We’d like to say that we’ve all been hard at work, figuring out new gear and testing builds since the patch, but really we’ve lost a lot of interest in the game lately. Most of these benchmarks have been pulled together at the last second. There are still a few things missing, but we can’t find the motivation anymore, to put in the effort, to grind out 30+ benchmarks every patch with the current state of the game. A lot of our members are now playing other games instead, and we hope that anet can release some good content soon to bring us back, but we have little faith left at this point. Going forward we can’t guarantee that we will have as many benchmarks after each balance patch, but we will review the state of the game again at a later date, and decide if it’s worth dedicating our time to it.
With this balance patch the most important changes are to druid, the removal of grace of the land and addition of 10 man spirits has greatly changed the way we look at squad compositions. On a lot of bosses it’s going to be beneficial in speed clear groups to take only a single druid and warrior, fully capitalising on the extra DPS slots that have been freed up. However it isn’t always going to be worth it, because it will increase the problems that we’ve started to feel more and more in the last couple patches. Which is the severe lack of CC, due to missing an extra wyvern and headbutt. A lot of the DPS builds have very limited access to CC skills, so for fights such as sloth or samarog it can be a thing to consider. Also since there will no longer be FGJ in both groups to provide fury, other sources must be found. Usually this means the druid will take tiger, and the other group either forces the warrior to take FGJ, or has the mesmer picks up banner of discipline instead. Overall group DPS seems roughly the same on most bosses, because the extra DPS slots make up of the lower individual numbers caused by the removal of gotl. A couple DPS builds also received nerfs, which has brought down weaver and firebrand, whereas soulbeast and mirage received buffs instead.
Class Specific changes:
Warrior: Now that druids are providing 10man might, the demand for condi ps is going to be much lower, but banners are still a really important buff, so every group still going to want at least 1 warrior. However, since you’re no longer required to give might, a hybrid build that sits somewhere between condi ps and condi dps is going to be the most common. This is what we’ve called the Condi Banner Slave (BS). Other than that, not much changed, DPS is a bit lower due to the removal of gotl and power warrior is still irrelevant for speed clears.
Guardian: Is in a pretty good spot still with strong power and decent condi based builds, it remains a solid choice for a lot of boss. Griever’s stats are now a lot easier to acquire because you can use Intact Mosaics to stat change both ascended armor and weapons. While the DPS of condi firebrand is no longer top tier, it’s still capable of pulling good dps when played well. Power DH still falls behind weaver on large hit box but it’s burst is really strong, and makes DH better in split phases, as well as providing more CC with banesignet, dragon’s maw and hunter’s verdict.
Revenant: Support renegade got a lot strong with this patch, because of the buff to orders from above it’s now able to maintain permanent alacrity, but the DPS build remains the exact same.
Thief: Nothing changed on thief, Condi DD is still extremely strong on the bosses where it can safely pull off the rotation without needing to cleave adds. Whereas staff daredevil and deadeye are pretty useless for speed clears.
Ranger: The Ranger & Druid changes were definitely the most interesting changes in this patch. Grace of the Land doesn’t give a unique buff anymore, but instead provides Might. With this change, a single druid can maintain permanent 25 Might on 10 people. The Ranger Spirits also have been changed, and can provide their buffs to 10 people now. All these changes are bringing us one step close to more variety in squad comps. So, how do these changes affect you? For most pug groups, 1 full healing druid with boon duration will be enough to maintain 25 Might on a full squad, which means that the warrior doesn’t need to play Phalanx Strength anymore to provide might. For more information about how these changes affect the PUG meta, see 1up’s reddit post from a couple days ago.
The whole situation is a little bit more tricky for premade/organized groups. On some bosses, you want to bring only 1 condi druid with the solo might stacking set up. On others, you still want to go with 2 regular condi druids to provide buffs evenly during splits (e.g. Gorseval & Xera) and on others, you just go with 1 full healer. There is still a lot to discover about squad comps, so everything we just said could change anytime.
