Tamriel Infinium: Ranking Elder Scrolls Online’s 10 races from worst to best


One thing that I appreciate about Elder Scrolls Online is that any race can be any class. None of that racial or gender-locking for this MMO, no sir! That wide-open freedom to pick your favorite fantasy species without the fear of being shut out from a desired profession should be an inalienable right to all games in my opinion.

With that consideration out of mind, it turns the activity of ranking ESO’s 10 races into more of a subjective, aesthetic exercise. So why not? Today I’m going to be ordering these into a list that goes from what I feel are the worst races to the best, factoring in their visuals, cultures, and (admittedly minor) racial bonuses.

when yo crew be on point an erryone be stylin

Worst: Imperials

I’m going to toss these tossers to the bottom of the ranking pretty much for one reason: You have to pay to unlock them. That’s not cool, especially since they’re just a generic human. You do get to pick your alliance and enjoy some decent bonuses, like 1% extra gold generation and 6% reduced cost for abilities, but I’m not going to pay for that.


I don’t think I’ve ever come across a player Orc in this game. I mean, it could’ve happened when I wasn’t paying attention, but they’re certainly rare. It’s a good pick if you want to pick a very different path than most players, but it’s not as if these Orcs look that cool or anything. They’re good for crafting and can heal themselves by attacking, which is lovely. But man, you’re living on the ugly side of the tracks if you go with this.

High Elf

It’s kind of annoying that almost a third of these picks are some variation on Elves. It’s too much Elf. And if you’re going this route, avoid High Elves, because that’s just an Elf with jaundice and an arrogant streak. They’re ideally suited for destruction spell users, though.

Wood Elf

The Bosmer fail to evoke that cool factor that this race really needs. I find their models equally off-putting as the High Elf, and their generic “Elves make for great bow pew-pew users!” racials are not impressing me. Also, I really don’t see many players using the bow as a weapon.


Hi! I’m Generic Human Person! I will blend in with a crowd and be completely forgettable the second you turn your gaze away from me! I’m for those who are scared to be anything other than a flawless-looking regular people! And who cares that I get 1% more alliance points!

Dark Elf

I mean, if you’re going to be an Elf, this is your best pick, especially if you are still harboring some kind of fanboy love of Drizzt. Freaky red eyes aside, the Dunmer do kind of rock it in many storylines and notable NPCs. Also — and this must not be overlooked — you take only half-damage from dancing around in lava. You are a LAVA MASTER.

Redguard girl


I’ve always thought that the Redguard project a strong “don’t mess with me, I’m more than capable of handing your butt to you on a silver platter” vibe. And they have a strong presence in the whole Elder Scrolls series, so if you’ve got to go human, this could still set you apart as someone eating at the popular kids table.


Obviously, your feelings toward this race are heavily influenced by how much or little you like big, burly Vikings who drink mead and throw parties with the most metal bands ever. I love ’em and actually main a Nord. And of course they’re expert drinkers, so that factors into longer drink buffs for these party animals.


This is weird for me to put so high on this list because I’m not a cat person, and most cat-like races don’t impress me. But I’ve been won over by the Khajiit as one of the most fully fleshed-out feline races I’ve ever seen in MMOs. Plus, there are lots of character customization options for you to pick based on the type of cat you’re emulating. And they speak in the third person, which Justin does routinely anyway.

Best: Argonian

Was there any doubt? Is there anyone even close to this level of amazing perfection? These war lizards may not be super common among ESO players, but if you see someone rolling one, you know that’s a person who is cooler than you or I will ever be. Argonians have the best names, a terrific visual style, and can swim like Michael Phelps on six cups of coffee.

Traverse the troubled land of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls Online! Justin Olivetti will be your guide here in Tamriel Infinium on Wednesdays as we explore together the world created by ZeniMax and Bethesda in one of the biggest MMOs in the genre.
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