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Balance Update Preview for August 17, 2021

Josh Davis.7865

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  • ArenaNet Staff

Profession Skills

Combo Fields and Finisher Skills

  • Combo fields have received updated, higher quality visual effects. Rectangular combo fields do not yet have updated visuals, but they will be updated to match in a future update.
  • Combo finishers will now prioritize using your own combo fields before those created by other players, where available.
  • The icon border for skills that are combo finishers will now be highlighted while you are standing within a combo field.
  • Projectile Finisher—Water Field: The radius around the struck enemy in which allies gain regeneration has been increased from 100 to 180.
  • Projectile Finisher—Light Field: The radius around the struck enemy in which allies are cleansed of a condition has been increased from 100 to 180.

Boons and Conditions

In this update, we're making adjustments to the confusion condition in PvE. Currently, it's not strongly relevant in most gameplay, as few enemies attack rapidly enough for it to be a significant damage source. However, it's also exceedingly powerful on a few specific boss fights in raids and elsewhere, which happen to have attack patterns that trigger confusion often. This has been a problem to balance around; it's not much fun if being very good in specific raid fights means that confusion-heavy specializations like mirage aren't up to par elsewhere.


To address this, we're partially normalizing the confusion condition by making the damage-over-time component of confusion in PvE gameplay scale with the condition damage stat, making it overall more useful for general open-world and mission play. Each stack of confusion will be exactly half as powerful as a stack of the bleed condition. At the same time, we're halving the trigger damage dealt when an enemy activates a skill. Overall, these changes mean that confusion will be a more reliable source of damage during play for professions that make regular use of it, and they reduce the degree to which it is split in functionality between PvE and PvP.

  • Confusion: In PvE only, the damage over time caused by each stack of confusion has been increased from a flat 10 (at level 80) to 11+0.03 per point of condition damage. Damage dealt to all targets when they activate a skill has been reduced by 50%, matching the current damage in PvP and WvW game modes.



Weaver has impressive damage potential in PvE, but as many weaver mains have noted, it's often reliant on assistance from other players to maintain the necessary weakness condition on their targets, and their fragility leaves little room for mistakes in play. With this update, we're making two PvE-specific changes: improving the weaver's ability to upkeep weakness on their targets via Superior Elements, and increasing the weaver's personal sustainability by increasing the amount of barrier granted by Elemental Refreshment.

  • Superior Elements: Increased the duration of applied weakness from 3 seconds to 5 seconds in PvE only.
  • Elemental Refreshment: The total amount of barrier granted by this trait and the increase per point of healing power have been increased by 20% in PvE only.



We're pleased with how scrapper's build options have expanded recently. Now that the dust has settled a bit, it's time for some more boons! With this update, we're adding extra concentration to the quickness scrapper builds to improve their flexibility and quickness uptime while retaining more damage, and we're providing a larger direct-damage enhancement to the dedicated power builds in the trait Applied Force.

  • Kinetic Accelerators: This trait now additionally increases your concentration by 10% of your power.
  • Applied Force: Bonus power per stack of might has been increased from 10 to 15. Might now provides reduced condition damage by the same amount. (Result: +45 Power, +15 Condition Damage per Stack of Might)


  • Players can now use the mount key while in Photon Forge. Doing so will automatically deactivate Photon Forge.
  • Mounting will no longer reset Photon Forge's heat level to 0.
  • Changing specializations away from and then back to holosmith will retain your former Photon Forge heat level.


With scourge getting toned down in PvP, we're also taking a look at protection holosmith builds. Elixir Gun and Mortar Kit have been staples in tank-like engineer builds for a long time and are both things that we're keeping an eye on, but we want to see the impact of shaving down a few holosmith-specific elements (as well as Over Shield) before touching anything else.

  • Heat Therapy: Reduced base heal per stack from 39 to 30 in PvP only.
  • Hard Light Arena: Increased cooldown from 50 seconds to 60 seconds in PvP only.
  • Spectrum Shield: Reduced incoming damage reduction from 50% to 33% in PvP only.
  • Over Shield: Reduced protection duration from 3 seconds to 2 seconds in PvP only.


