Update 29 Preview—Champion System Update

02/03/2021

The upcoming free Update 29 base-game patch introduces a redesigned Champion System, giving you new ways to customize your characters. Learn about this updated system in this preview.

Champion System 2.0!

First introduced with Update 6 in 2015, the Champion System gave end-game players a way to improve their characters beyond level 50. Now, six years since its initial release, the team felt that a major overhaul was needed to keep the system fresh and impactful.

“We decided to rebuild the Champion System in Update 29 as this system ties up a lot of changes we've made over the past two years,” explains Brian Wheeler, ESO’s Combat Lead. “When you look at the original Champion System, it had a lifespan associated with it that meant that there was no real progression after a certain point. In addition, the original system also had a lot of power creep because it provided passive gains across the board for your damage, healing, and regen.”

When approaching the redesign of such an important system, the team set specific goals they wanted to meet with their changes.

“When designing the new Champion System, we wanted you to be able to do the same content you were able to do previously. If you were able to beat VMA (Veteran Maelstrom Arena) before U29 goes live, you’ll be able to beat it afterward. We also had to make sure you could do DLC dungeons at CP 300, which aligns with our DLC dungeons and the Activity Finder.”

Master your build with the new Champion System

In addition to ensuring players didn’t feel depowered by the change, the team wanted to add more variance and choice to the system.

“We wanted tradeoffs and choices much like your ability bar and gear. In the original system, you just had pure power, and there wasn’t really a choice except for how to update your Magicka or Stamina build,” says Wheeler. “With the new system, you have to make real choices. For example, in the Warfare constellation group, you’ll have to choose between improving your damage, healing, or survivability, but you can’t have all of it at once like you could previously.”

Finally, the team also wanted to ensure the system still felt familiar and could be easily scaled in future updates where needed.

“When designing the UI, we wanted interacting with the system to remain familiar to our dedicated players who have used it for years, while making sure the expanded number of choices and build variations are apparent,” explains Bobby Weir, ESO’s UI Lead. “We embraced the increase of options and made sure that we built mechanisms that support expanding upon those options in the future.”

Constellations and Stars

But how does this new system work? Don’t worry—it’s still very similar to the classic Champion System where you allocate points to stars to give your character specific buffs to their stats.

One major change is that instead of nine constellations, there are three constellation groups: Warfare, Fitness, and Craft.

“The Warfare constellation group contains pretty much everything involved with altering your damage dealt, healing, and stat mitigation,” explains Wheeler. “While the Fitness tree also contains stars that effect your combat, it’s mainly about how you move and interact compared to raw numbers. Lastly, we wanted the Craft constellation group to contain as many ‘out of combat’ augmentations as possible, while still offering some combat utility.”

The Warfare Constellation group

Within each constellation group, you can assign your Champion Points to stars to acquire passive boosts, increase their effectiveness, and unlock additional pathways to new stars. The total amount of stars in each constellation group is different, and some even include nested additional constellations inside of them.

“With the original Champion System, you could split it up into core combat actions, such as healing, dealing damage, taking damage, regenerating, or standard combat actions like dodging, blocking, sprinting, etc.,” says Wheeler. “We wanted to make sure we continued to reinforce your desired playstyle via stars, but also group them together in a way that was more coherent to those playstyles instead of simply focused on Magicka or Stamina.”

In addition to the new constellation groups, this update also introduces a unique bar and special stars that can be slotted into it. These stars grant especially powerful boons, but they must be slotted to work, with four slots being available for each of the three constellation groups.

The Craft constellation group

These special stars allow for a greater amount of flexibility and variance between builds and help to make your choices truly meaningful.

“The champion bar enables us to help control vertical power by allowing only certain amounts of stars to be slotted and controls how many passives are active on your character,” notes Wheeler. “Because you can have only four slotted stars from each constellation, you have to pick what you slot. This gives the new system a different feel from the old one, as you just don’t get all the benefits without real choices or drawbacks. This follows the same philosophy of building your ‘deck’ similar to your ability bar and equipment slots.”

Just like the gear you wear or the abilities you wield, the choices you make in the Champion System will define how your character plays, not just their overall power level.

Perfect Your Build

With all these changes to the Champion System, the team also decided to update the Character page so that you can now view your character’s advanced stats. If you’re a “min-maxer” or just want to get a better idea as to how your choices have altered certain stats like Block Cost or Fire Resistance, this update will help you measure your granular changes. 

“With the amount of expanded choice in the new system, it was a great opportunity to also look at how we present combat stats,” explains Weir. “A good number of key stats have been missing, as well as some other niche ones, so we decided to create an additional view for stats to accommodate them. This should help paint a clearer picture of how your character's combat potency is changing when you make different build choices.”

Thanks to these changes to your Character page, you can perfect your build and see how every choice you make is reflected in your power levels.

Change Is in the Stars

With this free update to the Champion System, you can truly customize your characters’ playstyles, whether you’re a hardcore PvPer, a master crafter, or a lone wolf exploring Tamriel’s depths. How you spend your Champion Points will be more impactful than ever before, creating new build and playstyle opportunities as you increase your Champion level. How will you customize your builds with the new Champion System? Let us know via TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!

The free Update 29 base-game patch arrives in tandem with the Flames of Ambition DLC this March 8 for PC/Mac and Stadia*, and March 16 for Xbox One and PlayStation®4.

*Available only in limited territories.

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