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Dear Zenimax, A history lesson from a veteran MMO player

Rylana
Rylana
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So having playtested the new PTS build, as well as heard from numerous in game friends and guildmates regarding the sweeping changes in the game, I am deeply concerned about the effect 1.6 is going to have on the health of this game.

Now I don't consider myself some paragon of knowledge or keeper of facts but what I do know is the following.

10 years ago, another MMO with a strong IP was going through a phase in which the entire game was redesigned, the entire leveling and combat system was reworked from scratch, and many of the early items, gear, collected stuff and such became completely obsolete overnight.

What I am referring to is the infamous Star Wars Galaxies NGE patch. Please take the time to google up what NGE was all about. Sony Online Entertainment took a published 1-2 year old game, and completely changed it in every form and function. From classes to leveling to how skills worked to even how health and resources were managed, the entire game was completely revamped. When I look at PTS today and compare it to the live build, I am given a haunting reminder of the stark contrasts that SWG NGE delivered to its playerbase when it was pushed to live.

The reason why I am bringing this up, ZOS, is because I care deeply about ESO. While it has been a rocky start and the community has had some hostile rhetoric and feedback over the months, we did watch attempts made to repair and revise existing systems to make them better.

Now it seems like youre essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater, completely rebalancing the entire skills system youve worked on balancing for the last nine months, and rendering nearly all major progress/collection of stuff that your players have accumulated until today null and void. Our gear, our provisioning mats, even our imperial edition horses... everything is going to be deprecated and we will essentially be starting over from launch day.

With the nerfs and stealth rebalances hidden behind the new x10 scaling of stat pools, it is completely obvious the Champion system is not designed as a vertical improvement system, but as a fill in the dots rebuild tool to get us back to what we already have today.

While I have heard a lot of people talk about returning to try it, I have heard just as many not wanting to bother. The culture of the game is changing, and a lot of people are really upset about these things.

I want to quote something for you, stated by the Creative Director of Star Wars Galaxies, Raph Koster, regarding a statement he made to the suits at SOE regarding NGE.

"If you do this, you are going to lose all of your subscribers."

And he was right, because players do not like it when their progress over the course of several months to a year is completely reset and voided due to a sweeping revamp of systems in a game. Within a month over half of the players had quit the game forever, most never to return, and a very strong vocal group formed to condemn the game for the remainder of its lifespan. If you think ESO has received negative publicity and reviews in the past, it hasnt seen anything like SWG NGE did, yet.

I issue you the same warning, Zenimax, not out of threat or indignation, but because I do not want to see history repeat itself. Take our feedback on systems being changed seriously and look to the past to see where other companies went horribly wrong. Please do not repeat their past mistakes. Please take our feedback in these threads seriously. A lot of the changes being made to the game are great, but a lot of them are godawful and youll see that if you read a few threads here.

Thanks for reading.

@rylanadionysis == Closed Beta Tester October 2013 == Retired October 2016 == Uninstalled @ One Tamriel Release == Inactive Indefinitely
Ebonheart Pact: Lyzara Dionysis - Sorc - AR 37 (Former Empress of Blackwater Blade and Haderus) == Shondra Dionysis - Temp - AR 23 == Arrianaya Dionysis - DK - AR 17
Aldmeri Dominion: Rylana Dionysis - DK - AR 25 == Kailiana - NB - AR 21 == Minerva Dionysis - Temp - AR 21 == Victoria Dionysis - Sorc - AR 13
Daggerfall Covenant: Dannika Dionysis - DK - AR 21 == The Catman Rises - Temp - AR 15 (Former Emperor of Blackwater Blade)
Forum LOL Champion (retired) == Black Belt in Ballista-Fu == The Last Vice Member == Praise Cheesus == Electro-Goblin
  • Berinima
    Berinima
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    I could not agree more.
  • trimsic_ESO
    trimsic_ESO
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    Sometimes, it makes sense to redesign some game mechanics that do not work. Yes it's a risk but it's also a chance for the future of the game.

