Blog Archives

Guild Wars 2 Balance Goals In Winter 2016 Update

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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)

Elementalist

  • 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

Engineer

  • 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

Guardian

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

Mesmer

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

Necromancer

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

Ranger

  • 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

  • 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

Thief

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

Warrior

  • 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 3 Thoughts: The Scrapper

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These are my general thoughts of the Engineer elite specialization: the Scrapper. After Beta Weekend Event 3 for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns I have to say I was quite impressed by the specialization. More specifically, the brawl nature this spec brings to the Engineer profession.

Hammer

The hammer is one heck of a good melee option. It has a block, projectile reflect, a unique gap closer and an AoE stun. It defines the role of holding your ground while also allowing to engage from medium range.

Positive Strike: this skill chains into Negative Bash and then Equalizing Blow. The first attack grants might, the second grants vulnerability and the last hit grants might and applies weakness. For a hammer, these attacks come in succession quite quickly.

Electro-whirl: This is one of my favorite skills. You spin around blocking projectiles while also doing damage around you. Great for fending off capture points in PvP.

Rocket Charge: this skill allows you to dash forward three times damaging enemies. This skill evades and has an accumulative leap combo finisher. Meaning if you dash through poison field, then a dark field, both combos would apply on the 2nd and 3rd strike. If you have a target, you’ll rocket charge and “dance” around the target for the duration if you’re in melee.

Shock Shield: This skill blocks attacks while striking foes in front of you. Combining this with Electro-whirl versus range while waiting for cooldowns is amazing.

Thunderclap: Places an AoE that initially stuns and does damage. This skill I find is pretty core as it combines really well with Rocket Charge; you can really gain an advantage on a capture point in PvP with.

Overall, the hammer dictates a “try to force me away” mentality. It provides so much to keep a Scrapper in a fight and access to decent crowd control to boot. Using a grenade kit or tool kit is probably the best thing to swap to when the hammer skills are on cooldown. Mortar Kit is nice for a long range option but I can see Elixir X/grenades still being a good option to run.

Gyros

The gyros are ones that I thought would be interesting to make builds out of but it turns out this wasn’t entirely the case.

Medic Gyro (Heal): A gyro that heals nearby allies. Tool belt skill: create defensive field around you that grants protection to allies in it’s area. The heal is okay for healing others but there’s travel time for the gyro that’s involved. I think healing turret is a better option as it provides pretty much the same heal (for an engineer and allies) if not better. The protection from the tool belt is nice though.

Blast Gyro: A gyro that seeks and detonates at a target location. Tool belt skill: grants super speed to nearby allies. This is a one-hit gyro which I can’t see people using too much given other better options. This kind of saddens me given the tool belt skill grants AoE superspeed.

Bulwark Gyro: A gyro that absorbs damage for you and nearby allies. Tool belt skill: Creates a reflective dome around you. This one was actually a decent gyro soaking damage for me. I didn’t entirely gauge how much this gyro could take damage wise but, if tuned right, can be a valuable asset.

Purge Gyro: A gyro that removes conditions from you and nearby allies ever few seconds. Tool belt skill: creates a poison cloud. Now, you’d think this would be a good gyro given the engineer’s problems with conditions. However I felt the traits I used helped mitigate condition quite well. I also has Healing Turret / Medi Gyro to help me out. I can’t be sure but I feel it’s not a great gyro competitively.

Shredder Gyro: A gyro that whirls at a target location using combo fields below it to strike enemies. Tool belt skill: Sets down a lighting capacitor that dazes foes nearby it. Now, I’m all for whirls but I wasn’t really convinced by this gyro. Having various bolts flying around is great but I feel there are better options to slot than this gyro.

Sneak Gyro (Elite): A gyro that stealths you and nearby allies in an area. Tool belt skill: reveals stealthed enemies in an area. I think the gyro itself would be perfectly fine but with two tweaks: 1) the stealth gyro follows the Scrapper at all times. I noticed the gyro lagged behind sometimes and it really needs to keep up in order to use it well. 2) other means of stealth can stealth this gyro. If gyros can use boons and take damage, then stealth should be a viable option, especially for the Sneak Gyro. You know if you see a Sneak Gyro, you can shoot a bunch of AoE towards it from range or break the gyro from range. Without these tweaks, it doesn’t seem useful enough to use.

I feel that gyros that go to nearby allies should fly around the Scrapper at all times instead; a mechanized aura if you will. This still provides support but the Scrapper can always benefit. I will say that the tool belt skills the gyros provide are really good overall. Some gyros just aren’t justifiable enough to slot for the tool belt skill alone though.

