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PvE Teamwork Guide Part 2 - Tanking & Healing

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PvE teamwork guide 2 - tanking and healing

While this is mainly aimed at new tanks and healers, everyone should give it a read.



Tanking in ESO is unlike most MMOs, since there is no buildable threat mechanic. The only way you can keep mobs on you is by taunting and controlling them with slows, freezes or stuns. Taunts in ESO are single target only, which means you do not have the resources to keep everything taunted at all times and you should not try to do so. However more dangerous mobs which could one- or twoshot players, should be kept taunted at all times. The rest can be pulled in with chains or the equivalent, controlled and burned down fast by the damage dealers.

Aggro mechanics

Basically aggro works roughly as follows:

  1. The pack is pulled. Every mob in it randomly aggros a group member. This will not change in 7 seconds unless a taunt is used, or in case of melee mobs a freeze is used, in which case they will hit the closest target. This initial aggro doesn't seem to have much of a range, mobs can run to you even if you were in another room, out of line of sight when they were pulled.
  2. In about every 7 seconds, they will change the target to who hit them the last or healed the group the group last. Since there is healing ticking all over the place at all times, most of the time they will look at the healer.
  3. If the mob is taunted, it will focus the taunter for the taun'ts duration and then probably run to someone else when a combat tick happens.

The importance of using chains regularly when there are mobs that can be pulled into the main group can't be stressed enough. It can make fights several times shorter when everything can be burned down together or even on top of a boss.

The staple of a pull by DK is running into ranged mobs, pulling in a few of the melee mobs and hitting Choking Talons. This has everything nicely packed together to be burned down. I also like to use Eruption when there are several group with many runners I can't pick up with chains fast enough. In that case having them slowed by 70%, running in, pulling a few more in and hitting talons gives the DDs the opportunity for massive AoE. Always keep mobs bunched up on you when possible.

Following are a few tips for tanks, which can support the group a lot.

  • Keep the boss faced away from the group, unless tactics specifically call for tank to be stacked with the group. Make it a habit, so that the group never gets cleaved. There are also some bosses which do not cleave, but place AoEs on targets in front of them (Twins in MoL, Last boss in AS, etc). Generally keep bosses faced away from the group and only dance with them when you know they don't cleave or do anything else nasty, and only when necessary.
  • Keep Glyph of Crushing up on your target at all times. Your weapon that is enchanted with it needs to be Infused, so that you could have higher uptime. If wearing Torug's Pact, it is even easier. It is refreshed by weapon skill line skills (also Blockade of Elements, if you like using destro backbar) and heavy and light attacks. Learning to drop block for a split second to light attack and get block up again will save you a lot of resources when you don't yet need to refresh PA and HS, but need to keep Crusher rolling. Get a timer for this.
  • Keep Pierce Armor and Heroic Slash up 100% of the time. The first is very important for the group, as everyone caps their Penetration passives and procs, taking this into account. The second gives more Warhorns and thus also regenerates your resources if you are a Dragon Knight. Get timers for these.
  • If you are wearing Alkosh, use a synergy at least every 10s, and try to space it out so that the debuff never runs out on the boss. Use a debuff tracker for that. There are Shards or Orbs, Harvest, DD synergies, etc available.
  • Block every heavy attack. In level 50 content most of them will kill you in one hit if you don't. In between you can regenerate resources and block some light attacks for a good measure.
  • Learn to spot healing or buffing effects that are relevant to you and stand in them when possible. Your healer will thank you and you'll survive more without having to heal yourself as much, which means saving some resources you can instead use for group utility.
  • Always keep some stamina to block a few heavy attacks and keep PA and HS up.
  • Keep as many mobs chained in a group as possible. This can't be repeated enough. The most damage in ESO comes from area of effect abilities, which means it's much more efficient to burn down groups of mobs than single target. There are other funky things you can do with chains. For example you can chain adds of Velador to him in CoS, instantly killing them, making that phase a breeze and allowing DDs to keep focusing the boss as much as possible, even though you're moving him around a bit.
  • Don't move much when you don't have to. AoE damage and healing needs to be repositioned when you move a boss or bunch of mobs out of them. That wastes time and resources.
  • Have ranged taunt on your bars either permanently or at least for any content where multiple mobs need to be kept on you. If you use the magicka morph, you can also use it instead of Pierce Armor in dangerous situations where your stamina is low and there is a heavy attack incoming in the next second, but also taunt is about to fall off.
  • When you need to chain or taunt something while having a cleaving boss or one with frontal traveling aoe on you, try not to turn him too much. You might get the DDs oneshot by turning rapidly.
  • DKs can use chains as a free(because of the morph) mini taunt to get initial aggro on something that is immune to being pulled or stunned, or get them off someone for a few seconds in a fight, to save magicka.
  • As a DK, Igneous Shield spam can save the group sometimes. For example on Zaan, during frost phase when the healer is dead, it is often possible to keep the entire group up just by spamming IS. It is not only for yourself, but also for the group. Being proactive with it and casting it before a massive AoE hits the group, keeps the possibilities of someone getting killed by the next incoming attack, minimal.
  • Use Replenishing Barrier on main bar for the extra Magicka regen from pvp Support skill line. Yes, it is that good. 10% magicka regen makes a noticable difference and lets you do what tanks and healers do the best in this game - support the group with their abilities, which in case of a DK mostly means spending magicka. Swap it out for Magma Shell if you or the group really needs that massive survivability boost for a bit on certain encounters.
  • Don't be afraid to pop aforementioned Barrier sometimes. It is largely there just for sustain, but if you know people are most likely going to die within the next second or two, pop it if they're close enough to get it, and watch the group survive. You'll lose almost a horn's worth of charge, but whatever. You just prevented a wipe.
  • Level Shielded Charge. There aren't even a handful of fights where you need it, but it can be useful. Even on simpler content like vCoS, where you can charge to the second boss after the teleport, to not have to rely on ranged interrupts of others or slot destro backbar if you don't like using it.
  • Spot the encounters which tax your sustain and wear different gear sets for it. If you need more magicka, shadowrend+chokethorn help a ton. If you need more stamina, more ultimates is usually the answer.
  • Always have a tiny bit more stamina than magicka. That way you gain stamina from shards or orbs. As tank, always prioritize using shards instead of orbs whenever possible. For you, both resources are pretty much equally important ans synergize:
  • If you are a DK and need some stamina right now and have excess magicka, use Igneous Shield. You gain 990 stamina per cast from the Helping Hands passive.
  • If your playstyle is to maximize group support, go lizard. The extra regen from potions makes an immense difference and allows you to spam more shields, chain more, taunt and block more, etc. It just is that good. If you already are lizard, you can experiment with jewelry enchants. Potion Speed can be a lot of fun to play around with for a lizard especially in Summerset,but was already interesting before. You don't just get more potion uses, but also the lizard passive scales with it really well. You get an average of 7000 from the best tri stat potions every 30s, instead of every 45s. Over 4000 of all resources returned by the lizard passive every 30s works out to about 1.3k regeneration, vs about 1k regeneration from unglyphed potions. That's a massive 300 regeneration for all stats, including magicka and health, only from being a lizard. And that's on top of the increased regen from using more potions as non-lizard! You'll lose 2-3 shield play enchants, but those only help your stamina. Experiment and choose. Remember that as DK, magicka is very important for you. It fuels most of your support abilities and survivability and also adds stamina regen through using the right abilities.
  • Aggressive Horn. Get it, use it every time it's up and you need resources if there's 20s or less left on Horn cast by someone else, or just every 30s. Always announce it before and wait for a second before you press it, to avoid popping two horns at once and wasting someone's ult charge.
  • Efficient Purge. Get it and slot it in your flex slot on purge heavy encounters. DKs have a lot of magicka regeneration, so you can sometimes use it to instantly cleanse yourself and the entire melee group.
  • Deep Breath. This is an AoE interrupt which also heals you, very useful for fights like Twins and on some more difficult trash where you gain a lot by interrupting several targets at once.
  • If you main bar Crushing, back bar Weakening glyph. Double slotting Crushing does not make a noticeable uptime difference.

