Boons are bonuses which you can pick in different trees as you progress into campaigns, join a guild, or unlock PVP achievements. Every character has access to the same boons, contrarily to feats which depend on the class. There are 3 types of boons :
- Campaigns Boons
- Guild Stronghold Boons
- Campaign : PVP Boons
As you complete campaigns, you will get access to boons (usually 4 to 8 points per campaign, to a current maximum of 73 points + 4 with the 1st episode of Sharandar).
With the mod 20 stats rework, stat boons are now very underwhelming (you can get a maximum of 4% Power or HP, or 1% in any offensive or defensive stat or Control Resistance, 0.2% per boon point each). But they are straight bonuses and won't make you weaker in scaled content. Power and HP are certainly very valuable for everyone, just like Defense and Awareness. Then, it's all about balancing your stats.
The Tier 2 boon Marathon Runner (up to 12.5% movement speed) is a must have for everyone, as it will make questing a bit faster and will also help you evade aoes.
There are 4 boons that increase damage and damage resistance, up to 5%, against Cultists, Fiends, Dinosaurs, and Undeads, respectively. All of these are nice but very situationnal. There are certainly many Fiends and a few Undeads in end game dungeons, but not in very end game content. So I don't think it's a good idea to pick those, unless you can afford a loadout for a specific type of monsters, or you have spare retrain tokens to use.
There are 3 boons that increase healing potions efficiency (by up to 15%). On top of the efficiency boost, at max rank they also add a chance to give you a Heal over Time effect, increase your maximum HP, or increase your maximum Power, respectively, for the next 30s. Considering the fact potions were buffed quite a lot, and there are 2 Guild Boons that make them even more potent (either by boosting their efficiency even more, or healing your whole party) these can actually be quite interesting, though they are also situationnal.
There's also a Gold Gain boon, but considering the value of gold, it's totally useless (you can easily make tons of gold with crafting).
You can only pick 2 of those boons, once you have spent at least 45 points in other boons and they all give 1% per rank :
- Welcome Blessing : up to 4% Incoming Healing
- Masterclass : up to 4% Forte
- Second Wind : up to 4% Stamina Regeneration
- Blessed Touch : up to 4% Outgoing Healing
- Call of Power : up to 4% Action Point Gain
- Quick Turnaround : up to 4% Recharge Speed
- Constant Control : up to 4% Control Bonus
Tanks should pick Welcome Blessing and either Masterclass (Barbarians have a great Forte stats, the others not so much but it's still 2% Defense + 1% in 2 other stats at max rank) or Quick Turnaround (if you rely mostly on your cooldowns).
Healers should pick Masterclass and Blessed Touch.
Damage Dealers should pick Masterclass and either Quick Turnaround (if you rely mostly on your cooldowns) or Call of Power.
You can only pick 1 of these boons, and you can only put points in this one after you've spent 10, 30, and 60 boon points. Effects are unlocked and upgraded as you increase the rank of your master boon.
- Deathly Rage : chance on kill to get up to 6% Combat Advantage, 6% Power, and 6% Critical Severity, for 10s (2% per rank).
- Death's Bulkwark : chance on kill to get up to 6% Defense, 6% Critical Avoidance, 6% temporary HP, for 10s (2% per rank).
- Blood Lust : chance on encounter use to decrease target's Defense by up to 3% (1% per rank), deal damage up to 150% of your Damage stat to your target (120% +10% per rank), and increase Action Point Gain by up to 1.5% for 10s (0.5% per rank).
- Focused Retaliation : chance on encounter use to get up to 6% Critical Avoidance, 6% Deflect, and 6% Deflect Severity, for 15s (2% per rank).
- Life Lessons : chance on at-will use, when you health is below 30%, to add additionnal damage to your attack up to 150 magnitude (50 per rank), apply a damage over time to your target up to 150 magnitude (50 per rank), and heal yourself over time for 10% of the damage you deal, for 10s.
- Enhanced Application : chance on at-will use, when your health is below 30%, to heal yourself for up to 3% of your maximum HP (1% per rank), heal yourself over time for up to 6% of your maximum HP (2% per rank), and reduce the damage of the next attack by up to 30% (10% per rank), for 10s.
