Nobody on the NA server has used this skill more than I have. It gets used on me maybe once every other night. I use it against every single opponent I face. I know what it can do, what makes it effective, and why the changes since the IC update have eroded the effectiveness of this skill.
First off, a little history. Back in July 2105, Eclipse could:
- Be casted against an unlimited amount of opponents.
- Both morphs offered the templar reflect.
- Allowed a templar to double reflect projectiles and thus defeat defenses such as DK wings
- Reflected a far greater amount of enemy attacks than is commonly imagined. Reflect all "spells" encompassed a wide variety of effect including soul tethers, axe bleeds, weapon enchantments, dawnbreakers, procced stuff like the Maelstrom two-handed charge DoT, etc., all of this damaged the attacker and healed me.
- The time bomb exploded on opponents when the spell expired.
- DESPITE this extensive list of benefits, most templars felt the skill was too expensive, was lacking in practicality/flexibility, was too easy for an opponent to defeat via CC breaking (which didn't CC by the way), and this is going to sound stupid, was hard to use because you actually had to aim the spell and hit a desired target. L2P issue indeed BUT ... no such skill was needed with the sword and shield reflect.
- Those other templars were correct. I used the spell to be different and primarily as an offensive tool as it was hard for templars to get burst DPS.
Then the IC update came and even though it was not used very much or complained about by the community, Zenimax nerfed this spell by limiting it to a single target. A nerf, by the way, that was not listed in the patch notes or ever elaborated upon despite the many questions directed as ZoS whether or not this was intended and why. It's a pretty sad state of affairs when players from other classes are like, "yeah, your skill is pretty bad, no idea why ZoS nerfed it." This was 100% unnecessary and not asked for. Yet it happened anyway. If you are wondering why the templar feedback thread is 60 pages while the other classes are like 15, it is because of repeated episodes like this: a gratuitous and unexplained nerf not listed in the patch notes.
Now the Thieves Guild is out and once again the spell has been changed and once again it was made worse because whoever did/approved these changes does not have extensive experience with this skill in PvP.
What Zos has done is made it so
- Split the spell between an offensive morph and a defensive morph.
- The defensive morph is still restricted to a single target.
- The offensive morph lost its ability to reflect.
- The defensive morph was altered to reflect projectiles. This sounds like a buff because it could now reflect physical projectiles whereas the original could not. This perception, however logically intuitive, is incorrect. I have used this on the PTS and the number of times you think you are going to eclipse the hidden sniper further away than the range of this spell approaches zero. Now that DK who flame lash spams you is utterly unaffected by eclipse. This "normal" consideration does not even take into account all the soul tethers, axe bleeds, weapon procs, melee spells, and channels (read: Radiant Destruction) etc., that this spell used to reflect which damaged the enemy and healed you. The spell is now only useful against a magicka sorcerer opponent and still runs into the same fundamental problem that was there from the very beginning: the sorcerer will simply break the bubble and have 8 seconds when you cannot debuff her again.
- The time bomb no longer explodes when the duration of this spell expires. Nor does it explode on opponents who had CC immunity. Perhaps a bug. I reported it. Still relevant. Toppling charge is deemed bugged but this detraction of power is a very real thing templars have to deal with on Live.
- The offensive morph gains extra damage and a fair amount of it and can be cast on an unlimited amount of targets. Not a bad idea and I think the better morph, but it's still not nearly as good as it once was because I could already do this ... while defending myself.
In effect, a templar who still wants to use this spell defensively to protect their "house" is still compromised by the one target restriction and now loses much of the spells power against melee oriented magicka builds as well as many of the procs stam opponents that did not bother breaking this fed templars (as well as rare but amusing times when they would ultimate themselves).
A templar who wants to use this spell offensively ala velocious curse is giving up all and any defensive benefits for a spell that does less damage than the sorcerer spell with twice the wait time. I don't think it's a bad morph, but the spell isn't as good as it once was. Consider, back in July 2015:
- I could cast as many of these as I wanted, had the time bomb and the reflect capability.
- Eclipse is a low damage spell. Thus the modified damage isn't going to be that significant considering the offensive alternative you could be doing. I would not trade the ability to reflect crystal frags, soul tethers, axe bleeds, crushing shocks, weapon procs, overloads, etc. for about 3.5K (which Cyrodiil will reduce in half) extra damage over 7.2 seconds.
- My eclipses could also heal me. The new offensive morph can't.
- Nothing has changed that makes it a zerg buster as it will be purge by a coordinated ball group.
The main problem here is that ZoS decided to adjust the spell from its terrible and nerfed state on Live now, rather than using what it could do back in July 2015 as a baseline.
