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Bladesworn Rework Suggestion

Geoff Fey.1035

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Wanted to post this more for my own sanity. I absolutely love the initial concept of the Bladesworn but seeing its interaction overall and the limitations that Warriors currently deal with shows the glaring issues in the entire design. I typed up a large number of changes on mechanics, traits, skills, etc with thoughts and processes. Feel free to let me know your thoughts (good or bad). Hopefully ANet takes a couple to heart as this Elite Spec could really be something but is jarringly hindered by a lack of cohesive design and odd mechanics that don't suit any aspect of Core Warrior nor the Bladesworn kit itself.



With the Bladesworn we wanted to pay an homage to classic samurai films – ANet

This doesn’t work because of the inclusion of bullets, explosions, ammo skills, pistols, and the “gun” aspect of the gunsaber pushing a focus towards the aforementioned components.

The only homage currently in there is the Flow and Dragon Slash. With the various changes in Beta 4, this has pushed away the “single big hit” (the primary homage to Samurai films) and replaced it with a hodgepodge of various components that have elements of what it should be but don’t work as a cohesive kit.

In addition, all of the new components added (explosions, ammo, Flow, charges) really only interact with just 1 aspect and tend to ignore each other completely, rather than working together as a cohesive kit.

Take Elementalists for example. Attunement interacts with Glyphs + Weapon Skills + Trait across the profession.

Bladesworn Flow interacts with Dragon Trigger. Charges interact with Dragon Slash. Explosions interact with 1 trait. Ammo interacts with 3 traits.

It’s like having a box of lego that includes duplo, Kinnex, and Warhammer models—individually they can be something but together it creates a mishmash.

I would propose reinvesting effort and design into the various unique mechanics added in Bladesworn to both give the kit a cohesive feeling as well as playing off its strengths and the Warrior’s complete kit. It will move away from the "Samurai" feel but we already needed to move past that due to the decrease in Dragon Slash damage.


Gunsaber Kit

Gunsaber – Accessible on F2

The big issue with accessing Gunsaber in F1 is that it flies counter to Warrior muscle-memory. If they leave it in F1, this will continue to cause problems as Warriors 1-80 will have F1 as their burst and then suddenly be turned around when unlocking Bladesworn. By moving to F2, it keeps that trained muscle memory of F1.

Dragon Trigger – No cooldown, can enter with 10 Flow (minimum), can enter from any weapon, operates like Deadeye kneel (can dodge without interrupting the stance).

Dragon Trigger needs to have no cooldown and can be entered from any weapon. When you are in your non-Gunsaber kit, the Gunsaber is (realistically) sheathed. So, it shouldn’t be locked behind physically being in the Gunsaber kit since you need to “draw” it anyways. By allowing any weapon to access Dragon Trigger, you will add play value for Warriors in both weapon sets. The current design pigeonholes Warriors to camp in Gunsaber which does not align with the entire Warrior profession.

The big fix to Dragon Trigger was adding Stability upon entering, but it's still hindered by internal cooldown. Rather than an internal cooldown, they could tag this effect simply to charging up the Dragon Slash. Admittedly the 0.25s charge would be difficult for an enemy to get past with timing, but by stacking control effects one would be able to get through it. Just takes more commitment by the enemy.

Minor Master: Unshakable Mountain – Gain 1 stack of Stability for 0.25s for every charge while in Dragon Trigger.

This ensures that Warriors have some stability coverage while in Dragon Trigger that is otherwise difficult to maintain. It also provides some security (increases with boon duration) while committing to the full charge, while still offering counterplay different game modes with the usual overload of control control and boon rip effects. Changing Unshakable Mountain to being this trait also makes more sense from a naming perspective since "stability". This also reduces reliance on additional stability granting effects (if desired) while also providing further security (without being overpowered) by the Bladesworn.

