Not everything is intuitive.
Mouse & keyboard is hard to grasp for someone who's played on console their entire life. And controller is hard to grasp for someone who's played on PC their entire life. I grew up with consoles, playing with a range of controllers over the 17 years I spent with them exclusively. Over the past two years I have bought a laptop and learned mouse & keyboard for the Elder Scrolls Online. It took several months to become fully adjusted, to become able to perform the sleight of hand needed to hit 5 keys in quick succession without a second thought. I expect it to take the same time for any PC-born to transition to controller. And that is why I am sharing the tips, tricks and configurations I have learned over the several months ESO has had controller support for PC and in my time as a console player before that.
The Button Map:
Here on PC, you can remap all the buttons on your controller! It is important to take note of which buttons/triggers/bumpers/sticks you can press both quickly and comfortably, because these are the buttons you should map your most used and most crucial actions to. Buttons that take you a split second longer to reach and press could spell disaster in critical moments. To that end most console games provide several pre made button mappings, if not allow you to completely remap the controller. Mapping buttons is a continuous process as you discover which buttons you fat finger and which ones you press faster than you blink. Eventually muscle memory will settle in and you start to make only minor tweaks to your control scheme for convenience or experimentation.
This is the control scheme I have crafted for my personal use over these several months playing. It is a setup I can be comfortable and fast with, but you will have to try it to see if it's the same for you.
I play ESO with a DS4 (PS4 Controller) and the DS4Windows software to make it compatible with Xinput games. The DS4 has a touchpad that I have mapped the E key to and several menu shortcuts, including the Map, using the DS4Windows program. For Xbox One controllers, the Interact action can be mapped to the menu/select button for Interact(Tap)/Interact Player(Hold) and the Map can replace the Quest Journal. There is no option to bring up the map from the Character Menus so you will need to map it to a button for easy access!
Abilities mapped to the face buttons (A/Cross, X/Square, Y/Triangle, B/Circle) are recommended to be ones you don't need to aim, such as buffs, radial AoEs and executes, since until you master an efficient grip you will have to take your thumb off the right stick to press them.
Your first instinct is probably to hold the controller like this:
It's a basic grip that gets the job done for casual play, comfortable and natural.
But for competitive or high level play you need the Claw grip:
It's initially uncomfortable, but will become less so after a couple days of use. I personally don't always hold the controller in Claw; I alternate between basic and Claw as the situation demands it. There are also Half-Claw and Double Claw grips which you can imagine after using the Claw grip.
Tips, Tricks and Oddities:
There is some target assist for aiming with a controller. When passing over a targetable enemy, your turn speed is slowed. Mouse aiming has no target assist so it will be annoying at first but the behaviour is predictable, you will get used to it.
The default camera speed for stick aiming is relatively slow. There is a Camera Sensitivity slider under Options in the Character Menus but the mouse sensitivity you have set for first and third person under the System Menu's Camera settings also influences your camera sensitivity. Like tuning your computer volume with youtube volume, you will need to tweak both sliders to get the best camera sensitivity. If you use software to manage your controller, it likely has a third slider you can tweak with.
As you get more comfortable with stick aiming, feel free to increase the camera sensitivity! Just like improving with mouse aiming, higher sensitivity is better for higher finesse.
You can combine movement and turning to turn faster. Try strafing right as you turn left or strafing left as you turn right. The combined rotational movement turns your camera and character faster.
Because a stick can provide continuous input where a mouse cannot, you can spin at a constant speed for as long as you want!
Tilting the left stick at different angles will move your character at different speeds. You can vary between a walk, jog and run without the need of a toggle button or speed de/buff! The stick also allows movement at angles off the four axis that wasd keys are restricted to.
Sprinting is a toggle on controller, not hold like on keyboard. The sticks are the most comfortable place to map a sprint button but even that gets uncomfortable after a while, so toggle sprint is better for controller. It also lets you map something else to the same button! A map, perhaps?
Most actions activate on pressing a button, such as sprint and dodge roll, but abilities activate on release
. Assigning abilities to triggers is a bit tricky because of this since triggers can have a long physical delay between pull and release. If you are using a software to manage your controller, you can tweak the deadzone of your triggers -- the amount you have to pull before it is registered as pulled -- so you don't need to pull that far (or barely at all) to activate trigger assigned abilities. Attack and block activate on press/pull so they are better suited to the triggers, but I play a lot of Souls games and they use LB/L1 and RB/R1 for attack and block.
When moving off the four axis / 8 directions that wasd can do, front facing AoE targeting can get buggy. Depending on whether you are in first or third person, abilities will either not fire at all (first) or fire in the wrong direction (third). This is because the abilities are firing in the direction your character is facing, which does not agree with the direction your camera is facing. Single target, radial AoE and ground target skills are unaffected by this bug.
Combination presses such as LB+A are separate binds unto themselves. If you forget to bind LB+X in the mapping above, you won't be able to weapon swap while blocking! The good side is this dramatically increases the number of actions you can map. I didn't even use all the combinations in my setup!
You can use all mouse & keyboard commands while using a controller. If you don't have a menu shortcut mapped or can't find room for it, you can use your keyboard shortcut instead! You could also just not use a controller and play with the console UI. But the menus are coded for controllers so you will have trouble navigating them. I recommend using the scroll wheel and E key to navigate.
First person is better with a controller.
I hope this helped you get acclimated to using a controller in the grand world of the Elder Scrolls Online!
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