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Official Discussion Thread for "Developer Deep Dive – Let’s Talk About Class Identity in ESO"

  • Eormenric
    Eormenric
    ✭✭✭
    Rungar wrote: »
    this is an insane quest. I will explain tanks and healers and leave dps for last as its a special case.

    if you choose a tank as your role you must either choose one handed and shield or destruction staves or both, thus weapon skills provide the BASIS of your role. Your class does not provide the basis of your role but instead the fluff like buffs and look.

    Same thing for a healer you must choose destro or resto staves or both and this does the same thing. Weapon skills provide the BASIS and your class fills the gaps.

    its exactly opposite of what your trying to do with the classes. The classes should have abilities that only relate to the class theme. Add more weapon lines if you want to improve the BASIS of the roles. Wand and rune and or Alteration staves is what you want to add to increase the ROLE fit. You will never get it right tinkering with the class skills. One will always be too dominant ( Dragonknight tanks and Templar healers).

    so if the Dragonknight is the best tank figure out what makes the dk the best and offer similar ideas in new weapon lines like alteration staves or alteration rune and sword . Same thing with the Templar by adding an additional restoration weapon or perhaps alteration can be a combination tanking/healing line which would achieve both in one shot.

    for dps your pretty much screwed and i will tell you why as i dont believe anyone else will. All dps in this game sub 50 use their class skills but for endgame content they use whatever skill provides the most dps and is easiest to animation cancel. It doesnt matter what you add to the game those two rules will always apply because the combat system stinks. if you start making class skills more viable the rules will still apply and you will end up with everyone playing whatever class is deemed the best. Then the crying class x is overpowered, and trials filled with one class type, then nerf cycle, then repeat. You cannot win this game by adding anything to the classes as long as those rules are in effect.

    the dps role in this game is far too reliant on the animation cancelling mechanism for dps and if your not willing to acknowledge that and do something about it at least get some bang for your buck and focus your changes on healers and tanks who will benefit without the drama.

    I think you laid out some very good points. I want to add to them.

    I've played this game since Beta (took some breaks, but still kept up with it). When it first launched, I was strongly opposed to this "Only Sword and Shield can tank; only restoration staff can heal" mentality the game was pressing. I was so happy to discover later on that Frost Staves were added to the tanking arsenal. While that doesn't solve the Class First focus, it adds some appreciated variety. That unfortunately still leaves healers with something to be desired. So change can happen and options can be added. It just needs to have enough support.

    I think the issues you laid out are in the necessity of usage instead of the optimization of such. For instance: not every encounter needs to be tuned that all a tank need do is block. Block can be the best case scenario for damage mitigation, that's fine. But other morphs of other skill lines can have bulky options to allow someone to tank with said weapon. This would also allow a variety of sets to be seen for that role (Footman's Fortune, Varen's Legacy, etc). The morphs of these skills can provide party buffs not found in typical tank setups we see today. For example: a morph of Dual Wield's Whirlwind could maim enemies and give a synergy that melee can activate for increased stamina recovery. Or a Lightning Staff's Wall of Elements morph can nullify players within it, granting them minor protection and reducing their abilities' costs by 5%.

    It begs the question: Should there be THREE morphs instead of TWO? I believe that will solve a lot of these issues. Have 1 damage morph, 1 damage and utility morph, and 1 utility morph. All can be different and unique.

    Further on differing encounters, damage and healing doesn't need to be the focus either. Maybe dispelling something bad can make/break a fight. Maybe a fight truly is a mad dps race where a "healer" needs to do at least 10k dps. Maybe there's so much aoe damage that evasion (literally or the buff) is all but necessary. Maybe more encounters absorb healing received for a duration, so damage shields are a better option. Again, there's so much that can acceptably be thrown in for variety without the medium being a Trial or HM.

