I posted last week that we’re looking forward to talking to you all about the balance changes once the release went live. Due to the delays, that obviously hasn’t happened.
We’re getting the Balance notes to you now so that you can speculate on how they will affect your gameplay. We won’t be discussing them with you yet however, as the changes aren’t live. I hope you’ll enjoy theorycrafting for now and take the time to try out the changes and join the discussion about them when they arrive.
As a quick note: It is easy to judge a change in isolation – I ask that you consider how the full set of changes in tandem will affect Tyria.
GW2 Systems team
• Fixed a bug in which some ring effects with a range of 600 were appearing larger than they should.
• Exhaustion: This effect now stacks in duration up to 3 times.
• Confusion: This no longer deals damage when a skill is prevented from activating due to an invalid position of the target relative to the caster.
In this update, and in the future, we're looking to enhance the support role of tempests through boons, healing, and cleansing. Specific to today's release, we've adjusted the tempest's support through its skills, shouts, and traits. With this in mind, we've added some classic elemental attunement support to each of the shouts, and we've altered Tempestuous Aria so that its support functions are easier to access for tempest players.
• Conjure Frost Bow: Changed the name of the item summoned by this skill from "ice bow" to "frost bow."
• Sand Squall: The increased boon duration that this skill grants has been increased from 2 seconds to 3 seconds. The number of allies this affects has been increased from 5 to 10.
• "Wash the Pain Away!": This skill now cleanses one condition from nearby allies on its final pulse.
• "Feel the Burn!": This skill now applies 3 stacks of might to nearby allies for 10 seconds in addition to its other effects. Updated the effects to more accurately represent the attack's radius. Updated the hit detection to be more consistent at close distances.
• "Flash-Freeze!": This skill now applies 4 seconds of regeneration to nearby allies in addition to its other effects.
• "Aftershock!": This skill now applies 5 seconds of protection to nearby allies in addition to its other effects.
• "Eye of the Storm!": This skill now applies 10 seconds of swiftness to nearby allies in addition to its other effects.
• "Rebound!": This skill now applies 5 seconds of fury to nearby allies in addition to its other effects.
• Weave Self: The toughness effect provided by Woven Earth has been replaced by a 20% reduction in incoming physical damage.
• Tempestuous Aria: This trait now modifies tempest shouts to affect up to 10 targets in addition to its current effects.
With this update, we're reworking one of the less reliable skill sets: gyros. While potent, their difficulty to use and to optimize has brought them to a spot where they're not really desirable outside of a few niche situations. As part of this rework, gyros are being reclassified as wells, and the scrapper's particular version of them is mobile and point-blank to enhance the scrapper's melee-oriented playstyle.
• The gyro class of skills has been reworked and changed to wells. Gyros are now no longer targetable and instead hover over the engineer to grant their effects.
• Flame Blast: This skill now targets the ground and will explode automatically when it hits the targeted location.
• Light Strike: Fixed a bug that caused this skill to display incorrect damage in PvP when a trait is equipped with Crystal Configuration: Storm.
• Blast Gyro Tag: This skill has been reworked and renamed Blast Gyro. The gyro now creates a fire field that follows the engineer while it pulses might to nearby allies every second during its countdown to a significant explosion.
• Medic Gyro: This skill has been reworked. The gyro now creates a water field that follows the engineer while it pulses heals to the player and nearby allies every second.
• Bulwark Gyro: This skill has been reworked. The gyro now creates a lightning field that follows the engineer while it grants them barrier every second and redirects some damage from nearby allies to the engineer.
• Purge Gyro: This skill has been reworked. The gyro now creates a light field that follows the engineer while it removes conditions from the player and nearby allies every second.
• Shredder Gyro: This skill has been reworked. The gyro now follows the engineer and performs a whirl finisher that inflicts damage on nearby enemies every second.
• Sneak Gyro: This skill has been reworked. The gyro now creates a smoke field that follows the engineer while it grants stealth to the player and nearby allies every second.
• Shocking Speed: This trait now increases the radius of effect of all gyro skills and causes them to grant superspeed to nearby allies on their final pulse.
