Who knew that Ghostcrawler held such a deep affection for the world’s wrist-brace manufacturers? As a Valentine’s Day gift to them, he announced last night that Combat rogues in Patch 5.2 would have a chance to spam their buttons like they’ve never spammed them before:
We are going to do something unusual and allow the [new PvE Tier 15 four-piece] set bonus to also reduce the global cooldown on rogue abilities to 0.7 sec during Shadow Blades.
This means that, if you have the four-piece, and you pop glyphed Adrenaline Rush and Shadow Blades at the same time, your global cooldown for most abilities will actually be HALF A FREAKING SECOND. I KNOW.
(GC did not say whether this change *only* impacted the Combat spec; his words were general enough that I think it’s likely it affects all three specs. Only Combat will see a massive benefit from it, though.)
The Gritty. And Some Nitty.
This impending button-mashing-madness for Combat raiders is the result of a long series of back-and-forth exchanges between players and Ghostcrawler (as well as between rogue theorycrafters and forumgoers), both in the forums and on Twitter.
Since the rogue Tier 15 set bonuses were first announced several weeks ago, a number of players have expressed concerns that the four-piece bonus benefited Combat a lot less than the other specs. The gist of these concerns revolved around how we currently use Shadow Blades and Adrenaline Rush at the same time because they make a beautiful combination for burst damage.
We already come awfully close to energy capping when those two cooldowns are paired, since AdRush more than doubles our energy regen (we get the flat 100% increase, but we also get more Combat Potency procs because AdRush increases our melee attack speed) and the extra combo points we get during Shadow Blades translates to us using our finishers (e.g., Eviscerate, which costs less energy than Sinister Strike) a lot more often than our CP generators.
Now bring in the new four-piece bonus we’ll get in Patch 5.2. It reduces the energy cost of our abilities by 40% while Shadow Blades is active — so, our Sinister Strikes and our Eviscerates (and everything else) get even cheaper, meaning we have even more energy to spare. Meanwhile, our gear will have more haste on it than at any point in the expansion (since gear has to keep getting better, else we would be very sad), further increasing our energy regen. It’s a formula for buttloads of energy capping.
As a result, theorycrafters began to think it’d be best for Combat rogues with the four-piece bonus to “decouple” Shadow Blades and AdRush — i.e., instead of using them at the same time, to make sure that they never overlap. That way we’d reduce the risks of energy capping. But we’d also lose the awesome damage benefits that come with SB and AR being active at the same time. Which threatened to make the set bonus decidedly weaker for Combat rogues than the other specs. Injustice!
GC’s recent announcement (excerpted at the top of this post; I’ll also copy the full text below for posterity/completeness) suggests that the design team agrees. That this is the way they chose to address the issue is… fascinating. It will certainly make Combat a *very* fast spec to use whenever Shadow Blades and AdRush are active — for rogues with the new four-piece bonus, that is. It’ll pretty much only be Thunder King raiders who run with it. You’ll be able to tell them apart from other players in trade chat because they’ll be the ones spamming messages like “WTB orthopedist who specializes in finger injuries PST.” (Or, because they’ll have permanently hooked claws for hands, it’ll probably look more like “wetb orhtopedist who specialzioes i n fingrinjjuries pst sry i have tyo ytpe weitrh my toes”)
UPDATE 2/14: I think I made Ghostcrawler sad with my carpal tunnel jokes. Now I feel badly.
@SvelteKumquat For 15 sec every 3 min? I think you'll be fine. We're not talking about LK Prot warriors here.—
Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) February 14, 2013
What Actually Got Said
For the sake of my own OCD and my fear that these statements will eventually vanish from the places they originally appeared, here’s a record of the back-and-forth players have had with Ghostcrawler over the four-piece bonus during the past week or two.
We started off with this tweet:
@JosephDelage1 Even if you aren't using SB and AR together?—
Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) February 09, 2013
Meanwhile, in the “PTR Class and Set Bonus Issues, Part II” thread in the official WoW forums, a player wrote that “its got to the point where the rogues in my guild thought about not popping ar and sb together for combat because of the rediculous nature of our energy situation and that inherently hurts our long term dps because sb wont benefit from the 2-3 cycles/finishers we use during the AR.”
What is the inherent problem with not using Adrenaline Rush and Shadowblades together? Doesn’t that sort of give you two Adrenaline Rushes? If it’s a big DPS loss then that would be a problem, but all it really seems to be doing is changing up your rotation a bit.
Another player tried to explain (using some unfortunately over-the-top language, which I won’t quote here but which really hurt his/her argument and made it harder for GC to understand where s/he was coming from) that “We already energy cap during Ad Rush, so giving us more energy during Shadow Blades does nothing, as de-coupling Ad Rush/Shadow Blades appears to be a DPS loss even with the 4 piece. I thought the goal was to boost combat single target damage in 5.2.”
To which GC responded:
We would need to see some numbers on this. If you hate to decouple the two CDs then I could see how it would be a problem. But decoupling them and using the set bonus should be a DPS increase.
Eventually, though, it looks like players did an effective enough job at conveying that the problem wasn’t that the set bonus was awful — it was just that it unintentionally discriminated against Combat relative to the other specs. That led Ghostcrawler to post this:
We think we understand the rogue concerns on the PvE 4pc better now. We don’t mind Combat having to unlink AR and SB to maximize the bonus, and we still think the set bonus is a DPS increase over not having it. However, it may be the case that the value of the set bonus forces Combat to swap to another spec because the cooldown stacking is one of the mechanics that keeps Combat competitive. To try to (ahem) combat this, we are going to do something unusual and allow the set bonus to also reduce the global cooldown on rogue abilities to 0.7 sec during Shadow Blades. This should help prevent GCD lock / energy capping. Normally we are very reluctant to reduce the GCD lower than 1 sec, so this is very much an experiment.
And then, finally, GC offered this clarification (which he also tweeted) when a person asked whether Shadow Blades would still stack with the Glyph of Adrenaline Rush (thus giving Combat rogues a 0.5 sec global cooldown on most abilities during Shadow Blades):
They will stack. As I said, it’s an experiment.