ArenaNet:Developer updates/Archive Oct-Dec 2008

From Guild Wars Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

[Dev Update] - 11 December 2008

For this update, we're focusing on improving underused and weak Elite skills for each profession, and taking the opportunity to adjust areas that were affected in last month's title balance build. In addition to explaining the individual changes, we also want to describe the internal process for designing this Elite skill update.

We update Elites so that players have more options to play with in all areas of the game. It presents new possibilities for players to experience their profession in a way they never have before and creates a more dynamic environment in PvP, increasing the enjoyment of the "meta-game" that develops between teams. As these updates typically contain power increases and don't threaten to ruin established build themes, they've historically proved popular with players.

When choosing which Elites to change, we looked at a number of factors:

  • The skill has to be generally unused across all formats.
  • All professions should have about the same number of updates (with the inevitable variations).
  • The skill has to be weak regardless of trends in the game. A skill that's strong as a counter to certain PvP builds but not others would not generally qualify.

Initially, we start at 6-8 Elites in each profession and brainstorm early ideas of how to improve the skill. Anything from minor number changes to outright redesigns are put on the table and discussed. The only thing sacred is the skill name. Naturally, some skills lend themselves better to being improved than others, which narrows the list down to 4-5 a profession. With this sublist of Elites, we talk about the profession's role in PvP and PvE, and discuss how we can either support an existing role we're happy with or create a new role. Sometimes, skills fall entirely outside of this scope so we improve them as one-offs or to test the waters with something new (Symbols of Inspiration is a good example).

Next, we test the skills internally and continue to discuss their implications. This is important in a game like Guild Wars, where the possibilities of skill interactions are so diverse that there are usually a few situations not considered at the initial brainstorm. As testing reveals additional opportunities or issues, we make final revisions and number changes to limit the number of potential abuses. The hardest thing in an Elites update isn't making a skill good enough; rather, it's anticipating how it might get out of control in obscure circumstances.

Below is each profession's skill updates and an explanation behind those changes. Because of the dramatic nature of many of these changes, we expect that further refinements may be required for at least a few skills. As always, we'll closely monitor the effects of this update and respond accordingly.

PvE and PvP

Assassin

  • Mark of Insecurity Mark of Insecurity: functionality changed to: "For 5..25 seconds, target foe suffers from -1..3 Health degeneration, and enchantments and stances on that foe expire 90% faster."
  • Palm Strike Palm Strike: recharge time reduced to 4 seconds. Functionality changed to: Target touched foe is struck for 10..85 damage and is Crippled for 5..15 seconds. This skill counts as an off hand attack.
  • Seeping Wound Seeping Wound: functionality changed to: "For 20 seconds, if target foe is suffering from Bleeding or Poison, that foe takes 5..15 damage per second."
  • Wastrel's Collapse Wastrel's Collapse: functionality changed to: "Shadow Step to target foe. If that foe is not using a skill that foe is knocked down. All your non-dagger attack skills are disabled for 10 seconds."

Assassin Elites have big shoes to fill, typically competing with skills that allow Shadow Stepping. Elites that don't fill that role need to be exceptional at doing something different. In most cases, something different means shutting down the target's defenses to open a killing opportunity. This was the reasoning behind the Mark of Insecurity changes. Mark of Insecurity is meant to shut down many anti-melee defenses so the Assassin can rip into the target or, at very least, force hex removal.

Palm Strike's is strong because it allows an Assassin to quickly use a Dual Attack and free up skill slots normally occupied by lead and off-hand attacks. However, its recharge was too long to make this worthwhile. The addition of Cripple has two motivations: first, it synergizes with Assassin skills based on conditions; two, it mitigates the fact that the skill doesn't have Shadow Step. We expect this change to provide new opportunities for interesting Assassin builds.

Wastrel's Collapse has yet to fit snugly into the Assassin's paradigm. Most Assassins don't have time to regularly cast a spell that is unreliable at best. Taking into account the other Elites that Assassins frequently use, we decided to turn it into a new Shadow Step that depends on correct timing to knock down the target and set up for a quick kill. The interesting choice for Assassins is that they now have three solid Elite options for closing to the target: Wastrel's Collapse with knockdown, Shadow Prison with a snaring hex, and Aura of Displacement with the escape option in lieu of additional offense.

Seeping Wound frequently wound up redundant as targets quickly reached the Health degeneration cap of -10. The additional degeneration from this Elite was simply wasted. By moving to a raw damage-per-second model, we eliminate this redundancy.

Dervish

  • Reaper's Sweep Reaper's Sweep: functionality changed to: "If this attack hits, you deal +10..40 damage. If your target is below 50% Health, you also inflict a Deep Wound for 5..20 seconds, otherwise that foe loses one enchantment."
  • Onslaught Onslaught: Energy cost reduced to 5, casting time reduced to .25 second.

With Forms being such an attractive Elite choice for Dervishes (both mechanically and aesthetically) we wanted to add a couple of interesting alternatives to these skills. Reaper's Sweep was previously a weaker version of Wounding Strike, being overshadowed by the ability to regularly cause Deep Wound or at least Bleeding. The enchantment removal aspect for foes over 50% Health makes Reaper's Sweep a powerful way to crash through enemy defenses before finishing them off with a high damage and Deep Wound attack combination.

Onslaught was close to desirable, but it was a little too clumsy and expensive. When chasing someone in melee, a 1-second cast is too long to rationalize the movement speed increase. By dropping the casting time to a quarter-second, this has a much more responsive feel. Also, its lower cost makes it much easier to maintain over the course of a fight.

Elementalist

  • Blinding Surge Blinding Surge: functionality changed to: "Target foe is struck for 5..50 lightning damage. That foe and all adjacent foes are Blinded for '1..7 seconds. This spell has 25% armor penetration."
  • Double Dragon Double Dragon: Energy cost reduced to 5, recharge time reduced to 15 seconds. Functionality changed to: "All nearby foes are struck for 7..112 fire damage. For 10..25 seconds, your Fire Magic attribute is increased by +0..2."
  • Energy Boon Energy Boon: recharge time increased to 40 seconds, casting time removed. Functionality changed to: "For 20 seconds, you have +0..40 maximum Energy, and 5 Health regeneration. When Energy Boon ends you gain 0..20 Energy and 0..100 Health."
  • Ether Prism Ether Prism: Energy cost reduced to 5, casting time removed. Functionality changed to: "For 3 seconds, all damage you take is reduced to 0. When this enchantment ends, you gain 5..20 Energy."

Many Elementalist builds consist of a varied toolbox for flexible mid-line support. Water Magic has been popular lately, so we wanted to encourage alternatives to the standard build. The conditional nature of Blinding Surge's area-effect was unnecessary overall, and required players to analyze too many variables for a skill that has relatively sensitive timing. By making the area-effect a constant, players are encouraged to find good positional opportunities to maximize the Blindness.

Energy Boon's rework is intended to make it function like a burst where the Elementalist can afford to be more aggressive with Energy spending. This essentially behaves as a second high-Energy weapon swap to help in emergencies or close in for that kill. Additionally, it doubles as a self-heal, freeing up secondaries in PvE and smaller-format PvP. Ether Prism is now a flexible self-sufficient skill, offering self-protection, self-heal, and Energy management, something the Elementalist both lacked and needed.

Double Dragon's function has moved to a point-blank area-effect damage skill that also charges up the rest of the player's Fire Magic in the process. We expect this to find use in PvE builds, where high-damage, area-effect abilities are especially useful.

Mesmer

  • Fevered Dreams Fevered Dreams: functionality changed to: "For 10..25 seconds, whenever target foe suffers from a new condition, all foes in the area suffer from that condition as well and if that foe has two or more conditions that foe is Dazed for 1..3 seconds."
  • Recurring Insecurity Recurring Insecurity: recharge time reduced to 10 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 10 seconds, target foe suffers from -1..5 Health degeneration. If that foe has another hex when Recurring Insecurity would end, it is reapplied."
  • Power Leech Power Leech: Energy cost reduced to 5, recharge time increased to 20 seconds, Energy stolen increased to 5..15.
  • Shared Burden Shared Burden: recharge time reduced to 20 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 5..20 seconds, target foe and all nearby foes attack, cast spells, and move 33% slower.
  • Symbols of Inspiration Symbols of Inspiration: Energy cost reduced to 5, recharge time decreased to 15 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 1..31 seconds, this skill becomes the Elite of target foe. Elite spells you cast use your Fast Casting attribute instead of their normal attributes."

