As the release date for The Elder Scrolls Online closes in, I am faced with a familiar decision; what race and faction do I roll on? One thing that does make this decision easier is the fact that you can roll any race on any faction if you pre-order. This means I can ignore the normal racial limitations and roll on whatever faction I choose.
Still, this isn’t an easy decision. There are a number of attractive races in ESO. Then again, there are also a few horrible races as well. Werit’s post about how much he hates the Aldimeri Dominion inspired me to make my own post about ESO’s races.
The Ebonheart Pact
The Ebonheart Pact is my obvious choice. When there are no available dwarves, northern Viking type races are a good second choice and the Ebonheart Pact has Nords. Their racial perks are also fairly attractive with a bonus to two-handed weapons, increased frost resistance, increased armor and health regeneration. I’ve always liked the viking look and feel and the Nord captures that well.
The Argonians are an interesting race for me. Historically, I dislike the beast type races but the Argonians are really well done. I also like the “Aztec” look of some of their gear. It really sits them apart from the other ESO races. Their racial perks are pretty good, especially if you are going to be a healer, with a bonus to the restoration skill line. They also should make excellent tanks, with bonuses to health regeneration and healing received as well as increased disease and poison resistance.
I have always hated elves but the Elder Scrolls games do elves better than most other fantasy series. The Dark Elves look cruel and menacing and not totally effeminate, as so many other fantasy series make them look. The fact that they can have beards, unlike many other games’ elves, helps their look quite a bit. They have an interesting group of racial perks that focus on dual wielding, flame magic and resistance and stamina.
I think the Daggerfall Covenant is the second choice faction for me. The fact that they have no typical elves at all moves them up in my regard quite a bit. The Orcs in the Elder Scroll series never really struck me as interesting when compared to orcs in other fantasy series, such as Warhammer. Orcs in Elder Scrolls tend to be a misunderstood, prideful race that excel in crafting and are actually Mer, which are elves in the Elder Scrolls universe. So, yes, they are related to the High Elves and Wood Elves but certainly look nothing like them. They also seem to be some of the best tanks in the game, as their racial perks all revolve around stamina and hit points.
Redguard and Breton just don’t interest me at all. They are standard human races, without the viking mystique. The Breton seem to be focused on magic use, with corresponding racial perks and the Redguard are centered around melee skills and a few perks that might make them good tanks. Mechanically, they both seem to be fine choices but they just strike me as boring when compared to the Nord, Argonian and Dark Elf alliance.
Finally, we have the Aldimeri Dominion. Reports out of beta say that they have the most complete starting zone. It seems their starting area flows much better than the other two. The races all have excellent racial perks that make each race interesting. That being said, its two elf and a cat race. That completely leaves me out.
The High Elves are the closest to your typical fantasy elves. Highly intelligent, aloof and prideful. Their racial perks are centered around magic use and they would make excellent sorcerers. They do have the upside of looking a bit more ‘alien’ than typical elves in the genre, although this seems to be scaled back a bit in Elder Scrolls Online. Probably to cater to the Legolas wannabes out there.
The Wood Elves look like typical elves in most respects, though they do have the ability to have beards and thats a plus. Features-wise they may be typical but in personality they are not. They are much more alien than elves in any other fantasy series and they even have a history of cannibalism, though I am unsure if that plays any part in the game or not. As far as racial perks are concerned, they are probably the best archers in the game and get a nice boost to stealth. Unfortunately, I see most players running around thinking they are Legolas and never realizing how strange of a race they really are.
The Khajit are cat people. They look just like felines on two-legs. This automatically rule them out for me. They do have some really good racial perks, centered on stealth, crit chance and crit damage. But they are still cats, so no….
All things considered, the Ebonheart Covenant are my obvious choice. Daggerfall isn’t bad and I do like the Orcs but the other two races are just so damn boring. The Aldimeri Dominion are a total no go for me. Truthfully, the Bosmer (Wood Elves) aren’t bad and I could see myself playing one, despite my absolute hatred for most elves. The Bosmer are just crazy enough to be cool. However, add in the High Elves and Khajit and the entire faction is ruined for me. I just can’t run around with the cat race. Call me racist but its true.
I think, in the end, I am either going to roll Ebonheart. Another possibility is rolling as either a Nord or Wood Elf on the Daggerfall Covenant. I probably wouldn’t normally consider that but there are a few people I may be interested in playing with that are probably going Daggerfall. Rolling as a Nord or Wood Elf over there will allow me to play with them and also allow me to stand out a bit.
So, how about you? If you are playing ESO, what faction or race are you intending to play as? Let me know in the comments!