Guild Wars 2

Thoughts on the May 11 balance patch for PvE and fixes

Hey, after a night of a rollercoaster of emotions of laughing and crying about these changes I thought I should make a post about the proposed changes from anet (and maybe by some miraculous act of god they actually read this and adjust stuff properly) and point out whats good and whats bad, while also adding proposed changes/fixes. Buckle up because its going to be a long one. If you read any part I would recommend the elementalist part because thats in my opinion the most important part that needs to be looked at.

Also, here is a spreadsheet with calculated predicted new dps numbers of classes made by Evochron:

Predicted dps numbers

Also, the warrior part is mostly just copied from what luna sent to me as I honestly got too tired writing this (it actually took ages…) and could not be bothered rewriting that 🙂

I also deleted some changes that are not as relevant to PvE because the post was too long.

Without further ado, lets get into it.

Boons and Conditions
Honestly, I think this is the best part of the balance patch and I quite like what they did here. Im not the biggest fan of torment, but for PvE it does not really matter if they want to make it proc on movement or non-movement.

Resolution

  • The Retaliation boon has been renamed Resolution.
  • Incoming condition damage is decreased by 33%. Stacks duration.
  • Unless otherwise specified, skills and traits that formerly granted or used retaliation now use resolution.

I really like this damage for PvE. Retaliation was always a useless effect for PvE. The condition damage reduction part actually gives the effect some use and diversifies the strats for Qadim 1 and perhaps Qadim 2 (though I think the renegade buffs are too big to not run it). Even though this is a minor change, it is a good change in my opinion.

Resistance

  • Nondamaging conditions currently on the player are ineffective. Stacks duration.

Another change that I quite like for PvE. I disliked the fact that on matthias you could literally ignore everything in the fight if you had resistance. There was no damage pressure from conditions if you had a boon thief. Splitting resistance to only work on non damaging conditions is a good change to counter this, because if there is low damage pressure from conditions but a lot of stuff like chill or chill you can counter it with resistance while if there are a lot of damaging conditions you will still need to run condi cleanse so good job on this one.

Torment

  • Deals damage every second. Deals additional damage to foes that are not moving. Stacks intensity.

Honestly, I dont completely understand why they did this in PvE? Maybe its more focussed on PvP game modes and did not want to split it with PvE? It has a bit too much similarity with confusion right now in my opinion and will push mirage and renegade to the front pretty hard. My biggest problem with this is that they missed the chance to call it tnemroT 🙁

Duration Caps for Boons and Conditions

Boons now stack in duration rather than in application up to 30 seconds. Not quite sure about this change yet as I have heard mixed opinions, but I think its a buff. There are niche situations where this hurts you (kiting qadim 1 won't have fury now for example), but not being screwed over by low duration boon stacks is quite a nice change. Overall a nerf for boons that appear in excessive amounts like fury and swiftness, but a buff to boons that get applied in small durations like alacrity, quickness, resistance and such.

Conditions now also stack in duration rather than application, but only up to 10 seconds. They claim its so that you do not get stuck in combat for too long if you have a condition on you, but this is a pretty poor implementation. There are a lot of conditions that classes rely on that might get screwed over by this (weakness for weaver for example). I personally think the duration cap is too low and should be 15-20 seconds. After all, you basically almost always have a condition cleanse in your kit that you can use to get out of combat.

Mantras (Firebrand and Mesmer)

Basically, all mantras in the game are now an ammo skill without a charge mechanism. Don't want to get too much into this because its such a minor change from what I understood. Basically, its a small nerf for mesmer (except daze mantra no longer recharges F3 on cc heavy bosses) and a minor nerf to firebrand losing the improved mantra of flame charge on the final cast except for some bosses with short phases like Vale Guardian.

General

  • The Exposed effect that is placed on many boss enemies when their defiance bar is broken has been adjusted. It now increases power damage taken by 30% and condition damage taken by 100%.

O boy, where do I start… No offense but I seriously need some of the shit that the person who thought this was a good idea was smoking. Anet wants to push for build diversity with this patch, yet firebrand was already oppressive in fractals. With this change you are basically trolling if youre not running firebrand in fractals. They lowered power damage during exposed by 20% and increased condition damage by 50%. To put this in perspective, you need to do 53% more DPS than a condition Firebrand to have the same damage output during this exposed frame to even do the same DPS. That on top of all the unecessary power class nerfs that are coming up is a terrible change in my opinion and needs to be reverted to 50% for both as soon as possible.

