Ravenholdt Roundtable: Raiding in Warlords

In our third Ravenholdt Roundtable, Fierydemise talks to Vigilate (@Vigi_latte) of Easy and Rosvall of NollTvåTre, a pair of experienced raiding rogues, to talk about how rogues have faired in Warlords raiding content and some brief look ahead to Legion.

You can download an MP3 of the podcast or listen below:

{podcast id=3}

To talk about the topics raised in this roundtable, hop over to our dedicated discussion thread. If you have feedback on our Ravenholdt podcasts in general, or if you have any guests or topics you’d like to see on a roundtable in the future, let us know on Twitter.

Be sure to check out Vigilate‘s and Rosvall‘s Twitch streams to catch them in action!

Previous Ravenholdt Roundtables

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Warlords Retrospective: Part 1

Before we start talking about what we want for rogues in Legion it’s important to reflect on WoD for rogues. What worked, what didn’t work, what can be salvaged and what needs to be changed. This will be the first part of a series of WoD retrospective posts, today talking about macro level issues with rogue class design.

Spec Niches
The handling of spec niches during Warlords has been incredibly confusing. The most telling example is the saga of Blade Flurry over the past 30 months. Think back to MoP launch, blade flurry was a 100% mirror on a single target. During 5.0 many rogues felt that a combat spec was mandatory for cleave centric fights such as Mogu’shan Dogs and Garalon so in 5.2 Blizzard changed blade flurry into the version we have today.  At the time Ghostcrawler summed up the change with the sentence “It’s fine if the rogue specs have niches, but the niches shouldn’t be so rigid that you don’t feel like you have any choice in spec.” This was for most of MoP the way we viewed niches and during WoD beta that looked like Blizzard’s solution too. During beta when blade flurry appeared much stronger than assassination and subtlety AoE Blizzard nerfed blade flurry and buffed the other two spec’s AoE.
 
Once the expansion went live however things changed. While both subtlety and assassination have received primarily single target buffs this expansion combat has seen blade flurry buffs such that now we are in the exact situation that we were during 5.0 and during beta. Combat is the AoE spec, if you need to AoE you play combat but the spec is broadly uncompetitive on sustained single target, more than 10% behind second place assassination. Every rogue spec question is “what spec do I pair with combat?” No one considers assassination/subtlety to be a viable spec combination for progression raiding.
 
Blizzard’s stance on spec niches for multiple spec per role classes has always been something of a moving target but the Warlords implementation has been particularly unpleasant. While great effort was made during MoP and WoD beta to relax the impact of niches, as we’ve moved through the expansion the niches have moved back to prominence with increased importance. Combat set bonuses and perks have continued to buff AoE capabilities up while assassination and subtlety have focused solely on increasing single target. Even if Blizzard hadn’t buffed blade flurry during the first round of hotfixes in 6.0 combat likely still be the the dominant rogue AoE spec.
 
Another problem with the current rogue niche design is subtlety. During beta it was explained that subtlety was tuned slightly higher than other rogue specs because of difficulty and to counterbalance its weaknesses in other areas. In other words, single target was a subtlety spec niche. This was more than a year ago so I don’t want to hold Blizzard to that statement but their recent behavior reflects similar thinking. When subtlety was only competitive with assassination single target at the start of 6.2 it was given several buffs, seemingly to make sure subtlety would always be the top dog for single target. This has major balance implications on its own as Ashunera explained very well during 6.0 but it also creates major problems for rogue spec balance as well.
 
Combine this goal of a single target spec with the AoE dominance of combat and its no wonder that assassination has been a mostly dead spec in high end raiding this expansion. Assassination theoretically has advantages on low target split cleave but fights like this are rare enough and the other specs are close enough that it generally isn’t worth optimizing for. Assassination also has its execute to fall back on however in its nerfed state (<10% dps increase over non-execute for most of the expansion) subtlety’s burst niche can do comparable amounts of damage during execute phases while being far more versatile.
 
The takeaway here is that, spec niches need to be reexamined. If Blizzard prefers the MoP and early WoD design of niches as perks or bonuses but all specs have reasonable tools then there needs to be far more emphasis on combat single target and subtlety/assassination AoE. If niches are going back to a more central role then assassination’s execute niche needs to be strengthened and perhaps the spec needs another niche.  Additionally we need to stop defining subtlety as the single target spec unless assassination is intended as the simple spec for new players that is never designed to be used in mythic raiding.
 
Weapon Lock
I started writing this post before the Legion announcement and at the time weapon lock was a really big deal, mostly for the reasons I mentioned back in my 6.0 blog post on the topic. However as Rfeann pointed out in his Blizzard Watch column last week the artifact system has the potential to solve a lot of the weapon lock issues that have plagued rogues during WoD. There are a number of open questions about how much work keeping multiple specs worth of weapons raid ready will be but those are not limited to just rogues so there should be a relatively broad coalition if Blizzard does something boneheaded.
 
The Rogue Survivability Toolkit
The strength of the rogue survivability toolkit isn’t new. Rogues have been the hardest to kill class in raids since Cataclysm and the creation of the first feint glyph. Today we all consider that part of the rogue class identity but there are a few problems. The first we saw this expansion very clearly on mythic Blackhand, only rogues have a spammable damage reduction ability strong enough for repeated soaking. In theory this strength is balanced by the energy cost, and by extension dps cost, of feint. At one point this was true, when the feint damage reduction was added in Wrath 20 energy with a 10 second cooldown was a pretty substantial expenditure, 15-20% of your total energy. As energy regen has increased over the past several expansions the energy cost of feint has become less relevant allowing rogues to spam feint without substantial penalty. I suspect many rogues use feint too much but the energy cost isn’t high enough to actually punish those decisions.

All that said increasing the cost of feint brings us to the second issue with the rogue survivability toolkit. Feint makes up so much of a rogue’s toolkit that nerfing it would leave rogues at best middle of the pack among melee dps survivability. Rogues do not have the generic 20-40% damage reduction cooldown of many other melee classes and as we’ve seen a few times this expansion, on Brakenspore for instance, without feint rogues tend to be pretty squishy. If Blizzard is going to nerf feint through at a cost increase like I am advocating rogues probably need a reliable, generic 20% damage reduction ability.

The rogue survivability toolkit is unique, and as the developers, Ghostcrawler in particular, have reminded us many times, unique isn’t bad. Unique is how we keep classes and specs from being too homogeneous but unique mechanics can cause balance problems and the rogue survivability toolkit is probably too unique. If Blizzard is going to continue designing fights like Blackhand another class or spec probably needs some form of spammable damage reduction ability.

 

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Ravenholdt on Ravenholdt: A New Order

A few days ago Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas (@WatcherDev) mentioned in an interview with Blizzplanet that the rogue class hall is intended to be in the Dalaran Sewers Underground.  Since then hordes of rogues have allied together under the hashtag #RavenholdtOrRiot in an attempt to bring our class hall to Ravenholdt.  The four of us who run Ravenholdt.net have each written a little blurb about our thoughts on the movement and the placement of our new home.  Spoiler:  We all would prefer Ravenholdt to the Dalaran underground.
 
 
 
From Haileaus (@Haileaus)
 
Ravenholdt ManorThe reason so many rogues want Ravenholdt is because when we were first introduced to it we fell in love with its lore.  The hidden mansion in he hills, riddled with booby-traps, that we were one of the few people to know of its existence, let alone actually visit and return.  The place where rogues were trained in the art of lockpicking and where there was an ongoing battle The Syndicate, aka our competition.
 
In and outside World of Warcraft rogues have a reputation of being lowly, selfish, and unworthy.  It is the nature of the stealth-based class for others to treat us as lesser, claiming our success comes from our ability to cheap-shot unsuspecting prey.  The fact is, rogues are consistently the underdog, and in a game like Warcraft where you have paladins anointed by the Light and warlocks who sell their soul for incredible power, it is hard to imagine a rogue as legitimately being on that level.  All this means rogues as a group are often a bit sensitive.  We know, because Ravenholdt taught us this, that we can be so much greater than what those other classes think of us.  We know that we can alter the events of Azeroth like very few others are capable of because we have seen Wrathion emerge from our hallowed mansion to become one of the most prominent figures in Azeroth.
 
As we fight alongside the greatest mages, warriors, druids and deathknights of our time there is always a question in the back of our heads:  “Are we truly among these great heroes, or at the end of the day are we just simple cutthroats and thieves pretending to be more so we can play with the big kids?”  This is why the Dalaran underground hurt so much.  It answered this question for us, and the answer was that at the end of the day, when we are tired and want to be among our own, we won’t be going to great halls or places of renown.  We will go under the City of Mages, to where our great deeds mean nothing.
 
It doesn’t matter how thematically appropriate the Dalaran Underground is.  It doesn’t matter if we are the leaders of this underground.  And as catchy as it is, it doesn’t (really) matter that the underground is in the sewers.  What 86% of rogues who filled out that strawpoll in favor or Ravenholdt want is to be in a place where rogues are recognized as worthy.  Worthy of respect, worthy of training, and worthy of having their own place, independent of any place or other class.  Ravenholdt is the only place that has deemed us worthy of all these things and more.  Compared to that, any underground – where it is usually considered an achievement to get out of – is just adding insult to our already injured pride.
 
 
 
From Rfeann (@SvelteKumquat)
 
Am I the only one who started hearing patriotic music in their head as they read Hail’s words? If I’d been down on playing my rogue before reading that, I’d be inspired to pick it up again now.
 
