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Aigym Hlervu's Guide to Naval Warfare of Tamriel. Second Era.

  • Aigym_Hlervu

    War is a hard work and those who work harder, win the war. The experience of the Three Banners War shows that a single warship is capable to carry enough supplies and military personnel to invade, capture and hold not just a single town or a small island like Bleakrock, but to ravage an entire region like Stonefalls with only a formidable superweapon like the Brothers of Strife able to fight the invaders off. Scales between the lore and in-game quantities is irrelevant here. So don't be surprised to know that a naval superpower of Tamriel has only 4 or 7 ships - a single vessel of that class is a really formidable force, though it can be destroyed in the naval combat, captured or blown up with explosive charges. Anyway a strong fleet of several warships will do nothing without suitable naval bases located in key areas so that a ship could maintain her combat effectiveness.

    Shipbuilding in the ESO is the edge of technologies just like the aviation IRL. It contains so many terms I won't even try to touch them here. Sailing ship classes are not less complicated.. A class of a ship is defined by a ship's functionality, sailing plans, hulls, cruising features, scales, etc., etc., etc... And, what's more difficult, there is no unified world wide accepted classification of sailing ships. The same vessel might be classified as a caravel and as frigate in different countries. For example, a caravel's feature is a lateen-rigged sail plan, it can't be classified as a full-rigged ship basically. But a Portuguese XV century caravel is exactly a full-rigged one and still.. it is a caravel. Even Columbus's vessels are depicted differently in various sources, both as caravels and carracks, so.. So in the section below I try to make it as clear as I can to those of you unfamiliar with the sailing ships of XV - XIX centuries. First I have to say that the ESO warships do not bear strict similarities with one class of a ship or another. They all are a kind of a mix of those features and the imagination of their designer. Secondly, just don't stick to the terms so strictly there - all the classification of the ESO vessels made are based on my national ship classification and my personal views which might not be the same as yours. In this guide I will speak of warships only. So those of you who wish to read about those Argonian reed boats or, say, Nordic longships (which are depicted as trade ships and civil transports only) or other fishing and cargo ships - please, feel free to share your observations in your commentaries.

    Ok, back to our warships. There are 4 naval superpowers in Tamriel of the Second Era: Bretons, Altmer, Dunmer and Redguards.
    The Dunmeri military shipbuilding school makes huge gorgeous junk carracks. But these carracks are the slowest and the most difficult to handle among other ships (according to the same sailing ship classes comparison IRL) and we can't use them freely in the internal waters of some regions.
    Altmer build swift and manoeuvrable schooners which are able to sail in the open seas, ocean and even rivers. Just everywhere they might find water at.
    The Redguard ships are classical ancient galleys built in egyptian, greek and phoenician styles. They have two sails and look like classical triremes but have only one oar deck wich is the feature of uniremes and penteconters. Though those vessels have only ony square sail rig.
    Bretons seem to build the best vessels in Tamriel. Their ships strike the perfect balance of quality and quantity. Most of the ships you'll meet in Tamriel are of the Breton build. But keep in mind that most of the shipwrecks you'll meet are also the former Breton ships. So many of them are there on the shores of Khenarthi's Roost.. Sometimes it is better to have a specialized fleet than a universal one.

    Other nations of Tamriel either do not have their own shipbuilding industry or it is too small even to mention it here. The remnants of the Imperial fleet is just the thing. Three ships out there I could ever count. Bosmer do not have national shipbuilding industry due to the Green Pact, though they do provide coastal services in Valenwood. Argonians seem to build only those small reed boats. Khajiit are great sailors but those three ships they have in Pellitine seem to be of an Imperial origin. Anyway, regardless of the national naval industry, all races of Tamriel are good sailors.

    So, let's start with some basics.

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 7:45PM
  • Aigym_Hlervu

    Carracks, developed in the XIV-XV centuries IRL on the basis of a single-masted cog, they were three or four masted ocean-going sailing ships. The later carracks were mostly square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast and lateen-rigged on the mizzenmast. Though being different, they mostly had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stem. This is the oldest type of the ship design used in the ESO except those Argonian reed boats and Redguard galleys.

