Hirelings in ESO – The reason you want alts

hireling chestHirelings are a passive skill for the crafting professions in ESO. To unlock them, you need to be at a specific rank for your crafting profession, and use skill points to get the passive ability. Crafting Hirelings will send you crafting materials for the relevant crafting profession on a daily basis, even when you are offline.

This guide focuses on crafting hirelings and their usefulness. Is it worth it to use skill points on them, and why?

Hirelings Are Very Useful

Let’s get this out of the way. I think hirelings are extremely useful, especially if you roll multiple alts for this specific purpose. As long as you grab all the skyshards you can and complete the group dungeons & their quests whilst levelling up, you should have plenty of skill points on your main anyway.

The biggest reason why hirelings are useful is the chance to receive high quality upgrade materials for Blacksmithing, Clothing and Woodworking professions. These are called Tempers, Tannins and Resins. The upgrade mats are used for upgrading armour and weapons. The crafting system in Elder Scrolls Online allows players to upgrade any piece of armour or weapons all the way to legendary quality (orange color).

Hirelings allow you to get your hands on the rare upgrade mats very early on in the game, and the upgrade mats will be very helpful for you not only as you level, but later on when you get gear that is actually worth upgrading multiple times. I wouldn’t waste epic/legendary upgrade mats on low level gear. Green quality upgrade mats are plenty, and there’s no real harm to spending them on low level gear in my opinion.

Hirelings in ESO

The only profession without a hireling is Alchemy. Having a hireling option for Alchemy would be very useful, but sadly there isn’t one. The smith professions and enchanting unlock hirelings at the same time, whilst provisioning takes slightly longer.

Miner Hireling (unlocked at Blacksmithing rank 3)

  • A miner hireling will send you ore and possibly other items every day.

Outfitter Hireling (unlocked at Clothing rank 3)

  • An outfitter hireling will send you cloth or leather and possibly other items every day.

Lumberjack Hireling (unlocked at Woodworking rank 3)

  • A lumberjack hireling will send you wood and possibly other items every day.

Enchanting Hireling (unlocked at Enchanting rank 3)

  • A hireling will send you runes every day.

Provisioning Hireling (unlocked at Provisioning rank 12)

  • A hireling will send you food or drink ingredients every day.

Blacksmithing, Clothing and Woodworking Hirelings

The hirelings work the exact same way for Blacksmithing, Clothing and Woodworking.

  • With one skill point in the hireling passives, you will receive a mail from your hirelings once a day with a fun little message, and a Blacksmith’s, Clothier’s or Woodworker’s Chest attached with it.
  • The second hireling rank, for the smith professions unlocked at rank 22, will increase the number of basic crafting materials sent and the chance of receiving upgrade mats.
  • The third & last hireling rank, unlocked at rank 32, will send you chests twice a day instead of just once, and give you an even better chance at more & rare mats.

hireling mail

The chests almost always contain basic crafting materials, and sometimes also racial style materials, trait materials and upgrade materials.

Hireling Chest Contents

What defines the contents of a smith hireling chest? There’s three factors at play here.

First, the tier of your basic crafting material (as an example iron, steel, orichalcum etc.) is determined by the character’s basic crafting passive rank. If your Metalworking passive for Blacksmithing is 1, it means you can craft Iron items, but not Steel, or any other metal type. This directly affects what kind of basic crafting materials you’ll find in the chests. You will always receive the highest possible tier of mats depending on your crafting rank.

Note that this only seems to apply to the Smith professions. The Enchanting hireling allows you to get higher tier Potency runes than your current Potency Improvement rank would suggest, at least up to a point.

Second, how much crafting mats, racial style mats or upgrade items you receive depends on your Hireling passive rank. With Hireling passive rank 2, the chance to receive these items is increased.

Third, the contents of your hireling chests are determined when you open the chests, not when you receive them in your mail. This is important, because it makes hireling alts very useful.

Hirelings & Alts

The hireling chests are bound, which means you can’t trade them to other players or even between your characters. There is a little trick you can do to funnel all your hireling chests to your main character, and thus get access to more & better quality crafting items.

