Posts Tagged ‘Subtlety’

This Warlords datamining update is cross-posted on Ravenholdt, the very bestest rogue class fansite in the history of ever.

A pair of new Warlords of Draenor beta builds — 18967 and 18973, for those of you keeping score at home — have brought a host of tuning adjustments for the rogue class (among others). Alongside these builds, a series of tweets from technical game designer Chadd “Cobra-thon” Nervig clarified, and explained some of the reasoning behind, several of the changes.

Let’s recap, shall we?

[NOTE: When this was posted on Ravenholdt, Celestalon replied via Twitter to state that some of the adjustments listed below are already due to be changed in an upcoming beta build. Tuning is fast, furious and fluid in these last couple of weeks before Patch 6.0.2 launches.]

Assassination’s damage appears to have been adjusted upward. Most of its key abilities have gotten roughly 5% stronger since last week, if the datamining is accurate:

  • Mutilate deals 210% weapon damage, up from 200%.
  • Dispatch deals 330% weapon damage, up from 315%.
  • The random-damage component of Venemous Wounds deals damage equivalent to 33.6% of our attack power stat, up from 32%.
  • Envenom damage has been boosted by 5%.

There is one downward shift that affects Assassination: Rupture’s damage has taken an 18% hit.

Combat’s damage appears to have been nudged downward, if the datamining is accurate:

  • Eviscerate’s damage has been reduced by about 18%.
  • Blade Flurry’s damage has been reduced by 25%; it copies 30% of our damage onto nearby targets, down from 40%.
  • Ambush’s damage has been reduced by roughly 18%; it deals 245% weapon damage, down from 300%.

These changes come one week after substantial buffs to Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike; taken together, we’re seeing a notable shift in the proportion of Combat’s overall damage that comes from combo point builders vs. finishers.

On Twitter, incidentally, Celestalon confirmed that the Eviscerate change is meant to bring Combat’s overall damage more in line with their goals, and noted that the Blade Flurry change was intended.

Subtlety’s damage also appears to have been reduced (again), if the datablah is bloo:

  • Last week’s buff to Backstab has been reverted, and then some: It’s now at 145% weapon damage, down from 175% — and also down from 156%, where it had been prior to *last* week’s changes.
  • As noted above, Ambush’s damage has been reduced by about 18%.
  • Also as noted above, Eviscerate damage has been reduced by 18% as well.
  • Also-also as noted (further) above, it looks like Rupture damage may have gotten an 18% cut. But I’m less confident about this one without direct beta testing or a Blizzfolk statement to confirm it, though obviously the number would be consistent with other cuts.

On Twitter, Celestalon affirmed that heavy slashes to Subtlety were intended; according to him, the spec was performing 15% better than the rest of the pack (except for feral druids, which he said had been similarly overpowered and were also toned downward in this week’s beta builds).

Finally, one all-spec change: Crimson Tempest has been… buffed? We think? Datamining seemed to indicate that the ability had taken an 18% damage reduction, but Celestalon stated that the ability was actually having its up-front and DoT damage *increased* by 50%. Maybe an erroneous tooltip change, given how many other rogue abilities had been chopped by 18% at the same time?

Regardless, if the datamined changes to all three specs are accurate, then the overall adjustments to DPS would be as follows, per Fierydemise:

Keep in mind that regardless of the impact of these particular beta builds, all of these adjustments are part of the designers’ ongoing effort to pull various levers in order to get the performance of all specs and classes within whatever their target range is. Although I often refer to these tweaks as “buffs” and “nerfs,” it’s probably better not to think of them precisely that way, given that balance has to be completely redone in the switch from Mists to Warlords. As with every expansion, the scales are being reset.

Quick closing note: Celestalon also tweeted quite a bit about Death From Above this evening, responding to Fierydemise’s blog post from earlier in the week. The easiest way to see the collection of these — and all of Celestalon’s rogue-related tweets — is to check out @Ravenholdt’s favorites list, which we update whenever we spot a new class-relevant tweet from a member of Blizzard’s WoW team.

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Oh, hey everybody. I’ve been away for quite a while (real life can be so rudely demanding some summers), so I’ve missed a whole mess of important Warlords-related class updates. Since I had prided myself on this blog serving as a kind of catalog/archive of these changes, and since I’ve got more than a tiny bit of obsessive-compulsiveness in me, it will bother me forever that there’s a gap in the timeline.