    Some of the core mechanics of the combat system had to be changed, and I'm very pleased with what they've done in 1.6, even if there are still room for improvement, like
    - some skills are still OP when they are spammed
    - block casting is OP
    - 360 degrees blocking is OP
    - I miss 1 or 2 skills per bar, for a better build diversity
    - melee weapon skills are not doing enough damage


    Edited by trimsic_ESO on January 31, 2015 4:41AM
    Millenium - Daggerfall Covenant Europe - FR
    VR14 R31 Stamina DK - melee DPS / support
    Guild Leader Millenium TESO
  • Malthorne
    Malthorne
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    Well said
  • WarrioroftheWind_ESO
    WarrioroftheWind_ESO
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    I never had the dubious fortune of playing SWG as sci-fi MMOs are not my forte, but I've had close friends give very withering criticism and accounts of their own experiences. While yes it's important to try and keep updating things to keep it fresh, as a mentor once said KISS- Keep it Simple Stupid. Also you can't reinvent the wheel. There's only so many times you can change things so fast, and I'm worried ZOS is jumping the gun to some degree. Not so much with skills. Skills did need a work around. But it's a lot very soon, and seems more lettuce than meat. All I suppose we can do is hope they do listen to feedback and do make appropriate changes, given I hear this patch isn't due on live until March.
  • Derra
    Derra
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    ✭✭✭✭
    I have to agree and disagree sort of.

    I really like the feel of 1.6 over 1.5.8 on my sorcerer. I can see the problems for PvE Players or classes that got heavier revamps (nerfs in case of dk) than the sorc did.
    Overall it still feels like eso to me. Apart from the ultimate changes no core gameplay mechanic changed drastically (from my perspective).

    Edit: I find creating new builds very exciting so this is something i am very happy about in 1.6. The PvP metagame in 1.5 had somewhat gotten stale and now its back to the drawing board - which for me personally creates a lot of fun. I´m also under the impression that 1.6 opens up a lot more "different" approaches to build creation than 1.5 did.

    They should revisit the PvE part of the game however. The scaling just seems off.
    Edited by Derra on January 31, 2015 10:01AM
    CP 10xx whatever
    Derra - DC - Sorc - AR41 - Spotless Dro-m'Athra Destroyer
    Derrah - EP - Sorc - AR37
    <Noricum>
    <Kitesquad>
  • Helluin
    Helluin
    ✭✭✭
    Good example, well said.

    1.6 surely has many good things but also many big issues.
    @Berinima wrote a really complete feedback too about these: http://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/discussion/149178/

    With the announcement of Tamriel Unlimited, some PC/Mac players are thinking to return and other ones to give a try, console players are waiting for the release but meanwhile they are asking their friends and online feedbacks.
    And feedbacks about 1.6 are not so good as they were.

    About creating new builds I agree, @Derra, this is surely interesting and fun but it would be nice to let also the ones who want to use an hybrid build be able to do so.
    Edited by Helluin on January 31, 2015 10:26AM
    "... and the blue fire of Helluin flickered in the mists above the borders of the world, in that hour the Children of the Earth awoke, the Firstborn of Ilúvatar."
  • Derra
    Derra
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    ✭✭✭✭
    Helluin wrote: »
    About creating new builds I agree, @Derra, this is surely interesting and fun but it would be nice to let also the ones who want to use an hybrid build be able to do so.

    I agree that hybrid build really got the short end of the stick in 1.6. With the champ systems massive time requirements i can´t see them compete to pure magica or stamina builds in the near future or at all before all % reductions and increases for stam and magica are at a reasonable level.
    Without stat caps you are also going to fall behind in damage massively when trying to raise both "dmg" attributes.

    This also kind of contraticts the undaunted sets introduced with 1.5 as those seemed to promote hybrid builds that are now getting shafted.
    CP 10xx whatever
    Derra - DC - Sorc - AR41 - Spotless Dro-m'Athra Destroyer
    Derrah - EP - Sorc - AR37
    <Noricum>
    <Kitesquad>
  • Helluin
    Helluin
    ✭✭✭
    Not only Undaunted sets, but also the passive Undaunted Mettle and many other sets (left unchanged in 1.6).
    An hybrid build can have a wider arsenal of skills so it can't be like a build specialized into something, but at least how Ultimates and some skills are calculated should change.
    This is OT here, if you want to join the discussion on this topic I started one recently. :)


    Anyway the SWG NGE example is a perfect one.
    "... and the blue fire of Helluin flickered in the mists above the borders of the world, in that hour the Children of the Earth awoke, the Firstborn of Ilúvatar."
  • Oughash
    Oughash
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    This is well-said, Rylana. Some extra thoughts:

