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U23 Combat Q&A

ZOS_GinaBruno
ZOS_GinaBruno
Community Manager
Thanks for everyone's patience while we collected the questions and answers for this post. Below, you'll find a selection of questions you all had relating to Update 23 combat, ability, and gameplay changes.


Healer Changes

In general, why were there so many changes to healers in this update?
The weapon lines audit resulted in healing abilities getting altered to fit our standards for ability usage. This, combined with the overall desire to improve client and server performance, meant that some healing abilities which relied on layering or multi-casting needed to be changed.

How do you plan to address certain end game content that requires the previous healing output to make it through (i.e. vHoF HM or Lokkestiiz HM)?
We’ve been monitoring gameplay in Update 23 since it went live and all content that was beaten before this update, has been beaten again (by many guilds). Tactics have changed a bit, but the content is not unattainable as some may have initially feared.

How will you be monitoring the changes to PvE healing and how it impacts the live game going forward?
We have several metrics that measure the completion rate of trials and dungeons and can clearly see whether those rates go up or down. We also regularly play on the live servers to see how the changes affect things.

Would you revisit the recent healing changes if it proved detrimental to the endgame portion?
As noted above, we haven’t seen any major impact to end game progression. Tactics have changed and groups have needed to adjust, but all content has been beaten by many guilds since the launch of U23. That being said, we are always monitoring and will make adjustments if there are any major outliers.

Why the change to the way Healing Orbs functions?
There were multiple reasons for this change:
  1. It had a high negative impact on performance
  2. The play pattern of the old functionality was seen as something we don’t want to reinforce in light of the performance issues
  3. It fell massively outside our AoE HoT standards

Do you have any plans to create a more diverse healer platform for other classes?
Yes, we do want to have more classes be able to effectively heal within their class kit.

What were the reasonings around the Stamina healing changes?
With Vigor, we wanted the choice to be a self-heal OR an AoE heal - not an all-in-one wonder like it was. For Rally, as it’s a weapon ability, it should be seen as a weapon enhancement primarily and a heal secondary.


Future Plans

With the ongoing skill audits, what is the ultimate goal for standardization? Where does class identity fall in the audit?
The Audit is something that needed to occur before class identity could be resolved. Imagine a yardstick with inches and centimeters changing how much distance was between each one - that’s what the Audit aimed to resolve, providing overall structure to abilities. Now that abilities have a standard to adhere to, we can address where classes achieve their unique feel working with those standards in mind. Each class will have a distinct feel and play pattern associated with a fantasy based on where their power is derived from.

What’s the design intent for all the classes?
Classes should have the tools in their class lines to be able to fill any role (Tank, DPS or Healer) with the other skill lines helping to broaden the toolset.

Which skill lines are planned for the next ability audit in Update 24?
None! We’ve finished our audit of skill lines for now and are looking to begin the process of reinforcing class identity with a few classes. This will be an ongoing process over the course of several patches.

When do you expect to start reworking/auditing the Champion Point system?
We’re actually working on it internally right now, but in terms of when we’re going to get something out publicly, that’s not anytime soon.


Stamina & Magicka

Do you have any plans on strengthening the arsenal for Stam versions of each class with their respective class abilities?
Yes, we’re looking at making Stamina builds within class kits viable. However, we are more interested in providing Melee vs. Ranged playstyles within class kits. If this results in some abilities being based on Stamina, Magicka or Health usage, we’re open to those possibilities.

It seems like you’re trying to homogenize all Stam DPS classes by giving them different passives, but making such a clear path with non-class abilities that makes little difference. Do you recognize this issue? Do you plan on waiting to see what comes from it?
Class skills need to fulfill the roles of DPS, Tank and Support for most content in the game, and weapon lines will fill out those holes. Currently this is not the case, and we are looking into resolving this in the future.

Racial balance for Stamina classes could use some improving. Do you plan on addressing this?
Yes, this is planned for a future update.

What are your feelings on the class-agnostic Stam meta resulting from the U23 changes?
We’re aware of the various restrictions based on Stamina build diversity, and are looking to make some adjustments to this in the future.

In U23, Stamina was given a decent universal stun in Turn Undead. Can we expect to see something with similar availability for Magicka in the future?
It’s something we’re aware of, and are looking to grant similar tools to both dish CC out and get out of CC.


Classes & Skills

Why were there so few changes to the Necromancer in this update?
With the Necromancer being our newest class, we’ve been collecting and reading all the feedback about Necromancers and are working on plans to address those pain points as both playing a Necromancer and against one.

