With the ESO Update 36 Firesong DLC arriving soon to PC/Mac on November 1st and coming to consoles on November 15th, there have been a lot of questions about what exactly is changing. After the many dramatic and sometimes controversial changes that came with Update 35 the developers seem to be pulling back some on this last DLC of the year. So while there are not nearly as many combat changes to cover there are still some that will affect PvE and PvP builds. So, without any further delay, let’s get right down to business and I’ll explain the 5 BIGGEST Changes Coming to ESO Update 36 Firesong!
#5 Weakness to Elements
Weakness to Elements is a destruction staff ability that will see a little adjustment in the new patch. It’s a very useful skill, both in PvE and in PvP.
The Elemental Drain morph on the live server currently gives you and your allies back resources and lowers resistances on your enemies. This is used a lot of times for solo PvE to maintain magicka, lower enemy armor and get a little bit more damage. It’s a fantastic skill for PvE and PvP, whether you are solo or in a group. It costs you nothing, has a long range, and lasts 23 seconds.
For Update 36 Firesong, the Elemental Drain morph has now been adjusted to now last 30 seconds.
The other morph, Elemental Susceptibility, also has some very interesting changes. Currently on the live server this is a bit of an odd skill where just like Elemental Drain it gives Major Breach, but only for six seconds. And while this ability persists, the enemy is going to be afflicted with one specific status effect – either Burning, Chilled, or Concussion. This means it randomly applies a status effect periodically when active and you’re also going to have a long range of 33 meters.
With the changes in Update 36 this morph is now going to last 30 seconds and on top of that, it is going to apply all three status effects – Burning, Chilled, and Concussion – every six seconds rather than just one randomly every six.
So when I tested this on the Public Test Server what I found was that the ability as listed was 30 seconds long. For four seconds you have all three status effects and then there is a two second delay before it reapplies the effects over the course of the larger 30 second duration. This is a monster buff to this ability because those status effects add a lot of damage. If you’re a Dragonknight in particular this is a big change for this ability because those status effects are huge in both end game PvE and PvP.
You can also experiment with this specific skill with a gear set called Serpents Disdain. This is a craftable set available in the High Isles and requires five traits in order to be able to craft. Currently this set is often used in PvP because it increases the duration of status affects you apply by 16 seconds. So, if you use this on a back bar like for a PvP build you’re going to get 20 seconds of all those status effects, along with armor reduction on your enemies.
I tested this with the Force of Nature Champion Point passive, which increases your penetration for each status effect on a particular mob. That’s also another Champion Point slottable that I have used in end-game Trials as a medium armor build.
Consider this a really good skill in both PvE and PvP now, and I would recommend experimenting with the back bar setup especially if you’re a Healer in PvE.
#4 Templar Backlash
The Templar’s Backlash skill has two really powerful morphs currently and is a main, bread and butter, Templar-bursting ability – both in the magicka morph Purifying Light as well as the second morph Power of the Light.
Currently what this does on the live server is it applies to one target, but you can put it on multiple targets at the same time if you recast it. Typically, you put it on a target you want to burst down, whether that’s a boss or another player. It soaks up damage like a balloon up to a certain amount of cap and then it has a final explosion, and if you’ve met that cap it hits extremely hard. One of the last remaining viable playstyles for the Magplar is with a range bar using this powerful ability along with Radiant Glory. It’s still pretty strong, especially in PvP.
Well, this is now seeing a change in Update 36 and the damage dealt is now a guaranteed amount based on your highest offensive stats. This is yet another change towards hybridization and means the damage will be based off of your spell or weapon damage. And then the final burst damage deals approximately 10% more damage than the initial hit at base, and it increases up to 200% to reach similar values of power seen before (supposedly).
The final damage cap takes more to reach now, so you essentially have to really throttle down when you apply this ability, especially in PvP. In addtion, in the stamina morph Power of the Light, they increased Minor Breach to a second stroke.
When I tested this I didn’t really notice much change, but I then got my Templar both on the live and the PTS to mirror each other exactly in Champion Points, gear and everything. I did a simple 3 million parse dummy to see what this really hit like, and the results were pretty dramatic. This ability didn’t hit nearly as hard as it did on the live server.
On the live server my Templar caused 38,000 crit damage with Purifying Light, versus only a 33,000 crit on the PTS.
As I said, I used the exact same gear and Champion points, I double checked the Mundus stones and the food and was trying to figure out what the difference was. Because it should be relatively the same, but the results weren’t showing that at all.
So this is another unfortunate nerf to the Templar and another reduction in the Templar’s burst toolkit. I don’t know what the Templars are supposed to reply upon in PvE and PvE beyond Radiant Glory. It seems like a very ‘one-trick pony’ class at the moment and it’s sad to see in this initial round of testing that Purifying Light or Power of the Light wasn’t really putting out as much damage like it had been before.
But there is always the chance I could be wrong. Others may be able to play around and experiment to find ways to increase the damage that I haven’t thought of. But in general, expect less burst, especially in PvP and difficulty reaching the cap.
