Posts Tagged ‘Sinister Strike’

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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[Update 7/19: Official patch notes updated just a few hours after I originally posted this confirm that basically everything is actually happening the way it was datamined.]

There have been a pair of datamined Patch 5.4 PTR builds this week, but no official patch note update yet — although we should expect to see one later today or tomorrow. As such, take these new hints of incoming rogue changes with a certain amount of salt until officialness occurs.

Let’s dip right in.

Ability and Talent Adjustments

  • Evasion appears to be getting a substantial buff: It’ll increase our dodge chance by 100% instead of 50%. From a PvE standpoint, this is flat-out super for questing and soloing. From a PvP standpoint, there’s been some back and forth in forums over this, but it looks like the general view is that this is a fair change, but the 15-second duration (which is currently unchanged) may be a little too long.
  • Paralytic Poison appears to be getting a buff: The 4-second stun will kick in on the fourth stack of the poison, rather than the fifth.

Changes to Existing Glyphs

  • Glyph of Shiv appears to be getting a buff: It’ll reduce Shiv’s cooldown by 3 seconds instead of 2.
  • The Glyph of Blind fix that was included in last week’s official patch note update (see paragraph 5 of this bloggy post) appears to be in place on the PTR

The Circle of Glyph: New Glyphs Are Born, Old Glyphs Die

Earlier this month, many avid PTR stalkers were abuzz after datamining first caught glimpses of a whole mess of new glyphs for all classes, rogues included. We should very shortly see the official 5.4 notes catch up with all the datamining, which currently suggests two things:

  1. We may be slated to get up to six new glyphs, four major and two minor.
  2. Three of the four major glyphs appear to be replacing glyphs that currently exist in the game — glyphs that either felt required for some rogues or that most rogues never used.

Here are the six, along with their current tooltip text as of the latest datamine.

  • Major Glyphs
    • Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins: Your Saunguinary [sic] Veins ability now also increases damage done to targets affected by your Hemorrhage.
      • This appears to be replacing our Glyph of Sap, which basically nobody ever uses.
    • Glyph of Recovery: While Recuperate is active, you receive 20% increased healing from other sources.
      • This appears to be replacing our Glyph of Debiltation, which has been used by extremely few people (either in PvP or PvE).
    • Glyph of Redirect: Redirect no longer has a cooldown. (Note: A tweet this week from WoW PvP Brian Holinka may imply that this glyph isn’t truly happening, that he thinks it’s a huge rogue buff, or that he just likes callously and viciously toying with people’s emotions.)
      • This appears to be replacing our Glyph of Adrenaline Rush, which has been pretty much a requirement for every PvE Combat rogue at end-game. The AdRush glyph’s effects will become baseline for all Combat rogues. (Thanks for your comment with the heads-up on that tweet, Ben.)
    • Glyph of Sharpened Knives: Your Fan of Kinves [sic] also damages the armor of its victims, applying 1 application of the Weakened Armor effect to each target.
      • This doesn’t appear to be replacing anything, though I’ve seen players report that it’s meant to replace the Glyph of Crippling Poison, which basically nobody ever uses.

For reference, here are the info sources for the latest datamines:

I based my “nobody/everybody uses this glyph” claims on the latest data from WorldofWargraphs. (They’re not perfect — I believe the numbers are based on people’s armories when they log out, not when they’re actually playing — but they suffice for the purpose I used them for.)

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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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