Guide to the Esper “Melee Mage” PVP Build in WildStar

This guide covers the “Melee Mage” melee DPS build for the Esper class in WildStar for Battleground PVP (and hopefully Arena down the road).

The Melee Mage build differs from other melee lifesteal Esper builds in that it heavily emphasizes control. In PVP, control + burst is what matters, especially when your opponents are skilled. In many cases, control is more important than your individual sustain, for both solo play and team play.

I have been making tweaks to this guide based on feedback from (credible) veteran Espers on the discussion thread for this guide on the official forum. Thanks Zyoxo, vanisha, Centricity, and other Espers for sharing your knowledge :)

Recent Updates

  • 2014/08/11: swapped out AMP points from Strikethrough and Dash to take The Power. Lots of updates to Runes section. Added notes about Empower refresh mechanics
  • 2014/08/08: updated addons. Removed Bolster custom aura. Updated PP custom aura
  • 2014/08/07: added video for PVP Drop 2, lifesteal mechanics, and upcoming PVP gear
  • system changes. Addon Recommended Combat Addons section
  • 2014/08/04: added Stat Priority section. Updated Mechanics section with lifesteal and healing mechanics
  • 2014/08/03: correction: crit Bolster ticks do not proc Empower from SBS runes set

Strengths and Weakness

+ lots of CC: up to 4 active abilities (knockdown, root, disarm, and knockback) and 1 passive proc (snare)
+ good sustain via lifesteal, HoTs, and charge ability
+ good mobility
+ as of Drop 2, good sustained DPS
(+ can solo Primes in PVE)
– vast majority of damage dealing requires near-range (<= 10m) combat in light armor
– slower Psi Point generation as compared to Telekinetic Strike nuke builds
– all DPS Espers lack the front-loaded burst of Spellslingers, Warriors, and Stalkers

As with any melee class, if your target doesn’t know how to deal with you melee strafing them, it can make it difficult for them to hit you while you punch them in the face. Muhahaha die noobs :)

If you need help learning how to melee strafe properly, see my Guide on Keybinding and Strafing.

Build Links

For the level 25 build, you need the 3rd tier A/U AMP Slow It Down (SID), but you can’t purchase this from a reputation vendor until the 30s. I was so curious about this AMP and wanted to test it as soon as possible, so I purchased it off the AH to use at level 25, and it was worth it. You can of course wait until you can buy it from the reputation vendor and respec your AMPs, but the SID snare is one of the key elements of this build so acquire it as soon as possible.

Here is the order of AMPs I recommend (numbers denote character level):

