Developer Update - July 2010 PvP Balances
 Guild Battle Mechanics
- The Bodyguard no longer uses Oath of Protection.
- The Guild Lord now uses Entourage: "For 15 seconds, the Guild Lord is shielded by his guards. He takes no more than 30 damage from each attack or skill and takes 30 less damage each second. This skill can only be used if there are more defending NPCs than attackers."
- Aggressiveness calculations now account for Entourage and effects that cause missed attacks. As always, stacking defensive effects on a Guild Lord is viewed as a sign that your opponent is being aggressive. In Guild Battles where neither Guild Lord is killed, the team displaying more aggressiveness wins.
Last month, we introduced some changes to GvG that were designed to reduce player motivation to bring teams specifically designed to stall out GvG matches. This month, we're refining those changes.
We've moved the damage-limiting effects from the Bodyguard (who still heals) to the Guild Lord himself. This ensures that the Guild Lord is the most important NPC, and it discourages players from using a gimmick to kill the Bodyguard and then playing defensively for the rest of the match. Because Entourage can only be used when there are more defensive NPCs around the Guild Lord than attacking players, teams facing a degenerate defensive build have the option of rushing the enemy Guild Lord, thus preventing the skill from being used.
The Guild Lord starts with five defensive NPCs around him: the Bodyguard, two Knights and two Archers. If all five of them are still alive, Entourage can be prevented by five attackers. Pets, spirits, and minions do not count. Only players and henchmen count as attackers and only while they are near enough to the Guild Lord for combat (in casting range or close to it). Each lord room NPC killed reduces the number of attackers required to prevent Entourage from being used.
In the event that a team does find a way to stall, we've made some additional adjustments to how we judge "aggressiveness," which determines the winner if neither Guild Lord is killed before 28 minutes have passed. As before, the fundamental measure we use is damage dealt to the Guild Lord, but we also factor in defensive buffs placed on the Guild Lord. A team that brings enough offense to force their opponents to apply defensive buffs to the Guild Lord is also viewed as aggressive. (In a sense, the damage they attempted to deal counts in their favor even if it is prevented; it is the attempt to deal damage that indicates aggressiveness.) Because Entourage works in synergy with other defensive buffs, a much greater aggressiveness bonus is given when an opponent combines defensive buffs with Entourage. We've also added a modest aggressiveness bonus for missed attacks against a Guild Lord because stacking blindness and hexes that cause misses is another way to stall a battle while preventing damage.
None of these adjustments represent a change in the philosophy behind giving the victory to the more aggressive team, but they should increase the accuracy in determining which team was more aggressive. Teams focusing on defeating their opponent directly should not be significantly affected.
 PvP Skills
- Wastrel's Demise (PvP): split for PvP; increased recharge to 15 seconds.
With all of the offensive boosts to Mesmers in the last major update, players have been experimenting with ways to take advantage of these changes in GvG. A few guilds have been running a 6 Mesmer spike team that's proven to be out of line. We like spike teams to have some level of viability in GvG, but they should be vulnerable to being countered through skillful play. While the very top teams have had success countering it, this build has been more effective than the spike builds we currently see as balanced (such as those that feature Elementalist/Paragons).
With a 1/4 second cast time, Wastrel's Demise is a key follow-up spike skill. We've increased its recharge to bring it in line with other key spike skills. We're looking to control the frequency of spikes in order to give the opposing team a window of opportunity to counter these tactics.
Mesmer spike teams have only been popularized in recent weeks. Typically, this means that further improvements will be discovered over time. We will keep an eye on them and make further adjustments if necessary.
 Codex Arena Skills
Because of the rotating lists of available skills in Codex Arena, teams do not always have access to a level of offense or utility necessary to counter the most powerful defensive skills in Guild Wars. For skills that are found to be a problem specifically in Codex Arena, we simply remove them from the rotation. Armor of Sanctity and Visions of Regret were identified as having too strong a potential to bog down Codex Arena matches. They will no longer appear in the Codex.
- Symbols of Inspiration: added to the restricted list for Codex Arena.
Symbols of Inspiration copies an Elite skill from an opponent. Due to special Codex Arena rules, however, if the stolen Elite does not match the caster's primary profession, the copied skill is disabled. To avoid confusion for players, we've also added this skill to the restricted list. It will no longer appear in the Codex.