Elder Scrolls Online approach seems to be Tank, DPS, Hybrid.Zenimax is trying to create a game that prevents cookie cutter builds. They are offering players the freedom of choice when it comes to the type of character they want to make. The character I want to make has no choice but to be a cookie cutter build. He will be a clone of every other player that wants to play the same type of class as myself. I plan to play a dedicated Healer from the time I enter the game until I hit level cap, my focus will be to fill that role. Every other class in Elder Scrolls Online has much more diversity when it comes to building their character.
When asked about this very thing, Paul Sage replied, (source)
“Well, there are two full ‘healing’ paths, that aren’t just healing, but that is their focus. Also, most “healing” classes usually have other skills or abilities. For us, you can determine what those are. I think the openness of the skill system really will allow you to play a very versatile healer.”
So it sounds like the two full healing paths, aren’t full healing paths they will have some damaging abilities in the tree but the overall focus of the trees will be healing. His comment on how “healing” classes usually have other skills or abilities makes me believe that Elder Scrolls Online doesn’t want to have a dedicated healer they want to focus solely on Hybrids, a Templar that can damage and heal. He also feels that the openness of the skill system will really allow us to play a very versatile healer. Being only two skill lines doesn’t really offer us much for being versatile in terms of dedicated healing, it does however offer us the ability to be versatile in being a Hybrid.
As it stands, the four classes in Elder Scrolls Online (Dragonknight, Nightblade, Templar, and Sorcerer) all have three dedicated class skill lines that only they have access too. All classes will have access to the One-Handed / Shield, Two-Handed weapon, Dual Wield, Bow, Destruction Staff, Restoration Staff skill lines.
Let’s say you choose to play a melee Dragonknight. You have plenty of options to choose from, you can be One-Handed with a Shield, Two-Handed, even Dual Wield, once you decide on the type of weapon you want to spend your points on you also have the three Dragonknight class skill trees you can spend your points on. Each skill offering a morph ability, giving you even more choices for you to pick from. This goes the same for a Nightblade or Templar. Perhaps you picked a Sorcerer and you want to be a Two-Handed, tanking Sorcerer. You have that option as well, putting points into your three class skill lines, the two-handed weapon skill line, and the heavy armour skill line, again tons of options. Each class is given a diversity of options allowing us to create that perfect character that we want to play. Except for those of us who want to play a dedicated healing role.
If you want to play as a healer your best option is the Templar class, as one of their dedicated class lines is focused on healing abilities. What if you’re not a Templar though, and want to fill the role of healer? Restoration staff is your only option. Anyone who wants to heal, is either a Templar class, or Restoration Staff wielding character. When it comes to spending your skill points as a dedicated healer you have two options: Templar class skill line or Restoration Staff skill line. When it comes to how you spend your points as a Healer you have very few options.
As much as Elder Scrolls Online says class is only a starting point, each class has a purpose they were created for and will perform the best in that role. You still have the option of being that heavy armour Sorcerer tank, but will you perform as well as a Dragonknight tank that has class trees dedicated to that role? No. A Dragonknight is best suited for a Tank/Melee DPS, Sorcerer obviously ranged DPS, Nightblade the sneaky Melee/Ranged DPS, Templar the hybrid class that tries to be Tank/DPS/Healer. When we look at the Holy Trinity we have, Tanks, DPS, and Healers. But the Elder Scrolls Online approach seems to be Tank, DPS, Hybrid.
Because of the lack of a dedicated healing class, we’ll be seeing more hybrid builds than we will dedicated healers. Being a Templar will offer the group a lot more stability than if a Sorcerer was using a Restoration Staff. Any other class would require a weapon swap in order to cast a heal, as those abilities will be tied directly to the weapon currently equipped. Whereas, with a Templar using the class skill tree you can use any weapon and still cast heals, allowing you to be the better hybrid healer since you don’t require a weapon swap. Restoration Staffs are fun, but due to the lack of diversity or freedom of creating the character, people will choose the option that offers the most freedom of play, and sadly it is in a Hybrid and not a dedicated build.
I believe Zenimax needs to introduce one more class (like a Spellsword) into the game, a healing class, one that has at least 2 skill lines dedicated to healing, and one dedicated to offensive attacks, allowing the healing class to be both supportive and offensive. Giving us two class lines and a restoration staff line would give dedicated Healers diversity when it comes to healing. We don’t have to have the same five healing abilities slotted. Maybe we can choose between being an Area of Effect healer where the healer would focus on putting healing spells on the ground, wherever they wanted. Or perhaps a Point Blank Area of Effect healer, a type of healer where the heals themselves radiate from around the healer. The third line could be conal effects, allowing us to healing those who are in front. These options would allow us to customize our builds to be specialized or perhaps a mixture of all them.
What do you think? Is playing a healer too limited, too cookie cutter?