Esper "Melee Mage" AMPs Order

Design Decisions

  • Melee builds in PVP need CC abilities to counter being kited, to meaningfully pressure and lockdown targets, and to peel for friendlies who need support. In addition, Esper is a particularly strong CC class. Therefore, this build provides 3.5 CC abilities (4.5 if you slot Shockwave), if we count the SID snare as half a CC. You can swap out a CC ability for another ability, but I would not recommend going below 2.5 CC abilities and I think you should think very carefully before unslotting Incapacitate (disarm), given that we are the only class that has a disarm, so unlike other CC abilities your target won’t have DR immunity due to other friendly classes
  • Only two Assault abilities are slotted, tier 8 Telekinetic Storm (TStorm) and tier 8 Psychic Frenzy (PF), as they synergize well with a DPS and sustain build. Every tick of TStorm can proc SID+NR (No Remorse) and for targets less than 30% HP you also get The Humanity (TH) damage. This means that even a 1PP (Psi Point) TStorm can finish off a target with 7k HP, but of course it takes time for the DoTs to tick so your target may be healed. The main usability issue with TStorm is that the telegraph is extremely narrow, so you have to aim carefully. You can alternatively slot tier 8 Mind Burst (MB) instead of TStorm, if you want to emphasize crits. The other Assault abilities do not provide as much value as the Utility CC and Bolster Support abilities selected in the build. An issue with some of our Assault abilities is that you have limited or no control over what’s being hit. Some players stop at tier 4 PF, but PF is the main source of sustained damage and sustain, so it’s worth maxing out
  • We don’t directly invest in Strikethrough with AMPs or stats, as the build provides good mechanics with respect to your target’s deflects. TStorm debuffs your target’s Deflect up to 8%, and CCs can’t be deflected
  • We don’t take either of the two summon-based lifesteals, Geist and Spectral Swarm (SS). While Geist does provide 15% mitigation and at tier 4 can heal you, the pet is vulnerable to AOE and can be used by your opponents to build up their resources. Ditto for SS, which also requires 2 AMP points. Furthermore, pet AI can be unreliable. In addition, reaching the lifesteal for either ability requires an investment of 8 precious ability points, which means you’re gimping yourself elsewhere
  • I was originally thinking I might need to slot Telekinetic Strike for ranged capability, but after experimenting at level 25, it’s not needed, and an additional CC provides far more value. In addition we don’t want to spread our Ability points over 2 builders
  • As you get close to and ding 50, you’ll get less mileage out of Support abilities aside from Bolster. The reason is that we do not stack Support Power. I still use Bolster at 50, because it’s on-demand PPs in combat and you don’t have to hit a target. While the HoT ticks from Bolster are modest, they synergize with the rest of the sustain provided by this build

AMP and Ability Mechanics

  • Our 6% lifesteal from AMPs is not affected by healing debuffs nor the PVP Healing stat. It only heals for 6% of the actual HP damage, so if you roll 200 damage on a hit, and 100 damage is eaten by your target’s shield so you only deal 100 HP damage, you lifesteal 6 not 12. I didn’t test but I suspect that a target with an absorb that takes 0 HP damage will result in 0 lifesteal
  • T4 PF healing is not affected by healing debuffs nor the PVP Healing stat. T4 PF heals for 25% of the damage roll, plus what you get from the lifesteal from AMPs, for up to 31% total healing
  • Projected Spirit, Bolster, and the Protection PVP gadget heal are all subject to healing debuffs and the PVP Healing stat, which makes sense given that they are direct-cast heals
  • The Follow Through (FT) AMP provides 10.5% Assault Power Empower regardless how many PPs you spend on the finisher. In addition, every tick of TStorm refreshes the 5-sec Empower, so you can maintain good uptime on FT. Therefore, you can buff your damage when starting combat by landing a 1PP TStorm
  • Our disarm (Incapacitate), knockdown (Crush), and knockback (Shockwave) strip opponents of IA and are guaranteed to deal damage – they can’t be deflected – which makes them excellent tools for stopping caps. Our root is also an excellent cap-prevention tool because it deals damage over time
  • Shockwave provides high value in rated battlegrounds (RBGs). A clutch knockback can boot players off a platform or catwalk, peel for a friendly flag carrier (FC), knockback an enemy FC into your friendly DPS, etc. It’s also very helpful against DPS Spellslinger as you can interrupt a Charged Shot (you can hear them casting it) or Wild Barrage
  • TStorm behavior for proc-based AMPs (per Aelroen on the official forums):

Tstorm does have an ICD, in that you will see whenever you have multiple stacks on a target, only one will receive The Humanity bonus as well as No Remorse, the rest just normal ticks of damage. Not yet confirmed, but I also observed that these two damage ticks will only apply to a single target, so if you have two below 30% HP in a Tstorm, only one will receive bonus damage.

SiD can only proc once on a single target each Tstorm tick, i.e. it will not snare 2 or more people in one tick. However since SiD last long enough, if you’re lucky with proc rates or stacked Tstorms a bit, you can keep renewing or applying SiD on multiple targets in 1sec intervals. Not completely sure if e.g. you PF + Tstorm within the same second, whether they can both apply SiD, which would indicate absence of an ICD because the low proc rate masks this mechanic.

