Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the tag “builds”

Gear / Build / Weapon Bar interplay

@Zells - sepia stone - smallI’ve shied away from writing a build guide, because I freely acknowledge I am neither a data-miner, nor a math girl, nor am I a master DPS.  I can’t analyze the raw data for you, and I can’t pump out 55K DPS and then tell you how I did it.

But I have done hella research on DPS builds, and when I listen to people talk about their builds in chat I’ve noticed some common mistakes.  For example, I’ve had convos in most of my guilds about why the War Maiden set isn’t a strong choice for Sorcerers.  This isn’t going to be a pre-fab build, instead we’ll walk through an analysis of the build you’re using so you can strengthen it.  I’ll focus on Sorcs, ‘cuz it’s what I know, but some of it will apply to other classes.  Read more…

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Excuses, Midyear Mayhem, and a Screencap

@Zells - sepia stone - smallIt’s very nearly August; I have no idea how that happened.  Time is a concept I don’t fully understand.

Excuses
Lately the time I usually spend on posts has been soaked up by a couple of things:

1) I am still obsessively doing research to fine-tune Zellfire’s build and have learned a ton about meta building along the way.  I might do a post on meta builds, because even though I’m far from an expert, and there’s a lot of information already out there, most of it is that “give a man a fish” type of advice – “here’s a build, do it this way”.  And that’s a good place to start, but when I hear people discussing how they can’t get past this or that threshold, it’s because they don’t understand how the meta information fits together and/or are doing something they were told to do that doesn’t work for them.

2) My other distraction is that I have an IRL friend who will hopefully be joining ESO soon, and I’ve been emailing them “Beginner’s Guide to ESO” information.  I may do a series of linked posts with those write-ups.  There were so many things I learned eventually but would have loved to have known sooner: stable training, crafting research, how zone sets drop….  I’d like to provide a source of basic starter information for someone who doesn’t yet know how to ask Google for specific things.

Midyear Mayhem is underway!
Midyear Mayhem is the latest holiday event, and it’s PvP themed.  I kind of have a love/hate relationship with PvP.  I do enjoy it once I’m in Cyro – even when I’m dying – but most of the time when I think of going it sounds… stressful.  I’ve also heard complaints about the purely code-driven aspects of the event – achievements not recording, servers crashing, queues in the hundreds, various other things.  I’ve experienced most of that myself.  I have started doing the event achievements, but for the first time I don’t know that I’ll finish them all, even on one character.

Having said all that, I think it’s a well-designed event, for the most part.  Part of the devs job is to get people to try content they’re avoiding, and I like that they’re giving incentives to give PvP a try.  And I really do want that laurel crown.  So I guess this weekend I’ll take a deep breath and give Battlegrounds a try even though I find the idea super intimidating and have been putting it off.  Way to go, devs, ya got me.

If you see me in Cyrodil or in a Battleground this weekend, wave hi before you kill me.  🙂

(Just being friendly!  Not at all an opportunity for me to get another couple of seconds to run!)

Screencaps
This week I sorted through a bunch of my screencaps and added new ones to my computer’s slideshow.  Here’s one of my favorites.  Happy Friday!

Screenshot_20170708_202243

DPS Build Tweaking

@Zells - sepia stone - smallFor the last few months I’ve been working on getting my dps game up to the next level.  Or, to be honest, any level at all.  I originally made all my skill choices for RP reasons – Zellfire has been a fire mage for twenty years; she’s part fire atronach, she uses fire.  I was a little disappointed that the mage skill lines include a shock-based line (Storm Calling) but no fire-based skills.

In the solo games, the choice of element was purely aesthetic, but what I’ve found in ESO is that Zellfire just isn’t effective using only fire-based Inferno Staff skills – the Storm Calling line has serious advantages, and not using it really hamstrung me in terms of end-game performance.  The first time I tested my dps numbers against a training dummy, I was under 6K.  Which did get me through solo/PvE content, but in end-game… sucks.  I couldn’t pull my weight in group-play, and that was not acceptable.

