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Balance Patch Preview - WvW

Cal Cohen.2358Cal Cohen.2358 ArenaNet ArenaNet 
edited January 31, 2020 in WvW

Hi Everyone,

Today we’re previewing the upcoming balance update. We’re starting with a bit of process and general thoughts, then following up with a pile of patch notes. Note that this post is identical for the PvP and WvW subforums (minus the changes to PvP build items), but duplicated for the purpose of more easily obtaining mode-specific feedback.

This post will only be discussing the competitive splits. Check out the rest of the update at

The scope of this update ended up being slightly unreal in the raw number of changes, but there are only a handful of underlying ideas that were then considered against every skill and trait in the game. It so happens that there are a lot of those around here, and so a lot of changes ended up being made.

These changes are not final, and we’re expecting to make further adjustments based on player feedback as well as our own internal review. Some of the upcoming functional changes still need to be looked at for potential splits as well, but we feel that the overall list is in a good enough spot to gather feedback.

Future Balance Cadence

This patch is unusual in that it’s more about establishing a new paradigm than it is a regular balance update, and the result is a giant set of changes. Moving forward with competitive balance, we want to make smaller adjustments more often. The specific cadence for balance will always depend on our overall release schedule, but ideally it will be closer to every 4-6 weeks, while still having the opportunity to make minor tweaks outside of the regular balance update. The goal here is to have better flexibility to fix problems in a timely manner.

PvP and WvW

For this initial update, the bulk of the splits are being applied to both PvP and WvW because the underlying ideas are applicable to both modes. The end result is going to be radically different and moving forward we will be doing more separation and targeted adjustments on a per-mode basis.

Now we’re going to dive into more detail on some of the main targets of the update and our main goals moving forward. If you have no interest in power coefficients, damage calculations, or other assorted jargon you may want to scroll down until you hit the start of the patch notes.


For this update, we’re targeting a 2.0 power coefficient as the new baseline for big damage skills. These are the skills like Eviscerate; skills that exist to deal large amounts of damage and not do much else. Skills that provide more and more value in other aspects (cc, sustain, mobility, defense, etc.) will have lower power coefficients. In some cases, we’ve pared down the secondary value and in others we’ve shaved the damage. It really comes down to what the desired purpose of the skill is, and as such how much of the skill’s power budget should be spent on damage. The 2.0 is not a hard cap, just the general top-end for single hit, high damaging abilities.

One thing to keep in mind with damage calculation is the differences in weapon strength. For example, a 2.0 coefficient with an axe is approximately equivalent to a 1.82 coefficient with a hammer due to the hammer’s higher weapon strength.

With a marauder amulet and no outside modifiers, a 2.0 coefficient with a 1-handed weapon equates to about a 3.9k crit against a light-armor target. Our goal here is that players should need to invest into damage traits, slot offensive utility skills, and sequence abilities around might and vulnerability stacks in order to achieve significant damage numbers.

Condition damage reductions are a bit less math-y, but we’re continuing to push conditions toward less burst potential by reducing the number of stacks and extending durations where it makes sense. Some of this is handled on the skill level, and we’re also making heavy reductions to traits that apply conditions on hit, on crit, or on other conditions being applied.

Cooldowns and Durations

We want cooldowns to be felt. Longer cooldowns promote more calculated usage of skills; if skills are used poorly it should create an opportunity for the enemy to push their advantage. Shorter durations of high impact buffs have a similar effect. Skillful timing is going to be rewarded, and poor usage is going to be exploitable by enemies. In some cases, it’s still going to make sense to have a longer duration attached to a longer cooldown, but most of the time we’re looking at shorter durations for things like stability, protection, quickness, high might stacks, among others.


Raw healing is always going to be closely tied to damage. As damage comes down, healing needs to be reduced as well. As mentioned above, we want to see more opportunity between cooldowns to push through damage, so we’re primarily targeting skills and traits with lower cooldowns or constantly pulsing heals.

Instant Skills and Passive Traits

Counterplay is important. Skills that have a major impact on an enemy player should allow that player the opportunity to react, which means that we want to avoid instant skills that do large amounts of damage or hard cc. In general, this means that instant skills are going to deal less damage or focus more on a secondary effect where applicable. Traits that fire instant skills, or that trigger an offensive effect under easy to fulfill conditions (on hit, on crit, mid-high health threshold, etc.) received similar considerations.

We’ve also done a pass on traits that provide automatic defensive triggers. Traits that negate incoming CC or grant hard damage mitigation are getting large cooldown increases. Lesser defensive procs (protection on cc, auto condition cleanse, etc.) are also receiving longer cooldowns or reduced effectiveness, though not as extreme. We want to promote more active gameplay and this update is a good opportunity to make heavier adjustments to these passive traits.

