After hearing ZOS cryptically mention that there would be heavy attack changes in the dragon bones ESO live of Jan 4 I decided to do some testing of the current scaling in anticipation of changes I hoped were coming. I have been rather vocal about how I think that the current damage and resource scaling as well as animation timing are basically broken. I had done some testing of just flame staff back in the morrowind days that had been in this thread
of which this one is something of a continuation. Of course, the dragon bones PTS has dropped now and with no meaningful heavy attack changes. So, instead of talking about the changes that didn't happen I decided to just post on how each weapon currently scales since most folks have no idea and would certainly never guess correctly.
For this testing I tested all weapons and found only flame and frost staff work basically the same. I did all the testing on the same toon. The variety of weapons used and such meant that some weapons did a lot of damage and other did not. Ignore the absolute values. This is about scaling. some of these tests were with magic gear and level one stam weapons. Others were with my high level magic weapons that went with the gear. The testing is about how a particular weapon scales not how it compares in damage to another. The one exception to this is resource return. This does not scale with weapon / spell power or with resource pool. So far as I can tell it is only effected by champ points. Since this was all done on one toon those relative values should actually be comparable. You will note that the stam return value in the table is multiplied by 10 for the stam weapons as the charts did not work otherwise due to the low damage of level 1 stam weapons. For each weapon I'll show you the data and some comment before wrapping it all up.
Flame / Frost staff:
Flame and frost were the only two weapons to look very similar so I will just put up the flame chart here. Both weapons show a similar drop at 2.3 seconds charge time indicating the buffing of light attacks +15% with the 3.0 (Morrowind) update as well as the nerfing of heavy attacks - 15%. This was detailed in patch notes as below.
· Increased the damage of Light Attacks by 15%.
· Decreased the damage of Heavy Attacks by 15%.
· Increased the resources restored by fully-charged Heavy Attacks by 30%.
Reduced the cast time of fully-charged Flame and Frost Heavy Attacks by 12.5%.
· To compensate for this increased attack speed, the damage for Flame and Frost Heavy Attacks has been reduced by an additional 12.5% for a total of 27.5%, and resources restored has been reduced by 12.5% for a total increase of 17.5%.
There are two goals with all the changes listed above. First, we want the damage difference between Light Attack weaving and Heavy Attack weaving to be more prominent. Light Attacks should be the clear winner when you are trying to maximize damage per second, while Heavy Attacks should deal less damage per second in exchange for restoring resources.
Second, we want to speed up some of the slowest Heavy Attacks while also increasing the amount of resources all Heavy Attacks restore. This should improve the combat feel of winding up some of the slower Heavy Attacks, while also allowing all builds to restore their resources faster and with less Heavy Attacks needed.
Of course, what can be seen plainly from the numbers is that it appears only partially charged heavy attacks were given a damage nerf and they do not return any resources in exchange for that. In contrast to that, fully charged heavies yield both resources and a great deal more damage/second than their partially charged step siblings. This does not even get into the set bonuses they also often proc.
The clear message is that every attack must either be a light or a full heavy to have any value. Any part charged heavy resulting from a fat fingering of the mouse or a block or dodge roll cancel necessary for combat reasons is basically a failed attack yielding no resources and poor damage. It should also be noted that the full charge time for a heavy attack is 1.7 seconds but the animation is 2.2. This is a result of multiple changes in attack timings and durations dating back to 1.6. Ironically, at that time, ZOS was interested in making the game feel snappier (not sure why they changed there mind,) but then as now the actual animation was not changed resulting in an ability whose actual duration is simply wildly divergent from the duration it appears to have. I had thought this was a bad state when I first brought it to light in 3.0 but it is actually much worse than I thought. I just hadn't seen the worst weapons.
I have never really liked the shock staff. This is basically because any error related to the click duration and the damn thing doesn't go off, at all. I am not sure why anyone would ever program an attack to work the way the shock staffs does but it has a gap between .23 and .5 seconds of charge time where it just doesn't do any damage at all. In the case of this literally failed attack, an animation will play showing you channeling an attack on an enemy, the enemy will appear to move in response, the enchant will proc, your ulti-charge timer will mercifully run, but no heavy or light attack damage will be done. You can chain these failed attacks back to back as long as you like if would like to appear that you are in combat without actually doing anything.
