How to Improve Your DPS in ESO

There are a lot of benefits to dealing high damage in Elder Scrolls Online. Higher DPS makes content go by more quickly, and opens the door to more difficult and complex gameplay. Eventually, you’ll even find yourself breezing through veteran dungeons, trials, and arenas. But the question remains — how do you improve your DPS in ESO?

Improving your DPS is quite an undertaking — there’s a lot involved in making your character the strongest they can be. There are several question players ask when determining how to up their damage. In this article, we’ll break down the most common questions and move on to strategies you can use to increase your DPS.

Let’s get started!

Should You Change to the Best “Meta” Class to Get More Damage?

Let’s be clear — changing your class based on the current meta won’t actually give you the best possible DPS. It’s more important to choose a class that suits your playstyle. In most cases, the difference between good and exceptional DPS is practice with a specific class.

A screenshot of the character selection screen in ZeniMax Online Studios
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios via HGG / Angus Green

Working with a particular class until you have the rotations on lock will do you a lot more good than chasing the “perfect” class combination. Find what suits you best, then experiment to figure out whether you prefer a stamina- or magicka-based playstyle. You can use the Armory to quickly switch between the two if you have the attributes and skill morphs saved there.

(Of course, if you typically swap between two classes of the same skill level, you can certainly switch over to whichever one performs better in the current patch.)

Is Grinding Out the Right Sets Going to Significantly Increase My DPS?

Not exactly. Getting the right sets with the proper traits is definitely important, but grinding out a new set won’t affect your DPS as much as you might think. Of course an excellent set will boost your damage, but not as much as mastering your class. A practiced and experienced artist can make a masterpiece out of even the cheapest brush (though high-quality tools can help).

Screenshot of The Maelstrom's Perfected Inferno Staff item in ESO
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios via HGG / Angus Green

Instead, start with basic increases to your main resource pool and damage type. Golding out your weapons (and to a lesser extent, your armor) will improve your DPS more than a whole new set. You’ll want to have at least two different five-piece sets, along with something to fill in the remaining two slots. Most players use either a monster helmet/shoulder, arena weapon, or mythic + one Slimecraw monster set.

Do I Need a lot of Champion Points Before I Can Deal Good Damage?

Yes and no. Champion Points definitely help increase your overall damage. so make sure to slot the best CP for your class and damage type. A Nightblade that focuses on dealing high single-target damage from behind will likely want both Deadly Aim (10% more damage with single-target attacks) and Backstabber (15% more critical damage from behind enemy).

Screenshot of the Champion Points UI in ESO
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios via HGG / Angus Green

This isn’t necessarily a requirement for high damage, though. CPs really just improve upon whatever strategy you’re already using. If you’re not dealing much damage to begin with, these percentages won’t guarantee a massive DPS boost. Once again, practice and mastery of your skill rotations trump every other strategy on this list!

So What Actually Matters for Increasing DPS?

Screenshot of combat in ESO
Image: ZeniMax Online Studios via HGG / Angus Green

It’s exactly like we’ve been saying — the best way to increase your DPS in ESO is through practice and class familiarity. Master your skill choice and rotation, and learn how to weave light attacks around your effects and cooldowns. There are other factors, of course, but these are the major ones that affect your DPS.

Skill Choice

Knowing which skills you need to use and when is crucial in the heat of battle. Set yourself up for success with a solid (and fully upgraded) armor set, well-invested Champion Points, and smart food/potion combos.

(Note: Pairing stat food with a potion that gives you Major Sorcery/Berserk and Major Prophecy/Savagery gives you a great damage boost!)

Positioning is also important for improving your DPS. Standing in front of a healer and getting the full force of the buffs they’re throwing out will let you hit harder and stay up longer.

Skill Rotation

Skills last for different time frames, so casting order is important to keep them all up. It’s usually best to begin by buffing yourself with any bonuses you have (especially your sources of Major Sorcery/Berserk and Major Prophecy/Savagery).

Next, set up your damaging ground AOEs, starting with whichever one has the longest duration. This keeps you from switching weapon bars as often. From there, you can go to town on your spammable and start weaving light attacks between each one.

You should generally use your ultimate as soon as it’s ready. This lets you start building it back up while you’re in combat. It can, however, be strategic to wait and use a huge ground AOE attack when enemies are debuffed or are conveniently positioned.

Every class will have a different rotation, so you may need to tweak this strategy a bit. Overall, if you can nail the timing of your effects and cooldowns, you should be in good shape.

Light Attack Weaving

This is an essential part of increasing your DPS. You should always light attack between every skill! Light attacks are a huge source of your overall damage. All skills have a one-second global cooldown, so you have a perfect window to attack while queueing up your next skill.

Screenshot of a light attack in ESO
1. Just Light Attack
Screenshot of a skill attack in ESO
2. Just Skill
Screenshot of a light attack and skill attack in ESO
3. Light Attack + Skill

There is a proper order to light attack weaving. You’ll need to activate your light attack first, then follow it up by immediately activating your next skill. You’ll see your character begin to slash through the enemy, then the skill animation will take over. The damage of the light attack will still go through, but you won’t lose any damage while you wait to finish swinging your sword.

Light attack weaving can be thought of as animation canceling, since you’re canceling the animation of the light attack. Skills can’t be animation canceled, and you can even negate your cast by light attacking before you set them off. As you may have guessed, it can be a challenging tactic to pull off, especially when cast times come into play.

You’ll likely need to practice getting the timing down. Once you do, I guarantee you’ll see a true breakthrough in your DPS.

Analyzing Your Damage

The Add-on Combat Metrics can be a huge help in finding out where your damage is coming from. If you want to know how to download this add-on (as well as which others to use), check out our breakdown of the 15 Best ESO Add-Ons.

Combat Metrics breaks down how much each skill, CP, and light attack contributes to your overall DPS, showing you what skills to drop or keep. Combat Metrics even shows you your light attack weaving average, which you want as close to 0 as possible. Test out your skill rotation on a parse dummy and try to get that weaving average close to 0 so there’s no wasted time where you could be dealing damage.

Once you have your rotation settled from parsing, take your parsing and use it in actual combat. It’s much harder to hit your maximum DPS in a real fight, especially when you don’t benefit from the buffs of a full twelve-person group. You’ll also need to work on your positioning, which can impact how you cast your abilities. You’ll need to do some finagling, but having a good strategy in mind from parsing will help you hold your own in actual combat.

Join the High Ground

Getting higher DPS in ESO is a fun grind, but knowing what to focus on is important for making those gains. We hope this guide can help you boost your parsing numbers and you’re able to execute them in real fights to carry your team through any level of content. For the latest on ESO and your other favorite games, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter. 

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