- Blessed Advantage : chance when you heal for at least 10% of the target's health, to apply a heal over time to your target for up to 6% of your target's maximum HP (2% per rank), give them up to 6% Power (2% per rank), and reduce their cooldowns by up to 15% (5% per rank), for 10s.
- Blessed Resilience : chance when you heal your target for at least 10% of the target's health, give them up to 6% Defense (2% per rank), increase their maximum HP by up to 6% (2% per rank), and restore up to 10% of their stamina (4% +2% per rank), for 10s.
Tanks should pick Focused Retaliation. Enhanced Application would have been nice for ToMM if the requirement was not to have less than 30% HP...
Healers should pick Blessed Advantage, as Tanks are supposed to have capped Defense and shouldn't rely on you to get their Stamina back (that's what the Elven Battle enchantment is for).
Damage Dealers should pick Blood Lust, as Focused Retaliation no longer returns damage back to your attacker. Deathly Rage is an option for solo, but it won't help against boss monsters with no adds, and stats can be capped without this boon when you reach very end game.
Guild Stronghold Boons
Being in a level 20 guild is a huge advantage : not only that means people to play with and help you, but you will also have access to 3 Guild Boons at their maximum power. Together, these will give you up to 3000 Item Level (which is a very good boost in Damage and HP early on, and also helpful to unlock access to dungeons and campaigns later on). Guilds can also offer 1 PVP boon (which doesn't improve item level). You can select a single boon in each category (Offense, Defense, Utility, and PVP) and change it at will with no need for a retrain token. As a guild can only have 4 out of the 9 buildings for boons (which are the Barracks, the Explorers' Guild, the Mercenary Outpost, the Stable, the Training Yard, the Wizard's Workshop, the Temple, and the PVP buildings : Siege Workshop and Siege Smithy), you will not have access to all of the boons. Choose your guild wisely !
In Offense, there are 2 types of boons, Stat boons and Overload enchantment boons :
Stat boons :
- Power Bonus : up to 3000 Power (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Barracks.
- Accuracy Bonus : up to 3000 Accuracy (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Explorers' Guild.
- Critical Strike Bonus : up to 3000 Critical Strike (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Stable.
- Critical Severity Bonus : up to 3000 Critical Severity (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Mercenary Outpost.
Overload enchantment boons :
- Enhance Overload : Slayer : up to 10% more damage from a PvE Slayer enchantment (bought at the Gemmonger in the Stronghold) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Training Yard.
- Enhance Overload : Ward : up to 10% more damage reduction from a PvE Ward enchantment (bought at the Gemmonger in the Stronghold) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Wizard's Workshop.
- Enhance Overload : Companion Ward and Slayer : up to 50% more damage from a Companion Slayer enchantment and up to 10% damage reduction from a Companion Ward enchantment (bought at the Gemmonger in the Stronghold) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Mercenary Outpost.
Where they matter (against Giants, Trolls, Dragons, Demons, Elementals, Feys, Lycanthropes, Orcs, Thayans, and Undeads), Overload enchantments make a pretty big difference and the Enhance Overload : Slayer boon would be best in slot for Damage Dealers, while the Enhance Overload : Ward boon would be best in slot for Healers and Tanks. These are pretty situationnal, and it's not always easy to understand on which monsters they are useful or not.
Stat Boons are good when you cannot benefit from an Overload enchantment, and you'll pick preferably Power, then Critical Strike or Critical Severity (lowest of the two), then Accuracy, depending on which stats you have not capped yet.
In Defense, there are only Stat boons :
- Hit Points Bonus : up to 12k Hit Points and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Wizard's Workshop.
- Defense Bonus : up to 3000 Defense (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Stable.
- Awareness Bonus : up to 3000 Awareness (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Temple.
- Critical Avoidance Bonus : up to 3000 Critical Avoidance (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Mercenary Outpost.
- Deflect Bonus : up to 3000 Deflect (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Training Yard.
- Control Resist Bonus : up to 3000 Control Resist (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Explorers' Guild.