    Lastly, I think hybrids need more attention. I don't play hybrids, but they are very appealing because of their novelty. There are some hybrid options out there, but they seem to exist solely for the sake of "You figure it out". What if magicka and stamina skills played off of one another? For example: Fire Damage from a Magicka source can apply Burned, but Fire Damage from a Stamina source can apply Branded. When both are applied, their dot damage can be increased, say, 300%. Frost from both sources could freeze the target in place and apply major vulnerability for 3 seconds--only unleashing all of the damage over 5 seconds once the frozen target thaws, hopefully making PvP balanced to that. Lightning damage from both sources could apply Desensitize, causing the target to receive 0% healing for 3 seconds--and having more fights where bosses heal will make this better in PvE. As for non-elemental skills, let your imagination run wild.

    There is no limit to what can be implemented. I think it just needs to be tried. We don't need extensive testing. Just throw it out there and see our reactions. So many systems in this game have been overhauled or removed entirely. Why can't the same be done for the sake of innovation? The player base will survive any hiccups. If things are successful, the player base will thrive.
  • CompM4s
    CompM4s
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Eormenric wrote: »
    Rungar wrote: »
    this is an insane quest. I will explain tanks and healers and leave dps for last as its a special case.

    if you choose a tank as your role you must either choose one handed and shield or destruction staves or both, thus weapon skills provide the BASIS of your role. Your class does not provide the basis of your role but instead the fluff like buffs and look.

    Same thing for a healer you must choose destro or resto staves or both and this does the same thing. Weapon skills provide the BASIS and your class fills the gaps.

    its exactly opposite of what your trying to do with the classes. The classes should have abilities that only relate to the class theme. Add more weapon lines if you want to improve the BASIS of the roles. Wand and rune and or Alteration staves is what you want to add to increase the ROLE fit. You will never get it right tinkering with the class skills. One will always be too dominant ( Dragonknight tanks and Templar healers).

    so if the Dragonknight is the best tank figure out what makes the dk the best and offer similar ideas in new weapon lines like alteration staves or alteration rune and sword . Same thing with the Templar by adding an additional restoration weapon or perhaps alteration can be a combination tanking/healing line which would achieve both in one shot.

    for dps your pretty much screwed and i will tell you why as i dont believe anyone else will. All dps in this game sub 50 use their class skills but for endgame content they use whatever skill provides the most dps and is easiest to animation cancel. It doesnt matter what you add to the game those two rules will always apply because the combat system stinks. if you start making class skills more viable the rules will still apply and you will end up with everyone playing whatever class is deemed the best. Then the crying class x is overpowered, and trials filled with one class type, then nerf cycle, then repeat. You cannot win this game by adding anything to the classes as long as those rules are in effect.

    the dps role in this game is far too reliant on the animation cancelling mechanism for dps and if your not willing to acknowledge that and do something about it at least get some bang for your buck and focus your changes on healers and tanks who will benefit without the drama.

    I think you laid out some very good points. I want to add to them.

    I've played this game since Beta (took some breaks, but still kept up with it). When it first launched, I was strongly opposed to this "Only Sword and Shield can tank; only restoration staff can heal" mentality the game was pressing. I was so happy to discover later on that Frost Staves were added to the tanking arsenal. While that doesn't solve the Class First focus, it adds some appreciated variety. That unfortunately still leaves healers with something to be desired. So change can happen and options can be added. It just needs to have enough support.

    I think the issues you laid out are in the necessity of usage instead of the optimization of such. For instance: not every encounter needs to be tuned that all a tank need do is block. Block can be the best case scenario for damage mitigation, that's fine. But other morphs of other skill lines can have bulky options to allow someone to tank with said weapon. This would also allow a variety of sets to be seen for that role (Footman's Fortune, Varen's Legacy, etc). The morphs of these skills can provide party buffs not found in typical tank setups we see today. For example: a morph of Dual Wield's Whirlwind could maim enemies and give a synergy that melee can activate for increased stamina recovery. Or a Lightning Staff's Wall of Elements morph can nullify players within it, granting them minor protection and reducing their abilities' costs by 5%.

    It begs the question: Should there be THREE morphs instead of TWO? I believe that will solve a lot of these issues. Have 1 damage morph, 1 damage and utility morph, and 1 utility morph. All can be different and unique.

