Arenanet will be making some major balance changes with the upcoming patch.
We have a Balance Update slated to release next week and wanted to get the Release Notes to you early so that you can theorycraft and discuss. Enjoy!
Elite specializations were introduced with the Heart of Thorns expansion and have become a regular sight throughout Tyria. These specializations have sometimes come with trade-offs, and sometimes they’ve been purely beneficial compared to a core specialization, often because they add something on top of everything the profession already does. We believe that elite specializations are a more meaningful choice when they have some trade-off or change some core part of a profession’s mechanics.
To use the example of necromancer, by choosing an elite specialization, you lose access to your core Death Shroud abilities, but you gain different abilities. This is a clear trade-off. In the case of elite specializations like druid, herald, chronomancer, berserker, or scrapper, this type of trade-off isn’t possible because the specialization adds a completely new ability. With this update, we’re targeting a few elite specializations to receive trade-offs, and we expect to continue doing this in future updates. As for general changes, we’ve made a few consistency updates to aura naming and introduced dark auras to the game. We also changed a number of abilities that would destroy missiles, making them block missiles instead.
- Dark Leap Combo: Performing a leap finisher from a dark field will now grant players 5 seconds of Dark Aura.
- Dark Aura: This new effect reduces incoming condition damage by 20% and inflicts 2 seconds of torment when you are struck (1-second cooldown per attacker).
- Fire Shield: This effect has been renamed Fire Aura.
- Chaos Armor: This effect has been renamed Chaos Aura. Fixed a bug that prevented this effect from triggering some elementalist traits.
- Skills that destroy missiles will now block missiles instead. This change affects the following skills:
- Elementalist: Swirling Winds
- Engineer: Launch Wall
- Guardian: Deflecting Shot, Refraction, Sanctuary, Shield of the Avenger, Zealot’s Defense
- Mesmer: Illusionary Warden
- Necromancer: Corrosive Poison Cloud
- Revenant: Inspiring Reinforcement (Underwater)
- Thief: Sniper’s Cover, Smoke Screen, Concealed Defeat
- Warrior: Winds of Disenchantment
With the addition of the weaver and sword abilities in Path of Fire, the main-hand dagger weapon set has been struggling with its identity. The weaver’s sword is intended to be a single-target, high-DPS weapon that relies on direct hits to deal damage. In this update, we’re leaning into the dagger’s close-range area-of-effect damage and burst attacks.
- Cone of Cold: The base healing value of this skill has been increased by approximately 20%.
- Cleansing Wave: The base healing value of this skill has been increased by approximately 20%.
- Evasive Arcana: The base healing value of this trait has been increased by approximately 20%.
- Arcane Abatement: Cleansing Wave: The base healing value of this trait has been increased by approximately 20%.
- Swirling Winds: Reduced the radius of this skill from 400 to 360. The visual effect of this skill now displays a red ring for enemies and a white ring for allies.
- Vapor Form: Fixed an issue in which this skill would sometimes fail to revive a poisoned player. Fixed an issue in which applying barrier to an elementalist in Vapor Form prevented them from being downed when the skill ended by timing out. Removed an unlisted function of this skill that caused it to apply regeneration to nearby allies.
- Dragon’s Claw: Projectiles from this skill now pierce enemies.
- Ring of Earth: This skill has been slightly reworked. It now delivers an attack early in the animation, and then another attack upon impacting the ground. Bleeding duration per impact has been reduced from 12 seconds to 6 seconds. Initial impact damage is 27.5% of the final impact. Final impact damage has not changed from the skill’s initial value.
- Magnetic Leap: This skill has been renamed Earthen Rush and reworked.
- Earthen Rush: Quickly dash along the ground, summoning damaging spikes along the way and then delivering an area attack, immobilizing any enemy struck.
- Lightning Whip: The range of this skill has been reduced from 300 to 240.
- Lightning Touch: This skill has been reworked and renamed Convergence.
- Convergence: After a 1-second delay, lightning strikes the elementalist, dealing damage and weakening foes in a 240 radius while granting the elementalist fury for each foe struck.
- Invoke Lightning: Fixed an issue in which this skill ignored the Disable Player Camera Shake option.
- Glyph of Storms (Air): Fixed an issue in which this skill ignored the Disable Player Camera Shake option.
