ArenaNet:Developer updates/Archive Jan-Mar 2008

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[Dev Update] Changes to Taiwanese Accounts – 31 March 2008

New government regulations in Taiwan, which take effect April 1, restrict game companies in that region from effectively suspending or banning accounts for participating in professional farming or real-money trading. Guild Wars is highly impacted by local regulations such as this, because Guild Wars operates in a seamless, connected manner between all territories. We cannot sustain a seamless connection when we are unable to effectively police the game in one territory, because professional farmers in that territory could severely damage the game’s economy throughout the world. Therefore, we are forced to disconnect Taiwanese service from the rest of the game world as of April 1.

Users in Taiwan will still be able to participate in their international guilds and compete in international PvP, but as of April 1, they will no longer be able to enter international districts, trade with players outside Taiwan, or play in PvE environments with players outside Taiwan.


[Dev Update] Issues with March ATS Tournament – 29 March

The monthly tournament in the Guild Wars Automated Tournament System, taking place this weekend, had an error with the map rotation. We had three choices: (1) Restart the tournament, depriving players and guilds of their hard-earned victories; (2) leave it running with the incorrect maps; (3) correct the map rotation mid-tournament, so that the majority of the tournament takes place on the intended maps. We elected to go with the third choice, and we have amended the rotation so that all maps moving forward will be as indicated in the tournament messaging. We apologize for this issue, and wish everyone the best of luck in the coming rounds.


[Dev Update] Changes for New Accounts – 18 March 2008

Over the last several months, there has been a significant increase in issues related to real-money trading of Guild Wars gold. Players have noticed increased spamming of gold advertising in the game. ArenaNet and NCsoft have noticed, behind the scenes, a major increase in account fraud that is directly related to the attempt to acquire and sell gold and items.

With ArenaNet and NCsoft banning over 5,000 bot accounts per week, the real-money trading (RMT) companies have a constant appetite for new accounts. One way they obtain new accounts is by making fraudulent purchases using stolen credit cards. We have anti-fraud measures in place to catch and terminate such accounts, but there is a window of time in which these accounts may be used for botting and RMT sales. For any one account this is a small problem, but multiplied by 5,000 accounts per week, it becomes a large problem.

Today, we will be putting a change into the game that will help address this issue. For all newly-created accounts, there will be a 24-hour period in which the characters on that account cannot trade or drop items on the ground. This will affect new accounts that are made once the update goes in; existing accounts are unaffected.

It’s important to say that players will still be able to obtain gold and items from quests and other non-trade means. They will be able to store items in inventory or through the Xunlai Agents. They will simply need to wait one day before trading with other players.

For more information about why and how ArenaNet protects the game from RMT companies, please read our Policy on Real-Money Trading.

User Agreement Changes – 18 March 2008

We would like to provide our players with a means to clearly see any changes that are made to the Guild Wars User Agreement. Changes will be shown in a format that allows you to see what was removed, via strike-through, and what was added, via bold text.

Today's changes involved only the date and seventh section of the User Agreement. The changes are noted below:


7. OFFICIAL SERVICE

The Game(s) is designed for official play only as offered through the Service by NC Interactive at the Web Site and not through any other means. You further agree not to access, create or provide any other means through which Game(s) may be played by others, as through server emulators. You agree not to use any hardware or software, including but not limited to third party tools, or any other method of support which may in any way influence or advantage your use of the Service which is not authorized by NC Interactive, including but not limited to the use of "bots" and/or any other method by which the Service may be played automatically without human input. You acknowledge that you do not have the right to create, publish, distribute, create derivative works from or use any software programs, utilities, applications, emulators or tools derived from or created for the Game(s), except that you may use the Software to the extent expressly permitted by this Agreement. You may not take any action which imposes an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our infrastructure. You may not sell or auction any Game(s) accounts, characters, items, coin or copyrighted material, nor may you assist others in doing so. NC Interactive may from time to time in its sole discretion implement various forms of filtering, blocking or monitoring of IP addresses or proxies used to use, play or access the Game(s) or the Service, including without limitation blocking or filtering measures that restrict your ability to use, play or access the Game(s) or Service outside of the territories in which NC Interactive makes the Game(s) or Service available.


