Posts Tagged ‘weapons’

Updated Warlords of Draenor alpha notes, a new slew of datamined spell changes, a gaggle of designer tweets: Gee golly, it’s almost enough to make a person think there’s actually something substantial happening in WoW!

Ah, but no, it’s just another week in virtual purgatory.

Here is what the latest limbo period brought us in the World of Rouge that was mildly distinct from the limbo period before it.

Assassination: All About the Knifejamins

The initial design plan was: Let’s give folks who want to play Assassination, but who don’t have daggers, a chance to still play the spec using other types of pointy things (i.e., fist weapons and swords). But as of the May 23 update to the official alpha patch notes, that plan has been… deplanned. (Sorry for that link; couldn’t resist.)

Yep, all of the bits and pieces that were going to make fists and swords kinda-sorta viable for Mut rogues are gone. The different damage coefficients for Dispatch and Mutilate depending on weapon type, Assassin’s Resolve no longer requiring daggers — all back to the way they were. By which I mean, the way they are now, in Mists.

Here’s why this reversion doesn’t suck:

The primary motivation behind all of the plans to loosen weapon requirements centered around a long-standing issue for rogue players: We have to wield two weapons, and it can often feel hard — heck, sometimes downright unpossible — to get the weapons we need, particularly since there are very few ways to get decent weaponry outside of random-chance boss loot. The tweet above from WoW technical game designer Chadd “Cellartron” Nervig strongly suggests they’ve got a new idea for how to make sure we don’t suffer from Neverdrop, an affliction that I’m this close to asking Sarah McLachlan to write a song about so we can start an aid foundation.

Combat: Smack Harder, Feel Better

It’s been a common refrain, for many moons now, that rogues are heavily reliant on “passive” forms of damage. The definition of “passive” changes a bit depending on who you ask, but there’s pretty wholesale agreement that our autoattack damage — which, as Combat, can easily account for 10%-15% of our damage in a raid fight without even taking into account additional bits like Deadly Poison procs (which adds another 10%+) or the Shadow Blades cooldown (another ~10%) — is just too darn-tootin’ high. That makes the designers feel compelled to reduce the power of our actual button-press abilities (Sinister Strike, Eviscerate, etc.) to compensate.


Worth noting here is the removal of Ambidexterity. This was done to reduce the amount of damage coming from auto attacks for Combat Rogues. We’ve increased the damage of their active abilities to compensate and make them more rewarding.

That’s from the latest iteration of the official patch notes. Ambidexterity currently increases Combat rogues’ offhand weapon damage by 75%. By removing it, the proportion of our damage that comes from offhand autoattacks is likely to drop from 10%-15% to something more like 2%-5% — and from the sounds of it, all of that “lost” damage will be funneled into our push-this-button-and-hurt-something-immediately abilities. (The perk formerly named “Improved Ambidexterity” will now be called “Improved Dual Wield”; it will still eliminate the 19% off-hand hit chance penalty.)  Will it be enough to really feel a difference? Only playtesting will be able to tell us for certain.

Combat: If You Prick Them, They Will Bleed

The class design team introduced changes for Warlords that are meant to develop a greater sense of distinctness for each of our three specs. One of their big plans for Combat rogues was to make it so that, at Level 100, *all* damage is instant. No bleeds, no ticking poisons: Everything that would normally deal damage over time would instead dish all of it out immediately.

It’s a cool idea, but not without downsides. For instance, PvP players were quick to point out that removing all damage-over-time spells from Combat would leave those rogues completely unable to prevent nearby enemies in stealth from… you know, being stealthed.

It looks like the designers agreed. Nervig confirmed that, in a reversal, Crimson Tempest will once again trigger a bleed, just as it does in the live game. Nervig’s statement supports datamining that saw the tooltip for the Combat-only leveling perk Empowered Crimson Tempest change from “Crimson Tempest no longer deals any periodic damage, and instead deals 240% increased initial damage,” to, “Increases the duration of Crimson Tempest’s bleed by 50%.” I’ll leave it to rogues smarter than I to determine whether these changes are enough to make CT a more desirable finisher than an unlimited-target Eviscerate with Blade Flurry on.


And now, the miscellany:

  • So many datamined changes; so little takeaway: A new datamined Warlords alpha build generated a flurry of knee-jerk complaints about widespread nerfs, due to what appeared to be attack-power-multiplier reductions for a whole slew of rogue abilities. The thing is: You can’t nerf what doesn’t exist yet, and we’re not even at a publicly available alpha. The designers have a goal in mind when it comes to how different classes, and different abilities, will stack up against each other in Warlords. So it’s quite literally pointless to compare “then” numbers vs. “now” numbers, because the entire equation is changing. (It also wasn’t just rogues affected by these changes.)
  • Rupture multi-DoT-ting: Nervig affirmed that the way Assassination rogues currently fight multiple enemies (i.e., they keep Rupture rolling on several targets at once, in order to keep energy flowing in from Venemous Wounds) is not the strategy they had in mind for the spec. The design team wants to change this for Warlords.
  • Rupture big. Rupture hurt. Also in bleeding news, Nervig acknowledged that a design goal is to give Rupture a big damage boost in the upcoming expansion — but that finding the right balance for it is proving tricky.
  • Death From Above clarifications: There’s been a lot of skepticism expressed by players that we’ll have little reason to choose the Level 100 talent Death From Above over the other two options in that tier, LemonVenom Zest and Shadow Reflection. Nervig tweeted that DFA would be made more attractive by making it end with an Envenom/Eviscerate that is 50% more powerful than using En/Ev by itself would be.
  • Show me the poisons! One particular tweeter has been nudging designers for months now about giving rogues a way to display poison effects on their weapons. The response, consistently: A fine idea, but not on the priority list.