- Imbued Melodies: This trait now uses the Lesser Sand Squall skill instead of the Sand Squall skill.
Following the previous gyro updates, we’ve had the opportunity to update gyros for underwater use as well. With the change to Blunderbuss, we’re aiming to give clarity about the best-use scenarios for this skill by reducing the size of the tooltip and making it clear that closer is always better, rather than using complicated, staggered range thresholds. If this goes well, we’re likely to update other abilities in a similar fashion to provide more best-use clarity in future updates.
- Blunderbuss: Rather than inflicting between 1 and 4 stacks of bleeding for 7 seconds based on range, this skill now inflicts 3 stacks of bleeding with a duration of between 3 and 9 seconds based on range. This skill has been reworked to scale damage dynamically based on distance rather than at various tiers so that closer is always better, not just when the engineer crosses a particular range threshold. The range of this skill has been increased from 700 to 900.
- Jump Shot: This skill now animates more smoothly when used to reach a lower elevation.
- Poison Dart Volley: Projectiles fired by this skill no longer fire in a randomized cone. Updated skill facts to show the full attack damage rather than the damage of individual darts.
- Holographic Shockwave: Fixed a bug that could cause this skill to fail to hit targets at the center of the attack.
- Shredder Gyro: Reduced the casting time of this skill by 0.3 seconds, and increased the damage inflicted by 33%.
- Experimental Turrets: Fixed a bug that caused the underwater Supply Crate’s Rocket Turret to apply might instead of retaliation.
- Gyros can now be used underwater.
This update focuses primarily on tuning up core guardian skills and traits that haven’t aged very well. Mace skill improvements and some fixes to how torch skills interact with the Radiant Fire trait should help these aspects of guardians fit in better with new specialization options. We’re also extending ground-targeting functionality to all spirit weapons to give players more precise control.
- Hammer Chain Skills: Adjusted attack animations and damage to get a smoother attack sequence. The full attack chain is slightly faster with less damage, resulting in a small increase in overall damage per second.
- Faithful Strike: Lowered the full casting time by 0.3 seconds. Increased damage by 10%. Lowered healing slightly.
- Symbol of Faith: Increased damage by 30%.
- Protector’s Strike: This skill now uses full-body animation for the finishing strike, even while the player is moving. The recovery animation is now shortened if an attack is not blocked. If this skill does not block an attack, it fully charges Virtue of Justice.
- Zealot’s Flame: This skill now displays an effect when it pulses to show the effective radius.
- Zealot’s Fire: This skill now uses the ammunition system. The Radiant Fire trait now adds 1 cast to the skill if it triggers while Zealot’s Flame is active.
- Spirit Weapons: These skills are now all ground-targeted while the player is on land.
- Shield of the Avenger: Reduced the range from 1,200 to 900. Reduced the explosion radius from 1,200 to 360. Reduced the projectile speed by 25%. Added missing skill facts for shield radius and explosion radius.
- Hammer of Wisdom: Updated the tooltip to display the sink effect instead of the knockdown effect while underwater. Fixed an issue in which the sink duration was 1 second instead of 2 seconds.
- Right-Hand Strength: This trait no longer gives a flat critical-hit chance. Instead it gives an additional 80 precision, plus an additional 80 power while wielding a one-handed weapon.
- Zealot’s Defense: Damage has been increased by 50% in PvE only. Fixed a bug that caused some visual effects to display on the player when enemies were hit.
Mesmer traits that influence shatter skills typically affect all shatter skills, which has caused a lot of design bloat over the years. In this update, we’re moving to change some of these traits to affect specific shatter skills in a stronger way, in order to both cut down on this bloat and to make the individual trait selections more meaningful. Other traits, such as Flow of Time and Seize the Moment, have had their boons changed from multiple stacks to a single stack in order to make it less likely that rapid shattering will cause the mesmer to run over the stack cap. Finally, Mass Invisibility has fallen behind other mesmer elite skills—as well as other sources of stealth over the years—so we’re giving it a boost to help it compete.
- Magic Bullet: Stun duration for this skill has been increased from 2 seconds to 2.5 seconds.
- Counter Blade: Daze duration for this ability has been increased from 1 second to 2 seconds.
