Posts Tagged ‘DPS’

WCL_highmaul_week1(This is, as always, cross-posted over on Ravenholdt, where all the hip rogues go. Do people even say “hip” today non-ironically?)

Week one of Highmaul, the firstest-ever raid in the Draenor-iest expansion we’ve ever had, is complete. How have rogues stacked up against other classes in the not-as-important-as-we-often-make-it-seem DPS category — and how have each of the three rogue specs stacked up against each other?

The early verdict is in: Rogues are mostly fine. On some fights, we’re great. On some, we’re subpar. But for the most part, across the seven boss fights that make up Highmaul, rogues finished out the first week of normal and heroic raiding with slightly above-average DPS performance compared to all other DPS classes and specs.

I’ll bang out a list of highlights later in this post. But first…

Let Me Bore You With Some Caveats

I’ve spent a pretty depressing amount of time this week looking through the statistics area on Warcraft Logs, which is what formed the basis for virtually all of the conclusions in this bloggy. I’ll provide nerdy details about what I looked at further down in this post — it’ll include links to source materials in case you want to double-check my observations or do your own separate analyses, since I’ll only talk about a fraction of the conclusions a person can probably reach by analyzing this stuff.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Warcraft Logs, it’s a relatively new resource that allows you to upload and analyze combat logs from whatever it is you’re doing in the game (though it’s usually used for raiding). It’s a lot like World of Logs in this respect. Also like WoL, Warcraft Logs — which I really want to call Warclogs but will instead refer to as WCL — allows people to browse through other folks’ logs, and to see which players have the “best” parses in various raid encounters.

But WCL also goes a bit beyond WoL in several ways. One of them is the statistics area I referred to, which takes all of the data from every public raid log uploaded to their server, mushes it together, and lets you analyze it in a bunch of different ways I won’t get into here, because there’s a lot of them. If you remember Raidbots from previous expansions, it’s a lot like that, only more customizable.

WCL is still growing as a resource, and the statistics it provides will only be as reliable as the data that’s put into it. The more raiders who save their logs and upload them to WCL, the more complete WCL’s data collection will be, the more reliable its statistics will become. It’s gotten enough traction that it’s a reputable source of information, but it can — and, if more people keep using it, will — be better. That’s the first caveat.
Still, imperfect or no, it’s arguably the best source of aggregated information on class/spec DPS that we players have easy access to. So it’s where I turned to look at how rogue DPS fared in boss fights during in the first week of Highmaul.

I like looking at Week 1 stats for raids. In the first week a raid opens, the people who are raiding tend to be very highly motivated — if they weren’t, they wouldn’t have leveled to 100 and prepped their toons so they’d be ready to bust them up some ogres the same week the raid opened. This also tends to be a group of folks who wants to kill bosses, not make themselves look good. So Week 1 is probably the week in which you’re least likely to see people trying to take advantage of fight mechanics just to pad their DPS meters.

However, I think it’s also debatable just how reflective of the “typical raider” these Week 1 pioneers are. For one thing, top raiding guilds usually don’t upload their logs, because they don’t want to give away their strategies to competing guilds. For another, I suspect these players are generally better at playing their class than most of us are; their motivation to raid as soon as it opens often translates to motivation to master their characters and properly prepare for boss fights. So we need to be careful about treating these statistics like they’re a perfect reflection of reality; they’re not.

Also, the first week of raiding is the one in which people are the most undergeared. That risks skewing *everything*. Is crappy gear offset by higher average skill level of the players? Who knows. But if, for instance, rogues end up scaling a lot better with gear than other classes do, then these early numbers will underestimate their strength. If the opposite is true… well, then, the opposite would be true. We’ll have to wait and see.

“Wait and see” also applies to tuning passes that will inevitably occur — and heck, already have occurred — for some classes and boss fights as WoW’s designers get a better sense for who is looking a little too good and who isn’t looking nearly good enough. That limits the staying power of a lot of these findings; for instance, windwalker monks may look right now like they leave rogues in the dust, but once class changes are applied over the coming days and weeks, that may suddenly no longer be the case.

So Here’s What I Did

Still, like I said, WCL’s stats are probably the best tool we’ve got to at least get a sense for where we stand on the DPS mountain at the moment. So I looked at our overall numbers, and I looked at how we did on each fight. I looked at normal and heroic modes. And I looked at various points along our spectrum of crappiness — starting at the 50th percentile, a.k.a. the quintessential “average” rogue, and working up to the 99th percentile, a.k.a. the cream of the crop.

I took a lot of screenshots (beware the long load time; it’s a 79MB document) for posterity. I also copied and pasted some of the DPS numbers into a spreadsheet so I could see how each class and spec “ranks” on DPS compared to each other.

And Here’s What I Found

I’m going to use the 50th percentile normal-mode numbers for these conclusions, because I think they’re most reflective of what the average rogue player might expect to experience. (That said, there’s a pretty high level of similarity between 50th and 95th percentile data, as well as between normal and heroic data.)

