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Aldriana

5.2 Changes Discussion

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It appears that there may be somewhat significant class and balance changes in 5.2, so lets keep discussion of them to this thread for the moment.

As usual, please try to keep it constructive. Its fine to not like some of the changes, but try not to be whiny about it.

Blade Flurry now does 25% damage to the second target, instead of full.

Note: Datamined changes removed in favor of official Blizzard announcement where they overlap

Datamined 12/21/12

  • Hit and Run (New) - Immediately teleport to a targeted location, leaving a shadow of yourself behind. Upon activating the effect a second time, or after 10 sec, you will return to your shadow's location.

Posted 12/21/12

  • Preparation is now a baseline ability learned at level 68.
  • Versatility has been removed.
  • New Level 90 Talent: Marked for Death - Marks a target and instantly generates 5 combo points. When that target dies, Marked for Death's cooldown is reset. This talent has a 1 minute cooldown.
  • New Level 60 Talent: Cloak and Dagger - Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot now have a 30 yard range, and will cause the Rogue to teleport behind the target.
  • Burst of Speed now costs 30 Energy (was 50 Energy), can be used in Stealth, and always grants increased movement speed in addition to breaking snare effects, but no longer breaks root effects.
  • Shuriken Toss now causes the Rogue to throw shuriken instead of autoattacking for 10 seconds after Shuriken Toss is used.
  • Deadly Throw can now interrupt spellcasting when used at 3, 4, and 5 combo points, and upon interrupt prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 4, 5 and 6 seconds respectively (was 5 combo points and 6 seconds).
  • Nerve Strike now reduces the effectiveness of healing provided by the target by 25%.
  • Shadow Focus now reduces ability energy costs by 75% while stealthed (was 100%).
  • PvP set bonuses have been changed:
    Vigor is now the 4 piece set bonus and increases maximum energy by 50 (was 10).
    Deadly Brew is now the 2 piece set bonus, and its effects remain unchanged.
  • Vitality now increases attack power by 30% (was 25%).
  • Blade Flurry now deals 75% less damage. (Datamined wording: "Blade Flurry now does 25% damage to the second target, instead of full.")
  • Sanguinary Vein now increases the damage the target takes by 20% (was 16%).

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I would hazard a guess that the BF nerf is an unintentional/incomplete change, or a parsing bug.

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So, initial impressions:

1) Blade Flurry is basically useless if that information is correct. It wouldn't surprise me if this is a bad data-mine, but if it is correct I expect them to back off on this nerf before it goes live - not that they might not reduce the efficacy of Blade Flurry, but I doubt they'd nerf it quite that much.

That said, while a Blade Flurry nerf would resolve the imbalance in cleave efficacy across specs, it would also mean rogues have no useful cleave at all, which is... potentially concerning, as they're generally important on a number of different fights.

2) Shuriken Toss is now somewhat more appealing, as you'll do a much larger portion of your single-target damage with it. That said: it still has the problem that you don't really have a finisher (you can use Deadly Throw, but compared to Envenom/Rupture/Eviscerate, and without Bandit's Guile, its still a significant DPS loss). So when you're stuck at range, you'll do a larger portion of your regular damage... but still a lot less than a proper ranged class. So in practice, I suspect this rarely winds up being the optimal choice in raids.

3) Marked for Death should give us some nice burst for target switching. On a single-target burn its not going to make too much difference, but for, say, Garalon legs, the ability to open each leg with a full 5pt finisher will result in a respectable DPS increase. That said: I suspect rogues still ramp up more slowly than many other classes; the impression I get looking at Recount in the opening seconds of boss fights is that almost every class opens faster than rogues, and by more than 1 finisher will fix.

That said: that may also be a cooldown issue, so we'll see how it plays out in practice.

4) Hit and Run is interesting, although I'm not entirely sure how good it winds up being. Its certainly a creative and interesting ability, but I'm not sure how often we're going to want to swap off our current target for less than 10 seconds at a time. I'm sure it'll happen, but it strikes me as a bit... niche.