Elementalist

We feel that the elementalist has been in a very good place since the July 2020 balance update. Both Tempests and Weavers have effective high damage power and condition damage builds available, while the Tempest is also powerful in a support role.

We weren’t completely happy that the top-end power and condition damage elementalist builds have had approximately the same sustained damage, so we’re making some minor, targeted reductions to the power builds and increases to condition damage sources to help condition-damage builds really shine on bosses and other hard targets, and to ensure that they aren’t left behind by the effect that the torment condition change has for other professions.

This really makes you wonder if they even play the game or bother doing any research. As a massive tempest enthusiast I can assure you that tempest is in a garbage spot for its power build and also is not great condition wise. Why they are nerfing power tempest is actually beyond me. They must have clicked on the benchmark page and saw that power and condition tempest have a high benchmark and decided to shit on it completely without doing any actual research to see how it performs on bosses (spoiler alert, power is absolute crap and on top of that a major pain in the ass to play properly). For the love of god, revert all power tempest changes as soon as possible as this is the 2nd most stupid change in the history of changes right after the 100% condi damage on exposed.

Scepter

  • Flamestrike: Total casting time reduced by 25%.

No one uses scepter for the fire auto attack so yeah…

Warhorn

  • Wildfire: Burning duration increased from 2.5 seconds to 3 seconds.
  • Lightning Orb: Reduced power coefficient per strike from 0.45 to 0.36 in PvE. This matches the existing power coefficient in PvP and WvW.

Alright, wildfire buff is a small condi tempest buff which is always welcome. Lightning Orb nerf is the most stupid shit ever though. This skil was only good on huge hitbox and severly suffered on small hitbox (read ~30k benchmark) so basically they nerfed the only good aspect of power tempest which is ridiculous. For wanting to push other supports into the meta its insane that they nerf the best aspect of support tempest which is warhorn. PLEASE REVERT THIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND READ THE END OF ELEMENTALIST SECTION FOR SUGGESTED CHANGES.

Weaver

  • Elements of Rage: Strike damage bonus reduced from 10% to 5%. Increases condition damage by 5%.

Another change that makes no sense. Anet claiming that condition weaver has the aproximately same sustained damage while with a different build with lesser elementals it pulls 42.1k which is almost 10% higher than the power variant on an inflated hitbox. On top of that, they changed mantras because if causes downtime for your team, yet dont touch the lesser elemntals that cause 1.5 minutes downtime to spawn which increase your DPS by 1k so they might want to touch this as well but that is not a priority at the moment in my opinion. It feels weird to me though that they nerf power weaver by 4.545% which relies on weakness, scholar and hitbox size and then buff condition weaver which has way higher dps and does not rely on external factors like power weaver. Revert every single ele change except for wildfire change as weaver is in a perfect state right now.

Build diversity for tempest

As you will read a little bit further into this thread under the scrapper section scrapper will now provide 2 seconds on quickness when sharing superspeed. I think this is a great idea and more classes should get options like this. Currently the support meta is dominated by druid and whatever support can share quickness and alacrity. At this point nerfing other support classes does not make any sense and the way to go would be to give other classes access to sharing boons. In my opinion tempest was the most obvious choice for this (and I am baffled they did not do this) and an interesting way to do this would be to give tempest options to share inaccessible boons like resistance, quickness or alacrity through sharing and detonating auras or something. This would be a great way to give support tempest a place in the meta. Give every aura an effect like fire is quickness, water is resistance, air is alacrity and earth is stability. Gain access to a new skill called "Detonate" which detonates the aura you are currently attuned to through a utility skill at a 20 seconds cooldown with 10 sec duration of the boon. If this change was implemented with nerfs to warhorn it would make a lot more sense. If people are afraid of stacking tempest just move the traits with damage to tempest and make them compete for a trait slot that unlocks aura detonation. This would give support tempest an amazing spot in the meta, extremely versatile as it would be able to fill the role of either quickness, alacrity, resistance or stability while giving offensive support all through an interesting and unique playstyle.

