Outside of various bugfixes, the main balance tweaks we have in today’s build are some adjustments to Soulbeast damage, most notably the single-hit potential of both Maul and Worldly Impact, but also reducing Soulbeast damage output in general. We’ve seen a lot of discussion on the topic and a lot of discussion on what adjustments make sense to bring the damage down, so we wanted to provide some details around what we did and why.
There were a handful of things that were considered:
Marksmanship adjustments were dismissed pretty early due to the impact they would have on other ranger builds, notably core ranger builds that rely more heavily on marksmanship due to the absence of Sic’Em, other multipliers from the soulbeast traitline, and the stat bonuses from merging. In addition, we’re currently less concerned with the build of soulbeast, beastmastery, marksmanship. This is the glassiest iteration of soulbeast and while it hits the largest numbers, it's also extremely vulnerable to enemy pressure. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the build moving forward as it will still be able to have massive single hits under ideal conditions, but in general we expect it to be held in check by more balanced builds in the meta.
Moving on, we essentially had two choices. Shaving coefficients of Maul and Worldly impact was definitely warranted, so the remaining question was whether we hit Sic’Em or the soulbeast merge bonuses to make up the remaining damage reduction. We went with the attribute adjustments due to how free they are, or rather the lack of opportunity cost. Beastmastery is full of valuable traits and is a strong choice even in the absence of the soulbeast specialization, so the bonus attributes while merged are just bonus value on top. Similarly, many of the ferocious pets like gazelle and smokescale are already competitive options before considering the extra 200 power and 100 ferocity while merged. Sic’Em, while a powerful utility skill (and probably still a bit overtuned relative to where we want offensive utilities to be), does require a slot on the skill bar, and we’d rather see players continue to slot Sic’Em to maximize damage than simply replace it with something else had we nerfed it and left the merge buffs alone. For some frame of reference, the combination of changes we made is a slightly heavier nerf than if we reduced the Sic’Em multiplier from 25% to 15%, plus the shaves to power coefficients on top of that.
These changes may be a bit light overall, but as we talked about previously our plan is to make smaller, more controlled adjustments more often and re-evaluate as needed with the goal of improving balance in the long run.
That's all for today's update. There's definitely more to discuss balance-wise than just soulbeast, and we'll have more to talk about in a future post.
-The Systems Team
Here are the relevant soulbeast changes for anyone who doesn't want to cross-check with the update notes, but definitely go check out the notes for the full list of bugfixes.
Game Designer on PvP/WvW