Posts Tagged ‘PTR’

[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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[UPDATE 8/14/13: The day after I posted this, Blizz updated its official patch notes; clicky to see how the notes matched up to the alluring datamines.]

The first (unofficial) pass at rogue damage numbers on the Patch 5.4 PTR appears to bring half a gajillion DPS buffs to go with the bevy of mobility, survivability and quality-of-life improvements that we already have on tap for the next patch.

Even Assassination appears slated for some buffs. Like, large ones. Hey, I’m as surprised as you are.

We’ll see an update to the official notes sometime on Wednesday, so that should add some clarity to these changes (i.e., let us know whether we should actually trust them) and give us an idea for what further adjustments may be on the way in the next couple of PTR builds.

But assuming they hold up and aren’t bad/misleading datamining (always a possibility — in fact, Blizz PvP maven Brian Holinka called today’s datamine out as a particularly inaccurate one, though he seemed to be referring to changes misinterpreted as affecting more than one spec in a class), here are the new rogue buffs on the table that have been datamined by MMO-Champion and Wowhead, along with a smidge of analysis:

All Specs

  • Fan of Knives appears to be getting a more than 20% damage buff (20% to its raw damage, 25% to its attack power scaling).


  • Mutilate appears to be getting a 40% buff.
  • Ditto for Dispatch.
  • These changes would buff Assassination DPS by 7.4% compared to Patch 5.3 (not including set bonuses), according to calculations by rougely theorycrafter Fierydemise.
  • If you feel like these changes came out of nowhere… You ain’t the only one. Mut is an extremely strong spec in raids right now, and GC didn’t mention it at all in his class-by-class walkthrough of 5.4 changes on Monday. But a tweet from GC earlier today seemed to confirm that these changes are at least somewhat legit, so unless he’s trolling, this step is to offset what apparently is a weak-looking Mut spec on the PTR thus far.


  • Vitality’s attack power boost looks like it’s going from 30% up to 35%. (Its energy-regeneration portion remains unchanged.)
  • Revealing Strike appears to be getting a 28% buff.
  • Sinister Strike appears to be getting a roughly 26% buff (on top of its previous adjustments).
  • These changes, coupled with adjustments to SS and Eviscerate (and the addition of Ruthlessness) made earlier in the PTR, would buff Combat DPS by 2.1%, according to Fierydemise.
  • This seems low, especially in light of the Assassination changes above. I’d be surprised if this is the full story. (That is, unless our set bonuses are still so strong that they make the designers leery of making too many direct buffs.)


  • Backstab appears to be getting a 20%-ish buff on top of the buffs that had already been planned.
  • Sanguinary Vein’s damage-increasing effect on bleeding targets appears to be going from 20% up to 25%.
  • These changes, combined with earlier tweaks to Eviscerate and Hemorrhage, would buff Sub’s DPS by 6.3% (which actually feels pretty appropriate).

We’ll see how much of this is still the case when the next few PTR builds are complete — and when the official patch notes are updated sometime on Tuesday. Until then, as Blizz Community Manager Lore suggests:

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After  a few quiet weeks on the Patch 5.4 PTR front, a new update to Blizzard’s official PTR notes brings with it a whole mess of rogue adjustments. Here are your headlines:

  • Subtlety’s combo point builders are getting buffed by around 15%. Backstab goes from 275% weapon damage up to 315%, while Hemorrhage goes from 140% weapon damage up to 160% with a slow weapon equipped and from 203% to 232% with a dagger.
  • Eviscerate is getting nerfed by 10%. A few things on this change:
    • This partly offsets the BS/Hemo buffs noted above, and provides a small nerf to Combat, as Fierydemise’s early calculations suggest. I’d be pretty surprised if this isn’t offset by buffs to Combat PvE in other areas as the PTR progresses.
    • This also reduces the burst power of Combat rogues in PvP who may want to use Marked for Death to score two quick Eviscerates. That may seem moot right now, but Combat may well make a resurgence in PvP next patch thanks to the ability to target-focus Killing Spree.
    • The net result of this nerf and the BS/Hemo buffs should be that Sub rogues become less bursty in PvP. Meanwhile, they should also have more uptime on their targets, because…
  • Our entire level-60 mobility talent tier is getting buffed.
    • Burst of Speed’s energy cost will be cut in half, from 30 energy to 15. (Remember that the cost was 60 at the start of the expansion.)
    • Cloak and Dagger’s range will increase from 30 to 40 yards. (The stealth restriction looks like it’s staying put.)
    • Shadowstep’s cooldown will drop from 24 seconds to 20.
  • Cheat Death is getting buffed. When it activates, it’ll reduce damage by 85% instead of 80%.