It took me quite a while to fix the build, because in addition to farming gear, I also had to put Storm Calling on my bar and raise it first – when I started this merry up-my-game adventure, my Storm Calling skill was 3, even though ‘Fire was at the CP cap.  I had literally never used it and couldn’t even buy most of the spells.  I had to raise the skill line, level the spells themselves, learn how to use them, respec her skill points, her CP, and completely change her gear…

Finally got the build to a point where I felt like I might be approaching “competent”.  So I installed the combat metrix add-on and went out to farm dolmens and see where my numbers were.  Most of my dolmen-boss fights ended up in the 17-28K range, which actually is mostly-sort-of-competent, go me.

But also – this happened, and I’m still giggling about it:

DPS 60K 2

60K DPS!  This is what statisticians call an “outlier”.

Screenshot or it didn’t happen, right?  Totally a freak moment, but for a little over a second there, I was a serious badass. 🙂

In real terms, I’m still not quite where I could be / want to be, but after studying the numbers, I’m pretty sure I know what needs to be adjusted.  I need to farm Burning SpellWeave gear (because I’m not letting go of fire damage without a fight, dammit), so I’ve spent some time this week watching YouTube vids of City of Ash runs.  There were several “solo run” vids, and those players were running various kinds of combat-stats add-ons, so I could see their numbers.  Their dps was better than mine, but not by a huge margin.  I decided to try it myself and see how it went.
First solo
This is ‘Fire, standing over the body of the final boss in City of Ash.  I totally did it, my first solo run through a group dungeon.  I burned through about 20 soul gems on the Warden mini-boss, but Razor Master Erthas went down the first attempt.  Don’t know if you can see the HP, but I was down to 5.6% when he fell.  I was also on fire and was so excited I didn’t realize it.  All the mobs were down, so it didn’t really matter, but by the time I figured out I was still taking damage and jumped into the water, I was at .2%.

I can still say I cleared the end boss without dying, though. 🙂

I need a full set of BSW gear.  I need practice in the dungeons with groups so I know where to stand and when to run and where to run and which enemy to attack and how to better coordinate with the tanks and healers.  But I’m getting there.

Before I wrap this up, I have to say: I ❤ my Grothdarr set.  The first time it proc’d and the lava pool erupted around ‘Fire’s feet, I was so happy and caught up in how cool it was I quit paying attention to the fight and got ‘Fire killed.  Poor Zellfire, she tries so hard, but her player has the attention span of a squir – oh, look, something shiny!

 

Happy Friday, everyone, and happy hunting!

Patch Notes & Morrowind beta

@Zells - sepia stone - smallMorrowind beta is on the PTS, patch notes were released on the forums, and probably you have already heard the wailing.  Zone chat and YouTube are both full of expletive-filled rants; Deltia is done and will no longer be producing new ESO material.

Let’s all take a deep breath.

Solo games are static, and you have total control – the only changes are mods you install.  After a while, you figure out the combat mechanics, max out a character, and start walking through the content without trying hard.  And then you’re bored, and you go play another game.

MMOs are not static. The game will change, and you do not have control over that – it’s the nature of MMOs, and it’s a good thing.  The goal is always perfect game balance, but that’s an elusive mirage; it will never be perfect, and an MMO will never be “done”. As the rules flux, the build you’re attached to will change. That gear you worked so hard to get will become obsolete.  That spell that slays in PvP will get nerfed. The more you rely on something that always works, the more likely it is to be dialed down – that’s the very definition of balance.  It’s okay, you can adapt, you can learn a new trick.

The harder you work to get into the top tier of end-game players, the more precise your build gets, and the more rule changes will affect you – that’s why PvPers and trial lords react so strongly. Any combination of crappy gear and skills will get you to 7K dps, after all, but if you’re pumping out 45K per second, it’s because you’ve set up an exacting combo of build, gear, and skills – change any detail, the dps will drop. Going from 7K to 6K isn’t noticeable, but going from 45K to 35 sucks; cue the drama.

