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Cataclysm Subtlety Compendium


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#41 Omniwank

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 11:25 PM

It's also worth mentioning that for encounters where Subtlety may not be optimal for your raid, it is relatively easy to switch to Combat without the need to reforge or regem gear since they have similar stat priorities. The only real issue is having a mainhand suitable for both specs.

#42 Shadowwaltz

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:38 AM

What makes Subtlety even worth the time? I mean, if you're in a guild like mine that makes members get top-of-the-line enchants and 2 raid-ready professions, wouldn't being Subtlety go against everything the guild stands for? I mean, I was looking at these logs for 25 normal Chimaeron:

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis
World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

24k DPS vs. 19k DPS. 20% less DPS by going subtlety. Is that just a matter of there not being enough good players posting logs, or is that accurate?

Edit: Just for fun, here's combat:

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

That's a more reasonable tradeoff, 23k DPS vs. 24k. Probably would be higher, too, if geared combat rogues were actually able to use all their energy.

#43 Litodude

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:53 AM

What makes Subtlety even worth the time? I mean, if you're in a guild like mine that makes members get top-of-the-line enchants and 2 raid-ready professions, wouldn't being Subtlety go against everything the guild stands for? I mean, I was looking at these logs for 25 normal Chimaeron:

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis
World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

20% less DPS by going subtlety. Is that just a matter of there not being enough good players posting logs, or is that accurate?


Every question you asked, be it hypothetical or rhetorical in any sense, is answered in the first lines of the OP.

http://elitistjerks....um/#post1878993

#44 Shadowwaltz

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 01:01 AM

Every question you asked, be it hypothetical or rhetorical in any sense, is answered in the first lines of the OP.

http://elitistjerks....um/#post1878993


I read the OP, it said gave the advantages and disadvantages, but didn't really say what the numbers would be like. Reading this guide gave me the impression that subtlety might be a little lower than combat, but still reasonable.

What I'm wondering is if those numbers are misleading because not enough sub rogues post logs. Could you share some of your numbers for me as sub?

#45 Omniwank

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:33 AM

What makes Subtlety even worth the time? I mean, if you're in a guild like mine that makes members get top-of-the-line enchants and 2 raid-ready professions, wouldn't being Subtlety go against everything the guild stands for? I mean, I was looking at these logs for 25 normal Chimaeron:

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis
World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

24k DPS vs. 19k DPS. 20% less DPS by going subtlety. Is that just a matter of there not being enough good players posting logs, or is that accurate?

Edit: Just for fun, here's combat:

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

That's a more reasonable tradeoff, 23k DPS vs. 24k. Probably would be higher, too, if geared combat rogues were actually able to use all their energy.


I probably should of addressed this earlier. The short answer is that no, Subtlety parses are not accurate. There are multiple reasons. The first and most obvious is that a very small percentile of players play Subtlety, meaning the sample size is practically nonexistant. Because we entered Cataclysm with the stigma that Subtlety was far behind the other specs, no self-respecting Rogue in a progression guild would be caught dead showing up as it. Even after the 4.0.6. Subtlety buffs, there was still the conclusion that it is not worth speccing because it's rotation is significantly more difficult - and so as it stands the best geared Rogues are not playing Subtlety, which greatly skews the results you see on World of Logs.

The second issue is that comparing one guild's 10man to another isn't very useful. The first problem is that your personal DPS is partially affected by your raid's DPS. For example, the faster you finish an encounter, the larger the percentage of time will be spent under the effects of Bloodlust - skewing your DPS results higher. This compounds the problem when players look at a site like State of DPS and flock to what is considered the highest DPS output. As more gear is gained in a guild, if only certain specs are played they will continue to inflate eachother's DPS as bosses are killed faster. The other issue is that 10man raid buffs and compositions can vary drastically, which can also skew results. Different guilds also have different strategies - some guilds may have ranged players take care of adds or have other classes do gong-kiting. In essence simply comparing parses between different players isn't a good way to measure output.

The only accurate way to gauge Subtlety's numbers is to compare the results of the same player, in the same gear, with a similar raid composition. I can offer some of my own parses as both Assassination and Subtlety:

Atramedes (Subtlety): 21660 DPS (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)
Atramedes (Assassination): 20583 DPS (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)

Chimaeron (Subtlety): 19439 DPS (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)
Chimaeron (Assassination): 19965 DPS (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)

Nefarian (Subtlety): 18265 DPS (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis - it's listed as a "Try" but it was in fact our kill this week)
Nefarian (Assassination): 16982 DPS (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)

That's hardly a 20% damage decrease, wouldn't you agree? I suppose one might think "oh well he must just suck at Assassination!", but would it make sense that I suck at our easiest spec but excel at the most difficult? Those are just my numbers, so take them for what they are.