• Expert Examination: This trait no longer alters a gyro's behavior to inflict weakness and vulnerability upon its detonation.
• Crystal Configuration: Storm: Projectiles fired by this trait no longer deal reduced damage. Updated the tool tip to now use the phrase "projectile range" instead of "range threshold."
• Crystal Configuration: Eclipse: Reduced this trait's stability duration from 4 seconds to 2 seconds in PvP and WvW.
• Crystal Configuration: Zephyr: This trait now causes Holo Leap to inflict cripple for 1 second in addition to its previous effects.
Righteous Instincts has been an incredibly potent trait since it was reworked to grant a large boost to the player's critical-hit chance. Because of this, it has crowded out other grandmaster options for the radiance build. In this update, we're bringing down the power of this trait to be more in line with other grandmaster traits and to give a little boost to its competition. Furthermore, we are giving a small boost to staff and torch weapons and enhancing Hallowed Ground to help it achieve its purpose: to help allies manage crowd control.
• Symbol of Vengeance: Fixed a bug that caused this skill to function improperly with the Symbolic Avenger and Symbolic Power traits.
• True Shot: This skill's range has been increased from 1,200 to 1,500.
• Tome of Justice—Chapter 2: Igniting Burst: Fixed a bug that could cause this skill to fail to hit foes at the center of its radius.
• Cleansing Flame: Increased this skill's damage per hit by 21%. The final hit of this attack inflicts 2 stacks of burning for 4 seconds.
• Hallowed Ground: Increased this skill's radius to 360.
• Amplified Wrath: Instead of burning foes that the guardian blocks, this trait now increases the duration of the burning passive effect applied by Virtue of Justice by 20%.
• Honorable Staff: This trait now grants 120 concentration, plus an additional 120 concentration while wielding a staff, in addition to reducing staff skill recharge times.
• Lesser Smite Condition: The damage of this trait has been reduced by about 40% in PvP only.
• Perfect Inscriptions: This trait now applies its shared signet passive effect to the guardian in addition to their allies.
• Radiant Fire: Fixed a bug that caused this trait to occasionally fail.
• Righteous Instincts: This trait's critical-chance bonus has been reduced from 50% to 25%.
After watching mesmer builds develop following our last update, we have a few more adjustments for both chronomancers and mirages.
While we think that Signet of Inspiration's new functionality is working well, it's a little too strong, so we're slightly reducing both the recharge time and the extension of the boon duration. This still leaves it a little on the strong side, but we don't want to remove it entirely. Similarly, the Danger Time trait ended up being too strong; we've been seeing some very high damage numbers coming out of chronomancers who are also bringing support skills.
Lowering the defiance-bar damage on Signet of Humility made it fairer when compared to other defiance-breaking skills, but left it in an unsatisfying place due to its high recharge time. We're lowering the recharge time in PvE areas to allow it to be used more frequently in situations where additional defiance damage is needed.
Finally, we're slightly reducing the duration of the Mirage Cloak dodge in order to make it more like the normal dodge move. When we first built the mirage specialization, we felt that the dodge window had to be larger than a normal dodge in order to compensate for the fact that the player doesn't move with the dodge. As players have become more accustomed to the specialization, we've found that this advantage is no longer necessary. Coupled with the superspeed that's granted by the other minor trait, mirages can travel significantly farther than a normal dodge while attacking. This change does not affect the window for an ambush attack, which has always been on a separate timer.
• Tides of Time: This skill's collision logic has been updated to reduce instances where the projectile could be unexpectedly destroyed. The returning wave now returns toward the current location of the mesmer rather than trying to predict the mesmer's future location based on movement speed and direction. This skill now applies quickness while traveling outward and alacrity while returning.
• Well of Recall: Reduced the recharge time of this skill from 30 seconds to 25 seconds.
• Signet of Humility: Reduced the recharge time of this skill from 180 seconds to 120 seconds in PvE only.
• Signet of the Ether: This skill's recharge time now begins at the same time as phantasm skills are recharged.
