Archive for the ‘Official Patch/Hotfix Notes’ Category

(Last updated: April 11)

The first (at last!) official version of the Warlords of Draenor “alpha” notes are… very, very long. And winding. Much like the path a rogue must take through a battleground so as to avoid detection and catch their enemy unawares. Or something.

There are bits ‘n’ chunks ‘n’ morsels of rogue-related information scattered throughout this hefty document, and as you and I both know, rogues are not built to simply barrel through a huge blog post in order to reach their objective. We need a little something to slip past all of those silly, extraneous details the lesser classes care about and get right to the goods.

Read on, my brethren.

(Please keep in mind: These are *alpha* notes. Widespread testing has not even begun. Any and all of this can, and much of it likely will, change over the many months between now and the launch of WoD.)

The Really Big Stuff (Classwide)

  • Combo points will stack on the rogue, not the target. (this is not in the notes yet)
  • Beyond that, there are no major, fundamental changes to rogue mechanics on the table.
  • That said, a ton of existing spells and class mechanics are changing in ways that, although they seem subtle and small individually, will likely add up to create a more distinctive “feel” and theme for each rogue spec.
  • Also, nuances being added to each spec (well, more so for Assassination and Combat than Subtlety) will likely create more of a “skill gap” separating the damage-dealing potential of a person who’s “decent” at playing a rogue from a person who’s excellent at playing one.
  • Ambush will no longer have a positional requirement; it can be used in front or behind the target. (Backstab is a different story; see the Subtlety section below.)
  • The following spells will go bye-bye:
    • Disarm Trap
    • Dismantle
    • Expose Armor
    • Mind-Numbing Poison
    • Paralytic Poison
    • Redirect (since CPs will stack on the rogue; this is not in the notes yet)
    • Rupture (for combat spec only; Mut and Sub will still have it)
    • Shadow Blades

(more…)

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Throughout the Mists expansion, an unaddressed quirk had allowed rogues to cause trouble while stealthed for much longer than was intended.

No more.

From the March 18 Patch 5.4.7 hotfix list (though it appears to have been live for at least a day prior):

Resolved an issue where Vanish modified by Glyph of Vanish was incorrectly causing the Subterfuge effect to trigger twice. Vanish will now cancel its effect when the duration of Subterfuge expires.

In other words, what was happening here was that a rogue would cast Vanish, which would activate Subterfuge. Normally, both the “improved stealth mode” granted by Vanish and the Subterfuge buff last for three seconds, meaning they drop off at the same time. But the Glyph of Vanish makes that “improved stealth” last a total of five seconds. So it caused Subterfuge to actually proc twice — once when the rogue first hit Vanish, and then again when the five seconds wore off, extending their stealth by an additional three seconds.

(Correct me if I’m wrong, but if a rogue used Preparation after this, they could theoretically do everything all over again with an additional Vanish, actually giving them 16 seconds of stealth while still actively wreaking havoc.)

From what little I know about this bug, the value of exploiting it was not tremendous, particularly in PvP. Players had known about it for quite some time, but because it requires PvP rogues to burn a hugely valuable Vanish for somewhat dubious benefit, its relevance in competitive environments (specifically arena) was pretty limited.

It was probably utilized much more frequently among Subtlety raiders who were very serious about optimizing their DPS rotation, since its use during raid fights would have yielded more Ambushes (and, I’m assuming without actually pondering numbers here, better Find Weakness uptime).

But! Not anymore. :)

But but! There’s at least one upside:

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On March 11, this hotfix was posted:

Worgen

  • Darkflight’s movement speed increase no longer stacks with Burning Rush or Burst of Speed.

Almost immediately, rogues started noticing. And it wasn’t just the worgen-only Darkflight-BoS combo — which had reportedly allowed worgen rogues to briefly experience run speeds of up to 425% — that had apparently been affected. Burst of Speed no longer appears to stack with any other movement-speed enhancing spell, including the engineering perk Nitro Boosts.

This, in and of itself, appeared to cause only a small amount of grumbling. Worgen players have long been able to stack Darkflight with Burst of Speed, giving them a huge advantage in select situations — for instance, as a flag carrier in Warsong Gulch. Establishing better balance, even at this late stage in the expansion, is hard to argue against, particularly when the change is ultimately such a small one.