    1. The power gap delta between current and 1.6 characters (meant to be filled by 100s of hrs of Champion Point grind) is atrocious. If the current rate of CP acquisition stays I will quit flat-out.
    2. "Casuals" in PvE guilds that I am in are totally distressed. These players needed to be shown how to properly construct and play a build in the first place. The sweeping changes are utterly devastating to them as viable players. Throw in a splash of (1), as the kicker.
    3. The scaling and balance if totally out of whack. ZoS is gonna need to spend a while re-balancing most of the skills. After 9 months of tweaking (not balancing?) the current system, this seems to be a hard task.
    4. Itemization is totally and utterly ruined. Many, many bugs already reported in other threads. And the sets now need to be balanced against the re-scaled skills and resources pools. Probably won't be done.

  • Maverick827
    Maverick827
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    Ishammael wrote: »
    This is well-said, Rylana. Some extra thoughts:

    1. The power gap delta between current and 1.6 characters (meant to be filled by 100s of hrs of Champion Point grind) is atrocious. If the current rate of CP acquisition stays I will quit flat-out.
    2. "Casuals" in PvE guilds that I am in are totally distressed. These players needed to be shown how to properly construct and play a build in the first place. The sweeping changes are utterly devastating to them as viable players. Throw in a splash of (1), as the kicker.
    3. The scaling and balance if totally out of whack. ZoS is gonna need to spend a while re-balancing most of the skills. After 9 months of tweaking (not balancing?) the current system, this seems to be a hard task.
    4. Itemization is totally and utterly ruined. Many, many bugs already reported in other threads. And the sets now need to be balanced against the re-scaled skills and resources pools. Probably won't be done.
    I'm not a casual player, but I am a returning player, and I found myself overwhelmed on the PTS.

    Looking at the champion trees, a lot of stuff just seemed too vital. I was hoping it would be more ancillary perks, but pretty much every stat is up for grabs in there. I'm going to have to wait hundreds of hours of grinding to get back to being "the best" like I was before?

    Is this the new wave of MMO progression that's supposed to somehow be better than gear grinding? Because it doesn't seem like it's going to be any more fun. At least when I was grinding gear in WoW, I was doing challenging raid content with friends.

    I didn't even feel like trying to put points into anything, I just logged off.
  • jamesharv2005ub17_ESO
    jamesharv2005ub17_ESO
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    ✭✭✭
    Cracks me up someone saying they "tweaked" stats. They completely changed not just how stats work but the stats skills need and how much they need. Act like nothing changed. Everything changed. Characters now are weaker than before and need to do the champ grind simply to get back where they were. Of course like the uninformed person above they see 10k dmg and go "ooh ahhh!" when really its 1000 dmg and we did 2000 before.
  • Lionxoft
    Lionxoft
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    Digiman wrote: »
    Rylana wrote: »
    So having playtested the new PTS build, as well as heard from numerous in game friends and guildmates regarding the sweeping changes in the game, I am deeply concerned about the effect 1.6 is going to have on the health of this game.

    Now I don't consider myself some paragon of knowledge or keeper of facts but what I do know is the following.

    10 years ago, another MMO with a strong IP was going through a phase in which the entire game was redesigned, the entire leveling and combat system was reworked from scratch, and many of the early items, gear, collected stuff and such became completely obsolete overnight.

    What I am referring to is the infamous Star Wars Galaxies NGE patch. Please take the time to google up what NGE was all about. Sony Online Entertainment took a published 1-2 year old game, and completely changed it in every form and function. From classes to leveling to how skills worked to even how health and resources were managed, the entire game was completely revamped. When I look at PTS today and compare it to the live build, I am given a haunting reminder of the stark contrasts that SWG NGE delivered to its playerbase when it was pushed to live.

    The reason why I am bringing this up, ZOS, is because I care deeply about ESO. While it has been a rocky start and the community has had some hostile rhetoric and feedback over the months, we did watch attempts made to repair and revise existing systems to make them better.

    Now it seems like youre essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater, completely rebalancing the entire skills system youve worked on balancing for the last nine months, and rendering nearly all major progress/collection of stuff that your players have accumulated until today null and void. Our gear, our provisioning mats, even our imperial edition horses... everything is going to be deprecated and we will essentially be starting over from launch day.

