(UPDATE 2/9: I’ve added a full “transcript” of the tweets I’m reporting on within this post down at the bottom. It’s loooong.)
Earlier this week, WoW Technical Game Designer Chadd “Celestalon” Nervig sidled up to his Twitter account and handed us a feedbag filled with bite-sized bits of information regarding Shadow Reflection (SR), one of the three new talents slated to make up the Level 100 rogue tier. For now, I’m gonna just stuff my face into that bag, gobble up all the details and spit them out here. Barring more important news worth covering, I’ll follow up on WoW Insider next week with an Encrypted Text column that provides a more in-depth summary and talks about what’s spiffy and not-so-spiffy about what they seem to have planned.
As far as I can tell, the talent is still being designed to match the tooltip we saw at BlizzCon last fall:
20 yd range
Instant, 2 min cooldown
Summon a shadow of yourself on the target that will watch you and memorize your ability usage for the next 8 sec. After this time, it will mimic the memorized abilities on its target over the next 8 sec.
Here’s the new stuff Celestalon tweeted about SR this week:
- SR has been a huge challenge for the design team to make work properly, but he’s confident they’ll get it right.
- This’ll definitely be a skill-testing talent: It will be hard to use optimally, but will have “pretty crazy potential” when timed well.
- C-talon is especially eager to see it used in PvP, where it could allow a rogue to basically use crowd control (CC) and burst at the same time.
- Shadow will target whoever you targeted when you activated the ability.
- Once shadow is activated, however, you can target whoever you want. Shadow will copy what you do, not who you hit.
- Once the 8 seconds of “learning” ends and shadow begins repeating your actions, it will be “tied to the target” — if your initial target despawns, dies or is otherwise able to make itself untargetable during this time, your shadow despawns as well.
- Shadow only copies special attacks that are offensive abilities (e.g., Kidney Shot, Mutilate, Envenom, Sinister Strike, Eviscerate, etc.), not autoattacks or poison damage.
- Smoke Bomb won’t be copied.
- You have to “successfully cast” an ability for her to copy it.
- Diminishing returns will affect Shadow’s CC abilities the same as if you used them yourself.
- Shadow’s buffs match yours *in real time* (they’re not a copy of the buffs you had on you 8 seconds earlier).
I think that’s everything. Like I said, I’ll offer more thorough interpretations and analysis of this stuff on WoW Insider next week, but don’t let that stop you from wildly conjecturing about it (or being frustrated by some of the additional questions all this info leaves behind) in the comments here. :)
Oh, and one final note: In responding to a question about Master the Basics, another L100 rogue talent previewed at BlizzCon (tooltip: “When you critically strike with an autoattack, you gain an additional combo point on your target”), C-talon enigmatically said that “many talents have changed significantly, or been replaced since BlizzCon.”
Update: All of the Tweets
I have these over on the Tweets From the Shadows page as well, but since they’ll eventually get lost in that massive archive (I’d like to find a way to organize them better someday), I’m also going to dump them below.
These are all of the noteworthy tweets that comprised the back-and-forth with Celestalon on Feb. 4-5. They’re not in perfect time order; I concentrated more on keeping related themes together than in making sure everything went from oldest to newest.
- @Celestalon: A little peek at what class design entails… The obvious part of our job with the new talents is designing them. But there’s another side..
- @Celestalon: …Implementation! WoW’s engine allows us to turn virtually any idea we have into reality (in-game, anyway). But how much work is…
- @Celestalon: …required to do that can vary greatly. It can involve lots of data entry, knowledge of combat nuances, coding/scripting, creativity, etc.
- @Celestalon: Some talents are super quick to implement (Malfurion’s Tenacity, for example). Some require extensive work to get right, but are worth it.
- @SvelteKumquat: What’s the ability that’s given the design crew the most nightmares recently?
- @Celestalon: Shadow Reflection, at the moment. Customizing what it copies, and ensure it benefits from other passives. We’ll get it right.
- @SvelteKumquat: I… was not expecting you to refer to WoD stuff there. Dang. Nor did I entirely believe you were gonna stick with that one! :)
- @SvelteKumquat: (Shadow Reflection, I mean. I felt pretty certain that would end up on the cutting room floor. This’ll be a fascinating talent.)
- @Celestalon: It has pretty crazy potential. I’m especially eager to see what some high end PvPers can do with it, when they get good at…
- @Celestalon: …anticipating their enemies actions. It will be very hard to line up, but you could both damage and CC/interrupt with it.
- @SvelteKumquat: If you guys can pull off an “easy + kinda powerful” plus a “hard + super powerful” option choice in that tier, I’ll be PUMPED.
- @Celestalon: (Of course it has quite solid PvE potential as well, but the things you do with it will be less… unexpected)
Targets and Timing
- @SvelteKumquat: Maybe not best place/time for this q, but: What happens if current target despawns/dies or a target clear otherwise occurs?
- @Celestalon: Shadow despawns. She’s tied to the target.
- @SvelteKumquat: So it requires 16 seconds of consecutive uptime on a single target to work fully — and 9 just to have any effect at all?
