The Elder Scrolls

Bridging A Gap: A Balanced Approach

TheElderScrolls2 - Bridging A Gap: A Balanced Approach
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AN ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL

Instead of ranting and making super long-winded threads, I wanted to get down to the brass tax and highlight how these changes could be altered to achieve a more balanced, streamlined experience for players of all difficulty settings, as well as create a more logical, approachable combat system that is less punishing to new players, and still rewarding for end-game players.

PROPOSED CHANGES:
Light Attack Damage reduced by 78% -> Light Attack Damage reduced by 25-32%
COMMENTARY: We need to bring DPS down a touch. No argument there, just not nearly that much.

Consecutive Light Attacks restore resources -> Consecutive Light Attacks within two seconds grant a stacking buff that increases Light Attack damage by 11% per stack for two seconds, stacking up to three times.
COMMENTARY: This change enables light attack spammers to be moderately competitive, buffs werewolf in PVE and has no impact on standard ‘end-game’ rotations where an ability is weaved between attacks. This directly “bridges” light attack spammers.

Heavy Attack Damage Increased -> Unchanged
COMMENTARY: These changes were actually healthy for the game. No argument here. Heavy Attacks should do more damage and be moderately competitive.

Empower: Increases the damage of your next Heavy Attack by _____ -> Increases the damage of your next Light OR Heavy Attack by _______
COMMENTARY: This was a really, really bad idea, and should be adjusted to fit every playstyle. There’s no reason this can’t work effectively for both styles of attack.

PROPOSED NEW ADDITIONS:
Major Endurance: Increases Stamina Recovery by 20% -> Increases Stamina Recovery by 30%
Major Intellect: Increases Magicka Recovery by 20% -> Increases Magicka Recovery by 30%
COMMENTARY: This is one of many changes that would allow us to unchain sustain from the basic attack concept. By increasing passive sustain slightly in various areas and placing a higher emphasis on race/class sustain within the kit, the gap for sustaining a rotation becomes much easier.

Bash Damage reduced by 60-70% when not using a shield
COMMENTARY: Aside from logical context, this change prevents a “bash weave” meta that is going to be just as toxic and detrimental as what players claim the light attack weave meta is, if not even worse. Players who cannot effectively light attack weave have less than zero chance of competing in a bash weave climate. Bashing should be a way to eek out a few hundred extra DPS, not drop 6k. That’s absurd.

(EXAMPLE) Artaeum Takeaway Broth: Increases Stamina Recovery by 338 -> Increases Stamina Recovery by 420
(EXAMPLE) Redguard Adrenline Rush: When you deal direct damage, you restore 950 Stamina every 5 seconds -> You restore 1,150 Stamina every 5 seconds
(EXAMPLE) Nightblade Leeching Strikes: Light and Heavy Attacks restore 1,452 Health and 106 Stamina -> Light and Heavy Attacks restore 1,452 Health and 250 Stamina
(EXAMPLE) Mooncalf CP: Increases Stamina Recovery by up to 15% -> Increases Stamina Recovery by up to 20%
COMMENTARY: These are four examples of ways we can increase sustain within class kits, race kits and food options and unchain it entirely from light/medium/heavy attacks. This is going to go a lot farther toward bridging the gap between low-end and high-end “skill” players.

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ADDRESSING APM:
The central issue with how Zenimax is approaching APM is that it includes concepts such as movement. As Asiangod addressed in his video, I know a lot of “happy feet” DPS who are going to have a MUCH higher APM than I do purely by moving constantly, yet I will parse higher than them on average, despite my lower APM. APM is not a reliable metric to accurately gauge skill and performance. It just isn’t.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL:
If the end result goal is to bridge the gap between new/less skilled players and the end-game community, I am 100% for that effort. There are simply better ways to do it. Through the changes I briefly touched on above (and similar changes to related food, skills, CP, etc) the game would open up tremendously in the following ways;

Races that are largely irrelevant (Khajiit, Redguard, Bosmer, etc) would become more attractive, as min-maxing and relying on sustain from Las becomes less prevalent. It should be difficult to sustain a consistent rotation on the non-sustain races, but the proposed changes simply make those races completely and totally dominant.
Players aren’t punished as heavily for playing “their way”. Don’t want to light attack weave? No problem. You can spam skills as long as your build/group supports that level of sustain. The punishing aspect of light attack weaving isn’t so much the additional damage as the inability to consistently, reliably sustain and I think that has been lost in the trees here.
The buffs and nerfs have minimal impact on anyone and everyone. Not a lot has to change for people to feel comfortable in the revised system. If you light attack weaved before, carry on. If you spammed lights before, carry on. Everything largely stays the same from a play and feel perspective, while still bridging the gap and lowering the ceiling a bit.
This addresses the actual gap, not the wildly inaccurate and nonsensical “APM” everyone likes to throw around now. This version of “APM” is not an accurate metric. What IS accurate is casts per second, or attacks per second. In this scope, those numbers should level, at least somewhat. Moving is not a meaningful factor in this debate.

Above all, this avoids sweeping core mechanic changes that demand players to “re-learn” things they’ve been done since day one, or the patch they started with, or what-have-you. It encourages more freedom and open-ended expression of builds, allows raid groups to focus a little less on support sustain sets (hopefully), and brings up the option for supports in trials to be more than just a battery to power their DPS.

I know not everyone will like or agree with it, but as a 15-year MMO veteran who has played damn near every title to hit the market, I do agree that the skill gap is an unsustainable issue. I happen to be closer to the top of that “skill gap”, and even I can see the inherent issues here. That doesn’t mean you need to dismantle the entire system and sledgehammer something that IS working, but just needs adjustment.

This isn't necessarily how I personally would balance the game, but I think it's a reasonable, mid-tier, compromise-styled adjustment to bring both sides to the table.

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