Posts Tagged ‘Shadowstep’

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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BlizzBlues typically avoid, in plaguelike fashion, any direct class-vs.-class comparison of a single tool in the toolkit. They’re fond of saying — and rightly so — that classes aren’t created to be hard counters with one another, and that if they all had the same tools, they’d all basically be the same class (which might be very nicely balanced, but would also be the most boring thing in the history of ever).

That made it a little surprising that WoW PvP honcho Brian Holinka engaged in some back-and-forth last night over Shadowstep, and how the ability — which is currently a level-60 talent option — stacks up against the baseline mobility-aiding spells that other classes get. It’s a bit of an odd comparison, and as you’ll see Holinka doesn’t just talk about the ability in a bubble (since its synergy with other abilities, such as Cloak of Shadows, can add to its strength). But it’s one of those cool little glimpses into the way the mind of a senior PvP designer works and how he regards the strengths and weaknesses of rogues compared to other classes.

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[UPDATE 5/3: This change appears to have been reverted — or will soon be reverted — on the PTR, and replaced with a different CnD nerf.]

[UPDATE 4/29: Since first posting this, I’ve added two tweets to the bottom of the post — one affirming there are no changes in the works for Shadowstep, the other warning that they may not be done quite yet with the Cloak and Dagger nerfs. I also tweaked the second paragraph to note that the change made it into the official patch notes; it was just a datamine from 4/25 until 4/29.]

Remember how last night I wrote that the Blizzard class design folks were thinking about a possible Cloak and Dagger change? Welp, looks like they’re done thinking, and are actually implementing one: According to the newest datamined info from the Patch 5.3 PTR (as found by Wowhead and MMO-Champion), the level-60 talent option has had its range reduced from 30 yards to 20 yards.

This has yet to be confirmed in the official patch notes, but was confirmed in an April 29 update to the official Patch 5.3 PTR notes. Even before they became officially official (in an official way), though, PvP honcho Brian Holinka had tipped us off when he tweeted earlier they were considering a tweak to CnD so that other options in that tier might become a little more attractive to competitive PvPers.

If this is indeed the tweak Blizzard has decided on, it suggests that the designers’ main issue with CnD is not merely its burst potential when coupled with Shadow Dance, but specifically the synergy of that burst with the teleport. A decrease in the ability’s range equals a decrease in rogue mobility, and makes it likely that a rogue will have to do more than just pop CnD to resume unloading on a mage who just used Blink (which, as it happens, teleports the mage 20 yards away).

Of course, the range on Shadowstep thus far remains unchanged, which is part of the point: to make the level-60 talent tier a more interesting choice for PvPers.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether a nerf (in addition to the other three nerfs we know are already planned for rogue PvP in 5.3 — to Shuriken Toss, Glyph of Cheap Shot and Glyph of Garrote) to a wildly popular new talent is the best way to go about this, and what impact it has on rogue viability in high-end PvP in the next patch. Reaction in the official WoW rogue forum has been mixed thus far.

[UPDATE 4/25:] To those who might wish Shadowstep (or Burst of Speed) were getting a buff instead of CnD getting a nerf, Holinka has this to say:

[UPDATE 4/26:] And for those of you hoping this is the end of the road for nerfs, keep that breath held in tight:

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