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GW2 Upcoming Changes to Deadeye

Arenanet is making some changes to Deadeye in the next update.

A message from Robert Gee, Guild Wars 2 Systems Team:

Hello to all the sneaky thieves out there! I’m unstealthing today to reveal details of the upcoming changes to the Deadeye profession. In a previous update we increased the damage of rifle skills to put Deadeye in a good spot from a DPS-perspective, so this update is focused more around improving their gameplay patterns and mechanics.

The main areas we’re looking to address are:

  • Malice Complexity – Malice gain rules are obscure and don’t allow much interaction from the Deadeye.
  • Rifle Flexibility – Rifle optimal damage combos are bland and the weapon lacks adaptability.
  • Trait Synergies – Minor traits fight with each other and there aren’t strong choices at some tiers.

The Mysteries of Malice

We designed malice as a gating mechanic that would act as a way for a Deadeye to gain increasing damage threat the longer they were in combat with their mark. This system was built to allow for very high damage attacks with enough warning to the victim that there would be room for counterplay.

However while we feel the current system is effective at these goals, it is also confusing. It’s difficult to understand how much of a benefit you get from attacking your mark and to calculate when your next malice gain will occur. There also are no rules for which skills scale on malice. For instance, Binding Shadow and Shadow Flare both scale on malice amounts but Shadow Gust does not.

In order to add more interactivity to malice, we are changing the way malice is gained. Malice no longer will build over time but instead will be gained through dealing damage with initiative skills.

Here are the specifics on how it will work:

  • Any skill that spends initiative and deals strike damage to your mark will generate 1 malice.
  • If that skill critical hits you will gain 1 additional malice.
  • Any single skill can gain a maximum of 2 malice from a single use.
  • A skill that hits multiple times can generate 1 malice from a normal hit and 1 additional malice from a later critical hit, but still cannot generate more than 2 malice per use.
  • Malice no longer grants a 3% damage increase per stack. Instead, this bonus has been rolled into traits.
  • Malice scaling functionality is now unique to stealth attacks (more on this in the next section).

In short, malice is now gained through attacking. If you hit your mark you get malice. If you fail to hit you don’t gain malice. Investing in precision can increase your rate of malice gain. We feel that this system is more engaging and easier to understand while also preserving the initial goal of requiring a ramp-up time for malice.

Strike from the Shadows

Now that we’ve gone over the new way that malice is gained, let’s talk about the new way that it is used.

Stealth attacks will consume all your current malice when striking your mark to grant bonus effects based on the amount of malice consumed. The actual bonus per consumed malice differs per skill but let’s use the sword stealth attack as an example.

Malicious Tactical Strike: If this attack hits your mark, it consumes all malice to regenerate endurance for each malice consumed.

Each stealth attack has a different bonus based on the type of skill it is. Skills primarily focused around damage, such as Backstab, will consume malice for bonus damage whereas skills focused around condition damage, such as Sneak Attack, will consume malice for bonus condition effects. Tactical Strike on the other hand consumes malice to grant an advantage over your enemy via endurance gain.

We decided to tie the malice consumption to stealth for a few reasons. First, we felt that stealth was a solid core mechanic that touched every single thief weapon and had many synergies through core traits and skills. Thief players already understand stealth attacks so this allows malice spending to be an upgrade to an established system rather than an entirely new one. Finally, the Deadeye was already leaning towards being a stealth-based character due to its elite skill Shadow Meld and utility skill Shadow Gust, so we felt that having malice slot into the stealth attack was a natural fit.

The Perfect Shot

With these changes, the iconic Deadeye malice skill, Death’s Judgment, is also becoming a stealth attack. This gave us room to make some adjustments to the rest of the rifle skills in order to address its somewhat stale gameplay loop. Kneel and the Silent Scope trait have been changed to allow for more flexible kneeling and stealth while Sniper’s Cover has been totally reworked into a new defensive skill that fills the slot previously occupied by Death’s Judgement. This new skill creates a defensive barrier while kneeling that can combo with other thief abilities. When taken together, these changes help to give each rifle skill a more defined purpose and allow rifle wielders to handle a larger variety of combat situations.

Reloading Traits

To wrap everything up, let’s talk a little bit about the trait changes. Deadeye traits currently have somewhat conflicting goals. There are traits that encourage waiting for full malice (Perfectionist) and traits that encourage killing your mark as quickly as possible (Be Quick or Be Killed) as well as a few esoteric traits that don’t quite mesh well with any particular style (Peripheral Vision). We’ve touched nearly every trait in the Deadeye line in order to better define different types of deadeye playstyles and reduce the conflicts between them. Here’s a quick example of a new trait that is aimed at improving Fire for Effect boon-sharing builds while also providing a meaningful damage bonus.

Premeditation: Gain +180 concentration and increase your strike damage by 1% for each unique boon on you.

Fire Away

We’re looking forward to seeing these changes redefine the Deadeye specialization and hope that they will sharpen your Deadeye experience. As always, we’ll be listening for your feedback on these changes and will make future adjustments where necessary. Happy hunting!


By Dulfy

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

21 replies on “GW2 Upcoming Changes to Deadeye”

Doesn’t sound like that’s going away. They’re taking Malice damage multipliers and adding that to traits and the ability to spend them in chunks while stealthed will likely mean that an attack with Snipe will either do just as much if not a little more. Guess it depends how the traits will work and whether we’ll get the damage buff out of stealth or not.