  • SID can proc with each tick of TStorm, which provides No Remorse damage, but the snare debuff does not refresh until it expires
  • TH and NR can’t crit

The following AMP-based Empowers can overwrite (refresh) themselves before their duration ends:

  • FT
  • The Power!

The following AMP-based Empowers cannot overwrite (refresh) themselves before their duration ends:

  • Duelist

Stat Priority

PVP Power > Assault Power (AP) = Moxie >> Armor = PVP Defense >> Grit > Crit Hit Rating > Finesse

  • My guildee Unindel modeled PVP Power compared to AP, and his conclusion was that for DPS Esper, PVP Power is the best stat to stack. I did some testing of Power versus AP/Moxie for 4 rune slots on my 1500 gear and came to the same conclusion. See my YouTube video and video description for details
  • In Vijaya’s thread on Moxie vs AP maths, he concluded that below 1449 AP, Moxie outperforms AP, when you factor in Moxie-boosting AMPs (Superiority, The Power) and the the Moxie milestone bumps. That being said, in PVP you won’t have full uptime of those AMPs, and for all rune set runes, you don’t have the choice between Moxie and AP – the choice is already made for you
  • It’s unclear whether Armor or PVP Defense is better for mitigation. Mitigation synergizes well with our sustain
  • 1 point of Crit Hit Rating gives ~0.015% Crit Hit Chance, or 67 Rating for 1% Chance. That’s anemic
  • 1 point of Finesse only gives 0.0075% Crit Hit Chance and ~0.02% Crit Severity
  • We lack the Crit Hit mechanics to make Crit Severity Rating meaningful
  • 1 point of Strikethrough Rating only gives 0.0075% Strikethrough Chance, or 133 Rating for 1% Chance. Worst. Stat. Ever.


As of the PVP Drop 2 patch, runes on PVP gear are RNG. This is both bad and good: bad, because prior to the patch, most gear pieces already had good rune colors for Esper DPS, and good, because if you’re willing to grind Prestige you can keep buying a PVP gear piece until it has the exact mix of rune colors you want.

As everyone’s gear no longer has the same rune colors, I can give general guidance on how to slot runes, but YMMV based on your rune coors.

Here are the best Rune Set bonuses for Esper PVP:

  • Spellweaver (SW) (General Rune Set): Fire, Life, Water
    • (4): Increases Magic damage dealt by 1% and grants you a 10% chance to apply an Expose for 5.0s when you land a hit. Expose: Reducs Magic Resistance by 240.
    • (8): Increases Magic damage dealt by 1.5% and grants you a 10% chance to apply an Expose for 5.0s when you land a hit. Expose: Reducs Magic Resistance by 360.
    • (12): Increases Magic damage dealt by 2% and grants you a 10% chance to apply an Expose for 5.0s when you land a hit. Expose: Reducs Magic Resistance by 480.
  • Sight Before Sight (SBS) (PVP Rune Set): Air, Fire, Fusion, Life, Water
    • (6): Landing a Critical Hit applies a Blind for 1.0s. Blind: Hinders vision and reduces Strikethrough Chance by 20%. Can only occur every 20.00s. Landing a Critical Heal grants an Empower for 5.0s. Empower: Increases Strikethrough and Critical Hit Rating by 65.
    • (11): Landing a Critical Hit applies a Blind for 1.25s. Blind: Hinders vision and reduces Strikethrough Chance by 20%. Can only occur every 20.00s. Landing a Critical Heal grants an Empower for 5.0s. Empower: Increases Strikethrough and Critical Hit Rating by 89.
    • (15): Landing a Critical Hit applies a Blind for 1.5s. Blind: Hinders vision and reduces Strikethrough Chance by 20%. Can only occur every 20.00s. Landing a Critical Heal grants an Empower for 5.0s. Empower: Increases Strikethrough and Critical Hit Rating by 108.

SW benefits not only our DPS but also that of allied Spellslingers and Espers. Therefore I consider 12/12 SW to be non-negotiable for PVP.

