Today’s update included a handful of PvP balance changes and we wanted to share some context behind the decisions we’ve made to the Guardian, Necromancer, and Revenant professions. At the very end of this post, we’ll also talk about areas we’re investigating for future updates.
Condition Guardian Variants
Dragonhunter is the most prevalent version of condition Guardian, but Core also sees a fair amount of play with similar levels of success in the ranked environment. We’re starting with some adjustments to Permeating Wrath, Eternal Armory, and Sword of Justice to tone down the AoE burning pressure that both of these builds bring. Eternal Armory in particular is a trait that we’re evaluating for a game-wide functional change to better normalize the burning potential of all spirit weapons, but until then we’re reducing the duration to help mitigate the overperforming case with sword.
Rune of the Trapper is notably unscathed, but it’s high on our watchlist and depending on the impact of today’s changes it may see some adjustment in the future.
We made some small adjustments to minion builds last month, and we’re making a couple more today to bring it more inline. While it’s somewhat interesting how minionmancer matches up against some of the meta side-noders in higher tier play, from a balance philosophy point of view we don’t want AI-heavy builds to be a pillar of the PvP meta. Minionmancer has also been overperforming in ranked for quite a while, and as condition Guardians get brought down in power level we want to make sure that players can keep enemy minions in check - so we’re shaving down their overall health and slightly reducing the punishment of killing them in melee range.
Support Core Guardian
Last month we shaved down support Spellbreaker a bit more, which left Core Guardian as the premier support build in the meta. We consider the current state of Core Guardian overtuned relative to where we want support builds to be, and so we’re shaving a few pieces before looking at potential buffs to Tempest and Spellbreaker supports. Part of this decision is due to the general slowness of the meta right now, and as that shifts over time we’ll continue to evaluate the sweet spot for support builds.
Ventari Revenant is getting a similar adjustment to its knockback that we made to ranger greatsword - maintaining its crowd control while reducing the decap threat. We’re also taking this opportunity to clean up a troublesome interaction between the low cooldown Ventari heal and Blinding Truths by adding an internal cooldown. Lastly, Surge of the Mists is getting a slight cooldown increase as a general defensive shave across all revenant builds. There are some additional concerns about the overall bulk and sustain of the build even outside of its decap potential - we’ll touch a little more on our plans there near the end of the post.
Renegade has continued to perform well after the changes to its might generation, and we’re making a few follow-up adjustments. Charged Mists stands out as the trait that enables a lot of Renegade’s most powerful sequences while generally breaking the expectations of Revenant energy costs, and we want to bring it down a bit before further evaluating other key pieces of the build. We were considering whether 10 or 15 energy was the right number (or even some unusual numbers in the middle like 12), but we leaned a bit on the heavier side here while not touching too much else. It’s a number that can come back up a little as we evaluate the impact and look at other potential changes. Phase Traversal is getting a slight cooldown increase to reduce both the chase potential and overall map mobility of both Renegade and Herald.
In addition to the other general Revenant changes, Herald is also getting a minor adjustment to Infuse Light. Infuse Light is another case that we’re evaluating for a functional change, but in the meantime, we’re taking the opportunity to slightly reduce the duration as another shave to their defensive capabilities.
We’re being a bit cautious with directly reducing Revenant damage (both here and with Renegade) while looking at speeding up the general pace of the meta.
The thing most notably missing from today’s update is Scourge. When today’s changes were being finalized internally, Mender Scourge was starting to show some strong results in automated tournaments, but it wasn’t too widely played yet. There was some consideration to whether it warranted early adjustments, but we usually like to gather more data (including reviewing future win rate statistics and observing gameplay) before acting. Ultimately, we decided against rushing anything in for today. Given what we’ve seen since then, it’s something that we want to address sooner rather than later and we’re currently looking into some adjustments for the next release.
Something else that we’ve been evaluating is the state of Mender Amulet. The general pace of the game right now is slower than we’d like to see. Mender plays a big part in this, both through the strength of the bulkier support builds that have been meta recently (both Spellbreaker and now Core Guardian, compared to previous metas with Tempest) as well as the more sustain-oriented side node builds that tend to stalemate fights. The other main component of combat pacing is the amount of damage available. Looking back at something like pre-nerf grenade Holosmith, for all of the problems it had, it was very good at pushing damage and combating bunker play. We’re wary of bringing damage back up to that level and want to start with some adjustments to sustain before re-evaluating damage.
To that end, we’re looking at removing Mender and Marshal amulets and adding an improved version of Sigil of Transference (increased outgoing healing) to make up some of the healing loss for support builds. This would also include a few adjustments for healing sources that are most heavily impacted by this shift (notable among those are Selfless Daring and Elemental Bastion, as well as Call of Valor which does not benefit from transference). Overall, some sources would heal allies for a bit more and some would heal for a bit less than they do with Mender, but the self-healing of support builds would be lower. Side node builds that currently play Mender would also be pushed into Avatar amulet, hopefully resulting in fewer stalemates and increased kill potential. We still want dedicated support builds to be a viable choice, and we’d be keeping a close eye on the impact of these changes going forward, but we think that given the current state of the game Mender creates more problems than it solves and it's worth looking at.
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in-game!
-The Systems Team
Game Designer on PvP/WvW