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Serious questions that need answers from ZOS. (The data is out, no need for "more time to bake")

Turtle_Bot
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@ZOS_GinaBruno @ZOS_Kevin @ZOS_BrianWheeler @ZOS_Gilliam

There are some extremely serious balance issues between the classes in the game currently.
We have over a years worth of data now since the Update 35 combat reworks, which is showing that 5 of the 7 classes are currently significantly lagging behind of the top 2 and are in dire need of huge direct reworks that buff them massively to catch up to within a reasonable level of the current top 2 classes for actual in game content.

Here are the ESOLOGS for the overall (across all classes) top 100 DPS for the 3 most recent trials in ESO:

RockGrove (RG):
https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/15#boss=51

Dreadsail Reef (DSR):
https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/16#boss=54

Sanity's Edge (SE):
https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/17#boss=57


As I'm sure many of us know, DK has been the strongest class for both PvE and PvP content for well over a year now and that the other classes are just too far behind it. With Arcanist being the new class, it is naturally going to be strong, but it is clearly even stronger still than DK to the point that the other 5 classes are almost not worth playing at all. We have the hard data and it has been available for a long time now via logs such as these.
Lets look at the data shall we?
You have the Arcanist in the top spot (1st place) with IN CONTENT peak DPS in these 3 trials of:
- 132k in RG
- 159k in DSR
- and lastly, a whopping 171k DPS (for 7 minutes duration) in SE.

The other class that is consistently at the top (2nd place) for IN CONTENT DPS in these 3 trials is the DK with:
- 109k in RG
- 141k in DSR
- and again a whopping 169k DPS (for 7 minutes duration) in SE.

Top 100 performances of the other 5 classes for each of these trials shall we?

RG:
2 Templars, highest rank 77th with DPS of 98.5k
0 Necros
0 Sorcerers
2 NBs, highest rank 64th with DPS of barely over 100k
0 Wardens

DSR:
6 Templars, highest rank is 30th with DPS of 133k
7 Necros, highest rank 47th with DPS of 121k
3 Sorcerers (all stamina + pet builds), highest rank 57th with DPS of just under 119k
0 NBs
0 Wardens

SE:
10 Templars, highest rank is 37th with DPS of 121k
12 Necros, highest rank 43rd with DPS of 117k
3 Sorcerers (all stamina + pet builds), highest rank 82nd with DPS of 99k
0 NBs
0 Wardens

Compare these to the highest DPS of DK and Arcanist for each of these trials we can see the following results for the best performances of each of the other 5 classes:
RG:
NB is 25% behind Arcanist and 9% behind DK.
Templar is 26% behind Arcanist and 10% behind DK.
Sorc, Necro and warden just don't exist in the top 100 for this trial at all. They are that far behind.

DSR:
Templar is 17% behind Arcanist and 6% behind DK.
Necro is 24% behind Arcanist and 14% behind DK.
Stam-(Pet)-Sorcerer is 25% behind Arcanist and 16% behind DK.
NB and Warden just don't exist in the top 100 for this trial at all. They are that far behind.

SE:
Templar is 30% behind Arcanist and 29% behind DK.
Necro is 32% behind Arcanist and 31% behind DK.
Stam-(Pet)-Sorcerer is a whopping 42% behind Arcanist and 41% behind DK.
Again, NB and Warden just don't exist in the top 100 for this trial at all. They are that far behind.

It is abundantly clear that there are 2 classes that are miles ahead of the other 5 classes for IN CONTENT DPS values which is completely contradicting what the trial dummy parses are telling us. Even the most diverse spread of classes among these 3 trials (in Sanity's Edge) had 75% of the top 100 DPS fairly evenly split between Arcanist and DK and its not even close for the remaining 5 classes, with the next best class (Templar) being effectively 30% behind both Arcanist and DK.
Across all 3 of these trials, DK and Arcanist combined account for an average of 85% of the top 100 DPS spots (96%, 84% and 75% from RG, DSR and SE respectively). If the classes were even remotely balanced for actual in game content that number should be closer to 28% of the top 100 slots for those 2 classes combined.

