A message from Robert Gee, Guild Wars 2 Systems Team:
Hello to all the sneaky thieves out there! I'm unstealthing today to reveal details of the upcoming changes to the Deadeye profession. In a previous update we increased the damage of rifle skills to put Deadeye in a good spot from a DPS-perspective, so this update is focused more around improving their gameplay patterns and mechanics.
The main areas we're looking to address are:
The Mysteries of Malice
We designed malice as a gating mechanic that would act as a way for a Deadeye to gain increasing damage threat the longer they were in combat with their mark. This system was built to allow for very high damage attacks with enough warning to the victim that there would be room for counterplay.
However while we feel the current system is effective at these goals, it is also confusing. It's difficult to understand how much of a benefit you get from attacking your mark and to calculate when your next malice gain will occur. There also are no rules for which skills scale on malice. For instance, Binding Shadow and Shadow Flare both scale on malice amounts but Shadow Gust does not.
In order to add more interactivity to malice, we are changing the way malice is gained. Malice no longer will build over time but instead will be gained through dealing damage with initiative skills.
Here are the specifics on how it will work:
In short, malice is now gained through attacking. If you hit your mark you get malice. If you fail to hit you don't gain malice. Investing in precision can increase your rate of malice gain. We feel that this system is more engaging and easier to understand while also preserving the initial goal of requiring a ramp-up time for malice.
Strike from the Shadows
Now that we've gone over the new way that malice is gained, let's talk about the new way that it is used.
Stealth attacks will consume all your current malice when striking your mark to grant bonus effects based on the amount of malice consumed. The actual bonus per consumed malice differs per skill but let's use the sword stealth attack as an example.
Malicious Tactical Strike: If this attack hits your mark, it consumes all malice to regenerate endurance for each malice consumed.
Each stealth attack has a different bonus based on the type of skill it is. Skills primarily focused around damage, such as Backstab, will consume malice for bonus damage whereas skills focused around condition damage, such as Sneak Attack, will consume malice for bonus condition effects. Tactical Strike on the other hand consumes malice to grant an advantage over your enemy via endurance gain.
We decided to tie the malice consumption to stealth for a few reasons. First, we felt that stealth was a solid core mechanic that touched every single thief weapon and had many synergies through core traits and skills. Thief players already understand stealth attacks so this allows malice spending to be an upgrade to an established system rather than an entirely new one. Finally, the Deadeye was already leaning towards being a stealth-based character due to its elite skill Shadow Meld and utility skill Shadow Gust, so we felt that having malice slot into the stealth attack was a natural fit.
The Perfect Shot
With these changes, the iconic Deadeye malice skill, Death's Judgment, is also becoming a stealth attack. This gave us room to make some adjustments to the rest of the rifle skills in order to address its somewhat stale gameplay loop. Kneel and the Silent Scope trait have been changed to allow for more flexible kneeling and stealth while Sniper's Cover has been totally reworked into a new defensive skill that fills the slot previously occupied by Death's Judgement. This new skill creates a defensive barrier while kneeling that can combo with other thief abilities. When taken together, these changes help to give each rifle skill a more defined purpose and allow rifle wielders to handle a larger variety of combat situations.
To wrap everything up, let's talk a little bit about the trait changes. Deadeye traits currently have somewhat conflicting goals. There are traits that encourage waiting for full malice (Perfectionist) and traits that encourage killing your mark as quickly as possible (Be Quick or Be Killed) as well as a few esoteric traits that don't quite mesh well with any particular style (Peripheral Vision). We've touched nearly every trait in the Deadeye line in order to better define different types of deadeye playstyles and reduce the conflicts between them. Here's a quick example of a new trait that is aimed at improving Fire for Effect boon-sharing builds while also providing a meaningful damage bonus.
Premeditation: Gain +180 concentration and increase your strike damage by 1% for each unique boon on you.
We're looking forward to seeing these changes redefine the Deadeye specialization and hope that they will sharpen your Deadeye experience. As always, we'll be listening for your feedback on these changes and will make future adjustments where necessary. Happy hunting!
Communications Manager: ArenaNet
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