Posts Tagged ‘Daxxarri’

Homogenization: It’s not just for milk anymore. Or so the wails of many a rogue this expansion would have us believe.

But in the Mists era, have our three rogue specs truly lost all of their unique flair?

In the context of a thread that discussed class uniqueness more generally, Blizz Community Manager Daxxarri (who has been known to prowl the WoW rogue class forum in the guise of a stealthy Protoss) took a detour to specifically address a person who asked why all rogue specs feel the same:

Rogues are something of an edge case, and moving previously spec defining abilities into the talent tree probably contributes to this, though I’d argue that it’s resulted in a class that’s more fun to play overall. Still, I find that Combat feels different from Assassination feels different from Sub. The differences are admittedly more subtle (no pun intended) than some other classes, though.

It’s Daxxarri’s last point that, for me, gets to the heart of this particular issue. He concedes the point made by many that what “feels” different about each rogue spec can be hard to tease out. But depending on how each of us plays, and on what particular characteristics of a class/spec are most important to us, the three rogue specs can be either glaringly different or impossible to tell apart.

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In the wake of Patch 5.2’s launch this week, Ghostcrawler and Blizz Community Manager Daxxarri (an avowed secret lover of the rogue) have been posting “class reviews” in which they break down their thinking behind the various changes they made to each class for this patch.

Many of you have likely already read their rogue review, but I’m gonna copy it here for posterity, since I’m a rogue packrat.

(Incidentally, in case you feel the length of a class review is directly proportional to how much Blizzard loves each class, then this will warm the cold cockles of your leather-clad heart: The rogue review clocked in at 720 words, shorter only than the warrior review. Even better, the hunter review was only 193 words long.)

I think we can — and already have, and no doubt will continue to — argue over whether the actual steps the designers took to address some of our class issues were correct or sufficient (keeping in mind that truly fundamental class adjustments need to wait for the next expansion). But to see them even taking the steps they have, and to be able to read about the thought processes that led to them, is just a really cool thing. It’s a level of openness about the design process that I wish we could see more often, though I realize the amount of time and care that has to go into posts like these, where every turn of phrase is likely to be overanalyzed and beaten half to death.

On to the review:

We had a lot of work to do on the Rogue talent tree, probably the most of any class.

  • Rogues, historically a PvP mainstay, felt underpowered and weren’t well-represented in high-end PvP. We wanted to change that.
  • In PvE, we wanted to tone down the cleave capabilities of Combat so it didn’t feel like a mandatory spec for some fights.
  • We wanted to give Rogues a little more PvE utility instead of feeling quite so selfish.

While we tweaked several talents to make them more attractive, there were large-scale changes to two tiers. In an attempt to balance a perennial problem we’d had balancing Rogues in PvP, we initially asked them to choose between Preparation and Shadowstep. Forcing Rogues to choose between the two worked . . . so well that Rogues felt ineffective in PvP. While we tried to make it a trade-off between the defensive capabilities of Prep and the movement capabilities of Burst of Speed or Shadowstep, as with the Mage tree, we eventually came to the conclusion that only movement could compete with movement. We gave Prep to all Rogues, buffed Burst of Speed, and created a new talent, Cloak and Dagger to be part of the movement tier. Cloak and Dagger causes a Rogue to teleport to their target whenever they use an opener. Combined with dropping out of combat to re-stealth, Shadow Dance, and the Subterfuge talent, we expect that it can be used to accomplish some pretty interesting things.

Similarly, while Anticipation proved very popular in the level 90 tier, Versatility did not, and in fact, Anticipation felt like it provided the benefits of Versatility, only better. We retired Versatility and added a new talent, Marked for Death, which will mark a target and instantly generate 5 combo points on that target. When the target dies, the cooldown will reset.

In addition to giving Rogues Preparation baseline, we also wanted to increase Rogue burst in PvP. That may sound backwards given that we are often trying to reduce the burst of classes in PvP, but we think Rogues had the opposite problem, where their large component of passive damage from white attacks and poisons coupled with the low damage per hit of using a pair of small weapons meant that Rogues had significant issues closing the deal and taking an enemy down during a burst window. Our solution here was to allow Rogues to store up more energy in PvP through a new set bonus. This means a Rogue will have to work for their burst, but it will be there if they plan for it.