• Mirage Cloak: All applications of this skill's effect have had their duration reduced to match the duration of a normal dodge roll. This change does not affect the timing window for ambush skills.
• Speed of Sand: Superspeed's duration has been reduced to match Mirage Cloak's duration.
• Imaginary Axes: Reduced the amount of torment stacks applied in PvP and WvW from 3 to 1. This skill can no longer be used on targets behind the mesmer.
• Ambush Assault: This skill can no longer be used on targets behind the mesmer.
• Split Surge: This skill can no longer be used on targets behind the mesmer.
• Signet of Inspiration: Lowered the extended durations of boons that this skill grants from 5 seconds to 3 seconds. Lowered the recharge time from 30 seconds to 20 seconds.
• Axes of Symmetry: Reduced this skill's damage in WvW to match the PvP version of this skill. The number of confusion stacks that this applies is now 3 in all game modes.
• Illusionary Ambush: Increased the recharge time of this skill from 20 seconds to 35 seconds in PvP and WvW only.
• Mimic: Reduced the recharge time of this skill from 40 seconds to 30 seconds.
• Cry of Pain: The number of confusion stacks that this trait allows Cry of Frustration to apply has been decreased from 2 to 1 in all game modes.
• Ineptitude: The confusion duration of this trait has been reduced from 3 seconds to 2 seconds in PvP and WvW.
• Danger Time: The bonus critical-hit chance that this trait grants against slowed enemies has been reduced from 30% to 15%.
As we continue to update the necromancer, we're looking at each of its elite specializations and moving them more toward their expected roles. Scourge applies a bit too much instant corruption pressure in large-group WvW settings by simply laying down shades; we've reworked Unending Corruption and renamed it Herald of Sorrow to address this. The reworked trait now acts more like a delayed version of boon corruption that also grants an area-of-effect barrier. Reaper has seen an excessive loss of damage with the update on traits in the last patch. We'll be pushing some of its damage higher through skill updates in PvE, but will be mostly leaving it alone in competitive modes, as all the necromancer specializations have a healthy representation in competitive game modes.
• Nightfall: Increased the damage of this skill by 50% in PvE only.
• Desiccate: Fixed a bug with this skill in which its might gain applied in a larger radius than the listed value. Removed an unlisted whirl finisher. Reduced the casting time from 1 second to 0.75 seconds. Increased its damage by 150%. This skill now grants a bonus 2% life force for each target it strikes.
• Oppressive Collapse: Fixed a bug that prevented this skill from granting might when used on targets in a downed state.
• Enfeebling Blood: Increased the amount of bleeding stacks that this skill applies from 2 to 3.
• "You Are All Weaklings!": Reduced the recharge time of this skill from 30 seconds to 25 seconds. Increased its damage by 40%.
• "Nothing Can Save You!": Reduced the recharge time of this skill from 25 seconds to 20 seconds. Increased its damage by 40%.
• Serpent Siphon: Fixed a bug that caused this skill to list an incorrect amount of barrier. Reduced its recharge time from 30 seconds to 25 seconds. Increased its damage by 21%.
• Spectral Ring: The description and skill facts for this skill have been updated to indicate the amount of life force that is gained when fear is applied to a foe.
• Cold Shoulder: Increased the amount of bonus damage that this trait grants from 10% to 15% in PvE only.
• Unending Corruption: This trait has been reworked and renamed Herald of Sorrow.
• Herald of Sorrow: Equipping this trait turns Desert Shroud into Harbinger Shroud, which removes the pulsing effects of Desert Shroud and instead shifts into a single detonation after a 3-second delay. This trait deals damage, corruption, and conditions in one strike while providing barrier to allies within the vicinity.
In our last balance update, we made a few changes to Nature's Vengeance to tweak the boons provided by each spirit. In this update, we've applied major changes to the spirits themselves. Active spirit skills are generally not usable due to the high cost of sacrificing the spirit and the localized effect that the sacrifice causes. We are changing these active skills to teleport the spirit to the player's location before the spirit uses their skill. Additionally, we're removing the 100% health sacrifice. In exchange, spirits no longer have preset time durations for how long they can stay alive and instead lose health as they passively enhance allies. This is intended to provide a more dynamic gameplay experience than their current cast-on-recharge functionality. Of course, spirits can still be used in this manner, but proper use of the ranger's healing skills and more powerful active skills to reposition and attack with the spirits will yield stronger results.
