- 2009/08/03 06:00:01 PM
Today we continue our class Q&A series with the development team, in which we're taking a look at each class and answering some of the top questions brought forward by their communities. Next up, we explore the most asked questions from the rogue class and find out more about the design philosophy and expectations for the class, as well as what may lie in store for it in the future.
This segment is all about the rogue; we will delve deep into this class with Greg Street and discuss the elements that make the rogue class incredibly unique.
Q. Where do rogues fit into the larger scope of things currently and where do you see them going from this point forward?
They’re a premier melee dps class -- the personification of skulking and swashbuckling flair. It’s their primary and only role -- they’re not going to turn into tanks or healers.
Rogues were once the best dps class hands-down, and a lot of the other classes were just there to buff rogues. Rogues were supposed to be selfish and not bring many buffs or utility of their own. We’re not really happy with that design any longer, and have pushed rogues to be a little more normal -- great damage in the right conditions, but also some good utility and synergy as well.
Rogues have nearly always been strong in PvP, just because their shtick of coming out of stealth to stun and then unload on an opponent translates so well to everything from Arena to random world ganking.
Q. What is it that makes them unique compared to all other classes?
Rogues have a complex resource system with the balance between energy and combo points, and rely on active abilities to respond to situations rather than passive effects. This leads to a very interesting tension between planning out what you’re going to do ahead of time and reacting to proc-based resource gains (energy/combo points from things like Combat Potency, Relentless Strikes, and Ruthlessness), and rationing your active timers and abilities to survive.
Let’s look at rogue abilities, the combo point system, and the feedback our rogue community has provided on some of these.
Q. Do we feel the current combo point system is working out fine for rogues, not just for Subtlety, but for all three trees? Are there any plans to improve how combo points are awarded later down the road?
Yes, but there’s always room for improvement. Combo points are meaningful in all aspects of the game, and provide a necessary limiter on some of the rogue’s more powerful abilities. Too many combo points runs the risk of completely overwhelming your normal abilities and breaking the natural flow of the class, as Subtlety rogues who raid probably know all too well. I would expect that abilities that modify how combo points are acquired are something we’ll probably be careful with in the future.
Overall, we really like the way the combo point and finishing move system works. If anything, the risk is that we could push too many other classes towards this system, which makes it less unique for the rogue.
Q. Vanish, as you know, is one of the class’s staple abilities that sets it apart from other classes. However, there are times when Vanish doesn’t execute quite as the rogue intends, especially when they vanish right in the middle of some kind of enemy channeling spell or when a class sends their pet after the rogue “mid-vanish.” Do we feel that, in its current rendition, Vanish is working properly in this respect? What variables should be considered when Rogues decide to utilize Vanish to avoid it being negated?
No, Vanish isn’t working properly and breaks when you breathe on the rogue funny. There are two problems with fixing it. One is that technically it’s just not easy. We would need to change the ways spells are resolved on the server side. Now that is something we can do, but the outcome would be taking a powerful ability and making it more powerful. We need to solve the frustration part of the ability, but not also greatly buff rogue survivability or damage potential when doing it. The solution we like the most is something like Vanish puts you in stealth for 1 second minimum no matter what else happens.
Q. We’ve seen some changes made to both Mutilate and Overkill; how do we feel these abilities are faring currently and do we believe they require any additional adjustments?
Both abilities are largely where we want them -- a poisoned enemy is still meaningful to the Mutilate rogue, and the modern Overkill keeps the feeling of being awesome while in or emerging from stealth, while being relatively more balanced than the prior incarnation. The changes seem to have had their intended effect of reducing rogue burst damage.
Q. There has been mention in previous developer responses on the forums about changes planned for Hunger for Blood. Players are interested to know what is in store for this ability in the foreseeable future.
The current design for Hunger for Blood is in place to boost rogue PvE damage without substantially boosting PvP damage. It’s not a terribly exciting talent in its current implementation, but it does the job. As such, we do have long-term plans to change it, but we think the current design works for now. Long-term we want it to be a more reactive ability -- something you use depending on the situation but use often in a fight, and not just a passive damage buff that requires a lot of management. Long-term we’d also like to get it back into PvP.
Q. Rogues appreciated the original rendition of Shadow Dance and felt it to be incredibly unique. Do we have plans to implement the original functionality later down the road?
No. The repeated snare-breaks from chain-Vanish were way too good and basically made the rogue immune to snares and roots for the duration of Shadow Dance. It wasn’t intended to be Bladestorm.
Going into the Subtlety spec for a little bit, many rogues are huge fans of the Subtlety spec and have shared similar concerns regarding this specialization such as damage output compared to Assassination and Combat.
Q. Players feel Subtlety captures the essence of a rogue with the majority of its abilities revolving around stealth and utility. How do we feel this specialization is performing currently and where do we see it in the future?
The damage is behind the other specs in PvE, and due to all the neat utility tools, Subtlety would immediately become the default spec in PvE if the damage were comparable. In the future we’d like to make it competitive, but it’s an interesting balancing act between too good and not good enough. It has a place in PvP, and should be more compelling in the post-3.2 world where survival talents will be more valuable.
Long-term, we’d love to see more of the utility talents from Subtlety core for the rogue class in general, or alternatively, we’d like to see more of the damage boosts from the other trees made passive so that rogues of all trees were choosing utility versus utility when making talent choices instead of utility versus damage.