Dragon Slash

Dragon Slash (all 3), 8s Cooldown on each individually

By moving the “Burst Cooldowns” to the three Dragon Slashes, it will both promote usage of all 3 types of slashes while also working with the redesigned Flow system. Less Flow is used in Beta 4 when charging, but after you’ve done a Slash you have a bunch of additional Flow that gets unused/wasted while in combat. By having all 3 bursts available (with 8s CD individually) that means Bladesworn should always have access to a Burst (like all Warriors are used to). Investing into Flow generation allows that bursty playstyle while still maintaining the "Charge" aspect of the Bladesworn design. The limiting factor is not Flow generation, charge time, or Gunsaber but the cooldown on each individual skill.

One thing to note if this design is taken is some tweaks to Flow generation & spending may need to be taken. A Bladesworn should be able to get 2 different Dragon Slashes at full charge when they have 100% Flow, but then need to build it back up.

Unyielding Dragon – Ignores Blind, Unblockable, 0.25s Daze for each charge, +Might for each charge.

This trait is perfect as-is. It’s a guaranteed hit for your Dragon Slash, huge control and breakbar damage that can’t be blocked, and provides Warriors with the Might that we know and love.

Immortal Dragon – +Healing on Damage dealt, +Protection for each charge.

With the above stated changes, Immortal Dragon is the piece-de-resistance for a Tanky build. It provides a nice chunk of sustain via healing as well as ongoing defenses through Protection, something Warriors again have issues acquiring (the boon, we have protection from various traints/skills/effects but that’s a different discussion).

Daring Dragon – Charges generated in Dragon Trigger only disappear after using Dragon Slash.

The above changes to Flow generation, Dragon Trigger access, and Dragon Slash interaction means that Daring Dragon needs to be changed up. By allowing Bladesworn to carry charges from battle to battle, it provides that quality of life request that Warriors have been asking for years.

In addition it’s a tradeoff from Battle A (no bursts) to Battle B (instant burst) and provides an alteration to the playstyle. You can stack up your Flow/Charges from the “small fries” and save that one big attack for the “big boss” (Veterans and above).



Flow currently is a proxy of Adrenaline based on “time spent in combat” rather than “actions (strike/struck) in combat”. It can be increased by certain skills and traits, but ultimately it is based on time spent while in combat. Changing this to add Flow based on strikes would be counter-intuitive to the entire design and make it “just adrenaline with extra steps”.

To give it a unique integration to the Bladesworn, you should generate additional Flow while Gunsaber or Pistols are equipped (all Flow gain is disabled while in Dragon Trigger; this includes "additional Flow" effects).

The idea of the Bladesworn and Gunsaber is that it’s an expert’s weapon that requires a high level of skill to master. By generating additional Flow while using the signature weapon (and Pistols as they are part of the kit) it rewards players building utilizing the Bladesworn design.

The Adept Major Traits are geared towards Flow generation and that can be maintained to promote different playstyles. The effects of Flow occur at 25%, 50%, and 75%. This is so that you can stack the effects while generating maximum Flow but it penalizes you for staying at 100% without spending it. It works to promote using Dragon Trigger (per the rework above) and serves as that boost to get you into high levels of Flow. The tradeoff is if you camp at 100% Flow you won’t have access to the boons.

River’s Flow – Gain Regeneration (5s) at 25%, 50%, 75% Flow. Gain additional flow when when receiving healing (includes Regeneration)

Regeneration is not a hugely impactful boon for Warriors, but having a little bit of extra sustain goes a long way for Warriors as well as being able to generate it naturally without specific traits interactions (Might Makes Right, Adrenal Healing, etc). Adding this on top of current Warrior sustain traits and Signets.

Swift as the Wind – Gain Quickness (3s) at 25%, 50%, 75% Flow. Gain additional flow when under the effects of Quickness.

Warriors have trouble generating Quickness on their own. Largely this is offset by fast multi-hit attacks (Axe Whirlwind, Greatsword Hundred Blades, Sword Flurry, etc) but Gunsaber is hindered by large cooldowns. To compensate, providing easily accessible Quickness will allow Warriors to use the Gunsaber auto-attacks at a faster rate (in addition to other skills).

