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March Balance Update Preview

Find out how the announced changes affect your favorite builds.
Publié le Mar 9, 2024
Balance Changes

After playing around with new weapons and challenging content, we'd like to share the insights from our team on the upcoming balance patch.
New adjustments are destined to arrive on March 19th, and there is quite a lot in store.

Most Notable Changes
  • Bug Fix to trigger correctly on builds using projectile skills.
  • Power Holosmith Buffs targeting Sword and .
  • Power Thief Quality of Life/Buffs, particularly for Rifle Deadeye and Quickness builds.
  • Quality of Life improvements for Elementalist, Mechanist, Guardian, Untamed.
  • Power Virtuoso Buff.
  • Renegade receives a Rework for warband summons.

As usual, this balance preview was first presented on stream by CMC, Roy, and Trig.

The commentary in the forum's balance preview is a bit lacking in places, leaving quite a bit to the players' imagination. This patch brings a host of changes to both PvE and the competitive modes, with more focus on the narrative of the competitive modes' changes—not unsurprising when we see that most of the changes for PvE are Buffs and Quality of Life improvements.

The new weapons released in the February 27th Patch have made a great impact on our builds. With the exception of Necromancer's new Swords, every DPS weapon has already found a home. Check out our updated builds!

Remember that benchmark damage isn't everything—Elementalist's Bullets can be erased by certain mechanics, and Thief's Spinning Axes have broken physics on many encounters, sometimes turning these two juggernauts into I'd-rather-nots—we must hope for fixes to make these new rotations reliable in endgame.

"Nothing too crazy", said the balance team.

Power Holosmith's choice between rotation-defining and is an old one—"PBM" once favored Rifle until Secrets of the Obscure's introduced "Hammersmith" via the Weapon Master feature, while Sword was the best weapon for consistent damage.

Our benchmark is currently tuned a bit lower than the strongest builds in the current meta, contested directly by the raw power of Power Scrapper and its incredible Barrier-based durability. The lack of reliable triggers for , and the abscence of a better relic alternative, has kept off the map since the past summer.

This update brings a collection of Buffs for the components of the build and a rework to Sword itself. We're expecting a massive increase in this build's performance; this is the build to watch out for.

  • The Sword kit is receiving some changes, including reduced Cooldowns for each of its skills. At the same time, the Cooldown Reduction granted from is being reduced. This means you'll use bursty skills more often, while relying less on completing Auto Chains.
  • Pistol's gains a higher Power coefficient, while significantly increasing the Cooldown. This is a targeted change to allow the build to work well with .
  • was specifically mentioned as part of skills that will now properly activate .
  • receives a substantial damage increase when above 100% Heat. Its toolbelt skill, , also receives a reduced Cooldown.

While and have been staples for the build, the last preferred utility slot seems to be directed towards .
With reduced Cooldown and increased damage on and , the skill is looking quite good.

To profit from the Offhand Pistol buff, players must sacrifice the powerful defensive abilities and Defiance Break from Shield—but can be used a directional-block that can even protect your allies, similar to Dragonhunter's .

A final note on Holosmith:
now triggers when swapping from to a kit. This greatly benefits the playstyle of our kit-juggling Condition Holosmith.

We don't talk about the Unload buffs.

Do A Flip!

Long term fans of Power Daredevil are familiar with the highs and lows of 's unique design—a proper sense of risk and reward, while being uncomfortably beholden to allies providing varying amounts of Vigor and raw Endurance.

Unlike Power Engineer's and Power Vindicator's , Power Daredevil was rewarded for keeping its Endurance fully depleted. When combined with the build's lack of other active defenses, melee-range focus, and frequent animation locks with , the build took serious risks befitting its name.

Those risks are being sanded down next patch: will now fully reward the player so long as Endurance is not full.

Excitingly, this will allow the bulid to play with its Endurance generation in new ways. We saw the first step with the rotation featured on our build page—using (and the very powerful ) to Dodge more for the damage buff from . Don't forget grants enough Endurance for two Dodges—and it's shared with your subgroup! (That's liable to actually cause problems in uncoordinated groups).

Additionally, and in the Critical Strikes Trait Line are being toned down. Instead of requiring the player to stay above 75%/90% HP respectively, some amount of the Critical Chance/Critical Damage bonuses will be permanently active, with an additional amount granted above 50% HP.

These same Critical Strikes buffs are extremely important for Power Deadeye, which is strictly required to score Critical Hits to generate Malice for a stable rotation with .

Mark Your Calendar

Caving to the inevitable precedent set by most other professions in game, (and standing variant ) will now pierce through enemies ( already pierces). This won't, however, make Power Deadeye the next Condition Virtuoso for straight-line cleave; due to relying on damage bonuses against a Marked target, the build can only deal 68% of its nominal DPS against cleaved targets.

