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Tonight's new Warlords of Draenor datamining (build 18927) includes five apparent rogue spell changes. All are significant adjustments to the amount of damage caused by some of Combat and Subtlety's core key abilities:

  • Revealing Strike (Combat) now appears to deal 120% weapon damage, way up from the previous 75%.

  • Sinister Strike (Combat, mostly) now appears to deal 160% weapon damage, up from 100%.

  • Combat's mastery, Main Gauche, now appears to deal 140% of off-hand weapon damage, way down from 225%.

  • Backstab (Subtlety) now appears to deal 175% weapon damage, up from 156%.

  • Hemorrhage (Subtlety) now appears to deal 40% weapon damage, way down from 78%. (Its damage-over-time component appears unchanged.)

I won't get too deep into analysis here, mostly because I'm not intellectually equipped to do so, but the Combat changes appear largely intended to address 1) oft-expressed concerns that the spec's passive damage has been way out of proportion to its active damage and 2) more recently expressed concerns that Main Gauche was so disproportionately powerful that Combat could potentially start preferring a fast main-hand/slow off-hand weapon combo, which would of course be the most insane form of insanity known to insaneness. By tossing a blanket on Main Gauche and turning the knob up on our combo point generators, the designers are likely looking to resolve both of these issues.

The Subtlety changes... I'm a little too out of touch with the conversation in the beta forums to infer a possible cause for this change. I could blindly guess that they're to help ensure that Backstab is heavily preferred over Hemorrhage, but unless this reflects only part of the story with rogue tuning changes, there's an unsettling side effect:

[UPDATE: Haileaus tweeted the following possible explanation for the Subtlety adjustments.]

Meanwhile, this beta build also appears to bring the first major tuning pass on the rogue Tier 17 set bonuses -- them's the bonuses we'll see on gear we get in the opening raid tier of Warlords. Five of the six bonuses got adjusted; here are what all six now look like, according to datamining:

  • Assassination 2-piece: Mutilate and Dispatch critical strikes restore 7 energy. (Down from 10 energy.)

  • Assassination 4-piece: Envenom refunds 1 Combo Point. (This is unchanged.)

  • Combat 2-piece: Increases the chance for Revealing Strike to generate an extra Combo Point by 20%. (Chance is up from 10%.)

  • Combat 4-piece: Your finishing moves have a 20% chance to generate 5 combo points and cause your next Eviscerate to consume no Energy. (Chance is down from 25%.)

  • Subtlety 2-piece: When you activate Shadow Dance, you gain 60 Energy. (Previously, all abilities used during Shadow Dance cost no energy, so this may alter how we time the cooldown.)

  • Subtlety 4-piece: When Shadow Dance expires, your next finishing move refunds 5 combo points. (Previously, the CP refund extended five seconds beyond the end of Dance.)

Hope y'all will join us over in the forums for discussion of these changes. :)

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