Blog Archives

Guild Wars 2 Balance Goals In Winter 2016 Update


Hey everyone! Karl McLain made a blog post today about balance for each profession. Before we get into that, let’s look at some overall points made:

  • There will be major balance update with each quarterly seasonal release
  • Quickness and slow will no longer have an effect on resurrecting allies or stomping enemies
  • Slow will be worked on to bring it more in like with it’s counter part (which is quickness)


  • Defense nature will be fine-tuned
  • Offense will see a bit of improvement
  • Diamond Skin trait will act as a condition removal rather than condition avoidance
  • Air grandmaster traits are getting usability and offensive improvements
  • Scepter and focus are getting good quality-of-life modifications


  • Improve less used traits and rework some functionality for Scrapper traits
  • Core specialization trait improvements have been made to make more impactful choices for more distinctive builds
  • Defensive nature of Scrapper is being monitored; may implement a reduction in survivability


  • Updated traits and abilities to be more useful and have more impact
  • Looking to make slight adjustments to Dragonhunter burst and disruption


  • Alacrity being brought more in line
  • Scepter improvements (through skills, functionality and traits)


  • Improving a few elite specialization traits
  • Working with baseline shroud to give it more functionality
  • Leeching Bolts now heals through shroud form


  • Update less used traits for more allure; increase both defensive and offensive options
  • Improvements to Ranger shout utility to make it more unique
  • Looking to improve Ranger’s ties with pet and nature
  • Monitoring at Druid’s viability in group scenarios and overall effectiveness


  • Revenant sword damage getting toned down in some areas
  • Adjusting sword abilities so auto attacks aren’t the focus and is better at singling out and attacking enemies
  • Monitoring defensive capabilities


  • Drastic improvement to thief melee auto attacks until overall sustained damage when used with initiative is dangerous
  • Improvements to acrobatics specialization line


  • Adjusted baseline abilities, cooldowns, damage and functionality in some cases
  • Rifle gaining a more defensive nature while retaining overall purpose of kill-shotting
  • Another pass into Berserker elite specialization to improve usability in other game modes and promote more active skill use in trait design
  • Improvements to sustain in combat

So overall it seems this is a pretty decent start for the balance update. As  many know, I’m a thief main so I’m curious about the changes to Acrobatics. I’m personally hoping it will offer thieves the survivability we need for PvP fights. Elementalist Diamond skin is going to be completely new but it won’t be impossible to fight 1v1 as a condition based build. Revenant sword balance was definitely coming as the auto attacks were on the strong side. Also RIP quickness stomps.

That’s all the high level stuff. Be sure to tune into Guild Chat on Friday January 15th for a more in depth look!

Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend Event 1 Thoughts: The Tempest


These are my general thoughts of the Elementalist elite specialization: the Tempest! I was able to try out this elite specialization for the first time in the first beta weekend event for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns! This elite specialization was an interesting one to toy with.


Despite the grumbles some Elementalist players have of getting Warhorn; I find it’s really good. Using Dagger/Warhorn for a Double Dagger-like skill rotation is possible but is slower since each warhorn skills has a small cast time. In terms of damage and support, warhorn does both fairly well. Let’s look at each of the skills:

Fire Attunement: you get a sizable burning field called Wildfire (Skill 5) and can gain might and share your current boons with Heat Sync (Skill 4). Heat Sync is great but I’ll get into that in a bit.

Water Attunement: has two healing skills where Tidal Surge (Skill 4) also has a knock back; Water Globe (Skill 5) heals allies on it’s travel path so you don’t necessary have to be in the front line

Air Attunement: Cyclone (Skill 4) allows you to pull in enemies in front of you which is good for stopping enemy and Lighting Orb (Skill 5) that damages enemies it passes. A personal preference is that Lighting Orb isn’t a skill shot but instead travels in the direction you’re facing like with Water Globe.

Earth Attunement: Dust Storm (Skill 5) is really good versus close range physical opponents because of the blinds & vulnerability. The AoE protection and increased boon duration with Sand Squall (Skill 4) is really nice


The shouts are pretty good, each having their own elemental style. The cast times are good for what each shout does. I didn’t test it too much but I think Auramancers will really like the utility shouts as three of them grant an aura of some kind on use. Rebound is a good skill to use to get a long cooldown back; I like using it to get Armor of Earth (a utility skill that grants protection and stability) back much quicker for safer, uninterrupted overloads.


The overload attunements are really strong in terms of what they bring. The best one in my opinion is Overload Fire. Not only are you doing damage, but it’s free 10+ stack of might if you complete the overload and you can combine it with Heat Sync for more might and share your current buffs with other allies then switch to earth and use Sand Squall for the protection and boon duration so that you and nearby allies get longer lasting stacks of might. Overload Water I feel could use a bit of a buff of it’s final burst heal. Overload Air is pretty decent for doing damage in an area. Overload Earth is good for granting allies that extra protection boon during a fight.