Specifically, the patch will be lowering sustain for all classes, and there’s a perception it’s being done to make the Warden the bestest class so everyone has to buy Morrowind in order to be competitive.  I have many thoughts on that. (The crowd gasps in shock.)

  • You can’t truly grok mechanics changes from patch notes, you need to play them. Stuff in patch notes doesn’t always affect playability the way people assume. A lot of the bitching is coming from ppl who have only read the patch notes, so: grain of salt time. For those who have played, an NDA clause is in effect so no one can give details.  I’m not saying it’s all lies, but I am hearing a lot of untrue, wild-ass rumors in chat being stated as fact – chill out.
  • Some people just like to hate things; they want to feel they’re better than whatever it is that they’re doing, somehow above it.  That crowd is jumping in to shout “ZOS sux!”, whether they know what they’re talking about or not. Some unsolicited life advice: H8ers are bottom feeders, don’t let them control your life choices.
  • PTS stands for Play-Test Server. TEST. Changes are implemented first on the PTS exactly so the mechanics can be evaluated – mechanics can and do get changed before content goes live, often because the community has strong opinions.  The PTS literally exists so the devs can assess changes and get feedback; saying ZOS doesn’t care about what we think is nonsensical.
  • The sustain nerf isn’t happening just to you – if implemented it will effect everyone. Your Nightblade won’t be able to sustain, but neither will the enemy’s tank.  That does radically affect how combat plays out, yes, but it does not automatically mean that combat will suck or that you personally will be affected more than the next guy. If you were a great player before, you can be a great player afterwards.
  • I keep hearing the sustain nerf is a money grab, but that doesn’t make sense.  Yeah, yeah – “If only Wardens are effective they’re making us buy Morrowind!” – but that’s not a working model for the game. Any game. The system requires a mix of balanced classes to be viable – people like to play different ways.  At any given time that balance is going to be off (see above), maybe off a lot, but if it’s so skewed as to make all classes but one ineffective… that doesn’t work, and the devs know it.  The balance may be completely broken the PTS right now – I’m not in the beta, so I don’t know.  But I am saying if that’s true, it’s highly unlikely it will still be true at launch.
  • ZOS definitely likes to turn a profit – Crown crates, yeah? But look… I’m sure there’s a small number of on-the-fence people, somewhere, but the vast majority of us made the decision to buy Morrowind (or not) when the trailer hit.  It’s Morrowind; ZOS doesn’t need strong-arm tactics, they just need Vivec and nostalgia.  They have far more to gain by putting out a solid game than they do by forcing people into buying it against their will.
  • Many of the devs have played TES games since Arena, and they love the game as much as we do. I choose to believe they care about making a good game, and I also assume they’ll continue to work on improving it. I’m a fangirl, and maybe I’m naïve, but I genuinely do not believe they sat around a table and said “let’s make all the other classes suck so ppl are forced to play the Warden!”

I did receive a beta invite, but haven’t logged in yet and probably won’t.  I play a fair amount – okay, a lot – but every time I log in, there’s still more that I want to do than I have time for.  Playing on the PTS always seems like a waste to me, because it’s time I could have spent developing my “real” characters.  It’s the same reason I didn’t download the PTS to see housing before Homestead was released.  Also, I don’t like spoilers or experiencing art in bits and pieces – I want the full, in-context experience as the artists intended.  Generally speaking, I prefer to give up the chance to see something early in lieu of seeing it polished and complete.

So yeah, I’ve heard it all, and I’m still excited.  The classes will change, builds will change, the CP system will change… the game will continue evolving, sometimes in radical ways.  Some of Morrowind will be buggy and some aspects will be unbalanced, sure.  Always. But I have faith that most of it will rock, and the parts that don’t will get patched in the future.  I have faith that the devs are good at their jobs, and that they actually care about the game, goofy as that may sound.

It’s nearing the end of the Spring semester; finals are getting close.  Everywhere I look, people are quietly (or not-so-quietly) losing their minds. Remember to breathe, and eat, and sleep, and like the Hitchhiker’s Guide says: DON’T PANIC. 🙂

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