ArenaNet released a huge patch note fulfilling the promise made by Mike about polishing the game. The patch is so big that I’ll cherry pick on stuff that is relevant to me and my main profession, the Thief. You can read the whole patch notes here. It’s a huge patch — you’ve been warned.
To start off, I’ll cover the changes to the Thief profession then address some features that pique my interest. The Thief is an on-going neglected profession patch after patch. Neglected in a way that changes and tweaks give nothing to the players of the profession but more to the players of other professions. For instance, giving Thief a self-nerfing condition called Revealed. Revealed is a lazy solution in addressing to balance Thief. It wasn’t the Thief who triggered this lazy solution, it was the Mass Invisibility skill of the Mesmer profession. So rather than finding a proper balance to address this issue, they simply add Revealed to the game and brush off the concerns of the Thief players — but I digress.
This patch has a strong indication that whoever proposed these changes to the Thief has at least a listening ear or have experience in running with the profession. Most of the time, the Thief is nothing but an afterthought; tweaked in favor of other professions because to them, the Thief is a nuisance who spoils their fun. This unfairness needs to stop and it seems that this patch is the beginning. The nerfs to other professions are a welcome sight since the effectiveness of the Thief profession is based on the effectiveness of other professions. By nerfing other professions, the Thief’s effectiveness is proportionately increased.
Stealth Attacks: All stealth attack skills will now have a 1-second recharge between uses.
This is a controversial tweak since many have viewed this as a nerf. On the contrary, it is a welcome balanced to tone down the domination of D/P who utilizes stealth attacks the most. For other builds, this change is a non-issue.
Staff Strike: The damage of this skill has been reduced by 5%.
Staff Bash: The damage of this skill has been reduced by 5%.
Punishing Strikes: The damage of this skill has been reduced by 5%.
This is not a nerf but a tweak to an over-tuned staff damage from the previous patch. The nerfs to other professions makes this relatively non-issue since the overall damage may still be higher relative to other professions. 5% is such a small number.
Venomous Aura: The area-of-effect aspect of this trait has been merged into venoms as baseline. The radius has been reduced from 360 to 240. The recharge reduction has moved to Leeching Venoms.
This trait has been renamed Rending Shade and now causes all sneak-attack abilities to steal up to 2 boons when striking an enemy, while receiving less damage from foes without boons.
Leeching Venoms: This trait no longer grants might to allies it is applied to. This trait now reduces the recharge of venom abilities.
Devourer Venom: The number of stacks that this skill applies has been reduced from 3 to 2.
Basilisk Venom: The number of stacks that this skill applies has been reduced from 2 to 1. Stun duration has been increased from 1 second to 1.5 seconds.
This is the biggest of all the updates, the removal of Venomous Aura. The tweaks to related traits and skills are non-issue as long as I am not forced to pick a trait I hated since from the beginning.
Haste: The recharge of this skill has been reduced from 60 seconds to 50 seconds.
It’s a good buff, but still not good enough. Any stun break with cooldown longer than 30s is bad.
The rest are just bug fixes. I still think that they should have given the venoms without damage some condition damage while they’re at it. However, it’s still a step towards the right direction. Now let’s look at the other part of this patch including the new Living Story.
The story so far is quite boring only because after all these years, I’m simply tired of teasers just to make the story seems longer than it is. The padded dialogs are eye-rollers. Taimi brought us to the secret lab to show us something but never actually showed anything. After a mysterious explosion that we need to investigate forgetting the whole reason why we’re traveling in the first place. Then there’s General Almorra with bad quips and puns like a granny trying to be hip…ok she is a granny but not quip. Whatever happen to the assertive Almorra who says things like, “Whatever your business here, make it quick and efficient. We’re at war, and my soldiers don’t have time to entertain tourists.” Instead she says things like, “Uh, commander, the position of Marshal of the Pact has been, uh, vacated.” Oh come on, she’s more direct that that. Anyway, the whole thing started really slow and I have to stop playing when the rest of the story was gated behind a mastery. Yup, the illusion that this patch is bigger than it is has began. I have no interest to grind for the mastery point since it was already getting late and I have Overwatch to play. I’ll try again later today and see if things get interesting, so far, it’s a meh. I was so ready to absorb a lot of lore about the Rata Novus and their research from Taimi since she stayed there for so long while I’m kciking Mordemoth’s ass…twice. Instead, she showed me literally nothing and she has to rush back before anyone suspect…I was like, wtf? What a waste of time.
I still don’t understand why would Anise deploy the Shinning Blade when there’s literally only a handful of them left and was reassigned to be the Queen’s personal bodyguards. I call BS, if this would result to an attack on the Queen because she stupidly sent her PERSONAL bodyguards away, it would be a pathetic cliche and ArenaNet would need new writers with new and fresh ideas. To make matters worst, I was in Eir’s funeral and as I look around, I’m the only fucking human there. It would have been better if she summoned me to be her envoy to the funeral, but no, she has better things to do. She’s concern of the threat posed by a handful of White Mantle activist that she’s too busy beefing up the Reach’s defenses and sends her personal bodyguard away. /facepalm — did anybody read this script? Or at least put it up on a story board? For crying out loud, this is amateur work.
It seems also that everyone had forgotten what happened during her coronation especially how her “beefed up” defenses was hacked and massacred a lot of citizens. The only real way to have the people forget that day is to cast a mass mind control and erase that event from their memory. As far as we know, that is one possible reason to explain her actions. So from the lore standpoint, this living story is off to a bad start especially about the fact that we’re just learning about the White Mantle’s activities. I mean, we know of the Bloodstone in the Maguuma 250 years ago. We know then the Bloodstone Fen was infested with the White Mantle and that they are not completely abolished.
I’ll suspend my disbelief and give this a benefit of a doubt and see where this story goes. I’ll be grinding for mastery points tonight…sigh…or maybe play some BDO and Overwatch instead.