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The Blue Post Thread: Cataclysm Edition

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The Q&A finally looks like the developers are stumbling across the problem with rogues:

"This next bit might start a firestorm of controversy, but we heard from a lot of 10-player raiders who asked "Why make a rogue legendary? We don't have a rogue." When we asked why, they said 'Rogues don't bring anything we need, so we don't want them." That's not cool. I'm not saying the legendary is the answer for why bring rogues, but you should feel like you have room for rogues without sacrificing something else and that rogues should bring something that makes you happy they are there."

And that is indeed it in a nutshell. Rogues literally do not bring anything the raid particularly needs. We haven't brought top dps for more than a year and are regularly beaten by a huge number of specs in anything but trick fights when blade flurry can pad the numbers. We have no serious utility to compete with druids, warriors or DKs. We can't get to off-heals or off-tank like druids, priests, warriors, DKs, shamans and paladins. We have all of the liabilities of melee unlike boomkins, elemental shamans, shadow priests, warlocks, hunters and mages with none of the plate toughness of the other melee. There really isn't a reason why a raid leader should be even as happy with a rogue compared to another class, much less particularly happy that the rogue is there.

The developers have really boxed themselves into a corner over this. See this Q&A:

"We are very interested in opening opportunities for more hybrid gameplay in druids, as you can see in the level 90 talent tier, while still allowing an option for players who want to never do anything outside their role. We don't intend for that added hybridization to be offset by any sort of DPS nerf. While DPSing, a druid's DPS will be entirely competitive with other DPS. We hope to see druids that do things like, "DPS in Cat Form most of the fight, but during one phase, when healing is super difficult, pop out of Cat, hit Heart of the Wild, Tranquility, and spam heals on the raid to help top everyone off, then go back to Cat and resume DPSing." In that sort of the situation, the Cat will have spent less time DPSing than other DPSers, but his/her DPS while DPSing would have been competitive, and in exchange helped save the raid when healers were falling behind. You can probably think of many situations where this would be useful in raid content, or in some 5man content, and frequently in PvP. To clarify a bit further on how the druids will perform at their off-roles: Ferals and Guardians will have Nurturing Instinct, which increases spell power based on Agility, and Balance and Restoration will have Killer Instinct, which increases attack power based on Intellect. They will have a smaller toolbox of spells for their off-role, but the strength of those spells will be competitive, when under the effects of those hybrid talents."

This is exactly why any raid leader in their right mind would take a good druid over an equally good (or maybe even better at playing his class) rogue. They intend for the hybrids to do equal dps, as well as bring much more to the raid when the raid needs it. And it sounds like they intend to make this problem worse, not better.

They are going to have to come up with something brilliant to avoid this, and considering they apparently didn't even realize it was a problem until the legendary for rogues was announced, I'm very worried. Especially with monks making the problem even worse.

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Daxxarri did a bit of rogue posting here - Shiv Changes - Forums - World of Warcraft

Q. Will the thrown weapon talents have a chance to apply one or both active poisons?

We're not sure about this yet. It's more likely that we'll apply damage poisons than the non-lethal ones, especially in the case of Shuriken, because a fairly spammable ranged snare is probably too good.

Sorry, guys. You can still use Shuriken + Deadly Throw though!

Q. If I have Deadly Brew, will Shiv amplify that Crippling Poison effect in addition to my active poisons?

No. Deadly Brew isn't the same as having Crippling actually active.

Q. For clarification, how exactly do active poisons work? One lethal, one utility, both with potential to proc from both weapons?

One Lethal, one Non-Lethal, and both poisons are effectively on both weapons. Whenever you land either a mainhand or off-hand strike, you have a chance to apply both your Lethal and Non-Lethal poison.

Q. How does poison proccing work now, and what does that mean for weapon speed.

Poison procs are largely unchanged, except, y’know, for all poisons being percentage-based in the future. We’re looking to get rid of the "fast 1.4 speed dagger" thing. The plan is for offhand daggers to just be daggers and interchangeable with main hand daggers. So we're anticipating Assassination and Subtlety rogues will use 1.8/1.8 daggers for the most part, while Combat will use a 2.6 main hand and a 1.8 offhand dagger. I know some of you noticed a Main Gauche change, and the intention isn’t a nerf. If it needs adjustment, it’s important to remember that numbers are still in flux.

