Vampirism in the Elder Scrolls Online adds an interesting twist on how you play through the game, allowing the player one more avenue for engaging customization. It’s is a great way to add nuance to a character, and allows the player both benefits and disadvantages for being a Vampire at its varying levels.
Being a Vampire is also great for its roleplay potential, as the deeper your character gets into the stages of Vampirism, the paler their skin and eyes become. Being able to transform into the towering Blood Scion also adds to the immersion of playing as a Vampire in ESO, despite it not being the most aesthetically pleasing transformation.
And then of course, Vampires have access to some very powerful abilities. But they also have lackluster ones, so being mindful of how Vampires are updated is important to playing one to its full potential. The nature of a Vampire in ESO is a high-risk, high-reward playstyle, so keep this in mind as we begin our ESO Vampire guide.
ESO Vampire Guide: How To Become a Vampire in ESO
If you’re wondering how to get Vampire in ESO, the quickest and easiest option is to simply purchasing “Curse of Vampirism” from the crown store for 1,500 crowns. This will grant you character the Vampire skill line immediately. However, there are two other options that are more involved that do not require you to pay any money.
Other players who are already infected with Vampirism gain a passive skill called Blood Ritual that allows them to inflict Vampirism on another character every seven days. This needs to be carried out at a specific Vampire Shrine which can be found in each zone corresponding to their alliance, those being Bangkorai (Daggerfall Covenant), Reaper’s March (Aldmeri Dominion), and The Rift (Ebonheart Pact).
Vampire The Rift Shrine Map:
Vampire Reaper’s March Shrine Map:
Vampire Bangkorai Shrine Map:
Once you are at a shrine, try asking in the zone chat:
“Looking for a Vampire Bite.”
More often than not, a player in the area will swing by the shrine and give you the curse, allowing you to start the Vampire quest.
If you can’t seem to get any bites, you can also seek out bloodfiends at nighttime in these zones which can cause you to contract Vampirism after you become damaged by them. This can take awhile and does not guarantee contraction, so this option should only be taken at a last ditch effort after asking the zone and your guilds for a bite.
The Scion of the Blood Matron will be the quest you need to complete to gain the Vampire skill line, which will take you to the Dungeon called Blood Matron’s Crypt. Once you finish up the quest, you’ll be a full time Vampire, which will affect all of your future gameplay with the varying Vampire passives.
Now that you’ve used this ESO Vampire guide to acquire the affliction, you’ll need to level up your Vampire skills and see which ones you’ll want to use.
Explaining the Vampire Skills and Which To Use
Vampire skills are a mixed bag of incredibly overpowered skills along with some that most Vampires cast off as unusable. In this section of the ESO Vampire guide, we’ll explain each skill and detail their main uses.
1. Blood Scion | Swarm Scion + Perfect Scion
Skill recommendation: Use! Blood Scion is great for soloing content and getting out of tough situations.
First off, the Vampire ultimate Blood Scion is an amazing ability for both DPS and tanks alike. You’ve probably seen other Vampires and wondered how to become a Vampire Lord in ESO yourself. Well, with Blood Scion, you’ll become a Vampire Lord for twenty seconds, increasing your health, stamina, and magicka by 10,000. You also heal for 15% of the damage you deal and can see enemies through walls.
This is a very handy ability for when you are in a pinch, as you heal for a large amount and also constantly heal off of the damage you deal to enemies. Swarm Scion grants you a damaging magicka AOE that is the better morph for DPS, and the other morph Perfect Scion disables any of the negative side effects of Vampirism, which can be the better option for Tanks when you are taking a lot of fire damage. Swarm Scion wins out in most cases for the extra healing you gain by its extra damage.
2. Eviscerate | Blood for Blood + Arterial Burst
Skill recommendation: Don’t Use! Use a different spammable, preferably ranged as a magicka character.
Eviscerate acts as a Vampire’s spammable ability, but requires you to be in melee range with the enemy as its range is only 5m. Eviscerate deals 33% more damage based on your missing health, playing into the high-risk, high-reward playstyle. Blood for Blood deals up to 75% more damage based on missing health, but makes you unable to be healed by other players for five seconds. Arterial Burst is always a critical hit if cast when under 50% health.