What can we learn from this data?
1. Arcanist is bare minimum 17% ahead of every class bar DK
2. DK is minimum 6% ahead of the next best class (Templar)
3. The third best class for clearing end game content (Templar) is on average 24% behind the best class.
4. The remaining 4 classes cannot be averaged to see how far behind they are on average because they don't exist for 1 (or more) of the top 100 for these trials.
5. NB, Stamina pet Sorcerer and Necro are barely hanging on as DPS, but only for specific trials/scenarios.
6. Warden is just not a viable DPS option at all, neither is Magicka/no-pet sorcerer.
7. Trying to balance the game based on the results of trial dummy parses is just not working because a trial dummy parse is not representative in any way shape or form of actual in game content.

So my questions to the ZOS team (combat and balance team in particular) that need to be addressed are as follows:

1. How much longer do we need to gather data for? We have a years worth of data, testing, feedback, etc. by now (more actually, since U35 was June last year (2022) and we are currently near the end of September this year (2023)) and clearly nothing has changed even with the few changes to class balance that were made over the past 5 patches.
2. How long does this data "need to bake for" until it is baked enough for the team to realise that something drastic needs to be done to bring the other 5 classes up to a level near enough to the top 2 classes?
3. When will we see a shift in how classes are balanced to be based on actual in game content design instead of based on dummy parses and spreadsheets that clearly do not represent the current state of content design and its design philosophy?
4. Why are the 2 traditional DPS classes (NB and Sorcerer) so far behind what is traditionally supposed to be the tank class (DK)?
5. Relating these balance issues to the new class sets, why does DK get what is supposed to be 2 extremely rare buffs (major + minor heroism) that have been known to cause huge balance issues with the class as recently as 1 year ago, on a set that has a laughably trivial proc requirement that essentially has a 100% up time when the class is clearly already performing well above all the other classes except Arcanist, meanwhile the other classes get either:
- A generic proc set, but worse (Sorcerer)
- A set that is strong but awkward to use (NB)
- A set that has a huge downside (Templar)
- Or sets that don't do anything to help or make the class unique in some way? (Necro/Warden).


There's a lot that needs answering/explaining here and I worry that leaving these issues unanswered and not addressed until maybe next patch will only serve to severely harm the game at a point where it may just end up being too late to save it, especially since there are plenty of amazing games being released currently/near future.

At the very least a guide (that is actually adhered to and followed) on what the team plans to do for their next round of balance changes to bring the classes closer together in power and address these concerns would help. By proposing changes early to get early feedback while they are still in the design stage, where things can be easily changed or completely redesigned if needed, will help to remove a lot of the current animosity, anger and fear surrounding new patches. It would also serve to generate a lot of hype since it gets the community involved in helping to potentially shape (or at least know) the direction of their favourite class.
  • LukosCreyden
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    They need to let Necromancer "bake" more. Preferably until its a blackened mess of charcoal so they can scrape it out the oven and bin it.
    Struggling to find a new class to call home.Please send help.
  • Pelanora
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    If we make a hypothesis, that the data shows what is intended, then it follows: what is intended is that this is a game about successfully moving through content with a toon that can do it all. Spending money, and winning, and feeling successful, and spending money.

    And the other classes are no longer considered to be the point of the game.

    Just a logic game to play, to account for an unaccountable neglect....
  • Masteroshi430
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    I tend to look at all these "you should do this, you should do that" posts from players to ZOS with an amused eye because I genuinely think there is a mastermind behind the class balance that has planned balancing while including future features and all will balance correctly later, but at the same time I think "Why waiting for the game death eve for the classes be correctly balanced? That doesn't make sense, we are playing it NOW"...
    So I'm constantly in puzzling mode on that question...
    Edited by Masteroshi430 on September 22, 2023 8:26AM
    @Masteroshi430 PC/EU (old French guy playing in English & addon author/maintainer) My addons
    Deshaan Honeydew Hors D'Oeuvre <<< FIX THAT TYPO GODDAMMIT!
  • Dr_Con
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    certain encounters have lots of adds, and certain classes do more damage to those adds while having good options for single target dps. this is cherrypicked data.
    Edited by Dr_Con on September 22, 2023 8:41AM
  • OtarTheMad
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    Let’s not be blind to the fact that you can get all of the content done in this game on any class, even one as dead and useless as Necromancer.

