Taunts And Taunting

Taunts in ESO are abilities which force a non-player enemy to attack you for a certain amount of time.

Why is this useful? Taunts allow tanks and other characters to draw the attention of hard hitting bosses and monsters to themselves thus defending their allies. The enemies and monsters in Elder Scrolls Online can be pretty smart – they know that healers and damage dealers might not have the best defense so they will often attack these type of characters first. This is where Taunts come to play. Tanks can Taunt the enemy, forcing the enemy to attack them rather than the vulnerable healers and damage dealers.

There are only two Taunts in ESO at the moment.

Puncture Puncture

Puncture is from the One Hand and Shield Skill Line so any character with a sword and shield can use this ability. It is the first skill in the 1H/S Skill Line so it is fairly accessible to all players. Puncture applies a 15 second Taunt to one enemy and also applies Major Fracture which reduces the armor of the target. Puncture also deals a little damage to the target.

Puncture uses Stamina and provides the most common Taunt in ESO, especially for the lower levels.

Inner Fire Inner Fire

Inner Fire is from the Undaunted Skill Line which is leveled by completing Group Dungeons. Inner Fire also applies a 15 second Taunt to a target. Inner Fire is the only ranged Taunt in ESO and thus is a popular option once characters unlock it. Inner Fire uses Magicka to cast, however the Inner Beast morph option transforms the skill to use Stamina instead.

Inner Fire is also very common for tanks to use due to its long range.

Taunt Mechanics

Taunting in ESO can be different compared to other games and other Taunt mechanics. You will notice that the only Taunts in ESO are single target abilities as there are no area Taunts at this time. This is a design choice by the developers with regards to the tanking role. Tanks in ESO are not expected to draw the attention (or aggro) of all of the enemies in a fight. This will often lead to the tanks death.

In ESO the tanking role is designed around the ability to select the most powerful enemies in a fight and Taunt them while letting allies take care of the other enemies. As with most things – it depends on the situation. In Group Dungeons it is normally the case that the tank should Taunt the bosses, and perhaps a couple of hard hitting enemies, while the damage dealers quickly deal with the other enemies.

Taunts In ESO

Inner Fire

Taunting can also have other effects like control of an enemies movement and position. If you have Taunted a boss then you can walk away from your allies and force the boss to face in the opposite direction to your vulnerable allies. This can be of great benefit as some bosses have frontal area of effect abilities which can deal a lot of damage.

There are some bosses which have attacks which ignore the effects of a Taunt ability. So a boss might be Taunted but every now and then continue to deal a special attack to random players.

Over Taunting

Over-Taunting is a thing! In ESO Live 18 the developers stated that if multiple players try to Taunt the enemy more than 3 times in 12 seconds the enemy will become immune to Taunts. This only works when multiple players taunt the enemy several times so you can no longer over-Taunt by yourself with only one player applying Taunts.


  • Alex
    Mar 4, 2017

    There is a third taunt: With 5-piece bonus in the tormenter heavy armor set which drops in Banished Cells, your shield bash ability gains a 15s taunt.

  • Stretch
    Mar 24, 2017

    Ice Staff heavy attacks also apply a taunt now.

  • Chris
    Apr 16, 2017

    The design choice of AOE taunt is an excellent direction to accompany that each class can heal via skill line upgrades. This makes players more independent and healer can concentrate on tank. Tank only taunting one mob at a time also helps low level healers. This helps most healers learn without overburdening them. I just wish people didn’t have amnesia when it came to interrupts and blocking. I am still reminding CPs to block and interrupt mobs like harvestors. *sad* Blocking significantly reduces damage from any mob, even before CP has been reached by any one character.

