Posts Tagged ‘Backstab’

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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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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Last night, a new Patch 5.4 PTR build passed under the ever-watchful eyes of MMO-Champion‘s and Wowhead‘s data scrubbers. There were several rogue-related changes that, for the most part, matched up nicely with the official notes that Blizzard had updated a day earlier.

Here’s what matches up:

  • Backstab buff
  • Hemorrhage buff
  • Buffs to the entire level-60 mobility talent tier (Burst of Speed, Cloak and Dagger, Shadowstep)
  • Cheat Death buff

Here’s what doesn’t quite match up:

  • Eviscerate. The official notes say it’s getting a 10% nerf. The latest datamined tooltips suggest that its damage formula is being rejiggered so it relies more on our attack power and less on weapon damage. I’m inclined to trust the newly updated official notes more than the datamining, but suffice to say the jury’s still out on what exactly is happening with Eviscerate — and what compensation, if any, Combat would get if the nerf stays. Recent tweets from PvP commander Brian Holinka (one, two) drive home the point that this is still a pretty fluid situation.
  • Glyph of Cheap Shot. MMO-Champ has picked up a tooltip change stating that the glyph increases the duration of Cheap Shot by half a second instead of a full second. Wowhead isn’t reporting this at all. Keep in mind that Blizzard’s official notes for Patch 5.3 already include a nerf to the glyph from one second to half a second, so this is almost certainly just a tooltip correction, not a new nerf.
  • More possible new glyphs, maybe kinda. The last datamine spotted a gaggle of “not yet implemented” glyphs, including four interesting ones for rogues. A couple of those glyphs (but none of the rogue ones) have since found their way into the official patch notes, but most have not (and aren’t even available on the actual PTR), leading Wowhead’s content chief to wonder if they’re maybe not even part of this expansion. Regardless, yesterday’s datamining turned up another crop of  “new” glyphs, one of which is almost certainly for rogues and the other of which may or may not be.
    • Glyph of Improved Distraction: “Distract now summons a decoy at the target location.”
    • Glyph of the Headhunter: “Abilities that throw weapons will now throw axes regardless of your currently equipped weapon.”

All we can do is speculate about datamining that doesn’t match up with official patch notes. Personally, I prefer not to bother wasting time on this kind of speculation and would rather spend my time on other fun things until we see something official.

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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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