Ravenholdt InteriorInfused within Hail’s points, I think, is a feeling of loss. We’ve talked a lot over the past two expansions about the degradation of spec identity, and devs have publicly let it be known that a more solid aesthetic differential between specs is a likely priority for the next expansion. And that’s fine — good, even. But I think aesthetic spec differential is less important than aesthetic class distinction, particularly in light of the upcoming birth of a new leather melee class.
 
Ravenholdt — the in-game location — hearkens back to an era when playing a rogue felt more distinct than it does now. When dungeons had lock-pickable chests, and raids had disarmable traps; when we had several class-specific quest chains closely tied to our class identity (and that were required to unlock core flavor abilities); when poison use felt like a more involved, engaging process.
 
I’m one of those players who really misses the feeling that rogues can do things nobody else can do in the game, and experience things in the game no other class can experience. (I very much wish rogues, and only rogues, had the ability to “see” those assassins that patrol the halls of Hellfire Citadel — and could even make them partly visible to their raid group.)  It’s the reason I keep coming back to the mantra that I never feel more like a rogue than when I’m questing out in the world; stealth and pickpocketing are all I feel like I’ve got that make my class feel the way it felt when I fell in love with it. And even pickpocketing has a low ceiling for me, given how quickly those many different trinkets fill up my bags and the frustrating inconsistency in which types of mobs have pockets.
 
So I want to reclaim some of that lost “special” feeling. Which is why the idea of Ravenholdt as a Class Order location resonates with me — and why the idea of the Dalaran Sewers as that location strikes such a discordant note.
 
 
 
From Fierydemise (@Fierydemise)
 
Ravenholdt Sparring ArenaWatching the #RavenholdtOrRiot hashtag has been odd in many ways because its such a seemingly silly thing to riot over but after reading some of posts and tweets it makes sense. Anger about Ravenholdt doesn’t require any mechanic discussion or numbers, it’s pure emotional attachment. All that said there are a couple reasons from a developer perspective not to use Ravenholdt that are worth considering.

1) Ravenholdt is in the middle of no where. From a lore perspective this makes some sense but from a gameplay perspective it isn’t ideal. However that isn’t unique to Ravenholdt, a huge number of the plausible order locations including ones that Blizzard mentioned on Thursday are also not in a prime location. Moonglade, Peak of Serenity, The Maelstrom, none of these are anywhere near the Broken Isles. If Blizzard wants to use any of them as class order locations than it doesn’t seem like too much to ask for rogues to also get Ravenholdt. If Blizzard does decide to place all the class orders in close proximity to the Broken Isles for convenience it should be at least partially affiliated with Ravenholdt, perhaps “Ravenstead” or something. As the visceral reaction to Dalaran Sewers show many rogues have an emotional attachment to Ravenholdt and the class orders should respect that.

2) In the lore Ravenholdt was destroyed. I’d forgotten about this, and I think a lot of rogues have forgotten about this but at the end of the Fangs of the Father quest line the Red Dragonflight attacks Ravenholdt and does an unspecified amount of damage. We see a lot of dead guards and the building on fire but the exact fate of Lord Ravenholdt and the order has never been discussed. Of course lore contradictions are rarely a problem and here the destruction of Ravenholdt actually creates a very nice story. Free idea for Blizzard, after the legion invades some great rogue (perhaps Garona, perhaps some previously unknown rogue) decides to reestablish the order and asks the player to assist. This quest takes the player to the ruins of Ravenholdt and in the ruins they discover a legendary pair of assassin’s daggers. Tada! Now Ravenholdt is reestablished through in game actions and one rogue artifact weapon is handled. Blizzard has committed to class quests with this artifact system which gives them a chance to tell limited class specific stories, in this case reestablishing Ravenholdt.

 
Yes #RavenholdtOrRiot is probably a bit extreme but the reaction has shown just how important Ravenholdt is to many rogues. And yes, there are decent reasons why the devs might not want to use Ravenholdt for the rogue class order however both of the objections are not consistent with other announced information and/or can be fixed logically within a purely game setting.
 
 
 
From Paryah (@One_Rogue)
 
The case for Ravenholdt.

In game, Ravenholdt is already an established Rogue headquarters. It is and has been the site of multiple rogue quests. Notable existing events at the compound are the class quest to obtain  the Survivor’s Bag of Coins and the Fangs of the Father questline and finale. The Ravenholdt compound includes everything that a rogue organization would need: gardens for growing poisons, a training area, the manor with fences, vendors, quest givers, and plenty of room for iconic class memorabilia. We even have our own manor cat, Salome.

SalomeThe secret compound in an out of the way place far from civilization is a trope of clandestine groups in modern storytelling. From Afterlife in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Scaramanga’s island in The Man with the Golden Gun, to Ra’s al Ghul’s fortress in Arrow, and many more, the retreat is a place where members of these groups go to train, to scheme, to de-stress/heal up between capers, and to keep their trophies and spoils. Ravenholdt Manor is the rogue’s version of this in World of Warcraft. A place like the sewers of Dalaran may be good for a quick meeting, a visit to a fence,  a drop/pick up, or even a staging area, but it’s way too close to civilization to be the place where the majority of training and planning happens.

There are certainly arguments to be made for putting us in Dalaran. We’ll be close to the action, if there are portals/hearthstones associated with the Class Orders ours would possibly get us to Dalaran for free, we’d be hidden in plain sight. But Dalaran is the City of Mages. They belong here, not us. If we build a base in Dalaran, are we really naive enough to believe that it is not at the sufferance of the mages? We are smarter than that. We are more cunning than that. Gameplay convenience aside, Dalaran is not where we belong.

The Burning Legion invasion threatens all of Azeroth. This upcoming expansion will include events that will affect various areas across the whole of Azeroth. Having Class Order halls spread out around the map and reusing/updating old locations really appeals to me and intensifies the idea that our world, what we know and love, is what is at stake. I hope that Blizzard takes all of this into consideration as they plan this feature for Legion.

 

 

Intro and links brought to you by Haileaus.  Pictures were taken by Hail and added by whoever is gonna do that for me Paryah because adding images is frustratingly difficult.

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Theorycrafting and Simple Math

If you follow me on twitter or spend any time in #Ravenholdt you’ve probably heard one of my “theorycrafting doesn’t require complex math” rants.  Recently someone challenged me in IRC to prove that you could do useful stuff with basic math so in this post I will show that you can answer useful theorycrafting questions with just simple math.

 

First we need to define simple math.  Occasionally when I make this argument people accuse me of underestimating complexity because I like math. To answer this objection I will clearly define what I mean by simple math.  First simple math includes basic arithmetic, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Second simple math includes basic probability concepts.  To make sure I’m not cheating here and smuggling in complex math under the guise of “basic probability” I’m going to start with four probability questions.  Anyone who can answer all four of these questions possesses what I am calling basic probability knowledge for the purposes of this post.

{slider Question 1) If you roll a six sided die once, what is the probability that you will roll a 6?|closed|noscroll}1/6 = 0.166 = 16.6%{/sliders}
{slider Question 2) If you roll a six sided die once, what is the probability you do not roll a 6?|closed|noscroll}1-(1/6) = 5/6 = 0.833 = 83.3%{/sliders} 
{slider Question 3) If you roll a six sided die twice what is the chance you get two 6s?|closed|noscroll}(1/6)*(1/6)=(1/36)=0.027= 2.7%

Concept: The probability of two events happening is the product of the probabilities of each event (Technically this only applies to independent probabilities only but in WoW most probabilities are independent).{/sliders}
{slider Question 4) In a lottery you roll a six sided die once, if you roll a 6 you get $10, if you roll a 5 you get $5, and if you roll a anything else you get nothing.  If you enter this lottery 100 times how much do you expect to win?|closed|noscroll}Answer: First work out the probabilities of each event.  From question 1 we know that the probability of rolling a 6 is 1/6 and the probability of rolling a 5 is 1/6.  From question 2 we know probability of rolling anything else is 1-(1/6)-(1/6)=4/6=0.666=66.6%

We’re entering 100 times so we expect to roll 16.6 “6s”, 16.6 “5s” and 66.6 other.  Now multiply each by the associated winning, 16.6*$10=$166, 16.6*$5=$83.  So the total expected winnings from 100 plays is $166+$83=$249 and if we divide that by 100 we get $2.49 dollars per roll (Some people may note that $2.50 is actually the correct result which we didn’t get due to rounding but that isn’t really important to the concept on display here).

Concept: The average value of an event with multiple possible outcomes is the sum of the value of each outcome times the probability of that outcome occurring.{/sliders}

Armed with basic arithmetic and these four probability concepts we’re going to compute a useful an actionable theorycrafting result, the crossover point where Anticipation becomes better than Marked for Death (MfD) in terms of combo points saved/generated per minute.

To begin a few assumptions:
1) 100% Revealing Strike (RvS) uptime but we will not consider actually casting RvS.
2) Per traditional rotations, only use finishers at 5 combo points, this also allows us to assume the player always starts with 1 combo point from Ruthlessness.
3) This does not consider using anticipation to shift finishers to higher levels of Bandit’s Guile.
4) This analysis considers patchwork dps with no opportunities for MfD cooldown reset.
5) No set bonuses, modifying this analysis for set bonuses is left as an exercise for the reader.

