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Guild Wars 2: Breaking Down The February 14th Balance Update

Anthony Lowry Posted:
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The February 14th Balance Update Preview has been presented, and Elementalist mains will still find something ridiculously obtuse to complain about since that’s all they know how to do yet another round of buffs will be on our horizon! It’s another big one this time, so let’s spare the pleasantries:

Mantras: Semi-reworked

Mantras at their current state are basically stacked casts that gave an effect; not the most interesting skills to use. Now they will have a prep-cast, and a resolve-cast. Depending on the class you play, you may have a different effect at some point in that skill. Example: Mesmer will get an effect on the end of their prep-cast.

Elementalist (Giga-hyper-omega-buffed/Quality of life)

Burning speed and Earthen Rush will now stop at their target. Lightning Flash (blink) got its cooldown cut in half, from 40 seconds to 20 seconds. Cleansing Fire has ammo and will give might on a successful condition cleanse. Ether Renewal is a shorter cast time and cooldown. Windborne Speed gives superspeed now. Healing Rain now heals per condition cleansed, and will now cleanse two conditions per pulse. Water Blast can target allies now.

And that’s just the core spec.

The real star of the show here is for Tempest, whose only change was pulsing alacrity on overloads. A change that many players requested for literal years has finally come, and will drastically raise the stock of this class. You no longer get punished nearly as hard for unfortunate circumstances or smaller mistakes, and you’ll still give a portion of your alacrity, which in a lot of proper group comps, will be more than enough to keep things going. This is an incredible change that will make Heal Alacrity Tempest in particular a much more appealing option.

There were a ton of Weaver buffs too, but it almost feels overshadowed, despite how many great changes there were. The Superior Elements trait’s crit chance increased from 10 to 15%. Cauterizing Strike, Charged Strike, Polaric Slash, Polaric Leap, Seiche, Clapotis, Breaking Wave, Aqua Siphon, Twin Strike, and Shearing Edge, all received a moderate damage increase.


Scrapper (changed/buffed): Small tweaks here; with Damage Dampener now becoming Rapid Regeneration, giving healing instead of damage delay. Additionally, Applied Force give 20 power per might stack now, up from 15. 

Mechanist (bug fixes/buffed): Condition builds in particular get some love here, with Serrated Steel and incendiary Powder now working with the mech. 


Core (Power buffed): A whole slew of buffs for Greatsword, Sword, and Focus, pushing power coefficients up by about 6-10% across the board.

Dragonhunter (buffed): Wings of Resolve and Shield of Courage both received a 7% cooldown reduction, Hunter’s Determination now causes all elite skills to break stuns on activation, and Heavy Light’s internal cooldown is now 1 second. This is an interesting change, and seems to indicate that Dragonhunter might be leaning more towards a passive utility DPS, rather than the raw DPS it’s been trying to be for a while now. This definitely won’t be the end for the changes to this class, so I would keep a very close eye on this one.

Firebrand (adjusted): Mantras will undergo the universal rework.

Willbender (slight change): Virtues will retain their effect when you activate new virtues


Core (buffed):

Master of Manipulation now gives Aegis instead of resetting manipulation skills and giving superspeed. Mimic got a 33% cooldown cut. Mass Invisibility is now a 48 second cooldown. Time Warp now gives superspeed to allies and chill to enemies. Mantra changes will also apply to this class. I’m very interested in the Time Warp change, as adding chill gives Chronomancers some nice additional niche synergy.

Chronomancer (buffed): Well of Action gives Might and Fury on top of superspeed now! Tides of Time will now have a reduced cooldown when you exit Continuum Shift. The former change is more than welcome; Chrono giving Fury helps fill a small gap in many party comps.


Core: Some warhorn and main hand dagger buffs here. Wail of Doom and Locust Swarm are now a 24 second cooldown, down from 30. Necrotic Stab and Bite both received a damage bump, and a 2% life force gain. Dark Pact now bleeds the target and gives life force for each boon removed, while also removing 3 boons instead of 2.

Reaper (buffed): A slew of damage buffs and cooldown reductions to “Your Soul is Mine!”, “Nothing Can Save You!”, “Rise!”, “Suffer!”, and “You are All Weaklings!”, with more might on hit from the latter.


Core (cooldown reductions): Hunter’s Call, Call of the Wild, Troll Unguent, Lightning Reflexes, Muddy Terrain, Quickening Zephyr, Signet of the Hunt, Signet of Renewal, and Signed of the Wild, all have had their cooldown reduced by about 15-25%. 


Renegade: The Endless Eternity trait is a bit more rounded now, with fury applying to allies, and no longer requiring a health threshold.


Core: Signet of Power, Signet of Malice, Signet of Shadows, Infiltrator’s Signet, Caltrops, Haste, Roll for Initiative, and Skelk Venom all have had their cooldowns reduced by about 15-20%. Keen Observer’s health threshold has gone down to 75% from 90%.

Daredevil: Swipe is gone…


Deadeye: Brutal Aim, Deadly Aim, Skirmisher's Shot, Spotter’s Shot, Double Tap, and Three Round Burst, all have had their damage increased by about 10-12%.


Bladesworn: Swift Cut and Steel Divide fires another projectile at a reduced damage rate of the projectile itself, and Cyclone Trigger now gives Aegis.

This was a very big balance patch, and while I don’t expect too much to be shaken up, I would keep a keen eye out for Weavers in particular. This is yet another step in the right direction when it comes to balance, and I’m excited to see where things head down the road. 


Anthony Lowry

Anthony is an avid MMO gamer since childhood, with experience in all different kinds of games. From FFXIV as a Red Mage specialist, to Lost Ark as a Gunlancer, you can always find them (probably) getting way too greedy with mechanics and wondering how they wiped the group