February 25, 2009

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR Rogue changes

After a bit of testing, and reading over the unofficial patch notes, I've seen quite a few changes for Rogues coming up. Ghostcrawler had given us a few ideas on what to look forward to, and for the most part they delivered exactly what we had been expecting. Combat has had several changes designed around the idea of making it a PvE viable tree in more situations. Hunger for Blood had its mechanic altered.

However, there are more than a few unexpected changes, including significant rebalancing of our poison system and some new glyphs. After the cut, I'll cover the basics of what's changed for Rogues in 3.1: for the good, and for the worse.

-Poisons are now based on a PPM model.
-Envenom increases your chance to apply Instant Poison by 75% (up from 15%) for 6 seconds.
-Improved Poisons now increases your change to apply Instant Poison by 50% (up from 10%).

Blizzard has decided to nerf the double Webbed Death combo that was currently topping the Mutilate charts. A PPM system for poisons heavily favors slow weapons, and so it will remain to be seen what specs and weapon choices will shake to the top of the pile. Blizzard still wants us doing poison damage, but we'll see what turns out for us. What poisons are proc-per-minute based and what those PPMs have changed to are still under investigation.

Hunger for Blood:
-Hunger for Blood is now a single-stacking 15% damage buff, but requires there to be a bleed on the target.
-Glyph of Hunter for Blood: Increases damage by 1% per application.

It looks like Blizzard forgot to proofread the Glyph on this one, as it is suited for the old version of HfB. We'll see what it looks like later. However, I see this change as a slight nerf, since we will no longer be able to pre-cast HfB for trash, etc. The pain of losing HfB is significantly reduce, though.

Expose Armor:
-Expose Armor now reduces armor by 20%.
With the low value of Armor Penetration, I don't see this as a buff in any way. Expose Armor previously helped us to destroy low-armor targets, whereas this new change removes that ability.

Combat Buffs:
-Savage Combat now increases damage by 4% (up from 2%).
-Adrenaline Rush now has a 3 minute cooldown (down from 5).
-Lightning Reflexes is now a 3 point talent for 6% dodge and 10% melee haste (yay!).
-Killing Spree increases all damage done by 20% while in the spree.

With the possible nerf to Mutilate/poison builds and the prevalence of Shiv builds currently, we may all be speccing combat very soon.

-Glyph of Killing Spree (45 seconds off cooldown)
-Glyph of Adrenaline Rush (AR lasts 5 seconds longer)
-Glyph of Shadow Dance (lasts 4 seconds longer)
-Glyph of Fan of Knives (FoK does 20% more damage)
-Glyph of Tricks of the Trade (adds 10% additional bonus damage, so 25%)
-Glyph of Mutilate (Mutilate energy cost reduced by 5 – about time!)
-Glyph of Cloak of Shadows (while Cloak is up, 40% less physical damage taken)

With the buffs to Killing Spree, Adrenaline Rush, and Fan of Knives, Combat has become a serious contender for PvE powerhouse. I am personally going to be investing in a slower main hand weapon to give this spec a shot (once I'm able to get onto the PTR). Adrenaline Rush + Fan of Knives spam will become the AoE build that other classes dream about.

The Mutilate Glyph is insane, as with the 4 piece Tier 7 bonus and Overkill, you'll be throwing 40 energy Mutilates for 6 seconds. Unfortunately it does little to help our sustained damage: Mutilate has never been a high percentage of our overall damage. The Cloak of Shadows and Tricks of the Trade glyphs will be very useful for PvP, especially on teams without a healer.

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