tl;dr: Reduce direct AC damage to players. Retain AC niche of AoE anti-infantry by adding Vulnerability, Cripple and/or Weakness to skills. Reduce the amount of supply a zerg can snatch up in a karma train without hurting small group supply counts and therefore reduce how much offensive siege can be sustainably deployed at each barrier.
4/30/2013 – Arrow Cart skill 1 damage is buffed by 80%, Crippling Arrows damage is buffed by 17% and Barbed Arrows damage is buffed by 60% plus the bleed is extended to 15 seconds. Arrow Cart mastery is added to the WvW trait lines.
7/5/2013 – In this WvW guide (https://youtu.be/64Mwats025Q?t=9m56s) by developer Hugh Norfolk (owner of Red BL NEC), he goes over various siege machines and what they’re good for. He tauts Arrow Carts as being useful for Keep defenses. “The purpose of these things is really to start getting those big AoEs down—getting those things to really damage large groups of areas.” He also describes them as doing moderate to high damage to infantry. He says the benefit of using them over skills is that they have a target cap of 50 instead of 5.
8/23/2013 – A player-made thread on these forums (https://forum-en.gw2archive.eu/forum/game/wuv/4-months-in-Arrow-Cart-Mastery-has-split-WvW/first) says the effect of the Arrow Cart buff is that there are no longer any good fights in keeps. They claim that they need too many people to take anything and, as such, people have begun to run in 60-man zergs instead of the usual 20. They also claim that commanders will no longer attack a defended Keep.
7/26/2016 – Siege weapons can now be affected by conditions and critical strikes. Their health is doubled to compensate. Siege damage from other siege weapons remains the same, however, effectively doubling how long it takes to counter siege with siege.
Reduce Fire Arrows (skill 1) damage by 50%. Give it a 300% damage bonus to siege (so, same time-to-kill for siege as prior to 7/26/2016).
-This is a partial revert as the amount of sustain and especially outgoing healing has substantially increased since 2013. The idea is to make it possible to fight under Arrow Cart fire so long as you don’t just sit in it. Groups should have the option to push the entrenched positions and destroy the siege.
Reduce Fire Crippling Arrows (skill 2) damage to match skill 1. This is about a 10% reduction. Reduce the duration of the Crippled condition to 3 seconds from 4. Now also inflicts 3 seconds of Weakness. Reduce cooldown to 6 seconds from 9.
-There was little point in using this skill before unless you had several Arrow Carts and coordinated to keep enemies Crippled while other Arrow Carts dealt high damage. That’s not a situation that should exist. Instead, the focus should shift to the debilitating conditions.
Reduce Fire Barbed Arrows (skill 3) damage to match skill 1. This is about a 40% reduction. Replace the bleed with 10 stacks of Vulnerability for 10 seconds. Reduce the cooldown to 6 seconds from 9.
-The Bleed was pretty pointless. It dealt more total damage than skill 1 on paper over an extended period of time, but since it had a much longer cooldown the actual damage increase was not significant. If we also consider that Bleed can be cleansed and zergs excel at cleansing conditions, it was not accomplishing it’s goal of being anti-zerg.
I switched to Vulnerability to make it a potent anti-zerg skill when you actually have other damage to cash in on that Vulnerability. If you just have a gauntlet of Arrow Carts, you’ll see a large reduction in damage from today.
In general, I’ve shifted Arrow Carts to non-damaging conditions instead of damage. Since zergs are so good at cleansing conditions, I’ve lowered the cooldown on the skills that apply them. There should still be a window to act but the Arrow Carts also cannot be ignored. Meanwhile, the damage dealt to Siege by Arrow Carts remains effectively the same as before 7/26/2016.
Add a 200% damage boost versus siege to Fire (skill 1).
-This is to return their time-to-kill numbers to pre 7/26/2016 and to make up for the removal of skill 3. Since skill 3’s chief purpose was to damage siege, it served as a DPS spike that ultimately didn’t mean much since it was on such a long CD.
Replace skill 3 with Bulwark: Block all attacks from the front of the ballista for 6 seconds. Cooldown 12 seconds.
-This is to, perhaps, allow Ballistae to survive long enough to deal damage. Since they are so easily obstructed, they must be built where they can be destroyed by any ranged attack. This has rendered them largely useless whereas they should be better than Arrow Carts at destroying enemy siege.