  • "Retreat!": Guardians never retreat, so this shout skill has been renamed "Advance!" The voice acting has been updated appropriately to say either "Advance!" or "Charge!" at random, for a little variety.


  • Renewed Justice: Fixed a bug that could cause this trait to fail to activate when killing enemies in certain content types or locations.


  • Fixed a bug in which players could rarely become stuck in a tome with 0 pages remaining, causing players to need to reactivate the tome or use the weapon-swap key to exit. Now, in the rare cases where this occurs, attempting to use any tome-page skill will exit the tome, rather than failing to do anything.
  • Unrelenting Criticism: Fixed a tooltip display bug that caused the PvP duration of bleed to also display in the tooltip in PvE, showing two different bleed durations. The effect of this trait is unchanged.


  • Illusion of Life: Fixed a bug that could cause affected allies to fail to be fully revived when killing enemies in certain content types or locations.
  • Medic's Feedback: Reduced revive pulse from 5% to 1% in PvP and WvW.


  • Death Shroud: Players may now use the mount key while in Death Shroud. Doing so will automatically deactivate Death Shroud.


  • Furious Demise: Fixed a bug that caused precision granted by this trait to not be used for bonus condition damage by the next minor curses trait, Target the Weak.
  • Target the Weak: The description of this trait has been corrected to include that it also increases the necromancer's condition damage by a percentage of their precision.
  • Lingering Curses: The bonus condition damage granted by this trait now applies with any weapon, not only scepter.

Death Magic

  • Death Nova: Fixed a bug that could cause this trait to fail to properly summon a jagged horror when killing enemies in certain content types or locations.
  • Soul Comprehension: Fixed a bug that could cause this trait to fail to properly grant a stack of carapace when killing enemies in certain content types or locations.
  • Flesh of the Master: Reduced minion health bonus from 25% to 15% in PvP only.

Soul Reaping

  • Dhuumfire: Fixed a bug that could cause this trait to activate multiple times without triggering its internal cooldown when used with scourge specialization skills.


  • Dread: Fixed a bug that could cause this trait to fail to properly reduce the cooldown on shroud skill 3 when killing enemies in certain content types or locations.


  • Reaper Shroud: Players can now use the mount key while in Reaper Shroud. Doing so will automatically deactivate Reaper Shroud.


As the community has observed, scourge has quickly become dominant in many game modes, from PvP to PvE. In PvE, the barrier granted by damage-specialized scourges to nearby allies as part of their normal damage rotation has caused scourge to provide overwhelming support even while traited and geared as a pure DPS build. We would like a clearer distinction between scourges' support and damage builds. To this end, we're making a change to the scourge's healing skill, Sand Flare, so that it only grants barrier to the caster by default. The first-tier support trait, Abrasive Grit, was previously very underwhelming, especially when compared against its chief competitor in that tier, Fell Beacon. Abrasive Grit will now cause Sand Flare to affect nearby allies, restoring it to its previous target cap. With these changes, we're shifting some of the scourge's passive barrier-granting ability off of the damage-specialized scourge build and on to builds that have specifically chosen to trait for support.


  • Sand Flare: Barrier granted by this skill now only affects the caster by default.
  • Abrasive Grit: This trait has been reworked to the following: Sand Flare now also grants barrier to nearby allies. Granting an ally barrier removes conditions afflicting them.
  • Demonic Lore: Fixed a bug that caused the internal cooldown of this trait to not occur under certain circumstances.
  • Herald of Sorrow: This trait now renames the skill Desert Shroud to Sandstorm Shroud instead of to Harbinger Shroud. The effects of this skill are unchanged.


On the PvP side of things, we're making some additional changes to bring scourge down. Feed from Corruption is a trait that we've been looking at for a while, and given the continued performance of scourge, it's something we wanted to make sure to touch in this round of changes. For this update, we're primarily targeting the defensive boons as we look to address some of the scourge's overall bulk, but we also wanted to tone down the might generation that this trait could potentially create. We're also shaving down some of the scourge's barrier applications and Nefarious Favor, with the overall goal of making the scourge just a bit more killable.


