Guild Wars 2’s underwater combat update and class balance pass are live today

Some MMOs pump out an endless stream of previews for their big patches, especially the type that overhaul major game systems or balance combat, to the point that by the time the update hits, everybody has the bullet points memorized and we can type the post from memory. Guild Wars 2 hasn’t been one of those for the last few years, which is why you’re only just reading the patch notes for today’s balance patch and underwater combat revamp right now, as the game is actually patching.

ArenaNet’s just-released blog on underwater combat states that the studio’s goals were to make underwater combat just as effective as on-land combat, make underwater movement even better, and make underwater skills have proper parallels to land skills.

“Your character may still appear to move more slowly than they do out of water, but enemies shouldn’t take longer to kill,” explains the studio. “Traversing an underwater environment should be a fluid experience, and you should feel like you’re still playing your own character and profession.”

That’s meant specific skill changes for different professions underwater. For example, the Revenant is picking up Trident use today – we think that’s the first time GW2’s ever done something like that – and a ton of skills are seeing tweaks specifically for underwater play, including Tidal Wave, Lightning Flash, Rocket Boots, Slick Shoes, Null Field, Mirage Advance, Jalis, Inspiring Reinforcement, and Blinding Powder – way more than we can name here. Skimmer speed has increased too.

Naturally, to get folks into the water and playing around with the new stuff, the studio has put in a new treasure chest event, complete with title.

“Rumor has it that a dive master with a passion for discovering underwater treasure is arriving in Lion’s Arch, and she has tasks for Tyrians who are unafraid to take a plunge. The krait may hold the key to discovering chests long thought lost to time and the sea. Perhaps you’ll be the one to recover those forgotten treasures and bring some unique rewards back from the depths, like an ascended-quality Diver’s Breather and new breather-exclusive infusions to enhance your seaworthiness both in and out of combat. Becoming the swiftest diver under the sea will require dedication—and no self-respecting salty sea dog wants to miss the Freebooter title!”

You’ll want to check out the patch notes for complete changes to your specific class, but it’s worth pointing out that nobody seems that happy on Reddit, except maybe Engineers.

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Roger Melly

I’ll wait for sale on the expansion packs before trying this again . I liked some of what it had to offer on release but not enough to spend 40 pounds on the two expansions .


I think they need an “underwater/swimming appearance” other than full armor, which always looks (to me) kinda ridiculous.

GW2 does offer a “swimmer appearance/hide armor” when you dive into water; I think even that appearance would be preferable to wearing full plate armor or long wizard robes while swimming or fighting underwater.

Duey Bear

Schlag is the hero we need, but not what we deserve.

Dug From The Earth

hmmm… improvements are improvements… but i was more hoping for a complete redesign of the functionality.

For me, having a separate set of weapon skills for underwater is one of the main reasons why i dislike going swimming. 90% of the game is spent being familiarized with your normal skills… Jump in the water and its like “wait… whats this do again?” and “Ugh, im so unfamiliar with this rotation”

Add that to the fact that so many classes have certain abilities become completely unusable in the water, drastically limiting what they can put on their bars. Especially elite skills, and you have gameplay that people like me just want to avoid… Regardless of how amazing the visuals in the water look

All these new changes only seem to speed up the flow of combat, which is fixing a problem that wasnt anywhere at the top of my list.

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Tobasco da Gama

Well, it seems like the other thing this revamp does is address a large number of those unusable abilities, at least.


“Jump in the water and its like “wait… whats this do again?”

Exactly this.

I also find that (1) there’s never anyone around to fight underwater bosses (gee, I wonder why…) and (2) it takes me a lot longer to kill stuff underwater (probably because of my unfamiliarity with my underwater weapon skills). I particularly hate underwater skills that “whoosh” me in some direction or other (usually into some mob I didn’t want to fight).

So … umm … it’s strictly terra firma for me.

Arsin Halfmoon

Wow, that blog post drowns us in a bunch of water puns.

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#H2Ohmygosh :P

Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

It seems highly unlikely ANet would have spent the time and effort revamping underwater combat to this extent after six years of ignoring it if they weren’t planning on adding some significant underwater content at some point in the future.

Here’s hoping for a full-scale underwater expansion. There’s a Sea Dragon out there somewhere, let’s not forget.


As of Heart of Thorns launch it was off the table, but things change.


I certainly hope so. Such a shame underwater content has largely been ignored despite basically being the only MMORPG to dedicate so much to underwater combat itself as well as more of the actual assets.


Well, it’s better than nothing I guess. That’s a little treasure hunt to do.

There’s a new mount too, it might seem a tiny bit familiar to players of another game:


Or anime orr mythology in general.

Bryan Turner

Hmm, well perhaps a Power Blood Reaper might offer up some decent Offensive Support between Vamp Presence, Might Generating Wells, and equipping a Dagger Offhand for Blood is Power.

Odds are ‘conventional wisdom’ will claim other wise.

Randy Savage

GW2 might have the best underwater combat in any MMO, but in the end it is still underwater combat.

Yoshi Senpai

Winner of default victories.