    With the nerfs and stealth rebalances hidden behind the new x10 scaling of stat pools, it is completely obvious the Champion system is not designed as a vertical improvement system, but as a fill in the dots rebuild tool to get us back to what we already have today.

    While I have heard a lot of people talk about returning to try it, I have heard just as many not wanting to bother. The culture of the game is changing, and a lot of people are really upset about these things.

    I want to quote something for you, stated by the Creative Director of Star Wars Galaxies, Raph Koster, regarding a statement he made to the suits at SOE regarding NGE.

    "If you do this, you are going to lose all of your subscribers."

    And he was right, because players do not like it when their progress over the course of several months to a year is completely reset and voided due to a sweeping revamp of systems in a game. Within a month over half of the players had quit the game forever, most never to return, and a very strong vocal group formed to condemn the game for the remainder of its lifespan. If you think ESO has received negative publicity and reviews in the past, it hasnt seen anything like SWG NGE did, yet.

    I issue you the same warning, Zenimax, not out of threat or indignation, but because I do not want to see history repeat itself. Take our feedback on systems being changed seriously and look to the past to see where other companies went horribly wrong. Please do not repeat their past mistakes. Please take our feedback in these threads seriously. A lot of the changes being made to the game are great, but a lot of them are godawful and youll see that if you read a few threads here.

    Thanks for reading.
    (snip)
    You still have the same progress, Skill points and gear you gained through the game. They have only tweaked the stats so its more considerable now.

    You have the same game mechanics to play the game. SWG overhauled the whole thing, made the trial of getting a Jedi from being an epic undertaking into a class selection on character creation screen. ZoS has only made improvements in the flaws of some the classes.

    1.6 is meant to get everyone ready, where it will sit and breath for a year while we relearn our old specs, but the mechanics are the same. They are just trying to balance it out so we aren't rampant with DK vampires.
    (snip)

    Bolded the wrong parts in my opinion. The game and how it functions in PvP and elsewhere are completely different. Ultimate generation alone was enough to alter the mechanics of the game entirely. My opinion of course but that's where I stand on it.

    Progression is NOT how it was touted to be. I've played 44 hours+ on PTS in PvP (Top 5 on leaderboards) already and have only earned 2 points.... TWO POINTS. That is a considerable amount less than the expectation set by Zenimax.

    ZOS has not "only made improvements" with the classes. Some of the classes took enormous nerfs. Catalyst, Radiant Aura, DK standard, Molten Weaps to name a few... I don't play much Sorc and I've been thinking I should try it some day but I heard they have nerfs too. I honestly can't say for myself though because I haven't thrown my shards all over yet.

    With that said I'm still having fun on PTS (I still have fun playing TES Daggerfall so /takeitwithsalt) but they cannot release the game this way. It's an imbalanced nightmare. Hard caps need to be added if they aren't already.
  • Berinima
    Berinima
    ✭✭✭
    I would actually like to cancel my subscription, then give ZOS a hundred dollars (around one year of the revenue I would have created) just to DENY patch 1.6 and keep on playing with 1.5 plus the justice system.
  • Nacario
    Nacario
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    And this is why we the veterans, who are legion, should get more than 70 CP to get more in line of where we currently are today.
  • DDuke
    DDuke
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    ✭✭
    Is this the new wave of MMO progression that's supposed to somehow be better than gear grinding? Because it doesn't seem like it's going to be any more fun. At least when I was grinding gear in WoW, I was doing challenging raid content with friends.

    I didn't even feel like trying to put points into anything, I just logged off.

    100% this.

    From the looks of it, Champion System is only going to reward those who play (grind) the most and has nothing to do with skill or playing with friends.

    I would much rather have seen more gear progression (both PvP & PvE) & big difficult raids than the Champion System.

    What they could've done with Champion System, is make it a talent tree that is easy to max out, but provides you with more avenue for character customization, instead of the time/grind based Vertical Progression with disaster painted all over it, that it currently is.
    Edited by DDuke on January 31, 2015 4:11PM
    Decimus (European Megaserver)
  • Saturn
    Saturn
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    I am just replying to keep this thing going, but also agree that too many changes at once are a bad idea, especially considering how many crucial things are being changed. I hope Zenimax takes a look at the PTS feedback and goes, "Hm, maybe we'll scrap the really stupid ideas."
    "Madness is a bitter mercy, perhaps, but a mercy nonetheless."

