Reduced Exhaustion Costs

 

The Exhaustion mechanic is unique in Guild Wars in that it is a resource that cannot be manipulated by any skill; this makes it one of our strongest balancing mechanisms. However, because all skills that cause Exhaustion cause the same amount of Exhaustion, it often becomes difficult to properly balance the skill’s effectiveness with the fixed Exhaustion penalty. As a result, we usually see players take the single most powerful Exhaustion skill they can find and ignore everything else for fear of getting too Exhausted. We’re taking this opportunity to introduce skills that cause 5 points of Exhaustion instead of 10. We feel this change will make these skills more appealing while giving us better control over Elementalist skills in the future. Due to this change, Exhaustion will now be shown as a number followed by a gray dot with a downward arrow in the UI rather than using the phrase “This spell causes Exhaustion.”

The addition of lowered Exhaustion costs to the game gave us better ways to balance existing skills. In the case of Invoke Lightning, Exhaustion was intended as a metering mechanic, but given the long uptime of Elementalist enchantments this weakness almost never showed up. With a guaranteed Exhaustion amount of 5, this skill should be much more balanced for teams in PvP. Chain Lightning, a similar skill, was also changed in this way.

changed functionality to: “Target foe and all adjacent foes take 15…60 fire damage. If you have more Energy than target foe, that foe and all adjacent foes take an additional 15…60 fire damage and are set on fire for 1…8 seconds.” 

Shatterstone and Water rident

Even though this skill has good overall damage and a modest recharge, it generally stacks up poorly against other Elementalist elites that deal damage. By reducing the cost and adding a new AoE component to the end of the skill, we feel it is more justified as an elite skill

reduced cost to 10 Energy; changed functionality to: “Target foe is struck for 25…100 cold damage and is hexed with Shatterstone for 3 seconds. When Shatterstone ends, that foe and all nearby foes are struck for 25…100 cold damage.”

While the knockdown on this skill is useful and powerful, we felt a buff was justified given the skill’s long casting cost and 3-second delay before activation. With the addition of Cracked Armor and a reduction in cost and casting time, we feel that this skill can now fit into a larger variety of builds.

changed functionality to: “Send out a fast-moving Water Trident, striking target foe and up to 2 adjacent foes for 10…90 cold damage if it hits. If it hits a moving foe, that foe is knocked down.”

Water Trident’s conditional effect and damage were a little too weak to use in most PvE situations, so we’ve given it an AoE component similar to Lava Arrows as well as a small damage buff. 

Gimmering Mark and Lightning Surge

 

While the damage on this skill for a single target is good, its cancel condition makes it difficult to use. To improve its use for PvE, we’ve added a Blind effect and increased its radius to hit adjacent foes.

added the following functionality: “For 10 seconds, target foe and all foes adjacent to your target take 5…25 damage each second. Foes using attack skills are Blinded for 3 seconds.”

reduced cost to 10 Energy; reduced casting time to 1 second; added the following functionality: “Target foe has Cracked Armor for 5…20 seconds. This spell has 25% armor penetration.”

While the knockdown on this skill is useful and powerful, we felt a buff was justified given the skill’s long casting cost and 3-second delay before activation. With the addition of Cracked Armor and a reduction in cost and casting time, we feel that this skill can now fit into a larger variety of builds.

  

Blinding Surge and Ether Prodigy

Several of the elite skills we examined for this update simply had small usability problems. Whether it was lack of damage or a downside that didn’t justify the investment, these skills required much smaller adjustments to make them more viable. In several cases the major problems were eliminated simply by allowing these skills to strike an area instead of a single target, though different buffs were necessary for others.

added the following functionality: “This spell has 25% armor penetration. If this spell strikes an attacking foe, all adjacent foes are also struck and this spell deals 50% more damage.”

While this skill sees use in PvP, its low damage makes it difficult to justify in most PvE situations. This buff is intended to bolster the overall damage a bit without turning it into a spike skill.