To find the crossover point we need to determine how many combo points are wasted when using MfD instead of anticipation.  There are a number of ways to handle this but for simplicity we’re just going to write out all the paths from 1 combo point (see assumption 2) to 5 combo points and note which paths do and do not have waste.

a) 1->2->3->4->5
b) 1->2->3->4->6 (Waste)
c) 1->2->3->5
d) 1->2->4->5
e) 1->2->4->6 (Waste)
f) 1->3->4->5
g) 1->3->4->6 (Waste)
h) 1->3->5

Now we need to work out a probability of each sequences. From the Revealing Strike tooltip we know that 25% of the time (0.25) we generate 2 combo points and from question 2 we know that we have a 1-0.25 =0.75 or 75% chance of generating one combo point.  This makes working out the probability of each sequence above is an application of question 3.

a) 0.75*0.75*0.75*0.75= 0.31640625
b) 0.75*0.75*0.75*0.25= 0.10546875
c) 0.75*0.75*0.25= 0.140625
d) 0.75*0.25*0.75= 0.140625
e) 0.75*0.25*0.25= 0.046875
f) 0.25*0.75*0.75= 0.140625
g) 0.25*0.75*0.25= 0.046875
h) 0.25*0.25= 0.0625

If we sum the probabilities of the three paths that lead to waste we get a probability of wasting a combo point due to a badly timed proc of 0.10546875+0.046875+0.046875= 0.19921875 or 19.92%.

This is a relatively interesting result on its own but it isn’t an actionable result yet.  To create a result that informs our play we need to go one step further.  We know MfD generates 4 combo points per minute and we just derived that anticipation saves 0.1744 combo points per finisher.  So how many finishers does a player need to use before anticipation saves more combo points than MfD generates? 

4 combo points per minute/0.19921875 combo points per finisher= 20.08 finishers per minute.  We could this analysis further and look whether in your gear you can reach that crossover point but in this case it is probably safe to assume you’ll never be using more a finisher every 3 seconds and leave it there. This isn’t a new result, this is something that all of our theorycrafting tools tell us, MfD is better than anticipation.  However this analysis doesn’t require us to break out those big complex tools to answer the question. A relatively simple analysis requiring only “simple math” can provide the same answer.

So what am I trying to say here? I’m not trying to tell you that theorycrafting is easy or that theorycrafting is for everyone.  Figuring out how to model mechanics is often quite challenging. What I hope people get out of this post is, don’t be intimidated by the math. Too many times I read posts on the forum or comments in IRC saying, “I’d love to help theorycraft but I’m bad at math” and talk themselves out of contributing.  What this post shows, I hope, is that you don’t need to be “good at math” to contribute in a useful, meaningful way to WoW theorycraft.

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The Fall of the Giants:  Theorycrafting’s Just Demise?

There has been a lot of talk among inner circles of the elite about how fragile theorycrafting is in Warcraft.  To put it bluntly, nowadays most classes only have a handful of people doing the vast majority – we’re talking on the order of 95-100% here – of the top level theorycrafting.  Now that Pathal has backed down as lead ShadowCraft developer, rogues fall into this category with only two people actively working on ShadowCraft and with few others answering important questions.  While every class still currently has access to high level theorycrafting that will tell them how to play, World of Warcraft may be one accident away from being without a major theorycrafting powerhouse backing each one of its classes.  I don’t know about any of you, but as a casual theorycrafter and someone who feels compelled to do things right or not at all, that’s scary.  Right now if the primary ShadowCraft developer decided to quit, individuals including myself would have to decide between our free time and ShadowCraft.  Perhaps the situation isn’t as dire as I make it out to be and that this is just a temporary lull, but either way the questions that this topic raises are real and important.  In this post I am going to go over some of the ways that theorycrafting – that is, the application of mathematics to World of Warcraft in order to make educated suggestions for optimal strategies – has affected the game.  Many of these will be good, however some will have downsides that I encourage everyone to consider.  By the end of this article it is my hope that you legitimately question the role theorycrafting plays in the game.

Indalamar – Nerfing All for One

Indalamar was of WoW’s original theorycrafters.  Sorta.  As this article will tell you, back when Warcraft was still in Beta Warriors were even bigger panzies than they are now.  Specifically, they complained a lot about being underpowered.  Enter Indalamar, who said that they were not underpowered but in fact overpowered.  Indalamar created a video to illustrate their point and the next patch warriors were nerfed.  If you think this might be a coincidence, then the article I linked also points out that the player behind the video got hired by Blizzard.

Now let’s think of the ramifications.  Most people back in those days were terrible at the game.  I myself when I started had no idea what the stats did and so picked whatever had the most armor until some time in Burning Crusade.  It’s clear that the warrior kill rate (which in a world of farming was more relevant than sheer DPS) was too high and that a nerf was needed.  However, the hordes of warriors calling for buffs indicates that to the unskilled, warriors quite possibly were underpowered.  In other words it would seem that by spreading the word that warriors were strong, Indalamar may have inadvertently caused Blizzard to kick many fellow player while they were down.  On the plus side, the video did get widely circulated and there is no doubt many warriors learned a great deal from the video and became among the elite warrior farmers.

 

Elitist Jerks – May Aldriana Smile Upon me as I Invoke His Name

Modern theorycrafting started in Wrath of the Lich King when raiding and the math that accompanied it were opened up to more casual audiences.  Sites like ElitistJerks became essential to raiders as it was no longer acceptable to have not read up on your class.  Even WorldOfLogs — the first widely used logging site — started during Wrath, allowing players to compare themselves to others across the world.  This was the time when theorycrafters largely stopped using spreadsheets, favoring programs which would model or simulate the increasingly complex rotations Blizzard asked us to perform.

This period of theorycrafting history was immensely important and I could never hope to list all of the noteworthy things that came of it.  That said, I’ll try anyway.  First off, it popularized WoW theorycrafting.  Aldriana, premier rogue theorycrafter and original designer of ShadowCraft, was easily the biggest PvE rogue name at the time.  This led people like me to get involved in the WoW community, writing guides or trying to contribute in their own way to the burgeoning community based around ElitistJerks.  It also meant that people who were struggling with their DPS had a clear path to self-improvement – just go to EJ, read some guides, and practice a rotation that is almost certainly going to be within 5-10% of the optimal one – and at the very least is the one that the pros use.  While there were certainly people who were bad and left in the dust (I to remember a certain Combat rogue I was with in a dungeon using Shiv as a primary CP generator), this number was far lower than it had been at any previous time in WoW’s history.

Just as players became better, so too did their expectations of others.  No longer could I run into a difficult dungeon as a armor-wearing Subtlety rogue and expect for people to be cool with it.  No, the community suddenly cared about what spec their group members were and whether or not their build was viable.  They also cared about things like item level (gearscore) and would deny players entry into raids solely on that basis.  The focus on optimal behavior had another downside, which was the encouragement of cookie-cutter talent builds (remember that talents and specializations were one in the same until Cata).  While there had always been cookie-cutter builds, the shift in the culture made not having one of those builds a reason for people to harass or deny entry into groups.  While this was not a huge problem for those who had done their research and wanted to play what the guides said was optimal, for those who wanted to stray from the path or simply were not as well-learned it caused a great deal of pain.

 

Legacy – Power in Numbers

The theorycrafting community has had an extremely strong impact on modern WoW.  The example that comes to mind most readily is how me and my fellow rogues dealt with the prospect of nHemo weaving during Warlords Beta.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, nHemo weaving was a rotation that involved using Hemorrhage anywhere from 3-7 times consecutively in order to apply a large bleed debuff (Blizzard was testing out ways of making Hemo spammable without losing damage) and then switching to Backstab.  Initial tests showed that this might be optimal, however the number of Hemorrhages to weave was highly variable.  Not only did it depend on your stats, but since the idea was to get a large DoT getting lucky with crits meant that you could switch to Backstab immediately, whereas getting unlucky could make you need to weave even more Hemorrhages than previously expected.  In short the whole thing was a mess and the only way to do the Subtlety rotation right was to install an addon that would track numbers and tell you when to use what generator, at which point the rotation was suddenly trivialized.  Although nobody had created such an addon, I made it very clear that if this change went live I would design it, and soon enough the mechanic was changed to what we see today.

This is what I see as one of the largest and longest lasting effects of theorycrafting in Warcraft.  For better or for worse, my theorycraft changed the game.  Despite finding that I really enjoyed nHemo weaving, I have no regrets.  If it comes down to a choice between having everyone play a rotation that I think is fun and having everyone play a rotation that I think is optimal, I will choose the optimal rotation every time.  Still, I have to wonder:  What if I had let the mechanic go live?  If I and the other rogue theorycrafters refused to make an addon and just said “weave hemo 4 times before using Backstab”?  Would Subtlety rogues be any worse for wear, or would we just be balanced around 4Hemo weaving?  It’s hard to say, and again it’s against my nature in this game to strive for anything but perfection when it comes to my spec.  Still though, if WoD beta is any indication, I think it’s fair to say modern theorycrafting has had a huge influence on the game.

 

Wrapping it Up – Some Wild Speculation

If you made it this far I commend you because I have no idea what I wrote but I assume it reflects the fact that I am running on only two and a half hours of sleep.  There’s no way I came close to documenting every way theorycrafting has impacted the game, and I didn’t even touch on what it has done for people like me.  Theorycrafting toes the line between hobby, responsibility, and public service.  It’s hard to say why any one person does it, except that it sure isn’t for the recognition or efame.  As rewarding as theorycrafting can seem to someone on the outside, recognition and thanks from the people that use a theorycrafter’s work is extremely rare.  I barely consider myself a theorycrafter – I’ve only consulted for the S*Crafts and am active in that area even less often than I blog – but on behalf of the theorycrafters I know, please do me a favor:  Consider what I wrote.  Think about the role theorycrafting plays in your game experience.  Not just whether or not you use S*Craft, but also how much you care about having guides that are as accurate as possible and rotations that are solvable without addons.  If you decide that all this theorycrafting is worth it, then do one (or two!) of two things.  First, thank Pathal and the other theorycrafters who have worked so hard to improve their class.  Second, do what you can to help us out.  Even if you can’t code and are no good at math, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.  If you are looking for a place to start, there’s a mechanics testing thread on the forums with important questions on it.  Also, if you decide that you’d like a Warcraft with less intensive theorycrafting, then I’d love to hear your reasoning.  Either way I’d love to hear your thoughts on the forums.