With the improvements to tether mechanics in U23, are there further plans to improve the Necro corpse mechanics?
Yes, this will be discussed when planning any adjustments to the Necromancer as mentioned above.

Will Blast Bones get some tweaking to be more reliable?
Yes, we’re discussing methods to address the “confused Blast Bones” out there.

The passive Searing Heat was changed to make sure the DK DoTs were on par with other DoTs in the game. Why was a passive changed instead of making the changes on the skill itself?
The core function of an ability should be easy to grok, and the morphs and passives can stack on top of this to fulfill the flavor of a class. The change to Searing Heat was done to reinforce the idea of “you’re a DK, and this is how your DoTs get better”.

Surge feels a little underwhelming and difficult to trigger unless you’re using a healing staff. Are there any changes planned to improve the skill?
This morph is intended to be focused on healers, but we are aware of the desirability of Sorcery to other playstyles and are looking to address that in the future.

A lot of the feedback given on the werewolf changes don’t appear to be actioned upon. Why were no additional adjustments made?
We believe the werewolf is in a relatively good state balance-wise at the moment, but are continuing to monitor the live servers to see how things shake out.


Miscellaneous

Adding cast times to Ultimates appears to be a change most people here have reacted negatively to. Why are these cast times being added? What issue is the team attempting to solve with this change?
Ultimate abilities are some of the most powerful abilities in the game. We added cast times so there is counter play; we felt that having 3-4 abilities hitting you at once, including an Ultimate, is just too much. You also can’t animation cancel them because we don’t want players to be able to instantly cast them anymore. They are just too powerful.

Why are class abilities often weaker than their generic counterpart? Is it intended that there is less class identity?
As noted above, class identity is next on our list of things to hit. Our overall goal is that each class has enough tools fulfill each of the roles.

With the overhaul to AoE abilities, what is the intent on pushing players to use world skill lines over class skill lines?
It’s not our intention to push players to use world skill lines over class skill lines. We want there to be equal opportunity for players to use different abilities to fill out their builds. The ability audit was first, to establish a baseline. Class identity comes next.

What is the rationale behind reducing the damage of AoE ground DoTs?
AoE abilities should not do more damage than a single target ability on a single target. There should be a choice – if you are hitting more than 3 targets, AoE is the right choice. As it was before U23, AoE was always the right choice, in every situation.

In regards to the frequency and amount of changes made, how do you choose what to change given the community’s preferences for how certain things work?
Outside of periodic audits, the voice of the community is taken into account when we make changes to the game, not only for class balance but game direction as a whole. That said, we need to look at that feedback and decipher what the core of the issue is versus “Make this ability do X”, and consider why that is being requested and what scenarios that ability is being used resulting in that feedback.

Can you tell us what drives your decisions other than just "overperformance" with regards to skill changes? Where and how do you collect your information?
We collect data about what players are doing in the game and how they participate in the content. We also look at various public forums to see sentiment as noted in the above question, but also we play the game and experience the changes ourselves internally and live.

Are you aware of the extreme DoT rotations that have resulted from U23?
Yes, we’re aware of the current builds and rotations on Live and we’re actively monitoring.

What do you envision for group CC on tanks that don't have that in the class toolkit?
Not every class should have the same abilities and should have different types of applications for healing, damage, CC, buffs and methods of interacting with the combat system. For example, currently we understand there are some classes that are able to do certain roles better than others resulting in the “defacto” roles out there, but we want to ensure that all classes CAN tank, support and DPS, just in different ways.


PvP

Are you satisfied with the current implementation of Volendrung?
Yes. It does what it was designed to do, which is to cause mass chaos for a short while, then when its gone, things return back to normal.

Are there any changes planned for the faction lock system?
In this latest update, there are now pre-warnings when you log into the game in Cyrodiil preventing unintentional locking. We currently have no plans to remove the faction lock system.


Armor & Itemization

What are your plans for Medium armor, and bringing it more up to par with the other armor types? Are there plans to address the Stamina heavy armor meta in PvP?
We’re aware of the current strengths and weaknesses of each type of armor in the current game, and are looking into how Armor as a whole - regardless of Light, Medium or Heavy - interact with the game at a core level, not just what stats they provide.

