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WiP: ESO Theorycrafting - Introduction to Skills and Buffs

  • Member
    February 5

    Character Building in Elder Scrolls Online can be quite a daunting task. Unlike a traditional TES game, builds in ESO are made up of extra elements in addition to skills, race and Birthsign/Standing Stones. ESO has those things too, while adding in item sets, alchemy, and food/drink buffs. This gives the game a staggering amount of options to choose from to create the character you want for the content you enjoy most.

    The purpose of this guide is to hopefully provide a resource and introduction to newer players who maybe feel a bit lost in the vast world of creating a character in ESO. Thankfully, the ESO community is made up of talented and helpful folks who have already put in place the tools needed to get ahead of the learning curve. As such, this resource will be using ESO Skillbook, ESO Sets, and UESP so that the information can be easily implemented through the Dwemer Automaton Bot.

    By no means is the project a complete look at the nuances of character building and theorycrafting, but I hope it lays the foundation and forms an introduction to those aspects of the game as the project evolves.

    To start with, we will take a look at Skills and Buffs. If we use any of ESO content creator's sites to look at builds, often we see a certain degree of parity between the various builds. For example, we might be wanting to play as a Stamina Warden (I pick this class as it's the one I am most comfortable with) because we're attracted to the class' nature theme and down-to-earth skillset. We might notice that the Bull Netch morph of Betty Netch skill is almost ubiquitous across all Stamina damage-dealing Warden builds. So let's dig into the Bull Netch Skill and see what about it makes it so desirable.

    Using the Dwemer Automaton and the command !skill bull netch, ESO Skillbook returns the following data:

    Breaking it down, we can see that Bull Netch gives us two buffs, a resource return, and a utility cleanse:

    Major Brutality and Major Sorcery - While active increases our Weapon and Spell Damage by 20%.

    Resource return - Restores 4416 Stamina over 25 seconds.

    Utility -Cleanses one negative effect from us every 5 seconds.

    Bull Netch looks like a really helpful skill for a stamina build. For a damage-dealer, whose role is to dish out as much DPS (damage per second) as they can against enemies, having this ability active all the time is going to give us a 20% increase to our main source of dealing damage. For a more casual solo experience, the extra damage will be really good to have. No matter what content we wish to experience, the resource return and cleanse utility are very useful tools in our skillset.

    Let's take a look at Major Brutality and buffs/debuffs in general by heading to UESP's page Online Buffs:

    The page starts off by telling us two Major buffs won't stack. That means that if I have Bull Netch active and another source of Major Brutality, then I won't experience the benefit of one of those skills. However, we can stack Major and Minor buffs.

    So, we can see Bull Netch gives us one of a number of ways to get Major Brutality. However, we couldn't in this example use Drain Power, Igneous Weapons, or Surge because they are class skills belonging to classes other than Warden. If we wanted Major Brutality but didn't want to use Bull Netch, we could use Hidden Blade or Momentum instead - provided we're using the Dual Wield or Two-Handed skills.

    Or, we could use the Dreugh King Slayer set which brings us to the next tool at our disposal, ESO Sets:

    Using the Dwemer Automaton and the command !set dreugh king slayer, ESO Sets returns this: 

    By using the Dreugh King Slayer set, we could potentially forgo slotting Bull Netch at the expense of the resource return and cleanse, while gaining another buff, Major Expedition, for 8 seconds after killing an enemy. Major Expedition increases our movement speed by 30%. However, Dreugh King Slayer is a set that drops from a dungeon, so it might not be easy to acquire for solo gameplay.

    Another thing to bear in mind regarding sets is that we can wear multiple. The most common configuration we might encounter when searching for builds is a 5/5/2 setup. That is to say, one set comprising of five pieces for the Chest, Legs, Waist, Hands and Feet slots; a different set of five pieces for our two Rings, Necklace, and Weapon slots; and a final two-piece set being a Monster Set which we can acquire by completing dungeons on Veteran difficulty.

    However, in theorycrafting that traditional setup needn't be a box. Perhaps a Monster Set is a bit out of our reach or we feel like trying something else, we can still benefit from using the easy-to-get from Guild Traders Agility, Endurance or Willpower Sets. We could get the boost from wearing two of hese three-piece sets in  our Jewellery slots and allow us to get a five-piece bonus for our Weapons, Shoulders and Head item slots.

    By using ESO Sets, we can search for sets by content type. It could be that running Fungal Grotto if we really wanted that Dreugh King set might be a bit beyond our reach, but maybe we can find an overland set we can collect while diving into delves or taking down Dolmens. Perhaps we've levelled our crafting skills enough to create a set of our own, and can search for the perfect set to compliment the vision we have for our character. However we put it together, wearing matching sets will help us out greatly.

