Lightning-, Frost- and Fire Staff Difference Guide - ESO header
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Lightning-, Frost- and Fire Staff Difference Guide - ESO
Lightning-, Frost- and Fire Staff Difference Guide - ESO

Difference between Lightning-, Frost- and Fire Staff in ESO Guide

Welcome to the Difference between Lightning-, Frost- and Fire Staff Guide for ESO (Elder Scrolls Online). The guide is made for beginners or those that need to brush up on their knowledge. The guide will showcase the differences between a Lightning Staff, Frost Staff and a Fire Staff.

Commonly used names for the different type of staves in ESO:

  • Fire Staff - Flame Staff - Inferno Staff
  • Lightning Staff - Shock Staff
  • Frost Staff - Ice Staff

Destruction Staff

Magicka DPS are really limited to one weapon type, and that is the Destruction Staff. They can also use close-range weapons and do quite some damage, but it's not very practicable. In the destruction staff skill line you can pick from Fire, Lightning or Frost. The Fire Staff is generally better for Single Target damage and the Lightning Staff for AoE damage. The Frost Staff's bonuses are more defensive than offensive and it is generally used for support roles over DPS. The difference in these types comes from the Ancient Knowledge passive and also from the Unstable Wall of Elements skill that is most commonly used.

The Destruction Staff skill line is part of the "Weapons" category in ESO (Elder Scrolls Online). The Destruction Staff skill line has active skills that you can activate during combat and passive skills that are always active as long as you have a Destruction Staff weapon slotted. The skill line is also often referred to as Destro Staff or Destro.

The skill line is different from most other skill lines because the skills get attuned to the element of the staff. That means almost all skills will have different effects depending on whether you use a Lightning, Frost or Fire Staff.

The Lightning Staff, Frost Staff and Fire Staff are weapons which basically every class can use in the game, but which is often utilized by Magicka DPS, healers and tanks. Magicka DPS benefit extremely from the range of the staff abilities and skills, whereas tanks and healers benefit from the debuffs and support these staves offer.

Which ESO build commonly uses what destruction staff type?
  • Fire Staff - Damage Dealer
  • Lightning Staff - Damage Dealer and Healer
  • Frost Staff - Tank and Healer

In order to be able to understand how these staves are utilized, we will give you a few examples below.

The Fire Staff

The Fire Staff in ESO is generally the most used staff among endgame DPS builds, as it offers a high damage output, especially for single target damage. Its biggest bonus does the Fire Staff receive through the passive ability Ancient Knowledge. The passive increases all single target damage by a total of 10%. Due to the Elemental Force passive, targets will get a 100% chance to get the Burning status effect from skills. Target burns for additional damage over 4 seconds when they are under the effect of Burning.

The Fire Staff heavy attack charges up and shoots a single big fire ball at one enemy that deals a lot of damage.

As an example, lets take a look at the skill Unstable Wall of Elements. This is the morph of the base skill Wall of Elements. If you are using a Fire Staff the skill will deal extra damage to burning enemies. The tooltip of the skill says the following: "Unstable Wall of Fire deals additional damage to Burning enemies". This type deals the most damage out of all the blockades.

Heavy AttackWall of elements
Fire Staff Heavy Attack on a Target Dummy in ESOFire Wall of Elements on a Target Dummy in ESO


The Lightning Staff

The Lightning Staff in ESO is meant partially as a damage staff, partially as a support staff. Especially solo builds like to use the Lightning Staff because of the channeled heavy attacks and the extra splash damage. Healer builds often use it as support back bar weapon. The most important passive is the Ancient Knowledge which boosts AoE (area of effect) damage by 10% if you are using a Lightning Staff. Due to the Elemental Force passive, targets will get a 100% chance to get the Concussion status effect from skills. Concussion is instant damage and it applies Minor Vulnerability for 4 seconds, increasing their damage taken.

The Lightning Staff heavy attack immediately connects to the enemy and functions as a channeled attack which deals continuous damage to the main target and all enemies around the initial target.

Now lets take a look at the skill Unstable Wall of Elements again and what it does with a Lightning Staff. If you are using a Lightning Staff the skill will set concussed enemies Off- Balance (Double Resource Return on Heavy Attack). The tooltip of the skill says the following: "Unstable Wall of Storms sets Concussed enemies Off Balance". Concussed is the status effect that can proc when someone gets hit by lightning damage.

