Feedback:Skill update previews/20100125
 Preliminary Skill Update Notes, version 2 - 25 January 2010
After additional testing last week and this past weekend, we've revised our list of changes for this week's playbalance update. Since the update is scheduled for just a few days before a Monthly Automated Tournament, we are providing a preview of the changes.
First, we've settled on revisions to a few of the changes:
- Mirror of Ice's energy will increase to 15.
- Cultist's Fervor will give 1...5...6 energy, will have a 25 second recharge, and will have its duration determined by your Soul Reaping attribute, rather than being a fixed 20 seconds. (The duration will be 5 seconds plus 3 seconds for every rank of Soul Reaping. The effects of the skill are still tied to the Blood Magic attribute.)
Second, we added Winter's Embrace and Ride the Lightning to our list of individual problem skills:
- Winter's Embrace will see its energy cost go up to 10 from 5 and its recharge go to 15 from 12. These changes are meant to weaken the skill a little without removing it from play. The 3/4 second cast time on this skill still makes it a very powerful and effective hex.
- Ride the Lightning will be given the same aftercast as other teleport [sic] skills. Not having this aftercast made it a little too effective when used by melee characters.
Finally, our work on ranged damage dealers will end up affecting a large number of skills.
We will change five skills used for the initial damage in a spike:
- Anthem of Envy will have a 6 second recharge and its damage bonus will be reduced to 10...18...20.
- Glass Arrows will have its damage bonus reduced to 5...11...12.
- Keen Arrow will have its recharge increased to 12 seconds and its damage bonuses changed to 5...25...30 (on a critical hit) and 1...4...5 (unconditional).
- Sloth Hunter's Shot will have its recharge increased to 15 second [sic] and its damage bonuses changed to 5...13...15 (vs. foes not activating a skill) and 5...17...20 (unconditional).
- Marauder's Shot will have the time it disables skills increased from 5 to 10.
Our tests showed the damage-increasing skills to still be viable in general, while the attack skills could still be effective, but only in builds designed specifically for spike damage, not for a mix of spike damage and sustained, pressure damage. Because most of these skills can be useful in PvE, with the except[sic] of Marauder's Shot, the changes will only apply to PvP.
We will also be changing all 1 second activation times for bow attacks to have an additional half-second of recovery time. This means the arrows will still come out as fast as before and the skills will still be faster overall than normal bow attacks, but they won't be fast enough to be used to spike in a three-skill combo. This change will affect:
- Precision Shot's damage will be lowered to 3...9...10 to bring it into line with the others.
The PvE versions of
- Sundering Attack and Penetrating Attack will get a very fast 3/4 second activation time in order to continue to allow them to be used for rapid fire damage.
- Needling Shot will be given the 3/4 second activation time in both PvE and PvP, but it will disable other attack skills for 2 second [sic] to prevent its use in attack combos with other skills.
- Crippling Shot's arrows will move twice as fast as normal.
- Hunter's Shot will be given a 1 second activation time (and the same additional recovery time as the other 1 second bow attacks).
These changes will affect both PvE and PvP.
After repeated tests, we also determined there was need to hit the defense of paragon/ranger heavy teams a little bit more.
- Lightning Reflexes will have its recharge return to 45 in PvP. Buffs to other skills have made Expertise/Marksmanship rangers more powerful than before and this skill plays exactly to their strengths. Increasing its recharge should bring them into check a bit more.
- Soldier's Fury will be given a similar downside as Aggressive Refrain. "Whenever a shout or chant ends on you, you suffer from Cracked Armor (10 seconds)." The purpose of this change is to force paragons to make a choice between defense (higher armor) or offense (increased attack speed). We do not expect PvE paragons to be harmed by this change; so we're letting it apply to both PvE and PvP.