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WotLK Rogue Talents Q and A with Devs

Before we get into all the rogue Q and A below, I think it’s worth giving an e-high five to the best damn blue poster there’s ever been, Ghostcrawler. GC has gone well beyond the call of duty to help answer questions and concerns for every class. She’s meticulously explained the reasoning behind changes, received feedback, and truly listened to player concerns regarding WotLK balance.

Without his fine work and dedication I don’t think we’d have a WotLK looking nearly as good as it is. That said, let’s get into these rogue changes!

Rogue Raid Utility

In terms of the big raid buffs, the ones we consider rogues bringing are Expose Armor, Wound Poison and Mind Numbing Poison. There are plenty of others more along the lines of Kick and Sap that are harder to quantify.

It’s really great to see blizzard is taking a serious look at improving raid utility for rogues. I could definitely see expose armor stacking with sunder armor in WotLK, and potentially being changed to a percentage armor reduction…a change which nearly made it into TBC.

There are lots of ways Blizzard can add raid utility to the class and I’m very excited to see how they work poisons, EA, and other rogue abilities into future lich king encounters.

With that in mind can you tell us any plans that you have to better close this PvE to PvP gap that we’re seeing with certain trees? How do you plan to make all three trees viable across the board?

Yes, this is definitely a priority. It is a lot harder with classes in which all specs are still focused mostly on dps. We understand that some specs are just going to be better for 5-mans, for PvP or for raiding. We’re trying to equalize as much as possible, but we’re also trying to be realistic about our chances.

How do you plan to deal with talents which were still considered all too needed by rogues, particularly in the case of Relentless Strikes? Is there any possibility of making Relentless Strikes a core class ability we can all train?

Mandatory talents are tricky. There are certainly plenty of them in every tree. Every warrior spec without Cruelty is pretty experimental, as is every druid spec without Omen of Clarity. Part of the problem is we keep offering new character levels along with new talents, so each expansion ends up constraining you more and more to one tree. The real red flag, for me at least, is when a spec has so many truly mandatory talents (which is a funny thing to say, since it’s still a little subjective) that they don’t have any optional talents. Instead of a cookie-cutter build being something like 20 plus your choice, they become you must get these 24 talents. If that makes sense.

I wish GC would have just answered the question here instead of beating around the bush. To me this sounds more like a cop out for…no, we aren’t making them core abilities, deal with it until we figure out what to do later in the expansion. Either way, all 3 talent trees are looking pretty damn good.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to create anything but carbon copies of abilities in each of the 3 trees and not have SOME variance. If you want the highest DPS there will ALWAYS be a max DPS…even if by 1 or 2% one spec will ALWAYS be better.

I think it is very likely there will be a theoretical max dps build. However:

  • It will probably vary from boss to boss.
  • It might depend a lot on the skill of the player.
  • Because there are so many variables (by design) it may be really hard to “solve the equation” for which actually is the highest dps build.
  • For 90% of players (maybe more) that kind of damage difference is in the noise. Very few players can do 2500 dps one night and then 2525 dps another night (a 1% difference). Usually the delta is much larger than that because of random elements including things as non-gamey as Internet lag, how tired you are and just bad luck. If taking the most optimal build can’t guarantee you dps higher than the random element in the equation, it may very well not be worth taking. Now if the dps gain is significant by taking the best build, then I agree with you.

Rogue Talent Tree Conclusions

Rogue talents are hard because the class is ultimately very mathy. Without a finite resource like mana, it’s easy to analyze every possible move for its cost efficiency and ultimate damage delivery. This is coupled with the fact that it’s really easy for a rogue to move among trees. By contrast, before the advent of Frostfire Bolt a fire mage could mostly ignore frost. A shadow priest wants almost nothing in Holy. But having an emphais on poisons or stealth in a rogue tree doesn’t make a tree unattractive to a Combat rogue. I’m not trying to make excuses, but perhaps more than any other class, I find that rogues can evaluate a talent’s utility pretty easily. It’s a cool thing about the class, but it makes talent design challenging.

I think I mentioned this in another thread, but our team has a really amazing rogue theorycrafter who stays really in touch with the community (anonymously). We have a surprising number of really good players on the team in general, but I always feel really safe about his conclusions on rogues. But that has also meant fewer blue posts than you deserve, so I’m trying to make up for that.

  1. WotLK Rogue Buffs – Insane Class Defining Changes
  2. More WotLK Rogue Changes
  3. WotLK Rogue Murder Talent Explained
  4. Wrath of the Lich King Rogue Changes
  5. Rogue Opportunity Changes – Build 8982

Comments

2 Responses to “WotLK Rogue Talents Q and A with Devs”

  1. Kudia on September 29th, 2008 3:49 pm

    FYI. Ghostcrawler is a chick. Don’t want to make her mad now.

  2. Zuggy on September 29th, 2008 6:18 pm

    wow, I didn’t realize that. I fixed the post to reflect this new revelation. thanks for the info!

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