Guild Wars 2

The Balance-Patch/Exposed change isn’t that bad. Stop overreacting.

If you've been on this subreddit the past few days, you've no doubt seen the outcry of people saying:

  1. "Condition Firebrand is now mandatory for Fractals"
  2. "Anet is killing build diversity by forcing everyone to play cFirebrand"
  3. "This change proves Anet doesn't play the game or understand how to balance it"

And frankly it's a bit embarrassing seeing so many people jumping onto this bandwagon, when in reality the patch seems pretty healthy for the game.

So what caused the outcry? The main factor is that the Exposed debuff (which bosses get when you break their breakbar) has been changed, from providing 50% power damage & 50% condition damage, to 30% power dmg & 100% condition dmg.

People see the big discrepancy between 30 and 100, and immediately flip out, thinking it's going to force them to all play condition damage builds now… When that's simply not the case.

For starters, this isn't actually a 20% nerf to power, or a 50% buff to condi… It's a ~15% nerf to power, and a ~33% buff to condi.

When you go from 150% to 130%, you aren't going to do 20% less damge… Similarly, when you go from 150% to 200%, you aren't doing 50% more damage, you're doing 33% more.

Condition Damage in Fractals

Condition Damage was essentially unplayable in Fractals, with the exception of CFirebrand which was good. CFBD was like an A-tier spec, but it definitely wasn't used in most world-record setting speed-runs. It wasn't "amazing", it was just good. All other Condition dmg specs? They were literally garbage.

Mirage? Condi Thief? Condi Soulbeast? Scourge? When was the last time you saw any of these specs in Fractals? You MAYBE saw them in Sanqua, which is just one fractal, but from my experience most people didn't play them in that Fractal either.

This patch, along with giving them 33% more damage for 4 seconds on breakbars, gives them some other small tweaks here and there (the torment change is a pretty notable one), and it makes them actually viable.

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This is a good thing.

The "dps slots" in a Fractal Party are (hopefully) no longer forced to play power burst builds, and might actually get some options with Condi dmg (aside from CFBD). This change objectively opens up more build diversity for the vast majority of players.

When you see a "dps slot" in the LFG now, you could (hopefully) join with any legitimate dps build, power or condi. How is that a bad thing?

"Condition Damage will be too strong now though"

No it won't.

A 33% buff for a 4 second exposed window isn't going to take something from "literally unplayable" to "fml this is so OP i need to reroll into it now".

The exception is of course Firebrand, Firebrands will genuinely be very strong now… But why is that the end of the world? There's always been specs that are dominant in dps, they'll never all be equal. Yeah Cfbd is going to be great now, but that doesn't mean every other spec is going to suddenly become garbage.

Specs that could previously do great burst dps, are going to continue doing great burst dps. Condition Damage specs have just, for the first time, become viable alternatives. Once again, this is a good thing.

"Pugs will make CFirebrands mandatory in LFG though"

No they won't.

People on this subreddit are vastly overexaggerating how picky pugs are. The "optimal" dps slots for the longest time were Soulbeast, Berserker, and Weaver…. But guess how often i found a Pug group asking for those exact 3 specs for dps? Literally never.

In 99.99% of cases, once a Pug group had their Quickness/Alacrity/Healer covered, they'd run with any three dps which weren't awful. You'd see all sorts of power-dps specs which weren't Soulbeast, or Berserker, or Weaver… And no one really cared.

If Reddits theory of Pugs on the LFG only asking/taking what's the ABSOLUTE OPTIMAL specs, then you'd only see Pugs with those exact dps slots every time, but that isn't reality. Reddit is lying to you.

The only real difference is that the Pugs won't look exclusively for Power-dps, and you might be able to get away with playing condi, and actually contribute to dps in a meaningful way.

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"But they nerfed Power damage too much though!"

They honestly didn't.

Power damage was nerfed significantly DURING the 4 second exposed debuff, which yeah is very notable for top end speed runners, but it's going to be practically insignificant for most Pug players.

I get it, the meta strategy in Fractals was to insta-phase the boss to the next phase during the exposed window. Top end players lined up their cooldowns and unloaded all of their burst to maximize this window, and basically one-shot the boss into the next phase, and this will be a ~15% nerf to that… But… So what?

If you're going to sit here and tell me with a straight face that most groups insta-phase bosses during the exposed window, i'd call you delusional. The vast, VAST, majority of players don't insta-phase the bosses during exposed. It won't be a big difference for them.

This change slightly shortens the gap between Power & Condi dps, that's all.

"But CFirebrands will be used in all world records and speed runs now!"

Who fucking cares?

Do you genuinely believe the game should be balanced around the top 0.00001% of the players rather than the other 99%?

If the majority of players get more options for Fractal dps, at the expense of the very tippity top feeling pigeon-holed into playing a certain spec, i think that's a healthy change.

Ultimately, Speed Running is a self imposed challenge. If you're actively deciding to speed run, then yeah, play what's optimal, and deal with it.

What annoys me the most about this argument is that Speed Runners have always been pigeon-holed into playing specific specs. The only difference is that the specific spec has now changed. Instead of being forced into playing Soulbeast you're now forced into playing Firebrand… And i'm supposed to feel pity or sympathy for this why exactly?

Furthermore, the game is generally so fucking easy for speed runners anyways, that whether the run takes 5 seconds more with their old specs, or 5 seconds less with Firebrands, i literally could not care less.


If you're someone complaining about how you need to "reroll" into Firebrand to be "viable" in Fractals now… Take a deep breath, and really think about why you feel this way.

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If you're worried because Pugs won't want you otherwise: Stop worrying about that. It won't change much. You'll still be able to play whatever dps you want with most Pugs.

If you're worried because Speed Running is going to force you into playing a class you don't want to play: Well that's always been the case since the dawn of gaming, nothing has changed.

Ultimately the only thing this patch really does, is open up a whole plethora of new dps options for Fractals, for the vast majority of players. It might limit the absolute top-end players (even that part is debatable) but lets be honest… Most of you aren't top-end players.

This subreddit has a weird bubble mentality where everyone here likes to see themselves as amazing god tier Speed Runners, when in reality most of us are just normal above average players that this change won't negatively impact at all.

The most laughable part is… I doubt the best comp moving forward will be all firebrands anyways, since you lose out on too many buffs brought by the Berserker/Soulbeast. Plus Firebrands using the Virtue line won't have access to much vulnerability.

The end game meta legitimately probably won't even change that much, so all this outcry is pointless.


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