Enchantments are a critical part of ESO’s crafting system. Regardless of your role, enchantments are sure to give you an extra edge. Top enchantments will be in high demand.
In past Elder Scrolls games, enchanting has been a route to over-powered character builds if desired. Enchanting equipment with invisibility for instance, could make past games pretty easy. Another example, the Fortify Alchemy enchant/Fortify Enchanting potion loop to create uber powerful gear. How will enchanting work in ESO? More importantly, how can Zenimax balance potentially over-powered enchants while staying with Elder Scrolls tradition?
Possible Enchanting Mechanics
Enchanting has traditionally required Soul Gems to imbue items with magical effects. Soul Gems are normally filled using the Soul Trap spell. Only the most powerful monsters have souls to create the most powerful enchants.
Nothing about Conjuration magic has been announced yet, however, the Soul Trap spell has traditionally been part of the Conjuration school of magic. If Conjuration magic is not implemented then a weapon enchanted with Soul Trap may be the only way to fill Soul Gems. Enchanting without Soul Gems may also be possible if Sigil Stones make a reappearance with Dark Anchors.
Elder Scrolls games have had rather basic enchants that could be combined into a powerful synthesis. If recipe discovery is linear, it won’t take long for fans to find and post guides to accomplish any combination of powerful effects. So if any bugs for creating unintended uber gear exist, they will be swiftly exploited. In an online game this can be catastrophic.
Zenimax will probably take some of the complexity out of the enchanting system of previous Elder Scrolls games to make it easier to balance, either by putting a cap on the magnitude any enchantment can have or by simply not implementing enchants that can have a wide array of effects.
Another, more interesting, method to balancing enchanting, or any crafting, is to have recipe discovery be dynamic and unique to each character. For example, when testing ingredients and experimenting, you unknowingly move down a recipe tree, either discovering or locking possible recipes as you go.
Zenimax could simply separate key enchantments to different branches of the recipe tree to make it harder to combine them, but not impossible. This would encourage more trading and engaging with other players since the same enchanter could not do everything. This also makes crafting more specialized, allowing players to focus on one area of their crafting career and become very skilled.
Of course the problem with this is that sooner or later, the most powerful methods of combining enchants would be found and you would still have super powerful enchants. Also, if not well balanced, certain specializations could become underwhelming and lack players interested in pursuing them.
So what is wrong with having an enchanting system that can create very powerful equipment? Would having extremely rare ingredients balance out extremely powerful enchants? What if an ingredient was a Soul Gem filled from killing the Emperor or a epic monster? What enchantments do you think should be in ESO? What enchantments need to be nerfed from previous games?
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