In Elder Scrolls Online there are 3 different types of skills: Ultimate Abilities, Active Abilities and Passive Abilities. As the game aims to give build flexibility to the player, skills are determined by several factors: Race, Class, Weapon, Guild, Alliance and World. A player can have 1 Ultimate Skill, 5 Active Skills and as many Passive Skills as he/she wishes equipped at one time. Players may also rank up each skill to further increase its effectiveness to a max level of 4, and in some cases morph them into new abilities. Players obtain skill points from leveling up, completing certain quests, and acquiring Skyshards from across Tamriel.
Experience works differently than in other MMOs. When a player has a skill of a particular tree on his/her skill bar, when he/she gains experience, that skill gains experience along with the skill line it belongs to. In this manner, it is entirely possible to rank up skills you never use, or in some cases, cannot. Ranks in the Armor skill lines are obtained via wearing at least one piece of that armor type. It is possible to rank up all types simultaneously by wearing one piece of each type (wearing more pieces of each type does increase the speed in which armor skills level).
The following is a list of skill types with links to their respective skills:
These are the Passive Skills that your chosen race begins with. Each race is different and their bonuses are minimal, yet important to min/maxers. Some races are more aligned towards certain class types than others. There are ten races in Elder Scrolls Online and they are: Breton, Redguard, Orsimer (Orc), Nord, Dunmer (Dark Elf), Argonian, Altmer (High Elf), Bosmer (Wood Elf), Khajiit and Imperial (only available if you buy the Imperial Edition).
These are the skills of your chosen class: Templar, Dragon Knight, Nightblade and Sorcerer. Each class has 3 skills lines to choose from that specialize in different aspects of their class. For instance the Templar class has a DPS line, buffing line and healing line. You can mix and match equipped skills from each line, but it is necessary to unlock the skills to be able to use them. Once unlocked they will remain so no matter which skills you use.
These are the skills that come paired with the weapon type you are using. The weapon styles are: Two-Handed, One-Handed and Shield , Dual Wield, Bow, Destruction Staff and Restoration Staff. You can use any weapons you wish in Elder Scrolls Online, so feel free to experiment with what you like best.
Skills that depend on the type of armor you have equipped, granting you bonuses for having more of one type. The Armor types are: Light Armor, Medium Armor and Heavy Armor. You can use any combination of armors that you wish, so get creative.
Through out your travels in Tamriel, you will undoubtedly come across a guild or two that you wish to join. The Fighters Guild, Mage's Guild and Undaunted have their own set of skills and you can mix and match them into your arsenal as well. The Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood will be added in a later update after the release of the game.
These skills lines are Soul Magic, Vampire , Werewolf and Legerdemain. The Vampire and Werewolf Lines are acquired from another player at the specified ritual site or from being infected with enemies carrying Vampirism or Lycanthropy. Soul Magic is acquired from completing the introduction.
These are skills obtained by participating in The Alliance War and have mostly PvP benefits. They are: Assault and Support. One can also become Emperor and gain Passive Skills of that line (most of which give some benefit after your reign as Emperor is over.
These are the skills that allow a player to craft weapons, armor, runes and potions. These skills are selected by the player when leveling up. He or she may put points into any of the the crafting professions, but will only have enough points available to max out 2 of them. These skills points are shared with combat skill points. The professions are: Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Clothier, Enchanting, Provisioning and Woodworking.