This build still loves piercing, as it makes the rotation stable even when its main target is body-blocked by adds.

There are two significant changes for Power Quickness Deadeye:

  • Deadeye Stolen Skills like and are getting a baseline 150% damage increase.
  • 's damage buff is being increased from 10% to 25%.

When was first reworked into a Quickness trait last June, buffed Stolen Skills damage by 300%. Factoring in the nerfs to and since then, the new skills will deal 71% of the damage they had at that time. We expect Quickness variants wielding Daggers, Staff, and even Rifle to perform very well next patch. (Follow those links to see benchmark candidates for the current patch!)

Lastly, there are interesting changes to Cantrips most relevant to Rifle builds:

  • - Reduced Charge Cooldown from 45 to 25 seconds.
  • - Increased Charge count from 1 to 2.

These changes benefit players at the skill ceiling while simultaneously extending a hand to players beginning their contract-killer career:

  • More Stealth access means more Rifle damage output.
  • These skills can correct rotation mistakes by ending Revealed early and restoring Initiative. Certain Raid/Strike mechanics can also target the player and Reveal them—using can bounce that mechanic to someone else in the squad who doesn't need to enter Stealth every couple seconds.
  • grants more Deadeye Stolen Skills for Quickness builds.
  • A spare Charge lets us update our Marked target during boss phase transitions.

I CAN break bars in that attunement!

Elementalist's will now leap to a target area to deal Damage and Daze enemies.

This new skill will compete with and for Defiance Break, but it might feel responsive enough to make a difference.

is being reworked and notably will no longer act as a Burning source. PvE "Fire Wizards" who never leave Fire Attunement, Fear Not!—you don't need the Arcane Trait Line when you could play this modern rotation made by our expert Crone (it's already the superior option).

Lastly, Tempest's is gaining a Radius increase, and 's healing modifier is receiving a small Buff.

A bit of editorial side eye (Of the Storm!): still has only 180 Radius.

Irregularly Scheduled Maintenance

Mechanist's Jade Mech receives a penalty when its human supervisor isn't holding its hand within 360 Radius—extending the Cooldown time of Mech skills. The current +50% adjustment will become only +20%.

The latest SotO Patch introduced Short Bow as a new support weapon, competing directly with Mace & Shield. Without Shield, has no support for allies. Short Bow grants Protection, and 's competing trait is being reworked into a Regeneration source. That boon is mostly sourced from , with the rest comes from Mace on Heal Alacrity Mechanist and 's on Heal Quickness Scrapper.

Speaking of :

  • is receiving missile velocity improvements to better hit your allies.
  • currently has competitive-mode scaling in PvE by mistake: 6-second base duration on Boons and a 20-second Cooldown. The patch notes specify this skill's boons will no longer have "lower duration than intended in PvE", so it might be getting a significant buff with 10-second/20-second Duration and Cooldown, or the bug might get fixed entirely and go back to a 30-second Cooldown.

Stop right there, criminal scum!

Guardian is receiving a few small Buffs focused on movement.

  • Sword's can now be used while moving.
  • grants Superspeed in addition to its other effects.
  • 's flipover to will always be available so long as you complete the skill, even if you do not land all 5 hits.
  • now Evades attacks during the cast. (It also finishes downed enemies if isolated, but we can't quite stomp bosses yet!)

is changed from an offensive trait to a defensive trait, and we speculate this will no longer apply a damaging effect. If so, it will no longer see use on any DPS-oriented builds.

Nothing more to say: straightforward, fun improvements.
If you want to try out these improvements, might we suggest our Power Alacrity Willbender build?

All-Natural Balance

Condition Alacrity Druid has not seen great success, caught in between the damage potential of the DPS build and the support responsibilities of the Heal build. will now grant bonus Boon Duration, which will allow the build to run more offensive gear for a DPS boost. However, the build is more held back by difficulty with Astral Force generation than by any gear constraints.

Quickness Untamed enjoyers rejoice: Unleashed Ambush skills will no longer automatically cast when Auto Attack is enabled. This behavior could be undesirable especially right after Weapon Swapping to trigger .

"Power Mirage, why not."

This Technically Counts as a Mainhand Sword Buff

Before taking you on a wild ride, let's revisit a familiar build: Power Virtuoso.

is getting reworked so that every time you craft an item, your phantasms craft a duplicate item.

Actually, it's being reworked to refund 2 Blades every time you cast a Bladesong using 5 Blades, in addition to its current effect.

This will further differentiate Power Virtuoso from its Condition variant, but we'll have to see how strong it makes the build. It has quite lot of ground to cover to catch up with the rest of the roster, and it can't afford to drop a utility slot for .

is also getting Buffed to always apply its bonus damage against Defiant enemies, but the numbers still aren't strong enough to matter.