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Engineer

While the Scrapper can be played as an effective healer, it hasn’t had access to the offensive boons it needs to be truly valuable as a support role in group PvE content. As a result, we’ve seen the Scrapper get very little play outside of WvW. With this update, we’re reworking the Scrapper trait Kinetic Stabilizers so that Scrappers can apply the quickness boon on up to five targets, opening up a powerful boon support role for the specialization. We’re also taking some potential damage out of the Holosmith’s heat management in Laser’s Edge, and we’re instead adding more power to the core explosives trait Glass Cannon, making that damage accessible to more builds.

Rifle

  • Overcharged Shot: This skill no longer knocks the engineer back.

Great change honestly, the knockback on this skill was extremely obnoxious and cc'ing with it felt terrible if you did not have stability. Can also be used as part of your DPS rotation again which is a slight DPS increase.

Explosives

  • Glass Cannon: Increased strike-damage bonus from 7% to 10%.

This change is probably to grant some more power to power engi specs and taking a bit away from holosmith through the Laser's Edge nerf up ahead. This change is pretty nice and can probably push scrapper into a viable position.

Scrapper

  • Kinetic Stabilizers has been reworked and renamed. It is now Kinetic Accelerators.
    • Kinetic Accelerators: When you grant superspeed to a target, also grant quickness (2 seconds).
  • Applied Force has been reworked to grant stability instead of quickness and to grant extra power from might. Players now gain stability when they gain might above the threshold. Might grants bonus power (10 per stack).

Absolutely love this change. This is what needs to happen with other classes to push their support variants and underused elite specs into the meta. The problem with every other off-meta support is that they do not provide any meaningful buff that better support classes can provide, while never needing an off-meta healer due to the offensive buffs druid provides. Rather than nerfing the current supports I think this is the right approach and I would love to see more changes like this. I do think however that they should add some more options to it rather than just quickness through superspeed, but it is a great start.

Holosmith

  • Laser’s Edge: Reduced the maximum damage increase from 25% to 15% in PvE only. This matches the current value in PvP and WvW.

This change is just to tune down holo a bit and to counter the Glass Cannon buffs. According to our lord and saviour holo main TJ its a 2.5% nerf which is perfectly fine imo.

Guardian

Guardian has always been a very flexible and powerful profession. While we are happy with the current build diversity available to guardians—and we are working to extend that same diversity to other professions—we’ve observed that all guardian damage builds, both condition and power, utilize the same combination of the Zeal and Radiance specializations, as they have optimal trait choices for each. We are making a few changes to Zeal, virtues, and underperforming consecration utility skills to better differentiate the two specializations and allow virtues to be a viable option for condition-damage builds.

Scepter

  • Symbol of Punishment: Increased cooldown from 6 seconds to 10 seconds in PvE and from 8 seconds to 10 seconds in WvW.

Im going to assume the person who did the warhorn 5 for tempest is probably the same person who did this scepter change as once again, its a stupid change. Nerfing the cooldown of scepter 2 makes it straight up unusable on all guardian builds and you would just subtitute it for another weapon. The cooldown does not line up at all anymore to be in a usable state and will only be used if you actually need the immobilize.

Staff

  • Symbol of Swiftness: Decreased cooldown from 15 seconds to 12 seconds in PvE only.

I dont think it makes a difference. Cooldown lines up really well with weapon swap though which is nice!

Greatsword

  • Symbol of Wrath: This skill has been renamed Symbol of Resolution.
    • Symbol of Resolution: Reduced cooldown from 20 seconds to 12 seconds. Damage per strike reduced by 10%.

Might be able to squeeze out 1 more gs4 per greatsword rotation by using it right after and right before you swap. Dont think its a very good thing though but we will have to see.

Consecrations

  • Wall of Reflection: Reduced base duration from 10 seconds to 8 seconds. Reduced cooldown from 30 seconds to 25 seconds.
  • Purging Flames: Reduced radius from 240 to 180. This skill no longer burns foes that cross the outside of the field. Instead, it now applies one stack of burning with a 4-second duration on foes inside the radius when cast and again on each pulse for the duration of the effect. Cooldown reduced from 35 seconds to 25 seconds in PvE only.
  • Sanctuary: Reduced cooldown from 60 seconds to 50 seconds.