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WoW Warlords Patch 6.2 Rogue FAQ

This FAQ is intended to answer the common questions I’ve seen on forums and twitter over the past few weeks. This post is not intended to be a replacement for our theorycrafting tools rather a quick way to get up to speed on patch 6.2.

The analysis in this post is based on ilvl 700 T17 gear sets that should be broadly reflective of current gear on patch day but do not necessarily generalize as you gear up in T18 gear and change stat allocations. For numbers accurate for your gear consult SimC/ShC.

Any major tuning changes?
All three rogue specs received buffs, assassination received an almost 10% dps increase while sub and combat received buffs in the 3-5% range. None of these buffs have a major impact on play style but you will be doing more damage when 6.2 launches.

I see Mutilate got huge buffs, is Dispatch still worth using?
Until you get the set bonuses which help prop up Dispatch the answer is yes but barely. With T17H/M level gear, Dispatch is ~1.5% better than Mutilate sub-35%. Once you add T18 2pc that gap grows to ~11% and T18 2pc and 4pc take the gap up to ~25%, much larger than it has been at any point during this expansion.

Are there any changes to default talent spec?
If you are still playing Anticipation as combat you probably aren’t switching to MfD but you should consider it. The higher gear level will increase CP waste somewhat however both T17 2pc and 4pc bonuses propped up the value of Anticipation beyond what it will be in T18 so MfD is the better choice in all situations.

You should also consider switching to Subterfuge as subtlety if you haven’t already done that. Properly managing the vanish based bonuses of the subtlety 2pc and 4pc is much easier with Subterfuge and the Glyph of Vanish.

ShadowCraft also suggests that the much-maligned Death from Above may be the best T100 talent for subtlety with the T18 2pc and 4pc bonuses. This is a very preliminary finding and there has been limited effort to explore possible rotations in SimC but proper DfA usage may yield up to a 5% dps increase if we can find a proper rotation. One possible rotation approach may be to time DfA with Ambush to stack damage multipliers, this could work well since Vanish‘s cooldown with the set bonus is close to two times the DfA cooldown. If you want to explore this idea in more detail there is a thread on the forums.

So what are these set bonuses you keep talking about and are they any good?
Assassination 2pc: Your Dispatch deals 25% additional damage as Nature damage.
Assassination 4pc: Your Dispatch now generates 2 additional Combo Point.
As should be clear from the text the 4pc bonus is the stronger of the two however both bonuses clearly outstrip their T17 counterparts. T18 2pc is also stronger than T17 4pc so downgrading ilvl to get 2pc/2pc while gearing is a viable option.

Combat 2pc: You have a chance while Slice and Dice is active to gain the Adrenaline Rush effect for 4 sec.
Combat 4pc: Increases your damage while Adrenaline Rush is active by 15%.
The 2pc wording doesn’t tell you much so let me fill in the blanks, the AR has a chance to proc on SnD internal ticks which occur every 2 seconds with an 8% proc chance. And yes the procced ARs count toward the 4pc bonus; set bonus synergy is a big theme this tier. The 2pc is the strong bonus here, passing the 4pc from last tier. Again, breaking T17 4pc for T18 2pc will be a net dps increase.

Subtlety 2pc: Your Vanish now awards 5 Combo Points when used and increases all damage done by 30% for 10 sec.
Subtlety 4pc: Your Eviscerate and Rupture reduce the cooldown of your Vanish by 1 sec per Combo Point used.
Again with the bonus synergy, both the subtlety bonuses are stronger than their T17 counterparts so upgrading tier, even at an ilvl downgrade is likely to be a dps increase.

Some of those set bonuses look like a big deal, do any of them change our rotations?
As far as we know now, not really but there are some potential avenues to be explored. Current SimC APLs suggest that using Vanish as part of your opener for subtlety is a dps increase.  While you do waste some potential Find Weakness uptime, the additional 30% damage during your opener as well as getting Vanish on cooldown immediately out weigh the loss. Other than that it appears Vanish should be used basically on cooldown and, as with combat, you should avoid using finishers while Vanish is off cooldown.

Assassination has some potential optimizations that have not been fully explored. The 4pc set bonus, especially when combined with the Archimonde spec trinket creates very high Envenom uptime, higher than you can actually use for Envenom alone. There is a possibility of weaving Crimson Tempests into the rotation on single target and even more likely on low target cleave. If you want to look at this possibility check out the thread on the forum.

Speaking of trinkets which are the best ones?
For assassination it’s all about the Archimonde spec trinket, Bleeding Hollow Toxin Vessel. It is the highest ilvl trinket available and it has tremendous synergy with the assassination 2pc; that trinket almost single handedly makes the spec. Beyond that, rankings mostly follow ilvl, Soul Capacitor comes out slightly ahead of the other options but not substantially and in general follow ilvl. It is also worth noting here that the BRF trinket, Beating Heart of the Mountain, especially mythic due to its synergy with Vendetta, remains competitive with heroic Citadel trinkets.

Combat prefers Mirror of the Blademaster and Soul Capacitor, however the Bleeding Hollow Toxin Vessel is quite competitive. All of these trinkets are strong AoE options as well, which matches combat’s major strengths.

For sub, again Soul Capacitor and Mirror of the Blademaster appear to be the best options. The Bleeding Hollow Toxin Vessel may become stronger later in the tier, especially once the legendary ring becomes available, encouraging stacking even more damage into burst windows. But in current gear the trinket appears quite lackluster. As with assassination, Beating Heart of the Mountain, particularly the mythic version, is competitive with all but thee top tier mythic trinkets.

The two more boring trinkets, Malicious Censer and Fel-spring Coil, are not top trinkets for any spec. However, generally speaking, the heroic versions are better than their mythic (and normal vs BRF heroic) BRF counterparts with the exception of Beating Heart for assassination and subtlety.

That Soul Capacitor trinket seems kinda weird, it is actually any good?
It seems very likely that Soul Capacitor ends up much better in theory than it does in practice. The RPPM trinket design means that sometimes the trinket will nicely line up with your cooldowns and sometimes it’ll proc when it isn’t needed or, since it cannot be canceled, at an actively detrimental time such as during a movement phase. Soul Capacitor is one of the top two trinkets for all three rogue specs however all specs have a decent third choice trinket that may be better in practice.

What about stat weights, any major changes there?

Assassination:
T17: Crit=Mast>MS=Vers>Haste
T18: Mast>MS=Crit=Vers>Haste
T18+Toxin Vessel: Mastery>MS>Vers>Crit=Haste

Assassination experiences the greatest shifts in stat value due to set bonuses and the Archimonde trinket. The increase in Envenom uptime plus the 2pc dispatch bonus scaling with mastery, dramatically increases the value of mastery for assassination in T18 gear while the higher CP generation lowers the value of crit. Bleeding Hollow Toxin Vessel provides a substantial amount of crit, depressing the value of crit even outside of softcap scenarios and inflating the value of MS, but mastery still reigns supreme.

Combat:
T17: Haste>Mast=MS=Crit=Vers
T18: Haste>Mast=MS=Vers=Crit

Combat remains incredibly boring with stats. Combat likes haste. As in 6.0 and 6.1 the value of MS increases on AoE encounters past the value of mastery and overtaking haste in the 4-5 target range.

Subtlety:
T17: MS>Mast>Crit>Vers>Haste
T18: MS>Mast>Crit=Vers>Haste

Subtlety is also somewhat boring this tier with MS being the strongest stat across a variety of gear levels with slight shifting going on below that.

Is there a convenient stat that works for all specs like MS last tier?
Not really. Either multistike or mastery may fit the bill depending on what you are more concerned about. On low target cleave and single target encounters mastery will work reasonably for all specs, however it is not ideal for combat AoE. Multistrike will optimize a bit more for combat AoE and subtlety single target at the expense of assassination. Realistically your best option is to gem for the spec you are playing on the current fight and not worry about being 100% optimal for farm because it’s farm.

What spec should I play?
When the patch goes live, dps balance will be closer than on live currently. However subtlety for single target and combat for AoE remain the best options. Assassination does appear to pass subtlety on single target with tier and Bleeding Hollow Toxin Vessel. Assassination is also somewhat better than subtlety at low target cleave and potentially competitive with combat if we can find a good CT weaving cleave rotation. Similarly if DfA for subtlety does pan out, that may make subtlety even with, if not past assassination on single target, albeit with a more difficult rotation.

What is BiS?
I don’t know and I don’t care. 

Have other questions, let me know on the forums.

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Needlessly Complicated Mechanics and WoW: Happily Grinding?

In a recent Twitversation about poisons spurred on by @SvelteKumquat’s latest Encrypted Text I mentioned that one of the things I liked about the old poison system was how needlessly complex it was. Rfeann responded with a degree of disbelief and it got me thinking about the value of needlessly complicated mechanics in games – specifically World of Warcraft.  In this blog post I will go through a few needlessly complicated mechanics that I have undergone and enjoyed, discussing what I found fun about them.  At the end I’ll probably find a way to tie it all together into something that resembles sense.