Tanking gear

Have different gear setups ready, so that you have all the buffs that are needed covered between two tanks .
The following is gear every trials tank should have in their inventory. The first three are pretty much mandatory in most trials.

Roar of Alkosh (if the other tank is using Torug on the same boss, your Alkosh weapons should be without glyph of Crushing, since weaker overwrites the stronger)
Ebon Armory
Torug's Pact (with glyph of Crushing)

Akaviri Dragonguard
Plague Doctor (only for when you really need more health)

Poweful Assault if you can get it, can be a good addition for offtanking at times, especially if you run Vigor with it.

1 piece Chokethorn + 1 piece Shadowrend for magicka regen
Blood Spawn for more Warhorns and stam sustain
Lord Warden (usually only if there's no Warden healer or tank in raid and the resistances are really needed for the group)

  • In some trials it's not possible to get high enough Alkosh uptime to justify using it (Cloudrest for example). In that case use something else that increases group damage, like more horns through Dragon.
  • In some encounters it's beneficial to have less health because of health based attacks or debuffs (again Cloudrest is prime example), so plan accordingly.

A great source for tanking builds and advice is https://woeler.eu/ . Woeler is recognized as one of the, if not the best PvE tank in ESO.


Healers in ESO are there to keep the group alive, but mainly to buff them in various ways. Since a lot of the damage in ESO is avoidable, healing lessens in importance as DDs and tanks become better at avoiding damage, and buffing becomes more and more important. Shorter fights means less chances to mess up for everyone and healers play a big role in increasing damage of the group, just like tanks do.

Right now the meta for vTrials is either two Templars or one Templar and one Warden. Templars give shards which noone else has and Warden buffs the group with extra regeneration and resistances. Templars also have great single target smart healing, while Wardens can do massive area healing with ground effects and provide life steal. Especially DKs and Sorcs are also very viable as healers, but not optimal with group utility. DK healers also have the problem of overwriting larger shields put up by the tanks and the need to regularly cast them for 100% Major Mending uptime.