Ah yes, the firebrand change we have been waiting for. I think these changes are quite nice with the changes they did to condi firebrand in zeal. Wall of reflection changes are whatever honestly, guess theyre nice but they dont change up stuff.
Purging Flames is a big one. This is now a small AoE that does a lot of burning and probably will be your go to utility choice. On top of that, since you will be running virtues instead of zeal from now on, you can take Master of Consecrations to reduce this cooldown to 16 seconds giving you 37.5% cleansing uptime while doing lots of burning!
Sanctuary cooldown reduction is really nice for CC, but we already knew firebrand would be beyond broken with the exposed changes so yeah (:

Radiance

  • Healer’s Retribution: This trait has been renamed Healer’s Resolution.

Actually huge. This will make centaur slaying sigils meta for sure.

Virtues

  • Inspired Virtue: This trait now additionally increases strike damage for each boon on the guardian. This effect was formerly on Power of the Virtuous.
  • Absolute Resolution: This trait has been renamed Absolute Resolve.
  • Power of the Virtuous has been reworked. Guardians now gain condition damage based on vitality (10%). Virtues gain reduced recharge (15%).

To split up zeal from power and condition, anet decided to nerf zeal and buff virtues. I do not think the way it was before was an issue at all personally, but the fact that the virtues buffs actually make sense makes me happy. The way they tried to make virtues better for condition is by buffing Consecrations skills and nerfing spirit weapons so you probably have to run them and reduce their cooldown through the virtues trait line which I think is a good thing. On top of that changing the Power of Virtuous to give more condition damage is nice as well and might just change your gear options.

Dragonhunter

  • Defender’s Dogma: This trait now uses the correct icon. Reduced internal cooldown to 1 second in PvE only. This matches the current cooldown in PvP and WvW.
  • Pure of Sight: This trait now uses the correct icon. The description has been clarified to communicate that strike damage dealt increases with distance from the struck enemy.

Visual fixes. Defenders dogma change does not do much for F1 cooldown.

Longbow

  • Puncture Shot: Removed the bouncing aspect of this skill. This skill now pierces enemies and inflicts the crippled condition on all enemies if it hits more than one, with a cap of 5 targets.
  • Symbol of Energy: Cooldown reduced from 15 seconds to 12 seconds. Casting time reduced by 0.3 seconds.
  • Hunter’s Ward: This skill’s cast has been reworked. The dragonhunter will now channel the skill for 1 second and then release the barrage, allowing movement while the attacks occur and traps are formed.

P sure everything here is literally whatever, but maybe I missed something.

Mesmer

Chronomancer has been steeply overperforming in a damage role in all content, leading to an environment in which the best way to tackle almost any challenge is to throw more Chronomancers at it. On the other hand, Mirage hasn’t been performing at the level we’d like it to; it’s been relegated to a damage role in only a few specific boss encounters in which confusion is particularly potent. With this update, Mirage will see general improved performance from the change to the torment condition, with the option of using a reworked chaos specialization that will now better synergize for condition damage and support builds. We’re also creating a new possible boon support role for Mirages using the staff by changing Chaos Vortex (the staff’s ambush skill) to grant might and alacrity to up to 10 allied targets.

  • Time Warp: Reduced cooldown from 180 seconds to 120 seconds. Reduced duration from 10 seconds to 5 seconds. This skill now applies 1 second of quickness and slow per pulse, for a total of six pulses over a 5-second duration.

Time Warp big nerf to counter Power Chrono stack which is nice. Its more of a niche thing on certain bosses now rather than stack it literally everywhere.

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Sword

  • Illusionary Riposte: This skill no longer displaces the player when summoning a clone.
  • Illusionary Counter: This skill no longer displaces the player when summoning a clone.

Big QoL, please do the same for Mirror Images please.

Mirage

  • Chaos Vortex (Staff Ambush): The projectile now only strikes enemies. Up to 10 nearby allies gain boons. The boons gained are now might (8 stacks, 15-second duration in PvE; 4 stacks, 6-second duration in PvP and WvW) and alacrity (3-second duration). (Note: Boons are applied near the mesmer only, not near clones.)

