Posts Tagged ‘Mists of Pandaria’

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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What can I say? I missed doing these recaps. :)

Balancing life, work, gaming, WoW Insider and a couple of other endeavors has proven to be… well, to be honest, about as much of a brutal challenge as I feared it might be (but held out hope that it wouldn’t), so this blog and my time on public forums have been a-mightily neglected by me as a result.

But man, I liked This Week in Rogueball. I mean, c’mon: The title alone is enough of a reason not to give up on it. And I found it as useful to compile a list of recent rogue community goings-on as the millionsthousandshundredsscorestwo of you who regularly read them found them useful to read. They helped me stay disciplined about keeping up to date on what the Webby world is saying about our class.

So! No promises, but I’m gonna try to start this up again and see how it goes.

Blizzfolk on Twitter

We saw a flurry of tweets over the past week from Ghostcrawler (a.k.a. Greg Street), our soon-to-be dearly departed lead WoW systems designer, and Celestalon (a.k.a. Chadd Nervig), a previously under-the-radar game designer who over the past two weeks has established himself as GC’s “replacement” as a question-and-vitriol magnet on primarily PvE-related WoW issues.

Hop over to the Tweets From the Shadows page to see the full conversations, but in short, here’s what they talked about:

  • Celestalon affirmed that there’s no massive “Warlock-style” overhaul planned for rogues in the new expansion (roughly the umpteenth time a designer has said that), but that they’re definitely focusing on making each rogue spec feel different to play.
  • Celestalon also confirmed that positional requirements are being removed from abilities like Ambush and Backstab in Warlords/Patch 6.0.
  • He dodged a question about improving rogue AoE damage, subtly implying that it’s unlikely to change.
  • Ghostcrawler reflected back on some rogue-related game design choices, like the move to make Subtlety a more viable PvE spec over the past few years and the ever-controversial-among-a-minority decision to keep combo points stacking on the target (rather than on the rogue directly).
  • PvP maven Brian Holinka suggested that DPS cooldowns like Shadow Dance, which actually change our gameplay while they’re active, are the models they want to hold up as examples as they ponder how to refine cooldowns gamewide for the next expansion. (This makes me suspect that more “boring” cooldowns like Vendetta may not be long for this world, at least not in their current form.)

In the Blogosphere

  • Also more of a “month in rogueball” thing, but OneRogue has been blogging roughly every week or two with personal perspectives on the class, as well as community updates similar to the one you’re reading now. He also recently launched a pretty detailed “Resources” section that links to some of our best go-to spots for class info.

Within the Fora

Actually, I’m still pretty brutally behind on the rogue conversations happening on the official WoW forums, MMO-Champion, ArenaJunkies and the like. If you saw any particularly useful or productive discussions, please give ‘em shoutouts in the comments!

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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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[UPDATE 9/19: An official hotfix note posted late on Sept. 18 suggests this problem has been fixed. My original post appears below.]

Patch 5.4 brought with it a huge quality-of-life improvement for Combat rogues: the ability to ensure that Killing Spree deals all of its damage to a single target, even when other enemies are within melee range. Unfortunately, it’s not yet Spree-ing as well as intended.

Since the patch landed, a number of folks have taken to the Interwebs (e.g., MMO-Champion, official forums) to point out moments when they’ve tried to use Killing Spree and have been unable to — not because of traditional reasons, like sudden horrible terrifying death, but because the game was telling them they were too far away from their target. A few players have reported seeing this error on the Galakras fight in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, even though they’re close enough to the boss to be actively stabbing it in its bodily areas with their autoattacks.

The bulk of the complaints appear to stem from attempts to use the single-target form of Killing Spree, which occurs when Blade Flurry is turned off. This makes sense, what with that mechanic being new and all. I did a smidge of testing on the PTR during today’s maintenance, and found that I had to move closer to a target dummy in order to activate KS if Blade Flurry was off. (My personal theory — shared by a few others — is that single-target KS isn’t correctly handling a target’s hitbox, a.k.a. the distance you can be from the target and still hit it with melee attacks.)

A few players have also reported seeing errors when they try to use single-target KS on a target that’s slightly above or below them, though claims of this have been more spotty (probably in part because raid fights take place on level ground).

Fortunately, the Big Guns appear to be working on at least part of the problem:

Clearly, single-target KS wasn’t nearly as simple a mechanic to implement on the back end as it might seem to many of us on our side of the game. (“What? Just make it hit our current target. How hard could that be?”) Hopefully these teleport issues won’t prove too much of a beast to address.

