What is a Trait?

A Trait is a special property on added to a crafted item which makes that item do nifty things in Elder Scrolls Online. Traits exist on weapons, armor, and jewelry. The kinds of Traits you can get are different, depending on what kind of item it's on. For instance, there is a set of Traits specific to armor, and a different set of Traits that apply to weapons. Some Traits might seem the same between item types, but they will take gemstones which are unique for that item's version of the trait. Traits are calculated by a percentage value, such as "increases weapon attack speed by 20%" The percentage value of a Trait is increased with increased improvement quality of the item. For example, here is how Traits increase when you improve a bow with the Charged trait:

  • White - increased chances to apply status effect by 70%
  • Fine - increased chances to apply status effect by 80%
  • Superior - increased chances to apply status effect by 90%
  • Epic - increased chances to apply status effect by 100%
  • Legendary - increased chances to apply status effect by 110%

Traits are not the same thing as an Enchant. You can have both Traits and Enchants on an item. Naturally, Enchantments are put on the item after it's already been crafted. A personal note: Trait Crafting might be considered to be Advanced Crafting. It's not hard to do or understand, but it has enough complexity and time-commitment to separate out the hard core crafters from the casual crafters. There is nothing wrong with the concept of ignoring all this, only learning to craft basic level items to help yourself and friends to gear up reasonably nice, and leaving it at that! I think the concept behind this complexity is to help our ESO community value and treasure the true Craft Masters that spend the time and effort to tackle this particular small mountain.

Who Uses Traits?

Crafts that use Traits are:


How do I Learn to Craft Traits?

  Per Trait Total
1st 6 hours 6 hours
2nd 12 hours 18 hours
3rd 24 hours (1 day) 42 hours (~2 days)
4th 48 hours (2 days) 90 hours (~4 days)
5th 96 hours (4 days) 186 hours (~8 days)
6th 192 hours (8 days) 378 hours (~16 days)
7th 384 hours (16 days) 762 hours (~32 days)
8th 768 hours (32 days) 1530 hours (~64 days)
9th 1536 hours (64 days) 3066 hours (~128 days)

You must research an item, in order to unlock a trait for that item. For example, if you want to craft a bow with Precision Trait on it, you must first find a bow that already has the Precision Trait and then research it at the appropriate crafting table. Researching an item to learn its Trait will destroy that item. You have to unlock each trait for each item separately. So that means you really research # of items x 9 traits!!

There are fewer traits to research in Woodworking because there are only 6 craft items while the other two smith crafts have 14 each.

Research has a cooldown timer which varies per item based on how many traits you've already unlocked. The first time you research an item it takes 6 hours before it completes the Trait unlock. The time for each item after that doubles.

At first, you can only research one item at a time for your craft. This means if you craft bows, staffs, and shields and you research a bow, you won't be able to research a staff and a shield at the same time. There is a skill you can spend skill points in that decrease research times and increase # of items you can research:

These skills have 4 ranks available, and they seem to be the same for all three smith crafts:

  • Rank 1 - Requires craft rank 8 - Research time reduced by 5%, Research 2 traits simultaneously
  • Rank 2 - Requires craft rank 18 - Research time reduced by 10%, Research 2 traits simultaneously
  • Rank 3 - Requires craft rank 28 - Research time reduced by 20%, Research 3 traits simultaneously.
  • Rank 4 - Requires craft rank 42 - Research time reduced by 25%, capped at 30 days, Research 3 traits simultaneously.

Since you can research one Wood, Metal and Cloth/Hide item at the same time, at the bare minimum

  • 1 item, all 9 traits = Without any skills reducing research time: 1 item, all 9 traits: 127.75 days; with Rank 4: 77.8125 days
  • 8 items, all 9 traits = 432 hours or 144 hours with rank 3 bonus.

Not so scary...

Finally, if you work in two separate crafts, you can research an item from each craft at the same time. For instance, you can research something from Blacksmithing and Woodworking at the same time if you want to. You can research the trait from an item crafted by another player. Many thanks to Elder Moot for all the mathematics assistance in this section!

How do I Get a Trait on an Item?