- Incoming Healing Bonus : up to 3000 Incoming Healing (+2.8%) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all other stats), requires the Barracks.
Wherever you have more than 700k HP, Awareness is the best. It's still very good if your Awareness is high and you have above 500k HP. If your Awareness is capped, then Defense is good if you have above 900k HP. In any other case, HP is the best (because it's boosted by +% HP bonuses from Constitution and many other things). So Healers and Damage Dealers will almost always pick the Hit Points Bonus, while Tanks may pick the Awareness Bonus (or Defense Bonus if their Awareness is capped) if their HP are high enough. In scaled content, the Hit Points Bonus is definitely the best pick for everyone.
Here is the list of the Utility Boons :
- Experience Points Bonus : up to 30% bonus Experience and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Barracks. Note that this boon will give up to 10% Movement Speed in mod 21 instead of Bonus Experience.
- Treasure Hunter : up to 30% bonus Gold (obtained from monsters) and double the amount of masterwork materials collected from explorer's charts (bought from the Generalist at the Stronghold) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Explorers' Guild.
- Mount Speed Bonus : up to 20% Mount Speed and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Stable
- Group Heal Potion Bonus : when you use a potion, heals everyone else in the group for up to 75% of your healing potion effectiveness (doesn't work with stones of health, nor heals companions unfortunately... and it looks like its efficiency is only 62.5% instead of 75%, because Craptic maths...), and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Temple.
- Revive Sickness : reduces the effect of the resurection sickness (which can halve your Power and HP if you die too many times without going to a campfire) and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Temple.
- Glory Bonus : up to 30% Glory bonus (PVP currency), requires the Training Yard.
- Healing Potion Bonus : up to 48% more healing from potions and 800 Combined Ratings (-0.2% to all stats), requires the Wizard's Workshop.
Utility Boons are pretty useful but quite situationnal. Problem is none of them increase your stats while they all give less combined ratings than item level. As such they are detrimental to your stats. Unfortunately, there is no way to unequip them when you don't need them... unless you use a retrain token (Craptic™).
The Mount Speed Bonus is the obvious choice to make life better. But there are many places where you cannot use your mount (most of the dungeons). The Experience Points Bonus is good to level up a character, but also good at level 80 to benefit from overflow experience rewards (some RAD and refinement points when you accumulate 125k experience points, with diminishing returns when that happens multiple times in the same day).
If you have explorer's charts (which you can buy at your Stronghold with Guild Marks), always collect the materials with the Treasure Hunter boon and during a Double Profession event to get 4 times the expensive materials !
The Revive Sickness boon is a must have for high end trials, where losing too many Hit Points because of the revive sickness means you'll get killed over and over until you can't revive.
The Group Heal Potion Bonus is pretty good now as the very best potions (Potions of Radiant Healing +1, alchemy lvl 80 craft) were buffed to heal 264k HP (303k HP with the healing potions campaign boons), instead of 74k previously. That is up to 190k HP (should be 228k) for your group members when you use a potion, especially good in scaled content (they already broke healers with mod 19 anyway... do you still need a healer when everyone in the group can receive more than 1m HP every 20s from potions ? At least that makes an additionnal healing mechanic for healers, way better than the clunky stuff we got for mod 19...). The Healing Potion Bonus pretty much changes your regular potions into Stones of Health (Potions of Radiant Healing +1 will heal you for 390k HP, and even more with the campaign boons).
Here are the PVP Guild Boons :
- Enhance Overload : Slayer : up to 10% more damage from a PvP Slayer enchantment, requires the Siege Workshop.
- Enhance Overload : Stamina Drain : up to 6% more drain from a Stamina Drain enchantment, requires the Siege Workshop.
- Enhance Overload : Stamina Drain Ward : decreases the drain from a foe hitting with a Stamina Drain enchantment by up to 8%, requires the Siege Smithy.
- Enhance Overload : PVP Ward : up to 10% more damage reduction from a PvP Ward enchantment, requires the Siege Smithy.
These boons only impact the PVP overload enchantments (Marks of Stamina Drain, and Wards) which you can buy from the Gemmonger at your Stronghold. Not many guilds have these.
