Update 17 introduces a host of changes to The Elder Scrolls Online's combat that emphasize smart teamwork and tactical play. Learn everything you need to know about the changes coming to combat in the upcoming base-game update!
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Update 17 arrives alongside the Dragon Bones DLC game pack as a free patch to the base game on February 12 for PC/Mac and February 27 for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One. Whether you're an Alliance War veteran, an Undaunted dungeon delver, or a lone wolf adventurer, these combat changes are relevant to what you do!
TEAMWORK PREVAILS WITH IMPROVED SYNERGIES
Ability Synergies in ESO are designed to give players additional opportunities to benefit from teamwork and communication. Leading up to Update 17, we weren't seeing groups use Synergies as effectively as we wanted, so we made them easier to use and gave them a series of buffs and fixes.
“With this update, we wanted to make Synergies easier to understand and even easier to activate," says ESO's Lead Combat Designer Eric Wrobel. “Every ability that offers a Synergy now displays a clear visual indicator, such as a column of light. Once the Synergy is used, the indicator disappears. This helps other players know whether they can expect to find a Synergy there."
This visual indicator also communicates the Synergy's remaining cooldown time, and they now fire immediately when activated, regardless of what your character is doing. These changes make Synergies more effective, and they'll go a long way towards boosting your group's sustain, survivability, or damage. Use them well!
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WATCH YOUR SPACING IN CYRODIIL
In Cyrodiil, we want to encourage a wide variety of strategy and tactics, and this includes the way large groups move together. Over time, we've tried to encourage groups to spread out more and stack up less with various additions (e.g., the Vicious Death set) but we still weren't seeing the changes we wanted.
To further this goal, we have removed the damage cap on area-of-effect abilities. Previously, the total damage a group of players received from AoEs was capped, but now, everybody within an AoE's radius suffers full damage.
This change encourages large groups to spread out more and take different approaches to large-scale combat. In addition to this, it gives smaller groups opportunities to take on larger ones with smart, tactical placement of their AoEs.
BLOCK MORE, BLOCK OFTEN
Blocking was always intended to be one of ESO's core defensive mechanics, and there are times in the game where all players need to block in order to stay alive. However, we noticed that a large gap formed between regular players and hardcore tanks where the Stamina Block Cost was too expensive for the former and almost insignificant for the latter.
To address this, the base Stamina Block Cost has been lowered and the effectiveness of Block Cost enchantments reduced.
“With this change, we wanted to cut down on the extremes in Block Cost to create a more consistent experience," explains Wrobel. “Top-end players could get block to cost around 100 Stamina, while the average player had to spend over 2000. Since this cost can be applied four times a second, you can drain your entire Stamina bar in the blink of an eye."
If you're an experienced tank who makes use of Block Cost enchantments, you'll still be the best at what you do, but you will need to change up some of your tactics. However, if you block occasionally because you can't afford the Stamina cost, you can now make greater use of the defensive option and – hopefully – stay alive!
OUTWIT OPPONENTS WITH ABILITY AND INTERRUPT CHANGES
In ESO's PvP combat, we want to ensure that all abilities have their time and place while giving you opportunities to read and react to what your opponent is doing. However, we found that abilities with a cast time were being interrupted too often in PvP to make them viable.
With Update 17, we've reduced the severity of the movement speed penalty when using an ability with a cast time to allow you to maneuver more during a fight. This better supports the quick pace of battle if you like to use these abilities. However, when you cast these abilities, you'll also now have a red telegraph indicating that you can be interrupted by your opponent(s). If your ability is interrupted, you can't cast that same ability until after a short cooldown. But don't worry, you'll get your opportunity to try again.
“Interrupting the enemy stops their current cast, but makes future casts unstoppable," explains Wrobel. “With this change, it will be easier for players to know if an ability is interruptible or not, and the strategy will shift towards interrupt timing."
These changes add a new layer to PvP combat for both combatants, and it increases the viability of abilities that have a cast time while also providing tactical options to help counter them.
TIME YOUR HEAVY ATTACKS TACTICALLY
When engaging in PvE battles, we want to promote consistent and coordinated group play. With this in mind, Heavy Attacks now no longer remove the Off Balance debuff from bosses, giving everyone in your group opportunities to utilize them.
“With these changes, players can now plan around the Off Balance mechanic because it will no longer be constantly applied and removed before they can react to it," says Wrobel. “Players in the middle of their rotations will have a greater variety of decisions to make: Do I cast this high-damage ability, or do I use my Heavy Attack to get a load of resources?"
We've also increased the amount of resources you gain from hitting an Off Balance enemy with a Heavy Attack, and you now gain around double the amount you'd usually get. In addition to this, Heavy Attacks now benefit from the same speed boost that abilities with a cast time received above, making it easier to maneuver and land your attacks.
However, we've also made it so that bosses will be immune to the Off Balance mechanic for a period after it ends. This creates opportunities for regeneration phase during long boss fights and more tactical options for all.
ESO'S COMBAT IS EVOLVING
With these changes, we're aiming to make ESO's combat more responsive, tactical, and ultimately fun! Don't forget to check out the Patch Notes forum when Update 17 goes live for more information about what is coming to combat. Are you looking forward to the changes coming in ESO's Update 17? Let us know!
If you're interested in some of the new systems coming with Update 17, check out this feature article.
Update 17 will arrive as a free base-game patch alongside the Dragon Bones DLC game pack on PC/Mac February 12 and PlayStation®4 and Xbox One February 27.
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