Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Guild Wars: Rethinking the Update

Yesterday's new patch took the wind out of my sails but I'd done some thinking about the balance over the weekend and you know how I hate to waste my effort.

Obviously, I was wrong when I picked the new Healer's Boon to come out of the pack as the replacement for LoD. A little too hard to maintain but, really, I think the real reason is that it's ties you into the Healing Line. You only maximize it if you're chain casting healing spells and that means you want your bar filled with that crap. And you don't want to splash elsewhere to pick up Prot Spirit or something. The latter is obviously much more optimal when it comes to PvP play. Word of Healing, even though it's been toned down somewhat, is fantastic. Easy to see, in hindsight, why people flocked to it - I got distracted by Glimmer of Light there, I think. One is awful, the other is great, you guess which.

Not quite as good as the undeniable power of LoD but the problem with that nerf isn't that LoD didn't need a good kneecapping - it's that everything that was requiring a team to run it wasn't really touched. Now, with the Black Lotus nerf they have and I think the game will be better off for it. I actually think it was a really good patch as far as Sins are concerned. It didn't Ether Renewal them, didn't relegate them to the sidelines by blowing up shadow stepping or making Shadow Prison unplayable or anything as drastic as I'd have done out of sheer frustration, were they stupid enough to put a scrub like me in charge of balancing. Not only did they get rid of the real problematic lead-skipper - the one that gave you enough energy for craziness along with giving you a head start on your chain (Really, really just a dumb idea there.) - but they also toned down on some of the real scary damage from infinite knocklock chains by taking the foam bat to the Ox skills. The SP Sin still works it just doesn't work as well or as brainlessly. It took too damn long to fix but instead of taking that template out of the game they just made it more sensible.

I'd cooled somewhat over the weekend on Magebane Shot. Now, at an even lower recharge and an even higher disable I'm not so sure. What gave me pause was comparing it, unfavorably, to D-Shot. If your elite skill interrupt isn't worth running instead of D-Shot then it's just not worth running (*cough*Punishing Shot*cough*). And a skill that would let you pin down one slot on your opponent's bar and not much else even if you were super lucky and landed every shot just wasn't working as well as it could. Now, at 5 seconds recharge it is super, unblockable D-shot. It's "bring blind or else". And at only 5en you can afford to spam it around, too. I think I still prefer BHA because it's more useful and, provided you can get it to land, more assured of locking a caster down to crack open that window of opportunity you need. But it is a really close run thing now. Never thought I'd see the day.

I completely missed why the change to Conjure nightmare was a nerf. That's what I get for not playing competitively for so long, I guess. But it was Auspicious Incantation fuel. A 25 energy skill in the right line to fuel your Clumsiness spam. Taking it down to 15 en makes it useless for that and it's probably not seeing much play at the moment even though it's now arguably much more playable. It's the weird case where making a skill sensible - in this case making the damage in line with Conjure Phantasm - acutally removes it from play. And, I think the problem there is really Auspicious Incantation.

And, finally, in retrospect, I culd really care less about spiritway or B/P builds being nerfed (Although for the B/P version, I remember when that one was still in utero. It didn't feature a MM at all. Just used the pets to tank while your archer squad killed things off. You had, maybe, an Orders guy and a Monk and that was that. The QQing that PvE Tombs is now ruined because a build isn't no long as murderously efficient strikes me as about as sensible as the people who say we should limit the number of professions allowed in a team.). All I can say is it's about damn time.

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