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Might shed some light:

Patch 5.2 PTR Patch Note Preview - World of Warcraft

My views in order:

1) Change to prep is nice, should allow most flexibility in pvp but pve will see some small but nice gains

2) Versatility removed doesn't address difficult and awkward target switching; without making it a clone, isn't the chi system where CP "sticks" to you a better solution

3) Marked for death seems usefull in pve and a good competitor to anticipation. I would imagine it would a DPS gain to take this one over anticipation, but would require more skill to manage CP generation. Can see it being extremely OP in some fights like elegon p2 where you would have a crazy amount of CP to use.

4) Cloak and dagger seems pointless when SS is the other choice to take. There is no way you can stealth frequently enough to beat SS.

5) BOS granted a much needed change, 30 energy is much reduced but doesn't provide immunity. PVP can still be considered a strong option and might find it's way in to PVE in movement heavy fights where SS just isn't enough

6) Shruiken Toss neat for PVP, again useless for PVE (unless these shruikens are more powerful than meleeing) so in my eyes another failure to balance the tiers for both PVE/PVP

7) Nice change to Deadly throw for those who use it as in PVP you're never swimming in CP

8) Nice buff to nerve strike

9) A possibly unnecessary nerf to Shadow focus, maybe to bring it in line with the other talents but blizz clearly missing the point that there will always be a winner in that tier so poor design IMO

10) A humongous change to PVP tier set, will now provide potential for larger burst

11) Slight buff to combat damage

12) Pfft, nothing to say here. An unmitigated disaster for combat rogues, It's probably more beneficial to single target than to attempt a cleave now. A completely unnecessary change here... Words can't express.

13) Buff to subltelty to bring in line with assass PVE damage I suspect

Please let me know your thoughts, bare in mind these are my views...

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Counter argument to the Shadow Focus nerf would be that Prep is now a baseline talent so offers more usage of the Shadow Focus talent. Although personally I feel it's completely unnecessary when Shadow Focus is fine as it is.

Kinda curious to see if Versatility will end up being baked into Redirect (highly doubtful, but one can remain hopefully), Marked For Death offers a decent substitute though with the cd resetting when the current target dies and offering an instant 5 CP on the current target. Could offer nice Burst on fights where adds are fairly prominent although I'm not entirely sure how long Marked For Death debuff on the target would last.

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Briefly running through the numbers: Blade Flurry is still worth it, but not by much. Whereas at the moment we get something like a 60% DPS increase by running Blade Flurry in ideal situations, the sited nerf would drop that number to 8%. Which is still better than nothing... but not by much.

Hence, the question is: what is the intent of this change? I can see 3 options.

1) Blizzard feels that rogue cleave is too strong, so wants to scale it back. This is their first attempt at doing so, and they overdid it. Over the next few PTR patches, we'll see them back off this nerf, ultimately settling on something weaker than what we have now but significantly stronger than what's in this first patch.

2) Blizzard feels that rogues should not be a cleave class, and are rebalancing us to focus more on other areas. Hence, they are intentionally neutering our cleave ability to be little more than useless, but will be giving us corresponding buffs to other types of damage (single target? AoE?) to maintain our raid viability.

3) Blizzard doesn't mind rogue cleave being strong, but wants to fix the disparity between specs. Hence, they are nerfing the combat-specific cleave, but in a future PTR patch we'll get a new ability that buffs *all* rogue cleave to (say) 30%, so Assassination and Sub have a +30% cleave, while Combat can additionally BF to have a +40% cleave.

Option 2 would surprise me greatly; its not impossible, but it goes against Blizzard's usual balance paradigm (bring the player, not the class), as well as removing an ability that has been a cornerstone of rogue play since vanilla. Ultimately, I suspect the answer is option 1; I hope the answer is option 3.

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Most are good changes, the one i cant understand like most of you is the BF nerf, I know its too strong but in those notes they will need to either remove the energy penalty so BF ends up just as some extra damage or just up the damage to atleast 50%

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I'd like to point out that I was strongly considering taking even the 5.1 verison of Shuriken Toss for H-Emperor's Will, since I solo-soak all Titan Sparks (10m) and I therefore have lots of time away from target, making the DPS loss consequent. The 5.2 change will make this option all the more compelling.

I think "Marked for Death" in the current iteration is a very strong PvE option (probably too stong), and I will highly enjoy testing the hell out of it.