Regardless, though not explicitly laid out within the hotfix, the change appears to be “pretty much” intended:

What may be less intended is a side effect: While Burst of Speed is active, rogues appear to be locked out from using any other movement-enhancing spell, including Sprint. This prevents a rogue from, say, hitting Sprint just as BoS is about to wear off to maintain their 70% speed buff without interruption. Instead, BoS must actually drop off, briefly slowing the rogue, before Sprint can be activated.

Whether this is part of the intended changes or not — and whether it’ll be tweaked or not — remains to be seen. But it looks like at least the design team is keenly aware of the complaints.

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Quick post with a heads-up on the first direct change to the rogue class in a good while — though it won’t kick in until the next minor patch (5.4.7), which is currently still on the public test realm.

Nerve Strike now causes a successful Kidney Shot or Cheap Shot to also reduce the damage dealt by player targets by 25% (down from 50% for player targets). No changes to the talent when used against non-player targets.

That update to the official PTR patch notes, posted this evening, make official the datamining from earlier today.

Early reaction to the planned nerf has been muted. (This is no doubt at least in part due to the fact that another change revealed at the same time — warrior Charge becoming a root instead of a stun — caused a significant stir, before a clarification was issued that adding a stun effect would still be an option via talent.) Most of the player comments I’ve come across suggest it was an appropriate adjustment to the power of rogue peels (the ability to take pressure off of a teammate who’s being hurt) in arena comps.

Quoth WoW PvP chief Brian Holinka:

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Sorry for two things: 1) the delay on this post (this hotfix is at least two days old) and 2) the fact that I pretty much have no clue what it’s about. I am posting it late at night (on the right coast, at least) in hopes that I’ll be able to alleviate my OCD-ish need to report this while still ensuring that almost nobody reads it.

The Oct. 7 update to the official Patch 5.4 hotfix notes (not to be confused with the Oct. 9 update, which is the day I’m writing this post, but not the day to which I’m referring, because that would make too much sense) included this:

Corrected an issue with Cloak and Dagger that could allow Rogues to bypass some targeting and line-of-sight restrictions.

Yep. So. That happened.

I was away from gaming and blogging for virtually all of the past week-plus, so you guys may have more clue than me what this was about. My educated guess is that it was meant to bring Shadowstep’s and CnD’s mechanics closer together. For instance:

  • In PvE: Meanwhile, on the Siegecrafter Blackfuse fight in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, one of the tasks us damage-dealers need to perform involves jumping into a pipe so we can be transported over to a conveyor belt where adds spawn. Adds spawn on the belt every 30 seconds, but we can only use the pipe once every 60 seconds (thanks to a debuff placed on us). A few of you clever roguetypes realized that you could use Cloak and Dagger (but not Shadowstep) to bypass the debuff and teleport directly to an add on the belt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the hotfix resolved that little issue as well.

If I’m wrong about any or all of this, please yell at me and cast aspersions in the comments.

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Well, this’ll probably make a few people unhappy. :)

A new batch of hotfixes was just posted on WoW’s official site, and it includes a whole mess of balance changes to nearly every class.

These are the rogue bits:

  • Assassination: Assassin’s Resolve now increases the Rogue’s damage by 20% (down from 25%).
  • Subtlety: Sanguinary Vein now causes the Rogue to deal 35% additional damage to targets afflicted by Rupture, Garrote, or Crimson Tempest (up from 25%).
  • Subtlety: Tier-16 4-piece set bonus should no longer incorrectly activate from attacks other than Backstab.

I realize the Assassination nerf may instill within you a deep desire to wail and gnash your teeth, but before you grind those molars down to nubs, let me show you these:

One Spec to Rule Them All?

These are Raidbots’ DPS graphs (top 100 average; 25-man normal mode). That line up at the top is Assassination. On these three fights, it’s not even close — we’re talking a 10%-20% gap between Mut and the next-best spec.

Now, Raidbots’ trend lines and DPS averages always need to be taken with a healthy dose of salt, because any number of biases can potentially come into play that skew the data and make gaps look larger than they are. Our theorycrafter extraordinaire Fierydemise, for instance, offers that Mut’s quicker learning curve compared to most other specs/classes may be partly to blame.

