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Core Mechanics & Balance Discussion - Stamina vs. Magicka Design Philosophies

Drakkdjinn
Drakkdjinn
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Hey Forums,

I'm looking to fill in some gaps in my knowledge about ESO design philosophies for the two resource types for DPS classes. Looking at endgame PvE at a glance, and given that the highest parses and most optimal group compositions especially for PvE tend to favor magicka builds, it feels like for me -- as a stamina main -- that there is a huge glaring imbalance between the two resources that has no sane justification in terms of game design for even existing in its current state.

Here are my assumptions:

1. Stamina as a resource comes at a much higher premium than magicka for nearly everything in this game that it is used for vs. magicka. Players tap their stamina pools to a) use abilities b) sprint c) roll-dodge d) break free, e) bash & f) block attacks. Players tap magicka pools exclusively to use abilities.

2. Apart from a few magicka class abilities and the bow tree, the overwhelming majority of stamina abilities require players to position themselves properly and apply damage in melee range. Magicka users can apply DPS for most of their abilities by point-n-click from a long range, making sundry boss mechanics involving movement and positioning less punishing in terms of DPS for magicka users and ranged abilities.

3. The "off-spec resource pools" i.e. magicka pools for stamina classes or visa-versa stamina pools for magicka classes, exist for utility and do not directly contribute to overall dps for each archetype. E.g. magicka users dps is only effected by the size of their stamina pools indirectly -- such as you use your stamina to break free of a boss CC to survive and continue DPS'ing from your magicka pool or if you're stamina your magicka pool is used to buff your defense/offense of your stamina abilities etc.

If I were a developer going off of the above, I would expect to see the following (conclusions) in a balanced game for both archetypes:

A. Gear set bonuses, attribute points & enchantments base values would be numerically higher for stamina as opposed to magicka given the hugely unequal number of mechanics that draw on stamina vs. magicka. Namely, stamina AND magicka users would have much easier access to a higher stamina pool given the above assumptions - OR - similarly, stamina abilities would be significantly cheaper than magicka abilities.
B. Melee-range abilities (both stamina & magicka) would have higher base damage than ranged abilities to balance overall dps between the two; e.g. stamina's melee's positioning requirements would mean that their abilities are much burstier than magicka users who can ignore such considerations so that overall the sustained dps of both archetypes would be equal all else constant on the same mob.

My questions to players who have looked into the archetypes, skills, and playstyles of stam/mag much deeper than I have is: are my assumptions and conclusions A&B present in this game to a significant extent? If not, why not? Is their absence why magicka is preferred for endgame PvE? Also, if A&B are not part of the design, what the hell are they thinking/what are their conclusions and how are they different from mine (A&B)? Personally I don't feel like they are present and I don't understand how ZoS couldn't figure this out! RPG mechanics 101 and all that.

Thanks!
-Drakk

edited for grammar and stuff
Edited by Drakkdjinn on March 31, 2017 9:02PM
  • s7732425ub17_ESO
    s7732425ub17_ESO
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    It's weird that stamina is used for combat maneuvers as well as damage abilities, yet most stamina builds run with much less stamina than magicka. A typical stam build sits around 33k-35k stamina. A typical magicka build sits around 40k magicka. The devs have compensated for this by bumping up weapon damage, so that stamina users run with more weapon damage than magicka users have spell damage. It makes sense to have these pools switched.

    But you run into the problem of PVP. With a higher stam pool, you are allowed more combat maneuvers, which can be overpowered.

    I also think that melee range abilities should move back to having higher damage than ranged. My Sorc can sit at range and do equivalent damage as a stam user that is next to the boss and has to avoid boss short range attacks. There was a period where stam was king, but then everyone realized that magicka users are needed for high level content just because they are able to ward spam, and so stamina use fell off.
  • Xvorg
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    At the beginning, there were no mag or stam builds, just builds.

    Stam was thought for defensive skills (hence running, blocking, dodge rolling, sprinting and break free use that pool), while magicka was for offensive.
    Sarcasm is something too serious to be taken lightly

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    On the wrong day of the wrong week
    Used the wrong method with the wrong technique
  • Drakkdjinn
    Drakkdjinn
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    Thanks for the replies guys - keep 'em coming!
    Xvorg wrote: »
    At the beginning, there were no mag or stam builds, just builds.

    Stam was thought for defensive skills (hence running, blocking, dodge rolling, sprinting and break free use that pool), while magicka was for offensive.