    One last thing to bear in mind in regards to sets is the weight. For a stamina damage-dealer, we would ideally be wearing at least five pieces of Medium Armour. This is to make the most of the passive skills from our Medium Armour skill line which will further enhance our weapon damage and abilities in combat for our chosen style.

    To summarise, we can see how knowing our buffs can really help us make informed choices regarding character building in ESO, and have taken a look at the resources we can use to help us research and approach theorycrafting. By analysing Bull Netch and Major Brutality, we can look at the pros, cons and tradeoffs in choosing to slot that skill or not, and can hopefully see why Bull Netch is such a ubiquitous skill.

    Next up, we'll be taking a look at... ?

  • February 6

    Oooh, this is really interesting Phil my man, absolutely riveted with the concept of this...article, or wait is it a series? I could see some serious benefit of turning this into a bit of a weekly series covering a skill/concept each week to create a guide over time but uh. 

    I think I've got two rather notes/thoughts about this so far. First I think it's really good to just show off the various tools you use for basic information, I tend to use UESP but I really like the fact that these other sites direct you to the information and also directing you towards other useful information. It makes it much easier to jump around from page to page picking up facts about each skill and it's connected items/passives/whatever. 

    Second is that I just really like the concept, I tend to struggle with understanding the skills because I'm a bit old fashioned and hate watching videos to understand the complexities of the more useful skills (or at least the ones that aren't useful on first look). Things like the Betty Netch are probably turn offs for me becuase the Stamina Regen doesn't seem great and a 20% boost doesn't seem great on first glance, so having someone break it down makes it a bit more logical for me. Might be really interesting when you delve into skills that are basically useless in group content vs. solo content (and the opposite) so there's more information to build off the skill. 

    Can't wait to see more :D

  • Member
    February 6

    Man, thanks Deebs! It's really helpful to read that feedback as I have no idea whether I'm over-explaining or under-explaining here. Hopefully, by looking at the Bull Netch it is apparent that, for a damage-dealer, getting Major Brutality and keeping that buff up all the time during a fight is what we want to be doing. I don't have to slot Bull Netch, but i want that Major Brutality so I need to know where else I can get it and be aware of what the Netch gives me so I know what I'm losing. By using a two-handed weapon and Momentum skill, I could get Major Brutality, but I might find I struggle with stamina and run out of it too quickly, which would tell me I need to find a way of increasing my Stamina Recovery.

    I suppose that's the next logical step: How can I get more Stamina Recovery...? Maybe we should look at that next and what we can do to increase our Sustain.

    I honestly don't know whether this should be a series looking at class skills in turn. Open to ideas there (and help) :D Originally I thought about that and replicating the structure you used for your Ordinator Perk guides. It's just an awful lot of skills to cover :D

    Part of the trouble is that skills can be subjective and based on the content we run. Let's say I'm taking a stamina warden into a dungeon, I'll want to be doing as much damage as possible. So something like Impaling Shards from the Winter's Embrace skill line wouldn't see much use as that is geared towards Crowd-Control (CC). However, a warden tank might use that to lock down enemies. I might use it for the same reason in PVP, or can just enjoy the skill in overland content. So saying "Impaling Shards is a bad skill for PVE" becomes subjective - it would not be optimal in a dungeon or trial but when playing solo against a Dolmen or World Boss? Not a bad skill at all if we're enjoying it - and theorycrafting and character building is all about making the character you want to play.

    So yeah, I'm really open to ideas as to how to make this more accessible, especially for guys who are maybe temprted by Greymoor and Skyrim and enjoy the creative process of building.

    I have just finished editing in this part:

    Another thing to bear in mind regarding sets is that we can wear multiple. The most common configuration we might encounter when searching for builds is a 5/5/2 setup. That is to say, one set comprising of five pieces for the Chest, Legs, Waist, Hands and Feet slots; a different set of five pieces for our two Rings, Necklace, and Weapon slots; and a final two-piece set being a Monster Set which we can acquire by completing dungeons on Veteran difficulty.

    However, in theorycrafting that traditional setup needn't be a box. Perhaps a Monster Set is a bit out of our reach or we feel like trying something else, we can still benefit from using the easy-to-get from Guild Traders Agility, Endurance or Willpower sets. These three-piece sets can be our Jewellery slots and allow us to get a five-piece bonus for our Weapons, Shoulders and Head item slots.

