Apologies for the wall of text. This is too important for a tl;dr. Movement and snares need to be clearly and specifically explained as it's clear to me their importance are not and have not been appreciated for the past 5 years.
The movement/snare system in ESO is flawed
As far as PvP goes, the most disliked change I have heard about this update is, to quote one particular player, "can't f***ing move." It seems this complaint of snares/roots has been around for years (who here remembers when Bombard stacked?) and now this has been compounded with a drastic reduction in speed. It’s high time to make thoughtful changes.
In general, ESO has many (versatile) skills and passives that snare and very few (overspecialized) abilities to remove them, which are all but mandated if you don’t feel like dying repeatedly. ESO is also very much an all or nothing system in that either you are fast and have snare immunity or you’re snared and slow. There isn’t any middle ground. The best speed buff in the game (+30%) is restrictive and possesses the same potency as weak snares (-30%) that comes from class passives (e.g. Warmth, Sacred Ground). Moreover, according to this post here https://www.reddit.com/r/elderscrollsonline/comments/6c2q7p/movement_speed/
, snare debuffs are calculated after
movement buffs, which basically means they slow us down more than buffs speed us up. I don’t know if this is true, but even if it’s not you’re going to run into the same problem: you top speed buff is less potent than the snare from an offensive ability I spam (e.g. Reflective Light), So even if you have major expedition, if you’re snared, you are slower than people without the buff who are chasing you. Which is crazy.
The lack of a middle ground is painful because that basically means if you don’t have immunity, you’re screwed when it comes to movement. It makes the major expedition buff less potent than it ought to be, even before the issue of whether or not the 4050 magicka cost Boundless Storm is worth 4 seconds of +30% movement, which in my opinion is not.
It’s an overly simplified system that treats movement minor component to combat when it’s absolutely crucial.
As this is the way ESO has worked since forever, we have 4 ½ years of PvP experience and have seen pretty much only been 3 mobility/escape skills that have been worth using if you are not a Nightblade and think “I need to move there right now because if I don't, I'm going to die”.
- Forward Momentum (at least the 8 second version. I do not have enough experience with the current 4 second version to comment on its efficacy)
- Elusive Mist (the other morph is garbage)
- Streak (although the "whiplash" version and going up/down hills make me want to throw my computer out the window). Streak probably should get an asterisk as it pretty much requires two casts without someone gap-closing. Nevertheless, sorcerers usually can spend a hefty amount of magicka using this to get from one place to another.
What about Retreating Maneuvers? Nope, it costs 8100 stamina and drops off way too easily (even by casting the Rune Focus buff). Works OK if you are in a group with someone else casting on you (and healing you), but outside of that it’s too restrictive (see more detailed explanation at end of post).
OK, let’s not pretend like the past 4 ½ years didn’t exist. Instead, let’s try to learn from that time and come to some conclusions. Without freedom of movement, you’re going to die too much to discourage people from moving away from the faction herd, let alone try to solo open world. Even the major expedition on its own doesn’t cut it because the moment you are even slightly snared, you’re slower than your pursuers. If you are in a group without freedom of moment, you are the metaphorical fat kid who will get left behind and killed.
Without an overhaul to the existing system, that’s the situation we are all playing in: because movement restrictions are so pervasive and easy to apply (indeed, being snared is probably the default stutus while in a fight), if you can’t move, you’re going to get zerged down and die. It’s time to drop old standards, like the 4 second boost of speed that has been with us since launch. The reason why Elusive Mist's 4 seconds cut it is because it also provides immunity to snares and stuns, in addition to providing a ridiculous amount of damage mitigation. Using that skill will get me to where I want to go, no other 4 second movement skill can make such a claim, which is why with the nerf to mobility options many people are going back to Vampire for Elusive Mist.
In my estimation, the system ought to be completely uprooted as it has a fundamental flaw that various band-aid fixes will not address: the original designers clearly underrated how important movement is in the open world, which is why snares are too strong and easy to apply, whereas counters are too few and often too ineffective.
