Feature patch, day two: Critical damage, runes, sigils, and balance

Today came the second and third of the blog posts about the upcoming feature patch; this time we got to learn about the changes that will be made to critical damage, as well as updates to runes and sigils, and some general balance updates that are being made.

First, let’s look at the crit damage changes. The biggest thing about it is that critical damage will be tied to a new stat of its own, Ferocity. It’ll work the same as any other stat, starting out at zero and being able to be increased through traits, gear, and other buffs. The hope is that by doing this, it’ll make critical damage easier to understand, as well as make it easier for people to experiment with builds and still be able to crit. This will also have the effect of a slight nerf to full berserker builds; they say that at level 80 with a full zerker build this will work out to about a 10% decrease.

An example in the blog post of how the hero panel will look with Ferocity added in.

An example in the blog post of how the hero panel will look with Ferocity added in.

Now, full disclosure here: I run berserker gear on four of my characters (mesmer, ranger, necro, and warrior). And I am totally okay with this change. My mesmer sits at 103% crit damage, without any buffs, and with a couple pieces of gear still not being berserker (for some reason I have a valkyrie sword on her. Don’t remember why I did that; I suspect to save on money). I also on other characters play a variety of different builds; my guardian, for example, is full support. My engineer is conditions/support. My ele swaps between damage and healing. My thief currently is running venom shares. And my second warrior does a hammer control build. Even my berserker necro has a mix of rampager and rabid trinkets and still pulls heavy condition damage. My healing/boon shout guardian is as fun for me to play as my DPS-heavy phantasm mesmer – they’re different builds, with different uses. And the damage nerf will not be so hard to my DPS-based characters to put me off them, but it will give more opportunities for my more support-based characters to shine.

Build diversity is always a good thing, and I like how this change to crit damage will make things a bit more even of a playing field, and make it easier for people who like playing builds that are more than just “hit that thing with a stick until it dies” to show their stuff, as well as facilitate more experimentation.

Speaking of build diversity, let’s take a look at the post about runes, sigil, and other balance updates. One of the things they mention as working on for runes is updating the stat boosts given to be stacked more towards the fourth, fifth, and sixth effect; a lot of people sometimes mix and match runes, and they want there to be a real benefit to sticking to a single set. It’s also said that this will make it easier for newer players to pick runes.

Now, sometimes mixing and matching is a necessity – my guardian, for example, uses a mix of three different rune sets to get what I want. One of the things that is also being done is that a number of rune sets are being reworked, to take away some of the need of this mix-and-match. It also says that more runes will be updated to have a specific focus, such as a certain condition or boon, which I can see being very nice in some situations. I know the Power runes in general could use a lot of this fixing – so many sets that give power either have might or burning as a secondary effect, but there’s not much else in there. I don’t even use runes on several of my characters, opting for orbs instead as there are no rune sets that do what I’d like for them to do, so changing things up so that there aren’t so many cloned rune sets and they’re all more clearly defined is something I’m looking forward to.

Next, sigils! They’re looking to take away all of the hidden rules that sigils have and make it much clearer how they work. Things like recharges, how they stack, and so on will be made clear in the sigil’s description. One thing they mention is that each sigil will have its own recharge, but they do not stack. To explain that better, this is the example given:

A character with two Sigils of Blood (minor, major, or superior) who activates one will set both sigils on recharge.

So doubling up on sigils won’t be worth it, which is actually not a bad thing by any means, as it’ll encourage people to play around with more types of sigils for different effects. And do people really double up like that anyway?

Sigil of Fire with an updated description.

Sigil of Fire with an updated description.

Another thing that is made note of is on-kill sigils will get a few updates. The first is that killing a human opponent in any game mode (PvP or WvW) will gain you five stacks, as opposed to just one. Regular monsters remain at one. The second is that more strict rules on their use will be applied; namely you can’t build up 25 stacks and then unequip the weapon for another and keep the stacks. Again, a good change, as being able to do that just feels like an exploit to me.

Oh, and by the way, if you use a two-handed weapon? Two sigils. On the weapon. This was the part that had me the happiest (until I got to the bottom of the post, anyway). Just, enough said on that. Two-handed weapons can slot two sigils. I love that change. I’m excited for that change. I’m already planning out what I want to slot on my weapons to add to them.

Several sigils will be getting updated to make them more desirable; this ranges from things like some of the “on-crit” defensive sigils to be changed from “on-crit” to “on hit”. As someone who uses Sigil of Water on my guardian’s staff, I’m loving that change, especially as it’ll give me more wiggle room when playing around with builds. A number of sigils will be getting tweaks on numbers (recharges, how often they trigger, how hard they hit, etc), and there’ll be some that get reworked entirely. The example given for that are the Sigils of Conjuration and Sanctuary, which currently both have the same effect (which is not a terribly useful one). They’ll both be getting majorly changed; Conjuration will become Celerity and give 5 seconds of quickness once hitting 25 stacks (guess what I want for my mesmer’s greatsword), and Sanctuary will become Benevolence and increase ally healing (guess what I want to put on my guardian’s Bifrost along with her Sigil of Water).

Last but not least are a preview of the balance changes, all of which look good to me. Elementalists will get some more survivability when using main-hand dagger, which is handy. For engineers they’re looking to increase build diversity; they say they’re aiming for more power-based builds as well as more support opportunities. Anything that can break people out of the mindset of “grenades are the best ever” is good by me; just don’t nerf my elixirs! Guardians they say will mainly be quality of life changes, but at the same time they want guardian burning to be the strongest burning conditions in the game. Warrior changes will mainly be bug fixes as well as slight nerfs to regen. Necromancers are getting a good number of changes; a big one is Death Magic no longer requiring you to run around with minions if you trait into that line, as well as more survival options and some Death Shroud. For rangers they primarily mention pet AI changes, which are always welcome. Thief they mention some bug fixes, and some more support and survival via traits, such as the Invigorating Precision trait mentioned in yesterday’s trait blog post.

And mesmer. I had to give mesmer its own paragraph, because I love mesmer, my main is a mesmer, and the updates listed for mesmer just make me so happy. More options for conditions. More support and survivability. Updates and bug fixes to illusions, with Illusionary Warden being specifically mentioned as having been fixed. The sigil changes being very good to us. And yes, Maim the Disillusioned is an amazing trait name.

Unlike yesterday’s post on traits, where some of it had me a bit unsure, today’s information I am solidly behind and like quite a bit. So far so good, and as I pointed out yesterday, I’m really enjoying these posts detailing the changes. The next two blogposts, to judge by their names, have to do with armor, town clothes, and dyes, so I’m excited to see what’ll be announced there. My mesmer currently has over 300 dyes unlocked, so I’m really crossing my fingers hoping that account-wide dye unlocks are coming. There’s not much that could make me happier right now.

If only precursor crafting hadn’t been confirmed to not be a part of this patch…ah well.

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2 thoughts on “Feature patch, day two: Critical damage, runes, sigils, and balance

  1. Pingback: This week in Guild Wars 2, 22-28 March | GuildMag

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