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Hi, everyone, We're back with another balance preview, this time for the upcoming November 29 update. As always, the goal of previewing these changes is to gather feedback before the live release. We'll be following the conversation and making further adjustments as needed. Thanks, Cal "cmc" Cohen Skills and Balance Lead November 29 Balance Update Preview General Sigil of Absorption is a longtime outlier in World vs. World, largely due to a bug with its cooldown (or lack thereof) when used against players. We're still planning a larger pass on boon applications and boon removal in WvW for a future update, but Sigil of Absorption was something we wanted to address sooner rather than later. Sigil of Absorption: Fixed an issue that prevented this trait from having an internal cooldown when used against players. Elementalist Scepter is a weapon that sees some play in PvE, but it struggles to find a place in competitive modes as a lot of its skills are less reliable or simply lacking in power. We've tuned up a lot of the weaker skills in the kit with the goal of solidifying scepter as an effective damage-dealing weapon. Catalyst was hit hard by the last update to PvE, and we're making a few changes to bring it back up, removing the damage penalty from Spectacular Sphere and giving a bit more damage to Empowering Auras. We've also updated the behavior of the hammer's third-slot weapon skills to make the strikes more consistent and remove the difference in effectiveness between hitbox sizes. On the PvP side, Earth Shield gets some defensive shaves, primarily targeting two of the most potent builds in the meta: catalyst and tempest. We've also made some minor improvements to condition-based weaver, a build that has fallen out of the meta in recent months. Last up is a slight improvement to tempest's healing in WvW as we continue to work toward a more diverse set of support options. Core Dragon's Tooth: This skill now attaches to the target instead of being ground targeted. Using this skill with no target will cast a stationary spell at the user's location. Increased cooldown from 6 seconds to 8 seconds in PvP and WvW. Phoenix: This skill now inflicts an additional stack of burning against enemies that are already burning. Reduced burning stacks from 2 to 1 in PvE only. Ice Shards: Reduced aftercast by 170 milliseconds. Shatterstone: This skill now inflicts chill instead of vulnerability and strikes enemies on the initial cast in addition to the explosion. Reduced explosion time from 1 second to 0.67 seconds. Reduced power coefficient from 1.66 to 1.0 in PvE, and from 1.5 to 0.6 in PvP and WvW. Water Trident: This skill is no longer ground targeted, and instead it fires projectiles at the target and up to 2 nearby enemies. This skill no longer heals allies, and instead it heals the caster when striking an enemy. This skill now deals increased damage to chilled enemies. Increased ammunition from 1 to 2. Increased power coefficient from 0.5 to 1.6 in PvE and from 0.5 to 1.25 in PvP and WvW. Lightning Strike: This skill now strikes up to 2 additional enemies near the target and inflicts vulnerability. Increased power coefficient from 1.2 to 1.5 in PvE only. Blinding Flash: This skill now strikes up to 2 additional enemies near the target and inflicts weakness against vulnerable enemies. Increased ammunition from 1 to 2. Rock Barrier: This skill now grants barrier and resistance to the user in addition to its other effects. Hurl: Reduced delay between projectiles from 0.5 seconds to 0.2 seconds. Dust Devil: This skill is now ground targeted and creates a spell that pulses three times. Enemies in the area are blinded by the initial strike, and bleeding enemies are crippled when struck. Tectonic Shift: Reduced barrier pulse from 778 to 506 in PvP only. Fortify: Increased cooldown from 30 seconds to 50 seconds in PvP only. Stormsoul: The bonus damage from this trait will now always affect defiant foes. Evasive Arcana: Fixed an issue that prevented this trait from triggering Flame Burst while dodging. Tempest Elemental Bastion: Increased heal attribute scaling from 0.4125 to 0.8 in WvW only. Weaver Shearing Edge: This skill now inflicts bleeding in addition to its other effects. Twin Strike: Increased burning stacks from 1 to 2 in PvP only. Flame Uprising: Increased burning duration from 4 seconds to 6 seconds in PvP only. Catalyst