ArenaNet:Developer updates/20070404

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ArenaNet Image This is a copy of the Developer Updates webpage, maintained by members of the Guild Wars Team. It includes semi-official announcements, clarifications, and news from the developers, notable background information about skill balances or to clarify rumors.
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[Dev Update] Skill Balances for Early April -- 04 April 2007

Following our continued observation of the Guild Wars ladder and tournament play, we intend our April skill balance updates to resolve current game issues and increase the usefulness of some underpowered skills. These changes will remain in place for the week, and if they are successful, they will remain in the game permanently. We will continue to monitor the state of the game and make adjustments as needed. In our next update, we hope to add additional PvE-only skills to allow more attractive options for cooperative play, as well as begin adjusting some skills to make them more viable in cooperative play.

The skills below will be changed with this week's game update.


These changes are part of larger movement to make the Assassin's lead-to-off-hand attack combination a more attractive option. If these changes are successful, future balance updates will continue to improve upon these types of skills. Recall was a balance concern because it was difficult to recognize (there was no actual Enchantment on the teleporting player), and because those facing Recall could do nothing to prevent it. Now it can be removed in order to send the Assassin back prematurely to where he started.


We're attempting to further equalize elite power in the Dervish line, starting with longer durations on the lesser-used avatars. Avatar of Melandru has become a bit harder to kill than we'd like while transformed. To counter this, we've decreased the amount of its Health bonus slightly. Onslaught and the Vow series of skills were underpowered elites in comparison, so we've boosted its power slightly to see if that makes them more viable. Rending Sweep proved an extremely powerful, non-elite alternative to Avatar of Grenth and received a significant increase to its recharge time. Natural Healing was improved to add a self-sufficiency option into Wind Prayers, Pious Haste received a slight duration increase to make it more manageable, and Grenth's Grasp was changed to bring it up to something more worthy of an elite skill.


While Glyph of Lesser Energy has been very successful in diversifying elite selection on Elementalists and bringing more high-cost skills into play, it has also enabled a few overpowered skill combinations for secondary Elementalists. We believe this change will address these overpowered combinations without removing Glyph of Lesser Energy as a viable option. Mind Blast was adjusted to bring it line with other low-recharging damage skills. We felt that damage-addition skills didn't add enough to be a viable option, so we raised their damage amounts. Finally, Armor of Mist should now give a good speed boost to Water Magic characters, particularly flag runners.


  • Auspicious Incantation: changed to "For 20 seconds, the next spell you cast is disabled for an additional 10..5 seconds, and you gain 110..200% of that spell's Energy cost."
  • Diversion: increased recharge time to 12 seconds.
  • Ether Signet: decreased recharge time to 45 seconds.
  • Keystone Signet: decreased recharge time to 20 seconds.
  • Guilt: duration changed to 6 seconds, decreased recharge time to 25 seconds.
  • Mistrust: duration changed to 6 seconds.
  • Shame: duration changed to 6 seconds.
  • Shared Burden: decreased Energy cost to 10.
  • Signet of Clumsiness: increased damage to 15..60.
  • Spirit of Failure: Decreased Energy gain to 1..3, increased recharge time to 20.
The Diversion/Mantra of Recovery combination was proving to be slightly overpowered, so we changed Diversion's recharge time to compensate. One-time effect Hexes such as Shame, Mistrust, and Guilt have similar issues, so their duration has been changed to a flat 6 seconds. We simplified the description for Auspicious Incantation, and Signet of Clumsiness received a small damage boost to improve viability of the anti-melee and PvE varieties of Mesmer. Spirit of Failure received an increase to its recharge time and a decrease to its Energy gain, making it a little more difficult and less rewarding to spread this Hex everywhere. Keystone and Ether Signet's recharge time have been reduced to encourage the use of these lesser-used Signets, and Shared Burden has been reduced in cost to make a more attractive, elite alternative to Imagined Burden.


Zealous Benediction is simply too powerful, so we've reduced the amount of Energy gain it supplies. This, combined with the change to Glyph of Lesser Energy, should help to diversify Monk elites. We wanted to improve a few of the less attractive Hex-removal options without increasing the pacing of Hex removal overall. Reverse Hex adds a quick-casting 10 Energy option, and the improved casting time for Convert Hexes makes it more usable for multiple removals. Smite Hex was improved to match the pacing of Holy Veil, and Deny Hexes was moved to the Divine Favor attribute to give it a guaranteed removal and better synergy. We added additional healing to Signet of Rejuvenation, making it a better zero-Energy option for Healing Prayers. In a similar vein, Reversal of Damage received an improved recharge time to give Smiting Prayers a more usable, low-recast skill.