[Dev Update] Skill Balance – 06 March 2008

This week's update features big changes with the Necromancer to make it more viable in Guild-versus-Guild matches. These changes are primarily for condition manipulation and spells that remove multiple enchantments. On the Elementalist, point-blank area-of-effect skills have had the long aftercast removed to encourage their use, while Mesmer interrupts have received boosts to offer alternatives to Power Leak. Assassin hexes in the Deadly Arts line were toned down to provide more active play while slightly reducing their power. We also made more Victory or Death adjustments in an effort to balance the game between quick resolution and interesting play.

As always, we will monitor these changes and make additional revisions as necessary.

Guild vs. Guild

  • Victory or Death: reduced damage increased to 10%; this skill now reduces healing by 10%.
  • Victory is Ours: both teams now get this bonus at Victory or Death, regardless of how many NPCs either team has; increased damage to 20%.
We've continued to adjust the numbers behind Victory or Death and Victory is Ours to find the right balances--both in how much NPCs impact VoD and how powerful the buffs themselves are. Victory is Ours now affects all players and grants a larger damage boost, which shifts more of the overall damage bonus during endgame GvG onto players. The VoD effect itself is less powerful as a result. However, it also now reduces healing, which encourages players to bring additional damage instead of defense.

Assassin

  • Shroud of Silence: decreased duration to 1..3 seconds.
  • Shadow Prison: decreased duration to 1..7 seconds.
  • Dark Prison: decreased duration to 1..6 seconds.
  • Siphon Speed: increased recharge to 30 seconds; decreased duration to 5..15 seconds; this skill now recharges 50% faster if cast on a moving foe.
  • Augury of Death: increased recharge to 20 seconds.
A few Deadly Arts hexes in skirmish situations were both passive and a bit overpowered. To remedy this, we've lessened the power and reduced the durations of Shroud of Silence, Shadow Prison, and Dark Prison, which will better reward proper timing (the shorter effect means Assassins will have a smaller window of opportunity to capitalize on their advantage). Siphon Speed is a strong split skill, but now it needs to be used on moving foes to maintain its power, which necessitates more attentive play. Augury of Death has been lethally effective at applying Deep Wound at the perfect time, but without a real limitation. The increased recharge limits its availability and somewhat diminishes its overall power.

Mesmer

  • Imagined Burden: decreased duration to 8..20 seconds.
  • Enchanter's Conundrum: functionality changed to: "For 10 seconds, target foe casts enchantments 100% slower. When this hex is applied, that foe takes 30..120 damage if not under the effects of an enchantment spell."
  • Psychic Instability: this skill has been moved to the Fast Casting attribute; decreased casting time to .25 seconds; functionality changed to: "Interrupt target foe's action. If that action was a spell that foe is knocked down. (50% failure chance with Fast Casting 4 or less.)"
  • Power Lock: decreased recharge to 12 seconds.
  • Cry of Frustration: decreased Energy cost to 10.
  • Simple Thievery: decreased casting time to .25 seconds; increased recharge to 10 seconds; decreased duration to 5..20 seconds; changed functionality to: "Interrupt target foe's action. If that action was a skill, that skill is disabled for 5..20 seconds, and Simple Thievery is replaced by that skill."
  • Power Leak: decreased Energy lost to 3..17.
In our continuing efforts to better balance interruption, we've adjusted skills that serve a similar function as Power Leak but in a different way--namely interrupts that have meaningful, shutdown-style side-effects. Power Lock's recharge is shorter to make it more comparable to Power Leak, while Power Leak had its Energy denial reduced. Psychic Instability and Simple Thievery have been overhauled altogether. Simple Thievery is now an interrupt that also steals a skill, and Psychic Instability is now an interrupt that knocks down someone casting a spell. Enchanter's Conundrum still provided too much of a damage spike when combined with Shatter Delusions, so we moved the damage from when the hex ends to when the hex is applied. Imagined Burden's duration was frustratingly long, especially with Mantra of Persistence, so we reset its duration to a more manageable level. Finally, Cry of Frustration now costs less Energy to more appropriately match its effect.

