For this skill update, the primary goals are to further reduce the power of passive defense (and provide alternatives for those defenses), improve the late game mechanics in GvG, and improve some underused skills. As normal, this test period will be monitored closely by the play balance team so necessary adjustments can be made.
Viper's Defense and Heart of Shadow were far too unreliable and could, for example, cause the caster to Shadow Step away while in the middle of using a skill. This change is meant to give more control to the caster, and make these skills more active and fun to use. Scorpion Wire, an underused skill overall, became less attractive with the addition of Augury of Death, warranting a recharge reduction to improve it. Caltrops needed to be more readily available to compete with other Cripple applications, so we brought the recharge down there as well.
Aside from the Avatar of Melandru/Wearying Strike combination, options for inflicting Deep Wound were extremely limited for Dervishes. This rework of Pious Assault aims to grant that option to other Dervish builds.
We took this opportunity to increase some underpowered Elementalist skills. Elemental Flame gets much more attractive at low attribute levels, Glyph of Essence receives a nice recharge reduction to find room on crowded skill bars, and Chilling Winds gets a duration increase to allow it to spread to multiple targets.
Hex Eater Vortex was too prevalent in spikes on a single target, wiping off important protection spells while inflicting solid damage. The damage reduction and recharge increase should put more emphasis on the double-removal aspect. Kitah's Burden and Ethereal Burden had overly long recharges for movement reduction Hexes, so we knocked a third of that time off the top on both. Wastrel's Worry is intended as a staple-yet-conditional Mesmer damage spell, but its low, unguaranteed damage made it unattractive. Upping the damage here should more appropriately reward the times when it does succeed. Finally, many of the skills that could cause problems with Mind Wrack have received power decreases over the last several months, which makes us comfortable inching this skill back up a notch.
Touch-range, repeatable-use resurrection skills still proved too unwieldy for common use in PvP, so we'd decided to give them a generous casting time reduction to make the payoff more in-line with the difficulty of use. Patient Spirit is intended to be a slow but efficient maintenance-style heal, but was far too weak to perform that function previously. Divine Healing and Heaven's Delight received an aggressive range change to serve as an alternate heal for an entire group within the Divine Favor line, while Aura of Stability received a duration decrease to stop endless chains of it to invalidate knock-down.
Wail of Doom had a high price even before casting: it's both an elite and in a primary-only attribute line. We wanted to make the skill more usable for those who did decide to make those investments by reducing the Energy cost. Signet of Agony's damage was far too low to warrant any use, so we increased that to add some raw power to this overlooked skill.
Spear of Fury gets a boost to its adrenaline to help out Paragons. "We Shall Return!" fits our goal of improving resurrection as a whole, while the lower Energy cost for "Fall Back!" will make it a more viable choice for split tactics in GvG.
Power Shot, Penetrating Attack, Sundering Attack, and Precision Shot were a bit lackluster in their effects. The intent of a faster speed is to increase overall bow damage output. Magebane Shot has become the clear elite choice for Rangers in GvG due to its low cost and high effect. At 10 Energy, this skill should now be more appropriately priced.
Rejuvenation's low Health made its lifespan too short to take advantage of its effect, so we increased the level to compensate. Sundering Weapon gets additional attacks for more chances to spread Cracked Armor on different foes. Sight Beyond Sight's duration came up slightly, further rewarding this skill choice on Ritualist builds that include melee attacks. Warmonger's Weapon was an endless, unremovable, powerful enhancement that could lock players down for a whole game in 4v4 PvP formats; the recharge increase means it will not be a permanent factor.
"Coward!" and "You're All Alone!" are primarily split-friendly skills that enable Warriors to engage in skirmish tactics, so improving them should help Warriors perform better when away from the main group in GvG.
Note: All skill ranges are for Attribute 0...12...15.
Viper's Defense: changed Skill type to a spell; increased casting time to .25 seconds; functionality changed to: "All adjacent foes are Poisoned for 5...17...20 seconds, you Shadow Step to a nearby random location".