Every guild should have the Wizard's Workshop for the HP boon (also gives the PvE Ward boon and the Healing Potion boon, which are both nice to have).
The Stable is awesome for solo content, as it gives the Mount Speed Bonus boon (also gives the Critical Strike Boon and the Defense boon, which are nice though there are better alternatives).
High End players should find a guild with the Temple for the Revive Sickness boon (also gives the Awareness boon and the Group Heal Potion boon, which can be used in specific situations).
Artisans going for Masterwork should find a guild with the Explorers' Guild for the Treasure Hunter boon (also gives the Accuracy boon and the Control Resist boon, but these are useless).
The Training Yard is great for its Enhance Overload : Slayer boon (though it's very situationnal, it's very potent). It's also good for those who do PvP (for its Glory boon), also gives access to the Deflect boon (but it's useless).
The Siege Workshop or Siege Smithy are also good to have if you are into PvP.
Alternatively, the Barracks are nice for their Power boon (also give the Incoming Healing boon and the Experience Points boon), which are nice overall but much less important than they were in the past.
The Mercenary Outpost is pretty much useless.
Campaign : PVP Boons
You can have up to 6 boons from the PVP Campaign, by scoring a total of 1500 kills or assists, capturing 300 flags, and winning 100 games. These boons will only be effective in PVP though.
You can put up to 3 points in Tier 1 :
- PvP Power : gain 3000/5000/6000 Power.
- PvP Critical Strike : gain 3000/5000/6000 Critical Strike.
- PvP Critical Severity : gain 3000/5000/6000 Critical Severity.
- PvP Health : gain 12k/20k/24k maximum Hit Points.
- PvP Defense : gain 3000/5000/6000 Defense.
- PvP Critical Avoidance : gain 3000/5000/6000 Critical Avoidance.
In PVP, many of the Damage Dealers will have their offensive stats capped already, so offensive stats will not be that useful. And there's no real point improving Critical Stats because players have Critical Avoidance (you won't deal any damage with your critical hits if your Critical Severity is below your opponent's Critical Avoidance... That said it's actually possible that you deal less damage with Critical hits than with regular hits if your Critical Severity is below your opponent's Critical Avoidance if there is no cap... Never know what to expect with Craptic and I won't test this), so Power is the only thing that really matters to deal damage if yours is not capped already (and maybe Critical Severity). Of course, Critical Strike and Critical Severity are still good options for Healers if they're not capped.
In terms of damage mitigation, Hit Points are generally the clear winner until you have extremely high HP. But there are two things to consider : Critical Avoidance is a lot more effective in PVP than in PVE, because the best Damage Dealers have high Critical Strike (against 50% for monsters); and the gains from boons are diminishing with ranks.
So, it is a good idea for everyone to pick Hit Points and Critical Avoidance at least once. The last boon point is best in Hit Points, unless you are a Tank with high HP, in which case, more Critical Avoidance is better.
You can put up to 2 points in Tier 2 :
- PvP AP Gain : gain 6%/10% AP Gain.
- PvP Control Resist : gain 6%/10% Control Resist.
- PvP Stamina Gain : gain 6%/10% Stamina Gain.
- PvP Recharge Speed : gain 6%/10% Recharge Speed.
If you rely on your cooldowns to be effective, then Recharge Speed is definitely the best choice. But again, the first point gives more than the second point in the same boon, so it can be interesting to improve 2 boons. Control Resist is definitely a good idea if your opponents use controls. AP Gain and Stamina Gain may be the least efficient ones, but they are still valid choices depending on your class and playstyle.
You can only put a single point in Tier 3 :
- Role Reversal : Tank and Healers deal 5% more damage, while Damage Dealers take 5% less damage.
- Adrenaline Rush : deflecting an attack grants you 15% Movement Speed for 5s.
- Deep Wound : critically hitting your opponent reduces their Incoming Healing by 15% for 5s.
This one depends mostly on your playstyle. Role Reversal is very potent for Tanks and Damage Dealers. Adrenaline Rush is great either for fleeing or reaching your opponent's faster if you are a melee class. Deep Wound is great against Healers and players with high self healing capabilities.