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Pool Noodle Wars: A Critical Review of Imperial City Stamina Sorcs

Cathexis
Cathexis
✭✭✭✭✭
Well patch time has come and gone, and the Imperial City is fresh and alive with pve'rs and pvp'rs alike. Admittedly, I've been power grinding a magicka sorc because, lets face it, Stam sorcs can barely cut it, and that doesn't seem like its going to change any time soon. Nevertheless, now that I have some first hand experience in the Imperial City, I'm here to lay down some feedback. With the hope of keeping things concise and not degrading into a text wall, I'll give you my best interpretation through the 8 most significant observations I have noted.

(1) Overall, Stam sorc survivability has improved.

While I generally hate sweeping, bandaid, kneejerk changes that are applied to the whole system like a blunt hammer to the teeth, I have to admit that the gimping of shields, damage, and blocking have been a positive stride for stamina sorcs. When faced with the post-patch rebuild, I no longer feel bound to the extreme play styles of either a damageless block build on flip or a glass cannon two hand/dualwield/bow combo. All of the specs feel more in line with each other in terms of their damage output and utility (strictly in terms of comparing pre-patch to post-patch).

(2) Range damage builds for stamina sorcs are dead.

Gone are the days of snipe builds for stamina sorcs. While the stamina cost of snipe spamming don't seem to have been affected detrimentally, the damage output of snipe not in stealth is easily out-healed. Prepatch unstealthed I could bring down an opponent with 3-4 snipes if they let their guard down, and 2-3 from stealth. Now I can spam snipe on a single target until my stam is gone and effectively not put a dent in them. Stealth snipes are also only marginally better than unstealth snipes now, since the toggle magelight for 20% damage has been removed. With the nerfs to stamina regen, silver shards(+morphs) have also become too expensive to spam.

(3) There is no reason to make a block build.

With stamina regen nerfed, block regen turned off, and the pvp damage nerf, there is no added benefit to running a block build that I can see. The damage nerf basically mitigates the same amount of damage I previously mitigated with block pre-patch. Because of this the extra damage mitigated compared to the stamina lost in combat just isn't worth the trade off. What good is blocking damage if all my resources to retaliate are gone? Not that I think that stam-block relationship changes are bad. In fact they are the reason I can now compete against dragon knights, who can't just block infinitely anymore. I also don't think block, itself has become useless, but now I use it more circumstantially, regardless of having a sword/board equiped.

(4) Two-Hand is the new Two-Hand.

Since the patch, it seems clear that the main way to deal out damage as a stam sorc is in the form of two-hand melee. The only two abilities that run damage that hits hard enough to make a dent are snipe(+morphs) and wrecking blow, and with survivability up, why bother with range when you can knockback someones face into the ground. While I don't know if I would revert a lot of the changes to the combat dynamic, and while the playing field for stam sorcs has somewhat leveled a bit, the diversity of damage builds has officially been reduced to two-hand slam which is a bit disappointing.

(5) Why do I even have a second bar?

With two-hand emerging as the do or die for stam sorcs, it occurs to me that there is no real reason why I even have a second bar. I can basically slot anything into my second bar and the build will ultimately function same. Range abilities like bow skills and throwing blade can be out-healed and out-run. Sword and board is more useful for defensive stance than for actual blocking. Bar flip has basically been reduced to a buff bar for the two hand bar, and the more I look at it, Vigor at Dark Deal stacking have slotted me into some sort of stamina healer role (which, actually, is quite fun). That said, it has made choices for second ultimates a little more diverse, so that's a plus.

(6) Dark Deal Returns are Pitiful

Don't get me wrong the changes to dark deal in terms of the way it functions are GREAT. Being able to spam it without losing mobility and turning into a giant target is huge buff in terms of its function. That said, its cost/return ratio is pitiful. In terms of heals it is only useful as an augmentation stacking with other healing abilities. As a stamina return tool, its fundamental utility remains almost the exact same as before; basically you will only get useful returns if you have an extended period of time to spam it. The returns are also significantly worse than its previous returns. Pre-patch casting it returned around 2/3 of your stamina. Now I'm not expecting those numbers, but currently spamming it say 4 or 5 times returns maybe under half your stamina (which, in total, runs longer in collective cast time as well than its pre-patch equivalent). Stamina return needs to be a little bit better. That said, it does shine in one way it didn't before; it can now be casted intermittently while in combat. While the returns are almost unnoticeable, it can, for instance, offset the cost of a vigor cast, which means you aren't running a slight stam deficit as you run in initially to engage a target. Overall, the utility is better, but this has been a sideways buff.