Items dropped in the world can sometimes have a Trait already attached to it. Otherwise, a Trait can only be applied to an item during the process of creating it in the crafting system. Adding traits to crafted items might be considered either Intermediate or Advanced level crafting, not because it is difficult, but because
it takes a commitment of time into researching traits. Another aspect of advanced crafting is the special set-bonus crafting benches. Traits affect your ability to craft the set-bonus gear, because you are required to have 2 (or more) traits learned on the specific item you want to craft. For instance if you want to make a Death's Wind style axe, you need to have unlocked 2 traits on the axes before you can craft it. The number of traits required to craft set-bonus gear goes up as you get to higher leveled set-bonus benches. For example the Magnus' Gift set-bonus gear shown in the ESO Blacksmithing Walkthrough video requires that you have 4 traits unlocked. You can add a trait to a crafted set-bonus item when you craft it.

What are Trait Gems?

Traits are applied to items with a Trait Gem during the craft process. You do not have to craft an item with a trait, it is optional. Adding a Trait to an item only costs you one Trait Gem, unless you are crafting a set, which requires a Trait Gem for each of the traits added. There is a gem unique to each type of Trait.


Armor Trait Gems

The most popular PvP trait is Impenetrable.
The most popular PvE trait is Divines. However Reinforced, Infusing and Training are also popular. Nirnhoned used to be popular but its popularity is decreasing with the changes from Dark Brotherhood.

Trait Gem Trait Properties Normal Fine Superior Epic Legendary



3.5% 4.5% 5.5% 6.5% 7.5%



  • Increases gold from looting enemies by:
2.5% 4.0% 5.5% 7.0% 8.5%



  • Reduces item's durability damage 50%
  • Increases Critical Resistance
    (amount scales on gear's level)
6~225 15~234 24~243 33~249 42~258



  • Increase Armor Enchantment effect by:
8.0% 11.0% 14.0% 17.0% 20.0%


fortified_nirncrux.pngFortified Nirncrux

7~262 17~273 28~283 38~290 49~301



12.0% 13.0% 14.0% 15.0% 16.0%



  • Reduces Block cost by:
2.0% 2.5% 3% 3.5% 4%



  • Increases experience gained from kills by:
7.0% 8.0% 9.0% 10.0% 11.0%



  • Reduces the cost of Sprinting by:
  • Reduces the cost of Roll Dodging by:
1.0% 2.0% 3.0% 4.0% 5.0%



Weapon Trait Gems

The most popular Damage Traits are Sharpened and Precise.
The most popular Healing Trait is Powered.

Trait Gem Trait Properties Normal1h2h



  • Increases chance to apply status effects by:
70% 1H140% 2H 80% 1H160% 2H 90% 1H
180% 2H
100% 1H
200% 2H
110% 1H
220% 2H



60~2250 1H
120~4500 2H
150~2340 1H
300~4680 2H
240~2430 1H
480~4860 2H
330~2490 1H
660~4980 2H
420~2580 1H
840~5160 2H



  • Reduces enchantment's cooldown 40%
  • Increase Weapon Enchantment effect by:
8.0% 11.0% 14.0% 17.0% 20.0%


potent_nirncrux.pngPotent Nirncrux

  • Increases Weapon Damage:
7% 1H
7% 2H
8% 1H
8% 2H
9% 1H
9% 2H
10% 1H
10% 2H
11% 1H
11% 2H



  • Increases healing done by:
1.5% 1H
3.0% 2H
2.0% 1H
4.0% 2H
2.5% 1H
5.0% 2H
3.0% 1H
6.0% 2H
3.5% 1H
7.0% 2H



1.5% 1H
3% 2H
2% 1H
4% 1H
2.5% 1H
5% 2H
3% 1H
6% 2H
3.5% 1H
7% 2H


Fire Opal.pngFire Opal

60~2250 1H
120~4500 2H
150~2340 1H 300~4680 2H 330~2430 1H
660~4860 2H
330~2490 1H
660~4980 2H
420~2580 1H
840~5160 2H



  • Increases experience gained from kills
2.5% 1H
5.0% 2H
3.0% 1H
6.0% 2H
3.5% 1H
7.0% 2H
4.0% 1H
8.0% 2H
4.5% 1H
9.0% 2H



  • Chance to gain 1 additional Ultimate
    anytime that Ultimate is gained:
9% 1H
18% 2H
11% 1H 22% 2H 13% 1H
26% 2H
15% 1H
30% 2H
17% 1H
34% 2H


How do I Get Gem Traits?