Staff

  • Winds of Chaos: Increased projectile speed by 25%. Increased casting speed by 0.1 second. Lowered aftercast animation lock by 0.2 seconds. Fixed an inconsistency with projectile behavior after bouncing. This skill now applies torment for 5 seconds to the first target struck and confusion for 5 seconds on subsequent hits to enemies. Allies hit gain might for 5 seconds and fury for 3 seconds.
  • Chaos Armor: Reduced recharge to 25 seconds. This skill no longer applies a random condition to nearby foes when cast. Instead, it now applies blindness and confusion to nearby foes when cast.
  • Chaos Storm: Reduced recharge to 25 seconds in PvE only.

Guess for some reason Alacrity Mirage is a thing now? Doubt it can compete with alacrity ren because of AP and various stuff but we will have to see as we can't draw conclusions from this yet.

Chronomancer

  • Danger Time: Removed the critical-damage bonus.
  • Chronophantasma: Resummoned phantasm damage is now 75% in PvE only.
  • Seize the Moment: Quickness duration per clone shattered has been reduced from 1.5 seconds to 1 second in PvE only.

Long awaited Power Chrono nerfs. ~14% DPS nerf. Dont know if StM changes anything for the greatsword build, but it shits on the focus build pretty hard since it has a lot less clone generation. Overall a pretty good change.

Chaos

  • Illusionary Membrane: This trait has been reworked. While regenerating, condition damage dealt is increased, and condition damage taken is reduced by 10%.
  • Chaotic Persistence: This trait has been reworked. Gain concentration and expertise while regenerating.
  • Chaotic Dampening: This trait has been reworked and renamed Chaotic Potency.
    • Chaotic Potency: Gain condition damage. Gain additional condition damage while wielding a staff. Recharge of staff skills is reduced.
  • Chaotic Transference: This trait has been reworked. Chaos Armor grants 3 seconds of protection. Gain regeneration for 5 seconds with a 15-second cooldown when gaining protection.

Giving more condition damage and expertise to chaos is pretty weird imo. You would always run dueling illusions unless the boss is not confusion based, but in that case you would run condi ren instead. I guess its aimed at buffing staff mirage, but I dont think you would play it like this? I dont know, we will have to see how this unfolds. Pretty strange in my opinion.

Necromancer

Honestly I know fuck all about this class so I wont talk about it. Feel free to discuss stuff about it in the comments.

Ranger

The ranger is a potent damage dealer. We’ve seen that Soulbeast has extreme burst damage potential, and unfortunately in this case, this has helped create some very homogenous group compositions. In this patch, we’re weakening “Sic ‘Em!” when used by a Soulbeast by lowering the damage bonus to 25%, matching the current balancing for this skill in PvP and WvW. We’re also increasing the cooldown of One Wolf Pack. However, while we do want to slightly lower the extreme burst damage moments from Soulbeast, we don’t want to significantly lower its overall damage per second on longer encounters. To this end, we’re also increasing the damage bonus granted by Furious Strength, providing an overall increase to sustained damage per second.

  • “Sic ‘Em!”: When used by a merged soulbeast, the damage bonus granted is now 25%. When used by any other ranger specialization, or an unmerged soulbeast, the damage bonus granted to the pet is 40%.

Soulbeast

  • One Wolf Pack: Increased cooldown from 60 seconds to 80 seconds in PvE only.
  • Furious Strength: Increased bonus damage from 7% to 10%.

Honestly, wtf is this shit? If you want to nerf power soulbeast then just lower the % modifiers that are active at all times. Why on earth would you nerf the burst of a burst class to smoothen out the damage? Honestly think this is a pretty stupid change and they should just change the modifiers like Twice as Vicious that are permanently active rather than affecting the burst window.

Warhorn

  • Call of the Wild: Reduced animation aftercast time by approximately 0.5 seconds. The pet’s next few attacks are no longer unblockable. This skill now dazes and weakens nearby enemies when cast. Daze duration is 2 seconds in PvE and WvW, and 1 second in PvP.