  • Ken
    May 3, 2017

    Well, most often if I’m in a party with doing a dungeon run, can’t satisfy everyone,
    there’ll be someone in the party complaining about me taunting, just raising all sorts of crap, well,
    when I hang back and use what AOE’s I have, then the complaining is, I’m a tank and your not tanking,
    cursing and swearing at me, which is verbal abuse, you know, dammed-if-you-do, dammed-if you don’t.
    ESO has terrible MMO component for pay-to-play game. Now, a game with fantastic MMO
    component is Never Winter, oh by the way Never Winter is FREE.
    Yes, no complaints, we party up and all kill what we have to. 🙂

    • ...
      Jul 6, 2017

      Really, Nevereimter!? Gtfo…

      • dragonfell
        Aug 7, 2017

        Neverwinter the game where if you don’t exploit every single pull in every single dungeon no one will take you on runs! It’s a pay to win game for hacks…

  • John
    Jun 5, 2018

    Never winter sucks ass! Outdated small track like game play boring mechanics. Rather play silk road online the NW

  • Ken2
    Jul 28, 2018

    Silver leash will also aggro a boss, even if it doesnt pull them.

  • Kajj M'kaal
    Mar 28, 2019

    I am the great Kajj M’kaal, Tank of tanks.
    If you are not a tank, do NOT taunt or I will have your head!

    Seriously though. A tanks job is to taunt as many enemies as they can handle and that costs a lot of magicka or stamina. When a DPS starts taunting too, then the tank has to re-taunt those NPCs otherwise the DPS is going to get his guts splattered and blame the tank.
    When I’m running a dungeon and someone else is taunting, I sheathe my sword and sit down, because a tank isn’t going to help much at all in terms of damage.
    You wanna make my job harder than I’m just going to watch you fail. I can tank multiple mobs with a boss single handedly. If you can’t do that then don’t taunt.

    Moral of the story, leave the taunting to the Tank.

  • Spud
    Sep 10, 2019

    Many tanks seem to think it’s their job to control every baddie out there. It’s not. Not even close.
    Tanks NEED to let dps pull the mobs if they choose. One of two things will happen, either they will die, which is certainly possible, even if they intend to pull them and wish to be swarmed by mobs, which isn’t a big deal, they die, they get rez’d. Then they either lay off a little or are retarded and keep doing it, at which point someone should tell them to stop being stupid. However, using a sorc as an example, I pull mobs, ALL mobs to me except for the boss if I can (I don’t want the tank to lose the boss in the midst of the chaos), sorcs are extremely tanky, even in light gear. If they’re shielding and aren’t over-swarmed with some heavy hitters in the midst, they will easily tank and heal thru those mobs. The more mobs, the quicker they heal, they are happy with it like this and are WAY more effective. They only fear being one shotted. This means with a few simple hits and an aoe, they safely pull everything to them leaving the tank to play with the big boy until the trash is dead. It’s NOT the tanks job to taunt all the trash. If a tank is doing this, they’re literally retarded, or the group seriously needs some AOE dps. A dps acting like this NEEDS those mobs, ALL of them all in one spot – WHERE THEY WANT THEM, so that they can easily destroy them all at the same time. All too often I end up fighting the tank trying to control the trash, they’re making my job so much harder when they lock those mobs down or start taunting them themselves. DPS control the chaos, not the tank.

    Now, let’s be clear – I DO NOT use a taunt, ONLY a tank should have a taunt slotted. Simply attacking most mobs will ‘act’ like a taunt and pull those mobs to me, I simply need to be the first to hit them all, effectively ‘pulling’ or ‘taunting’ them to ME, in fact, if everyone else leaves the person pulling those mobs the hell alone along with those mobs until they finally all get bunched up and they begin laying their aoe down, then they don’t even have to hit all of them, just one of them to pull those mobs to them. It’s clean, and may seem like chaos, but it isn’t. Everyone else simply needs to keep an eye out for stragglers that run off, and the tank should keep their eye on the ball – The boss, and leave everything else alone except for ranged mobs, who won’t pull all the way and keep at a distance. THOSE are the tanks job, the boss and missile baddies, leave everything else to the dps if they’re pulling. This is way cleaner and also much easier on the tank since they have much less to deal with, everything dies faster, everyone is happy.