It's my opinion that Subtlety is highly competitive at the moment. I honestly fear that any DPS buffs to the spec could send it overboard considering the immense scaling of Sinister Calling in the upcoming raiding tiers. If that happens, we could see the Subtlety PVE spec dismantled for the rest of the expansion like it was in 3.2.2. Right now I think Subtlety is at a good place - there are advantages and disadvantages that make it very distinct from its counterparts, and each individual player has to consider their own situation and ability. It's much more interesting than choosing a spec simply because it is the highest DPS.

#46 Shadowwaltz

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 05:12 AM

Exactly what I was looking for. Really appreciate it.

That's pretty amazing that it actually pulls ahead. I'm gonna have to try it this week. With 100% recup uptime and just the overall utility, it seems like it would be a bad idea not to learn how to play subtlety if the numbers really are that good. I'll try the spec out this week and come back with some feedback.

Edit: About the Unheeded Warning trinket, I imagine it's best in slot for subtlety, correct? I mean, it's BiS even over the 372s for ferals, and our attacks have higher modifiers (backstab is 367%, shred is 340%) plus we do more of them with energetic recovery. I know it's amazing in PvP gear. I can get 34k backstabs on a target dummy when it procs.

#47 CreepyToitTiger

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 06:23 AM

I haven't had enough time to model it. Rupture is typically around 5% of your damage, so the Hemo debuff is roughly a 1.5% damage increase. The question is whether the damage difference between a Backstab and Hemo is more than 1.5% of your damage in a minute, crit chance and energy costs considered.


Only thing excels is energy per minute, with talents Hemo is roughly 29 energy application vs backstab 35 energy per application. Ignoring the positional requirement, backstab is clearly superior in every regard. I would assume that if another person is applying the 30% bleed debuff, it would be better to just drop hemo out of the rotation.

#48 Jodou

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:54 PM

Because we entered Cataclysm with the stigma that Subtlety was far behind the other specs, no self-respecting Rogue in a progression guild would be caught dead showing up as it.

It's lazy to say Rogues are not open to experimentation, but the fact is that some fights simply aren't conducive to Sub at all. Off the top of my head I can name at least four raid bosses that require stacking on the tank, for part or near full duration of the fight. Atramedes and Nefarian are prime examples of where Sub should excel, since the entirety of the fight (on normal at least) is spent at the flank or tail of the boss(es), minus P2 of Nef. Chimaeron is competitive, but your own parses show that stacking on the tank for feud allows Assassination to pull ahead.

This creates a gearing issue, as Sub values Crit over Mastery and vice-versa. No 'self-respecting Rogue' is going to put the raid on hold while they reforge/re-gem their gear unless there's an extreme call for it, such as heroic double-dragons. Because Assassination is simply more accommodating of raid boss mechanics, it will ultimately appeal to more players.

#49 Istaril

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:02 PM

Chimaeron is competitive, but your own parses show that stacking on the tank for feud allows Assassination to pull ahead.


I'm almost certain you can backstab during Feud, so this isn't an issue on normal. From what I understand of the heroic mechanics, though, it doesn't favor subtlety.

#50 Verain

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:11 PM

The only accurate way to gauge Subtlety's numbers is to compare the results of the same player, in the same gear, with a similar raid composition. I can offer some of my own parses as both Assassination and Subtlety...


I'm not sure if that is really that accurate. Looking at your gear, you have obviously made some choices that a sub rogue would make, and an assassination rogue would not. Of course, the same complaint can be levied at assassination rogues who say that subt is not competitive while hanging out in gear selected for mastery and as little crit as possible. The questions would be, would an assassination rogue who grabs more subt-friendly pieces and respecs sub do more or less damage than before? And of course, would you gain a benefit by switching to assassination after grabbing some more mastery/haste pieces over your sub ones?

Maybe, of course, you had a comparable gear set for assassination.

EDIT: If you have a subt spec on HCHM, and your guild clumps in front of him to split damage with the Bile-O-Tron offline, I imagine subt would offer something interesting: if you had cheat death, you would have the option to NOT clump, instead staying on his butt. This would make healing the group a little harder (you wouldn't be splitting damage with them), but there's the chance that one of the green blasts targets you with a might blast (at which point you run to the clump with cheat death active). This would mostly let your group skip that clump completely. A more common procedure could be to grab the enveloping shadows, and just simply be a very good damage splitter.

