you pick out your main?

Your main is the character you use the most — often the one you focus on getting the most achievements on. In recent patches, achievements on one character have become less important as they are now account-wide. You can even share those difficult to obtain titles across every toon that you have now. No more grinding out the same titles for every toon (Altaholics everywhere rejoice)! 

Branch Out Sooner Rather than Later

A common regret I hear a lot from veteran players is not branching out earlier with the different classes. Many pick one class and stick to it, then find out later they heavily prefer a different class. The consensus is to branch out with the alternative characters earlier on. But how early?

The sweet spot is probably around Level 30/CP 100 on your first character. There’s no need to level up each of your alts to Level 50 right away, but dabbling in them until Level 30 or so will give you a better idea of how they feel. You’ll obviously get the clearest idea of how each class feels in comparison to one another if you test them out at around the same level.

A good way to do this is by reaching Level 50 on each toon, where CP is shared among your characters. Once you reach Level 50 on any character, you start to share experience gains with all of your other characters. If you’re CP 100 on one character and level up to 101, your other characters that have CP will also have increased to 101. 

It’s easy to want to stick with the character with whom you have the highest level, skyshards, missions completed, etc. But definitely consider dabbling in some of the other classes before you get really invested in one particular toon.

It’s not the end of the world to switch over to a new main, but it’s much easier if you switch earlier on. There’s so much content to clear in the game, and it will feel like you don’t want to “lose” all the progress you made, but this is also the reason you should switch over sooner! Making up for 10 or 20 skyshards is much easier than making up for 100 or 200. 

The Usefulness of Alts You Don’t Use (Mules)

Mule
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios & Bethesda Softworks via HGG / Angus Green

One of the great benefits of making extra toons is the free inventory space you get from making them. I have a toon that holds all of the sealed crafting writs I don’t plan on using right away, or will need to sell eventually.

I also have another who holds all of the treasure maps that I don’t want filling up my bank space. It’s very easy to transfer items in between alts as your bank space and house storage bins are shared between all of your characters.

I like to pull out these characters and try content out in a different way than I normally would, but they are useful even when I’m not actively playing them. Having them kitted out and “at the ready” if I need to fill a specific role in a trial group is nice to have as well.

Customization — Style, Sets, and Skills

Customize your ESO Characters
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios & Bethesda Softworks via HGG / Angus Green

As you play the game more, you’ll get loaded up with motifs that you could never fit into just one character alone. A great perk of having more characters is the ability to put those motifs to use in customizing them.

You only get one Outfit Slot for each character naturally, and you won’t be able to dye them without ESO+. Having those outfits set up and at the ready for when the ESO+ free trial comes around with that ability to dye all those mismatched motifs will certainly make your characters stand out in a good way.

The Importance of Armor Variations

You’ll also need to armor up your different classes with varying armor sets, giving you a greater sense of experimentation and variety. This inevitably makes the game more interesting, as you get to interact with combat in novel ways. This again gives you an edge in both PVE and PVP gameplay, as you’ll simply understand the game better.

It’ll be easier to realize which sets are OP, which ones work best together, and what will work best for teammates and enemy players in PVP. If you ever want to lead groups in PVE dungeons, trials, PVP battlegrounds, or Cyrodiil, you’ll definitely want this better understanding of all class mechanics.

You’ll be surprised what you find out after you start dabbling in a class you thought seemed boring. They definitely might still be boring, but you’ll notice what buffs they get and give others, and what debuffs they can put on enemies. Even if you aren’t wanting to lead groups, you’ll get a better idea of how to fill your role better and become an effective player.

Not everything in ESO is about being the most effective or strongest character you can be, but it certainly won’t hurt to deal more damage or die less once you further understand how each class works. 

Example: Warden’s Frost Cloak

To better explain this idea, I think the Warden’s Frost Cloak is a perfect example of this. This ability gives the Warden and their allies in an 8m radius Major Resolve, increasing their physical/spell resistance by 5280.

If you know a Warden on your team has this skill, you can take off your personal skill that gives you Major Resolve, and instead grab more damage or a different shield skill. Because Major and Minor buffs of the same name don’t stack, it’s useless for both of you and your Warden teammate to waste resources on casting a redundant skill.

If you haven’t played a Warden, before you wouldn’t know that this skill is giving you Major Resolve, especially if you’re already casting a skill that gives that buff. Overlap isn’t the end of the world, but it will reduce the efficiency of your group and strain your resources. In some cases, it may be the difference between barely clearing it or having to deal with member death. 

DPS, Tanks, and Healers

DPS, Tanks, Healers
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios & Bethesda Softworks via HGG / Angus Green

The current armory system allows you to jump back and forth between two types of builds at the minimum. This makes it easy to have one DPS build and another of your choosing, such as tanking, healing, overland content, speed for gathering crafting ingredients, etc.

This two-build limit makes it difficult to hit all of the different types of playstyles. Even with the armory system, it’s still useful to have specific toons set as your “best tank” or “best healer.” Being able to flip over to these and have an optimized build ready at the go makes teaming up with guild members much quicker. You can probably get by with covering all of the essentials with just three characters, but it will be much easier and streamlined by having a character in each of the six classes. 

You can manage to hold all of the different armor sets you need on one toon to be able to jack-of-all-trades each position in the game, but that will take up a lot of space. Having this full inventory can really take away from the game. After all, who wants to spend all of their time locked up deconstructing or selling items?

Having toons with specific “roles” and space in their inventories will make the game more enjoyable and allow you to spend your time playing the game as it’s meant to be played. Not that there’s a right way, of course.

Main Character Example

For example, my main is a Stamblade. They’re great for DPS, especially for single-target damage. Tanking and healing, on the other hand, not so much. They’re less effective at tanking than my DK or Necro, and less effective at healing than my Warden or Templar. Efficiency doesn’t always equal fun, but it certainly makes veteran content less of a chore. Overall, it’s best to experiment with each class as you can find what’s most fun for you along with the other benefits of having more toons.

Join the High Ground

We hope this guide helps you better make decisions on future character creations in ESO. If you have any questions on which type of character you should make next, feel free to ask in the comments below! For more information on all of your favorite games and the latest in all things ESO, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter. 

Happy gaming!