There are already lots of guides telling new players about race/class combinations, but I find most of them are from pure combat perspective without considering TES lore or roleplay. So I feel like writing something about this for n'wah
friends who care about lore-friendly class choices for their toons and/or roleplaying, without sacrificing race/class synergy for effective builds. I put this in the Lore section coz I think this would benefit lore lovers more, hardcore players who care more about min-maxing already have Fextralife guides etc..
The following are based on the race changes from Wrathstone update.1.Dragonknight
Official description: "These skillful masters-at-arms use the ancient Akaviri martial tradition of battle-spirit, and wield fearsome magic that pounds, shatters and physically alters the world around them."
Dragonknight is probably the closest thing to a "warrior" class in ESO. The Akaviri are known for their martial prowess, being renowned dragon hunters and founders of the Dragonguard (which evolved into the later Blades). They invaded Tamriel several times and played important roles in the formation of the Second Empire and the Ebonheart Pact. The past TES titles depicted them as wearing heavy armor and wielding katanas and shields. These fall in line with what DKs do best in ESO: sword-and-board tanking. The skills in the DKs's arsenal complements this fighting style especially with Earthen Heart and Draconic Warrior abilities utilizing Alteration-like spells to boost up defense.
The DPS skills of DK, mainly in the Ardent Flame tree, are flame-based Destruction magic that fit better with magicka-based races (with some poison-based morphs to enable stamina DPS builds but there are fewer of these). No idea if the Akaviri knew about Balrogs in an even more distant land...Recommended races:
Stamina (tank): Nord, Imperial
These races fought or were once ruled by the Akaviri so it'd make sense some of them picked up the Akaviri fighting style. Nords and Imperials also seem to fit better with the Dragon Warrior theme given their history with Dragons, Dragonfire, Dragonborn etc.. Gameplay wise they're the two races that clearly work better as tanks.
(I'd also like to give Argonians an Honorable Mention here even if they seem like tree huggers in lore. They fought the Akaviri too, they excel as tanks, and they kinda look like little dragons when you use Draconic Power skills.)
Magicka (DPS/healer), Stamina DPS: Dunmer
Dark Elves do sit better with using all those fire, ash and lava to melt their enemies (or cauterize their wounds) as if they're ash spawns from their Red Mountain (another example, Ancestor's Wrath racial power in Skyrim is simply a flame cloak). They used to have flame damage boost from racial passives making this choice even more obvious. Now they've been changed to getting resource and damage buff to both magicka and stamina builds. Flame, poison or blades? Take your pick f'lah.2.Templar
Official description: "These traveling knights call upon the powers of light and the burning sun to deal massive damage to their enemies while restoring health, magicka, and stamina to their allies."
Templars are paladin-like warriors and/or mages who wield Aedric light magic to chastise their foes and support their allies. Their skills are mostly from the Restoration school including some offensive spells (a few also appeared in Skyrim), which are commonly used by priests to the divines. Hence it'd make a bit more sense if a templar comes from an Aedra-worshipping race. Templar is one of the most versatile classes in game, it's also easy to play for beginners (especially Magplar). See, Restoration is a perfectly valid school of magic!Recommended races:
Magicka (healer/DPS): Breton, Altmer
Bretons and Altmer both worship (their own version of) the divines and have natural affinity to magic. From both lore and gameplay perspectives, Bretons lean towards being healers with their magical defense and sustain, while High Elves are better at casting spells to deal damage. I put Bretons in front because healing is the biggest class characteristics for templars.
Stamina(DPS/tank): Imperial, Redguard
Also Aedra worshippers (with orders of holy warriors and religious crusades in their history), Redguards and Imperials both have high stamina pool and sustain combined with good survivability, making them good tanks and damage dealers.3. Sorcerer
Official description: "Sorcerers can use conjuration and destruction spells to hurl lightning bolts and create shock fields, wield dark magic to snare and stun, and summon Daedric combat followers from Oblivion to assist them."
These are pretty much our typical Destruction and Conjuration mages found almost everywhere in TES games. Magicka races rely on shock spells and conjured minions to kill and heal while using wards and minions to eat damage (Pet MagSorc is one of the easiest solo classes). Stamina races play like spellswords with their magically buffed weapons and armor.Recommended races:
Magicka (DPS/healer): Altmer, Breton
High elves love to prove their racial supremacy by blasting their enemies into Oblivion (they may frown upon conjuring daedra though). Bretons on the other hand are adept conjurers and ward casters as shown in previous TES games and Legends. I put Altmer in front due to Magsorc better suited for DPS.