(7) Vigor changes were necessary.

Being able to acquire vigor at a lower rank has been a god-sent. Melee combat as a stam sorc basically hinges on this ability.

(8) Things aren't worse, but they aren't better either.

1vX is still bad, although its my understanding it has significantly declined for a lot of builds. Still, 1vX as a stamina sorc is difficult. Direct 1vX is just impossible -- healing mitigation, while significantly better in this patch, still just won't keep up with getting wailed on by 2 people. 1vX improvements for stamina sorcs are, if anything, more attributed to the chaos of the Imperial City. In that regard, 1vX as a stamina sorc isn't direct combat, its more like a hit and run. You crash your opponents as hard as possible and then bolt into the nearest baddy-filled hall way. Overall, my character still does significantly better in a group than solo, except now stam sorcs have the added obstacle of being forced to go balls deep with everyone you encounter. That'd be fine but its not a great combo for collecting tel-var stones.

That's basically it. Feel free to post comments or thoughts about the current state of stamina sorcs or ideas about the direction they need to go in from here.
Edited by Cathexis on September 2, 2015 10:31PM
O.o
  • Suntzu1414
    solid post.


    Kill Well
    ST
    DC - NB VR15 - Khajit - DW / S+B / Bow
    DC - NB VR 15 - Wood Elf - S+B / Resto
    DC - TP VR 15 - Brenton - Resto / Dual Wield
    DC - SC VR 12 - High Elf - Desto / Dual Wield
    EP - TP VR 5 - Nord - 2hd / 2hd
    EP - DK 20 - Imperial - S+B / Desto / Bow
  • Cathexis
    Cathexis
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Suntzu1414 wrote: »
    solid post.


    Kill Well
    ST

    ^_^

    @Suntzu1414 I added a bit on dark deal and vigor, there was one other topic I wanted to hit as well but I can't remember it will come back to me later though and I'll add it then.
    Edited by Cathexis on September 2, 2015 10:34PM
    O.o
  • blur
    blur
    ✭✭✭
    Cathexis wrote: »
    Well patch time has come and gone, and the Imperial City is fresh and alive with pve'rs and pvp'rs alike. Admittedly, I've been power grinding a magicka sorc because, lets face it, Stam sorcs can barely cut it, and that doesn't seem like its going to change any time soon. Nevertheless, now that I have some first hand experience in the Imperial City, I'm here to lay down some feedback. With the hope of keeping things concise and not degrading into a text wall, I'll give you my best interpretation through the 8 most significant observations I have noted.

    (1) Overall, Stam sorc survivability has improved.

    While I generally hate sweeping, bandaid, kneejerk changes that are applied to the whole system like a blunt hammer to the teeth, I have to admit that the gimping of shields, damage, and blocking have been a positive stride for stamina sorcs. When faced with the post-patch rebuild, I no longer feel bound to the extreme play styles of either a damageless block build on flip or a glass cannon two hand/dualwield/bow combo. All of the specs feel more in line with each other in terms of their damage output and utility (strictly in terms of comparing pre-patch to post-patch).

    (2) Range damage builds for stamina sorcs are dead.

    Gone are the days of snipe builds for stamina sorcs. While the stamina cost of snipe spamming don't seem to have been affected detrimentally, the damage output of snipe not in stealth is easily out-healed. Prepatch unstealthed I could bring down an opponent with 3-4 snipes if they let their guard down, and 2-3 from stealth. Now I can spam snipe on a single target until my stam is gone and effectively not put a dent in them. Stealth snipes are also only marginally better than unstealth snipes now, since the toggle magelight for 20% damage has been removed. With the nerfs to stamina regen, silver shards(+morphs) have also become too expensive to spam.

    (3) There is no reason to make a block build.

    With stamina regen nerfed, block regen turned off, and the pvp damage nerf, there is no added benefit to running a block build that I can see. The damage nerf basically mitigates the same amount of damage I previously mitigated with block pre-patch. Because of this the extra damage mitigated compared to the stamina lost in combat just isn't worth the trade off. What good is blocking damage if all my resources to retaliate are gone? Not that I think that stam-block relationship changes are bad. In fact they are the reason I can now compete against dragon knights, who can't just block infinitely anymore. I also don't think block, itself has become useless, but now I use it more circumstantially, regardless of having a sword/board equiped.

    (4) Two-Hand is the new Two-Hand.

