When ArenaNet dropped Guild Wars 2’s skill balancing update earlier this week, one change went a bit overlooked by a lot of observers: the tweaks to fall damage. Even to me, it seemed relatively innocuous and not as interesting as the new dynamic HUD. And definitely not as nifty as capes!one thread full of feedback on the official site, which led us to several more across Reddit where those players who actually used the traits are lamenting their removal.
So here’s what ArenaNet did: “Falling damage traits are being removed in order to free up design space and reduce the complexity of adept-tier traits.” That affected skills Arcane Abatement, Grenadier, Guardian, Descent into Madness, Terrifying Descent, Soften the Fall, Planar Protection, Uncatchable, and Peak Performance – i.e., one trait for each class.
“While fall damage reduction traits were useful when the game first launched we feel that they are currently over-complicating trait descriptions in a post-glider/mount world,” the studio explained last month. “Falling damage reduction is already pretty niche and in the past we have added additional functionality to make them more generally useful. However for most of these traits, that bonus functionality eventually became the main reason to take the trait. At this point we felt it just makes more sense to remove the fall damage portion, which leaves some design space if we want to buff these traits in the future.”
But as players are pointing out, free-to-play players don’t have access to gliders or mounts at all, plus the fall-damage reduction traits were useful to several different types of content, including WvWvW and certain jumping puzzles and areas that don’t actually allow gliders and mounts. While Anet did reduce fall damage by half for bomb-runners in Griffonrook Run, the rest of the world appears to have gone unchanged. Plus the traits weren’t given any extra bonus to make up for the lost mitigation.
In some of the Reddit discussion, players are now speculating that fall mitigation items will be added to the cash shop, which would be extra frustration. Either way, there’s plenty of confusion over why this has suddenly become a priority for ArenaNet to tinker with… unless there’s some unspoken reason ArenaNet’s doing all of this – for example, a theoretical fall-damage-related mastery line in upcoming content.