Feedback:User/Widowmaker/Smiting Prayers Skill Changes

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OK it's been known for a long time that Smiting Prayers aren't really that great. The problem is that if buffed they would allow people to play damage dealers who can also take whatever hex/condition removal and/or healing skills they want without having to give up their secondary, something that's just too powerful (compare with the Ritualist, who can do the same but without the hex removal, and who suffers many conditions on his/her abilities as a payoff). However I don't think this should stop Smiting Prayers from being a viable line, so here are some suggestions about it:

Smiter's Boon (PvP) Smiter's Boon (PvP) 5 Energy 0.75¾Activation time 20Recharge time

For 15...27...30 seconds, your spells activate as though you had +0...2...2 to Smiting Prayers, and whenever you cast a Smiting Prayers spell, you gain 5...17...20 Health.

Though this isn't actually a Smiting Prayers skill, I put it here since it interacts with them so strongly.
This skill was killed because it was overpowered, and it was overpowered because it let smiters deal damage while healing. By changing the healing to the caster, not the target, it becomes more like Aura of Restoration. A bonus to your attribute (but spells only, to prevent Castigation Signet and other signets from becoming overpowered) also lets it be used with purely offensive spells.
Though Aura of Restoration and Glyph of Elemental Power (both comparable skills) are not overpowered, smiting deals armour-ignoring damage and so giving it a bonus could be dangerous. However that's why I think direct damage dealing smiting prayers should also be addressed carefully (see below). It also requires a reasonable investment in Divine Favour, leaving you with less free attribute points.

Smiter's Boon Smiter's Boon 5 Energy 0.25¼Activation time 10Recharge time

For 15...27...30 seconds, your Smiting Prayers have double the Divine Favour bonus and activate as though you had +0...2...2 to your attribute. Whenever you cast a Smiting Prayers spell, you gain 5...17...20 Health.

Since "smite spikes" are not going to be a problem in PvE, this version of SB can keep the 0.25¼ activation and 10 second recharge. It may as well also have the party healing which it already has so as not to nerf support smiters.

Balthazar's Aura Balthazar's Aura 15Energy 1Activation time 20Recharge time

Enchantment Spell. Foes adjacent to target ally take 10...34...40 holy damage. For 15 seconds, that ally's attack skills deal Holy damage, which is increased by +5...13...15. When this enchantment ends, all adjacent foes take 10...34...40 holy damage.

This skill was powerful, but much too clunky to use previously. The cost, activation and recharge were all much too high. This makes it more like an ally-targetted Conjure, or Heart of Holy Flame. Though the spike potential of holy damage (which isn't decreased by any armour or shield bonuses etc) with +dmg is a little dangerous, this won't stack with any Conjure or Order, is still fairly expensive and slow to recharge (for its duration) and can be removed easily. Thus it's more of a spike-assist or for increasing pressure.

Holy Wrath Holy Wrath Retribution Retribution (PvP) 10 Energy 1 Activation time 10 Recharge time

Enchantment Spell. For 10 seconds, the next 0...4...5 times target ally takes damage from a foe, the dealer of that damage and one other foe near that ally take 10...34...40 Holy damage.

OK I'm not so sure of the numbers here but basically, a skill which is only used for farming gets, in PvP, a different use - as a punishment for those attacking an ally. In a spike, for example, this might be useful to deal damage back to your opponents. Alternatively, it can be used to make a foe go and attack someone else.

Kirin's Wrath Kirin's Wrath / Symbol of Wrath Symbol of Wrath 10 Energy 2 Activation time 25 Recharge time

For 5 seconds, foes adjacent to the target foe's current location take 5...37...45 holy damage each second.

A point-blank adjacent-ranged AoE is pretty useless on a monk with this activation and recharge. Making these skills target a foe is really all they need to make them useful, though a slight recharge reduction and damage increase are handy too. These now become non-elite Rays of Judgement, and a smaller but armour-ignoring version of the popular Elementalist skills Searing Heat, Teinai's Heat and Breath of Fire.

Scourge Enchantment Scourge Enchantment 5 Energy 1 Activation time 10 Recharge time

Hex Spell. For 30 seconds, each time target foe gains an enchantment, it lasts only 80...56...50% of its normal duration and the caster of that enchantment takes 15...63...75 damage.

