Sunshine Daydream Guild


Sunshine Daydream's Guide
to Armor & Weapon Traits


PDF available here

To research (learn) a trait for a particular item you must possess (and sacrifice) that same kind of item with said trait upon it. Take the item to an appropriate crafting table and select the "Research" tab. Select the kind of item, then the trait you wish to study. Confirm your choice and the trait will soon be unlocked for your character to craft with.

Remember: traits can only be added to armor or weapons at the time of creation and require that you have previously researched the chosen trait on that same item type.

This guide to traits covers:



Research is a Long-term Process

Researching traits is a very long process. Times to complete research increase dramatically as you progress, so start as early as possible! The following table summarizes research times per item type without any time reductions:

Current Trait Research Cumulative Research Time
1st 6 hours 6 hours
2nd 12 hours 18 hours
3rd 24 hours 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)

The length of time to complete research can be reduced slightly by subscribing to ESO+ and significantly decreased with the proper skills.

Skills that decrease research time and allow research of multiple traits (on different pieces) at the same time are Metallurgy for Blacksmithing research, Stitching for Clothing research, and Carpentry for Woodworking research. Without these skills you can research only one item for each craft at a time and each item would require approximately 128 days to fully research. With these skills you can eventually research three items per craft simultaneously and fully researching an item would total approximately 78 days (71 days if you also have an ESO+ subscription).

Morrowind introduced Research Scrolls from the Crown Store or the Master Writ Vendor, Rolis Hlaalu. These scrolls reduce the research timer on all traits in a particular craft which are currently being researched by one day (20-hour cooldown on ones purchased with master writs). The scrolls available for writ vouchers might be worth it towards the end of your research journey if they remain priced at 3 vouchers, but to pay 400 crowns to save only one day in one discipline out of a process that takes a year or more doesn't seem worth it to this author.



Traits to Research First?

When doing your blacksmith research you will face a conflict between researching weapons or armor. If you wear heavy armor then I'd suggest learning one favored trait for your preferred weapon type followed by focusing on armor traits before researching your weapon further (learning other weapons last). If you wear light or medium armor, research your favored weapon type fully before researching other weapons, saving heavy armor for last.

One trick to greatly reduce the time before being able to make the best set pieces is to study light armor and heavy armor on one character while initially studying medium armor and metal weapons on another. Eventually (once all traits are learned) you should consolidate these traits by having your alt make study items for your main crafter. Why bother to consolidate after learning all the traits split over two characters? Because most motifs are tedious to find or expensive to purchase and you'll only want to acquire one copy of each chapter. This is also why you should plan to do blacksmithing, clothing, and woodworking with the same crafter.

1 Powered is a trait designed exclusively for healers. Always research this trait early on Restoraion Staves and if your playstyle includes dedicated healers then research this sooner on other weapons.

Training is exceptionally popular for good reason among characters still working their way to top level gear (CP 150-160). Speeding up this process or the training of skills you later choose to add is a helpful thing.

For those in PvP, Impenetrable dominates the recommendations for useful armor traits; without critical resistance you'll die quickly in PvP. Apparently PvE enemies don't seem to generate critical strikes, so this trait is not popular in PvE.

In PvE use, Divines is incredibly valuable once you have your best Mundus Stone effect(s) and wear the Twice-Born set which allows two Mundus Stone effects. Some folks do opt to mix this with Infused or Reinforced on large armor pieces (shield, head, chest, legs) to boost a stat's maximum resource pool or give a small bump to survivability.

Morrowind's launch brought newfound popularity to the Sturdy trait for Tanking. That update's resource recovery changes and changes to blocking timing/cost made this trait a desirable one for many Tank builds.

While Nirnhoned was once a popular choice for armor traits it was nerfed so heavily with Dark Brotherhood that it became only worthwhile to research in unlocking 9-trait set crafting to make the Twice Born Star set. One might be able to turn a small profit by farming nirncrux and selling research items, so I suggest learning Nirnhoned before Well-fitted (with very limited situational usefulness) or Prosperous (which simply will not provide a large enough boost to outperform other options). Although the Horns of the Reach updates Prosperous to instead grant Resource Recovery, adding 11 Recovery from a gold-quality CP 160 armor piece is woefully inadequate compared to Divines paired with an appropriate Mundus Stone selection.