Soul Reaping's synergy with Spirits and minions opened up a lot of builds that simply never ran out of power. Spirits still provide half Energy, and with Soul Reaping's Energy gain limited, a player death will now provide more net Energy, which we believe will help Soul Reaping get closer to its intended function. Mark of Fury was strictly inferior to Dark Fury, so we reduced the cost of Mark of Fury in hopes that this improves its playability. Mark of Subversion was changed to match the duration of Diversion, Shame, Mistrust, and Guilt, which keeps these one-time Hexes consistent with one another. Reckless Haste had its cost increased, and Price of Failure received a duration decrease to make it more difficult to keep these powerful Hexes on a large number of people. Poisoned Heart became cheaper and now recharges faster for some fun, creative play, and Enfeebling Touch has been improved so that it's more in line with other applications of Weakness.


This small adjustment to the Paragon was made primarily to deal with Spirit/Chant issues. Since all Spirit attacks count as attack skills, these Chants were making offensive Spirits more powerful than they were intended. Anthem of Fury also received a slight recharge decrease to allow it to fuel Echoes more effectively, and Anthem of Envy's damage bonus was increased to reflect the difficulty of meeting the skill's condition.


  • Antidote Signet: decreased recharge time to 4 seconds.
  • Archer's Signet: decreased casting time to 2 seconds, skill disable time improved to 15..5.
  • Bestial Mauling: decreased Dazed duration to 4..10 seconds.
  • Disrupting Lunge: increased recharge time to 10 seconds.
  • Heal as One: decreased recharge time to 8 seconds.
  • Lightning Reflexes: decreased recharge time to 30 seconds.
  • Needling Shot: damage bonus increased to 10..30.
  • Otyugh's Cry: changed to "For 10..25 seconds, all allied animal companions gain +24 armor and cannot be blocked."
  • Pestilence: changed to "Create a level 1..10 Spirit. When any creature within its range dies, Conditions on that creature spread to any creature in the area already suffering from a Condition This Spirit dies after 30..90 second[s]."
  • Spike Trap: increased damage to 10..40.
  • Trapper's Focus: increased duration to 10..25 seconds.
  • Tripwire: increased damage to 5..20.
  • Viper's Nest: increased damage to 5..35.
While we've been pleased to find the Ranger seeing more play, we felt the skill diversity for this class was limited. The addition of the new pet controls caused us to scale back the interrupting pet skills, and allowed us to rework Otyugh's Cry into a much more useful skill. Antidote Signet was strictly inferior to the Paragon's Remedy Signet, so we reduced its recharge time to match. The trapper role is something we're looking to improve, so in this update we've improved the Condition duration or the damage of the least-used Trap skills. Heal as One now has an improved recharge time to put it more in line with other self-heals and add some additional options for the Beast Mastery line. Needling Shot's damage bonus was not quite good enough for its conditional effect, so we improved that to give Bow Rangers another damage option.


We wanted to improve a few niche skills in the Ritualist line, and we think we've accomplished that with these changes. Consume Soul is very specific skill, so we reduced its recharge time to make it more effective at removing Spirits from play. The fact that Brutal Weapon cannot stack with Enchantments is a bigger drawback than we'd originally thought, so we gave this skill a slight damage boost and a significant duration increase. Spirit's Strength is a fun, niche skill for some builds, and we wanted to make it more rewarding for players who choose to try something creative and different.


"Shields Up!" was proving to be a frustrating form of passive defense, and since one of our overall goals has been to reduce passive defense and support active defense, we felt it important to reduce the raw power of this Shout. Barbarous Slice was an inferior sword attack that we wanted to improve, and we felt that increasing its damage was a way to make it a more likely option for causing Bleeding. Crippling Slash also now causes Bleeding in order to improve its versatility and to make it more likely for players to equip it. We decreased Savage Slash's recharge time to put it more in-line with other melee interrupts, and Dwarven Battle Stance was given a full 33% attack speed bonus both to take more advantage of the interrupt quality and so that it acts as a full-fledged attack speed increase skill. Because of Heavy Blow's conditional nature, we reduced its adrenaline cost slightly, and lastly, Mighty Blow was given improved damage to put it on par with the recently improved Strength attack skills.