Next up: Mirage is getting Buffed!

The Power build, that is. Not quite the build used to farm during Halloween—this is something new!

Condition Mirage is famous for getting great value out of its Clones by using them to apply Damaging Conditions via traits like and .

By contrast, Clones wielding Power weapons only tickle your enemies—don't mistake them for powerful Phantasms like and ! Power Chronomancer and Power Virtuoso use Clones/Blades only as fuel for Strike Damage shatters.

Enter the reworked : after shattering with 2 or more Clones, gain Mirage Cloak for an Ambush like Dagger's and Greatsword's .

Sword's strike coefficient is being tripled, but Dagger's is also being brought up to an identical output while allowing you to stay at a comfortable 1200 Range.
's coefficient is also being buffed significantly, and we're expecting to see Greatsword accompany the Dagger in whatever may come out of the other end.

Because is mutually exclusive with , only you will Ambush—don't pity your Clones when you blow them up for more stage time.

"The reaper is a harbinger of death."

Necromancer's new Swords added by SotO haven't made an impact on the meta, but the design team is already penning the sequel—Power Harbinger.

Particularly astute gamers may have noticed that Harbinger has had Power traits for a long time—all the way back to its original conception, in fact.

Harbinger's and are being buffed to yield more damage. These traits are decidedly uninspired, and Snow Crows corporate needs you to find the difference between these two pictures:

Effect Reaper Harbinger
Strike Damage In 300 Radius Scales with Blight
Strike Damage vs Chilled foes vs Tormented foes
Ferocity in % of Vitality
Pulse damage striking Chilled enemy every 3 seconds in shroud every 3 seconds

Okay, so we're looking at Power Reaper at home. What could interest someone in Power Harbinger if they're not already an ironic fan?

Simple:

  1. does not absorb damage like , so you can't be kicked out prematurely by damage pressure.
  2. Power Harbinger can share Quickness with the group.

Now, that also means won't insulate you from damage, and you lack the built-in healing conversion from —but when playing in a group, you don't always need your own sustain.

Some additional notes for the Heal Chronomancers out there:

  • now actually grants Stability to allies. Nice!
  • will no longer act as a Condition Cleanse for allies. Not so nice!

For the Heal Scourge enjoyers, still only grants personal Stability. Unlucky.

You must gather your warband before venturing forth.

is receiving a major overhaul to increase its viability for competitive modes—but what does that mean for PvE?

So far we can only speculate based on the tooltips, but here's a general overview:

  • The summons created by each of the slot skills are no longer targetable, so their effects will no longer be interrupted if placed at an unfortunate time.
  • A new effect called Band Together is now applied upon summoning a non-elite warband member. The next summon will have an enhanced effect, so send your soldiers in pairs!
  • 's Upkeep cost is reduced. While retaining its life steal buff, the skill also deals damage and heals allies when summoning another member of the warband. While the damage is not noteworthy, this encourages maintaining the skill while in the stance.
  • no longer has a unique effect reducing incoming Condition Damage, but instead grants generic Resolution, plus Barrier when enhanced.
  • grants Resistance when enhanced, but its baseline Daze has been reduced to 2 seconds. That's a third of its currrent Defiance Break value, but you guys have phones Staffs, right?
  • 's Bleeding buff has been changed to that of Thief's Venoms. When enhanced, the summon applies Torment as well.
  • has been granted even more debilitating conditions; alongside its Vulnerability, enemies will also suffer from Torment, Immobilize, and even Chilled when enhanced. Truly a terror in the arena.

You might be wondering how these changes affect the playstyle of Renegade builds—well, not much.

As far as the preview can tell us, the general damage of the skills stay the same for the Condition Damage variations. They may come out to a total difference of ±300 DPS.

The fan-favourite Power variant of Renegade, however, seems to have been all but forgotten about. The changes do not seem to be in its favor and may now be lower in damage output than ever before. If that wasn't enough, 's Defiance Break reduction cuts down on the build's greatest strength.

Despite being namedropped in the preview stream, it's hard to say if there is much hope left for the build that once ruled the world. Some years ago, the build relied on 's short Cooldown life steal buff. Although it has since been nerfed significantly, it is possible we could see the build resurface with a similar supportive style if improved significantly.

What we can hope for is a more elegant competitive split between the skills, allowing more strike damage, Defiance Break, and potentially lower Energy costs in PvE compared to the other modes.

Oh, were you here for Warrior?

Well, is now a Daze.

Go play our Heal Quickness Berserker build!

That's the best we can give you right now.

 

Reminder that we've done lots and lots of updates recently:

Heal Boon Chronomancer   •   Power Soulbeast   •   Condition Deadeye

Condition Quickness Herald   •   Condition Willbender   •   Condition Tempest