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!

Guild Wars 2: Initial Thoughts On The First Raid Encounter


Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing my raid encounter experience from Beta Weekend Event 3 for Heart of Thorns. The Squad UI was broken at the beginning of the weekend so no one could get in reliably until Sunday evening I believe; at least that’s when I found out about the raids being available. Because of the issues, the beta weekend event was extended to Monday October 5th till noon Pacific. So, here are my thoughts and experience. There’s also a video of this post below!

I actually was really impressed with the raid encounter. The first three guardian fights were pretty straightforward and help you learn what to do for the Vale Guardian boss. You learn mechanics such as the red guardian only takes condition damage and has damaging seekers that players can knockback. The blue guardian you have to boon strip and has orange AoE, which for the sake of clarity we’ll call orbital strike, which players have to stand in to prevent squad damage. The green guardian has small AoE lighting fields which if you’re standing on can displace you after a few seconds. The Vale Guardian is a different story though.

Incorporating all three guardian mechanics into the Vale Guardian fight seems relatively simple but if you screw up by not getting enough people on an orbital strike from the blue guardian mechanic, most of all of you are hitting the downed state.

The farthest I got before getting booted from the beta was getting the Vale guardian to around 60% then it splits into the 3 guardians you fought before. At this point, players get attuned to a guardian based on the colored pillar you’re standing closest to. I think this attunement forces you to attack a guardian and you’d take retaliation damage if you attacked a different guardian.

It was a really fun time despite getting my face smashed in a lot. It also made me use a condition build I made this beta weekend that worked really well on the red guardian. For these raid wings you’ll definitely need to plan things out for clean runs. It seems with time the raids can be successfully pug-able but will go way faster with organized people on voice chat. All in all, I’m very excited to try out raiding with guild mates and friends.

Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend Event 1 Thoughts: The Dragonhunter


These are my general thoughts of the Guardian elite specialization: the Dragonhunter. I was able to try out this elite specialization for the first time ever in the first beta weekend event for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns! I’ve got quite a bit to say about this one.


Now, the addition of Longbow is great for Guardian players as it offers a new ranged option. However, it may not be necessary better in terms of what players want to use it for. The longbow is meant to be a more support type of weapon; but we all know a majority of people want to do damage with it. So, in terms of fighting rather supporting, some of the longbow skills feel a bit slow. Let’s go over each skill:

Puncture Shot (Skill 1): The basic attack speed is quite in line for a longbow although it could be difficult at times to get the cripple feature if there are few enemies and they’re not lined up.

True Shot (Skill 2): A big hit that you have to stand still and channel for. Since it has 1200 range I can live with it; but it makes for a predictable projectile to dodge.

Deflecting Shot (Skill 3): is an arrow that takes out enemy projectiles that blinds and does damage on targets it hits. I don’t have a really problem with this skill. The only thing I would like, and this is a personal preference, is to have this skill automatically shoot where you’re facing or targeting rather than be a skill shot.

Symbol of Energy (Skill 4): is a slow arcing arrow that turns into a symbol on impact that causes damage and burning while granting vigor to allies. It’s a pretty good symbol but I’d say speed up the slow arcing part.

Hunter’s Ward (Skill 5): is basically a Ranger’s Barrage with a barrier that locks down enemies in the area after you successfully channel it. This is a bit of a double edged sword. If you guess correctly where enemies will be 3 seconds after the cast, they’ll be locked down. If not, they won’t be locked down. If you move, the entire cast ends early. Also, it looks like there’s a bug where the barrage portion doesn’t hit at all versus smaller targets.

Landing Symbol of Energy and Hunter’s Ward can be a pain sometimes. Using these two skills are more rewarding in group fights given that you’re at a good distance and not getting jumped. I will say thought that attacking crippled opponents with these skills provides better results.


Ok, now for Dragonhunter traps. To be quite frank, these traps have way too long of an arm time. In Verdant Brink, I used traps if I wanted protection in case some random enemy came at me or if I knew I could get a full cast in. I say shave the arm time in half. I hate to make the comparison but the other traps in the game have a 1/2 second arm time and I feel that’s a good spot for trap cast time.

With this in mind, the only traps I saw worth using in PvE were Procession of Blades which does straight up 10 hits of damage, Test of Faith which is a zone trap that cripples foes who pass through the threshold, and Dragon’s Maw which is the elite trap that pulls in and holds enemies. The healing trap Purification meant death for me as it has a long arm time, an initial heal and a trigger heal. If I’m fighting a ranged enemy, I get half the benefit of this skill. There aren’t a lot of enemies currently that warrant the reveal effect from Light’s Judgement but the 10 stacks of vulnerability it applies might be worth testing out more. Fragments of Faith could be possibly good for the defensive aegis fragments but I’d prefer using the other traps. I can see traps as a whole being more useful in sPvP Conquest.

New Virtues

The new virtues are a bit of a conundrum with me. Overall, they’re kind of weird to use because they’re not an instant active anymore. I know the rule of thumb is not to use the actives given the passives provides better overall combat effectiveness. But if I’m about to die, I’m popping virtues. Anyways, let’s go over the new virtues. With Spear of Justice (F1), it may have been just me but, I found that I never saw a “light spear” getting thrown per say. Also, it always looked like I tethered to one enemy rather than 2 or 3 if I used the spear in a mob; Maybe I’m just bad at getting that effect to proc. The burn pulses works well though. Wings of Resolve (F2) is alright, maybe the animation when reaching max height and coming down could be faster in order to flow better. Shield of Courage (F3) is good but the cast time should be instant in my opinion.

