You probably all agree that the current state of PvP is not as healthy as it could be, while this issue is based on several problem, this thread tries to get a grasp of the current state of the different classes in relation to each other.
There are a various forms of PvP, even though this discussion does not address a specific game mode, it is rather aimed at open world (not 1vX!) PvP than at raiding or duelling.
Since there are a lot of different types of streanghts and weaknesses I use several combat related categories to compare the classes. They however do not represent the whole picture, so I allowed myself to add some comments in order to explain my thoughts.
To start it off, here's a small but hopfully on-point description of the comparators used later on:
This is basically the same as tankiness, it describes how much damage a certain player can take without dying. It includes components such as but not limited to damage mitigation (blocking, Spell Resistance, Armor, dodging, self-healing, Stamina/HP sustain). This can really easily be confused with Ressource Management, which is rather a requirement for drawn out fights and therefore important for far more builds than tanks only. On the other side tanks do require better Ressource Management than most other builds, since they have to sustain the most pressure, which is, depending on the stats, very costly in terms of ressources.
While movement is not equally important for all builds, it has become increasingly important with 1.6 and its heavy damage meta. Even though it does have some relations to Stamina, it mostly depends on some key abilities, such as Bolt Escape, Shadow Cloak or Shadow Image.
While a high damage output is certainly very important to kill enemies, it is only rarely sufficient to get a kill. What you need is a mix of damage, debuffs and CC. While crowd control is usually associated with stun and slow, it is also possible to control an enemy's movement by denying certain areas, also known as zoning. However, a certain level of burst is required since all CC is lost if the damage is not there to threaten a kill. Figures such as Max Stamina/Magicka, Spell Damage/Weapon Damage or skills with the likes of Eclipse, Burning Breath, Fear or Daedric Minefield is what we are looking at here.
While Health is certainly not the only thing you have to keep your eye on in ESO PvP, it is essentially what decides if you live or die. It is really close to Ressource Management, but since most attacks only drain life I decided to give HP its own category. Because this article focuses on open world PvP AOE heals are not treated the same way as single target heals. Healing is about granting hit points to allies, which means we are rather looking at certain key skills as Breath of Life or Igneous Shield, than stats on the character sheet. Unfortunately healing itself is not always enought, therefore we'll also take a look at utlity skills such as Spear Shards, Consuming Darknes or Magma Shell, which either prevent damage from your allies or increase their damage against enemies.
Magicka, Stamina, Health and Ultimate are the four ressources available during battle, the efficiency at which those are used in combat determines how long a player can sustain himself in a fight. While the Recovery values on the profile are certainly very important it is also very vital to keep an eye on cost reduction and ressource conversion abilities similar to Helping Hands, Repentance or Dark Conversion.
I know using numbers is probably not the most representative to compare skills of different types, but it is an approach that provides an overview which allows for further discussion. To keep it simple the scale starts at one and goes up to five.
It has to be noted that this comparison is about the potential between the different class skill trees only. I know certain deficits can be covered with non-class skills, but this thread is about class balance and not overall skill balance, since it would break the scope of this article. I referred to a few skills that give substantial benefits to a certain class, since they have a major impact on the overall image. Should you however have the opinion that another skill outside of the three trees substaintially changes the image of a class, feel free to add it to the discussion below.
4 | 3 | 4 | 5
Nightblade, 4: We have to keep in mind that Defense is not only about blocking and mitigating, but also about dodging and evading, which is why the NB is much strong the one might expect. While Blur itself is okay, a well-timed Dark Cloak, which also cleanses all DOT's, can help mitigate a lot of burst damage. Apart from that, the bonuses from Refreshing Shadows, Shadow Barrier, Siphoning Attacks, Sap Essence and Dark Vigor are really helpful to stay alive. There are even two ultimates in the form of Bolstering Darkness and Soul Thether which are both really nice oh-sh*t buttons.
Sorcerer, 3: While the Sorcerer might have Bolt Escape to get out of trouble, it is almost impossible to successfully tank a larger amount of players. There are some Tools in the form of Boundless Storm, Boud Aegis, Hardened Ward and Summon Restoring Twilight but the lack of stamina is usually too much bear.
Templar, 4: Even though the Templar only has Balanced Warrior and Spear Wall to passively support his tankiness, the combination of his Restoring Light abilities (Breath of Life, Rune Focus, Cleansing Ritual and Repentance) with his Blazing Shield give him enough sustain to survive most odds. Apart from that he has two bad to medicore defensive ultimates in the form of Empowering Sweep and Nova.