  • Sand Cascade: Reduced base barrier from 2,428 to 1,859 in PvP only.
  • Desert Shroud: Reduced base barrier from 5,016 to 4,013 in PvP only.
  • Desert Empowerment: Reduced base barrier from 966 to 773 in PvP only.
  • Sandstorm Shroud: Reduced initial base barrier from 5,016 to 4,013 in PvP only. Reduced final base barrier from 1,684 to 1,327 in PvP only.
  • Feed from Corruption: The following boon applications from this trait have been adjusted in PvP only:
  • Might: Reduced stacks from 3 to 1.
  • Protection: Reduced duration from 4 seconds to 2 seconds.
  • Resolution: Reduced duration from 4 seconds to 2 seconds.
  • Regeneration: Reduced duration from 8 seconds to 4 seconds.
  • Stability: Reduced from 2 stacks for 5 seconds to 1 stack for 3 seconds.
  • Vigor: Reduced duration from 6 seconds to 3 seconds.
  • Nefarious Favor: Reduced the number of conditions converted to boons from 2 to 1 in PvP only.


  • Fixed a bug in which a stowed pet would be unstowed when entering or leaving water.
  • Fixed a bug in which the pet would be stowed after mounting a skimmer on water and then dismounting on land.
  • Fixed a bug in which the pet would be stowed when mounting a flying mount after gliding.
  • Maul: Fixed a bug in which this skill would go on full cooldown when interrupted.


  • Celestial Avatar: Players can now use the mount key while in Celestial Avatar. Doing so will automatically deactivate Celestial Avatar. Any remaining Astral Force is lost upon deactivating Celestial Avatar in this way.


  • Fixed a bug in which swapping Build Templates could leave players merged with a pet not in their current build. Swapping between soulbeast Build Templates while merged with a pet will now unmerge your pet, and then automatically remerge after the template swap completes.
  • Fixed a bug in which swapping Build Templates could leave players merged with a pet even when they no longer have the soulbeast specialization slotted.
  • One Wolf Pack: Fixed a bug that caused damaging strikes from this skill to fail to occur on certain large bosses, such as Tequatl the Sunless.
  • Beastmode: On entering or exiting water, if players were previously merged with their pet, they will now automatically remerge after transitioning to water or land.



  • Soulcleave's Summit: Energy upkeep cost has been reduced from 8 to 6.


  • Sevenshot: Torment duration per hit has been reduced from 7 seconds to 6 seconds.


  • Vengeance: Fixed a bug that could cause players to fail to fully rally when killing enemies in certain content types or locations.
Edited by Josh Davis.7865
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Thank you for fixing the Dhuumfire "bug" , scaling back scourge barriers in PVP, and scaling back prot holo. 🙂

Think mirage will be still dominant on SH + TL due to mirage cloak (they were used with axes before) more than the confusion but we will see. For Cairn mirage is not as heavily requested because of the difficulty ; for Matthias the low amount of CC on staff mirage means you are probably better of with scourge stacks ,  some axe mirages and/or condi RR.

PVE Condi Renegade will be nerfed a tiny bit with this change (15% on the Sevenshot skill), per current logs it's cast 9 times during benchmark. The nerf is probably not large enough to matter in the grand scheme of things.

P.S. please consider splitting kinetic accelerators in WVW.

Edited by Infusion.7149
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nice preview i dont see a single nerf..
how about explosive entrance? and kitten grenades from engies
how about warrior buff on passives traits which are now useless.
about weaver, ye i guess >.< if played by good person its never gonna die but seems to be another pve thing

etc etc o well..

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5 minutes ago, Ajaxx.3157 said:

Do Anet even have a drive to do anything with Warrior? Like any direction at all?



Well it's not like they did anything to most classes. Ranger for example just has bug fixes, there are no actual changes to anything. Thief didn't even get mentioned 😄

Edited by Dzjudz.9142
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