    Fire and Ice
  • technohic
    technohic
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    Stopped reading as soon as I realized you were heading for the NGE analogy. At that point, I don't care how good you have pleaded your case. I see you as a drama queen and am no longer interested.

    The NGE completely gutted SWG. This isn't even close.
    Technohic - DC Templar -
    LOLgolas - DC Nightblade - Mediocre Gankster
  • Berinima
    Berinima
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    The system is still disastrous no matter whether this analogy is true or not.
  • Dekkameron
    Dekkameron
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    I'd liken 1.6 more to the CU "Combat upgrade" than the NGE. But either one certainly put a nail in the ciffin.
    - Veteran Combat Librarian -
  • newtinmpls
    newtinmpls
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    ✭✭
    Interesting discussion. Coming from an RPG background, I can't imagine anyone considering "grinding" fun, and PvP just seems petty. Currently I'm running two accounts as I enjoy playing around with different characters, races, reactions to the world. I'm fine exploring the "same" quests multiple times, although I terribly miss the Morrowind-esque idea that PC choices have consequences (yeah, that "red choice" in conversations tends to affect ... pretty much nothing), but part of the reason I didn't actually play Skyrim was that things were so dumbed down by that point.

    Oh well.
    Tenesi Faryon of Telvanni - Dunmer Sorceress who deliberately sought sacrifice into Cold Harbor to rescue her beloved.
    Hisa Ni Caemaire - Altmer Sorceress, member of the Order Draconis and Adept of the House of Dibella
    Broken Branch Toothmaul - goblin (bosmer template) Templar, member of the Order Draconis and persistently unskilled pickpocket
    Mol gro Durga - Orsimer Socerer/Battlemage who died the first time when the Nibenay Valley chapterhouse of the Order Draconis was destroyed, then went back to Cold Harbor to rescue his second/partner who was still captive. He overestimated his resistance to the hopelessness of Oblivion, about to give up, and looked up to see the golden glow of atherius surrounding a beautiful young woman who extended her hand to him and said "I can help you". He carried Fianna Kingsley out of Cold Harbor on his shoulder. He carried Alvard Stower under one arm.
    ***
    Order Draconis - well c'mon there has to be some explanation for all those dragon tattoos.
    House of Dibella - If you have ever seen or read "Memoirs of a Geisha" that's just the beginning...
    Nibenay Valley Chapterhouse - Where now stands only desolate ground and a dolmen there once was a thriving community supporting one of the major chapterhouses of the Order Draconis
  • nikolaj.lemcheb16_ESO
    nikolaj.lemcheb16_ESO
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    There is some analogy between 1.6 and NGE in that it changes the game and take away stuff from people. BUT there are several magnitudes of difference in how bad it is.

    NGE got pushed onto the live servers without any warning or public testing and they did it shortly after they released a bought expansion of the game. It took away anything you had and replaced it with a new game system that had no connection at all to what you used to be or have.

    1.6 changes the dynamic between the stats and changes how you can or can't stack stuff, but you still basically have the same game.

    Yes you lose all your rare mats in provisioning and it is basically impossible to get new ones (they don't drop from writs or hirelings at all). But you can still create all the purple food before the patch and keep those and use them after which hopefully should last us long enough for them to fix the broken system of getting rare mats.

    Yes potions has utterly changed. Most of the old buff potions have become irrelevant because they don't stack with class, guild or world abilities. But the alchemy system is so flexible that its time to find new combination potions that fit YOUR unique build.
    For example the old +spell damage, +spell crit, +magicka pot that EVERYONE lust after on live has become irrelevant because you probably already have the +spell crit from mages guild and +spell damage from your class. But what about an unstopable, high speed move, magicka regen pot that help you avoid all those pesky red areas?

    There is one aspect there is a little troublesome and that is hybrid builds. From now on you are either stamina with a little magicka in support or magicka with some stamina in support. The new system does not have any room for true hybrids like the old system did.