  • Among the pure DPS classes (hunters, mages, warlocks and us), rogues are easily the best overall performers across all three class specs.
  • However, generally speaking, we’re not in the same DPS league as several specific DPS specs (most of them hybrids): most notably, windwalker monks, marksmanship hunters, retribution paladins and unholy death knights.
  • The problem in these cases isn’t that rogues are weak. It’s that those specs are unusually strong (possibly too strong) in a large number of boss fights.
  • Nearly every boss fight has one standout rogue spec — one that does demonstrably better than the other two, and that does above-average or better DPS compared to all other classes/specs.
  • Subtlety performed better on DPS overall than assassination or combat: Its average rank among WoW’s 24 DPS specs was 9th, while assassination and combat averaged 12th.
  • Those rankings are very deceiving, though. Subtlety never cracked the top 5 on any fight, but was consistently good in most fights. Assassination and combat were more streaky — for instance, Mut was the #2 DPS spec on Twin Ogron, but #16 on Ko’ragh.
  • Among the three rogue specs, here’s which one appeared to be “best” on each fight in Week 1:
    • Kargath: Subtlety (Mut and combat were below average)
    • Butcher: Subtlety (ditto)
    • Tectus: Combat (Mut and sub were average)
    • Brackenspore: Combat (but only very slightly; all three specs were above average)
    • Twin Ogron: Assassination (then sub, then combat)
    • Ko’ragh: Subtlety (Mut and combat were below average)
    • Mar’gok: Combat (Mut and sub were below average)
  • Assuming you’re equally skilled at all three specs, you will do significantly, noticeably better in Highmaul if you swap specs from fight to fight than if you stick with one spec through the whole thing.
  • However, if you’re better at one spec than the others or simply don’t want to switch, here’s a fun fact: The single spec you choose doesn’t matter. In terms of overall DPS across all seven boss fights combined, the difference between all three specs is just 1%.
  • Rogues have the most diverse spec representation among all of the pure DPS classes. The other three classes have at least one “dead” spec that’s only played by a small fraction of class players. In normal-mode raids, rogues spent 46% of the time in combat spec, 37% of the time in assassination spec and 18% of the time in subtlety spec. (The splits were very similar for heroic mode.)

Those are just some highlights I thought were interesting. As I said, please feel free to dive into the screenshots and spreadsheet yourself — or, better yet, do your own swimming around in Warcraft Logs’ statistics — and let’s talk about whatever you find!

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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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MMO-Champion and Wowhead have picked up a new Patch 5.3 PTR build, which includes two rogue changes:

  • The Subtlety-only Find Weakness PvP nerf/PvE buff that Brian Holinka tweeted about earlier today is in place, though it’s not yet in the official patch notes. (Instead of 70% armor reduction, it’s now 50% reduction against players and 100% reduction against PvE targets.)
  • Unexpectedly, Combat rogues appear to be getting a fresh DPS bump (and possibly a PvP boost?) in the form of a buff to the duration of Revealing Strike. Everything else about RvS stays the same, but when you use it the buff will last for 24 seconds instead of 18 (a 33% increase). This change hasn’t been confirmed (or even mentioned) by anyone at Blizzard yet, so we may not be seeing the full story yet.

While we won’t fully see the PvP implications of these changes until the new season begins, the PvE implications can be calculated to within an inch of their lives, as the Rogue Code dictates must be so. A couple of players have tinkered with our best simulation tools to see what sort of impact these changes will have on our DPS.

For Subtlety, Dansu posted on the WoW rogue forum that, in SimCraft, the Find Weakness PvE buff amounts to a little more than a 5% DPS increase for the spec — which, in theory at least, puts it basically on the same level as Assassination at very high gear levels (i.e., heroic raid gear with both set bonuses). Fierydemise, one of the brains behind our beloved ShadowCraft rogue-optimizing tool, came to a similar conclusion after modeling the change in that engine.

For Combat, as Fierydemise also noted in the post I just linked, we’re looking at a super-tiny DPS impact if it’s truly going to be implemented solely as it was datamined. The change basically would mean that, in the course of a six-minute raid fight in which you’re on the boss the whole time, you’ll be using RvS instead of Sinister Strike five fewer times than you otherwise would. That’s… barely any effect. RvS deals slightly less damage than SS and has no chance to proc an extra combo point when used, so being able to use SS a few more times is cool, but certainly not a major spec-balance fix — provided you’re already very good at juggling Slice and Dice, Rupture and RvS. If you’re not, then this change potentially becomes a much bigger deal, because it makes that juggling act a little bit easier.

Part of me wonders if, assuming this RvS change really is entirely what was datamined, it isn’t intended mainly to be some sort of PvP buff. Considering Combat is widely panned for competitive PvP at the moment and I haven’t tried it in ages, I have no concept of what impact this change would have in that area. Maybe make kiting have less of an impact?

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Around the time the first bit of datamined info on Patch 5.2 was being leaked by MMO-Champion and Wowhead, Ghostcrawler was taking to the twitwaves for another round of responding to irrationally angry messages from Twitter users. (Happy holidays, everybody!) Among those exchanges:

 

 

GC already knew, when he tweeted that, that Subtlety’s Sanguinary Vein passive ability was slated for a buff in Patch 5.2; as of this post, the official patch notes have its bleed debuff increasing damage by 20% in the next patch, up from 16%.

Between that Subtlety buff, the above tweet, and the massive nerf to Combat’s Blade Flurry ability, Blizzard’s clearly trying to set the stage for a resurgence of raiding Subtlety rogues in 5.2. Haileaus, you must be on Santa’s good list this year.

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@zNaTuu: “@Ghostcrawler Many said the Rogue dps is too low and the energyreg seems very very slow. Are you going to change something?”

@Ghostcrawler: “@zNaTuu Rogue dps in PvE is fine. Keeping a close eye on them in PvP though.”

@HayakuEl: “@Ghostcrawler Tell me, how are rogues in pve fine? We are getting our asses outdone by friggin DK and Monks in tanking specc. GG, GC.”

@Ghostcrawler: “@HayakuEl In what situation? Feng? He buffs tanks. Dungeons? Tanks historically win there, but it’s uptime not DPS.”

Twitterized 10/8/2012

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