With all due respect to the dearly departed WoW Insider hunter column. ;)
Following the initial dump of the Warlords of Draenor alpha novel last week, WoW technical game designer and celery-gnawing glitter maniac Chadd “Celestalon” Nervig took to the twitwaves, as he is oft wont to do. And the interviewed-by-Olivia-Grace-waves, as he is not oft wont to do. And the live-interview-on-major-WoW-fansite-shows-waves, as he has never before been wont to do.
Across all of these various and sundry forms of interaction, Nervig answered a ridiculously large number of questions from players seeking clarifications and further info on the changes we have in store for us in Warlords.
Meanwhile, Warlords datamining began as the first alpha client hit public test servers, bringing with it brand-new waves of speculation and misinformation — as well as some intriguing glimpses of what may yet to come to pass for we wily ones.
So. To supplement my post last week summarizing (nearly) all of the rogue info in the first alpha novel — a masterfully organized, but depressingly ugly and text-heavy, tour de force of bullet points and explanations — I will now unceremoniously dump a scattershot list of (nearly) all the rogue-relevant odds and ends we learned over the past several days.
I know I should do a better job organizing all this, but I’m almost as cranky as I am exhausted and I want to be sure to just get all this stuff up on the blog before PAX East begins and we potentially get a new influx of information. (Fierydemise is among our prominent classfolk who will be attending the conference; keep at least one eye on his Twitter feed over the next few days, and one or two more on his blog.)
Alright. Here’s a bunch of stuff.
- Blizzfolk admit they have a lot of ponderin’ to do regarding the future of rogue poisons. With both Mind-Numbing and Paralytic gone in WoD, “which poison do I use” suddenly feels like a less-interesting choice than ever, what with us only having two lethal and two non-lethal poisons left.
- Looks like our PvP set bonus will be changing, though, suggesting PvP rogues will have to apply Crippling Poison via their blades in the future rather than their gear.
- Nervig also noted that the new L100 talent Venom Zest would work with Instant Poison, which Combat rogues in the new expansion will be using instead of Deadly.
- Movement speed buffs: In his interview with Final Boss, Nervig explained how movement speed buffs would be streamlined and made more consistent for all classes. There are two basic rules of the road:
- #1: “Self-only passive bonuses” — such as our L15 Nightstalker talent — will stack additively with no limits. So if we’re a night elf rogue, we could get 20% movement speed while stealthed from Nightstalker plus the 2% movement speed from the night elf racial Quickness, for a total 22% speed boost while stealthed.
- #2: “Shared or temporary bonuses” — such as our Sprint ability and our Burst of Speed talent — can overlap, but only the most powerful will actually be allowed to work. Sprint and BoS both increase our speed by the same amount (70%), so the main takeaway here is that 1) the recently introduced bug will be fixed, allowing us to hit BoS while Sprint is still active (but without actually going any faster), and 2) we’ll never again be able to gain insane levels of run speed by combining Sprint with other run speed boosters.
- #1 and #2 above will stack additively. If you’re a night elf in stealth with Nightstalker talented and you hit Sprint, you’ll get 2% plus 20% plus 70% for a 92% total speed boost while Sprint is active.
- Glyphs: Datamining gave us a first look at what some of our new glyphs may look like — and they are iiiinteresting. Try not to put too much stock into numbers at this point; it’s the idea behind each glyph that’s worth paying attention to.
- Glyph of Elusiveness cuts Evasion’s cooldown by 30 seconds.
- Glyph of Energy bumps our maximum energy up by 20.
- Glyph of Energy Flows grants us 10 energy each time we successfully dodge while Evasion is up. (This makes it a pretty sweet-looking option for soloing, and may have niche value in PvP or even PvE group play.)
- Glyph of Disappearance is an exclusively Assassination/Combat glyph that shaves a full minute off our Vanish cooldown, but with a trade-off that we won’t automatically enter regular stealth mode when Vanish wears off.