    I wasn't here in the beginning, but that doesn't make any sense to me at all -- were the stamina snb, dual wield, bow, class skills and 2h trees all considered defensive trees back then? I'd guess not.
  • Xvorg
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    Drakkdjinn wrote: »
    Thanks for the replies guys - keep 'em coming!
    Xvorg wrote: »
    At the beginning, there were no mag or stam builds, just builds.

    Stam was thought for defensive skills (hence running, blocking, dodge rolling, sprinting and break free use that pool), while magicka was for offensive.

    I wasn't here in the beginning, but that doesn't make any sense to me at all -- were the stamina snb, dual wield, bow, class skills and 2h trees all considered defensive trees back then? I'd guess not.

    Those skills were added later during development, thats hy there were not as consistent as class skills.
    Sarcasm is something too serious to be taken lightly

    I was born with the wrong sign
    In the wrong house
    With the wrong ascendancy
    I took the wrong road
    That led to the wrong tendencies
    I was in the wrong place at the wrong time
    For the wrong reason and the wrong rhyme
    On the wrong day of the wrong week
    Used the wrong method with the wrong technique
  • Drakkdjinn
    Drakkdjinn
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    Xvorg wrote: »
    Drakkdjinn wrote: »
    Thanks for the replies guys - keep 'em coming!
    Xvorg wrote: »
    At the beginning, there were no mag or stam builds, just builds.

    Stam was thought for defensive skills (hence running, blocking, dodge rolling, sprinting and break free use that pool), while magicka was for offensive.

    I wasn't here in the beginning, but that doesn't make any sense to me at all -- were the stamina snb, dual wield, bow, class skills and 2h trees all considered defensive trees back then? I'd guess not.

    Those skills were added later during development, thats hy there were not as consistent as class skills.

    So what you're saying is that stamina suffers because a version of the game's design that never saw the light of day lingers with the devs to the present to hinder the basic aspects of balance? I'm confused!
  • Xvorg
    Xvorg
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    Drakkdjinn wrote: »
    Xvorg wrote: »
    Drakkdjinn wrote: »
    Thanks for the replies guys - keep 'em coming!
    Xvorg wrote: »
    At the beginning, there were no mag or stam builds, just builds.

    Stam was thought for defensive skills (hence running, blocking, dodge rolling, sprinting and break free use that pool), while magicka was for offensive.

    I wasn't here in the beginning, but that doesn't make any sense to me at all -- were the stamina snb, dual wield, bow, class skills and 2h trees all considered defensive trees back then? I'd guess not.

    Those skills were added later during development, thats hy there were not as consistent as class skills.

    So what you're saying is that stamina suffers because a version of the game's design that never saw the light of day lingers with the devs to the present to hinder the basic aspects of balance? I'm confused!

    Something like that.

    The original plan for this game was to make it closer to TES, with spells (class skills) and weapons. There were no wpn skills besides passives.

    Also there was planned a spell crafting skill line

    At the beginning, everything was sort of hybrid. Class skills had no stam version and you used both pools. All the wpns skills depended on wpn dmg, even staves.

    All of that was changed in 1.6.
    Edited by Xvorg on March 31, 2017 10:21PM
    Sarcasm is something too serious to be taken lightly

    I was born with the wrong sign
    In the wrong house
    With the wrong ascendancy
    I took the wrong road
    That led to the wrong tendencies
    I was in the wrong place at the wrong time
    For the wrong reason and the wrong rhyme
    On the wrong day of the wrong week
    Used the wrong method with the wrong technique
  • Anhedonie
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    Drakkdjinn wrote: »
    2. Apart from a few magicka class abilities and the bow tree, the overwhelming majority of stamina abilities require players to position themselves properly and apply damage in melee range. Magicka users can apply DPS for most of their abilities by point-n-click from a long range, making sundry boss mechanics involving movement and positioning less punishing in terms of DPS for magicka users and ranged abilities.

    mDK's skills are around 90% melee only.
    Also, stamina is used for defensive manouvers like dodging and breaking free. Magicka's defensive ability is damage shield. You can do 2-3 break frees or roll dodges at best. And most of time you won't even do that.
    Magicka has higher pool values, but stamina has more weapon damage.
    Profanity filter is a crime against the freedom of speech. Also gags.
  • Waffennacht
    Waffennacht
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    Also, as you asked about a difference in cost.