Mesmers are in an unique place, balance-wise. Many of the best Mesmer skills are non-Elites, so we wanted to increase variety by adding more desirable Elites to the pool. Fevered Dreams' condition-spreading function never caught on, mostly because it was both Elite and completely susceptible to hex removal. Now, players can wait until a target has multiple conditions and use this to add immediate Daze while still getting the hex effect (potentially spreading Daze through the ranks like wildfire). Recurring Insecurity has had a number of abuse issues, mainly when combined with Soul Barbs. This had caused us to reduce it to unusable levels. By rate-limiting when the hex can reapply itself, we can again make it a usable, fire-and-forget degeneration hex.

Power Leech was supposed to function as an Elite Power Drain, but always was inferior to it instead. Reducing the Energy cost to 5 lets players use it when they need Energy, while the drastically increased Energy return coupled with the Energy denial makes Power Leech have huge potential, especially in hex-heavy teams.

Mesmer snares have paled in comparison to Water Magic for some time, making an Elite Illusion snare an unlikely choice. We've updated this to a universal slowing effect that is useful to cast on any enemy. This keeps it from directly competing with Elementalists for slowing capability, bringing something unique to the table.

Symbols of Inspiration was reworked not only to copy an enemy's Elite, but to assure that copied spells will be cast at an attribute level that makes them useful. Advanced strategies could feature this skill as a way to get a commonly-used Elite onto a profession that normally could not support it.

Monk

  • Boon Signet Boon Signet: recharge time increased to 8 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Heal Target ally for 20..80 Health. Your next Healing Prayers or Protection Prayers spell that targets an ally heals for an additional 20..80 Health.
  • Life Sheath Life Sheath: recharge reduced to 2 seconds, casting time reduced to .25 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Remove 0..2 conditions from target ally. For 8 seconds, the next time target ally would take damage, that ally gains that amount of Health instead (maximum 20..100)."
  • Peace and Harmony Peace and Harmony: functionality changed to: "Target ally loses 0..9 conditions, and 0..9 hexes. For 1..5 seconds, conditions and hexes expire 90% faster on that ally. All your Smiting Prayers are disabled for 20 seconds."
  • Ray of Judgment Ray of Judgment: Energy cost reduced to 10, casting time increased to 2 seconds, recharge time reduced to 20 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 5 seconds, target foe and all foes adjacent to this location take 5..45 holy damage each second and begin Burning for 1..3 seconds."

Monk Elites are a very delicate balance. They have to be very powerful to compete with other Elites, but not too powerful lest they bog the game down with too much defense. We chose a few skills that we were sure very few players used and gave them new roles that will allow them to compete with current favorites without raising the bar on Monk power.

Monks with strong Energy management are dangerous, a fact that has kept us from making Boon Signet and Peace and Harmony more powerful. We decided to change Boon Signet from Energy gain to a cheap, reusable heal that allows Monks to set up for a big burst of healing, provided they can plan effectively. Peace and Harmony gets a new functionality entirely, being the last word in effect removal, with the added bonus of shortening incoming conditions and hexes. By removing their Energy management effects, these skills can now be improved to a level where Monks may consider them over other Elites.

Life Sheath's lack of good UI feedback to attackers made it frustrating, while its numbers made it weak. We decided to, essentially, make it an elite version of Reversal of Fortune which both heals for more and removes conditions. This allows Monks to compress their bar without needing a separate condition removal skill.

Ray of Judgment was undesirable by almost all standards previously. We've changed it into an elite version of Symbol of Wrath, making it targetable and adding Burning with each pulse. This is a PvE-oriented change that we hope will find some fun applications in solo and smite Monk builds.

Necromancer

  • Aura of the Lich Aura of the Lich: recharge time increased to 45 seconds. Functionality changed to: "All corpses within earshot are exploited and you animate a level 1..17 bone horror plus one for each corpse exploited in this way. For 5..45 seconds, your Death Magic attribute is increased by +1."
  • Cultist's Fervor Cultist's Fervor: recharge time reduced to 15 seconds. functionality changed to: "For 20 seconds, your Necromancer spells cost -1..7 Energy to cast but you suffer from bleeding for 10 seconds each time you cast a spell."
  • Lingering Curse Lingering Curse: Energy cost reduced to 5, Health sacrifice removed, casting time reduced to 1 second. Functionality changed to: "For 6..30 seconds, target foe and all nearby foes suffer -1..3 Health degeneration, and gain 33% less benefit from healing."
  • Weaken Knees Weaken Knees: recharge time increased to 10 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 5..20 seconds, target foe suffers -5 Health degeneration, and takes 5..15 damage while moving."

When working with the Necromancer Elites, we've taken great care to add something Necromancer players will covet, without promoting additional skills that can spike when used in multiplicity. Additionally, we've wanted to avoid long-duration, high-effect hexes, which previously homogenized Guild Battles and slowed the game to a halt.

Simply put, when reworking Aura of the Lich, we started with thematics: What does a lich do? This led us to an elite Animate Bone Horror spell, raising a minion even with no corpse present, and potentially creating an army in a single spell. We feel this will have applications in PvE and certain PvP formats and, beyond that, very fun to use.

Cultist's Fervor's downside has been toned down significantly by converting it to self-inflicted Bleeding instead of Health sacrifice. With this change, casting repeatedly will not have much more effect than casting a spell every 10 seconds, encouraging Necromancers to use as many spells as possible during its duration. Additionally, the Bleeding effect should have some synergy with skills that transfer conditions to foes.

Lingering Curse was always hard to improve, as it risked becoming a very powerful spike-enabling skill. We've eliminated the enchantment removal to circumvent this problem and have added area-effect and Health degeneration to give it a more natural role in hex builds.

Because Weaken Knees provided knockdown to a profession that did not normally have this ability, it was difficult to make it powerful enough to be useful without breaking inter-profession dynamics. We've changed it to simply punish moving foes with damage while providing a constant Health degeneration. This skill should now have the same flavor as the original intent: discouraging the target from moving, but staying within the realm of Necromancer functionality.

Paragon

  • "Incoming!" "Incoming!": Recharge time increased to 25 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 4..10 seconds, all allies within earshot move 33% faster, and gain 5..15 Health while moving."
  • "It's just a flesh wound." "It's just a flesh wound.": functionality changed to: "Target other ally loses all conditions. If a condition was removed in this way, that ally moves 25% faster for 1..10 seconds.
  • Angelic Bond Angelic Bond: recharge time increased to 30 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 10 seconds, the next time an ally within earshot would take fatal damage, that damage is negated and that ally is healed for 20..200 Health. Angelic Bond ends on all other allies."

We've taken this opportunity to completely rework two Paragon elites that were greatly weakened in the past due to PvP imbalance. "Incoming!" was a skill whose design would only allow it to be overpowered or weak previously. We've changed this skill to act as an Elite version of "Fall Back!", a skill that's flexible and interesting. Similarly, Angelic Bond was either frustrating for opponents or undesirable for those using it. We've now made it so can protect well from spikes but crumbles in heavier pressure situations.

"It's Just a Flesh Wound!" has had its drawback removed, something that only limited the skill's potential. Now, it doubles as both condition removal and a single-target run speed increase. This allows condition-stacked allies to get back to safety and heal up before re-engaging the enemy.

Ranger

  • Archer's Signet Archer's Signet: recharge time reduced to 12 seconds, casting time reduced to 1 second. Functionality changed to: "For 0..24 seconds, conditions you apply while wielding a bow last 100% longer."
  • Spike Trap Spike Trap: functionality changed to: "When Spike Trap is triggered, every second (for 2 seconds), all nearby foes are struck for 10..40 piercing damage, become Crippled for 3..25 seconds, and are knocked down. Spike Trap ends after 90 seconds. While activating this skill, you are easily interrupted."
  • Strike as One Strike as One: functionality changed to: "The next time you hit with an attack, your target is Crippled for 5..15 seconds and your animal companion instantly moves to your target, and causes Bleeding for 5..15 seconds the next time it attacks."
  • Trapper's Focus Trapper's Focus: recharge time reduced to 12 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 12..24 seconds, your trap skills are not easily interruptible and your Wilderness Survival attribute is increased by +0..2."

