Posts Tagged ‘official forums’

Blizzard seems to have an affinity for announcing Warcraft updates in the afternoon/evening on Fridays. For those of us who like to report on game updates for the benefit of others, we call this practice “RUINING OUR WEEKENDS.” (In the case of the announcement about new types of buyable in-game items, we also may sometimes call it “burying the news.” Ahem.)

In my case, there was no ruination this time: I said “screw it” and ran away to have myself a WoW-free, blog-free, Twittah-free weekend. Nyah.

As a result, the two developments that broke on Friday regarding rogues in Patch 5.4 likely aren’t news to many of you. But I’m going to note them here nonetheless, ’cause that’s how I do — and because there’s some new stuff to report about player reactions.

One of the two developments announced Friday is a preview of two Combat changes: an upcoming buff to Sinister Strike and the re-introduction of a former talent (no, not Versatility) for Combat rogues. The second development is a nice little quality-of-life fix for the Glyph of Blind.

I’m gonna mention the glyph fix first because it’s quick. This was the only rogue-related change in Friday’s update to the official Patch 5.4 PTR notes: The Glyph of Blind is receiving a tweak so that, if you’re specced into Dirty Tricks and you have the glyph equipped, your poisons and bleeds will to continue to damage your enemy while it’s Blinded. (In the live game now, if I’m recalling this properly, Glyph of Blind currently wipes out those DoT effects because that’s what it’s meant to do; it doesn’t care that Dirty Tricks is already ensures that Blind won’t break due to those effects.) It’s a handy fix both for PvP and for PvE soloing/questing (including Brawler’s Guild fights).

Now for the Combat spec stuff. Posting in the same thread he poked his flaming kittyhead into on Thursday, Blizz Community Manager Lore popped back in on Friday to offer a far more specific sense for where the developers are planning to go in an effort to make the Combat spec feel less oh-my-god-I’m-mashing-buttons-so-quickly-there’s-no-flesh-left-on-my-fingertips at higher gear levels:

Here’s a couple changes we’re going to try, hopefully in the next PTR build:

  • Sinister Strike: Weapon damage percent increased from 145% to 190%. Energy cost increased from 40 energy to 50 energy.
  • Ruthlessness: This new passive has been added for Combat Rogues at level 32. When you do a finishing move, you have a 20% chance per combo point spent to immediately regain 1 combo point on your current target.

So the goal here is that, by buffing Sinister Strike and causing it to spend energy faster, that will reduce the button mashing just slightly. Again, we want Combat to be faster paced, it’s just too extreme at the moment. Sinister Strike hitting harder is a nice perk as well.

However, that by itself would slow down Combat’s combo point generation, which is where Ruthlessness comes in. It should allow you to Eviscerate at about the same rate you do today, despite getting fewer Sinister Strikes in in the same time period. Although it’s configured like a proc, our intent is that Rogues will usually use finishers when it has a 100% chance.

(If Ruthlessness looks oddly familiar to you, that’s because it’s come back from the dead: It was a talent in the Assassination “tree” before the Mists talent overhaul, back when there was such a thing as a separate talent tree for each spec.)

A good number of us welcomed this change, at least in principle. However, several players quickly pointed out that although it provides a net buff to Sinister Strike (20% higher energy cost, but 31% more damage), it would also probably slow down how rapidly we cycle through our Bandit’s Guile Insight levels. Since our Insight level increases whenever we cast four Sinister or Revealing Strikes, hitting SS less often (due to the higher energy cost) means we’ll spend longer in no/Shallow/Moderate Insight, but the same amount of time in Deep Insight (which always lasts 15 seconds no matter how many times you mash SS/RvS).

This problem could easily be fixed by turning a few knobs on various abilities — and as Ghostcrawler reminded us again this weekend, serious DPS tuning hasn’t even started yet on the Patch 5.4 PTR, so it’s likely we’d see such a fix before the patch went live. (That’s assuming it wasn’t their intent all along to make this a DPS-neutral change by indirectly nerfing Bandit’s Guile.)

But Fierydemise, who during this expansion has established himself as one of our class’s most prominent theorycrafters, posted a detailed explanation for why he felt that — regardless of number tuning — this entire approach wouldn’t actually help to resolve Combat’s spamminess during the times when we’re spammier than a truck stop that’s run out of pork and beef. Here’s an excerpt:

The proposed changes make zero difference in spamminess during AR+SB which is the primary source of the complaints and slows down the spec the rest of the time. This seems directly opposite to what theses changes should do. Additionally these changes only further serve to prop up the T15 4pc which has been an overpowered set bonus from day 1 and is unlikely to be replaced during T16 without substantial nerfs.

Additionally these changes create substantial quality of life issues of leveling and low gear level players. Combat can already be quite frustrating at low gear levels because of limited haste and this will only serve to exacerbate that issue. In fact with these changes it is entirely possible that a poorly geared player could have their BG stacks fall off while using BF.