Necromancer

  • Foul Feast: decreased casting time to .25 seconds; this skill has been moved to the Soul Reaping attribute; changed functionality to: "All conditions are transferred from target other ally to yourself. For each condition acquired in this way, you gain 0..45 Health and 0..3 Energy."
  • Enfeebling Blood: decreased Energy cost to 1, decreased casting time to 1 second; increased recharge to 8 seconds.
  • Enfeeble: decreased casting time to .25 seconds; increased duration to 10..30 seconds.
  • Plague Signet: changed functionality to: "Transfer all negative conditions with their remaining durations lengthened by 100..200% from yourself to target foe."
  • Strip Enchantment: functionality changed to: "Remove 1..2 enchantments from target foe. If an enchantment is removed, you steal 5..65 Health."
  • Weaken Armor: decreased casting time to 1 second; this skill now affects all adjacent foes.
  • Plague Sending: decreased Energy cost to 1.
  • Wail of Doom: decreased Energy cost to 1; decreased recharge to 10 seconds; decreased duration to 1..4 seconds; changed skill type to hex; changed functionality to: "For 0..4 second[s], all of target foe's attributes are set to 0."
  • Rip Enchantment: functionality changed to: "Remove 1 enchantment from target foe and that foe suffers from Bleeding for 5..25 seconds."
  • Vampiric Swarm: decreased casting time to 2 seconds; decreased recharge time to 8 seconds.
  • Deathly Swarm: decreased casting time to 2 seconds; increased recharge time to 6 seconds.
As a character, the Necromancer has had a hard time finding a spot in GvG teams for some time. This called for some aggressive changes that we believe, over the course of multiple updates, will help this profession bring something essential to the fight without removing active play from the field. To start with, Soul Reaping needs to be made viable. Our first changes to this end are with Foul Feast and Wail of Doom. Foul Feast now provides strong condition manipulation, Energy management, and Health gain in a single non-elite skill. Wail of Doom expands on the concept of attribute reduction (also seen in Weakness and the skill Atrophy) as a role for this profession, reducing all of the target's attributes to 0 for a short time. This experimental change will prove if this is a viable and fun role for Necromancers.
Next, we made it easier for Necromancers to spread lower-impact conditions and manipulate existing conditions. Enfeeble, Enfeebling Blood, and Weaken Armor are now more powerful to facilitate quicker and more efficient condition spreading. Plague Sending has virtually no Energy pressure, and Plague Signet actually extends the duration of transferred conditions. We've also increased the Necromancer's ability to remove multiple enchantments in a single spell. Strip Enchantment now removes 1-2 enchantments and steals Health, while Rip Enchantment removes 1-2 enchantments and helps spread Bleeding (part of the plan to make this character more condition-heavy). Finally, Deathly Swarm and Vampiric Swarm have had their cast times reduced to 2 seconds to make them a sustainable source of multiple target pressure.
These are all radical changes that we will watch very closely.

