One of the most interesting things about Elder Scrolls Online is the class system. Its easy to look at the four classes on offer (Dragon Knight, Sorcerer, Nightblade, and Templar) and think that you are highly limited in choices. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real choices come after character creation and continue throughout the leveling process.
What starts off as seemingly the fewest choices in any MMO, soon branches off to reveal a plethora of choices. Matter of fact, it blossoms into one of the most interesting character progression system that I have yet seen.
The first thing that you have to wrap your head around is that the initial class choice means very little in terms of possible play style. That class choice will determine three of your skill lines but that is it. What you do with those skill lines will be totally up to you. How you use them will be totally up to you. There is very little pigeon-holing here.
I saw plenty of sorcerer’s wearing cloth robes, wielding a staff and standing back at range throwing fireballs and lightning bolts. Likewise, I saw plenty of Dragon Knights with a sword and board, heavy armor and at the forefront as a tank. If that is how you want to play those classes, you are certainly able to do so.
But you don’t have to, not at all.
One of my early characters was a sorcerer. But I didn’t play him like one, nor was he built like one. I wore medium armor instead of cloth robes. I wielded a two-handed hammer instead of a staff. I went down the the Storm Calling line in my class skills and picked up a couple of ranged lightning based attacks. Then I went down the two-handed line and picked up a charge and a couple of strong melee attacks. Basically I was Thor.
You can do the same thing with every other class in the game. I have seen Dragon Knights running around in cloth robes and dealing ranged damage. I have seen Night Blade, Templar and Sorcerer tanks. I have seen nearly every combination you can think of and I am sure that there will be even more upon release.
The system is even more open than the Rift Soul system. Rift had a fantastic system but, at its roots, it was still fairly limited. Yes, there were rogue tanks and ranged warriors but they were still limited in weapon choice and armor choice. Warriors wore heavy armor and carried a sword and shield, mages wore cloth and carried a staff or one-handed and focus, rogues dual-wielded and wore medium armor.
Those limitations are gone in ESO. Wear what you want. Carry whatever weapon you want. Its up to you. I really look forward to seeing what people come up with and how effective each build will be.