Edited by fred4 on June 12, 2022 10:02PM
A few patches ago, last autumn as far as I remember, ZOS tidied up invisibility and detection. Cloak got more reliable, but also had harder counters. This made Cloak more predictable, which could play into either party's hand, the nightblade's or their opponent's. Great! As far as I know this made most people happy. Uncertainty about how the game works was not good for anyone's enjoyment. So far, so good.
Fast forward to this patch (High Isle). From the patch notes:
"Fixed an issue where many player-sourced Damage over Time effects could still miss invisible targets, rather than hitting them without removing the invisibility."
Let's go over the history. Once upon a time all manner of attacks would knock nightblades out of cloak. That said, there was also an unwritten rule for the longest time that Cloak caused single-target DOTs, placed upon the nightblade, to be ignored. However various skills had secondary effects that would cause Cloak to be unreliable. Soul Trap was among those skills. Sloads was a big offender at one point. The nightblade placing DOTs on others also caused problems, particularly if something had a healing from damage component that would filter back to the nightblade. The nightblade would either be knocked out of cloak or they would become visible due to a visible effect being placed on them, even if the nightblade itself was invisible. As far as I remember that was how Soul Trap broke Cloak at one point. All of that was finally fixed last autumn or as good as it's ever been.
Some people have argued that Cloak suppressing DOTs, causing the DOT ticks to miss, made Shadowy Disguise too overloaded a skill. They would also point out that this functionality was never included in the tooltip. It seems that ZOS finally heard those voices and treated this as a bug fix.
The first issue I have is that this should not have been treated as a bug fix. It should have been treated as a class balance adjustment. When a feature persists for such a long time as this, then it affects the evaluation of the class' strength. What was nightblade's class strength as of Ascending Tide? I think tier lists are often subjective, but this one appears backed by multiple PvPers:https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/606134/pvp-tierlist-for-ascending-tide
Based on that, did nightblades deserve a nerf at this time? I would say, no.
From my own experience, the fact that my nightblade now takes damage in cloak has been more surprising than a true problem so far. However a friend of mine remarked that Cloak now feels unreliable to him. He didn't know why. I subsequently noticed that, when I was hit with Structured Entropy, yep, those little blue projectiles between the caster of that skill and the nightblade, those are back, giving the position of the nightblade away. We're exactly back where we started.
How could this happen? IMO there was likely a disconnect between the programmer at ZOS and the combat designer. The programmer was asked to make Cloak reliable last autumn. They looked at the code. They found at some point - I am not 100% sure everything happened last autumn - that making attacks miss would fix the undesirable side effects from DOTs on cloaking nightblades. Some people in the playerbase weren't happy. Maybe the ZOS combat team wasn't happy. It remained on the bug fix list. The programmer was asked to rework the code. Now (some / all / not sure) DOTs hit nightblades in Cloak. Did the programmer or anyone review how we arrived at the present time? Nope! Maybe there was time pressure. Probably no one contemplated why attacks were made to miss in the first place, which was likely the smallest piece of code to change without having tons of side effects. What really needs to be done is that they go over all of those. Yes, let's say the nightblade should take damage from Structured Entropy now. Maybe that should even heal the caster. But that little blue projectile, the visual effect? That should not happen. Structured Entropy is hardly going to be the only thing. If you want these skills to do damage to a cloaking nightblade, you have to go over the visual effects of each and every one of them or we're right back to Cloak being an unreliable mess. Got that? Thank you!
PC EU (EP): Magicka NB (main), Stamina NB, Stamina DK, Stamina Sorcerer, Magicka Warden, Magicka Templar, Stamina Templar
PC NA (EP): Magicka NB