Given that the skill already has the downside of causing Exhaustion and losing all enchantments, we felt that some changes were in order for this skill. We felt that this skill had viability in PvP but was kept out of play due to the high damage on end and the high spec required to make it effective. We’ve made a small reduction in the amount of damage dealt on end and improved the scaling on this skill so it is more effective at lower ranks. 

Developer Updates

 

In some cases we found elites that could be good but didn’t quite provide the level of bar compression to make them desirable over direct-damage skills.

rescaled duration to 25…60 seconds; reduced recharge to 20 seconds; added the following functionality: “You are attuned to Air, Fire, Water, and Earth and gain +1…2 to these attributes.”

increased recharge to 25 seconds; now affects your next 1…3 spells; reduced Energy savings to 10…25; added the following functionality: “Your elemental attributes are increased by 1…4.”

Due to the change to Master of Magic, Elemental Attunement and Glyph of Energy became a little lacking. So we are improving both of these skills with a small attribute bonus while active. The addition of an attribute bonus gives these skills some bar compression as well as a small damage boost, which Elementalists are lacking in many PvE areas. We’ve also increased the number of charges on Glyph of Energy to make it less cumbersome to use, though in order to keep the Energy management from becoming too good we’ve lowered the Energy savings per use and increased the recharge. Elemental Attunement had its duration and recharge rescaled slightly to prevent fast-casting Mesmer/Elementalists from outshining primary Elementalists using this skill.

Master of Magic and Shockwaves

 

Master of Magic is held back partly by the lack of good cross-elemental synergies and an attribute level that is generally ineffective at level 20. By scaling the attribute bonus, we hope to correct this latter problem. In an update further down the line, we plan to look at cross-elemental synergy skills. The “ends on non-Elementalist skill” clause was mainly to prevent Elementalist healers from taking advantage of the bonus Energy regen, so we’ve removed it and the Energy regen in favor of a universal attunement to make it easier to run multiple attributes. The recharge has also been reduced to make it less vulnerable to strips.

Due to the high-risk/low-reward ratio on this skill, Shockwave only has niche uses. These changes are intended to promote some synergy with other skills in Earth Magic.

reduced recharge to 7 seconds; changed functionality to: “Target touched foe and all foes in the area are struck for 7…112 fire damage and set on fire for 1…4 seconds. For each foe you hit, gain 2 Energy.”

After reworking Double Dragon, we felt that Star Burst could remain as a PBAoE skill; however, it had very little to distinguish it from other PBAoE skills like Inferno or Flame Burst. Because these types of builds tend to have Energy problems, we reversed the previous Energy loss into Energy gain. While we don’t think this will make PBAoE Elementalists very common, it will provide some better options for this type of playstyle. 

New Synergies

With Ward Against Harm we are again trying something slightly different. We’ve given this skill a small party-healing aspect similar to how Water Magic skills function in Guild Wars 2. We hope this can provide another appealing source of party-healing utility on the Water Elementalist. Additionally, the bonus armor is now applied to all elements instead of just Fire Magic. We feel this is necessary to make it useful outside of areas like the Fire Islands. We’re concerned about this skill’s effects in PvP, so we’ve split it and may make further changes after seeing how it plays out.

We’re also making a few smaller changes to some skills that we hope will promote some new synergies and help make some previously nonviable builds possible.

reduced recharge to 10 seconds; changed elemental attribute scaling to 8…14; removed Energy regeneration; removed the following functionality: “This enchantment ends if you use a non-Elementalist skill.” Added the following functionality: “Your elemental spells return 30% of their Energy cost.”

changed functionality to: “All foes in the area take 15…60 earth damage and are Weakened for 1…10 seconds. Nearby foes also take +15…60 earth damage and have Cracked Armor for 1…10 seconds. Adjacent foes suffer the previous effects, take +15…60 earth damage, and are Blinded for 1…10 seconds.” 