Ranger Elites are similar to Monk Elites in that Rangers already rely on a few staple Elites that have strong effects. New Elites need to offer alternatives to these by either allowing the character to play a different role, or play the same one in a different way. Archer's Signet is an example of this philosophy, supporting condition-spreading builds by increasing the durations of all conditions caused with a bow. Our aim is for this to work well with common skills like Apply Poison and Hunter's Shot while also making less-commonly used skills like Concussion Shot more attractive.

Strike as One now lets Rangers control their pet's location much more effectively and provides a strong, multi-condition application for beastmasters, something that hasn't been readily available.

When looking at Trap-heavy builds, we found that neither Trapper's Focus nor Spike Trap were desirable Elites - even in builds specifically designed to function well with them. Trapper's Focus is now much easier to maintain, which we believe was the weakness of the skill. Spike Trap now pulses its damage and knockdown, making it have much more synergy with other pulsing damage traps and increasing its overall effectiveness.

Ritualist

  • Clamor of Souls Clamor of Souls: recharge time reduced to 8 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Target foe and all adjacent foes take 10..65 lightning damage. If you are within earshot of a spirit or holding a bundle item, you gain 10 Energy."
  • Destructive was Glaive Destructive was Glaive: functionality changed to: "Hold Glaive's ashes for up to 30..60 seconds. While you hold her ashes, all Ritualist skills have 10% armor penetration. When you drop her ashes, all foes in the area are struck for 10..100 lightning damage."

Ritualist bundles have worked best when they can be held for a long time and then have a different effect when dropped. We've taken that approach with Destructive was Glaive, encouraging people to leverage its armor penetration quality and properly time the area-effect damage when dropped. Additionally, we've removed the needless contingencies on the skill to make it more straightforward.

Clamor of Souls is basically reworked to function as an alternative to Caretaker's Charge; the primary difference is that Clamor of Souls is area-effect. This is mainly to promote a bit of diversity within the existing Ritualist builds that we consider well-balanced.

Warrior

  • Enraged Smash Enraged Smash: functionality changed to: "If Enraged Smash hits, you gain 1..4 strikes of adrenaline. If you hit a moving foe, you strike for +10..40 damage, and your target is knocked down."
  • Hundred Blades Hundred Blades: recharge time increased to 25 seconds. Functionality changed to: "For 15 seconds, whenever you attack with a sword, all adjacent foes take 10..25 slashing damage."
  • Primal Rage Primal Rage: functionality change to: "For 1..15 seconds, you attack and move 33% faster, but you take double damage."
  • Whirling Axe Whirling Axe: adrenaline cost increased to 4 strikes. Functionality changed to: "If this attack hits, you strike for +5..20 damage and any stance being used by your target ends. This attack cannot be blocked."

Although there is a particular set of Elite Warrior skills that are favored in competitive play, this profession is fairly versatile and provides a lot of opportunities for interesting Elites. To start, we thought it would be fun to add an Elite version of Bull's Strike. Enraged Smash was ineffective, lacked versatility, and encouraged players not use the other skills on their bar. It seemed like a great candidate to switch over to this functionality.

Primal Rage, even if properly balanced, did not encourage fun play because it didn't work with attack skills. We've reworked it to be an Elite version of another popular skill, Frenzy, coupling movement speed in with the increased attack speed. This allows for skill bar compression and makes it possible for a Warrior to maintain a constant run speed increase if alternated with Rush or Sprint.

Whirling Axe's previous effect was unimpressive and even imposed an additional punishment on the user if blocked. Instead, we made Whirling Axe much like an Elite Wild Blow, without the drawback of using all the Warrior's adrenaline and not costing any Energy. This aims to open up additional ways to deal with blocking and stances.

We went for a PvE-oriented treatment of Hundred Blades, providing sword Warriors with a good tool for repeatedly dealing point-blank area-effect damage. This can either stack with similar effects typically provided by a secondary profession, or open up the player's secondary to a wider range of options.

PvE Changes

Assassin

  • Shadow Form Shadow Form: recharge reduced to 45 seconds. Duration reduced to 5..21 seconds.

After repeated adjustments to both the skill and the Underworld, Shadow Form continues to dominate PvE farming. All the adjustments we have made to this style of farming have aimed to slow players down but not eliminate it as a viable farming option. We recognize the fact that farming with Shadow Form-based builds can be really fun, so we have not resorted to breaking the ability to keep Shadow Form up permanently. However, we continue to be uncomfortable with the speed in which players are able to complete various popular farming runs. We have decided to try one last time to scale down the effectiveness of Shadow Form while still allowing it to be maintained permanently.

By reducing the recharge and duration time, we force players to cast Shadow Form more frequently, which in turn increases the Energy pressure associated with maintaining the skill. For Assassins with modest Energy pools, this results in more conservative Energy management through weapon swaps and lowers damage per second as damaging skills have to be cast less frequently in favor of saving up enough Energy to cast Shadow Form again. For non-Assassin primary characters (such as the Elementalist with an Energy pool large enough to worry less about Energy pressure) this change makes maintaining Shadow Form a much more delicate balance. There is little margin of error because it requires a full spectrum of skills, consumables, and weapon swaps to simultaneously increase the duration and reduce the recharge of Shadow Form enough to maintain it permanently.

Dervish

  • Avatar of Grenth Avatar of Grenth: functionality changed to: "For 5..90 seconds, you cannot be blocked by enchanted foes, and your attacks deal cold damage and steal 5..20 life. This skill is disabled for 120 seconds."

By separating Avatar of Grenth we can add life-stealing on attacks, which will increase its effectiveness and play up the theme of taking on the form of the god of death. This will allow it to compete with other popular Avatars and give PvE Dervishes additional choices for their Form.

Ritualist

  • Signet of Ghostly Might Signet of Ghostly Might: functionality changed to: "For 5..20 seconds, all spirits you control within earshot attack 33% faster and deal 5..10 additional damage."
  • Signet of Spirits Signet of Spirits: functionality changed to: "All spirits within earshot gain 50..200 Health."

Spirit overloading became frustrating in PvP, causing us to reduce their power. By separating skills that specifically power-up a player's spirits, we could allow them to do two strong and unique things: heal spirits and increase their attack capabilities. The aim is to let Ritualist players create groups of spirits and support them effectively.

Luxon/Kurzick

Over the past few weeks we have been monitoring the effect that last month's large title balancing build has had on the areas in the game that were adjusted. These changes are being made in response to feedback and observed trends within the community. We will continue to monitor this aspect of the game and address issues as they arise.

Elite Missions

  • Killing Aspects of Kanaxai in The Deep now gives +100 Luxon faction in Hard Mode.
  • Killing The Leviathan in The Deep now gives +500 Luxon faction in Hard Mode.
  • Killing Kanaxai now gives +10000 Luxon faction in Hard Mode.
  • All dead party members are now resurrected when Kanaxai in The Deep is killed.
  • Killing Guardian Serpents or Twisted Barks in Urgoz’s Warren now gives +100 Kurzick faction in Hard Mode.
  • Killing both Greater Serpents in Urgoz’s Warren now gives +500 Kurzick faction in Hard Mode.
  • Killing Urgoz now gives +10000 Kurzick faction in Hard Mode.
  • All dead party members are now resurrected when Urgoz in Urgoz's Warren is killed.

Some players have questioned why faction gained in The Deep and Urgoz's Warren while in Hard Mode is not doubled like it is for many other Hard Mode areas. We feel that because the base level of difficulty in these zones is already so high, playing them in Hard Mode isn't enough of an increase to warrant doubled faction across the board but we do believe that doubling all the special kill bonuses is a good reward for playing Hard Mode in these areas. With the increased traffic to these areas, an old issue has become more visible so we are taking the opportunity to make all players resurrect upon the death of the end boss in each zone. This way casualties of the final fight are no longer punished if their party has no way to resurrect them when it comes time for everyone to collect end chest rewards.

Challenge Missions

  • Faction received per refugee saved in Amatz Basin has been reduced to 1.
  • Faction received per kill in Aurios Mines has been increased to 5.
  • The Luxon Enchanters in Aurios Mines are now Ritualists.