Gem Traits are a semi rare loot item found in loot containers such as barrels, crates, trunks, bookshelves, nightstands, etc. You have a chance to get a trait gemstone when you refine raw materials. You also can get Trait Gems by deconstructing an item. You will always get the Trait Gem that matches the trait on an item you deconstruct. So for instance if you deconstruct a bow with Charged, you should have a chance to get Amethyst. To clarify, you don't always get a gem when you deconstruct, but if you do it will be the one for the trait already on the item you tear down.

Your chances of getting a trait gem are higher based on how you try to do it. For instance the % chance of a trait gem for refinement of raw materials is approximately 10%. It seems to vary a bit based on which raw material you refine--Iron ore versus Maple wood versus Jute/Rawhide Scraps. You have a higher % chance of a trait gem from deconstructing a white traited item. Then the % chance for getting a trait gem goes up when you deconstruct a green traited item, and so on. I am still in the process of getting good percent values in my tests for these item drops. Sadly I was hoarding all my greens for researching external image smile.gif


  • Can I research an item with a trait crafted by another player?

Yes you can!

  • I see 10 traits on things. There are Ornate and Intricate traits?

Yes! These traits are not craftable. I believe this is because both of them give you a special gain within the game mechanic. One gives you extra gold when you sell to a vendor, one gives you extra IP when you deconstruct it. Imagine how this could be exploited if we could craft them ourselves!

  • Does the Intricate trait work?

The Intricate trait is supposed to give you extra Inspiration Points (IP) when you deconstruct it. As of our last research, done by @McLeod25 and @Mordraig, they compared IP gains from three versions of a duplicate item. Wearing the Intricate item did not boost IP gain when you deconstructed either a world dropped or player crafted item. But deconstructing the Intricate item did give you more IP than if you'd deconstructed a non-intricate version of the same item.


(Thank you to RebelWeasel for contributing this)

    • 04 Mar 2017 16:21  

      so complicated take the fun out of it.i have trait of all sort never been able to do better than what i found.
      same with kuta there is not enough hard to experience.i am at level champion 260. never have the right stuff.
      i have 900 RA runes and i had a total of 12 kuta . by the way 900 RA runes take 4 spaces in the inventory
      keep 200 max

      • 15 Jan 2017 21:14  

        I'm sorry but.....

        Is ZS stupid !

        This incremental time gate on traits, where the last one takes a whole fking month is FKING STUPID !

        I'm a new player and finding this BS out has totally taken away my will to fking play the game.

        I was aiming for a set of twice born star, but after finding this BS out thats a big NO NO ***** YOU Zenimax !!!

        • 09 Jan 2017 16:49  

          Why might an item not be researchable? I have several items that Have traits that I would like to research, but they are not showing up at the respective crafting table as available. I have repaired items, tried bound and unbound, attempted to use different leveled items, but I still do not understand why some inventory items are available and others are not.

          • Nirnhoned23 Jul 2016 11:01  

            Also curious what changed about the nirnhoned trait making it less desirable. Is it still worth the effort to research and apply since the mats are costly if you can't find them.

            • 2 traits on an item?23 Jul 2016 10:53  

              What does N-pin? Npin, inpin, enpin? Mean. I have heard this term and have no idea. Also have heard it is possible to have 2traits on an item. I have found jewelry that will take 2 enchantments? Thanks.

              • Dark Brotherhood is live on all platforms - this page is up to date to the new effects!15 Jun 2016 19:28  

                Fully updated to new values as well but do edit if you find anything amiss.

                • Nirnhoned: armor at legendary is 24% or 4.5%?30 May 2016 09:16  

         = legendary is 24% and = legendar is 4.5%

                  • Buy weapons with traits?30 May 2016 09:16  

                    Hello, fairly new to this so forgive me. I'm a High Elf in Auridon, im lvl 14 and looking to create a staff when I reach level 16. I understand the trait system but cant seem to find any staffs with the traits I want to then research and craft my own. So is it possible to buy weapons with traits already on? If so, where? Thanks

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