Throughout the Patch 5.2 PTR, the Assassination spec has been a good friend to Combat and Subtlety. When Combat got its Vitality buff, Mut cheered for it. When Sub got its Sanguinary Vein boost, Mut saluted. When the PvE set bonuses shined down upon Subtlety (and, more recently, Combat), Mut gritted its teeth and smiled.
But inwardly, the spec that’s ruled the popularity roost in end-game PvE throughout this expansion rent its emotional garments and shook its psychological fist. “Where’s the love for me?” it silently cried. “How can I prevent the masses from fleeing to these newly buffed other specs, leaving me cold, bereft and lonely?”
Ghostcrawler heard Assassination’s secret lamentations. And today, he responded.
– These are in addition to any previous changes, unless specifically noted.
– You can’t just apply these to 5.1 numbers. You need to keep the entire suite of changes in mind.
– Envenom damage +20%.
– Dispatch damage +15%.
(which are not yet in the official patch notes — those were updated today, but include no rogue-specific changes) (UPDATE 2/28: the changes found their way into a PTR build on Feb. 23, and were added to the official patch notes on Feb. 25) mean that we’ve entered the damage-tuning phase of Patch 5.2 prep; they suggest that major class and gameplay adjustments are complete, and now the design team’s efforts are turning more toward ratcheting DPS screws tighter or looser as needed.
When asked in the official WoW forums whether these adjustments were specifically intended to offset what appear to be weaker set bonuses for Mut compared to the other specs, Ghostcrawler wrote:
Partially. This is a challenge for us, because we need to take the set bonuses into account, but everyone needs to function with the old set bonuses as well. We try to look at both situations.
This answer implies that, in single-target DPS situations, Mut may be very much stronger than Combat and Sub if you don’t take the new Tier 15 set bonuses into account. Once we start getting those set bonuses, though, the balance is likely to change.
One lingering question is: Are these changes meant to keep Mut’s single-target damage *competitive with* Combat’s and Sub’s as we gear up in 5.2, or *ahead of* those two specs?