Posts Tagged ‘Shuriken Toss’

In the run-up to Patch 5.3’s launch this week, Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street and Brian “Holinka” Holinka, among other senior WoW designers, have been making the round on various fansites to preview the patch and explain their thinking behind many of the changes in store.

The Arena Junkies interview with GC and Holinka, which posted over the weekend, includes a few highly rogue-relevant bits, as does today’s interview with Gary Gannon and Olivia Grace on a special episode of’s Legendary. Notable roguey excerpts are copied below. (In the case of the Gamebreaker interview, the transcription is mine, since the source is a video. The AJ transcript excerpts will be copy-pasted as-is from AJ’s site.)

The Find Weakness Change: Making Spells Different in PvE/PvP (Arena Junkies)

(I ranted about this one early this morning.)

Sam: PvE and PvP changes seem to collide very often, do you guys believe that balancing both may require a lot of specific PvP and PvE only changes? An example would be Find Weakness in 5.3.

Brian: Yes, and when we do it. Find weakness is a great example where PvE needed a buff and it would’ve cost big problems to PvP. We keep it in mind and Frost bomb is another example. We try not to do it too often, it’s a lot of things to keep track of. We’re the designers and people on Arena Junkies are really passionate players that really keep up on all the changes, but a lot of players are not. To ask our general player base that your spell does this and it does half damage or 25% or something like that, it’s really not something we want to do too often. Especially hey we want eviscerate to hit 10% less on players. That’s really inconsistent and a tough thing. We usually do it when it’s really a significant thing such as Find Weakness is 50% less and Frost bomb is 40% less.

Greg: There’s also this persistent, I’ll just call it a myth, that if we just bite the bullet and make 2 versions of every spell suddenly we’ll have class balance nailed and it’ll never be a problem again. I’m pretty confident if we went ahead and split sub rogues into 2 abilities on every ability with different damage numbers you’ll still see players saying why they can’t just tune down this one ability that’s costing pvp burst problem. In other words players will still want us to make changes even if we have the numbers split up, I don’t think it’ll suddenly make players feel their class is viable in every situation

Why Rogues Are Being Nerfed (Arena Junkies)

Sam: In the history of changes a lot of nerfs and buffs are really large, which usually changes the “balance” of one class from one to another such as warrior and rogues last patch. Warriors were arguably the top notch class in 5.2 but kind of went to the bottom barrel. Rogues basically had the opposite happen to them. Do you guys think smaller changes would be more ideal or how would you look at it?

Brian Holinka: Obviously when we can we would like to make smaller changes. I think what you saw with rogues in 5.2 was that there were a lot of calls for their survival to be improved. So we made Prep baseline, took Cloak off, so they weren’t constantly unpeelable for 12 seconds, and moved it to a short CD. I think these were good changes, but what pushed rogues over the edge was we tried to create some talents to make them more attractive and give them variety. Shuriken Toss, Mark for Death, and Cloak and Dagger, those were all probably a little bit too much. 5.3 Rogues were really about reigning in those talent changes. We kept the survivability changes the same but we wanted to reign in the unpeelable Cloak and Dagger, the ranged play style of Shuriken Toss, and those were I think really smart changes. We didn’t also nerf Mark for Death and a bunch of other changes. The Find Weakness change was mainly for burst on higher armor targets. We thought that wasn’t appropriate. We made some changes in 5.2 that didn’t mean to be buffs, but for talent choices to be more interesting and we needed to reign those in.

Revisiting Rogue Talents for PvP: 5.2 and 5.3 (Legendary)

Gary Gannon: How do you feel the [PvP class] balance has been in 5.2?


Brian Holinka: I think there were some situations where we were trying to make some talents more interesting from 5.1 to 5.2. For example […] there was a rogue ability called Versatility, and it was not really seeing much play. So we created a new one called Marked for Death. In other situations, like, for instance: […] Preparation was another ability that we actually thought all rogues could benefit from having. So there we had to create a new one, Cloak and Dagger.

So, we were doing a lot of talent work, and in some places, we just overshot a bit. We felt like it made some classes a little bit too good and the talents were just a little bit too good, so we tried to rein those in.

We base our balance feedback on a lot of factors: We look at representations; distribution of ratings across all specs and classes; how people are faring within our team, how they’re playing; we talk to some of the very high level players on a very constant basis. We try and get a sense of where problems lie, and then we try and fix things that we feel are big problems for the overall gameplay of the game — where it just makes everybody’s life a little bit less fun — and we try and affect those.

There’s situations where maybe you can say this or that has made this class even more competitive, but there’s also situations where this talent is just one-shotting people. So we have to look at that, and we have to understand that it’s made the game less fun to play.

Our goals are basically: try and make specs and classes competitive; try and make the overall gameplay environment fun; and then, we wanna say, try and make some talents interesting, and try and make rotations interesting and fun to play. Sometimes we make changes that are a little bit out of priority there, but that’s generally what we try to do. And I think, going in from 5.2 to 5.3, that was a lot of our goal, was to kind of rein in some of the things that got out of control.

Though these three chunks were especially rogue-directed, large sections of both interviews are likely to be of great interest to any PvPing rogue, so be sure to read/tune in to them for a more complete discussion of upcoming changes — and some changes potentially in store for 5.4 and beyond.



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There has been a whole mess of confusion around the changes being planned for Shuriken Toss in Patch 5.3. Some folks out there have been angrily referring to it as a nerf, some have been angrily referring to it as a buff, some have been angrily referring to it as a wash, and some have been angrily referring to it as something that other people keep angrily referring to too often.

Here’s the deal: It is a nerf. In most cases.

What’s Changing

  • The cost of using ST will double from 20 to 40 energy.
  • The damage dealt by ST will also double.
  • If you’re more than 10 yards from your target, ST will no longer deal double damage in 5.3. (PvP chief Holinka first tweeted about this over the weekend; it was added to the official patch PTR notes on 4/15.)

What’s Not Changing

  • Using ST when you’re more than 10 yards from your target will still trigger ranged autoattacks.
  • You’re still a badass ninja.

What This Means for Rogues

  • Yknow how fun it’s been in PvP to spam ST to 3+ combo points on a caster, then hit Deadly Throw to interrupt/silence them, then quickly spam a few more STs and do it again? Yeah, that’ll be a lot harder now.
  • Yknow how fun it’s been to stand 10 or more yards from something and destroy the poop out of it by flinging tiny ninja stars at it? In 5.3, you will destroy exactly half as much poop.
  • Yknow how you love using ST when you’re within 10 yards of your target but outside of melee range, because it allows you to keep doing damage while being kited? Keep loving it, because that will not change at all.
  • Y’ever wish that you could unleash three pretty powerful ranged attacks in rapid succession, even though we’re a melee class? Bam.

In essence, these changes make ST a lot less useful for crowd control in PvP situations and reduce rogues’ ability to deal sustained damage to a target from far away. But this *will* make the ability a lot more bursty, provided you’ve pooled your energy enough (or you’ve popped a cooldown/potion that will greatly amp up your energy regen) to be able to hit Shuriken Toss multiple times in a row.

This could be especially fun for Combat rogues with the 4-piece Tier 15 PvE set bonus who decide to dabble in PvP. When those folks pop Adrenaline Rush and Shadow Blades (assuming they have the Glyph of Adrenaline Rush), they’ll have 15 seconds during which they can cast Shuriken Toss for just 24 energy every half second, and they’ll be regenerating energy at a rate of 25 or more per second. That’s probably some pretty serious ranged damage right there.

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We’ve gotten our first taste of a (possible) rogue-specific class change coming into the Patch 5.3 PTR. The latest PTR build datamined by MMO-Champion and Wowhead suggests that Shuriken Toss’s base damage is being doubled (that’s good!) — as is its energy cost, which will go from 20 to 40 (that’s bad).

I am CRAZY proud of myself right now for almost predicting this perfectly. (It’s meant largely to address concerns about ST’s strength in PvP, particularly as a rapid combo point generator.) Though as with any datamining not yet mirrored in official patch notes, it’s important to remember none of this is final until it’s final. And maybe not even then.

[UPDATE 4/9] Oh, no, wait, it’s pretty official now:

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I mentioned a few days ago that lead PvP guru Brian Holinka had tweeted our clearest hint yet that Shuriken Toss was likely to get a nerf sometime soonish, due to its strength in significantly harming manned enemy pixels. This exchange earlier today may give us an idea for what sort of nerf we can expect:


(The “Deadly Throw” change Holinka is referring to is a Patch 5.2 buff that made DT’s interrupt/spell lockout work when used at 3-5 combo points, instead of only at 5.)

So, if Shuriken Toss damage is a concern in PvP (as Holinka noted in his previous tweet), and ST’s rapid combo point generation makes DT too powerful in PvP as well, I’m thinking the logical move would be to increase the energy cost for Shuriken Toss (perhaps to ~35 energy or so). Of course, I say that with virtually no understanding of PvP balance, so take that prediction with a bucket of salt.

I’d also be sad to see such an energy-cost increase happen from a PvE questing standpoint, because ST has proven to be tremendously useful in dailies, particularly when trying to solo some of those Isle of Thunder rares.

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It took me way too long to start following @holinka on the Twittsville. Though in my defense, Brian Holinka is WoW’s senior PvP designer, and for me PvP stands for “Pray the violence doesn’t cause me any Pain.”

