The Scrying Pool: BWE 2 Impressions

This Scrying Pool is all about the new content and elite specs available during last weekend's Beta Weekend Event.

Moving on to the Daredevil. I like the dodges and the idea of getting to choose your dodge, but all of the dodges feel a little clunky. Feels like it takes a little too long to dodge with them and there is a bit of stickiness with pre and after casts. Speed up the dodges and tighten the casts and I think they will be a lot of fun.

You pick a dodge by selecting it as one of the three grandmaster traits that changes the dodge in a different way. The three dodges feature a dash, dagger throwing and ground pounding versions of the dodges. I like the first two and wish I liked the third more. The ground pound needs a larger radius that it deals damage too as the distance of the dodge is set and hard to control where you deal your damage unlike the dagger throw which throws daggers quite some distance.

I’m a little worried about the dash. It doesn’t seem useful except in the most annoying of gimmicky builds. One of the traits is deal 10% extra damage after dodging. Imagine a stealthed thief dashing in and doing a super backstab on someone. I don’t like this Evasive Empowerment trait as it is only one attack and its bonus feels like it might be too high. It prioritizes using it on high power skills like backstab over many other thief skills that do lots of little attacks. I’d like to see this nerfed to around 5%, but increase the damage of attacks for about 3 seconds.

The adept traits—of which Evasive Empowerment is a member of—all feel not very good. Weakening Strikes is a guaranteed weakness on someone you crit, but only for 5 seconds with a 10 second cooldown. I’d like to see this have both a shorter cooldown and duration and either have more chances for it to proc or give it another something. Having it additional deal damage whenever weakness is applied from any source could be an option.

The last of the adepts is Brawler’s Tenacity. This trait makes using a physical skill give endurance, which fits nicely into the theme of Daredevil as endurance is your dodge resource. The endurance gain from this is pitifully low and is not even worth taking. This trait says it’s the first activation of a physical skill, but skills that have multiple activation such as the elite and Distracting Daggers will proc this multiple times. Even with these multiple procs the trait gives very low endurance. Up the endurance gain substantially and maybe make it only activate on the first skill of a chain.

I liked the physical skills themselves, including the awesome elite that has the ability to finish downed enemies with its last hit. I am excited to see what good PvP players can do with it. There were two skills that felt a little weird: the previously mentioned Distracting Daggers and Bandit’s Defense.

Distracting Daggers feels like a mantra that Mesmers have. You charge up the skill which replaces it with another skill that has three charges. These three charges are daggers you can throw at enemies to daze and interrupt them. I like the dazing daggers, but the charging feels really clunky. The cast time is just long enough to be very noticeable and unlike the mesmer mantras the daggers don’t stay indefinitely. What’s worse is that the 15 second duration of these daggers is paired with a 20 second cooldown.

While the skill will increase the enemy’s skill cooldown when interrupted, I’d like to see it also reduce the cooldown on Distracting Daggers. Or more simply, just reduce the cooldown on Distracting Daggers altogether. I’d like to see the daggers stay around a little longer and have the cooldown match—such as 30 seconds for each—but also reward good play. Having an interruption reduce the cooldown by 5 seconds would then allow this 30 second skill to be reduced to 15 seconds if all three daggers interrupt, which depending on use might allow for a quick turnaround for charging them up again. This, however, might require a bit of a nerf to the increased enemy skill cooldown.

Lastly is the staff. The auto-attack is awesome and while the number 5 is good it also suffers the same stickiness that the new dodges suffer. The #2-4 skills are all good fits for the Daredevil with an evade and the ability to apply weakness and blindness to multiple targets. That said, these skills are not all very good. The #2 does this weird forced movement that doesn’t take you very far and feels clunky. I’d like it to be more of a single spin to win and apply weakness to those in range. The dodge on the #3 feels odd and doesn’t use the new dodges. I’d like to see the duration of the dodge stay the same but the distance you dodge back doubled. I do like that you don’t have to hit with the initial hit of #3 in order to dodge. The #4 I think just has too long of a cast time. Reduce the cast from ¾ of a second to ¼ and it would be good. Also a little more damage on each of these wouldn’t hurt.

