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!

The First Heart Of Thorns Beta Weekend Event Starts August 7th!


It’s that time again friends! The latest blog post by Colin Johanson reveals that the first beta weekend is upon us and starts Friday, August 7th at noon Pacific and ends on Monday, August 10th at noon Pacific. Anyone who pre-purchased Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will be able to try out the starting area aka Verdant Brink for Heart of Thorns as well as the first story instance. The content in this area will give ArenaNet enough information to gain a good understand of how everything works and to properly update the content that appears later in the expansion. There’s also the following:

– Players can make a character of any profession and any race; you’ll will have access to level 80 gear.

– The Revenant profession will be available as well as the Shiro legend and specialization line. The elite specializations announced will be available as well. That’s Chronomancer, Dragonhunter, Reaper and Tempest

– You may take your beta character into the world of Tyria for PvE, PvP & WvW

– The sPvP Stronghold mode will be available and pre-purchasers will have all 3 Mist Champions unlocked

– The Map Bonus Reward system, which basically rewards players for completing events, will be active so players can experience what it feels like

– Progress for this beta weekend event will be saved for the next beta weekend so you can pick up where you left off

– Players will have 4 beta character slots to play with

Looking For Feedback

ArenaNet want your feedback on all the content they’re letting people play so they can fine tune it or make it better. Is the jungle content not to your liking? Why so? Do you like the feel of Dragonhunter? Do you like the bonus map rewards you’re getting? These are just some of the questions they want player’s feedback on. I encourage you to let yourself be heard on the forums.

If you’re not going to Gamescon, I hope you didn’t make plans for next weekend!

Guild Wars 2 Final Core Specializations, Conditions & More!


Oh man. Well, while I was covering E3 stuff all day Monday, I missed the livestream of the Guild Wars 2 Core Specialization changes and condition changes. However, I did check out the notes Competitive Events Manager Josh Davis kindly spent his time compiling and posting on the forums. The list is WAY too long to put in this post. I’ll link it here so you can view the profession(s) of your choice.

I’ve taken a general look at the changes at it seems like some professions got some really good buffs or some nerfs to one or two aspects.

The class I worry about the most is Necromancer. It seems Necromancer is the same in most aspects with the Core Specializations which could still pose a problem for the class since the class isn’t too good right now. Ranger has some really good changes in my opinion but I hear that some Rangers aren’t too happy with some of the changes. Guardians got hit boon wise. No getting around that. Engineers I feel are in a weird place of good and bad. It depends on the play style you had and how the changes affect you I guess. All the other classes feel the same or feel stronger.

I’m still covering E3 on Tuesday but I’ll try to post a deeper analysis of the profession reworks later this week.

Lion’s Arch Name Results & Core Specializations Coming Soon


New Lion’s Arch Poll Results

The results are in! Like them or not, these are the new names of some of the areas in the new Lion’s Arch. The names have been chosen due to majority vote:

  • Canal Ward → Commodore’s Quarter
  • Lighthouse → Phoenix Roost
  • Lion’s Court → Lion’s Court
  • Air Base → Lion’s Arch Aerodrome
  • Memorial → Field of the Fallen

There will be a grand opening of the new Lion’s Arch in the next content update so be sure to check out the events!

Core Specializations Coming

Core specializations will be coming in the next content update as well. I guess we can assume that the profession reward track will be added in as well. If you missed what specializations are or just need a refresher, I wrote about it here.

This probably also means that skill points will now be hero points depending on how many skills point per character you’ve unlocked. This would also mean that we find out what this new material used to get items, where you use skill points as the currency, will be.

The content update could be as soon as next week so if you want to get ahead of the curve in skill points (per character wise), I suggest you take Ink’s Hero Point Challenge. The video below describes what I’m talking about. Basically, you’re running around each map focusing on getting only the skill points on the map.

Necromancer Specialization Thoughts: Death Magic And Reaper


Seasons don’t fear the Reaper, but you will. If they get close to you, you will. Necromancer time! I think Necromancer is the most difficult class to play because they have the weakest damage output out of all the professions (condition damage debatable). However, Reaper changes all of that. Reaper is the elite specialization for Necromancers! First let’s take a look at the core specialization that Necromancers will have.

Necromancer Core Specialization

Spite‘s minors focuses on health thresholds and are easier to use. Death Shiver is interesting as it applies Vulnerability to enemies near you while in Death Shroud. Signet Mastery could be decent as it grants might when you use a signet, reduces signet cooldown and casts Signet of the Locust (steals health from nearby foes) when hit at a certain threshold.

Curses is the condition and crit line. Barbed Precision minor is pretty good as it has a chance to cause bleeding on crits and bleeds last longer. Can work really well with main hand Axe. Parasitic Contagion is pretty nice as it heals you for a good percent of you condition damage. Terror is the fear cause damage trait and also causes more damage when an enemy has a condition.

Death Magic line is the minions and toughness line. The Beyond the Veil minor grants you and your minions protection which could prove to be useful. Deadly Strength grants power based on toughness and doubles when in Death Shroud. Death Nova makes minions explode into a poison cloud. Necromantic Corruption makes minions do more damage and takes conditions from you and applies those conditions to an enemy (on an interval) when they hit them.

Blood Magic is the health line. Quickening Thirst now needs only one dagger to gain the movement speed bonus and recharges skills faster above a certain threshold. Vampiric Rituals reduced the cooldown of wells, allow wells to siphon health per pulse and applies protection to allies on cast.

Soul Reaping is your life force line. Vital Persistence reduces the drain on Life Force while in death shroud and reduces the cooldown on death shroud skills. Master of Terror inflicts a longer fear and fears enemies when downed. Foot in the Grave grants stability and stun breaks when you enter death shroud. Dhuumfire allows life blast to cause burning on your target.

Necromancer I felt stayed mostly the same but had their traits sorted out to make more meaningful builds. I do like the quality of life changes to Death Shroud such as providing a heal to allies when entering Death Shroud instead of granting the heal when leaving Death Shroud. Death Magic seems to allow more room with Minion builds and Curses I can see more crit builds coming out.

Reaper Elite Specialization

So Robert Gee came back and delivered an article on the Necromancer Elite Specialization: Reaper. So what does this spec have to offer? Apparently a lot of chill, menacing greatsword skills, Reaper Shroud and damaging shouts.

So, the Reaper has just raw damage output with greatsword. The greatsword has slow cleaving attacks that do a lot of damage and some multiple hits skills on enemies. One of the skills, Gravedigger is a slow attack with a high cooldown but has reduced cooldown when hitting enemies under 50%. Now, add chill to this setup. Two minor traits to aid the Reaper in it’s onslaught are Shivers of Dread which inflicts chill on your feared enemies and Cold Shoulder that increases the duration of chill. Now, add shouts to the mix. Damaging shouts at that. For example, Rise! is a shout that damages enemies and summons a Jagged Horror for each enemy hit.

Reaper’s Shroud seems really cool as it’s the augmented Death Shroud more fit for a melee Necromancer. For example, Death’s Charge replaces Dark Path. Both allow you to close the gap on opponents but Death’s Charge is a charge that damages enemies in your path.

Now, despite how good this is, this makes me wonder how normal Necromancers (that prefer casting more) can use the trait line and shouts to their advantage. So far I can see a viable Minion Master build with the Rise! shout and the core specializations. I’m highly convinced that Reaper will be a great melee class that requires some skill with the slow cleaving attacks. We’ll find out more on Points of Interest tomorrow on May 15th at noon Pacific .