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The Conundrum of Balance

Josh Hay Posted:
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As much as I love Elder Scrolls Online, the game does have its fair share of problems. I would like to touch on one today: Balance. Balance has been a deep-rooted issue since the beginning basically. We’ve had a lot of problems with pure stamina builds, pure magicka builds and barely in-between.

The biggest problem I have is that I feel right now is there is no middle ground. The middle ground is just sort of wandering around waiting for be found. I had a mixed build before I went full magicka on my nightblade and I felt I was hindering myself because of going half and half. I was trying to be a jack of all trades and I could barely even do that!

This problem has tried to be fixed and it’s a problem I feel like that will never be fixed. You will always have people who like and dislike one change and so on and so forth. The player base is split with what they want. I know a lot of my guild mates are split on what they want to happen balance wise. I know I would like to see split builds excel more but I know why they can’t.

I know can’t is a strong word and maybe I should preface it as not as strong as putting everything into one specific slot. i.e. Stamina or Magicka. I know my nightblade has excelled after making the switch, and after I switched I was disappointed. I wanted this jack-of-all-trades build to work and not hinder my guild while doing group and PVP content. I think we will always have this sort of issue in any MMORPG. There is no such thing as a perfectly balanced game.

Balance is such a huge concept, right? I’ve been mostly talking about stats, but we still have set balancing and class balancing to talk about. I feel that stat and class balancing are extremely critical and have been a talk of debate since the inception of this game and with Warden entering the fray, it gets that much more complicated.

I’ve stated in previous posts that I still feel like Warden needs some buffs and some fine-tuning to be playable (at least for me). I know that sounds a tad bit harsh but it’s how I feel towards that class. With each class having their pros and cons, I feel like Templar and now Warden as well, are the sort or Jack-Of-All classes. They can DPS, heal and sometimes tank. Do they excel at any of those though? I think to a point, perhaps, but neither class seems tops in any role, unless the player is just that good.

I know this argument can go in circles really easy and after a while it can get boring and repetitive but I feel like it’s an issue that needs to be fixed to the best ZoS can muster. I am by no means an expert of balance, I wouldn’t want the job of balancing any game, especially ESO. My first question to everyone who is reading this: What would you like to see in terms of balance? Would you like to see more jack of all trades mechanics or would you rather see more focus on one type of stat/weapon/skill line.

It’s pretty clear that I would like to see more Jacks of All Trades. That is what I tried to make my nightblade into first and in a sense, he still is. I went with the destro/resto setup and can clear mobs with minimal downtime, but I still succumb to being shot-gunned and heavy hitters. We can’t have everything right? I can’t have insane DPS and insane survivability, not with how my character is set up. Back when I tried the whole jack of all trades build, I could survive for longer periods of time but my damage and healing wasn’t as good as it should have been. My clear speed is 100% better and in most instances because of my switch to pure Magicka my survivability is way higher.

As of right now, I have just talked about state and class balance and mostly stat. I will go deeper into detail with weapon/armor balance in a separate post, because like I said this subject goes deep into the rabbit hole. It almost seems never-ending and it probably is. Is that a terrible thing? I don’t think so, as it keeps the game fresh in a sense and with each DLC balance changes for better or for worse are being made and players are adjusting. As players, as much as we like or dislike them, we adjust to the changes that impact us and keep going. My last two questions I’m going to ask to you all before wrapping up this post are: What is one balance change you would like to see? Is there something about ESO’s balance that you don’t like right now?


Josh Hay