    There is a massive difference in cost in stam vs magicka

    In the DW you'll find abilities as cheap as 800 stam to around 3k
    Bow is 1-3k
    2H same
    SnB same

    Annulment cost is over 4k
    Healing Ward 4k
    Blessing 3k
    Rally cheap Surge 3.5k

    Destro "spammables" 3k+

    There is a massive difference between cost to counter act, as you said, the absolute IMPORTANCE of stamina, that a build can completely forget about magicka while no build can completely forget about stamina.

    So magicka HAS to manage two resources whike stamina need only manage one. I think the advantage goes to stamina.
    Gamer tag: DasPanzerKat NA Xbox One
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  • Xvorg
    Xvorg
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    Also, as you asked about a difference in cost.

    There is a massive difference in cost in stam vs magicka

    In the DW you'll find abilities as cheap as 800 stam to around 3k
    Bow is 1-3k
    2H same
    SnB same

    Annulment cost is over 4k
    Healing Ward 4k
    Blessing 3k
    Rally cheap Surge 3.5k

    Destro "spammables" 3k+

    There is a massive difference between cost to counter act, as you said, the absolute IMPORTANCE of stamina, that a build can completely forget about magicka while no build can completely forget about stamina.

    So magicka HAS to manage two resources whike stamina need only manage one. I think the advantage goes to stamina.

    Adding that there´s only one cheap magicka spammable which is strife (mageblade) and that mDKs have some of the most expensive skills in the game and even LA cost reduction helps them (they have to use HA)
    Sarcasm is something too serious to be taken lightly

    I was born with the wrong sign
    In the wrong house
    With the wrong ascendancy
    I took the wrong road
    That led to the wrong tendencies
    I was in the wrong place at the wrong time
    For the wrong reason and the wrong rhyme
    On the wrong day of the wrong week
    Used the wrong method with the wrong technique
  • Drakkdjinn
    Drakkdjinn
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    Hey Solariken thanks for your input.

    I wanted to avoid the topic of PvP -- even though its my first love -- for now insofar as I believe it is a much more complex environment; even though I feel I have a much stronger grasp of Stam's place therein than PvE.

    Reason being is I feel that between PvP and PvE, evidence suggests that whatever little balancing ZoS actually does these days is with PvE in mind first and then PvP gets a look -- if at all.

    Which is why I'm wondering why if ZoS has embraced the resource game as the two core "roles" for PvE by now -- whether by choice or entrenched neglect -- if you will, they would at least have considered my assumptions at some point as they appear to be a "no duh" set of conclusions.

    The response I've been garnering here from power players such as yourself has been surprising; it seems to be the community's opinion that my conclusions are indeed known by the developers but that they simply don't care or are not able to devote resources to the basic tuning that should've been done in beta or at least OneTamriel.

    This game's design is a hot mess of oversights and dumbheadedness; pretty much the only conclusion I feel safe in subscribing too at this time :(
  • WhiteMage
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    Yep. That's the reason I can't recommend ESO to people looking for a great combat system. It has an fun foundation, which is why I'm still here (when my classes aren't killing me like they are this week), but it has so many flaws...

    I once made a post about some things like this, but it's more broad and as of yet incomplete. Classes have not given me much free time to work on it:

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/303943/armchair-developer-eso-combat-analysis-and-commentary-v0-1#latest

    Perhaps you'll find it interesting.
    Edited by WhiteMage on April 6, 2017 9:27PM
    The generally amicable yet sporadically salty magplar that may or may not have 1vXed you in Sotha Sil. Who knows?
  • Izaki
    Izaki
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    Stamina skills are cheaper indeed.
    WhiteMage wrote: »
    Yep. That's the reason I can't recommend ESO to people looking for a great combat system. It has an fun foundation, which is why I'm still here (when my classes aren't killing me like they are this week), but it has so many flaws...

    Dunno what you're talking about, the combat system in this game is amazing compared to other MMO's (hell even single player games). Just because there are balance issues on the whole stamina vs magicka thing, doesn't mean the combat system isn't great.
    @ Izaki #PCEU
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  • Drakkdjinn
    Drakkdjinn
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    WhiteMage wrote: »
    Yep. That's the reason I can't recommend ESO to people looking for a great combat system. It has an fun foundation, which is why I'm still here (when my classes aren't killing me like they are this week), but it has so many flaws...

    I once made a post about some things like this, but it's more broad and as of yet incomplete. Classes have not given me much free time to work on it:

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/303943/armchair-developer-eso-combat-analysis-and-commentary-v0-1#latest

    Perhaps you'll find it interesting.

    Oh hai Namaleth!