The Dragonhunter specialization line is solid for adding benefits for the longbow, traps and virtues. Depending on what you want to do, there is a pretty clear path on what to choose which simplifies things. A personal thing that I think should be changed is the Heavy Light trait. This trait allows Dragonhunters to knockback with a longbow basic attack on a 7 second cooldown. Players hate Ranger Point Blank Shot knockback because it pushes enemies out of AoE. So please, please don’t add onto the pain.

Overall, Dragonhunter feels a little clunky to use. Some tweeks are definitely needed in order to make the skills from this elite specialization flow better.

Summed Up In Video Format

Guardian Specialization Thoughts: Support And Dragonhunter


Dragonhunter is the elite specialization for Guardians. Who would have thought it eh? While I’m sad that it’s not Paragon, seriously those wings are misleading, the Dragonhunter is a pretty cool specialization. I’ll go over the Dragonhunter’s Virtue active changes as well as the longbow abilities. First let’s take a look at the core specialization that Guardians have.

Guardian Core Specialization

Zeal‘s line focuses on Symbols and damage. Symbolic Power offers a chance for symbol to burn enemies. Zealous Blade offers the Greatsword bonuses. Kindled Zeal grants condition damage based on power which is great for increased burning damage. Expeditious Spirit is the spirit weapon trait that burns foes and reduces recharge. If a player doesn’t use spirit weapons, Shattered Aegis might be a better pick as it does damage to nearby foes when aegis is removed from you. There’s also the option of Symbolic Avenger that lets you do more damage to enemies standing in your symbol.

Radiance is the critical hit line. Radiant Power as a minor trait alone seem pretty useful as it grants increased crit chance when attacking foes on fire. Wrath of Justice I can see being useful as it immobilizes a target when you hit with Virtue of Justice active. Radiant Fire look so good as you gain Zealot’s Flame AoE fire around you when you crit, you gain more burning duration AND your torch skills recharge faster. So you can combo the trait with the actual Zealot’s Flame skill of constant AoE fire damage around you or your target. Combine this with the Grandmaster trait Amplifed Wrath for an increase in burning damage (and burn enemies who block you) and it’s scary to think about. Perfect Inscriptions is useful for Signet builds as it’s the signet traits rolled into one.

Valor is the defense line. Might of the Protector grant you might when you block attacks. This minor trait alone will be great for high skill cap players who know when to block in order to gain a lot of might stacks. Strength of the Fallen I can see a lot of players taking as you lose a condition at a set interval plus you degen less health while in down state. Altruistic Healing is a trait that heals you when you apply a boon to allies. This would work really well in shout builds. Monk’s Focus is really good for Meditation builds as it rolls all the meditation skills into one.

Honor seems like the boon line. Honorable Staff reduces staff skill recharge and increases boon duration. Pure of Voice is the trait to have when running a Shout build as it reduces recharge on shouts and converts conditions to boons. Pure of Voice can be contested with Writ of Persistence as it’s the symbol trait that makes symbols larger, last longer and heals.

Virtues mainly is for Virtue F1-F3 skills. The main thing that changed in this line is Master of Consecrations reduces recharge and increases the duration on Consecration skills. Consecrations are automatically ground targeted.

In summary, the Guardian core specializations feel like you know where you want to go if you want to go damage oriented or support/bunker oriented. Some lines combine really well with others. For example, Valor with Radiance alone makes for a great blocking burn build. For Support you don’t have to pour into all defense and have a bit of offense as well which is nice. I alos like that there are more “Support” options to have a balance of offense and defense rather than choosing one. DPS builds I feel will go into Zeal and Radiance for sure. Valor, Honor and Virtues are the go-to options for Support and Bunker builds.

Dragonhunter Elite Specialization

Game Designer Karl McLain who work on the Guardian, Elementalist and Thief specializations wrote the article about the Dragonhunter which is the elite specialization for Guardians. Note that this specialization will be available if you get Heart of Thorns. This specialization offers new active Combat Virtues with similar effects, access to the longbow, some trait features, and new trap skill along with their elite trap: Dragon’s Maw.

So, when Dragonhunter is chosen as a specialization, a Guardian’s virtues have more of a combat aspect when activate while retaining the same type of passive effects. Here’s how the active for Virtues will change:

  • Spear of Justice – Virtue of Justice’s active changes into a spear, that sounds like a skill shot, as it pierces through enemies in it’s path tethering them. The tethered enemies then get hit with pulses that cause burning.
  • Wings of Resolve – Virtue of Resolve’s active changes into a leap (hence the angel wings) where allies are healed wherever the Dragonhunter lands. This Virtue can be traited to additionally do damage to foes.
  • Shield of Courage – Virtue of Courage’s active changes into a shield that is placed in front of you that blocks attacks. Since this says attacks and not just projectiles, I assume any not projectiles like a Thief’s Cluster Bomb can be blocked as well.

The longbow shoots fast, light based projectiles. The longbow offers Guardians a better, viable range option but allows for support as well. For example, the longbow for Dragonhunters has the longbow skill Symbol of Energy which grants vigor to allies. There’s also Deflecting Shot which is an arrow that can block enemy projectiles.

Finally, Dragonhunters will have the “hunter” part of their name have meaning (exclusing the longbow) with light based trap skills. Traps offer a small heal when placed and can be traited to cripple and bleed. One trap described in the article is the elite skill: Dragon’s Maw. This trap does damage and blinds enemies when triggered by an enemy. Allies in the area get healed by a large amount.

This elite specialization is great for Guardians. First off it grants them a really good long range option for Guardians (Scepter and Staff weren’t cutting it). It also combines well with a Damage oriented Guardian or a Support oriented Guardian. The longbow and Virtues also offers a low and high skill cap where a more well placed Spear of Justice or Deflecting Shot will offers better results.

The Dragonhunter can be seen in action on Ready Up tomorrow on May 8th at noon Pacific. As usual, it will be on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel!