Elder Scrolls Online: Horns of the Reach DLC Changes Explained

The Elder Scrolls Online changes with every major update: Morrowind, The Dark Brotherhood, Orsinium, etc. And, now with Update 15: Horns of the Reach just around the corner in August, more changes are coming to the base game. While it will be hard to top the sweeping changes of ESO Morrowind, Horns of the Reach does make some significant changes to the base game. Let’s take a look at what they’re changing in this patch that just went live on PTS last week. As always we will stick to the major game changers and important changes, not every nitty gritty thing. For those of you interested in the full list of changes, please see the Patch Notes page on the ESO Wiki.

Note that they are all subject to change before going live.

Horns of the Reach Set Changes

Besides the 6 new Sets and 2 Monster Helm Sets added with the new dungeons: Falkreath Hold and Bloodroot Forge, there have been some major changes to nearly all existing Sets. 1, 2, 3 and 4 piece bonuses that contain Max Magicka, Health or Stamina, Weapon or Spell Critical, Physical or Spell Penetration or Physical or Spell Resistance have all been altered.

  • Max Health, Magicka, or Stamina has been increased by 13.3%
  • Weapon Critical or Spell Critical rating has been increased by 21%
  • Physical or Spell Resistance has been increased by 13.8%
  • Physical or Spell Penetration has been decreased by 22%

These are some huge changes that should help to increase the overall DPS of players across Tamriel. Dungeons are much harder since ESO Morrowind was released and between these changes and the nerfing of the 4 hardest dungeons in ESO, players will probably once again have a similar experience to what they had before the Morrowind update.

Some other major changes coming to Sets are the nerfs to the Monster Helm Sets and a few other Sets that are some of the best in the game. Since the first nerf to proc sets (making them unable to critically hit) wasn’t enough, Zenimax has taken it a set further by nerfing them in other ways. They have also taken some steps to further improve some of the less used Monster Helm Sets, to entice players into varying their builds.

