ArenaNet:Developer updates/20080807

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[Dev Update] August Balance Changes - 7 August 2008

This month's skill balance is larger than normal. There were a number of issues we wanted to address:

  • Ursan-way. Changes to Ursan Blessing are included in this update, with the goal of both balancing it and not requiring players to grind out the title just to be able to play with others.
  • PvE-Only skills. With a few balances, we've also changed a lot of PvE-only skills to function better at lower attribute levels, reducing the need to grind a title just to use a skill associated to it.
  • Victory or Death. After a lot of discussion, testing, and reworking, we're implementing significant changes to Victory or Death. See the section below for specifics.
  • Weak Elites. Each profession has received updates to a number of unused and very weak elite skills to give players more build options and diversity.

It's no secret that the Ursan skills have been overpowered compared to other late-game options. Although this opened up high-end areas for a broader range of players it had several negative side effects: pick-up groups pressuring players to use Ursan Blessing; a diminished importance of profession and skill choice; and causing many players to feel that achieving a high rank in the Ursan title was required. We're attempting changes (described in more detail below) to address these problems without eliminating Ursan Blessing as a fun and viable play choice.

Similarly, we're reducing the effect of title rank on many PvE-only skills so that players don't feel so compelled to grind and raise their title ranks. Future updates may address additional issues with the rate and manner in which titles are acquired, but we view these changes as an important first step.

For PvP, we are not making many skill changes. We are instead focusing on the Victory or Death mechanics in GvG that have motivated players to play defensively and play to win specifically at VoD.

Finally, we're taking this opportunity to address many severely underpowered elite skills. In some cases, this has involved completely reworking the skills (and altering the creatures that use these skills in PvE). We don't like to radically change skills and risk invalidating the play styles that people may be enjoying, but in the case of the elite skills modified in this build, major changes seemed entirely appropriate.

Because of the large number of changes overall and the depth of the changes to VoD, we will keep a close eye on the changes and may revise or remove some of them. We aim to take care of any major fixes within a week.

PvE and PvP Changes

Assassin

  • Golden Skull Strike Golden Skull Strike: This skill no longer requires a lead attack; reduced Dazed duration to 1..5 seconds.
  • Hidden Caltrops Hidden Caltrops: increased recharge to 12 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(10 seconds.) Causes 50% slower movement. End effect: inflicts Crippled condition (3..15 seconds)."
  • Way of the Assassin Way of the Assassin: functionality changed to: "(20 seconds.) You attack 5..35% faster and have +5..35% chance to land a critical hit."
  • Flashing Blades Flashing Blades: functionality changed to: "(5..30 seconds.) You have 75% chance to block while attacking. Block effect: 5..20 damage to your attacker."
  • Shadow Form Shadow Form: reduced the damage penalty to 33%.

Golden Skull Strike was similar to Temple Strike but clearly inferior. Instead of having them serve a similar function, we've turned Golden Skull Strike into an elite version of Golden Phoenix Strike, which allows faster access to dual attacks and Daze. Hidden Caltrops has been turned into a stronger (and also more thematically-correct) snare, applying a 10-second hex that also Cripples when it expires. This protects the skill from those only using a single type of snare removal. Way of the Assassin grants primary Assassins new access to an increased attack speed stance that synergizes well with skills that trigger on a critical hit. Flashing Blades now causes damage when it blocks, which makes it more attractive in PvE and smaller-format PvP. Shadow Form's damage reduction was lowered so that it's more viable for a wider range of uses, including boss hunting. We're further adjusting the effectiveness of Shadow Form Underworld farmers by changing the Underworld, rather than additional changes to Shadow Form.

