Making a Splash: Changes to Underwater Combat and Rewards

by Karl McLain Jessica Croft and Irenio Calmon-Huang on May 08, 2018


Today’s update brings changes to the deadeye elite specialization and general balance tweaks, but in this blog post we’ll dive into a soggy subject: underwater combat. We know this isn’t floating at the top of everyone’s request list, but we’ve seen it come up for air multiple times over the years. We’ve now made a significant number of balance and functionality changes to how you fight beneath the waves.

Plumbing the Depths

We approached this by reviewing the original design for underwater combat, where fighting was slower to make it feel realistic and functional inside a 3D space. We decided to wash some of those foundations away and rebuild something better.

Our design goals for this update were as follows:

  • Underwater combat should not be any less effective than its on-land counterpart.
  • Underwater movement can be significantly more effective.
  • Underwater skills should have combat-flow parallels to on-land weapons.

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

Here are a few examples of profession changes:

  • The elementalist’s Tidal Wave skill now moves players at nearly double its previous speed, and it scales damage based on the distance traveled.
  • The guardian’s trident auto-attack has been reworked and is now a three-part ranged chain, which should flow much better into its other skills.
  • The revenant gains the underwater use of a trident, as well as the ability to channel Jalis, granting them much greater versatility and playstyle options.

Sunken Treasure!


Compared to Tyria’s terra firma, the water is largely unexplored. 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!

We hope to see you swimming along soon!