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January 19, 2014 - 7:02pm -- Lee B.

Yesterday we were joined by a group of developers who told us a large amount of changes that were coming soon. Critical Damage changes, Sigil and Rune changes, PVP gear changes and Balance changes were the main topics brought up and each topic has some pretty big points and some points that clearly needed to happen awhile ago. I wanted to write this article about some thoughts I've had on what we know so far, and how I think it'll be absorbed by the community at large.

 If you need to find some quick notes about the changes you can find it here (thank you Valaruka_ on Reddit for these notes!), or you can go the livestream itself here.

Critical Damage

Well this is by far one of the more interesting changes. Removing the stat altogether for "Ferocity" and a general 10% damage reduction in all PvE-related content (including WvW).

On one hand I totally see this as PART of a solution needed to change the meta to something where more builds have validity as a "skilled" play style. This whole "Berserker only" thing floating about our community just honestly does nothing good for anyone other than make the game rather stagnant and cuts out any sort of original game style. Heck, Necromancers seem to draw the absolute short end of the stick in this regard as they don't have much to stand on in a Berserker/Crit Damage meta.

On the other hand this doesn't do anything right now. This is a small splash in a bigger issue at hand. It's my thought they should have packaged an entire rework of the system at one go. It would have allowed the devs to see how to adjust the system as a whole further on, if need be. Trickling in these changes and adjusting them one at a time will not provide any true insight until we get more of these changes under the hood.

Sigils and Runes

Holy crud these sigil changes have been sorely needed for awhile now. Cutting out all this RNG has been needed. Shared cooldowns has been the blight to a lot of my build ideas, too. It's good to see all these finally being addressed. Something that should have happened awhile ago.

The rune changes are taken with a few grains of salt by me. Yes, some of these rune sets needed some reworking. There is an undeniable difference between the good and bad rune sets out there. No, I don't think it's going to improve the gameplay. There will still be better runes, and there will still be terrible runes (+Power underwater? C'mon now). Maybe they will surprise me, but more likely we'll continue to have this clear division of good and bad.

Balance Preview

Oof. Ups and downs with thess to be sure. It's important to keep in mind that these aren't all the changes being done, but just a list of the ones that are unlikely to change between here an patch day. That being said it's still kind of surprising what we've got here.

Necromancers having a bit more control over their Dhuumfire, although it is directly tied to their Death Shroud. Allows for the player to use on a whim, while allowing people the player is against to be better prepared to counter it. It does reduce the amount of time that burning will be active, of which I wholly support.

Warrior changes were interesting to say the least. It feels like they do want to change the class to be more on par with others, but in ways I can't quite see with just the two changes they offered. Healing Signet getting a reduction in Health/Second makes sense, but then they sound worried they were cutting off too much and might alter it to cut out less than they told here and Pin Down changes make sense but feels like they need to address the bleed portion of the attack more than anything.

Final Thoughts

All in all? This all was a nice step in the right direction, but still lacking in whole. I know they intended to show us some things to be hopeful for - and man am I ever with those Sigil changes - but it just seems like more was needed here for it to be a worthwhile reveal and patch. I know they have withheld a lot of information, but my over all feeling is that they should have retained these changes for a whole overhaul rather than trickle it in like that.