But the show, as they say, must blah blah blah donut.

(Note: I’m cross-posting this entry on Ravenholdt — which, if you don’t know about yet, you should bookmark, assuming people even still bookmark things anymore.)

Tonight’s new Warlords of Draenor datamining (build 18927) includes five apparent rogue spell changes. All are significant adjustments to the amount of damage caused by some of Combat and Subtlety’s core key abilities:

  • Revealing Strike (Combat) now appears to deal 120% weapon damage, way up from the previous 75%.
  • Sinister Strike (Combat, mostly) now appears to deal 160% weapon damage, up from 100%.
  • Combat’s mastery, Main Gauche, now appears to deal 140% of off-hand weapon damage, way down from 225%.
  • Backstab (Subtlety) now appears to deal 175% weapon damage, up from 156%.
  • Hemorrhage (Subtlety) now appears to deal 40% weapon damage, way down from 78%. (Its damage-over-time component appears unchanged.)

I won’t get too deep into analysis here, mostly because I’m not intellectually equipped to do so, but the Combat changes appear largely intended to address 1) oft-expressed concerns that the spec’s passive damage has been way out of proportion to its active damage and 2) more recently expressed concerns that Main Gauche was so disproportionately powerful that Combat could potentially start preferring a fast main-hand/slow off-hand weapon combo, which would of course be the most insane form of insanity known to insaneness. By tossing a blanket on Main Gauche and turning the knob up on our combo point generators, the designers are likely looking to resolve both of these issues.

The Subtlety changes… I’m a little too out of touch with the conversation in the beta forums to infer a possible cause for this change. I could blindly guess that they’re to help ensure that Backstab is heavily preferred over Hemorrhage, but unless this reflects only part of the story with rogue tuning changes, there’s an unsettling side effect:

[UPDATE: Haileaus tweeted the following possible explanation for the Subtlety adjustments.]

Meanwhile, this beta build also appears to bring the first major tuning pass on the rogue Tier 17 set bonuses — them’s the bonuses we’ll see on gear we get in the opening raid tier of Warlords. Five of the six bonuses got adjusted; here are what all six now look like, according to datamining:

  • Assassination 2-piece: Mutilate and Dispatch critical strikes restore 7 energy. (Down from 10 energy.)
  • Assassination 4-piece: Envenom refunds 1 Combo Point. (This is unchanged.)
  •  Combat 2-piece: Increases the chance for Revealing Strike to generate an extra Combo Point by 20%. (Chance is up from 10%.)
  • Combat 4-piece: Your finishing moves have a 20% chance to generate 5 combo points and cause your next Eviscerate to consume no Energy. (Chance is down from 25%.)
  • Subtlety 2-piece: When you activate Shadow Dance, you gain 60 Energy. (Previously, all abilities used during Shadow Dance cost no energy, so this may alter how we time the cooldown.)
  • Subtlety 4-piece: When Shadow Dance expires, your next finishing move refunds 5 combo points. (Previously, the CP refund extended five seconds beyond the end of Dance.)

Hope y’all will join us over in the nascent Ravenholdt forums for discussion of these changes. :)

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Inscrutable headlines ftw!

This is what happens when I put off updates for too long: THINGS. SO MANY OF THE THINGS.

A gaggle of notable rogue players are now running around willy-nilly in the Warlords of Draenor Alpha and learning all sorts of odds and ends about how our class appears to be playing so far. A couple of them — Rzn and Haileaus — are even streaming their Alpha bits all over the Twitchesphere. But for the purposes of this post, I will now pretend that this momentous occasion has not yet occurred, so that we can focus here on the same stuff we focused on in my earlier updates: “official” statements, clarifications on Twitter and datamining.

I realize this is all getting awfully unwieldy: Five separate update posts in addition to my initial rundown of class changes does not make for a neat, pretty picture. At the moment, the best all-in-one recap by far is over at Wowhead, where Perculia and Olivia Grace have teamed up to take most of the bits and pieces we’ve learned about Warlords rogues and tie them up into a neat package.