Vanilla Poisons (Goes great with chocolate chip cookies!)

I suppose it makes sense to start with the topic that brought on this conversation in the first place.  Back in Vanilla, poisons were effectively a really simple crafting profession, complete will skills and reagents that were bought from vendors.  Poisons had a duration of 30 minutes, but had charges so they would occasionally fall off early during periods of prolonged combat.  If that’s not complex enough, in order to even learn the poison skill you had to complete a quest chain requiring you to sneak into a tower, pick a high-level mob’s pocket (unless you were overleveled for the quest a lone rogue had no hope of soloing the dude), and open a chest using the rogue’s other trained profession, Lock Picking.  Of course if you didn’t have enough skill in Lock Picking you’d have to build it up, but that shouldn’t take too long, just pick lots of pockets and remember to have your Thieves Tools on hand.

In order to understand the appeal of the Vanilla poison system one must understand that back in the day, World of Warcraft was a much slower game.  Not in terms of lag or anything tangible, but in terms of tempo.  Dungeons required finding a group in trade/LFG chat and then making the trek to the stone (usually with sub-100% speed mounts); Battlegrounds required the appropriate number of players on the worse faction to want to play; quests, reputations, and professions were grindier….  In fact the only thing that was faster in Vanilla was how quickly a rogue could murder other players.  This tempo made the grindiness of poisons much less of an issue, and I would argue that if it was reimplemented in today’s WoW the system would feel jarring and out of place.  With that perspective the downside of making poisons was really just spending slightly more time tabbed out on Thotbot.  Immersion was greater then for a variety of reasons, and crafting poisons not only added to that but was also made better because of it.  

As far as the other benefits, the poison quest is probably most-cited by rogues for why Blizzard should bring back class-specific quests.  The immersion, reliance on the rogue toolkit, and difficulty all combined to make it transcend being simply a fun experience and become a reason to play and even develop games.  In fact, that should probably go on my list of things to tell my grandchildren about when making baseless claims regarding how much better we had it back in my day.  The skill system also made it very satisfying when you got the ability to make a new rank of poison or fought another rogue who had not maxed their skill.

Phasing, Jeofry!  (Hard to understand, and even harder to justify!)

Brief apologies for talking about another game here, but I started playing Magic: The Gathering last year and no discussion of needlessly complicated mechanics would be complete without giving that card game an honorable mention.  Without going into detail, the people who make MTG have made some pretty strange mechanics in the 22 years that the game has been around.  One such mechanic that stands above all others in the “why is this here” departement is Phasing.  Basically a thing is in play, but disappears, but is also still totally there – it’s just not.  One particular card that utilizes this mechanic on a large scale has caused a great deal of amusement for me and my friends.

In Magic  there are tons of needlessly complicated cards.  Some of them are good, some of them are bad, and some are just plain weird.  That said despite – or in fact because of – that quality I have had a lot of fun with each of those cards.

Meanwhile, back at the plot…  (Daggers!)

You know what else in Warcraft is needlessly complex?  Legendaries.  With the exception of Thori’dal, the Stars’ Fury and (I guess) Talisman of Binding Shard, every legendary equipment in WoW has been needlessly complicated.  Consider the legendary dagger quest line.  We had to save an egg, kill bad guys like 50 times, kill the same bad guys for the same things like 50 more times, and sneak into approximately 3 locations.  Three!  And the item procs were needlessly complex too.  They could have just doubled finisher damage and left it at that but no instead we got stacking agi buffs that would then nope-out and instead become combo points.

While I understand there are plenty of legitimate balance concerns about legendary items, I think most would agree that using a legendary item is great fun and that with the exceptions of the bow and the stupid cape and ring quest chains the process of getting legendaries is an adventure many players have fond memories of.

The Conclusion (Damn, now I have to think of a conclusion!)

At the end of the day I remain convinced that there is some value inherent in the needlessly complex.  These systems are responsible for many of my greatest in-game memories.  Completing them properly is often an ordeal in itself and one that usually causes satisfaction for the player.  While they are often tedious, they do not have to be.  Finally, occasionally you get to brag about your accomplishments, and when you do suddenly everything is worthwhile.

 

 

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Warlords of Draenor Rogue Talent Review

A while (when I started writing this) ago I was considering the latest change to rogues in the 6.2 patch notes:

  • Deadly Throw now reduces the target’s movement speed by 70% (up from 50%) but no longer interrupts spellcasting when used with 5 combo points.

This got me thinking.  Maybe it’s just that I’ve been preoccupied lately, but I haven’t heard much annoyance about talents lately.  Seeing as the last major content patch is nearly upon us I figure it’s high time we started revving up the feedback engine.  To kick off my part, here are my thoughts on the individual rogue talents and their tiers.  As always before I start I’d like to make a few things clear:

I am of the opinion that not all talents should viable or even relevant to raiding, so don’t expect me to complain about a talent or tier just because someone who only plays this game to raid doesn’t feel it caters to their desires.  I am of opinion that some talents should be exceptional for each type of content – solo PvE, world PvP, Arena, BGs, dungeons, and raiding.  Just as important as a diversity in the content each talent or tier caters to is the presence of tough, meaningful decisions.  For what it’s worth, I also think it should be substantially more difficult to change talents, because doing so is cheap and takes no skill and therefore removes a lot of the fun and skill from the system.

 

Tier 1 – Stealth

  • Nightstalker:  I like this talent from a few angles.  From a flavor perspective, I appreciate rogues as a class having an option to straight-up increase the damage of their opener.  The mobility the talent offers is super nice when unable to mount, and all in all I think this is a great talent for questing and clearing legacy content since it reduces the time between pulls while speeding up the fight in a way that is flavorful and often relevant.
  • Subterfuge:  I’m not sure if it’s just because of how I used this throughout all of MoP, the amount of testing that I’ve had to do on the talent’s interaction with Glyph of Vanish, or what but I’ve gotten pretty disillusioned with Subterfuge lately.  As a Subtlety PvE rogue I still like having to optimize for using my Ambush as late as possible and making sure I have as much energy pooled as possible before hand so the talent is by no means a 0 in my mind.  The fact that Blizzard had to make rogues visible during Subterfuge is unfortunate and removed a lot of the flavor from the talent but also completely fair.*  From a PvP perspective I think this talent offers a lot of great dynamics, like using Cheap Shot on multiple targets during your opener.
  • Shadow Focus:  Simple, elegant, and a little boring, I have some mixed feelings about this talent and have already pretty much said them all.  If I had the choice between this and Nightstalker, I’d take Nightstalker any day.  I do like how it feels mid-rotation though.

All in all I think this is about what a tier should look like.  It addresses an iconic part of the class in three two and a half different ways and offers options for various different playstyles.  The tier as a whole is relatively low-impact which I wouldn’t call good or bad.  In terms of difficult decisions this tier does have the problem of there being a right answer in most situations.  In casual PvE it’s the one that gives movement speed, in PvP it is whatever is most effective based on your team/playstyle, and in PvE it’s whatever the math tells you is optimal.

Tier 2 – Uh…

  • Deadly Throw:  I have one good memory of Deadly Throw and it’s from back when it was baseline.  I killed a mage in the arena with a 5 CP crit, then another DT off of the HaT proc.  As fun as that was, what killed them was actually the poison damage.  With the interrupt part of the ability gone, I see no reason why Deadly Throw should take up a valuable slot on our talent page.  Moreover, while the rest of the tier is defensive, Deadly Throw is…well not.  I guess when it used to interrupt you could call it a form of defense but with the slated changes (and I’d argue even before them since usually heals/CC is what gets interrupted) Deadly Throw fits with the other members of the tier even less.  From a PvE perspective, this talent is bad.  From a PvP perspective, this talent is bad.  From a flavor perspective, I guess I can see this talent being alright but honestly I’m still not convinced.  In fact I think if there’s one talent that should be cut, it’s Deadly Throw.  What do you replace it with?  We’ll get to that in the overview because I think the tier as a whole has issues.
  • Nerve Strike:  This is a good talent.  It has an impact, is useful for most content (not so much group PvE but the rest for sure), and is noticeable without being overpowerd.
  • Combat Readiness:  This should have been removed instead of made a talent.  It has redundant negative synergy with Evasion, is less fun than Evasion, and I think the only reason it has stuck for so long is because nobody likes to see their toys get removed from the game.

Given that this tier has precisely one talent that isn’t terrible I say we start over.  One option is to move Nerve Strike up to another tier and design fresh new level 30 talents.  That option I’m totally down for, but since this is supposed to be a short summary let’s assume we keep Nerve Strike.  We could have a tier that reduces the effectiveness of our enemies, which would be very in-line with the flavor of the rogue class.  Alternatively, we could have talents that augment certain aspects of our toolkit – Nerve Strike for stuns, then things for mobility, vanish, or finishers?  Another problem with this tier is that it struggles to find relevance.  It is one of the talents that mythic raiders could reasonably not take any of and still play at 100% capacity.  Solo players are in a similar position, since enemy damage is usually small enough to make our defensive options irrelevant and Deadly Throw continues to be a terrible choice.  It is also worth noting that with the removal of the interrupt no rogue will ever want to take Deadly Throw.

