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(PVP) Nightblade's lack of Build Diversity and how the PTS continue to worsen it

IAmIcehouse
IAmIcehouse
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Preface:
  1. Intent here is PVP
  2. Intent here is to talk about what inhibits Build Diversity on NB (more than any other class)
  3. Build optimization and competitiveness are critical.

Note: This is not a nerf-nb thread --that's a separate discussion (I'm not going to even mention Merciless Resolve in this thread). Rather than talking about what makes NB oppressive and not fun to play against, this is about what restricts NB build options.

Incapacitating Strike - Already the best single target ultimate in the game, the PTS changes further thin the argument for running anything else as your offensive ult. I see the argument that the buff to incap is there to offset the loss of Major Beserk from concealed weapon, but that creates a disparity in alternative skills. So now your Incap-Bow burst should technically be a little lower. The problem is now Incap is even more the run-away favorite.
  1. Dawnbreaker: Running DB on NB has always been much more niche and uncommon than Incap, but since the last two buffs to Incapacitating Strike, you can't justify running Incap over it.
  2. Soul Tether: I've always favorited Soul Tether over Incapacitating Strike because it lets you stay offensive for longer with the heal (although most people preferred Incap still) but going from 4-seconds to 8-seconds to 12-seconds with 10% more damage, the argument for running soul tether as your primary offensive ult is getting tough to make
  3. Onslaught: Between the damage, stun, duration, and cost, you can't argue running onslaught over Incap. Even on the tankiest of targets.

Veiled Strike - There's two components that make this skill and its morphs so restrictive to Nightblades build diversity.
  1. It's ties to Major Resolve - I love the idea that Major Resolve can be granted passively in a class. It's unique and allows for a consistent offensive playstyle. The issue is that you have to run this skill if you want uptime on your resolve. Since the repetitive nerfs to Dark Cloak (I'll get to that later), unless you are consistently hiding in cloak, you're uptime on resolve is completely tied to this spammable. This rules our using Dizzy Swing, Rending Slashes, Rapid Strikes, Crushing Weapon, whatever.
  2. It's sheer damage and utility - If you gave up a precious monster set to run Mighty Chudan you'd still have to gimp yourself because there's no other spammable that comes remotely close to the damage and utility that either Suprise Attack or Concealed Weapon provide.


Over the past couple years, we've seen buffs to nightblades strongest skills and neglect or even nerfs to their weaker ones that offer build diversity.

Dark Cloak - For what felt like the signature skill for NB for me was essentially stripped from PvP given its mechanics. Despite players overwhelmingly choosing the other morphs, we saw three straight nerfs to skill putting it in an "unusable" space for PvP. The problem with this skill being so bad is it strips the ability to source Major Resolve with high-uptime from your class if you don't want to run Veiled Strike.
Consuming Darkness - I'll leave this blank, y'all know.


There's so little room for creativity when it come to playing NB optimally. There has to be some nerfs to these skills and then buffs to other skills or passives that offsets those.
  • Dekrypted
    Dekrypted
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    I feel that the major resolve not having its own separate ability like the other classes is a good thing for build diversity, but hinders it for a similar reason. Needing to rotate path or dark cloak in certain periods of combat to maintain the buff instead of having a dedicated skill like Rune focus, ice fortress, etc feels very micromanagement and less fluidity for me.

    Now with the requirement of dark cloak needing you to stand still, it just kinda limits build diversity as I used to run a brawler setup, but I can't brawl just actually standing still. Doesn't do much for me.

    I remember when Surprise attack had a unique armor debuff and it proccd my favorite set, Ravager allowing me to really brawl, but with it being changed to sundered, it actually just deleted my main way of pvping on it. Had great synergy with the stacks for merciless and the sets 4 stacks off of its spammable.

    A pain point for nightblade is it seems so heavily focused on the hybrid/melee archetype, but even then you're cloaking whenever convenient or on cooldown, going in and out which is fine, but sucks if you want to push the class in a different directions. The lack of options to do so so is what turns me off of using it as someone who doesn't main the class.
    Edited by Dekrypted on February 6, 2024 8:22PM
    PC NA
    March 2014 - December 2023
    No longer active

    Templar Main
  • Avran_Sylt
    Avran_Sylt
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    Dawnbreaker and Soul Tether are both Aoe Ults, they shouldn't standalone rival the damage of a single target Ult.