To my main point: I'm sorry if this opinion is not shared by the majority of the Rogue community, but I *love* the Blade Flurry nerf. I have felt forced into Combat Spec for too long for too many fights. I strongly prefer playing my spec of choice (Asassination), but I will grudgingly play any other spec when the difference is as high as it is currently for Cleave fights. By nerfing the difference to less than 10%, I can keep playing my spec of choice (which I play much better than I play Combat btw) without remorse.

Now I strongly hope that Blizzard follows Aldriana's option 3â„¢, gives some alternative cleave to Assassination and Subtlety and subsequently buffs BF back to something like a 30% DPS gain, but meanwhile, I'll take what I can and enjoy finally playing my spec of choice on most fights. I'm sincerely sad that it has to come with this kind of price to pay for Combat rogues, but the current situation was very much lessening my enjoyment of the game.

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To my main point: I'm sorry if this opinion is not shared by the majority of the Rogue community, but I *love* the Blade Flurry nerf. I have felt forced into Combat Spec for too long for too many fights. I strongly prefer playing my spec of choice (Asassination), but I will grudgingly play any other spec when the difference is as high as it is currently for Cleave fights. By nerfing the difference to less than 10%, I can keep playing my spec of choice (which I play much better than I play Combat btw) without remorse.

You could also change combat with assa and cleave with AoE and you are on the same boat, combat/sub rogues are "forced" to play assassination for AoE purposes, both speccs have a niche in pve that doesnt mean one or the other are supposed to be nerfed to the ground

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You could also change combat with assa and cleave with AoE and you are on the same boat, combat/sub rogues are "forced" to play assassination for AoE purposes, both speccs have a niche in pve that doesnt mean one or the other are supposed to be nerfed to the ground

However, there's and have been far more fights where cleave on demand feels more mandatory than AoE over time.

I do get your point though, however I would personally be happy if they brought down BF enough to not make it mandatory on any fight you can cleave due the fact that I generally find combat quite boring, especially when BF is up.

Assassination has quite decent cleave as is (With DP, rupture and VW), which in contrast to combats blade flurry makes it more interesting to cleave due to have several extra timers to handle as well as more energy to manage. I have no clue how much extra damage you get from it, but I'd estimate it's somewhere around 20%, which is a good number for the ability to cleave.

I'm pretty sure that 75% reduction is way too much, but I wouldn't mind if it being 50% and adding some mechanic that makes it more interesting than just using your old rotation, but slower.

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I imagine if they got rid of the energy regen penalty along with that 75% nerf, that it would be ok. Damage would be a little more consistent and the playstyle would be more twitchy which is likely what they prefer. I find BF really slows down my rotation and gets rather boring quickly over long periods of cleave. The cons with no energy pentalty is that it would no longer be a toggle, and Combat Rogues would have it up at all times. That may not really be so bad, however. It would finally make combat the absolute cleave spec and really give it an identity. I kind of like that, although somehow I doubt it will ever get there.

Without a change to the energy regen it's a pretty nasty hit to what we are accustomed to as combat rogues. Even if it is still worth it (as Aldriana said), that's assuming 100% perfect uptime on 2 targets. One target goes out of range for a few seconds and now BF is almost not worth it whatsoever, or a DPS loss if it's not toggled fast enough. I see this as too thin a line.

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Part of this is a 5% AP buff, but in that contrast it would make a whole lot more sense if the intent was BF did 75% of the damage instead of 25%. (not saying that would even it out)

A bit more maintarget damage, and less offtarget damage.

Seems unlikely that 5.2 will ship with this huge BF nerf if there isnt something else there to counter it, which there does not seem to be in the patchnotes atm.

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Just and idea but pairing Marked for Death with BF may be a possible reason for the nerf.

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True that BF is quite overpower, however nerf it to 25%?? Definitely combat would be bit useless and lost whole point. Idea that make some changes in mastery, where BF as passive (without energy penalty) and dmg increased by mastery, sound much interesting. Main Gauche can be passive with +- 30% proc change or ...

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I'm pretty excited by these changes. They are, perhaps employing to heavy a hand in regards to BF, but the rest gives me hope for a solid opening rotation single target. I've always enjoyed combat over the other specs, I don't see that changing.

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Just and idea but pairing Marked for Death with BF may be a possible reason for the nerf.