    Damn dude that's a great post; summarizes perfectly the conditions from PvE that carry to PvP and those that don't/apply to a lesser extent. Feel like I've been playing with these principles in mind/muscle memory but that's the first I've seen it laid out so cogently. Also makes the shortcomings of balancing PvE first/alongside PvP very clear after reading. Kudos!

    Dunno what you're talking about, the combat system in this game is amazing compared to other MMO's (hell even single player games). Just because there are balance issues on the whole stamina vs magicka thing, doesn't mean the combat system isn't great.

    I think you're missing the point a bit Izaki - no doubt the melee skill ANIMATIONS in this game are superb and blow all other MMOs out of the water, but the wind goes completely out of this game's sails when players realize that they can only do fancy moves if properly positioned that hit like a wet noodle in PvE on stam when their magicka counterparts can hit like a truck from any applicable distance -- and neither resource even need worry about using the crosshairs to target things to apply damage like previous TES titles' ranged abilities. The current targeting system really only makes sense to me for stam characters who are doing slash and stab abilities; I miss skyrim style targeting for bows/magicka.

    Damn, come to think of it, I'd play the *** of magicka classes if they actually had to aim their skills and lead their targets with crosshairs. That'd be some real skill and would justify the current lame/imbalanced DPS gap that exists atm between ranged/melee.

    Edited by Drakkdjinn on April 6, 2017 10:24PM
  • Drakkdjinn
    Drakkdjinn
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    Also, as you asked about a difference in cost.

    There is a massive difference in cost in stam vs magicka

    In the DW you'll find abilities as cheap as 800 stam to around 3k
    Bow is 1-3k
    2H same
    SnB same

    Annulment cost is over 4k
    Healing Ward 4k
    Blessing 3k
    Rally cheap Surge 3.5k

    Destro "spammables" 3k+

    There is a massive difference between cost to counter act, as you said, the absolute IMPORTANCE of stamina, that a build can completely forget about magicka while no build can completely forget about stamina.

    So magicka HAS to manage two resources whike stamina need only manage one. I think the advantage goes to stamina.

    Yet there is demonstrable and irrefutable evidence that the current values do not balance mDPS vs. sDPS; the advantage goes to magicka in PvE by leaps and bounds. There's no refuting that; hence my post. If that's what it looks like on paper but in practice it still doesn't add up or matter, then there's a balance issue and the paper stats need to be tuned more. You're also omitting several factors such as the increased danger to players on stam who are seeking to apply damage vs. ranged, and sundry others. I do not agree and the parses will back me up. Guess my assumptions do exist but they did one hell of a *** job with the values.
  • masterbroodub17_ESO
    Drakkdjinn wrote: »
    WhiteMage wrote: »
    Yep. That's the reason I can't recommend ESO to people looking for a great combat system. It has an fun foundation, which is why I'm still here (when my classes aren't killing me like they are this week), but it has so many flaws...

    I once made a post about some things like this, but it's more broad and as of yet incomplete. Classes have not given me much free time to work on it:

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/303943/armchair-developer-eso-combat-analysis-and-commentary-v0-1#latest

    Perhaps you'll find it interesting.

    Oh hai Namaleth!

    Damn dude that's a great post; summarizes perfectly the conditions from PvE that carry to PvP and those that don't/apply to a lesser extent. Feel like I've been playing with these principles in mind/muscle memory but that's the first I've seen it laid out so cogently. Also makes the shortcomings of balancing PvE first/alongside PvP very clear after reading. Kudos!

    Dunno what you're talking about, the combat system in this game is amazing compared to other MMO's (hell even single player games). Just because there are balance issues on the whole stamina vs magicka thing, doesn't mean the combat system isn't great.

    I think you're missing the point a bit Izaki - no doubt the melee skill ANIMATIONS in this game are superb and blow all other MMOs out of the water, but the wind goes completely out of this game's sails when players realize that they can only do fancy moves if properly positioned that hit like a wet noodle in PvE on stam when their magicka counterparts can hit like a truck from any applicable distance -- and neither resource even need worry about using the crosshairs to target things to apply damage like previous TES titles' ranged abilities. The current targeting system really only makes sense to me for stam characters who are doing slash and stab abilities; I miss skyrim style targeting for bows/magicka.

    Damn, come to think of it, I'd play the *** of magicka classes if they actually had to aim their skills and lead their targets with crosshairs. That'd be some real skill and would justify the current lame/imbalanced DPS gap that exists atm between ranged Magicka/melee.