Elementalist

  • Glyph of Lesser Energy: canceled spells now count as a use of the Glyph's effect.
  • Glyph of Energy: decreased Energy reduction to 10..35; canceled spells now count as a use of the Glyph's effect.
  • Ward Against Melee: increased recharge to 30 seconds.
  • Blinding Flash: decreased duration to 3..8 seconds.
  • Mind Blast: decreased Energy gain to 1..8; increased recharge to 3 seconds.
  • Flame Djinn's Haste: decreased duration to 8..14 seconds; increased recharge to 20 seconds; the skill now recharges 50% faster if you damage a foe with it.
  • Rodgort's Invocation: increased recharge to 8 seconds.
  • Lightning Orb: functionality changed to: "Send out a lightning Orb that strikes target foe for 10..100 lightning damage and that foe has Cracked Armor for 5..20 seconds if it hits. This spell has 25% armor penetration."
  • Shock Arrow: increased recharge to 8 seconds; functionality changed to: "Send out a Shock Arrow that strikes for 5..50 lightning damage if it hits. If Shock Arrow strikes an attacking foe, you gain 1..9 Energy. This spell has 25% armor penetration."
  • Aftershock: removed the long aftercast.
  • Ward Against Melee: removed the long aftercast.
  • Ward Against Foes: removed the long aftercast.
  • Inferno: removed the long aftercast.
  • Flame Burst: removed the long aftercast.
  • Frozen Burst: removed the long aftercast; increased recharge to 8 seconds.
  • Crystal Wave/Teinai's Crystals: removed the long aftercast.
  • Shockwave: removed the long aftercast.
  • Double Dragon: removed the long aftercast.
Canceling spells under Glyph of Energy and Glyph of Lesser Energy without cost led to imbalances. Players could remove the threat of disruption from many expensive skills entirely by casting and canceling over and over until they saw the opposing team waste a key interrupt. Players could also keep canceling until the cast-time reduction from their items kicked in before committing to the cast. This fix should allow these skills to serve their intended purpose while solving these particular problems. Point-blank area-of-effect spells had a longer aftercast effect than standard spells (which was both unneeded and unintuitive) so we've entirely removed this concept. Air Magic lacked a spell that featured Energy gain and a low recharge, unlike the Water, Earth and Fire attributes. We reworked Shock Arrow to fill this capacity and help fuel Air Magic damage builds.
Lightning Orb's high cost, long cast, and projectile nature made it not worth its cost, so it now also applies Cracked Armor. The Blindness from Blinding Flash is now shorter, which will make it a less severe threat to those without condition removal. While Mind Blast enabled an interesting Fire Elementalist character to exist within GvG teams, the skill itself was slightly too good. In response, we raised the recharge and slightly reduced the Energy gain. Rodgort's Invocation had too low a recharge once the Energy cost was partially bypassed with Mind Blast, so we raised that to bring it more in-balance with other skills. Flame Djinn's Haste is a powerful, unconditional run speed increase that outperforms most other options, so we've encouraged players to bring it as more of a combat skill that has a dual function.

Monk

  • Heal Party: increased casting time to 2 seconds.
  • Guardian: increased recharge time to 4 seconds.
  • Reversal of Damage: decreased recharge time to 3 seconds.
  • Symbol of Wrath/Kirin's Wrath: removed the long aftercast.
The previous change to Heal Party made it too powerful in conjunction with Healer's Boon, so we've reverted the casting time back to 2 seconds. Guardian's recharge time was increased slightly to make an interruption or removal have a meaningful impact. Reversal of Damage was meant to be a staple skill of Smiting Monks, but was unfavorable with a high recharge time. Its new lower recharge should make it more viable. Symbol of Wrath and Kirin's Wrath no longer have an aftercast, as we've completely removed this concept.

Warrior

  • Magehunter's Smash: increased adrenaline cost to 7 strikes; functionality changed to: "If this attack hits, target foe is knocked down. If your target is under the effects of an enchantment, this attack cannot be blocked."
  • Axe Rake: decreased adrenaline cost to 5 strikes.
  • Axe Twist: decreased adrenaline cost to 5 strikes.
  • Gash: decreased adrenaline cost to 6 strikes.
  • "Shields Up!": increased armor gain to 60; functionality changed to: "For 5..11 seconds, you and all party members within earshot gain 60 armor against incoming projectile attacks."
  • "Watch Yourself!": functionality changed to: "Party members within earshot gain +5..25 armor for 10 seconds. This shout ends after 1..3 incoming attack[s]."
  • Lion's Comfort: decreased adrenaline cost to 4 strikes; functionality changed to: "All of your signets are disabled for 12 seconds. You are healed for 50..110 Health, and gain 0..3 strike[s] of adrenaline."
  • Sprint: decreased recharge time to 15 seconds.
  • Mokele Smash: decreased recharge time to 12 seconds; increased adrenaline gain to 1..3
Combination melee skills require a significant investment of skill slots to be successful. To further reward such investment, Axe Rake, Axe Twist, and Gash have had their adrenaline costs reduced. "Watch Yourself!" could be on a team indefinitely, and when coupled with no activation time or Energy cost, this was something that couldn't be stopped once it got rolling. The 1-3 incoming attack limit means it takes more conscious effort to time ot right and be effective. The block component of "Shields Up!" was nullifying condition spreading and Ranger interruption far too well, so we increased the armor buff while eliminating the chance to block. Magehunter's Smash now counters block-heavy teams by punching through enchantments that provide a block chance. Mokele's Smash provides some Energy-to-adrenaline conversion for hammer Warriors, who are often in greater need of adrenaline than Energy, and Lion's Comfort is a low-risk heal that can sustain itself while the character stays in combat. Sprint now recharges faster so that it is more in balance with other movement speed boosts.