That would be a drop in the ocean for DPS, don't get me wrong it's a nice eviscerate but it wouldn't account for a great deal. More importantly it would force you to take MFD as a talent, which is a terrible design flaw, knowing blizz though..

I think one thing to add is that we know rogues population is already low, the class is boring for the most part and potentially they've taken one of the biggest assets. Rogues are/were awesome cleavers, but that seems to be gone now. So we are left with good soakers (feint on GCD/cloak and now prep baseline), which to an organized raiding team is important and gives us some value.

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True that BF is quite overpower, however nerf it to 25%?? Definitely combat would be bit useless and lost whole point.

I want to pick on this for a moment, because I've seen this sentiment expressed several times in various forums. I was hoping *not* to see it in this one, but now that it has: What is with this statement? In the current context of this first patch note iteration, how does Combat in any way at all become "useless"? Its cleave has been eviscerated (ha!), yet as per Aldriana's earlier post remains better (albeit to a small extent) than anything the other two specs can dish out in a two-target scenario. Meanwhile, Vitality's AP increase gets a small boost, which offsets a small amount of the BF nerf and provides a nice little jack to Combat's single-target damage, which is likely intended to make the spec at least competitive with Assassination on that front.

So what am I missing here that warrants folks intimating that the Mayan Apocalypse turned out to specifically apply to WoW's Combat rogue spec? At worst, it's presently looking to be on a roughly equal footing with *both* other specs in most raid fight situations, a fact that has long been nothing more than a distant dream for players who for years have been unhappy that they've felt railroaded into one spec or another in particular raid situations (or for raiding in general).

I'm not saying it's inherently good that all three of our specs feel like they're increasingly losing the elements that made them unique. And I share some of the concern that the class changes, as currently posted, could result in the loss of rogue stacking for cleave-friendly fights among high-end progression raid teams (and raid leaders of less-competitive teams that take matters like these more seriously than they maybe should). But this isn't an invariably catastrophic situation we're looking at for Combat, here.

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Its cleave has been eviscerated (ha!), yet as per Aldriana's earlier post remains better (albeit to a small extent) than anything the other two specs can dish out in a two-target scenario.

This is a slight misquote. Aldriana never said that running BF is going to be better than anything the other two specs can dish out. What was said was that running BF will be an increase of ~8% in ideal situations. It is assumed Aldriana meant it's an increase over Combat not using it.

Assassination right now actually has very decent multi-targeting damage. More than 8% as far as I know.

Also to take into account is that "in ideal situations" clause. Raids don't play out ideally. So that number in practice is going to be even lower.

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But this isn't an invariably catastrophic situation we're looking at for Combat, here.

Well, that's maybe one of the view, however kind of changes are definitely wrong turn for combat as unique play style, regarding two-targets scenario.

Options are already on table, depend on Blizz how much effort wanna invest to "new" combat rogue.

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Assorted thoughts:

1) Multidotting as Assassination is probably better than straight single-target DPS, but not necessarily by very much. It might beat the 8% number we're projecting for Combat, but its not going to beat it by very much.

2) While its true that crippling Blade Flurry robs Combat of a lot of its identity, I think the fact that Combat's identity is so tightly coupled to its cleave says something about how lacking the spec is otherwise. In an ideal world I'd like to see more work done on giving combat a distinct and interesting playstyle beyond just being "the one that has Blade Flurry".

3) I'd also dispute the notion that Blade Flurry is "overpowered" in its current form. I mean, its very good, certainly, but functionally speaking there are a number of other classes that do nearly as well, and if I recall Blizzard specifically said something along the lines of "we want combat rogues to be excited about cleave fights as its something they're good at" (note that with the BF nerf this statement is no longer even remotely true). The power of BF is only a problem insofar as that the other specs have nothing comparable so we get railroaded into speccing combat on a fair number of fights.

4) Having thought about the changes a bit more: I applaud the effort to improve rogues, but the more I look at them the more I think they're not going to really change anything. Marked for Death and the new Shuriken Toss are clear improvements over the current options... but on most fights Anticipation is still likely the way to go. Cloak and Dagger and the new Burst of Speed are similarly improved, but, again, unlikely to dethrone Shadowstep in most cases. Shadow Focus may or may not still be the best level 15 talent, but the tier will still have a clear DPS winner. So in practice... I'm not sure this changes a whole lot in terms of how we spec and play. It has the advantage of being *interesting* and mostly useless, which is an improvement, but... I admit I'm hoping there are still more changes coming, as some stylistic improvments to abilities we rarely use and a massive cleave nerf is not exactly the recipe for my ideal balance patch.