Heavy AttackWALL OF ELEMENTS

Lightning Wall of Elements on a Target Dummy in ESO

Frost Staff

The Frost Staff in ESO can deal a lot of damage, but its real power comes from its ability to support the group. Especially tanks builds favor this staff. Due to the Elemental Force passive, targets will get a 100% chance to get the Chilled status effect from skills which applies Minor Maim and Minor Brittle, reducing target's damage done and increasing the critical damage done to the target. The passive Ancient Knowledge applies a huge block cost reduction buff and amount of damage you can block buff, which is the main reason why tanks like to use it as an alternative to sword and board.

Healer builds also often use a Frost staff as a back bar weapon to apply the frost Wall of Elements to hit enemies with the minor debuffs and provide allies with an extra shield that absorbs incoming damage.

The Frost Staff heavy attack charges up and shoots a single big frost ball at one enemy that deals damage.

Now lets take a look at the skill Unstable Wall of Elements again and what it does with a Frost Staff. If you are using a Frost Staff the skill will grant a damage shield to allies and immobilize enemies. The tooltip says the following: "Unstable Wall of Frost costs more, but grants damage shields and immobilizes Chilled enemies"
Heavy AttackWALL OF ELEMENTS
Ice Staff Heavy Attack on a Target Dummy in ESOIce Wall of Elements on a Target Dummy in ESO

Destruction Staff Abilities

Below you can find all the active base abilities and the passives of the Destruction Staff skill line. It is best to read through all the tooltips yourself, there are very interesting skills in the skill line.

If you want to check out the morphs of the base skills, please visit the individual pages by clicking on the skill.


Elemental Status Effects (Fire, Lightning, Frost)


The elemental status effects are also an important part of the game but barely any information exists about this ingame. Below you can see what status effects come from which type of staff (Fire, Lightning, Frost):

  • Burning Status Effect (Fire Damage): Target burns for additional damage over 4 seconds.
  • Concussed Status Effect (Lightning Damage): Instant damage. Applies Minor Vulnerability for 4 seconds, increasing their damage taken.
  • Chilled Status Effect (Frost Damage): Instant damage. Applies Minor Maim for 4 seconds, reducing target's damage done. Also applies Minor Brittle increasing the critical damage done to the target.

Now lets see what can proc these status effects:

  • Weapon enchants 20%
  • Single Target Direct Damage 10%
  • Area of Effect Direct Damage 5%
  • Single Target Damage over Time 3%
  • Area of Effect Damage over Time 1%
  • Light and Heavy Attacks 0%

As you notice, light and heavy attacks actually can't proc status effects. However, the enchantments on the weapon can or any of the skills can proc status effects in ESO. Please visit the Status Effects Guide for a more complete list of all the status effects in ESO.

Now you know everything there is to know about the Lightning Staff, Fire Staff and Frost Staff in the Destruction Staff skill line in ESO (Elder Scrolls Online).


Authors

Frequently asked questions

How do you unlock the Destruction Staff skill-line in ESO?

The Destruction Staff skill-line in ESO is granted to you after killing an enemy with a Destruction Staff weapon (Flame, Shock, Frost Staff). You can use any random Destruction Staff weapon that you bought or picked up from a monster to uncover the Destruction Staff skill-line.

How do you level up the Destruction Staff skill-line?

To level up the Destruction Staff skill-line in ESO (Elder Scrolls Online) you have to either equip a Destruction Staff weapon or slot skills from the Destruction Staff skill-line. Having more Destruction Staff skills slotted on your active bar will increase the amount of experience that you gain towards the skill-line. To level up the Destruction Staff skill-line, you can simply kill monsters or complete quests to gain experience points. Reading books from bookshelves in ESO can also sometimes increase your level in the Destruction Staff skill-line.

The damage numbers of the skills that you see below are used for comparison. The numbers are based on a naked level 50 character without any skills, passives, attributes and champion points allocated. Your damage numbers will change depending on what gear, skills, attributes, champion points, enchantments or buffs your character has.
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