We’ll need to wait and see how Blizzfolk address or counter these concerns. There’s still a lot of Patch 5.4 PTR left, so it’s good that these sorts of issues are out on the table and being openly discussed so early in the process. Helps increase the likelihood that they’ll be ironed out before the patch goes live.

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Your once-mighty enemy falls to the earth with a crash, its last vestiges of life dissipating from its body. You and your raidmates rejoice: Another foe vanquished, another victory for the forces of whatever-it-is-we-are-because-I-mean-sometimes-it’s-kinda-hard-to-tell-whether-we’re-the-good-guys-but-whatever-we-killed-this-huge-pile-of-pixels-yay!

And what’s this? Your eyes catch a glint of metal amidst the hills of meat that were the villain and its minions. Your stomach flutters. Is that… could it be… finally??!

You approach quickly. You kneel down, shoving aside torn cloth and shattered armor, heaving corpses out of the way. You reach out, grab onto an ornate hilt, tear it free…

A mace! A glorious, incredible, powerful mace! It’s a thing of beauty! It’s exactly the weapon upgrade you most needed!

… If you were a Combat rogue.

But you’re not. You’re an Assassination rogue.

So you basically just won yourself a glorious, incredible, powerful sack of 27 gold pieces.

Assassination rogues have rent their garments over this issue for ages. So the cries of joy were loud and multitudinous when a hotfix was implemented during Patch 5.2 — and then again when loot specialization was introduced with Patch 5.3 — that promised freedom for the Mut spec from the shackles of non-dagger weapon drops from raid bosses and heroic scenarios.

Only… it frequently hasn’t worked as advertised. Forums are littered with reports of players in Assassination spec still seeing “slow” one-handed weapons — axes, fist weapons, maces and swords — fall from bosses like rain from the sky, causing not a little bit of consternation. Blizzard had largely been silent on the issue, and some players reported Game Master responses to in-game tickets telling them to basically suck it up, because that’s the way it was meant to work.

Well, late last week, we got the most official word we can get that no, it’s *not* working the way it’s meant to work:

We are treating that behavior as a bug. I don’t have any eta for a fix but it’s something we’re aware of and plan to resolve.

Those were the words of Sapperwix, a congenial blue poster and Blizzard quality assurance rep who moderates the official WoW U.S. bug report forum. He was posting in response to a player reporting a number of fist weapon drops after killing Raid Finder bosses and using bonus-roll coins while in Mut loot spec.

So. We know they know about the issue. (And we also know it’s definitely worthwhile to post bugs like these in the official bug report forum.) We know they know it’s a problem. Now we just hope they can fix it reasonably soon.

In the meantime, me and my still-no-dagger-drops-this-entire-expansion-despite-roughly-75-kills-and-coin-rolls-on-bosses-with-daggers-in-their-loot-table ass will go cry quietly in this lonely little corner of my blog over here.

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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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We’ve got several rogue-related odds and ends worth noting over the past week. Pappy Rogue has you covered! (Please don’t actually call me that. I just felt the need to make a stupid tie-in to Father’s Day. Success!)

In the Live Game

  • Y’know all those wacky stealth issues that many rogues have been reporting lately? PvP cap’n Brian Holinka offered a possible workaround for the problem on Wednesday — and then followed that up with a tweet this weekend that “a hotfix was pushed out to help with most of the stealth bugs.” Go forth and test!
  • I’ve seen several anecdotal reports of Combat weapons dropping for Assassination rogues in LFR and heroic scenarios. If your loot spec is set to Assassination, you *should not* be seeing any axes, fists, maces or swords drop from LFR bosses or coin rolls (i.e., extra rolls you get by using a Mogu Rune of Fate or an Elder Charm of Fortune), as well as from heroic scenarios or any quest from the current expansion. If you’re getting a non-dagger drop despite your loot setting, please post to the WoW bug-report forum with a detailed description of where you were, what quest/boss/scenario you were in and what dropped.

PvE Thoughts: Combat Rogues, Tier 15 and the Global Cooldown

As the curtain begins to fall on Patch 5.3, some of the more geniusy among us have been looking back on our Tier 15 set bonuses and looking at their impact, especially on Combat rogues.

PvP Thoughts: All Eyes on Assassination

In the wake of 5.3’s rogue nerfs, which most heavily impacted Subtlety PvPers, Assassination is getting ever-more attention as a viable PvP sec.

I’m Pretty Sure That’s All…

  • Holinka also noted the designers’ feeling that when it comes to PvP class balance, rogue survivability is not a priority — that their ability to use stealth (when it works right) and to control their enemies is their niche, not their ability to outlast incoming damage.

And that’s the week in rogueball. Make sure to scope out the Roguetwitpendium (which I really need to come up with a better name for) to see the latest Blizzard rogue-related tweets; most of the time I won’t bother to write full bloggy posts to highlight them.

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For once, I don’t have 1,500 words to say about something a Blizzard developer recently said about rogues. Please don’t be too disappointed in me.