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Was it ever realistic for us to expect a mid-expansion patch that *would* fundamentally change how we play? At best, what were we looking for? A return to favorability in PvP (via some mix of greater mobility, utility or defense), which certainly appears to be on its way. And PvE alterations that would make the class more fun to play without damaging our standing in a raiding context, which... Probably wasn't even a remotely realistic request in the first place.

This feels bad from a raiding standpoint right now because, speaking purely from a DPS rankings perspective, there are very few places for us to go but down. We are -- and even with the BF nerf, we remain -- extremely healthy as a DPS class in a raiding context. And isn't that what matters most to a raider? How many folks have quit raiding this tier because, sure, they were pulling great numbers, but they just didn't enjoy how the class "felt" to play?

These changes are most likely to impact us in PvP, in leveling, in dungeons and in completing dailies -- all of the areas where we really start to look not-so-great in terms of fun and performance compared to other classes. In the bargain, we may lose the defining strength of the Combat spec -- which sucks from one point of view, but from another may represent the collapse of the final massive barrier that lies between our class and something resembling true spec balance.

I'm probably exaggerating that possibility and being way too hopeful about its potential. But I feel a sense of opportunity here, in terms of class design, that I hadn't in the context of our soon-to-be-old Blade Flurry.

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Maybe none of you played it, but most of these changes sound exactly like guild wars 2's roguelike class, which is really fun by the way....also basically immune to CC. I'd bet some dev saw how fun rogue in GW2 was and said "How can we change wow rogue to be this kind of fun without breaking the game too much".

Also I fully expect to see most of these new changes nerfed. But I think some of the changes were to make pvp rogues less dependant on Shadowstep to open on classes with OP aoe's to break us. As well as making ambush easier to land for PVE purposes.

I expect the actual intent with the Blade flurry nerf was to figure out what the right numbers were to balance us on some new fights in the next tier. We already saw with garalon that special measures had to be taken to make us not OP on 2 target cleave fights, especially with damage buffs. And Ghostcrawler said at some point that being a little OP is ok, but being mandatory is not. So that's my perspective on that.

Short of some new raid mechanics (which haven't really been in the game since maybe BC) I doubt that even with the changes Burst of speed will ever be better than shadowstep. Spending energy and getting a 4 second sprint is just so much weaker than shadowstep. And the liklihood of any fight where you need a "get back to the target" buff more often than every 24 seconds is almost nonexistant.

Marked for death could potientially be useful for combat but, at least for me, not having anticipation (taking marked for death) would probably be a huge dps loss as assassination. Gear is already at the point where we have enough crit and haste that we can routinely go over 5 CP's even without shadow blades. I'm sure this only becomes more true as we enter the next tier. I'd only take this if we were swapping targets so often that anticipation was not that useful, in which case you'd probably want to play combat anyway.

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In my opinion Anticipation will still be the best choice for the current rogue gameplay since it enables us to improve on our resource management, which has always been and hopefully will be a huge factor in increasing our DPS. Yet I am still concerned that we kind of HAVE to choose a talent like Anticipation, especially now that the other choices aren't horrible either. Not taking Anticipation is a DPS loss because we are more likely to lose out on one or even both of our primary resources - something no other class has to cope with as far as I know and this still bugs me (especially when Paladins, who only got a combo-point like mechanic for a single addon now, got the functionality for free with MoP). Having valuable other choices in this talent tier now makes it even worse. There will or might be fights where taking Shuriken Toss or Marked for Death will provide more DPS than Anticipation does, but I honestly don't believe that anyone would like to bring a rogue to these types of encounters anyway, since they would have to favor low ramp-up times and/or parts where you cannot meleehit at all.

