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ESO Update 39 Weapons: How to make an informed choice?

Update 39 in your favourite game has brought about several changes to weapon passives in the skill lines, leaving you and many other players with questions. Should you switch to a lightning staff? Is a bow a better choice now? Is the Inferno staff still a viable option? Here, we'll break down the various weapon types for DPS and help you make an informed decision based on your build. While we won't delve into the specific changes in detail, we will provide a comprehensive comparison of weapon types and their suitability for different scenarios.


ESO Update 39 Weapons: How to make an informed choice?


Back Bar Options

Let's start by discussing your back bar options, where there have been insignificant changes between Update 38 and 39. If your priority is AoE (Area of Effect) damage or your build relies heavily on Magicka for sustain, the Flame staff remains the top choice. Wardens can opt for the Ice staff for similar results, but for other classes, both Lightning and Ice staff have noticeable DPS losses compared to the Flame staff. 


The Maelstrom staff excels in AoE damage and is still the best choice for many builds and fights, whether you're playing ranged or melee. While the Maelstrom bow is an option, the staff generally performs better for cleave damage. For fights where single-target damage is your focus, consider the Master's Bow for ranged characters or the Maelstrom two-hander for melee characters, as it received a buff in Update 39.


Additionally, the Blackrose Prison dual-wield set can work well for both single-target and AoE damage, providing a decent amount of damage mitigation (6%) for added tankiness.


Front Bar Options

The front bar choices are where players are most confused in Update 39, so let's delve into each weapon type and analyze their pros and cons.


Weapons Pros and Cons
Dual Wield


  • Ideal for melee-range combat.
  • Provides a significant 781 more weapon and spell damage compared to staves or bows.
  • Assumes Nernhoned for the main hand weapon trait.
  • Offers 6% crit chance from daggers.
  • Popular for major evasion from Blade Cloak and AoE execute from Whirling Blades.
  • Great for single-target damage in melee.
Two-Handed Greatsword
  • Similar damage boost to dual wield due to higher base stats (258 weapon and spell damage).
  • Utilizes 7.2% crit chance from Precise trait.
  • Offers a short Major Berserk buff from Wrecking Blow.
  • Skills like Reverse Slash and its morphs provide strong single-target and AoE executes.
  • Carve and Brawler provide damage shields and splash damage.
  • Suitable for both melee and ranged builds.
  • Provides 13.2% crit chance and 5% damage boost in melee.
  • Crit chance increases to 19.2% beyond 15 meters.
  • Features the Hawkeye passive for up to 25% damage boost to bow abilities.
  • Lethal Arrow is an excellent ranged spammable with guaranteed poison damage.
  • Versatile choice with high damage and general damage boosts.
Staves (Inferno and Lightning)
  • Inferno staff is ideal for builds with a high percentage of damage from DoTs and status effects.
  • Lightning staff suits builds with more direct damage or channeling abilities.
  • Damage from the respective staff depends on your kit's focus.
  • Specific class dynamics and skill choices may favor one staff over the other.
  • Templars benefit from the Lightning staff due to their execute beam's classification as both a DoT and a channel.
  • Arcanists can utilize either staff type effectively, depending on their damage distribution.
  • Necromancers may lean towards Inferno due to their focus on DoT damage.



Class-Specific Considerations

Different classes have unique strengths and damage profiles, influencing the choice between Inferno and Lightning staves or other weapon types:

  • Nightblades, Sorcerers, and Templars often lean towards direct damage, making Lightning staves a suitable front bar choice.
  • Templars, in particular, benefit from Lightning staves because of their channelling execute ability.
  • Dragonknights are somewhat divided between Inferno and Lightning staves due to a balanced damage profile. Dual wield and bow are generally more appealing options.
  • Wardens can utilize Ice staves effectively, especially if they focus on an ice-themed build.
  • Necromancers also lean towards damage over time effects, making Inferno staves a strong choice for them.
  • Arcanists can benefit from both Inferno and Lightning staves, depending on their specific skills and playstyle.


Comparing Weapon Types

To compare weapon types, we conducted calculations based on typical stats in organized trial scenarios, considering both 125% and 100% crit damage. The results showed that the differences in stats between weapon types are relatively small, indicating that the choice of weapon type may often come down to the specific scenario and preferred skills. Dual wield remains an excellent option for melee DPS, while ranged weapons like bows and staves have significantly closed the gap.



While we can't provide a definitive answer on which weapon type to use for your front bar, this guide has given you insights into the factors to consider when making your choice. Ultimately, your decision should align with your build and preferred playstyle. The balance between weapon types in Update 39 is encouraging, offering players more flexibility in their choices. Experiment with different loadouts to find what works best for your character and playstyle.

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