This also provides a different playstyle where you don’t charge Flow to 100% and are using bursts to gain access to Quickness at a steady rate. Since a full charge Dragon Slash takes 2.5s, and it takes 0.5 to enter Dragon Trigger to begin with, Warriors doing this will always run out of Quickness before they’re back in their regular kit. That’s okay—because crossing the Flow threshold again will reapply it. It also plays into the whole Frenzied Combat à Calm Meditation à Single attack playstyle that Bladesworn is promoting.

Unseen Sword – Cast 1 charge Dragon Slash – Force at 25%, 50%, 75%. Gain additional flow after casting Dragon Slash (any) at minimum 4 charges.

Unseen sword currently has little to no use due to being locked behind weapon swapping. Current Dragon Trigger locked behind Gunsaber exacerbates this and discourages going to any weapon other than Gunsaber.

By casting a 1 charge Dragon Slash – Force, this trait will proc various burst traits at T1 while generating Flow to access the effects.

It also changes the playstyle on its head by loading the extra Flow generation onto the back end. This would be a DPS and effect focused trait as it provides a couple of extra hits as well as any T1 burst effects (Tactics, Defense, Strength, Discipline traitlines).


Explosions are a new addition to the Warrior kit previously reserved primarily for Engineers. Surprisingly as well, Explosions were added to a number of Core Warrior weapon skills which was a nice change. The big issue is that beyond it being one extra hit on 3 targets, Explosions have no integration with the rest of the Warrior kit.

The ammo-focus of the Master Traits is okay, but it’s hindered by either the “First or Last charge” mentality. I would propose swapping them so that Master Traits are accessed via Explosions


Minor Grandmaster Guns and Glory – Each charge used in Dragon Trigger causes 1 explosion. Effect can only occur once per Explosion. Explosions cause Vulnerability.

This plays into the Dragon Slash focus of the Major Grandmaster traits while also synergizing with the reworks of the Major Master traits focusing on explosions. If a Bladesworn wants to go full support, they readily could with Lush Forests (Alac generation) and Banners/Shouts. If they wanted to go full condi they will suddenly cause huge spikes of burning when doing a fully charged Dragon Slash. If going Tanky, it will be a spike of barrier after each Dragon Slash. This is without getting into the effects of the Dragon Slash Traits which have their own effects.

Fierce as Fire – Explosions cause burning on targets.

Self-explanatory. It will basically give Bladesworn access to the same level of burning generation as Guardians and will allow for hybrid/condi playstyles.

Lush Forests – Explosions generate Alacrity (2s) on 5 targets.

This needs to be heavily hindered by boon duration due to how easily Bladesworn has access to explosions. The current tradeoff is by the long cooldowns on the Gunsaber (primary explosion source) so by the attacks themselves generating a reduced cooldown you will find a more aggressive playstyle that promotes skill use without becoming “spammy”.

Also designed to compete with Revenant/Guardian in 5-man content by providing an alternate source of Alacrity which is highly prized, and allows Warriors to move away from Banner by focusing on explosive utilities to generate Alacrity on their allies.

Dragonscale Defenses – Explosions generate barrier on 5 targets.

This provides a different form of group play by supporting allies (“healing”) while in combat. It also works as a form of self-sustain and tankiness (see “River’s Flow” above) to help shore up the defensive capabilities of the Bladesworn.


Skills & Ammo

The utilities and ammo focus of the Bladesworn are a nice change of pace, but the implementation leaves much to be desired. The high cooldowns don’t synergize well and stacking effects on the First Charge or Last Charge is difficult to balance.

The Ammo system can remain (to play into the “Bullet = Charge” imagery) but it now loses interactions with a lot of traits. This is fine as Berserker Primal skills are just used for extending Berserk and Spellbreakers don’t have any traits that interact with Meditations, so this will be fitting the ongoing design of Warrior traits focusing on Weapons/Burst rather than utilities.