• Bear Stance: The duration of this skill has been split between game modes and increased from 4 seconds to 5 seconds in PvP only.
• Dolyak Stance: The duration of this skill has been split between game modes and reduced from 6 seconds to 5 seconds in PvP only.
• One Wolf Pack: The duration of this skill has been split between game modes and reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds in PvP only. The casting time of this skill has been reduced by about 0.5 seconds.
• Leader of the Pack: The increased duration that this trait grants the ranger has been split between game modes and reduced from 150% to 120% in PvP only.
• Spirits have been reworked as follows:
• Spirit Active Skills: These skills no longer sacrifice the spirit and instead cause them to teleport to the ranger's location before the spirit uses their active skill. These skills now have a 0.25-second casting time. The recharge time for these skills remains at 20 seconds.
• Water Spirit Active Skill—Aqua Surge: This skill no longer heals the spirit that casts it.
• Spirit of Nature: This spirit no longer benefits from its own pulsing heal effect. Reduced the healing per second that this spirit grants to 101 at level 80, plus 3.5% of your healing power.
• Spirit of Nature Active Skill—Nature's Renewal: Reduced the recharge time of this skill from 120 seconds to 40 seconds. Reduced the radius of the revive pulse and condition-cleansing effect from 600 to 240. Each ally revived by this spirit causes the spirit to lose 30% of its maximum health, but it can still revive up to 5 allies. Reduced the number of conditions that are removed from 5 to 3.
• Storm Spirit: Reduced the duration of vulnerability that this skill applies to foes from 10 seconds to 6 seconds.
• Storm Spirit Active Skill—Call Lightning: Reduced the duration of daze that this skill applies to foes from 3 seconds to 1 second.
• Sun Spirit Active Skill—Solar Flare: Reduced the duration of blindness that this skill applies to foes from 8 seconds to 5 seconds, and reduced the duration of burning that is applied from 3 stacks for 5 seconds to 2 stacks for 4 seconds. Reduced the effect's size to more closely match its range.
• Soften the Fall: Reduced the duration of immobilization that this trait applies to foes from 3 seconds to 1 second. Reduced the duration of crippling from 3 seconds to 2 seconds. Added a tool tip that shows the interval between pulses.
• Muddy Terrain: Fixed a tool tip that showed an incorrect value for the intervals between this skill's pulses.
• Ambidexterity: This trait is no longer split between game modes and now uses its highest stat value in all modes.
• Bonfire: Increased the duration of burning that this skill applies from 2 seconds to 2.5 seconds.
• Poison Master: Fixed a bug that caused this trait to fail if the ranger was in a downed state. Fixed a bug that prevented the effect applied by this trait from being removed when the ranger's pet's attack failed to hit.
• Nature's Vengeance: This trait now reduces the passive health sacrifice from spirits by 33%. Additionally, boons granted by spirits are now applied when the spirit's active skill is used instead of being applied upon a set interval.
• Boon durations have been increased as follows:
We're making some changes to the revenant in this update that will curb their excessive condition damage in PvE and bolster their damage in PvP. Additionally, we're making a few changes to help power builds that are struggling in PvE but doing well in competitive modes. Targeted Destruction, for example, will now grant higher damage bonuses in PvE areas where higher stacks of vulnerability can be maintained, but lower damage in competitive modes where applying multiple stacks of conditions is harder.
Song of the Mists has struggled to compete with the other grandmaster traits in the Invocation line even after its rework, so we are improving various aspects of the skills, making them easier to land hits and stronger when fewer targets are struck.
• Inspiring Reinforcement: This skill can no longer hit the same target multiple times in a single cast.
• Natural Harmony: Fixed a bug that could cause this skill to fail if the player was in the air or swimming on the surface of water after the skill had finished charging.