    The champ system, its difficult to say what it will do to the health of the game. It does give incentive to go out and keep on getting xp, and it does make you less likely to do "non productive" activities in the game. On the other hand it is very healthy for a game like this that there is always something to can work towards without having to organize groups and raids.
    That being said there are two aspects they REALLY need to fix fast. First is that champ gain in pvp is a joke. Doing vet dungeons give you champ xp over 10 times faster than pvp. Second there is no real way for a solo player to get champ xp at V14, you have to level up alts which is bad game design.

    So yes there ARE problems and they ARE similar in type with NGE, but they are far from being the utter disaster that NGE was.
  • Wolfenbelle
    Wolfenbelle
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    Digiman wrote: »
    1.6 is meant to get everyone ready, where it will sit and breath for a year while we relearn our old specs, but the mechanics are the same.

    Interesting you should use the phrase "relearn our old specs," because this is EXACTLY the heart of the problem I have with 1.6. It is a drastic recalibration downward of all key specs in the game. I most definitely do not want to relearn old specs. I want to progress from where I'm at now the in the game, not redo everything.

    ESO is the first MMO I've ever played. I have a full-time job and a family, so have less time per week to play ESO than other people. I get that and it's fine. But this past year since buying ESO, I've had to learn the entire MMO "culture," how to fight in PvP and PvE, how to build a viable character, and so many other things. I just don't want to go backwards. Just don't. This game is supposed to be fun time. A light, relaxing hobby. Instead, it's becoming more and more of a struggle just to keep pace with endgame things that have already been introduced. Now ZOS is totally revamping everything and the thought of having to, as you put it, relearn our old specs is seriously discouraging.

  • Uth
    Uth
    Soul Shriven
    Great read. All this change happens due to kids not knowing how to play the game, just because it doesn't play like any other they complain on forums. People can't just play the game with no preconceived notion from silly forum posts... and find out that it's an awesome game that has a different 'end game' then others... Elder Scrolls at its heart is an adventure... not a lot of games allow you to fully explore the entire game. I.e. The other factions side, and what better way to do that then with more EVERYTHING to make your toon truly the best. People are lazy and that's why they complain.
  • f047ys3v3n
    f047ys3v3n
    ✭✭✭✭
    You are making the Sanctum gear sets I spent 2 months earning worthless.

    You refuse to give me the champion points for the XP I have earned because you claim having 300 or so of a possible 3,600 points would make me overpowered.

    I will not tolerate the insult of paying to play your console beta (which I knew I was doing from day 1 and accepted) and have you effectively reset all of my progress right before your real launch.

    I unsub and write true things about you which you will find unpleasant.
  • Snowstrider
    Snowstrider
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    I dont know much about these sort of things but what if 1.6 is a much better eso then before?
    If you are scandinavian and play on xbox one,Contact me to join the nordic union
    The console versions of ESO currently do not have TEXT CHAT,
    ZoS! Please add it alongside other options the PC version has
  • Oughash
    Oughash
    ✭✭✭✭
    DDuke wrote: »
    Is this the new wave of MMO progression that's supposed to somehow be better than gear grinding? Because it doesn't seem like it's going to be any more fun. At least when I was grinding gear in WoW, I was doing challenging raid content with friends.

    I didn't even feel like trying to put points into anything, I just logged off.

    100% this.

    From the looks of it, Champion System is only going to reward those who play (grind) the most and has nothing to do with skill or playing with friends.

    I would much rather have seen more gear progression (both PvP & PvE) & big difficult raids than the Champion System.

    What they could've done with Champion System, is make it a talent tree that is easy to max out, but provides you with more avenue for character customization, instead of the time/grind based Vertical Progression with disaster painted all over it, that it currently is.

    I like the last point: make the champion system akin to a talent tree. Keep the current constellations, but buff the bonuses significantly. Then allow 360cps max, and only allow the player to choose three constellations. (Move the bonuses around correspondingly so that the thief trees really correspond to the thief.) The bonuses in these trees should be strong enough to enable hybrid classes, shore up weaknesses, or enable one trick ponies.

  • eserras7b16_ESO
    eserras7b16_ESO
    ✭✭✭✭
    Well, there's much to be done, they must be carefull, and honest about everything. While I see this update positively I agree that some players are going to leave so frustrated... I've played same VR14 for a lot of time, don't care much if I get nerfed but that's me. A lot of friends even completed cadwel's gold with 5 characters... you're just killing them.
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