As far as the BF nerf goes, I am glad to see that we are finally going to move away from that "Cleave? -> Combat, AoE? -> Assassination" mentality the two specs have been in for way too long. Bladeflurry was too strong (or was it?) but other classes have nearly identical if not stronger possibilities to efficiently deal major damage to two targets and none of them were touched yet. Maybe and hopefully Blizzard wants to show the direction they want to go with combat, but combat in and by itself has now lost its identity which is something I am hugely uncomfortable with. Every other spec in this game has this one defining mechanic, and while Assassination has poisons and Subtlety has finishers/HaT working for them, Combat is just basic rogue-mechanics, with 30% AP and several percentage based DPS-increasements here and there. With Bladeflurry being almost no DPS-Gain whatsoever anymore there has to be something else to make up for it (and I hope it will be something else than that 5% increased Attack Power).

On an unrelated non-ranty note, is Marked for Death going to work with Restless Blades?

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Assorted thoughts:

1) Multidotting as Assassination is probably better than straight single-target DPS, but not necessarily by very much. It might beat the 8% number we're projecting for Combat, but its not going to beat it by very much.

I think it's VERY important to point out that all damage is not created equal. While everyone's mind is on Stone Dogs and Garalon because they are current tier, only Stone Dogs out of the whole tier actually is a fight where you would give up 100 points of damage on your primary target to deal even 101 points of damage on your secondary target. In the cases of add fights, you would, if you could magically distribute the damage perfectly, actually opt to kill each add in order- all the raid dps goes to add #1, then #2, etc. Mass AoE and cleave are effective because they offer the raid something better than single target, but they don't change the logistics- it's almost always better to have one dead add than two living adds, because the one dead add doesn't do any more damage, CC, or healing. AoE, and cleave in particular, has to actually be worth enough to overcome this hump.

Garalon has a special mechanic- the leg itself (and only the leg) takes double damage. So you put people on the leg whose secondary damage doesn't suffer too much, because you really want to kill the boss. On live, this is a combat rogue- his secondary damage is very strong, so it's worth him doing that, and then the other characters, who don't have that trick, focus the boss. You only bring them over if the leg is not dying fast enough. This means that post nerf, a rogue would very likely not want to even switch to the leg, as this would be lower raid damage than if a warrior does that job.

Most cleave fights are "organic" or "free form"- there are several adds, in varying states of control, moving about. Some are close, and are good for cleaves. Others are just all over the place and are good for multidots. Normally these fights work best when the raid dps is high enough to eliminate them efficiently, but some members of the raid opt to deal single target damage, or eliminate high priority targets. Rogues will lose any reason to not be in the last group with this change, because our cleave is already a small cone that enemies quickly dance in and out of. Add some fire on the floor and you'll not be able to stand in the right spot often enough to risk blade flurry, except for tricks like "blade flurry on, 5 point eviscerate, sinister a bit, blade flurry off to refill energy pool", which is a lot of micromanaging for a small amount of payback.

Note also that this "toggle dancing", balancing of your energy pool, your blade flurry cooldown, and your current set of combo points, will be a high skill trick with very little payout. Right now, it's beneficial to keep flurry up full time, because the forked white attacks and mastery make up for the energy penalty, even at 5 energy with black-1 BG status. In the future, you'll want to disable blade flurry for that time period, as the anemic white attacks being forked at 25% strength won't be enough to make up for the energy starvation. I don't believe this trick will be fun, and am not looking forward to trying to optimize for it.

2) While its true that crippling Blade Flurry robs Combat of a lot of its identity, I think the fact that Combat's identity is so tightly coupled to its cleave says something about how lacking the spec is otherwise. In an ideal world I'd like to see more work done on giving combat a distinct and interesting playstyle beyond just being "the one that has Blade Flurry".

You touched on this in an earlier post- rogues don't have much spec distinction, and Ghostcrawler told us that we would be disappointed if we wanted that. Why we don't have the same philosophy as the warlocks I have no idea, but I guess it is different. I'm sure everyone by now has noticed that assassination has balls for burst, but has a strong amount of sustained, and that sub has more burst with a low cooldown, and combat has strong burst over a decently sized window- but combat's real trick is blade flurry, and if the nerf goes live at this magnitude, it's fair to say that it is gone.

So, why don't we have a spec that bursts harder than a ret? Or a spec that executes better than a warrior? Or a spec that can glean extra damage from a raid damage fight like a warrior can? Or the ability to spew out healing like several talents provide hybrids? I was under the impression that "strong single target long term sustained" was a pretty ok niche, as was "really good flurry with one spec". But everyone wants that first thing, and in general they don't think that being able to burst three times as hard as the other classes should result in lower overall damage, even though that is massive utility. The second thing made waves because in a 16 boss tier, two of the fights make heavy use of it, and it's pretty ok on other fights.