The Blind from SBS may seem underwhelming with its relatively short duration, but it throws your opponent’s targeting and they may miss on a key ability (e.g. CC or Assassinate). I find it incredibly annoying to fight Espers with SBS. Therefore, I consider 6/15 SBS to be non-negotiable for PVP. Note that the Empower from SBS only procs from crits of direct-cast heals, not HoTs such as Boslter

If you stop at 6/15 or 11/15 SBS, here’s how I order the alternatives, from best-to-worst:

  1. Protect Your Neck (PYN) (4/12): Increases Armor by 128 and grants a Defense for 5.0s when you drop below 30% health. Defense: Increases Armor by 830. Can only occur every 30.00s. The 830 armor is ~4% of mitigation. Also makes good use of Earth runes, which don’t have DPS stat options anyway
  2. Concentrated Assault(CA) (6/15): Activating Spectral Form deals 308 magic damage to 5 foes within 6m and Roots them for 1.0s. The root effect is situationally nice if you want to keep a runner/RDPS in-range. Note that the root duration is not increased at 11/15 nor 15/15, so 6/15 is the max investment
  3. PYN (8): Increases Armor by 192 and grants a Defense for 5.0s when you drop below 30% health. Defense: Increases Armor by 1250. Can only occur every 30.00s. You want to avoid using Air runes to get to this bonus, as you’ll be losing out on DPS stats and set bonuses. If you have 8 Earth slots, go for PYN 8/12
  4. Synapse (6): Building 5 Psi Points within 5.0s grants an Empower for 5.0s. Empower: Increases Critical Hit Rating by 56. This is ~0.84% increased crit chance, due to the anemic conversion of Rating to Chance. Also note that there is no Synapse rune that has PVP Power, AP, or Moxie as an option. This is a trap rune set for PVP DPS Esper – don’t fall for it!

Here are some tips for sorting out your Runes:

  • Air can be used for SBS (PVP Power) or CA (Moxie)
  • Earth is used for Armor, or if you have 4 Earth slots, for Protect Your Neck (Armor), for the increased mitigation at low HP. We don’t slot HP since we are a sustain build
  • Fire is used for SW (Moxie) and SBS (PVP Power). You can slot Fire for CA (Moxie), but Air mats for CA are cheaper
  • Fusion should only be used for SBS (PVP Power)
  • Life is used for SBS (PVP Defense) or PYN (HP)
  • Logic is used for Armor or PVP Defense
  • Omni is used for whatever will complete your target set bonuses
  • Water is used for SW (Finesse)

Here’s how I runed my 1500 PVP gear (PVP Protection gadget has Earth+Logic slots), which I bought pre-Drop 2:

Air    ii               2 SBS (Pow)
Earth  iiii             4 PYN (Armor)
Fire   iiiii iiiii iii  7 SW (Mox), 6 SBS (Pow)
Fusion iiiii            5 SBS (Pow)
Life   ii               2 SBS (Def)
Logic  iii              3 Armor
Omni   i                1 SW (Crit) from Life Rune since it's cheaper than Fire or Water
Water  iiii             4 SW (Fin)
34 total (31 for set bonuses, 3 non-set)

13 x PVP Pow
7 x Mox
7 x Armor
4 x Fin
2 x PVP Def
1 x Crit Hit

Recommended Combat Addons

Here are the combat addons that I feel are essential for enabling good gameplay, with most important listed first:

  • OptiPlates: replaces the built-in nameplates. This is a fork of the BijiPlates addon, but with performance optimizations and additional functionality. When I used BijiPlates, I would sometimes see severe framerate lag in BGs, and OptiPlates solved that problem. The only issue with OptiPlates is that you get ghosting of nameplates, but given how good the addon is and how much of a performance boost it provides, that’s an acceptable downside
  • QtCooldown: provides a scalable time slider bar which shows your abilities on cooldown
  • SlingDing: tracks PPs visually with a 5-section bar
  • AuraMastery: allows user-specified tracking for abilities and resources with icons and sounds. I use this for providing an audio cue at 5PPs and for tracking healing debuffs on me

Here are the combat addons that provide utility value but are less critical, with most important listed first:

The following combat addons are strictly cosmetic:

  • KillingBlow: provides a visual and audio notification when you kill a player

Imports for the Aura Mastery Addon

Following are my custom Auras for DPS Espers. Note that these are useful for both PVE and PVP.