This skill can be fun to use, but is hard to pull off due to its close combat nature and the requirement that you are on low health while using it to reap the most benefit from using them. Arterial Burst wins out in most cases due to it allowing you to be healed still.
3. Blood Frenzy | Simmering Frenzy + Sated Fury
Skill recommendation: Use! But use it cautiously, as Blood Frenzy can wind up killing you.
Blood Frenzy is incredibly useful and fits ESO’s Vampire identity perfectly, as you can deal wild amounts of damage to enemies but it also causes the player to take increasing amounts of damage while active.
When toggled on you gain 630 weapon and spell damage, which gives you an absurd power boost. However, this skill costs health, and the health cost increases by 20% every second while this skill is used and also puts a debuff on you so that other players cannot heal you while it is active. This means that to use this skill, you will need great self heals or item sets that help you gain health back consistently.
Simmering Frenzy increases the weapon and spell damage bonus by 10% every second when using it, spiking your damage up even further. Sated Fury has a built-in self heal that activates when you toggle the skill off, healing you for 33% of the total health cost you spent while the skill was on. Sated Fury wins out in most cases for its better survivability.
4. Vampiric Drain | Drain Vigor + Exhilarating Drain
Skill Recommendation: Don’t use! Other healing skills work better.
Vampiric Drain is one the Vampire skills that sounds good theoretically, but just doesn’t quite cut it when used in actual combat. You drain an enemy’s life force dealing magic damage and healing for 23% of your missing health every second for three seconds.
The issue is that this is a channeled ability that lasts for three seconds, meaning you’re stuck casting this and not other abilities, leaving you vulnerable while dealing minimal damage to who you are fighting. The Drain Vigor morph restores missing stamina as well, while the Exhilarating Drain morph generates you 4 ultimate every second that it is cast for.
5. Mesmerize | Hypnosis + Stupefy
Skill recommendation: Use! Situationally great, although not always a necessary skill.
Mesmerize is situationally very useful and a necessary skill if you plan to stay at stage 4 Vampirism consistently, which we’ll explain more on later. This ability causes the enemies in front of you to be stunned for five seconds, and cannot be blocked within 7m.
One of its morphs, Hypnosis, affects all enemies around you, while the other morph Stupefy snares enemies for an additional five seconds after the stun wears off. Highly useful when soloing content, this skill’s practicality drops off if you are running with a tank who is planning on placing the enemies to a specific location with taunt or a pull ability like Silver Leash, as it will not work on enemies who are immune to crowd control (as enemies cannot be stacked with the same CC). Hypnosis wins out in most cases for its non-directional AOE, allowing you to hit all nearby enemies regardless of where you face.
6. Mist Form | Elusive Mist + Blood Mist
Skill Recommendation: Use! Great for when you are facing a lot of CC.
Mist Form is an amazing evasive skill, predominantly used in PVP scenarios where players will be trying to subdue you constantly. This skill turns you into a dark mist that reduces your damage taken by 75%, and entering into it removes and grants immunity to all disabling and immobilization effects.
The caveat is that you cannot heal and your magicka recovery is disabled, meaning you won’t be out of danger permanently. Elusive Mist increases your movement speed by 30% with Major Expedition, and Blood Mist deals damage to enemies around you and heals you for the damage caused. Elusive mist wins out in most cases, as it gives you better escapability and allows you to reposition.
The Stages of Vampirism & Passive Effects
Some of the Vampire skills can be used to great effect as explained above, but the passives add a lot of flavor to how or when you should use Vampire skills. There are four different stages that activate or disable some passives depending upon your stage, which can be located in your first passive called “Feed.”