Dragonknight, 5: Thanks to Battle Roar, Elder Dragon, Dragon Blood and Helping Hands the Dragonknight is the best alrounder of the four classes. These skills supplemented with Iron Skin, Scaled Armor, Reflective Scales, Inhale, Spiked Armor, Obsidian Shield, Ash Cloud and the three oh-sh*t ultimates provide you with enough ressources to reach unmatched tankiness.
4 | 5 | 1 | 1
Nightblade, 4: Shadow Image and Dark Cloak might not enable you to get to a given destination at any point in time, but combined with Double Take and Cripple they offer enough disengage to allow the use of glass-cannon builds. Apart from that Dark Cloak offers an unmatched capability to determine the beginnings and endings of encounters, giving the caster a permanent surprise advantage, as long as the effect is not negated by one of its many counters. On top of that the Refreshing Shadows and Relentless Focus enables the NB to roll dodge and block more often than other classes.
Sorcerer, 5: While the Sorcerer only has Bolt Escape to support its mobility, the capability to teleport to any position without a cooldown is rediculously strong. While it did take some nerfs in the form of increasing cost and reduced regeneartion, the key part, the ability to engage/disengage any fight or enemy - no matter the numbers - is still intact. While it does not allow the player to completely disappear from the map, unlike Dark Cloak, it does not have a counter that prevents the Sorcerer from using it, yes it is possible to chase one but there's no option to reliably negate the it's effect.
Templar, 1: Yes Templars do have a gap-closer in the form of Focused Charge, which allows them to have a bit more open choices for weapons, but the inexisting disengage is just too much to make up for. It basically forces the whole class into a somewhat tanky style, while this might be a required to keep the heals balanced (imagine a streaking healer), it also affects the DPS aspects of the class, since the lack of mobility requires the player to spec some perks into defense, significantly reducing the possible damage output.
Dragonknight, 1: Here the Dragonknight is in the same boat as the Templar, with the only difference that their version of the gap-closer, Fiery Grip, is even more unreliable than Toppling Charge. They however do have a bit more natural defenses from the passives, so that it is possible to go slightly more glassy than on a Templar.
5 | 5 | 2 | 3
Nightblade, 5: With Grim Focus being the only class based source of Minor Berserk the NB has a good start to use Veiled Strike and Death Stroke, they however lack the Sorcerer's ability to time several abilities in the same instance. While the capability to channel Inevitable Detonation during Dark Cloak somewhat makes up for it, they cannot reach a SR's raw damage. (No, the Grim Focus proc doesn't count because it is far too unreliable)
Sorcerer, 5: The Inevitable Detonation, Velocious Curse, Procced Crystal Fragments, Meteor, Mage's Fury combo allow the player to squeez the damage of several hard-hitting skills whithin a fraction of a second. Usually only a part of the sequence is executed, because there is either no ultimate available or not enough time to channel Inevitable Detonation, but a Curse -> CF proc -> Fury can already be enough to kill a target. On the other side, this combo can easily be reflects, Ball of Lightning or Deflect Bolts, all of which cannot be used against the one provided by a NB.
Apart from that, the Sorcerer has the hardest hitting ultimate in the form of Power Overload and is the only class that has a built in Major Sorcery/Brutality that does not require a target. While all those skills are really nice for the frequent kiting playstyle, Disintegration, Bound Aegis, Storm Atronach, Expert Mage and Energized are a bunch of other very useful abilities that puts their damage through the roof.
Temlar, 2: While there are a couple of hard-hitting spells like Backlash, Radiant Destruction, Puncturing Strikes or Crescent Sweep, all of them either rely on Burning Light or have some type of condition to be effective. Examples are, the target has to be low on HP or the victim has to take damage from other sources or the skill has to be aimed. Illuminate, Piercing Spear and Balanced Warrior do help to make up for those handicaps but it's only rarely enough.
Dragonknight, 3: Since a big portion of the offensive skill tree is DOT based the burst potential is fairly low, yes it is possible to stack different DOT's, but the burst is nowhere close to a SR's numbers. Being the natural counter to vampires does help at some points, and Molten Weapons can do a lot of damage but its just not enough to reach the numbers of a SR or NB.
The opinions about whether Sorcerer or Nightblade burst is higher differ quite a bit so I decided to add another opinion on the contrary to mine:
The only thing i do not agree with is NB (stamina specifically) burst being worse than sorcs. Why is that - because ALL sorc burst dmg is blockable with no ability to break block except for using a 1.5s hardcast. NBs ambush => fear => soulharvest => suprise attack is far more dangerous (for a player with situational awareness) than timed curse and fragments IMHO.
