Immediate disclaimer, I am not trying to offend anyone or attack a specific playstyle. My goal is to enlighten people, hopefully ZOS themselves and help the state of the game.
First I want to say that performance is obviously THEE major issue. I know ZOS is working on it and I don't expect a fix any time soon. However there will be some things here that I will address that may be performance related. But I just want to point out the biggest issues with performance. First there is positioning desync where on one end of the game you may seem out of range but still get hit by a dizzy swing or dawnbreaker, incap, what have you. Positioning desync also has an opposite effect as well where a player will be right in front of you but you can't target them because they are out of range. Then there is probably the worst issue, health desync, which a lot of players seem to purposely abuse. First thing that comes to mind is the elemental weapon overload combo, a lot of players know this desyncs health and use it because of that. Another is snipe desync, which I'm sure a lot of the snipe spammers aren't aware of the desync they cause but there are some who abuse it purposely. The last one i want to touch up on is delay. Skill delay is completely random it seems. The game works fine for a bit but then you hit a skill nothing comes out then press some other buttons then suddenly everything comes out. You'll notice delay a lot in things like DK's fossilize, where you get stunned before the animation goes off, cant break free until after the animation goes off, and by then you've already been tagged by 2-3 lashes. Same thing with DK leap where you get stunned before the animation lands on you and can't break free til after. I'm 100% certain all of these issues are already known to most of the player base and the devs themselves but I wanted to touch up on them as a refresher.
Speaking of performance related lets talk about skills misfiring and such. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong but it seems like when a skill, for example rally, does the animation and takes your resources but doesn't give you a heal when you recast at 16 seconds, I feel that is more of coding rather than server performance. Another example is the dud streak when you streak and sit in place and it takes your magicka. There are several skills that do this, those two are just off the top of my head. I know everyone has experienced this at least once. With that being said this is definitely a struggle in the game where it makes the game feel more like player vs game rather than PvE or PvP, and I personally started noticing these issues right after the introduction to cast times. Now I do not know if cast times and skill duds are related as I am no coder, not a programmer and have no insight to how any of that works, this is all just speculation but, from a player perspective dud skills were not issues, at least not by much, until after cast times.
Now cast times may not be the cause of skills duds or delay and that could all be completely wrong, it is just a thought. But on the topic of cast times, where this will be very controversial, cast times should be removed and ZOS should bring back block canceling. The technicality and the skill gap was the best thing about ESO, making ESO the most unique and fun and fast paced mmo. ZOS has recently been attacking the skill gap for some time now and it is really bad for the game. Higher end PVE'rs and PVP'rs are technical, fast, precise, they by all means should out perform players who are less so. Which then leads to people making fun montage videos, dungeon or trial speed runs, and how-to's and guild videos, because the ESO community has so many helpful and supportive players who just want to help everyone improve and understand the game better. Making the game less skill based will only saturate the game making it stale and boring or even these current patches which are more frustrating than anything. I know a lot of players are going to back lash at this specific statement because the skill gap is controversial and that is fine, I expect it.
(PVP perspective section)
Continuing off of skill gap, or rather just skill in general this is where I am going to try to not offend people. Personally I don't see the logic in nerfing raw dmg such as Fury and New Moon Acolyte, but buffing proc sets like caluurion or venomous smite alone is such a strong set that it basically nullifies healing, especially since the healing nerf. If I have 4.5k weapon dmg, and my vigor tic is 1.2k and rally, which is a dud 5/7 times, has a heal of about 5k maybe 6k, and then venomous smite is hitting for 1k per second? Forgive me for being so blunt but I feel that PVP balancing just was not very well thought out at this time. If we are going to have such strong procs I think it is fair to have harder proc conditions. To proc off a random crit or for stealth blades out of stealth, is the same as getting free damage. There are other strong proc sets as well but these two just stand out as they have a very high damage output. I've seem that venomous is being addressed but I don't think fixing the AOE is enough. The proc sets with the reduction of healing and lack of animation canceling and then the game's performance, is very frustrating for a lot of players, especially your long time veteran PVP'rs. Balancing right now is a major issue that I feel is being ignored. I know a majority of players will run procs no problem and not even see a balance issue. In fact most will probably say "its in the game use it" or "its easy to get" but what is that going to do other than add more imbalance to the game? The procs aren't going to all of a sudden make me out heal venomous just because I'm running it. Again I'm not trying to offend anyone or anyone's playstyle, but this does seem to be an ignored issue in the game which is damaging the game due to the lack of counter play to the current popular proc sets, which will only be worse next patch.