To access the hireling’s mail, you have to log on the character who has the hireling passives. If you have an alt with a hireling, you won’t be notified of his hireling mails unless you log on your alt. Once you have logged on your alt and opened your mail, it will then be visible on any characters on your account. Do not take the attachments from the mail on your alt – just click on the mail.

Even though the hireling chests are bound, they are only bound to the character who takes them from the mail. This allows you to log back in on your main, and open the hireling chests on him instead, giving you better loot overall.

If you use one or two skill points on Hirelings on your main character, the value of having alts dedicated to hirelings dramatically increases. This is because you’ll have an increased chance to find rare upgrade mats in all of the chests you open on your main.

If you have 7 alts, each of them with blacksmithing, clothing and woodworking hirelings, you’re essentially getting 21 extra high-level chests every day. That’s huge.

Creating Hireling Alts & Reaching Rank 3 Fast on them

Creating hireling alts is not as time consuming as you might think it is. As long as you’ve completed the Wailing Prison tutorial once, you can choose to skip it on new characters. Doing so will automatically level you to 3, send you to the first major town of your alliance, and give you three skill points. You can then use these skill points for hirelings.

To unlock the Smith hirelings, you first need to rank your crafting professions to rank 3. There’s a couple of ways to do this. What I suggest, is going to the Mages Guild in the town you arrive in, and read all of the books in there. Many of them will be skill books, ranking your crafting professions up. Relogging will reset the bookshelves, giving you a chance at another set of books. Repeat this a few times and you might be at rank 2-4 for many of your professions.

The other way to quickly get to rank 3 is to send your alts weapons and armour you’ve picked up as loot or crafted on your main character, and then deconstruct the items on your alt to gain crafting experience. Levelling from rank 1 to rank 2 is the easiest step, so it’s probably better to save the skillup books from rank 2 to rank 3, and deconstruct your way from rank 1 to rank 2 instead.


As long as the hireling system works the way it works now, it’s very beneficial to have multiple hireling alts. Even if you were not able to open your alts’ hireling chests on your main anymore, you’d get tier 1 mats, but you’d still have an OK chance for epic/legendary upgrade mats, so it would not be totally wasted.

I’m certainly taking advantage of the situation and have an army of 7 alts with hirelings.

  • Danny

    Once you are getting chests twice a day do you need to log in and collect the first one before the next one will send?

  • Anastasia-Bon

    No it’s automatic… I can’t 100% confirm that but I’m pretty darn confident that they are sent automatically whether you collect the first one or not.

  • Chris

    Awesome idea. I just put 3 alts into the game because of this!

  • Brian

    If you have several alts, it is a bit time consuming to log into every one every day.
    I read somewhere that if you don’t log into your alts frequently (and I am not sure what that means) your chests will disappear.
    Anyone had this experience? Thanks for the info.

  • I haven’t had that happen, but sometimes I just don’t receive chests from all hirelings. I don’t know what causes this – it happens both on my main character and alts every now and then.

  • JustNiz

    I had no idea you could skip the Wailing Prison tutorial if you’ve already done it once. I haven’t seen a “Skip Wailing Prison” option anywhere so how do you skip it?

  • You are given the option the first time you enter the game with your new character. (after you’ve completed the Wailing Prison once, that is)

  • amburdette

    This is going to make many things so much easier. I wish I had more time to devote to playing this game. SMH!! Its saturday night @1am EST and they are doing maintence…

  • EQBallzz

    Is this still working? I have a few alts set up and the bags from my alts with only 1 point in the hireling seem to produce complete garbage almost every time compared to the bags on my main who has hireling maxed.

  • It still works, yeah. The hireling chests haven’t been changed on live yet.

  • EQBallzz

    You say hasn’t been changed on live yet..does that mean it is changed on PST?

  • Chris Martt

    I just got the lumberjack anyone know how long till I get a chest?

  • Dionaven

    My last comment seems to have been deleted, perhaps because I linked to another site.

    Anyway, Hirelings have been nerfed to oblivion since this was written, at least do another search for something more recent than 2014.

    Wish I hadn’t wasted my time following this guide before finding that out 🙁