- Illusionary Counter: This skill now uses an 8-second cooldown in all game modes.
- Confusing Images: The physical damage of this skill has been split and reduced by 50% in PvP and WvW.
- Signet of Illusions: This skill’s recharge now begins at the same time shatter skills are recharged.
- Mantra of Distraction: Daze time for this skill has been increased from 1 second to 1.5 seconds.
- Confounding Suggestions: This trait no longer increases daze and stun durations. Instead, Diversion stuns foes for 1.5 seconds and no longer dazes foes.
- Blinding Dissipation: This trait no longer blinds foes on the activation of each shatter skill. It will now cause Cry of Frustration to blind every target it strikes. Blindness duration is split between game modes, lasting 1.5 seconds in WvW and PvP and 3 seconds in PvE.
- Dazzling: This trait now applies vulnerability when stunning a foe, in addition to when dazing them.
- Flow of Time: This trait now grants the full alacrity amount as soon as it is activated instead of waiting for illusions to shatter.
- Seize the Moment: This trait now grants the full quickness amount as soon as it is activated instead of waiting for illusions to shatter.
- Master of Manipulation: Instead of granting the mirror effect, this trait now grants superspeed for 3 seconds. This superspeed is also applied to allies affected by your manipulation skills.
- Mass Invisibility: Reduced the casting time of the land version of this skill to match the underwater version. Increased the base stealth duration from 5 seconds to 6 seconds. Reduced the recharge from 90 seconds to 60 seconds.
- Evasive Mirror: Increased this trait’s cooldown from 1.5 seconds to 10 seconds in PvP and WvW.
Necromancers have some solid roles right now across each game type. With this update, we’re touching on a few core weapon abilities whose functionality had not been updated in a long time. We’re also reworking the reaper’s Soul Eater trait into a more general trait that can be more competitive with the other damage options in its tier. Since this trait previously affected greatsword skills, we’ve done a pass on the weapon skills to keep them up to par.
- Gravedigger: Increased the range from 170 to 180 to make the range a standard multiple of 60.
- Crimson Tide: This skill now grants 2% life force per hit.
- Locust Swarm: This skill will now inflict its effects every 0.5 seconds instead of every second. The duration of this skill has been halved, so the same number of attacks will occur, but they will occur faster. The radius of this skill has been reduced from 210 to 180 to make the range a standard multiple of 60. Finally, rather than inflicting damage on each pulse, Locust Swarm will now siphon health from enemies within its area of effect.
- Reaper’s Touch: This skill has been significantly reworked, and it has been renamed Soul Grasp.
- Soul Grasp: This skill has two casts. Each cast sends forth a disembodied hand to inflict vulnerability on foes, grant the necromancer life force, and steal health from a foe.
- Death Spiral: Reduced the recharge time from 12 seconds to 10 seconds. Increased the range from 220 to 240 to make the range a standard multiple of 60. Adjusted the visual effects of this skill to be more pronounced. Narrowed the attack cone so that this skill’s attack region more accurately matches its animation. Removed bonus damage to targets above 50% health. Increased base damage by 28% in PvE and 6% in PvP and WvW.
- Grasping Darkness: Increased the range from 750 to 900 to make the range a standard multiple of 60. Fixed issues that caused this skill to unexpectedly fail when hitting some objects. This skill will no longer be stopped by projectile blocking or reflecting.
- Sand Swell: Fixed a bug that could prevent movement for a short time when the skill failed due to targeting an invalid location.
- Soul Eater: This trait has been reworked. It now increases the strike damage dealt to all foes within a range of 300 by 10%, and it causes the reaper to heal for 5% of the damage dealt to foes within that range. It no longer reduces greatsword-skill recharge by 20%.
With this update, druids, who gain a new mode and access to additional abilities by slotting the specialization, get the trade-off of their pet becoming a bit weaker than a core ranger’s pet, as their focus on celestial magics means less time strengthening the bond with their pets. At the same time, druid glyphs have been reviewed and brought in line with design standards. Glyph of Empowerment has been replaced by the former druid elite skill, Glyph of Unity, as Glyph of Empowerment was deemed too passive. Glyph of Unity’s radius has been reduced to a standard radius (a multiple of 60), and its duration has increased. Finally, we’ve introduced a new elite skill, Glyph of the Stars, which you can read about in its note below.