Ranger

  • Pin Down: decreased recharge time to 8 seconds.
  • Crippling Shot: increased recharge time to 2 seconds.
  • Hunter's Shot: decreased activation time to 1 second.
Crippling Shot has outclassed most other elites as well as Pin Down more than it was meant to. Its ability to provide attack after attack that can't be blocked, especially coupled with its powerful Cripple application, simply made it too powerful. Consequently, Pin Down's recharge time is reduced, while Crippling Shot's is slightly increased. Likewise, Hunter's Shot was inferior to Screaming Shot; the faster attack makes it more comparable to Screaming Shot.

Dervish

  • Pious Assault: increased activation time to normal weapon attack activation time.
  • Mystic Regeneration: decreased duration to 5..20 seconds; increased recharge time to 12 seconds.
  • Wounding Strike: functionality changed to: "If this attack hits, target foe suffers from Bleeding for 5..20 seconds. If you are under the effects of an enchantment, target foe also suffers from a Deep Wound for 5..20 seconds."
  • Grenth's Aura: decreased duration to 10 seconds; increased recharge time to 25 seconds; increased Energy cost to 15; increased casting time to 2 seconds.
While Pious Assault was successful in generating various Dervish builds, it proved too powerful, outshining even the Wearying Strike/Avatar of Melandru combination. Mystic Regeneration's .25 second casting time, fast recharge time, and long duration made it too difficult to counter, as interruption was unlikely and removal didn't slow it down. We've made removal more meaningful by raising the recharge and lowering the duration. Wounding Strike was not living up to its elite status, so now it can simultaneously apply Deep Wound and Bleeding. Finally, Grenth's Aura and Pious Assault were too powerful a combination, so we limited the rate at which enchantments can be removed with Grenth's Aura. Overall, we will closely watch the potential of strong single-character spikes to bring them in line, especially with the Dervish.

Paragon

  • Mending Refrain: increased Energy cost to 10; decreased duration to 15 seconds.
  • Song of Restoration: increased Energy cost to 10; increased recharge to 20 seconds; increased healing to 45..110 Health.
  • Barbed Spear: decreased adrenaline cost to 2 strikes.
  • Blazing Spear: decreased adrenaline cost to 6 strikes.
Mending Refrain's irremovable nature and passive play meant that once established on a party, it would never go away. We've added significant Energy pressure to it by increasing the cost and decreasing the duration. Song of Restoration's overall effect has been reduced, both to apply more Energy pressure to Paragons and make this skill less effective at fueling Mending Refrain. To support the idea of an offensive Paragon, Barbed Spear and Blazing Spear now require less adrenaline.

Ritualist

  • Ancestors' Rage: decreased damage dealt to 5..110.
  • Soothing Memories: decreased casting time to .75 seconds; decreased recharge to 4 seconds.
  • Death Pact Signet: now resurrects party member with 15..100% Energy, instead of the caster's current Energy; The energy returned now scales based on your Restoration Magic.
Secondary Ritualists were inflicting too much additional spike damage with Ancestors' Rage. We've adjusted the numbers so that a higher attribute investment is required to get similar damage out of it. Soothing Memories is less powerful than other healing options for Ritualists, even while holding a bundle item. We've brought the recharge and casting time down to balance it better with the alternatives. Death Pact Signet is now attributed to Restoration Magic so that it is not completely superior to Resurrection Signet.


User Agreement Changes – 8 February 2008

We've made another tiny change to the User Agreement: The total changes were the addition of a comma after the game name "Guild Wars: Eye of the North," and the removal of the letter "s" in the URL for the User Agreement. Changes are shown below in a format that allows you to see what was removed, via strike-through, and what was added, via bold text.

