Posts Tagged ‘Patch 5.4’

Sorry for two things: 1) the delay on this post (this hotfix is at least two days old) and 2) the fact that I pretty much have no clue what it’s about. I am posting it late at night (on the right coast, at least) in hopes that I’ll be able to alleviate my OCD-ish need to report this while still ensuring that almost nobody reads it.

The Oct. 7 update to the official Patch 5.4 hotfix notes (not to be confused with the Oct. 9 update, which is the day I’m writing this post, but not the day to which I’m referring, because that would make too much sense) included this:

Corrected an issue with Cloak and Dagger that could allow Rogues to bypass some targeting and line-of-sight restrictions.

Yep. So. That happened.

I was away from gaming and blogging for virtually all of the past week-plus, so you guys may have more clue than me what this was about. My educated guess is that it was meant to bring Shadowstep’s and CnD’s mechanics closer together. For instance:

  • In PvE: Meanwhile, on the Siegecrafter Blackfuse fight in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, one of the tasks us damage-dealers need to perform involves jumping into a pipe so we can be transported over to a conveyor belt where adds spawn. Adds spawn on the belt every 30 seconds, but we can only use the pipe once every 60 seconds (thanks to a debuff placed on us). A few of you clever roguetypes realized that you could use Cloak and Dagger (but not Shadowstep) to bypass the debuff and teleport directly to an add on the belt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the hotfix resolved that little issue as well.

If I’m wrong about any or all of this, please yell at me and cast aspersions in the comments.

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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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Really quick note on a Patch 5.4 hotfix posted this evening:

Evil is a Point of View should no longer incorrectly cause Turn Evil to affect targets that are immune to loss of control effects.

This refers to the new level-30 paladin talent that allows pallies to join the ranks of classes with an option to use a fear against enemy players. Since Patch 5.4 went live yesterday, pallies with that talent were able to use Turn Evil to fear rogues (among others) at any time — including while they were in the middle of a Killing Spree, an ability that should be impossible to stop.

And now, assuming the hotfix works, it will be impossible again.

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This one’s primarily an issue for players who are raiding in Combat spec at the moment.

A few folks have taken to various forums (e.g., here) since Patch 5.4 went live to note some oddness with combo points in Combat spec. I’m still a little bit unclear on the details, and I haven’t seen anything official from Blizzard on it. But there appears to be an odd interaction happening between Anticipation and the new Ruthlessness passive for Combat rogues, especially those with the Tier 15 four-piece raid set bonus.

The gist: If you have Anticipation stacks and hit a finisher, Ruthlessness is guaranteed to proc a combo point. That combo point is generated on your target. But you still have Anticipation stacks — which are on *you*, not your target. It takes a moment before those Anticipation stacks get “transferred” from you over to your target, where they become regular combo points.

I don’t know how long it takes for that transfer to happen. I also don’t know how much server lag can play into it, or how much of it is a display issue vs. an actual gameplay issue. But the end result appears to be that, especially for Combat rogues who have Adrenaline Rush active (and thus have their global cooldown on many abilities reduced by .2 seconds) — and ESPECIALLY-especially for Combat rogues who have AdRush + Shadow Blades active and still have their Tier 15 four-piece bonus (which reduces the cooldown by another .3 seconds) — it appears possible for them to have a total of 10 combo points available (5 regular, 5 Anticipation), try to hit Eviscerate twice in a row, and end up hitting a 5-CP Evisc followed half a second later by an unintended 1-CP Evisc.

So, that can be a little frustrating. :)

If you’ve got any additional info, evidence, video examples, etc., please comment here or over on the Combat EJ thread (where the most discussion around the problem is happening right now); hopefully Blizzfolk are watching and can address the issue if it’s actively causing the sorts of problems it appears to be causing.

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I’m gonna have fun with a blog post for a change. Sue me. :)

Although there’s a part of me that craves the life of a hardcore raider, at heart I am an explorer. So when Patch 5.4 went live yesterday and I got home from work, I didn’t head into Siege of Orgrimmar; I struck out for the Timeless Isle.

This place was MADE for rogues, guys. This is how I know:

  1. It is an island.
  2. It has pirates.
  3. It is swarming with elite mobs up to level 92 that can be a pain to fight through.
  4. It is absolutely FILTHY with treasure. Just lying around. For you to take it.

Our ability to move quickly while stealthed (and to incapacitate many mobs with Sap) allows us easy access to shiny objects that most other classes have to, yknow, actually WORK for.

Plus, if you leveled a rogue in Cataclysm, you get a special backstage pass to Ordon Sanctuary (the plateau in the north that you can’t simply tread onto with your or your mount’s feet):

Rogue style.

I arrr droppin’ in for ye treasure.

The recipe for access:

  • one (1) rogue
  • one (1) set of legendary daggers
  • one (1) flying mount
  • one (1) awareness of the dividing line between the Timeless Isle (where you cannot fly) and the Time-Lost Waters beyond it (where you can)
  • one (1) (optional) Spectral Grog kindly provided by a now-extra-dead ghost pirate.

I realize you can do this sort of thing with most any object or spell that slows your fall speed, but it’s way cooler doing it as a rogue. And as a winged ghost pirate.