Tier 3 – Defense

  • Cheat Death:  In my mind this is a prime example of a good talent.  It is useful in all circumstances, is flavorful, and is noticeable.  I do think the talent is a bit undertuned, but as a talent I like it a lot and think it is important.
  • Leeching Poison:  First off, I hate that there is only one non-talent non-lethal poison.  I think it’s a disgrace to World of Warcraft that such an iconic part of such an iconic class is so stripped down as to require a talent in order to add even a suggestion of choice.  More than having Leeching Poison as a talent we need another non-lethal poison, so my first choice with what to do with this is to replace it so that rogues can have proper choice for both non-lethal poisons and for their third talent tier.  That said, I think Leeching Poison is pretty cool.  I like the flavor and the effect is quite relevant in non-bursty content.  It loses a lot of its value in high-level PvE and PvP but the heal and shiv effect are both about right.  I also like that this is a poison.
  • Elusiveness:  Generically good?  Yup.  Bit overpowered?  Yup.  Competitive with the other choices?  Yup.  The on-demand damage reduction also makes anticipating incoming damage easier which I approve of.

Overall this is a good tier.  Too bad our poison system sucks so much.

Tier 4 – Mobility

  •  Cloak and Dagger:  I was gonna name the talent “Cloak and Swagger” but it’s just so underwhelming that I can’t bring myself to do that.  Plus it’s too similar to Cloak of Swagger.  This talent tries real hard, but it has the distinct problem of being…well, bad.  It’s great for saving time when farming but that’s about it.  I suppose I did enjoy it when I was leveling and in a world where it is more common to enter stealth it would be pretty cool but with the current iteration of the class I just don’t see a place for it.  Of course it doesn’t help that it’s next to…
  • Shadowstep:  It’s hard to know where to start here.  Shadowstep sets the bar for this tier and maybe for talents as a whole.  It is iconic, powerful, and everybody loves it.  It even has that special something** that all great rogue abilities have.  Any talent on this tier has to compete with Shadowstep and it’s actually quite impressive that Blizzard has managed to create ones that can do this.
  • Burst of Speed:  I like it, it’s fun.  For me it’s a zero in terms of immersion (Compared to Shadowstep which adds to it and CnD which I actually think takes away from it).  It does well what Shadowstep does poorly and vice-versa, which is important because it fills out our mobility well.

Given that this tier includes Shadowstep, the tier as a whole is actually very well done.  Between Shadowstep and Burst of Speed competitive rogues have their bases covered, and the fact that our third talent is Cloak and Dagger makes it defensible.

Tier 5 – Crowd Control

  • Prey on the Weak:  It’s a generically good yet boring talent!
  • Internal Bleeding:  It’s less boring than Prey on the Weak…
  • Dirty Tricks:  I love this talent.  I realize it’s bad, but the ability to throw out Gouges like nobody’s business or Sap then open on another target without losing energy makes me feel great.  Unfortunately this just doesn’t compete with the other options.  In terms of talents that I don’t take but most want to, this is at the top.

This tier is boring.  It has no impact on PvE, and on PvP the interesting talents are the least viable ones.  I guess Internal Bleeding has some decent flavor and I do like that it exists but honestly this tier as a whole has serious issues with relevance on the PvE end and choice on the PvP end.

Tier 6 – CP Management + Shuriken Toss

  •  Shuriken Toss:  I guess some rogues like this talent but looking at the tier as a whole I get the feeling that one of these things is not like the others, and that thing is Shuriken Toss.  It does have decent flavor but it struggles for viability as its niche is something that WoW is designed to make largely irrelevant for rogues.  I’d also much rather Throw be buffed to deal actual damage than continue having our only way to do actual ranged damage be a level 90 talent.
  • Marked for Derp:  This is a great talent.  It’s powerful, which for a level 90 talent it should be, it works well with existing/established class mechanics, and the cooldown reset clause adds the spice it needs to feel like a talent rather than just an ability.  It can even kill you if you take DfA!  It does have a bit of trouble competing with Anticipation, but that’s more a symptom of Anticipation’s existence than anything else.  Speaking of which…
  • Anticipation:  Last year I wrote a piece on Anticipation that I stand by.  Basically Anticipation offers far more than what most talents should offer.  It allows a rogue to execute their rotation optimally, using all finishers at max CP without spilling over.  For many of us, Anticipation is the talent that we always want to take not because it is good, but because it makes us feel good.  Well that and it’s also pretty good.  It terms of flavor, well there isn’t really anything there.  In terms of viability, it is actually pretty week for anyone but raiders, and even then MfD usually beats it.  In solo play Marked for Derp’s cooldown reset makes it vastly superior, and PvP will always prefer the bust and versatility that Marked for Derp grants over Anticipation’s utility.

Tier 6 is a surprisingly problematic tier.  World of Warcraft has (rightly) come to the point where Shuriken Toss is completely unnecessary.  Marked for Derp is a good ability, makes sense as a talent, but is also the all-around most powerful option.  And then we get Anticipation, which is such a huge Quality of Life improvement that people actually take it over a talent that reads “Deal more damage, or even more if there are adds.”  So, in conclusion this tier should be Marked for Derp, something to replace Shuriken Toss, and something to replace Anticipation which has just been made baseline in some form or another.

Tier 7 – Cool Stuff

 

  • Lemon Zest:  I like Lemon Zest a lot given that it is a passive talent.  Both the extra energy and increased haste during multi-target scenarios are noticeable which is something many passives struggle with.  My only complaint is the long-standing bug where the game doesn’t call the talent by its real name.
  • Shadow Reflection:  Yo, Blizzard, real talk – You gotta do better.  You said one of your goals going into WoD was to reduce cooldown stacking, and then you give us an ability that copies what we do, including during cooldowns?  C’mon.  To make matters worse, this ability is a complete nightmare for theorycrafters as its behavior has been demonstrated to be inconsistent and unintuitive.  So not only did you give us a boring ability but you also gave the community members who do the most work more work.  If you want a talent to make our cooldowns better, then add a special effect for each spec that modifies it like you’ve done with some set bonuses.  For instance Combat could add extra attacks to Killing Spree for every X seconds it has been since you’ve used the ability last, with a max number of extra attacks of the 2-minute amount.  Shadow Dance could have a 25% lowered cooldown and duration (Blitz has increased the duration too much already).  Vendetta could…aw who am I kidding you’d just give it a flat damage increase because Assassination isn’t allowed to have interesting cooldowns, abilities, rotations, or…anything.  Either way Shadow Reflection is a terrible ability and the fact that I have to take it for DPS purposes makes me very sad.
  • Derp from Above:  I tried really hard to dislike this talent in Alpha/Beta, and had great success.  Then I tried it, and found I really liked it.  I then proceeded to ignore it because it is a terrible talent and went back to trying – and succeeding – to dislike it.  Unfortunately due to a ShadowCraft bug I recently tried the talent out again.  Here’s the thing about Derp from Above:  It’s fun.  Once every 20 or so seconds I get to jump up in the air, do a fancy flip, and land a massive blow on my enemy’s face.  What’s not to love?  The cooldown is just the right length for it to feel special while also being frequent.  Seriously Blizzard, if you are reading this, DO NOT REDUCE THE COOLDOWN.  Is it bad because two out of three specs don’t use finishers for their direct damage?  Who cares?  I’m doing flips!  Flavor?  What part of “I couldn’t care less I’m doing fancy flips” don’t you understand?  Is it incredibly hard to use optimally for Subtlety rogues?  Why do you think I like it so much?

Overall our Tier 7 has one huge problem:  There are three DPS increasing talents on it that do not compete adequately.  Combat rogues use Venom Rush and Subtlety/Assassination rogues use Shadow Reflection, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.  Usually in situations where talents compete over the same purpose/niche there are situations where one talent will shine over the usual choice but that’s simply not something that we’ve seen with this tier.

 Anyway, that’s all I have to say about talents.  I strung this article out over the course of something like a month so forgive me if it is a bit hard to follow.  Got opinions on talents?  Wanna tell me how awesome I am for writing this post?  Post away on our forums in the discussion thread.

 

*Of course, it would also be completely fair to trim down the ways classes have of kicking rogues out of stealth in PvP.

**That being the ability to accidentally kill you.  What’s that, your Haunted Memento procced when you were sneaking around Stormwind?  Sucks to suck!

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Better Roguing Through Macros

Using effective macros can increase your efficiency and effectiveness, as well as make you a few extra gold. The following are a few “must have” macros for any serious PvE rogue and a few “don’t leave home without it” macros for any rogue.

 

Weapon Swap Macro

Weapon swapping as part of the Combat rogue rotation. It’s a thing.

The Macro:

#showtooltip Blade Flurry
/equipset [equipped: dagger] Combat; Cleave
/cast [noequipped: dagger] Blade Flurry
/cancelaura [equipped: dagger] Blade Flurry

What does it do?

This macro equips a dagger in your main hand when you turn Blade Flurry on, and re-equips your slow weapons when you turn Blade flurry off.

Why do I want it?

Hopefully this macro won’t be needed for much longer, but as things stand Combat rogues can gain a substantial DPS increase by swapping to having a dagger in their main hand for AoE situations. Note that depending on the number of targets that you are facing and how long they are likely to live, you may not want to swap weapons. You should keep an unmacroed version of Blade Flurry handy for those occasions.

More information:

Where is it useful?

In any situation where you will be doing cleave or AoE damage.