Mesmer

  • Tease Tease: decreased casting time to .25 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Interrupts a skill. Interruption effect: also interrupts all foes in the area and you steal 0..5 Energy from each interrupted foe."
  • Visions of Regret Visions of Regret: functionality changed to: "Also hexes foes adjacent to target (10 seconds). These foes take 15..90 damage whenever they use a skill."
  • Air of Disenchantment Air of Disenchantment: functionality changed to: "Also hexes foes adjacent to target (5..20 seconds). Remove one enchantment from target and nearby foes. Enchantments expire 150..300% faster on those foes."
  • Extend Conditions Extend Conditions: functionality changed to: "Spread all conditions from target foe to all foes near your target. The durations of those conditions are increased by 5..100% (maximum 30 seconds)."
  • Lyssa's Aura Lyssa's Aura: increased recharge to 30 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(10 seconds.) You have 0..4 Energy regeneration. Renewal: every time you cast a spell on an enemy."
  • Signet of Midnight Signet of Midnight: increased casting time to 2 seconds.

Tease was both confusing and entirely too specific to be playable. We've reworked the skill to have it double as both area-interruption and Energy management. Visions of Regret had a too-specific trigger effect, making it weak in most situations, and frustrating in the few where it worked. We've changed it to work on all skills, but not attacks, as a sort of elite Backfire. Air of Disenchantment has had problems due to spike damage in the past, but fell into obscurity after rebalancing. We've given this skill a new function -- area-of-effect enchantment removal. Extend Conditions becomes an elite Epidemic, spreading conditions in a wide area and lengthening their durations. Lyssa's Aura had a limited effect and uncontrollable triggering condition, which made it a weak choice for an elite. We've changed its functionality to Energy management that can be maintained. Finally, Signet of Midnight's dominated in four-on-four matches because it was independent of attribute investment. Signet of Midnight was originally balanced before Fast Casting affected the activation time of Signets. This change brings the skill closer to its original balance.

Necromancer

  • Life Transfer Life Transfer: decreased recharge to 20 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Also hexes foes adjacent to target (6..12 second). Causes -3..8 Health degeneration. You have +3..8 Health regeneration."
  • Vampiric Spirit Vampiric Spirit: functionality changed to: "Steal 5..50 Health from target foe. You have +5..10 Health regeneration (10 seconds)."
  • Order of Undeath Order of Undeath: increased recharge to 15; decreased Energy cost to 5. Functionality changed to: "All but one of your minions die. If that minion is non-Elite, it deals +5..30 more damage, has +5..20 Health regeneration, and attacks 33% faster (20 seconds)."
  • Pain of Disenchantment Pain of Disenchantment: decreased casting time to 1 second; increased recharge time to 15 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Target foe loses 1..3 enchantments. Removal effect: that foe and all adjacent foes lose 10..100 Health."

With the addition of new elites that can cause Health degeneration (Reaper's Mark, Corrupt Enchantment), Life Transfer slowly fell into the realm of underpowered. To give it a needed update, it now hexes adjacent foes as well, allowing Necromancers to more efficiently spread degeneration. Vampiric Spirit's previous functionality required us to make it either too weak in general or too strong in very specific cases. We've changed it into an elite version of Vampiric Gaze, doing a direct life-steal with additional regeneration. Order of Undeath is now an alternative way to make one, powerful minion that persists longer at the expense of additional minions. This skill should give minion masters interesting options without crowding PvP areas with masses of minions. Pain of Disenchantment now allows Necromancers to combine a multiple removal skill with area-of-effect damage, allowing greater utility while punishing enchantments.

Elementalist

  • Glimmering Mark Glimmering Mark: decreased casting time to 1 second; increased recharge time to 10 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(10 seconds.) Deals 5..25 lightning damage per second. Ends if you cast a spell that targets this foe."
  • Thunderclap Thunderclap: decreased casting time to 1 second; increased recharge to 20 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Deals 15..75 damage. After 3 seconds, inflicts Dazed condition (1..10 seconds) to target and adjacent foes. 25% armor penetration."
  • Mirror of Ice Mirror of Ice: increased casting time to 1 second; increased recharge to 30 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(60 seconds.) You deal 5..35 cold damage whenever you cast a Water Magic hex."
  • Master of Magic Master of Magic: decreased Energy cost to 5; decreased recharge to 20 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(1..61 seconds.) Your elemental attributes are set to 12 and you gain +0..2 Energy regeneration. Ends if you use a non-elemental skill."