If you go this route, keep in mind that you don’t actually want to float down into the central square (as I am in the photo above), unless you 1) can manage to land on a rooftop or 2) have the legendary cloak that prevents you from being auto-teleported back to the starting area.

Far more preferable would be to float into the area on the right edge of the image above — that’s the section where two big ol’ honkin’ 92 elites are flanking a massive treasure chest (image not available — there, um, was a “no photography please” sign up) that, for me, contained a Burden of Eternity, among other more typical goodies. And if you’re stealthed, you can just trot right up to the chest and loot it without getting those elites’ attention.

Or you can float in on the left, where an elevated pond is home to an elite water spirit that can be (carefully) soloed by a crappily 5.3-geared rogue.

Have you guys done any fun new roguely activities in 5.4?

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The number of changes incoming for rogues in Patch 5.4 is… lots. It’s a lots number. If you grab a bottle of vodka, flip through my full summary of rogue changes and drink every time you see a buff, you will be in a hospital having your stomach pumped by the time you’re done.

And just for good measure, it looks like we’re getting one more buff before the patch goes live: This time, Ambush gets in on the fun.

Quietly folded into the official 5.4 patch notes (there’s no red to indicate updates to the latest version because it’s technically an entirely new set of notes — this is now the “live” notes instead of the PTR notes) is this new rogue change:

Ambush damage has been increased by 12%.

This buff is almost certainly intended to avoid a problem that Haileaus, our class’s most prominent expert on PvE Subtlety spec, noted in a recent post in the official forums: Backstab had been buffed so much for 5.4 that it was actually looking *better* than Ambush as a stealth opener in many some cases. Presumably the Ambush buff will ensure that doesn’t happen.

This buff will also make rogues of any spec who open with Ambush just a little more deadly — though I should point out that, at this point, I don’t know of any in-depth theorycrafting that’s been done (and haven’t done any myself) to see whether Ambush is actually going to be the best option to use as an opener if you’re raiding as Mut or Combat in 5.4.

Regardless, this buff to Ambush raises the final tally. Let’s take a look at the big board:

  • Rogue Buffs in 5.4: 20
  • Rogue Bug Fixes and Gameplay Improvements in 5.4: 4
  • Rogue Nerfs in 5.4: 2

Don’t never let nobody say Blizzard doesn’t love ya, stabbers.

For All Your Roguely Patch 5.4 Needs

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[Note: If you’re looking for a full breakdown of rogue changes in Patch 5.4, here’s where you wanna be.]

There are two rogue-specific changes in tonight’s update to Blizzard’s official Patch 5.4 PTR notes. Neither is a huge surprise, but both will affect our DPS (at least for the first few weeks after the patch goes live):

  1. The earlier buff to Assassin’s Resolve, the Assassination-only passive ability, has been reverted. It once again will increase Mut rogues’ damage by 25%, as it does right now in Patch 5.3. (If this looks familiar, it’s because the reversion was datamined yesterday.)Keep in mind that Mutilate and Dispatch are both currently slated for a huge buff in Patch 5.4 (+40% each). Ghostcrawler noted several weeks ago that Assassination was inexplicably performing lower than they wanted it to perform on the PTR; to fix that, they turned three knobs and watched to see whether it fixed the problem. Looks like it overfixed it, thus the AssRes reversion.

    Remember, peopleses: This is not a nerf. It’s the reversion of a buff that they found was not needed.

  2. The Tier 15 (raid gear) four-piece bonus is being heavily nerfed. When Shadow Blades is active, the cost of rogue abilities will drop by 15% instead of 40%. That’s a huge reduction — and a necessary one, at least for Combat. (Less so for the other specs, but this isn’t as big a nerf for them.)For weeks now, numerous rogues have posted to WoW’s official PTR forum warning that, because the current raid tier’s four-piece bonus is so incredibly powerful for Combat rogues, people playing the spec might have no reason to bother upgrading to Tier 16 gear in Patch 5.4. Though the designers initially disagreed, it looks like they ultimately came around — no doubt partly spurred by a separate finding that the Tier 15 four piece had an insanely powerful synergy with one of the new DPS trinkets being introduced in Patch 5.4, Assurance of Consequence.

    I’ll update this post once theorycrafters have had a chance to poke around and see what sort of impact this change is likely to have on raiding rogues when Patch 5.4 launches. But this will certainly hurt Mut and Sub’s DPS a little, and Combat’s more than a little — at least until they get their first two pieces of Tier 16 gear, which hopefully will happen within the first few weeks of the patch.

    Hopefully we’ll see some sort of explanation from Blizzard as to why they chose to nerf the set bonus for *all* specs rather than just Combat. My best guess is that, similar to the Assassin’s Resolve reversion, they discovered that Mut and Sub were looking a little too strong at current (pre-patch) gear levels, and this is how they chose to address it. That, or they figured the impact on DPS would be so small, and most rogues would upgrade to better gear so quickly, that it would be a minor and short-lived problem for Mut and Sub rogues in the new patch. (It’s also possible that the T15 four-piece simply can’t be programmed to work differently for each spec.)

As always, my full rundown of Patch 5.4 rogue changes is full and rundowny.

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