Before I get into the main topics of my post today. A little background of me as a player, and as a person. I go by @Styxius (or just Styx) in ESO. I have a Bachelors in Game Art & Design from The Art Institute. I'm the GM of the guild Arkfall. I'm a Tank main, also dps as most do. I've been mainly tanking with Necro/DK, and Templar as of the Scalebreaker patch, and have completed all but vCR+3 on all three tanks. I have been playing since a few before the Homestead update release.
I love this community, I love the game and everyone involved. Even those I unfortunately have not had the greatest encounters with I still talk to because I care for the community as a whole. I do however understand their frustrations with the massive changes ESO is going through right now. In a time where competition in MMOs is at a peak. Unfortunately the current balance directors have taken a path that's leading to a large amount of player fatigue.
The game is great, the DoT meta was a massive oversight I believe and I also believe that the new approach of "lowering the ceiling" is another misstep on this upcoming patch. By lowering the ceiling it hurts the majority of the player base. The game should not be balanced around the idea of cutting down the top players. We should look at raising the rest to the current ceiling. There's tons of sets that we will go over later in this post that should be looked at for either being underwhelming upon release, or needing some buff to help bring them up.
As Developers and content creators. We will without a doubt have oversights that create overpowering or over performing combinations. From a player perspective those can be very fun, it's our job and skill as designers to rebalance those without ruining what makes them fun. In example the dot meta was terrible yes, but it only needed two steps to correct it into being something good. We only needed to adjust single target and aoe dots a tiny bit back, while bringing some AoE's back up to near their former glory. Alongside that we could've brought up spammables, while bringing down flurry a bit because that compliments the dot mentality and could be viewed as fun as a lot of people missed vMA DW's glory days. So don't break away from being the fun that it is to them. We need to be bringing more playstyles to light without forgetting player enjoyment in the process.
Open Disclaimer; the proposals I'm presenting here I don't claim to be the perfect way of handling things. From a developer perspective community input is the best, and biggest tool to use to grow the game to new highest of enjoyment and fun.
Racial passives: I think in their current state they're great, I think Argonian could use a little more love by restoring their Poison resistance passive as that's befitting the lore of their race. Outside of that instance I think they're in a good position post Wrathstone.
Healing: I think the prospect of adjusting healing to not just be pure Healing springs spam was good, the change to illustrious springs I think was good as it was underwhelming. I do think the change could've been better and more in line with my comment before about making things remain fun while still paving the way for change. I think a penalization mechanic could've been more interesting to create a new dynamic. Per repeated cast resulting in an increased cast cost. Keeping the change of illustrious to make it heal more, at the cost of the mitigated sustain. Use that dynamic to create a unique approach to healing options. A more spring use heavy style vs a more spread HoT style like current to allow two very dynamic ways of getting HPS.
Tanking: Tanking is on a good path, I think the classes are getting closer towards being more competitive as tanks.
Standardization vs Class Identity: A balance needs to be achieved here, in one patch standardization harmed Class Identity greatly. The following will hurt the other greatly. Weapon abilities should have a unique power that class abilities can't provide use weapon abilities in design as a butter to the Class abilities bread. To enable classes to be able to fill any of the Holy Trinities(Tank, Healer, DPS) positions the game is built around.
Class Identity; Class Identity is something the DoT meta had hurt, and something that has been hurting for a while for some classes far more than others. Below are going to be the proposed/Existing identities for each of the classes out today.
This to me is the DoT class to the extreme in it’s own way, StamDK’s always been known for its heavy use of dots and dots being used as a spammable. Take venomous claw and noxious breath for examples. MagDK being the heavy DoT mag class with its whip being the spammable to compliment it’s long DoT durations to give it it’s unique feel. The tanks having their magma shell and for the longest time the engulfing flames as a large part of their identity(Which with the proposed change for the % to be scaled with the spell damage value of the user is a good idea.) DK healers were always fun due to their shielding play style of helping mitigate damage for the team and providing strong stack HPS made them very enjoyable.
I think a great way of expanding the DK healer is through the Shifting standard maybe adjusting it’s morph to provide a group style buff, may that be scaling it back a bit from the 15% it currently sits at to make it good for groups as a whole, may it be 10% or even 5% group damage and mitigation buff to help compliment them in a similar light like that of Necromancers group DPS buff. We should buff the class DoT’s of this style to help compliment it’s unique stagger mechanic it’s received would be a great identity to it as it pushes the dot damage to be stronger in a complimenting style that vMA bow does with the endless hail DoT.