Hardened Auras, Empowering Auras, Staunch Auras, and Elemental Epitome: These traits will now only trigger when the catalyst grants an aura to themselves, rather than when gaining an aura from any player. Flame Wheel, Icy Coil, Crescent Wind, Rocky Loop: These skills now strike enemies once per second instead of using a projectile. Increased power coefficient from 0.001 to 0.25 in PvE only. Spectacular Sphere: This trait no longer reduces outgoing damage and causes Earth Sphere to grant aegis instead of resistance in PvE only. Empowering Auras: Increased damage bonus per stack from 2% to 3% in PvE only. Engineer For this update we focused on tuning up both power and condition damage builds for holosmith in PvE, neither of which were competitive picks. We've also made an adjustment to the mechanist to better reward players who are able to position well. We do like that mechanist is a viable option for a lower-intensity playstyle, but we see it as slightly overperforming relative to where we want those builds to be. We've also tuned up a few skills for scrapper in PvP. We're being a bit careful as we've seen the result when scrapper's defenses are too potent, but we would like to reestablish scrapper as an effective bruiser. Core Box of Nails: The first pulse of this skill will now immobilize enemies affected by crowd control or a movement-impairing condition. Increased ammunition from 1 to 2. Rifle Burst: This skill now fires one piercing projectile before the grenade instead of two. Increased piercing projectile power coefficient from 0.3 to 0.4 in PvE only. Grenade power coefficient increased from 0.4 to 0.6 in PvE only. Increased skill animation speed; total animation duration remains the same as previous version in PvE only. Scrapper Electro-whirl: Increased power coefficient from 0.68 to 0.75 in PvP only. Bypass Coating: Reduced cooldown from 35 seconds to 25 seconds in PvP only. Medic Gyro: Reduced cooldown from 30 seconds to 25 seconds in PvP only. Holosmith Cauterize: This skill now removes additional conditions when used while above 100% heat. Particle Accelerator: This skill now gains bonus damage while above 50% heat and additional bonus damage while above 100% heat, in addition to its previous effects. Prismatic Singularity: This skill now gains bonus damage on the explosion portion of the attack when used above 100% heat, in addition to its previous effects. Increased explosion power coefficient from 0.5 to 1.2 in PvE only. Flash Spark: This skill now grants additional light aura duration when used above 100% heat. Blade Burst: This skill now deals bonus damage when used above 100% heat, in addition to its previous effects. Spectrum Shield: This skill now grants additional duration when used above 100% heat, in addition to its previous effects. Coolant Blast: This skill now grants additional duration to Cooling Vapor and Frost Aura when used above 100% heat, in addition to its previous effects. Laser Disk: This skill now gains additional damage when used above 100% heat, in addition to its previous effects. Hard Light Arena: This skill now grants allies the full duration of boons when used above 100% heat, in addition to its previous effects. Prime Light Beam: This skill now gains additional field strike damage and burning duration when used above 100% heat, in addition to its previous effects. Corona Burst: Increased power coefficient per hit from 1.2 to 1.5 in PvE only. Holographic Shockwave: Increased power coefficient from 0.96 to 1.8 in PvE only. Sun Edge (PvE only): Increased damage bonus while above 50% heat from 10% to 20%. Increased damage bonus while above 100% heat from 20% to 30%. Sun Ripper (PvE only): Increased damage bonus while above 50% heat from 10% to 20%. Increased damage bonus while above 100% heat from 20% to 30%. Gleam Saber (PvE only): Increased damage bonus while above 50% heat from 10% to 20%. Increased damage bonus while above 100% heat from 20% to 30%. Refraction Cutter: Increased projectile power coefficient from 0.275 to 0.4 in PvE only. Solar Focusing Lens: Increased burning duration on enemies from 2 seconds to 3 seconds in PvE only. Photonic Blasting Module: Increased burning from 2 stacks for 2 seconds to 5 stacks for 4 seconds in PvE only. Mechanist Mechanical Genius: Combat attribute bonuses to the mech are now reduced by 50% if the engineer is more than a range of 360 away from the mech for a certain amount of