ArenaNet:Developer updates/Archive May-June 2007

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[Dev Update] Skill Balances and PvP Changes -- 12 June 2007

The design team has spent considerable time reviewing the game, and a number of skill balances and PvP changes will be implemented into the game this week. These changes will remain in place for the week and, if they are successful, will remain in the game permanently. We will continue to monitor the state of the game and make adjustments as needed. The game update that is being implemented this week makes the changes listed below:

Automated Tournaments

  • Participants in Daily GvG Tournaments no longer require 14-day guild membership. Note: After reviewing the comments and feedback we are going to move forward with the allowing guests in Daily Automated Tournaments, but we are going to keep the 14-day restriction on the 4 guild members. Please note these new restrictions are only going to apply in Daily Automated Tournaments, and the older restrictions will still apply for Monthly Tournaments.
  • Teams in Daily GvG Tournaments now require only four guild members instead of the previous eight.
After monitoring Automated Tournaments, we believe the number of eligible guilds is too low. To resolve this, we plan to relax some restrictions for Daily GvG Tournaments, and to allow guests. It is our hope that this increases the number of teams that can play and raises the popularity of the tournaments.

Hero Battles

  • Reduced the rate at which shrines increase the morale meter in Hero Battles.
  • The cannon on the Bombardment map now fires every 10 seconds instead of every 15 seconds.
To encourage more aggressive play and to make kills count for more, we slowed down the speed at which shrines award points. Also, we increased the rate that the cannon fires to make it harder to hold the center shrine if the other player controls the cannon. We noticed that many strategies focus on highly defensive builds to control shrines. With these tweaks, we hope to discourage some of these strategies.

General

We added a cap of +25 to the armor buff when stacking skills. A single skill can still bring the bonus over +25, but multiple skills with smaller bonuses will not do so. Armor bonuses from shields, weapons, insignias and inscriptions are not affected and still stack.

Assassin

  • Beguiling Haze: increased the Dazed duration to 3..9 seconds.
  • Expose Defenses: increased recharge time to 15 seconds.
  • Expunge Enchantments: now removes an additional Enchantment.
  • Hidden Caltrops: now triggers when the Hex ends. This skill now ends when you hit a moving foe.
  • Recall: now ends if the target moves out of compass range.
  • Sharpen Daggers: Fixed a bug that caused players using Sharpen Daggers to suffer from Bleeding when an attack skill is used against them.
  • Siphon Strength: decreased Energy cost to 10.
Our last change to Recall helped players better counter with Enchantment removal but, at the same time, it gave Assassins a larger freedom of movement than they had before. So, we brought back the range restriction. We augmented some weaker, less-seen Assassin skills in hopes to make a few more builds viable. We changed Expose Defenses mainly because we thought it did too good a job of countering block skills.

Mesmer

The Mesmer movement speed debuffs were weak compared to the Elementalist. To address this, we increased the duration of some Illusion Magic Hexes that Mantra of Persistence affects so that these skills wouldn't depend on it as much to make them attractive choices. We didn't increase the duration of Migraine or Arcane Conundrum because these spells already do enough to counter Hex removal. We changed Arcane Conundrum to an adjacent AoE so that Mesmers can better handle large clumps of casters as are sometimes encountered in PvE. We dropped the recharge time on Clumsiness to improve its usefulness in the faster, large-group combats of PvE; the Energy cost should keep it balanced in PvP. To increase the likelihood that Lyssa’s Balance will remove an Enchantment, we changed the skill so that if you and your target have an equal number of Enchantments, your target still loses one. We also changed all Mesmer "Power" interrupts so they can interrupt Chants, giving them the ability to counter Paragons. Last, but not least, we've tweaked Fast Casting to benefit Mesmers who equip Signets.

Elementalist

Although we are keeping an eye on the powerful AoE damage of Searing Flames, we haven't done anything to it because we expect a lot of destruction from Fire Magic. We tweaked some Earth Magic skills to encourage Earth Elementalist builds, but overall we like the current balance of the Elementalist and are happy to see them in all styles of play and game types.

Necromancer

  • Soul Reaping: Energy gain now triggers 3 times every 15 seconds (if you are already at maximum Energy when something dies, it does not count toward this limit). You now gain full Energy when a Spirit you control dies; you gain no Energy when other Spirits die.
  • Signet of Sorrow: fixed a bug that prevented this Signet from recharging properly when near an exploited corpse.
  • Spiteful Spirit: increased Energy cost to 15.
  • Well of Blood: decreased casting time to 1 second.
  • Well of Darkness: decreased casting time to 1 second.
  • Well of Power: decreased Energy cost to 5, decreased casting time to 1 second.
  • Well of Silence: decreased Energy cost to 10, decreased casting time to 1 second.
  • Well of Suffering: decreased Energy cost to 10, decreased casting time to 1 second.
  • Well of Weariness: decreased Energy cost to 5.
As we mentioned in previous notes, we’ve wanted to refine the changes we made to Soul Reaping. In many cases, the 5 second timer capped the effectiveness of Soul Reaping to the right degree, but when multiple creatures died all at once, this limitation was more severe than we liked. We've extensively tested an Energy gain process of 3 times every 15 seconds and determined this flowed a lot better with the rate at which things die, while keeping the overall Energy gain per second the same. Also, if things die when Necromancers already have full Energy, it does not count toward this cap, which means they are more likely to gain Energy when they need it.
We've also changed the way Soul Reaping works with Spirits. You now gain full Energy when a Spirit you control dies, but you gain no Energy when other Spirits die. We hope this will dissuade Necromancers from being the super Spirit Energy engines that they are in some game types, and restore balance
Lastly, we reduced the Energy cost and cast times of Wells so they feel different than Hexes and minion skills. Because the corpse requirement is the main limitation of these spells, we can safely lower their casting times and Energy cost.

