Armor & Spell Resistance

Armor and Spell Resistance are the two basic forms of mitigation in Elder Scrolls Online. Armor is also sometimes refereed to as Physical Resistance. Armor and Spell Resist mitigate incoming damage and reduce the final amount of Health lost from an attack. Armor mitigates Physical Damage and Spell Resistance mitigates Spell Damage.

A general rule is if it uses Magicka it uses Magic Damage and if it uses Stamina it uses Physical Damage. This is not always the case, however, with several exceptions. The tooltips of abilities will normally state which kind of damage will occur.



Armor mitigates Physical Damage including Bleed Damage and most melee close ranged attacks.


Spell Resistance

Spell Resistance mitigates Magic Damage including Flame, Frost, Shock, Disease and Poison Damage.


Mitigation Cap

Armor and Spell Resistance are the only stats to have a cap set on the amount of mitigation that you can receive. The cap is 50% mitigation; you can not mitigate damage further than 50% with Armor and Spell Resistance alone.

The amount of Armor / Spell Resist which is required to get to 50% mitigation is estimated to be 33,000 at Level 50.

% Mitigation = Armor or Spell Resistance / (Level * 10)

So to get 50% mitigation the formula needs to be 33,000 / 66 * 10 meaning that 50% mitigation is 33,000 Armor / Spell Resist at Level 50.


Increase Armor / Spell Resistance

There are lots of ways to improve your Physical and Magic Resistance.


The type, Level and quality of your gear effects your Armor and Spell Resist.


If we set Heavy Armor as 100% of the potential Armor for a specific Level and quality than Medium Armor provides 75% of that value and Light Armor provides 50% of that value.


As the Level of gear goes up, so does that value of Armor and Spell Resist.


As you increase the quality of your gear, you are basically increaseing its Level, thus also increasing the amount of Armor and Spell Resist.

White – Normal

Green – Fine (+1 Level Stats)

Blue – Superior (+2 Level Stats)

Purple – Epic (+3 Level Stats)

Gold – Legendary (+4 Level Stats)



  • Item Sets
  • Buffs
  • Mundus Stones
  • Gear Traits
  • Jewelry Enchants
  • Passives
  • Champion Points



  • Bill Lear
    Dec 26, 2016

    I play a Dragonknight on Xbox One. My understanding is that 33,000 is the “soft cap” for physical and spell resistance, and that you can go higher through the use of active abilities such as Hardened Armor and ImmovabIe. Is this true?

  • ESO Academy
    Jan 1, 2017

    From what I understand there is no soft cap but instead a hard cap of 50% resistance which sits at around 33,000 Armor / Spell Resistance. You can’t go above this even with abilities. If you do, the stats will show up but you’ll only get 50% mitigation. The use of going over the cap is only for when you are hit with something which reduces your Armor / Spell Resistance and you can still maintain 50% mitigation.

    • Tyler
      Jan 9, 2017

      I have 18,519 Physical Resistance altogether. Does that mean that in order to start affecting my health that I have to take 18,519 Damage? And how does Spell Resistance work? I have 16,885 Spell Resistance.

      • ESO Academy
        Jan 10, 2017

        No, the number (18k) is just a representation of your damage mitigation which is a percent reduction of incoming damage. So the cap is 50% reduction in damage and this is set at around 33,000 Armor / Spell Resistance.

        If you have 18,000 Armor then you’ll have roughly 27% reduction to incoming damage. The same with Spell Resistance. Armor only reduces damage of Physical Damage and Spell Resistance only reduces Spell Damage.

    • Bill Lear
      Feb 11, 2017

      Thank you for your response. I turned on incoming damage in interface options and verified the information you posted above. All of the information you’ve posted is correct.

  • Laurent
    May 23, 2017

    “% Mitigation = Armor or Spell Resistance / (Level * 10)

    So to get 50% mitigation the formula needs to be 33,000 / 66 * 10 meaning that 50% mitigation is 33,000 Armor / Spell Resist at Level 50.”

    Why in your example, is the value divided by 66 * 10 if your level is 50?

    • Ianos Twill
      Jun 23, 2017

      Not sure when the article was done but before Champion Points they had Veteran levels. They went to v16, giving you basically a level 66 character.

      I do not know how or if the calculations changed with the implementation of the Champion point system.
      I was coming here to learn myself.

      • JC
        Feb 27, 2018

        Anyone found out how the champion point system applies to this calculation?

        This article seems to be extremely out-of-date (over 1 year out-of-date?) for it to still have the veteran system in the calculation.

  • Esofaaaan
    Jul 16, 2017

    my ressistance is at 40k does that mean 33k and up blocks the same amount of damage? so have 40k ressistance is useless?