On a separate note, while we don’t have an elegant system in place for it, we do know that a lot of Combat rogues want to at least have the appearance of dual wielding swords/axes/maces. There are a lot of hurdles, but maybe we’ll find a good way to deliver on that. No promises though! So, again, don’t get your hopes up too high.

Q. So, how about an offensive dispel using the shiv system (perhaps as an alternative to Mind Numbing)?

It's something we might consider, but if too many people have access to an effect like that, then magic buffs are increasingly devalued, and that causes all kinds of problems. For example, something like Hand of Protection is cool, but significantly less meaningful if too many classes out there can remove it with a button press. So, we'll think about it, but don't get your hopes up.

Q. Is Mind Numbing nerfed, now that it won’t affect all casts for the duration?

That's a bit of a misunderstanding. Base Mind-Numbing is unchanged and works as it does now. The new Shiv effect stacks on top of the base Mind-Numbing, and is more than triply effective on the single next spellcast.

Q. Any chance of a sweet UI element warning the rogue that he’s approaching 5 stacks of paralytic poison, or letting him know that it went off?

Making it easier to track buffs and debuffs in the UI, including using the Spell Alert system, is something we're always looking at.


Sadly, because it was too good -- which is pretty much the same reason anything ever gets nerfed. Basically, we're looking to chill out some of the passive, automatically-applied snares on some classes get because there's no real gameplay to them beyond just I touch you and you're snared.

Crippling is an important tool though, and we didn't want to take it away entirely. By lowering the base snare and allowing Shiv to still apply the -70% form, snaring opponents or kiting other melee classes that also have snares becomes something you'll need to think about and manage.

Is Crippling going to last 12 seconds in PVP now, instead of 8 seconds?

Nay. PvP durations are capped at 8 (and nothing should break that rule), but PvP durations aren’t shown in the tooltips.

Q. Under the proposed system, it looks like it won’t be possible to take both Paralytic and Leeching Poison. Will we have to have to choose between Paralytic and Crippling?

You can take both Paralytic and Leeching, but you'll be able to actively make use of one at a time. That said, switching poisons isn't necessarily impossible in the heat of combat -- the cast time on swapping will be fairly short.

That said, we're taking a look at the decision involved in the current placement of the different Poison-related talents, and that's something we may reevaluate. Still early days yet – and that applies to everything in this list.

Q. But Daxx! RAWR RAIDING! What's this PvP nonsense?

We'd like Shiv to be useful when raiding too, and increasing the availability of such effects makes it easier to design encounters that permit them to shine. It bears mentioning that, even now, the various Shiv effects could be useful in existing raid encounters. There’s no reason to expect that they couldn't be useful in Mists raid design too.

Also, there's more to PvE than raiding. Just because a talent isn't useful when you're fighting Ultraxion doesn't mean it isn't useful in PvE at large. There's still leveling (remember, tier 1 talents should ideally be relevant and useful to a level 15 player!), outdoor dailies, the upcoming challenge modes, and more to consider.

Sooooo… Does this mean that rogue damage might go up if we lose some control/mobility/survivability?

We want rogue PvE damage to remain top-tier. But yes, if rogues end up with less control or mobility or survivability, and they have to choose among those areas, then that allows us to safely improve their damage potential in PvP while keeping the class balanced overall.

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Ghostcrawler posted this on rogues:

"Homogenization - to a large extent, this is fallout from the decision to make spec choice one about rotation and move utility into talents or the class as a whole. We felt like we had been moving in the direction of having 30 classes (which would be 34 in Mists) and wanted to get back to our roots a bit and have a rogue feel like a rogue. I realize that isn't going to sit well with a player who wants Combat to play wildly different from Subtlety. If you feel like the combat rotations of the 3 rogue specs play too similarly, then that is useful feedback for us, but realize that it's going to be fairly subjective.

Play speed - the real issue here is the game design that requires us to reset player power to a large extent every expansion. I'll go ahead and call it a design flaw, because I think it is, but it's also a really difficult one to address and have WoW still feel like WoW. Our reward system is structured around continually offering more powerful gear, yet our combat mechanics begin to break down when say your crit chance approaches 100% and your haste becomes so high that you can fill every GCD. It's fine if say crit chance is 70% at the final tier of content, but that means we have to start every expansion with small crit chances (or have lame upgrades). It absolutely sucks though to see your combat ratings plummet when you gain a level (which is supposed to be a fun, exciting thing that you want to do). We'd love to come up with a solution where you feel more powerful at 86 than you did at 85, but math works against us. The only silver lining is that when you get to level 90 and accrue some good gear, you'll start to feel like your old self again. We'll keep trying to come up with something better.