Buff druid because why the fuck not x). Can't wait for doing statues in pugs 🙂

Revenant

Renegade condition builds will be positively impacted by the general change to torment in this patch. While they will be finding that they maintain and even improve their already strong performance, we are preemptively making slight decreases to the duration of applied torment from several skills, as condition Renegade builds were already one of the most potent condition damage builds. We’d like to improve other possible variations to the current favorite Invocation build, and as such, we’re allowing specific traits in both Retribution and Devastation to increase all damage dealt instead of strike damage only. Alongside these changes, we’re updating the Retribution specialization to match the removal of the Retaliation boon (and its replacement with Resolution).

We’re improving the strike damage of the Renegade’s Kalla’s Fervor effect by changing it from a ferocity bonus to a bonus to all damage dealt. This change will allow Renegade power builds to be more viable for general play in open-world and mission contexts, although it is unlikely to create a Renegade power build for high-end PvE content.

Soulcleave’s Summit was a skill we had been watching; its ability to grant uncapped healing per second limited only by how many times someone can hit while under its effect resulted in unintuitive gameplay—when Soulcleave’s Summit was active, players were incentivized to use the skills that could hit the highest number of times. This unpredictable rate of healing is not something that can be balanced. As a result, it created situations where it would allow groups to ignore intended fight mechanics. We’re now limiting Soulcleave’s Summit to trigger once per second per player, similar to Razorclaw’s Rage. We’ll still keep an eye on this skill; now that it’s rate limited, we can safely improve it in future patches if needed.

Invocation

  • Ferocious Aggression: This trait now also increases damage dealt from life stealing.

Just a damage buff, not much to say here to be honest.

Corruption

  • Fiendish Tenacity: Increased resistance duration from 3 seconds to 5 seconds in PvE only.

Free resistance which in turn grants free healing. Whats not to love.

Devastation

  • Destructive Impulses: This trait now increases all damage dealt rather than strike damage only.

Massive buff to devastation ren. 5% Damage increase for each weapon that you are wielding is pretty big. We don't know if theyre going to change torments damage output yet, but renegade is looking like its getting a massive fat buff.

Renegade

  • Soulcleave’s Summit: Life stealing can now trigger a maximum of once per second for each affected target.
  • Kalla’s Fervor: This effect no longer increases ferocity. It now increases all damage dealt by 2% per stack in PvE. This increases to 3% per stack with Lasting Legacy.

Personally, I think the soulcleave summit nerf is troll as hell. Nerfing it is perfectly fine in my eyes, but once per second is ridiculous. Should be changed to 0.25 seconds to make the skill not terrible.
Kalla's Fervor getting a huge buff. For reference, 100 ferocity is around 2.5% increase for a power class so this is basically an increase of 3.7% for alacrity ren and 5% for power ren.

Condition ren getting a massive buff through the change through invocation and assuming torment damage remains the same, just flipped around for standing still. Not sure why they are doing this exactly as the damage was already very high.

Mace

  • Echoing Eruption: Reduced torment duration from 8 seconds to 7 seconds in PvE only.

Axe

  • Temporal Rift: Reduced torment duration from 12 seconds to 10 seconds in PvE only.

Legendary Demon Stance

  • Embrace the Darkness: Reduced torment duration from 6 seconds to 5.5 seconds in PvE only.
  • Pain Absorption: Increased base resistance duration from 2 seconds to 3 seconds.

All this stuff is basically irrelevant for the amount of buffs its getting.

Thief

Thief has had some of the least build diversity in PvE gameplay for a while now, and it’s overdue for some improvement. While we’re happy with the power damage roles currently available for thief players, we’d like to bring back thief condition builds as another option. In this update, we’re improving the conditions applied by daggers and short bows, and we’re adding more condition-related power to the Trickery specialization by giving it a source of expertise and a multiplier to bleed damage.

Notably, we’re also reducing the maximum targets of the stolen skill Detonate Plasma, which affects thief boon-build compositions in a few specific raid encounters. Now that we’ve added additional sources of quickness to the Scrapper specialization, we believe it is the appropriate time to also bring the thief boon-build role in these encounters down to match, providing boons including quickness for half of the raid squad. This will allow for less squad role shuffling in these encounters—if a squad still chooses to utilize a thief boon build, they will only replace one quickness provider.

  • Detonate Plasma (Stolen Skill): Reduced maximum targets from 10 to 5.

