The design team has spent considerable time reviewing the game, and a number of skill balances and PvP changes will be implemented into the game this week. These changes will remain in place for the week and, if they are successful, will remain in the game permanently. We will continue to monitor the state of the game and make adjustments as needed.
Our last change to Recall helped players better counter with Enchantment removal but, at the same time, it gave Assassins a larger freedom of movement than they had before. So, we brought back the range restriction. We augmented some weaker, less-seen Assassin skills in hopes to make a few more builds viable. We changed Expose Defenses mainly because we thought it did too good a job of countering block skills.
Although we are keeping an eye on the powerful AoE damage of Searing Flames, we haven't done anything to it because we expect a lot of destruction from Fire Magic. We tweaked some Earth Magic skills to encourage Earth Elementalist builds, but overall we like the current balance of the Elementalist and are happy to see them in all styles of play and game types.
The Mesmer movement speed debuffs were weak compared to the Elementalist. To address this, we increased the duration of some Illusion Magic Hexes that Mantra of Persistence affects so that these skills wouldn't depend on it as much to make them attractive choices. We didn't increase the duration of Migraine or Arcane Conundrum because these spells already do enough to counter Hex removal. To increase the likelihood that Lyssa’s Balance will remove an Enchantment, we changed the skill so that if you and your target have an equal number of Enchantments, your target still loses one. We also changed all Mesmer "Power" interrupts so they can interrupt Chants, giving them the ability to counter Paragons. Last, but not least, we've tweaked Fast Casting to benefit Mesmers who equip Signets.
As we mentioned in previous notes, we’ve wanted to refine the changes we made to Soul Reaping. In many cases, the 5 second timer capped the effectiveness of Soul Reaping to the right degree, but when multiple creatures died all at once, this limitation was more severe than we liked. We've extensively tested an Energy gain process of 3 times every 15 seconds and determined this flowed a lot better with the rate at which things die, while keeping the overall Energy gain per second the same. Also, if things die when Necromancers already have full Energy, it does not count toward this cap, which means they are more likely to gain Energy when they need it.
We've also changed the way Soul Reaping works with Spirits. You now gain full Energy when a Spirit you control dies, but you gain no Energy when other Spirits die. We hope this will dissuade Necromancers from being the super Spirit Energy engines that they are in some game types, and restore balance.
Lastly, we reduced the Energy cost and cast times of Wells so they feel different than Hexes and minion skills. Because the corpse requirement is the main limitation of these spells, we can safely lower their casting times and Energy cost.
We improved some underpowered skills to increase their likelihood of being equipped but have generally kept changes small so as to not upset the current play style of the Monk.
We increased the casting time of Defensive Anthem to weaken it. Now it should be easier to interrupt, especially when combined with the changes to Mesmer Power spells. We intend for Paragons to have a supplemental defensive role, not a dominant one, and to encourage active play.
We've returned Crippling Shot to 10 Energy provide players with an alternative to the ever-popular Burning Arrow. The number of Condition counters has grown since our last major skill balance update, and it is now safe to reduce the Energy cost. Heal as One has been extremely prevalent in Hero Battles, and after looking it over, we've found a number of bugs, all of which we have been fixed. We haven't changed the functionality of the skill much because we want to see how it plays before we make any further adjustments. Finally, we changed some Ranger skills to make them more attractive.
We decided to be conservative with Ritualist changes in this update. We continue to monitor them in Heroes' Ascent, and we want to see how the Soul Reaping changes affect them. Recent balance changes encouraged greater use of Weapon spells, but secondary Ritualists could still use many of these with similar effectiveness. To address this, we modified Spawning Power so that it now also increases the duration of weapon spells. Weapon of Warding seemed overpowered with a longer duration, so we reduced its duration in conjunction with the change to Spawning Power.
Though we continuously monitor anti-Warrior Hexes and how they affect the frontline, we are leaving those Hexes alone. We've buffed some unused Warrior skills to encourage more builds.