- Nature’s Renewal: Added an additional ring visual effect to indicate the range of the toggle skill.
- Druid: The base attributes of pets have been reduced by 20%.
- Glyph of Unity: Reduced the radius of this skill from 400 to 360, and increased its duration from 6 seconds to 8 seconds. This skill is no longer an elite skill, and it replaces Glyph of Empowerment.
- Glyph of Rejuvenation: Increased the healing multiplier across both versions of this skill by 40%. In celestial avatar form, the base healing to the druid and their pet has been increased by 50%. Outside of celestial avatar form, the base healing to allies has been increased by 50%.
- Glyph of Alignment: Outside of celestial avatar form, this skill no longer inflicts 5 seconds of cripple or 2 stacks of poison for 8 seconds. Instead, it now inflicts 1.5 seconds of immobilization and 3 stacks of bleeding for 8 seconds.
- Glyph of Empowerment: This skill has been replaced by Glyph of Unity.
- Glyph of the Stars: This new elite skill heals, prevents allies from being inflicted with conditions, and removes conditions already on allies at range. In celestial avatar form, it heals, prevents downed allies from losing health while being revived, and grants boons at range.
- Pack Alpha: This trait now grants its attribute bonus to condition damage in addition to the attributes it previously affected.
- Poison Master: This trait no longer grants poison on the next attack when swapping pets. It now grants this effect upon the use of a beast skill.
In the case of revenant elite specializations, we felt that the herald and renegade didn’t necessarily need trade-offs. Instead, we felt that the core revenant was missing something. To address this, we’ve added a new F2 skill that is only available when players aren’t running an elite specialization that grants a boost to energy and a legend-specific effect. Heralds and renegades won’t have access to this skill as they have their own unique specialization F2 skills.
This update also sees a large overhaul of revenant healing builds through changes to the staff weapon and the Salvation trait line. Revenant healing is heavily focused in Legendary Centaur stance and suffers greatly when the need to swap legends presents itself. We’re leaning into the unique healing-orb mechanic of the staff’s weapon-slot 1 sequence and spreading it around to other skills and traits. This should allow revenants to have better healing to fill the gaps when they’re not channeling Ventari. Salvation traits have been reworked to focus around more cohesive themes in order to better allow revenant players to tailor their experience to the style of healer they want to play.
- Ventari’s Tablet: The tablet will now display a red, glowing visual effect to enemies.
- Energy Expulsion: Updated the description of this skill to refer to the created objects as “healing fragments” rather than the misleading term “energy fragments.”
- True Nature: Fixed an issue that prevented this set of skills from being considered Legendary Dragon consume skills for the purposes of traits.
- Drop the Hammer: This skill now displays a red ring visual effect to enemies. Fixed a bug in which this skill would rarely display its effects a second time.
- Ancient Echo: This new baseline revenant skill grants the revenant 25 energy and a benefit based on the current legend. When not using herald or renegade elite specializations, this skill will be available in the second slot of the profession mechanic bar.
- Legendary Assassin Stance: Gain 2 stacks of the Unblockable effect for 5 seconds.
- Legendary Centaur Stance: Gain 3 seconds of the Alacrity effect.
- Legendary Dwarf Stance: Gain 3 seconds of the Rite of the Great Dwarf effect.
- Legendary Demon Stance: Gain 3 seconds of the Resistance effect.
- Healing Orbs: These objects were previously dropped only by the staff’s weapon skill 1 attack, but they have been reworked and are now created by other skills and traits.
- Increased the size of the healing orbs’ visual effects for better visibility.
- Healing orbs now heal up to 5 allies in a 120 radius when picked up.
- Healing orbs now activate even if the character that triggered them is at full health.
- Healing orbs now activate if they appear on a character.
- Increased the healing of the orbs.
- Punishing Sweep: This skill is no longer a sequence skill and has been renamed Mender’s Rebuke. This skill’s functionality has changed.
- Mender’s Rebuke: This skill strikes foes in melee range, and then heals allies in the area after a short delay. The healing is increased by 50% if a foe was struck during the attack.
- Warding Rift: Clarified the description to specify that this skill blocks incoming attacks. Instead of shooting projectiles, this skill now blinds foes in front of the revenant when it ends. Increased the number of targets from 3 to 5. Increased damage by 100%.
