Scalebreaker PTS Patch Notes 5.1.0 – An end-game healer opinion on the matter

Scalebreaker PTS Patch Notes 5.1.0 – An end-game healer opinion on the matter

On Saturday the 6th of July, some leaked patch notes for the upcoming Scalebreaker ESO update were revealed. As a response to these leaks, Zenimax has published the real Patch Notes for PTS week 1 (5.1.0). While these showed some interesting adjustments, they also showed two seriously worrisome changes that could impact drastically PvE – and in particular, PvE healing.

Many healers have already reacted. In particular, Stileanima made very good points in her post here. I created a petition to gather the voice of the people who disagree with these changes. While this petition was meant kind of as a troll, it shows that many people do care about the issue.

I also listened to the points of friends of mine who have experience in both the PvE and PvP raiding scenes. In this short post, I give my opinion on these changes. In addition, I propose some alternatives, using the feedback I’ve gathered as well as my own knowledge. I keep in mind the fact that these changes were mostly made to impact PvP, to the best of my knowledge.

I discuss first the changes made, then offer my point of view on them. Lastly, I offer some substitute adjustments which could be made. A special thanks to Imidazole, Stileanima, Healsthefeels and Cloudz for useful insights. 

The Relevant Changes

Grand Healing Changes

This is the live version of the skill,

which is one of the basics of any healer setup both in PvE and PvP.

  • In PvE, Grand Healing is used as a strong, short HoT that can outheal incoming bursts. The stacks are essential to the survivability of the group during the most hard-hitting mechanics. While beginner PvE healers tend to spam this ability, end-game healers only use it when necessary.
  • In PvP, Grand Healing is spammed in large groups to soak up any incoming damage. PvP healers benefit from the Magicka return of Healing Springs to “pave” the way of their group with healing.

Zenimax proposes the following changes.

Grand Healing: Converted this ability into a true AoE HoT, rather than a hybrid spammable hybrid HoT.
  • Increased the duration from 3 seconds to 8 seconds, but you may only have 1 active at a time.
  • Reduced the healing per tick by approximately 44%.
  • Reduced cost to 2808 from 3510.
    • Healing Springs (morph): This ability now grants 30 Magicka every time it heals an ally, rather than restoring 330 Magicka for up to 3 allies healed by the initial hit. This will result in a higher return if you hit all 6 targets for the full duration, but will require more coordination to obtain.
    • Illustrious Healing (morph): This ability continues to increase the duration. The new duration is 9 seconds, which ranks up to 12 seconds at Rank IV.

The main point here is you can only have one Grand Healing AoE on the floor active, with a weaker HoT than on live.

Necrotic Orb Changes

The live version of the Energy Orb morph of this skill,

is vital in PvE healing and very strong in PvP.

  • In PvE, it provides a strong HoT all along the passage of the orb. Whenever an ally synergizes it, it restores a significant amount of resource (proc-ing the Undaunted Command passive as well). The burst heal provided by Combustion is almost “negligible”, as it often comes at an a time when it is not needed. As a synergy, Energy Orb also enables your group to use sets such as Lokkestiiz or Alkosh with good uptimes.
  • In PvP, orbs are used in ball groups running Harmony jewels. The Combustion synergy thus provides an insanely large burst heal or damage, depending on the morph used.

Zenimax proposes the following changes.

Necrotic Orb:
  • Reduced the base cost of this ability and its morphs to 3780 from 4590.
  • Reduced the damage per tick of this ability and the Mystic Orb morph by approximately 13%, but it can now deal damage every half second instead of every second.
  • You can only have 1 orb active at a time.
  • Decreased the speed to 2 meters per second from 3 meters per second to help it deal damage or heal targets more reliably as the orb passes them.
    • Healing Orbs (morph): Reduced the healing per tick of this ability by approximately 13%, and fixed an issue where allies affected by the Heal from this ability were unable to take damage from Necrotic or Mystic Orbs from some players.

Again, the key point of these adjustments is that you can now have only one (healing or damaging) orb active at a time.

My Opinion

Grand Healing

At first glance, I thought this would affect very little PvE. As mentioned before, as an end-game PvE healer, I rarely use Grand Healing anyway.

However, there are some instances where using and stacking this strong AoE HoT is essential. During most of the trash phases and during the Troll boss fight in Sanctum Ophidia, the strong, constant HoT is needed. Or again, in order to out-heal Baneful Mark in Cloudrest. Or, in Sunspire, in order to out-heal the beam hit and the following static DoT in Lokkestiiz Hard Mode (see a clip of me, struggling to out-heal this DoT, layering springs and as many HoTs as possible). There are many other such instances, but I am sure you got my point. In those situations, as an experienced healer, I am not sure we would survive without Grand Healing stacking. So how can we expect the more casual player base to even clear this type of content?