This skill makes for a good pressure hex, but the cost and activation time kill it. By changing the mechanic so it affects even self-targetting enchantments and adding a duration decrease, it suddenly becomes really useful. A recharge increase is needed to prevent it becoming the world's best cover hex, however.

Smite Smite 5 Energy 1 Activation time 10 Recharge time

Spell. Target foe takes 15...51...60 Lightning damage. If attacking, Smite deals an extra 5...29...35 damage. This spell has 25% armour penetration.

I always think of smiting as including the whole throwing thunderbolts thing, so why not let monks smite like eles? A change like this essentially makes Smite into a monk version of Lightning Bolt... however, its condition is focused on attackers, making it less powerful for backline spikes. This also makes it safe to increase the damage as it is no longer armour-ignoring holy damage. However it does give smiters a few options for dealing damage, as some skills deal fire and others lightning, allowing them an edge at getting around shield mods.

Smite Condition Smite Condition 5 Energy 1 Activation time 5 Recharge time

Spell. Remove one Condition from target ally. If a Condition was removed, foes in the area take 5...41...50 holy damage.

Smite Condition is a nice skill, but the recharge is too long to be useful. This makes it a bit better.

Smite Hex Smite Hex 5 Energy 1 Activation time 12 Recharge time

Remove a hex from target ally. If a hex is removed, foes in the area suffer 5...41...50 holy damage and a further 5...41...50 damage if that ally is still suffering from a hex.

Some conditional damage on allies under hex stacks makes this skill a bit better against Hexways.

Spear of Light Spear of Light 5 Energy 0.75¾ Activation time 10 Recharge time

Spell. Spear of Light flies toward target foe and deals 20...56...65 holy damage if it hits. If it hits an attacking foe, Spear of Light also inflicts Blindness for 2...8...10 seconds.

Spear of Light was also an almost decent skill which suffered from a long recharge. By making it into a blinding skill, you give monks a bit of utility other than direct healing and defense.

Banish Banish 5 Energy 1 Activation time 10 Recharge time

Spell. Target foe takes 20...44...50 holy damage. Summoned creatures and attacking creatures Shadow step to a nearby location directly away from you, and if Banish hits a summoned creature, it deals double damage and recharges twice as fast.

The Monk's version of Unnatural Signet, Banish is just not that great at getting rid of summoned creatures because it needs you to spec into Smiting Prayers and only does ~100 damage ever ten seconds, whereas a Mesmer can remove all enemy spirits quickly. Giving this skill an offensive shadow-step makes it interesting and different while still fitting the theme. While it's still not as good as the Mesmer's signet, it is useful as an anti-melee skill too, giving it a dual use. I was going to have it recharging instantly but this makes the user think about whether they want to use it to stop a spirit or an attacking foe.

Reversal of Damage Reversal of Damage 5 Energy 0.25¼ Activation time 3 Recharge time

Enchantment Spell. For 8 seconds, the next time target ally would take damage or life steal, the foe dealing the damage takes that damage instead (maximum 5...61...75).

Allowing this to counter life-stealing would keep it in line with Reversal of Fortune and make it a bit more useful.

Holy Wrath Holy Wrath 15 Energy 1 Activation time 15 Recharge time

Spell. For 3 seconds, foes in the area take 15...27...30 Fire damage each second. Attacking foes struck by Holy Wrath are interrupted and foes who are casting Hexes suffer from Weakness for 5...17...20 seconds.

After some consideration, I decided Holy Wrath deserved a slightly more awesome change. Though useful for farming in PvE, and thus debatably not in need of a change there, this skill really needed a buff in PvP. I feel a complete mechanic change would be good for it, so my idea here is to model it loosely on Destructive Was Glaive - a good but not overpowered skill. Though the damage it deals is comparable, it occurs after casting not on dropping ashes, and so it's easier to interrupt a spike from it. Plus, the damage occurs in three packets, which is desirable against such skills as Spirit Bond, but generally less useful since it gives foes chance to heal or protect themselves. Some mild secondary effects also make it fit the theme of a holy punishment rather than a plain damage skill. These would help reduce pressure on your own team as well.

The 25/02/2010 Update has reworked this skill already.