GW2’s combat was developed as an action experience. Active movement should matter, positioning should be important and visual queues/reactions are what separate the great player from the bad. To support this, classes were given dodges as innate abilities and a slew of other active skills that allow them to avoid the big hits from their foes. A party with nothing but offensive equipment is able to complete any content by playing well and timing their abilities correctly. Unless you play a Necromancer.
Necromancer have damage mitigation in the form of DeathShroud and this was deemed such a powerful ability that in exchange for it Necros sacrifice damage immunities/mobility/health recovery. DeathShroud is a very powerful mechanic and would in conjunction with all that be horribly OP, but as it is now DeathShroud goes against everything that the game’s combat was built upon by having the Necro actually tank the big hits. DeathShroud is a skill that would be perfectly in place on other MMO’s holy trinity design, but that sticks out as cumbersome within GW2’s systems. DeathShroud allows the Necro to play recklessly, to a certain point, since it allows Necro to survive more attacks than any other profession, but where is the skillful play in that? Why does such a big part of 1/8 of the professions maintain behavior that the game was designed to have left behind?
When you take DeathShroud into PvP a whole other slew of problems pop up. Necro’s have attrition as their core combat philosophy, but DeathShroud is anything but an attrition mechanic, as any experienced Necro can attest, when you get pulled into combat battle becomes a ticking clock, the longer the fight lasts the less likely the Necro is to win.
Why is that? Because Necro’s sustainability also goes against GW2’s intended combat design. Any other profession will sustain by avoiding the enemy’s attacks and using positioning and skills to mitigate damage while at the same time recovering their HP. The Necro cannot avoid the enemy’s damage and recover HP at the same time. DeathShroud blocks all forms of health recovery- Unholy Sanctuary is not meaningful enough to make a difference- and that means that a Necro’s HP is constantly depleting during combat. But, you might say, DeathShroud also works as HP! The Necro can recover LifeForce in % chunks and has a huge pool of HP! Well, here’s the problem, when DeathShroud is active LF also gets spent as a % for each second and a Necro needs to attack a foe to buy gw2 gold!
People generally try their hardest to avoid being attacked. When a Necro and another profession engage in combat and both decide to play defensively and recover their HP the other professions will at the same time avoid being attacked and recover HP, the Necro will use his healing skill and not be able to attack the enemy and recover LF. So the phase of recovery is over and both go back to hitting each other, the Necro is building up LF now right? Well yes, but he’s gone back to losing his health as well! This leads to a cycle of constantly decreasing health for the Necro. Necros are constantly fighting against a clock in combat, we have to go all in burst, even in condition builds, or inevitably lose a fight.
The best strategy against a Necro is to play conservatively, the Necro is always being worn down during a fight. How can that be the reality of the profession with attrition as its combat philosophy?!?
TL;DR – DeathShroud is part of old MMO Holy Trinity design and doesn’t fit nor work with GW2 combat.