But also keep in mind that the new raid has been out for two weeks now. Blizzard’s designers have access to a far deeper, far more informative array of data on raid performance than we do, and are notoriously (and understandably) reluctant to nerf specs after a patch has launched. It takes a *lot* for them to decide it’s worth it; clearly, in this case, they felt the cumulative evidence showed that Mut was blatantly overperforming — and that its overperformance was consistent, if not increasing, as more and more players began to progress through the new raid.

If the charts above hold true, the nerfs about to hit the spec (which likely won’t actually take effect until Tuesday’s restarts) won’t seriously affect its dominance on fights like Norushen. They’ll just temper it a bit.

Meanwhile, as you can also see in the above charts, Subtlety continues to be dragged through the mud in end-game PvE. The spec’s horrible performance overall may be less about its actual DPS potential and more about the fact that most raiders still won’t touch it with a ten foot e-pole, but regardless the designers clearly felt something had to be done to encourage folks to give Sub a shot. (Personally, I’m increasingly feeling like removing Backstab’s positional requirement would go much farther toward achieving that goal than any DPS adjustments would.) I’ve also seen a handful of complaints that rogues’ sustained damage in PvP feels a little low, so this may well help on that front as well.

Lastly, the final hotfix note refers to reports from players that the new Tier 16 four-piece set bonus for Subtlety — in which every Backstab has a chance to turn your *next* Backstab into an Ambush you can use outside of stealth — wasn’t just proccing off of Backstab, but off of all sorts of other abilities, including Fan of Knives and regular Ambushes. That issue should be cleaned up shortly.

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Really quick note on a Patch 5.4 hotfix posted this evening:

Evil is a Point of View should no longer incorrectly cause Turn Evil to affect targets that are immune to loss of control effects.

This refers to the new level-30 paladin talent that allows pallies to join the ranks of classes with an option to use a fear against enemy players. Since Patch 5.4 went live yesterday, pallies with that talent were able to use Turn Evil to fear rogues (among others) at any time — including while they were in the middle of a Killing Spree, an ability that should be impossible to stop.

And now, assuming the hotfix works, it will be impossible again.

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The number of changes incoming for rogues in Patch 5.4 is… lots. It’s a lots number. If you grab a bottle of vodka, flip through my full summary of rogue changes and drink every time you see a buff, you will be in a hospital having your stomach pumped by the time you’re done.

And just for good measure, it looks like we’re getting one more buff before the patch goes live: This time, Ambush gets in on the fun.

Quietly folded into the official 5.4 patch notes (there’s no red to indicate updates to the latest version because it’s technically an entirely new set of notes — this is now the “live” notes instead of the PTR notes) is this new rogue change:

Ambush damage has been increased by 12%.

This buff is almost certainly intended to avoid a problem that Haileaus, our class’s most prominent expert on PvE Subtlety spec, noted in a recent post in the official forums: Backstab had been buffed so much for 5.4 that it was actually looking *better* than Ambush as a stealth opener in many some cases. Presumably the Ambush buff will ensure that doesn’t happen.

This buff will also make rogues of any spec who open with Ambush just a little more deadly — though I should point out that, at this point, I don’t know of any in-depth theorycrafting that’s been done (and haven’t done any myself) to see whether Ambush is actually going to be the best option to use as an opener if you’re raiding as Mut or Combat in 5.4.

Regardless, this buff to Ambush raises the final tally. Let’s take a look at the big board:

  • Rogue Buffs in 5.4: 20
  • Rogue Bug Fixes and Gameplay Improvements in 5.4: 4
  • Rogue Nerfs in 5.4: 2

Don’t never let nobody say Blizzard doesn’t love ya, stabbers.

For All Your Roguely Patch 5.4 Needs

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[Note: If you're looking for a full breakdown of rogue changes in Patch 5.4, here's where you wanna be.]

There are two rogue-specific changes in tonight’s update to Blizzard’s official Patch 5.4 PTR notes. Neither is a huge surprise, but both will affect our DPS (at least for the first few weeks after the patch goes live):

  1. The earlier buff to Assassin’s Resolve, the Assassination-only passive ability, has been reverted. It once again will increase Mut rogues’ damage by 25%, as it does right now in Patch 5.3. (If this looks familiar, it’s because the reversion was datamined yesterday.)Keep in mind that Mutilate and Dispatch are both currently slated for a huge buff in Patch 5.4 (+40% each). Ghostcrawler noted several weeks ago that Assassination was inexplicably performing lower than they wanted it to perform on the PTR; to fix that, they turned three knobs and watched to see whether it fixed the problem. Looks like it overfixed it, thus the AssRes reversion.