Nothing official yet on the possibly-maybe-new rogue glyphs that were datamined last week. We also have yet to see any concrete word from Blizzfolk on their hopes and plans for our PvE Tier 16 set bonuses, which are still going through adjustments (as I also noted in last week’s datamining post). We’re still likely in the early stages of the Patch 5.4 PTR, though, so expect many more adjustments — as well as more complete explanations of class changes — in the weeks (and perhaps months) to come.

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As I’ve started writing these TWIRBS up more regularly, I’m surprised to see just how much worthwhile stuff is written/said/noted about rogues even during weeks like the one we just had, where basically nothing of note actually happened with the class.

PvPers Go Hmm

Meanwhile, on the Patch 5.4 PTR

  • NEW CLASS CHANGES: A new PTR build was datamined, and fansites spotted a whooole mess of changes — except to rogues. :) The only rogue-specific adjustment was to the tooltip of our Tier 16 raid set bonus (instead of “When you generate a combo point from Revealing Strike, Honor Amongst Thieves, or Seal Fate,” it now reads “When you generate a combo point from Revealing Strike’s effect, Honor Among Thieves, or Seal Fate). I’m relatively sure isn’t actually a change — I think it’s meant just to clarify the tooltip. (I also think the tweak didn’t clarify it very well at all. If they’re trying to say the bonus will proc whenever we use a combo point-generating ability on our target while the Revealing Strike debuff is active… well, why not say that? :) )
  • NEW SHINIES: So, like I said, nothing new for rogues specifically. But we did get our first glimpse of how our legendary(!) cloaks will work (see the datamine for more), and we also got a first look at five interesting DPS trinkets that will drop in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid. I mention them briefly in this post over on Elitist Jerks, but I think I’ll do a blog entry about them as soon as our theorycrafting geniuses have had a chance to take a closer look. (In the meantime, you can look in on a pretty decent discussion that unfolded in the WoW rogue forum about the trinkets.)

PvE Theory-Ish Stuff

  • TIER 16: Last week’s WoW Insider column analyzes the upcoming Tier 16 set bonuses, and explores why Blizzard may have chosen the specific types of bonuses they have.

The Legendary Quest Chain

Fun Stuff

  • FAN FICTION: The Godmother returns with another chapter of her new tale about a dwarf hunter who has been through hell and back again (as all of our characters have, in terms of game lore). A rogue is one of the key characters in this wonderfully written story. (To be fair, I should disclose some bias: I’ve been helping a bit with getting these chapters ready for prime time. But I wouldn’t be doing so if I didn’t think it was great stuff to begin with. And I don’t even like WoW fan fiction!)

And that’s the week in rogueball. Don’t forget to stop in at the newly renamed Tweets From the Shadows page to see the latest twitterings from Blizzfolk on rogue-related subjects.

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What happens when passionate rogue players find themselves in a lull between patches with nothing much to talk about? Overanalysis. :)

As often as WoW developers warn that we shouldn’t put too much stock in numbers when it’s very early in a PTR, people are inevitably gonna do exactly that — especially when no additional information has been provided and there isn’t a whole lot else for us to obsess over. We’ve seen extensive number-crunching on our Tier 16 raid set bonuses, for instance, even though we’ve been told they’re “very place holder” at the moment.

And why not? Conjecture and theorycrafting can be fun and even downright helpful.

Until it gets stressful and stops being helpful. Which is what’s begun to happen with Killing Spree on the Patch 5.4 PTR.

In PvP, there’s some hubbub at the moment over how strong Killing Spree appears to be against a single target on the PTR. Yep, you heard me: Killing Spree, one of the signature DPS cooldowns used by Combat rogues. Combat rogues. In PvP. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

This video from Conclusion (one of a few that folks have posted) illustrates the issue:


The cries of alarm have been numerous enough that Blizzfolk have taken both to Twitter and to the official forums to encourage people not to freak out. This is from PvP chief Brian Holinka a couple of weeks ago:


And this is from newly minted Blizz Community Manager Lore earlier today:

Looks balanced to me.

I kid. We generally wait until later in the PTR cycle (once we’ve gotten all the underlying mechanics where we want them) to start tuning numbers. I wouldn’t be too concerned at this stage.

