[Dev Update] Balance Changes - 10 July 2008
PvE and PvP
This week's balance update primarily focuses on addressing problems within the state of PvP. The main problem areas we're seeking to resolve are melee teleport spikes, the dominance of Signet of Judgment, and the power of Dervish spike. We have not changed elite skills commonly featured on Dervishes in competitive play (such as Avatar of Melandru and Wounding Strike), but we have altered some skills that make these builds so deadly. While Shadow Form is unchanged in this update, we are exploring solutions. The goal is to slow down builds that keep Shadow Form up permanently, while not invalidating it for other uses.
Although we are not making major PvE-related balance changes this time, we are working on a larger PvE-focused update. We are currently testing changes to Ursan Blessing and PvE-only skills. One of the goals is to balance Ursan such that players can still use it as long as they do so in a tactical way. Another goal is to alter the grind currently associated with many PvE-only skills. Additionally, we are adjusting a number of underpowered and rarely used elite skills. Depending on how testing goes, some or all of these changes may be released as soon as next month.
- Shadow Walk: now disables your attack skills for 1 second.
- Death's Charge: now has a .75 aftercast.
- Dark Prison: now has a .75 aftercast.
- Shadow Prison: now has a .75 aftercast.
- Aura of Displacement: now has a .75 aftercast.
In PvP, teleporting melee characters have become extremely commonplace, due to their unpredictable nature and the speed with which they can focus on a single target. We've added a .75 second aftercast to teleports to give targets (and their Monks) a chance to react to the incoming damage. Shadow Walk got a different treatment because it is a stance. Since stances have no casting time (and therefore no aftercast), we made it disable attack skills for one second so that it is not strictly superior to other teleports. We recognize this is harsher on Warriors using the skill (because they lose all built up adrenaline when their skills are disabled). However, when we made this change, we accounted for the fact that Warriors typically use stances to increase attack-speed or movement-speed. The disabling effect makes Shadow Walk less desirable than other teleports for Warriors in most situations. Because teleportation and movement do not play the same role in PvE as in PvP, we did not create separate PvP versions of these skills.
- Signet of Mystic Speed: increased recharge to 20 seconds.
Signet of Mystic Speed costs no energy, has no cast time and can be maintained permanently. By increasing the recharge, it now requires a high investment into Wind Prayers to achieve this same effect.
- Mantra of Inscriptions: now affects only those signets that you successfully activate. Interrupted and disabled signets no longer benefit from this skill.
Previously, Mantra of Inscriptions would recharge signets faster under any circumstances -- including ones that were disabled from enemy disruption. This change doesn't affect the basic function of the skill, but opens up signets to counters by interruption and disabling effects.
These changes will only affect skills when in PvP. PvE will be unaffected.
- Chilling Victory: this skill is now in the Wind Prayers attribute line.
Chilling Victory is a hard-hitting skill that contributes a lot to a Dervish spike. By moving it to Wind Prayers, we lower the damage on most builds since attributes are traditionally higher in Scythe Mastery than Wind Prayers.
- Signet of Judgment: decreased damage to 5...41...50; decreased range to half.
Signet of Judgment was the only unconditional ranged knockdown without a very long cast time or Exhaustion or both. Even as an elite skill, this proved too powerful, especially when featured in skill bars that maximize signet efficiency. We've lowered the damage and range on this skill to bring it in line with other ranged knockdown skills.
- Enfeebling Blood: increased health sacrifice to 17%; decreased duration to 1...13...16.
Enfeebling Blood has been far too effective at spreading Weakness everywhere, especially at low Curses attribute. We've adjusted the duration scaling and increased the health sacrifice to add cost and enforce some more attribute investment.
- Chants and shouts no longer affect allied Guild Battle NPCs.
Specific shouts and chants (particularly Anthem of Weariness) were overly effective at eliminating the damage NPCs do at Victory or Death. Using the same philosophy as we have on wards and Spirits, we've changed shouts and chants to no longer affect Guild Battle NPCs, which should cut down on some ability to nullify NPCs at VoD.