5 | 1 | 3 | 4
Nightblade, 5: With Mark Target, Death Stroke, Surprise Attack, Summon Shade and Aspect of Terror as sources for debuffs, the NB's arsenal is rather large. Especially since there are two sources for Major Fracture and Major Maim, meaning that even if the nightblade effectively only has four different debuffs available, Major Defile, Major Breech, Major Fracture and Major Maim, players can choose which skill the want to use to apply them. On another note, Piercing Mark is the only skill that reveals a target for an extended duration and does not have to be cast on a stealthed player.
Sorcerer, 1: There are no debuffs in any of the SR's skill trees.
Templar, 3: While the Templar only has access to very few of the conventional debuffs, Dark Flare is the only class based source of Defile that is no ultimate, it however has a 1.1s cast time which is not ideal but kind of gets made up for with its range.
Dragonknight, 4: The Dragonknight does have Major Fracture and Major Maim, but in order to get the strong debuffs in the form of Major Defile from the Standard of Might or the 100% armor penetration from Corrosive Armor, an ultimate has to be used. It might not sound that big of a deal, but the ability to completely ignore all resistances is already strong itself, the fact that the debuff does not have to be applied to the target and therefore also works on AOE makes this ultimate surprisingly strong.
5 | 4 | 3 | 3
Nightblade, 5: With Aspect of Terror being the most popular of the NB's sources of CC, there are a fair bit of others. Veiled Strike/Shadow Cloak, Incapacitating Strike, Agony and Soul Thether provide hard CC (boosted through Master Assassin) while Teleport Strike, Consuming Darkness and Cripple take care of the soft CC. Not all of those skills might be useful but a lot of them are quite reliable and therefore used rather frequently. Manifestation of Terror would offer quite some zoning potential, but only few players are willing to give up the reliable stamina drain of Mass Hysteria.
Sourcerer, 4: While the Sorcerer has Crystal Fragments, Rune Prison, Volatile Familiar and Bolt Escape available as stuns, none of them applies their effect for longer than 3s (or breaks upon damage) usually giving the enemy a free CC-immunity. Even though Encase's effect is quite useful, it is rather expensive and hard to land. Daedric Mines on the other hand is one of the best zoning tools in the game, while its root is quite strong the potential damage makes it a no-go zone for everybody. Negate might not be as useful as it used to be, but it still offers some ultility, it is however more a niche ability than anything else.
Templar, 3: Even though Puncturing Strikes, Piercing Javelin and Focused Charge offer some hard CC, the long range and duration of Spear Shards makes it far stronger than the others. With Nova and Sun Fire providing decent slows there is also plenty of soft CC available to the Templar.
It might seem surprising, but ESO considers Eclipse to be a form of crowd control (it can be broken), whether this is good or bad is probably a question of opinion, however, it is a fact that its properties are absolutely unique and extremely handy against casters. Unfortunately it does not stun/disorient/fear the enemy making it completely useless against melee bilds. While Nova is the only AOE that has some zoning effect, it is usually too expensive to use it for that purpose.
Dragonknights, 3: With Dragon Leap, Stonefist, Petrify and Fiery Grip as hard CC, Ash Cloud, Dragonknight Standard, Dark Talons and Warmth as soft CC and Inhale and Lava Whip as conditional CC the Dragonknight has probably the biggest crowd control arsenal available. While some of them are in a rather good state there is a big lack of a long stun/disorient/fear that does not break upon taking damage. Dragonknight Standard and Ash Cloud do offer some zoning, but the Standard is mostly too expensive and Ash Cloud can easily be countered by Retreating Maneuver, making zoning rather hard for a DK.
2 | 2 | 5 | 4
Nightblade, 2: The Nightblade itself only has Funnel Health, Sap Essence, Soul Siphoner to continuously heal allies. The Major Vitality of Soul Siphon might sound promising but its 4s duration is only enough to heal back up and does not offer any prolonged support. Consuming Darkness on the other hand offers extended damage mitigation and an on demand heal synergy, while they do offer some healing it's only rarely enough to successfully sustain with the NB as the only dedicated healer. The NB provides Minor Savagery for nearby allies as a little DPS boost.
Sorcerer, 1: The Minor Protection provided by Suppression Field reduces incoming damage by 8%, which might sound nice but Circle of Protection offers the same bonus making the ultimate redundant. As a small benefit the ball spawned Ball of Lightning absorbs projectiles not only for the caster but also for some of his allies, giving them some sort of a safe-zone. The SR provides Minor Prophecy for nearby allies as a little DPS boost.
