Condition Damage Uncapped?

March 25, 2015 Matthew Bickley

The good thing about expansions is that it allows developers to think outside the box. When a game is launched into the wild they no longer have the freedom to manipulate the systems to their hearts content and must instead abide, to a certain degree, by the rules that have been established. When a new expansion is being planned, however, the sky is the limit and the old conventions are free to be changed. We are seeing this kind of developmental approach right now in the Heart of Thorns beta.

In the current game conditions can reach a maximum of twenty-five stacks before no new applications will be applied. During the original beta and preview weekends it was explained that the reason for this cap was the backend hardware that handled the calculation on conditions. Essentially they had to limit the number so they didn't fry the servers.

With Heart of Thorns currently the limit on condition capping has been removed and we are seeing some very interesting changes coming out of the beta. One player wrote that when fighting the Wyvern in a smallish group they were able to stack bleeding up over 100, at which point the icon simply changed to an exclamation point. This type of change could have the potential to further shake up the meta, just as the changes to control have enabled players to use weapons and builds they haven't in the past.

While currently running a condition heavy build, in most parts of the PvE game, is not the most optimal, if ArenaNet decides to remove the condition cap things could drastically change. Boss fights in particular are lasting longer which which means that builds with a focus on condition damage could see an upswing as the "ramp up time" is no longer an issue.

There are many professions with builds currently that are able to reach condition caps fairly easily but these builds are on the lower end of the spectrum because of the cap. Conditions are so prevalent throughout the game that having one player able to stack twenty-five stacks of Bleeding is irrelevant because the other four players of the party are bringing their own stacks of the condition. If the cap is removed in Heart of Thorns then having a build that focuses on conditions, especially for the longer encounters, will be very practical, and in some instances preferable.

Perhaps it is this change that will help bring professions like the Necromancer into the fold of the PvE meta. No longer will the Necromancer be shunned for it's lack of group utility, but instead can be favored for the exorbitant amount of conditions they can bring, which will in turn add additional DPS and make running content quicker for all involved.

It's nice to see ArenaNet toying with their systems and seeing the way that they can be improved. Hopefully removing the condition cap makes it in the game so that players who favor that style of play will no longer feel like a hinderance to their party.