1. TERMS OF AGREEMENT
(a) Terms of Agreement. NC Interactive, Inc. and ArenaNet Inc. (collectively, "NC Interactive") offer to allow you to play its multi-player online computer games "Guild Wars," Guild Wars Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, and/or Guild Wars: Eye of the North Guild Wars: Eye of the North, and/or Guild Wars Bonus Mission Pack, as applicable (individually and collectively, the “Game(s)”) conditioned on your agreement to all of the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement and your compliance with the posted Rules of Conduct.
Your use of the Game(s) constitutes your agreement to all such terms and conditions and your agreement to comply with the Rules of Conduct. To confirm your agreement, you must click on the "I Accept" button at the end of this Agreement. If you do not so agree, you must click on the "I Decline" button at the end of this Agreement, in which case you reject the offered terms of use and will not be permitted to play the Game(s).
If you have any questions regarding these terms and conditions or the Rules of Conduct, please contact NC Interactive customer service by visiting the support section of our web site, currently at the following link: http://support.guildwars.com.
(b) Amendments. NC Interactive may amend this Agreement or modify the Rules of Conduct at any time in its sole discretion on our web site via (a) the amended Agreement, currently at http://www.guildwars.com/support/legal/users-agreement.php http://www.guildwars.com/support/legal/user-agreement.php or (b) the modified Rules of Conduct, currently at http://www.guildwars.com/support/legal/rulesofconduct.php. Amendments to the Agreement and/or modifications to the Rules of Conduct will be effective immediately upon posting. When logging onto the Service (as defined below) you will be asked to confirm your acceptance to any such revised terms and conditions. You agree to check this Agreement and the Rules of Conduct periodically so you will be familiar with their content as amended or modified from time to time. If you do not agree to the revised terms and conditions, you should contact NC Interactive immediately to discuss closure of your Account (also defined below).

Minor Favor Update – 1 February 2008

As you may be aware, players accrued a substantial amount of Favor of the Gods during the weekend of January 18 - 20. The numbers actually exceeded the coding ceiling, because in truth we never anticipated that players would accrue so much Favor in such a short period of time! When the ceiling was reached, the Favor count was reset to zero, but quickly rose to over 28,000 within 24 hours.

In working on the code for tracking Favor, one of our programmers accidentally added approximately 7,000 minutes to the then-current Favor total. These 7,000 were not Favor minutes that had been gained by players; the addition was the result of a simple human error. The programmer working on the "Favor Counter" is going to remove the 7,000 unearned minutes sometime today, February 1, 2008. We wanted to alert players about this minor change so that they do not become unnecessarily concerned when the Favor numbers change. Thank you for your understanding concerning this adjustment.

User Agreement Changes – 28 January 2008

We would like to provide our players with a means to clearly see any changes that are made to the Guild Wars User Agreement. Changes will be shown in a format that allows you to see what was removed, via strike-through, and what was added, via bold text.

Today's changes involved only the date and first section of the User Agreement. The changes are noted below:

USER AGREEMENT (the "Agreement")
Last Modified August 2007 January 2008


1. TERMS OF AGREEMENT
(a) Terms of Agreement. NC Interactive, Inc. and ArenaNet Inc. (collectively, "NC Interactive") offer to allow you to play its multi-player online computer games "Guild Wars," Guild Wars Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, and/or Guild Wars: Eye of the North and/or Guild Wars Bonus Mission Pack, as applicable (individually and collectively, the “Game(s)”) conditioned on your agreement to all of the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement and your compliance with the posted Rules of Conduct.
Your use of the Game(s) constitutes your agreement to all such terms and conditions and your agreement to comply with the Rules of Conduct. To confirm your agreement, you must click on the "I Accept" button at the end of this Agreement. If you do not so agree, you must click on the "I Decline" button at the end of this Agreement, in which case you reject the offered terms of use and will not be permitted to play the Game(s).
If you have any questions regarding these terms and conditions or the Rules of Conduct, please contact NC Interactive customer service by visiting the support section of our web site, currently at the following link: http://support.guildwars.com.
(b) Amendments. NC Interactive may amend this Agreement or modify the Rules of Conduct at any time in its sole discretion on our web site via (a) the amended Agreement, currently at http://www.guildwars.com/support/legal/termsofuse.php http://www.guildwars.com/support/legal/users-agreement.php or (b) the modified Rules of Conduct, currently at http://www.guildwars.com/support/legal/rulesofconduct.php. Amendments to the Agreement and/or modifications to the Rules of Conduct will be effective immediately upon posting. When logging onto the Service (as defined below) you will be asked to confirm your acceptance to any such revised terms and conditions. You agree to check this Agreement and the Rules of Conduct periodically so you will be familiar with their content as amended or modified from time to time. If you do not agree to the revised terms and conditions, you should contact NC Interactive immediately to discuss closure of your Account (also defined below).

