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Upcoming Wintersday Balance Update


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  • ArenaNet Staff

Wintersday is coming fellow Tyrians and, during the recent AMA, I made reference to a small balance update and I wished to follow-up to let you know that we're aiming to release that update next Tuesday, 12/12.


We've heard your frustrations with the burstiness of conditions invalidating power builds across game modes (though for differing reasons in each). Conditions have always been intended as a way to achieve strong sustained damage once it has ramped up.

This small update has primary two foci:

  • Pushing damaging burst condition toward ramping, sustained damage. This should create more opportunities for counterplay, but also feel satisfying to keep conditions rolling once you’ve ramped them up.
    • i.e. We’re tuning some skills that apply damaging conditions so that they apply less stacks up front, but last for longer. In total duration they’re almost the same before and after.
    • e.g. Purging Flames: Burning has been adjusted from 3 stacks for 5 seconds to 2 stacks for 8 seconds.
  • Re-vamping several passive vulnerability traits to offer more distinct opportunities or create synergy with other traits (rather than being standalone). At small amounts vulnerability doesn’t feel good and adding more vulnerability to something that is capped on it has little value. These changes will offer chances to spike up vulnerability when it is ebbing or encourage new build styles.
    • e.g. Mutilate Defenses: This trait has been reworked and renamed to "Expose Defenses". This trait now causes your first attack when entering combat to inflict 5 stacks of vulnerability for 5 seconds. This ability refreshes whenever you use an elite skill.

As always, we’ll be looking for your feedback once you have had a chance to play with the upcoming changes. We’ll start a post here after December 12th to hear your thoughts, so please prepare your most constructive feedback.

See you in the lands!

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I'd like to ask this in advance because i don't ever see it being addressed otherwise.

Is vamperism (life-leech) ever going to be functionally worth it ? Right now and basically for the majority of it's life its been an under-tuned mechanic and under explored as far as a unique way of dealing and sustaining through damage. Where it works well often becomes abuse cases rapid hits. Ideally i'd like to see it function as an additional packet of damage and healing proportionally to damage dealt (with substantial bonuses for investing in healing power) so that slower weapons can also have an impact with this combat mechanic that is largely underutilized.

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Condi burst has become overwhelming not only in # of stacks, but also in # of conditions applied at once. For an example, look no further than scourge condi bomb:

That's 8 condi applied more or less instantly with no obvious tell to dodge. There's no real way to avoid this other than "don't ever be close to a scourge".

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These are some good changes indeed. especially the first one with the condis is a great idea. A good way to nerf the condi dmg. The issue was that till you cleanse the conditions you had , you already received big amount of damage . Now at least you will have the time to react and now have dozens of stacks on you . GREAT idea guys.

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I really wish you'd discuss in detail what the plans are seeing as how Tuesday is not so far away and possibly avoid some issues that I could see arising. Balance is such a difficult fickle thing and I just don't over nerfs to happen. I do for the record appreciate the heads up, just wish there was more detailed discussions on what is changing.

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  • e.g. Purging Flames: Burning has been adjusted from 3 stacks for 5 seconds to 2 stacks for 8 seconds.

Besides being less bursty for PvP, can this be understood to be a DPS increase for fractals and raids for condi builds? I suppose it depends on the specific encounter. Overall, I'm trying to figure out if I should be happy about this or concerned (play Firebrand condi but don't PvP often)

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@arawulf.5210 said:Besides being less bursty for PvP, can this be understood to be a DPS increase for fractals and raids for condi builds? I suppose it depends on the specific encounter. Overall, I'm trying to figure out if I should be happy about this or concerned (play Firebrand condi but don't PvP often)

It is going to be a pretty big nerf on bosses that have phases where they go invulnerable/immune for awhile or completely clear conditions. Basically this is going to further widen the gap between Ele/DH stacking on bosses like KC. I am pretty concerned about this.

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Please it’s make power reaper more viable. I think you took the right step in reducing shroud time and increasing damage in shroud form - you just need to tweak the numbers ever so slightly higher. If you make greatsword either hit harder (or faster) that would be a nice spa increase - furthermore there is a lot of discussion in making GS5 on a shorter cooldown. I think the necromancer forums also matches out that we need about 20-30% more of a damage increase to be viable

I just want to be accepted as power reaper that’s all :/

Edit: there was also talk of allowing your utilities/healing/elite work while in shroud form - maybe that will help?

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@Asur.9178 said:Anything happening with full potential deadeye?...or is the current deadeye the full potential deadeye?

Is it currently in its final form?...or is it not even its final form?

I must second that motion for updates on the Deadeye. As it stands, the elite spec is widely regarded as useless in every game mode. Several good suggestions on rebalance have been made on the forums and there was huge disappointment when the recent balance patch, if anything, was only cosmetic or actually negative for the profession.

If another balance patch takes place with no major improvements or reworks on things like malice generation or kneel, then the deadeye may as well be outright removed from the game, as that's the impact it is realistically having on any play areas. That's a real shame, as its a much desired, thematically strong concept that many people created characters for.