I personally loved building Malice up and then switching to P/P to let it all rip.

oh but it is for you see there will be alot more counter play to it now it wont be a rapid fire spam-able plus more to get its max damage you will now need to do hit your target with skills that use initiative meaning you have to expose your self to counter attack giving your target time to run or fight you back. Waiting in stealth after you mark now becomes completely useless.

Yeah, they screwed themselves over since the beginning by making stealth a timed and short duration-based skill set. I’d honestly never miss it if they took Stealth out completely in the game, due to how GW2 uses it.

I quite agree, moreso because stealth is broken by any kind of dmg, so you srsly lose stealth duration if you dot your opponent; many of the traits which remove conditions while stealthed or regain initiative while stealthed are seriously impaired.

What about some professions that REALLY need revamps? I know its the new content, but specs for revenant for example are lost forgotten, even good players using it well.

So use skills to build combo points and then use eviscerate.. sounds a lot like another mmorpg rogue’s mechanic

GW2 has been playing catchup to WoW for years now.. they tried SO HARD to stand out, making a lot of senseless changes just to be different, and it turns out… whoa… WoW actually knew what it was doing, at least in terms of keeping players’ attention. Convergent evolution yay, anet stumbling for 6+ years to find solutions for solved problems.

I’m all for complex but smooth transitioning mechanics like that, it just seems like they’re taking something that wasn’t too big of a deal to begin with and trying to make it completely different. I guess we’ll see, I didn’t mind Deadeye in its current iteration but I do admit that I am interested in seeing how the new setup will play out. Gaining Malice on hit means maxing out will be near instant at the start of a fight due to skill spam (at least PVE) so I do like that vs the timed mechanic of having to wait for it to charge up.

Agreeing with Al Siciliano, Revenant really could use some changes too. Renegade is a fucking joke. And running around as Herald is useless with all the boonstrippers. >>;

Revenant still needs it’s core finished considering how many utility skills it’s missing compared to others. Missing a ranged condi weapon in core which shouldn’t need Renegade to fill.
Little to no customization… I wanted to like it but that aspect just made it get boring too quickly.

Before we get to that i’d like to see the missing core skills for every other class. Like selfheals and elites that we don’t have for certain skilltypes (spiritweapons, spectral, stances, arcane etcetc)

“Malicious Tactical Strike: If this attack hits your mark, it consumes all malice to regenerate endurance for each malice consumed.”


Lets get rid of an obscure and boring system and implement a new one while completely changing the dynamics of your traits to make respecing a total pain – GW2 logic

agreed. Why would I need endurance so bad that I have to sacrifice all the malice earned, especially I just hit the dude from a distance with a special attack and am now more interested in spiking him down while he’s still recovering from the initial surprise element.

You seem to be under the impression that you will always be at the same distance to your target, not to mention that you, allegedly don’t have to move or evade.
Rifle or not people can close the gap or you simply engaged with a melee weapon, like your sword, because of projectile counters etc.

Alright, so the mechanics before I always used the might stack with the new deadeye skills and sharing them to 10 people around me. It felt great, mark target and basically spam my deadeye ability which would give me a random ability and use that to spam to the (steal skills whatever) basically giving me tuns of random buffs on top of my might stacks, so in combat I would gain might fast while stacking malice stacks and effectly buffing nearby team mates. Felt great! Though I this rework seems interesting as well brining a shielding mechanic to make you more tanky in situations, basically being able to solo content easier is a great addition. Before my game play was get buffed and kill the target before they can get to me and god for bid if there is more than one target playing alone. Stealth and teleport around to try and cc from a range. Risky gameplay but it felt good for a class all about that style of play. I’m going to miss that greatly if they reworked all my favorite traits… though as long as the class feels like a sniper it will continue being my favorite elite spec/class.

Also, let’s be frank.. the Rev needs work more than deadeye 100%, both elite specs is really a joke.. first spec is all about buffing allies which is nice but you make it so you can’t use skills because you want these strong buffs other classes just give for free all the time.. why? You effectively made an auto attack class only giving buffs to allies, that’s not fun.. second eite spec a short bow? Cool, very cool looking skills. Though the numbers isn’t up to par? I guess? And the awkward crit chance and condition dmg style doesn’t mix at all. In my eyes the only way to fix it is make it so crit chance effects conditions as in conditions crit. Or just rework the spec to be more one or the other because right now idk what it’s trying to be.

Ps ps, lol. I like the idea for the F1 ability to work better with other weapons as well. Honestly It’s leagues ahead of steal. Though stealth? I mean I guess? Eh… ?

Anyone here ever played a sniper in a first person shooter? The appeal is in firing a single shot which has high impact – which is lost in an mmo where every mob is a bullet sponge which takes a minute to kill and every mob has 5 such bullet sponges.

If I plan my ambush perfectly, I will be able to kill one generic enemy before I’m in melee with 4 mobs with my squishy deadeye and in boss fights, there is no noticeable impact provided by my ranged sniping – heck, there is less seeing as I’m getting “range” as my bonus effect instead of the bonus effects of other classes.

Nothing against the class, but the only way i could see it being fun was if it got a 3 minute cooldown effect on it’s skill 5 which could instant kill undamaged pve enemies which dropped no loot – as this would allow you to situationally actually be the sniper without killing anything of actual importance..

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