time. Guardian Firebrand is a specialization that has access to a few too many tools with minimal investment. Tomes are a large component of this, as the utilities of Tome of Resolve and Tome of Courage are easily accessible even for damage-focused builds. Our goal for this update is to increase the opportunity cost of accessing these tools, and to that end, pages will now be a shared resource that builds over time. Firebrands will now need to more carefully decide how they spend their pages, whether they want to focus on damage, support, or a mix of both. We've also made some improvements to dragonhunter and willbender as we tune up underperforming damage builds in PvE. Core Binding Blade: Increased pulse damage power coefficient from 0.2 to 0.3 in PvE only. Sword of Wrath: Increased power coefficient from 0.666 to 0.75 in PvE only. Sword Arc: Increased power coefficient from 0.725 to 0.8 in PvE only. Sword of Justice: Increased power coefficient per strike from 0.72 to 0.8 in PvE only. Dragonhunter Heavy Light: This trait now gives a 10% damage increase when striking defiant foes, in addition to its previous effect. These bonuses do not stack. True Shot (PvE only): Increased power coefficient from 2.44 to 3.2. Increased cooldown from 4 seconds to 6 seconds. Hunter's Ward (PvE only): Reduced cooldown from 40 seconds to 20 seconds. Increased power coefficient of initial hit from 0.25 to 0.75. Increased power coefficient of final hit from 2.2 to 2.5. Spear of Justice: Increased power coefficient from 0.6 to 0.8 in PvE only. Dragon's Maw (PvE only): Reduced cooldown from 75 seconds to 50 seconds. Increased power coefficient from 2.4 to 3.6. Big Game Hunter: Increased bonus tether duration from 66% to 100% in PvE only. Hunter's Ward: Reduced ring duration from 5 seconds to 3 seconds in WvW only. Firebrand The page mechanic for firebrand tomes has been reworked. Pages are now shared across all tomes and refill at a set interval instead of when summoning a tome. Page costs and cooldowns have been adjusted to the following: Justice Chapter 1: 1 page, no cooldown Chapter 2: 1 page, 8 seconds Chapter 3: (PvE) 1 page, 10 seconds; (PvP/WvW) 2 pages, 15 seconds Chapter 4: 2 pages, 15 seconds Epilogue: 2 pages, 20 seconds Resolve Chapter 1: 1 page, no cooldown Chapter 2: (PvE) 1 page, 4 seconds; (PvP/WvW) 1 page, 8 seconds Chapter 3: 1 page, 8 seconds Chapter 4: (PvE) 2 pages, 10 seconds; (PvP/WvW) 2 pages, 15 seconds Epilogue: (PvE) 2 pages, 20 seconds; (PvP/WvW) 3 pages, 25 seconds Courage Chapter 1: 1 page, no cooldown Chapter 2: (PvE) 1 page, 4 seconds; (PvP/WvW) 2 pages, 8 seconds Chapter 3: (PvE) 2 pages, 15 seconds; (PvP/WvW) 2 pages, 20 seconds Chapter 4: 2 pages, 20 seconds Epilogue: 3 pages, 25 seconds Chapter 1: Searing Spell: This skill now inflicts vulnerability in addition to its current effects. Chapter 4: Scorched Aftermath: Increased burning and bleeding duration from 2 seconds to 5 seconds in PvE only. Chapter 2: Radiant Recovery: Increased the number of conditions removed from 1 to 2 in PvP and WvW. Epilogue: Eternal Oasis: Increased number of conditions converted to boons from 2 to 5 in PvP and WvW. Chapter 1: Unflinching Charge: This skill now grants protection instead of stability. Swift Scholar: This trait now also refunds one page after using three consecutive skills in a single tome. Stoic Demeanor: This trait has been reworked. Retain the Tome of Courage passive effect while it is on cooldown. Grant boons to nearby allies when you disable, immobilize, or slow an enemy. Quickfire: This trait now also retains the Tome of Justice passive effect while it is on cooldown. Loremaster: This trait has been reworked. Retain the Tome of Resolve passive effect while it is on cooldown. You generate pages more quickly. Willbender Heaven's Palm (PvE only): Reduced cooldown from 45 seconds to 20 seconds. Increased power coefficient from 1.0 to 3.0. Lethal Tempo: Increased bonus damage per stack from 1% to 2% in PvE only. Tyrant's Momentum: Increased damage increase per stack from 2% to 3% in PvE only. Mesmer One of our goals for mesmer is to address the performance of the staff/axe mirage build, which we feel doesn't have to sacrifice quite enough for the boon uptime it provides. We've moved some of the boon application to the clones' staff ambush, which will force the mirage to choose between higher boon uptime with staff clones or higher damage output with axe