    The English carrack "Great Harry" around 1555. Painting by Lüder Arenhold (1891):


    The "Grande Hermine" carrack that brought Jacques Cartier to Saint-Pierre on 15 June 1535 (a wooden replica at shown at the Expo-67, Montreal):


    The "Santa Maria", the legendary Christopher Columbus's largest vessel used in his travel to America in 1492 (an 1892 replica):


    Painting of a large carrack attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder, circa 1558:


    Galleons evolved from carracks, they were large, multi-decked ships first used by the Spanish Navy as armed cargo carriers and were the principal fleet units drafted for use as warships until the Anglo-Dutch Wars. Galleons generally carried three or more masts with a lateen fore-and-aft rig on the rear masts, were carvel built with a prominent squared off raised stern, and used square-rigged sails on their fore-mast and main-masts. Most galleons were originally built for trade, though those captured by rival states were usually put into military service. The most distinguishing features of the galleon include the long, prominent beakhead followed by a foremast and mainmast both noticeably taller than the single or double lateen-rigged mizzenmasts with their sloped lateen-rig yards, and below those the square quarter gallery at the stern.


    Full-rigged ship or frigate. When the galleons became obsolete, the full-rigged ships came out to take their place. Frigates have three or more masts, including a foremast, mainmast and mizzenmast, and all masts are square-rigged. In the XVII century any warship built as a fast and maneuverable vessel often had the description as being "frigate-built". Alternatively, a full-rigged ship may be referred to by its function instead, as in collier or frigate, rather than being called a ship. In many languages the word "frigate" or "frigate rig" refers to a full-rigged ship.


    Schooners were the basic ships of the Caribbean pirates of XVII-XVIII centuries. Typically a schooner had two masts with the foremast being basically shorter than the mainmast. Schooners were built primarily for cargo, passengers, explorations and fishing but were also built for military purposes (USS Enterprise, The Independence, etc.)


    Cogs have one mast, usually mid-ship, and one square-rigged sail. They are mostly transport ships in the ESO.

    Junk ships are the type of a Chinese sailing ship. They vary greatly in size and there are significant regional variations in the type of rig, however they all employ fully battened sails. These sails were originally made from woven mats reinforced with bamboo:

    A galley is a type of ship that is propelled mainly by rowing. The galley is characterized by its long, slender hull, shallow draft and low freeboard (clearance between sea and railing). Virtually all types of galleys had sails that could be used in favorable winds, but human strength was always the primary method of propulsion. This allowed galleys to navigate independently of winds and currents. Galleys shown in the ESO are a combination of two designs - the overall Ancient Greek trireme design of hull and sails (shown on the picture above) and a hull type of a penteconter or a unireme (a galley with a single deck of oars). ESO triremes have only one deck of oars instead of three (the major difference from a trireme) with 17 oars at each side instead of 25 (the difference from a penteconter).

    Now on to the ESO ships!

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 8:33PM
  • Aigym_Hlervu

    The Dunmeri ships are mostly constructed in the Chinese junk ship style. Large and small ships of one to three masts and green large hoods - they all use the same type of the sail rig (a sampan or a junk one). Dunmeri ships are the vessels of the carrack type (read the description in the previous section) with a knife-like spur on its beakhead. Dunmer junk three mast ships are used as military vessels, while two and one mast ships, however, are much smaller and are most commonly used in commerce and transportation of people both by sea or by the internal rivers of mainland Morrowind.

    One of the most notable Dunmeri ships is of course the Dominus Fatum:

    It is a ruined Imperial ship located in Murkmire, lodged in the branches of an old tree. The wreck is actually the remains of a First Empire ship which hunted the pirate Red Bramman. Don't be confused with the Imperial flag on a Dunmeri vessel - according to Strillian Callidus, a Scholar Emeritus of the Imperial Naval Consortium and a very valuable source of information on Dunmeri ships, this ship is the only Dunmeri vessel that held an Imperial vexillum (flag). It was captured by the Empire during the Battle of Tear Harbor. In honor of their victory over the Indoril fleet, the flagship was given to the legion and named the Dominus Fatum.