Combat Stimulant – Stunbreak, Provides healing (3260) and Positive Flow (5s). When effect ends heal again (6520). If breaking a stun, instantly gain 25% Flow.

This skill is and always will be a tradeoff skill. Warriors are reliant on their chosen healing skill and while the boons are good the entire effect needs to be worth it to blow your healing skill at the start of combat. However, it provides a chunk of Flow to Bladesworn to top them up if they are stunned/dazed during combat and promotes aggressively using it again to hit back harder. The Recharge Count between uses will need to be increased as it would be a very powerful skill to generate Flow, but the tradeoff is that your best way of generating chunks of skills (and triggering Adept Major traits) is locked behind your healing skill. You need to choose if your traits can sustain you or if you need to save the heal skill for a more important time.

Flow Stabilizer – Provides additional Flow and Stability. If you already have Stability, gain additional Flow instead.

Changing this to Fury was a mistake. Warriors need reliable access to stability to ensure their skills and Fury is easily accessible from a number of other means. Yes, paired with the reworked Unshakable Mountain may be a bit overkill especially in PvP/WvW, but other professions have access to either greater stunbreak, ignore crowd effects, Aegis, or other options. Having warriors focus on Stability is not a bad focus as a Warrior needs to have their feet on the ground and weapon in hand to be viable in a fight.

Bulletproof Barrier - Throw a projectile that explodes and creates a smoke field that blocks projectiles and blinds enemies.

Giving this skill a blind effect field would provide some soft sustainability to Bladesworn as well as a safety net vs. ranged enemies. The explosion effect also plays into the various Major Master traits.

Electric Fence – Enemies cannot cross field when active. Attempting to do so causes Stun (0.5s).

Change to operate similar to Dragonhunter Ward (Longbow 5) in that enemies cannot cross it while it is active. It will provide some control to the Bladesworn as well as directing the flow of combat or offering a way to disengage and charge Dragon Slash.

Dragonspike Mine - Evade backwards and drop a mine that explodes causes bleeding and cripples enemies hit (5 targets). Ammo count 2, recharge 25s.

Synergy with Explosion rework above and is "the condi skill" of the spec. There are Warrior traits that offer increased damage to crippled foes so it will also work with those traits. Links into the bladesworn by offering a “dodge backwards to charge Dragon Slash” effect without using endurance.

Tactical Reload – 2 charges, 10s recharge between uses, 60s recharge of each count. After 3 seconds, restores 1 ammo to all ammo skills. Restore additional 1 ammo for every 5 charges used while effect is active. (Does not work with Unseen Sword)

Tactical Reload currently only exists due to the high cooldown on the entire spec. It doesn’t feel quite like an elite skill and really is just a “reload” button. By keeping it as that reload button but also adding the effect to restore ammo counts through Dragon Slash, it promotes timing focus. You may only get 5 count before the effect ends, but if you time things perfectly you can keep a high count of ammo skills available.

Having Tactical Reload affect itself (on Dragon Slash effect) also promotes the patient playstyle that you need to always find that single moment to keep your gameplay flowing. Counterplay would be control effects preventing you from getting a Dragon Slash off, and the long recharge between uses and long cooldown of each count hinders players from spamming it.

Lush Forests makes it slightly more accessible, but you always need to ensure you’re getting that one big hit off to make it worth it, otherwise it will backfire.



Pistol Offhand

The current iteration of the Pistol is hindered by the large selection Warriors already have for offhand weapons (providing greater utility or damage) and the limitations of Gunsaber/Dragon Trigger not being accessible. Solving the Dragon Trigger issue is the first step to making Pistol more viable as a weapon, and the Explosion synergies would be the second step as it will gain a large amount of utility (Alacrity), condi (Burning), or support (Barrier) just due to the traits. The skills in their current form will be fine to keep as-is assuming the trait, Flow, and Dragon Trigger changes are made in some form.

Pistol Mainhand

Will not consider in this as it currently does not exist in the game, regardless of opinions.

Edited by Geoff Fey.1035
Organization, spelling, wording
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