This guide covers the Destruction Staff skill line. The morphs are given a 1-5 ranking (1 poor, 5 excellent) and I try to briefly explain why the score. (Note: While I may make reference to PvP at times, the reality is I am casual at best when it comes to PvP and this guide is really done with PvE as the focus)
Destruction Staff Skill Tree
Destructive Touch – Medium range attack (17m) which causes damage and a DoT and knock back/deep freeze/Stun.
Destructive Clench (3) – Adds additional effect Extra DoT (Inferno), Adds AoE (Shock). Nice, but no use against bosses (except the Fire Staff DoT), could be handy solo or PvP though.
Destructive Reach (4) – Increases range of spell. Makes the spell the standard 28m range, helpful if using this spell as part of a DPS rotation.
Wall of Elements – Frontal AoE, deals damage every 1s for 6s
Elemental Blockade (4) – Lasts 8s and increased area. Extra duration is good because of the increased DoT ticks.
Unstable Wall of Elements (3) – Explodes dealing magic damage. My preferred choice for additional damage for an AoE – instant damage after 2.5s means I can immediately cast another wall, unlike the other morph which while doing extra damage, does so over another second.
Note: Either morph is fine, some prefer a longer duration for less casts.
Force Shock – Deals Fire, Cold and Shock damage.
Crushing Shock (4) – Interrupts and stuns casting targets for 3s. Very nice single target attack, unless you have a great ranged attack from your class, this will be your mainstream single target DPS. This morph just makes the spell all the more useful – now allowing you to interrupt and stun at range, the big problem, is in 1.6 its damage was nerfed, so you now give up some damage for the utility it offers – great in many situations, but against bosses it gives nothing and offers less damage.
Force Pulse (4) – Deals damage to two nearby targets that are burning, chilled or concussed, also deals more damage. AoE extra is pointless, prior to the nerf of Crushing Shock, this was rated a 1. However, it is now a decent skill simply because it offers the highest DPS. You do give up utility for this, but for end game it is likely worth it.
Weakness to Elements – Applies Major Breach (spell resistance debuff) for 21s.
Elemental Drain (5) – Returns magicka when attacking with Fire/Ice/Shock. Wow, what a morph, weaken your target against your Force Shock, then get magicka back when attacking which means more casts before running low on resource, which means more DPS. Win/win. Even if you have Spell Symmetry to get magicka back, this morph means needing to cast it less often, which again means better DPS (and less risk of overeating yourself and dying to an unlucky timed attack). Now allows everyone to take advantage of this.
Elemental Susceptibility (2) – Reapplies Major Breach (spell resistance debuff) every time you do damage. Clearly not as good as Elemental Drain, however, the fact you cast it once and it remains for the entire fight is pretty awesome, but casting once every 21s seems easy enough if it means getting magicka back.
Impulse – Deals AoE damage around you.
Elemental Ring (4) – Adds a DoT for 10s. Downside to this morph is that you are likely spamming the heck out of this spell, so the DOT never really sees the light of day. However, at times you may mix in another spell which means at least the occasional tick will occur. More useful in groups than the other morph assuming someone else in the group is using it.
Pulsar (4) – Minor Mangle (10% health debuff) for 30s. This morph is amazing, it essentially means your first hit does huge damage (assuming the targets will be dead in 30s) if soloing this is a definite winner of a morph. In groups it may be less useful because you only need one of your allies to have this morph, if more than one of you has it then the morph effect is essentially redundant (not that it matters too much as the base spell is already amazing).
Note: While there are other spells around that do similar damage to Impulse, it is the combination of this spammable attack and the filthy passive to get magicka back which makes the staff a winner for AoE.
Tri-Focus (5) – Heavy Frost attacks grants a damage shield. Heavy Shock attacks deal 100% of final damage tick to nearby opponents. Heavy Fire attacks deal 12% more damage.
Penetrating Magic (5) – All staff attacks bypass 5-10% spell resistance.
Elemental Force (5) – Increase chance to apply Fire/Ice/Shock status.
Ancient Knowledge (3) – Heavy attacks charge 5-10% faster.
Destruction Expert (4) – Restore Magicka when you kill a target with a Destruction Staff spell or weapon attack.
That concludes my views on the Destruction Staff skill line. I hope someone somewhere found it useful!