Today, the combat team would like to share what we’ve been working on since Update 30! While this update won’t have too many large-scale changes, there are a number of little things. We’d like to highlight a few of the more noteworthy changes in this post as well as talk about some behind the scenes work we’ve been doing.
Let’s start with something we’ve seen a lot of discussion on: Time to Kill (TTK) in Player versus Player environments. Compared to previous updates, the amount of damage is higher across the board than it was previously, but simultaneously, defensive power is lower too. This is mainly caused by two things: the balance standards that Champion Point 2.0 was held to in Update 29 where we introduced more choices between either offensive or defensive options, as well boosting up stats on fresh characters with the introduction of base Weapon and Spell Damage, and the base Maximum Resource adjustments from Update 30. Between these two, many builds are making more choices in improving their ability to deal or take damage while experiencing a sharper operational loss of the other. As many player builds lean towards dealing damage in PvP environments, this creates a situation where TTK lowers. While we’ve identified specifics, such as base stat adjustments, we wanted to stay focused on where the problem was felt, which was exclusively related to PvP. Our main adjustment in Update 31 will be to Battle Spirit and focusing on the damage taken portion, increasing it so the base character takes 60% less overall damage, rather than 50%. Aside from this and a few more specific, smaller adjustments, we’re still monitoring many of the moving parts (such as proc set scaling) and discussing measures we can take in future updates that won’t adversely affect parts of the game where problems aren’t as severe.
In relation to TTK and PvP in general, we’re also doing a substantial pass on player abilities, item sets, and passives in Update 31 in regard to how they operate with both Stealth and Invisibility. This pass focuses on trying to improve the rules on what abilities should and should not hit or remove Stealth or Invisibility on targets, as well as fixing some issues where Sneak attacks were stronger than intended in some areas. To clarify, Sneak attacks, or attacks made from the Hidden state while crouching, should only do the following:
- A guaranteed Critical Strike on one direct damage attack
- 275% bonus critical damage against monsters if it was a melee attack
- 40% bonus critical damage against monsters if it was a ranged attack
- Stun the target if it was a melee attack
In hopes to improve both the ability to utilize or distinctly deny and remove Stealth and Invisibility, we’re adjusting our rules to what player attacks should break these effects, or even attempt to try and hit them. Previously, this was handled purely on the ability level of these effects, like Shadow Cloak, leaving them very susceptible to breaking in a multitude of ways when complex and dynamic abilities were used against them. Now, we’re adjusting a significant amount of player-sourced attacks and effects to have rules applied to them, in addition to the rules built into abilities like Shadow Cloak, reaching a much more streamlined experience.
For player abilities, the only things that will break Stealth or Invisibility are direct damage, Crowd Controls such as stuns or immobilizes, or revealing effects such as Expert Hunter or Revealing Flare. Player Damage over Time abilities of any type will no longer remove targets from Stealth or Invisibility, but may still damage them depending on their source of attack. Area of Effect based Damage over Time will damage targets under these effects, but not remove the effects themselves. There will also now be a short window when entering Stealth or Invisibility, where player single target attacks made against you will no longer cancel the activation or strip the effect. On the other hand, we’ve better accounted for reveals or detections in these rule sets of Stealth and Invisibility, so attacks won’t miss as often as before when utilizing them. All in all, we hope this improves both using and fighting against Stealth and Invisibility in ESO by improving the consistency of the experiences so patterns and strategies may better evolve!
Much of our focus outside of the pass mentioned above has been on the back-end scripting of abilities and cleaning up the amount of information they have, making sure they use relevant technological advancements we’ve made in the recent years, rather than using older and less efficient systems. For example, removing errant data or finding better ways for one-off checks and validations to be done was a large focus here, while cleaning up inconsistencies in behavior or power along the way. Expect many little changes and bug fixes as a result of this such as improving Flame Skull’s damage bonus calculation, or minor tweaks to values like Essence Drain granting Major Mending for a full integer duration at all ranks.
One of the larger changes you’ll see from this pass are reworks for the Skilled Hunter passive, Expert Hunter and its morphs’ visual displays on enemies, and Prismatic Weapon enchants. Previously, all three of these effects were constantly validating themselves against massive lists to determine if your target was an Undead, Werewolf, or Vampire with very little pay off for the amount of extra weight they had. We’ve decided to retain the slayer of evil theme of Fighters Guild, but only have it active against players to improve performance while still getting the feel-good identity they have. Prismatic Weapon enchants, however, have been completely changed to better fit their theme of Tri Resource seen from the other Prismatic enchants. They now operate similarly to a Drain Life or Magicka weapon enchantment but grant all three resources!
Outside of behind the scenes work and minor adjustments, there’s a handful of larger changes or new introductions coming as well. We’re adding three new sub constellations to the Fitness tree filled with all new slotted stars! Their names are Wind Chaser, Survivor’s Spite, and Walking Fortress, with each focusing on unique aspects of core mechanics and actions. Speaking of passives, we’re also adjusting all player passives to grant hybrid versions of their stats, so things like Balanced Warrior will give Weapon and Spell Damage plus Armor, rather than Weapon Damage and Spell Resistance. In addition to this, we’re reworking a few older item sets that had an incredibly low amount of player engagement: Sithis’ Touch will focus on zipping around from successful battles quickly one after the other, Nikulas’s Heavy Armor will improve its ability to shrug off incoming attacks, and Crusader will receive a fitting shift to grant something more appropriate of an enabling bruiser. Likely the biggest adjustment to an existing set is to Pelinal’s Aptitude, which will be changed to Pelinal’s Wrath, which now focuses on the blood lust this hero of lore succumbed to in their legacy left in Tamriel! Finally, there will be some targeted buffs to niche areas of the game we currently feel are lacking: Two Handed’s ability to stick in melee encounters and offer comparable sustained damage in PvE, as well as Frost Staff’s ability to give the touch of cold death. Keep an eye out in the patch notes for some juicy buffs to two specific abilities!
The list of changes coming for Update 31 is quite long, but it’s built up from many little changes rather than huge ones, so our hope is it will be less disruptive than some of our more recent updates. We still look forward to hearing your feedback and discussion that comes from the upcoming PTS cycle based on the changes! Thanks for reading and see you in Tamriel.