Combat has long suffered somewhat as a raid and PvP spec due in large part to Killing Spree’s fragility, though before now those problems tended to revolve around either 1) the inability to focus on a single target (now resolved) or 2) the teleport mechanic itself leaving a rogue dead or trapped (not-so-resolved). Between these issues with the new KS and the issues I mentioned earlier with Ruthlessness, the Combat spec isn’t getting any favors as it strives to reach equal footing with Assassination in the final raid tier of the expansion.

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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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This one’s primarily an issue for players who are raiding in Combat spec at the moment.

A few folks have taken to various forums (e.g., here) since Patch 5.4 went live to note some oddness with combo points in Combat spec. I’m still a little bit unclear on the details, and I haven’t seen anything official from Blizzard on it. But there appears to be an odd interaction happening between Anticipation and the new Ruthlessness passive for Combat rogues, especially those with the Tier 15 four-piece raid set bonus.

The gist: If you have Anticipation stacks and hit a finisher, Ruthlessness is guaranteed to proc a combo point. That combo point is generated on your target. But you still have Anticipation stacks — which are on *you*, not your target. It takes a moment before those Anticipation stacks get “transferred” from you over to your target, where they become regular combo points.

I don’t know how long it takes for that transfer to happen. I also don’t know how much server lag can play into it, or how much of it is a display issue vs. an actual gameplay issue. But the end result appears to be that, especially for Combat rogues who have Adrenaline Rush active (and thus have their global cooldown on many abilities reduced by .2 seconds) — and ESPECIALLY-especially for Combat rogues who have AdRush + Shadow Blades active and still have their Tier 15 four-piece bonus (which reduces the cooldown by another .3 seconds) — it appears possible for them to have a total of 10 combo points available (5 regular, 5 Anticipation), try to hit Eviscerate twice in a row, and end up hitting a 5-CP Evisc followed half a second later by an unintended 1-CP Evisc.

So, that can be a little frustrating. :)

If you’ve got any additional info, evidence, video examples, etc., please comment here or over on the Combat EJ thread (where the most discussion around the problem is happening right now); hopefully Blizzfolk are watching and can address the issue if it’s actively causing the sorts of problems it appears to be causing.

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I’m gonna have fun with a blog post for a change. Sue me. :)

Although there’s a part of me that craves the life of a hardcore raider, at heart I am an explorer. So when Patch 5.4 went live yesterday and I got home from work, I didn’t head into Siege of Orgrimmar; I struck out for the Timeless Isle.

This place was MADE for rogues, guys. This is how I know:

  1. It is an island.
  2. It has pirates.
  3. It is swarming with elite mobs up to level 92 that can be a pain to fight through.
  4. It is absolutely FILTHY with treasure. Just lying around. For you to take it.

Our ability to move quickly while stealthed (and to incapacitate many mobs with Sap) allows us easy access to shiny objects that most other classes have to, yknow, actually WORK for.

Plus, if you leveled a rogue in Cataclysm, you get a special backstage pass to Ordon Sanctuary (the plateau in the north that you can’t simply tread onto with your or your mount’s feet):

Rogue style.

I arrr droppin’ in for ye treasure.

The recipe for access:

  • one (1) rogue
  • one (1) set of legendary daggers
  • one (1) flying mount
  • one (1) awareness of the dividing line between the Timeless Isle (where you cannot fly) and the Time-Lost Waters beyond it (where you can)
  • one (1) (optional) Spectral Grog kindly provided by a now-extra-dead ghost pirate.

I realize you can do this sort of thing with most any object or spell that slows your fall speed, but it’s way cooler doing it as a rogue. And as a winged ghost pirate.

If you go this route, keep in mind that you don’t actually want to float down into the central square (as I am in the photo above), unless you 1) can manage to land on a rooftop or 2) have the legendary cloak that prevents you from being auto-teleported back to the starting area.

Far more preferable would be to float into the area on the right edge of the image above — that’s the section where two big ol’ honkin’ 92 elites are flanking a massive treasure chest (image not available — there, um, was a “no photography please” sign up) that, for me, contained a Burden of Eternity, among other more typical goodies. And if you’re stealthed, you can just trot right up to the chest and loot it without getting those elites’ attention.

Or you can float in on the left, where an elevated pond is home to an elite water spirit that can be (carefully) soloed by a crappily 5.3-geared rogue.

Have you guys done any fun new roguely activities in 5.4?

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