As for weapon traits, the most popular seems destined to remain Sharpened, even after the nerf unleashed with the Horns of the Reach update where it's benefit was cut in half. Asayre's evaluation (recalculated/updated with Horns of the Reach arrival on PTS) shows not only is it still viable but may still be BiS, just not by the wide margin it had been. For characters who are focused on damage-dealing Infused and Precise round out the top traits.

While Training is more effective (percentage increase) on armor than weapons; it is still a nice boost on weapons as well and often considered indispensable for characters while leveling through the first 49 levels.

Disabling status effects are being shortened with this update when they disable an enemy and Damage over Time through status effects (other than Poisoned) are spreading their Damage over Time slower. Hence, Charged has been weakened overall, although if the Poisoned status effect deals as much damage as previously but over half the time then this may make Charged more viable for builds that focus on Poison damage (or with Poison enchantments).

If the Horns of the Reach update launches as initially announced, the effects of Defending being cut essentially in half may make it near worthless although Tanks may still be drawn to it. Similarly, for a dedicated Healer Powered would be a worthy trait to prioritize despite being of no use to most builds except on a Restoration Staff. A Nirnhoned weapon may be used in the main hand of some dual-wielding builds, so research it at a suitable time if that is your playstyle; however, realize that generally another weapon offers the same degree of utility and is far cheaper to learn/craft. Continue to leave Decisive until dead last.

Armor Trait Weapon Trait
1st Training Sharpened
2nd Impenetrable Infused
3rd Divines Precise
4th Infused Training
5th Sturdy Charged
6th Reinforced Defending
7th Nirnhoned Powered1
8th Well-fitted Nirnhoned
9th Prosperous Decisive

Details on Armor Traits

Trait Name


Trait Gem
Description of the Effect Standard Fine Superior Epic Legendary
Sturdy

Quartz
reduces the cost of blocking 2.0% 2.5% 3.0% 3.5% 4.0%
Impenetrable

Diamond
reduces item's durability damage 50%
-and- increases critical resistance
(amount depends on the difference between character level & gear level)
6-
225
15-
234
24-
243
33-
249
42-
258
Reinforced 1,2

Sardonyx
increases item's armor value 12.0% 13.0% 14.0% 15.0% 16.0%
Well-fitted

Almandine
reduces the cost of sprinting -and-
reduces the cost of roll-dodging
1.0% 2.0% 3.0% 4.0% 5.0%
Training

Emerald
increases experience gained from kills 7.0% 8.0% 9.0% 10.0% 11.0%
Infused 3

Bloodstone
increases item's enchantment effect 8.0% 11.0% 14.0% 17.0% 20.0%
Prosperous

Garnet
increases gold from looting enemies

after the Horns of the Reach update, instead increases Magicka Recovery, Stamina Recovery, & Health Recovery
2.5%


3
4.0%


5
5.5%


7
7.0%


9
8.5%


11
(continued on next page)
1 Shields grant the most armor rating of any piece, slightly more even than the chest piece -- so if you're going to use Reinforced to increase armor rating, this is where you want to use it! This is followed closely by legs, headgear, shoulders, and boots which each provide about 87% the armor value of the chest piece. Definitely not worth using Reinforced on waist or gloves,; the armor boost of gloves is 50% of what's given by the chest piece and belts receive a meager 37% of the chest's armor value.

Keep this in mind also if choosing which pieces to craft/wear as heavy, medium, or light! Making belts and gloves be the lighter weight pieces will minimize armor loss.

2 "It looks like the crossover point for Reinforced vs Nirnhoned is 1880 Armor, so Medium chest, and all Heavy except hands and waist are best as Reinforced, anything lighter is best as Nirn." (Alanar in PTS discussion)

3 If you wish to use the Infused trait, remember that only the head, chest, and legs receive full enchantment values; shields actually get a boost to enchantment value even beyond the chest armor.

4 Rarely found alongside raw materials harvested within Craglorn.
Trait Name


Trait Gem
Description of the Effect Standard Fine Superior Epic Legendary
Divines

Sapphire
increases Mundus Stone effects 3.5% 4.5% 5.5% 6.5% 7.5%
Nirnhoned 2

Fortified Nirncrux 4
increases physical resistance
-and- increases spell resistance
(amount depends on the difference between character level & gear level)
7-
262
17-
273
28-
283
38-
290
49-
301


Details on Weapon Traits

Several weapon traits (all except Charges & Training) are being "rebalanced" with the Horns of the Reach update in August, 2017; new numbers/effects are noted in italics and outdated numbers/effects are obscured with strikethrough text.

