In this update, we addressed the melee-overload-versus-block-overload struggle we're seeing in Guild Battles right now. Some of our goals were to increase the viability of split tactics, reduce the effectiveness of a defensive "block web," decrease the effectiveness of some spike-oriented melee skills, and reestablish caster pressure and area-of-effect damage, while not overpowering pure spike builds.
The Assassin's ability to strike, retreat, heal up, and move back in for the kill was limited by the lack of solid basic healing. Shadow Refuge played second fiddle to Feigned Neutrality or non-Assassin self-heals for some time, so we increased the unconditional heal portion of this staple skill. Death's Charge has a very conditional heal that yielded too little Health for its situational nature; the healing has been raised accordingly.
As part of our effort to decrease melee damage slightly, we made Wearying Strike less powerful to adjust the ever-popular Avatar of Melandru/Wearying Strike combination.
As part of our movement to augment caster pressure damage, many Elementalist Skills obtained raw damage boosts. The Conjure Skills have been changed so they hit as part of the attack, rather than a separate damage packet. This reduces their power versus Reversal of Fortune. Searing Flames received a boost with longer Burning duration, which we hope will empower the choice to bring one copy of it without creating teams consisting of nothing but Searing Flames Elementalists.
Mantra of Recovery has dominated Mesmer Skill Bars in Guild Battles. We reduced its raw effectiveness to remove the complete reliance on it, then we adjusted the recharge times of a few skills to compensate and make them more attractive without Mantra of Recovery. To further encourage diverse Skill Bars, we increased the effectiveness of most Mesmer elites. Hex Eater Vortex was proving to be too powerful at dealing with Hexes, so we lengthened the recharge time to favor more precise Hex removal. Power Spike is a staple Mesmer interrupt that was inferior to its bigger brothers, so we lowered its Energy cost to 5, making it a more readily available choice. The Drain Enchantment change creates a second Mesmer Skill for self healing, while Illusion of Haste seeks to increase Mesmer split potential.
The 1/4 second cast time of both Shield of Deflection and Shield of Regeneration made these skills too easy to maintain on a constant basis. We countered this by increasing their recharge times. Enchantment removal should now be a more viable counter to these popular elite skills.
We enhanced Necromancer Enchantment-removal options so they wouldn't be so overshadowed by Mesmers. Chilblains, in particular, received a powerful increase to better fit its hefty 25 Energy price tag, while Strip Enchantment, Rend Enchantments, Rip Enchantment, and Gaze of Contempt all received more conservative power increases. Rigor Mortis was improved as another counter to the blocking metagame, while Angorodon's Gaze had its Energy return component reduced to halt the infinite Energy engine.
We increased the recharge time for "Go for the Eyes!" because it was generating near-limitless Energy, especially when combined with "Watch Yourself!", for Paragons from the Leadership attribute. Aggressive Refrain's tradeoff of 25 Energy had very little consequence, as it was rarely activated more than once per battle. The addition of self-inflicting Cracked Armor should create more interesting choices for this skill.
Nature's Renewal was a lot tougher than other Spirits and was getting far too large an armor bonus for its additional levels. We've reduced the level to bring it down to size.
Critical Chop and Agonizing Chop now have longer activation times to reduce their raw spike potential. Without a recharge time, "Watch Yourself!" was like an Energy buffet for Paragons, so we limited its rate while making it last longer so that it is still useful. Finally, "Charge!" was improved to keep up with the newer speed boosts and increase the viability of split tactics.
Note: All skill ranges are for Attribute 0...12...15.