The GW2 Forum is currently experiencing HTTP Error 503, meaning that there are plenty of reactions towards the patch release today. However, I will focus on the changes to my beloved profession — Thief — and explore what ArenaNet claims to be a “MASSSSSSSSSIVE Buff!”
ArenaNet’s specified their goal and we’ll look at all the changes to see if the goals were met. So let’s break it down.
Goal #1: Reduce the dependence on traits that boost initiative
Goal #2: Reduced the effectiveness of high-evasion thieves
Goal #3: Prevents thieves from evading and easily dealing with being disabled
Goal #4: Improve the survivability of thieves in Acrobatics
Goal #5: Stop players from gaining initiative by applying stealth while already in stealth
Solution to Goal #1 (Buff):
Increased the base rate of initiative gain from .75 per second to 1 per second.
Solution to Goal #2 (Nerf):
Acrobatics III—Vigorous Recovery: Reduced the vigor duration from 8 seconds to 5 seconds.
Trickery VII—Bountiful Theft: Reduced the vigor duration from 15 seconds to 10 seconds.
Solution to Goal #3 (Nerf):
Sword—Shadow Return: Renamed to Infiltrator’s Return. Added a .25-second cast time.
Solution to Goal #4 (Buff???):
Acrobatics IV—Assassin’s Retreat: Increased the swiftness duration to 20 seconds.
Acrobatics X—Hard to Catch: Moved to the Master tier.
Acrobatics XI—Assassin’s Reward: Increased the scaling with healing power by 35%. Moved to the Grandmaster tier.
Solution to Goal #5 (Nerf):
Shadow Arts V—Infusion of Shadow: Increased the amount of initiative gained to 2, but only when entering stealth.
Non-goal related buffs:
Pistol—Pistol Whip: Reduced the aftercast on the first half of this skill by .25 seconds.
Deadly Arts VI—Sundering Strikes: Increased the trigger chance from 33% to 50%. Removed the internal cooldown. Decreased the vulnerability duration from 14 seconds to 6 seconds.
Critical Strikes VI—Practiced Tolerance: Increased the conversion from 5% to 7%.
Critical Strike X—Critical Haste: Increased the trigger chance to 25%.
Counter-intuitive to Goal #1 nerfs:
Critical Strikes VIII—Signet Use: Reduced the initiative gain from 2 to 1.
Critical Strikes 15—Opportunist: Increased the trigger chance to 50%. Increased the cooldown from 1 second to 5 seconds.
Acrobatics IX—Quick Recovery: Reduced the initiative gain from 2 to 1.
Trickery 5— – Kleptomaniac: Reduced the initiative gain from 3 to 2.
A lot of these changes are really bad for PvE because these changes only target builds in sPvP and are unjustified for PvE. I mainly use Bountiful Theft and the vigor nerf will affect me directly in my PvE ventures. Sundering Strikes will reduce my potential damage due to the short duration, but we’ll see. The other changes I don’t really mind so much and I highly appreciate the base initiative regen buff.