• Ashen Demeanor: Fixed a bug that could cause this trait to apply conditions to the revenant if they were knocked off their mount.
• Targeted Destruction: This now grants 0.5% damage per each stack of vulnerability instead of a flat 10% bonus. It's also no longer split between game modes.
• Draconic Echo: Fixed a bug with this trait that prevented lingering passive effects from granting boons while the revenant was in other stances.
• Shackling Wave: Increased this skill's damage per each additional strike by 40% in PvE only.
• Searing Fissure: This skill now applies 3 stacks of burning for 3 seconds on its first hit, and 1 stack of burning for 1 second on the next three hits. The damage of the first hit has been increased by 100%. Increased the recharge time from 3 seconds to 6 seconds in PvP and WvW only.
• Rampant Vex: Reduced the duration of torment applied by this trait from 4 seconds to 3 seconds.
• Song of the Mists: This trait's radius of effect has been increased from 180 to 240. The effects provided by each skill activated by this trait have been updated as follows:
We've been looking at ways to improve the pistol main-hand and dagger off-hand build for thieves. We wanted to give the weapon pair a little more lethality without improving other weapon sets or removing current utility, so we decided to go with the mechanic we used for Tow Line during the underwater update. This allows Shadow Strike to flip over to Repeater for a period of time. Additionally, the team has adjusted Unhindered Combatant so that exhaustion scales with the severity of the condition that was removed. Finally, we're reducing the duration of stealth for Silent Scope in competitive modes so that it is more of a brief respite in combat rather than a stealth upkeep trait.
• Sneak Attack: Increased the duration of bleeding that's applied by this skill from 4 seconds to 6 seconds.
• Shadow Strike: This skill now grants access to Repeater for 4 seconds upon landing a successful melee hit.
• Repeater: For builds that use a pistol in their main hand with no off-hand weapon, the damage of this skill has been increased by 20%. Striking a foe with this skill now applies 4 seconds of bleeding per hit.
• Shadowstep: The window to use Shadow Return after using this skill has been increased from 10 seconds to 15 seconds. A tool tip has been added to show the window's duration.
• Silent Scope: The duration of stealth that this trait grants has been reduced from 3 seconds to 1 second in PvP and WvW.
• Unhindered Combatant: The duration of exhaustion that this trait applies when dodging is now 2 seconds if crippled is present, 3 seconds if chilled is present, and 4 seconds if immobilized is present. Exhaustion will now be applied when the dodge is initiated.
• Lead Attacks: Fixed a bug with this trait that allowed players to enter combat with more stacks of the damage effect than intended.
Banner skills have long been very passive in nature. Today we're releasing some changes to give them a bit more active gameplay while also reducing their granted attributes to give greater role flexibility in group settings. However, we do think that the warrior gives up a lot in order to use them, so we're increasing the bonus stat gains when warriors equip traits that modify banners. As a larger change, we're also removing the bundle skills from banners and changing the pick-up action to now recharge the banner skill. Previously, the banner skills could be a trap for players, providing weaker skills in a bundle that anyone could interact with. We considered enhancing the banner skills, but we don't want banners to be alternate weapons that take away from a player's normal weapons.
• Banner skills have been reworked as follows:
• Battle Standard: Resynced the time at which a banner appears to properly line up with the effect. When planted in the ground, this banner skill now deals damage to foes within a radius of 180. Foes who are in a downed state are now finished when damaged by Battle Standard. This skill's targeting reticle will now display the radius for effects that finish foes who are in a downed state and effects that revive allies.
• Winds of Disenchantment: This is now a channeled skill, and it will follow the warrior. Its pulse time has been reduced from 1 second to 0.5 seconds with the duration remaining at 5 seconds. Breaking the channel will now destroy the spell. The casting time has been reduced to 0.5 seconds.
• Inspiring Battle Standard: This trait has been renamed Doubled Standards. It no longer causes banners to apply regeneration and instead causes the warrior to gain 5 seconds of swiftness when summoning or picking up a banner. Additionally, the banner effect improvements that are gained when this trait is equipped have been increased from 50% to 100%.