Blade Flurry has been an iconic spell for Combat for some time, and while we initially discussed just giving it to all Rogues, we thought Combat lost too much under that design. Ultimately, we like that Combat is good at cleaving. The problem was it was so good that it felt mandatory for many Rogues to switch to Combat for some fights. Ideally, a Rogue who prefers Assassination or Subtlety should be able to stick with that spec, knowing they might fall a little behind on cleave situations, but can make up for it in other situations. We changed the way that Blade Flurry works, so that it will strike more targets for less damage. Combat will still be the best choice for AoE fights, but not so much so that it will be at an overwhelming advantage. We’ll be increasing Combat single-target damage via an increase to Vitality to compensate. Overall, we hope that most players will feel comfortable sticking with the spec they are most comfortable playing without feeling compelled to swap between fights. Subtlety will see increased single-target damage via an increase to the effects of Sanguinary Vein.

PvE utility is very subjective. Some players equate it with a raid-wide damage reduction cooldown, while for others, the utility has to be something unique that nobody else can provide. We add that caveat just because we don’t think the community will ever agree on who brings “enough” or “the best” utility. The change we made for Rogues was simple: Smoke Bomb now provides damage reduction, so in a similar fashion to abilities like Rallying Cry, a Rogue can help survive against, oh say, just for example, the damage a huge freakin’ dinosaur can dish out.

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Blizz Community Manager Daxxarri took to the WoW PvP Arenas forum, of all the wacky places in the virtual universe, to let players know that come Patch 5.2, Shuriken Toss won’t proc non-lethal poisons — either with its combo point-generating component or its associated ranged autoattacks.

This appears to be an effort to do at least two things:

  1. Recast Shuriken Toss as a more purely offensive ability — one that’s intended to keep up pressure from range while being kited in PvP (not to kite or cc others), or to deal fairly decent DPS while being forced to fight at range in PvE (but not to help us kite or cc mobs).
  2. Prevent rogues from taking advantage of ST autoattacks being on the yellow hit table, which would make poisons like Paralytic Poison stack *very* quickly. (The designers already adjusted for the greater chance of *lethal* poisons proccing by slapping a 25% reduction on the amount of damage dealt by ST autoattacks compared to melee autoattacks.)

Daxx’s comments span several posts in the thread; I’ll paste the most relevant bits below.

Shuriken Toss shouldn’t be proccing non-lethal poisons. It is intended to be an ability that allows Rogues to continue to apply some pressure even after being peeled, though. That’s part of the reason it was re-designed this way.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on balance, but (post-fix) we feel it’s a good option compared with other Rogue level 90 talents

Then, in response to a concern that the new ST “diminishes the effects” of rogue crowd control:

Roots and snares, yes. There are plenty of other effects that stop a threat cold, though.

In a subsequent post, he further clarified:

The active ability and its auto-attack component will behave the same way.

And later on, in response to a question about whether the autoattack portion of the change was “really set in stone”:

Nothing is set in stone, per se, but Shuriken Toss hasn’t proven to be very popular in its current live incarnation.

The next day, Daxx added this clarification (in a post that was subsequently deleted by accident):

The removal of non-lethal poisons from Shuriken Toss is an intentional nerf. Indications suggest that with all the other changes coming in 5.2, that Rogues are still going to be in a pretty good place.

Nonetheless, at the moment we think that applying Paralytic and Crippling from range is probably a little too good.

As well as this, in response to a player who posted that Shuriken Toss “is the easiest way to set up a 5 point KS and Shadow Dance with full energy”:

In 5.2, Marked for Death will be the easiest way to do that.

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Like, seriously, y’all.

 

 

Which leads into the obvious question: If completely rejiggering (without removing) Versatility is on the table — whether for Patch 5.2 or beyond — how would you rejigger it? Keep in mind that this needs to be within the context of a talent that is fun, meaningful and powerful, but *wouldn’t* be so powerful that it clearly overshadows the other two options in that tier. Assuming it remains a talent within our level-90 tier at all.

Let’s say, just for the sake of pure speculation, that Versatility was rewritten so that it made combo points stack on the rogue. GC has long been fundamentally opposed to this (as have other Blizzfolk), and it’s probably unlikely to become a reality. But what if it did? Would that not just make it the obvious choice in PvP? And would it do anything at all to unseat Anticipation as the undisputed talent for PvE? Leaving Shuriken Toss to wither away, alone and neglected, pining for happier times?