Another aspect to keep in mind, that if you only bring 1 druid, spotter will not provided for everyone. If you put a druid into a separate subgroup, everyone will have an average of 75% spotter, but the druid will have almost no alacrity, which will result in a lower spirit uptime. On the other hand, if you put a single druid into a subgroup, one Subgroup will have permanent spotter, the druid will have permanent alacrity but the other subgroup won’t have any spotter. Condition classes don’t really benefit that much from spotter so create your groups accordingly.
On a condi druid, spotter can be changed to hidden barbs when your subgroup has only guardians (which can cap precision without spotter) or condi classes which benefit less from the buff.
Power druid remains a lower DPS option to condi druid, and loses even out even more in situations where the condi druid could take hidden barbs instead of spotter, but it’s still a viable choice for players who are working on getting their viper gear.
The Soulbeast specialization received some changes as well. With the buffs to Vulture Stance (which completely replaced Flame Trap) and One Wolf Pack, the stance share build of the Soul Beast pulls ahead with dps over the regular dps variant. Unfortunately, 2 stance share builds in 1 sub group don’t work, because the stance share buffs are unique and override each other. This means that your 150% duration stance will be overwritten with the 50% duration stance from the other Soulbeast. Obviously the stance shares can be timed, which would need an extra layer of communication between the soulbeast players, but we don’t think it’s something to realistically expect in any raid groups. Even though the sigils on the stance share variant are different on our website, they are only a 300-400 dps increase over Malice + Geomancy. So if you don’t have the gold to spend on an extra set of weapons, you can continue to use the regular DPS Soulbeast or Condition Druid sigils for minimal DPS loss.
Engineer: Power Holosmith received some small sword buffs and the gap between rifle and sword became smaller. Buffs to ‘Photonic Blasting Module’ and ‘Solar Focusing Lens’ pushes the specialisation into a good power dps spot for many bosses, it also provides “Pinpoint Distribution” and reliable cc. Unfortunately there is still no heat level mechanics for any weapon except sword. Condi Engi remains the same, the only difference is the removal of gotl.
Elementalist: Power weaver received a fairly significant nerf to icebow, where an internal cooldown has been added to ice storm, in the same way that anet nerfed meteor shower. The build remains the same though, and it’s still a top tier DPS on a lot of bosses. Condi weaver also received nerfs to FGS , we don’t think it will be too much of a dps loss but we haven’t got a benchmark for it at the moment.
Mesmer: Chronomancers will sometimes have the additional responsibility to pickup banner of discipline to share fury, if there are no other sources in the subgroup, but otherwise remains unchanged. Condi mirage received several “bug fixes“ targeted at axe skills, these changes increased the build’s DPS significantly, and allowed for clone mirage replace the phantasm variant. Mirage is now a top tier DPS build, and can be used to good effect on quite a few encounters. The main disadvantages are the lack of burst and large amounts of rng. Imaginary axes is able to hit twice if cast from inside the hit box, so the positioning of each clone matters. The effects of this are not as noticeable while fighting large hit box enemies, because the chance that axes of symmetry displaces the clones outside of the hit box is reduced.
Necromancer: After a bunch of “bug fixes”, Scourge is still in a pretty bad spot for many encounters. Scourge shines still with ‘Epidemic’ on Sabetha, it’s also the reason we put it back in the active builds section of our site. The ‘Plague Sending’ trait has had it’s functionality changed and is a rather good buff, giving us a reliable condi transfer of ‘Blood is Power’ and ‘Plaguelands’. The activation for the transfer is pretty short, and lasts only ~6s after entering any shroud, this makes it hard to always transfer your conditions. We are pretty disappointed about the changes and nerfs to Reaper. Nothing actually changed for Power Reaper, it’s still useless for speed clears. Whereas condi reaper still relies on getting whirl finishers in chill fields and with the recent condi nerfs it falls far behind the other condi dps options. We still hope necromancer skills and traits get more synergy and reworks in the future, but are scared by anet’s perception of scourge since they called it a “heavy support” which we strongly disagree with.
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