5PP Sound Alert Aura

When you are at 5PPs, this aura provides  the same sound when a PVP queue pops:

{['playSoundWhen'] = "All",['iconScale'] = 1,['iconEnabled'] = true,['iconSprite'] = "",['iconSound'] = 196,['iconPosition'] = {['left'] = 117,['top'] = 19,},['SimpleMode'] = false,['onlyInCombat'] = false,['iconName'] = "5 PPs",['showWhen'] = "Any",['iconText'] = {},['iconBackground'] = true,['Triggers'] = {[1] = {['Type'] = "Resources",['Name'] = "Sound at 5 PP",['TriggerDetails'] = {['Resource'] = {['Value'] = 5,['Percent'] = false,['Operator'] = "==",},},['TriggerEffects'] = {},['Behaviour'] = "Pass",},},['iconOverlay'] = {['overlayColor'] = {[1] = 1,[2] = 0,[3] = 0,[4] = 0.75,},['overlayStyle'] = "Radial",['overlayShape'] = "Solid",},['iconColor'] = {[1] = 1,[2] = 1,[3] = 1,[4] = 1,},['actionSets'] = {[1] = true,[2] = true,[3] = true,[4] = true,},['iconBorder'] = true,}

Narrated PVP Videos

The following video provides the introduction to the build, with footage @ 25 from a Walatiki Temple battleground where I queued solo and went 12-0 for kills-to-deaths:

The following video @ 31 shows how to leverage effective keybinding and melee strafing to wreck opponents in 1v1s and 1v2s:

As it turns out, the Melee Mage build works well for soloing Primes. Here’s a video @ 37 of the Melee Mage build soling a Prime:

The following video @ 39 shows a hilarious failed attempt by a 50 Spellslinger who tried to gank me when I was fighting a mob:

Here is the last in the series of leveling battleground videos. My Esper is level 45 in this Walatiki Temple battleground where I queued solo and went 13-0 for kills-to-deaths, dealt 962k damage, and healed for 325k:

The following video @ 50 showcases gameplay with 1500 gear in a Rated Battleground, where I queued solo, dealt 2.1MM damage, healed for 785k, and went 17-4 for kills-to-deaths. We lost 5-4, but it was a great match:

The following video provides an update to the “Melee Mage” build for the PVP Drop 2 patch, breaks down the lifesteal mechanics and math, and discusses MuffinMan’s awesome news about proposed PVP gear changes.

Recommended Esper Guides

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Posted in Esper, Guide, PVP, Video, WildStar

WildStar PVP Video: Esper DPS Gameplay @ 19

In this video, I discuss the class mechanics and combat tactics for the Esper class in a 15-29 Walatiki Temple PVP battleground in WildStar.

I’m playing Esper as my main for the following reasons:

  1. I’m intrigued by the soloing capabilities of the class’s lifesteal mechanics
  2. The class can be spec’d as an RDPS, MDPS, or hybrid
  3. There is a lot of SpellSlinger envy on the Esper forum, and I wanted to see first-hand to what extent that is justified. I think Esper is very capable when played to its mechanics correctly

Additional Tips

  1. I didn’t discuss Bolster, but it’s pretty much a mandatory ability because it provides instant-cast building of PP (Psi Points) and a mild HoT. You can see me topping off my PP throughout the video with it


  1. The buff from Tier 8 Mind Blast lasts 7.5 seconds, not 5.5

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Posted in Esper, PVP, Video, WildStar

World of Tanks: Panther 2 Review and “Ace Tanker” Gameplay

In the following video, I review the Panther II (aka Panther 2), the tier 8 German medium tank in the E50M line in World of Tanks.

