@ZOS_GinaBruno @ZOS_Kevin @ZOS_BrianWheeler @ZOS_RichLambert @ZOS_Wrobel
First off, I want to say that I appreciate what you are trying to do for sorc and no-pet sorc in particular with the changes this upcoming PTS/patch. The changes to Conjured Ward and morphs are definitely a step in the right direction and I still need to test it out, but the healing morph of encase looks somewhat promising.
However there are still many pain points that need urgently and directly addressing and I implore you to please, listen to the sorc players on these issues
. I know you want to put your own unique spin on things, but for these issues, that isn't going to work and will only lead to future balance implications (remember crystal weapons original design when sorcerers asked for a stamina spammable and the balance issues that had with sets and other stackable abilites?).
Most sorcerers have come to a consensus on what few small changes would be required that would work wonders for the class without completely risking it becoming super over powered, what is mostly disagreed on is where specifically to apply those changes. I will be posting those changes shortly either in a different thread which I will link in a reply or edit in this thread.
Now, with that out of the way, lets get into the topic.
There has been a clear and blatant bias against sorcerer and for NB for a long time now, but it has become overtly problematic over the past 18 months to 2 years. Now, NB definitely needed help before U35, especially in PvE, there is no denying that and it does still need help in PvE specifically
but the amount of GENERIC
buffs it has been given that are not limited to PvE only via battle spirit or the against monsters clause has become completely absurd, to the point where it is even constantly being given versions/combinations of multiple of sorcs best abilities.
Let's look at some examples:
Major prophecy/savagery for slotting Shadowy Disguise on either bar.
This morph is clearly a skill designed for PvP and roleplay. In PvP, NB did not need any more buffs, in fact it needed (and still needs) balancing. In roleplay, having a buff like this is not what's important for that aspect, it's the invisibility itself that is what makes this skill important when roleplaying.
This named buff of major prophecy/savagery was also something that Sorcerer players have been desperately crying out for in class access to as the sorcerer class's heal over time ability in critical surge depends on landing critical strikes to proc its heal, not just dealing any damage as sorcerer has no other way to get healing over time from its class kit, something that is essential in today's PvP environment. This is especially problematic in PvP where it is drastically harder to build notable critical chance on a class that lacks access to that named buff. Which compounds when other changes (nerfs) are made to things like tick rates and radius (melee attack range) on the class AoE DoT that was used to somewhat reliably proc the class HoT.
The proposed changes to Siphoning Strikes and morphs.
Sorcerer is known for having Dark Conversion, an ability that grants sustain and healing. That ability is balanced around the fact that it has a significant (1 second) cast time (something that also notably messes with PvE rotations). Sorcerer is also known as the "Offensive healing" class that requires dealing damage to potentially proc healing every second via crit surge and the blood magic passive.
The proposed changes you are making to Siphoning Strikes simply takes the best aspects of these skills and rolls them into a singular skill that is also significantly stronger and easier to use.
- The heal proc is on any damage, not just critical damage.
- The heal proc is passive and on either bar, not just when the skill is active.
- The sustain is instant cast and is a burst, allowing block casting of the skill which facilitates permanent blocking (healing for NB is not an issue at all, even more so in group play so the health cost basically doesn't exist).
Bound Armaments and Merciless Resolve.
In U35, bound armaments had its damage halved and it's unique bonus to light attacks deleted entirely. That same patch there was a seemingly panicked reverting of the reduction to the skills damage, but that was it. This left the skill as an objectively inferior version of Merciless Resolve. It deals less damage, it's stacks fall off after 10 seconds and it has no unique effect apart from a small increase to max stamina (something that magicka sorcerers don't get any tangible benefit from, which is important considering Hybridization).
Meanwhile Merciless Resolve deals significantly more damage (even more than the vast majority of ultimates deal, only DK stamina leap has a higher base tooltip), it has it's own built in unique (unnamed) damage modifiers, its stacks last indefinitely, meaning it can be pre-buffed or even used passively.