But I imagine overhauling the system isn’t going to happen, so what can be done in the short term?
I’m not going to argue against this angle, however there are pitfalls.
If ZOS implements a major/minor snare system as a lot of people suggest, I think those people will be disappointed because ESO;s mechanics are already functionally like that and such a system could potentially make matters worse. Snares overwrite rather than accumulate, which means you’re only going to be hit with one (highest) debuff at a time. So, a major and minor system will allow for multiple snares to stack, which might slow me down even more and just create more additional debuffs to cleanse. I don’t want a system that supposed to improve the system to potentially make things worse.
I think what the major/minor snare people mean is to mirror the speed system and cap the strongest snares at 30%. I wish they would make this explicitly clear as the 30% cap is much more important given that ESO’s snares currently do not stack. While I can get behind a 30%/10% system and won’t argue against it, I still think there are drawbacks that make it so bigger changes are needed elsewhere. 30/10 is still going to get you hit with multiple snare debuffs (quite often too, Templars and DKs have passive which auto snare). Also if the largest snare in the game is 30%, people who play open world might be happy, but that snare is going to do diddly squat protecting a castle breech Vs. a large number of incoming players. I know people hate snares, but they do serve an important function for strategy.
I could get behind some sort of immunity timer after being snared or rooted, ala the “hard” CC stun mechanic. But as it is right now, Templars and DKs are slow. If their opponents received free 5 or 7 windows of immunity without investing in a skill, they can run circles around the slow classes in addition to pretty much nullifying their Warmth and Sacred Ground passives. If we’re going to go this route, then ZOS is going to have to discard the idea of a “slow” class or said “slow” classes are going to exasperating to play.
I want argue against dealing with the issue from the snare angle, but I think it would be preferable to instead provide us what we want, more effective options to counter them.
That being said, there are certain snare/root skills that ought to be looked at.
- Time Stop: a max range AOE stun is already questionable. That the skills puts an obnoxiously high snare that steadily increases is throw my computer out the window frustrating. Keep the stun so PvEers can still do Moonhunter Keep and not blame me for nerfs; however, that snare has zero business being that punishing and probably should not be there at all.
- Rending slashes. As if this skill and the accompanying bleed wasn’t strong enough, 40% is too much as it means even if a target has major expedition, they’re still going to still be slower than the normal speed of the user (even a heavy armor spec!). I understand duel wield has no gap closer, but under the current system on Live, where’s the counter play for a magicka oriented target aside from Streak or Vamp Mist?
- Stampede. 60% is way over the top when this can be spammed.
- Teleport Strike. Is it necessary for this to snare when it can be spammed and Nightblades have more movement enhancing and hindering abilities than any other class in the game?
- The other thing I’d strongly consider is that snare durations should not overwrite.
- If snares are calculated last in the speed formula, that needs to change as this means a 30% snare will slow you down more than a 30% major expedition buff will speed you up.
Expanding movement options
This is what ZOS should do as the underlying system is busted. Just give us options to at least deal with it.
The current 4 seconds model of major expedition is not worth a cast, let alone 4000 off a resource pool.
What is the purpose of this buff anyway? If it’s meant to be an escape skill, it fails because I’m still slower than my pursuer if snared, my pursuer can sprint faster than what this buff provides, it doesn’t prevent gap closers, etc., etc. Am I really expected to press this every 4 seconds in a fight? Or am I expected to cast this every 4 seconds to get from point A to B? If so, why am I not getting on my horse (oh, because of the in-combat bug…). If it’s meant to be a short burst for tactical movement, it fails because it does not meet the standard of Vampire Mist. 4 seconds of major expedition is pointless. All the skills the provide this buff should be rethought and reformed
The current 12 second potion buff for major expedition is not comparable to the strength of major vitality or stealth detection, which have the same duration. It is too short.
Another issue with potions is that magicka players do not feel speed is “theirs” as it not possible to combine the speed component with restore magicka. There are two ways to look at this.
The original 36 second duration to major expedition was a legit and I would say balanced option for a magicka class. You got a potent effect, but paid a real price in losing your primary resource management. That created a tough choice and IMHO that’s a good thing. I used speed pots on my magplar and felt there were times it was really good and felt there were other times it got me killed because I ran out of magicka. I also felt it was possible to play the class without being forced to be a Vampire. This model was interesting, provided players with legit choices that deviated from the cookie-cutter meta, and allowed a more “play the way you want” environment. Of course, this only works if the speed potion only went with player’s secondary resource and thus comes with a drawback. ESO should have more mechanics that force us to make tough choices like this. It would be interesting is using a speed pot automatically correspond the restore/regen to the player’s secondary attribute. This is why so many players hated the Murkmire patch because it tore the rug out from underneath how we played without providing an alternative.
[List=2] But I want speed and my primary resource! Okay, but you and I both know there is no drawback and thus zero business having speed be 36 seconds.
Light and Heavy armor currently have the same speed. That does not make any sense regarding verisimilitude or from a balance perspective if heavy is supposed to be designed to take/absorb hits whereas light is not.
There ought to be more “I need to move there right now because if I don't, I'm going to die” skills than forcing people to use a two-handed weapon or be a vampire. If the Psijic skill Accelerate is supposed to fill this function, simply granting major expedition for a few seconds (with one morph having a cast-time) isn’t cutting it. With ESO system of snares that are way more potent and plentiful than speed boosts, we need immunity or teleportation.
We played through Summerset and failed to examine the speed problem. The issue always was the ease in which speed buffs stacked without a punishing system of diminishing returns. We now know Swift at 10% base speed was too strong and that has been addressed. We don’t need to suffer through playing in Molasses any longer as we now appreciate the dangers of easy to stack speed.
What I would do:
- A skill that provides 4 seconds of major expedition is not something I want to slot, let alone cast. If it’s just going to provide speed, it needs to have a longer duration. If it’s 4 seconds, it needs to provide immunity as well.
- Speed pots are 24 seconds and magicka+speed is possible (again, I think the more interesting choice would be 36 seconds and automatically secondary resource, but not sure how that could be done).
- Immunity skills not restricted to Two-Handed, Vampire, and Medium Armor. I would also buff the alternative crappy morphs like Baleful Mist and Elude as this would force us to make a hard choice.
- Well-fitted armor and Medium probably should have *small* buffs to their base speed. Light should have a smaller buff such that it is slower than Medium and faster than Heavy.
- Speed has diminishing returns to reign in potential abuse of people trying to stack it
Overhauling Rapid Maneuvers
The way this skill is currently designed is bad and boring in just about every way. Am I really supposed to blow 8100 stamina to get a movement buff that is slower than someone else sprinting that falls off the moment I try to heal myself? Wouldn’t I use this because I’m in danger of dying and need to move and heal? So, I’m guessing it’s just for organized “ball-groups”? Why? Who thought this was a good idea?
What to do with this skill? Well, the first thing would be to make it so the other morph is worth considering such there is at least some variety in PvP.
As it currently stands, organized groups need
require this skill otherwise the game is not playable because of the oversimplified movement system, which means those who are outnumbered play in virtual molasses. It is a huge barrier for entry for newer/PuG groups. Can’t move = you're dead because it’s so mindlessly easy for enemy blobs to spam snares and roots inside Negates, Destro bombs, and Harmony buffed Gravity Crushes. Just as solo players need FM/Vamp Mist, groups need Rapids.
These are the biggest problems with how the skill works on Live. Note: parallel arguments can be made for Purge.
- 8100 stamina is ridiculously expensive
- The buffs dropping off when you do just about anything means it requires a specialized build to keep reapplying this skill. I’m not sure what the thinking was in making a skill crucial to survival in PvP, but putting the cost at 8000. People would only hit it once?
- It was more than a mistake restricting these skills to group play, it was a blunder. It just screws everyone else and makes them Vicious Death fodder.
- The other morph is utterly inadequate. Not removing the very things that are killing us for 8 seconds or minor expedition? Every group is running the same thing which makes gameplay dull and monotonous. (I would say Cleanse is a legit morph for Purge).
