ESO's build and combat system is an intricate one, demanding several layers of strategy and skill. But if there's one thing I've learned in my time on this sub, it's that the game does a terrible job of explaining that system to players.
It does what it can through tutorials and loading screens, but a surprising number of crucial elements are left unexplained, leaving many newcomers overwhelmed or unaware. Nowhere is it explained that Max Stamina and Weapon Damage determine the damage of Stamina skills. Or that 660 resistance translates to 1% damage mitigation. Or that Stamina recovery is paused while blocking. Heck, they don't even show Penetration on your character page.
Two challenges stand in the way of this info being conveyed:
- First, you can only learn so much of this stuff via quests, because meta elements like stats and skill lines are not a part of in-game lore. NPC mages don't sit around discussing their Spell Critical.
- Secondly, there's a lot of material to learn, and players are impatient. They need an incentive, and a learning method that doesn't require extensive reading.
So, since we already have an NPC who breaks the fourth wall to sell us loot crates (Pacrooti), I propose that we add a second to serve as our inter-dimensional combat tutor. And I can think of no one better suited to the task than
Fa-Nuit-Hen: Daedric demiprince, lord of the Maelstrom Arena, and self-described "connoisseur of combat."
Here's how it would work:
- The Combat Tutor would be added to the in-game Activity Finder, alongside group dungeons and battlegrounds. Selecting it would transport you to a pocket realm of Oblivion for training.
- Once there, you could choose between three types of tutorials. Each would consist of a series of lessons: you could take them one at a time, in order or ad-hoc, and the list would indicate which ones had been completed.
- The Basics: A series of short lessons that explain various stats, how they interact with skills, and combat fundamentals like blocking, breaking free, CC immunity, off-balance, etc. These would be universally useful, regardless of your preferred content or role.
- Advanced Training: Lessons that are more specific to PVE/PVP roles. You might have tanking lessons on maintaining aggro and bundling up mobs, DPS lessons on light-attack weaving, or healing lessons on feeding your team synergies. You might argue these are player-driven tactics that shouldn't be taught by the game, but if ZOS design sets and skills around combat tactics (like Relequen and weaving, or Beckoning Armor and chain-pulling by tanks), I think it's fair to teach those tactics to players.
- Practice Sessions: Simple, repeatable lessons that let you practice specific mechanics, like blocking, bashing, dodging, light-attack weaving, healing multiple targets, etc.
- As an incentive, players could earn pages of a new Outfit style for completing lessons. The armor styles could be rewards for The Basics, and various weapon styles could be rewards for Advanced Training. Practice sessions could reward xp and basic loot, similar to random dungeon rewards—enough to feel substantial, but not enough that you could take advantage of the system by farming sessions.
At the end of the day, I'm a realist. I know there will always be players who ignore the obvious, or skip over instructions, and come here to ask questions anyway. However, I do think the game could do more to educate its player base, and this feels like a fun and effective way to do so. If ZOS is willing to introduce features like the Guild Finder or the Vampire revamp without charging players, this would be a reasonable request.
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