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ good gun depression (8 degrees)
+ good HP pool (1500)
– similar to other tier 8 mediums, has penetration (203) that lags behind tier 8 heavies and TDs
– slow aim time (2.7 sec)
– risk of fire when penetrated through the soft lower front glacis (LFG)

As mentioned in the video, my strategy for the Prokhorovka map aligns with EU Unicum Oneeechan, who wrote a great article on RBS that talked about how to play this map.

This video is part of my series of “Ace Tanker” WoT gameplay videos. The tier 9 E50 is up next.

Let me know your questions and feedback.

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Posted in Medium Tank, PVP, Video, World of Tanks

Guide to the Panther Medium Tank in World of Tanks

In this guide I review the underrated Panther, the tier 7 German medium tank in the E50M line in World of Tanks (WoT).

I decided to grind the E50M line, as I want to play a tier 10 medium tank with good gun handling and functional armor, and these are two of the E-50M’s strengths. In addition, I was swayed by Oneeechan’s advocacy of the E50M line on the WoTLabs forums.

To get to the E50M, you have to play the Panther, which by reputation is a craptastic tank. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Panther is a solid tank, if you respect its capabilities and limitations.

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ high silver penetration (198)
+ accurate gun
+ good HP pool (1300)
– very low alpha damage (135)
– risk of fire when penetrated through the soft lower front glacis (LFG)

The thing that really sticks out is the alpha damage; it’s so low that you can’t brawl effectively. Therefore, you want to snipe with this tank, but as a general Unicum philosophy, you don’t want to hang back so far that your gun is inactive in early-game and mid-game.

Upgrade Path

The Panther is a bit unusual in that you can equal the top gun (7.5 cm L/100) with the stock turret. Your priority is getting that gun because you’ll need it when facing tier 8 and 9 tanks.

Here’s my recommended path for researching modules and slotting equipment:

  1. Purchase the following equipment: Enhanced Torsion Bars 5+ t Class (so you can research high-priority modules first), Coated Optics (for vision control), and Gun Rammer (faster reload)
  2. Research the 7.5cm L/100 gun (16,100 XP). If you can afford to do so, use Free XP. The gun makes the tank and you will struggle without it. You should already have the top radio and 2nd engine unlocked from the VK 30.02 M tank
  3. Research the 2nd turret
  4. Research the suspension, and replace the Enhanced Torsion Bars equipment with Enhanced Gun Laying Drive (faster aim)

Crew Skills

Given that this is a medium tank and that you’ll often be sniping, follow the medium philosophy of maxing vision control and fire control:

  • Commander: Sixth Sense > Recon > Camo
  • Gunner: Snap Shot > Camo > Repairs
  • Driver: Smooth Ride > Camo > Repairs
  • Radio Operator: Situational Awareness > Camo > Repairs
  • Loader: Safe Stowage > Preventative Maintenance > Camo

I do not recommend Brothers in Arms (BIA) unless you have a 450% crew (i.e. 3.5 skills). Preventative Maintenance is optional, but if you take PM and slot a premium fire extinguisher, the risk of fire is significantly reduced by the two stacking passive bonuses, and you’ll rarely have to pay for a new fire extinguisher.

Narrated Gameplay

The easiest way to explain how to play the tank is show illustrative footage. Here is a tier 7 battle in which I earned the “Ace Tanker” mastery and Top Gun badges:

Let me know your questions and feedback.

For more info on angling and weak spots, check out my guides:

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Posted in Guide, Medium Tank, PVP, Video, World of Tanks

When a Build Choice is Not Really a Choice [#ESO]

One of the blogs I follow is For The Record (FTR), which is run by a gamer named SilentStalker (SS) who covers World of Tanks (WoT) news.

