Late Beta Feedback Part 1

Another cross post from the official forum beta feedback thread.

Comments on three issues that don’t require new mechanics to solve.

1) The new Sinister Calling mechanic is much better than the old one because it eliminates the wonky snapshot and stack behavior or hemo however there are a few problems with the mechanic. The mechanic may break down at high gear levels, at around 60% MS, something that seems readily achievable with weapon enchants by the middle to end of the second tier the effective duration of rupture will be ~12-13 seconds. Given sub’s high cp gen the rotation should be reasonably sustainable but I’m not sure the managing a very short duration dot will be particularly enjoyable. The mechanic also makes it impossible at almost all gear levels to avoid refreshing rupture during FW, a generally important optimization for sub. At 12-13 seconds I believe rupture would be shortest duration active maintenance dot in the game.

Complicating the duration issues is SV, such a large portion of subtlety’s damage is tied up in maintaining an active bleed on the target that making those bleeds advance faster makes the rotation feel unforgiving and MS procs punitive despite being a net damage increase. It isn’t clear to me why SV as a mechanic needs to exist, rupture maintenance is already an important part of sub dps, elevating it with SV seems redundant.

With the change to SC its not clear why hemo snapshotting and dot rolling was removed since the mechanic wasn’t particularly problematic on its own. It seemed like a good solution to narrow the gap between positional uptime and lack of positional uptime. The mechanic was hugely problematic in the context of the old SC extra tick mechanic but with that mechanic changed it didn’t cause any problems.

Finally I mentioned in the AoE issues in an earlier post on sub AoE but the problem remains, even with the new version of SC. The MS interaction is sub’s big new mechanic and presumably the reason MS is sub’s fancy attuned stat however its value is diminished on AoE or in solo play. While stat weight variance between different situations is expected the lack of MS interaction on solo play and AoE seems problematic. This may also pose problems for subtlety on fights that do not allow high positional uptime, something that may be a problem even with the new, larger, backstab arc (this could be its own item but I’ve mostly given up on it).

2) I’m a huge fan of the new Bandit’s Guile mechanic, I think it has the potential to add a lot of dynamism to the combat rotation but the direction indicated by these two tweets (https://twitter.com/Celestalon/status/502167046247809024 and https://twitter.com/Celestalon/status/502222409139630080) seems worrying. If SS is strictly superior to RvS in every way, as suggested by the last tweet, then delaying BG doesn’t make a lot of sense. Not only are you reducing the uptime of the now 50% deep insight buff but you are also losing out damage and combo points versus normally advancing the rotation. This seems to remove the possibility of optimizations related to synchronizing cooldowns with BG. Shadowboy’s computations (http://venomousthoughts.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/bandits-guile-mechanic-in-warlords-of-draenor/) suggest on sustained single target a 5 second BG delay per cycle in moderate insight works out as dps neutral at best. This seems to relegate the new BG delaying mechanic to skipping enforced downtime, which seems like a waste of a potentially cool mechanic.

Even in the case of enforced downtime its not clear if BG delaying makes sense given the short duration of BG. I mentioned this in one of the first posts of the earlier thread, BG’s 15 second duration doesn’t make a ton of sense given BG’s rotational role as a pseudo-resource much like a monks TeB. Since RvS does not refresh BG using RvS to delay deep insight across even a short period of enforced downtime risks BG dropping completely. At the very least RvS should refresh the duration of the BG buff to make delaying less risky however even better would be increasing the baseline duration of non-deep insight BG. Combat already suffers more than other rogue specs on enforced downtime fights like Lei Shen due to BG falling off and the increased strength of deep insight (50% up from 30%) makes enforced downtime even more problematic. Given the substantial resource investment required to get into deep insight (600 energy, ~30-45 seconds) it seems odd that the buff should fall off so easily.

3) The combo point UI remains inadequate. We’ve talked a lot about the lack of change to combo point UI in this thread but it hasn’t been changed yet so lets talk about it again. The current combo point UI does a terrible job communicating the actual behavior of combo points, its no wonder many rogues believe combo points aren’t really on the rogue and are just being automatically redirected, that is what the UI communicates. Yes we can fix it with addons (kinda, more on that in a moment) but we shouldn’t have to use addons for the fundamental resource system of our class.

The funny part is addons can’t actually solve the issue because the GetComboPoints() function still returns 0 when we do not have an attackable target selected. Its still technically trackable by addons but it requires fully implementing the out of combat combo point decay logic which shouldn’t be necessary. We’ve heard the justification of “consistency” before but I don’t buy it, the functionality is no longer consistent so why should the UI have to be?

Finally on the topic of combo points there seem to be a lot of mechanics that just ignore anticipation. The assassination pvp 4pc bonus sets your combo points to 5 rather than generating 5 combo points. The sub FoK perk only generates extra combo points per target hit but not extra anticipation stacks. With combo points now on the rogue anticipation should work like the Monk talent Ascension and simply grant extra combo point bubbles on the UI. Combo points in the current system feel like a mess, caught half implemented and not totally functional. Three months ago this wasn’t a problem because beta is beta, things are expected to be half implemented and only partially functional but as we’re now in the polishing stage its very worrying.

Fixing Subtlety AoE

Another cross post from the official forums.

Talked with Vigilate in #ravenholdt about this earlier so its no surprise we agree but seeing sub AoE in action tonight on a fight like Beastlord where there are almost always 5+ targets made me rethink what I said previously about the sub AoE rotation.  The sub AoE rotation doesn’t feel bad but looking at the damage meters (obviously acknowledging that the tuning pass hasn’t happened yet), it feels really weak.

The key problem is none of our AoE abilities hit hard enough.  FoK and CT do not do enough damage, quick dummy numbers as sub put FoK at around 800 damage with CT at around 1.8K (mastery stacking gear set up for assassination),  To put these numbers in perspective, FoK is dealing less damage than an OH white swing while CT is comparable to an OH white swing.  Things aren’t as problematic for assassination due to the power of poisons but with subtlety, which has to rely solely on FoK and CT shows very clearly how weak they are.

In addition to raw number tuning the subtlety AoE and ST target rotations have basically nothing to do with each other.  You keep up SnD and rupture because of massive cp overflow but otherwise you are just spamming FoK->CT->FoK->CT ad infinitum.  All of the mechanics that define subtlety on single target, vanish, shadow dance, find weakness, fit into the AoE rotation about as easily as an elephant in a phone booth.  A simple solution to this would be a new AoE opener which applies FW to all targets it hits or even simpler FoK applies FW to all targets if cast from stealth or during shadow dance.  This doesn’t have the complexity of a single target FW but it allows sub’s AoE rotation to integrate more smoothly with its primary mechanics.

In addition to the FW issue sub suffers from the “s word”, stat scaling on AoE is messy.  Given the low number of FoKs per CT while AoEing subtlety has substantial energy overflow degrading the value of haste.  More problematically, the new sub MS mechanic is entirely non-functional on AoE when backstab is replaced wholesale by FoK.  I understand that stat weights will change in different situations but to have the mechanic that makes MS interesting as subtlety’s attuned stat be entirely non-functional on AoE seems wrong.  A simple fix would be to allow FoK MSs to proc additional bleed ticks just like backstab. Since FoK and backstab have the same energy cost this is unlikely to cause odd side effects in the single target rotation.  Combine this with the previous idea of AoE FW and potentially a damage buff to FoK and CT and subtlety could have a solid AoE burst niche, in line with its single target burst niche.