Posts Tagged ‘Tier 16’

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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[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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A new Patch 5.4 build has hit the Public Test Realms, which means a bucket of fresh datamining from Wowhead and MMO-Champion. Remember, datamining = not official (and not complete) unless otherwise confirmed by the Blizzertons.


Tier 16 Visual Preview

On the ooh-look-at-that front, we got our first glimpse of what the rogue Tier 16 raid gear will look like. Clicky on the images below to jump to Wowhead, where you can use a 3D modeler for a range of fun gear-glimpsing options.

Interesting that we only see three color options here, even though we’ll have four raid difficulties in 5.4 with the addition of Flex.


Tier 16 Set Bonus Changes

Meanwhile, on the set-bonus front, it looks like they may be starting to do some tuning on the rogue Tier 16 set:

  • The energy “discounts” on the two-piece bonus have been reduced. The datamining is a little wonky on this, because it’s not capable of seeing every spec, and the energy discount changes from spec to spec. From what I can see on the PTR itself, the energy saving per stack of the “Silent Blades” buff is now 6 (instead of 10) for Assassination, 15 (instead of 20) for Combat and 2 (instead of 3) for Subtlety. The abilities that can trigger a stack of the buff are still Ambush, Backstab, Dispatch, Mutilate and Sinister Strike.
  • The four-piece bonus has been altered for Subtlety. Instead of every fifth Backstab being “transformed” into an Ambush, each Backstab you use has a 4% of making the *next* Backstab you use into an Ambush instead.

Taken together, these changes should really bring the strength of the set bonuses down to earth for Subtlety.


Four New Glyphs — Maybe

And now, for the stuff that’ll get some of you pretty pumped: Wowhead also picked up a whole bunch of possible glyph additions/changes, some of which look awfully alluring. But there’s really no way to know yet whether the developers have any plans to implement them, so don’t get your hopes up too much just yet:

  • Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins: “Your Saunguinary Veins ability now also increases damage done to targets affected by your Hemorrhage.”
  • Glyph of Recovery: “While Recuperate is active, you receive 20% increased healing from other sources.”
  • 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.”


Remember, for a full rundown of Patch 5.4 rogue changes, lookie what I’ve got.

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As I’ve started writing these TWIRBS up more regularly, I’m surprised to see just how much worthwhile stuff is written/said/noted about rogues even during weeks like the one we just had, where basically nothing of note actually happened with the class.

PvPers Go Hmm

Meanwhile, on the Patch 5.4 PTR

  • NEW CLASS CHANGES: A new PTR build was datamined, and fansites spotted a whooole mess of changes — except to rogues. :) The only rogue-specific adjustment was to the tooltip of our Tier 16 raid set bonus (instead of “When you generate a combo point from Revealing Strike, Honor Amongst Thieves, or Seal Fate,” it now reads “When you generate a combo point from Revealing Strike’s effect, Honor Among Thieves, or Seal Fate). I’m relatively sure isn’t actually a change — I think it’s meant just to clarify the tooltip. (I also think the tweak didn’t clarify it very well at all. If they’re trying to say the bonus will proc whenever we use a combo point-generating ability on our target while the Revealing Strike debuff is active… well, why not say that? :) )
  • NEW SHINIES: So, like I said, nothing new for rogues specifically. But we did get our first glimpse of how our legendary(!) cloaks will work (see the datamine for more), and we also got a first look at five interesting DPS trinkets that will drop in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid. I mention them briefly in this post over on Elitist Jerks, but I think I’ll do a blog entry about them as soon as our theorycrafting geniuses have had a chance to take a closer look. (In the meantime, you can look in on a pretty decent discussion that unfolded in the WoW rogue forum about the trinkets.)

PvE Theory-Ish Stuff

  • TIER 16: Last week’s WoW Insider column analyzes the upcoming Tier 16 set bonuses, and explores why Blizzard may have chosen the specific types of bonuses they have.

The Legendary Quest Chain

Fun Stuff

  • FAN FICTION: The Godmother returns with another chapter of her new tale about a dwarf hunter who has been through hell and back again (as all of our characters have, in terms of game lore). A rogue is one of the key characters in this wonderfully written story. (To be fair, I should disclose some bias: I’ve been helping a bit with getting these chapters ready for prime time. But I wouldn’t be doing so if I didn’t think it was great stuff to begin with. And I don’t even like WoW fan fiction!)

And that’s the week in rogueball. Don’t forget to stop in at the newly renamed Tweets From the Shadows page to see the latest twitterings from Blizzfolk on rogue-related subjects.

