Legion came with a tremendous amount of class changes, and Voleur
s were a big part of this. We've been making adjustments/improvements to many specs since Legion has launched, and that will continue, especially for Voleur
s in the near future. Let's talk Voleur
fantasy and mechanics a bit.Assassination
Assassination has always had the Poison theme, but we think Bleeds pair well with Poisons here, both fantasy-wise and mechanically. The idea that you can apply a slew of Poison and Bleed damage over times to the target, dooming your enemy to certain death is one of our core fantasies for Assassination. At this point Assassination is clearly less of a "get in, kill, and get out" spec - that distinction is now more on Subtlety.
Agree that the balance of Bleeds vs. Poisons might be a little heavy on the Bleeds side currently on the baseline spec. That wasn't really super intentional. Assassination got Estropier
, and Garrot
(probably the most obvious choices for a baseline rotation) after we divided up many of the Voleur
skills between specs in 7.0. So the spec essentially already started a little Bleed-heavy. Add on top of that Sang des assassinés
(which is fairly strong and everyone has) and Exsangue
(which was overtuned at launch), both of which prop up bleeds more.
We like that the Assassination talent tree has two thematic paths - Poison (Maître empoisonneur
) and Bleed (Hémorragie
). But we lean on our talent trees to do so much more than just let you choose between 2 thematic paths for your spec fantasy - they have to offer simple passives vs. added complexity via new buttons, single target vs. AOE mechanics, playstyle/pacing customization, and more. And of course, all of this is extremely sensitive to the tuning and design of talents, set bonuses, legendaries, and artifact traits. Any one of these variables could be newly introduced or overtuned/undertuned and easily push Assassination down either the Poison or Bleeds talent path, essentially against your will if you like one theme over the other but want to maximize damage. For example, at Legion launch, Hemo + Exsan was the standard build, and now it's switched over to Maître empoisonneur
+ Agonizing. Tier 19 pushes Poison damage a bit via Envenimer
, but Tier 20 might push Bleed damage a bit via Garrot
(note: T20 designs are still in flux, many are likely to change). We want to make both paths viable, but should be realistic and recognize that many variables can and will affect this, and that the balance will fluctuate over time.
On a couple talents:
- : We don't really like for many reasons. It replaces Poison mortel (which feels core to Voleur Assassinat) with an extremely passive, mostly invisible, and currently very strong Poison debuff that makes target-swapping and AOE more difficult. It's got a lot of things going wrong with it and is on the chopping block for the next patch. Ideas for replacements include a short-cooldown AOE Poison damage button that costs high energy or something that deals Poison damage in a rotationally-interesting way.
- Exsangue : This is a good talent. It has a clear theme with interesting mechanical and rotational implications. We'll look at tuning based on what happens with , but plans are to buff its damage and add a small energy cost, not because of tuning but because on-GCD buttons that don't cost Energy sometimes lead to Energy-capping, which doesn't feel good.
Overall we think the single-target Assassination rotation is in a good place. There are nuances to applying and maintaining your bleeds with maximizing Envenimer
uptime being an underlying core part of the rotation, as it has been for a long time.Outlaw
The pirate theme is clear, and clearly contentious. I think it would be accurate to say there are many players who like the fantasy of the spec and many who don't. As a class with 3 specs of the same role, this is probably an okay place to be in.
We have a couple major mechanical goals for Outlaw in the next patch:
- Rebalance Jet d’osselets : This is a two-parter.
The first part is tuning each of the single-buffs against each other, narrowing the gap in power level between any two single-buffs. You should see this when the next patch hits PTR.
The second part is more complex - we're considering removing the incentive to reroll almost entirely and re-acclimating everyone to getting 1 buff from RTB most of the time and not rerolling. The main problem involves ensuring the average expected value of casting Jet d’osselets is close enough to 1.0 buffs that it's not better to reroll. With either the current 6-dice or an alternate 5-dice natural system, the probabilities are such that it's too lucrative to reroll when you get a single-buff right now.
The current proposal is to reduce the number of dice being rolled from 6 to 5 and to hand-set probabilities to something like 79% chance for 1-buff, 20% chance for 2-buffs, and 1% chance for 5-buffs (yahtzee), bringing the expected value of a roll down to 1.24 buffs (plus additional value for synergies between buffs). The downside to this is that if you take a deep look at the probability distribution, in order for this to work, you realize that the dice would have to be loaded against the player. This isn't something we'd prefer to do (adjust randomness against the player's favor), but it might be something we have to do with the current Jet d’osselets dice system in order to remove the incentive to reroll.
Overall we want to reduce how much the spec is defined by Jet d’osselets. RTB can be most of the time a single buff that might change your pacing or rotation slightly with relatively rare bonuses of 2-buffs or 5-buffs, but that the spec should completely work both mechanically and damage-wise without RTB, if you want to take Débiter as a replacement.
- Smooth out Energy Generation : Outlaw suffers a bit rotationally from unpredictable Energy generation and Energy-flooding during Poussée d'adrénaline. The changes we're doing here are pretty simple and direct but should help to alleviate this issue - Poussée d'adrénaline reduced Energy regen increase but increased duration and Toute-puissance de combat procs twice as often for half the Energy each proc.