Both of these skills are delayed burst that you build up by weaving light/heavy attacks, yet 1 is objectively significantly stronger than the other and the other doesn't have anything unique to help it stand out.
NB has THE most efficient bar space in the game, bar none. It has (or is tied with arcanist) for the easiest access to the MOST buffs/debuffs/effects in the game. NB can very easily fill up 1 bar with class skills and have a completely functional (albeit basic) build. It doesn't do this however because it has the flexible bar space to easily slot absurd amounts of utility that other classes can only dream about having a small portion of.
Compare this to sorcerer and sorcerer is trying to force 14+ abilities into its 12 bar spaces just to meet the basics of standard buff/debuff access (brutality/sorcery, prophecy/savagery, resolve and breach), and this is without trying to slot the pets which take up 2 bar spaces each and are only made viable in PvE thanks to being programmed to ignore/be immune to the majority of mechanics and AoE in PvE content (a luxury that pets do not have in PvP, making them all but useless, sometimes even a detriment, there with their numerous downsides there).
NB has very simple and efficient passives that cover a wide variety of things required for combat in ESO. Passives that boost things like: Healing done, Ultimate generation, max stats, damage, critical chance, critical damage, sustain and even the class's armor buff (major resolve) is a passive that procs off casting the class's spammable and utility skills, which ties in with the previous point about bar space.
Meanwhile Sorcerers passives are outdated, inefficient, and focus too much on trying to fix sorcerers sustain issues that would be better solved by more efficient and/or cheaper costing active skills.
A prime example of this is the Refreshing Shadows Passive that NB has. It grants +15% to all recoveries, just for existing. There are no requirements outside of simply learning that single passive, no skills slotted or activated, no conditions such as taking damage, etc.
Compare this to the equivalent Sorcerer Passives (yes passiveS as in multiple passives required to get a similar bonus to Refreshing Shadows), those being Daedric Protection (+20% health/stamina recovery) and Capacitor (+10% magicka recovery). Capacitor is active at all times, like Refreshing Shadows, but it's only 10% recovery (5% lower) and ONLY for magicka, meanwhile Daedric Protection gives +20% recoveries (5% more) to health and stamina, but it requires slotting a Daedric Summoning ability, half of which are the pets that take up 2 bar slots.
Health recovery is a completely dead stat (especially in PvP), so Daedric Protection might as well just say grants +20% stamina recovery while you have a Daedric Summoning ability slotted. That's 2 sorcerer passives required just to get an equivalent to what 1 passive gives NB and those sorcerers passives heavily favour stamina over magicka, despite so much of sorcerers active skills costing a significant amount of magicka to cast.
I am bringing this up, because there is a clear and blatant bias (not just perceived but provable via past and proposed changes to the 2 classes, especially over the past 2 years) and this really needs to be addressed.
NOTE1: I don't say this to see NB just gutted, but to implore ZOS to think about the changes they put forward for the classes, communicate and discuss these changes with their players early on and make a concentrated effort to keep things more balanced overall (it doesn't have to be perfectly balanced, but within a few percent is required for a healthy game state).
NOTE2: Sorcerer doesn't need a huge overhaul with a completely new kit/abilities (I will go further into this in another thread that I will link in a reply or edit on this thread), but listening to what Sorcerer players are telling you in regards to what the class needs and openly discussing it with them and implementing something along the lines of what is concluded from those open discussions would go a long, long way to improving your image regarding communication, and also restoring one of the old favourite classes/playstyles that many people, not just myself have not been able to play at anything more than just casual/roleplay level for far too long now.
It has been far too long of trying to put ZOS own spin on sorcerer to address sorcerer pain points and it is just not working. Please, just talk with those who know the class, play the class and can provide insight into things that can be done to help the class, they all just want to help, but the communication needs to be open and go both ways for it to work and right now, it seems like the players are simply talking to a brick wall.
EDIT: to add a link to the thread discussing simple changes to fix Sorcerers issues and preliminary feedback on the proposed changes to Sorcerer for the upcoming patch.https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/651334/suggestion-qol-improvements-for-sorcerer-that-are-simple-and-effective/p1?new=1