When it comes to game development, every so often the deck teams like to take us behind the scenes of how they create a system or share their philosophy to give you an idea of what to expect in general. The Elder Scrolls Online team has a new deep dive outlining the team's vision for combat in the game.
This deep dive came out of a response to community feedback, including a combat Q&A that happened months ago, likely around the Update 35 era when there were some major combat-related overhauls. "As we were reading over your combat questions, it became apparent that we could better communicate to all of you our vision and core values for combat. Most answers to the combat-related questions of "Why” we have gotten over the past few months are grounded in these core values."
As for what those values are, the first one they mention is to play the way you want. By this they mean playstyle choices, abilities, and gear should be up to you to combine in a way that you want to play. That said, they acknowledge that some combinations are more effective than others, but they want to have every character be at least reasonably capable of meeting their goals and protecting their group or healing or taking out some enemies.
Secondly, they maintain that combat is more engaging when it's active combat. So their design philosophy includes minimizing cooldowns, not giving defensive actions like blocking or dodging cooldowns, and for the player to have a sense of control over their own strategy. They also bring up Mastery, where there's always something to learn, and rewards for putting in the time and effort to hone skills and practice. Ultimately, being able to pick a build, learn it well, and advance yourself in ways that build upon it, like learning good group synergies and how to optimize your rotations, is part of that.
Of key importance, and the reason why many are in the ESO community in the first place is addressed by how they incorporate The Elder Scrolls into this online multiplayer world. This includes lore, traditions, and the challenges and opportunities that present themselves. So the game should be welcoming to a new player but offer something familiar and make Elder Scrolls vets feel at home.
You can read the full combat deep dive over at The Elder Scrolls Online.