Subtlety in the long-term it has some room for improvements. For the next patch the first things we're looking at are:
- Danse de l’ombre : Danse de l’ombres happen a lot more than they used to and in PvE, that's been mostly a welcome change. The rotation is more dynamic than it used to be in previous expansions, with you going in and out of Danse de l’ombre more often. However, set bonuses, artifact traits, and legendaries frequently grant resources (to any spec) as their bonus (because it's mechanically interesting), and in the case of Subtlety, increased Energy/Combo Points has pushed Danse de l’ombre uptime to be higher than we think is good for the spec.
Additionally, from both PvE and PvP Subtlety Rogues, we've heard that the spec's feeling of burstiness has been severely reduced, partially as a result of Danse de l’ombres happening more frequently. We'd like to address this in the next patch with a couple changes. First, Deepening Shadows will be reduced from 3 to 1-1.5 sec of cooldown reduction per Combo Ppoint baseline. Danse de l’ombre baseline charges reduced from 3 to 2. New talents on the same row that compete against each other will either 1) increase Ombres croissantes back up to the current 3 sec or 2) grant you increased damage during Danse de l’ombre. This lets you customize your Shadow Dance to happen more often, or be most bursty when it does happen. As usual, we'll retune the damage of the spec alongside these changes, but the first focus should be on changes to pacing and mechanics.
- Lamenuit : On single-target, Lamenuit works okay mechanically as a damage button that you press occasionally, but it doesn't really play as we'd like in AOE situations. The AOE rotation of Shuriken Storm->Lamenuit everything isn't what we feel Subtlety should be about, on top of being basically identical to the Assassination AOE rotation. A direction we'd like to go is - Subtlety deals increased damage in AOE by dealing massively increased damage to a single target. In this vein, we're considering a new baseline passive that does something like "Each enemy hit by Tempête de shurikens increases the damage of your next Eviscération by ~25%, up to a max of ~5 stacks", which would push Lamenuit completely out of the AOE rotation on 4+ targets.
Separately but related, we don't think Lamenuit is a perfect fit for the Subtlety fantasy. On top of being a core rotational damage over time ability on a "get in and get out/bursty" Rogue spec, it's also the passive snare on the spec, which we think could be delivered more simply by re-adding Poison affaiblissant back to the spec at some point in the future. Tying Subtlety Rogue's snare to a shadow-themed DoT was clearly an attempt at further separating Subtlety vs. Assassination as Shadow vs. Poison, but in hindsight might have been overkill, and it probably wouldn't hurt Subtlety's fantasy that much to have utility poisons back, if we don't find a better fantasy+mechanical alternative for the spec. Don't have concrete long-term plans on this specific subtopic, but it's on our minds.
As an aside on the topic of adding back spells - after doing a lot of class fantasy-focusing and spell pruning in Legion 7.0 (which had many successes as well as failures), we've been adding back some spells to specs (though we do have some strict requirements here) which in hindsight didn't need to be removed. Good examples for Voleur are Cécité (which we removed from Assassination) and Voile de dissimulation (which we removed from all Voleur specs), both of which we have since added back. The removal of Cécité from Assassination made the spec a little too one-dimensional on the crowd-control front and the removal of Voile de dissimulation cost the class a interesting button that provided rare moments of coolness, without any rotational complexity or huge downsides aside from being an additional button.
- Frappe-ténèbres : In the PvE rotation, Frappe-ténèbres coming with a 15 yd teleport is mostly unnecessary, and also sometimes causes usability issues as an uncontrolled teleport on your core rotation. You might be in melee range, and suddenly the boss moves and rotates a bit, and suddenly you Frappe-ténèbres teleport into a spot you don't want to be in.
What we want to do here is add Embuscade back to the spec as the replacement in the core rotation for Frappe-ténèbres, and move Shadowstrike to a 30 second cooldown and back up to 25 yd range. Frappe-ténèbres would become the second gap closer for Subtlety, different from Pas de l’ombre in that it's essentially Pas de l’ombre + Embuscade in one button. On the table are alternatives like removing Frappe-ténèbres entirely and giving Pas de l’ombre reduced cooldown or 2 charges, but we currently feel Frappe-ténèbres is cool enough of a button and high enough on the usability meter that it deserves a spot on the spec. We'd probably keep the damage, cost, and stealth requirement of Embuscade and Frappe-ténèbres identical in all cases to make Frappe-ténèbres's only benefit over Embuscade being the teleport.
When it comes to class/spec fantasy - players (including us) have many differing ideas. Even in this thread there are completely different thoughts and interpretations on what Voleur
fantasy should be for each of the 3 specs. It's really hard to completely satisfy everyone. Our ongoing goal is to deliver distinct spec fantasies and playstyles that appeal to enough players and are fun enough to deserve a spot as one of the class's specs.
I dont think the first point of one rtb buff will ever be possible. There will always be a buff sought after more than the others, and if you were to somehow put a CD on rtb for the duration of the buff to lockout rerolls it will simply feel punishing to play the class.
The second idea I think has a lot more merit, taking out one of the buffs will greatly improve getting a good combo. I enjoy outlaw as a playstyle for the most part, the only time I ever feel punished for playing the spec is when I'm trying to fish for TB and continue to get any one buff besides that. So I am all for your second idea here. Personally I think Grand Melee wont be missed.