Trait Name


Trait Gem
Description of the Effect Standard

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Fine

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Superior

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Epic

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Legendary

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Powered

Chysolite
increases healing done 1.5% 2.5%
3.0% 5.0%
2.0% 3.0%
4.0% 6.0%
2.5% 3.5%
5.0% 7.0%
3.0% 4.0%
6.0% 8.0%
3.5% 4.5%
7.0% 9.0%
Charged

Amethyst
increases chance to apply status effects 70%
140%
80%
160%
90%
180%
100%
200%
110%
220%
Precise 1

Ruby
boosts weapon & spell critical values 1.5% 2.5%
3.0% 5.0%
2.0% 3.0%
4.0% 6.0%
2.5% 3.5%
5.0% 7.0%
3.0% 4.0%
6.0% 8.0%
3.5% 4.5%
7.0% 9.0%
Infused

Jade
enchantment's cooldown reduced by 40% 50%
-and- enchantment's effects increase
8% 10%
8% 10%
11% 15%
11% 15%
14% 20%
14% 20%
17% 25%
17% 25%
20% 30%
20% 30%
Defending

Turquoise
increases physical & spell resistance
(amount depends on the difference between character level & gear level)
60 32-
2250 1200
120 64-
4500 2400
150 80-
2340 1248
300 160-
4680 2496
240 128-
2430 1296
480 256-
4860 2592
330 176-
2490 1328
660 352-
4980 2656
420 224-
2580 1376
840 448-
5160 2752
Training

Carnelian
increase experience gained from kills 2.5%
5.0%
3.0%
6.0%
3.5%
7.0%
4.0%
8.0%
4.5%
9.0%
(continued on next page)
1 "For a DPS the Precise Trait is 3-4 times as effective as Decisive: 3.5% DPS increase against 1%." (hrothbern in forums)

2 Asayre's evaluation (recalculated/updated with Horns of the Reach arrival on PTS) shows not only is it still viable but may still be BiS, just not by the wide margin it had been.

3 "Sharpened is best trait for maximum DPS against opponents with more than 12k resistance. So everyone except trash mobs and glass cannon gankers, I believe." (The_Outsider in the forums) NOTE: This evaluation was pre-nerf and should no longer be considered valid after the Horns of the Reach update due to a significant reduction to the effectiveness of the Sharpened trait.

4 "the dual-wield off-hand slot is the absolute worst place to put a nirnhoned item because it suffers an 80% potency loss. In contrast, traits that affect overall character-wide stats (e.g., Sharpened or Precise) are agnostic to what slot they're in" (code65536 in the forums)

5 Rarely found alongside raw materials when they are harvested within Craglorn.

6 Nirnhoned no longer boosts character sheet values, but instead only boosts the traited weapon's damage. (Overall damage increase appears to be around 3.2% 3.5%) (Asayre in the forums)
Trait Name


Trait Gem
Description of the Effect Standard

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Fine

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Superior

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Epic

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Legendary

One-Handed
Two-Handed
Sharpened 2

Fire Opal
increase armor & spell penetration3
(amount depends on the difference between character level & gear level)
60 32-
2250 1200
120 64-
4500 2400
150 80-
2340 1248
300 160-
4680 2496
240 128-
2430 1296
480 256-
4860 2592
330 176-
2490 1328
660 352-
4980 2656
420 224-
2580 1376
840 448-
5160 2752
Decisive 1

Citrine
chance to gain 1 additional Ultimate
anytime that Ultimate is gained
9% 12%
18% 24%
11% 14%
22% 28%
13% 16%
26% 32%
15% 18%
30% 36%
17% 20%
34% 40%
Nirnhoned 4

Potent Nirncrux 5
increases weapon damage 6 7% 11%
7% 11%
8% 12%
8% 12%
9% 13%
9% 13%
10% 14%
10% 14%
11% 15%
11% 15%


Research for the Special Craftable Sets

These bonus sets require that you have completed research on several traits for each item you wish to create as part of the set. These sets are why crafters research traits beyond those that are typically desired. Since crafted goods bind-on-equip another player could craft for you (offer to tip well for their time investment) if you've not yet completed sufficient research.

Many players wear 5 pieces of one set and several pieces of another to fill out their armor and weapon slots. Much more detail about these sets can be found at Sunshine Daydream's Guide to Craftable Armor Sets.



This article on traits is applicable to several types of crafters in ESO, such as:





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