Will the vMA Restoration staff be adjusted due to the changes to the duration of Regeneration?
We have an item set audit planned for a future update and will consider changes at that time.
Edited by ZOS_GinaBruno on August 25, 2019 8:51AM
Gina Bruno
Community Manager - The Elder Scrolls Online
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Staff Post
  • VaranisArano
    VaranisArano
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    Only two questions answered about pvp. I see. Nothing about performance negating combat functionality? No? Ok. Well, If I were a combat designer and my work was impacted so negatively by performance issues I would feel insulted to say the least.
    By the way, Volendrung only spawns behind alliance milegates. Not too chaotic if you ask me.

    To be fair, I thought the two PVP answers did a great job of answering the two biggest non-performance questions.

    Volundrung is working as intended.
    No plans to change faction lock.

    That's pretty big news for the future of PVP (Though possible moot if upcoming performance improvements don't make a big difference.)
  • eso_lytw8
    eso_lytw8
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    I appreciate pushing to get this out over the weekend. I also appreciate addressing homogenization, more importantly recognizing that they have indeed homogenized the classes and that they will be addressing this. It's interesting there is no mention of the upcoming passive audit that would have certainly resulted in complete loss of class identity. It feels like someone high up took the reigns and has turned the ship in a different direction. Instead of wiping out all the passives at once they will focus on class by class moves. I am concerned about them rebuilding one or two classes at a time. But this might be a smart marketing move, come back and play the new and more powerful DK this patch.

    I am also concerned with how do they intend to add back in class uniqueness. The classes were already unique and they have effectively removed this over time for the sake of balance. As soon as you add something unique back in it will cause a PVP stir and we are back to where we were before. Think about it, next patch DK's get unique abilities while all other classes are stuck with generic world skills. I would really like them to share an example of how they plan to do this.

    I also like that they have called out that all classes should be able to play all roles, but some classes should bring unique features to the table making them potential better for certain circumstances. Again they are saying the right things, but lack any evidence they can pull this off.

    So I will say I am encouraged that someone at ZOS has actually listened to the PVE community for once and is at least is stating that they need to fix things. I am disappointed it took so much effort to be heard. I am will continue to stay unsubbed, but have hopes they will follow through with this new direction. If they do before something better comes around I may return.


    < Xbox NA PVE >
  • Celestro
    Celestro
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    Appreciating the possibility of Stamsorc being addressed soon™ at the very least. Thank you for the answers Gina!
  • Red_Feather
    Red_Feather
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    ... some healing abilities which relied on layering or multi-casting needed to be changed.
    Because the current meta is so dependent on stacking single target DoTs, I was going to suggest certain skills gain a "cleanse 1 negative effect through layered casting", but now I'm worried that'll be a no for performance reasons? :/

    Just to give an example of what I meant. If a person with destruction staff cast Elemental Drain on a target with Elemental Drain already on them, then it could transfer 1 negative effect from the caster to target and cost some magicka. Thought stuff like that would be engaging. Some strategy and situational awareness to skills that are normally just "fire and forget".



    Edited by Red_Feather on August 25, 2019 2:37PM
  • lordrichter
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    This is astounding. You keep saying that you removed skills people liked (AOEs mainly) because of performance.
    You have spaghetti code, and it's slowing everything down. Rather than rewriting it and spending money on that, you are creating new content - because "casual players don't care" if the game runs poorly, they only care if there's not any new content.

    Actually, they are rewriting it. So to speak. It is part of the year-long performance improvements that have previously been announced. I am not sure if that will result in less Italian pasta, but that is all we have to go on.

    It is true that performance issues do not dominate my game play, but I do see them. It has always been true that I want new content over solely fixing performance. I expect poor performance and CTD in my games. After all, I am used to it from TES and Fallout games. I have had many many years of training on how to accept that games just don't work sometimes.

    PC North America since March 2014
    PAWS (Positively Against Wrip-off Stuff) - Say NO to Crown Crates!
    I collect free, unopened, virgin Crown Crates! 331, so far!

  • VaranisArano
    VaranisArano
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    Heatnix90 wrote: »
    Only two questions answered about pvp. I see. Nothing about performance negating combat functionality? No? Ok. Well, If I were a combat designer and my work was impacted so negatively by performance issues I would feel insulted to say the least.
    By the way, Volendrung only spawns behind alliance milegates. Not too chaotic if you ask me.

    To be fair, I thought the two PVP answers did a great job of answering the two biggest non-performance questions.

    Volundrung is working as intended.
    No plans to change faction lock.