I understand the consternation here. There’s concern that this won’t be noticed; that “place holder” numbers will be allowed to stay in place and that we’ll accidentally launch with something that’s clearly imbalanced. I believe it’s solidly a good thing that players are testing this stuff out now and are raising red flags where they see issues.

But it’s now abundantly clear that WoW’s developers are aware of these issues. Players have already ensured that. There’s no need to continually beat the panic drum; Blizzard can’t get any more aware of the complaints, and the devs are literally not going to do anything about it until they begin actual balance/damage adjustments later on in the PTR.

Once we see those tuning adjustments begin — if they go on for a week or so and we don’t see any modifications in places that we feel clearly need attention — sure, go ahead and raise the issue again, along with cogent explanations for why tuning adjustments feel necessary.

In the meantime? Take a breath. Take two, even. It’s OK. Move on to another topic for a while. Perhaps consider joining me in a little game of fake rogue patch notes?

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Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Roguebegon, my hometown. As the initial kerfuffle over a new patch on the PTR (and the Killing Spree of our dreams) simmered down to a quiet murmur, we eased into a gentle lull — a gentleness quickly pierced by the cries of forumgoers asking why it’s so damn quiet all of a sudden. Dang kids, walking all over my lawn.

Despite the lack of big news this week, I somehow managed to make this week’s TWIRB the longest one yet. Yep. I’m just that good.

PvP Guides (and Wish Lists) Expand

Over on his blog, LastRogue started a series of “Know Your Enemy” entries providing tips on the most important things to keep in mind when you find yourself facing traditionally bothersome foes. He started off with runthroughs on Feral druids and Discipline priests.

EvasionX, whose Youtube guides on Subtlety gear optimization and Subtlety openers I mentioned in a previous TWIRB, has now added a macro guide featuring recommendations for Shadow Dance, stealth and targeting enemies in arena matches. According to his WoW forum thread, he’s planning a “part two” macro guide soon, as well as videos on Assassination PvP, which has become much more popular since Patch 5.3 launched.

Ayume, an accomplished veteran PvPer who’s 2100+ in 3v3 as a Sub rogue this season, posted a thoughtful runthrough on ArenaJunkies of the buffs and nerfs he feels rogues need in order to be worth playing in competitive arena. (The post even got a thumbs-up from WoW PvP chief Brian Holinka — though that doesn’t mean he actually agreed with any of Ayume’s points, just that he thought it was a well-written post worth reading.)

Patch 5.4 PTR Developments

Following my steadfast prediction that we’d see a wave of additional rogue changes come through during Week #2 of the Patch 5.4 PTR, we in fact saw nothing new for rogues at all in the second PTR build. Meanwhile, the second version of the official PTR notes added only a confirmation that the Glyph of Recuperate was getting a buff (from .5% to 1%) — a change that had been datamined last week but took a little while to find its way into the official notes.

Remember: We are still very early in the life of what is likely to be quite a long PTR, and Ghostcrawler drove that point home this week by saying it’ll be several weeks yet before they even *start* to work on damage tuning and balancing out the numbers.

Fictionally Speaking

Prolific WoW blogger The Godmother did something quite a bit different — and quite a bit awesome — on her blog this week: She wrote a story. It’s Part One of an epic tale about a disillusioned Dwarf hunter, and it’s very much worth a read if you have even an inkling of interest in fan fiction. And I’m not just saying that because the other main character in the first chapter is a rogue dispatched by SI:7 to find the hunter. ^_^

And finally, the extraordinarily entertaining webcomic The Daily Blink closed its curtains this week after three and a half years of awesome. It leaves behind a trove of memorable, iconic strips, including the classic buff/nerf lever comic (in which rogues had no lever at all) and some classic pokes at the rogue class, including:

Such a smartly done comic; its creators were masters at capturing the essence of the game’s culture and making fun of it without pissing off the very people it was making fun of. That takes crazy talent. Chris Hanel and Mike Owen (who left the comic last year) deserve huge props for making The Daily Blink happen and putting so much love and creativity into it.

And that’s the week in rogueball. Drop a comment if there’s anything I missed!