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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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First up, the super-brief super-summary:

  • Killing Spree (Combat) is getting a major quality-of-life improvement. We’ll have the option of focusing it on a single target.
  • Recuperate is getting buffed. The ability itself and the glyph both get a bump.
  • Our entire level-60 mobility talent tier (Burst of Speed, Cloak and Dagger, Shadowstep) is getting buffed.
  • Subtlety’s combo point builders, Backstab and Hemorrhage, are both getting buffed.
  • Eviscerate (Combat and Subtlety’s damaging finisher) is getting nerfed.
  • Nightstalker (level-15 talent) is getting buffed.
  • Cheat Death (level-45 talent) is getting buffed.
  • Our new Tier 16 raid gear bonuses are interesting, but don’t yet firmly answer any questions about which spec will be “strongest” on paper in terms of DPS potential.
  • Loot-drop bug fix: Non-dagger weapons should stop dropping for Assassination rogues in LFR and heroic scenarios.
  • Anything I haven’t listed above is either unconfirmed or a likely tooltip change (not an actual change to the way an ability/item works).

Click away for much more detail, as well as analyses, theorycrafting and other bits that’ll help you get a better sense for what these changes mean and what folks are saying about them.

Looking for Patch *5.3* rogue changes? I’ve got a full rundown for you thisaway.

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[UPDATE 6/12: This is not the page you are looking for. You’d rather be here if you’re seeking the most current, comprehensive rundown of Patch 5.4 rogue changes I’ve got on this site.]

Brace yourselves, fellow rogues. It is time.

The first Patch 5.4 build appears to have hit the PTR, and Wowhead/MMO-Champion are datamining the absolute crap out of it.

As always, please keep in mind that we’ve had absolutely no official word yet from Blizzard on what the Patch 5.4 changes are (expect the first batch of patch preview notes later tonight or Wednesday), so don’t put too-too much stock in these changes until we see the official notes. Remember that when Patch 5.2 was first datamined on the PTR, it showed us getting a completely different tier-60 talent than the one Blizzard actually planned to implement.

That said, here’s a summary of MMO-Champion and Wowhead have datamined so far, along with some analysis here and there when I think of things to say:

  • It looks like many Combat rogues’ dreams about Killing Spree are about to come true: As Holinka hinted last week, it appears that KS will hit only your current target — unless you have Blade Flurry active, at which point it’ll act the way it does now.
  • Recuperate appears to be getting two buffs: one to the ability itself, the other to the glyph.
    • The Recuperate ability looks like it’s being buffed from 3% of max health per “tick” to 4% per tick. (Recup ticks once every three seconds.)
    • The Glyph of Recuperate looks like it’ll increase the effect of the spell by 1% of our max health, up from .5%.
    • Note that we haven’t yet seen what the new PvP tier bonuses will look like. PvP gloves currently provide a 1% buff to Recuperate; if that bonus changes, it may dramatically alter the way we view these datamined buffs.
  • Nightstalker appears to be getting a slight buff: It’ll increase the damage of abilities we use while stealthed by 50%, up from 25%.
  • Our new Tier 16 raid set bonuses have had their tooltips datamined.
    • The two-piece bonus tooltip reads: “When you generate a combo point from Revealing Strike, Honor Amongst Thieves, or Seal Fate, your next combo point generating ability has its energy cost reduced by 5. Stacks up to 5 times.” At first blush, this appears to be decent for Assassination, very weak for Combat, and pretty amazing for Subtlety.
    • The four-piece bonus tooltip reads: “Killing Spree deals 10% more damage every time it strikes a target. Abilities against a target with Vendetta on it increase your mastery by 250 for 5 sec, stacking up to 20 times. Every 4 Backstabs, your Backstab is replaced with Ambush that can be used regardless of Stealth.” Depending on how the final numbers shake out, this bonus could potentially be strong for every spec.
    • Ghostcrawler took to the tweetwaves shortly after the datamining info appeared to remind us that although the tier bonuses are in place, the “numbers are very place holder” and we should “focus on mechanics not tuning.” In other words, in offering feedback about the bonuses, we should talk about the idea behind them (or *how* they work), not on the exact amount of DPS it looks like they’ll give us.

At the moment, I’m distinctly uncertain about two other datamined rogue changes:

  • There’s a datamined tooltip change to Cloak and Dagger that shows the range increasing from 20 to 30 yards. The range is *already* 30 yards in the live game; this datamine is almost certainly just a tooltip fix.
  • There’s a datamined tooltip change to Find Weakness (Subtlety) in which the sentence “Bypasses less armor on players,” has been added to the end of the tooltip. This may just be a clarification of the way the ability already works in the game.

I’ll add clarifications to this post as I get them, and will post anew once we start getting some official Blizzard confirmations and patch preview notes.

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