#51 Previn

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 05:34 PM

I'm almost certain you can backstab during Feud, so this isn't an issue on normal. From what I understand of the heroic mechanics, though, it doesn't favor subtlety.


I can confirm that Chimaeron, durring the Feud you CAN backstab him from the front while grouped up. In fact you also can no longer backstab him from behind durring the Feud.

#52 Omniwank

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 05:46 PM

It's lazy to say Rogues are not open to experimentation, but the fact is that some fights simply aren't conducive to Sub at all. Off the top of my head I can name at least four raid bosses that require stacking on the tank, for part or near full duration of the fight. Atramedes and Nefarian are prime examples of where Sub should excel, since the entirety of the fight (on normal at least) is spent at the flank or tail of the boss(es), minus P2 of Nef. Chimaeron is competitive, but your own parses show that stacking on the tank for feud allows Assassination to pull ahead.

This creates a gearing issue, as Sub values Crit over Mastery and vice-versa. No 'self-respecting Rogue' is going to put the raid on hold while they reforge/re-gem their gear unless there's an extreme call for it, such as heroic double-dragons. Because Assassination is simply more accommodating of raid boss mechanics, it will ultimately appeal to more players.


I never stated that Rogues are not open to experimentation. I said that there are no raiding Rogues that play Subtlety because there is the stigma that it is the lowest DPS spec in the entire game - and that's not a knock toward anyone. If I was doing 20% (or even 10%) less damage than I did as Assassination, I wouldn't be playing Subtlety either. I was simply explaining why there is a huge disparity in the number of Subtlety parses.

Here's some parses for some other fights:

Ala'kir (Subtlety): 20260 (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)
Ala'kir (Assassination): 18921 (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)

Cho'gall (Subtlety): 15942 (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)
Cho'gall (Assassination): 15509 (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)

Valiona (Subtlety): 20376 (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)
Valiona (Assassination): 19836 (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)

Council (Subtlety): 14831 (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)
Council (Assassination): 15723 (World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis)

I also mentioned it a few posts earlier, but one can switch between Subtlety and Combat without the need to reforge/regem since they have near identical stat priorities (assuming you have a slow mainhand). Switching between Assassination and another spec is far less forgiving.

I'm not sure if that is really that accurate. Looking at your gear, you have obviously made some choices that a sub rogue would make, and an assassination rogue would not. Of course, the same complaint can be levied at assassination rogues who say that subt is not competitive while hanging out in gear selected for mastery and as little crit as possible. The questions would be, would an assassination rogue who grabs more subt-friendly pieces and respecs sub do more or less damage than before? And of course, would you gain a benefit by switching to assassination after grabbing some more mastery/haste pieces over your sub ones?

Maybe, of course, you had a comparable gear set for assassination.


I made 3 gear changes switching from Assassination to Subtlety. I purchased the Tier Chest, replacing Sark of the Unwatched. I swapped out Belt of Nefarious Whispers for Dispersing Belt. And last I purchased the Vicious Expertise trinket to replace the JP neck. My gear was perfectly tuned for Assassination - slightly above the spell hit cap with everything reforged and gemmed to mastery. The trinkets, weapons, and other gear is identical in the parses I have shown.

#53 Verain

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:44 PM

Well, as an example, I have been passing on Essence of the Cyclone, as the hunters value crit far more than assassination (or any rogue spec really). However, if you DO have that trinket, you are already "more geared for sub that ass" as while crit is a low priority stat for all rogues, it is substantially better for subtlety than assassination.

#54 Joigahdenn

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:39 PM

I realize that the sample size for sub is really quite low, but when comparing individual parses between the two specs we need to keep in mind that dps is quite subject to RNG. Even though I haven't taken an exact look at the numbers I'd wager the variance within either spec is larger than the dps difference we see between specs in some of the linked parses.

That doesn't mean this work is useless or anything (it is not and I appreciate it), but for the people in these forums who aren't quite as versed in theorycrafting or analzying dps/parses, this is something that needs to be taken into account and why we use spreadsheets and sims in addition to what we see in logs.

#55 Shoj

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:54 PM

Here are a couple of my Chimaeron 25H parses to go with Omniwank's 10N ones. Importantly, I am wearing the same gear in both but I reforged appropriately for each week. I did this specifically to test Subtlety's viability on heroic modes.

