ESO Combat Update in Update 21 – A New Approach

There will be less combat changes in the next content update as the Elder Scrolls team is using a new approach to combat balance.

Hi all,

I wanted to take moment to share some info about how we’re approaching Combat updates in U21.

As you all know, ESO is a massive game with a lot of moving parts. For years the team has been aggressively adding and tweaking various components of combat in an effort to create a great experience for players of all varieties. Every game update includes a series of balance changes, and we regularly introduce new features such as the Skills Advisor and Warden class. A tremendous amount of effort goes into delivering these updates and, while we do sometimes stumble along the way, we’re pretty proud of what the team has accomplished.

In recent months, however, we’ve recognized that we’ve been so focused on “the next update” that we haven’t had much time to consider and flesh out what the next year+ of combat updates should look like. We often see posts on the forums requesting further context on balance changes, and asking how they fit into a larger plan and vision for combat. While we do have a backlog of improvements identified for the game, it’s clear we could do a better job of answering those kinds of inquiries, both for the player community and ourselves.

To that effect, the team is currently investing a portion of its time into codifying our vision and long-term strategy for combat. This is not a trivial task because, as mentioned before, the game is huge and there’s a lot to cover with combat. As such, we’re pulling back on the volume of combat balance changes being introduced in U21 compared to previous updates. Currently our planned changes for the update include:

  • New item sets for our Q1 2019 DLC
  • Redesigns for several PvP item sets that are currently rarely used
  • A balance pass on racial passive abilities
  • A small number of other balance changes, many of which are wrapping up efforts the team took on in U20
  • An assortment of bug fixes

We’re currently in the process of sharing the details of these changes with the Class Reps to get feedback ahead of PTS, which won’t start until the new year. However, we wanted to give you a heads up now so the smaller list of changes doesn’t come as a surprise when the PTS1 patch notes drop. In time we’ll also want to share more about the vision and strategy that will drive future combat updates. To be clear, this is simply a momentary deceleration of changes while we evaluate the state of combat and determine how to proceed. We are nowhere near done updating and improving the game.

I’m guessing many of you will be interested to know more about the racial balance changes. While we aren’t ready to share specific details yet, here’s a peek at the goals driving the team’s effort:

  • When selecting a race, players should have multiple effective options for any given gameplay role.
  • The combat power provided by each race should be more equalized.
  • Players should feel a stronger sense of power progression through racial passives as they level up.
  • The unique feeling and flavor each race provides should be retained and enhanced where possible, and remain faithful to established lore.

That’s all for now. Feedback, as always, is welcome.


By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

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