clones. We've targeted some improvements to chronomancer's power damage builds in PvE, bumping up the damage of some sword skills, wells, and Chronophantasma. We've also slightly reduced Continuum Split's duration in PvP after seeing the performance of chronomancer following its restored access to distortion. Core Mind Slash: Increased power coefficient from 0.8 to 1.0 in PvE only. Mind Gash: Increased power coefficient from 0.8 to 1.0 in PvE only. Mind Spike: Increased power coefficient when striking enemies with boons from 1.0 to 1.5 PvE only. Chronomancer Chronophantasma: Increased resummoned phantasm damage from 75% to 100% in PvE only. Well of Calamity: Increased power coefficient of initial strikes from 0.5 to 1.0 in PvE only. Gravity Well (PvE only): Reduced cooldown from 90 seconds to 60 seconds. Increased power coefficient for pulsing strikes from 0.6 to 0.8. Increased power coefficient for the final strike from 2.4 to 3.0. Continuum Split: Reduced duration from 1.5/3/4.5/6 to 1/2/3/4 in PvP only. Mirage Chaos Vortex: Clones using this skill will now grant the same boons in an area of effect around the mesmer instead of around the clones themselves. Reduced alacrity duration from 2.5 seconds to 1 second. Reduced might stacks from 8 to 2. Necromancer Power reaper is another damage build that we've sought to improve in PvE, bringing up some of its less potent skills in Reaper Shroud and giving it a bit more consistent pressure while out of shroud. On the competitive side, we've adjusted a few less used utility skills. Corrupt Boon is a skill that saw significant reductions after it gained a second ammunition and hasn't seen a ton of play since then. We've removed the extra charge in PvP and bumped up the number of corrupts to make the skill a more potent threat. Core Corrupt Boon (PvP only): Reduced ammunition from 2 to 1. Increased number of boons converted into conditions from 2 to 5. Increased cooldown from 24 seconds to 30 seconds. Spectral Armor (PvP and WvW): Reduced duration from 8 seconds to 6 seconds. Reduced cooldown from 45 seconds to 30 seconds. Signet of Spite: Reduced cooldown from 60 seconds to 40 seconds in PvP and WvW. Signet of the Locust (PvP and WvW): Increased healing per target struck from 500 to 800. Reduced cooldown from 30 seconds to 25 seconds. Soul Barbs: Increased duration from 10 seconds to 15 seconds in PvE only. Reaper Chilling Nova: Reduced cooldown from 8 seconds to 3 seconds in PvE only. Nightfall: Reduced cooldown from 25 seconds to 20 seconds in PvE only. Dusk Strike: Increased power coefficient from 1.0 to 1.2 in PvE only. Chilling Scythe: This skill now reduces the recharge of Gravedigger when striking an enemy. Death's Charge (PvE only): Increased power coefficient of initial strikes from 0.125 to 0.25. Fixed an issue that prevented the damage of the initial strikes from being listed on this skill's tooltip. Executioner's Scythe (PvE only): Increased power coefficient against targets at or above 50% health to 3.0. Increased power coefficient against targets below 50% health to 4.0. Increased power coefficient against targets below 25% to 5.0. Scourge Feed from Corruption: The following boon applications from this trait have been adjusted in WvW only: Might: Reduced stacks from 3 to 1. Protection and resolution: Reduced duration from 4 seconds to 2 seconds. Regeneration: Reduced duration from 8 seconds to 4 seconds. Stability: Reduced from 2 stacks for 5 seconds to 1 stack for 3 seconds. Vigor: Reduced duration from 6 seconds to 3 seconds. Ranger Untamed is one of the specializations that struggles the most against defiant enemies, as a lot of its kit is built around capitalizing against targets that are crowd controlled. As part of a larger pass, we've adjusted these skills to always inflict their bonuses against defiant enemies to make them more reliable in endgame PvE content. We've also made some improvements to the non-Unleashed side of the hammer kit to improve its defensive capabilities. Fervent Force is a trait that we're likely to bring down in a future update, but we want to improve other options for untamed before doing so. In PvP, we've brought down the drake family's Chomp damage, primarily targeting the burst potential that it brings to untamed builds. Rounding out the ranger updates are some improvements to druid's healing in WvW. We've seen more druids being played since the October update, but we think it