Skill UpdatesFebruary 05, 2009
Developer Notes

There are a couple of main goals to this month's balance update. First, we want to encourage faster victories in GvG (without reverting to ganging up on a defenseless Guild Lord, which was a popular strategy in early Guild Wars GvG). Second we wish to review skills that are performing better on secondary professions than on primaries.

While Guild Wars PvP focuses a lot on character combinations and build-making decisions, some skills that are balanced and designed with their primary profession in mind become used more frequently by secondaries. This is due to a number of factors:

  • Some professions rely more on elite skills than others. For example, many of the best Mesmer skills are non-elite, but Assassins and Dervishes get unique, important functionalities from their elite skills.
  • Different professions manage Energy pools differently, so high-cost skills are more readily-available to some primary professions than others.
  • Professions that can use secondary skills that behave more like primary skills are more likely to take them. For example, an Elementalist or Mesmer can use Assassin skills easily within their arsenal of other spells. Typically, spells designed for melee classes are faster because their reliance on positioning makes long-casting skills undesirable.
  • Measures that allow characters to be proficient using skills within their primary profession let us balance those skills better. This narrows down the hundreds-of-thousands of possibilities, making it easier to reign in skills when there's an issue. This update includes a few different methods we use to enforce primary profession choice.


    Mark of Insecurity was designed to give Assassins an anti-protection option if they decided to eschew a powerful shadow step skill or attack. Having it disable non-Assassin skills keeps it off of caster primaries who can both afford the elite slot and cast it more safely than an Assassin can. This change shouldn't hinder Assassin primaries because most strong Assassin builds do not use any secondary profession skills.


    Unlike the changes to Mark of Insecurity, Signet of Humility is actually more powerful on a Mesmer because Fast Casting improves casting time of signets. This skill, however, is very powerful, especially when used en masse by an entire team. By discouraging its use on secondary Mesmers, we limit the number of copies that can be practically used to the number of Mesmer primaries on the team.


    Attribute investment is another way we encourage primary professions to use skills. In the above examples, a scale of 0...2...3 requires a player to invest a 13 in Curses to get 3 Health degeneration. A Necromancer secondary can't reach 13 Curses, so by default these skills become more powerful on a Necromancer primary than secondary. This was done to keep fast-casting Mesmer/Necromancers from being better at these skills than those who invested deeply in Curse attribute point allocation.


    The armor bonus on Protective Was Kaolai made it difficult to attack the person holding this bundle item. We wanted to encourage people to pressure players using this skill a bit more, so we dropped the extra armor to 10.


    Primal Rage can be permanently maintained, so a 33% movement speed increase made it too hard to escape Warriors without a number of methods to slow or Cripple them. We've decided to reduce it to 25%.

  • Note: All skill ranges are for Attribute 0...12...15.
  • Mark of Insecurity: now disables your non-Assassin skills for 10 seconds; enchantment and stance duration reduction reduced to 30...70...80%.
  • Signet of Humility: now disables your non-Mesmer skills for 10 seconds.
  • Faintheartedness: reduced Health degeneration to 0...2...3.
  • Lingering Curse: reduced Health degeneration to 0...2...3.
  • Suffering: reduced Health degeneration to 0...2...3.
  • Protective Was Kaolai: reduced armor bonus to 10.
  • Primal Rage: reduced movement speed boost to 25%.