Whenever you use a skill on your Hotbar in The Elder Scrolls Online, there is an associated animation as it is inducted and utilised. These animations may vary in length from one to several seconds depending upon their nature. Although these animations add to the ambience of the game, they do come with a direct consequence. The player has to wait for the animation of one skill to complete before they can use another.
For those seeking to optimise their performance or DPS output, these delays are an impediment. However, they can be negated through animation cancelling and weaving. Animation cancelling is as it states the stopping of a skill related animated sequence by the use of a follow-up action such as bash/tap block/dodge roll.
Weaving is slightly different, in so far as instead of stopping the inducted animation immediately, it allows for the process to be cut short as another animation is started. Typically this is done by using a light attack and then immediately using a skill.
Please note that animation/weaving cancelling is not cheating nor exploiting as emphasized by Zenimax Online Studios.
There are 5 types of weaving and animation cancelling that can be done in the ESO.
Light Attack Based Weaving
Light Attack > Skill
Dodge Based Animation Cancelling
Light Attack > Dodge
Skill > Dodge
Light Attack > Skill > Dodge
Block-Based Animation Cancelling
Light Attack > Block
Skill > Block
Light Attack > Skill > Block
Bash Based Animation Cancelling
Light Attack > Bash
Skill > Bash
Light Attack > Skill > Bash
Weapon Swap Based Animation Cancelling
Light Attack > Swap
Skill > Swap
Light Attack > Skill > Swap
Like most explanations, this may seem straightforward in principle. However, to be able to effectively undertake these attack chains requires a great deal of practice.
You may also wish to reconsider the order in which some skills appear on your Hotbar and remap some keyboard functions.
The best way to practice is to use the training dummies.
You can also set up macros or use addons that show skill cooldown timers etc.
Examples of Addons you can use
When you start to do light attack weaving normally you either do it too fast or too slow, the ideal is doing as fast as possible but still having the light attacks to register, this is where this add-on comes in handy, to help you find the sweet spot.
Since these days the light attacks are the most damaging ability, one of the best ways to improve DPS is actually to perform better your light attack weaving. Light attack weaving is always using a light attack in between your skill abilities, this paired with animation canceling of the light attacks makes your damage spike.
Cooldown – Track cooldowns of various sets, synergies, and passives.
AiM’s Synergy Tracker – As the name already states it’s tracking the cooldown of a few Synergies, such as those of Orbs/Shards, Liquid Lightning, and Blood Altar.
Animation canceling and weaving is essential in both PVP and PVE. But is it necessary for the casual player? No. You can play PVE content without using this technique. But it is certainly advantageous for new players to learn the most basic weaving skill of using a light attack immediately followed by a skill. It allows you to do damage more quickly and efficiently.