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Elder Scrolls Online Everything needed to know about Bow/Bow in PVE By: SodanTok

  • 2020/09/12 – Minor update for Stonethorn
  • 2020/05/07 – Updated for Greymoor
  • 2019/10/23 – Updated for Dragonhold
  • 2019/08/15 – Updated for Scalebreaker
  • 2019/06/19 – Added necessary skills for Necromancer, more small changes for new patch and rotation tips.
  • 2019/05/22 – Small changes for Elsweyr
  • 2019/03/06 – Total revamp guide and update for Wrathstone patch
  • 2018/10/23 – Updated for Murkmire
  • 2018/07/17 – Updated weapon section (different trait/enchantments), added links to various (good) bow builds
  • 2018/07/17 – Updated and rewrote several parts (sustain, classes)
  • 2018/06/02 – Updated and rewrote first part of guide for Summerset patch
  • 2018/01/04 – Rewrote skills and warden section.
  • 2017/12/29 – Added information about Acid Spray (negative) value regarding stamina sustain
  • 2017/12/24 – Rewrote Champion points setup, Stamina sustain, Racial choice and Weapon setup parts
  • 2017/11/24 – Reworded weapon/trait part slightly
  • 2017/11/23 – Added Dark Deal as viable skill choice on Sorc
  • 2017/11/22 – Marked Imperial as good race choice. Reworded race/class choice to define better and worse options (than from best to worst)
  • 2017/11/21 – Changed Warden Rotation. Added Warden parses. Added recommended gear to Warden, NB and Sorc

This guide is now in maintenance mode. I will continue keeping it relevant, but I don’t have time to do much of my own testing. Chances are some information might be little bit outdated or incorrect when it comes to absolute minmaxing.

DISCLAIMER: No information below is in any way based on experience using bow/bow setups in high level (score pushing) veteran trials. Everything said is based solely on my own experience and testing and different people can get different results. Everyone should be well aware that ranged stamina builds ( = bow/bow) lack on DPS, utility and survivability to either magicka dd, stamina melee dd or both to small or significant degree depending on content and user’s capabilities.

Purpose of this guide is to tell people how to do well on bow builds and can’t and is not supposed to rival min maxing builds and experience of min maxing build creators. If something in the guide is contradiction to their ideas and their ideas are well explained and tested (not always the case!) it is generally better to believe them.

Race: Orc, Bosmer, Redguard, Khajiit, Dunmer, Imperial
All listed races are viable but Orcs are clear winners.

Food/Drink: Depending on sustain needed. Dubious Camoran Throne or Artaeum Takeaway Broth will probably be optimal choice for most races/classes, Stamina+Health (blue) food might be usable in certain situations and Lava Foot Soup should be best on Orc Necromancer and possibly usable on any Imperial.

Mundus: Shadow or Lover
Shadow is clearly best, but Lover can suit better playing solo or in nonoptimized 4man groups.


Poison Injection, Endless Hail are must have skills on all builds. Ballista (better morph of bow ultimate) is viable alternative (or the only option) for main ultimate across all classes. Minor Force buff source is crucial on all builds with Trap Beast (barbed morph preferred) being the best option, but Tzogvin set is great alternative when unable to get good uptime and Channeled Acceleration when not having either.
Acid Spray as main spammable for AoE DPS.

For spammables b]Snipe[/b] is the best in damage dealing potential, but many others can be viable alternative.

For important class specific skills I recommend following updates builds from other sources as these things change often.


Optimal gear build for average boss fight is going to be combination of Relequen and Tooth of Lokkestiiz with Master Bow on front and VMA Bow on back.

Gear Alternatives

  • Alternatives to either of the main sets can be Tzogvin, New Moon Acolyte, War Machine, Leviathan, Briarheart, Twice-Fanged Serpent, Vicious Ophidian, Strength of the Automaton, Hunding’s Rage.
  • Alternative to weapons should not be necessary as both Master and VMA Bow can be gained from normal DSA/VMA (after Greymoor update), but switching to using monster set is still viable alternative, using Maarselok/Velidreth/Slimecraw/2 Mismatched Pieces/Stormfist monster sets.

Traits and Enchantments

  • All armor traits should always be divines with Stamina enchants (unless needing more health)
  • For jewelry traits generally 3 bloodthirsty wins having Infused instead is small loss, but can be useful in other situations.
  • Weapon traits depends on class and content. Backbar bow always Infused with Weapon Damage enchant. Front bow Precise works on Necromancers best, for other classes it works only if group is well optimized and has all used resistance debuffs including new Tremorscale, otherwise Sharpened is necessary. Enchant isnt significant as alchemical poisons with 2 DoTs (same as Crown Lethal Poisons) are best option, but can be Poison or Stamina Return.


I recommend checking out rotations of reliable build makers as adapting them to bow/bow will be easy and work as is. Generally it just means replacing their spammable with one of ranged options you prefer (ideally Lethal Arrow)

Necromancer Rotation

Hail – Skeletal Archer – Swap
Blastbones (BB) – Spammable – Spammable – BB – Spammable – Spammable – BB – Spammable – Spammable – BB – Spammable – Spammable – BB

– Recast Poison Injection, Siphon, Barbed Trap (frontbar skills) when necessary (instead of Spammable)
– Spammable choice either Venom Skull or Lethal Arrow
– If using Lethal Arrow as spammable its possible (with combination of high latency or slow hands) to take too long performing this rotation, in that case drop 1-3 skills at the end
– It is possible to have fully static rotation (with minor DPS loss), casting Poison Injection, Siphon and Barbed Trap at same position (preferably Injection instead of first spammable)
– Using Consuming Trap in rotation also possible

Warden Rotation

Hail – Barbed Trap – Swap
Sub Assault (Sub) – Spammable – Spammable – Sub – Spammable – Spammable – Sub – Spammable – Spammable – Sub – Spammable – Spammable – Sub

– Cast Bear Ulti, Poison Injection, Swarm, Netch when necessary
– Spammable choice either Cutting Dive or Lethal Arrow
– If using Lethal Arrow as spammable its possible (with combination of high latency or slow hands) to take too long performing this rotation, in that case drop 1-3 skills at the end
– if using Cutting Dive you can try maximizing off balance bonus to damage (stack of bleed) by noticing when off balance is active and spamming Cutting Dive instead of all other skills except Hail and Poison Injection
– Using Consuming Trap in rotation also possible

Long Shots Passive explanation

  • It affects only bow abilities (including light attacks)
  • It is additive with all other % bonuses, notably CP (and others like Hawk Eye, Minor Berserk, …).

That means for example on build with 10% (mighty), 18% (thaumaturge), 8% (minor berserk), 25% (hawk eye) going from 0m range to 23m range (12% long shots) will increase damage of your volley by 7.5% and not 12%.

The distances in picture are measured by the last position each skill with reported distance could be used. The red lines are the last position before long shot buff gets increased by 2%.


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