The old functionality of Glimmering Mark and Thunderclap proved too difficult to balance. These skills were always either too effective at locking down enemies or too ineffective for an elite slot. We've dramatically reworked them both. Glimmering Mark now does damage to a foe until you cast another spell on that same foe, allowing persisting damage to an off-target; Thunderclap becomes a delayed, area-effect damage and Daze-causing spell. Mirror of Ice's previous function was too narrow and didn't support normal Elementalist play. It has been changed to amplify the damage output of Water Magic-focused Elementalists. Master of Magic has been reworked for easier mixing of elemental lines to allow interesting multi-element builds.

Monk

  • Healing Burst Healing Burst: decreased recharge time to 4 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Heals for 5..130. Also heals party members for 5..20 in area of your target."
  • Empathic Removal Empathic Removal: functionality changed to: "Removes one condition and hex from target ally and yourself, and heals for 50. Cannot self-target."
  • Aura of Faith Aura of Faith: this skill is now in the Protection Prayers attribute line; decreased Energy cost to 5; decreased casting time to .25; decreased recharge time to 8 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(3 seconds.) Target ally gains 50..100% more Health when healed and takes 5..50% less damage."
  • Signet of Rage Signet of Rage: increased non conditional damage to 5..50; decreased conditional damage to 5..10.

Touch-range healing spells aren't something very desirable to Monks in any format. We've changed Healing Burst to be a cheap, effective heal that also has a secondary area heal tied to it. Empathic Removal now has an unattributed heal associated to it, making it especially attractive to Monk secondaries in arena formats. Aura of Faith has been drastically reworked: it's now a Protection spell that has a much greater effect for a much shorter time, making it an elite version of the popular Protective Spirit. Signet of Rage now has more of its damage in the non-conditional portion, making it more useful in a wider variety of situations without being overpowered against foes with numerous adrenal skills.

Warrior

  • Warrior's Endurance Warrior's Endurance: this skill is no longer a stance.
  • Battle Rage Battle Rage: functionality changed to: "(15 seconds.) You move 33% faster and gain double adrenaline from your attacks. Ends if you use any non-adrenal skills. "
  • Defy Pain Defy Pain: decreased adrenaline cost to 5 strikes. Functionality changed to: "(20 seconds.) You have +90..300 maximum Health, +20 armor, and take -1..10 damage."
  • Quivering Blade Quivering Blade: increased adrenaline cost to 5 strikes. Functionality changed to: "Deals +10..40 damage. Inflicts Dazed condition (5 seconds) if target foe was moving."

Warrior's Endurance was not useful as a stance because it did not boost movement or attack speed. Changing it to a skill allows Warriors to couple it with stances to cover these needs. Battle Rage no longer throws away all the adrenaline gained while using it, a drawback that previously invalidated the skill. Defy Pain now also slightly reduces damage taken—which we believe will be attractive to certain PvE warriors. Quivering Blade now applies Daze to a moving opponent (instead of to yourself) giving sword-using Warriors a low-cost damage boost and a unique way to inflict Daze.

Ritualist

  • Reclaim Essence Reclaim Essence: functionality changed to: "All your Spirits die. If a Spirit dies in this way, you gain 5..20 Energy and all of your Binding Rituals are recharged."
  • Consume Soul Consume Soul: increased casting time to 1 second; increased recharge time to 5 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Steal 5..60 Health. If target foe was a summoned creature, you steal all of that foe's life."
  • Xinrae's Weapon Xinrae's Weapon: this skill is now in the Restoration Magic attribute line; decreased Energy cost to 5; decreased recharge time to 3 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(8 seconds.) The next time target ally takes damage from a foe, that damage is limited to 5% of target ally's max Health and that ally steals up to 20..80 Health from that foe."
  • Defiant Was Xinrae Defiant Was Xinrae: this skill is now in the Restoration Magic attribute line; decreased Energy cost to 5; increased casting time to 1 second; increased recharge time to 20 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(15..60 seconds.) You cannot lose more than 20% of your max Health from a single hit. Drop effect: steal 30..90 Health from nearby foes."