    Remember, peopleses: This is not a nerf. It’s the reversion of a buff that they found was not needed.

  2. The Tier 15 (raid gear) four-piece bonus is being heavily nerfed. When Shadow Blades is active, the cost of rogue abilities will drop by 15% instead of 40%. That’s a huge reduction — and a necessary one, at least for Combat. (Less so for the other specs, but this isn’t as big a nerf for them.)For weeks now, numerous rogues have posted to WoW’s official PTR forum warning that, because the current raid tier’s four-piece bonus is so incredibly powerful for Combat rogues, people playing the spec might have no reason to bother upgrading to Tier 16 gear in Patch 5.4. Though the designers initially disagreed, it looks like they ultimately came around — no doubt partly spurred by a separate finding that the Tier 15 four piece had an insanely powerful synergy with one of the new DPS trinkets being introduced in Patch 5.4, Assurance of Consequence.

    I’ll update this post once theorycrafters have had a chance to poke around and see what sort of impact this change is likely to have on raiding rogues when Patch 5.4 launches. But this will certainly hurt Mut and Sub’s DPS a little, and Combat’s more than a little — at least until they get their first two pieces of Tier 16 gear, which hopefully will happen within the first few weeks of the patch.

    Hopefully we’ll see some sort of explanation from Blizzard as to why they chose to nerf the set bonus for *all* specs rather than just Combat. My best guess is that, similar to the Assassin’s Resolve reversion, they discovered that Mut and Sub were looking a little too strong at current (pre-patch) gear levels, and this is how they chose to address it. That, or they figured the impact on DPS would be so small, and most rogues would upgrade to better gear so quickly, that it would be a minor and short-lived problem for Mut and Sub rogues in the new patch. (It’s also possible that the T15 four-piece simply can’t be programmed to work differently for each spec.)

As always, my full rundown of Patch 5.4 rogue changes is full and rundowny.

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Blizzard has updated its official Patch 5.4 PTR notes, and it turns out most of the rogue damage buffs we saw datamined yesterday are indeed legit. And the ones that aren’t? Those buffs are actually going to be BIGGER than was datamined.

Well, assuming this all sticks and it doesn’t turn out we’ve been a little overtuned from all this love.

So! Here’s where we’re at in terms of official new buffs being added this week:

All Specs

  • Fan of Knives is getting a 25% damage buff. (This is a little bit better than what the datamine suggested, which was in the 20% to 25% range.)

Assassination

  • Mutilate is getting a 40% buff. (Exactly as datamined.)
  • Ditto for Dispatch. (Exactly as datamined.)
  • Assassin’s Resolve will boost all damage by 30%, up from 25%; the portion that increases max energy remains unchanged. (This hadn’t been datamined at all.)

Combat

  • Vitality’s attack power boost looks like it’s going from 30% up to 40%; its energy-regeneration portion remains unchanged. (The datamine had the AP boost going up to 35%, not 40%, so the reality is a bigger buff.)
  • Revealing Strike is getting a 28% damage buff. (Exactly as datamined.)
  • Sinister Strike is getting a further damage buff on top of its buff earlier in the PTR; in 5.4 it’ll do about 66% more damage than it had in Patch 5.3. (I think the datamine got this right.)

Subtlety

  • Backstab is getting a further damage buff on top of its buff earlier in the PTR; in 5.4 it’ll do about 38% more damage than it had in Patch 5.3. (I think the datamine got this right, too.)
  • Sanguinary Vein’s damage-increasing effect on bleeding targets is going up from 20% to 25%.

We’ve still got at least another two weeks ahead of us until Patch 5.4 hits the live servers, and plenty of testing to be done before that happens. So don’t be surprised to see further adjustments to these or other rogue abilities before all’s said and done.

I’ll update my full 5.4 patch change breakdown in a bit so we can see the full picture, and will add in theorycrafted DPS estimates once folks who are smarter than me have calculated them. But regardless, this is pretty clearly shaping up to be the most bufftastic patch the rogue class may have ever seen.

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