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.”