Because of the large amount of faction players were receiving for each refugee saved in Amatz Basin, players have been able to enter with groups of extremely survivable characters to hold out against their enemies long enough for many refugees to escape and gain an amount of faction disproportionate to the amount of effort exerted. We've reduced this number significantly to adjust for this play style.

Luxon Enchanters in Aurios Mines were vulnerable to being lured into a remote corner because of their targeted heals and the want to cast them on injured players. Monsters are unable to locate the Enchanters once they are in their hideaway. By doing this with all of the Luxon Enchanters present, players were able to effectively achieve extraordinarily high scores without even needing to be at their computer. We've removed all of the Luxon Enchanters' targeted heals by making them Ritualists with Binding Rituals which will keep them from abandoning their designated post. We also increased faction gains from kills in this Challenge Mission as they were feeling disproportionately light compared to the other Challenge Missions.

Competitive Missions

  • The Turtles Siege Attack in Fort Aspenwood is now difficult to interrupt and requires multiple interrupts before it will be interrupted.
  • The Turtles Siege Attack in Fort Aspenwood now removes one enchantment on hit.
  • The end cinematic in Jade Quarry has been removed.

With the recent changes to Fort Aspenwood, we feel that the balance has shifted slightly in favor of the Kurzicks by making it easier for them to hold out until Vengeance of the Gods is charged. Two major ways this is achieved are by shutting down the Siege Turtle's ability to siege the Kurzick base and by using enchantments to protect the critical NPCs. We have made the Siege Turtle attack difficult to interrupt so he will be harder to shut down. We also added an enchantment removing effect when it hits so that Monk enchantments are slightly less powerful.

Due to numerous player requests, we have removed the end cinematic from the Jade Quarry to speed up the ability to play multiple matches back to back. We are working on a way for these cinematics to be viewed in the outpost for both Jade Quarry and Fort Aspenwood but this will come in a later content update.


[Dev Update] - 21 November 2008

We would like to follow up on several points from last week’s title balance build that have been heavily discussed. We are continuing to monitor the effects of this build and plan to make adjustments as we move forward.

Storybook Storage

The addition of seven new Storybooks is putting a lot of pressure on player inventories.

We are aware that inventory space was already at a premium and that the new Storybooks only add to this issue. Prior to adding this feature, we did look into adding a Storybook tab to the Xunlai storage boxes. However, when we looked at available server space, we found that this was not feasible. To increase player storage by adding new tabs, we would have needed to expand our existing server space or purchase additional servers. We are actively exploring alternative ways to relieve inventory pressure and would like to reassure players that this is an issue very much on our minds.

Storybook Retroactivity

Storybook NPCs allow players to purchase the pages of missions completed without having the book in inventory. However, we decided not to allow players to purchase the pages of missions that were completed prior to the update. This was a difficult decision to make, but an important one.

We monitor the economy closely and found a significant fluctuation in how much gold players had on average after the addition of the M.O.X. quests (which give a 10 platinum reward). If we allowed players to purchase those pages, any character that had completed all three campaigns in Normal Mode would be receiving 18 platinum and 42,750 gold for Hard Mode completion for a grand total of 60,750 gold. In light of how much the economy was affected by just 10 platinum, the inflation caused by giving out 60 platinum per character was too significant for us to allow.

Luxon and Kurzick Faction Points

With the increased rewards to Luxon and Kurzick missions, we decided to retroactively award faction to players for missions completed prior to the build. This faction was credited to players as they logged in with each character that had completed these missions, which meant that large chunks of both types of faction were received at once. As players went to turn in their newly received faction, they were losing faction from the opposing side due to the conflict between the Luxons and the Kurzicks. This meant that players would not necessarily get the full benefit for the faction they earned depending on the order in which they logged in with characters and turned in faction.

In most cases, the trade-offs when turning in Luxon and Kurzick faction points are just a part of aligning with one of two warring factions. In hindsight, with this set of retroactive rewards, we should have done a better job accounting for characters who had completed both campaigns, and for accounts with multiple characters who had completed different campaigns. Unfortunately, now that this has gone Live, we don't believe there is a fair or reasonable way for us to change this, so the issue will not be addressed further.


[ Dev Update] Title Balance Changes – 13 November 2008

Our goal for this month's content update is to broaden the ways to achieve many PvE-based titles and give many other viable options for progressing in these titles, reducing the need to grind at a single task. We accomplish this in two major ways: one, significantly adjusting the numbers of existing ways to progress titles; and two, adding faction or title point rewards to places that were previously lacking them. These changes cover a wide spectrum of content from Vanquishing bonuses and Storybooks to Competitive and Challenge Missions. To compensate for these changes, the cost of Jadeite and Amber had to increase, Sunspear and Lightbringer could no longer count towards Favor of the Gods, and increased Luxon and Kurzick faction caps were required, along with a number of other adjustments to affected areas. We also converted the Wisdom and Treasure Hunter titles to be account-based so that players can contribute to the titles with any character on their account.

Luxon and Kurzick Titles

Missions

There are now a few new ways to earn the Luxon/Kurzick titles by playing through missions.

  • It is now possible to use the "Shiro's Return" storybook to record your progress through the Guild Wars Factions storyline. You can turn this book in to the Kurzick Poet or Luxon Bard for a significant title point reward. See the "Storybooks" section below for more details.
  • Arborstone and Eternal Grove now give 1000 Kurzick faction for each level of completion. This is a one time only reward.
  • Boreas Seabed and Gyala Hatchery now give 1000 Luxon faction for each level of completion. This is a one time only reward.
  • Unwaking Waters now gives 1000 Luxon or Kurzick faction for each level of completion depending on which side was entered from. This is a one time only reward, regardless of which type of faction was given.
  • Faction will automatically be added to your account the next time you log in on each character that has achieved any levels of completion in these missions prior to these new rewards. If your faction is already full or your cap is too low to accept the amount owed to you, this crediting will be delayed until the next time you zone into an outpost or instance and your account has the room to accept the faction you are owed.

Playing through the storyline should be just as rewarding as other Luxon and Kurzick-related activities in the game. Between these new faction bonuses and the rewards for completing books, missions should now be a viable way to play while progressing towards the Luxon and Kurzick title tracks. We are able to give players faction for missions completed prior to this new reward system. Your account will be credited the appropriate rewards the next time you log into each eligible character. These rewards can only be collected once per character much the same way that gold and experience rewards in missions are only given once per character.

Vanquishing

This is a new way to earn faction.

  • Added Luxon or Kurzick faction bonuses for Vanquishing zones in the Jade Sea and Echovald Forest. Faction amount is equal to 50 times the number of monsters killed.

Vanquishing poses a challenge that can require a significant commitment of time, and should be greatly rewarded for completion. This also brings the approximate faction gain per hour in line with the former Fast Faction Farms and makes this a very worthwhile way to acquire Luxon and Kurzick faction.

Alliance Battles

  • Increased Luxon/Kurzick faction per kill in Alliance Battles to +10.

Challenge Missions

  • Increased Luxon/Kurzick faction reward for getting the Daily, Monthly, or Quarterly bests in Altrumm Ruins, Amatz Basin, Zos Shivros Channel, and Aurios Mines. Getting the Daily Best now gives 4000 faction, the Monthly Best gives 8000 faction, and the Quarterly Best gives 16,000 faction.
  • The final rewards given in Altrumm Ruins, Amatz Basin, Zos Shivros Channel, and Aurios Mines are now based on the Monthly best instead of the Quarterly best.
  • Added +1 Kurzick faction per kill in Altrumm Ruins and Amatz Basin.
  • Added +1 Luxon faction per kill in Zos Shivros Channel and Aurios Mines.
  • Added +15 Kurzick faction for each chunk of Amber retrieved in Altrumm Ruins.
  • Added +10 Kurzick faction per boss kill in Altrumm Ruins.
  • Added +25 Kurzick faction for each refugee saved in Amatz Basin.
  • Added +50 Kurzick faction for every 10 refugees saved in Amatz Basin.
  • Added +50 Luxon faction for every minute survived in Zos Shivros Channel.
  • Added +100 Luxon faction for each Luxon Adept killed in Zos Shivros Channel.
  • Added +50 Luxon faction for each Shadow of Kanaxai killed in Aurios Mines.

