Here’s a juicy topic for a new rogue year.
@Alyndra1 It's a common concern of players for sure.—
Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) January 01, 2013
@Alyndra1 To use FPS terms, the high auto+poison damage keeps rogues feeling like an SMG instead of a shotgun. Maybe time for a change?—
Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) January 01, 2013
@nerdycanuck And I'm not saying the SMG feel is a bad design. Watching bars chew away quickly can be entertaining too. Diversity is good.—
Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) January 02, 2013
(Quick acronym glossary: “FPS” is short for “first-person shooter,” and “SMG” is “submachine gun.”)
Concerns over rogue damage feeling too “passive” in Mists date back to beta testing, where a number of rogue players posted to the beta forums that they felt too high a proportion of our damage was coming from autoattacks and poisons, particularly in the Assassination spec. This issue sometimes ran alongside a different complaint that was especially pronounced for Mut rogues: That they spent too much time waiting for their energy to regenerate between using their main damage-dealing abilities (namely Mutilate).
To me, the argument here isn’t over whether too much of our damage is “active” or “passive” — terms that I think mean different things to different people. I, for instance, consider Slice and Dice to be an active ability for Combat and Subtlety rogues, because it’s a button you have to push on a pretty regular basis in order to maintain decent DPS. (Plenty of folks disagree, and do so convincingly.)
The real issue, in my mind, is over whether it feels fun, engaging and meaningful when we use our damage-dealing abilities. And, on a similar vein, whether we feel like we’re doing something cool and special when we use those abilities wisely and correctly. Slice and Dice doesn’t feel satisfying to many people because it only enhances damage we have no active control over. It’s little more than background noise in our gameplay.
By contrast, cooldowns like Adrenaline Rush (Combat) are a bit more fun because we can “feel” their impact when we use them — mostly by virtue of the fact that our energy bar is suddenly refilling a lot quicker. It’s still not a game-changer, but it’s more engaging and the “feedback” we get from using it is a little more satisfying. Shadow Blades is somewhat similar in that it really amps up our combo point generation, a change we can actually see on our screens and in our increased rate of button-smushing.
Incidentally, Shadow Dance over in the Subtlety spec is a more interesting example of an engaging cooldown/ability. It completely alters our gameplay while it’s active, which can be enjoyable to those who know how to do it well. Problem is, none of the other specs have that additional layer of complexity. (IMO, this is part of why we’ve seen such dismal Sub representation in raids since Mists launched, despite repeated statements that its single-target DPS is competitive with Assassination’s. If we have three paths ahead of us and they all lead to the same pot of gold, most of us are gonna take the easier road — and that road ain’t Sub.)
The reason I bring up all of this is that I don’t think the answer to “rogues deal too much passive damage” is as simple as many suggest it is — i.e., make autoattacks/poison damage weaker and notch our special abilities upward to compensate. (Although I don’t think even accomplishing that is truly a “simple” task of tweaking a few numbers, given how our various damage sources and modifiers interact.)
I think that may be *part* of the answer, sure. But doing so still won’t change the fact that too many of the buttons we have don’t feel good to use, because even though they do significantly increase our damage when used wisely, they don’t do so in a way that’s fun, engaging and noticeable.
For instance, as just one small example: What if Vendetta, instead of providing a flat damage increase for 20 seconds every two minutes, significantly jacked up our crit chance for several seconds every minute? In addition to those big crit numbers that many PvPers love to see, we’d also suddenly get a rush of additional Dispatch procs, altering our gameplay and giving us extra buttons to mash while continuing to make our DPS numbers look gaudier.
If that general type of adjustment could be made to our other less-interesting abilities — Sanguinary Vein (Sub passive), Potent Poisons (Mut mastery), perhaps some PvE-friendly adjustments to Shiv that make poisons interact in unique ways with NPCs/bosses — how much more fun would the class become to play at end game? What problems would it still leave behind?