    By using ESO Sets, we can search for sets by content type. It could be that running Fungal Grotto if we really wanted that Dreugh King set might be a bit beyond our reach, but maybe we can find an overland set we can collect while diving into delves or taking down Dolmens. Perhaps we've levelled our crafting skills enough to create a set of our own, and can search for the perfect set to complement the vision we have for our character. However, we put it together, wearing matching sets will help us out greatly.

    One last thing to bear in mind in regards to sets is the weight. For a stamina damage-dealer, we would ideally be wearing at least five pieces of Medium Armour. This is to make the most of the passive skills which will further enhance our weapon damage and abilities in combat for our chosen style.

     

  • Member
    February 6

    Oh yeah, and big yes to ESO Sets and ESO Skillbook! Really handy with their Dwemer Automaton integration in that we can just type in a discord command and bring up whatever we want. We might come across a set and want to know more and what we need to do to get it, and can get all that on our mobile while we play. Good way to build familiarity :)

    (Read more about the Dwemer Automaton and its creator, Woeler, here in the ESO Community Spotlight)

  • February 6

    Man, thanks Deebs! It's really helpful to read that feedback as I have no idea whether I'm over-explaining or under-explaining here. Hopefully, by looking at the Bull Netch it is apparent that, for a damage-dealer, getting Major Brutality and keeping that buff up all the time during a fight is what we want to be doing. I don't have to slot Bull Netch, but i want that Major Brutality so I need to know where else I can get it and be aware of what the Netch gives me so I know what I'm losing. By using a two-handed weapon and Momentum skill, I could get Major Brutality, but I might find I struggle with stamina and run out of it too quickly, which would tell me I need to find a way of increasing my Stamina Recovery.

    Well, you know my opinion is that there's no such thing as over-explaining but yeah I think, ESO Skills are pretty complex and branch off in so many interesting paths that all interconnect. There's the obvious stuff like uh, Stonefist and Flame Lash I think? They've got obvious knockback, enhanced damage synergy that you can just look at and understand but it gets deeper when your talking about how Tanks, Healers, DPS and Solo character interact with those skills, how other skills make them redundent and so on and so forth. 

    I suppose that's the next logical step: How can I get more Stamina Recovery...? Maybe we should look at that next and what we can do to increase our Sustain, 

    I honestly don't know whether this should be a series looking at class skills in turn. Open to ideas there (and help) :D Originally I thought about that and replicating the structure you used for your Ordinator Perk guides. It's just an awful lot of skills to cover :D

    Maybe the best starting point is to cover one skill from each tree that you consider essential for a playstyle of your choice, it just gives people a really nice basic level of understanding for really useful class skills for a certain playstyle. I dunno, from there I think there might be logical jumping points from each of those skills, basic synergies or unique combos and all. 

    Just sort of get that basic framework of stuff you do play out and then we can look at stuff like getting Goldie to talk about Healing for each class (or something) and so on. Might take us like two years but we could eventually create a really deep exploration of the skills but taking it slowly. :D

    Part of the trouble is that skills can be subjective and based on the content we run. Let's say I'm taking a stamina warden into a dungeon, I'll want to be doing as much damage as possible. So something like Impaling Shards from the Winter's Embrace skill line wouldn't see much use as that is geared towards Crowd-Control (CC). However, a warden tank might use that to lock down enemies. I might use it for the same reason in PVP, or can just enjoy the skill in overland content. So saying "Impaling Shards is a bad skill for PVE" becomes subjective - it would not be optimal in a dungeon or trial but when playing solo against a Dolmen or World Boss? Not a bad skill at all if we're enjoying it - and theorycrafting and character building is all about making the character you want to play.

    Hmm that is a tricky situation I guess...I think part of my idea is to cover skills based on playstyle to start with (or if there's a skill that's used for a 'Magicka Templar' no matter the build you cover it in that format) so that is part of it, but it doesn't really handle the idea of getting really deep into what 'Character Building in ESO' means. Because, it's probably fair to say that it's really different from how we tackle it in Skyrim, there's more of a focus on what's meta or just effective rather than being able to use just anything. 

    I think, I'm probably of the opinion that we all (should) know that technically we can use any skill we want, and this is sort of explaining why skills are good? I'm really not sure on that because it's tough.

    So yeah, I'm really open to ideas as to how to make this more accessible, especially for guys who are maybe temprted by Greymoor and Skyrim and enjoy the creative process of building.