Challenge Missions in Factions were requiring players to achieve very high scores just to earn any reward. The only available rewards were given by comparing players' scores to the Quarterly best. To reward more players, we have added faction rewards for mission-specific objectives and changed the calculation of final rewards to compare players' scores to the Monthly best instead of the generally higher Quarterly best score. Players will receive good faction rewards for just playing in these missions without having to achieve extraordinarily high scores. We also raised the faction bonus given for getting the Daily, Monthly, and Quarterly bests. Getting a high score should still feel satisfying and be something to shoot for.

Competitive Missions

  • Increased Luxon/Kurzick and Balthazar faction given in Fort Aspenwood to +10 per kill.
  • Increased Luxon/Kurzick faction given for winning a battle in Fort Aspenwood to +1000.
  • Kurzick players in Fort Aspenwood will now receive faction equal to 15 times the percentage of completion of the Vengeance of the Gods at the end of the match.
  • The time it takes for the Vengeance of the Gods meter to fill up has been reduced by 5 minutes.
  • Increased the Luxon faction reward for gates destroyed in Fort Aspenwood to +300 faction per gate.
  • Increased the Luxon/Kurzick faction given in Jade Quarry to +5 per kill.
  • Increased the Balthazar faction given in Jade Quarry to +10 per kill.
  • Increased Luxon/Kurzick faction given for each Slab of Jade collected to +250 per slab.
  • Increased Luxon/Kurzick faction given for winning a battle in the Jade Quarry to +1000.

Fort Aspenwood has long been one of the preferred ways of gaining Luxon and Kurzick faction but was not as efficient as other more tedious ways. We have boosted the faction per kill and match faction bonuses to make it a more lucrative gametype. The rate at which Vengeance of the Gods fills up has been reduced because, on average, it was taking Luxons less time to win a match than it would take Kurzicks. Jade Quarry has been virtually abandoned by all but Cartographers so we have boosted up the faction rewards to make the area more attractive as a gametype.

Elite Missions

  • Added +10 Luxon faction for killing monsters in The Deep. This does not include Reborn Irukandji or creatures which spawn when Kanaxai is knocked down.
  • Added +50 Luxon faction for killing Aspects of Kanaxai in The Deep.
  • Added +250 Luxon faction for killing The Leviathan in The Deep.
  • Added +5000 Luxon faction for killing Kanaxai.
  • Added +10 Kurzick faction for killing monsters in Urgoz’s Warren. This does not include Hopping Vampires, Thought Stealers, or Explosive Growths.
  • Added +50 Kurzick faction for killing Guardian Serpents or Twisted Barks in Urgoz’s Warren.
  • Added +250 Kurzick faction for killing both Greater Serpents in Urgoz’s Warren.
  • Added +5000 Kurzick faction for killing Urgoz.
  • Increased Jade/Amber drops from the end chests in The Deep and Urgoz’s Warren to 3 in Normal Mode, 6 in Hard Mode.
  • Passage Scrolls to The Deep and Urgoz’s Warren now drop from the end chests in The Deep and Urgoz’s Warren in Hard Mode for each player.
  • Added one Demonic Summoning Stone drop from the end chest in The Deep for each player.
  • Added one Mystical Summoning Stone drop from the end chest in Urgoz’s Warren for each player.

The Deep and Urgoz's Warren are two of the coolest and most fun missions in the game, but just weren't rewarding enough for players to feel it was worth the time. We have added faction rewards for killing the monsters and bosses of these areas so that playing here will no longer mean halting progress towards the Luxon and Kurzick title tracks but instead include it in the list of viable ways to increase your rank. Title points should not be the only motivation for undertaking Elite Missions, however, so we also increased the amount of loot given from the end chest and added monster drops of Jadeite Shards in The Deep and Amber Chunks in Urgoz's Warren.

Maximum Faction Limits

There are now a number of ways to increase the maximum amount of Luxon/Kurzick Faction that you can hold at once. Speak to any [Faction Rewards] NPC to see what you have left to do to increase your faction cap.

  • Completing the quest Befriending the Luxons will raise Luxon faction cap by 10,000.
  • Completing the quest Befriending the Kurzicks will raise Kurzick faction cap by 10,000.
  • Completing Boreas Seabed, Gyala Hatchery, and Unwaking Waters will raise Luxon faction cap by 7000.
  • Completing Arborstone, Eternal Grove, and Unwaking Waters will raise Kurzick faction cap by 7000.
  • Defeating Kanaxai in The Deep will raise Luxon faction cap by 10,000.
  • Defeating Urgoz in Urgoz’s Warren will raise Kurzick faction cap by 10,000.
  • Scoring 100 points in Zos Shivros Channel will raise Luxon faction cap by 1000.
  • Scoring 100 points in Aurios Mines will raise Luxon faction cap by 1000.
  • Scoring 100 points in Altrumm Ruins will raise Kurzick faction cap by 1000.
  • Scoring 100 points in Amatz Basin will raise Kurzick faction cap by 1000.
  • Winning a battle in Fort Aspenwood for the Luxons will raise Luxon faction cap by 5000.
  • Winning a battle in Fort Aspenwood for the Kurzicks will raise Kurzick faction cap by 5000.
  • Winning a battle in Jade Quarry for the Luxons will raise Luxon faction cap by 5000.
  • Winning a battle in Jade Quarry for the Kurzicks will raise Kurzick faction cap by 5000.
  • Winning an Alliance Battle for the Luxons will raise Luxon faction cap by 5000.
  • Winning an Alliance Battle for the Kurzicks will raise Kurzick faction by 5000.
  • Achieving rank 1 in the Luxon title track will raise Luxon faction cap by 5000. Each subsequent rank will raise Luxon faction cap by 1000.
  • Achieving rank 1 in the Kurzick title track will raise Kurzick faction cap by 5000. Each subsequent rank will raise Kurzick faction cap by 1000.
  • Your faction cap will automatically increase if you have already done the following things: either of the Befriending quests, the Luxon or Kurzick mission sets, and beaten Urgoz or Kanaxai after the addition of the Hall of Monuments to Guild Wars.

Now that Luxon and Kurzick faction is much more readily available, players have the ability to acquire far more faction in a single chunk than they could hold at once because of the faction cap. Your faction cap can now be increased by completing storyline objectives, competing in armed combat, assisting Luxons and Kurzicks in tests of endurance, defeating their ancient foes, or raising your reputation through the title tracks. Not all of these changes could be implemented retroactively as we had not previously tracked participation in Competitive Missions, Challenge Missions, or Alliance Battles. You will have to play through those again to get the associated faction cap increase.

Other Changes

  • Increased the cost of Jade and Amber from Faction Rewards NPCs to 5000 faction.
  • Added Luxon Scavenger [Faction Rewards] NPCs to the following outposts: Leviathan Pits, Eredon Terrace, Kaanai Canyon, Etnaran Keys, Saltspray Beach, Grenz Frontier, and The Ancestral Lands.
  • Added Kurzick Bureaucrat [Faction Rewards] NPCs to the following outposts: Vasburg Armory, Lutgardis Conservatory, Kaanai Canyon, Etnaran Keys, Saltspray Beach, Grenz Frontier, and The Ancestral Lands.
  • The quest Securing Echovald Forest in the Echovald Forest now requires players to kill groups of Luxons at each checkpoint.
  • The quest Scout the Coast in the Jade Sea now requires players to kill groups of Kurzicks at each checkpoint.

With all these improvements raising the rate of faction gain, we have increased the cost of Jadeite Shards and Amber Chunks from [Faction Rewards] NPCs in order to preserve their value. These NPCs have been added to a number of addition outposts to make them more easily accessible for spending accumulated faction.

The repeatable quests Securing Echovald Forest and Scout the Coast have been the most efficient way to gain Luxon and Kurzick faction for one player with three Heroes: no combat required and run times around one minute. However, because of the tediousness of the run and the need to do it thousands of times to max out a title tracks, some players felt forced into using bots to make the runs for them. To eliminate this behavior players must now kill two groups of Luxon or Kurzick invaders at each checkpoint.

Sunspear/Lightbringer Titles

A number of new ways have been added to earn the Sunspear and Lightbringer titles. Additionally, a number of existing rewards related to these titles have been increased.