    Further on differing encounters, damage and healing doesn't need to be the focus either. Maybe dispelling something bad can make/break a fight. Maybe a fight truly is a mad dps race where a "healer" needs to do at least 10k dps. Maybe there's so much aoe damage that evasion (literally or the buff) is all but necessary. Maybe more encounters absorb healing received for a duration, so damage shields are a better option. Again, there's so much that can acceptably be thrown in for variety without the medium being a Trial or HM.

    Lastly, I think hybrids need more attention. I don't play hybrids, but they are very appealing because of their novelty. There are some hybrid options out there, but they seem to exist solely for the sake of "You figure it out". What if magicka and stamina skills played off of one another? For example: Fire Damage from a Magicka source can apply Burned, but Fire Damage from a Stamina source can apply Branded. When both are applied, their dot damage can be increased, say, 300%. Frost from both sources could freeze the target in place and apply major vulnerability for 3 seconds--only unleashing all of the damage over 5 seconds once the frozen target thaws, hopefully making PvP balanced to that. Lightning damage from both sources could apply Desensitize, causing the target to receive 0% healing for 3 seconds--and having more fights where bosses heal will make this better in PvE. As for non-elemental skills, let your imagination run wild.

    There is no limit to what can be implemented. I think it just needs to be tried. We don't need extensive testing. Just throw it out there and see our reactions. So many systems in this game have been overhauled or removed entirely. Why can't the same be done for the sake of innovation? The player base will survive any hiccups. If things are successful, the player base will thrive.

    Zos will always have to do extensive testing. It is a very poor business model to just “throw” content in the game and hope for the best. This might be a game for us, however this does pay the bills for the developers etc...
  • NeroTheDk
    NeroTheDk
    Soul Shriven
    KappaKid83 wrote: »
    Dalsinthus wrote: »
    I am deeply worried that the approach here is going to homogenize gameplay across the four original classes and strip away the experience that helped us fall in love with our class. I want my stamblade to play like a stealthy rogue and my mag sorc to feel like a powerful wizard. I don't think there is enough room in the class skill lines to maintain that and give options for mag/stam dps, healing, and tanking.

    There has been so much change in the past year to the classes that I am frankly worn out. The article suggests even bigger changes are coming towards the goal of any role with any class aka play as you want.

    The way I want to play is to have a consistent experience where my characters have a theme and fun gameplay options that are maintained through time.

    This is what we all want, identity like this. Bring us back to the 4 classes you sold the game on and how unique they were, don't baseline everything so every class can do everything the same. A DK is, by design tankier than a Sorc. A Templar, by original class design, is a heavy armor using healer/tank where along the same lines as what a paladin would be in WoW. And a NB is a stealthier character that saps your health and lurks from behind to kill you, a la a Rogue. The muddled lines we have at this point in the game where most stam classes use weapon skills and not class skills and where most mag classes are using more guild and world line skills over their class skills is not where a lot of us want to see the game. I think we all understand balancing but when you balance away from class skills and into other skill lines every class slowly loses their identity and becomes a carbon copy of one another with different passives. Bring us back to when we felt like our classes were unique and not all the same.

    I agree with this. I have to say my favorite character is a Dragon Knight, and its not because of the design, skills or whether he is “best in slot.” If I’m being honest it’s because of the lore behind the Dragon Knight. The Akaviri Martial Arts they use, the fact that the Tsaesci is where they were inspire from ( There’s a bit of discrepancy here but I’m gonna run with this.) Also the former Dragonguard warrior know as the Grandmaster. The lore of this game is beautiful. It really makes me want to play as the individual classes that we’ve been given. However, this character identity crisis is getting out of hand. Lately as I’ve been playing I haven’t really felt like a DK at all, instead I feel like a carbon copy of different class, only weaker. I like the phrase “Iron and Fire.” It really inspires the need to play as the class I have read about. Please... ZOS, Bethesda, who ever is in charge. Give us the adventure you promised, give us the lore, the feeling of embodying the likeness of the toon we create. The is a MMORPG after all... and I would like to play the role I chose.
  • Wotan537
    Wotan537
    Dear Dev,

    only a few questions:

    1) are templars expected to be finally rebalance in the upcoming patch (90% templars in pvp.. sooo fun) ?