What is combat about? When do you run it? I recall for years, combat's cooldowns gave it a shocking amount of damage, and any fight that had periods of off-phase was pretty much going to be great for combat. Mimiron resting between phases pretty much gave you a lot more burst than other classes and specs. But the current wave of modern cooldowns not only are more powerful than anything rogues have, but they can be stacked in multiplicative ways- for instance, a druid can turn on a period of percent extra damage (similar to vendetta), and stack that with an incarnation cooldown that either changes their rotation or rewards some aspect of it intensely. These are from TALENTS, mind you, so they can choose sustained damage talents instead. We have to choose that with entire specs.

We also SHOULD have UI support for bandit's guile. I should not need bandit's guile helper to see that I'm at yellow 3 and should pool a bit. Anticipation should be on the UI as another row of combo points, not swimming in the buff ocean begging you to make a power aura for it. We should have a bigger reward for being in red, or putting cooldowns there, or have a cooldown that transitions us around that we can use differently for a sustained fight than a burst fight.

On the bright side, killing spree rules, and adrenaline rush is a very pleasing cooldown, and shadow blades works excellently with combat. I do enjoy the combat spec, and I like optimizing stuff on it.

3) I'd also dispute the notion that Blade Flurry is "overpowered" in its current form. I mean, its very good, certainly, but functionally speaking there are a number of other classes that do nearly as well, and if I recall Blizzard specifically said something along the lines of "we want combat rogues to be excited about cleave fights as its something they're good at" (note that with the BF nerf this statement is no longer even remotely true).

Amen. Blade Flurry is more raid utility than anything else. Rogues being very powerful on a few fights this tier makes up for our shocking lack of raid utility, damage reduction, healing, damage redirection, and mandatory position in melee. Since melee is a contested and desired position and any rogue you get automatically is a melee dps, you already are dealing with a situation where you bought a sports car and your wife is angry about it.

Blade Flurry is not overpowered. I wouldn't be surprised if they nerf it, but at 25% of current damage... it's bad.

Anyway, I'll stop QQing about this now, because your last point is up and I've written a mile of tears already.

4) Having thought about the changes a bit more: I applaud the effort to improve rogues, but the more I look at them the more I think they're not going to really change anything.

These things are game changing in pvp. The position of rogues in pvp is garbage heap at the moment- we are in competition with monks for worstest baddie, and no one has been playing a monk for 8 years. In PvP at the moment, you normally want Shuriken Toss, but you can pack a bit more damage into a burst cycle with anticipation. With Marked for Death, I believe you will have that as a viable choice next to shuriken toss if you like the burst setup, because you'll be able to get your second five point finisher- but this time without having to pool CPs and anticipation charges. You won't have to earn them. Meanwhile, ST, if it actually does what it says, will greatly reduce the currently massive reward for peeling a rogue- if we can continue to full strength autoattacks from both weapons as shuriken, our status as a white-attack focused class will stop working against us. Every trivial short term escape cooldown will not be nearly as devastating as it is now with the ability to go ninja-berserk at hunters and mages who have "hoppity-hop" on a sub 20 second timer.

Now, if it isn't full strength autoattacks, then suddenly pressing it becomes this crazy choice- like you would lose damage if you manage to get back on target, but you otherwise deal sub white hits to them, or whatever- then the move would lose its pve utility entirely, and in some cases be worse in pvp than live. The wording isn't super clear yet, so we'll see. If it's what it sounds like, I'm very excited about it.

Cloak and Dagger needs some clarifications. Does it break roots? If so, they will have recreated avatar- shadowdance will become Teleportation Spree, and sub will become even more mandatory in pvp because of this. I honestly liked the sound of Hit and Run much more than this- while this sounds very powerful, it does two things that I don't like- creates an unpeelable damage machine during the cooldown, and leaves you kited around the rest of the time.