#3 Resolving Vigor
The healing on Resolving Vigor was reduced by 10% according to the patch notes. This change does not apply to the other morph, Echoing Vigor.
I feel this is a good change due to the pervasive tank meta in PvP right now, where almost everyone (whether a magicka or stamina build), predominately uses this ability on their builds. Not only do you get really good healing over time, but you also get the Minor Resolve buff. These affects are individual and do not affect other players, but currently one of the problems contributing to the PvP tanking meta is this specific skill.
I think that this change will help out a bit in PvP but will probably not change the overall tank meta until they adjust Battle Spirit and tone that down a bit. I would think 5%, 7%, or maybe even 10% adjustment to that buff along with something to deal with the infinite blocking (perhaps block fatigue, which has been suggested by others).
#2 Occult Overload
Occult Overload is a Champion Point passive which currently blows up for 12,800 damage and has a cascading damage effect. As ZOS is trying to address PvP bombing they are adjusting this passive to reduce the damage per stage significantly, along with adding a random status effect to enemies hit and adding a one second cooldown in order to prevent that cascading effect. In addition, now the damage no longer has a maximum target cap of six.
How I typically use this Champion Point passive is in PvP where you can bomb a large number of players and there is a cascading effect that can drastically takes away a lot, if not all, of their health. It is also useful when grinding mobs in PvE – when you kill one mob, boom! They all blow up. You can combine this with a set like Plaguebreak or Vicious Death and it has a similar effect.
When I tested this on the PTS with just regular mobs it still worked pretty well and will remain a good passive to have when grinding. I suspect that it might still be used in PvP, but you can tell there’s two things the ESO developers would like to remove from the game. One is bombing in PvP and another is ganking, and unfortunately if you love either playstyle this will hurt you quite a bit.
#1 Warden Changes
The Warden received some massive changes and buffs with the coming Update 36. The first one of these is the Advanced Species passive. This now increases your critical damage done by 3% rather than your Armor penetration by 990. I think the reason they did this was because they want the light armor wearing Wardens to be viable. Specifically, the Frostdens will be more powerful – and they will be because you missed that critical damage in PvE so this will really help out that playstyle. And in PvP I have to admit that the penetration is very nice.
Side note that you’re also going to see some wild crits on Stamina Necromancers now, combined with medium armor and perhaps even the Shadow mundus stone and you’re going to get some big, nasty nukes.
The big change with the Warden is Piercing Cold: this passive now increases your damage done by 2% and if you wield a frost staff the boosts are even greater. The most recent note says 5/10%, but it’s actually at 12% on the server after they adjusted it again. So, to recap: a 2% adjustment overall and then a 12% buff if you have a frost staff equipped.
Again I did a little experiment on the PTS, with a very basic, simple gear set with the exact same skills. My first parse was done with an Inferno staff to see what kind of damage it did, and it produced the lowest DPS of all my tests. Next, I switch to a dual wield setup and the results were a bit higher.
I finally switched to a double Frost setup, where I used the Frost staff consistently on my back bar the entire time, but when I also put it on my front bar I produced the highest damage out of the entire range of tests. Now, I’ve seen and heard of some people doing wild parses with this Frost front bar, but I personally don’t like being pigeonholed into *having* to use a Frost staff. But for you Frost Wardens out there – specifically for solo PvE and PvP in general – I’ve been saying the Magden has been lacking for quite some time and I think that’s been due to the main spammable choices you have in your class toolkit. But this new change means Frost Wardens hit incredibly hard and loaded up with the right gear sets and combinations the Magden will be much improved in both PvE and PvP. So I’m interested to get in there and test some of these Magden builds once the Update 36 drops on the live server to see what other powerful combinations we can come up with.
Update 35 Firesong Conclusion
That’s all of the big changes coming early next month! Update 35 really set the community back, with all of the combat changes leaving a sour taste in player’s mouths. A lot of people left the game, including a lot of my own friends and it’s unfortunate to see. I think ZOS got the message from the community that Update 35 was just too many radical changes all at once.
Personally, I’m a bit unhappy with this patch. I would like to see the Templar not get completely gutted, and a revert of the changes to Puncturing Strikes. I would also like to see the to the Dragonknight ability Molten Whip get reverted as well. Other minor adjustments, which I mentioned above, such as an adjustment to Battle Spirit for PvP would also be a good change.
But these changes to Update 36 are what we have and are what the game will be like for several months as we wait out the holidays and into the new year for the next major announcement of what the next chapter will be. Likely, we will not see another balance or update changing much of anything until March. The upside to this is that it will allow new or returning players to get caught up on gear (Pillar of Nirn is still worth getting!) and gives the community time to experiment and tinker with their builds.
If you’d like to see what other non-combat and quality of life changes are coming in with Update 35, check out my guide HERE.
If you’re looking for a one-bar PvE builds click HERE, one-bar PvP builds HERE or one-bar Werewolves builds HERE. Also, consider watching me on TWITCH where you can ask me questions about my current builds.