Good evening everyone!
A few days ago, we held one of our regular calls with the Class Reps to discuss PTS feedback with the focus being the racial passives, itemization, and the two new Wrathstone dungeons. @Joy_Division
was kind enough to take notes during the call, which you'll find below.
Additionally, we're really excited to let everyone know that we've invited the Class Reps to the studio to playtest the upcoming Necromancer class and give us some early feedback based on various testing scenarios (for example: Necros in duels, BGs, dungeons, etc.) This will happen in a couple weeks and while they'll be under NDA, there is a press embargo in the near future where, at that point, they'll be able to give some insight into their experience.
Without further ado, here are the notes from our meeting as written by Joy:
On the whole, the meeting was productive. There were numerous ZOS Devs participating at the meeting, which is a good Development as it not only allowed for us to get more insight into where they were coming from, but more direct feedback from those Devs in the systems in which they are responsible (such as gear).
We are under NDA, and quite a few topics strayed into this area. Also, the Devs made reference to the Elsweyr update in numerous inquiries that we made. This means, unfortunately, that we cannot relay all that we talked about; in fact there is quite a bit we can’t. I can say from what I heard at the meeting, I am looking forward to Elsweyr and it seems the Devs are willing to continue and look into issues from this patch. That being said, here’s the non-NDA version of events.
As expected, we spent a good chunk of time here. I’ll go into more detail below, but the gist of the feedback from the Devs made us think they have taken our and the community’s feedback to heart and are legitimately trying to make this as smooth as possible. Speaking for myself, I was impressed and - pleasantly surprised – the path ZOS is going here to try and improve the races is to do just that: improve what’s on the PTS. It’s a nice change of pace not to see things get hit with nerfs as an attempt to address issues.
OK, some details. I can’t get into specifics as ZOS is still tweaking some stuff and there’s NDA, but I can relay what their goals are and how they will try and go about them. Something to consider that is potentially huge: ZOS is looking to make flat bonuses interact consistently with CP, so your character stat values that you see on the PTS now will likely be higher than on the PTS next week. This means the changes are going to be more significant than what’s just listed below.
- Argonians: More healing done and higher resource return on potions.
- Bretons: Overall ZOS liked where they were, though are looking to make some (positive) adjustments/conditionals to the resistance passive.
- Dunmer: More damage is the goal, changes were too far from their original mechanics. Will gain more stamina and magicka stats to boost damage, though will have health reduced.
- Altmer: Goal was for Bretons to be sustain oriented and Spell Recharge was making High Elf both damage and sustain. ZOS wants this to still be a damage race and will look to reform Spell Recharge to provide something other than main stat return.
- Imperial: ZOS is looking to make Red Diamond do more than just be a % proc for health. They understand the race in general needed a boost. Imperials on the PTS were too restrictive for tank builds. They are versatile race and the new passive will reflect that
- Khajiit: ZOS generally liked what this race was offering, though indicated that some small boosts in the stats would be ideal. Stealth passive to be adjusted so they can’t literally walk under a guard’s nose without being seen.
- Orc: ZOS wants this to be a more damage oriented “brawler” race rather than a sustain option (that’s where Redgaurds are supposed to shine). So will likely see a boost in stamina (with less overall health) and unflinching rage will restore health rather than stamina on doing damage (with cooldown).
- Redguard: ZOS is generally satisfied with how this race functions mechanically, but would like to add some identity that aids them in combat. They’ll be getting a utility boost
- Bosmer: ZOS has heard concerns about the stackable powerful movement speed. Bosmers will still get a speed boost off dodge, it just wont be as high. Bosmers will get some short damage bonus as compensation. Note: Reps specifically asked about the community’s concern that bosmers are trading stealth for different buffs. We were told that ZOS saw these concerns and would work on creating more options/systems for stealth gameplay outside of race. With these additions, stealth gameplay will open up to more players, and also allow bosmers to have the nice combat buff will still having avenues to be as stealthy as before.