Missions

  • It is now possible to use the "Night Falls" storybook to record your progress through the Guild Wars Nightfall storyline. You can turn this book in to the Sunspear Signalman or Lightbringer Scrivener for a significant Sunspear or Lightbringer point reward. See the "Storybooks" section below for more details.
  • The Chahbek Village mission now rewards 5 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 50 in Hard Mode.
  • The Jokanur Diggings mission now rewards 5 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 50 in Hard Mode.
  • The Blacktide Den mission now rewards 10 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 50 in Hard Mode.
  • The Consulate Docks mission now rewards 10 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 60 in Hard Mode.
  • The Venta Cemetery mission now rewards 15 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 60 in Hard Mode.
  • The Kodonur Crossroads mission now rewards 15 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 60 in Hard Mode.
  • The Rilohn Refuge mission now rewards 20 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 70 in Hard Mode.
  • The Pogahn Passage mission now rewards 20 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 70 in Hard Mode.
  • The Moddok Crevice mission now rewards 20 Sunspear title points for every level of completion in Normal Mode and 70 in Hard Mode.
  • The Tihark Orchard mission now rewards 25 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 80 in Hard Mode.
  • The Dzagonur Bastion mission now rewards 25 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 80 in Hard Mode.
  • The Dasha Vestibule mission now rewards 25 Sunspear title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 80 in Hard Mode.
  • The Grand Court of Sebelkeh mission now rewards 25 Lightbringer title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 75 in Hard Mode.
  • The Jennur’s Horde mission now rewards 30 Lightbringer title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 75 in Hard Mode.
  • The Nundu Bay mission now rewards 30 Lightbringer title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 75 in Hard Mode.
  • The Gate of Desolation mission now rewards 30 Lightbringer title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 75 in Hard Mode.
  • The Ruins of Morah mission now rewards 35 Lightbringer title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 75 in Hard Mode.
  • The Gate of Pain mission now rewards 40 Lightbringer title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 100 in Hard Mode.
  • The Gate of Madness mission now rewards 45 Lightbringer title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 100 in Hard Mode.
  • The Abaddon’s Gate mission now rewards 50 Lightbringer title points for each level of completion in Normal Mode and 100 in Hard Mode.
  • Title points will automatically be added to your Sunspear and Lightbringer titles for each level of completion in these missions that you achieved prior to the new reward system.

Unlike the missions being newly rewarded in Guild Wars Factions, these missions encompass the entire storyline of Guild Wars Nightfall. Also, the points needed for each tier of Sunspear and Lightbringer are vastly different from the tiers of the Luxon and Kurzick title tracks. The scaling of mission rewards for this campaign are much different and gradually increase as you progress through the storyline. Just like all the other mission rewards, these title point bonuses are only given out once per character. We are able to award you credit for any levels of completion achieved prior to this new reward system.

Vanquishing

  • Added Sunspear title point bonuses for Vanquishing zones in Istan and Kourna. Point amount is equal to 5 times the number of monsters killed.
  • Added Lightbringer title point bonuses for Vanquishing zones in Vabbi and The Desolation. Point amount is equal to 5 times the number of monsters killed.

Challenge Missions

  • Added a Sunspear title point reward for getting the Daily, Monthly, or Quarterly best in Dajkah Inlet. Getting the Daily best gives +500 points, the Monthly best gives +1000 points, and the Quarterly best gives +2000 points.
  • The final rewards given in Dajkah Inlet, Remains of Sahlahja, and The Shadow Nexus are now based on the Monthly best instead of the Quarterly best.
  • Killing a Corsair Guild Lord in Dajkah Inlet now gives +50 Sunspear title points.
  • Killing a Corsair Commander in Dajkah Inlet now gives +25 Sunspear title points.
  • Added a Lightbringer title points reward for getting the Daily, Monthly, or Quarterly best in the Remains of Sahlahja and the Shadow Nexus. Getting the Daily best gives +500 title points, the Monthly best gives +1000 title points, and the Quarterly best gives +2000 title points.
  • Killing an Infestation in the Remains of Sahlahja now gives +1 Lightbringer title points.
  • Killing a Greater Infestation in the Remains of Sahlahja now gives +3 Lightbringer title points.
  • Killing a Maddened Spirit in the Remains of Sahlahja now gives +4 Lightbringer title points.
  • Killing a Lost Soul in the Remains of Sahlahja now gives +8 Lightbringer title points.
  • Kills in The Shadow Nexus now reward +1 Lightbringer title points.
  • Killing a Margonite Portal Mage in The Shadow Nexus now gives +25 Lightbringer title points.

To make the rewards for all challenge missions consistent, we added title point bonuses for getting the Daily, Monthly, and Quarterly bests and changed the final rewards to compare players' scores to the Monthly best instead of the Quarterly best. In addition, we implemented title point rewards for killing certain monsters in the missions. Players can kill these monsters and get rewarded for their participation without needing to reward solely for getting the high score.

Quests

  • Added 15 Sunspear title points to the reward for the quest A Decayed Monument in Istan.
  • Added 10 Sunspear title points to the rewards for the quest Down on the Bayou in Istan.
  • Added 100 Sunspear title points to the reward for the quest A Little Recon in Kourna.
  • Added 100 Sunspear title points to the reward for the quest A Question of Morality in Kourna.
  • Added 100 Sunspear title points to the reward for the quest Mirza’s Last Stand in Kourna.
  • Added 100 Sunspear title points to the reward for the quest Old Woman River in Kourna.
  • Added 10 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest A Bushel of Trouble in Kourna.
  • Added 10 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Ancestral Anguish in Kourna.
  • Added 10 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Battle of Turai’s Procession in Kourna.
  • Added 10 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Total Corruption in Kourna.
  • Added 10 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Troubled Lands in Kourna.
  • Added 15 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Valley of the Rifts in Vabbi.
  • Added 15 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest To the Rescue in Vabbi.
  • Added 15 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest In Defense of Theatre in Vabbi.
  • Added 30 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Getting Even in The Desolation.
  • Added 30 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest The Growing Threat in The Desolation.
  • Added 30 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest The Hallowed Point in The Desolation.
  • Added 30 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest A New Guide in The Desolation.
  • Added 30 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest A Tasty Morsel in The Desolation.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest A Deal’s a Deal in The Desolation to 30.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest A Show of Force in The Desolation to 45.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest Forgotten Retribution in The Desolation to 30.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest Temple of the Monoliths in The Desolation to 30.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest The Cold Touch of the Past in The Desolation to 45.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest Horde of Darkness in The Desolation to 30.
  • Added 75 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Dismember the Titans in the Realm of Torment.
  • Added 50 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Escape from the Torment in the Realm of Torment.
  • Added 100 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Faded Memory in the Realm of Torment.
  • Added 50 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Blueprint of the Fall in the Realm of Torment.
  • Added 75 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest A Flickering Flame in the Realm of Torment.
  • Added 50 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest Dark Gateway in the Realm of Torment.
  • Added 100 Lightbringer title points to the reward for the quest A Fleshy Operation in the Realm of Torment.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest All Alone in the Darkness in the Realm of Torment to 100.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest Invasion from Within in the Realm of Torment to 50.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest Kormir’s Crusade in the Realm of Torment to 100.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest Open Season in the Realm of Torment to 100.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest The Apostate in the Realm of Torment to 75.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest They Only Come Out at Night in the Realm of Torment to 75.
  • Increased the Lightbringer title point reward for the quest Uncharted Territory in the Realm of Torment to 100.
  • Added 800 Lightbringer title points and 800 gold to the reward for the quest Deathbringer Company in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Added 2000 Lightbringer title points and 2000 gold to the reward for the quest Mallyx the Unyielding in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Added 500 Lightbringer title points and 500 gold to the reward for the quest The City of Torc’qua in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Added 500 Lightbringer title points and 500 gold to the reward for the quest The Foundry of Failed Creations in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Added 800 Lightbringer title points and 800 gold to the reward for the quest Foundry Breakout in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Added 800 Lightbringer title points and 800 gold to the reward for the quest The Rifts Between Us in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Added 500 Lightbringer title points and 500 gold to the reward for the quest To the Rescue! in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Added 500 Lightbringer title points and 500 gold to the reward for the quest Breaching the Stygian Veil in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Added 800 Lightbringer title points and 500 gold to the reward for the quest Brood Wars in The Domain of Anguish.
  • Sunspear and Lightbringer title points will automatically be added to your title if you have already completed any of the quests or missions listed except the Domain of Anguish quests. You will only get title points for the Domain of Anguish quests if you have beaten Mallyx since the addition of the Hall of Monuments to Guild Wars.