The other problem is the defensive morph has had its heart cut out from it with the projectile restriction. Templars have either lost or had many defensive abilities in their arsenal nerfed ... and yet are still, somehow, expected to defend their "house." No blinding flashes, no purifying projectiles, one less breath heal, a still inadequate class shield, and now eclipse. If I did slot this spell, and I'm not sure I would, I'd take the offensive morph, which continues an unsettling trend since 1.5: templars are sacrificing their defensive stature and becoming better DPS. Eric Wrobel says the ZoS vision for templars is to stay in their "house" and things will go bad for opponents who enter. But the more successful templars in Cyrodiil are already playing aggressively and offensively precisely because they lack the tools to protect their "house" in the traditional "tank" sense (and I would argue that is the case for the game as a whole). It's a direction that doesn't hamper my play-style as I am more inclined to attack rather than defend, but it's something that makes the game less interesting, less diverse, and overall less appealing as not everyone wants to play that way.
The bottom line is this spell was superior and more versatile before the nerf and subsequent ZoS attempt to adjust the skill. It highlights what I think is wrong with ZoS's philosophy of game balance.
If templars are unanimous in our critiques against Healing Ritual, Radiant Aura, Rite of Passage, Light Weaver, etc, and how to fix them (which, by the war, have gone unanswered despite months and months of many incisive analyses), this spell is something we tend to throw spaghetti against the wall hoping something sticks. We all have different ideas of what would make this spell adequately fulfill its intended function. The most common is making it something akin to the Dragon Knight's Reflective Scales spell, which solves the problem of opponent's simply breaking/cleansing the debuff, but creates additional problems of homogenization and losing the damage/offensive capability of the original spell. It's an easy solution, but not ideal. I'm not saying if ZoS changed it such a way I wouldn't use it. Not at all, I and every Templar would immediately slot it as on demand reflect is extremely good. Rather it makes us quasi-DKs and such an ability should be reserved for them.
I am leery offering insights and identifying what I think are problematic issues because it has become clear that the whole PTS feedback process is just a means for ZoS to outsource Quality Control and finding bugs. In the 1.6 patch, the feedback warning of the dangers of removing softcaps and problems inherent in the Champion System were not heeded. Over the summer major reservations were given regarding the flat 50% adjustment to Battlespirit and the 100% removal of stamina regeneration while blocking and nothing was adjusted. And after a year of telling ZoS that templars won't use Healing Ritual because the spell has a cast time, ZoS decides that we are wrong and gave us Healing Ritual with a cast time and told us to use this as an alternative to breath of life. And this doesn't even go into AoE caps where 87% of the community has spoken against them. It's clear to me that ZoS wants to do all of its game-balancing in-house with no transparency and present us with a fait accompli with little willingness to make any more than token changes. So this will be the last time. And I am only doing it because I understand the frustration many templars have with the erosion of their class identity and I highly doubt anyone on the NA server has used this spell more than I have.
- The spell's capability during July 2015 is the absolute baseline standard and minimum. Anything that fails to reach this level of effectiveness should be discarded.
- The spell's capability during July 2015 was not good enough. It was deemed inadequate by most templars who would have preferred the Defensive Posture skill. My use of the spell was a niche case-example.
- The skill should be unique and no way mimic the mechanics of DK Reflective Scales.
The spell at it core has a solid mechanic in a debuff-reflect. It is a common fantasy and RPG staple. The main problem is twofold:
- The specific single target debuff is not appreciably stronger than a general reflect everything in Cryodiil buff. You will take more damage attacking a DK or get stunned attacking someone using defensive posture.
- The debuff is too easy to remove. The consequences for doing so are marginal and anyone in a zerg gets this removed by doing nothing. Also the templar gets no buff or residual aftereffect debuffs on the enemy. Both absolutely should be implemented in order to grant the templar legitimate protection instead of a very expensive low damaging spell. Forcing the actual target to self-purge / purify would help templars fight groups of enemy players.
If someone is dumb or careless enough to attack a templar with a big bubble on them, I do not see this issue with them taking 50% or even 100% extra damage.
What should get reflected? At a minimum: all "spells," including stuff like soul tether, weapon procs, etc. Plus: Think of a scale from "Nothing else" to "Everything directed at anybody" and couple that with a inversely related proportionate backlash damage for CC breaking the effect, i.e. the less stuff is reflected the larger the damage from breaking it. The modest damage from July 2015 ought to be the baseline for "Everything directed at anybody."
What should the difference between the defensive / offensive morph be? The difference in damage on the Thieves Guild seems about right. The defense still should heal and probably confer an additional buff to the templar. Maybe have the offensive one confer an aftereffect debuff on the enemy.
This is not prefect nor is it intended to be. All I am trying to do here is address the biggest things that undermined the spell by providing templars with some guaranteed defensive benefits for casting this spell, which I think most templars could live with coupled with a larger penalty to attackers for simply CC-breaking this in the form of damage and debuffs. I'm not changing the mechanics or intent of the original spell.