- @SvelteKumquat: Er… wait. Maybe not uptime. What happens if I hit ShadRef while out of range of the target and spam Mutilate for 8 seconds?
- @Celestalon: Target needs to be attackable at time 0, and time 8-16. You need to be able to attack SOMETHING for time 0-8.
- @Celestalon: It only copies abilities you successfully cast. You don’t have to be in range of what you put it on though.
- @SvelteKumquat: Ah. Hm. And I can switch targets willy-nilly from 0.1-7.9, assured that those successful casts will hit the 0-zulu target?
- @Celestalon: Example
0s: Shad on TarC
1s: Mut on TarA
3s: Kidney on TarA
4s: Kick on TarB
6s: Mut on TarA
7s: Env on TarA
- @Celestalon: Shadow’s turn…
9s: ShadMut on TarC
11s: ShadKidney on TarC
12s: ShadKick on TarC
14s: ShadMut on TarC
15s: ShadEnv on TarC
Diminishing Returns, Buffs, Debuffs
- @SvelteKumquat: Is the shadow affected by any diminishing return timers that the player may have triggered during the “recording” period?
- @Celestalon: Yes, DR fully affects all of her casts, just as if you or another friendly rogue had cast them.
- @SvelteKumquat: I take it that means dynamic buffs also update on the rogue/shadow dynamically (e.g., Heroism at the 10th second)?
- @Celestalon: She inherits your buffs live, not offset. So you get an Agi proc and Mut just before it wears off, it won’t affect her Mut.
- @Celestalon: However, if you get an Agi proc AFTER you Mutilate, her Mutilate WOULD benefit from it.
- @Flim_Ascendance: As in, Gift of the Titans or Titan Gas as a debuff. So not one of those cases where the damage isn’t modified after activating
- @Celestalon: Correct. Her attacks are new damage rolls, using the stats/modifiers at the time she uses them.
What It Will (and Won’t) Copy
- @JosefGremlin: does the shadow only copy abilities or autoattacks as well? Poisons?
- @Celestalon: Offensive abilities only, no auto attacks or poisons.
- @Flim_Ascendance: Suessing it wont work for Smoke? Or will the debuff be refreshed on the target and still removed elsewhere?
- @Flim_Ascendance: Guessing* :( And if we see this it’s going to be so much fun whilst raising skillcap absurdly thankyouuuu
- @Celestalon: I know Smoke Bomb has offensive potential, but we’re not going to count it as an offensive ability; she won’t copy it.
- @Fierydemise: Does the boss mimic white swings/poison procs?If not its hard to see it being good in PvE, if so how does it interact w/ SBlades
- @Fierydemise: When I say boss there I mean clone.
- @Celestalon: https://twitter.com/Celestalon/status/430928516364783616 Copying all your specials for 8sec is significant. Don’t worry about tuning yet.
- @Fierydemise: Since it copies buffs dynamically can’t use it to duplicate full Shadow Blades?
- @Celestalon: It doesn’t auto attack. You get more specials during Shadow Blades, that it would mimic though.
- @darlisza: Does she have her own combo points? Or whatever combo points the rogue spent she will do the same?
- @darlisza: Example: the rogue might start with a 4 combo finisher, is that the first thing she will cast as well?
- @Celestalon: Yes, her finishers are copies of yours, as far as CP goes. The first thing she’d cast would be a 4cp finisher in your example.
Shadow Reflection Classified as Pet Damage?
- @Fierydemise: All of the new info on Shadow Reflection is really nice but I remain skeptical of its use as a PvE talent for non-sub rogues.
- @Flim_Ascendance: So much niche potential though, especially for progress. If SoO is anything to go by, it can do a lot of jobs
- @Fierydemise: I’m not seeing it, where do you see it useful in SoO?
- @vipbrj: maybe conveyor belt adds? Do you have more than 8 seconds there? Maybe on.. paragons?
- @SvelteKumquat: Not the adds — your shadow could continue fighting the boss while you head to the belt.
- @Fierydemise: Beyond that I’m just not seeing it, the delay makes it a tricky burst or control button
- @SvelteKumquat: Tricky, perhaps. But powerful when it’s done well (or when luck is there).
- @SvelteKumquat: Nazgrim: Hit SR 8 secs before next add wave. Attack adds while shadow hits boss.
- @One_Rogue: …or shadow attacks Nazgrim during Defensive.
- @SvelteKumquat: Huh. I wonder if that would generate rage. @Celestalon, would the shadow act as a pet in a Nazgrim-type situation?
- @Celestalon: Yes.
- @Flim_Ascendance: Are you happy with S’Reflection in comparison to ‘Master the Basics’ then? As a lot of thought has gone into Reflection so far
- @Celestalon: Many talents have changed significantly, or been replaced since BlizzCon. Not ready to talk about those yet, though.
- @orrine: So basically Shadow is much cooler, simpler and easy to use version of Focusing Crytal?
- @Celestalon: Nope.
- @SvelteKumquat: It’s going to be a lot of fun watching how our resident geniuses plan and plot around all of this. I really hope it works.
- @Celestalon: Yeah, it has a really fun kit to it too; it’s like you’re teaching a pupil the best combo you know.