Last of the elite specs is the Herald. The herald is interesting as it provides a lot of support that might be a little too good for how easy it is to maintain. I did like playing it, though I don’t like the passive/active system setup for the upkeep utilities. There were a couple utilities that I did like the active for including the heal and the dragon’s breath. Some of the other felt more like a punishment when all I really wanted to do was manage energy by removing the upkeep. Included in this is the elite having a major upkeep for giving out protection to presumably counter its active effect.

Firstly, let’s talk about energy and cooldowns. No other profession has to deal with both of these. The only other profession that has energy is the Thief which in turn gets no cooldowns on its energy using skills. Revenant having both I think is interesting, but it doesn’t feel like skills are balanced around both. A skill on the Revenant might have the same cooldown as a relative skill available to another profession, but the Revenant skill also has to spend energy to use the skill. The energy on Revenant I think needs to be set up as part of the cooldown cost so that cooldowns are shorter on Revenant but in exchange the Revenant has to properly manage its energy.

So for Herald I’d like to see shorter cooldowns and more emphasis on energy management. Something that I think would be interesting is that all of the upkeeps are active when in combat and not on cooldown and all of the upkeeps changed to use 1 or 2 upkeep. The idea is to get the upkeep while using Glint to always be a negative 3 or 4. Using an active skill could then still have a cooldown much like a normal skill, but instead of using energy like other Revenant skills these skills would give energy. This would make the elite spec be an inverse of what the rest of the profession is doing and put more emphasis on energy management. Do I activate one skill to gain a boost to energy or do I activate multiple to gain a larger boost and potentially keep my energy from draining for a few seconds? If I do use a skill, which skill do I use? Can I afford to drop my protection and is the active worth giving it up?

As it is now, I’ll never use the protection upkeep as it isn’t worth the 5 upkeep it requires. Another idea is to have the upkeeps burst out a larger amount of the buff and the upkeep give shorter durations per pulse, but this feed more into spamming the active immediately upon using the upkeep which is actually the only real use for the elite currently. I like the all the upkeeps active idea better as it also gives more of a reason to swap legends if you get too far behind on energy, which will likely happen as you use weapon skills that also use energy.

I didn’t see a problem with the traits for Herald. The F2 upkeep is interesting, but was easily forgotten. The shield absolutely sucks and I will never use it. It is an off-hand support weapon with no main-hand that compliments by being similarly support focused. The #4 needs to be point-blank and not a targeted ability to make it easier to use in combat. The #5 feels like a case of making a skill purely to fit the weapon to the lore of the elite spec’s legend and having no thought on how it would play within the space of the game. I don’t know how you make the #5 skill good without completely changing it. The healing isn’t very good, conditions are still a problem, and the penalty for the defiance bar getting broken is pretty big. It also only helps the player which doesn’t match the #4 at all which is to help other players.

Maybe if the #5 was like a 20-30 second duration skill that flipped over to another skill. For the duration of the skill the player is encased in a massive Glint-esque fractalized egg. The player and allies standing inside this egg is benefited by one of two buffs. The first buff is reduced damage, protecting the player and ally from direct damage. This would synergize well with the protection granting #4 for some serious damage reduction. The other buff when flipped over reduces the duration of conditions on the player and allies. The flip-over skill allows players to swap between the two buffs, which could also visually flip over the different crystal fractals of the egg to give it a different appearance such as a different glinting color. This would make the shield a more well-rounded support weapon that could be useful independent of what the main-hand currently was.

The underwater spear for Revenant is really awesome in a this-is-kind-of-overpowered way. The #2 should probably be nerfed so that it is in-line with the rest of underwater combat.

Matt "Mattsta" Adams wants the skins from this weekend's Mordrem Invasion event.

We are 41 days from the expansion and I can't wait! There is still at least one more Beta Weekend Event in which we will most likely get our first hands-on of what the Ranger and Engineer elite specs will offer each class. Are you ready for Guild Wars 2's first expansion to launch?

If you have a question for me or a topic you would like to see talked about here, leave a comment below. You can also tweet your question and topics to me on twitter @MattstaNinja. Also, check out my site Mattsta.Ninja that focuses on guides and more for Guild Wars 2.

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