Warrior

Though we continuously monitor anti-Warrior Hexes and how they affect the frontline, we are leaving those Hexes alone. We've buffed some unused Warrior skills to encourage more builds.

Monk

We improved some underpowered skills to increase their likelihood of being equipped but have generally kept changes small so as to not upset the current play style of the Monk.

Ranger

  • Barrage: no longer removes Glyphs.
  • Crippling Shot: decreased Energy cost to 10.
  • Heal as One: now states that it heals instead of giving a Health "gain."
  • Melandru's Resilience: decreased recharge time to 15 seconds, increased Health regeneration gained for each Condition to +4.
We've returned Crippling Shot to 10 Energy provide players with an alternative to the ever-popular Burning Arrow. The number of Condition counters has grown since our last major skill balance update, and it is now safe to reduce the Energy cost. Heal as One has been extremely prevalent in Hero Battles, and after looking it over, we've found a number of bugs, all of which we have been fixed. We haven't changed the functionality of the skill much because we want to see how it plays before we make any further adjustments. Finally, we changed some Ranger skills to make them more attractive.

Ritualist

We decided to be conservative with Ritualist changes in this update. We continue to monitor them in Heroes' Ascent, and we want to see how the Soul Reaping changes affect them. Recent balance changes encouraged greater use of Weapon spells, but secondary Ritualists could still use many of these with similar effectiveness. To address this, we modified Spawning Power so that it now also increases the duration of weapon spells. Weapon of Warding seemed overpowered with a longer duration, so we reduced its duration in conjunction with the change to Spawning Power.

Paragon

We increased the casting time of Defensive Anthem to weaken it in PvP while not detracting excessively from its effectiveness in PvE. Now it should be easier to interrupt, especially when combined with the changes to Mesmer Power spells. We intend for Paragons to have a supplemental defensive role, not a dominant one, and to encourage active play.


[Dev Update] Chat Channels and Trade "Spam" -- 12 June 2007

As you know, we offer several types of chat options in Guild Wars. Lately, players have shared their concerns about the increasing problem of people spamming trade messages to the All Chat ("Local") Channel, instead of using the Trade Channel which is designated for that purpose. In response to that concern—which we share—we will be taking steps to increase our enforcement of the existing Rules of Conduct. As you are probably aware, spamming of any kind is strictly against the Rules of Conduct, but we are specifically concerned with those who are spamming the All Chat Channel. In order to encourage those with sales, purchases, and trade to use the designated Trade Channel instead, we will begin keeping records of the worst offenders, and those who spam All Chat with trade messages may have their accounts suspended. (You can find details on our policies and practices in our Conduct Breaches and Outcomes document.)

The Trade Channel is there for you, and we will not be taking action against those put their trade messages in the Trade Channel. You are free to go about your buying, selling, and trading messaging as you desire, as long as you keep it within the Trade Channel. (The use of a "spam bot"—like any bot—is still strictly disallowed, and we will take action on accounts that are found to be using them.)

This increased diligence towards trade spam in the All Chat Channel is not intended to stop trade – not at all! We fully encourage and support trade; that is why we have a channel completely dedicated to sales, purchases, and trades. This increased enforcement is designed to keep trade chat in the Trade Channel, and to help reduce the amount of spam in the All Chat Channel.

We thank you for your patience with this situation, and appreciate your support of the new initiative to improve the Guild Wars experience.


[Dev Update] Automated Tournament System Improvements -- 11 May 2007

In monitoring and assessing the ATS over the last few days, the dev team identified specific potential improvements to the system. These improvements did not require a "Live Build," therefore was no in-game notification and no Update Notes were published. However, we do want you to be aware of these system improvements, which were effective at approximately 7:30 PM Pacific Time on Friday, May 11th. The changes are as follows:

  • The top 25% of all players who participate in each tournament instance will receive Tournament Reward points, rather than just the top 8 players.
  • Guilds and players will no longer receive Qualifier Points or Tournament Rewards Points if they forfeit on the first round.
  • Teams in GvG Tournaments will no longer be required to retain 6 out of the 8 original players throughout the entire tournament.
  • Players will now get their Tournament Tokens refunded when withdrawing from a tournament.