    I'm definitely tempted by Greymoor :D Probably never going to be any real help with this project beyond feedback, ideas and that sorta thing because I've never managed to push much further than Level 30, but who knows maybe Greymoor will be awesome enough that I just jump into ESO again. But yeah, to be honest I think it's already pretty accessible, might be interesting to chat with Sotek and Meli (both are relatively new aren't they?) but I figure if it makes sense to me it probably makes sense to anyone. 

    I have just finished editing in this part:

     

     

  • Member
    February 7

    Dragonborn2121 said:

    Man, thanks Deebs! It's really helpful to read that feedback as I have no idea whether I'm over-explaining or under-explaining here. Hopefully, by looking at the Bull Netch it is apparent that, for a damage-dealer, getting Major Brutality and keeping that buff up all the time during a fight is what we want to be doing. I don't have to slot Bull Netch, but i want that Major Brutality so I need to know where else I can get it and be aware of what the Netch gives me so I know what I'm losing. By using a two-handed weapon and Momentum skill, I could get Major Brutality, but I might find I struggle with stamina and run out of it too quickly, which would tell me I need to find a way of increasing my Stamina Recovery.

    Well, you know my opinion is that there's no such thing as over-explaining but yeah I think, ESO Skills are pretty complex and branch off in so many interesting paths that all interconnect. There's the obvious stuff like uh, Stonefist and Flame Lash I think? They've got obvious knockback, enhanced damage synergy that you can just look at and understand but it gets deeper when your talking about how Tanks, Healers, DPS and Solo character interact with those skills, how other skills make them redundent and so on and so forth. 

    I suppose that's the next logical step: How can I get more Stamina Recovery...? Maybe we should look at that next and what we can do to increase our Sustain, 

    I honestly don't know whether this should be a series looking at class skills in turn. Open to ideas there (and help) :D Originally I thought about that and replicating the structure you used for your Ordinator Perk guides. It's just an awful lot of skills to cover :D

    Maybe the best starting point is to cover one skill from each tree that you consider essential for a playstyle of your choice, it just gives people a really nice basic level of understanding for really useful class skills for a certain playstyle. I dunno, from there I think there might be logical jumping points from each of those skills, basic synergies or unique combos and all. 

    Just sort of get that basic framework of stuff you do play out and then we can look at stuff like getting Goldie to talk about Healing for each class (or something) and so on. Might take us like two years but we could eventually create a really deep exploration of the skills but taking it slowly. :D

    Part of the trouble is that skills can be subjective and based on the content we run. Let's say I'm taking a stamina warden into a dungeon, I'll want to be doing as much damage as possible. So something like Impaling Shards from the Winter's Embrace skill line wouldn't see much use as that is geared towards Crowd-Control (CC). However, a warden tank might use that to lock down enemies. I might use it for the same reason in PVP, or can just enjoy the skill in overland content. So saying "Impaling Shards is a bad skill for PVE" becomes subjective - it would not be optimal in a dungeon or trial but when playing solo against a Dolmen or World Boss? Not a bad skill at all if we're enjoying it - and theorycrafting and character building is all about making the character you want to play.

    Hmm that is a tricky situation I guess...I think part of my idea is to cover skills based on playstyle to start with (or if there's a skill that's used for a 'Magicka Templar' no matter the build you cover it in that format) so that is part of it, but it doesn't really handle the idea of getting really deep into what 'Character Building in ESO' means. Because, it's probably fair to say that it's really different from how we tackle it in Skyrim, there's more of a focus on what's meta or just effective rather than being able to use just anything. 

    I think, I'm probably of the opinion that we all (should) know that technically we can use any skill we want, and this is sort of explaining why skills are good? I'm really not sure on that because it's tough.

    So yeah, I'm really open to ideas as to how to make this more accessible, especially for guys who are maybe temprted by Greymoor and Skyrim and enjoy the creative process of building.

    I'm definitely tempted by Greymoor :D Probably never going to be any real help with this project beyond feedback, ideas and that sorta thing because I've never managed to push much further than Level 30, but who knows maybe Greymoor will be awesome enough that I just jump into ESO again. But yeah, to be honest I think it's already pretty accessible, might be interesting to chat with Sotek and Meli (both are relatively new aren't they?) but I figure if it makes sense to me it probably makes sense to anyone.

    Thanks Deebs, very helpful! :) Ok, I really like the bolded part. Like, if I continue with the Warden stamina-damage dealer, I need more than just Major Brutality in my toolkit in order to boost my damage. So I think you're right and should continue exploring skills essential for that role. In this article we are introduced to the concept of Buffs and Item Sets, so we can continue in the next by diving a bit deeper into Sets by looking at traits, and can incorporate another skill a warden might find really helpful.