For the Update 33 Combat Preview, please click here.
We’ve been closely monitoring the feedback and discussion surrounding the Update 33 combat preview and have taken note of a few reoccurring bits that we’d like to take some time to address, particularly regarding the hybridization work we’ve been working on for the past year and a half and the next big step of making most abilities scale dynamically (when applicable) with offensive stats.
To reiterate our goal, these passes have been done to help reduce the number of restrictions when engaging with an ability in your class kit or other skill line, helping you create a build that resonates with you based on what a skill offers, rather than the stats you’ve picked. However, we do still believe stats should always play an important role in determining effectiveness of skills and how your build comes to life in the game. With the sheer number of them in game, we’ve found that the previous system of Weapon versus Spell Damage, Critical Chance, and Penetration were severely impeding on one of the core mantras of the game: play the way you want. With other stats, such as Health, Magicka, and Stamina and the recovery of those stats, we feel we have a large area to enforce limits of how often you can utilize skills as a defining factor of identity and build definition, rather than the potency of those skills as well.
One of the main concerns we’ve seen is how classes will retain their identity moving forward with the new system of dynamic scaling. In our efforts to reduce penalties and restrictions, there always comes an air of homogenization with these changes, where more things feel similar in nature. Our goal is never to intentionally hurt strong identities and we try to avoid it as much as possible while still improving your freedom in creation and expression.
We believe that ability costs and how they play into your build will still be a large factor in terms of how frequently you can use abilities. For example, it will be harder for a fully specialized Stamina build to run a “spammable” ability like Puncturing Sweeps or Impale as frequently as a Magicka build, unless they start to make decisions that detract from their specialization of Stamina based actions, thus beginning to change their identity. However, reducing the number of builds in the world that focus on specialization is not as problematic, and in fact, something we would like to see more of. Moving the concept away of identifying only as Magicka or Stamina and instead focusing on playstyle - such as Melee or Range - and using skills of varying costs to realize those goals is something we are actively looking forward to. That said, we are aware of the reality that when trying to squeeze out every possible amount of efficiency in a build, there will always be choices that come out ahead, and we accept this reality as long as those choices aren’t coming out ahead in almost every situation.
Another area we’ve seen quite a bit of feedback on is morph diversity and how the changes to hybridization impact which morph you want to pick. In previous updates, there were pretty clear options; if your ability morphed into a change in cost it likely also changed in its scaling, leading to relatively binary morph options of just picking whichever ability met your primary resource. Now, the ability’s potency is far less impacted by your stats and instead focuses on what it costs and adds in functionality. This will be a vast improvement compared to many of the binary picks of before where you didn’t really have two options if you were a specialized build, but we do still know there are many morph options that don’t hold a candle to one another. On that note, depending on specialization and the type of play you’re focusing on, many morphs will remain rather contextual in nature. Comparing more damage for a specific attack versus gaining an Area of Effect form of a Major Debuff may seem like a simple option for a high-end damage dealer, but outside of that context, a compelling choice is still seen.
While this update will conclude much of our hybridization work (aside from the work-in-progress consumable adjustments we mentioned in the original post) we know it will have knock on effects to the game, and we’re dedicated to following through as they pop up and evolve along with the game. Thanks for your time and we hope this helped give some insight into where our focus has been!