    Sure, at the top you might have some of the same classes but that’s only one playstyle and you only picked from 3 trials… that is not the whole game, only a small part.

    I am not sure the game will ever be truly balanced but they can surely get classes to a place where all are fun, smooth and people who want to play them… can. I think a lot of people just follow meta vs playing something they find more fun.
  • Turtle_Bot
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    Dr_Con wrote: »
    certain encounters have lots of adds, and certain classes do more damage to those adds while having good options for single target dps. this is cherrypicked data.

    And outside of Asylum Sanctorum, what end game content has been designed to be just like the target dummy scenario that is currently being used to balance the classes? Especially from recent content.

    It's why I used those trials, they show how content is designed and has been designed for the majority of the past few years (at the minimum), which is what the classes should be balanced around to perform at a fairly equal level.

    It is also no more "cherry picked" than using trial dummies to balance classes since trial dummies completely mask all the lack AoE and lack of rare buffs/debuffs that a class like sorcerer or necro has that becomes extremely noticeable once you leave the dummy and go into actual content that has those adds.
  • Turtle_Bot
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    OtarTheMad wrote: »
    Let’s not be blind to the fact that you can get all of the content done in this game on any class, even one as dead and useless as Necromancer.

    Sure, at the top you might have some of the same classes but that’s only one playstyle and you only picked from 3 trials… that is not the whole game, only a small part.

    I am not sure the game will ever be truly balanced but they can surely get classes to a place where all are fun, smooth and people who want to play them… can. I think a lot of people just follow meta vs playing something they find more fun.

    Lets also not ignore the fact that for the latest content there is a minimum difference of 17% between the top class and the rest.

    The issue with having this huge balance difference between the classes at the top is that flows down through the rest of the playerbase.

    The game doesn't have to be perfectly 100% balanced, but the fact that it is that big of a gap between the top and the rest is showing a glaringly massive issue here between the classes.

    Sure I could include an old trial such as AS, but considering that's the only trial in the game that doesn't have large numbers of grouped adds at any point, it is also quite an old trial with no similar content created since, including it creates a false reading in the data that is outside of the norm for how content is being designed.
  • Trier_Sero
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    Yes, balancing combat based on trial dummy parses is really bad idea. I mean, I can parse 60k on a trial dummy with my templar but my actual in game dps varies a lot from 25k to 50k depending on content and how good the party is. Also I hear a lot of people say they can parse 80k-120k on a dummy but I rarely find people who do more damage than me in actual game content.
  • Turtle_Bot
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    Since there are some here who just want to [snip] all over anyone that points out the clear imbalance between the classes at the moment, here are the logs for all of the other non-craglorn trials. It is the exact same situation for all of them with the only difference being AS which is still flooded with arcanist (93%), but doesn't have any DK.

    Here are the Kynes Aegis Logs
    https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/14#metric=dps&boss=48
    6 templars
    3 necros
    2 sorcs
    0 nbs
    0 wardens

    Here are the Sunspire Logs
    https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/12#metric=dps&boss=45
    4 templar
    0 necros
    0 sorcs
    0 nbs
    0 wardens

    Here are the Cloudrest logs
    https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/8#metric=dps&boss=27
    8 sorcs
    4 templars
    2 necros
    1 nb
    0 wardens

    Here are the Asylum Sanctorium logs
    https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/7#metric=dps&boss=23
    4 sorcs
    2 templars
    1 nb
    0 necro
    0 dk (the only trial with no dk in the top 100)
    0 warden

    Here is Halls of Fabrication logs
    https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/6#metric=dps&boss=20
    3 templar
    1 sorc
    1 nb
    0 necro
    0 warden

    Here are the Maw of Lorkaj logs
    https://www.esologs.com/zone/rankings/5#metric=dps&boss=15
    10 templar
    3 sorc
    2 nb
    1 necro
    0 warden

    There are the logs of the top end of all non craglorn trials. Only a single trial didn't have DK in the top 100 and all of them without fail were flooded with arcanist with DK in second place except AS (which as mentioned before, is an outlier in terms of design).