- Renewing Wave: When this skill removes a condition, it now creates a healing orb near the target.
- Ventari’s Will: Reduced base healing by approximately 25%. Reduced healing-power scaling by 18%.
- Salvation traits have been reworked and repositioned within the specialization. The new structure is as follows:
- Minor traits:
- Healer’s Gift: This new trait causes a healing orb to be created near your location when you finish a dodge roll.
- Life Attunement: This new trait grants 120 healing power and converts 7% of healing power to concentration.
- Serene Rejuvenation: This trait’s functionality is unchanged.
- Adept traits:
- Vital Blessing: This new trait allows healing orbs to grant 2 seconds of vigor to affected allies.
- Blinding Truths: This trait’s functionality is unchanged.
- Tranquil Balance: This trait’s functionality is unchanged.
- Master traits:
- Words of Censure: This new trait creates a healing orb near foes when blinding, immobilizing, or affecting them with a control effect. This trait has a 0.25-second cooldown but can create multiple orbs if a single skill hits multiple foes with a single strike.
- Resilient Spirit: This new trait causes the revenant to gain barrier every 3 seconds while in combat, based on the number of boons they have (to a maximum of 5 boons).
- Invoking Harmony: Icon updated. This trait’s functionality is unchanged.
- Grandmaster traits:
- Generous Abundance: With this new trait, Legendary Centaur skills create 3 healing orbs by the tablet. All other legend skills create 1 healing orb by the revenant.
- Unyielding Devotion: With this new trait, revenants gain 15% damage reduction for 2 seconds when they heal themselves and 5 seconds when they heal an ally.
- Selfless Amplification: Moved to bottom row. Icon updated. This trait’s functionality is unchanged.
Our focus on the thief in this update has been toward daredevil, its traits, and the trade-off that it was inherently built without. Daredevil traits have been reworked to focus on three categories: choosing your defense in the Adept tier; choosing your damage in the Master tier; and choosing your dodge maneuver in the Grandmaster tier. With this update, we are adding a trade-off to the profession skill that keeps the theme of a melee-oriented specialization.
- Repeater: Initiative cost of this skill has been reduced from 4 to 2 in all game modes.
- Staff Strike: The damage of this skill has been reduced by 6.5%.
- Staff Bash: The damage of this skill has been reduced by 6.5%.
- Physical Supremacy: This trait now causes Steal to become Swipe, which reduces the range from 1,200 to 600 and makes the attack unblockable.
- Marauder’s Resilience: This new trait converts 7% of power to vitality while reducing incoming damage from foes within 360 range by 10%.
- Weakening Strikes: This trait has been moved from the Adept tier into the Minor Master tier and has had its functionality changed. This trait will now cause the daredevil’s next strike after dodging to weaken enemies. This weakening effect can be applied to multiple targets at once if the skill used is an area-of-effect skill. Reduced the weakness duration from 5 seconds to 3 seconds. Increased the damage dealt to weakened foes by 7%, and reduced damage taken from foes by 10%.
- Escapist’s Absolution: This trait has been merged with Driven Fortitude and renamed Escapist’s Fortitude. It is now an Adept-tier trait.
- Staff Master: This trait no longer grants a percentage damage increase based on endurance. Instead, it grants 120 power, and grants an additional 120 power when the thief wields a staff. The endurance gain per initiative point remains the same.
- Havoc Mastery: This trait has been renamed Havoc Specialist, and it has been moved to the Master tier. This trait now grants 5% bonus damage for each bar of endurance that is not full.
In this update, the warrior’s berserker elite specialization is seeing a drastic overhaul. The goal of these changes is to give the specialization more compelling and thematic core gameplay that better distinguishes it from base warrior and spellbreaker gameplay.
To this end, the first major change is that we’re moving the berserk-mode activation to the F1 slot and removing the F2 slot entirely. In order to use primal bursts, a berserker must now activate berserk mode first. Removing access to normal warrior bursts and putting primal bursts behind berserk mode focuses the specialization around its unique mechanic.
Additionally, berserk mode itself has been changed and will grant power and condition-damage bonuses in exchange for a toughness penalty. We’re doing this in order to solidify the berserker’s identity as a powerful but fragile combatant. Those willing to take the risks should find higher damage output than other, more durable, warrior options.