Templar, 5: The Restoring Light skill tree supplies the Templar with a whole bunch of group healing abilities. While Rushed Ceremony, Restoring Aura and Cleansing Ritual are all pretty good, Healing Ritual and Rite of Passage are stationary and completely expose the caster to any enemy attacks. The ultimate can make up for it through its large AOE, but Healing Ritual is just too easy to interrupt and gets outperformed by Grand Healing too easily. Apart from that Nova can be a good substitute for Rite of Passage since it provides a fair amount of protection while dealing decent damage at the same time. With Repentance and Spear Shards being some of the few Stamina/Magicka restoring abilities Templars are almost required for group PvP. The TP provides Minor Sorcery for nearby allies as a little DPS boost.
Dragonknight, 4: While Magma Shell does provide a very strong shield for allies, Igneous Shield and its Major Mending is what makes DK's great healers. They do lack the big AOE of the Templars Rite of Passage but they should manage to supply the healing needed. The DK provides Minor Brutality for nearby allies as a little DPS boost.
5 | 4 | 1 | 5
Nightblade, 5: Even though the NB only has Siphoning Strikes, Refreshing Shadows and Relentless Focus to supply its ressources, a passive 30% Stamina Regeneration and an additional 10% from the buff is a rediculously high amount, which might be needed because of the Nightblade's dependance on mobility. I however leave it open if the boni are actually too strong or not, since I never played a Nightblade at V14 and therefore cannot tell how much Stamina is needed to successfuly escape with the NB's kit.
While the ressource return of Siphoning Strikes is still very strong, the damage trade-off is a bit more expensive than it used to be, because of the tendencially higher spell/weapon damage values and the tendency to spec into spell/weapon damage instead of Magicka/Stamina. Apart from that Catalyst and Transfer help at keeping the ultimate regeneration up.
Sorcerer, 4: Unholy Knowledge, Capacitor, Power Stone and Summon Restoring Twilight provide a maximum of 20% Magicka Regeneration, 5% Stamina/Magicka cost reduction, and 15% ultimate cost reduction. While the Magicka/Stamina bonuses are nowhere close to the one of a NB, the reduced ultimate cost really gives a huge boon. Apart from that Dark Exchange is a very nice skill that strongly supports excessive use of Bolt Escape, being a perfect fit for the average SR kit.
Yes Absorbtion Field provides all three Major Regeneration buffs but 191 ultimate for a maximum of 24s of ressource regeneration is just not efficient enough to cover the cost, especially since a single use of a Tri-pot grants you 40s of the named regenerations. Daedric Protection and Blood Magic might be quite useful for tanking, but since every Sorcerer plays DPS they get left behind quite a bit.
Templar, 1: With Restoring Spirit, Restoring Aura and Channeled Focus being the only three ressource benefitting skills in the Templars arsenal, the Templar is in a pretty bad spot here. Yes Repentance has huge potential, but it's just too unreliable to make up for the small numbers of the other two skills.
Dragonknight, 5: With Battle Roar, Mountain's Blessing, Helping Hands, Draw Essence and Green Dragon Blood the DK has quite a bit of ressources available. Battle Roar, Mountain's Blessing and Helping Hands are probably some of the best passives in the game, unfortunately the Stamina Regeneration of Green Dragon Blood gets redundant through the use of potions making this morph no option and the Interrupt of the Deep Breath morph is usually too good to make the Magicka regenerating morph viable. Apart from that, Elder Dragon can help out quite a bit with the HP Regeneration.
Right now it's pretty tough for me to decide how exactly to distribute the points in this category, so I added two other very good posts that give you another view on the problem:
Resource management is hard. Simply because NBs and DKs excel in different situations. The more enemies, the more the NB gets upper hand over the DK imo if you build it for it. I wouldn't change the numbers though.
However, the highest regen you can get right now is with AoE + Siphoning Attacks, especially Caltrops, that's why. If you build for tanking - Sap Tank - or even a Steel Tornado spammer, you get more resources the more players stand in your AoE. Basically, all classes got their abilities to manage resources inmidst an enemy zerg nerfed with 1.6, but NBs can do with Caltrops and the new Soul Tether just fine instead.
nvm, i think i would change that actually, making it for resource management:
NB 5, Sorc 3, Templar 1, DK 4
I thought so too. I tried it on my temp and holy *** was I wrong... 1) you do NOT have to be in the rune for it too work. Out of the rune you still get the return. At max lvl (the skill) Its about 250 magicka per second. That is another 500 magicka regen for free.