could still use a slight bump to solidify its place as a viable support pick. Core Chomp (Drake Family): Reduced power coefficient from 0.65 to 0.455 in PvP only. Predator's Onslaught: The bonus damage from this trait will now always affect defiant foes. Druid Astral Wisp: Increased heal attribute scaling from 0.1 to 0.2 in WvW only. Ancestral Grace: Increased heal attribute scaling from 1.0 to 1.5 in WvW only. Ancient Seeds: This skill will now trigger against defiant foes in addition to its previous effects. Untamed The following skills now also apply their bonus effect against defiant enemies: Venomous Outburst Rending Vines Enveloping Haze Unleashed Wild Swing Unleashed Savage Shock Wave Perilous Gift: This skill no longer prevents lethal damage, and instead it prevents all incoming strike and condition damage for its duration. Relentless Whirl: Increased stability from 1 stack for 2 seconds to 2 stacks for 3 seconds. Wild Swing: This skill now grants barrier when striking an enemy. Overbearing Smash: This skill now grants barrier when striking an enemy that is using a skill. Reduced cooldown from 15 seconds to 12 seconds in PvP and WvW. Unleashed Overbearing Smash: Reduced cooldown from 15 seconds to 12 seconds in PvP and WvW. Savage Shock Wave: The first strike of this skill now applies weakness instead of immobilize. The second strike of this skill now applies immobilize instead of weakness. This skill now grants protection to the user. Reduced casting time from 1 second to 0.75 seconds. Reduced cooldown from 18 seconds to 15 seconds in PvP and WvW. Unleashed Savage Shock Wave: Reduced casting time from 1 second to 0.75 seconds. Reduced cooldown from 18 seconds to 15 seconds in PvP and WvW. Thump: Reduced cooldown from 25 seconds to 20 seconds in PvP and WvW. Unleashed Thump: Reduced cooldown from 25 seconds to 20 seconds in PvP and WvW. Restorative Strikes: This trait now also grants protection when you or your pet unleash. Debilitating Blows: This trait now applies poison instead of vulnerability and slow instead of weakness when disabling a foe based on your current state in PvE only. Ferocious Symbiosis: Increased damage bonus per stack from 3% to 4% in PvE only. Revenant Vindicator has continued to be a powerful force in PvP after the most recent set of changes, and we're making a few additional reductions in this update. We see vindicator as doing a bit too much damage when investing heavily in defensive traits, so we've shaved down a few skills to create more of a decision point between damage and defense. We've also reduced the stability from Reaver's Rage and removed the ability to dodge while immobilized with the goal of making vindicator slightly easier to bring down. The last set of changes didn't have quite enough impact on condition-based revenant builds in PvP, and we're following up with a few more adjustments to improve their damage output and free up a bit more energy while in Legendary Demon Stance. We've focused on improving damage builds for both herald and vindicator in PvE, improving the potency of sword off hand, Legendary Assassin Stance and Legendary Dragon Stance, and the Luxon side of Legendary Alliance Stance. Core Shackling Wave (PvE only): Increased power coefficient of initial strike from 1.0 to 1.2. Increased power coefficient of additional strikes from 0.35 to 0.4. Deathstrike (PvE only): Increased power coefficient of initial strike from 0.33 to 0.45. Increased power coefficient of final strike from 2.0 to 2.67. Impossible Odds: Increased power coefficient on secondary strikes from 0.55 to 0.65 in PvE only. Jade Winds: Increased power coefficient from 1.5 to 3.0 in PvE only. Seething Malice: Increased condition damage from 120 to 240 in PvP only. Banish Enchantment: Reduced energy cost from 30 to 25 in PvP only. Call to Anguish: Reduced energy cost from 30 to 25 in PvP only. Rising Tide: Reduced health threshold from 90% to 75% in PvE only. Herald Elemental Blast: Reduced cooldown from 15 seconds to 12 seconds in PvE only. Burst of Strength (PvE only): Reduced cooldown from 15 seconds to 12 seconds. Increased effect duration from 5 seconds to 10 seconds. Reduced damage bonus from 25% to 15%. Damage bonus now applies to condition damage as well as strike damage. Chaotic Release: Increased power coefficient from 2.0 to 4.0 in PvE only. Vindicator Vindicators can no longer dodge while immobilized. Spear of Archemorus: Reduced