Editor’s Note: The following combat class comparison was written and submitted by James Miller, Writer for Quest Gaming Network.
Last week, I wrote about my gameplay impressions of the first starting area for Daggerfall Covenant in the Elder Scrolls Online beta. In case you missed it, the article was aptly titled Daggerfall Covenant Levels 1-5 First Impressions.
For that article, I created an Orc Templar to play through the first areas again in order to refresh my mind in preparation for the piece. The previous character I made on the Daggerfall Covenant alliance some time ago was a Breton Sorcerer. I thought I would write this follow-up article to compare/contrast the approach I took with these two characters in an attempt to illustrate the flexibility of the ESO character progression system.
During the “prologue” area of ESO, in which you are released from your prison cell in Coldharbour, you are presented with your first set of choices for weapons. For my Sorcerer, I wanted to build him as the quintessential Mage and so took up a fire destruction staff right away. During my second play through with the Orc Templar, however, I chose a different path and selected a two handed war hammer instead. Of course, if I wanted to, I could have chosen the exact same first weapon for both characters, in which case the only difference would be the race and primary class of the characters; Orc vs Breton and Templar vs Sorcerer.
As these two characters gained levels, I made slightly different choices in their skill and ability point allotment, though I also could have made roughly the same choices here as well. For the Breton Sorcerer, I chose to spend my ability points primarily in Magicka as opposed to spreading them out into Health and Stamina too. This provided me with the most Magicka possible to cast a number of spells during a combat engagement without running out of that particular resource. Of course I also had my trusty fire destruction staff as a backup also. As for the Templar, I spent all my ability points similarly, but only in Health since I wanted the ability to take a little more punishment in a fight if need be.
Both of these character classes have access to spells that are specific to the respective class. For the Sorcerer, there are three magic based “schools”; Storm Calling which grants access to lightning based spells, Dark Magic with access to crowd controlling spells and finally the Daedric Summoning branch that allows the Sorcerer to summon and control a combat pet from Oblivion. The Templar, being more of the holy avenger type of class has access to the Aedric Spear branch allowing the character to deal damage to enemies with magical spears of light and other “holy” light based effects, Dawn’s Wrath which taps into the power of the sun to deal fiery spell damage, and Restoring Light which channels positive energy to heal. If you hadn’t noticed, there is a direct opposing correlation between these two classes with the Sorcerer representing dark, “evil” Daedra worship and the Templar acting as a champion against the undead wielding the power of the Aedra.
My approach to combat was also equally iconic for these two characters. With the Sorcerer, I always had my summoned pet by my side, which took the form of an Imp at early levels and later a tough-as-nails Clanfear once I morphed the summing spell, Unstable Familiar. I began most engagements with a powerful, but slow to cast spell that gathered dark colored crystals into a large spike-shaped object that then launched itself at my target with great force and impact for a fairly sizable amount of damage as well as a short knock down effect. By the time my opponent regained their feet, my pet would be all over him, providing a decent amount of distraction that allowed me time enough to serve up another dish of pain with either the same spell again or a lightning effect spell from the Storm Calling branch that could cause an AOE explosion of electricity if my opponent died a few seconds after being hit.
Should I find myself with low Magicka or just no desire or time to cast any spells, I would light up my enemies with my fire destruction staff instead. The basic attack would launch a ball of fire at my target and was so responsive to my every whim that I quickly realized I could run circles around the baddie and fire at the same time, thereby easily avoiding a hit in return from melee combatants. In the event I wished to use the heavy attack for the destruction staff, I would be rewarded with not one, but three fire balls at once that arced toward the target dealing 3 times the damage.
As for the Templar, my approach was a little more simplified and up-in-yo-face! The Templar also has access to ranged spells like the Sorcerer, though not as damaging however. I typically would begin an engagement by casting Sun Fire at my target which would hit for a small amount of damage and set the opponent on fire for a few seconds which added a DOT (damage-over-time for the lay-persons out there). The Sun Fire spell would also temporarily snare my target allowing me to easily close the distance and wind up a power attack with my two handed weapon. Typically, I wouldn’t need much more than that to end my enemy and I would be off to the next one in no time. But should there be a second opponent, I would usually just rinse-and-repeat with the Sun Fire spell and another barrage of hammer blows. Should I find my health getting pushed to the limit, I always had my trusty healing spell, Rushed Ceremony at the ready. Since this character had a bigger Health pool than Magicka, casting too many spells easily left me without any reserve Magicka should I need to heal, and therefore this presented a bit of tactical flavor to how I conducted a fight.
As for the armor choices, in the early parts of the game it is rather difficult so set yourself up in a full set of one specific armor type from head to toe. As a result, during both of my play throughs I was wearing a mish-mash of piecemeal armor on each character. However, if given the choice, and I would have had the choice slightly later on, I would have kitted my Sorcerer out in all light armor as the passives for both Breton racial skills and Sorcerer skills would combine together nicely to grant increased Magicka bonuses for light armor. My Templar would have been geared up in all heavy armor to provide extra protection and survivability, not to mention it fit best with my idea of the Paladin-like class that the Templar can be.
As I said earlier too, I could have chosen the exact same weapons for both characters and tailored the play style of each to be mostly the same as a result. That’s the beauty of ESO; you can develop your character in any way you choose as you level up. The tough part is getting through the beginning areas of your alliance starter zones to really see what the game has in store. Think of it this way; the start zones are there to offer players an idea of the things you can do and obtain that will make your character unique. Then as you reach the mainland and get higher into the levels you can really start pairing all that down into a specialization of sorts that can make any character into your ideal character that fits perfectly with your play style. It’s all up to you. The world of ESO is yours to conquer!