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First up, the super-brief super-summary:

  • Killing Spree (Combat) is getting a major quality-of-life improvement. We’ll have the option of focusing it on a single target.
  • Recuperate is getting buffed. The ability itself and the glyph both get a bump.
  • Our entire level-60 mobility talent tier (Burst of Speed, Cloak and Dagger, Shadowstep) is getting buffed.
  • Subtlety’s combo point builders, Backstab and Hemorrhage, are both getting buffed.
  • Eviscerate (Combat and Subtlety’s damaging finisher) is getting nerfed.
  • Nightstalker (level-15 talent) is getting buffed.
  • Cheat Death (level-45 talent) is getting buffed.
  • Our new Tier 16 raid gear bonuses are interesting, but don’t yet firmly answer any questions about which spec will be “strongest” on paper in terms of DPS potential.
  • Loot-drop bug fix: Non-dagger weapons should stop dropping for Assassination rogues in LFR and heroic scenarios.
  • Anything I haven’t listed above is either unconfirmed or a likely tooltip change (not an actual change to the way an ability/item works).

Click away for much more detail, as well as analyses, theorycrafting and other bits that’ll help you get a better sense for what these changes mean and what folks are saying about them.

Looking for Patch *5.3* rogue changes? I’ve got a full rundown for you thisaway.

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[UPDATE 6/12: This is not the page you are looking for. You'd rather be here if you're seeking the most current, comprehensive rundown of Patch 5.4 rogue changes I've got on this site.]

Brace yourselves, fellow rogues. It is time.

The first Patch 5.4 build appears to have hit the PTR, and Wowhead/MMO-Champion are datamining the absolute crap out of it.

As always, please keep in mind that we’ve had absolutely no official word yet from Blizzard on what the Patch 5.4 changes are (expect the first batch of patch preview notes later tonight or Wednesday), so don’t put too-too much stock in these changes until we see the official notes. Remember that when Patch 5.2 was first datamined on the PTR, it showed us getting a completely different tier-60 talent than the one Blizzard actually planned to implement.

That said, here’s a summary of MMO-Champion and Wowhead have datamined so far, along with some analysis here and there when I think of things to say:

  • It looks like many Combat rogues’ dreams about Killing Spree are about to come true: As Holinka hinted last week, it appears that KS will hit only your current target — unless you have Blade Flurry active, at which point it’ll act the way it does now.
  • Recuperate appears to be getting two buffs: one to the ability itself, the other to the glyph.
    • The Recuperate ability looks like it’s being buffed from 3% of max health per “tick” to 4% per tick. (Recup ticks once every three seconds.)
    • The Glyph of Recuperate looks like it’ll increase the effect of the spell by 1% of our max health, up from .5%.
    • Note that we haven’t yet seen what the new PvP tier bonuses will look like. PvP gloves currently provide a 1% buff to Recuperate; if that bonus changes, it may dramatically alter the way we view these datamined buffs.
  • Nightstalker appears to be getting a slight buff: It’ll increase the damage of abilities we use while stealthed by 50%, up from 25%.
  • Our new Tier 16 raid set bonuses have had their tooltips datamined.
    • The two-piece bonus tooltip reads: “When you generate a combo point from Revealing Strike, Honor Amongst Thieves, or Seal Fate, your next combo point generating ability has its energy cost reduced by 5. Stacks up to 5 times.” At first blush, this appears to be decent for Assassination, very weak for Combat, and pretty amazing for Subtlety.
    • The four-piece bonus tooltip reads: “Killing Spree deals 10% more damage every time it strikes a target. Abilities against a target with Vendetta on it increase your mastery by 250 for 5 sec, stacking up to 20 times. Every 4 Backstabs, your Backstab is replaced with Ambush that can be used regardless of Stealth.” Depending on how the final numbers shake out, this bonus could potentially be strong for every spec.
    • Ghostcrawler took to the tweetwaves shortly after the datamining info appeared to remind us that although the tier bonuses are in place, the “numbers are very place holder” and we should “focus on mechanics not tuning.” In other words, in offering feedback about the bonuses, we should talk about the idea behind them (or *how* they work), not on the exact amount of DPS it looks like they’ll give us.

At the moment, I’m distinctly uncertain about two other datamined rogue changes:

  • There’s a datamined tooltip change to Cloak and Dagger that shows the range increasing from 20 to 30 yards. The range is *already* 30 yards in the live game; this datamine is almost certainly just a tooltip fix.
  • There’s a datamined tooltip change to Find Weakness (Subtlety) in which the sentence “Bypasses less armor on players,” has been added to the end of the tooltip. This may just be a clarification of the way the ability already works in the game.

I’ll add clarifications to this post as I get them, and will post anew once we start getting some official Blizzard confirmations and patch preview notes.

