Greetings! It’s about that time again where we have another Update coming soon, even though Update 31 just released on consoles last week. With a new PTS update lurking around the corner, the combat team wanted to give you all some deep dives into the spicier stuff coming with this upcoming patch.
In the last Update, we tried to keep things simpler with the number of changes to help combat the change fatigue many have reported, but progress cannot sleep for long as we march ever forward to improving the game. Our focus in Update 32 is two-fold: improving proc set balance and continuing the hybridization improvements from previous updates. These areas are the topics we’ve seen a significant amount of discussion on in the realms of combat balance, so we’re following up to try and get better reigns on both.
In Update 30 we introduced item proc set scaling, which aimed to lower the ease of access of “free” damage and healing from them by ensuring you needed a base line of stats to make the set really stand out. While this did help significantly reduce the overbearing success of tanky builds utilizing damage-oriented sets, it also increased the amount of damage that glass cannon and more offensive-oriented builds did by a reasonable margin. This, while an intentional result, still has the issue of the power available when stacking multiples of these sets, and how certain combinations are leading to very binary and unengaging gameplay. To target that issue, we’re introducing a new rule set for offensive item sets that have low counterplay. Now when wearing a set that deals a “burst of damage” within a 4 second window, it will prevent any other use of these types of sets for 1 second. This is to deny the ability to layer multiple effects into single attacks, significantly reducing burst potential. This rule set will be explained in further detail in the PTS patch notes, and keep in mind we are open to adjusting this along the way.
In relation to this, we’re also aiming our sights on reigning in some of the power creep that’s been coming into the game as of late, particularly affecting PvE. The dominance of Critical hits in ESO is by no means new, and despite the reduction to the overall sourcing of it, we’re still seeing it win out by a significant margin when compared to other stats. Rather than outright nerfing Critical Chance or Potency (Damage and Healing) and hurting builds that aren’t really doing more than we expect, we’ve decided to move forward with a hard cap to Critical Damage and Healing. It is our hope that this keeps Critical Chance and Potency as viable and powerful stats but also helps open up other stat and build paths. Much like the Penetration stats, these will be important to prioritize up until a point, and from there builds will want to seek out other sources of power.
To tie things up in the proc set and Critical topics for this Update, we’re also making a fairly significant adjustment that we hope the previously mentioned changes will prevent from becoming too out of hand: Proc sets that scale with your Weapon or Spell Damage, Magicka, or Stamina will now once again be able to Critically strike in Update 32. By doing this, in addition to reducing the burst potential when stacking these sets and limiting the amount they can Critically strike for, we hope to give these sets some much needed love in PvE situations where they’ve struggled to maintain viability after the removal of their ability to critically strike in ye years of olde. There will be additional balance adjustments to these values to try and prevent them from becoming the best in slot, and we’ll have rules on which ones can and cannot crit, so keep your eyes peeled for the list and details in the PTS patch notes!
Aside from these changes and the usual bug fixing and less flashy/global adjustments (like some long overdue Dragonknight love), we have one more “big” change coming this Update. As mentioned before, hybridization improvements have been a push in many Updates ever since Champion Point 2.0 was released in Update 29, and it’s something we’re continuing with as we see a lot of the good it does. ESO has always tried to hold itself to the mantra of “play the way you want” but a lot of our stats and ability calculations actively push against this concept in ways we find less than ideal. In Update 32, we’re taking the next big approach to change the concept of what a hybrid is by making all item sets grant “hybrid” stats. This means sets that grant Weapon Damage will now grant Weapon and Spell Damage, Spell Penetration will be Physical and Spell Penetration, and Spell Critical will be Weapon and Spell Critical. With this change, we hope to open up builds to new abilities and ideas, make the game more digestible and understandable to newer players, and empower you with choices when creating your dream build.
Our focus with this upcoming PTS update will be heavily concentrated on ensuring that the item set proc adjustments with critting and prevention release in a way that improves the gameplay balance, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on those topics. We look forward to seeing the myriad of discussions that pop up, as we know there will be much to theory craft and mull over. Thanks for reading and see you in Tamriel!
ESO Combat Designer