    That's pretty big news for the future of PVP (Though possible moot if upcoming performance improvements don't make a big difference.)

    You're right, it did a great job of pointing out that they simply don't care about PvP anymore, even without addressing performance issues.

    Hey, it did a good job of answering.

    I can't do much about it if you don't like the answers, sorry. :) there's some answers here I don't like much, but its good to have them nonetheless.
    Edited by VaranisArano on August 25, 2019 2:58PM
  • Rikumaru
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    -Adding cast times to Ultimates appears to be a change most people here have reacted negatively to. Why are these cast times being added? What issue is the team attempting to solve with this change?
    Ultimate abilities are some of the most powerful abilities in the game. We added cast times so there is counter play; we felt that having 3-4 abilities hitting you at once, including an Ultimate, is just too much. You also can’t animation cancel them because we don’t want players to be able to instantly cast them anymore. They are just too powerful.


    But.. but you can only use one skill in a GCD. The counterplay is predicting the ultimate, the change just feels awful and is nonsensical. Not only that but it lag the ultimates don't even work correctly and it always lags in Cyrodill. Also why does soul siphon have a cast time as a defensive ultimate? Why does leap and crescent not have a cast time? How about undo? The changes seem pretty random.

    -Are there any changes planned for the faction lock system?
    In this latest update, there are now pre-warnings when you log into the game in Cyrodiil preventing unintentional locking. We currently have no plans to remove the faction lock system.


    Great, so I'm still going to be locked out of half my characters in PvP (especially as a no-cp player) and will be forced to choose which friends to play with. Wonderful.
    Edited by Rikumaru on August 25, 2019 3:20PM
    Overload rework. Power Overload now does physical damage and grants you the power of a tornado: You throw a brick at the target with a light attack, and you hammer your head into that brick with every heavy attack. We have decreased its Ultimate cost, but increased the chance that you get stuck in the animation.
  • Ratzkifal
    Ratzkifal
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    More updates to races? Specifically stamina? Don't get my hopes up.
    You've butchered Bosmer identity enough, I don't trust you to do them justice anymore. Just leave things as they are and let people enjoy their overpowered Orcs. But of course you can't do that, because if everyone switches back to Redguard, you'll get lots of money.

    I'd love to be proven wrong, but somehow I get the feeling that this won't happen.
    This Bosmer was tortured to death. There is nothing left to be done.
  • Bosov
    Bosov
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    Good to see that the cast time on ultimates is intended to water down combat and help casuals. It is needed in a game which's pvp has almost no skill level involved anymore, and that is basically impossible to play without proc sets. God bless casuals!

    That looks the way this combat team wants to go to. Add casttimes so even the slowest players can keep up, make dots do insane damage to provide free easy damage and add new proc damage sets every patch for even more free damage.

    Make the game super casual so even a player who played the game for a few days and got good drops has a chance to beat a player who has been playing for years.

    I guess casual players buy more crownstore items so changes will be made for them.
    Xbox One - EU - GT : Bosov
    PC - EU - @Bosov91

    ESO Highight :

  • Juhasow
    Juhasow
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    Well as always just a bunch of vague answers that barely respond any question. And on top of that any answers that are closer to give some insight dont seem to be very promising like for example fact we'll have to wait now few patches for classes to again have some feel of class identity. Just great...
  • Major_Lag
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    What are your feelings on the class-agnostic Stam meta resulting from the U23 changes?
    We’re aware of the various restrictions based on Stamina build diversity, and are looking to make some adjustments to this in the future.
    Conveniently, they entirely ignored the issue of the class-agnostic MAGICKA meta resulting from U23 changes... :trollface:
    Surge feels a little underwhelming and difficult to trigger unless you’re using a healing staff. Are there any changes planned to improve the skill?
    This morph is intended to be focused on healers, but we are aware of the desirability of Sorcery to other playstyles and are looking to address that in the future.
    Nice, so now we have to wait 6 months to get Major Sorcery back on a magicka SORCERER :#
    Are you satisfied with the current implementation of Volendrung?
    Yes. It does what it was designed to do, which is to cause mass chaos for a short while, then when its gone, things return back to normal.
    The near-entirety of 2 or 3 factions stack in 1 place, making the defenders all crash/disconnect or simply lag out, or get "stuck on textures". Working as intended :trollface:
  • Rake
    Rake
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    I question do zos members even pvp outside private server/large group.
    Based on what we see in game logical conclusion would be not at all.
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