    Ftfy

    There basically is no ranged stamina that is worth mentioning.

    That said, agree on all points. More utility, survivability, etc plus exceptional damage in magicka builds.
    What's worse is ZoS seems to not give 2 ***. The evidence? Look at warden skill morphs....every one of their magicka morphs have additional effects. All of their stamina morphs? You get the privilege of using stamina.

    Edited by masterbroodub17_ESO on April 6, 2017 11:04PM
  • Tasear
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    >.> I just learned better pick magicka dps if I make a dps for pve and pvp stamina seems to rain. I suppose that's balance.... but the Dominion better get the ruby throne.
  • Strider_Roshin
    Strider_Roshin
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    Drakkdjinn wrote: »
    WhiteMage wrote: »
    Yep. That's the reason I can't recommend ESO to people looking for a great combat system. It has an fun foundation, which is why I'm still here (when my classes aren't killing me like they are this week), but it has so many flaws...

    I once made a post about some things like this, but it's more broad and as of yet incomplete. Classes have not given me much free time to work on it:

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/303943/armchair-developer-eso-combat-analysis-and-commentary-v0-1#latest

    Perhaps you'll find it interesting.

    Oh hai Namaleth!

    Damn dude that's a great post; summarizes perfectly the conditions from PvE that carry to PvP and those that don't/apply to a lesser extent. Feel like I've been playing with these principles in mind/muscle memory but that's the first I've seen it laid out so cogently. Also makes the shortcomings of balancing PvE first/alongside PvP very clear after reading. Kudos!

    Dunno what you're talking about, the combat system in this game is amazing compared to other MMO's (hell even single player games). Just because there are balance issues on the whole stamina vs magicka thing, doesn't mean the combat system isn't great.

    I think you're missing the point a bit Izaki - no doubt the melee skill ANIMATIONS in this game are superb and blow all other MMOs out of the water, but the wind goes completely out of this game's sails when players realize that they can only do fancy moves if properly positioned that hit like a wet noodle in PvE on stam when their magicka counterparts can hit like a truck from any applicable distance -- and neither resource even need worry about using the crosshairs to target things to apply damage like previous TES titles' ranged abilities. The current targeting system really only makes sense to me for stam characters who are doing slash and stab abilities; I miss skyrim style targeting for bows/magicka.

    Damn, come to think of it, I'd play the *** of magicka classes if they actually had to aim their skills and lead their targets with crosshairs. That'd be some real skill and would justify the current lame/imbalanced DPS gap that exists atm between ranged Magicka/melee.

    Ftfy

    There basically is no ranged stamina that is worth mentioning.

    That said, agree on all points. More utility, survivability, etc plus exceptional damage in magicka builds.
    What's worse is ZoS seems to not give 2 ***. The evidence? Look at warden skill morphs....every one of their magicka morphs have additional effects. All of their stamina morphs? You get the privilege of using stamina.

    Lol even the bear; whom attacks via claws, and teeth; does magic damage by default.
  • Drakkdjinn
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    Not really going to consider the warden until several months after release; its obvious from the PTS and the notes that Warden is a pay to play class that will be overpowered intentionally to drum up funds in the lamest way possible. I have little hope even after their lameness is sated that the game will ever be balanced, however.
  • Drakkdjinn
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    Tasear wrote: »
    >.> I just learned better pick magicka dps if I make a dps for pve and pvp stamina seems to rain. I suppose that's balance.... but the Dominion better get the ruby throne.

    Not entirely true since homestead imo; magicka is deadly as hell in pvp.
  • Drakkdjinn
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    Also, as you asked about a difference in cost.

    There is a massive difference in cost in stam vs magicka

    In the DW you'll find abilities as cheap as 800 stam to around 3k
    Bow is 1-3k
    2H same
    SnB same

    Annulment cost is over 4k
    Healing Ward 4k
    Blessing 3k
    Rally cheap Surge 3.5k

    Destro "spammables" 3k+

    There is a massive difference between cost to counter act, as you said, the absolute IMPORTANCE of stamina, that a build can completely forget about magicka while no build can completely forget about stamina.

    So magicka HAS to manage two resources whike stamina need only manage one. I think the advantage goes to stamina.

    Right Yet stam dps even with the cost difference still underperforms by large margins, so make larger stamina pools available to both mag/stam since stamina is so overutilized and bring up melee dps to match ranged - wouldn't that be what we're both thinking of/a way to balance pve?
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