Honestly, what on earth is this change. Its an absolute joke as detonate plasma was extremely niche for a few bosses. I do not get how you can say thief has had the least build diversity and then take the most niche build in the game and nerf it like this. Change it back to 10 man and lower the damage output of boon thief/boon dd to not make it too strong and improve build diversity. There is absolutely 0 point in playing boon thief currently as it just does worse damage than other quickness providers and resistance does not block damaging conditions anymore so you would still need cleanse anyway.

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Dagger

  • Wild Strike: This skill now also inflicts 2 stacks of bleeding for 3 seconds in PvE and 1 stack in PvP and WvW.

Buff to condi thief is always welcome to be honest, happy to see they have not forgotten about this build.

Short Bow

  • Trick Shot: Reduced animation length by 0.2 seconds. This skill no longer deals increased strike damage to poisoned enemies. Instead, it applies 1 stack of bleeding for 4 seconds when striking poisoned enemies.
  • Surprise Shot and Malicious Surprise Shot: These skills now additionally apply 3 stacks of bleeding for 5 seconds in PvE and 1 stack in PvP and WvW.
  • Choking Gas: Increased poison duration from 2 seconds to 3 seconds in PvE and WvW only. This now matches the duration in structured PvP modes.

Pretty sure you still wont play shortbow so ill skip over these. Guess we get lamp buffs for Qadim 1 which doesnt do anything x)

Deadly Arts

  • Improvisation: The cooldown of this trait has been reduced from 20 seconds to 15 seconds.

Who cares, boon thief is kill at the moment anyway which is the only place where it mattered.

Trickery

  • Preparedness: This trait now increases expertise by 150.
  • Bewildering Ambush: This has been reworked and renamed Deadly Ambush.
  • Deadly Ambush: Stealing also applies 3 stacks of bleeding for 10 seconds in PvE and 3 stacks for 6 seconds in PvP and WvW. Bleeding inflicted on foes deals 25% more damage.

Buffs to condi thief. Bewildering ambush change is a buff on some bosses and a nerf on others. It is nice that theyre buffing condi thief, but it looks like it wont be able to compete with condi ren.

Warrior

Berserker has been in a great place with strong support, power, and condition builds that are successful in all content. However, Spellbreaker lacks the damage it needs to keep up, and the line between banner support and damage-oriented builds is very blurry, showing that possible alternatives to the Discipline specialization were underperforming. With this update, we’re making improvements to Tactics to make it a more viable alternative to Discipline, and we’re improving Spellbreaker’s damage capability. We’re also lowering the base target cap of banners to 5 players, with the choice for support builds to utilize the Doubled Standards trait to raise the target cap to 10. All banners are now gaining light combo fields, giving all warrior specializations some access to condition cleanse combos.

Rifle is also receiving an improvement pass, improving its ability to combat multiple targets and giving it more utility as a ranged power weapon in general mission and open-world play.

Rifle

  • Fierce Shot: This attack now pierces but no longer grants bonus adrenaline against vulnerable targets. Instead, it grants 1 stack of might for 5 seconds to the warrior when hitting a vulnerable target.
  • Crack Shot: Instead of granting bonus adrenaline when Fierce Shot hits, this trait now causes Fierce Shot to deal 10% bonus damage in addition to its previous effects.
  • Aimed Shot: This skill has been removed.
  • Volley: This skill has moved to slot 2 on the weapon.
  • Explosive Shell: This new skill takes slot 3 on rifle, previously occupied by Volley. This attack shoots a large shell at the target that explodes on contact with an enemy. The explosion creates a cone-shaped blast that fires through the target, striking foes behind them and inflicting the crippled condition and vulnerability.

Kinda whatever on the PvE side of things, its hard to believe that it'll ever have enough consistent DPS to compete as a DPS weapons, though it could see SOME use depending on the new 3rd skill and what it does.

As for the autoattack / crack shot change, it'll come down to whether you're fighting a cluster of enemies and can hit them all at the same time or if you're fighting a single target. It was already easy to get adrenaline when fighting multiple enemies so the removal of 2 potential strikes of adrenaline might sting a little when you're fighting a single target.