Reclaim Essence now functions as a way to recycle Spirits. Destroying Spirits will return some of the Energy investment and recharge them, allowing more dynamic Spirit placement options. Consume Soul now can steal life from any enemy—making it a more broadly useful skill—and still counter hostile summoned creatures. With Xinrae's Weapon, the aim is to give Restoration Ritualists an alternative to Weapon of Remedy: the reworked Xinrae's Weapon is an elite that functions much like a one-use Protective Spirit that also steals life. Lastly, Defiant was Xinrae now protects the user from single big hits and also can steal life when dropped, making it a self-support option for split tactics and arena settings.

Ranger

  • Expert's Dexterity Expert's Dexterity: this skill is now a stance; decreased activation time to 0; increased recharge time to 20 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(5..20 seconds.) You attack 33% faster and you gain +2 to your Marksmanship attribute."
  • Scavenger's Focus Scavenger's Focus: this skill is no longer a preparation; decreased Energy cost to 5; decreased activation time to 0; increased recharge time to 20 seconds. Functionality changed to: "(10 seconds.) You gain 3..12 Energy if you strike a foe who has condition."
  • Scavenger Strike Scavenger Strike: decreased Energy cost to 5; increased recharge time to 10 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Deals 10..25 damage. You gain 3..15 Energy if target foe is suffering from a condition."
  • Incendiary Arrows Incendiary Arrows: changed skill to an attack skill; removed activation time; decreased recharge time to 3 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Hits 2 foes near your target and inflicts Burning (1..3 seconds)."
  • Melandru's Shot Melandru's Shot: decreased Energy cost to 5; decreased activation time to 1 second; increased recharge time to 10 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Deals +10..25 damage. Inflicts Bleeding (5..25 seconds) and Crippled (3..15 seconds) if target foe was moving or knocked down."

Expert's Dexterity and Scavenger's Focus could not compete with other preparations, especially considering that they were elites. We've changed these both to stances: Expert's Dexterity now has an attribute and attack speed bonus that can be used with preparations; Scavenger's Focus returns Energy when hitting foes with a condition. Scavenger's Strike offers similar Energy management, but is an attack skill as opposed to a stance. We also changed Incendiary Arrows from a preparation to a multi-shot bow attack that sets foes on fire. Melandru's Shot is now like an elite Hunter's Shot, inflicting Bleeding and Cripple on moving or knocked-down foes.

Dervish

  • Onslaught Onslaught: increased Energy cost to 10. Functionality changed to: "(5..20 seconds.) You attack and move 25% faster."
  • Zealous Vow Zealous Vow: increased Energy gained per hit to 1..7; decreased to -3 Energy degeneration.
  • Vow of Strength Vow of Strength: functionality changed to: (20 seconds.) Adds +5..35% damage to your attacks against foes not suffering from any conditions.

Onslaught has been reworked into a combined attack and movement speed boost rolled into one, freeing skill bar slots and choice of secondary profession. Zealous Vow had an Energy gain that was poor even in optimal situations, so we've increased this skill's Energy gain qualities and decreased the downside. This aims to let Dervishes use expensive skills more regularly when taking this elite, as long as they stay aggressive. Vow of Strength now allows powerful attacks as long as conditions are not present, making it interesting to build around.

Paragon

  • "The Power Is Yours!" "The Power Is Yours!": decreased recharge time to 0; decreased Energy cost to 0; increased adrenaline cost to 4 strikes. Functionality changed to: "(3 seconds.) Allies within earshot gain 0..1 Energy regeneration."
  • "It's just a flesh wound." "It's just a flesh wound.": functionality changed to: "Remove all conditions from target other ally. This skill fails if you have a Deep Wound. Cannot self-target."
  • Soldier's Fury Soldier's Fury: functionality changed to: "(10..35 seconds.) You attack 33% faster and gain 33% more adrenaline if under the effects of a shout or chant."

