There are an unimaginable number of builds you can choose from in Elder Scrolls Online. It can be a daunting task trying to figure out exactly what kind of build you should go for. Instead of using a time-consuming trial and error method, we detailed the most important aspects of any build so you can have the freedom to create the character you want, with the knowledge to do it in a timely manner.
Weapon and Armor Skills are arguably the most important for any build. However, before you delve into those skill sets, you first need to focus on Racial and Class Skills. You don't have to worry too much about Class Skills so long as you selected a class you enjoy playing. These skills are set in stone and cannot be changed, so it's a one-time decision. Racial Skills are a different matter. Each race offers unique bonuses to specific classes or skill sets. Decide how you wish to play the game, whether you want to tank, deal damage (DPS) or heal. Once you decided on your play style, select a race that complements the class or skill set that best suits that play style.
Each class has three skill lines to choose from. Each skill line allows for five Active Skills, four Passive Skills and one Ultimate Skill. You can go through every skill line, but in general, they offer varied play styles for the classes you've selected. If you decide that you do not like the play style you decided on, you can always switch to a different skill line. Since all classes can learn all skills (some faster than others), you can technically play any way you wish, it just may take more time and effort.
Settle on your race and class, then you can move on to your weapons and armor. One interested facet of Elder Scrolls Online is that you can set a hotbar that allows for five Active Skills, four Passive Skills and one Ultimate Skill, just like each class skill line. The hotbar changes when you equip a different weapon. This means you can start a battle as a DPS class, then if things start going poorly, you can switch to a staff and a new hotbar that's geared toward healing. You can change the contents of your hotbars anytime you're not in battle.
Active Skills must be triggered during combat in order to use them. Unlike many other MMOs, there's no cool-down period for your Active Skills. Instead, Active Skills are ruled by your Stamina or Magicka, depending on the type of skill. As you may have guessed, magic-based skills are governed by Magicka, while melee-based skills are governed by Stamina. Passive Skills must be placed on the hotbar in order to activate them, but once they're set on the hotbar, they're always active. Ultimate Skills can only be used once you've built up your Ultimate Points through battle, and are essentially the best abilities for your class.
Armor Skills are important because they can increase your defense, or restore Magicka or Stamina. Every class can wear every type of armor, which means you can always learn every Armor Skill. You can even mix and match your armor to learn multiple skills at once. However, it's important to focus on the skills that benefit your class of choice. For example, a mage class that specializes in healing or DPS will need to use Armor Skills that replenish Magicka.
In the end, how you build your class really depends on your play style. While there are some very specific builds, until you know exactly how you want to play and have settled on a race and class that you're sure you want to run with, these tips will help you learn the system and build a skill set that will work well for the immediately future.