A large number of quests now give title point rewards or had existing rewards pumped up a bit. This and the new mission and Storybook rewards will increase the natural progression of the Sunspear and Lightbringer titles as players go through the game and complete quests. This should reduce the amount of intentional farming needed to max out the titles. The Domain of Anguish quests were only giving out experience even though the level of difficulty justified a greater reward. We added Lightbringer points and gold to the rewards to better reflect the time, skill, and coordination needed to complete them. We are able to credit title points to players for most of the quests completed prior to the new reward system. However, because of the nature of the Domain of Anguish quests being repeatable with some even resetting every time you enter the zone, retroactively crediting your Lightbringer title with these quest rewards will only be done if you have killed Mallyx since we began tracking him for the Hall of Monuments statue. If you are eligible for this your Lightbringer title will be credited with the rewards of all nine quests combined, regardless of how many times you have repeated any of them.

Eye of the North Titles

Vanquishing

  • Added Vanguard title point rewards for Vanquishing zones in The Charr Homelands. Point amount is equal to 5 times the number of monsters killed.
  • Added Norn title point rewards for Vanquishing zones in The Far Shiverpeaks. Point amount is equal to 5 times the number of monsters killed.
  • Added Asura title point rewards for Vanquishing zones in The Tarnished Coast. Point amount is equal to 5 times the number of monsters killed.

Dungeons

  • Increased the repeatable Dwarven, Vanguard, Norn, and Asuran title point rewards for completing a dungeon to half of the first time reward.

Previously, the repeatable reward for doing a dungeon was only one-tenth the first time reward, which made repeating this content very tedious and time consuming for the purposes of progressing a title. Increasing the repeatable reward makes doing dungeons a much more attractive prospect.

Bounties

  • The Boss Bounty effect now gives a bonus for each Boss killed within the time period.

Compared to the Hunt Rampage buff, Boss Bounties were a little underpowered so we changed it to give a bonus for every boss killed within the time limit.

Challenge Mission

  • Added a Dwarven title point reward for getting the Daily, Monthly, or Quarterly best in Glint’s Challenge. Getting the Daily best gives +1500 points, the Monthly best gives +3000 points, and the Quarterly gives +6000 points.
  • Increased the amount of Dwarven title points given for completing wave 2 in Glint’s Challenge to 50.
  • Increased the amount of Dwarven title points given for completing wave 3 in Glint’s Challenge to 75.
  • Increased the amount of Dwarven title points given for completing wave 4 in Glint’s Challenge to 100.
  • Increased the amount of Dwarven title points given for completing wave 5 in Glint’s Challenge to 125.
  • Increased the amount of Dwarven title points given for completing wave 6 in Glint’s Challenge to 150.

To be consistent with the other Challenge Missions, we have added a Dwarven point bonus for getting the Daily, Monthly, or Quarterly bests. We also scaled up the point rewards for surviving each wave so that players are rewarded more the closer they are to completing the mission.

Charr Battle Plans Missions

  • Increased the Vanguard title point rewards for completing a Charr Battle Plans mission to 1000.

Charr Battle Plans have a fairly low drop rate, so the reward for when you complete one of the missions should better reflect their rarity as well as the challenge of completing the mission.

Quests

  • Increased the Vanguard title point reward for the quest The Assassin’s Revenge in the Charr Homelands to 150.
  • Increased the Dwarven title point reward for the quest Attack on Jalis’s Camp in The Far Shiverpeaks to 200.
  • Increased the Dwarven title point reward for the quest In the Service of Revenge in The Far Shiverpeaks to 300.
  • Increased the Dwarven title point reward for the quest Krak’s Cavalry in The Far Shiverpeaks to 200.
  • Increased the Dwarven title point reward for the quest The Destroyer Challenge in The Far Shiverpeaks to 150.
  • Increased the Dwarven title point reward for the quest Destructive Research in The Far Shiverpeaks to 150.
  • Title points will automatically be added to your title tracks if you completed any of these quests prior to the increased rewards.

For the most part, the quest rewards in Eye of the North are well distributed between the titles. The main exception is the Dwarven title track, so these quests have had their point rewards increased to even things up a bit.

Wisdom/Treasure Hunter Titles

  • The Wisdom and Treasure Hunter titles are now account-based. To credit previously accumulated points to the new account total, you must log in to each characters that has points. Once these points have been credited to the total, the transfer is permanent even if the character is later deleted. All points received after today will go to the account total.

Both the Wisdom and Treasure Hunter title tracks encouraged players to stunt their playing habits to progress in these titles. It was to their advantage to only use one character to open chests or identify items, meaning they had to pass all their rare items to that character and not open any chests run into on other characters. This behavior is not something we want to encourage so we have made these titles account-based. In order for accumulated points on different characters to count towards your total, you will need to log into each of those characters at least once. When you log in to a character, the points will be added to the account title.

Unlucky Title

  • Unlucky points given each time you break a lockpick now increase as your chance to retain a lockpick upon use goes up.

Players who like to farm Unlucky points by using characters with low levels of Treasure Hunter to ensure a great chance of breaking a lockpick will no longer be able to do this now that the title is account-based. To compensate, we revised the amount of Unlucky points given to your title to increase based on your overall lockpick retention rate.

Storybooks

Storybooks have been added to all three campaigns. Storybooks are a way of recording your progress and earning rewards for playing through missions.

  • If you are holding a Storybook in your inventory when completing one of the missions in that story, it will record your progress by filling in the corresponding page.
  • Once you have filled in half the pages of a Storybook you can take it to an NPC who collects copies of that particular book in exchange for rewards such as gold, experience, and title points. The more complete your storybook is, the better the reward you will get.
  • Most storybooks have both Normal Mode and Hard Mode versions. Rewards are better for turning in a Hard Mode version.
  • You can fill out and turn in as many copies of a book as you like but some NPCs will stop accepting Normal Mode books when you reach a certain title rank.
  • If you forget to bring a book with you on a mission, the corresponding NPC can fill in the missed page for you for a small fee. Missions don't have to be done in chronological order for you to get credit.

Guild Wars

  • "The Flameseeker Prophecies" picks up your story in Lion's Arch and stays with you all the way to the Ring of Fire Island Chain. There are Normal and Hard Mode versions of this book.
  • You can get a copy of this book from Gordon Ecker [Tyrian Loremaster] in Lion's Arch.
  • Gordon Ecker [Tyrian Loremaster] rewards gold and experience for copies of "The Flameseeker Prophecies."

Guild Wars Factions

  • "Shiro's Return" picks up your story in Kaineng Center and stays with you all the way to the Imperial Palace. There are Normal and Hard Mode versions of this book.
  • This book is available from Anja [Luxon Bard] or Gorani [Kurzick Poet] in Kaineng Center.
  • Anja [Luxon Bard] gives Luxon title points, gold, and experience for copies of "Shiro's Return."
  • Gorani [Kurzick Poet] gives Kurzick title points, gold, and experience for copies of "Shiro's Return."

Guild Wars Nightfall

  • "Night Falls" picks up your story in Consulate Docks and stays with you all the way into Torment. There are Normal and Hard Mode versions of this book.
  • This book is available from Captain Ahkenchu [Sunspear Signalman] in the Sunspear Greathall or Source of Whispers [Lightbringer Scrivener] in the Chantry of Secrets.
  • Captain Ahkenchu [Sunspear Signalman] gives Sunspear title points, gold, and experience for copies of "Night Falls." Captain Ahkenchu will accept only Hard Mode books once you have reached rank 8 in the Sunspear title track.
  • Source of Whispers [Lightbringer Scrivener] gives Lightbringer title points, gold, and experience for copies of "Night Falls." Source of Whispers will accept only Hard Mode books once you have reached rank 5 in the Lightbringer title track.

All Campaigns

For players who own all three campaigns, there is an additional book available.

