ESO has made a huge change from most MMOs in making skill points unlimited. Characters can gain as many skill points as players can find for them, and many players will spend hours grinding away to get every skill they possibly can. In most MMOs, a tradition quickly develops of set character builds for each class, combinations of skills and weapons that are known to be the most effective possible way to play that class. With ESO’s unlimited skill points, and the resultant ability to literally get access to every skill available to the character, it raises the question of whether or not there is any place in ESO for traditional character builds.
In fact, the ESO system itself makes traditional style character builds impossible even without unlimited skill points. First, because the many non-class skills cans combine with class skills in nearly unlimited ways, making it next to impossible to pinpoint a specific build or builds which are automatically the best for any given class. Second, because a player can only spend skill points to get the skill. Spending additional skill points doesn’t make the skills more powerful, as in other MMOs. Instead, the skills level up as the player uses them. So ESO builds that tell players where to spend skill points will be nearly useless for higher level characters, whose powers are based as much on which skills they use as where they spend their skill points.
For many players, traditional style character builds will at best be guidelines or suggestions. With unlimited skill points to play with, a player may consult an ESO build guide when they aren’t sure what skill to get next, or if they want a skill that will give them bonuses against a certain type of enemy. Otherwise, the ability to combine guild skills, weapons skills, and class skills creates an infinite number of possibilities for building a character that make traditional builds largely irrelevant. In ESO builds, instead of being about which skills should be bought, will instead be guides for which skill lines combine to make different character types–suggestions on combining Nightblad with the Mage guild for a wizardly assassin, or make your sorcerer a vampire if you want to be able to play a Tremere in ESO.
Traditional character builds, with their step-by-step blue-prints for the most powerful possible character may still be relevant to ESO. Many players, especially those focused on PvP, will not be interested in spending their time wandering the realms seeking crystal shards and books that will give them extra skill points. They will want to build the most powerful character in the least time possible. These traditional ESO builds will need to advise players on which skills to use most often so they level up at the desired rate, and while non-class skills will be the most useful supplements to the basic build.