Current State of Rogue
It has been a while since I last posted and rogues have gone through some iteration. I decided I want to post up a quick (is that even possible for me?) blog regarding my thoughts on some current issues with the rogue and suggest possible fixes to them. I understand that some of these are big mechanical changes and it’s probably too late to for them to be added to the game.
We all know that Blizzard recently nerfed the damage of wound poison because it was a fairly significant damage increase over deadly poison for Assassination. This nerf has created other balancing concerns. The problem was specific to assassination, so combat and subtlety have now suffered an undue loss because of this nerf. The cause of the wound poison problem to assassination stemmed from the fact that assassination procs poisons much more frequently.
Deadly poison has two components, the DoT component, and the instant component. The more frequent your poison application rate, the less significant the DoT component becomes as its damage is fixed at 3 second intervals. With a base lethal poison application rate of 50% and that rate further enhanced by the envenom buff, assassination shifts a lot of the deadly poison damage into the instant part. The increased damage of wound poison is intended to give similar damage at a slight loss as the opportunity cost of providing the mortal strike debuff (which I think is wholly unnecessary, but that’s something else entirely). With the very high application chance for assassination, wound poison’s increased damage more than compensated for the loss of the DoT component of deadly poison.
The problem is that for Combat and Subtlety, the DoT is a more significant contributor to their poison damage, so nerfing wound poison removes wound poison as viable option for them at all (in PvE or PvP). There are two possible solutions to this problem. Either buff wound poison back up to its previous damage for Combat and Subtlety only, or buff wound poison back to its previous damage for all 3 specs, but remove it from Improved Poison’s effect (In other words, make wound poison apply at 30% rate for assassination too, but deadly remains at 50%).
My issue with Crimson Tempest is largely an issue with the way AoE typically works in WoW. AoE is largely burst. Rarely does anything live out 12 seconds. Crimson Tempest needs either some of the DoT damage shifted into the direct damage, or the damage from the DoT needs to be concentrated into a shorter duration (for example, same tick damage but ticking every 1 seconds instead of 2, for a 6 second DoT).
One of the problems I have with envenom is that it has not as much of an impact on the performance of an assassination rogue as it should. I think the envenom draenor perk should be baseline (where the envenom buff increases the damage of your abilities while active), and the perk replaced with a different iteration of the envenom buff. I also think the envenom buff uptime should come down considerably. I think either the initial 1 second should be removed (to make a 5pt envenom last 5sec), or alternatively increase the base duration and reduce the additional duration from combo points (say 1.5sec + 0.5sec per combo point).
The envenom buff I think should not increase poison application chance as it does now because with the high base chance, there is only so much that you can do by increasing the poison application chance. I think with the baselining of the envenom draenor perk (and removal of the increased poison application chance) allows for a new draenor perk in its place. I think the envenom buff should increase mastery by XX% instead. This means poison DAMAGE will increase for the duration of the envenom buff, not poison application rate. This means the deadly poison DoT and VW would also benefit. Having an envenom buff of 1.5sec + 0.5sec per combo point makes the envenom buff last 4 sec, which would encompass exactly 2 ticks of rupture (so 2 VW ticks). Using a 5sec or 3 sec envenom buff would add envenom timing gaming, but I don’t think that should be enabled. I believe a spec should be able to be optimized without addons. The reason for using this envenom change as a draenor perk and not basline is because rogues do not have mastery yet when envenom is learned. Another option would be to keep envenom buff the way it is (1sec + 1sec per combo point–6 seconds would fit exactly 3 VW ticks or 2 deadly poison ticks), but reduce the energy gain from venomous wounds to reduce envenom buff uptime (say from 10 energy to 7 or even 5 energy). This will slow down the pacing of the spec, however, so there is that to consider.
I understand that these changes are far too large in scope at this stage of the expansion development so this is mere wishful thinking.