Due to the delay in the Dazed application

While its previous effect was fairly strong against martial professions, Mist Form had almost no effect against casters, and its one-dimensional functionality made it a difficult choice to take over most damage-dealing elites. It could also be very frustrating to use without removal. This update changes the skill into a defensive skill that also provides healing to your allies. In order to emphasize the Elementalist nature of the skill, though, the healing and damage reduction conditionals encourage offensive spell use. To prevent stacking in PvP, this skill has been split

Due to the delay in the Dazed application, Thunderclap tended to be a poor choice as an interrupt skill, and the long recharge coupled with only hitting a single target made it a poor damage skill as well. Since Air Magic already has good AoE damage options, we’ve changed this skill to be more of an elite interrupt and condition-application skill. With a 1-second cast time, this skill won’t outclass Mesmer interrupts but will provide bonuses for skilled Elementalists who read their opponents.

changed functionality to: “Create a Ward Against Harm at this location. For 5…15 seconds, non-spirit allies in this area have +1…3 Health regeneration, +12…24 armor, and an additional +12…24 armor against elemental damage. This spell is disabled for 20 seconds.”

changed functionality to: “Create a Ward Against Harm at this location. For 5…15 seconds, non-spirit allies in this area have +1…3 Health regeneration, +12…24 armor, and an additional +12…24 armor against elemental damage. This spell is disabled for 20 seconds.” 

New Functionality

 

In addition to doublecast skills, we are also allowing some Elementalist elites to have functionality usually covered by other professions. Because these skills are elite, we feel it’s OK to blur the role of the Elementalist a bit, as long as this functionality meshes with how the Elementalist normally plays.

reduced cost to 5 Energy; changed functionality to: “For 10…45 seconds, you take 33% less damage from foes under the effect of Water Magic hexes. Whenever you cast an elemental spell, all non-spirit allies in earshot are healed for 50…250% of the Energy cost of the spell.”

split for PvP; reduced cost to 5 Energy; changed functionality to: “For 10…45 seconds, you take 33% less damage from foes under the effect of Water Magic hexes. Whenever you cast an elemental spell, all non-spirit allies in earshot are healed for 50…250% of the Energy cost of the spell. This spell does not heal allies above 80% Health.”

reduced recharge to 8 seconds; reduced damage to 10…50; added 25% armor penetration; changed functionality to: “Create a massive shockwave at target foe’s location. Deals 10…50 lightning damage to target and all adjacent foes. Struck foes are interrupted and suffer from Cracked Armor and Weakness for 5…20 seconds. This spell has 25% armor penetration.” 

Skills what you should know

 

Energy Boon: changed skill type to enchantment spell; increased casting time to 1 second; increased cost to 10 Energy; reduced recharge to 20 seconds; changed functionality to: “For 36…60 seconds, Energy Boon raises the maximum Health of you and target ally by 1…3 for each point of your respective maximum Energy. When this enchantment is first applied, you and your target gain 1…12 Energy. You gain an additional 1 Energy for every 2 points you have in Energy Storage.”

 

  Gust: changed functionality to: “For 5…11 seconds, both you and target ally move 33% faster. When you cast this spell, all foes near you and your target take 15…70 cold damage. Foes struck by Gust while attacking or moving are knocked down.”

 

  Mirror of Ice: reduced casting time to 0.75 seconds; reduced Energy cost to 10; reduced recharge to 12; changed functionality to: “Shatter a Mirror of Ice. All foes near you and target ally take 15…70 cold damage and move 66% slower for 2…6 seconds. If you strike a foe hexed with Water Magic, Mirror of Ice recharges 50% faster.

 

  Stone Sheath: reduced recharge to 12 seconds; changed functionality to: “For 5…20 seconds, you and target ally have +1…35 armor and are immune to critical hits. When you cast this spell, all foes near you and your target take 15…70 earth damage and are Weakened for 5…20 seconds.”