The Firesong DLC and Update 36 base game patch are now available to test on the PTS! You can read the latest patch notes here:
Maintenance for the week of October 3:
• [COMPLETE] PC/Mac: NA and EU megaservers for patch maintenance – October 3, 4:00AM EDT (8:00 UTC) - 9:00AM EDT (13:00 UTC)
• Xbox: NA and EU megaservers for patch maintenance – October 5, 6:00AM EDT (10:00 UTC) - 11:00AM EDT (15:00 UTC)
• PlayStation®: NA and EU megaservers for patch maintenance – October 5, 6:00AM EDT (10:00 UTC) - 11:00AM EDT (15:00 UTC)

Update 35 Combat Preview

Combat Team

It’s almost time for the next update, and that means it’s time to share some of the reasoning behind the upcoming big shake-ups. This update brings a massive slew of balance adjustments all at once to hopefully reduce the need of large sweeping changes in subsequent updates, since some seemingly minor changes affect a huge part of the game’s combat. The main focuses in Update 35 are twofold: improving accessibility to the game’s combat by increasing the duration of outgoing ability effects (such as damage over time, buffs, and debuffs) and a continuation of the attempt to quell some of the obscene damage production at the high end. Let’s start by breaking apart some of the fundamental realities of ESO today.


Currently, to be truly effective in ESO’s combat, you need to learn to manipulate something that is known as “weaving,” which refers to the act of squeezing multiple actions into the global cooldown window. Doing so drastically increases your agency and output, and it is a staple of the game that we’ve come to embrace, as it helps our combat feel different and exciting to participate in once you learn the ins and outs. However, the impact of weaving leads to a massive gap in performance where players who cannot interact with it as effectively are left miles behind those who can. While this is partially unavoidable and an important part of what makes the mastery of ESO or any activity utilizing a similar system particularly satisfying, we want to do what we can to shorten that delta. The closer the gap between the low and high end, the easier it is to create content that can accommodate a wider audience, while making more natural progression points for those looking to improve. To this end, we’ve started to look at the impact that one of the most common and important forms of weaving has in ESO: Light and Heavy Attack weaving.

Coming in Update 35, we’re reducing Light and Heavy Attacks’ impact in damage production by adjusting their damage to deal a flat amount, regardless of stats. We have spent a considerable amount of time investigating the baseline experience that a new player would have with these attacks, using that as our starting point for how much damage they do moving forward. The aim is to not harm the low-end experience, and target only the higher end. In doing so, we hope to reduce the difference of damage potential in a way that retains the satisfaction of learning to weave, where the impact is still felt, but to a much less degree than before.

For reference, in many of ESO’s high-end experiences and activities, the average build sees roughly 15–20% of their overall damage coming from Light Attacks alone, which is a huge contribution to the delta of power we see. While testing these adjustments internally, we’ve seen a reduction of 6–11% to overall damage, which allows for a much smaller and healthier gap while still retaining the sense of mastery and expression of that mastery with weaving.

With this adjustment, we’ll also be making a significant number of changes to item sets, passives, and buffs to ensure classes remain balanced in damage production, while also trying to do a better job allowing builds to amplify these actions (we’ve heard your cries, Heavy Attack build lovers, and we want better for you) without introducing unhealthy gameplay between PvE and PvP.

Combat Effects

The other area we have spent a considerable amount of time on for this update is the uptime of effects in ESO, as these are another huge way to improve your combat capabilities. Outside of weaving, the main limiter of your effectiveness in combat is your ability to output events, such as damage, healing, shielding, etc., which is bound by activating abilities, which in turn are bound within the global cooldown system. Activating an ability from your action bar locks out your other abilities for one second, so, a way to circumvent this system is to utilize actions that add power or extra events without your need to continuously activate them. These are often seen as buff and debuff abilities, or damage and healing over time abilities. Keeping as many of these abilities up as long possible dramatically improves your combat potential, creating another area of mastery and potential of power deltas.

Currently, many of these abilities fall within a 10-second window, meaning to maximize your efficiency, you must activate them once every 10 seconds. With 10 total active ability slots at your disposal, this often creates a situation where you want to load up almost every slot with one of these abilities, adding to your combat output for each duration-based effect you utilize. Between this and the engagement of weaving, this creates a reality where high actions per minute (APM) is required to be effective, as well as a robust rotation to keep as many of these effects up as possible. This in turn reinforces a need to glue your eyes to your action bars, taking you out of the action happening on screen. While this can create exhilarating combat experiences where you need to constantly monitor different activities on screen, it can also be overwhelming and particularly challenging for you to do so at the rate required to be effective.