[Dev Update] Skill Balance – 17 January 2008

For this skill update, the primary goals are to further reduce the power of passive defense (and provide alternatives for those defenses), improve the late game mechanics in GvG, and improve some underused skills. As normal, this test period will be monitored closely by the play balance team so necessary adjustments can be made.

Guild versus Guild

  • Victory or Death: reduced the damage bonus to +15%; removed the maximum Health reduction; Guild Lords now prioritize other Guild Lords over players as targets.
  • Archers: now have Precision Shot.
  • Footmen: now have Pure Strike.
  • Knights: now have Warrior's Cunning.
These changes are primarily intended to adjust the impact of the block mechanic during Victory or Death and restore the importance of aggressive play throughout the match. Heavily defensive teams were too successful at consistently stalling games until Victory or Death, then using defensive skills to negate the impact of enemy NPCs while taking advantage of the damage bonus to compensate for their lack of offensive skills.

Assassin

  • Viper's Defense: changed skill type to a spell; increased casting time to .25 seconds; functionality changed to: "All adjacent foes are Poisoned for 5..20 seconds, you Shadow Step to a nearby random location."
  • Heart of Shadow: functionality changed to: "You are healed for 30..150 Health and Shadow Step to a nearby random location."
  • Scorpion Wire: decreased recharge time to 10 seconds.
  • Caltrops: decreased recharge time to 10 seconds.
Viper's Defense and Heart of Shadow were far too unreliable and could, for example, cause the caster to Shadow Step away while in the middle of using a skill. This change is meant to give more control to the caster, and make these skills more active and fun to use. Scorpion Wire, an underused skill overall, became less attractive with the addition of Augury of Death, warranting a recharge reduction to improve it. Caltrops needed to be more readily available to compete with other Cripple applications, so we brought the recharge down there as well.

Dervish

  • Pious Assault: increased Energy cost to 10; functionality changed to: "You lose 1 Enchantment. If this attack hits, you deal +5..20 damage and inflict a Deep Wound for 5..20 seconds."
Aside from the Avatar of Melandru/Wearying Strike combination, options for inflicting Deep Wound were extremely limited for Dervishes. This rework of Pious Assault aims to grant that option to other Dervish builds.

Elementalist

  • Elemental Flame: increased Burning duration to 3..5 seconds.
  • Glyph of Essence: decreased recharge time to 20 seconds.
  • Chilling Winds: increased duration to 30 seconds.
We took this opportunity to increase some underpowered Elementalist skills. Elemental Flame gets much more attractive at low attribute levels, Glyph of Essence receives a nice recharge reduction to find room on crowded skill bars, and Chilling Winds gets a duration increase to allow it to spread to multiple targets.

Mesmer

  • Wastrel's Worry: increased damage to 20..80.
  • Mind Wrack: increased duration to 30 seconds.
  • Kitah's Burden/Ethereal Burden: reduced recharge time to 30 seconds.
  • Hex Eater Vortex: decreased damage to 30..90; increased recharge to 15 seconds.
Hex Eater Vortex was too prevalent in spikes on a single target, wiping off important protection spells while inflicting solid damage. The damage reduction and recharge increase should put more emphasis on the double-removal aspect. Kitah's Burden and Ethereal Burden had overly long recharges for movement reduction Hexes, so we knocked a third of that time off the top on both. Wastrel's Worry is intended as a staple-yet-conditional Mesmer damage spell, but its low, unguaranteed damage made it unattractive. Upping the damage here should more appropriately reward the times when it does succeed. Finally, many of the skills that could cause problems with Mind Wrack have received power decreases over the last several months, which makes us comfortable inching this skill back up a notch.