As Stileanima mentioned in her post (linked in the introduction), Grand Healing as also essential when your group is moving during a boss or trash fight. If only one AoE is active, how can we take into account DDs lagging behind or going forward a bit too fast? No raiding group, let it be end-game or let alone beginner-leveled, has such a high-level of coordination.

When it comes to PvP, it appears indeed that Healing Spring spam is  overpowered in Cyrodiil. I assume that this is why such a nerf has been decided.  However, the most coordinated groups are already running only two healers, mitigating damage by running Purge spammers. Substracting springs will only encourage to run fully stamina-based groups stacking health recovery and echoing vigors while only bringing one or two magicka as Purge bots. The nerf will therefore have little effect on organized raiding PvP groups.

Energy Orb

This change is the one I am the most worried about. In PvE, orb spamming is vital. It gives back resources to your group, it provides a strong HoT if your group is sufficiently stacked. Most importantly, in my opinion, using Energy Orbs promotes teamwork and group coordination. Using synergies should never be that nerfed, as they make for interesting group compositions and strategies. The introduction of sets such as Alkosh and Lokkestiiz in particular encourage using synergies at key moments. The proposed change would greatly kill this playstyle as they would make orbs much less available. 

Furthermore, with Grand Healing being nerfed, having Energy Orb nerfed as well would be essentially be gutting out HoTs in PvE. This would make some content (mentioned above), hard to clear for experienced groups – let alone for the average player. As an illustration of this point, let me show you a screenshot from logs of Lokkestiiz Hard Mode.

As you can see, even using defensive ultimates (Reviving and Replenishing Barrier), and Minor Lifesteal, Illustrious Healing and Energy Orb are by far our main sources of healing. Keep in mind that this is in a group where healers actually heal only when absolutely necessary, buffing, debuffing and dealing damage the rest of the time. How are we supposed to survive consistently mechanics without these two abilities?

The (solo) orb being slower also hits healing diversity. In PvE groups where the tanks are less experimented, they often need the resource return from Energy Orb. If there is only one orb available, moving slowly through the group, what are the chances of it being able to reach the tanks in time? This will encourage more people to bring Templar healers in raid – for shards – in the detriment of other classes.

As for PvP, the orb nerf will certainly affect them as well. However, the biggest issues of orb usage in PvP, being Combustion healing/dealing a huge burst of damage, is not addressed.

Alternative Adjustments

I propose here some alternative adjustments that could be make in order to change Grand Healing and Energy Orbs, without gutting PvE healing.

Grand Healing

Grand Healing: 
  • Reduced cost to 2808 from 3510. Casting again within 6s costs 50% more magicka. 
    • Healing Springs (morph): This ability now grants 30 Magicka every time it heals an ally, rather than restoring 330 Magicka for up to 3 allies healed by the initial hit. This will result in a higher return if you hit all 6 targets for the full duration, but will require more coordination to obtain.
    • Illustrious Healing (morph): This ability continues to increase the duration. 

This change would strongly punish Grand Healing spam, but not make it impossible. In PvE, it would hurt Grand Healing mindless spam. In PvP, it would prevent large groups from paving their way with Healing Springs. The modified Magicka return from Healing Springs would actually make it even harder, as groups are often moving.

Energy Orb

Necrotic Orb:
  • Reduced the base cost of this ability and its morphs to 3780 from 4590.
  • Reduced the damage per tick of this ability and the Mystic Orb morph by approximately 13%, but it can now deal damage every half second instead of every second. Reduced the damage dealt by the Combustion synergy by approximately 75%.
  • You can only have 4 orbs active at a time.
  • Decreased the speed to 2 meters per second from 3 meters per second to help it deal damage or heal targets more reliably as the orb passes them.
    • Healing Orbs (morph): Reduced the healing per tick of this ability by approximately 13%, and fixed an issue where allies affected by the Heal from this ability were unable to take damage from Necrotic or Mystic Orbs from some players. Reduced the healing done by the Combustion synergy by approximately 75%.

While this adjustment would stay in the same spirit as the proposed change, they would be far less restrictive in PvE and actually keep on promoting teamwork and coordination. The nerf to the damage/healing done by Combustion would strongly decrease the power of orbs in ball groups in PvP.


Final Words

I feel like most of these changes were designed to make healing in PvP less of a mindless spam. However, they hit PvE too strongly. PvE healing is, in my opinion, mostly balanced, and does not need those changes. A nice way to balance PvP while keeping PvE intact would be to just modify damage and healing modifiers in Cyrodiil.

Thank you for reading through this essay. As I said, it gathers my concerns as a PvE healer. If you have the same concerns, feel free to share it around.



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