- Backstab (Subtlety): Man, has there been a lot of chatter about Backstab. Positional requirements are being removed from our Ambush and Feral druids’ Shred, but not Backstab. They’re only being loosened: Nervig clarified that we’ll be able to use it from the side, just not the front.
- Nervig has staunchly defended the decision, countering that the restriction “fits Subtlety’s theme” and suggesting that the DPS difference between Backstab and Hemorrhage is small enough that it’s something we can “opt into.” He vowed that “Backstab is not something that will ‘hold back’ Subtlety.”
- To which rogue blogger Haileaus replied, “Say whaaaaa?“
- And then there was Bashiok. Oh, Bashiok.
- Premeditation (Subtlety): Backstab ain’t the only controversy stirring among Subtlety rogue fans.
- Confusion and anger met the stated plans to change Premed into a passive ability that automatically grants two combo points whenever we use Ambush or Garrote from stealth (as long as Shadow Dance isn’t active). Even though the change is one of the “leveling perks” that Sub rogues will get as they make their way from 91 to 99, many have pointed out that it feels more like a nerf than a perk.
- Initially, Nervig defended the decision, saying that the change — when coupled with plans to make combo points stack on the rogue — would be “a significant net gain” for Sub rogues.
- Within a day, though, he appeared to change his mind, admitting that player feedback had merit and the designers still had work to do. In a lengthy back-and-forth with players on Twitter, he discussed some of the challenges in finding an effective way to make Premed passive — but it appears as though he and the rest of the design team are gonna do their durndest to find a way to make it happen.
- Weapon options:
- The reason Assassination rogues still won’t be able to wield axes (or maces, presumably)? They’re not stabby enough.
- Even though Mut *will* be able to use fist weapons and swords, the intent is just for us to get by with them — not for them to truly compete with daggers when DPS really matters. (We did get some slightly conflicting Blizzthoughts on this, but I trust Nervig’s more in this case.)
- Meanwhile, the plan is for Subtlety to still remain dagger-centric (well, assuming you still want to use Backstab and not go with Hemo out of spite), with no swords on the table.
- Also not on the table at present: Transmogrifying fists onto swords and vice versa.
- Smoke Bomb: It’ll still be a defensive raid cooldown, a feature that was added midway through Mists. But as part of an effort to 1) reduce the power of raid CDs for DPS classes across the board and 2) bring all DPS’ raid cooldowns closer to one another in terms of strength, we’ve been told Smoke Bomb will be nerfed — we just don’t know by exactly how much yet.
- Level 90 talents: They still plan to keep Anticipation, Marked for Death and Shuriken Toss in that row — at least “for now.”
- Strength gear: Is not something we’re going to want to equip in Warlords, Brian Holinka confirmed.
- Disarm Trap: In case there was any lingering hope that even though the spell is going away, we may still be able to right-click on traps to remove them — at least in old raids or some such — ah, nope. Although it’s an old, overdone, often-incorrect complaint that PvP concerns ruin the fun for PvE players, in this particular case it is indeed entirely about PvP rebalancing, not a desire to reduce button bloat.
- Adrenaline Rush (Combat): Earlier in Mists, Combat rogues’ wrists fell off thanks to a set bonus that dropped our global cooldown to just half a second for most of our offensive abilities. Nervig affirmed that this is currently the plan once again for Warlords. The GCD reduction part, I mean; hopefully they’ll find a way to guard against the de-wristing part.
- Blade Flurry (Combat): Designers are still clearly working through some questions regarding how we’ll use Blade Flurry in WoD. Although it’s clear they intend for us to start mixing Fan of Knives and Crimson Tempest into our AoE (see Combat’s leveling perks), what’s less clear is how powerful they want Blade Flurry itself to be. Nervig said they were still considering changes, such as the possibility of BF triggering poisons (it currently does not).
- Improved Ambidexterity (Combat): This leveling perk for Combat rogues only, which removes the dual-wield penalty for autoattacking, was confirmed to affect hit chance, not damage. In other words, the 19% extra hit penalty for off-hand autoattacks will go away, but the 25% damage reduction will (apparently) remain.