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GW2 Combat Changes – Dots and Dashes

A new GW2 blog post went up today discussing the upcoming changes to conditions.

Welcome, Tyrians! I’m Roy Cronacher, and I’m here to tell you about changes to our combat systems that’ll be arriving alongside the new specializations. I’ve personally wanted these changes for a while, so I’m very excited to discuss them with you.

Currently, conditions don’t really play well with others. Right now, we have two types of conditions: duration stacking, which increases duration for each version of the condition applied (such as weakness); and intensity stacking, which adds a stack of that condition for each version of it that is applied (such as bleeding). Intensity stacking conditions are limited to 25 stacks, which isn’t very many considering how prevalent damaging conditions are in combat.

Now, these work okay in smaller combat scenarios, but even a single player can take up a full stack of a condition. This makes things frustrating for other players because they’re constantly fighting for room in this small stack size to deal their damage. Physical damage has no limitations on its damage output gated by those around you, so why should conditions? We’re aiming to alleviate that problem with the following changes.

That’s a Big Kittening Number

The first piece of the puzzle is stack size. Some professions allow players to reach the 25-stack cap by themselves, which leaves no room for other players to apply their stacks for that condition. If they could, it would override the existing stacks. Both scenarios are frustrating.

Luckily, this will be a thing of the past. Soon, each intensity-stacking damaging condition will stack to a much larger number. While I can’t reveal that number today because we’re still doing performance tests, let’s just say it’s large enough that you should never notice it while you’re playing, even during world boss fights. Essentially, there will be no more limit on damaging conditions. You’ll no longer be punished or punish others when you choose a playstyle that focuses on causing damage over time.

Condition removal will work just as it does now—using a skill that removes a condition will remove the entire stack of a condition, whether it’s two stacks of bleeding or four hundred stacks of bleeding. A player with four hundred stacks of bleeding would be a dead player, but you get my point.

Now That’s Some Intensity

You may be thinking, “Okay, that’s awesome for the intensity-stacking damaging conditions, but what about burning and poison?” Well, burning and poison will be intensity-stacking conditions as well. This lets us remove the limitations on any damage-dealing conditions so that you can always deal the damage you are trying to deliver no matter who’s attacking the target.

Since both of these conditions will stack intensity, their damage formulas will be adjusted to account for this. You can expect the damage per stack of these conditions to be lowered quite a bit, but we’ll keep the relative proportions consistent. For example, burning will still deliver the highest damage per tick. I’ll go into the formulas a little bit more below.

Poison will only stack its damaging portion on a foe. Once a stack of poison is applied, it will also apply the healing effect associated with it. Any further stacks of poison placed on that foe will only stack the damage portion of the condition.

A Worthy Split

We didn’t want to leave out the last damaging condition, confusion. Confusion is quite fickle. Currently, whenever a foe afflicted with confusion attacks, they take damage. In some combat situations, this is far too effective, such as against a very rapidly attacking character. In other cases, it performs very poorly, such as on a slowly attacking boss.

To make this damaging condition more reliable, we’ve changed what it does, splitting it into two effects. It will retain the damage on attack, but at a lesser amount than its previous version. That damage has been added back in the form of a damage-over-time effect.

When confusion is placed on an enemy, it will not just slowly drain their life over time but also damage them when they attack. This allows for a more consistent result, as some foes attack quickly but others only once every few seconds, wasting potential damage. We believe we’ve found a happy middle ground where confusion retains its original design intent but will be useful in more areas of the game.

Adjusting the Scaling

As mentioned above, we’re changing damage formulas a bit for the damaging conditions. Since you’ll be able to reliably deliver your condition damage with the upcoming changes, it felt necessary to look at the damage formulas themselves and how conditions scale.

Essentially, conditions are too effective right now without investing points into the condition-damage stat. We will significantly lower the base damage on damaging conditions while increasing how much they scale with the condition-damage stat. This means at lower levels of condition damage you can expect to do less damage than you currently do, while at higher values you’ll do even more damage than you are currently able to. The formulas are still being adjusted, but to give you an idea, the break-even point before you start doing more damage is around 700 condition damage.

Vulnerable Foes

The vulnerability condition increases damage done to the foe by 1% per stack, up to 25 stacks. I think condition-damage dealers feel a little left out by this condition, don’t you? Well, now vulnerability will increase both direct damage and condition damage taken by an afflicted foe.

As previously stated, we are only drastically increasing the stack cap for damaging conditions. The nondamaging conditions, such as vulnerability, will remain as they are since there is much tighter balance around their effects. As fun as 700 stacks of vulnerability would be, it might break a few things.


Let’s take a second and look at movement skills, which are skills that move your character between positions or toward your target, such as Savage Leap or Leap of Faith. Right now, these are affected by movement-speed decreases or increases. These skills are less effective when you’re crippled or chilled, making it so the skill does not perform as expected, preventing you from reaching the intended distance. On the other hand, using a movement skill with Super Speed will propel you much farther than we want.

