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!
This is folks; the last elite specialization! Game Designer Irenio Calmon-Huang and Rubi Bayer showcased the Druid live from Twitchcon! Let’s explore what it can do; I’ll tell you right now, there is a ton of healing. There’s a video of the Druid stream at the bottom of this post if you’re interested in watching it.
So the staff is focus on positional support and has quite a bit of healing involved:
Solar Beam (Staff 1) – Fire a beam of light at a foe healing allies in it’s path
Astral Wisp (Staff 2) – Attach a wisp to your foe doing damage. This wisp circles the foe healing allies it connects with
Ancestral Grace (Staff 3) – Become a wisp and traverse to a target location healing nearby allies on arrival
Vine Surge (Staff 4) – Send vines forth immobilizing enemies and removing immobilizing effects on allies
Sublime Conversion (Staff 5) – Summon an energy barrier that causes enemy projectiles to heal on impact
Everything, and I mean everything, on staff works well. Staff 1-4 is 1200 range so you can always be effective even when re positioning. I see the traditional backline support coming into effect but there’s also room for aggressive movements with staff 4, 2 then 3 into Greatsword.
We got to talk about the Celestial Avatar. Healing and attacking will help you gather the astral force needed to get into this mode; healing is more effective for this. When triggered you look like you’re part of an astral plane. If you have the “Closer to the Stars” title, equip it on your Druid because it is the most fitting.
Celestial Transform is F5; when triggered, this form changes your weapon skills and augments your druid utility skills (which we’ll cover next). The Celestial skills are:
Cosmic Ray (Skill 1) – Call down energy from above to heal allies in a target area.
Seed of Life (Skill 2) – Summon a seed that heals cleanses (2) conditions on nearby allies
Lunar Impact (Skill 3) – Calls down a lunar beam that heals allies and dazes foes
Tidal Surge (Skill 4) – Gather tidal force to rapidly heal allies
Natural Convergence (Skill 5) – Channel AoE pulsing cripple and slow. when the channel ends, immobilize nearby foes
As you can see, a ton of healing with some condition cleanse and a great crowd control skill to boot. This Avatar form’s skills is all about keeping people alive. Cosmic Ray looks very spammable providing pretty decent heals each time.
Druids will be getting glyphs which have been reserved for Elementalists until now. These glyphs have a reversed effect when in celestial avatar form:
Glyph of Rejuvenation (Heal) – Heal yourself and a minor heal to nearby allies. Celestial: Reverses the heal so the minor heal is applied to yourself and nearby allies get your heal (which is significantly stronger).
Glyph of Alignment (Utility) – Damage and apply conditions (cripple and weakness) to foes. Celestial: Heals and removes conditions from allies
Glyph of Equality (Utility) – Daze and damages nearby foes. Celestial: Stun breaks and heals nearby allies
Glyph of the Tides (Utility) – Push nearby enemies away from you. Celestial: Pulls in nearby enemies towards you
Glyph of Empowerment (Utility) – Increase outgoing damage for nearby allies. Celestial: Increases outgoing healing for nearby allies
Glyph of Unity (Elite) – Tether yourself to nearby foes. Whenever you take damage, deal damage to foes you’re tethered to. Celestial: Tether to allies. When you heal, all tethered allies are healed
I really like the reverse effect on these glyphs when in celestial form. It’s also really easy to remember when you understand what your glyph does.
These are the traits Druid will have:
Celestial Being (Minor) – Allow you access to staff, glyphs and celestial avatar
Live Vicariously (Minor) – When you heal an ally, you are also healed.
Natural Mender (Minor) – Increases your outgoing healing by 2% for 6s. Stacks to maximum of 10 stacks
Druidic Clarity (Adept) – Becoming a celestial avatar removes all conditions from you.
Cultivated Synergy (Adept) – Using a heal skill heal allies around you and your pet. Doubles up if you stand next to your pet.
Primal Echoes (Adept) – Reduces recharge staff skills by 20% and daze enemies around you when you swap to staff.
Celestial Shadow (Master) – When you leave Celestial form, you and your allies gain AoE superspeed and stealth.
Verdant Etching (Master) – Reduce recharge of your glyphs by 20% and everytime you activate a glyph you plant a Seed of Life.
Natural Stride (Master) – Reduce duration of movement impairing conditions by 50-66% and your movement condition is increased by 33% as long you do not have any movement impairing conditions.
Grace of the Land (Grandmaster) – When you enter Celestial Avatar form, incoming condition damage is reduced by 33% for you and your allies.
Lingering Light (Grandmaster) – Healing an ally creates a Cosmic Wisp that orbits you and healing allies it touches
Ancient Seeds (Grandmaster) – Striking a stunned, dazed, knocked down, or launched foes summon roots to entangle them for 5s (immobilize + bleed).
New Ranger Pets!
There will be 5 new ranger pets to tame in Heart of Thorns:
Tiger – Melee. F2 unknown
Smokescale – Melee. F2 active is smokescreen that Smokescale can evade and be immune to conditions in
Bristleback – Ranged; bleed condition based. F2 active barrages a target with projectiles that cause bleeding
Electric Wyvern – Melee; F2 active is head charge that stuns and knocks up leaving behind a lighting field
Fire Wyvern – Melee; F2 active makes the wyvern take flight becoming immune and spews fire down from the air creating a pulsing fire field.
Holy Mother Of… this elite specialization is so cool! This spec really shines in the support department with all of the burst heals and immobilizing. I mean, there’s healing all over this elite spec. The staff really works as a support weapon but I can see a few tweaks for some of the skills that will probably be needed. The utilities bring great crowd control while further amplifying healing when in Celestial Avatar form.
The traits are really good providing quite a bit of damage mitigation in every tier. What I really like is that there are traits that work for a more damage oriented Druid. It’s a bit focused on the Celestial form but it could work really well when in a bind to remove conditions and to stealth out of fights.
Now, does this mean a dedicated Druid healer for raids is absolutely necessary? I’d say no since everyone has their own means of sustain that I think will be sufficient enough for raids. But I’ll definitely say having a Druid in raids will be very good for your party.
A tiny bonus is the Ranger pets were revealed for Heart of Thorns. Oh man, I don’t care if it’s not meta. I will run Wyverns as pets. Maybe one Smokescale but Wyvern will definitely be a main pet.
I’m very excited to try it out Druid in the next beta weekend event! Also, here’s a video of the full Druid stream:
No Druid blog post to work off of for today but stay tuned to the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel on September 25th and 26th. ArenaNet will be at TwitchCon showing off the Druid and other surprises. For the full schedule you can check it out here.
Also the sPvP Stronghold mode will be available this weekend! Should be a good weekend!