- Nord: There was quite a bit of discussion about this race. ZOS understands there are concerns that Nords will become the default too-good tank race because of the passive. However, before just nerfing or changing it, they would like to see some actual gameplay to see if these concerns come about. Alcast specifically mentioned that there are times a raid wants to hold Warhorn for a critical moment, which means sometimes ultimate counters goes up to 300, which would make the Nord passive useless. We talked about healers potentially also changing to Nords to get that passive, and we didn’t see that as a problem as the whole point of the racial changes was to diversify things and make for interesting choices. Besides, a Nord healer is giving up a ton of sustain, so give and take. The Reps agreed that actual gameplay was preferable to speculation. ZOS has their eyes on this race though.
In general, the Reps felt the Devs were responding to a lot of feedback that has been given, are trying to make this as smooth as possible, and were pleased to see that positive adjustments were the main tool rather than nerfs.
The Reps did float ideas that would make it possible for players to receive more than one race change token. We encouraged the Devs to put more thought into this.
We got into a good discussion about proc sets, specifically those proc sets that at least players have to work for bonuses (such as Spell Strategist), which we think are positive additions to the game, and nightmare ones like Sloads that give players powerful bonuses basically for free. ZOS has indicated they appreciate the difference and from what they said, Elsweyr is looking like it might offer players some solid, fun options without resorting to dubious overperforming sets.
Some of the specific sets we talked about:
- Icy conqueror: ZOS has noted some tooltips were potentially too high and will adjust the set such that it does the dame DPS, with lower damage happening with shorter cooldowns.
- Warband: Will proc on direct damage rather than basic attacks so players can get more specific performance. ZOS understand that min-max grouped players wont need this set, but wants these bonuses available for bow / bow builds and people not in such organized gameplay. We felt this was fine.
- Curse Eater: ZOS has heard a lot of feedback on this. They still want the set to provide the same basic function, but will make it such that the set will only proc on direct healing and have a longer cooldown, though with more potent effects.
The other sets, we talked abut potential issues, but were willing to see more gameplay before changes were necessary.
Other Gear stuff
NDA / later update stuff here. ZOS knows that Fury / 7th Legion are overshadowing just about every stamina PvP option. They know fighting Earthgore is frustrating to a lot of players. They mentioned other sets that players bring up as pain points. This is not for this update so wont be on next week’s PTS, but it was good to hear from ZOS’s own mouths that existing gear needs to be looked at.
This is not a focus for this update, so there’s once again going to be a lot of NDA and update 22 stuff here. That being said, although this PTS is not likely going to address some of the pain points the community has, the combat team is absolutely investigating ongoing class concerns for update 22.
One thing that came up in our meeting that is useful for everyone to keep in mind, is that ZOS indicated it would be really helpful to describe why something is a problem or an issue rather than just saying “buff X” or “we need Y.” It would really help with their prioritization to have concrete explanations of what’s wrong rather than a list of 100 things people want buffed.
A lot of what we Reps said was answered by, “Yep, we know. We’re working on it for Update 22.”
Several Reps indicated they are sending detailed lists to ensure these pain points (and new ones) get even more attention, including a DK-specific write up from Quantum.
Basically if something has been identified as a pain point that has not been addressed yet, it was repeated. Also, and this is important, we planned to have another meeting with the Devs right after the PTS to get into nitty gritty about classes. In short, even if your class concerns aren’t going to show up on the PTS, they absolutely will get communicated in detail long before ZOS puts up the PTS for Elsweyr. Hang in there.
Stuck in Combat
: Unfortunately while ZOS has engineers working on this issue, it’s there and it’s going to be there until they get a handle on the issue. This prompted frustration and contention. ZOS made it clear they do not want to implement “band-aid” fixes and that the in-combat state was a core feature necessary for numerous combat systems. They indicated that they suffer the same bug and are also frustrated with it.
After some pressing, it became clear that getting passionate over the issue is not going to alleviate the situation, fix the bug, or prompt useful discussion. That being said, there are some things that ZOS indicated they are agreeable with to make it such that this super frustrating bug isn’t so destructive. One thing they specifically mentioned was they saw no reason why being in combat ought to prevent the use of the transitus wayshrines. Another possibility that perhaps can be explored is at least being able to change quickslots. I know this is not what anyone was looking for, but it is what it is and if you’re going to play Cyrodiil next update, then I highly suggest you channel your frustrations into useful suggestions that can make PvP playable while being stuck in combat as ZOS indicated that is something that they can do.
: The discussion around this skill mostly centered around the issue of movement and speed/snares. This is one of those future update things so can’t be specific. The Reps indicated that while they agreed the old Rapids skill was poorly deigned and needed an overhaul, what’s on the PTS is impractical as the instances where retreat is necessary, healing and buffs will cause the skill to fall off and thus waste somebody’s 8100 stamina. They’ve heard the frustrations over movement loud and clear.
PvP annoyances that ZOS agreed were indeed annoying and looking to address: Time Stop (see below), Earthgore (next update), Snipe (see below), Scattershot stun (bug fixed on the PTS, please report if this still has issues), Oblivion damage (it’s too good, next update).
Battlegrounds and Cyrodiil have non-class related pain points that the Reps will relay to ZOS follow the meeting.
: ZOS is raising the cost to 8100 magicka and indicated they are willing to make further adjustments If necessary.
: ZOS has engineers actively looking into the desynchs and bugs with this skill. They also indicated there has been a lot of feedback about this skill and will reexamine it next update.
Arena Weapons: Reevaluating these are “on the radar.” ZOS knows they need adjustment.
: Unfortunately, like in-combat, ZOS’s engineers are still trying to get to the bottom of this bug.
: We did not spend as much time on this as we’d have liked too (we were running short on time). It’s a big impact on tanking and duel wield DPS. That being said, we’ve had long discussions about this in our Discord and it’s safe to say the implications of these changes have been communicated to ZOS.
In general, I think this is something to be emphasized. Just because a particular issue, pain point, or mechanic is not on this summary of our meeting, that does not mean it was forgotten or hasn’t been brought to the Devs’ attention. In fact, without question, we have had far more communication with the Devs in our discord about the PTS, pain points, bugs, question changes, and community concerns than what we went over in a 120 minute meeting. Plus there is NDA stuff and mechanics ZOS has indicated they are doing in another update.
Both the Devs and the class Reps have gotten more comfortable with our routines and there is q noticeable amount of increase in communication between us outside of these formal meetings. While there are some things where there some disagreement between us, it is telling the things that have frustrated us the most are bugs rather than design decisions. Speaking for myself, there was a good two or three year period where I did not look forward to patch notes because they just seemed like a list of nerfs. While there are things I would have done differently, on the whole I do think this update is improving the game and I am looking forward to the Elsweyr update as ZOS has demonstrated a willingness to tackle the issues the community does bring up.
Wrathstone Dungeon Feedback
The bosses are well designed and are fun to play. The Skeevaton mace also adds another level of difficulty and "fun" sequence to a bossfight never really seen before like this in ESO.
In normal mode you can easily get through if you have the full team together, difficulty is fine there. Veteran mode, especially Frostvault is quite difficult even for some more organized teams. I would call frostvault to be the most difficult dungeon so far, especially with the hard mode activated.
The dungeons are fine for NORMAL LFG groups. Veteran LFG groups most likely would just get rekt over and over again. To beat the bosses you need a coordinated group, otherwise it will not end well.
Giving out the Skin as an achievement with completing the dungeon on veteran only is also a good idea. This way more people will be encouraged trying to get the skin. Usually when people see they need to do speedrun, no death or hardmode they just bail because they know they cannot get it.
SKEEVATON PHASE FROSTVAULT DUNGEON: Please for the love of god, give us some sort of clear explanation what the skills do before the fight starts. We had to screenshot the skills, get out of the game and check out the tooltips to even figure out what they exactly do. ZOS stated there will be something included in the next PTS patch for this.