Chimaeron 25H (Subtlety - 34 Caustic Slimes): 22012 DPS (Rank #1)
Chimaeron 25H (Assassination - 39 Caustic Slimes): 22288 DPS (Rank #150)

That was my first week playing Subtlety, and I wasn't aware of this thread until very recently, so I undoubtedly made many more mistakes in the Sub parse than the Mut parse. I've played Subtlety for other heroic-25 fights to varying degrees of success, and there are few (if any) where I see it pulling ahead of Assassination or Combat, but it's definitely viable for many fights (where "viable" = within ~5% of the other specs).

The main problem is that there are a few fights where Assassination clearly pulls ahead or provides valuable utility (fights with AE or that benefit from AE slows: H-Maloriak, H-Tron), and there are a few fights where Combat clearly pulls ahead (fights with cleave: H-Magmaw, H-Halfus), but there is only one fight where Subtelty is the clear choice, and that fight requires a completely different Sub spec (H-V&T). With the exception of those fights, nearly all the fights in the current tier can be viably played by all specs as far as I'm concerned.

#56 Saegon

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:16 PM

Thanks for putting your time into making this compendium; it very much resembles my own experiences with the subtlety spec. Likewise, I have noticed that switching from assassination spec to subtlety gave me little to no dps loss. Sadly, I cannot provide suitable logs, which showcase a similar scenario (gear, raid set-up, etc.)

As far as your question goes concerning the possibility to shadowstep during the grounded Magmaw phase, I have not yet made a successful attempt. Somehow the ability always seems to lockdown during that time.

Even though I haven't taken an exact look at the numbers I'd wager the variance within either spec is larger than the dps difference we see between specs in some of the linked parses.


A quick gander at the World of log parses on several 10-man bosses shows that the gap between the other specs is getting smaller. I do have to admit that the parses do not prove that the subtlety spec is at a competitive edge as of yet.Shadowcraft's output shows a similar dps output while switching between specs.Concerning the risk of a higher variance presumed inherent with the subtlety spec, I can provide you my own logs during last month (Mostly February): World of Log Parses
From my own analysis I came to the conclusion that I've managed to maintain a similar dps output per boss (taking into account scaling from gear upgrades).

#57 Omniwank

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:17 PM

Edit: About the Unheeded Warning trinket, I imagine it's best in slot for subtlety, correct? I mean, it's BiS even over the 372s for ferals, and our attacks have higher modifiers (backstab is 367%, shred is 340%) plus we do more of them with energetic recovery. I know it's amazing in PvP gear. I can get 34k backstabs on a target dummy when it procs.


There's a good chance my EP values for it are from its earlier iteration. If anyone has its current EP for Subtlety I will update the trinket list.

#58 Shadowwaltz

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:38 PM

There's a good chance my EP values for it are from its earlier iteration. If anyone has its current EP for Subtlety I will update the trinket list.


It definitely is. It's under Prestor's normal on your list, which has the same agility but procs 15% haste. Just doing some napkin math, with a 359 mainhand and full 359 gear, the proc for Unheeded increases backstab and white damage by 20-25%. Has no effect on evis/poisons, but even if we say 15% haste = 15% damage unheeded should be higher. I realize that's a pretty shallow comparison, and in 372 weapons the proc is worth proportionally less, but unless I'm missing something major unheeded should at least be the best of the 359 trinkets.

I'm gonna update this with some more accurate numbers when I get home.

Edit: With 15668 AP (full 359s, kings + might buff, only AP buff missing was str/agi buff), I was getting 20-21.5k backstabs on a dummy. This range went up to 26k-28k when Unheeded Warning proc'd. White damage went up even more (damage range went from 2680-3014 to 3400-3735). That's more like a 30% increase. If poisons + rupture + eviscerate is 35% of a sub rogue's damage, then the proc increases 65% of the damage by 30%, or 19.5% increase for the duration. With 20% up time, you get .195 * .2 = 3.9% increase over time. If 15% haste is a 15% damage increase (it's probably less, but for the sake of argument let's say it is), then the Nef trinket would be .15 * .2 = 3% damage increase over time. Because it gives a flat weapon damage, the Unheeded trinket would be worth proportionally less damage with a 372 weapon, but it it shouldn't drop down enough to make Prestor's better. Also note that I didn't use Find Weakness in any of the above calculations but it should apply equally to either trinket.

No idea how to turn that into an EP value. Maybe if someone knew the EP value of 1 weapon damage it would be easier to calculate.

#59 Tunus

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 02:38 AM

Has no effect on evis/poisons


I'm assassination specced myself, but the tooltip values and actual dmg output of Evis go up while the proc is active (no other procs were messing with my stats).

#60 Omniwank

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 03:19 AM

I just tested it, and you can Shadow Step safely while Magmaw's head is grounded.




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