Do ESO builds with unlimited skill points matter?
ESO has made a big change from most MMOs by making skill points unlimited. Characters can earn as many skill points as players can find for them, and many players will spend hours working to obtain as many skills as they can. In most MMOs, a tradition of character sets for each class, skill combinations, and weapons that are known to be the most effective possible way to play that class quickly develops. With ESO’s unlimited skill points and the resulting ability to literally have access to every skill available to the character, the question arises as to whether or not there is somewhere in ESO for traditional character builds.
In fact, ESO’s own system makes traditional-style character builds impossible even without unlimited skill points. First, because the many non-class abilities combine with the class abilities in almost limitless ways, making it nearly impossible to identify one or more specific settings that are automatically the best for a given class. Second, because a player can only spend skill points to get the skill. Spending additional skill points does not make skills more powerful, as in other MMOs. Instead, skills level up as the player uses them. So ESO builds that tell players where to spend skill points will be almost useless for higher-level characters, whose powers are based on both what skills they use and where they spend their skill points.
For many players, traditional-style character builds will be guidelines or suggestions at best. With unlimited skill points to play with, a player can refer to an ESO building guide when they aren’t sure which skill to get next, or want a skill that gives them bonuses against a certain enemy type. Otherwise, the ability to combine guild skills, weapon skills, and class skills creates an infinite number of possibilities to build a character that renders traditional builds largely irrelevant. In the ESO builds, instead of dealing with which skills to buy, there will be guides for the skill lines that combine to create different types of characters – hints on how to combine Nightblad with the wizard’s guild for a magical assassin, or turn your sorcerer into a vampire if I want to be able to play a Tremere in THAT.
Traditional character builds, with their step-by-step blueprints for the most powerful character possible, may still be relevant to ESO. Many players, especially those focused on PvP, will not be interested in wasting time wandering the realms in search of crystal shards and books that grant them extra skill points. They will want to build the most powerful character in the shortest time possible. These traditional ESO builds will need to advise players on which skills to use most often so that they level up at the desired rate, and while the non-class skills will be the most useful add-ons to the basic build.