Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rogue Tier 8 Set Bonuses

Wow. So I should do an intro, where I talk about how MMO-Champion is now posting the 2- and 4-piece set bonuses for all of the class tier 8 armor sets from Ulduar. Then I might talk about the set bonuses in order or something.

But I can't do that, because I can't think of anything on the subject beyond:
Rogue T8 4P Bonus -- The damage dealt by your Rupture can now be critical strikes.
Um. Even at my current gear level, I often approach 50% crit in raids. Rupture is already our highest damage per energy finisher before the set bonus. It accounts for a large percentage of my damage: around 8%. So unless I'm missing something, this set bonus will increase my Rupture damage by 40-50% in raids.

Compare this to the tier 7 2-piece bonus:
Increases the damage dealt by your Rupture by 10%.
I repeat: Um. There is no way that's going live as-is. If Rupture is 8% of my damage, then this set bonus alone will account for 4% of my overall damage. To put that in perspective: a full tier upgrade to a piece of gear usually only gives a fractions of a percentage point of damage. It's entirely possible that replacing those 4 tier pieces with 4 pieces from the next tier up will actually lower my dps.

Now imagine if I tailor my spec and rotation to favor Rupture: take all of the talents that improve it and modify my cycle to reach 100% uptime on Rupture if I haven't already. A bonus like this has the capacity to completely transform a playstyle. And if it goes live like this, you'll see rogues in tier 9-10 content still wearing 4-piece tier 8.

Whew. Glad that's off my chest.

The other set bonus:
Rogue T8 2P Bonus -- Your Deadly Poison causes you to gain 1 energy each time it deals damage.
I like it. It's interesting because it seeks to influence playstyle in a way most set bonuses don't. There are constantly new strategies being attempted to raise rogue dps, and some of these have not included Deadly Poison. DP is buffed on the PTR, which helps cement its place on pretty much every rogue's offhand, but this set bonus will push that further. Unlike other abilities, in the case of poisons the rogue has to make a mutually exclusive choice for the duration of the fight. If I use Wound/Wound, I can't use Deadly at all. Though other classes have set bonuses that buff particular abilities, those abilities are not so mutually exclusive from other abilities, so the set bonus doesn't have the same effect of influencing playstyle. For instance, if a priest set bonus buffs Flash Heal a bit, that won't make the priest stop casting PoM or Greater Heal or bubble. They might cast Flash Heal a bit more often, but that's it. They can still choose to use other moves throughout the fight. But a strong set bonus to a certain poison says "we expect you to use this poison", meaning that you can't use a different one on that hand without a penalty.

The Rupture set bonus seems to have a similar aim. The designers are trying to push rogues to use Rupture and DP more, as opposed than many recent strategies that go IP/IP or Wound/Wound, or forgo Rupture in favor of more Eviscerates or Envenoms. That type of thing is generally fine with me; the only time I object to this type of push is when it attempts to "force" actions that players aren't sufficiently motivated to do. For instance, these set bonuses are terrible if they warp our play style and gear choices around Rupture (which I fear the 4-piece bonus will) or if they buff a move the player wouldn't use even with the bonus buff (i.e. if DP was still inferior with the 2-piece bonus).

I'm interested to see where this goes.

As for the other classes, their set bonuses are all over the place. You may have noticed, as I did, that the new rogue set bonuses are not of much benefit in PvP. They buff poisons and abilities that are not used as frequently, and also buff the two DoTs available to rogues, rather than their burst damage abilities. My assumption was that this would be a trend across all of the classes. It seems pretty true for hunters, but completely untrue across other classes. Almost all of the dps sets have at least one bonus that increases crit chance on a burst ability. Many, such as mages and priests, get trinket-like bursty bonuses (both mage bonuses seem insanely good for pvp!). Druid set bonuses are the worst offenders, with Balance offering instant Starfires (helloooo mobile burst!) and the completely broken Restoration 4-piece bonus that gives Rejuvenation, their slowest and most efficient HoT, an instant-heal component. As though druids didn't dominate healing enough all ready, now they get Holy Shock essentially for free. For more on this, see Sydera's post at World of Matticus.

Glad this is the PTR, where they are still making changes, and not the live patch notes.

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