First off, I would like to apologize to all of the listeners of The Rubicon which is no more. Both @Byronyk and I feel that we can deliver better content to more people with the written word. Thank you to everyone who listened to the podcast and I hope you will enjoy our written work. Secondly, I would also like to apologize for a lack of content and posting from after PAX East.
I had planned a whole bunch of things for when @Atropos, @Byronyk and I returned from Boston; however it seems my place of employ will self-destruct without me there and demanded a huge amount of my time upon my return. With that being said, I hope to be able to start posting more regularly, as well as providing all of you with some interesting stuff.
While we were at PAX, or more specifically at the Tamriel Beer Garden event hosted by Zenimax, I ran in to some friends of Tamriel Foundry and I would like to give a shout out to @Jadedcore, @Niczo, and @Rantis of The Imperial Guard. I enjoyed speaking with you guys and wanted to let you know that members like you are the reason Tamriel Foundry has such a great user-base providing great content.
Alright, now that I have said my piece, the main topic I want to discuss is the finesse system as I experienced it at PAX. I am going to preface this discussion with a disclaimer that should be obvious, however sometimes we need to pound these things in to people’s heads. Nothing that I reference from PAX is set in stone; everything in the game is subject to change. Now that we all understand that, what is the finesse system?
In short, the finesse system is a skill-based reward system that rewards you for playing the game well. It rewards you by giving you extra gold, experience, loot, and potentially other yet-to-be-confirmed rewards. This is a relief to players that want ways to distinguish their ability to play well from others who may not be able to play as well as you now get something measurable for your better play; but what do I mean by better play?
As most people reading this will know, TESO’s combat system is a reactionary system. This means you have opportunities in combat to attack, use abilities, dodge, block, etc. This reactionary combat is what can garner you finesse rewards. Monsters in TESO give two quite blatant emotes when they are about to power attack(Yellow Glow) or use an ability that has a channel component and can be interrupted(Red Glow). The third option that monsters have is to where they are going to use an ability that places an AOE geometry on the ground. You can’t interrupt these with your right-to-left click bash attack, but can interrupt with one of your hotbar abilities or evade it with a double-tap WASD in a direction.
These three options present opportunities to the player to interact in combat in ways other than dealing damage, and is the foundation of the finesse reward system. If you dodge when you are supposed to dodge, if you block when you should block, and you interrupt when you should interrupt, you should have perfect finesse. Sadly, you cannot garner finesse rewards off of singular monsters; however pulls of two or more will allow you to get finesse rewards. You will know that you have finished combat with perfect finesse by having a bullet-time kill camera shot of you finishing off whatever you were fighting. This looks pretty cool, but I am sure some of you are wondering how that will work with multiple enemies? I know that I wouldn’t want a kill camera to activate after I kill 2 monsters and there are another 4 hitting me. I asked Gameplay Designer Maria Aliprando at PAX how killcams would work when you are fighting multiple enemies, and she informed me that they will only trigger at the end of combat. That is to say, your finesse will keep building while you are in combat fighting a large number of enemies, until you finish the last one off to exit the combat state.
My first day at PAX I had noticed when I killed a pair of wolves without perfect finesse I was rewarded with 5 gold, then when I killed another pair with perfect finesse I was rewarded 10 gold, a full 100% increase in the reward. The response from Maria got me thinking about how finesse could be used to level faster and if there were ways that a player could maximize leveling efficiency with the system. Now I understand that this is the smallest dataset that I can possibly have, but I still thought it was worth looking in to if you could get a linear gold/XP multiplier the more monsters you killed.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to find base packs that had 4+ wolves in them, however if finesse is rewarded at the end of combat, what would happen if you keep chain pulling monsters before you get out of combat? With this in mind I tried pulling a single wolf, and then another to qualify as having 2 monsters in combat with me at the same time, but I received no reward. I tried multiple times with a single pull in to other wolves but received no reward. This led me to try initiating combat with a pack of two wolves that I knew by themselves could give me a finesse reward and then pull an extra mob, like links in a chain. I was rewarded with a kill camera and 15 gold for my troubles. I continued to experiment with this and managed to chain about 5-6 pirates; they didn’t drop any gold, but I did notice a very large increase in my XP gained.
So what does all of this mean? Well, a few things come to mind.
- There may be parts of the game where you can effectively farm chains of monsters to get XP multipliers to level faster than simply questing.
The pirate encampment I was testing in is one such example of a good place, as well as one involving goblins in the Daggerfall Covenant starting zone alone.
- You will probably want to chain monsters between quest locations if they are on the way.
There are plenty of locations in the starting zone alone that provide a sufficient mob density to allow chain pulling and are between quest destinations.
- Talents can help you chain mobs easier.
Playing a Dragon Knight, I found Fiery Chains(Pulls an enemy to you) to be awesome for chaining monsters that were spread out.
- Your character has leveling XP and ability XP, both of which are gained by killing monsters.
Ultimately by actively chaining monster together for extra finesse XP means you are killing more monsters that you would have normally. I don’t know if bonus finesse XP accumulates for your talents as well, however by nature of killing more monsters than you would have, you are going to be ahead of the game when it comes time to spend skill points on morph abilities.
- Non-max level dungeons that can be pulled quickly seem like they would be great XP boosters, doubly so if they are repeatable.
Running level appropriate dungeons that can reward extra XP based on finesse performance plus the chance of getting level appropriate loot to help you level? What’s not to like?
- Getting finesse kills feels great.
Having the kill camera engage was one of the most satisfying things ever. Knowing that you completed a perfect finesse combat and that you were going to be rewarded for it is great.
Ultimately everything I experienced can change from one build to the next. I could see them removing the ability to chain finesse from one pack of monsters to the next. I am honestly inclined to think that linear gold/XP gains would not be in the game at launch as they seem too powerful, however I could easily see some sort of reward structure that has a cap at how much of a bonus you can get. Regardless, finesse is in the game and will be in the game to some degree at launch(unless something really drastic happens) and utilizing it to the best of your ability will be a boon for your leveling career.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. As I said above I have to split my time between work and Tamriel Foundry carefully, but feel free to send me a PM or write up a post with @Fizzle in it and I will be sure to try and respond.