Stage 1: Health Recovery -10%, Flame Damage Taken +5%, Regular Ability Costs +3%, Vampire Ability Costs -6%
Stage 2: Health Recovery -30%, Flame Damage Taken +8%, Regular Ability Costs +5%, Vampire Ability Costs -10%
Stage 3: Health Recovery -60%, Flame Damage Taken +13%, Regular Ability Costs +8%, Vampire Ability Costs -16%
Stage 4: Health Recovery -100%, Flame Damage Taken +20%, Regular Ability Costs +12%, Vampire Ability Costs -24%
Note: Keep in mind that skins in ESO will cover up the visual effects of Vampirism on your character, and disguises will also work to do so. So if the visual effects are bothering you, there are several good skins to cover it up with the Blackmarrow Necromancer skin from the Scalecaller Peak Challenger probably looking the truest to your initial character design.
This means that if you are not using many of the Vampire abilities, it can be quite detrimental to be a Vampire at a high stage in terms of managing your health and resource pools for skills.
However, we must use this ESO Vampire guide to mention that Vampires also gain some very strong passives at different levels of Vampirism. Dark Stalker ignores the speed penalty of sneak, and decreases the time it takes to enter sneak by 50%. Strike from the Shadows only activates at stage 2 or higher, giving you 300 weapon and spell damage when you leave sneak, invisibility, or mist form for six seconds, making those sneak attacks hit harder. Blood Ritual allows you to infect other players with Vampirism every seven days at one of the Vampire ritual sites/shrines. Undeath only activates at stage 3 or higher, reducing your damage taken by up to 30% based on your missing health.
Finally, Unnatural Movement is the last Vampire passive, activating only at stage 4, reducing the cost of sprint by 50% and after three seconds of running continuously you become invisible.
Increasing and Decreasing Vampire Stages
As a Vampire when you crouch behind a humanoid friendly npc or enemy, you will gain the option to “Feed,” where you kill the victim and drink their blood, increasing your Vampire stage. It will take four hours to reduce the stage of your Vampirism naturally, but this process can be expedited by special recipes obtained during the Witches Festival that occurs during October, or one sold from a guild store.
The Corrupting Bloody Mara immediately increases your Vampirism stage to level 4, and increases your magicka by 4620, health by 5051, and health recovery by 505 for two hours. The Purifying Bloody Mara reduces your Vampirism level by one stage, and gives the same benefits minus the additional health recovery.
Alternatively, the Soul-Sworn Thrall furnishing allows you to feed on it indefinitely to increase your stage, while the Basin of Loss furnishing allows you to reduce your stage. Both of these can be found in the crown store from time to time, or more conveniently a guild member or friend might have one for you to use when you need it.
The Drawbacks of Vampirism
This wouldn’t be a comprehensive ESO Vampire guide without listing some drawbacks. While playing as a Vampire can be very rewarding as you deal massive amounts of damage and get to embrace a high-risk high-reward playstyle, it isn’t all good. Thankfully you can move around in the sun no problem, unlike other TES games, but you do gain some unfavorable features like the increased non-Vampire skill cost, increased fire damage taken, and reduced health recovery.
At stage 4, these drawbacks become even more serious, to the degree that you don’t get any health recovery at all. You also can no longer speak to NPCs at stage 4, as you have become such a monstrous Vampire that NPCs will shout at you to get away. However, this is a quick fix with the skill Mesmerize, as it will quite literally mesmerize NPCs into being okay with you foaming blood at the mouth. NPCs related to quests, however, will never shy away from talking to you, allowing you to quest with whatever skills you want to.
The health recovery loss can be mitigated by using various spells that either give you health back overtime or steal health from enemies, but increasing your health recovery will have zero effect on increasing your recovery in general. This makes certain item sets such as Eternal Vigor or Orgnum’s Scales useless, as the extra recovery you gain from them is nullified by the percentage health recovery lost due to passives.
At stage 4, you have no health recovery, meaning you have to sap back health from enemies in any way you can. Ring of the Pale Order is one option here, but you can also use skills like the Dragonknight’s Dragon Blood, Nightblade’s Strife, and any restoration staff skill to gain your health back to name a few options.