If you just want a look at what we’ve learned in the past two weeks (not including player observations from within the Alpha), here’s what went down specifically in relation to rogues in Warlords:

Datamining Teases Possible Raid Set Bonuses

Although we’ve been warned by WoW’s designers not to take these remotely seriously, the first datamined glimpse of possible set bonuses for Tier 17 raid gear and PvP gear — spotted by Wowhead and MMO-Champion on June 10 — range from dull (Combat/Subtlety two-piece) to interesting (Subtlety four-piece) and perplexing-because-it’s-likely-a-typo (Assassination’s two-piece appears to buff a hunter ability, which is about as insulting as you can get.)

Quoting Wowhead — and again, remember, this is datamining that WoW’s designers have warned us are almost entirely just placeholders right now:

No Assassination PvE four-piece bonus appears to have been datamined.

Spec “Attunements” Datamined

Another noteworthy rogue-specific tidbit from the June 10 datamining (the rest of which appear to mostly be tooltip corrections, typos and in-progress adjustments that aren’t worth trying to analyze) is this set of “Attunements” that passively boost the value of one of our secondary stats when we hit Level 90.

Again quoting Wowhead, our Attunements currently appear to be:

  • Mastery Attunement [Assassination]: You gain 5% more of the Mastery stat from all sources.
  • Haste Attunement [Combat]: You gain 5% more of the Haste stat from all sources.
  • Multistrike Attunement [Subtlety]: You gain 5% more of the Multistrike stat from all sources.

Don’t be surprised to see these change significantly as the WoD Alpha (and Beta) progresses. Something feels odd about a passive buff being granted to a single secondary stat, which feels like it would inherently increase that stat’s value relative to the others — something that goes directly against designers’ repeatedly stated goal for Warlords that they wished to keep secondary stats close to one another in value.

There has also been no official comment regarding whether we need to have first obtained a Shadowforge Key in order to unlock these attunements. (HYUK!)

On Combat Swapping Autoattack Buffs

In the last update, I noted that the Ambidexterity passive was being removed from Combat, which — as stated within the official patch notes — “was done to reduce the amount of damage coming from auto attacks.” Which is a lovely sentiment, but one that gets muddied a bit given that Combat is also getting a perk called Improved Dual Wield, which removes the 19% reduced hit chance we suffer by default for using a pair of one-handed weapons — and thus increases our autoattack damage. Rogue theorycrafter Fierydemise took to Twitter to call attention to this; technical game designer Chadd “Celtictron” Nervig parried the debate.

Sap Stays Sappy

PvP honcho Brian “Holinka” Holinka affirms that, despite upcoming adjustments to other forms of crowd control, Sap’s duration is not likely to change.

Band-Aids vs. Knives

Holinka also rebuffed a request to combine Slice and Dice with Recuperate, saying it’s a good choice to force players to choose between offense and defense. (Nevermind Leeching Poison. Speaking of which…)

Versatility Won’t Uber-Boost Leeching Poison

Lead game designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas noted that Versatility, the newly announced secondary stat that will enhance our healing and damage absorption in addition to our damage output, won’t allow Leeching Poison to “double dip.” (Because Leeching is a self-heal that is based off of the amount of damage we deal, it could theoretically benefit from Versatility twice unless the designers do something to stop it — which they apparently plan to do.)

Main Gauche Still Combat’s Main Man

Even though the Multistrike stat will give our attacks a chance to proc for additional damage, Nervig says the designers have no plans to change Combat’s mastery, Main Gauche — which also gives some of our attacks a chance to proc for additional damage. He notes that they’re open to revisiting the issue, however.

Pre-Potting Won’t Break Stealth

Nervig gave a straightforward answer to a request that drinking a potion would no longer break a rogue’s stealth: “Yes.”

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In the week and a half since my last update, we’ve seen a flurry of conversations with WoW game designers on Twitter (a Blade Flurry, some might say, ahahaha, ahaha, ha), but no major new developments to (or alterations in) our planned class changes, and only an incremental nudge in our understanding of the changes that are planned.