"The Power is Yours!" was simply weak and complicated. We've overhauled this skill to be simpler and work off adrenaline, converting the Paragon's adrenaline into Energy for allies. "It's just a flesh wound" now functions as a more widely applicable removal elite for Paragons as long as the user doesn't have a Deep Wound. Soldier's Fury has an easy-to-meet condition that functions as an adrenaline battery, allowing a Paragon to fuel other adrenal skills more easily.

PvP Changes

Monk

In PvP, Spirit Bond was too readily-available when coupled with enough Energy management. We've slightly raised the recharge to limit how often it is in effect.

Ritualist

Weapon of Warding, at high attributes, was often easy to simultaneously maintain on two people. This is frustrating because of the more passive and irremovable nature of the spell. We've raised the recharge so that a target needs to be chosen carefully, and so that target switching is a more viable strategy against it.

Guild Battle Changes

  • There is no longer any Victory or Death effect.
  • There is no longer any Victory is Ours effect.
  • The Guild Battle NPCs no longer walk to the flag stand.
  • The Guild Lord's Health has been reduced to 1680.
  • Removed all skills on the Bodyguard except Oath of Healing.
  • Removed Precision Shot from the Archers.
  • Whenever a team gets a morale boost that teams Guild Lord gets an additional +300 maximum Health for the rest of the game
  • The final 28 min tie breaker is changed to: "team who did the most damage to the Enemy Guild Lord wins."
  • Amulet of Protection: reduced the amount of damage the Guild Lord can take to 25 per second at the beginning of a match, scaling up to 300 damage per second later in the match.

Victory or Death has turned Guild Battles into a race to see who can destroy enemy NPCs at the flag stand during VoD the fastest. This has, in turn, caused teams to build only for this situation, slowing the rest of the game to a near standstill. In an effort to alleviate this, we've redesigned Victory or Death completely. We've removed the need to kill NPCs to secure a flag stand advantage at VoD—now, the Guild Lord walks alone, making him extremely vulnerable if unattended. Morale boosts give the Guild Lord +300 maximum Health, giving him a definite advantage during VoD, but the tie-breaker comes down to who has inflicted the most damage to the Guild Lord, encouraging split teams to attack him before VoD. The removal of the Bodyguard's offensive abilities and the lack of Precision Shot on the archers help make the Guild Lord more vulnerable pre-VoD, and allow one or two enemies to pressure the Guild Lord, securing them an advantage if the game stalemates into a 28-minute tiebreaker.

The aim of this rework is to promote more offensive play and cause both the flag and base to matter before VoD. Teams can't wait for the damage bonus effects of VoD to supplement a lack of offensive punch now, which should lower the amount of defensive skills a team can bring, while killing grouped-up NPCs no longer is relevant to victory. These changes have had internal testing, but we believe only a "live-fire" setting can truly reveal if these changes improve VoD without introducing bigger problems.

PvE Changes

The majority of these changes are intended to adjust the power curve of PvE-only skills. This should make title rank have less impact on the effectiveness of these skills. A few of these skills were changed because they were simply underpowered.

Monk

  • Unyielding Aura Unyielding Aura: decreased casting time to .25 seconds; decreased recharge time 10 seconds. Functionality changed to: "Your Monk spells heal for +15..60% End effect: a random ally is resurrected and teleported to your location."

Unyielding Aura has been completely reworked for PvE. This effect would not be safe to introduce to PvP but should prove an interesting option in cooperative play.

Luxon/Kurzick

Sunspear

We wanted to make Never Rampage Alone a little bit easier for Rangers to maintain without forcing them to bring Energy management so we have decreased the cost to 15 energy.

Lightbringer

  • Lightbringer Signet Lightbringer Signet: this is no longer elite. Functionality changed to: "You gain 3..5 strikes of adrenaline and 16..24 Energy if you are within the area of a demonic servant of Abaddon."

Lightbringer's Signet just wasn't good enough for people to be willing to give up their elite slot for it so, to make it more usable, we removed its elite status and adjusted the numbers a bit.