    The Dunmer Navy consists of 7 named and active military ships:
    1. The First Witness - a gorgeous military vessel used by the Jackdaw Pirates to sack the Grahtwood city of Haven. The invasion force uses a Dunmeri ship and consists fully of the Pact races, so I think they are not pirates at all but a part of the Ebonheart Pact's armed forces. Just like, say, Captain Siro of the Seventh Legion is not that thug as he is is said to be.
    2. The Ordinator's Revenge - a ship docked in Alten Corimont, Shadowfen;
    3. The Rusty Argonian Blade - a ship docked in Davon's Watch, Stonefalls;
    4. The Summerwind - a ship docked in Davon's Watch, Stonefalls;
    5. The Tribunal's Spear - an Ebonheart Pact military ship docked in the bay near the ruins of Quendeluun, Auridon;
    6. The Velvet Lash - a ship docked at the Bal Foyen Dockyards;
    7. The Windstorm - a ship docked in the town of Seyda Neen, Vvardenfell.

    The Dunmer Navy is free to use 13 Ports:
    5 (excluding Telvanni ports) Morrowind ports:
    2 Major ports: Tear, Blacklight.
    3 Minor ports: Ebonheart, Davon's Watch, Mournhold (river port).
    2 (excluding the Western Skyrim ports) Skyrim ports:
    1 Major port: Windhelm.
    1 Minor port: Riften (river port).
    6 Argonian ports:
    3 Major ports: Archon, Lilmoth, Soulrest.
    3 Minor ports: Alten Corimont, Stormhold, Thorn.

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 7:46PM
  • Aigym_Hlervu


    The Serpent's Kiss shown above is of course a Maormeri ship. Anyway the Maormeri and the Altmeri ships differ only in their beakhead figures (a serpent on the Maormeri ships and an eagle on the Altmeri ones), some ship carvings and the sails color. These ships seem to bear many similarities with the schooner ship class. Firsthold is the center of the shipbuilding industry of the Summerset Isles. The iconic Altmeri ships are said to be called the "Swan Ships" in the lore, they are built in the wharves of that city. These heavy ships impulsed by extensive sails, have formed the bulk of the prestigious Summerset and Dominion Armadas since at least the Second Era, replacing the Altmeri Cutters - a type of light ship which participated in the All-Flags Navy during the Late First Era. However, they are not only used as warships, and most of the passenger travel and trade from and to the mainland is performed by the Swan Ships. The in-game treasure item model of this ship is depicted like a Breton ship, though no other full-scale Altmeri ships show that design. Maybe some future lore books will tell us more.

    The Altmeri Royal Navy consists of only 4 named and active and 2 named and inactive sailless warships. Anyway, there are 6 of them there:
    1. The Graceful Dominator - a Dominion ship located to the east of Alten Corimont, in eastern Shadowfen;
    2. The Lambent Peregrine - a ship located in Jode's Pocket, Malabal Tor. Controlled by the Maormeri forces;
    3. The Prowler - a key Aldmeri ship. This vessel is used to show us the ESO's naval combat. I'll speak of it in the appropriate section below;
    4. The Sea Hawk - a sailless ship docked in Woodhearth, Greenshade;
    5. The Shaveskin's Lament - an Aldmeri military ship docked in Murkwater, Shadowfen;
    6. The Shrouded Dancer - another sailless ship docked in Woodhearth, Greenshade;

    The Altmeri Navy is free to use 15 ports:
    7 Summerset Isles ports:
    3 Major ports: Firsthold, Alinor, Dusk, Lillandril.
    4 Minor ports: Shimmerene, Greenwater Cove, Skywatch, Vulkhel Guard.
    5 Valenwood ports:
    2 Major ports: Woodhearth, Southpoint.
    3 Minor ports: Haven, Velyn Harbor, Arenthia (river port).
    3 Elsweyr ports:
    1 Major port: Senchal.
    2 Minor ports: Mistral, Alabaster.

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 7:47PM
  • Aigym_Hlervu


    The Breton Navy seems to be the strongest one in Tamriel. A large fleet of multipurpose vessels can destroy an entire land army with only a single ship near thd enemy coasts. Two ships were needed to capture the Bleakrock Isle (it is still under the Breton rule!), to ravage Bal Foyen and Stonefalls. Just. Two. Ships. Our Dunmeri vessel could do the same in Haven, so that Breton case is of no surprise. But.. Do you know many warships do those Bretons have? Huh..