Patch Notes

Moving on to the patch notes. Remember that these changes are not locked down and we still have some time to iterate. We look forward to seeing your feedback.

-The Systems Team

aka cmc
Game Designer on PvP/WvW



  • Nerfs all around, understandable, fine, probably deserved. Stuff does too much damage in this game. But PLEASE at least, if nothing else, INCREASE THE PROJECTILE SPEED ON WARRIOR LONGBOW so it's actually somewhat usable.

  • Strider Pj.2193Strider Pj.2193 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Leaa.2943 said:
    I am a little bit upset about Ele and the support role. For a short while we finally got the spot back were Tempest was accepteble to be a option to support in WvW and now that is kind of totally off again. I get that sword and even scepter need to be nerfed, i get that the burn build is stupidly op and i also get that we all will have to take hits against our mains to cut down the power creep in WvW. But Support tempest was never too op. It was pretty much on pair with what is good.

    Ok i admit if you really like to play the cleanse bot you can shine bright at the top in wvw and i was expecting that to be lowered but the heal and the amount of players overload effects nerf kind of very harsh and push the Tempest down again. Could this be looked in too? Do the aura share support build for tempest really need to be nerfed to the ground and end up too far behind the firebrand again?

    Hard to say right now. Until the changes go into effect, and we see how all the classes are impacted within the game.

    Thank You for the {MEME}

  • Sleepwalker.1398Sleepwalker.1398 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I am one of the few who likes Mesmer elite skill - Polymorph Moa.
    Was hoping the cooldown could be brought down, please.

  • Blocki.4931Blocki.4931 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    @Traveller.7496 said:
    So basically you nerfed everything? If I didn't know better I'd say ANet was getting ready to drop some new elite specs that are completely OP and nerf every existing build to the ground to prepare for it.

    No, this is just the thing they've announced months ago. People cried about too much damage in the game for years, now the damage (and healing cut) finally comes.

    On that note: What I feared became true and Warrior Hammer is no longer allowed to deal damage. My build got a lot less interesting, but we'll see.

  • Lasiurus.4067Lasiurus.4067 Member ✭✭✭✭

    The Sword weaver nerfs are just too strong. The class was underpowered for nearly 2 years, now it become Meta & you destroy it :(

  • Why increase the cooldown on Trail of Anguish? I really don't see why you think that's necessary.

  • You forgot to touch draconic echo (still pulls very glint boon to 10 targets permanently)

    Raid League Admin - - -

  • Forbidden Virtue.1089Forbidden Virtue.1089 Member ✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    I still think you should rework the chronomancer shatters so we can actually use continuum split again in WvW.

    Also think you should nerf the necromancer wells a tad bit more.

  • Arctisavange.7261Arctisavange.7261 Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 1, 2020

    The power creep nerf is something i see as a pretty decent change and overall making sure people stop spamming their skills randomly is also pretty healthy. This kind of nerf encourages people who do teamwork to get the best results, while those who want to stay unorganized with spam mentality, will get punished.
    However theres one big thing i noticed that catched my eyes and im certain that most people dont like:

    Please do not nerf the condition cleanse amount and its boon conversion.
    As much as people dislike the current power creep meta, the condition meta we had before was far more worse. Nerfing cleanses will make condition return again.

    There is still a ton of conditions in game that hit HARD and thats something nobody wants to see be returned again. Right now the changes are more favoring condition orientation meta into the upcoming changes.
    Also if youre gona nerf healing then also nerf siege as nobody can survive that with lowered healing.

    Nerf condi cleanse from current status = get condition meta.

    Leave condi cleanse alone and you may have a mix of both condi and power but my guess is leaning on more to power side.

  • Well one thing is for certain everything will feel like wet noodle hits as we are going back to sustain and condi meta. The power creep was a problem, but it would of been nice too still have a fast phased game. When these extreme changes goes live it's going to feel like your gathering when your actually engaging in a fight. I am pretty sure Anet took this a bit to far so to speak.

  • bluberblasen.9684bluberblasen.9684 Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    ele: final shielding ( arcan ) 300 cooldown XD - stay with the 90 from pvp and we ele players are fine.
    twist of fate: 75 cooldown ( yes i said this skill needs more cooldown but 60 is enough )
    BUFF for TELEPORT ( Lightning Flash ) ? nice ^^ 35 second FTW :)

    i like all other changes ! on every classes !!!!!!