The underlying mechanics seem to be that the shock staff full heavy actually is 4 seperate attacks 3 of which count as DOT's and the last which seems to be something else all together. Since attacks of .23-.5 seconds are not light attacks they don't count as that and since they are less than .5 seconds they don't appear to be eligible for the first DOT pulse. There is no intermediate scaling at all between any pulses. It is very strange but suffice it to say, you mustn't go over .2 seconds or be less than a full heavy or you get hosed.
On the bright side, full heavy resource return seems to scale with the duration of the type of attack being used an a full heavy shock attack, at 2.1 seconds, is very close in duration to it's animation (2.2 seconds) so if your going to hold down that left key, and you need to be using a destro staff, you get the most resources back with a shock attack and it's animation is very close to the correct duration. I'm sure all the sorcs are happy?
Resto staff has some similarities to the shock staff in that it plays an animation but does no damage between .23 and .5 seconds and also that each tick of DOT is discrete. It differs in that it gets it's last tick of damage as well as it's "full heavy" resource credit at 1.9 seconds of a 2.3 second animation. Because of resto staff passives it also gives more resources. A massive 4.6k return.
I might as well start the stam weapons with what everybody is actually using. It should be pretty obvious from the data one of the big reasons for that. The full heavy damage as well as the 2k resource return occur at .9 seconds of charge time on dual wield. This is particularly significant as the cooldown for abilities is 1.1 seconds and therefore, with dual wield, you can come quite close to no wasted between ability casts even with all fiddly bits of ability animations and what not considered.
Of course, you cannot do this if you are paying attention to the actual animation time of the dual wield attack as it is a massive 1.6 seconds, double the actual charge time. The stam weapons, in general, had charge times that departed even more strikingly from their animation times than the magica weapons. They also had a less dramatic spike in damage from medium to heavy than their magical brethren.
The first thing you notice on 2 handed is the massive > 40% drop in damage from light to heavy attacks. Who knows what is going on there all of this really defies logic (I mean resto and shock don't do any damage at that point) so why would there be any reason for that. Beyond that, 2 handed scales very similar to dual wield with a fully charged heavy happening fairly quickly at 1.1 seconds but the animation lingering out to almost double that at 2.1 seconds. Should 2 handed ever be inexplicably buffed to the point it has better DOTs than bow or dual wield it is fully capable of being a drop in replacement from a resource return standpoint.
Bow continues the general stam weapon trend of long animations for short attacks with a charge time of 1.5 seconds but an animation time of 2.4 seconds. In the case of bow this may have been intentional with the PVP advantage that being able to hold that full charge heavy used to have but that is gone now despite all the crying about it from every bow user who has not figured out that ZOS hates them and does not want them to kill anybody in PVP.
Given the Wrobels decision that all non-cheat engine (there are a few left, though, probably only a few) users must use full heavies as their only real resource management method having these things scale in this bizarre and irrational way is a problem for the combat mechanics of the game. This is especially true for magic users who, due to mechanics, must frequently bail on their protracted duration full heavies part way through to block or doge roll. This leaves them SOL desperately trying to squeeze a full heavy in somewhere else and loosing damage from both the week half heavy attack and the missed ability casts for the next try.
The following changes should be implemented:
1) All medium attacks should return resources in proportion to how long they are with some consideration for the fact that you loose a massive amount of attack damage when going from light to medium. Perhaps the shortest medium flame attack might yield something like 500 magic return and the longest the current 3.2k.
2) You should probably actually apply the 15% heavy nerf to the actual full heavies that are returning resources as well as rescale the damage number so that it is back on the heavy line. Right now you gave it a massive, roughly 30% buff on magic weapons and 15% on stam, when you intended to nerf it.
3) Heavy attack animation should be the duration of the actual skill cast. This should be obvious. People should not have to macro their bloody heavy attacks to make them efficient. They do this though and I don't blame them one bit.
4) The shock and resto staffs not doing any damage at all from .23-.5 seconds but playing an attack animation is crazy stupid and broken. Is this to offset the resource return they are also not getting? Why don't you just forget about the whole stupid 3 or 4 pulse thing and scale these just like the frost and flame staff. They are a mess right now.
I hope this data helps some of the players who are having difficulties figuring out what is actually happening. I also hope for changes come. I continue to find the combat experience terrible as it is. I should also not that having played the clockwork city quests and tried out the new outfitter system with preview I continue to be amazed at the disparity in quality between some teams at ZOS and others. I do not see how you can make such cool worlds to explore and not have your basic heavy attacks the underlay all combat work at all. I also don't see how you can tolerate the level of 3rd party cheat engine software use you clearly have.
Yes I am deeply embarrassed to still be playing this game. I know better.