Stamina (DPS/tank): Redguard, Imperial
Many renowned battlemages in TES lore hail from Hammerfell and Cyrodiil. Gameplay reason is the same as the above said Stamplar.4. Nightblade
Official description: "Nightblades are adventurers and opportunists with a gift for getting in and out of trouble. Relying variously on stealth, blades, and speed, Nightblades thrive on conflict and misfortune, trusting to their luck and cunning to survive."
Nightblade class corresponds to the sneaky, roguish play style of assassins and thieves, using Shadow (illusion?) magic to surprise and survive. It also has some siphoning spells for healing and support, which has good theme and gameplay synergy if you play a vampire (especially on a Magblade). Nightblade has been one of the highest DPS classes (both mag and stam) and the BiS class for PvE thieves and PvP gankers, though it would take some time to master.Recommended races:
Magicka (DPS/healer): Dunmer, Khajiit
Dark Elves founded the two most (in)famous assassins guilds in Tamrielic history; they're also a good race for vampires with their flame resistance (and "vampiric" looks
). Khajiits are the go-to race for thieves with their pickpocket and sneak bonus. These two are now the jack-of-all-trades races after Wrathstone update so they're equally viable for any build.
Stamina (DPS/tank): Khajiit, Dunmer
[Clemency] "Khajiit stole nothing!"5. Warden
Official description: "Wardens are defenders of the Green, master storytellers whose nature tales become magical reality. They wield frost spells against enemies and summon animals to aid them."
The Druids' equivalent in ESO, wardens command the nature to do their bidding, be it overwhelming their opponents with animal attacks or healing their wounds. They can also cast frost spells mainly for defense and support. Thus races that have a bond with their natural habitat would fit better as warden. Warden (especially stamina variant) is yet another very versatile class with tools for damage, healing and tanking in one package, it even has a pet for both magicka and stamina builds.Recommended races:
As children of the Hist, the Saxhleel have thrived in the Black Marsh on their rich knowledge of and the special connection to their marshland home. Argonians are also potent spell casters with big magicka pool and big heals for excellent healer builds, and great tri-stat sustain for tanks as long as you drink potions.
Stamina (DPS/tank/healer): Bosmer
Defenders of the Green, Spinners, animals... The class description pretty much yells Bosmer. While a great DPS and tank class, interestingly stamina warden is also the only competent stamina healer class. The stamina pool and stamina sustain enable Wood Elves for all these roles.6. Necromancer
Official description: "Masters of Death, Necromancers can call upon corpses to serve as undead thralls and weave ghastly spells to both harm and heal. (WARNING: Using certain Necromancer abilities in town is a criminal act. Citizens and Guards will react accordingly.)"
Necromancy as a branch of Conjuration is practiced by mages all across Tamriel, although races and organizations differ in their tolerance of such practice. Choosing a lore-friendly race for necromancers may or may not be a little tricky, depending on whether you'd like to make a toon living at relative peace with their neighbors or you simply don't give a damn about weaklings. Necromancers have skill lines each dedicated to a role similar to wardens, allowing for flexibility in builds.Recommended races:
Magicka (DPS/healer): Breton, Altmer
High Rock and Summerset Isles generally dislike necromancy, but magically inclined races such as these certainly don't lack powerful necromancers. Bretons have Gravesingers such as Angof and distant relatives in the Reach who produce Briarhearts. As for High Elves, the whole necromancy discipline started with a certain mer we meet very early in the main quest (an unpleasant meeting for sure).
Stamina (DPS/tank): Orc, Imperial
These races are relatively forgiving when it comes to necromancy. Orcs are the "survival of the strongest" type not caring too much about the source of power, as seen in the likes of Zumog Phoom and Thukhozod. Imperials didn't even declare necromancy illegal throughout much of their history.
Thank you for reading my two cents on the lore-friendly race/class combos. These are just a general suggestion trying to balance combat and immersion for fellow travelers, and not in any way definitive. Playing a TES game is all about roleplay freedom and maximum possibilities! Besides, we can usually find something in the lore to justify any race for any build. Feel free to share your thoughts!