(PVP Perspective section)
To touch up a bit more on the matters of PVP balancing, I want to address healing, or self healing rather. With the current reduction of self healing the game feels lack luster. It's really difficult to out heal the current meta being mostly procs and malacath dots, when it's an out numbered fight healing is almost useless. Let me just say that fighting outnumbered was one of the most thrilling things about ESO's PVP. While most people see 1vX as 1 good player smashing on several new or not as good players, yeah that is usually the case but when it's 1 good player vs 2-3 decent players, with the reduction of healing, proc meta, mythic rings for insane damage, changes to impen, where is the counter play? I am pretty sure ZOS wanted to nerf tanks in PVP or Solo players in general, but when a solo player kills 5 people who use one ability and don't heal themselves or have not as good buff management, does that really justify nerfing solo playstyle and skill gap? Now I am not saying that 1vX is impossible but it's definitely harder and much more relying on LOS (line of sight) and sustain rather than healing and bursting. You'll find it to be a much less brawling meta and a more kite away and pick people off slowly, which is fine but it's limiting gameplay and playstyles, which makes the game less appealing for a lot of players. I know it is not just 1vX'rs or really good players who get frustrated dying because they can't out heal procs and malacath dots, I'm very sure it has frustrated almost every player at least a few times. I believe reverting the healing could be the first step to bringing ESO PVP back to a more enjoyable experience.
So we come to the last thing I want to bring to light and that is ZOS' attempt to nerf skill gap. This is probably the most controversial thing to bring up but I feel it is important it be talked about. Firstly, I think nerfing skill gap is by far the worst decision you could make for the health of the game, and even from a business perspective. Obviously the attempt it to not make newer players feel so late to the game but they are. But that doesn't mean they wont get good in time. Before ZOS decided to nerf APM by introducing cast times and such I always related ESO to Super Smash Bros Melee, in terms of tech skill. For those of you who don't know about melee i suggest you check it out because it is such a hype, high skill, chaotic interaction, and over all a fun game even just to spectate. So just to quickly compare ESO's animation canceling was much like L canceling in Melee, same principle. Buff management and LOS can be related to skills like wavedashing, platform movement, then blocking and roll dodge could be related to spot dodging and shielding. Then of course the combos. The tech skill in both games provided fun and crazy options, diversity in gameplay. I understand from a less technical viewpoint that the game was frustrating and now it feels more "balanced" but it's actually just nerfing skill gap, which ZOS has literally stated in their "PTS Patch Notes: Testing Ideas for Light & Heavy Attacks in Combat" post, saying they intend to nerf skill gap because as it is, its too high and completely honest here, there was not much to tech skill, just animation canceling which is simply blocking after a skill, dodging after a skill, or weapon swapping after a skill. What makes a good player good is their ability to decision make, choosing what skill to use, how to ani cancel, reading other players. Even today some of this remains but ZOS added a hard counter in the form of healing nerf, proc sets, class reworks. What happened was ZOS took the chance and tried to make the game "balanced" for casual players but it forced a very frustrating meta and a lack luster PVP experience. Personally speaking I can't say if PVE'rs appreciated the tech skill, I know it was a big thing for DPS to be good at it and be fast but I'm not sure if PVE performs just as fine without it. When it comes down to it I truely believe nerfing APM and nerfing skill gap was the biggest mistake and I really really think ZOS needs to reverse this direction of ESO.
I know... I KNOW, this post will more than likely get a lot of back lash, I'm very much expecting it, especially since PVP'ers are the smaller population of ESO and the good players are far in few now, they basically all know each other in their own PVP community, so I am not expecting anything really but disagreements but if it gets people talking then I think there could be hope for the game. Again I didn't want to offend anyone, I was not trying to attack anyone or any playstyle. My goal here was simple to shed some light on the issues I've seen through just this last 8 months or so and hopefully get ZOS' attention and open their eyes to the real frustration in PVP especially but also in ESO in general.
RIP skill based PvP days. . .