The extra flame damage you take can also be a real problem against other players, as flame staves are common and Dragonknights revolve around the use of flame spells. Taking 20% extra damage from flame damage at stage 4 means certain fights like Maelstrom Arena’s stage 8 and 9 will be very difficult to overcome, along with enemies like Zaan from the Scalecaller Peak dungeon who deals beams of fire that are likely to vaporize a Vampire focused down by it. Controlling your stage is important for getting through certain fights like this, so having several Purifying Bloody Mara on you at all times as a Vampire is critical to your success as one.
The increased non-Vampire ability cost by 12% at stage 4 may sound manageable at first, but will really add up if you don’t use any Vampire abilities. Be wary of how you set up your character to ensure you have the recoveries necessary to continue casting spells consistently, as dropping too low on magicka can put you in a dangerous bind.
If you are not planning on using more than one of the Vampire skills, it may be best to stay at stage 2 or below to maintain your resources more easily.
So, you’ve seen this ESO Vampire guide through to completion and are ready for your next course? No problem — it’s easy to cure Vampirism.
The mages guild in the zones you obtain Vampirism from will have a member named Prelate Sabinus who gives you an option to cure your Vampirism. You pay a small fee (it will cost 693 gold if you are fully leveled into CP) and then will be cured.
Your skill points invested into your Vampire skills/passives will be returned, but the experience on those levels will remain, allowing you to become a Vampire with maxed out skills if you choose to take on the curse again. Sadly, you can’t simply reactivate your Vampirism when you want it, and you’ll have to go through the same methods you did earlier to obtain it initially.
There is also an option for the cure in the crown store for 800 crowns, but it’s so easy to obtain the cure otherwise and for so little, so we suggest not going for this option.
Vampire Race and Class Suggestion
Next in our ESO Vampire guide, let’s talk race and class. Vampires can be quite strong on magicka DPS characters, and even synergize with tanking on a magicka character due to the nature of the Vampire’s ultimate ability.
ESO Vampire Guide Recommended Race: Dark Elf
Due to Vampires magicka focus and susceptibility to fire damage, Dark Elves are the perfect race to play a Vampire on with their increased 1910 magicka and stamina, 258 spell and weapon damage, and most critically their extra 4620 flame resistance and 50% reduced damage taken from environmental lava.
Dark Elf passives also work really well for Vampires, and allow you to switch between magicka and stamina with ease, having their passives benefit both styles equally so. For class Vampires synergize really well with nightblades, both being focused around stealth and spikes of damage.
ESO Vampire Guide Recommended Class: Nightblade
We recommend going with a Vampire and Nightblade build.
Nightblades’ have the skill Swallow Soul (morhed from Strife), that deals high magic damage and heals for over 1/3 of the damage dealt, allowing your Vampire to use Blood Frenzy for longer amounts of time. Nightblades can also use the skill Merciless Resolve (morphed from Grim Focus) to regain their health quickly on the activation of the skill that deals a large burst of magic damage and heals the player for 50% of the damage dealt if you are within melee range.
Having access to Shadowy Disguise (morphed from Shadow Cloak), a skill that makes you invisible for three seconds and guarantees your next attack as a critical strike, will also synergize with the Strike from the Shadows passive that grants you 300 weapon and spell damage after coming out of being invisible.
Current State of Vampirism in ESO: Is Becoming a Vampire Worth It?
In this final section of the ESO Vampire guide, let’s talk about the state of the meta.
Vampires are in a decent spot in the Flames of Ambition patch due to increased overall health of characters along with other useful champion point passives.
Vampires have several skills that are incredibly useful during specific scenarios. Blood Scion is a great solo ult as it can prevent you from dying and will keep you healthy even while fighting against mobs of enemies due to it giving you 15% lifesteal on any damage you deal.
Blood Frenzy, when used properly, can help you output some nasty damage, but at the risk of you getting stunned and not being able to deactivate it while it siphons away your health. Blood Frenzy requires good game sense and an understanding of what will be coming soon so that you fully benefit from it and avoid it causing your own death.