    The Breton Navy consists of 14 (!) named and active vessels with 4 additional ships of Breton origin which are used by some third parties. 18 vessels overall. It's more then two other Alliances have both:
    1. The Anemone - a ship docked east of No Shira Citadel, Hew's Bane;
    2. The Bjoulsae Queen - a ship docked in Evermore, Bangkorai;
    3. The Bloody Scupper - a Dunmeri slavers' vessel located near the Koeglin Lighthouse, Stormhaven;
    4. The Blasted Breton - a retired ship docked in Alten Corimont, Shadowfen;
    5. The Bloody Witch - a pirate ship of the Sea Drakes docked in Saintsport, Stros M'Kai;
    6. The Clenched Jaws - a ship docked at the Sunscale Strand, Shadowfen;
    7. The Covenant's Pride - a ship docked in the town of Tava's Blessing, Alik'r Desert;
    8. The Crafty Monkey - a ship of the Renrijra Maor organization docked in Silent Mire, Deshaan;
    9. The Flensing Beak - a ship docked in Fuller's Beak, Malabal Tor;
    10. The Girded Lion - a ship docked at Vivec's Antlers, Stonefalls. This ship was used by the Covenant Navy to invade Stonefalls;
    11. The King Casimir's Pride - a ship docked in Bal Foyen. This ship was used by the Covenant Navy to invade Bal Foyen and possibly the Bleakrock Isle;
    12. The Hotspur - a ship docked in Daggerfall, Glenumbra;
    13. The Lydia - a ship docked in Fuller's Beak, Malabal Tor;
    14. The Ranser's Regret - a ship docked in the town of Tava's Blessing, Alik'r Desert;
    15. The Scourge's Mark - the warship used by the Ra Gada to invade Velyn Harbor, Malabal Tor;
    16. The Spearhead - the ship of Captain Kaleen we use to travel. It can be found in Daggerfall, Port Hunding and Betnikh;
    17. The Talon's Grasp - a ship docked at the North Beacon, Auridon;
    18. The Tava's Bounty - a ship docked in Koeglin Village, Stormhaven;

    14 Ports:
    6 High Rock ports:
    4 Major ports: Daggerfall, Farrun, Wayrest, Northpoint.
    2 Minor ports: Aldcroft, Evermore (river port).
    8 Hammerfell ports:
    5 Major ports: Sentinel, Rihad, Hegathe, Port Hunding, Taneth.
    3 Minor ports: Abah's Landing, Gilane, Lainlyn.

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 7:47PM
  • Aigym_Hlervu


    Not much can be said here except that Redguards have two types of galleys both docked in the Bazaar District docks of Abah's Landing, Hew's Bane. The larger galleys are a combination of the trireme and the unireme galley types. The lion-like beakheads of those galleys made me think those galleys to be Khajiiti, but the fact those galleys seem to be the warship ones and the fact they are mostly stationed in the Redguard territory, changed that way of thinking. Anyway, if those galleys belong to Redguards, then the Covenant is surely the dominant naval power of Tamriel.

    There is 1 named and active Redguard warship:
    1. The Dream-Drowner - a slavers' galley docked in the South Guard Ruins, Southern Elsweyr;

    The other ships are unnamed and inaccessible but are active ships and can be observed from the Abah's Landing dockyard ramp. Hmm.. What if I use my Retreating Maneuver skill while I'm mounted to jump from that ramp on the ship deck? That might be worth of a try.

    14 Ports: see the Breton ships section above.

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 7:48PM
  • Aigym_Hlervu


    Not much can be said here either. I've found only one active undoubtly Imperial ship with an Imperial vexillum on her stern - the one docked in Senchal under the "Inlet Slip" label. That ship is inaccessible. Another ship of the same type is docked right behind her - her cabins and lower decks are also inaccessible though we can walk on her main deck. These ships' forms are purely the galleon class of a ship, though their scales should have been much greater than the ones actually depicted.

    There is 1 named and active Imperial ship:
    1. The Perfect Pounce - the ship of Captain Za'ji found in the South Guard Ruins and then in Dragonguard Sanctum;

    The other ships are active but inaccessible and can be observed from the Senchal dockyard. Since there are no Pellitine flags on them and the ships bear some certain similarities with the Imperial vessels of the future Eras, I think those ships are purely Imperial.