  • @subversiontwo.7501 said:
    To all of you just looking at your one class:

    They are treating most of the existing balance roughly the same over all classes. Going forward that is obviously not the way to balance out classes but like CMC is stating in the announcement - this is not a balance pass it is to set a new base point - balance passes will come later. Almost every single one of these changes slashes things down towards 0.5 of previous values. The healing stuff seems to gravitate closer to 0.5 slashes with more diversity among the damage stuff. Assuming the healing-damage balance values were scuffed and only obscured by the damage-tank values: that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

    Obviously they will need to iterate on the changes and look for class balances going forward while keeping somewhat of an urgency of that considering for how short of a time we have been in the recent better balance. However, nothing in this thread stands out from what has been communicated: This is a broad sweeping slash. Balance is for later and balance issues will appear. Hopefully the sweep is broad enough to at least let the imbalances that appear feel like "fresh" problems for a while. When this patch drops however, do not expect the typical class-class (or my class!) balance that people tend to stare themselves blind on to be better than it is now. Expect it to be worse for a while. Expect broader systemic things to work better.

    Classes are so different in GW2 that applying the same damage reduction across the board is a bad idea.

    I just hope that enough people remain playing this lovely game through this new balance and iteration process...

  • @allshallperish.4620 said:
    wvw new linkings <3 and only 4 tiers now AMAZING FINALLY, and now all these notes telling us everything we wanted to hear, maybe fights will last more than 30s now. No more 1 shotting people hopefully giving people more time to react. Nerf to boon rip and damage and healing really good proposed changes. Still more to do but for once i actually am looking forward to the future of this game.

    hasnt there always been 4 tiers in wvw?

    as far as the relink goes it might be good for you but they linking my server with the same anchor we have had 3 times in the last year - its time for a long (maybe permanent) gw2 break because I cant see spending any money on gems to transfer and as time goes on it seems highly unlikely we will ever see alliances happen unless anet figures out a way to monetize it

  • Kayowin.9217Kayowin.9217 Member ✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    What about condi damage output? Looks like something was missed but interesting changes and am curious to see how it will play out.

  • Strider Pj.2193Strider Pj.2193 Member ✭✭✭✭

    And boons and cleanses..

    Thank You for the {MEME}

  • Arctisavange.7261Arctisavange.7261 Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    Yup> @Stand The Wall.6987 said:

    they nerfed overall condi stacks as well.

    I did notice it but its pretty minor nerf given how many condis there are in this game, how fast is the re appliance rate and so on. A full blown blob with condis will still shred everyone to pieces with half a bazillion condis. Even now you can barely keep up with the condi cleanse and the only reason its not condi meta atm is cause of power creep is stronger.
    Back at the end of condi meta when antitoxin rune was new to most people and scrappers got reworked. The top scrappers in my squad got 2000 condi cleanses casually. On the longest fights we had in keeps, top scrappers cleansed around to 5000-6000 conditions in a fight. Keep in mind back then scrapper condi cleanse was very OP amongst with antitoxin.

  • RedBaron.6058RedBaron.6058 Member ✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    @subversiontwo.7501 said:

    @RedBaron.6058 said:
    Classes are so different in GW2 that applying the same damage reduction across the board is a bad idea.

    I just hope that enough people remain playing this lovely game through this new balance and iteration process...

    You are right, but this was, for once, exactly what was advertised to its pretty pointless to get all riled up right now.

    I also believe it was something that needed to be done. I just hope they succeed within a reasonable timeframe so that people have no objective reason to be riled up. If some people then subjectively goes off the rails, well that's on them. If people couldn't see this comming they have not been paying attention.

    ANet needs to create 3 algorithms - PvE, PvP and WvW - to balance all classes considering a number of factors like Damage, Mitigation, CC, Mobility, Healing, etc.

    For example, the value of mobility is different in PvE, WvW and PvP.

    And if Damage is what ANet wants to reduce, then they need to balance the other factors to compensate across classes.

  • A few points for consideration on my first pass of these:

    I'm really stoked to hear ya'll focusing on counterplay, that's a direction I'm been hoping you'd take for a long while now. I'm excited we are reducing damage across the board. We'll have to see how the damage nerfs shake out. I expect their increased cadence on balance changes is directly tied to making such across the board changes, allowing you to tune more quickly.

    My issue is you're talking about counterplay but only planning to increase the cooldowns on automatic traits – like Defy Pain and Instant Reflexes for example. These types of traits are antithetical to enjoyable counter play because they are not player-triggered. Decreasing how often they go off is better than nothing, but the problem with these traits is it's the game playing your character for you. There should be no traits where a health point threshold automatically triggers defensive actions. Because the players should be making the decisions on when to invoke those defenses.