Changing revealing strike to not advance bandit’s guile was a step in the right direction of putting control of bandit’s guile into the hands of the player. The problem however is that requires a bit too much planning since it is controlled through delay, rather than through advancement. While I am ok with the “planning” aspect of gameplay, but this completely clashes with the concept of reacting to procs. Bandit’s guile needs to be controlled through instant advancement, not through delayed advancement. Keep in mind that control through advancement vs delay is very minor and what we have now is FAR, FAR better than what we had before. I’d say delay is like replacing a 1.5L inline 4 cylinder with a 6.0L V8 and advancement would be replacing that 6.0L V8 with a 6.1L V8. It’s a minor improvement. This is the kind of thing that can’t be changed now.
This however is: Make shallow and moderate insight last at least 30 seconds, preferably a minute and allow Revealing Strike to refresh the buff (without advancing the stack count). Maelstrom Weapon lasts 30 seconds. Unholy DK Shadow Infusion lasts 30 seconds. These effects have roughly the same degree of impact/ramp on the rotation that bandit’s guile does, perhaps even less. Lower Bandit’s Guile states need to last longer and the buff needs a stack counter (the stack does nothing more than communicate to the player where their progression is). Also add a buff for no insight, just to add a stack counter.
Combat’s mastery suffers a pretty severe scaling problem right now. With Main Gauche hitting with the off hand it leads to several problems. On one hand, if it does too much damage we get the problem of a couple months ago with mastery being too good and Main Gauche doing too much damage. This lead to a dagger in the main hand being preferable and the better (slow) weapon going in your offhand. The current values are more reasonable and solve that problem, but create another. Now mastery is worse than even versatility for combat rogues.
Part of the issue is that Main Gauche does not apply poisons. Main Gauche applying poisons would increase mastery’s value without also increasing off hand weapon’s value. Another solution to this problem is to have main gauche do a lot of damage but not proc on autoattacks (this also makes main gauche not a passive damage source).
The other serious problem with Main Gauche hitting with the offhand is that slow is better now. Main Gauche needs the Hemo/Ambush treatment of hitting 40% harder with a dagger. Right now without this treatment, double slow is the way to go but if you have to use a dagger, it’s actually better to go into the main hand. Giving main gauche the hemo treatment kills fast/slow for good. This probably should happen regardless of what else is done with the spec.
The snapshotting DoT was a problem, but by removing the stacking of the DoT and backloading hemorrage, it makes sub less useful for soloing. I think the initial Hemorrhage strike should hit harder than it currently does, and the DoT should be stackable (but still scale dynamically with AP), say up to 3 or 5 stacks. This makes Hemo weaving a thing and maintaining a 3-stack hemo DoT is a good way to differentiate skill.
The above paragraph wouldn’t even be an issue if the positional requirement of backstab were removed. No more needs to be said here. This is the better solution to hemorrage.
Passive Damage for Combat
Reduce AP from vitality, buff Killing Spree, Sinister Strike, Revealing Strike’s and Main Gauche’s weapon damage modifiers, and increase Revealing Strike’s effect on finishers (to compensate for the AP loss). This shifts damage into yellow sources without affecting the “feel” of the spec. The idea is to keep the relative balance of eviscerate, SS, RvS, MG, and KSp roughly the same as now, just increase them all relative to autoattacks and poison.
Fan of Knives perk for Subtlety
The number of combo points generated by the FoK perk for subtlety should be capped at 5. Leaving it uncapped removes all choice from the level 90 talent. I understand that Anticipation feels mandatory for a lot of rogues, but it is strictly a feel/playstyle thing. It really is competitive with Marked for Death (at least for combat, as I’ve expounded upon before). The problem is by having FoK add a combo point per target means that if you have 6 or more targets, anticipation becomes mandatory. Note: FoK is currently bugged on beta so I am making pretty sweeping assumptions here about how it’s supposed to work. I do not even know if it’s intended to give anticipation charges.
In conclusion I’d like to rank all of these topic in my subjective order of importance. From most to least, I would personally rank them in severity as the following:
Needs to be done (high priority): Bandit’s Guile duration and stack indicator, Backstab positional, Main Gauche applying poisons and bonus damage for dagger off hand.
Probably should be done (moderate priority): Wound Poison, Crimson Tempest DoT duration, Fan of Knives perk, Combat passive damage.
Something to look into for future expansions (low priority): Envenom, Hemorrhage, BG advancement.