This month's update is unique. It is a "temporary tournament update" targeted at the final cash-prize tournament, which will take place at the end of April. The skill changes are temporary and will be in effect for only two weeks. They are all geared toward addressing the most immediate issues with Guild Battles.
Blind is a staple prevention method against Shadow Stepping spikes, but Assassin's Remedy passively bypasses that counter. The condition is removed before the attack even hits, which nullifies well-timed Blindness in a self-sufficient, "fire-and-forget" manner. The higher Energy cost will add a little Energy pressure, especially to Assassin/Dervish combinations, and limit the frequency of their spikes.
The most deadly Dervish spikes revolve around fast-activation attack skills combined with Assassin teleportation skills. We've normalized the activations on Mystic Sweep and Eremite's Attack to decrease overall scythe spike potential.
Wards, when used during Victory or Death, gave teams too much irremovable defense for their NPCs. The positional play of these skills also matters much less in the final standoff at the flag stand (because everything clumps together), so we've disabled their effect on Guild Battle NPCs. Lightning Orb's Cracked Armor component made it too easy to compress skill bars, which made other options like Shell Shock obsolete. In response, we removed the Cracked Armor component of Lightning Orb. Teleporting Elementalists using Shockwave could quickly annihilate targets on a spike in an undetectable way, which made them very difficult to deal with. We've increased the casting time here to prevent that particular combination. Finally, Glyph of Concentration enabled caster spikes too efficiently, so it now prevents interruption on just a single spell.
To support additional Energy attrition (and allow teams to break down overwhelming defenses), Energy Surge and Energy Burn both get increases to the amount of Energy they drain, and Chaos Storm gets a significant cost decrease. We've also improved condition spreading, especially from Necromancers, so we wanted to support out-of-profession skills that combo particularly well with conditions. Fevered Dreams' recharge comes down and Fragility's cost is reduced to make these hexes more easily spreadable. Finally, Hex Breaker and Mantra of Concentration were too powerful when used together, so we've changed Hex Breaker back to a stance.
Aegis, despite all of its drawbacks, continues to be a very powerful defensive skill that helps draw games out to Victory or Death. We've added additional Energy pressure here, aiming to bring it more in balance.
Dark Pact's damage was not worth its cost. We've raised that damage by more than 20 at the high end, hopefully making this skill a viable way to inflict damage at a Health cost.
Song of Restoration and Ballad of Restoration continue to provide too much healing overall, especially coming from a high-armor profession. Harrier's Toss allowed Paragons to participate in the spike (thus allowing them to fit more defense on their skill bar) as well as maximize Splinter Weapon's already-powerful effect, so we've reduced the activation speed to limit these issues.
Flesh of my Flesh and Death Pact Signet's downsides were not harsh enough for their effect. These fast-casting, fast-recharging resurrections could be seamlessly integrated into a defensive build, with the Health sacrifice and possibility of caster death easily mitigated, making these skills too powerful. The additional recharge limits how fast a team can recover from multiple deaths. Ancestors' Rage and Splinter Weapon have trivialized pre-VoD NPC advantage by making it easy to slaughter NPCs at the stand during VoD. To limit their impact, we've increased the casting time of Ancestors' Rage and increased the recharge of Splinter Weapon. Defensive Spirits and bundle items, like Elementalist wards, were too effective at providing irremovable defense for NPCs at VoD, so they no longer protect NPCs in Guild Battles.
Disarm's ability to lock out adrenaline, essentially preventing a character from doing much of anything, was both overpowered and frustrating. We've limited how frequently this skill can be used. When properly timed, it can still be effective without completely removing an opponent from the game.
Note: All skill ranges are for Attribute 0...12...15.