Set up:

This particular macro needs a little bit of setup:

  1. Save your regular Combat gear set. You can name it anything you like. I am calling mine “Combat.”
  2. With your regular Combat gear set equipped, create a new gear set. I am calling this additional gear set “Cleave.”
  3. Move your best slow weapon (sword, mace, or axe) into your off hand. If all else is equal, pick one with Multistrike. A current excellent choice is Hans’gar’s Forgehammer in as Mythic and Warforged a form as you can manage.
  4. Equip your best dagger into your main hand. If all else is equal, pick one with Multistrike. A current excellent choice is Oregorger’s Acid-Etched Gutripper in as Mythic and Warforged a form as you can manage.
  5. Save your new gear set.
  6. Create the macro – be sure to replace “Combat” and “Cleave” with the names of your gear sets.
  7. Use the macro in place of Blade Flurry.

Note: If Blade Flurry and your gear set get out of sync, click the macro to reset it. This can happen if you die with Blade Flurry on.

Credit for this awesome little macro goes to Wavefunctionp.

 

Talent Swapping Macro

Do you switch between talents and then have to remember to change your bars? I know I do – especially with Burst of Speed and Shadowstep. This handy little macro switches out the button on your bar for you.

The Macro:

#showtooltip
/cast [talent:4/1] Cloak and Dagger; [talent:4/2] Shadowstep; [talent:4/3] Burst of Speed

What does it do?

This macro changes your button to reflect the talent that you have selected from a specific talent tier.

Why do I want it?

Switching a talent that requires a button press and forgetting to switch your button out sucks.

Where is it useful?

Any time you switch out a talent that requires a button press.

Set up:

The macro as written is set up for tier 4 talents. Just use it in place of Cloak and Dagger, Shadowstep, and Burst of Speed. You could conceivably set it up for tiers 6 and 7 as well. Just switch “4” to “6” or “7” and switch the talent names appropriately.

 

Secondary Target Interrupt Macro

Sometimes you just need to kick someone you aren’t actively stabbing.

Macro:

Version 1

/cast [@focus] Kick

Version 2

#showtooltip Kick
/target TARGETNAME
/cast Kick
/targetlasttarget

What does it do?

This macro allows you to interrupt a target other than your main target, as long as it is in melee range. If you have Deadly Throw talented, you can add it in and use this at range but note that with Deadly Throw, the interrupt only works with 5 combo points so you need to make sure you have those stored up.

Why do I want it?

Sometimes you want to focus down one target while keeping another interrupted.

Where is it useful?

The Admiral Gar’an Dreadnaught phase in the Iron Maidens fight in Blackrock Foundry is a good example of this. In that fight you want to focus down Uktar while not allowing Battle Medic Rogg to cast Earthen Barrier.

Set up

For version 1, you need to set the intended target of your interrupt as your focus.

For version 2, you need to know the name of the intended target of your interrupt and hard code it in. Replace “TARGETNAME” in the macro with the name of the interrupt target.

 

Rotation Macros

Cooldowns

In some cases macroing cooldowns together can smooth out your rotation, making sure you use the cooldowns as often as possible with fewer button pushes.

If you are an Assassination or Subtlety specced rogue and have selected Shadow Reflection as your level 100 talent, you can use the one of the following macros:

For Assassination:

#showtooltip Vendetta
/cast Shadow Reflection
/cast Vendetta

Note that in this macro, Shadow Reflection is cast before Vendetta. This is important as it allows your reflection to cast its own version of Vendetta.

For Subtlety:

#showtooltip Shadow Dance
/cast Shadow Reflection
/cast Shadow Dance

In this macro the order in which you cast Shadow Reflection and Shadow Dance does not matter.

Trinkets

If you have an on-use trinket, you can macro it to a cooldown in much the same way as you do when you are macroing cooldowns together. You can call the trinket by name but it is much easier to instruct the macro to just use gear slot that the trinket is occupying. Your upper trinket is in gear slot 13 and your lower trinket is in gear slot 14.

The following is a basic example using Killing Spree. If you want to macro your trinket to a different ability (Adrenaline Rush, Vendetta, Shadow Dance, etc.) just replace “Killing Spree” with the name of your chosen ability.

#showtooltip Killing Spree
/use 13
/use 14
/cast Killing Spree

Note that if you want to add a trinket to the Vendetta/Shadow Reflection macro, you will want to make sure that you use the trinkets after you cast Shadow Reflection so that your reflection can take advantage of them as well.

#showtooltip Vendetta
/cast Shadow Reflection
/use 13
/use 14
/cast Vendetta

Note that if you are an Engineer with all those wonderful toys, you can create macros to hotkey them using the same method. The gear slots that you may need for these are:

  • Hat: /use 1
  • Belt: /use 6
  • Boots: /use 8
  • Cloak: /use 15

 

Macro Tips for New Rogues

Veteran rogues will probably already know these sneaky tricks!

Pick Pocket

If you macro Pick Pocket to your stealth opener and crowd control abilities, you can always pick at least one pocket, even if you are in a hurry. This is a basic way to make a little extra gold without even thinking about it.

The following macro will pick your target’s pocket before you Ambush. If you are using a different stealth opener (Cheap Shot, Garrote, etc.), replace “Ambush” with the name of your chosen ability.

#showtooltip Ambush
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Ambush

The following macro will pick your target’s pocket when you use Sap.

#showtooltip Sap
/cast Sap
/cast Pick Pocket

Tricks of the Trade

If you are in a group and you are concerned about pulling aggro off your tank, you can create a quick Tricks of the Trade macro. Here are a couple of easy ones that work in the same way as the interrupt macros above.

Version 1

#showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
/cast [@focus] Tricks of the Trade

Version 2

#showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
/cast [@TANKNAME] Tricks of the Trade

For version 1, you need to set your tank as your focus.

For version 2, replace “TANKNAME” in the macro with the name of your tank.

 

Got a favorite macro? Tell us on the forums.

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6.2 Preliminary Analysis

Update 4/15: The dps numbers for subtlety did not take into account the sanguinary veins buff which understated the damage increase for sub, I’ve updated numbers accordingly.

This post will focus on the changes announced in the patch notes as well as the trinkets available on the PTR. There is some ambiguity in the set bonus notes and the subtlety 4pc looks broken so I’m going to hold off on analyzing those for now. Lets start with the most baffling change of these notes, the Shuriken Toss buff.

Shuriken Toss now deals 53% more autoattack damage. Additionally, fixed a bug that caused hits made with offhand weapons to deal 15% more damage than intended.

To be clear about what this change does, it buffs the damage of the ranged auto attacks from 75% of a regular white swing to 114.75% of a regular white swing. That’s right, if you are greater than 10 yards from the boss your white swings now hit 14.75% harder. I’ve already seen some people suggesting that this buff combined with the Archimonde trinket we may see the rise of the ranged combat rogue. This is unlikely, first using this build would require some really finicky positioning, within 10 and 20 yards of the boss, weaving in and out for killing spree, which is unlikely to work well on bosses with large hit boxes, highly mobile encounters or encounters requiring precise positioning, that is to say most modern raid encounters. Second ST still doesn’t advance bandit’s guile rendering it much less useful, there is a plausible rotation that involves weaving out of melee range during deep insight, whether that beats out marked for death however is unclear, and I hope it doesn’t become a thing.

Other than this theoretical rotation with the Archimonde trinket I don’t get the point of this buff. In the past Blizzard has made changes to keep shuriken toss out of single target rotations, it doesn’t advance BG, it doesn’t advance sub dots, it doesn’t proc blindside, it’s just flat out less efficient at generating cps than our regular cp builders. Even if we can auto attack from 30 yards away we still can’t use finishers (Archimonde trinket excepted). It’s a solution in search of problem, if Blizzard puts in another Atremedes boss rogues will somewhat less bad than other melee but still hardly worth bringing not to mention what would happen to the other melee without a partial ranged rotation. Shuriken Toss is a waste of a talent grid square, it has been since it was introduced and buffing it doesn’t really change that.

Tuning Changes:
The following numbers are based on ShadowCraft using gearsets based on the SimC T17H (ilvl 685) and T17M (ilvl 700) sets. These include T17 set bonuses.

Assassination:
Envenom now deals 10% more damage.
Mutilate now deals 10% more damage.

Overall this works out to be an approximately 3.2% buff for assassination single target. It does not buff multi-target damage nor does it change stat weights.

Combat:
Eviscerate now deals 10% more damage.
Sinister Strike now deals 10% more damage.
Mastery: Main Gauche has increased in effectiveness by 10%.

Overall this works out to be an approximately 5.7% buff for combat on single target and 4.8% on three target sustained AoE. Mastery moves from combat’s worst stat to combat’s 3rd best stat on single target and challenging multistrike for 2nd best stat in some gearsets. The buff to combat’s mastery is curious, while mastery tended to be combat’s weakest stat it wasn’t by much, in the test gear sets mastery and crit were roughly equal as dump stats with versatility only slightly ahead (<0.02 EP). Why Blizzard felt the need to buff mastery while leaving crit and versatility as dump stats is a mystery.

Subtlety:
Eviscerate now deals 10% more damage.
Mastery: Executioner has decreased in effectiveness by 8%.
Backstab now deals 20% more damage.
Sanguinary Vein now causes the Rogue to deal 30% more damage to targets affected by Rupture (up from 25%).

Overall this works out to be an approximately 2.6% 6.7% buff for subtlety on single target. Mastery as expected becomes weaker however in the tested gearsets it remains the 2nd best stat for single target subtlety. The subtlety change does however nerf subtlety’s AoE capabilities by shifting damage from rupture and crimson tempest into backstab and eviscerate. This further marks subtlety as a primarily single target spec, since its AoE was already limited except in specific, relatively rare, situations such as high target sustained AoE. The backstab buff also appears to kills hemorrhage weaving.  Given that this was a minor optimization that added very little complexity to the spec I don’t mind this change.