Asura

  • Air of Superiority Air of Superiority: increased duration to 20..30 seconds.
  • Asuran Scan Asuran Scan: increased duration to 9..12 seconds; increased damage bonus to 45..75%; decreased casting time to 0.
  • Mental Block Mental Block: increased duration to 5..11 seconds.
  • Mindbender Mindbender: increased duration to 10..16 seconds.
  • Pain Inverter Pain Inverter: increased damage bonus to 100..140%.
  • Radiation Field Radiation Field: increased duration to 4..6 seconds; increased Disease duration to 12..20 seconds.
  • Smooth Criminal Smooth Criminal: increased duration to 14..20 seconds; increased Energy gained to 7..10.
  • Summon Ice Imp Summon Ice Imp: increased level to 14..20; increased duration to 40..60 seconds.
  • Summon Mursaat Summon Mursaat: increased level to 14..20; increased duration to 40..60 seconds.
  • Summon Naga Shaman Summon Naga Shaman: increased level to 14..20; increased duration to 40..60 seconds.
  • Summon Ruby Djinn Summon Ruby Djinn: increased level to 14..20; increased duration to 40..60 seconds.
  • Technobabble Technobabble: decreased Energy cost to 10; decreased recharge to 10; decreased Dazed duration to 3..5 seconds.

It's difficult for melee classes to stop fighting to activate a 2 second cast time skill, so we simply gave Asuran Scan an instant casting time, making it friendlier for its intended classes.

Dwarf

  • "By Ural's Hammer!" "By Ural's Hammer!": functionality changed to: "(7..10 seconds.) You have +2 Health regeneration and do +25% damage. Lasts 7..10 more seconds for each ally in earshot under 50% Health."
  • "Don't Trip!" "Don't Trip!": decreased Energy cost to 5.
  • Alkar's Alchemical Acid Alkar's Alchemical Acid: increased damage to 40..50; increased conditional damage to 45..70; increased conditional duration to 14..20 seconds.
  • Black Powder Mine Black Powder Mine: increased damage to 20..30; increased Blind and Bleeding duration to 7..10 seconds.
  • Brawling Headbutt Brawling Headbutt: increased damage to 45..70.
  • Breath of the Great Dwarf Breath of the Great Dwarf: increased Health gained to 50..60.
  • Drunken Master Drunken Master: increased duration to 72..90.
  • Dwarven Stability Dwarven Stability: increased duration to 24..30; increased Health gained to 55..100.
  • Ear Bite Ear Bite: functionality changed to: "Deals 50..70 piercing damage and inflicts Bleeding condition (10..25 seconds)."
  • Great Dwarf Armor Great Dwarf Armor: increased duration to 22..40.
  • Great Dwarf Weapon Great Dwarf Weapon: increased damage to 15..20; increased knockdown chance to 28..40%.
  • Light of Deldrimor Light of Deldrimor: increased damage to 55..80.
  • Low Blow Low Blow: increased damage to 45..70.
  • Snow Storm Snow Storm: decreased Energy cost to 10; increased damage to 30..40.

"By Ural's Hammer!" was too conditional so we added a non-conditional benefit to make it more generally useful.

Ebon Vanguard

  • Deft Strike Deft Strike: increased damage to 18..30; increased Bleeding duration to 18..30 seconds.
  • Ebon Battle Standard of Courage Ebon Battle Standard of Courage: increased duration to 14..20 seconds.
  • Ebon Battle Standard of Honor Ebon Battle Standard of Honor: increased duration to 14..20 seconds; increased damage to 8..15; increased damage against Charr to 7..10.
  • Ebon Battle Standard of Wisdom Ebon Battle Standard of Wisdom: increased duration to 14..20 seconds; increased recharge reduction to 44..60%.
  • Ebon Escape Ebon Escape: increased Health healed to 70..110.
  • Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support: increased level to 14..20; increased conditional duration to 24..30 increased non condition duration to 12..15.
  • Ebon Vanguard Sniper Support Ebon Vanguard Sniper Support: functionality changed to: "Deals 54..90 piercing damage and inflicts Bleeding condition (25 seconds). 10% chance of +540..900 piercing damage. 25% chance of +540..900 piercing damage if target foe is a Charr."
  • Signet of Infection Signet of Infection: increased Disease duration to 13..20.
  • Sneak Attack Sneak Attack: increased Blind duration to 5..8.
  • Tryptophan Signet Tryptophan Signet: increased duration to 14..20; increased movement speed reduction to 23..40%.
  • Weakness Trap Weakness Trap: increased Weakness duration to 10..20 seconds; increased lightning damage to 24..50.
  • Winds Winds: increased Spirit level to 4..10; increased duration to 54..90 seconds.

