Update: This article contains only a brief introduction. If you want something more detailed and in-depth, this manual is for you. If you want to level up the Sorcerer as fast as possible with the best build, I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date strategies on the Sorcerer, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this.
The storm mage is the classic DPS glass cannon magic user build. This build focuses on the storm calling line, light armor and the destruction staff. It is one of the best mob grinding builds in the game because it can decimate groups of regular enemies in clumps as large as six or seven. It is also a very effective, but somewhat risky, build to use in PvP.
All About Magicka
Keep in mind that unlike in many other MMOs there is no strict “skill rotation” in ESO. None of your big five skills have cool downs or timers attached to them. The choice of when to use a skill becomes a tactical choice and not a waiting game. The only time your skill use is delayed is if your magicka value is too low. Aiming for maximum magicka and any passives and gear that aid magicka conservation is important.
When you level your character, you should invest the majority of your points into magicka and some into health. You should never invest points into stamina with a pure sorcerer build.
ESO uses collision detection, so you cannot pass through mobs. This can be very problematic for a squishy sorcerer. If you get surrounded, you will die very quickly, and you will be physically unable to run away. You should always be aware of your surroundings and keep moving to avoid getting surrounded. Each of these builds has bolt escape to ensure that if you make a mistake here you have a survival option.
- Mage’s Fury:
This is your mainline DPS skill. It doesn’t cost much magicka, and it is easy to spam. It is also an execution skill, since the damage it delivers to low health targets is almost always fatal.
- Lightening Splash:
This is a classic damage over time AOE skill.
- Lightening form:
This gives nice AOE damage, and it also increases your survivability. It is very useful when you rush in with overload.
- Wall of Elements:
This is a destruction staff skill that lays down a blanket of continuous AOE damage.
- Bolt Escape:
This is your panic button. It is a short range instant teleport that will allow you to escape dangerous melee situations and prevent you from being boxed in. It is vital to the build because many of the abilities are short ranged.
- Ultimate: Overload
Overload is an incredible AOE damage ability, and it is the best of its kind in the game. It is also one of the few toggle skills. Use it against larger groups of enemies to finish them off quickly. Its only disadvantage is its short range, so it is risky to use in PvP.
You will use exclusively light armor for this build because it is a very magicka intensive build. You will also use the destruction staff. Fire is the preferred staff type, but really any of the types will do. Wall of elements has a slightly different effect with each type, but since fire does the most damage it is chosen here.
Playing the Storm Mage
The storm mage is one of the most pleasurable DPS builds in the game. At the game’s current rate of difficulty, it is also one of the most efficient of all the mob grinding classes. If the following skill combinations are properly executed, you will be able to solo all regular groups of overland mobs and almost all group public dungeons.
Since this class has very little crowd control ability, it is important to rapidly dispense as much damage as possible. Each one of your active skills, except bolt escape on number five, is a DPS skill. The general idea is to have everything dead before you run out of magicka. If you run out of magicka or get surrounded, use bolt escape to give yourself time to regenerate.
The Opening Moments
Unless you are up against a large group of more powerful mobs or a boss, many battles will only last a few moments. Open the battle with wall of elements and lightening splash in rapid succession. Then spam mage’s fury until everything is dead. Most enemies will die to a single mage’s fury due to the massive damage increase on low health enemies. In the majority of cases, this combination will kill all groups of normal mobs that number three or four so long as you catch them all with the AOE damage. If the mobs manage to reach you, then use lightening form to both tank and provide extra DPS.
Dealing With Ranged Opponents
If you are fighting ranged NPCs or magic users, then your AOE combinations may not work as well. Ranged enemies tend to spread out more and evade AOE damage since they do not charge directly at you. Your destruction staff is your best friend here. Its attacks do not cost magicka, so you can use it even when your magicka is running low or to conserve magicka during a longer fight. If you are taking excessive damage from ranged, do not be afraid to use lightening form. The DPS may be wasted, but you still benefit from the damage reduction.
When in Doubt, Bolt Escape
Since skills do not have cool downs, certain skills like bolt escape can be spammed. If you find yourself in an overwhelming situation, use bolt escape multiple times in a row to quickly vacate the battle. The mobs follow you for a distance, but they will eventually reset.
You can also use bolt escape to kite enemies that are difficult. With this strategy, use bolt escape, then quickly turn around and use wall of elements and lightening splash. You will continually drag melee enemies through your AOE damage until they die.
In the vast majority of normal mob battles, you will have no need to use overload. Unlike your big five, ultimately abilities do have a sort of ultimate cool down, so they cannot be spammed. Save your ultimate for large battles involving more than four enemies or for particularly difficult enemies like bosses. Your storm mage build is not particularly effective against bosses, especially ranged and magic using bosses, so overload is your saving grace in these situations. If you choose to pop overload, then you should pop lightening form directly after. Overload engages at basically melee range, so you will need the extra damage reduction. Simply spam the overload attack until you are nearly out of magicka. If by some diabolical miracle your adversary survives this onslaught, use bolt escape to gain distance and magicka regeneration. You may then use mage’s fury to finish off the weakened foe. Don’t forget about mage’s fury as an execution move.
Update: This article contains only a brief introduction. If you want something more detailed and in-depth, this guide is for you. If you want to level up the Sorcerer as fast as possible with the best build, I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date strategies on the Sorcerer, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this.