I run with 1300 magicka regen on my temp. Which is on the low side yes BUT I am wearing 2 heavy. I have 1600 spell dmg unbuffed. 26k health (some nice blazing shield stuff right there with CP in bastion) and 20k magicka.
Now with only 20k magicka and 1300 regen you would think I run out of magicka fast right. Wrong.
1) I use full warlock so that helps
2) channeled focus.
The combination of 2 and 3 reloads ure magicka so bloody fast... If I activate those two and spam BoL my magicka pool is still going up. Channeled focus is a pretty awesome skill to be using in terms of resource management. It costs next to nothing and it allows you to dump points into other stats. With the combination of proper skill rotation (not just spamming high cost spells), the use of selective dodges and blocks I've got near infinite magicka using this skill. Just got to keep it up as much as u can. So every 8 seconds -> channeled focus. It also gives a nice resist buff (5k). With 2 heavy that gives me 29% damage mitigation (not taking into account enemy player penetration stats offcourse).
So I can get higher spell damage, higher health and some extra armor by sacrificing both magicka and magicka regen. Channeled focus helps me fill the gap on the latter making temps some pretty nice all rounders.
Added bonus: mist reduces magicka regen to 0. Technically channeled focus is not increasing magicka regen directly. Just returning magicka at a steady rate. So it works while in mist form. --> mist is a free skill for temps.
The first thing that probably catches your eye is that the NB only has one weakness, which is healing, even though the Siphoning tree is dedicated to leecching HP it does not offer enough burst heal to sustain through prolonged fights. Apart from that they have enough sustained CC to kill an enemy with its burst, even though it's not the best in the game. Should a Nighblade get into trouble despite the evasive nature, there should be enough Stamina and Mobility available to make it out.
The SR's result might look pretty shocking compared to the NB, but the fact that the deficits are in the Debuff and Healing department, which are both more or less meaningless to the common Sorcerer playstyle, makes the drawback rather easy to compensate. On the other hand the Burst/Mobility combo allows to completely spec into the kiting playstyle, which can easily cope with the medium defense options, in fact just Hardened Ward is usually enough to stay alive. All this gets supplemented by the native Magicka Regeneration, which also allows to extensively control enemies through either zoning or, targeted and well-timed but rather short-term, CC.
While the TP doesn't seem to be too far off, most of his streangth comes from healing and supportive perks, making it pretty difficult to survive in open world PvP, especially since there is no mobility and only decent tanking capabilities. Apart from that the Templar has a few extremely strong niche skills, which are very powerfull if used well, unfortunately most of them require either an allied group or another condition to be fulfilled.
The Dragonknight certainly suffered some hard nerfs in 1.6, but they are not off the table yet. Their supreme Ressource Management and Defense still make them the best class for the in-your-face playstyle. As a difference compared to pre 1.6 their burst is now only rarely enough to take out an enemy, meaning that the DK relies on exploiting soft CC and Ressource Management in order to take out an enemy.
In the end I'd put the Nightblade slightly above everybody else, simply because Detecction Pots are their only counter and the NB can be played in a lot of different ways. After that Sorcerers and Dragonknights are rather close together, probably the SR a bit on top since they have the ability to kite around the zerg while the DK has to fight. While Templars are not weak, they just aren't on par with the others, i.e. their healing is not enough to make up for the lacking mobility and tankiness.
Apart from that I'd say all classes, except the Nightblade, fit their archetype really nicely, the Sorcerer is the casting wizard dealing high amounts of damage and using magic to his defence, Dragonknights tank more than any other class and Templars provide their group with heals and ressource support to keep them going. I see the NB as stealthed assassin, but while there are some skills that support this playstyle I personally don't think they have the burst to pull of the assassinations as I'd like to see them. On top of that they are much more an all-rounder that can do a bit of everything, instead of being very good in a specific discipline.
The real big problem I see for Templars right now, is that in the current meta is about oneshotting players, meaning the Templars healing will only help at keeping tanks alive but DPS players will die too quickly. On top of that bombsquads are not stationary, making the Templars main healing skills Healing Ritual and Rite of Passage useless. If adding a shield or fixing the bombsquads would change the Templars position in PvP I cannot say, but they are certainly not benefitting from the current way PvP is played.
I'm so sorry for the awful table but unfortunately the forums don't support the ones provided through BBCode.