    Since the patch, it seems clear that the main way to deal out damage as a stam sorc is in the form of two-hand melee. The only two abilities that run damage that hits hard enough to make a dent are snipe(+morphs) and wrecking blow, and with survivability up, why bother with range when you can knockback someones face into the ground. While I don't know if I would revert a lot of the changes to the combat dynamic, and while the playing field for stam sorcs has somewhat leveled a bit, the diversity of damage builds has officially been reduced to two-hand slam which is a bit disappointing.

    (5) Why do I even have a second bar?

    With two-hand emerging as the do or die for stam sorcs, it occurs to me that there is no real reason why I even have a second bar. I can basically slot anything into my second bar and the build will ultimately function same. Range abilities like bow skills and throwing blade can be out-healed and out-run. Sword and board is more useful for defensive stance than for actual blocking. Bar flip has basically been reduced to a buff bar for the two hand bar, and the more I look at it, Vigor at Dark Deal stacking have slotted me into some sort of stamina healer role (which, actually, is quite fun). That said, it has made choices for second ultimates a little more diverse, so that's a plus.

    (6) Dark Deal Returns are Pitiful

    Don't get me wrong the changes to dark deal in terms of the way it functions are GREAT. Being able to spam it without losing mobility and turning into a giant target is huge buff in terms of its function. That said, its cost/return ratio is pitiful. In terms of heals it is only useful as an augmentation stacking with other healing abilities. As a stamina return tool, its fundamental utility remains almost the exact same as before; basically you will only get useful returns if you have an extended period of time to spam it. The returns are also significantly worse than its previous returns. Pre-patch casting it returned around 2/3 of your stamina. Now I'm not expecting those numbers, but currently spamming it say 4 or 5 times returns maybe under half your stamina (which, in total, runs longer in collective cast time as well than its pre-patch equivalent). Stamina return needs to be a little bit better. That said, it does shine in one way it didn't before; it can now be casted intermittently while in combat. While the returns are almost unnoticeable, it can, for instance, offset the cost of a vigor cast, which means you aren't running a slight stam deficit as you run in initially to engage a target. Overall, the utility is better, but this has been a sideways buff.

    (7) Vigor changes were necessary.

    Being able to acquire vigor at a lower rank has been a god-sent. Melee combat as a stam sorc basically hinges on this ability.

    (8) Things aren't worse, but they aren't better either.

    1vX is still bad, although its my understanding it has significantly declined for a lot of builds. Still, 1vX as a stamina sorc is difficult. Direct 1vX is just impossible -- healing mitigation, while significantly better in this patch, still just won't keep up with getting wailed on by 2 people. 1vX improvements for stamina sorcs are, if anything, more attributed to the chaos of the Imperial City. In that regard, 1vX as a stamina sorc isn't direct combat, its more like a hit and run. You crash your opponents as hard as possible and then bolt into the nearest baddy-filled hall way. Overall, my character still does significantly better in a group than solo, except now stam sorcs have the added obstacle of being forced to go balls deep with everyone you encounter. That'd be fine but its not a great combo for collecting tel-var stones.

    That's basically it. Feel free to post comments or thoughts about the current state of stamina sorcs or ideas about the direction they need to go in from here.

    I am sharing this from a well known Sorc:

    "Hey Cathexis, here are my 2 cents
    As you know, I spent about 50 hours or more on PTS mostly PvPing as a Stamina Sorc.
    In response to your text wall, I will stay in order...
    • 1. I found leveling as a Stamina Sorc just as easy as a Magicka one. While I am reticent in sharing builds, you have a lot of options for high velocity grinding provided you have the right skills/gear.
    • 2. Regarding bow, it's your gear. I still get 10k+ snipes. It's likely your gear and skill selection though. I do not feel this class synergizes with Bow very well though. Maybe it's just the way I choose to play, but I refuse to take my time and meticulously hunt people from stealth on a Stamina Sorc. I always feel the need to charge and smash, it can't be helped... can't stop, won't stop.
    • 3. I don't know much about block builds, I certainly wouldn't want to try as a Sorc. I have however seen DKs with what seems to be infinite block/sustain.
    • 4. Two Hand has always been my favorite, though I have tried everything. Most hardcore PvP Stamina Sorcs have always been 2h, aside from back a year ago when you could softcap/overcharge stuff and do whatever.
    • 5. 2nd bar is a utility/ranged/buff bar. This has always been the case no matter what character I play. I usually have a Bow equipped and at least one bow skill, Poison Injection or Bombard (if not using Encase). I have got a ton of kills just using Poison Injection. For the record, all these responses are based on v2.1+.
    • 6. I do not use Dark Deal, I simply don't have the room for it.
    • 7. I agree that Vigor is a must have for Stamina Sorcs. I am still undecided about how I feel. I think ZOS went overboard and has put "training wheels" on PvP. I can see valid arguments for both sides.
    • 8. Things are not worse or better. I agree. Watching them develop this game is akin to watching a man run around in a room shaped like circle looking for a corner to *** in. In other words, nothing changed, we go from one extreme to the other. People still zerg and people still whine about things they don't understand. It's a neverending cycle. 1vX was fine in my opinion, after all, it's really damn hard to find a 2v1, let alone a 1v1.

