Lost Depths patch notes cause community uproar

The Elder Scrolls Online: Lost Depths DLC and Update 35 have been announced and implemented on the Public Test Server, and it’s fair to say that a large portion of the PvE community isn’t too pleased with the proposed DPS nerfing.

The upcoming Lost Depths DLC and Update 35 are the next wave of content updates coming to The Elder Scrolls Online, and while we won’t see them added to the public builds until August 22nd for PC and September 6th for Xbox and PlayStation, they have been added to the PC-only Public Test Server (PTS). Looking at the official forums for feedback on the new PTS patch (thanks, ESO Hub) shows an overwhelmingly negative response from the community for the implemented combat changes, which looks to nerf many DPS builds.

Update 35’s combat changes upset The Elder Scrolls Online community

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ZeniMax Online’s proposed combat changes with Update 35, which will drop alongside the Lost Depths DLC, introduce a host of balancing changes to the likes of light and heavy attack damage values, as well as nerfing proc times for DoT (damage-over-time) effects. The plan is to improve “accessibility to the game’s combat by increasing the duration of outgoing ability effects (such as damage over time, buffs, and debuffs) and a continuation of the attempt to quell some of the obscene damage production at the high end.” The plan was announced by ZeniMax last week via the Update 35 Combat Preview post and outlines the team’s thinking behind the changes.

In a nutshell, The Elder Scrolls Online’s combat system, especially in its end-game combat like Veteran Dungeons, Trials, and Hard Modes, is greatly dependent on a player’s ability to ‘weave’ their skills correctly. Weaving was initially a player-created method of filling the gap between ability casts with light and heavy attacks to cancel the ability’s cast animation, which allows you to play your skills quickly, and it’s a method that Zenimax has come to accept and improve on over the game’s lifetime. The resulting factor of weaving is an increased amount of damage output, resource regeneration, and debuff/DoT effects. The issue with the method is that it relies on a player’s skill rotation knowledge and ability to practically perfect their exact button presses throughout a battle. It’s now an ingrained toolset that’s pretty much a requirement to learn at this point, which has alienated some players. ZeniMax now hopes to level the field by adjusting weaving’s most used tools: light attacks, heavy attacks, and DoTs.

The released patch notes make for an alarming read at first sight — light and heavy attacks have been nerfed to a flat value instead of scaling with your highest offensive stats, and DoT damage has been nerfed while the abilities duration has been increased. It’s a widespread nerf that’s affected almost every class, as well as destroying the meta builds that players had created only last month with the release of High Isle. While there were mixed views on the changes when the patch notes were posted, it’s practically all negative now that the PTS players have actually experienced the nerfs.

As it stands now, both casual and experienced players on The Elder Scrolls Online forums are reporting damage reductions of up to 30% from their builds, with other, more experienced players reporting that their groups might not be able to complete some of the content anymore due to DPS checks and Hard Mode bosses. Remember, the content added to the game up to this point has been scaled with the damage output produced from weaving, so without seeing balancing tweaks added to a huge amount of end-game content, some groups won’t be able to progress anymore. In the most ironic way possible, less experienced or casual players that are supposed to have been helped with the update are reporting their disappointment due to their own damage having been nerfed, and now remain far behind the damage capabilities of high-APM (Abilities Per Minute) players that weave.

It always becomes a messy affair whenever a developer looks to adapt a huge system like combat, as it affects every player quite aggressively, but it’s a period we hope ZeniMax can get us through quickly by ensuring all of the game’s content scales to the changes. It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds as we wait for the public version to release in September for PC and August for Xbox and PlayStation. Naturally, The Elder Scrolls Online is following in the footsteps of its parent company’s pursuit of accessibility. We recently spoke with Xbox’s director of accessibility, Anita Mortaloni, about the company’s continued push to make gaming accessible for everyone.

How hard will your current build be hit with the balancing changes as they stand now? Let us know down in the comments, adventurers!

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