Traits

Alright let’s talk traits! The traits mainly center around defense, stability, superspeed and access to lighting fields. Recovery Matrix, which reduces damage for a time after using a healing skill, is a really good trait given healing heals like Healing Turret are on a short recharge. Mass Momentum is quite good allowing you to build more tanky while still gaining access to power and via stability you can get might. Rapid Regeneration was one I toyed around with and I think it can use a bit of a tweak given a Scrapper’s possible diverse access to swiftness and superspeed. Adaptive Armor is one of the best traits Scrapper has. You gain stacking toughness when hit and a reduction to condition damage. That is just simply glorious. This also helps with the Engineer’s innate problem of dealing with conditions.

To conclude, the Scrapper is a great new way to play a front line bruiser with some support elements via gyros. I feel that the hammer and traits are solid but the gyros need a bit of work. I definitely plan to run a bruiser Scrapper that can take a lot of hits but dish it out just as hard. We’ll see how this elite specialization pans out at launch.

Engineer Elite Specialization Thoughts: The Scrapper

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We’re almost there folks, only one more elite spec to go after this. This week, let’s talk about the Engineer elite specialization – the Scrapper. Game Designer Irenio Calmon-Huang shared some info with us in a blog post today. I’ll admit that Engineer is my least played profession but this elite specialization may just change that a bit. This specialization is more tank oriented and brings mechanical inventions to the fight.

Function Gyro

The Scrapper gets their function interaction augmented (by default the F key) known as Function Gyro. This gyro helps revive and rally a target downed ally or finishing a downed enemy from range!

Hammer Time!

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The melee Hammer skills really promote getting into the thick of it providing you skills to survive as well as do tons of damage.

Rocket Charge (Skill 3): Dash forward and leap forward swinging your hammer at enemies after each leap. Each leap acts as a leap finisher and accumulates finisher effects for each swing making the last swing the most brutal one.

Shock Shield (Skill 4): Magnetizes your hammer to block incoming attacks applying vulnerability to nearby foes.

Thunderclap (Skill 5): Reach into the sky and ionize the area bringing forth bolts of electricity that stun enemies and deals damage over time as  well as leaves a lighting field when the skill was casted. Basically a slightly better Tempest Overload Air.

Mechanical Mechs

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The Scrapper gets small flying drone units for utility skills called Gyros. Each last for a limited amount of time, exploding or destroyed by an enemy. Here’s 2 of those Gyro skills:

Purge Gyro – This unit follow you around cleansing conditions or moves to nearby allies and cleanses conditions on them every few seconds.

Sneak Gyro (Elite) – This unit provides stealth to nearby allies. The gyro unit itself remains visible.

Of course the tool belt (F1-F5) gets related skills as well:

Chemical Field (from Purge Gyro) – Use the Purge Gyro’s cartridges to create a toxic cloud of concentrated chemicals (poison field)

Detection Pulse (from Sneak Gyro) – Removes stealth from enemies in a large area. This skill is on a short recharge allowing Scrapper to get the drop on stealthed units

Traits

Of course we’ve got to go over some of these traits. Some traits have great bonuses for using certain skills, combos or having certain boons on yourself:

(Minor) Function Gyro: Gain access to the function gyro, which can be used to finish a foe or revive an ally at range.

(Minor) Decisive Renown: Successfully reviving an ally or finishing a foe grants boons to nearby allies.

(Minor) Impact Savant: The duration of your outgoing stuns is increased and the duration of stuns applied to you is decreased.

Shocking Speed: Using a leap or blast finisher in a lightning field applies super speed around you.

Recovery Matrix: Using a healing skill temporarily reduces damage you receive.

Stabilization Core: When a function gyro is activated, you and the function gyro gain stability.

Rapid Regeneration: Rapidly recover health while affected by swiftness or super speed.

Mass Momentum: Gain Power based upon your Toughness. While you are affected by stability, gain stacking might.

Expert Examination: Stunning or dazing a foe applies vulnerability and weakness to them.

Adaptive Armor: Gain stacking toughness when struck. Reduce incoming damage from conditions.

Final Salvo: Gyros create a lightning field that grants super speed upon being destroyed. Reduces recharge of gyro skills.

Perfectly Weighted: Hammer skills deal increased damage. Evading an attack grants stability.

My Thoughts?

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Oh. My. Goodness. They really went in on this specialization. I really like the multi purpose tools Engineers have but these new Gyros really will be some thing else. I can’t wait to check the others out. The Function Gyro will be insanely beneficial since you can combine the range finish/revive with stealth for random stomps or rallies which will make it harder for enemies to stop you. What I really like about Function Gyro is that it has it use in WvW, PvP and PvE.

The hammer seems really good, we haven’t seen the 2nd skill and the basic attack chain but it seem pretty solid for a person who wants to assault enemies with hammer hits and stick to foes, especially with Rocket Charge and Shock Shield. Definitely can see Engineers who use pistol/shield opting for hammer for a more power oriented build.

The traits seems really good having great synergy with lighting fields, toughness and stability promoting the tankiness of this elite specialization.

We’ll find out more on Points of Interest tomorrow on Friday September 18th at noon Pacific on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel!