[ESO] ESO Day 3 and Throw Those Class/Archetype Expectations Out the Window Already!
Day 3 update is very short. I logged on as soon as I got home from work to see if the bugged missions on Betnikh were now working after the earlier server restart — and they were! So my sorcerer has now completed the tutorial islands and has moved back to the Glenumbra zone and is working through the early missions in and around Daggerfall. Then it was time for IRL stuff like dinner, playing with my young daughter, getting her to bed, spending time with “the other half” and so forth, and so when I went to log in later… servers down for “unscheduled maintenance.” And they’re still down this morning, and this official announcement seems to confirm a login bug I saw a user report last night over at the Tamriel Foundry site — that they logged in and had a different person’s inventory. Still, the announcement says that they fixed that issue and were going to have DT this morning anyway to push a new build, so… we’ll see how it goes tonight.
Something’s been bugging me a little bit as I read bloggers and forum posts about ESO. I’m seeing a litany of questions about what class can do what, and agonizing over which class they should play and what class is best suited to what role, and so forth. For some naysayers, the fact that there are classes at all engenders a complaint that this makes the game “not an Elder Scrolls game” due to a supposed lack of character customization capability. I find that claim to be spurious at best, completely ludicrous at worst.
You see, there are 28 skill lines currently in the game, and any given character regardless of their chosen class has access to 25 of them. This means that as far as character customization goes, every character has 89% of the same template as everyone else and can choose to customize themselves any way they please. But then in the mere 3 lines specific to each class you have:
- Support/Crowd Control
- Class specific flavor that can be used to pick a skill or 2 that shores up a gap in a role that the other lines may have.
Seriously. Check this out —
- DPS – Ardent Flame — 4 DPS skills, 1 CC skill, Ultimate is a DPS/defense combo. All 5 passives increase fire damage.
- Support – Earthen Heart — 3 CC skills, a group weapon buff, a group shield buff, Ultimate is a short term invulnerability. Passives include self-heals and stamina regeneration.
- Flavor – Draconic Power — Armor buff, spell reflect, root, self-heal, and AE damage. Ultimate is a gap closer. Passives improve health regen and armor.
- DPS – Storm Calling — 2 DPS skills, 2 self-buffs, and a teleport. Ultimate is a dps skill. Passives either boost damage or magicka recovery.
- Support – Dark Magic — 4 CC skills, 1 magicka restoration skill. Ultimate is a CC.
- Flavor – Summoning — 2 pets, 1 dps, 1 self-buff, 1 self-shield. Ultimate is a dps skill. Passives boost health regen, pets, and reduce ultimate cost.
- DPS – Aedric Spear — 4 DPS, 1 debuff. Ultimate is AE dps. Passives increase skill durations and reduce casting costs.
- Support – Dawn’s Wrath — 4 CC skills, 1 self-shield. Ultimate is an AE dps. Passives increase damage and defense.
- Flavor – Restoring Light — 3 Heals, 1 cleanse, 1 group defense buff. Ultimate is a heal. Passives buff the group and reduce your cast costs for heals.
- DPS – Assassination – 2 DPS, 2 debuff, 1 self-buff. Ultimate is dps. Passives increase damage and restore magicka.
- Support – Siphoning – 2 CC, self-heal, self-buff, resource regeneration. Ultimate is a CC. Passives improve magicka and self-heals.
- Flavor – Shadow – 2 CC, 1 DPS, 1 invisibility, and 1 short-term pet. Ultimate is a group invisibility/escape. Passives improve health and stamina, as well as defenses.
There’s some “double-dipping” in that most of the CC skills also do fairly good damage. Another nice thing is that you can morph skills to add effects that serve to further your abilities in a desired role — adding self heals, increasing or adding buffs, adding debuff effects, and so on. But in the end, each class has a lot of CC, a lot of buffs, and a lot of damaging skills, which supplement whatever role you choose for yourself when you pick your armor and weapons, making 27 out of 28 skill lines functionally identical to any other character. Your graphics are just different for the spells you use. That 1 unique skill line is then the only true differentiator between the classes. This is why there are Dragonknight fire wizards and Sorcerer tanks and everything else in between.
Your armor and weapons determine your role far more than your class does. The class simply gives flavor to a playstyle. Tanks will generally be using 1H + Shield as primary weapon (for defenses and taunt), and either a 2H or a destruction staff as their second (for AE damage). Many will choose heavy armor, but certain class buffs will flavor them to be able to light or medium if they choose. A sorcerer actually would tank in light armor since the lightning form and the bound armor buffs allow them to hit the armor and spell resist caps while maintaining full magicka caps as well due to the light armor bonuses. Frankly, a Dragonknight has so many defensive skills in its CC and flavor lines that it could easily tank in light armor as well, since those buffs also serve to cap out their armor. Templar’s can heal while using a dps weapon (often a bow for some range and use of the stamina resource for damage, reserving the magicka pool for healing), while other classes can heal using the restoration staff. The resto-staff has an ability that allow for magicka restoration while you do heavy attacks, so a healer could feasibly wear any armor, though in practice light is probably best again. Medium armor will likely only be worn by those that concentrate on stealth attacks and melee weapon usage. My dual-wielding sorcerer is actually running in medium armor right now since he focuses on the weapon skills more than the magicka ones, and when “built out” will primarily be using magicka for buffs and his weapons for his damage. Hopefully the concept works, and if not I can respec later.
Yup, if you don’t like how something turns out, respec. No need to agonize about rerolling or even playing a different class. Any class can do any role. All the class skills do is make you fill the role in a different way. And I call that a win in the character customization department.