    • Biotic
      Aug 2, 2017

      40k would be useless in most circumstances. The exception is fights where you suffer debuffs or the enemy has spell penetration (mostly PvP).

      For example, if you’re suffering spell penetration of 7k, you still get the full 50% reduction (because your 40k minus 7k penetration still equals 33k).

  • Laffayete631
    Feb 7, 2018

    Hi. I am new and play on Xbox. I leveled a templar healer and no matter what I do I can’t heal well passed Halls Of Madness on vet mode. I then made a templar healer and can now heal alot further in vet dungeons. Can someone please email me a list of the gear weapons accessories and enchanted for them. I’m so confused and still having issues healing and getting one shorted. Please. I like this game and don’t wanna quit. Lol. Much appreciated.

  • Ussury
    Mar 2, 2018

    Hi, thanks for an explanation. My question is: are PVE mobs and bosses have any ph/sp penetration? I mean, if not, I’ll stick on my 33k ph/sp resistance. Is there any chance to get somehow pve mobs/bosses full stats?

  • ruff
    Apr 13, 2019

    Poison and Disease is Physical damage and thus is subject to Armor, not Spell resistance.

  • Kev Jenkins
    Jul 7, 2019

    hi quick question if I wanted 33,000 resistance and then went minor and major protection and the nord passive would that increase the mitigation over 50% very curious on this one

  • Hryniuk
    Mar 11, 2020

    No! As stated above the cap is 33k.

    Any resistances about said amount is pointless to your build. So if your gear is already sitting at 28k resistances, and you apply your resistance buff. That’s 33k

    No other contributions are needed for that build.
    Champ points allocated into resistances on thay build would be pointless.

    A good goal to reach for a tank is gearing to 28k resistances, its a nice comfey place to a it before your buff hits.

    Dps and healers sit at much less and do fine.

    Don’t try to get over the 28k before buff, it will short you out for something else on your build.

  • Bill
    May 9, 2020

    Is this for real, is esoacademy like a real section of the game? I’ve messaged them directly multiple times on this and get no answer, just an automated reply with no information asking if the issue was resolved. I’ve focused my build around high resistance, just to be told by random people, not any information in the game itself, that it was a pointless endeavor for the past 300 hours? Looks like I’m cancelling that membership hahaha gotta hate these poor business models that suck your time and money like leeches.

  • Janet Kuhlmann
    Aug 24, 2020

    I think this website is no longer being maintained. I wouldn’t rely on it. Check out the UESP site which keeps up on all the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games or any one of several others. Reddit can be a reliable source of information (although people sometimes do talk about what they don’t really know). Join the ESO Forums. Read the patch notes. If you want to get a better understanding of the math, those can give a lot of insights. I wouldn’t give up on ESO because of one poorly maintained webpage.

    High resistance is an option, usually for tanks. I usually stop around 18K on most of my builds (I don’t play tanks, but I do a lot of solo builds). ESO has a very complicated set of mechanics. if you are coming from a game like WoW, you won’t get a lot of information from the game itself (except on the official forums). You just picked on the wrong webpage to use for your info.

    The great thing about ESO is that roles are not dictated by class. You build for the role you want to play. If you are interested in doing dungeons/trials, you might be better off searching for “DPS Sorc” or “Tank Warden” or whatever fits your desire. You won’t have to create a new character to change your build as long as you are happy with the class you chose. That cannot be changed. There are respecs for Attributes, Skill selections, and Champion Points and they cost in-game gold, not real money. In fact, ESO is one of the few games around that is not “Pay to Win”. All the things you pay for are convenience items or cosmetic. So don’t give up. I’ve tried everything from Runescape, to WoW, to LotRO, and even some BDO, but ESO is easily the most engaging and offers the most things to do, so you can always find something you like. It’s a bit daunting at first, because there is so much to discover about it. Hey, I played for over a year before I knew you could spend in-game gold to train your mounts to get more speed, bag space, or give it more stamina. The crafting system in amazing, the flexibility of the character building system is incredible, and the amount to content is astounding. Join a guild. I took way to long to do that. Join five (which is the limit) and if you find one that is friendly and helpful, stick with it. So give it a chance and next time broaden your internet searches.

  • Dennis Taylor
    Nov 3, 2020

    i agree with Janet do not give up on ESO played wow for 12 years and never got the gratification out of it like im getting from ESO in just 1 1/2 years takes alittle effort and alot of research but once you get the basic”s down then you make head way real fast. maybe im a slow learner but its coming along great.


Leave a Comment

Latest Builds


Log In
ESO Academy Facebook     ESO Academy Twitter