These are the proposed balance changes for the Dec. 10th build. These changes are not final and are subject to change. We are posting them early so the community can discuss them with us. We wanted to be more transparent with the community about these changes to help expose problems that riskier changes might create.
Our goal for many of the classes was to increase build diversity while still maintaining class roles and identities. Some of the things we increased were abilities/skills that people don’t run very often. Our goal was to increase these abilities to make them viable alternate builds.
How to give good feedback and what to expect.
- Be constructive. If you think a change may cause issues, say why and give examples. Try not to argue with others – make your point and then accept that other people may have different points of view.
- Be concise. Our time is limited and we can’t read walls of text because it will prevent us from having the time to read as many posts as possible. Bullet points or numbered lists are very easy for us to read!
- Be specific. “I expect this change to accomplish A, but I think it will actually accomplish B”. The more specific you are, the better we are able to understand where you’re coming from, what type of content you play, and it helps us to understand the context for your feedback.
- Be objective. Keep in mind that just because you may not like something, that doesn’t make it bad. Others may have differing opinions. They may play a different type of content, or they may play a different profession, so be objective and keep in mind – we have to balance the game for EVERYONE, not just you.
- Be respectful. This goes for your fellow community members as well as for devs. Respect the ideas and opinions of others.
- Be mindful of scope. These are the changes we are trying to get in for the Dec. 10th balance patch. That doesn’t leave us with time to rework entire classes, or redesign entire weapon sets with this update. Keep scope/work/time/resources in mind when you make your suggestions.
- Be mindful of context. Power creep is something we’re trying to avoid. Sometimes a profession may not receive as many increases as other classes. A lot of times, this is because that class is already performing very well in the current state of the game. So keep the overall context/state of the game in mind when giving feedback.
This patch’s goal for the elementalist was to increase the power of the Earth, Air and Fire lines, while taking away some of the need to go into the Arcane line. This was done by bringing up the base cooldown of attunements so that elementalists aren’t forced to go as deep into Arcane in order to get the old attunement cooldown %’s. In doing so, we decided put some of the most powerful Adept tier traits in Water magic and Arcane to the Master tier to avoid power creep that would have occurred by letting players gain powerful effects in Master and Grandmaster tier of Fire, Air, and Earth and still get the extremely powerful traits in Water and Arcane by only splashing in 10 points.
- Fire II – Burning Fire – This trait has a new effect. Use Cleansing Fire automatically when you have a number of conditions on you. 3 conditions. 40 second cooldown. Moved to Master tier.
- Fire VIII – Conjurer – Moved to Adept tier.
- Fire III – Ember’s Might. The effect of this trait has been changed to Burns you apply last longer. 25%.
- Burning Rage 25 – Increased damage dealt to burning foes from 5% to 10%.
- Air V – Soothing Winds. Increased conversion from 5% to 7%.
- Air XI – Tempest Defense. Decreased the cooldown from 60s to 25s.
- Earth 5 – Stone Flesh – Increased toughness while attuned to Earth Magic to 1.5/level (120 at level 80).
- Earth VII – Strength of Stone. This trait is now Gain condition damage based on your Toughness. 10%.
- Earth XI – Diamond Skin. This trait has been redesigned. Conditions cannot be applied to you when your health is above the threshold. 90%.
- Water I – Aquamancer’s Alacrity. Moved to Master tier.
- Water V – Cleansing Wave. Moved to Master tier.
- Water VIII – Arcane Abatement. Moved to Adept tier.
- Water X – Soothing Wave. Moved to Adept tier.
- Arcane III – Arcane Retribution. Moved to Master tier. Decreased cooldown from 90 seconds to 45 seconds.
- Arcane IV – Final Shielding. Decreased cooldown from 90s to 75s.
- Arcane V – Elemental Attunement. Moved to Master tier.
- Arcane VI – Renewing Stamina. Moved to Master tier.
- Arcane VII – Vigorous Scepter. Moved to Adept tier.
- Arcane VIII – Blasting Staff. Moved to Adept tier.
- Arcane IX – Windborne Dagger. Moved to Adept tier.
- The following changes were done to reduce the necessity of putting points into the Arcane trait line.
- The base cooldown of the attunement that you just left is now reduced from 16 seconds to 13 seconds. Attunement cooldown rate now increases by 1% per point in Arcane down from 2%. The end result is that now Attunements go from 13s to 10s instead of the old range of 16s to 10s.