  • Grimmorgan
    Sep 14, 2019

    My sorc carries the Impregnable Armor Ice Staff. I use the enchantment because it restores my Magicka in a huge way. The down side is that it taunts at the same time. I use it only when necessary, but I will taunt from time to time if it restores my Magicka at a critical moment.

  • bbentsen
    May 27, 2020

    So if I am the group tank, and we are enroute to the next boss, at which time we experience multiple mobs, and my toon has some minor DPS capabilities.. not to mention the fact that sometimes additional DPS is necessary with lower level, or inexperienced players in the groups… Would it be generally acceptable for me to switch to my dual-wield backbar and assist with eliminating the mob? Maybe taunting the biggest baddy in the mob? And to go further still… What if I have a healer Templar in the same situation? I’ve actually had people question my joining the fray why in healer mode. If I am keeping the group healed and throwing buffs/debuffs when needed.. why shouldn’t I be able to wack a deadra or two?

  • KeeboSabi
    Sep 2, 2020

    Occasionally you are going to run across people who know it all or atleast think they do, but it comes down to any player in a specific role. As long as the healer keeps everyone alive and can still dps, then do it. In many games the tank should be tanking always unless a certain event calls for something otherwise. In ESO, because of the way it is set up, the tank grabs the main boss, or maybe a couple others depending on the event, and allows the dps to burn down the trash then kill the boss. Keep in mind there are some events that specifically do not follow this set of standard but most do. If all the mobs are no bigger than normal trash mobs then dps the crap out of them but do no try taunting mobs from the pack otherwise the dps loses the mob and it has to be killed separate wasting time and resources. Occasionally you will have a dps who thinks they are suppose to make all the pull and tank all the trash. This makes it more difficult for a tank if the tank cannot specifically target a mob in the pack to taunt him out or if the mobs have specific effects and the event calls for the mobs to remain separate so not to empower the mobs’ attacks or defenses. This type of dps will either shine or cause a group to fail. I had one in group last night doing an event who after five tries on the first boss fight blamed the groups failure on the tank who should have been the one pulling and keeping the main boss separate from the others while the dps burned down the healer then split damage on the boss and the other mob. Instead the tank dps felt he should run through the middle as soon as he was alive again and the mobs were reset. He left and the healer left leaving me, the tank, and one dps to do the dungeon. We almost finished that fight with only 2 peeps where with 4 peeps we couldn’t get the first mob down 5% health. Just be sure whatever class you play that you make sure your role in a fight is fulfilled before branching into the role of a different class. Easier fights allow fluctuation but as the events increase in difficulty, the players will be more required to focus on their specific role in the group. In the midlevel fights a tank can still pull the main mob and dps can aoe everything and pull the trash before it ever gets to the tank. If the trash is scattered around the fighting area the tank can pull the mobs back and around to group all mobs in from of him where the dps can aoe the group of mobs. I am not familiar with ALL of the dps aoe’s so if any of them have a specific taunt value other than ” I damaged you so come get me” then, as a dps, don’t use that aoe. The tank can avoid the trash hits in most cases. There will be some exceptions to things I have said in this post. I cannot cover every situation here but in general I think this covers it well enough. Just keep in mind at the lower difficulty dungeons and fights there is a lot of room for fluctuation and mistakes but as you move higher in the ranks the dungeons and trials are not as forgiving and at some point they are not forgiving at all. Have fun as you play and don’t stress too much over poor players.

  • Arcane University
    Dec 31, 2020

    There ARE AOE taunts. The Tormentor set allows a tank to use charge and teleport abilities like the Templar Explosive Charge to taunt a lot of enemies at once

  • t_b_c
    Aug 18, 2022

    Is this still a taunt if you morph to say, Pierce Armor?


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