    So once again, my point remains valid and even more so since it is not just limited to the 3 latest trials but it is across all trials, even the 1 trial out of all of them that is supposed to favour sorcerer and NB.
    Edited by Turtle_Bot on September 22, 2023 9:35AM
  • UsualSurrender
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    Trier_Sero wrote: »
    Yes, balancing combat based on trial dummy parses is really bad idea. I mean, I can parse 60k on a trial dummy with my templar but my actual in game dps varies a lot from 25k to 50k depending on content and how good the party is. Also I hear a lot of people say they can parse 80k-120k on a dummy but I rarely find people who do more damage than me in actual game content.

    You won't find them in random dungeons because we rely on group buffs to do such high damages, which we almost never get from random tanks and healers.
    In such dungeons, an average self-buffed dd will have as good (if not better) results as a good dd that's specialised in optimized group and that can parse very high numbers on dummy.
  • emilyhyoyeon
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    They also never reworked class buffs (DK/templar brutality/sorcery and NB/sorc savagery/prophecy) to be compatible with the new hybridization standards, and it's been over a year and a half.
    Zirasia Firemaker, imperial fire mage & sunbather _ Deebaba Soul-Weaver, argonian spirit minder & soul gem collector
    Tullanisse Starborne, altmer battlemage noble & ayleid researcher _ Qa'Rirra, khajiit assassin & dancer
  • Trier_Sero
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    You won't find them in random dungeons because we rely on group buffs to do such high damages, which we almost never get from random tanks and healers.
    In such dungeons, an average self-buffed dd will have as good (if not better) results as a good dd that's specialised in optimized group and that can parse very high numbers on dummy.
    Well, this just proves the point even more.
    Also, I've run vet trials with some established groups and situation isn't much different there. Usually it's 1 or 2 guys who do 100k+ damage while everybody else are closer to my level.
  • UsualSurrender
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    Trier_Sero wrote: »

    You won't find them in random dungeons because we rely on group buffs to do such high damages, which we almost never get from random tanks and healers.
    In such dungeons, an average self-buffed dd will have as good (if not better) results as a good dd that's specialised in optimized group and that can parse very high numbers on dummy.
    Well, this just proves the point even more.
    Also, I've run vet trials with some established groups and situation isn't much different there. Usually it's 1 or 2 guys who do 100k+ damage while everybody else are closer to my level.

    Absolutely, I wasn't disagreeing with your point.
    The class imbalance is a very end-game issue that affects only score-pushers, which are probably 1% of the player-base if even that.
    Personally I do between 100k and 110k with all classes, static rotations, and low effort, because that's what how I enjoy playing, which is plenty enough for the content that I do. Which means I can freely play with the class I enjoy the most, from a visual and gameplay perspective.

    That being said, this 1% try-hard player base still deserve to have their concerns addressed. The imbalance at the high end still needs to be looked at.
    It only means that most people don't need to be too much concerned by it.
  • Æxiled
    Æxiled
    Soul Shriven
    I'm glad I'm not the only "psycho" doing this kind of research based on data and numbers. I totally agree with you, the current state of the class balance is more than worrying, imo worse than ever. You also made sure to not make it look like a "nerf this and boost this" post, so there will be nobody trying to defend their classes.

    I've been playing TESO since the beginning basically (not really a forum person...) and this game is way better than anything on the market for years now, but their obvious way of boosting "new" classes or features got out of hand. I understand they somewhat need to make the new classes or features more attractive in order to generate sales and that's fine by me, we're all dependent on them keeping the game lucrative.

    I am sure I'm not the only one watching their class being dismantled for months (or years...?) now being brought to the point of considering to quit. Sure one can say just play the meta class or switch your general role to tank/dd/heal and what not, but to me there's only one enjoyable class and to play something that is currently OP is simply not appealing to me.

    There will surely always be an imbalance between classes split up through the large amount of content and after newly implemented features and classes, accomplishing 100% perfection is impossible, but classes doing significantly more damage whilst being played by the same person during the same content for a longer period of time just means that something is wrong.

    I appreciate your work and passion in this post and i totally agree, but I'm afraid it'll remain unanswered and turn into a rant as usual in this forum.
  • JTorus
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    This is behavior from an entity that is self aware of its revenue stream, and how to capitalize on certain specific aspects of it. Consider that some time ago it was acknowledged that there was 'no room left' for new animations, during a time when players were requesting more fun emotes. Yet somehow they managed to re-vamp existing animations, consolidate others, all to make room for the new class.