The Tempest specialization line mostly focuses on Overloads but there are some good traits for auras and vigor.

To conclude, the Tempest clearly introduces a new way to support. At the same time it gives new options for current meta roles; whether offensive or defensive in nature. This makes Tempest one of the most interesting elite specialization to see what players come up with. Whether this specialization is viable in the sPvP meta with it’s Overloads and warhorn, well we’ll have to see.


Elementalist Specialization Thoughts: The Tempest


Usually I’d start these off talking about the core specialization but since it’s been a while since the new specialization lines have been in, all you elementalist pretty much get a grasp of what your specialization lines are about.

For those that don’t really have an idea, I can summarize the lines as pretty much being similar to pre-core specializations. The main things I see are Auramancers, Double Dagger, and Support Staff. Something I see more now is the use of scepter for condition builds which is a nice twist on things.

Alright, enought of that, Tempest time!

 Tempest Elite Specialization


Game Designer Karl McLain gives us a look at the Tempest. This spec looks so awesome. The Tempest is meant to bring about a new way to support, outside of staff, by being where the action is at while also rewarding positioning.

Let’s start with the elemental attunements. Each attunement when in Tempest will have an Overload ability. Overload occurs when an elementalist is in an attunement for a long period of time. After that amount of time, the elementalist can reactivate their attunement for a channeled ability. After using an Overload ability, you get locked out of that attunement for a little while when you swap to another attunement. For example, If I used the Fire Overload ability, then swap to Earth attunement, the cooldown to switch back to fire is longer than usual.

So, what are these abilities? We’ll let’s have a look:

  • Overload Fire: An inferno tornado builds around the Tempest over time. This tornado constantly burns and does damage while also granting allies might. After the channel is complete, the tornado stays in place for a period of time.
  • Overload Water: An aquatic bubble starts to form around the Tempest that cleanses conditions and heals yourself and nearby allies. After the channel is complete, the bubble pops providing a large heal to allies.
  • Overload Air: A nimbus cloud forms around the Tempest striking nearby enemies. After the channel is complete, a lighting field is left at the location for a period of time striking enemies.
  • Overload Earth: The Tempest starts to ride the ground below them as it shifts and grants protection to nearby allies and cripples enemies. After the channel is complete, the shifted earth returns to the ground creating a blast that immobilizes enemies.

Now let’s talk Warhorn. Not what a lot of Elementalist were expecting (or wanting) but let’s have a look. Naturally, since elementalist have 4 attunements, warhorn grants access to 8 new skills. Like Dagger, the Warhorn will emit elemental themed attacks. Such as when in lighting attunement, one warhorn skill will emit a cyclone that pulls enemies to a point. Check out the picture below for what that looks like.


Next up, utilities! Tempest will be getting shouts:

  • Wash the Pain Away (Heal) – Heals and cleanses conditions. Heals nearby allies for the same amount.
  • Feel the Burn – Lays a fire field at a certain location
  • Eye of the Storm – Calls down a storm on you that stun breaks for you and nearby allies that also grants superspeed.
  • Aftershock – Calls a earth force around you that cripples nearby enemies. An aftershock occurs that immobilizes nearby enemies after a short delay.
  • Freeze – Air around you gets condensed which damages and chills foes for a short duration
  • Rebound (Elite) – An arcane shout skill that causes the next ability used by you and allies affected to have a 25% recharge reduced

Finally the trait line. As far as we know, the minors in the Tempest line really give off the support/defense play and bonuses of overloading attunements:

  • Singularity (1st Minor) – Gain access to Overload attunements
  • Speedy Conduit (2nd Minor) – Gain swiftness while overloading an attunement
  • Hardy Conduit (3rd Minor) – Gain protection when you start to Overload an attunement

My Thoughts?

Wow. I need to see the Tempest in action but, if it’s this good on paper, then I can’t wait. The goal of making the Tempest a front line support really is portrayed well here. Tempest has an offensive nature but defensive nature as well which really appeals to me.

I know double dagger elementalist is all about having and offensive and defensive skill rotation while swapping into a different attunement every 5 seconds (give or take). This really brings about a reason to use attunements not only for a new set of skills to use but you have to consider using that skill set for a longer period of time due to using an Overload ability. Very interested to see how Elementalists will pull off Overload attunement rotations.

TenTonHammer’s Lewis B got an exclusive on this specialization. Be sure to check his post out if you want a few more details including his interview with Karl McLain. We’ll find everything on Points of Interest tomorrow per usual on July 24th at noon Pacific.