    1 Port: the only major port the Empire uses is located in Senchal, Pellitine.

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 7:48PM
  • Aigym_Hlervu


    "Why was the Sentinel army so useless during the War of Betony?
    The cannons were too heavy, so all three garbage scows sunk."

    - "Jokes" by Butha Sunhous.

    Yes, the first cannons IRL are said to be the naval ones. But no - no cannons in Tamriel, not until the Fourth Era! The explosives in TES have a long history of application, so even in this days of the Second Era the right combination of firesalts and kindlepitch can create a firebomb able to sink an entire ship. Dwemer invented those satchel charges thousands of years ago, many of us used those explosives in 3E 427 in Bamz-Amschend to blow up the wall in order to reach the Clockwork City (though I've never done myself it due to a glitch..). That ancient technology to produce firearms became known to tamrielics by the 4E 201. But in the Second Era we still cast fireballs and use naval ballistae to attack other ships and coastal defences.

    You want to know how to fight a sea battle in the ESO today? Here is a simple plan of such a fight:
    1. The rivaling ships get closer and begin to shoot each other using naval fire ballistae.
    2. The Battlemages unit creates storms, redirects winds, shoots fireballs and finally creates the boarding portals to transport a boarding team on to the rival ship.
    3. The boarding team fights through the decks of the rival ship and captures the ship.

    If you want to take part in such a battle yourself, take this quest or watch it here (this is a 6 minutes video I've found on the youtube):

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 7:48PM
  • Aigym_Hlervu


    Here I'd like to share my personal views on a possible PvP naval combat. A FREE idea for a new PvP mode, do you read it, dear ZOS :)? Three teams each using a single ship of an appropriate Alliance meet in the open sea or in a harbor (with one of the teams spawning at a coastal fort somewhere, say, in the Topal Bay). The game modes are almost the same we play in the Battlegrounds except they could all be applicable in the same match:
    Deathmatch - kill enemies or destroy their ship by shooting it out, ramming it or exploding it;
    Domination - Capture the Ship;
    Capture the Relic - Capture the Ship Flag to gain points;
    Crazy King - using your ship capture and try to hold capture points in the open sea that will regularly move to different locations;
    Chaosball - capture the enemy captain and try to hold him which gives points but deals increasingly serious damage to the ship over time.

    The respawn point is located on the lower deck inaccessible to a rival team. But in order to control the ship and earn points they have to get out to the upper deck. Any team can control any ship but respawn on the lower decks of their starting ships.
    In order to move a ship the team mates must stay close to oars (if it is a Redguard galley) or masts (the same game mechanics as controlling a ram in Cyrodiil - the more people are close to them, the faster the ship goes, the harder the ramming strike is) with one man operating the steer wheel to control the ship's direction.
    In order to use ballistae players have to buy them from a certain NPC crew member and (or) deploy them on the main deck.
    In order to win, a ship crew must balance their positions: some guys are needed to move the ship. The others are needed to shoot the naval ballistae. The third group is needed to open portals (maybe the same way those NPC mages hold the Keep Shrine fires lit in Cyrodiil keeps and outposts) and the fourth group is needed to board a rival ship to control or destroy it since the portal is opened.
    Ships can be destroyed by ramming them, shooting them or exploding them by planting charges at some certain parts of the hull and the deck (or decks).

    So that's it. Simple but it can bring lots of fun. Feel free to share your own ideas on the Naval PvP. Maybe some day the devs would make it especially because they've already created those ship models, siege weapons, a sea map and most of the necessary game mechanics. Thank you for your patience and attention, that's all for now. Have a good day!

    Back to contents.
    Edited by Aigym_Hlervu on January 10, 2020 9:07PM
  • Tycleton
    You forgot the top secret Orc fleet preparing for the next invasion!

    [Awesome concept, research, and presentation! I second the idea!]

  • Aigym_Hlervu
    Tycleton wrote: »
    You forgot the top secret Orc fleet preparing for the next invasion!

    [Awesome concept, research, and presentation! I second the idea!]


    Ah, shhi.. The famous Rubber Duck fleet, how could I forget it :D:D..
  • xWarbrain
    Boats n Lusty Argonian Maids
    XB1 NA
    Your nerf suggestion is dumb. Learn to counter other players instead of having the game rebuilt to your ability level.
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