    It will never be better than it is today. And today is never as good as it was yesterday, even with all of yesterday's faults.

    If you want to see this behavior change, speak with your wallet as well. A DLC with the price tag that rivals a new Triple-A title, with content that diminishes in quality, year after year. All while being baited along with "They're working on it!"

    It's a shame, I *really* like being in Tamriel... just not really so much in the 2E 583 these days.

  • dk_dunkirk
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    I know it's not going to be a popular take, but this all speaks to a need to nerf Arc's and DK's -- hard -- to bring them DOWN to the others, and not the other way around. People constantly complain about how easy the game is, and how much is needs more balance. If every class is as powerful as the currently-broken Arcanist, how is any of that going to be addressed? Increate the other classes to match Arcanist, and then make ALL THE CONTENT harder to make it match THAT?
  • Jazraena
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    I don't do vet trials. I do 4 man content - difficult content too on some characters, but still 4 man - and the odd normal trial. I have some characters I optimize more than others for that high end 4 man, but a lot of what I do are thematic builds. Still quite a bit of theorycrafting, but usually just squeezing the most performance out of a specific theme.

    And boy, do I get away with a lot more *** working off Arcanist or DK. As long as you use a crux builder and the beam you can basically do no wrong and still keep pace with everyone else. Even outside high end, it's notable. You can make a lot work, but the ease of doing so varies greatly.
  • ErMurazor
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    There is always gonna be a meta/bis whatever balance changes ZoS do. That's why you only see 1 class dominating the leaderboards. Everyone aiming for top scores min/max even if it's a tiny tiny difference.
    Edited by ErMurazor on September 22, 2023 12:42PM
  • Jazraena
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    ... you might want to actually take a longer look at that 'tiny, tiny difference' outlined in the first post.
  • Four_Fingers
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    Could it be that some players mostly play certain classes as DD and other classes as support?
    The trinity exists despite trying to make an MMO a solo player game.
    Many variables in stats.
    Edited by Four_Fingers on September 22, 2023 12:53PM
  • FantasticFreddie
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    I don't think this is the whole picture.

    There are more roles that just DD in PVE, and I think the argument that ALL classes need to be equal at ALL jobs is not one I would agree with, or do I think it's the argument you are trying to make.

    Warden is still a BIS healer, and it's a BIS class for pvp.

    Necro is still a staple tank and support class in general, being a staple support dd in a variety of trial setups.

    Oakensorc just recently took a nerf, because people felt it was being far too popular. It's still incredibly common and pretty strong.

    DK is still overperforming by this metric, as it is a top dd class, a top tank class, AND a top pvp class.

    I don't know enough about the various classes in pvp to know their numbers or viability, but I would argue that you and I don't have access to that data, and Zos almost certainly does, and without having that data, there is a lot missing.

  • LokiPagan
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    dk_dunkirk wrote: »
    I know it's not going to be a popular take, but this all speaks to a need to nerf Arc's and DK's -- hard -- to bring them DOWN to the others, and not the other way around. People constantly complain about how easy the game is, and how much is needs more balance. If every class is as powerful as the currently-broken Arcanist, how is any of that going to be addressed? Increate the other classes to match Arcanist, and then make ALL THE CONTENT harder to make it match THAT?

    No, no, no, no, no. Buff every class, no nerfs. You nerf DK and Arcs hard and a quarter of the playerbase will leave. Overland content is supposed to be easy and for normal players, if you want a challenge, do vet trial trifectas.

    I don't want to need a raid group to kill skeevers, and I don't want to have to holler in zone chat for an hour to put a large group together to do one of my daily WB kills - it takes forever, there just aren't enough players, it's nice being able to solo them and get on with my day. If people want harder overland content, they can always make a "veteran" mode for overland. Besides, when I'm in overland, I'm not looking for a challenge, I'm running through to do quests, or harvesting, or doing treasure maps.
  • RicAlmighty
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    Agree with this completely.