(I’ve cross-posted this over on the WoW rogue forum; if I’m feeling especially productive I’ll copypasta highlighted posts from there in this thread for the sake of posterity/consolidation.)

UPDATE 12/21:

 

 

I’m thinking he probably isn’t just referring to Versatility.

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Alright, so Patch 5.1 didn’t prove to be the savior that many sadfaced rogues across Azeroth hoped for. Patch 5.2, though: That one tenth could make all the difference.

Or not. Either way, change is a’comin.

Two tweets from Ghostcrawler in the past few days suggest a pretty substantial talent shake-up may be imminent in the next patch:

 

 

Absolutely no specifics have been offered yet regarding rogues (either in these tweets or elsewhere), but the fact that GC even feels comfortable saying stuff like this suggests we’re getting pretty close now to the first unveiling of the next noteworthy set of incoming class (and game) changes. I can already hear collective breaths being sucked in. Will they soon yield exhalations of glee or disgust? Stay tuned.

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EQUALLY VAGUE UPDATE 12/21:

This is from Blizz Community Manager Daxxarri, as the crew over there heads into its holiday break:

(Pretty sure he wasn’t just referring to Versatility there.)

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If mobs had these on them, our toons would all be on Lipitor by now.After my super-extra-crazy-serious rant from yesterday about rogue population numbers, it’s good to get back to some good, old-fashioned, lazy, quick Twitter dumps. (That sounded wrong.)

Blizz CM Daxxarri offered some deep insight last night into a topic that’s often on many a rogue’s mind: Why are some mobs pickpocketable but not others?

Who knew Azerothian mobs were so style-sensitive?

(Because I know there are people who take seemingly inconsequential WoW-related things VERY SERIOUSLY, I’m just gonna take a moment here at the end of this post to say this, in case anyone thinks Daxx’s tweet was serious: It wasn’t.)

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Oh, Dancing Steel, why dost thou disturb forum rogues so?

A number of folks have posted angry missives in the official WoW forums over the past few days, excoriating Blizzard for what some have suggested is a “stealth nerf” of the Dancing Steel enchant, the top weapon enchant currently available for rogues. In particular, people have had called out the fact that if Dancing Steel is was on both of a rogue’s weapons, it can could no longer “stack” — i.e., since 5.1 launched this week for a few days after 5.1 launched, there can’t couldn’t be two procs active at the same time, which means meant the effect can could no longer double. (Instead, if the proc is was already active and then procs again on either weapon, it refreshesd the duration of the sole active proc.)

Turns out this is was entirely intentional, and probably isn’t wasn’t nearly as catastrophic for our DPS as some were assuming. (People who play WoW overreacting to small changes with forum tirades? Unpossible!) [UPDATE 12/1: And, as of sometime late on 11/29, a hotfix made it so that Dancing Steel and other Real PPM procs *can* now stack just like the unReal PPM procs have long been able to.]

Here’s what Daxxarri posted in a General Discussion forum thread late on 11/29:

The change to Dancing Steel is actually part of its status as a Real Proc Per Minute (RPMM) system, which was in the patch notes.

  • The Dancing Steel, Jade Spirit, Colossus, and River’s Song enchantments now use the Real PPM system utilized by Windsong and Elemental Force.

You can read more about how RPMM works here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/6893549789#1

Dual wielding with a RPMM enchants means that you’ll get double the frequency of procs, but the system doesn’t currently allow for double active procs.

We’re happy with how the RPMM system has turned out, and we think it’s a stronger proc system than those we’ve used in the past, and offers more consistent results for players too. That said, we know that some players find double active procs fun, though, so we’re exploring the possibility of altering the system to allow for them in the future.

Later in the thread, Daxx posted an update on the no-stack issue:

Good news, everyone!

As I mentioned, we’ve been investigating the possibility of altering the Real PPM system to allow double procs. It hadn’t been done previously due to technical challenges, but we found a solution much faster than expected, and we’re currently working on a hotfix to allow Real PPM enchantments to proc separately per weapon.

Yes, this means that if everything goes smoothly, you’ll soon be able to have two simultaneous Dancing Steel procs, or (very rarely) six simultaneous Windsong procs.

[UPDATE 12/1:] And finally, the 11/29 edition of the official hotfix notes confirmed that:

Enchantments using the Real PPM system will now generate two buffs simultaneously, rather than simply refreshing the duration of an existing effect.

How’s THAT for service?

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