Passive damage - there are advantages and disadvantages of passive damage. One of the big ones, for us, is it ensures that the best players can never move too far ahead of the worst players. It's fine if good players can do much higher damage than bad players. It makes our lives very difficult if the best players do say ten times the damage of bad players, given similar gear and everything else. We also like the differentiation we get from having classes with a larger or smaller percentage of passive damage. As long as you can still improve your performance as your skill and gear increase, and you can with rouges, we think the system will work.

PvP talents - I feel like we have addressed this concern extensively. If you are never called upon to snare adds, move quickly, hit something at range, pop a survival cooldow, crowd control a dangerous creature, or interrupt a dangerous cast, then you're doing relatively easy content. Talents aren't going to be as interesting in that situation, but then again neither are gear, skill, group comp, and all of those other things that can make the difference between success and failure when the latter is a possibility. Most classes still have a few talents that are more damage or healing though. We did take a few abilities for various classes and move them into the talent trees, but we felt we had to in order to make the talents powerful. We can make a CC potent when you have to choose one. It would have to be weak if you were able to layer it along with other forms of CC. The way we figured, if there was an ability you really wanted, you still had access to it, but you could also choose to give it up for another ability that is (hopefully) just as good but a little different.

Breaking the rules - I regret a little making that comment, because I feel like it's the kind of thing that gets lawyered. "GC said the theme was breaking the rules. If we can prove that the rules aren't being broken, then they will be forced to redesign the talents." Yes, your class, like every class, has some inherent disadvantages. Yes, it would be easier to play your class if we removed those limitations. (Rogue target switching would be much easier if cps were on the rogue.) But part of mastering your class is being able to overcome those challenges. An analogy I use a lot is that racing games would be easier without curves. Those tracks would also be pretty boring. It's also the argument you used above about passive damage - if there are no limitations to overcome, then it's harder to distinguish yourself.

I realize I didn't say "yep we agree and here is how we're going to buff you," but you have to realize that isn't going to happen very often. If we thought a class mechanic needed changing, we would go ahead and change it. We wouldn't wait for a request to change it. I try to avoid responses like this because it can bum players out if they don't see a bunch of incoming buffs, but the alternative is not many posts from us, which can also bum players out."

and posted this:

Rogues are in a pretty good place in Cataclysm in both PvE and PvP. We don't see a lot of huge glaring problems that need to be fixed. I realize there are several players out there asking for change just because they're getting bored of the same class or at the very least wanting to spice it up, and that is a totally valid way to feel. But you also have to consider the risk we'd take for all of the rogues out there who are totally happy with the way their class is playing now, thank you very much.

As an example, we changed paladins in Cataclysm because we thought they needed a resource mechanic to make their gameplay more interesting. Overall we're happy with the way that has played out, and it's even better in Mists, but it's also very easy to find "please remove Holy Power" posts regularly. While we disagree with those players, the fact remains that we made the class worse for them.

To use a second example, we are changing warlocks pretty extensively for Mists because we thought they had several fundamental problems. Is every warlock going to like those changes? Of course not. Are there going to lots of players who beg us to revert the changes? Absolutely.

(And this is all ignoring the risk that even changing a mechanic from an acknowledged bad design to a good design still risks frustrating or annoying many players just because they have to relearn something.)

We are trying to fix some of the annoying things rogues have had to deal with and we are trying to offer some options in talents and glyphs that can help spice up the gameplay for someone who has been loyally Sinister Striking for these eight years. But we also don't want to fix what isn't broken. We try really hard not to change classes for the sake of change. It's hard. But we try.

I'd go as far to say that most of the class team would probably agree (and I didn't poll them, so I may be sticking my neck out) that the rogue is the best designed class. And much of that design was in place before virtually any of us started working on classes, so we can't even really take credit for it. The rogue has the best resource system (energy), a strong kit, a good toolbox, and a clear role in PvP and PvE, yet it still has disadvantages to go along with the advantages and can't just do everything flawlessly all the time. It's a good design, again in our humble opinions, which is why you see so few changes to the class overall. But please don't over-read that as my stating that we won't fix bugs, add polish, balance numbers, undo bone-headed design flaws when the need arises, or yes, add a little bit of newness once in awhile just to keep things shiny.

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