SS recently posted his take on Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). There were a few things that he wrote that stood out to me.

EDIT (2014/05/13): for full disclosure, I haven’t played ESO yet. What I find fascinating and confusing is that in the comments and tweets about this article, some players agree with SS, others claim he’s wrong.

Multiclasses (“Hybrids”) Aren’t Viable

Per SS:

First, multiclasses don’t work. If you want to be a two-handed-sword-wielding holy knight in plate armor who also heals, you will suck at both roles.

It sounds like you have to specialize heavily.

The word “hybrid” carries a negative connotation for some MMORPG players, but I believe hybrids should be viable for some contexts, e.g. solo or small group PVE and PVP. Hybrids add depth to the variety of builds available to the players of a class and flavor to a game. Obviously for hardcore PVE raiding, specialization tends to be the way to go.

SS said holy knights who heal are not viable, and that’s a shame as I’ve played some incredibly fun holy knight builds in other games, e.g.:

  1. Prot Pally in WoW PVP: Back at the start of WoW Cataclysm, the vast majority of the Paladin community claimed that Prot (Protection) PVP was dead. My projection on the mechanics was that Prot would still be viable, if not as strong as it was in WotLK. My Prot PVP spec was 75% DPS (with some solid burst) and 50% Healing relative to specialist classes. It was neither a pure DPS nor a pure healer, but it could heal meaningfully when needed to bridge my team mates to the next incoming heal and other emergency cooldowns. I played with other relatively inexperienced (but skilled) partners and we got to 2k in the 2v2 and 3v3 brackets playing hybrids
  2. M*A*S*H Cleric in RIFT PVP: this was a steady DPS build (no meaningful burst whatsoever) that was tanky, output solid sustained AOE healing, had good mobility, and possessed some CC. What was funny about the M*A*S*H build was that the Cleric community was convinced that melee healing wasn’t viable, but I found they hadn’t explored the mechanics enough :)

If SS is right, there is no opportunity to come up with non-specialized builds. Which brings us to the next point…

Melee Mages and Berserker Warriors Aren’t Viable Either

Per SS:

Oh, almost forgot. You have to pick also “reasonable” configurations. For example, warrior in clothes (light armor, leathers are medium armor) and a 2 hander won’t work. Light armor as a whole adds bonuses to magic regeneration, more mana etc., so you can theoretically have a plate armor mage, but he will run out of mana very, very fast.

I recall hearing last year that plate mages would be viable. However if the armor types have built-in biases for specific classes or builds, what the developer is effectively delivering is a choice that is not really a choice. You can choose to gimp yourself, or you can choose a build that synergizes with the gear options.

There are many ways that a game can balance plate armor for mages, e.g. off the top of my head:

  • Plate armor limits the range of magic abilities
  • Plate armor limits the usage of magic movement abilities, such as blink
  • Etc

Same goes for a warrior wearing in light armor, e.g. a Braavosi swordmaster from Game of Thrones. The warrior could sacrifice damage mitigation / avoidance, but gain faster attacks and gap-closing abilities. Water Dance FTW.

I have not played ESO, and based on your collective feedback to me I do not intend to. So maybe SS got the points above wrong – but if he was right, yikes.

My hope for future games, e.g. Camelot Unchained (CU), is that the developers get it right. I think choice of armor for each class would allow for much more diversity and customization by the player – the tradeoffs just need to be thought through. Some upcoming titles, such as ArcheAge, do support such choice:

With the mixing and matching of classes, you can also mix and match equipment. There’s nothing stopping a mage from wearing plate armor, or a warrior tank from wearing cloth! There are different stats for cloth, leather, and plate armor – and each armor type has different set bonuses – so pick the armor that best suits your play style.

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Posted in Camelot Unchained, Elder Scrolls Online, Game Design, PVE, PVP, RIFT, Sage / Sorcerer, World of Warcraft
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