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make necromancer, reaper and scourge great again. buff scourge by removing icd in demonic lore only in PvE! boost power reaper because it's still weakest power build there's. make base necro in general stronger in both power and condi to make necro good in pve. pvp and wvw don't touch 'em. only boost in pve.

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@Draco.9480 said:make necromancer, reaper and scourge great again. buff scourge by removing icd in demonic lore only in PvE! boost power reaper because it's still weakest power build there's. make base necro in general stronger in both power and condi to make necro good in pve. pvp and wvw don't touch 'em. only boost in pve.

Scourge is owning the new raid so its not all that bad.....? ;)

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I'm totally agree with the thought behinds the changes, however I have a few comments

  • it could make condi builds a lot worse for open world or story, thus removing build variety whee it shines the most (even if you like to be efficient, you can basically play any proper dps build there without having anyone to tell you it's not top). Also not cool for ppl who play there with character otherwise geared for raid or fractals (in a game where we still don't have build templates to swap easily, and where you need a full gear change to use a different type of build but the stat-swap was purposely made a huge luxury : after being introduced as a small compensation for legendary owners after introduction of wardrobe, it was finally decided that this QoL is the base for most of the legendary's cost/effort far above their original's identity (aka looks and effects))
  • as others pointed out, raid/fractal bosses with phase may become too punishing for condi, so please make sure that ramp up times are still short compared to phases
  • The vulnerability changes sound more like a nerf, given the example. You say that applying a few stacks feels like nothing but then a trait that let ppl permanently put a few stacks of vulnerability on a foe is replaced with one that ... only gives a few stacks (5 = "At small amounts vulnerability doesn’t feel good") and only recharges once in a blue moon (elite skills, even if rev can use them a lot more often that other professions). If playstyle must become "apply vulneability => use best dps skills", then the corresponding traits should be a lot better (10-15 instead of 5 in the example). This is exactly what ranger's LB#3 did long ago (10 stacks, and no elite skill condition) before it was turned into a stealth skill (oh the memories of always using it before the burst of #2 or before swapping to GS). Also, it would be nice to have some mechanic to cater for "adding more vulnerability to something that is capped on it has little value", unless the whole point of the update is to make sure that normal play will never ever reach 25 stacks anymore except in organized raids where ppl make sure they coordinate to have 25 in their combined builds ... but in this case you'd have to cater for a huge dps loss and buff everything else.
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I really hope this can be a time to review severally really underperforming condition weapons with exceedingly low abilities to stack longer lasting conditions.

Examples:

Necromancer Staff (no condi on auto, conditions dont really stack much damage even if it is aoe.)

Mesmer Staff (auto: remove vulnerability or make it always apply vul + damage condition each hit) Chaos Storm needs to always applg a damage condition per pulse as well, and chaos armor needs a rework.

Mesmer ambushes: literally every ambush needs to have their condition durations significantly lengthened to make infinite horizon a legitimate build option.

Worst recently added offender is Renegade Shortbow. The conditions are pitifully low duration even with max condition duration. Similarly, renegades kalla utility that stacks a ton of short duration bleeds could be condenssd with a longer duration and less frequent application (hopefully for a realistic net slight boost). Id love for a short bow renegade playstyle to actually be viable.

Id love for the build up ramping condi playstyle to be viable on these weapons as well. Their aoe nature should not necessarily mean they have to deal abysmal single target damage.

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@"Irenio CalmonHuang.2048" said:Wintersday is coming fellow Tyrians and, during the recent AMA, I made reference to a small balance update and I wished to follow-up to let you know that we're aiming to release that update next Tuesday, 12/12.


We've heard your frustrations with the burstiness of conditions invalidating power builds across game modes (though for differing reasons in each). Conditions have always been intended as a way to achieve strong sustained damage once it has ramped up.

This small update has primary two foci:

  • Pushing damaging burst condition toward ramping, sustained damage. This should create more opportunities for counterplay, but also feel satisfying to keep conditions rolling once you’ve ramped them up.
    • i.e. We’re tuning some skills that apply damaging conditions so that they apply less stacks up front, but last for longer. In total duration they’re almost the same before and after.
    • e.g. Purging Flames: Burning has been adjusted from 3 stacks for 5 seconds to 2 stacks for 8 seconds.
  • Re-vamping several passive vulnerability traits to offer more distinct opportunities or create synergy with other traits (rather than being standalone). At small amounts vulnerability doesn’t feel good and adding more vulnerability to something that is capped on it has little value. These changes will offer chances to spike up vulnerability when it is ebbing or encourage new build styles.
    • e.g. Mutilate Defenses: This trait has been reworked and renamed to "Expose Defenses". This trait now causes your first attack when entering combat to inflict 5 stacks of vulnerability for 5 seconds. This ability refreshes whenever you use an elite skill.

As always, we’ll be looking for your feedback once you have had a chance to play with the upcoming changes. We’ll start a post here after December 12th to hear your thoughts, so please prepare your most constructive feedback.

See you in the lands!

Unfortunately I know that we won't receive any more responses from you guys in this thread. But I have to say that this first change you listed is a huge step in the right direction. I will wait to see how its carried out, but it is a step in the right direction. Along with that, you guys really should look at how many conditions are being applied period.

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