- Base global attunement cooldown is now 1.625 seconds. Global attunement cooldown rate now decreases by 1% per point in Arcane down from 2%. The end result is that now global attunement cooldown goes from 1.625 to 1.25 instead of the old range of 2.0 to 1.25.
We wanted to maintain the engineer’s core roles while still increasing build diversity. We also wanted to take out some of the random effects for some of the class’s traits. The biggest change here is allowing Modified Ammunition to work with any skills so that an engineer, regardless of build, can look at putting 30 points into firearms. By increasing the swiftness duration on Speedy Kits, we hope to allow Swiftness to be maintained more reasonably without having to constantly be swapping between Kits. This change will also bring down the total up time for Vigor due to its interaction with Invigorating Speed. We don’t like classes having permanent Vigor, and this is one of the areas we needed to tone down the up time of the engineer’s Vigor.
- Explosives V – Incendiary Powder. Moved to Master tier.
- Explosives VI – Exploit Weakness. Increased the health threshold from 25% to 50%
- Explosives IX – Accelerant packed turrets. Moved to Adept tier.
- Firearms XI – Modified Ammunition. This trait now works regardless of equipped weapon.
- Inventions V – Energized Armor. Increased conversion from 5% to 7%.
- Inventions X – Autotool Installation. Increased healing percent from 1% to 5%. * Decreased interval from 10s to 3s.
- Inventions XI – Elixir Infused bombs. Increased healing scaling by 50%.
- Alchemy V – Blood Injection. Increased conversion from 5% to 7%.
- Alchemy 15 – Transmute. Increased % chance from 8% to 100%. This effect can now only trigger once every 15 seconds.
- Tools VI – Speedy Kits. Increased Swiftness duration to 10s. This effect can now only trigger once every 10 seconds.
- Tools XI – Armor Mods. Changed this to now trigger on struck instead of on critical hit incoming. Reduced the cooldown from 25 seconds to 15 seconds.
Tanky and supportive guardians are in a strong position in many gametypes. We do feel that damage guardians are not as powerful as they could be. While we don’t want guardians to be as strong offensively as some of the other classes (given their powerful defensive abilities) we opened up more offensive guardian builds.
- Zeal V – Shattered Aegis. Damage instead of Burning.
- Zeal VII – Zealous Blade. This trait now scales with Healing power (2%.)
- Zeal XII – Kindled Zeal. Increased conversion from 10% to 13%.
- Radiance V – Searing Flames. Reduced cooldown from 20s to 10s.
- Radiance X – Powerful blades. Increased damage from 5% to 10%.
- Valor V – Retributive Armor. Increased conversion rate from 5% to 7%.
- Honor VI – Pure of Heart. Increased scaling with Healing power from 25% to 40%.
- Virtues VIII – Supreme Justice. Number of attacks going from 4 to 3.
- Symbol of Swiftness: This skill now applies 4 seconds of swiftness per pulse, rather than 8 seconds if you have no swiftness and 1 second if you have swiftness.
The bulk of the mesmer changes are focused on two things. 1) Bringing up some of the mesmer support traits and condition removal traits. 2) Reduce dependency on certain trait lines. The changes to Mender’s Purity and Shattered conditions as well as the move of Dazzling Glamours are meant to accomplish the first of these two. The changes to Shattered Strength and Illusionist’s celerity are what we feel accomplish the second one. Before this change mesmers needed to place 25 points into Illusions for many of their builds. Now they can place only 15 points in there to get the Illusion cooldown which will give them back 10 more trait points to open up some new builds. Finally, we felt that the Mantra traits were fairly difficult to collect. Moving Mantra mastery to adept tier takes some trait pressure off of the Dueling line, allowing mantra mesmers to gain a good trait with only 10 points.
- Domination XII – Confounding Suggestions. Changed to increase daze duration by 25%.
- Dueling VI – Protected Mantras. Moved to Master Tier. Increase Toughness from 400 to 600.
- Dueling VII – Mantra Mastery. Moved to Adept Tier.
- Chaos 25 – Chaotic Transference. Increased conversion from 5% to 10%.
- Chaos I – Chaotic Revival. Reduced cooldown from 35s to 10s.
- Chaos VII – Mirror of Anguish. Reduced cooldown from 90s to 60s.
- Inspiration IV – Mender’s Purity. Now removes 2 conditions.
- Inspiration XI – Shattered Conditions. Increased radius from 240 to 600.