Another major change is in how berserk mode is managed. Previously it was a limited-time mode with a set duration. This update changes the primary functionality of rage skills to extend berserk-mode duration rather than granting adrenaline. While they are still useful skills outside of berserk mode, proper use while in berserk mode can dramatically extend the damage window to use primal bursts.
Finally, we’re making some changes to several berserker traits and primal burst skills in order to allow power-berserker builds to exist alongside the more popular condition damage variant.
- Double Chop: Adjusted the attack timing so that the hits occur later in the animation. Adjusted the damage so that the second hit deals more damage than the first. Total damage and casting time are unchanged.
- Battle Standard: Fixed a bug that caused this skill to have a shorter casting time while underwater than on land. Adjusted the timing of the visual effects so that the attack lines up properly with the banner’s arrival.
- Banners: Adjusted timing for skill warm-up visual effects.
- Magebane Tether: Fixed a bug that could cause this trait to fail when the warrior used an unblockable burst skill against a blocking foe. Fixed a bug that caused this trait to fail if the warrior was airborne.
- Rampage: Fixed a bug that caused this skill to show an incorrect duration in PvP and WvW.
- Berserker elite specialization changes include the following:
- This skill has been moved to slot 1 of the profession mechanic bar. Slot 2 of the profession mechanic bar has been removed when warriors use the berserker specialization.
- Berserk mode is no longer instant and has a casting time.
- Entering berserk mode now initiates an attack that damages nearby foes and inflicts burning for 3 seconds.
- Berserk mode is no longer a rage skill. Instead, it is considered a level-3 burst skill.
- Primal Bursts: Removed some visual warm-up effects from these skills that could obscure the character.
- Decapitate: This skill has been reworked. It is now a long-range melee attack that does not leap forward and only hits 1 target. This skill recharges instantly if it hits and can be affected by quickness and slow.
- Arc Divider: This skill has been reworked. It no longer deals bonus damage to low-health targets. Instead, it now spins and strikes 3 times. Each strike increases in radius.
- Rupturing Smash: Cleaned up animation, and reduced casting time by approximately 0.1 seconds.
- Flaming Flurry: Updated the description and tooltip of this skill to clarify that it blocks missiles.
- Rage Skills: These skills no longer restore adrenaline by default. Instead, rage skills extend the duration of berserk mode.
- Wild Blow: This skill no longer gives adrenaline or removes conditions. Instead, it extends the duration of berserk mode by 3 seconds if it hits. It also grants 8 seconds of fury if it hits.
- Sundering Leap: Cleaned up animation, and reduced casting time by approximately 0.1 seconds. This skill no longer grants adrenaline. Instead, it extends berserk by 5 seconds if it hits.
- Outrage: This skill no longer grants adrenaline. Instead, it extends berserk by 1 second. It extends berserk by 5 seconds if a stun is broken.
- Blood Reckoning: This skill now only recharges primal burst skills instead of all burst skills. It extends berserk mode duration by 2 seconds.
- Shattering Blow: This skill no longer grants adrenaline. It now extends berserk duration by 2 seconds on hit.
- Head Butt: This skill extends berserk duration by 2 seconds in addition to its previous effects.
- Dead or Alive: This trait now increases incoming healing by 10% in addition to its previous effects.
- Bloody Roar: Increased the damage bonus of this trait from 10% to 20%. It no longer causes berserk mode to taunt.
- Eternal Champion: This trait no longer grants stability when first entering berserk mode. Instead, it grants 300 toughness in berserk mode.
- Savage Instinct: This trait no longer removes conditions. Instead, it gives 100% damage resistance for 1 second when activating berserk mode, in addition to breaking stuns.
- Fatal Frenzy: This trait no longer gives boons. Instead, while in berserk mode, this trait reduces toughness by 300, increases power by 300, and increases condition damage by 300.
- Always Angry: This trait has been reworked and renamed Burst of Aggression.
- Burst of Aggression: Grants quickness and superspeed for 3 seconds when berserk mode is first activated.
- Smash Brawler: This trait no longer reduces recharge of berserk mode and primal bursts. Instead, it extends the duration of berserk mode by 5 seconds.