As such, coming in Update 35, we are increasing the duration of many of these effects in game, primarily damage over time, buffs, and debuffs. By extending the duration, we hope to reduce the stress of many combat rotations, allowing for you to focus more on the action in front of you rather than the action of juggling buffs and debuffs on your ability bar and making the game far more accessible.

Since many of these effects currently add a tremendous amount of power per cast over their duration, simply increasing their duration would merely inject a significant amount of power into the game, where this is already in excess. To combat this, we’re adjusting many of these values to account for their increased duration; there will be overall increase of effectiveness per cast, while reducing their effectiveness per second while active. This should reduce the ceiling potential of many builds, while improving their baseline experiences where many players will have an easier time keeping these effects active. In simpler terms, we’re reducing the damage potential for these abilities per second, while increasing their total output overall.

For example, previously, a damage over time effect would deal 1.5× the damage of a “spammable” attack (such as Surprise Attack) over its duration of 10 seconds, or 0.15 relative damage per second. Now, damage over time effects will deal 2× the damage of a spammable attack over its duration of 20 seconds, increasing its damage per cast while reducing its relative damage per second to 0.1. In accordance with this, many healing over time effects will have their values adjusted to ensure they do not overperform when compared to damage over time, while still being impactful in PvE environments.

Both areas required an extensive pass of existing class ability and passive power to ensure they remain balanced with one another afterward. As such, the PTS patch notes will have a sizable amount of number tweaking. We recognize this will create a lot of changes in how you optimize your builds and how you play them, but it is our hope that by the end of the transition to these standards, the game will be more enjoyable and accessible to everyone.

After these adjustments are live, we are going to focus on any resulting balance issues for the next few updates, hopefully reducing the chaotic nature of change for a brief period after the initial turbulence. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the discussions that come out of this, as well as the initial feedback over the upcoming PTS cycle. Since the scale of these changes is large in nature, please understand it may take more time for adjustments to come since changing one standard affects many specific abilities.

We hope this helps provide some clarity of our goals with the upcoming changes you’ll see and aids in bracing yourself for the number of changes coming as well. We know this is never an easy process, and we appreciate your patience and tolerance as we try to improve the game that you (and we!) love. May your roads lead you to pleasant journeys, and we look forward to seeing you in Tamriel!
ESO Combat Designer
Staff Post
  • wills43b14_ESO
    jaws343 wrote: »
    SilverPaws wrote: »
    EnerG wrote: »
    SilverPaws wrote: »
    What a joke this company is lmao

    They're doing something good, it's not a joke, this will be a hated patch, but a necessary one.

    It's not a necessary patch. If you want to perform better at the game then you should put in the time to learn not be baby sit by developers making this game easier and easier for casuals. It's already the easiest mmo out there.

    But, players who perform perfectly every patch aren't getting better themselves, their gear is adding more power while they do the same thing. Power creep has gotten out of hand the last few years. A few weeks ago we six manned Asylum like it was a group dungeon, because when the content originally came out group dps was like half what it is now.

    A cap on light and heavy attack damage is an interesting route to go for sure, and the adjustments to buffs is odd. But none of that will change the fact that top end players/groups will still out dps the floor by a wide margin.

    On a side note, I wonder if this adjustment will apply to major/minor buffs, could be an oakensoul nerf. But also, with the duration adjustments, oakensoul may be even more meta on certain build setups.

    Players ARE getting better. Now is the increase in skill linear? Absolutely not. If anything, individual skill is an exponentially decaying or logarithmic function. Group skill is probably closer to linear (although eventually follows the same route). Each unit of time results in less skill acquired, but every little bit widens the gap more. The "high end" mentality if you will is to always find small little things to improve... and that adds to the experience and knowledge for that player to draw upon (or group).
    Tick Tock Tormentor
    Gryphon Heart
    Immortal Redeemer
  • chongguang
    Is this a kind way of buffing direct damage classes? Cuz changes of the dot and hot meaning more chances of making mistakes in battles which meaning more wipes of team if bring many dps of dots main
  • Trundik
    Change Yandir's Might please, its heavy attack trigger is terrible. Almost as bad as this new "improvement" idea :)
    Oh and add new in gredients to alchemy, that will fit hybryde builds. Thanks
    Edited by Trundik on July 6, 2022 3:42PM
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