Mist Form is a great defensive skill that allows you to completely avoid crowd control while allowing you to freely escape dangerous situations with the massive 75% reduction of damage.
The other Vampire passives can give you a real edge in combat with extra damage, reduced damage taken when low health, and extra sneaking capabilities. However the intense additional fire damage you receive along with the increased skill cost and reduced health recovery can be a real pain in certain scenarios where you are taking a lot of incoming damage, to the point where you’ll need to change up your build, strategy, and reduce your Vampire stage to overcome certain fights.
Can you become a Vampire in ESO and play in the top-tier? Yes, though the most common place you’ll see the use of Vampires right now is in PVP bomber builds, where many of the cons of being a Vampire don’t matter because your goal is to be in and out after a quick bomb on enemy players.
Overall, Vampires are in a good state, but it takes practice to maximize its efficiency from being bad to being great.
Become a High Grounder
There you have it, folks — We hope you enjoyed our ESO Vampire guide! Vampires can be deadly in the right hands, and can dominate both PVE and PVP with practice and pairing the right skills together. Stick with it, and you’ll be a Vamp Lord in no time.
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exhilarating drain is now 2-5 ult per tick based on rank. I have a build that revolves around DoTs and relies on this to build ult for soul assault. but I can also recommend it if you need to build ult fast for some reason, as a back-bar skill. can’t see myself using the other morph, however. At 0%, on a 33k pool, that’s 1650 stamina on the first tick. But that’d require you to get that low in the first place.
sated fury does not heal “when you toggle it off” but rather “when it deactivates” (the distinction is important; just imagine if it didn’t heal you when it shuts off on its own. Oops, you’re dead.). it, and the base and its fellow morph, also cannot directly kill you: they will automatically shut off when your health gets low enough (seems specifically to be when the next tick would kill you).
How is your Exhilarating Drain build feeling with this most current update? Do you feel like the life steal is enough in most fights?
You’re right about Sated Fury. You aren’t able to kill yourself simply by using the ability. The problem is that you can get so low on health that nearly anything can kill you, even a humble mud crab. It’s especially dangerous when you are a stage 4 vampire with 0% health regeneration. Being stunned while it’s toggled on is always a nightmare. But as long as you manage the skill well, it’s very powerful. Certainly one of those double edged sword abilities!
Eviscerate is actually really good on Dragonknights thanks to their passive that boosts melee range by 2 meters. With the Pale Order Ring a Dragonknight will have a 7 meter Blood for Blood ability that heals them every single time they cast it making it one of the most powerful free abilities in the game. I’ve also seen Nightblades use Arterial Burst with Simmering Frenzy and Elemental Weapon to devastating effect when ganking.
Exhilarating Drain works well on tanks looking to spam ultimates like Aggressive Horn. The ability’s heal scales off healing received meaning while healing done won’t make the tooltip go up it can still be buffed. On a Decisive weapon Drain can generate 5-6 ultimate a second and combined with normal ultimate generation that’s 8-10 ultimate a second.
Drain Vigor on the other hand scales with both healing recieved and healing done making it actually the heal morph. If you’re looking for a missing health heal and lacking one in you class kit go Drain Vigor.
Mesmerize is good when fighting at Harrowstorms and highly coordinated ball groups. Not something I’d bring to every fight as it struggles to land in melee brawls and can’t be used to chase.
Sated Fury does have an issue with the healing. If it deactivates in a situation you can’t cast abilities (Sprinting, stunned, dodge rolling, etc) you won’t actually get healed. You need to manually shut it off at opportune moments to get the healing from it. Properly used with high self healing like the Pale Order Ring and it will behave like a burst heal.
Thank you for such a detailed comment! That DK Elder Dragon passive helps out a lot with making Eviscerate viable, and I had definitely overlooked that. I see that you are putting all of the skills to good use in different scenarios. Do you prefer playing vampires more for PVE or PVP content? I hope you continue to enjoy playing vampires in ESO representing the great Molag Bal!
On a Dark Elf Nightblade Vampire, where should I put all the points? In Health, Magika, or both?