- Illusions VI – Illusionary Invigoration. Recharge reduced from 90s to 60s. Moved to Master Tier.
- Illusions VIII – Dazzling Galmours. Moved to Adept Tier.
- Illusions 15 – Shattered Strength – Moved to Grandmaster tier.
- Illusions 25 – Illusionist’s Celerity – Moved to Master tier.
For the necromancer, we felt that a few traits and skills were too powerful, while others were lacking in efficacy. We brought down some of the raw DPS conditions that necromancer enjoys, while also maintaining their pressure and sustain elements. The necromancer’s mobility will remain where it is currently, as we want the Necromancers to be focused on sustaining themselves through death shroud, siphoning health, and slowing down their opponent’s ability to act.
- Mark of Blood. Removed 1 bleed in PvP only.
- Signet of Spite: Removed one bleed.
- Spite 15 – Death into Life. Increased conversion from 5% to 7%
- Spite X – Chill of Death. Increased trigger threshold from 25% to 50%.
- Curses IV – Weakening Shroud. Increase recharge from 15 to 25.
- Curses VIII – Banshee’s Wail. Increase cooldown reduction from 15% to 20%.
- Death 5 – Reanimator. Decreased cooldown from 30s to 15s.
- Death VIII – Reaper’s Protection. Decreased the cooldown from 90s to 60s.
- Death 25 – Deadly Strength. Increased conversion from 5% to 10%.
- Blood Magic 25 – Blood to Power. Decreased health threshold from 90% to 75%. Increase Power from 90 to 120.
- Soul Reaping II. Vital Persistence. Increased reduction of life force drain from 25% to 50%.
For the ranger, we’ve adjusted the placement of some traits so that rangers should have more build combinations. For example, by swapping Nature’s Vengeance and Spirits Unbound so that rangers can have spirits follow you in tier 2, players can now opt out of the higher damage output from spirits and still have options elsewhere. We also brought up some Marksmanship and a Skirmishing trait to make power specs more appealing. We feel like rangers also currently have too much endurance regeneration through traits. Due to this, we’ve made adjustments to Wilderness Survival traits, and we’ve also brought down the passive of Sun Spirit and the active effect for Storm Spirit.
- Long Range Shot. Increased the damage at 500 range by 20%.
- Long Range Shot. Increased the damage at 500-1000 range by 15%.
- Marksmanship V – Predator’s Instinct. Increased the threshold from 25% to 50%. Increased the Cripple Duration from 2s to 10s. Increased the cooldown from 15s to 30s.
- Marksmanship VI – Beastmaster’s Bond. Decreased the cooldown from 90s to 60s.
- Skirmishing XII – Moment of Clarity. Stun Duration increased from 50% to 100%.
- Wilderness 5 Natural Vigor. Reduced the increased endurance regeneration from 50% to 25%.
- Wilderness VIII – Oakheart Salve. Decreased the recharge of this trait from 20s->15s
- Wilderness XII – Bark Skin Increased the damage reduction from 30% to 50%.
- Nature Magic I – Circle of Life. Cleared up the text of this trait to clearly identify that it happens when downed, not defeated.
- Nature Magic V – Strength of Spirit. Increased conversion from 5% to 7%
- Nature Magic IX – Two Handed Training. Added the following functionality to this trait. Greatsword and Spear attacks have a chance to grant Fury on hit. 50% chance. 3s Fury. 10s cooldown.
- Nature Magic X – Enlargement. This trait now uses Signet of the Wild to trigger. This reduces the cooldown to 60 seconds and allow it to interact with the Signet of the Beastmaster and Signet Mastery traits.
- Nature Magic VII – Nature’s Vengeance. Moved to Grandmaster Tier.
- Nature Magic XI – Spirits Unbound. Moved to Master Tier.
- Beastmastery VI – Mighty Swap. The might from this trait is now applied to you and your pet.
- Sun Spirit. Reduced the passive burning from 3s to 2s.
- Storm Spirit. Reduced the damage from the Call Lightning skill by 33%.
