Let’s Talk About Werewolves
In The Elder Scrolls, werewolves are a part of the series lore, so in creating The Elder Scrolls Online, it was clear that players wanted the option to choose or to somehow encounter a little bit of lycanthropy in their journeys. Werewolves, along with vampires, offer a unique opportunity for a player to enjoy the benefits and be afflicted with the cons of this arrangement, which is not limited by race or class. Many have ventured in search of the right bite, or had the Sanies Lupinus disease befall them through an attack, leaving them to a possibly cursed fate. Yet, the overall implementation hasn’t been entirely satisfying for some players. This might be about to change with the new update just released to the test server, so let’s take a look at the impact of werewolves and what’s ahead for them.
Werewolves are a way to shake things up, open new opportunities for roleplaying, and even affect such game attributes as the economy. For those unfamiliar, in ESO, you can become a werewolf by seeking out certain NPC spawns and, attacking, hope to get yourself chomped on, catch the Sanies Lupinus affliction, and complete a quest. That quest can either let you complete your transformation or let you remove the curse before it fully sets upon you. Various roleplaying scenarios are already possible through this particular decision whether to remain accursed or fight it off. The fact that anyone already a werewolf can bite one person per week to pass on the curse affects things not just socially or offering an alternate path, but has also made a dent in the game’s economy since launch.
ESO’s economy, lacking centralized auction houses, depends heavily on players meeting up, trading and selling. Everything has its price if it isn’t nailed down, and that also includes the aforementioned weekly bite allotment players are given. During the first couple of months after launch, the number of players that wanted to become werewolves exceeded the supply, so players were selling their weekly bites for a lot of gold. It wasn’t unheard of to see 20,30, or 50k gold being traded off. Unfortunately, that also attracted opportunist scammers. Legitimate sellers were also apt to behave opportunistically. Since the necessary NPCs spawn in higher level areas, some players even created a degree of artificial scarcity by camping the spawn spots and killing the NPCs before those seeking bites could step up and fight. This drove prices up, as one might expect.
Nowadays, players who want a taste of the werewolf life can seek out focused guilds, or even try to catch a spawn. Players can still buy bites too, but the bite racket began to sort itself out, as these things often do. The dissatisfaction, however, especially among PvPers, but not limited to them, also likely helped curb some of the demand once the novelty wore off a bit.
ZeniMax expressed a desire to change werewolves for the better, and already made a few tweaks and fixed some of the more glaring bugs. Players can reduce the ultimate cost by a lot through skill training, making the transformation a bit more worth it. Damage was brought up, though werewolves were greatly affected by the greater game issues that stamina based builds have faced. Balance, for werewolves, has seen changes, but the test server promises the most thorough makeover yet.
For all the cool points, werewolves have basically been underpowered, which makes for unhappy PvPers, since coolness points, sadly, don't absorb damage. The powers werewolves could use were also limited to two and then three. This new patch brings in three more powers: Hircine's Bounty, which is a magicka-based heal, Piercing Howl, a high damage and stun ability, and Infectious Claws, a front cone AoE that causes poison damage over time. In addition to those powers, using a fully charged heavy attack will restore some stamina and all light attacks will cause bleeds.
There are some other changes to werewolf abilities that serve to balance things out a bit more. Abilities like Pounce deal more damage, Pursuit will grant more stamina from heavy attacks, Devour will be able to be used on more creatures, and Blood Rage gained a slight boost, returning 3/6 of ultimate versus the previous 2/5. In essence, werewolves are getting the attention they sorely needed. While I'm sure ZeniMax will keep tweaking werewolves as needed, these changes seem pretty promising, and address multiple issues with Stamina, lack of abilities, damage, and overall power that disappointed players earlier. While this is the test server, seeing what werewolf players will do once they get fully into the meat of this patch is something to keep your eyes on. Even werewolf animations got some cleaning up and setting right. When breaking out of combat, they'll now run off on all fours.