The “a lot” that Ghostcrawler is referring to may include this recent thread over in the EU WoW forums, in which a player tongue-in-cheekishly (I think) proposed eliminating Recuperate entirely and replacing it with a range of enhancements to our first-aid skill. Blizz Community Manager Taepsilum was so moved by the conversation that he felt compelled to respond with his personal support. For a Recuperate buff, I mean, not for the bandaging thing:

Personally, the healing effect of recuperate does seems a bit underwhelming to me, and fitting it into the rotation doesn’t feel as rewarding as it used to during Cata. As always, we’ll make sure to share your concerns with the dev team.

Clearly, those concerns appear to have been shared. :)

Complaints about the power of Recuperate stretch back about as far as the ability has existed — as have calls for it to be buffed or nerfed depending on who’s doing the calling. The recent adjustments to PvP Power and Battle Fatigue may have pushed things to a new tipping point, though, with players offering detailed arguments to support the contention that Recup is distinctly too weak despite getting a boost from the new bonus on PvP gloves.

I’m starting to get my first tinge of a sense that Patch 5.4 may provide at least a minor reprieve to PvP rogues who feel that 5.3 went too far in reversing the gains 5.2 had brought.

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The first time I published this new weekly roundup, I proceeded to immediately skip a week. Let’s give this another shot. :)

To make up for lost ground, this recap of what’s up in rogue gameplay and the rogue community covers the past two weeks.

If you feel I missed anything or would like to see additional topics/sites/discussions included in TWIRB, please comment!

In the Live Game

  • Some patch happened or something, I guess? I don’t know, I don’t keep track of such things.
  • Overall, rogues are about the same in PvE post-patch, and are weaker in PvP. How much weaker — and what the result of that will be on rogues’ presence in arena ladders and RBG teams — has yet to shake out. (It’s only been a week and a half, remember.) There’s been a fair amount of new interest in Assassination (and, to a lesser extent, Combat) as specs worth exploring in PvP; more on that below.
  • There have been no reported hotfixes for rogues since the patch launched.
  • There have also been no confirmed bugs, although PvP chief Brian Holinka said they’d look into reports that Shroud of Concealment is failing to properly conceal allies.
  • As with every single patch in the history of patches, there has been a smattering of reports that stealth isn’t working as well post-patch as it was pre-patch. I haven’t seen any kind of consistency to these reports, so if something new *has* gone wrong, it’s likely something pretty obscure.

New PvP Guides & Blog Posts

In just the past few days, a bevy of capable PvP rogues has published or recorded a range of Patch 5.3-ready guides and tutorials:

Theorycrafting and PvE Optimization

Blizzfolk Get Roguey

  • The entire WoW design team answered a range of raiding-oriented questions from Icy Veins. Of particular interest to us (imho) are their comments on the melee DPS role in raids (my rant) and on the success of the Tier 15 four-piece bonus (my summary/analysis).
  • Elsewhere in Blizz interview news, Holinka and Ghostcrawler answered questions from ArenaJunkies’ Vanguards on the PvP changes impacting rogues in 5.3, including the Find Weakness nerf and why rogues were toned down overall.
  • Similarly, Holinka and Ghostcrawler joined the Legendary Webcast by video to discuss, among other things, the rogue PvP balance changes. (Read my summary of both the AJ and Legendary interviews.)
  • EU Community Manager Taepsilum responded to a Recuperate complaint thread in the official WoW forums to say he agreed that the self-heal “seems a bit underwhelming to me, and fitting it into the rotation doesn’t feel as rewarding as it used to during Cata,” and added that he’d bring the issue up with the dev team. (If this perked your ears, it should — we don’t see CMs directly express their views like this very often at all — but it doesn’t mean we should expect to see a change anytime soon. Taepsilum was just expressing his own opinion, and there’s no reason to believe the devs would necessarily agree — or have a solution they like better than the status quo.)

And that’s TWIRB. Or, well, TW(s)IRB; let’s see if I can stick to a weekly schedule with these.

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Homogenization: It’s not just for milk anymore. Or so the wails of many a rogue this expansion would have us believe.

But in the Mists era, have our three rogue specs truly lost all of their unique flair?

In the context of a thread that discussed class uniqueness more generally, Blizz Community Manager Daxxarri (who has been known to prowl the WoW rogue class forum in the guise of a stealthy Protoss) took a detour to specifically address a person who asked why all rogue specs feel the same:

Rogues are something of an edge case, and moving previously spec defining abilities into the talent tree probably contributes to this, though I’d argue that it’s resulted in a class that’s more fun to play overall. Still, I find that Combat feels different from Assassination feels different from Sub. The differences are admittedly more subtle (no pun intended) than some other classes, though.

It’s Daxxarri’s last point that, for me, gets to the heart of this particular issue. He concedes the point made by many that what “feels” different about each rogue spec can be hard to tease out. But depending on how each of us plays, and on what particular characteristics of a class/spec are most important to us, the three rogue specs can be either glaringly different or impossible to tell apart.

(more…)

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