Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons artwork for the Virtuoso specialization

[Update #2]: The August 23rd patch will buff up many of the long-forgotten builds and specializations. Additionally, the August 23rd patch will see Guild Wars 2 launch onto Steam alongside a brand new set of achievement-based armor.

[Update]: The balance changes have now arrived alongside the Festival of the Four Winds.

As a part of the June update, Guild Wars 2 brought in a whole bunch of balance changes to pretty much every aspect of gameplay. While some of these ended up working out well and created more viable builds for certain classes to play around with, others were a complete failure and only ended up making the affected specializations almost undesirable in endgame content.

So in order to fix some of these problems, ArenaNet is planning a new balance update for August 2nd. This one will be focused primarily on getting the Mesmer's Chronomancer specialization back up to par, both in terms of damage and support options, as well as reworking the incredibly tedious Warrior banners.

There's not too many tweaks to go over, so here's a quick overview of what's being changed for the two classes:



- Spatial Surge: (PvE only) Increased minimum damage multiplier from 0.69 to 0.8. Increased maximum damage multiplier from 1.005 to 1.1.
- Mind Stab: (PvE only) Increased damage multiplier from 1.0 to 1.8.
- Phantasmal Berserker: (PvE only) Increased damage multiplier of initial strike from 0.4 to 1.2.

• Sword

- Mind Slash: (PvE only) Increased damage multiplier from 0.75 to 0.8.
- Mind Gash: (PvE only) Increased damage multiplier from 0.75 to 0.8.

• Chronomancer Traits

- Improved Alacrity: In addition to its previous effects, this trait now also increases your critical-strike damage by 10% when you have alacrity. This is a multiplier to total damage dealt, not additive with critical strike damage from Ferocity.


• General banner skill changes

- Recharge reduced from 60s to 30s (except Battle Standard)
- Animation changed; cast time reduced by 0.2s (except Battle Standard)
- Light combo field radius reduced from 600 to 360. Combo field duration reduced to from 5s to 3s.
- Pulsing boon radius reduced to 360.
- Once dropped, banners last for 15 seconds, and can no longer be picked up.
- Banners no longer grant quickness on drop by default (except for Banner of Tactics in PvE only).
- Doubled Standards: This trait now grants quickness on banner drop, in addition to its other effects. Clarified in description that boon duration increase only applies to the pulsing boons, and not any other boons granted on the initial banner drop.

• All banner skills (except for Battle Standard) have been reworked. They now grant different effects when dropped, depending on the banner

- Banner of Defense: Grants barrier and aegis to allies.
- Banner of Tactics: Applies stability and super speed (and quickness in PvE only) to allies.
- Banner of Discipline: Damages and applies bleeding and cripple. This skill no longer creates a light combo field, but acts as a blast finisher instead.
- Banner of Strength: Damages and dazes enemies. This skill no longer creates a light combo field, but acts as a blast finisher instead.
- Battle Standard: Damage multiplier has been increased from 1.5 to 4.0 in PvE only. This skill no longer creates a light combo field, but acts as a blast finisher instead.

• Pulsing boons have changed to the following

- Banner of Defense: Regen (4s)
- Banner of Tactics: Resistance (2s)
- Banner of Discipline: Fury (4s)
- Banner of Strength: Might (10s, two stacks)
- Battle Standard: Fury (6s), Swiftness (12s), Might (12s, two stacks)

The good news doesn't end there, however, as ArenaNet are also aiming to launch another balance update on August 23rd. This one will buff a larger set of specializations, so with a bit of luck build diversity should increase by a sizable margin by the end of the next month.

Once either of the two updates go live I'll make sure to let you know. Until then, you can read a little bit more about the August 2nd patch over at the Guild Wars 2 website.