Lifetap Volume 1.0, Issue #44 – A Necro’s Take on the New GW2 Status Effects

With the February 18 blog update on the official website for Guild Wars 2, players were given the first details on the Revenant profession that will be coming with the Heart of Thorns expansion. Tucked away towards the end of the post, a trio of new status effects are revealed that will be coming with the Revenant and applied across other professions’ specializations. For today’s squint-worthy issue of Lifetap, Sardu reimagines these new status effects from a necromancer’s perspective.

When it comes to MMO PvP, there are few things more frustrating to me than rampant use of crowd control abilities with no system in place for diminishing returns. Being bounced around and locked out of actively playing your character is absolutely no fun at all, and was one of the very first lessons learned when Blizzard originally introduced PvP to World of Warcraft, for example.

As much as I love competitive play in Guild Wars 2, I’m also not a fan of the plentiful crowd control and status effect options available to certain professions, with few to no counters on others. You either sacrifice something in your build to gain Stability, or suffer the consequences. This is only compounded by the need for solid condition removal or prevention options.

At the same time, conditions are roughly one half of the lifeblood of the current necromancer toolbox. Until we know more about what the necromancer will gain through specializations and the Greatsword weapon skills, we have a few major challenges to contend with:

  • Only a single main-hand melee weapon – all others are built for mid- to long-range play
  • High condition damage output potential, paired with other professions having too many ways to easily remove or fully negate any conditions we attempt to apply
  • High damage potential through Power-based builds, but you typically sacrifice survivability as a result
  • Minions are still just useless speed bumps when all is said and done, with very few exceptions

Having focused heavily on the necro profession in GW2 as far back as 2011 when I originally launched the Necrobator fansite, I’ve always been very transparent about my preference for the profession. At the same time, that doesn’t mean I don’t see all of its shortcomings and want to see the profession live up to its potential. What we’ve seen so far is ArenaNet decide that necromancers should play a certain way, or fulfill a certain niche in high level competitive play, rather than a profession that feels like it can be successful when approached from multiple angles.

New and Shiny… but still maybe a bit tarnished

The new details released on the Revenant profession this week came bundled with a first look at three new status effects: Resistance, Slow, and Taunt. The full details can be found on the official Guild Wars 2 website for those of you interested.

Instead of rehashing the official blog info here, I thought it would be more interesting to rework the details on the new status effects through the eyes of a necromancer. There are both good and bad sides to all three of these effects for necros, as you’ll see below. But first…

MAJOR DISCLAIMER: What follows should be taken with a massive grain of salt. I openly admit that I’m being a bit of a smartass, and will reserve final judgment on the new status effects in the life of a necromancer until I’ve had the chance to witness them firsthand.

Bearing that in mind, here is my reworking of the new status effects announcement, necro style:

Resistance (Boon)

“Conditions currently on you have no effect; stacks duration”

  • We decided that condition-based necromancer builds were simply too good, so wanted to introduce new ways to fully negate them. That way, all necromancers will be forced to use the new Greatsword skills and run Power-based builds as their only viable option. Having this type of effect on a boon makes it even more difficult for necromancers to remove since you can’t control which boons are removed through skills, adding in more ways to shut down certain necromancer builds.

Slow (Condition)

“Skills and actions are slower”

  • We have a lot of positive feedback indicating that DF necromancers simply do too much damage in their current form. A way to mitigate that is to slow down the cast time of Lifeblast so that it is not only even easier to dodge than it already is, but minimizes its effectiveness as a whole. On the flip side, necromancers may actually retain some survivability versus dirty thief pirates trying to gank them. Then again, players can just stack Resistance and not even worry about Slow in the first place.

Taunt (Status Effect)

“Involuntarily attack foes.”

  • We realized that the least fun part of any MMO PvP system is when you lose control of your character and are involuntarily forced to play in a way you don’t particularly enjoy. Shutting down necromancers and ruining their DF survivability by turning them into a moa is just too darn fun, so we wanted to introduce even more ways to strip the fun out of player versus player combat. Once you’ve finished stunning, dazing, knocking back, and knocking down a necromancer, now you’ll also be able to laugh at their absolutely terrible autoattack damage output via taunts. And for the masochists out there, you can now actively force another player to hit you in the face with their sword, but this can at least also be a tool for creating interesting ways to peel enemies off the squishy professions as a consolation.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Sardu 1
Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.