I need to preface this class by saying it has a fairly unique and fun identity right now. The Colossus is very powerful and slightly reducing the duration of the Colossus and it’s morphs was a fair choice. It has a unique identity in tanking with it’s chain pulling armor, it’s Goliath ultimate, and its unique roots. I think Necromancer healers also have a great identity for their unique burst heal with the crit base increase on lower HP targets. What they’re really missing in my opinion is a more potent base heal morph of their “Life amid Death.” giving it a ground HoT without a corpse at base may help to remedy that soft spot they have. The Magicka dps form of the class is unique in the same way the stam one is, however they could use some dps scalings in unique abilities to help bring them up to par with scaling the necromancer Grave Lord abilities to be stronger for them to push them to use their unique abilities.
Warden Identity is great, their animal companion abilities especially with next patch Dragonguard give them a great identity, and make them very powerful. If they were to have a bit more love on the weapon ability dots it could really push them into that unique identity as dps through their Shalk ability. Their healer counterpart is very powerful Minor toughness on warden is a great tool that makes their healers an amazing option to improve group survival. While boasting a large HPS amount they’re a wonderful healer of choice. Warden tanks sit in a place where they are capable of providing tons of group mitigation through their expanding cloak and Sleet Storm ultimate. The nature theme is still a strong identity and shalk being their highest dps at the moment really compliments that identity.
Nightblade inherently at first comes across as the master of shadows. Burst, and aiming for their execution in pvp. In PvE they don’t resemble as strong of assassins in my opinion anymore. I think the change to surprise attack is a good start, we may benefit from buffing it a little more in terms of the physical pen buff so it is able to provide a unique group utility.
Maybe even play Nightblade into a unique role in PvE by making killers blade provide a dps buff by increasing the damage a target takes delivered by incap resulting in a 10% damage received for 7 seconds removing their 20% self buff. (Not perfect but an idea.)
Nightblade tanks are getting more spotlight since sunspire which is great. All they need going forward to give them a taste of the standardization to make them more viable is to provide them with a root. Possibly tied to refreshing path, or the trap morph of fear being a red mist that holds the targets instead to immobilize them similar to the blue aura the recovery passive of Moondancer gives but more of a red hue. Nightblade healers are in a fairly decent place they have great HPS and a strong unique burst heal so I think they’re fun to play.
Magblade, needs some help to restore it to its former glory. We don’t need to revert the changes to refreshing path as it’d be very very powerful with today's scaling. They could use a cost reduction to their swallow soul like it used to be to improve their sustain while increasing the dot damage on Debilitate morph to enable them to apply to multiple targets leaving crippling grasp more pvp oriented.
Templars inherently come across to me as ESO’s Paladin like class, and they resemble it in their play style and class skills. Templar does play into its role now better than it has in the past. So I can say nothing but great job there in terms of designing it.
Templar tanks are in a great place personally I feel that way, them lacking a % based self heal may be good in complimenting them in them with their strong self shielding to buffer out larger hits through other means than just instantly burst healing it back. Living dark was the final touch they needed to become viable tanks.
Templar healers are in a strong place still considered the “BiS” to the meta for squeezing the little extra DPS with buffs and debuffs they can provide on top of healing.
Templar DPS on the stam side needs the jabs of glory up where they used to be, Stamplar and power of the light could benefit from a little stronger scaling, I wouldn’t say to make power of the light’s pen buff scale off stam as I think that’d leave a window of variable harm to templar healers.
Magplar could use a little buff to their class DoT’s so they can have a rotation that doesn’t just focus on pure dots and dots alone, they can provide passives hps
Sorcerer tanks are in a fairly good spot, they’ve got a nice root that provides Major Vitality, the pets are great for making them feel good. They’ve always been keen on pets which works well as a tank. Especially in the end game content the pet can be quite strong in terms of self healing.
Sorcerer Healers are getting a bit more in the right direction as well because of the change to critical surge recently it’s been nice. To see them on that, with the matriarch pet being a strong heal and providing minor int for the mag recovery for the group that as far as I can recall only wardens can also provide.
Sorcerer’s Magicka DPS variant is one that’s been through it’s fair share of roller coasters. I think their pets are a large part of their identity but they also have needed a little more love with the class skills. The pet nerfs all around have made it hard for it to maintain its place in the current pre-dragonguard meta due to the damage from them being reduced frequently.
Last but not least is Sorcerer Stamina variation the new bound armaments is a great start towards giving them more class identity. The Bound Armaments skill does to me at least have a flaw. It has no weight in the animation, in testing of the animation in parses there was lots of times it felt like it wasn’t in action despite doing good damage.
This post is getting a bit long, but I’m going to post more including my thoughts of set reworkings, further class identity as well as weapon ability identity ideas, Builds, and more.
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