  • "Young Heroes of Tyria" tells three stories. First is the story of a young Ascalonian hero fighting a Charr invasion and eventually fleeing with Prince Rurik over the Shiverpeaks to Lion's Arch. Then there is the story of a young Canthan hero under the tutelage of Master Togo at the Shing Jea Monastery as together they discover a plague spreading throughout the land and travel to Kaineng Center in search of answers. Lastly, there is a young hero from Elona training to become a member of the elite military order, the Sunspears, while a storm begins to brew with Spearmarshal Kormir and Warmarshal Varesh of Kourna at the center. There is only a Hard Mode version of this book.
  • “Young Heroes of Tyria” is given out and collected by all Storybook NPCs located in the original Guild Wars, Factions, and Nightfall campaigns.

Consumables

  • Armor of Salvation now gives a 50% immunity to critical hits.
  • Arctic Summoning Stones can now be crafted by Eyja [Consumables] in Gunnar’s Hold.
  • Chitinous Summoning Stones can now be crafted by Edwin [Consumables] in Eye of the North.
  • Gelatinous Summoning Stones can now be crafted by Alcus Nailbiter [Consumables] in the Central Transfer Chamber.
  • Fossilized Summoning Stones can now be crafted by Kwat [Consumables] in Rata Sum.
  • Aiiane [Consumables] has arrived in the Urgoz’s Warren outpost and crafts Amber Summoning Stones.
  • Alaris [Consumables] has arrived in The Deep outpost and crafts Jadeite Summoning Stones.

Both Essence of Celerity and Armor of Salvation were a little too strong. We have reigned in their bonuses to balance them in relation to the other available consumables.

Favor of the Gods

  • The Sunspear and Lightbringer titles no longer count towards achieving The Favor of the Gods.
  • The Wisdom and Treasure Hunter titles will temporarily not count towards The Favor of the Gods until after players have been switched to the account-based versions of these title tracks.
  • Achieving the max rank of Party Animal and God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals will now contribute to gaining The Favor of the Gods.

We removed the connection of Favor of the Gods to the Sunspear and Lightbringer titles to make them more consistent with the Eye of the North reputation titles and give us the ability to have special events dedicated to progressing the titles. To compensate for this lost connection, Party Animal and God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals now contribute to earning the Favor of the Gods.

We have also temporarily suspended the Wisdom and Treasure Hunter titles from counting towards The Favor of the Gods until after players have been switched to the new account-wide versions of these titles. This prevents the favor system from counting titles that have already been maximized by players prior to this update.

Miscellaneous

  • Xunlai Tournament Agents now offer prizes for the August tournament. These agents can be found in the Great Temple of Balthazar, Lion's Arch, Kaineng Center, and Kamadan.
  • Tolkano [Tournament] has arrived in the following Alliance Battle outposts: Kaanai Canyon, Etnaran Keys, Saltspray Beach, Grenz Frontier, and The Ancestral Lands.
  • The standard skill description for Scorpion Wire now states Shadow Step instead of Teleport.
  • The standard skill description for Return now states Shadow Step instead of Teleport.
  • Adjusted the skill description for Heart of Shadow to better reflect the skill's range.
  • The skill description for for Mantra of Concentration has been updated to reflect that it triggers on any interrupt.
  • Adjusted skill description for Power Block to clarify functionality.
  • The monster skills Snaring Web and Corsair's Net are now hexes.
  • Players who have lost their copy of Zho's Journal can speak with Zho [Interrupt Henchman] in Gunnar's Hold to get a new copy.
  • Aidan [Archer Henchman] now has Practiced Stance at level 20 in Nightfall.
  • Odurra [Illusion Henchman] now has Visions of Regret at level 20 in Nightfall.
  • Gehraz [Holy Henchman] now has Reaper's Sweep at level 20 in Nightfall.


[Dev Update] – 6 November 2008

The goal of this month's update is primarily to balance a few key skills for Guild Battles. Blood Spike, while not strictly overpowered, requires more advanced tactics to counter than it does to perform. We are slightly reducing the power of several key skills to make Blood Spike teams more vulnerable in direct confrontations. Additionally, Rangers focused on bow damage have been too effective at spiking. We've decided to address this before the upcoming tournament.

PvE and PvP

Necromancer

The most prevalent version of Blood Spike has minimal healing or defense and relies on a high frequency of kills to overrun opponents. Increasing the recharge of Vampiric Spirit, Vampiric Gaze, and Angorodon's Gaze should give opponents larger windows within which to pressure a Blood Spike team and should also make interrupts a more effective counter tactic. Although the motivation for these changes is based on PvP balance, we do not believe these changes will have a significant impact on PvE play and have not opted to separate these skills for PvE and PvP.

PvP Only

Ranger

While we're happy to see an effective Ranger focused on dealing damage, we felt that Expert's Dexterity (in conjunction with Read the Wind) has proven too effective at spiking from range. This change is intended to keep the overall damage output higher with this build than other Rangers while significantly reducing the spike potential. After seeing this in action for a while, we believe we may need to do further fine-tuning. Because this skill does not pose a problem in PvE play, we have created a separate PvP version to implement this change.

Consumables

  • Essence of Celerity has had its power slightly reduced to balance it out against the other available consumables. This change was meant to be in next week’s title rebalancing update but was accidentally published to Live in this build.


[Dev Update] Skill Balance Update – 9 October 2008

PvE and PvP

This update is focused on PvP, but the changes should also mesh with PvE play. We made some Fire Magic skills more powerful, modified a few skills which were too powerful at 0 attribute investment, and fine-tuned the balance between Ranger elites. We've also taken this opportunity to fix an abuse of the Guild Lord's AI and make Lyssa's Aura more attractive.

Assassin

  • Hidden Caltrops Hidden Caltrops: reduced hex duration to 1..10 seconds; reduced Crippled duration to 1..15 seconds.

Hidden Caltrops' previous durations allowed someone to be permanently snared without the caster having any attribute investment in Shadow Arts. We reduced the hex duration and reduced its overall effectiveness at low attributes.

Elementalist

  • Immolate Immolate: increased damage to 20..75.
  • Meteor Meteor: reduced casting time to 2 seconds.

We increased the damage of Immolate and reduced the casting time of Meteor to give Fire Elementalists a few more options.

Mesmer

Lyssa's Aura required a hefty 14-point Inspiration Magic investment to get 4 Energy regeneration, which is unrealistic on most builds. We increased the Energy regeneration by 1, which in turn lowers the attribute requirement to make this skill useful.

Ranger

Since being reworked, Incendiary Arrows has outshined other, previously desirable Ranger elites for most players. We toned down Incendiary Arrows by increasing the recharge, but we also decided to raise the Burning duration of Burning Arrow and lower the recharge of Melandru's Shot. This should better balance the Ranger condition-spreading elite skills against each another.

Warrior

  • Backbreaker Backbreaker: functionality changed to: "Deals +1..20 damage. Causes knock-down (2..4 seconds)."

Along with the "For Great Justice!" change below, this is targeted specifically at Assassins using a particular multi-weapon build to keep enemies permanently knocked down. This change will have no effect on most Warriors who use a hammer.

PvP

Guild Battle Changes

  • The number and placement of NPCs have been changed in all Guild Halls.
  • Removed Cyclone Axe from the Guild Lord.

Using a large number of pets, minions, and Spirits, players could use Insidious Parasite to make the Guild Lord instantly kill himself with Cyclone Axe. With the changes to Guild Battles in the last few months, Cyclone Axe was no longer an important skill for the Guild Lord, so we simply removed it from his skill bar.

For well-matched teams, it has been taking a little too long to kill the NPCs in a Guild Hall and clear the way for an attack on the Guild Lord. To address this, we've looked at each Guild Hall and selectively removed and relocated NPCs. In general, we removed NPCs who weren't guarding either the perimeter or the Guild Lord himself, and we've thinned perimeter NPCs in spots where multiple NPCs were guarding the same area. In most cases, NPCs at the front gate or near the Guild Lord himself were not removed because these affect the ebb and flow of combat rather than simply adding to the duration of a Guild Battle.

Warrior

This skill already had a separate PvP version; so this change does not affect PvE. "For Great Justice!" made it too easy to fuel adrenal skills when used with daggers, considering their double-strike capability. This was used commonly within Hero Battles to rapidly build adrenaline. We've reduced the duration to limit this interaction.

Upcoming Changes

This month's content update is lighter than usual as we are currently working on a larger update due next month. Next month's update will focus primarily on balance and pacing issues associated with many PvE titles.