Monk

  • Divine Healing/Heaven's Delight: increased the area of effect to earshot.
  • Patient Spirit: decreased duration to 2 seconds; increased healing to 30..120 Health.
  • Restore Life: decreased casting time to 4 seconds.
  • Renew Life: decreased casting time to 4 seconds.
  • Vengeance: increased damage bonus to +25%; decreased recharge time to 30 seconds.
  • Aura of Stability: decreased duration to 1..16 seconds.
Touch-range, repeatable-use resurrection skills still proved too unwieldy for common use in PvP, so we'd decided to give them a generous casting time reduction to make the payoff more in-line with the difficulty of use. Patient Spirit is intended to be a slow but efficient maintenance-style heal, but was far too weak to perform that function previously. Divine Healing and Heaven's Delight received an aggressive range change to serve as an alternate heal for an entire group within the Divine Favor line, while Aura of Stability received a duration decrease to stop endless chains of it to invalidate knock-down.

Necromancer

  • Signet of Agony: increased damage to 10..70.
  • Wail of Doom: decreased Energy cost to 10.
Wail of Doom had a high price even before casting: it's both an elite and in a primary-only attribute line. We wanted to make the skill more usable for those who did decide to make those investments by reducing the Energy cost. Signet of Agony's damage was far too low to warrant any use, so we increased that to add some raw power to this overlooked skill.

Paragon

  • Spear of Fury: increased adrenaline gain to 2..6 strikes.
  • "We Shall Return!": decreased Energy cost to 5.
  • "Fall Back!": decreased Energy cost to 10.
Spear of Fury gets a boost to its adrenaline to help out Paragons, especially in PvE. "We Shall Return!" fits our goal of improving resurrection as a whole, while the lower Energy cost for "Fall Back!" will make it a more viable choice for split tactics in GvG.

Ranger

  • Power Shot: decreased activation time to 1 second.
  • Precision Shot: decreased activation time to 1 second.
  • Penetrating Attack/Sundering Attack: decreased activation time to 1 second.
  • Magebane Shot: increased Energy cost to 10.
Power Shot, Penetrating Attack, Sundering Attack, and Precision Shot were a bit lackluster in their effects. The intent of a faster speed is to increase overall bow damage output. Magebane Shot has become the clear elite choice for Rangers in GvG due to its low cost and high effect. At 10 Energy, this skill should now be more appropriately priced.

Ritualist

  • Rejuvenation: increased Spirit's level to 1..16.
  • Sight Beyond Sight: increased duration to 12..25 seconds.
  • Sundering Weapon: now affects the next 3 attacks.
  • Warmonger's Weapon: increased recharge time to 30 seconds.
Rejuvenation's low Health made its lifespan too short to take advantage of its effect, so we increased the level to compensate. Sundering Weapon gets additional attacks for more chances to spread Cracked Armor on different foes. Sight Beyond Sight's duration came up slightly, further rewarding this skill choice on Ritualist builds that include melee attacks. Warmonger's Weapon was an endless, unremovable, powerful enhancement that could lock players down for a whole game in 4v4 PvP formats; the recharge increase means it will not be a permanent factor.

Warrior

  • "Coward!": decreased adrenaline cost to 4 strikes.
  • "You're All Alone!": increased duration to 8 seconds.
"Coward!" and "You're All Alone!" are primarily split-friendly skills that enable Warriors to engage in skirmish tactics, so improving them should help Warriors perform better when away from the main group in GvG.

[Dev Update] Exploits and Bans – 10 January 2008

An exploit was recently discovered in Guild Wars that allowed client-hackers to travel to a hidden outpost. From that outpost, they could travel directly into the room containing Mallyx, the final boss in the Domain of Anguish.

This hidden outpost existed strictly for testing purposes and was never accessible through normal play. Only by hacking the client, or partying with someone who had done so, could a player access that outpost.

We eliminated the exploit with a build today. We also conducted a detailed investigation into who accessed this exploit and other hidden outposts. As a result of this investigation, we permanently banned 117 players late Wednesday night, Pacific time, and we will ban more accounts as appropriate as we review additional logs gathered after the initial bans. In our investigation, we took into consideration extraordinary circumstances such as players who might have been transported to the outpost unwittingly and against their will by a party leader who was hacking the game. We chose to permanently ban these 117 accounts because it was clear that the players involved had intentionally exploited a server vulnerability for their personal gain.

ArenaNet gives the highest possible priority to maintaining the security of the game and protecting the game economy. You can assist us by letting us know, via the Community mailbox, if you learn of an exploit. Protect your own account by refusing to use exploits and declining to share information about their uses with others.