  • Any monster summoned by an Item Set proc now inherits any bonuses you have. The most notable bonuses are damage done and healing done from passive abilities, Major/Minor buffs, or the Champion System.
  • Amber Plasm: Decreased the Magicka and Stamina Recovery granted by this Item Set to 250 from 300.
  • Beekeeper’s Gear: Decreased the Health Recovery granted by this Item Set to 400 from 500.
  • Blood Spawn: Decreased the amount of Ultimate generated by this Item Set’s proc to 14 Ultimate from 15.
  • Death’s Wind: This Item Set now grants crowd-control immunity to the enemy after knocking them back.
  • Draugr Hulk: Increased the Max Stamina granted by this Item Set to 2540 from 2500.
  • Green Pact: Decreased the Max Health granted by this Item Set to 2500 from 4000, and increased the health recovery to 250 from 200.
  • Grothdarr: Decreased the damage of this Item Set’s proc by 10%.
  • Ilambris: Decreased the damage of this Item Set’s proc by 10%.
  • Ironblood: Decreased the snare applied by this Item Set to a 50% Movement Speed reduction, down from 75%.
  • Leviathan: Increased the Weapon Critical Strike rating granted by this Item Set to 1924 from 1643.
  • Lord Warden: Increased the radius of this Item Set’s proc to 8 meters from 5 meters.
  • Maw of the Infernal: The monster summoned by this Item Set now only deals Flame Damage instead of a mixture of Flame and Physical Damage.
  • Mother’s Sorrow: Increased the Spell Critical Strike rating granted by this Item Set to 1924 from 1643.
  • Necropotence: Reduced the Max Magicka increase granted by this Item Set to 3150 from 4000.
  • Nerien’eth: Increased the damage of this Item Set’s proc by 20%. Decreased the delay from when this Item Set procs to when it deals damage to 2 seconds from 3 seconds.
  • Nightflame: Increased the proc chance from this Item Set to 5% from 3%, and changed the 1-piece bonus to Max Magicka instead of Max Health.
  • Plague Doctor: Decreased the Max Health granted by this Item Set to 4000 from 6000.
  • Poisonous Serpent: Increased the proc chance of this Item Set to 50% from 25%, but decreased the damage to 3400 Poison Damage from 6800 Poison Damage.
  • Selene: This Item Set’s proc now displays a hostile telegraph to enemy players indicating its area of effect. Increased the delay from when this Item Set procs to when it deals damage to 1.3 seconds from 1 second.
  • Sellistrix:
    • Increased the damage of this Item Set’s proc by 30%.
    • Decreased the time it takes for the proc to erupt to 1.5 seconds from 2 seconds.
    • Increased the cooldown of this Item Set’s proc to 5.5 seconds from 5 seconds.
  • Shadowrend:
    • Changed this Item Set’s proc to occur when you take damage instead of when you deal damage.
    • Increased the proc chance of this Item Set to 15% from 5%.
    • The Monster summoned by this Item Set’s proc now deals Magic Damage instead of Physical Damage.
    • Increased the duration of the Minor Maim debuff applied by this Item Set to 10 seconds from 5 seconds.
  • Shadow of the Red Mountain: This Item Set’s proc now spawns a volcano that erupts after one second and launches a projectile at the closest enemy, instead of instantly dealing unavoidable damage.
  • Shieldbreaker: This Item Set’s proc now only occurs once for each cast of a Lightning or Restoration Staff heavy attack.
  • Slimecraw: Changed the 1-piece bonus to a double 1-piece bonus of both Weapon and Spell Critical Strike Chance instead of Health Recovery.
  • Spawn of Mephala: Increased the damage of this Item Set’s proc by 5%, and changed the 1-piece bonus to Max Stamina instead of Max Health.
  • Spinner’s Garments: Decreased the Spell Penetration granted by this Item Set to 3450 from 4000.
  • Spriggan’s Thorns: Decreased the Physical Penetration granted by this Item Set to 3450 from 4000.
  • Stormfist: Increased the shock damage of this Item Set’s proc by 10%. The physical damage portion remains unchanged.
  • Swarm Mother: Decreased the cooldown of this Item Set’s proc to 1 second from 2 seconds.
  • Torug’s Pact:
    • This item set now reduces the cooldown of your weapon enchantment by 30% instead of one second, and is multiplicative with the cooldown reduction of the Infused trait.
    • Fixed an issue where this item set’s bonus was modifying the strength and cooldown of poisons.
  • Tremorscale: This Item Set’s proc now occurs after a one second delay instead of instantly dealing unavoidable damage.
  • Twice-Fanged Serpent: Reduced the Physical Penetration granted by this Item Set’s proc to 860 per stack from 1000.
  • Velidreth: This Item Set’s proc now occurs after a 1 second delay, and displays a warning visual on the set wearer when the proc occurs.
  • Viper’s String: This Item Set’s proc now deals its damage over 4 seconds instead of dealing it instantly.
  • Widowmaker: This Item Set’s proc now drops a spore on the ground in front of you that explodes after 1 second instead of instantly dealing unavoidable damage.
  • Willow’s Path: The percentage increase to recovery granted by this Item Set will now modify all flat increases to recovery, such as drinks.

All in all these changes should bring a bit more balance to PvP and actually make some of these sets better in PvE. Hopefully we’ll see more of them worn around the game…

Horns of the Reach Weapon and Armor Trait Changes

Perhaps one of the largest changes made to the game with the Horns of the Reach update is in the form of Trait changes. There has been a pretty stable meta for Weapon Traits, and after this update, that will change. Let’s take a look at these changes and see how:

Zenimax have adjusted the values and bonuses of most Weapon Traits in the following ways, with the listed values for Two-Handed, gold-quality items:

  • Decisive: Increased the chance to generate one additional Ultimate to 40% from 34%.
  • Defending: Reduced the Spell and Physical Resistance granted to 2752 from 5160.
  • Infused: Increased the bonus value granted to the applied enchantment to 30% from 20%, and increased the cooldown reduction to the applied enchantment to 50% from 40%.
  • Nirnhoned: Increased the bonus to the weapon’s damage to 15% from 11%.
  • Powered: Increased the bonus to healing done to 9% from 7%.
  • Sharpened: Reduced the Spell and Physical Penetration granted to 2752 from 5160.
  • Charged, Precise, Intricate, Ornate, and Training remain unchanged.
  • The Prosperous Armor Trait has been re-designed to give it a combat function. It now grants 11 Health, Magicka, and Stamina Recovery as a gold-quality item, instead of gold gain.
  • Reduced the damage on the Damage Health (Oblivion) weapon enchantment by approximately 36%.
  • Weapon enchantments will no longer proc if the initial attack is dodged.