range from 2,000 to 1,200. Increased power coefficient from 3.5 to 5.0 in PvE only. Increased torment duration from 5 seconds to 8 seconds in PvE only. Scavenger Burst: Adjusted burning from one stack for 8 seconds to two stacks for 5 seconds in PvE only. Endurance gain increased from 5 per target to 20 per target in PvE only. Energy cost reduced from 20 to 15 in PvE only. Reduced power coefficient from 1.55 to 1.4 in PvP only. Tree Song: Energy cost reduced from 20 to 15 in PvE only. Battle Dance: Energy cost reduced from 20 to 15 in PvE only. Nomad's Advance: Energy cost reduced from 20 to 15 in PvE only. Reduced power coefficient from 2.3 to 2.1 in PvP only. Reaver's Rage (PvP only): Reduced power coefficient from 1.25 to 1.0. Reduced stability duration from 6 seconds to 3 seconds. Reduced daze duration from 1.5 seconds to 1 second. Thief Our primary goal for thief in this update was to improve the usability of deadeye in PvE. Rifle has a lot of potential as a damage-dealing option, but the stationary nature of Kneel made it difficult to reach this potential in real gameplay situations. We're updating Kneel to allow for some movement at a reduced speed to give a bit more flexibility during encounters. We've also added a damage reduction to Shadow Shroud in PvE to compensate for the reduction in shroud health in the October update. We'll be keeping an eye on how this plays out and will make further adjustments to Shadow Shroud as necessary. Wrapping up the thief changes are a handful of power damage improvements for daredevil and dagger. Core Double Strike: Increased power coefficient from 0.3 to 0.4 in PvE only. Wild Strike: Increased power coefficient from 0.65 to 0.8 in PvE only. Lotus Strike: Increased power coefficient from 1.1 to 1.2 in PvE only. Heartseeker (PvE only): Increased power coefficient against targets at or above 50% health to 1.5. Increased power coefficient against targets below 50% health to 2.0. Increased power coefficient against targets below 25% health to 2.5. Cloak and Dagger: Increased power coefficient from 1.25 to 1.6 in PvE only. Daredevil Impact Strike: Increased power coefficient from 0.75 to 1.75 in PvE only. Finishing Blow: Increased power coefficient from 2.0 to 4.0 in PvE only. Deadeye Kneel: Increased initiative cost from 1 to 2. While kneeling, players can now move at a 75% reduced speed. Kneel is no longer canceled when you become disabled. Skirmisher's Shot: Reduced range from 1,500 to 1,200. Three Round Burst: Reduced range from 1,500 to 1,200. Death's Judgement: This skill now pierces foes not targeted by Deadeye's Mark. Damage dealt to unmarked enemies is reduced. Players can now move while using this skill. Reduced range from 1,500 to 1,200. Specter Shadow Shroud: Added a 0.5-second cooldown to Exit Shadow Shroud after using Enter Shadow Shroud. Shadow Shroud now reduces incoming damage by 33% in PvE only. Warrior A handful of warrior's skill and trait bonuses will be applied against defiant foes. We've also made some adjustments to improve berserker damage builds in PvE, fixing an issue with Bloody Roar's bonus damage and making Outrage's berserk extension more reliable now that Headbutt no longer removes stability. Enchantment Collapse is another boon-removal outlier that we wanted to address in WvW for this update, and we've increased the cooldown ever so slightly to reduce its effectiveness with Winds of Disenchantment. Core Fierce Blow: The bonus damage from this skill will now affect defiant enemies. Banner of Tactics: This skill now breaks stuns on allies in addition to its other effects. Unsuspecting Foe: This trait now gives a 25% critical chance bonus when striking defiant foes, in addition to its previous effect. These bonuses do not stack. Merciless Hammer: The bonus damage from this trait will now always affect defiant foes. Berserker Outrage: This skill no longer grants bonus berserk duration when breaking a stun, and instead it grants bonus berserk duration when an enemy is nearby. Reduced berserk duration when an enemy is nearby from 5 seconds to 3 seconds in PvE only. Scorched Earth: Increased power coefficient from 0.35 to 0.42 in WvW only. Bloody Roar: Fixed an issue that caused this trait to grant less increased damage than intended. Spellbreaker Breaching Strike: This skill now deals bonus damage to foes without boons. Enchantment Collapse: Increased internal cooldown from 0.99 to 1.04 in WvW only.