Tanking in The Elder Scrolls Online is fairly wide open. Many of the best tanking abilities are tied to the One-Handed and Shield weapon skill line, so your race and class aren't as important. However, there are still some advantages to specific races and classes when looking to play as a tank. This article will guide you toward building a tank that suits your play style.
When it comes to tanking races, the Orc is widely considered the best ace for tanking. It gets a six percent boost to Stamina and Health, along with a 15 percent boost to Health Recovery. For the most part, these are the key stats for tanks. If you don't want to play as an Orc, Khajiit and Nord both receive the 15 percent Health Recovery boost, and Bosmer offers a three percent Stamina boost, with a nine percent boost for Stamina Recovery, and decent poison and disease resisting buffs.
If you decide to play as an Orc, you get Brawny, Heavy Armor Expertise and Robust, racial bonuses beneficial to tanking. Brawny increases your maximum health and stamina, allowing you to take more hits and use more abilities during battle. Heavy Armor Expertise increases your experience gain in the Heavy Armor skill line, which you should use as a tank. Robust increases health regeneration in combat, which is ideal for tanking.
Once you choose a race, you need to determine the desired class. Most agree that Dragon Knights make good tanks, but Templars also work well. As a Dragon Knight, the Ardent Flame and Draconic Power skill sets are your priorities. With Ardent Flame, you get Dragon Knight Standard as an Ultimate, Lava Whip as your active and Kindling, Warmth, Searing Heat and World in Flame as you passive tanking abilities. With Draconic Power you get Dark Talons, Dragon Blood, Spiked Armor and Elder Dragon. You can even toss in Battle Roar from the Earthen Heart skill set.
Many of these abilities are more about inflicting damage than tanking, but that's because most of your tanking skills come from the weapon skill line. That said, Dark Talons immobilizes enemies, then you have Lava Whip, which knocks a target off balance if it's stunned or immobilized, plus Spiked Armor that returns physical damage to the attacker. On the defensive end you have Dragon Blood and Elder Dragon for healing purposes. Battle Roar also comes in handy by restoring Health and Stamina when you activate your Ultimate.
Using the One-Handed and Shield skill set, you get Battlefield Mobility, Deadly Bash, Deflect Bolts, Fortress, Low Slash, Power Bash, Puncture, Shield Charge and Sword and Board. Battlefield Mobility allows you to move around much faster than normal while your shield is up. Offensively, Power Bash disorients your target and works with Deadly Bash for increased damage and less Stamina drain, and Sword and Board increases damage and block mitigation. Defensively, Low Slash snares the target and reduces its weapon damage, Shield Charge stuns, Deflect Bolts allows you to take less damage from ranged weaponry, while Fortress reduces the cost of blocking and Puncture reduces the target's armor.
Playing as a tank, heavy armor should be your gear of choice. In this situation, race and class are not key roles, but with the heavy armor set comes the Bracing, Constitution, Immovable, Rapid Mending and Resolve skills. Bracing reduces the cost of blocking with a full heavy armor set, Constitution increases Health Regeneration, Immovable reduces all damage taken for a short period, Rapid Mending increases healing received and Resolve reduces damage taken.
Many of the skills mentioned above can be morphed into more powerful abilities as you level up. At higher levels, your rotation should look something like this: Shielded Assault > Flame Lash > Crippling Slash. Mix in Power Attacks when you can, and use Burning Talons and Coagulating Blood when you need to. Flash Lash and Crippling Slash will be your primary skills for most battles. Again, many of these techniques are not dependent on your race or class, but if you want the best tanking abilities, a Dragon Knight Orc is probably your best option.