    Soul Tether as you say gets some sustain from the heal that can make it attractive.

    Dawnbreaker is available to all classes and does bump your weapon/spell damage up a tad, increasing the damage of all skills (Though I'd consider this barely noticeable). It could perhaps derive some synergy from other fighter's guild skills.

    Onslaught can help you kill tankier targets, it lacking a stun isn't the problem. Rather that Incap's delayed damage/stun application means that the applied stun happens later in the GCD than other stuns/fears available to the NB so Merciless can come out closer to when the stun happens than with other abilities reducing available reaction time. Otherwise I'd expect there to be more talk about Onslaught->Hysteria->Merciless.

    Veiled Strike, I actually think there's a problem if a spammable damage ability is also tied to reliable resistances like always up Major Resolve.
  • katorga
    katorga
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    Not meaning to be sarcastic but yes, having the "best in the game" skills limits build diversity. :)

    Personally, I find NB one of the most diverse classes in the same precisely because its class kit is so good, so complete. I am not chained to whatever the current meta sets are: the class is top three in every pvp playstyle you can think of in Cyrodill, IC and BGs. Dunno about dueling. Not my thing.

  • xylena_lazarow
    xylena_lazarow
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    Seems like Rallying Cry (to a lesser extent Wretched) choke out a lot of set diversity for NB, as well as other classes.

    This isn't to say that either of those sets are broken, just centralizing.
    Edited by xylena_lazarow on February 6, 2024 11:04PM
    PC/NA || CP/Cyro || RIP soft caps
  • Major_Toughness
    Major_Toughness
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    I would argue NB has one of the widest build diversity options in PvP.

    However, they all revolve around Shadowy Disguise. They pointlessly nerfed Dark Cloak for no reason, and buffed Shadowy Disguise by giving it the both bars crit. Yet Dark Cloak doesn't get this despite being the far less used morph even before this change.
  • Vaqual
    Vaqual
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    It was especially cynical that they enabled the minor protection on both bars for dark cloak, since you could anyway easily keep it up just by using the skill. Maybe it had a technical reason, but that was just weird.
  • xDeusEJRx
    xDeusEJRx
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    I think this is a good breakdown of Nightblade in PVP. Nightblade would be completely perfect, if ZOS followed through with their promise to buff less utilized skills in the game.

    Melee Nightblade is absolutely in a state it should be, but there's tons of useless and superfluous skills that need help that zos has never mentioned despite their promise to buff underutilized skills

    -Ambush/Lotus fan: Cast time on a gap closer is just a bad mechanic and it's super clunky as well

    -Consuming darkness: Main feature of this ultimate is the synergy which is nice for allies I guess but major protection as a main feature is pretty useless. It needs a rework that's more in-line with current skills
    -Swallow soul: The skill hits pretty low even by projectile standards. Soulcleaver and some unique alternatives can help make up for it, but the skill at it's base is pretty bad

    -Cripple: Cripple and their morphs are okay-ish but I think they need a little bit more love. Debilitate losing guaranteed overcharged really hurts an already weak and underutilized skill. With overcharged getting buffed, getting a stronger overcharged tick would've made it an okay off-meta skill to use. Crippling grasp is kind of meh, the main feature is to increase initial damage and giving you an immobilize but the increased damage feels negligible. Overall cripple needs a buff

    -Aspect of terror: Mass hysteria was made a lot better and I think it's pretty good in it's current state, but the Manifestation of terror morph is pretty awful now. I don't see why they nerfed fear trap by reducing it to 1 trap instead of 2. It was already the weaker over the 2 morphs and now it's just even more useless. It's like zos thinks major cowardice is the main reason to use aspect of terror. It's not, the main feature is the stun but they reduce the stun's potency by removing a fear trap in favor of the Major cowardice, which is just a bad choice

    If Zos actually put time and effort into buffing these actual underutilized skills, I wouldn't complain but instead they choose to buff the skills that are already in high volume usage. While admittedly, I do know it's mainly for PVE but Nightblade clearly has these skills that are non-functional and don't work with the playstyle of the class/skill line.
    And it's not just a NIghtblade issue, classes like Templar also have skills that just don't fit in at all with the class/playstyle. I just wish zos would actually follow their word of buffing the weaker class skils.
    Solo PvP'er PS5 NA player

    90% of my body is made of Magblade
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