Baseline prep is, I believe, the single greatest change to pvp. I think this season has shown that we've always been balanced around having prep, and the few times that prepless specs have succeeded it has been either unintended (and immediately nerfed) synergy with items or other classes, such as the Renataki Twins, or asking "do you want your right arm, or your right hand?" like the current talent tier- where you still end up taking prep versus a good number of matches, and when you don't have it, the strategy is normally "sit the rogue". Our rankings show that this is fully effective, and requires no more thought than this. I personally have no regard for opinions such as "they'll balance us without it" or "cooldowns that reset cooldowns are lame". Rogues have had poorly repped seasons, seasons where they could and did give us buffs to fix us. But at no point have these buffs EVER been aimed at fixing the non prep specs. When muti-prep got destroyed going into cata, what compensation was offered to mutilate? Did cata's combat rogue bring anything worth speccing for? It even lost undodgeable kidney! This is easily my favorite move, and one that defines the WoW rogue versus all the other games rogue-copies.

...but pve...

Your summary is correct. Marked for Death offers us an interesting multi target spec, and a small amount of extra burst at the cost of sustained. It is not of the magnitude of other dps specs/classes, but it is a start. Nothing will dethrone shadowstep in pve, but that is honestly because shadowstep is really damned good at its job. Shadowstep takes you directly to the butt of the target you want. Pretty much the only time you'd think it isn't good enough is if you have to switch to a target, then switch back, very quickly (adds on Elegon, for instance). "Hit and Run" would have offered this, but even then... would you really have taken it much? I think shadowstep is just too great in pve. Other classes with mobility choices end up making the same choice in pve. Warriors pick the double charges, druids take wild charge.

Sorry for the pvp aside, but I think it's fair to say that most of our changes are for pvp, as that is where we need the most changes.

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I think it's VERY important to point out that all damage is not created equal. While everyone's mind is on Stone Dogs and Garalon because they are current tier, only Stone Dogs out of the whole tier actually is a fight where you would give up 100 points of damage on your primary target to deal even 101 points of damage on your secondary target. In the cases of add fights, you would, if you could magically distribute the damage perfectly, actually opt to kill each add in order- all the raid dps goes to add #1, then #2, etc. Mass AoE and cleave are effective because they offer the raid something better than single target, but they don't change the logistics- it's almost always better to have one dead add than two living adds, because the one dead add doesn't do any more damage, CC, or healing. AoE, and cleave in particular, has to actually be worth enough to overcome this hump.

Garalon has a special mechanic- the leg itself (and only the leg) takes double damage. So you put people on the leg whose secondary damage doesn't suffer too much, because you really want to kill the boss. On live, this is a combat rogue- his secondary damage is very strong, so it's worth him doing that, and then the other characters, who don't have that trick, focus the boss. You only bring them over if the leg is not dying fast enough. This means that post nerf, a rogue would very likely not want to even switch to the leg, as this would be lower raid damage than if a warrior does that job.

While I agree with the general principal (up to a point, anyway), I think you're underestimating how often DPS on a second target can be just as useful as DPS on a primary target. The obvious case you're missing is things like Empress phase 2, where you need to keep the adds up to get stick resins so can't just burn them down one at a time. In practice, damage to any add is equally good, as ultimately you need to burn through all their HP but you don't want too many of them to die too quickly. Some Wind Lord strats exhibit similar behavior, where the goal is to do a certain amount of damage spread between a number of targets before you kill any of it.

With regards to Garalon in particular: perhaps your guild does it differently, but in mine, we generally wind up with all melee switching to every leg; if we only had fury warriors switching the legs would take too long to die. That said, because of the 200% buff (and the fact that it doesn't transfer to the boss via Blade Flurry anymore), it would no longer be worthwhile to turn BF on while DPSing the legs (normal: 100%. Normal BF: 90 + 18 = 108%. Buffed: 100 x 2 = 200%. BF Buffed: 90 * 2 + 18 = 198%). So the ultimate conclusion remains the same (Combat doesn't BF the legs on Garalon), but the logic for getting there is a little different.

More generally: while its true that you won't often want to give up 100 points of single target damage for 101 points of add damage, that's not what you're doing with Blade Flurry. You're giving up 100 points of single target damage for 180 points of add damage (1000 + 0 -> 900 + 180), which is significantly more likely to be worth it. Your critique is, however, valid for why Assassination multi-DoTing is functionally somewhat less useful.

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