January 20th 2012: Snow Day Skill Update Preview
It's been a while since I last used my wiki journal to post updates about what I'm doing, but I would like to talk a bit about the upcoming skill updates. As pretty much the whole studio is snowed out of the office at the moment, we weren't able to push the update yesterday. However, it's ready for as soon as we get back and I wanted to share some details about the update, in particular for PvP players preparing for the Monthly Automated Tournament next weekend. I'll use this opportunity to explain in depth the reasoning behind some skill changes too. I may continue in the future to post similar updates on my wiki journal, giving insight into the design of a few skill changes, if this is something that the community likes.
- Fox Fangs (PvP): reduced bonus damage to 10...25.
- Leaping Mantis Sting: reduced bonus damage to 5...15.
Assassins are in a pretty good place right now, but their compressed damage is a little faster than we'd like. We're taking off a little bit of damage from two of their key damage skills to address this.
- Crippling Victory: increased adrenaline cost to 6; removed Cripple from AoE component.
- Onslaught (PvP): removed 25% movement-speed increase.
- Twin Moon Sweep (PvP): reduced damage by 25%.
- Wearying Strike: increase adrenaline cost to 6.
Lately, GvG has been filled with nothing but Onslaught Dervish. While we like to see that Dervishes have found their place in GvG, we feel that several elements are out of line with this particular template. Crippling Victory's Cripple condition is a little too easy to meet, so we're removing it from the AoE component. This should mean that proper use of blocking will allow players to avoid it. Twin Moon Sweep is providing a little too much damage for the speed at which it is being charged, and Wearying Strike is available a little too often, so we're tweaking these skills accordingly. Onslaught itself will have its movement speed bonus removed, which should expand the bar a bit, meaning some damage will have to be removed in order to accommodate a new run boost.
- Blinding Flash: increased recharge to 8 seconds.
- Glyph of Sacrifice: added the following functionality: "Ends prematurely if you use a non-spell skill."
- Obsidian Flame (PvP): split for PvP; reduced damage to 22...92.
In order to provide a more significant choice between defense-oriented Elementalists with Blinding Surge and offense-oriented Elementalists with Invoke Lighting we're increasing the recharge on Blinding Flash slightly. This should provide some tension between taking Surge for better defensive cover or Invoke for more damage. Glyph of Sacrifice is being changed to remove a skill combination that was providing too much compressed damage in conjunction with spear attacks. Finally, Obsidian Flame has been split in order to prevent the expected emergence of a spike build that is currently kept in check by this month's Flux. We're choosing to reduce the damage on this skill rather than revert the cast time on the split version because we feel the lowered cast time provides reliable damage that Earth Elementalists need in order to stay viable.
- Shield Guardian: reduced cost to 5 Energy; increased casting time to 1.5 seconds.
- Spirit Bond (PvP and PvE): reduced healing threshold to 50 damage; reduced healing to 30...90.
We feel that the new Shield Guardian has a strong place against heavy melee teams, but its cost has been keeping it off many Monk bars. We're reducing the Energy cost but raising the cast time to 1.5 seconds to compensate. Spirit Bond will receive a small buff to respond to the shift in the metagame towards smaller, more frequent packets of damage. Because Monks have a delicate balance in Guild Wars, we'll be watching these two skills especially carefully in the next few weeks to make sure they don't become overpowered.
- Wild Throw: added the following functionality: "All of your non-spear attack skills are disabled for 3 seconds"
We've seen many Warriors taking this skill without investment in Spear Mastery in order to remove stances. Despite how innovative this is, we feel that this type of skill should require investment in Spear Mastery to be effective, but don't want to link it to Leadership lest it take away from legitimate A/P or R/P builds. The disable time will make it less appealing to builds utilizing weapon swaps, but keep it viable on dedicated spear builds.
- Melandru's Shot: reduced recharge to 8 seconds.
The last updates to this skill took it out of play for the most part. We feel this small quality-of-life improvement for Rangers is simple enough to include with this update.
- Enraged Smash (PvP): split for PvP; increased recharge to 10 seconds.
- Yeti Smash: removed 1 second activation; reduced adrenaline cost to 6.
Enraged Smash as an adrenaline engine has proved to be too powerful when combined with Auspicious Blow, allowing the two skills to charge each other indefinitely while enabling frequent, disruptive knockdowns. The recharge on this skill will be increased to put it in line with Bull's Strike, slowing down the adrenaline gain. Yeti Smash's single-second activation time is making it too easy to chain knockdowns, so we're removing that but reducing the adrenaline cost to keep it useful in other formats.
I hope everyone enjoyed this little preview of things to come. Weather permitting these updates should be in before the next Monthly Automated Tournament.
Edit: Corrected an error with Shield Guardian, duration was not extended.
Edit 2: Spirit Bond change is for PvP AND PvE.