    I would upload some video footage but I lost my entire Shadowplay folder recently. So now all I have is this half-ass screenshot montage which shows some of the things we are capable of this update with right gear. I refer to it as my wall of shame (because it's the best I could do without video :( )I have around 4k weapon damage in all of the screenshots and a decent amount of crit/armor pen. Regarding weapons, I am mostly using Infused. Also you will notice I use Bow, DW, and 2h to great success. (I tried 2h/2h, 2h/dw, 2h/bow, etc) If I had to pick a favorite combo, I would still do 2h/Bow. "

    nJnPtls.jpg

    Edited by blur on September 3, 2015 1:08PM
  • Cathexis
    Cathexis
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    @blur @Xael thanks for the input! Just some quick replies..

    I don't doubt you can pull 10k snipes, I myself have been able to get my snipe damage back up a bit, but the problem i find is that it doesn't hit hard enough anymore that wit a few swift chains of snipes you can bring down am enemy. I know what you mean though about poison injection, but I find that I can do the job just as well with a resto staff and evil hunter on flip.

    For me, I played all the stamina based weapon specs in rotation or situationally - from that perspective I feel the new 2 hand focus has somewhat weakened build diversity -- but you are right that most hard core stam sorcs run a 2 hand bar.
    O.o
  • blur
    blur
    ✭✭✭
    Cathexis wrote: »
    @blur @Xael thanks for the input! Just some quick replies..

    I don't doubt you can pull 10k snipes, I myself have been able to get my snipe damage back up a bit, but the problem i find is that it doesn't hit hard enough anymore that wit a few swift chains of snipes you can bring down am enemy. I know what you mean though about poison injection, but I find that I can do the job just as well with a resto staff and evil hunter on flip.

    For me, I played all the stamina based weapon specs in rotation or situationally - from that perspective I feel the new 2 hand focus has somewhat weakened build diversity -- but you are right that most hard core stam sorcs run a 2 hand bar.

    Oh I would never chain snipe, even pre 2.1. For me snipe on a sorc is only done as a initiation or done from a perch somewhere like a ledge in IC. In fact I only slotted it for the sake of the above screenshot tests. The only bow abilities worth running (as a solo player imo) would be Injection (works out of range against runners who get low) and Bombard (for Stamina drain, aoe CC is OP).

    Generally if I see a target I am charging into it to tear it's head off. Range is only something I do against people I can't close distance on and Injection works just fine for that. If I want to play an "archer" I would likely go DK or NB as they have skills that synergize better. Personally I don't mind 2h focus, Rally is amazing and works well alongside Vigor. Besides that. we need a gap closer. Nothing beats Crit Rush. If they give us a ranged Stam Frag we will be perfect.
    Edited by blur on September 3, 2015 1:09PM
  • Cathexis
    Cathexis
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    blur wrote: »
    Cathexis wrote: »
    @blur @Xael thanks for the input! Just some quick replies..

    I don't doubt you can pull 10k snipes, I myself have been able to get my snipe damage back up a bit, but the problem i find is that it doesn't hit hard enough anymore that wit a few swift chains of snipes you can bring down am enemy. I know what you mean though about poison injection, but I find that I can do the job just as well with a resto staff and evil hunter on flip.

    For me, I played all the stamina based weapon specs in rotation or situationally - from that perspective I feel the new 2 hand focus has somewhat weakened build diversity -- but you are right that most hard core stam sorcs run a 2 hand bar.

    Oh I would never chain snipe, even pre 2.1. For me snipe on a sorc is only done as a initiation or done from a perch somewhere like a ledge in IC. In fact I only slotted it for the sake of the above screenshot tests. The only bow abilities worth running (as a solo player imo) would be Injection (works out of range against runners who get low) and Bombard (for Stamina drain, aoe CC is OP).

    Generally if I see a target I am charging into it to tear it's head off. Range is only something I do against people I can't close distance on and Injection works just fine for that. If I want to play an "archer" I would likely go DK or NB as they have skills that synergize better. Personally I don't mind 2h focus, Rally is amazing and works well alongside Vigor. Besides that. we need a gap closer. Nothing beats Crit Rush. If they give us a ranged Stam Frag we will be perfect.