The removal/replacement of the nr 2 skill on rifle was honestly warranted and a long time coming for one of the older/dated weapons on warrior. But there are weapons and offhand weapons that could need treatment like that more so than the rifle, which is a bit sad to see.

Banners

  • Reduced the number of allied targets affected from 10 to 5. The Discipline trait Doubled Standards now increases the number of allied targets from 5 to 10.
  • Banners no longer cause blast finishers. They now create a light combo field that persists for 5 seconds after the banner is summoned.

Stupid change. Trying to split the build from dps and banner warrior is good, but this implementation is terrible. Discipline is a must on warrior with these traits and the trait changes wont change this at all making their goal of the change do the exact opposite. Also, why on earth are we adding light fields to banners? Seems like the most stupid change in existence.

Strength

  • Peak Performance: Reduced the additional strike damage applied for a period of time after using a physical skill from 15% to 10% in PvE only.
  • Great Fortitude: This trait now increases ferocity by 10% of vitality.

Kinda pointless and actually detrimental to buffing spellbreaker.

Defense

  • Cull the Weak: Increased damage bonus from 7% to 10% in PvE only.
  • Spiked Armor has been renamed Hardened Armor.

Who even cares about the defense traitline for PvE

Tactics

  • Marching Orders: Reduced internal cooldown to gain Soldier’s Focus from 15 seconds to 10 seconds.
  • Leg Specialist: Increased damage bonus from 7% to 10% in PvE only.
  • Roaring Reveille: Increased duration of the resistance boon granted to the warhorn skill Call of Valor from 2 seconds to 3 seconds.
  • Warrior’s Cunning: Reduced health threshold for bonus damage from 90% to 80%.

Interesting changes that will probably close the gap between Strength BS and Tactics BS. Warrior's cunning iirc has only ever been used as a 1-trick pony for some 1-shot builds like gunflame, will remain extremely niche until they change it more or rework it. The warhorn trait i guess is decent for support/wvw/gvg warrior.

Discipline

  • Warrior’s Sprint: Increased damage bonus from 7% to 10% in PvE only.
  • Doubled Standards: Reduced bonus effect from banners from 100% to 50%. This trait now additionally increases the maximum number of allied targets on banners from 5 to 10.
  • Axe Mastery: This trait no longer grants additional ferocity for a second equipped axe.

Discipline Changes: Warrior's sprint damage increase kinda feels unnecessary since its already a VERY good trait for what it provides on the side, buffing a strong trait in a strong/mandatory traitline seems pretty counter-intuitive for what they say they are trying to achieve.
Axe Mastery makes sense if they were thinking of using it as a way to close the gap between a Mace/Axe Axe/Dagger spellbreaker and a normal Axe/Axe berserker, problem is Axe/Axe Greatswords was also a very fun spellbreaker build at some point which now also took a nerf for no reason. If they have problems with a certain elite specs damage output, just NERF SKILL COEFFICIENTS if the damage output is a problem, dont change age old traits that they themselves have made super strong. They literally brute forced axe/axe warrior into the meta by buffing it 5-7 patches in a row, and now they changed a good weapon trait that hasnt been touched for half a decade.

Spellbreaker

  • Sun and Moon Style:
    • Fixed a bug that could cause trait bonuses to be temporarily lost after recovering from the downed state.
    • The main-hand dagger bonus has been reworked to deal an additional 10% strike damage to foes with no boons.
  • Attacker’s Insight: Each stack of the Insight effect now grants an additional 50 power, precision, and ferocity at level 80 in PvE. Each stack now grants an additional 35 power, precision, and ferocity in PvP and WvW. Previously each stack granted 45 power and ferocity.
  • Full Counter: The attack portion of this skill now correctly triggers if the spellbreaker is in midair, allowing the skill to end correctly.

The sun and moon style change is only gonna affect wvw/pvp with an option to play it for the 10% increased strike damage vs boonless foes, which still isnt THAT great, its something but sort of unsubstainial as far as im aware.

Attackers insight change for PvE just means it'll have some wiggle room with stats but the overall damage that spellbreaker does will probably still be too low for it to compete with Berserker, it'll see play on the few bosses where you might need its utility but thats about it as i'm aware right now. Unless they messed up the wording in the patchnotes and its now gives and absurd amount of stats.

Source

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