But given that we’ve seen a cartload of complaints in forums about the strength of the Patch 5.2 edition of Shuriken Toss in PvP, I was curious whether Mr. Holinka had tweeted anything on the subject yet. Turns out:


Obviously, this doesn’t mean anything will necessarily be done about it. It just means he’s got his eye on it. But don’t be surprised if we see, for instance, ST’s base damage, autoattack damage or lethal poison proc chance tuned down in an upcoming patch note for Patch 5.3.

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A new Patch 5.2 build appears to be on its way to the PTR server. MMO-Champion and Wowhead have both done that drilly stuff they do to tease out what’s new and different in this build from the previous one. Here’s what they appear to have spotted that’s new for rogues.

(Please remember, this is datamining, not official patch notes, so it may be incomplete, inaccurate or reflect unintended changes.)

  • The Nerve Strike tooltip has been updated to reflect the scaling back of its buff. Early in the PTR, the level-30 talent option was given the added benefit of reducing the healing dealt by a target we had Cheap Shotted or Kidney Shotted by 25% for 6 seconds after the stun expires. Later on, a PTR build (as well as updated patch notes) cut that healing reduction to 10%. *This* PTR build appears to have updated the tooltip accordingly. Again, Nerve Strike is still being buffed to reduce your target’s healing. Just not by as much as originally planned.
  • The removal of Shuriken Toss’s ability to proc non-lethal poisons appears to have been carried out. Blizzard CM Daxxarri had already confirmed, in a series of official forum posts last week, that this change was incoming. Now the tooltip for Shuriken Toss on the PTR has been updated to state that “shurikens are coated in your Lethal Poison.” (Blizzard’s official Patch 5.2 notes were also updated today to note that Shuriken Toss only procs lethal poisons.)
  • We can haz new PvP gear set to look at. Here’s MMO-Champ’s video preview and image-only preview (using a human male as the model) of our Season 13 PVP rogue set. You can also visit Wowhead’s page on the new rogue PvP gear to use their 3D simulator majiggie and see how it looks on every race.
  • I’m going to include this just as a “the more you know”  side mention, because it’s not an actual change to the ability: Wowhead’s datamining notes currently include an addition to Shadow Blades’ tooltip that says the cooldown also reduces the energy cost of all our abilities by 40%. This is without a doubt just how Wowhead picked up the fact that the four-piece bonus of our new raid tier set does exactly that. (It looks like, when we actually have four pieces of tier gear equipped, the Shadow Blades tooltip will update to show us the new additional effect.)

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Blizz Community Manager Daxxarri took to the WoW PvP Arenas forum, of all the wacky places in the virtual universe, to let players know that come Patch 5.2, Shuriken Toss won’t proc non-lethal poisons — either with its combo point-generating component or its associated ranged autoattacks.

This appears to be an effort to do at least two things:

  1. Recast Shuriken Toss as a more purely offensive ability — one that’s intended to keep up pressure from range while being kited in PvP (not to kite or cc others), or to deal fairly decent DPS while being forced to fight at range in PvE (but not to help us kite or cc mobs).
  2. Prevent rogues from taking advantage of ST autoattacks being on the yellow hit table, which would make poisons like Paralytic Poison stack *very* quickly. (The designers already adjusted for the greater chance of *lethal* poisons proccing by slapping a 25% reduction on the amount of damage dealt by ST autoattacks compared to melee autoattacks.)

Daxx’s comments span several posts in the thread; I’ll paste the most relevant bits below.

Shuriken Toss shouldn’t be proccing non-lethal poisons. It is intended to be an ability that allows Rogues to continue to apply some pressure even after being peeled, though. That’s part of the reason it was re-designed this way.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on balance, but (post-fix) we feel it’s a good option compared with other Rogue level 90 talents

Then, in response to a concern that the new ST “diminishes the effects” of rogue crowd control:

Roots and snares, yes. There are plenty of other effects that stop a threat cold, though.

In a subsequent post, he further clarified:

The active ability and its auto-attack component will behave the same way.

And later on, in response to a question about whether the autoattack portion of the change was “really set in stone”:

Nothing is set in stone, per se, but Shuriken Toss hasn’t proven to be very popular in its current live incarnation.

The next day, Daxx added this clarification (in a post that was subsequently deleted by accident):

The removal of non-lethal poisons from Shuriken Toss is an intentional nerf. Indications suggest that with all the other changes coming in 5.2, that Rogues are still going to be in a pretty good place.

Nonetheless, at the moment we think that applying Paralytic and Crippling from range is probably a little too good.

As well as this, in response to a player who posted that Shuriken Toss “is the easiest way to set up a 5 point KS and Shadow Dance with full energy”:

In 5.2, Marked for Death will be the easiest way to do that.

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