    But hey, they nerfed Pillar, so that has to count for something... right? /s

  • Ragnarok0130
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    I tend to look at all these "you should do this, you should do that" posts from players to ZOS with an amused eye because I genuinely think there is a mastermind behind the class balance that has planned balancing

    Yeah no. If there's a "mastermind" behind the bizarre class balance since U35 then why is the combat team unable to articulate exactly what their "combat vision" is despite prattling on about it nonstop during livestreams and forum posts while discussing balance? Unless that vision consists of wearing a blindfold while throwing darts at a nerf table while simultaneously buffing the top performing class DK then nobody has any idea what it is.
    I don't think this is the whole picture.
    Oakensorc just recently took a nerf, because people felt it was being far too popular. It's still incredibly common and pretty strong.

    As annoying as Oakensorcs were, a class being "too popular" is never a reason to nerf it. Nerfs and buffs need to be based on objective metrics not feelings of how popular a class is. Using this logic DK should have been nerfed long ago due to its popularity with Arcanist next on the chopping block.
  • Marcus684
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    Is this causation or correlation? Are these classes showing the best numbers because they have the best toolkit, or is it because the best DPSers are playing them?

    I suspect that Arcanist is tops because it's still benefitting from the new class overtuning that ZOS bakes into them to help sales, but DKs could just be popular due to the hype that's been swirling around them for months. Also, experienced players that are on a break often return to play the new class, and these are often very high performing DPSers that accomplished everything they wanted and wandered away looking for new challenges in other games.

    As annoying as Oakensorcs were, a class being "too popular" is never a reason to nerf it. Nerfs and buffs need to be based on objective metrics not feelings of how popular a class is. Using this logic DK should have been nerfed long ago due to its popularity with Arcanist next on the chopping block.

    ZOS has expressly used popularity of a class/skill/set as reasons for a nerf time and time again.
    Edited by Marcus684 on September 22, 2023 2:58PM
  • ProudMary
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    What about the extreme performance imbalances in PvP?

    It's all DK's now since U35. Some NB's and Arcanists too, but DK is by far the most over performing and it's been this way for a year or more.
  • robpr
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    Buff up cleave damage to all other classes and you should see different numbers. DK and Arca are not that much superior when you compare their dummy parses but DK has Talons/Deep Breath and Arca has its ridiculous beam. This is one of the reasons people bring oaken builds to the top end.

    But I don't think YOU HAVE TO do anything. It's natural progression of the game. We had magblade teams and petsorcs teams in the past. Stamcro was destroying Sunspire leaderboards once it came out. Now Arcanist is a flavor of the month. I can agree that DK was going strong for too long to be natural but this is not a reason to destroy a class considering how long DK was dogwater in PvE.
  • Arthtur
    Arthtur
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    Its not that DK and Arcanist are super broken, they just have the best tools for trials. Nerfing them wont bring other classes in because the other classes just dont have the tools to be good in here.
    Add new trial compared to AS where single target classes/range DDs are better and u wont see any DKs. But as long as there is an army of adds in trials and u need cleave, classes like NB and Sorc will be underperforming.
    Like rly, look at the world records for vMA and vVA (solo arenas) and u will see only NBs and Templars as those classes are the best for that.
    Each class has diffrent tools that are the best for diffrent content.
    PC/EU @Arthtur

    Toxic Tank for the win :x
  • FantasticFreddie
    FantasticFreddie
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    ProudMary wrote: »
    What about the extreme performance imbalances in PvP?

    It's all DK's now since U35. Some NB's and Arcanists too, but DK is by far the most over performing and it's been this way for a year or more.

    Take some logs and show the results. The logs I have access too show that warden and nightblade are doing the most damage with class skills, and steel tornado is extremely strong as well.

    It also shows surprisingly even numbers of classes present throughout the night.
  • Jaimeh
    Jaimeh
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    I just want to play my stamNB competitively in PvE again. I was talking about this in another thread, but it's like ZOS has completely turned a blind eye on how some specs are severely under-performing, while DKs are still reigning supreme. In the case of NBs most of the nerfs were because of PvP/PvE imbalances, but why should the players pay because ZOS can't come up with a solution to their balance issues which doesn't gut a spec entirely out of a game mode... It's one of my biggest issues with ESO in the last few years, and no matter how many posts people make with data aggregated from ESO logs on the monopoly of DKs on end game raiding, and the absence of other specs, they seem to never pay attention, and only coming up with more DK buffs. I don't even know at this point...
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