What this basically means is that this absolutely essential skill (along with purge) is only accessible to organized groups who have a specialized build spam it. This is a terrible mechanic.
Without overhauling the snare/movement system, these reforms would at least help alleviate the symptoms
- Make the cost reasonable and able to hit people outside of group again. I don’t want to believe people in PvE zones complaining about getting a speed buff influenced the change, but the current situation is intolerable so put it in Battle-Spirt. Yes, I know ZOS would rather not use Battle-Spirt for reasons that are real, but this is super important.
- Cut down the number of people it hits to something like 4 or 6, have it last for 5 seconds and not be removed. It is spammed because ZOS made the change where it gets removed if you sneeze. We spam this because we’ll die if we don’t.
- If larger groups tries to get away with a spammer, stop that issue by having the buff refresh on 4 or 6 new people and overwrite the 4 or6 it previously hit. One of the 4 or 6 is always yourself, always
I think these goals will at least make Rapid maneuvers more accessible to all alliance war players and require organized groups to at least approach using the skill more thoughtfully. Ball group wants to run rapids? Need 4 stamina players in group. If Purge was reformed similarly, if they wanted to have purge, they’d need 4 magicka players in group. Smallman wants same treatment? 1 of each slots it. These changes would also encourage more diversity within groups.
There would be no more rapid/purge spammers, no glaring disadvantages because groups cant convince someone to spam it for then, and we’d get the same (and achievable) functionality for a 4 man or a 20 man group. Choices and reasonable sacrifices for value in builds. No 8000 costs!
Make it reasonable cost, make it limited in scope, make it valuable to cast by not having it removed, make it prioritize group members but able to hit everyone, and bam ... no more scary ball groups always ahead of everyone else.
The movement/snare system is fundamentally flawed. If it’s not getting an overhaul, we need more options to free us from playing in virtual molasses. I do not think the ability to functionally move in the open world is appreciated because of the blanket manner in which mobility nerfs were implemented in Murkmire. It’s hard to “fix” ESO’s current all or nothing system, but I’d much rather the default be “all” (i.e. we have accessible immunity to snares and move at normal speed) than being snared the whole time I’m not in Vampire Mist. The Rapid Mauever changes above make the skill accessible to everyone and even the playing field, without removing the basic functionality of the skill which is required because of the flawed movement/snared system ESO has had since launch.
Edit: I've tried to get confirmation of the speed formula and when/how snares get applied, but it's hard to test accurately and most answers I've received have the general "feeling" that snares %s slow people down more than the same speed % would speed us up. This could be a mistaken impression, given that snares are so prevalent and strong, whereas speed are few and not very potent.
In either event, something absolutely needs to happen. There are so good observations in this thread made by posters. One I will highlight here:
Firstly, the movement speed equation needs to be rewritten such that all bonuses, whether positive or negative, are additive. From the thread linked in the OP, it seems the speed equation is sort of like:
speed = base * min(2.0, 1.0 + Buffs + Sprint * SprintSpeed) * (1.0 - Snare)
If this is the case, it needs to be rewritten ASAP. It should be written like:
speed = base * min(2.0, 1.0 + Buffs + Sprint * SprintSpeed - Snare)
In the first case, the snares are applied through a multiplication against the final speed. This means that snares hit faster moving builds disproportionately harder than slower moving builds. If we apply a 40% snare to a build with no speed buffs, the snare slows the target by 40% (1.0 * 0.4 = 0.4), obviously. However, throw in Major and Minor Expedition (stamsorc with Major Expedition from a bow?), that becomes 56% (1.4 * 0.4 = 0.56). This is not okay, and needs to be fixed by making it additive, as I outlined above. Making it additive would mean a 40% snare is a 40% snare
, regardless of the target's build.
This is going by the assumption that snares are calculated differently. Even if this is not the case, snares need to be less prevalent, less potent, and more difficult to apply so it does not seem like snares are calculated differently.