Ebon Vanguard Sniper Support wasn't quite as cool as its assassin counterpart, so we wanted to add a bit of flavor to it. The extreme amount of random bonus damage is meant to simulate a sniper getting a successful head shot.

Norn

  • "Dodge This!" "Dodge This!": increased duration to 16..20 seconds; increased damage to 14..20.
  • "Finish Him!" "Finish Him!": increased damage to 44..80; increased duration to 12..20.
  • "I Am The Strongest!" "I Am The Strongest!": increased number of attacks to 5..8; increased damage to 14..20.
  • "I Am Unstoppable!" "I Am Unstoppable!": increased duration to 16..20 seconds.
  • "You Are All Weaklings!" "You Are All Weaklings!": increased Weakness duration to 8..12 seconds; decreased Energy cost to 5.
  • "You Move Like a Dwarf!" "You Move Like a Dwarf!": increased damage to 44..80; increased duration to 8..15 seconds.
  • A Touch of Guile A Touch of Guile: increased damage to 44..80; increased duration to 5..8 seconds.
  • Club of a Thousand Bears Club of a Thousand Bears: increased damage to 6..9.
  • Feel No Pain Feel No Pain: increased duration to 30 seconds; decreased Health regeneration to 1..3; increased recharge time to 20 seconds.
  • Ursan Blessing Ursan Blessing: functionality changed to: "You lose all effects and take on the aspect of the bear (60 seconds). All your attributes are set to 0 and bear attacks replace your skills, and you have 100 armor and 750..800 Health."
  • Raven Blessing Raven Blessing: functionality changed to: "You lose all effects and take on the aspect of the raven (60 seconds). All your attributes are set to 0 and raven attacks replace your skills, and you have 80 armor, 660..700 Health, and a 20..30% block chance."
  • Raven Talons Raven Talons: functionality changed to: "Deals 20..35 piercing damage. Inflicts Bleeding and Cripple conditions (4..10 seconds)."
  • Volfen Blessing Volfen Blessing: functionality changed to: "You lose all effects and take on the aspect of the wolf (60 seconds). All your attributes are set to 0 and wolf attacks replace your skills, and you have 80 armor, 660..700 Health, and +2..4% Health regeneration."
  • Volfen Bloodlust Volfen Bloodlust: this skill now affects all nearby allies.
  • Volfen Pounce Volfen Pounce: this skill is now a stance.
  • Ursan Strike Ursan Strike: functionality changed to: “Deals 40..75 damage and 40..75 slashing damage.”.

The goal behind the Norn Blessing changes is to simultaneously eliminate the class imbalances which existed in the previous incarnations and to balance out the power of the three Blessings. To remove the class imbalance, the Norn Blessings will now set a user's Health to 600, armor to 80 and all attributes to 0. The Energy element has been removed from these skills entirely so that classes with a higher Energy pool will not be at an advantage. We also made the skills strip off any non-consumable buffs when they are activated.

To address a big part of the power of the Blessings we decided to make it so that players can only have one active half of the time. This inability to keep a Blessing up permanently will make profession and skill choices matter while the Blessing is recharging. Players will have to play more tactically when using a Blessing as their Health and armor will drop when the Blessing wears off.

In addition to these changes we have adjusted some of the Ursan, Raven and Volfen skills to better balance the Blessings against each other. We have reduced the damage Ursan Strike does by making one of the hits cause slashing damage so that the armor of a foe is taken into account when damage is calculated on that hit. We've added damage to Raven Talons to increase its power. Volfen Pounce has been made a stance so players will not have to stop moving to activate it. Lastly, we increased the radius of Volfen Bloodlust to affect nearby allies.