    2) is cyrodiil expected to be playable without infinite lag in the upcoming patch ?

    3) are class identity and class balance (in pvp) expected to be seen in the upcoming patch (e.g. dks are a joke)?

    Pls don’t waste your time answering me. I’ll be happy if you’ll put all your effort in make Eso end game a great game. 5 years have passed.
    Tnks
  • Damnationie
    Damnationie
    ✭✭
    Having done a lot of thinking on this since the original post, plus real world distractions, it took me a while to come to a view as to what I would like to see in a revised character system.

    I appreciate that ESO are trying to separate the classes from the character archetypes that people are trying to build. A lot of people (I'd include myself in that group) play classes to create fun characters. Moving in this direction would be a good thing. Yet there are a number of limitations with trying to do that with the existing systems of skills and classes and still allowing
    for viable builds. (Not even concerned with maximum effectiveness here).

    I’d like to see the following main changes.
    • Break the link between passive and active skills in a skill line.
    • Prefer fixed benefits over percentage changes to make balance and understanding benefits easier.
    • Remove wasted passive skills that don’t do something unique in their own right.
    • Passives for a skill line should represent the benefit for having spent the time and skill points on a skill line. They should be of benefit to the character even if they are not using any active skills from that line.
    • Active skills in classes should be balanced equivalent to active weapon skills or equivalent active skills in other skill lines such that a person can use all of one skill line, or mix in any ratio with other skill lines without creating an unviable build.

    A few examples of passives that I’d adjust. Note any listed numbers or illustrative and would have to be balanced in the context of a full overhaul.

    Pressure Point
    For the Nightblade, consider the pressure point passive. This grants 438 weapon and spell critical per assassin ability slotted. So if I have no assassin skills slotted I get nothing. To gain a lot for it I must slot multiple active assassin skills denying the option to use other active skills. There is no guidance as to what the designers expected here in terms of number of slotted skills, and there are other skill lines in the Nightblade with the same requirement for active slots to gain a passive benefit.

    This works ok if you want to play a ‘pure’ Nightblade (If there is such a thing) but wastes the passive benefits if you don’t. I can only assume the desire was to create some sort of dynamic choice here, but there is no real choice. Nearly every build just takes the active skills they need and the passives are inherited. I’ve rarely seen a build start from the point of maximising a passive skill effect.

    As an added ‘bonus’, every time I bar swap the game has to recalculate my critical rating. Whilst not a massive performance issue for one passive, consider all the passives on all the skill lines and you start to have a large number of calculations happening every bar swap. With my programmers hat on that’s something I’d want to streamline away to improve performance if I could.

    I’d change the skill to this:
    • Pressure points: Increases the weapon and spell critical of a Nightblade by +200/+400/+600/+800.
    Ok, several points on this.

    The first is I’ve turned the passive into a 4 skill point passive. I’d get the extra 2 points for this by removing the Executioner passive. Executioner is a really weak passive given the limited scenarios it can apply in. The heal is so weak as to either be unnoticed in serious multi-opponent combat or be irrelevant as out of combat healing kicks in once the enemy is dead. I’m sure people can find specific scenarios where it might matter, but I’d be confident they are outnumbered by those were it does not.

    Second, it gives the Nightblade a clear focus, something other posters have looked for in classes. In this case, the best class to use for a critical chance.

    Thirdly, its a fixed value so no need to trigger recalculations any more on bar swap. Not the most important point, but it is there.

    Fourthly, the values were chosen to prevent making the Nightblade overpowered. The value at rank 4 is roughly the same as the critical bonus you get on set bonuses. So with two characters wearing the same gear, the Nightblade will have a higher critical rating compared to a non-Nightblade, but not massively so. Options now present themselves were the Nightblade could elect to wear different gear with one less critical bonuses to the other character, so having the same critical chance as the other character, but with an extra different bonus.

    Fifthly, from a balance perspective, you know all Nightblade characters will have this bonus to their critical rating. So any new critical related mechanic change can more predictably gamed out. This avoids issues for example were the designers assume most people only one or two assassin skills, release a change which then breaks when it encounters players slotting 3 or more skills in order to take advantage of the change.