Balance Considerations:
The primary effect of these tuning changes appears to be the ascendance of combat into the primary spec for most encounters. Currently combat is approximately 5% behind subtlety on single target and while these buffs do not completely cover the gap they get combat close enough that many may not be interested in swapping specs for an extra 1-1.5% damage. Additionally combat’s already strong advantage on AoE becomes even more pronounced as it is buffed while assassination sees no changes and subtlety takes a small nerf.

Overall these changes do not appear to substantially change the basic balance calculus for sub and combat currently.  Sub gains a larger single target advantage and combat gains a larger AoE advantage.  These changes appear to be further doubling down on niche based design encouraging the sub/combat setup that it appears most raiders are running.

These changes also also do not address the problems of assassination, currently the odd-spec-out. While assassination does get a non-trivial buff it is smaller than the combat buff and not enough to bring assassination within striking distance of subtlety on single target. Additionally the buffs to mutilate and no changes to dispatch further dilutes one of assassination’s potential niches. Currently execute range is an approximately 11% dps increase for assassination, these changes reduce that 9%. Nothing in these changes is enough to break the current combat/subtlety status quo.

Trinket Analysis:
Trinkets were implemented in ShadowCraft and tested with the SimC T17H (ilvl 685) and T17M (ilvl 700) gearsets with and without set bonuses. This analysis is based on 6.1 mechanics but that should not substantially impact the value of these trinkets. Since this is a ShadowCraft trinket analysis there are a couple important caveats.

  1. ShC does not currently take into account proc stacking so beating heart of the mountain is somewhat undervalued for assassination and subtlety.
  2. ShC’s envenom uptime modeling is a slightly optimistic at high (>80%) envenom uptimes which may distort the value of the assassination Archimonde trinket.

This analysis compares the ilvl 695 version of each trinket with the ilvl 685 and ilvl 700 versions of BRF trinkets. For reference the five trinkets analyzed:
Fel-Spring Coil
Agility DPS Trinket 2
Agility DPS Trinket 3
Agility DPS Trinket 4
Archimonde Spec Trinket

Since we cannot currently test these trinkets I make the following assumptions about their functionality. If you discover any of these assumptions are incorrect during testing let me know and I’ll update the analysis. Since I will be updating these numbers as I get more information if people could refrain from copying the raw EP value tables to other places that would be great.

  1. The mirror images from Agility DPS Trinket 2 attacks inherits the owners haste, crit and multistrike using a 2.0 speed weapon. Additionally I assume the mirror images follow similar rules to shadow reflection, that is, they do not benefit from the rogue’s assassin’s resolve, bandit’s guile, find weakness , sanguinary veins, and vendetta.
  2. The damage stored by trinket 3 only applies to the rogue’s damage, damage from the shadow reflection clone is not stored.

General Thoughts:
Overall the trinkets are reasonably well balanced. There are some balance discrepancies but these are generally consistent with standard trinket variation. For most of the tested gearsets the gap between the best and worst 6.2 trinket is not substantially worse than the gap between the best and worst BRF trinket of the same ilvl.

Trinket 3 seems problematic due to the RPPM mechanic. Unlike many I don’t dislike RPPM on principle however the random nature of trinket 3 could make the trinket actively detrimental to your raid. Imagine if it procced during a short duration, blast furnace phase 2 for instance, and the burn would end before the effect explodes, during that duration you are dealing no damage to the burn target. An on-use trinket or an old style ICD trinket would be better fit for this effect, by contrast trinket 2 could easily be made an RPPM trinket.

Assassination:
The assassination spec trinket goes from underwhelming to very good depending on the T17 set bonuses. As I mentioned the trinket may be slightly overvalued with the T17 set bonuses because they inflate envenom uptime dramatically but not substantially. Some of this wide swing will be solved by gear scaling but at lower gear levels the trinket may be a bit underpowered. The trinket also potentially contributes to assassinations oversupply of resources at higher gear levels which breaks the envenom pooling mechanic.

Based on the assumptions I’ve made about the mirror images trinket 2 seems a bit underpowered. Rogues have a number of big percent modifiers that currently the shadow reflection clone does not inherit, if the mirror images follow the same rules it may end up an underwhelming for all rogue specs.

{slider EP Values|closed}

Assassination 685 No Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     631.57197927
agi_3_695:                         592.776343664
fel_spring_coil_695:               586.817787623
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 580.462954146
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      566.032698861
agi_4_695:                         562.443136655
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     549.017916199
agi_2_695:                         531.543385726
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 503.703574604
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      491.808904858
assn_spec_trinket:                 377.171031558

Assassination 685 Tier
assn_spec_trinket:                 668.647672409
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     654.68416442
fel_spring_coil_695:               608.591519747
agi_3_695:                         592.486537412
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 580.105013736
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     569.057958644
agi_4_695:                         561.99682644
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      559.174794119
agi_2_695:                         521.605026608
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 503.392289289
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      485.939172783

Assassination 700 No Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     646.353830887
agi_3_695:                         616.681190776
fel_spring_coil_695:               609.699826106
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 598.229278053
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      587.087858666
agi_4_695:                         582.387451401
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     561.864678713
agi_2_695:                         544.552207422
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 519.145330524
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      510.096069977
assn_spec_trinket:                 424.377446051

Assassination 700 Tier
assn_spec_trinket:                 768.501708599
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     673.067790726
fel_spring_coil_695:               632.118625873
agi_3_695:                         616.254724951
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 597.763137328
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     584.967138823
agi_4_695:                         581.811806555
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      578.521453046
agi_2_695:                         532.836983028 
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 518.739980466
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      502.694430385

{/sliders}

Combat:
Similar to the assassination spec trinket the combat spec trinket appears to rely heavily on current set bonuses for its value. However unlike the assassination spec trinket gear scaling is unlikely to make up that gap for combat. At most gear levels without the T17 set bonuses it looks like a midpack trinket. Also the range buff on eviscerate makes no sense, it doesn’t appear to be subtracting from the itemization budget so I’m not going to complain about a unique perk but it seems really out of place (Please don’t make 10-20 yard ranged rogue a thing).

{slider EP Values|closed}

Combat 685 No Tier
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      672.61734129
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     633.218346574
agi_2_695:                         620.640853217
agi_3_695:                         616.273825263
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 597.818266102
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      584.323326126
agi_4_695:                         581.010828565
fel_spring_coil_695:               576.811716031
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     550.466165804
combat_spec_trinket:               521.459869691
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 518.780099047

Combat 685 Tier
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      679.208710855
combat_spec_trinket:               676.261727092
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     631.30911392
agi_3_695:                         613.939463938
agi_2_695:                         599.252417897
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 595.807575502
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      590.003421189
agi_4_695:                         578.851341613
fel_spring_coil_695:               574.187346592
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     548.806658021
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 517.03373904

Combat 700 No Tier
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      709.104652422
agi_2_695:                         646.307858279
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     645.93741969
agi_3_695:                         639.781633076
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      616.003549311
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 610.027502547
fel_spring_coil_695:               596.451739497
agi_4_695:                         594.721243675
combat_spec_trinket:               589.326863392
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     561.520137401
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 529.391788013

Combat 700 Tier
combat_spec_trinket:               764.15213655
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      716.583821542
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     643.916097965
agi_3_695:                         637.225171383
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      622.448512457
agi_2_695:                         622.206287212
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 607.908004965
fel_spring_coil_695:               593.53573908
agi_4_695:                         592.432546943
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     559.763220075
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 527.550827013

{/sliders}

Subtlety:
As noted with the trinket 2 for assassination the assumptions I’ve made about how the mirror images interact that make the trinket somewhat underwhelming. This behavior would be consistent with shadow reflection but in this case I think some inconsistency to help increase the value of the trinket in line with the other agility trinkets may be needed.

Continuing what seems to be a broad theme, the subtlety spec trinket seems a bit underwhelming. The inclusion of garrote on the trinket is particularly funny since garrote isn’t worth using except to get SV up fast on the opener. As Hail joked last night, a 75% increase to 0 is still 0. The ambush buff seems very large but due to the lack of static stats on the trinket and subtlety’s high agility multiplier the trinket appears average if not well behind the other trinkets.

{slider EP Values|closed}

Subtlety 685 No Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     717.81392058
agi_4_695:                         687.91018447
agi_3_695:                         684.794519487
fel_spring_coil_695:               669.551137623
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 666.551680983
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      643.69604081
agi_2_695:                         627.049954773
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     624.005580502
sub_spec_trinket:                  605.714067908
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 578.415345071
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      559.330517175

Subtlety 685 Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     713.354818764
agi_4_695:                         683.270972448
agi_3_695:                         679.367305868
fel_spring_coil_695:               666.999468947
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 662.019219189
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      631.158817149
agi_2_695:                         621.31479507
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     620.130241226
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 574.475915662
sub_spec_trinket:                  553.968729771
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      548.438227061

Subtlety 700 No Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     732.064143011
agi_4_695:                         711.664801256
agi_3_695:                         706.479053833
fel_spring_coil_695:               691.031978382
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 682.671493239
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      659.932979772
sub_spec_trinket:                  656.766293776
agi_2_695:                         642.168292319
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     636.390237536
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 592.426023013
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      573.436979564

Subltety 700 Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     731.41590484
agi_4_695:                         711.857094369
agi_3_695:                         706.400178482
fel_spring_coil_695:               692.470243376
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 682.25937745
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      652.451010871
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     635.826863353
agi_2_695:                         635.764894246
sub_spec_trinket:                  628.568990732
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 592.067828917
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      566.93655128

{/sliders}

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