The Elder Scrolls Online

Ask Us Anything: Combat 2

Welcome to our second combat-focused Ask Us Anything. Once again, we’re answering your questions about combat in The Elder Scrolls Online. Read on for answers to more of your queries.

If you have a question about ESO, send it to us at community@elderscrollsonline.com. In each bi-weekly edition, we’ll answer more questions directly from you and your fellow ESO fans. Please enjoy our new answers to questions about combat:


Will we be able to easily determine what type of armor (heavy, medium, light) that an enemy player character is wearing before we attack them? My guild intends to concentrate on sniping behind enemy lines, and we expect that armor will factor into our initial target selection. – By Jeff Bangle

Light armor, medium armor, and heavy armor all have distinctive looks. There are also many different types and levels of armor. For example, there are different levels of Orcish armor in light, medium, and heavy. Our goal is certainly to have you be able to tell what armor someone is wearing at a glance, but that’ll come more easily the longer you play because there are so many possible combinations.


If we use a weapon which needs projectiles, we will need to get more projectiles or are they unlimited? – By David BR

As of now, there is no ammo. You have unlimited projectiles.


While holding down the mouse button to perform a more powerful attack, how would that affect mobility? For example, could I run towards a target (wielding a sword), and hold down my mouse key to load up the sword swing to be released when I get close enough? Or would my character start walking or slow down when "loading" the attack? Vice versa, could I walk while holding my shield up? – By Grumbelbum

You can move while charging a heavy blow. Blocking consumes Stamina and you can only walk while blocking. So yes, you could begin charging a heavy attack with a sword while not in range of an enemy, move into range, and then hit the enemy with the attack when you release it.


You stated in your last Ask Us Anything that (essentially) weapons bring certain skills with them, but does your weapon of choice have any effect on your class skills?  For example, are the effects and range of class spells the same regardless of whether my character wields a dagger or a longbow? – By Chris Hansen

Class spells have a range independent from the weapon you have equipped. That said, it is a very good idea to keep your weapon range in mind when selecting what abilities you want to use on your shortcut bar.
Weapon abilities, on the other hand, can only be used while the appropriate weapon is equipped. You can slot them at any time, but they will be grayed out if you aren’t wielding the correct weapon. There may have been some question as to weapons determining the shortcut bar, but they do not. However, weapon swapping is set up in such a way that you have one shortcut bar for each of your two weapons (active and backup). The shortcut bars switch when you switch weapons, but again, you can populate either bar with any abilities you like.


I have always been a fan of sneaking, stabbing, and assassinating. Previously in The Elder Scrolls series, there was an indicator which told me if the enemy was aware that I was there, if they knew where I was and if they had no idea I was right behind them with the dagger going for their neck! How will you handle the sneaking system in The Elder Scrolls Online? – By Imba Taggen

This is handled in a very similar way to Skyrim. Your crosshairs change to an “eye” and it closes to show you if you are hidden. When it opens a bit, it shows that enemies are looking for you. If you melee attack an enemy from behind while successfully hidden, you get a bonus to that attack.
We also have disguises in the game. Disguises work by allowing you to put them on. This will make some normally hostile monsters neutral to you. You will see “disguised” instead of “hidden” on your crosshairs. Detection will be very similar.


I was wondering if there are perk trees to specific skills, like knowing beforehand what skills can be unlocked so you could prepare yourself (grinding for some XP). – By Mahamed Bashir

Once you have a skill, you can see every spell and passive that can be unlocked by mastering it.  However, you won’t have every skill on your character initially. For instance, there is a Mages Guild skill line. Until you join the Mages Guild, you cannot see the line or the abilities in it.


In most MMOs, the healers get left out of PvP rewards simply for lack of DPS. My question is: Does ESO follow suit or is a strict healer rewarded comparably to an equally skilled DPS character? Does a healer have a chance at becoming Emperor? – By Donald Kindy

While you can take on the role of the healer at any time, it is still important to mention that you could be a very effective healer and still have plenty of damage dealing available to you. For the sake of argument, let’s say you are “geared up” for healing. You can absolutely gain Alliance Points by healing your allies. And yes, you have a chance to become Emperor.


What I don’t like in some other games is that most abilities seem to just “do damage.” I like utility (Spell Reflection, Disarm, Intervene). On a damage:utility ratio, how would you say ESO fares? – By Jeremy Walton

The vast majority of abilities are focused on utility rather than damage, and the weapon light and heavy attacks “just do damage” when that’s what you need. There are a few spells that do bonus damage in specific situations, but for the most part, you’ll want to select abilities for their situational value.  This includes abilities like heals, spell reflection, casting a light source, stuns, intercepting attacks, summoning pets, and more.


I have never played an Elder Scrolls game before but I do enjoy playing MMO games with friends. Will I be able to play this game or will I be hopelessly lost because I have no "background" knowledge? – By Odd Thomas

You won’t need previous knowledge from the other Elder Scrolls games to play The Elder Scrolls Online. You should just be able to jump in and play.


Is an arrow to the knee a killing blow? – By Smittyj Ryan Smith

Only in Star Trek VI.


Will you be able to block with other weapons besides a shield? Does blocking block all damage or is it just damage reduction? Can ranged physical and magic spells be blocked? Thank you! – By Patrick

You will be able to block with all weapons, though a shield is the most effective. Blocking doesn’t block all damage and is far less effective if you are out of Stamina. Ranged physical attacks and spell projectiles can be mitigated with a block, but all other magic will go right through. You have the chance to interrupt some magic spells, though.


Having six usable abilities at any time is much less than virtually all other MMOs. How does ESO plan to keep combat engaging and reward skillful play with so few abilities? – By Christopher Trammell

Our shortcut bar is a tool more than a means to define our combat. Our combat is based more on what you’re seeing in the world and how you react to situations. Combat stays engaging because situations change, requiring you to think about what you are seeing in front of you. It is probably much easier to think of the combat from Oblivion and Skyrim than a more common MMO system.


I've found in the past that one of the “make or break” elements of an MMORPG is how they handle crowd control. What types of crowd controllike roots, snares, stuns, mesmerizeare you going to have in the game and how important will they be in both PvP and PvE scenarios? – By Shawn Skelton

Perhaps it is better to go into the philosophy behind crowd control. Yes, we will have crowd control: stuns, roots, snares, etc. However, we know it isn’t fun to be on the receiving end of these. Provided you have enough Stamina, you can usually get out of a CC situation and have temporary immunity after. But if you have been using your Stamina for other things, you may not be able to extricate yourself.


ESO has been talking about how it will have high density content in zones to keep players busy, but will there be any areas, such as the Alik'r Desert being a good candidate, that will purposefully be left more sparse to force exploration into the expansive unknown, containing hidden treasures for those who can brave the area long enough to discover them? I for one would love to travel out in one direction of that desert hoping to come across a hidden dungeon! – By James Brooks

Content really works better on cadences—some areas which have less content and some areas which have more. We will definitely have a good cadence in all of our zones, and exploration is something which benefits everyone.


Discuss this on the official ESO Facebook page.