    Sixth and final, when leveling the character the passive gain can be spread move evenly over the leveling process. Not as much of an issue to veteran players, but for new players the impact of the passive on the character should be more noticeable. There are some large gaps around when passive skills are acquired as you level a character to 50. I certainly noticed that leveling my first couple of characters. This would help slightly with new players and is an added side benefit.

    Searing Heat
    As another example, consider the Dragonknight passive searing heat.
    • Increases the damage over time of your Fiery Breath, Searing Strike, and Dragonknight Standard abilities by 33% and the duration by 4 seconds.
    This is what I would call a dud passive. I already spent on those skills, and now I have to pay more? And this is not optional, no Dragonknight is not going to take this passive. I view it as an extra tax on the skills I already paid for. I would remove this passive and instead buff the affected skills to the same levels as if the passive was in play. The skill points would then be used with expanding some of the other Dragonknight passives.

    Note that because part of the buff is percentage based, depending on when it is calculated it might vary depending on statistics and gear. Again, dynamic calculations should be avoided were possible so I’d simply pick a fixed value and add it to the base damage of the relevant skills.

    The time element can be added as a 1 second duration increase every 2nd level of the skill rank, two seconds for the base 4 ranks and 2 for the morph of the affected skills. Or you could do .5 seconds every rank. Again, helps show a clear beneficial progression as you level up the skill.

    Slayer
    As a final example, consider the fighters guild passive Slayer.
    • Increases your Weapon Damage by 3% for each Fighters Guild ability slotted.
    Again, this is tied to your active slots. No guild skill then the effort but into gaining the skill line goes to waste. I’d change this to:
    • Increases your Weapon Damage by 200.
    You can argue over the value. I know for my main, who has a 9% bonus from this particular passive, this would be a downgrade. But having said that I could adjust at least one of the skills out without any issue – its there purely to get the extra 3% rather than to be used. Slotting active skills you never plan to use just to get the passive bonus is in and of itself a sign something is off kilter.

    Final Notes
    The above are only examples, and they would need to be considered within the full solution of adjusting all skill passives. For example, you’d probably want to add a matching skill to the mage guild line equivalent to Slayer but for spell damage. You’d also want to clear define the passive benefits each class will have and ensure those offer equivalent effectiveness. For example, the Nightblade gets critical rating, does the Dragonknight get critical resistance as part of the toughness of a Dragonknight? Each set of class passives should really give a unique set of benefits for that class.

    One Last Thing
    When doing a rebalance such as the above, one other thing needs to be looked at. The balance of the Nightblade has suffered because of one factor, stealth. As with pretty much every MMO I’ve played, stealth based characters have always proved hard to balance because of the nature of stealth.

    It does not help that the implementation in ESO so wildly varies between ineffective, ok and overpowered. In PvE, absent a few specific situations, its pointless. Name the number of Dungeons / Delves / Trails you can stealth through to complete? Outside of the handful of Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood dailies, it has little use. Even within the dailies, its often quicker and easier to just bull through and pay the fine afterwards.

    Stealth's main use is PvP, yet that represents a relatively small percentage of the player base. In PvP it can be great, especially against new players and weak characters. Against organised groups who know what to do, it can be an exercise in frustration. Good players can still get stealth kills against good players and groups, but the ratio of active combat collapses and you wait around for the right opening.

    In order to give the Nightblade a chance to balance correctly, the stealth role and associated skills needs to be split out of the Nightblade into a dedicated skill line. This would enable Stealth to be properly balanced and reworked to be more useful over time. This would then allow the Nightblade to be balanced correctly against the other classes. It would allow it to support a range of character types such as Ranger / Archer / Scout / Skirmisher / Duelist that it (and ESO more generally) poorly supports at the moment. Yes, some of this can be done sort of with the other classes but most of them are poor fits. The shadow skill line would need to be replaced, and skill benefits from stealthed attack reworked to say give bonuses when attacking from sides or rear.

    So, those are my thoughts. Pretty sure not everyone will agree, but then I’d disagree with some of the earlier views in the thread. At least I can say I gave my view whenever the changes start to appear.


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