One of the issues we are working on for thieves this patch is the dependence on the traits which boost initiative. We did this by shaving a significant amount of initiative gain from these traits while simultaneously boosting the generic rate of initiative gain by 33%. We have also somewhat reduced the effectiveness of high evasion thieves by reducing vigor up time and adding some cast time to the Shadow Return skill on the sword. This prevents these thieves from evading too much and too easily dealing with being disabled (stun, daze, fear, knockdown, etc.). Also we are trying to improve the survivability of thieves in the Acrobatics line through easier access to the Hard to Catch trait and increased effectiveness of the Assassin’s Reward trait. This will reward thieves who are actively engaged in the fight rather than those who are just dodging over and over again. The change to Infusion of Shadow is meant to stop players from gaining initiative by applying stealth while already in stealth. This should keep thieves from being able to recharge all of their power while idling in a very long stealth. We felt that using a lot of different abilities to maintain stealth is ok, but re-using the same ability over and over for almost permanent stealth was just bad for the game, especially when gaining large amounts of initiative.
- Increased the base rate of initiative gain from .75/second to 1/second.
- Shadow Return on Sword. Renamed to Infiltrator’s return. Added a 1/4s cast time.
- Pistol Whip. Reduced the after cast on the first half of this skill by .25 seconds.
- Deadly Arts VI – Sundering Strikes. Increased the trigger chance from 50%. Remove ICD. Decrease Vulnerability duration to 6s.
- Critical Strikes VI – Practiced Tolerance. Increased conversion from 5% to 7%.
- Critical Strikes 15 – Opportunist. Increased trigger chance to 50%. Increase cooldown from 1s to 5s.
- Critical Strikes VIII – Signet Use. Reduced initiative gain from 2 to 1.
- Critical Strike X – Critical Haste. Increase trigger chance to 25%.
- Shadow Arts V – Infusion of Shadow – This trait functionality has been changed to “Gain initiative when you enter stealth.” 2 init.
- Acrobatics III – Vigorous Recovery. Reduced Vigor duration to 4s from 8s.
- Acrobatics IV – Assassin’s Retreat. Increased swiftness duration to 20s.
- Acrobatics IX – Quick Recovery. Reduced initiative gain from 2 to 1.
- Acrobatics X – Assassins Reward. Increased healing scaling by 35%. Moved to Grandmaster Tier.
- Acrobatics XI – Hard to catch. Moved to Master Tier.
- Trickery 5 – Kleptomaniac. Reduce initiative gain from 3 to 2.
- Trickery IV – Flanking Strikes. Move to Master tier.
- Trickery VII – Bountiful Theft. Reduced vigor duration to from 15s to 8s.
- Trickery VIII – Trickster. Move to Adept tier.
The overall goal here is to reduce the damage for the very high control warriors. This means reducing some dependency on going 30 points into discipline for Burst Mastery, making warriors spend 20 points in Arms to get the benefit of Unsuspecting Foe. We also reduced the damage on the hammer’s burst skill to separate the control from the damage. We don’t mind warriors doing massive damage, or doing great area of effect control, but we’re trying to prevent them from easily doing both. We also increased the readability of Skull Crack, which will allow opposing players to more easily react to it. Combustive Shot on longbow also saw some rework. It will scale better with adrenaline levels, and still provide strong burning per adrenaline level, but the raw damage was toned down slightly.
- Strength 5 – Reckless Dodge. Increased Damage by 25%
- Strength III – Great Fortitude. Increased conversion rate from 5% to 7%.
- Arms IV – Unsuspecting Foe. Moved to Master Tier.
- Arms VII – Crack Shot. Moved to Adept Tier.
- Arms XII – Last Chance. Increased the threshold form 25% to 50%. Reduced the cooldown from 45 seconds to 40seconds.
- Defense 25 – Armored Attack. Increased conversion rate from 5% to 10%.
- Defense XII – Spiked Armor. Reduced the recharge from 15s to 10s.
- Tactics 5 – Determined Revival. Now correctly displays the amount of toughness.
- Tactics 25 – Reviver’s Might. Now applies 3 stacks of Might instead of 1.
- Discipline II – Thrill of the Kill. Increased Adrenaline gain from 1 to 10.
- Discipline XI – Burst Mastery. Reduced damage increase from 10% to 7%. Removed erroneous adrenaline gain fact.
- Earthshaker. Reduced damage by 20%.
- Staggering Blow. Reduced damage by 23%.
- Skull Crack. Increased the cast time from 1/4s to 1/2s. Updated the animation and effects of this skill to be more clear.
- Combustive Shot – Increased pulse duration to 3s. Increased burn duration per pulse to 3s. Normalized damage per pulse. Updated pulses per tier to 2, 3,and 4 respectively for tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3.