You can see that Sharpened has taken a 50% cut to it’s penetration, effectively dethroning it as the best Weapon Trait in the game. PvP and DPS players will now have to find Nirnhoned, Precise or Infused versions of their preferred weapons. Tanks and PvP players using Defending on their Sword or Staff of their defensive bar will now have a difficult decision to make, as Defending was also cut in half. This will probably piss off many players; namely those who spent weeks or months farming Maelstrom Arena or City of Ash…

Horns of the Reach Mundus Stone Changes

The last of the significant changes in the Horns of the Reach update lies with the Mundus Stones. While not everyone shares the same Mundus Stone, there have long been 2 or 3 that have ruled the ESO meta for a very long time. Zenimax has buffed nearly all the values to really give players tough decisions and allow more build flexibility.

The values and bonuses of most Mundus Stones are adjusted in the following ways, with the listed values for CP160+ characters:

  • The Apprentice: Increased Spell Damage to 238 from 167.
  • The Atronach: Increased Magicka Recovery to 238 from 167.
  • The Lady: Now grants Spell Resistance in addition to Physical Resistance. Value increased to 2752 from 1980.
  • The Lover: Now grants 2752 Physical and Spell Penetration instead of granting Spell Resistance.
  • The Lord: Increased Max Health to 2231 from 1452.
  • The Mage: Increased Max Magicka to 2028 from 1320.
  • The Serpent: Increased Stamina Recovery to 238 from 167.
  • The Shadow: Reduced the bonus Critical Damage to 9% from 12%.
  • The Steed: Increased Health Recovery to 238 from 167.
  • The Thief: Reduced Critical Strike Chance to 7% from 11%.
  • The Tower: Increased Max Stamina to 2028 from 1320.
  • The Warrior: Increased Weapon Damage to 238 from 167.
  • The Ritual remains unchanged.

You can see that the only nerf was to the Thief, which is the most popular in the game. Nearly all others were boosted by about 33%, making nearly all of them useful to one build or another. I’m excited to play around with these and see what numbers I come up with.

Horns of the Reach Miscellaneous Changes

There are a few miscellaneous Horns of the Reach update changes that aren’t as huge as those listed above, but did warrant mentioning. So I’ll list them here.

  • You can now cancel an active research if you want to start researching something else instead. The item consumed during research initiation will not be refunded.
  • You can now lock or unlock items from the improvement screen. You can also improve locked items, but only if the chance is 100%. Furthermore, you can improve equipped items.
  • Adjusted Elemental status effects, such as Burning or Concussion, so they now scale with your Max Magicka or Max Stamina, in addition to your Spell Damage or Weapon Damage. Zenimax has adjusted their damage due to this new scaling and should remain relatively unchanged (with an exception to Burning, which now deals approximately double the damage of before).
    • Burning now lasts 4 seconds and ticks every 2 seconds, previously lasting 3 seconds and ticking every 1.5 seconds. The total damage ticks remain unchanged.
    • Poisoned now deals its total damage over 6 seconds, down from 12 seconds. This will make Bow users extremely happy…
    • Concussion and Chilled’s secondary effects (Minor Vulnerability and Minor Maim) now last 4 seconds, down from 6 seconds and 5 seconds respectively.
  • Summoned pets from abilities and Item Sets now move 10% faster.
  • Dodge rolling now grants immunity to immobilizations when it is used while you are silenced.
  • Major/Minor Defile: This debuff now also decreases the enemy’s Health Recovery in addition to decreasing their healing received. This was done to decrease the effectiveness of Health Recovery builds, which were previously immune to Defiling effects.

Some of these are just quality of life changes, and others will have a more significant impact. Such as the increase speed at which poison ticks and the increased damage that DoTs will now deal. My Templar is really looking forward to this change as it should further increase my DPS. Also, Health Recovery builds will finely have a counter and Dodge Rolling now granting immunity to immbolizations while in Silence will help combat groups running Negate with Encase or Talons.

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Thoughts on the changes? Insights of your own to share? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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