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April 2009 PvE and PvP Skill Balances


This month's balance update focuses on PvP/PvE issues. Most changes apply to both formats. Skills that we weakened are not featured heavily in PvE, and we expect that players won't mind skills that were made more powerful.

We felt that some of the more effective skills needed to be toned down, while other skills were either too weak or simply didn't fit their intended purpose. New technology added over the last several months has also allowed us to change a number of skills to match the design team's original vision of Guild Wars gameplay.


Rebalancing Skills



  • Scorpion Wire: no longer has half-range. Changed functionality to: "Target foe is teleported to your location and knocked down."
  • Shroud of Silence: changed functionality to: "For 5..20 seconds, target player cannot send chat messages."

Shadow Stepping has triggered complaints about how an Assassin can move instantly to a target, keep the target knocked down, and kill it before anybody has a chance to react. To address this concern without decreasing the Assassin's overall effectiveness, we're instead experimenting with allowing Assassins to teleport their foes directly to them.

Shroud of Silence gave us an opportunity to give players the ability to disable opposing tactics callers. Since everyone uses text to call targets, this should prove a deadly change in large battles.


  • Increased duration of all Avatar skills to 40..70 seconds.
  • Avatar of Grenth: changed functionality to: "For 10..90 seconds, your attacks steal 1..2 enchantments from any foe you hit and apply those enchantments to you."

We've made Avatars easier for non-Dervishes to permanently maintain with the use of consumables. Now Avatars give players a reason to bring an elite in skill slots normally left empty and frees up valuable inventory space by reducing the need to carry tonics.


  • Ray of Judgment: Removed Burning condition, increased damage to 10..90.
  • Searing Flames: Removed Burning condition.

These two skills were overpowered when combined and used together. To reduce the effectiveness of spike builds that use these skills, we took out the Burning and gave Ray of Judgment more damage to compensate.


  • Signet of Ghostly Might: reverted functionality to: "For 10 seconds, target ally or foe does +10..35 damage. When this skill ends, that target is slain."

Ritualists have struggled to find an effective offensive role in PvP. We think that our earlier changes to Signet of Ghostly Might reduced this build's effectiveness too much, so we reverted it to the originally intended function.


Context-Sensitive Skills



  • Sandstorm: now deals 10..30 more damage if the caster is standing in a sandy area.
  • Equinox: Exhaustion duration is now based on the time of day.
  • Dwarven Battle Stance: duration is now based on the user's height.
  • Gladiator's Defense: duration is now doubled in Random and Team Arenas.

Game engine upgrades have allowed us to track a number of interesting statistics and data. To gauge the popularity of this new feature, Sandstorm has been changed to give a small bonus when used in an appropriate region. Similarly, Equinox will now vary its duration depending on the time (Pacific Standard). Based on the success of these changes, we expect to base other skills on terrain, location, time, and height.


Guild Battles



  • Guild Battle NPCs now respawn at regular intervals until the Guild Lord is slain.

NPCs have always played an important role in Guild Battles, but we are dissatisfed with split builds that focus soley on killing opposing NPCs. Since NPCs don't respawn, losing just a few NPCs can drastically lower a team's chance to win. To give losing teams more chance at a comeback, NPCs respawn on a slightly longer timer than players. The Guild Lord is unaffected by this change.


User Interface



  • Characters suffering from Blind cannot see distant enemies.
  • Characters suffering from Dazed will now spin in place. The camera is locked for the duration of the effect.

These exciting new additions will improve both the PvP and PvE experience by improving the interface display of your characters state. It is now much more obvious when your character is blinded or dazed, something that benefits front line and support classes in PvP. This also provides a more realistic environment for PvE players to roleplay in. With enemies you can't see and your display spinning around, you'll get a better sense of what it's like to be a Guild Wars hero!


Other Changes



  • Removed the Lucky Aura effect from the Lunar Fortune item.

Although we were satisfied with the current effects of Lucky Aura, it unfortunately provided more of a benefit than expected to certain types of builds (especially farming). To bring this effect under control, we have had to remove it from the Lucky Fortunes. Other methods of gaining the Lucky Aura effect have not been changed.


  • On a direct hit, the Zaishen rank emote now deals minor damage based on the user's rank and knocks the target down.

We thought this would be an interesting way to encourage emote spamming instead of skill spamming. We kept the damage minimal for now, though it does increase as you gain rank.


  • Introduced a new Cartographer title for the Battle Isles.

PvP players need more to do besides killing each other, so now they can explore and show off their accomplishment with this brand new title.