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Amidst the hue and cry over our latest rogue PvP nerf revelation (in Patch 5.3, Cloak and Dagger likely won’t work when Subtlety rogues try to use it during Shadow Dance), WoW PvP honcho Brian Holinka dropped this little nugget:

Holinka and Ghostcrawler have been tweeting like CRAZY over the rogue changes since word of this CnD adjustment got out; read my previous post for a (mostly) complete listing.

Between Twitter, datamining and official patch note updates, the Patch 5.3 rogue change revelations have been pretty rapid-fire lately, so just to recap where we think we’re at right now:

  • Cloak and Dagger will still be usable at 30 yards; the nerf to 20 yards will be reverted. However, rogues will only be able to use CnD while stealthed — this is why it can’t be used during Shadow Dance, because you’re technically not stealthed when ShD is active. (I’m assuming we will also be able to use CnD during Vanish or, for those of us who play a night elf, while Shadowmelded, but I haven’t seen any solid info on this yet.)
  • All the Shuriken Toss changes are still happening. (Energy cost doubles, damage doubles, damage bonus at range removed.)
  • The crowd control glyph nerfs (to Cheap Shot’s stun and Garrote’s silence) are probably still happening. (Aeriwen notes in the class forum that the Glyph of Cheap Shot tooltip hasn’t been updated with the nerf, but it’s still in the official patch notes.)
  • The Find Weakness PvP nerf/PvE buff is still happening.
  • We still haven’t heard a thing from anyone official about the datamined Revealing Strike buff.
  • The Recuperate PvP buff is still happening (though that’s not a rogue-only change; it’s part of the broader PvP Power adjustments the devs are implementing for 5.3).

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Earlier today, Ghostcrawler added a second ginormous data-dump of answered questions into the new Patch 5.2 discussion thread he created yesterday. Here’s the new roguey stuff; I’ll intersperse my comments between each item.


During Shuriken Toss, your auto attacks are replaced with throwing Shurikens, which do 80% weapon damage, but are on the ‘yellow combat table’, meaning they don’t glance, and don’t suffer the dual wield miss penalty. The 80% number was chosen because that approximately offsets those other benefits.

This is a clarification of some of the specifics that players have come across while testing out the new Shuriken Toss autoattack system on the PTR. These autoattacks, which kick in for 10 seconds if you use ST from a range of more than 10 yards, behave pretty similarly to a hunter’s autoattacks. To offset the fact that ST autoattacks will have a drastically higher chance to hit the target (and thus apply poisons) than our regular melee autoattacks, they nerfed the damage. That way we won’t feel enticed to do some seriously wacky stuff with our combat rotations (like constantly moving into/out of range so we can keep refreshing out ST autoattacks).


In our above description of Blade Flurry, ‘normal’ means the same as it previously did; that is to say, the damage that the ability would have done had it hit the secondary target.

This clarifies GC’s comment yesterday that, in the next PTR build, Blade Flurry would be further de-nerfed to deal “40% of normal damage to up to 4 additional targets.” This clarification certifies that BF won’t work any differently from how it used to — i.e., it won’t start copying poison damage or Elemental Force procs or any of that stuff.


The 2pc does encourage using Rupture as Combat.

The two-piece Tier 15 raid set bonus elongates finishing moves that have durations based on the number of CPs we used. As I mentioned in this EJ post (and others have likely noted as well, but who pays attention to THEM?), this feels likely to result in Rupture becoming more desirable for Combat rogues. GC appears to have confirmed that’s the intent.


Burst of Speed saying “movement-reducing” means that it no longer breaks roots, but does break snares.

The tooltip for BoS on live uses the phrase “movement-impairing” instead. Between the text change, the phrasing of the official patch preview notes, and the results of player testing on the PTR, we were already pretty sure we knew what “movement-reducing” meant. Now we know for sure.


We are experimenting with allowing Smoke Bomb to reduce the damage done to allies by 20%. We agree that rogues are lacking in the group utility department and we’d like to see less use of Smoke Bomb strictly as an offensive ability in PvP.

Cool. :) (What do you want from me? PvP is like that scary old aunt with a huge ugly mole on her face whose house I’m afraid to visit.)


We are going to reduce the PvP set bonus from +50 energy to +30 energy.

This is a more solid affirmation of something Ghostcrawler tweeted about yesterday regarding the new four-piece PvP set bonus. Keep in mind that the starting point here is +10 energy (that’s what we have now), so this is still a huge deal. A number of rogue players have been pretty frank about how they felt +50 was likely too much, so this buff-reduction is unlikely to bother folks who aren’t wearing aluminum foil on their heads.

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