In order to make these skills more reliable in combat and prevent unintended behavior, we’ve normalized them so that movement-speed increases or decreases do not impact the distance traveled by your character.
That was a lot to go over, but we hope these changes will help improve our combat systems and provide a better experience for all of you. This will all be coming soon alongside all of the core specialization and training updates, which we’ve been sharing via livestreams and in earlier blog posts by Jon Peters. See you all on the battlefield!


By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

34 replies on “GW2 Combat Changes – Dots and Dashes”

I agree although thematically that would be a bit hard to justify. Burning would be fine, but how exactly do I poison a crate?

They could change what happens to conditions when applied to structures. Bleeding on a structure would become “Stress” and lower the total HP of a structure while keeping its current % HP the same. Poison would become “Decay” and still work the same. Burning would stay the same, but probably have boosted damage. Confusion could become “Amplification” and do condition damage on incoming physical damage, perhaps with a half-second cool down.

yeh, make the walls bleed to death, do’h
in gw1 cunstructs/golems/elementals could not be bled, cause they did not have flesh, which was also signaled by the game

Im sure it will be pve and pvp, but more difficult to pull off in pvp. Less people contributing to lets say a boss fight..

As long as damage and condition are balanced for 1v1, removing the stacks won’t unbalance it. Quite the opposite actually! Now conditions are on par with damage even for more than 1v1.

5 people in PVP all condi builds… can probably only stack up to 120 bleeds, and it will take a while for that to happen… especially if you have any form of skills while PvPing.. i personally dont, so i’d avoid getting ganked.

im mostly okay with this. i think its a change long in coming.

im not sure about the movement thing though. part of the deal with movement effects is they help or hinder us getting around, and when it effects skills too, it makes it more important to manage them.

Everything is great ‘xept for the movement thing. It’s good that you can cripple or chill enemies to prevent their movement in general. It’s a change that will cut into the competitive scene wich is bad.

on one hand yes i believe that this change some of the competitive side of the game
but on the other hand i believe that will give as edge to players that suffer from condition removal vs long range enemies

At least good for PVE dungeon run, sp for arah run.

For PVP, no one can spam movement skills anyway. If they really sacrifice DPS for more movements skills, then they should be rewarded.

i think thats where well see the biggest changes. the movement thing especially will probably upset a lot of people, and the changes to conditions will mean everyone rebuilding their equipment and traits.

well not everyone is gonna run condi, because there are some who are purely against using condi’s, and I know i refuse to use condi builds unless its an engi.

oh me too, but this makes them way more viable in certain situations. i mean, they even changed how confusion damages its target.
so even if you dont primarily rely on conditions, it makes some traits and sigils more appealing.
and for those who do rely on conditions – not just for damage but for utility – theyre gonna have to go through their build and make sure its all still how they want it.

though i guess we all will anyway because theyre overhauling the trait AND skill systems.

yea and I would assume that this update will be coming this tuesday or the following as they are dumping out alot of information on it at once and many gw2 know when Anet does this its because there gonna probably drop it the next update week.

I like the movement change. The problem now is that it’s much easier to cripple/chill someone consistently than it is to remove it, especially when it’s coming from multiple sources, so there is no fair play. Those particular conditions are meant to slow the enemy down, not render their skills useless. If that is what you want to do, than you need to immobilize, that is what that condition was made for, not cripple and chill. cripple/chill vs. swiftness/quickness, immobilize vs. leap skills.

i agree cc’s seem logical if they actually impose movement skills, but looks like they’re going with this route.. oh well =(

Hey now maybe you can make Savage Leap ACTUALLY F@$&*(@ WORK, EVER.
My last 100 savage leaps in a row have failed to actually hit a stationary target I was within range of.

So all the dash / leap skills that were being used as an escape will now behave like Ride the Lightning. As funny as this sounds, its a thief indirect nerf… again. What’s the counter to a Rush / Whirlwind spamming warrior now? Only immob and stun, 2 conditions / effects that are rarely available / situational from a class perspective.

Listen the big kittening number is flawed , if you have a zerg you will have to keep that stax counter so high that the boss may die even after a wipe lol
The confusion thing seems spot on Confusion mesmers may have some leg weight in pve

Well. Does it mean that I can use condi-build war for PvE effectively now? And throw off zerk-build finally?

Theyre making a hell of a lot of changes… I just hope it all works out… weve only seen some of the changes… skills next week it seems….. as far as i can follow… my ele will be benefiting from the changes… so far… This condition thing is a double edged sword… I like that they are taking the cap off conditions… will be good for world bosses etc…. but i wonder how it will play out in smaller groups or solo situations…. I run mainly power build on my ele…. but the cond dmg gives a nice strong accompaniment to the heavy power dmg…. I had a bit of cond dmg from traits and runes…. I rely heavily on might to increase both power and cond dmg (the might nerf rly pissed me off ><)…. but the base stat is rly low… now it seems i will be called to invest more heavily in cond dmg… or risk having even less than before 🙁 we still dont know how they are gonna be altering the stats of gear…. like i said… I just hope it all works out

the burning thing is a bit shit for eles and guardians who use sustained burning for dmg increase 10% I wonder if they will be altering durations to accommodate this?

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