As a healer you mostly want to stay behind everyone else. That is to keep a good overview of what's going on and also to have everyone in front of you for your frontal buffs. Whenever possible in trials, groups should be positioned so that either healer has their own group(s) to focus on.

Vestment of Olorime
Only one healer in the raid must run this set. If possible, together with Jorvuld's Guidance to keep the buff up longer on melee DDs who might need the extra duration during movement heavy encounters. This set has a 10 second cooldown. Every time the cooldown is up, the first ground based area heal you cast puts down a glowing rune which gives everyone in it Major Courage for 30 seconds, increasing their weapon and spell damage. 12 targets can be affected by this at most. That means you can safely rotate this between the melee and ranged group, and if needed, even a third group. With Jorvuld's Guidance, it would be possible to cover up to 4 locations with great timing. If you are assigned to Olorime duty, keep this up 100% of the time on every DD group.
Since this set is only used when casting healing abilities, you can use a healing staff and back bar Maelstrom destro or even Asylum or Master resto if you wish. It does not matter when the set gets broken when you are on the other bar, as long as you can swap back to resto to apply the buff efficiently.

Combat Prayer
Rectangular frontal aoe heal, which gives everyone in it Minor Berserk, Minor Resolve and Minor Ward, buffing their damage and resistances. Keep up 100% of the time on all DDs and also tank whenever possible.

Luminous Shards (Templar only)
A pretty narrow AoE which does some damage and allows any group member in it to use the synergy, restoring a larger amount of their higher resource and smaller amount of lower resource. It is good to have a timer for this, as the synergy has a 20 second internal cooldown for the users. In a trial it's great to throw it on the boss, so that both the tank and melee get it, and in about 5 seconds into the ranged group, so that they also get it. Getting some stamina back as  the secondary effect of the shard synergy is beneficial even for magicka builds, as it is used to avoid damage. The internal cooldown is shared with that of the orbs, which means it is more beneficial to use shards. However they will always not be available, so the other healer will usually keep throwing out orbs. Keep this down as tightly on internal cooldown of the synergy as possible.

Energy Orb (Undaunted)
If you are on orb duty, keep throwing them out between shard casts of the templar. Spam a good 2-3 in each group between needed healing and buff upkeep, and you're good for another 15-ish seconds after. They also heal as they go, so use them as AoE healing tools with a massive heal and some resource regeneration on synergy use, when needed.

Extended Ritual (Templar only)
Heals a little over time in a large area and allows group members in it to cleanse themselves with a synergy. If this is on your flex slot, always keep it down on melee+tank and move it on the ranged group when needed. If you have a non-templar in trials, they should use Efficient Purge to cleanse the ranged group when needed.

Enchanted Growth (Warden only)
A frontal cone which heals and grants the targets Minor Intellect and Minor Endurance, increasing their stamina and magicka regeneration. Keep up 100% of the time on everyone possible.

Leeching Vines (Warden only)
Try to keep up on the tank when you have it slotted. Heals the target over time and everyone who hits them gets life steal effect placed on them, healing everyone who damages them, every second.

Expansive Frost Cloak (Warden only)
A flex skill which can be useful when extra resistances are needed for the entire group. Gives Major Resolve to group members within 28 meters, increasing physical and spell resistances by over 5000.

Blockade of Lightning (Destruction Staff skill line)
If there are no DDs using Lightning staff, at least one healer needs to run this on their backbar and keep Blockade up on the boss at least once every 15s and on adds as much as possible. The staff should have Charged trait and Charged enchant to give the fastest possible application of Off Balance debuff every time immunity on the boss drops. Off Balance lasts for 5 seconds, after which a boss will be immune for 15 seconds, giving it a possible 25% uptime.

Elemental Drain (Destruction Staff skill line)
This should be run by one healer and kept up on the boss 100% of the time, as it regenerates magicka to everyone who hits the boss. This is also why it's important for healers to weave either light or heavy attacks on the boss.

Try keep people healed, but when they're being stupid, don't put yourself at risk to save them. If they keep standing in red, just let them die and hope they can be resurrected. Hope they learn from the pain. When healers die, both healing and group damage will be less and unless they're resed fast, the fight can spiral into a wipe. First and foremost stay safe. Most mechanics in ESO are avoidable, so the DDs need to learn to take care of their own safety too.

Pay extra attention to melee DDs when possible, since survival is extra difficult for them. If you are a Warden, keep your Budding Seeds on meele+tank. This burst heal can save them or just make it easier to keep them topped up at all times.

Have different gear setups ready. Ideally every healer should have the following to choose from so that they can mix and match whatever, but Wardens should aim for Jorvuld's+Olorime at first, while templars should cover the rest of the sets, the best to begin with being Worm+Healing Mage/Sanctuary:

Vestment of Olorime (farmed from Cloudrest trial)
Jorvuld's Guidance
The Worm's Raiment
Healing Mage (farmed from Aetherian Archive)
Kagrenac's Hope (mainly for Templars, on some fights very fast reses are great)

Infallible Mage (for a more aggressive setup)

Good resources and guides for healing can be found here: https://alcasthq.com/ and  https://tabatta.eu/ .


This concludes the main overview of tanking and healing. Hopefully there's something useful in here for everyone.

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