    The problem I have with having a melee focus on stamina sorcs is that the burst damage is not amazing and sustained damage mitigation isn't there. When you think about it, that's a bad combination. Prepatch it made a lot more sense to run a range build simply because it was safer. I uses to run a combination of overload, silver shards(+block), and snipe. It did quite well.
    O.o
  • Mettaricana
    Mettaricana
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ✭✭
    Already hitting 12k wrecking before imperial city that 2% weapon dmg and stam regen from expert summoner are gonna be orgasmic for me on the ps4. And the shield nerf is fine I've never been a shield spammer so means less layers for me to peel players like an onion.
    I'm everything that doesn't belong in the pact but i'm there anyway...
  • Teridaxus
    Teridaxus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    I know this a stam sorc thread, but us dragonsknight share the problem to be dependet on two hand.

    We have to relay on wrecking blow to do meaningful damage in pvp since our stamina morphed skills are dots and it's soft cc makes it just better than bow, atleast for me.
    Since i have 250 champion points and my dlk passives makes me extra tanky, i don't have to slot vigor but i guess for stam nb and sorcs it's a must have skill now.

    About the second bar, i would actually says that is a good more or less. Two hand can deal with nearly every situation unlike other skill trees which suffers from too much specialisation into one role.
  • blur
    blur
    ✭✭✭
    Cathexis wrote: »
    blur wrote: »
    Cathexis wrote: »
    @blur @Xael thanks for the input! Just some quick replies..

    I don't doubt you can pull 10k snipes, I myself have been able to get my snipe damage back up a bit, but the problem i find is that it doesn't hit hard enough anymore that wit a few swift chains of snipes you can bring down am enemy. I know what you mean though about poison injection, but I find that I can do the job just as well with a resto staff and evil hunter on flip.

    For me, I played all the stamina based weapon specs in rotation or situationally - from that perspective I feel the new 2 hand focus has somewhat weakened build diversity -- but you are right that most hard core stam sorcs run a 2 hand bar.

    Oh I would never chain snipe, even pre 2.1. For me snipe on a sorc is only done as a initiation or done from a perch somewhere like a ledge in IC. In fact I only slotted it for the sake of the above screenshot tests. The only bow abilities worth running (as a solo player imo) would be Injection (works out of range against runners who get low) and Bombard (for Stamina drain, aoe CC is OP).

    Generally if I see a target I am charging into it to tear it's head off. Range is only something I do against people I can't close distance on and Injection works just fine for that. If I want to play an "archer" I would likely go DK or NB as they have skills that synergize better. Personally I don't mind 2h focus, Rally is amazing and works well alongside Vigor. Besides that. we need a gap closer. Nothing beats Crit Rush. If they give us a ranged Stam Frag we will be perfect.

    The problem I have with having a melee focus on stamina sorcs is that the burst damage is not amazing and sustained damage mitigation isn't there. When you think about it, that's a bad combination. Prepatch it made a lot more sense to run a range build simply because it was safer. I uses to run a combination of overload, silver shards(+block), and snipe. It did quite well.

    What do you mean the burst is not amazing? Pre patch (1.6 - 2.1) I was destroying people in a matter of seconds. I am not sure how much Weapon Damage you were running, but I can assure you had you stacked Morag Tong/SW/RM or Hundings and had at least 150 CP you could easily blow people apart. Or you could have gone the DoT/Valk build which essentially did the same albeit unreliably. TTK (time to kill) was perfect for a mobile build like mine.

    Pre patch (1.6 - 2.1) the only reason I even bothered with Bow was the Hasty Retreat passive. Having a dodge roll speed boost that stacks with Boundless Storm was amazing and offered insane mobility. As for the actual bow abilities, I found them rather worthless outside of the Poison Injection morph which offered a DoT execute for people trying to get away or LoS me. Now, Bombard is much more useful due to the root/snare which really screws people out of Stamina.
    Already hitting 12k wrecking before imperial city that 2% weapon dmg and stam regen from expert summoner are gonna be orgasmic for me on the ps4. And the shield nerf is fine I've never been a shield spammer so means less layers for me to peel players like an onion.

    2% weapon damage is hardly noticeable and the Stamina Regen (while good) forces you to use an inferior ability on your bar. You are forced to either use Bound Armaments (which is terrible) or the Atronach ultimate which is decent, though I could make better use out of several others.
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