Like always, this is an iteration phase for balance changes, so everything is subject to change. This article is meant to show the masses what ArenaNet is intending to do with Guild Wars 2, and if something seems off or too much, they can roll things back. Note that this piece will only cover the PvE changes. I do not know enough about WvW or PvP to give an opinion on those game modes, so I will not cover them.
Here are the tentative notes:
Firebrand: Reworked Pages are now shared and built over time, once every 8 seconds. They also activate instantly and have no cooldown, and you lose access to the passive effect of the tome for a short duration. They also only trigger once every interval. This is a rather drastic change to how Firebrand works, and will fundamentally allow more design space for the dev team in the future, while also making tomes more meaningful and less thoughtless when using them. The Loremaster Grandmaster trait is now spread out amongst the other Grandmaster traits; Quickfire is now focused on DPS, and Stoic Demeanor is now slated to be the utility, general purpose boon trait.
Dragonhunter: Buffed: DH got a solid damage buff across the board in PvE. Some cooldown reductions as well. Honestly, all Dragonhunter needed was more damage, as it’s long ben heralded as the pure DPS specialization. This is a good step in the right direction, though I’d love to see even more.
Willbender: Buffed: Same for Dragonhunter. Willbender got straight buffed to its damage coefficients.
Berserker: Fixed: Bloody Roar was bugged and gave less damage instead of what was listed, this will be fixed. Power Berserker will benefit from this, but might still be overshadowed by Spellbreaker and Bladesworn.
Spellbreaker: Buffed: They now deal even more damage to foes without boons, and Hammer in particular has been buffed. I don’t know if this will make Hammer better than Greatsword or Axe 5, but it might not have to. Spellbreaker was already doing quite well in PVE, and now it’ll perform even better.
Vindicator: Overall buffed: Big energy reductions across the board, while also increasing their damage a bit. They can no longer dodge while immobilized. I really didn’t think the dodge while immobilized thing was intended, so that seems like more of a fix. The energy reductions allow for even more flexibility with Alliance stance in particular.
Herald: Buffed: A nice change to the cooldowns of Facets that should make things a little bit easier for the Quickness build in particular. Moderate buffs to the damage of Shiro Stance, and offhand Sword skills. Herald is now going to provide a lot more damage, while also maintaining permanent quickness uptime, with more ease. Easily my favorite change within the notes, and combined with the Firebrand adjustments, will make for an incredibly attractive option for a quickness DPS.
Untamed: Buffed/adjusted, subject to nerf: Untamed struggled against enemies they couldn’t CC, this has been adjusted. They also gave Hammer a lot of love with more utility on unleashing. They also plan on nerfing Fervent Force in the future.
Deadeye: Adjusted/nerfed: You can move while kneeling! But your initiative cost has gone up from 1 to 2, and only at 25% speed.. Your range across the board has gone down from 1500 to 1200. A very interesting change to the fundamentals of Deadeye, but unsure how it’ll play out in a real play situation, particularly in WvW and PvP.
Specter: Slightly buffed: Shroud now gives 33% damage reduction. A welcome and elegant change to the previously deemed overnerf to Specter in the last update.
Core Thief: Buffed: Dagger skills in general got decent strike damage buffs. Unsure how it’ll affect the builds that do use dagger, since many of them are condition builds, but it certainly won’t hurt.
Holosmith: Buffed: Burning damage and duration, along with Sword auto attack damage, has been increased, Also, Enhanced Capacity Storage Unit got moderate buffs to the heat tiers.
Mechanist: Slight nerf: In short, you now need to be closer to your mech, 360 range specifically, in order for your mech to gain full stats/damage. Not doing so for more than six seconds results in a 50% damage penalty for your mech. This is a much bigger change than it seems, as it’ll force you to micromanage both your mech, and your positioning. You can’t camp range with Rifle auto attack anymore without gutting your damage. This is a decent, albeit fairly inelegant change that’ll maintain the consistency of all Mechanist has to offer, while also sort of shoehorning a play pattern into the gameplay. I think it’s an okay start, but the range could be very slightly bigger. Maybe 450?
Chronomancer: Buffed: The Chronophantasma change has been reverted, now does 100% phantasm damage, Gravity Well has also seen a cooldown reduction. Yet another great step in the right direction for the class that I really want to play. I’m not sure if it’ll be enough, but the Gravity Well cooldown reduction in particular will make things much smoother for the class as a whole.
Mirage: Adjusted…?: the “Staxe” build in particular has gotten hit, but Staff/Staff can now maintain their boons more easily, while Axe build can maintain their damage more easily. This is a very strong pre-emptive adjustment, while also keeping in mind the power of Axe DPS Mirage, and Staff/Staff Mirage respectively. You didn’t see Staxe Alacrity stacking too much, especially in pugs, but it could have easily gotten out of hand along the patch of balance updates, as their goal is to touch up Alacrity Mechanist too. This is one of my favorite changes, and really displays just how in tune the team is to making changes that minimize splash damage to neighboring specs and builds.
Reaper: Buffed: Cooldown and damage buffs slapped on to many Reaper skills, while adding a huge chunk of damage to Executioner’s Scythe. If Dragonhunter wasn’t going to be the pure, raw DPS spec, then Reaper definitely will be.
Elementalist- Scepter: Total Rework: There’s a lot happening here, but Fire: Dragon’s Tooth, now tracks, Water Trident has more damage, the third skills in each element will now have charges. Air skills are more chain/aoe focused, and there are also mini-combo elements to a lot of skills as well. For example: doing more damage to chilled foes, which will incentivize you to chill first.
Catalyst: Adjusted: Catalyst has been made much more consistent, giving Hammer 3 skills an area strike instead of a projectile. It can also give itself Aegis instead of Resistance. Empowering Auras has been slightly buffed by 1%
Weaver: Slightly buffed: Shearing Edge now inflicts Bleeding. Sounds like nothing, but is a good buff for condition coverage in general. Weaver already does very good DPS, but DPS wasn’t really Weaver’s problem. I expect this to be addressed down the line for sure.
And that’s it! Overall, a lot of really impactful changes that affect the top of the line, while also keeping the focus on maintaining rather decent parity between the DPS builds. This is a good first step in the right direction, and will certainly make things a bit more streamlined in the long term for the balance team. I’m excited to try out a lot of the classes I’m interested in and switch classes again and again for all eternity finally settle on a build for good!