In thoroughly bullet-riddled form, here’s what we’ve learned since April 20:

  • Backstab’s positional requirement: Technical game designer Chadd “Cellphonealon” Nervig stood bravely against a storm of players that mercilessly flung tweet after tweet at his kneecaps regarding the design team’s decision to remove positional requirements for the feral druid abilities Ravage and Shred and the rogue ability Ambush — but to continue to forbid the use of Backstab from the front (though side attacks will be okie dokie). Quoth the dragon, they have chosen not to allow a facial Backstab due to “iconicness” and “how well the gameplay and ability fits the Subtlety kit.”In the same conversation, Nervig affirmed that Backstab is intended to be more powerful than Hemorrhage, and should be the preferred ability to use unless attacking from the front or “if backloading damage is more useful than frontloading” (a reference, I assume, to Hemo’s damage-over-time component)
  • Subtlety’s DPS reward: Nervig confirmed that because the Subtlety DPS rotation is so hard to execute perfectly, the spec is given a little extra bump when it’s balanced against other classes/specs. The implication here is that, if you’re able to maximize the spec’s potential, you will outshine everyone else in the damage meters. (Well, except for any other difficult specs that have been similarly compensated — Nervig implied that feral druids get the same treatment.)
  • Enhanced Premeditation — GONE: Because clearly not enough people have gotten the message yet, Nervig fielded two separate complaints about the Enhanced Premeditation perk — the one that they already announced weeks ago was being scrapped. Try passing along word of this reverted change via a fun game of telephone with friends! See if you can start with “They’re getting rid of the Enhanced Premeditation perk, so you can stop screaming about how horrible it is” and end up with “Celestalon is a big stupidface and porkchop diner muffin lady.”
  • Venom Zest won’t be so bad: Nervig pushed back against the notion that the Level 100 talent Venom Zest (increase maximum energy by 15, increase energy regen 5% for each of up to 3 enemies you poison) is crappier than the other options in the tier.
  • Shadow Dance cooldown unchanged: It’ll still be 1 minute in Warlords, Nervig said — though Readiness (one of our new secondary stats) will reduce it.
  • Energy regen rates unchanged: We’ll still regenerate 10 energy per second at baseline, with our haste levels increasing that rate. Nervig implied that the haste-conversion rate is unchanged as well, but did not explicitly state it.
  • Rogue autoattack damage is not a problem: Nervig said that none of the rogue specs have a “hugely” high chunk of their damage coming from autoattacks, suggesting that no major changes on this front are planned.
  • Make us pretty! Lead game designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas said that they could “definitely do more” to make rogues “feel more epic” when using our melee abilities. That’s pretty much the same thing we’ve been hearing from designers for more than a year now: They feel our aesthetic pain, but aren’t making any promises about a makeover.
  • Don’t expect mobility talent changes: PvP designer Brian “Holinka” Holinka, a.k.a. Holinka, pushed back against the notion that our Level 60 talent tier needs any serious adjustments — or that rogue mobility is currently suffering.
  • Slice and Dice is here to stay for Sub: It requires skill to juggle, Nervig notes.
  • Reading datamined tooltips? Bring many grains of salt: Nervig reminds everyone that any numerical or formula changes we see to abilities mean basically nothing at this point — and that we certainly can’t draw any conclusions about whether those changes are a “nerf” or a “buff.” Particularly not for an expansion like Warlords, in which so much is being dramatically altered about class and spec balance as a whole.

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With all due respect to the dearly departed WoW Insider hunter column. ;)

Following the initial dump of the Warlords of Draenor alpha novel last week, WoW technical game designer and celery-gnawing glitter maniac Chadd “Celestalon” Nervig took to the twitwaves, as he is oft wont to do. And the interviewed-by-Olivia-Grace-waves, as he is not oft wont to do. And the live-interview-on-major-WoW-fansite-shows-waves, as he has never before been wont to do.

Across all of these various and sundry forms of interaction, Nervig answered a ridiculously large number of questions from players seeking clarifications and further info on the changes we have in store for us in Warlords.

Meanwhile, Warlords datamining began as the first alpha client hit public test servers, bringing with it brand-new waves of speculation and misinformation — as well as some intriguing glimpses of what may yet to come to pass for we wily ones.

So. To supplement my post last week summarizing (nearly) all of the rogue info in the first alpha novel — a masterfully organized, but depressingly ugly and text-heavy, tour de force of bullet points and explanations — I will now unceremoniously dump a scattershot list of (nearly) all the rogue-relevant odds and ends we learned over the past several days.
(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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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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