For a complete rundown of all upcoming rogue-related Warlords changes, there’s no better place on the Web to turn than Wowhead’s compendium. I know I sound like a cheesy advertisement saying that, but it’s an amazing resource. Use it. :)


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With all due respect to the dearly departed WoW Insider hunter column. ;)

Following the initial dump of the Warlords of Draenor alpha novel last week, WoW technical game designer and celery-gnawing glitter maniac Chadd “Celestalon” Nervig took to the twitwaves, as he is oft wont to do. And the interviewed-by-Olivia-Grace-waves, as he is not oft wont to do. And the live-interview-on-major-WoW-fansite-shows-waves, as he has never before been wont to do.

Across all of these various and sundry forms of interaction, Nervig answered a ridiculously large number of questions from players seeking clarifications and further info on the changes we have in store for us in Warlords.

Meanwhile, Warlords datamining began as the first alpha client hit public test servers, bringing with it brand-new waves of speculation and misinformation — as well as some intriguing glimpses of what may yet to come to pass for we wily ones.

So. To supplement my post last week summarizing (nearly) all of the rogue info in the first alpha novel — a masterfully organized, but depressingly ugly and text-heavy, tour de force of bullet points and explanations — I will now unceremoniously dump a scattershot list of (nearly) all the rogue-relevant odds and ends we learned over the past several days.

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Your once-mighty enemy falls to the earth with a crash, its last vestiges of life dissipating from its body. You and your raidmates rejoice: Another foe vanquished, another victory for the forces of whatever-it-is-we-are-because-I-mean-sometimes-it’s-kinda-hard-to-tell-whether-we’re-the-good-guys-but-whatever-we-killed-this-huge-pile-of-pixels-yay!

And what’s this? Your eyes catch a glint of metal amidst the hills of meat that were the villain and its minions. Your stomach flutters. Is that… could it be… finally??!

You approach quickly. You kneel down, shoving aside torn cloth and shattered armor, heaving corpses out of the way. You reach out, grab onto an ornate hilt, tear it free…

A mace! A glorious, incredible, powerful mace! It’s a thing of beauty! It’s exactly the weapon upgrade you most needed!

… If you were a Combat rogue.

But you’re not. You’re an Assassination rogue.

So you basically just won yourself a glorious, incredible, powerful sack of 27 gold pieces.

Assassination rogues have rent their garments over this issue for ages. So the cries of joy were loud and multitudinous when a hotfix was implemented during Patch 5.2 — and then again when loot specialization was introduced with Patch 5.3 — that promised freedom for the Mut spec from the shackles of non-dagger weapon drops from raid bosses and heroic scenarios.

Only… it frequently hasn’t worked as advertised. Forums are littered with reports of players in Assassination spec still seeing “slow” one-handed weapons — axes, fist weapons, maces and swords — fall from bosses like rain from the sky, causing not a little bit of consternation. Blizzard had largely been silent on the issue, and some players reported Game Master responses to in-game tickets telling them to basically suck it up, because that’s the way it was meant to work.

Well, late last week, we got the most official word we can get that no, it’s *not* working the way it’s meant to work:

We are treating that behavior as a bug. I don’t have any eta for a fix but it’s something we’re aware of and plan to resolve.

Those were the words of Sapperwix, a congenial blue poster and Blizzard quality assurance rep who moderates the official WoW U.S. bug report forum. He was posting in response to a player reporting a number of fist weapon drops after killing Raid Finder bosses and using bonus-roll coins while in Mut loot spec.

So. We know they know about the issue. (And we also know it’s definitely worthwhile to post bugs like these in the official bug report forum.) We know they know it’s a problem. Now we just hope they can fix it reasonably soon.

In the meantime, me and my still-no-dagger-drops-this-entire-expansion-despite-roughly-75-kills-and-coin-rolls-on-bosses-with-daggers-in-their-loot-table ass will go cry quietly in this lonely little corner of my blog over here.

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Today’s new batch of official Patch 5.2 hotfixes includes this quality-of-life change for raiding rogues:

Assassination Rogues should no longer be receiving non-dagger agility weapons from bonus rolls and Raid Finder.

The good news: If you looooove raiding as Assassination and would never even consider Combat in a million bajillion years because you hate it with the passion of a thousand burning telenovelas, now you will never even have to *look* at another stinking one-handed axe, fist weapon, mace or sword.

More importantly (and less snarkily), you won’t find yourself winning a loot roll only to be given something you have no use for. This can be particularly annoying when a boss has a chance to drop, say, both a piece of leather armor and a one-handed +Agility weapon, and you win a drop — but then the system decides to give you the weapon instead of the armor, and then you fling it into the air in anger, and it eventually lands on the head of your healer in the middle of the next raid fight, and you wipe. Which would all be very unfortunate.

The bad news: If you like Combat but you happen to be doing a particular fight in Assassination spec, this appears to guarantee that you will never get a main-hand weapon drop from that boss (unless you’re doing a regular/heroic-mode fight and the weapon drops for the entire group). That’s not so cool. I’m surprised that this hotfix doesn’t appear to take that likelihood into account.

[UPDATED 4/2 AND 4/4:] The best news: Although this appears to be a happy change for Mut-only rogues and a not-so-happy change for Combat-plus-Mut rogues in 5.2, when Patch 5.3 drops, it looks like *everyone* will be happy, since for each raid fight we’ll have the opportunity to select which *spec* is the one we want to receive loot for, regardless of the one we’re using to kill the boss:


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