Assassination Rogue: Analysis of the 9.2 Tier Set Bonuses - A Lesson in DoT Compression
In the last two PTR builds, Assassination Rogue received a
for their 9.2 Tier Set bonus! Our Assassination Rogue Guide Writer, Whispyr, has provided an updated hands-on look at all the recent changes to the Assassination Rogue Tier Set bonus which includes dispelling myths about DoT compression.
Additional tuning on the Rogue Tier Set bonuses is
Assassination Rogue Tier Set Bonus Changes
- Shiv causes enemies within 15 yards to take 100%40% increased damage from your Poisons and Bleeds for 9 seconds.
causes Poisons and Bleeds on your target to expire 100% faster.
, our Assassination Rogue guide writer, has given more extensive thoughts on the Assassination Rogue Set bonus change!
Updates and Reworks
Following the initial disappointment of the 2 set bonus
, it's refreshing to see a buff to the effect. The effect now reads
"Shiv causes all enemies with 15 yards to take 40% increased damage from your bleeds and poisons".
This is a welcome change especially for the mythic+ enjoyers as this will give a notable increase in aoe. The increase in single target is also quite potent and the set is breathing new life after the rework. There are still a couple of quirks that I feel should and need to be addressed, but the set as a whole is in a good place, and if it were to go live tomorrow, would be a welcome addition to our toolkit. I do however like talking about things, so this is going to be a bit longer than usual. If you aren't interested in any of it, here's a TLDR:
Originally I said that the 2 piece required a lot of love, and possibly even an added bonus. This is the love it needed. It is still strong, even at 40% on
. Night Fae and Venthyr both look like good covenants next patch, and there is a lot to be happy about. Snapshotting is a weird thing but works out to be a gameplay affecting change, which is welcomed. The absolutely insane amount of energy we get from the increased tick rate through
is a fun change of pace as well every now and then.
Numbers for the enthused
For those interested, I'll rattle down some expected gains right now from the set bonus and how that's affecting legendaries. If you're interested in looking at the simulations yourself, here is a link to my simulations google sheet:
. I update this regularly, and it is also available through the Rogue Discord, Ravenholdt. I am always available on discord to discuss any aspect of this. Feel free to reach out!
is sitting somewhere between 6% and 8% depending on covenant. The difference is caused by
, the respective covenant abilities for Necrolord and Night Fae, benefitting directly from the bonus, while the abilities from Kyrian and Venthyr do not.
The 4 piece effect
on top of that, adds an additional 10% roughly, bringing the total value to around 16-17%. There is a snapshotting bug with the 4 set at the moment, which is hard to pin down the value of. There is a good chance that it makes it live, but it is something that needs to be mentioned and monitored as further tuning happens.
Wait, what's snapshotting which effect?
Taking a deeper dive into the set bonus, some...
arise. Some of these have already been addressed by our blue post, but others are a little more engrained into the effects themselves. In that post, it was mentioned that the 4 piece effect
, is causing DoTs applied before
runs out to stay at 2x speed after it expires. This is listed as a bug, however, was explicitly left in to get feedback on the gameplay. I find that the overhang is unintuitive personally and have always been against snapshotting effects in the past, but I do admit that the extra depth of having knowledge of the overhang is welcome. Assassination as a spec has historically been very simple and having something to think about, spicing up the rotation is a craving that I have had for a long time. There are however side effects to snapshotting that I feel should outweigh the skill expression that it brings.
The main side effect here is easily explained with help from
. For those unfamiliar, it grants 1% haste per combo point spent during the first 12 seconds, and the effect lingers for 12 more seconds. Casting this during
with the tier bonus
, makes for some interesting interactions. If you cast
as the first combo point spender, the tier bonus snapshots the tick rate at that cast. Following that with another combo point spender, such as
, will increase the effect of
by an additional 4-5% haste, but because the
tick rate was snapshot on cast, this additional haste provides no benefit to the
. Casting a new
will then snapshot the new haste value, and the cycle continues. Fast forward to the end of
. As listed above, the overhang on DoTs applied before vendetta expires will continue to be snapshot. Since
lasts a total of 24 seconds (the 12 second build up, with the 12 second linger), the duration on the linger here is actually not that relevant, leading the last 4-5 seconds of the linger to not directly affect any DoTs, as they were snapshot beforehand. To me, this inconsistency of the snapshot lasting after the expiration of
, paired with the extra 4 seconds of stats from
not affecting the bleeds, creates a frankly convoluted understanding of ability interactions for the general populous.
There is however some added confusion. I've been eluding to it by saying the
is snapshot; The entire
is not snapshot, and the damage will continue to update dynamically. As an example, playing Venthyr in the next patch will cause us to also play the covenant legendary,
to also grant 0.5% Versatility per stack. Since this does not affect tick rate,
dropping, and thus losing the Versatility, would change the damage of the bleed.
expiring would also remove the 30% damage increase, but maintain the tick rate.
These two interactions are very counterintuitive in my opinion, and we saw the same confusion with the talent bearing the same effect (
) during patch 8.3. Many people hear "snapshot" and understand the term, but misunderstand that only haste/tick rate of the DoTs being sped up are being snapshot, not the entirety of the bleed.
Usually, these sorts of things aren't too important to think about, as in 8.3 with
, it was very common to get your bleeds up, cast all your cooldowns, pop any on-use trinkets, and use
, the bleeds tick out, no questions required. With this tier set iteration, however, there is a serious gameplay element that must be played around and abused, by way of refreshing bleeds as close to the end of
as possible. I want to reiterate that I
a fan of skill expression and the added knowledge on the spec. I simply have a different opinion on how to achieve it. In my opinion, the game should provide reasoning and explanation for the intricacies, instead of finding out about snapshotting from some nerd on wowhead. As a quick example, this could have manifested as "casting
by 0.3 seconds per combo point spent" for example. Setting up your dots properly ahead of time and managing pandemic timers appropriately would allow for an additional finisher in
, more energy from the 4 piece bonus, which would feed into other mechanics such as
, etc. Hidden mechanics like snapshotting, which have been getting phased out over the last couple of expansions, in my opinion, should not be the means to achieving added complexity.
Like I mentioned above, the overhang on snapshot bleeds persisting after vendetta expires is currently considered a bug. We will have to see what the future holds on whether this effect stays or not.
The next bug is the fact that
isn't working correctly with the 4 piece bonus. While casting
does indeed increase the tick rate of
, any reapplication (and thus refresh of the poison), is not sped up. This causes the poison portion of the bonus to be almost non-existent. The DoT portion of
is not a large part of our overall damage breakdown (less than half the value of
), but it does hurt the power nonetheless. This bug has also been mentioned by the developer and will get fixed.
Additionally, in the blue post, the following effects work with the 2 piece set bonus:
This list is a little confusing to me, but I understand the desire of "it says bleed/poison, so it works!". That simplicity in tooltips is often missed these days, and making the tooltips more accessible to a new player or less experienced rogue is admirable. That being said, take
for example. The bleed effect (
) on this is directly proportional to the damage done by the
, and it compounds on itself similarly to
from Fire Mage. If it works with the 2 piece bonus
, it would make a legendary directly benefit from borrowed power, which hasn't been the general design philosophy of the expansion. We saw other legendaries such as
get whitelisted to specifically prevent interactions with the special weapons in the necrotic wake (
). Trinkets like
, while doing nature damage, are not affected by
also does not buff any trinkets/external effects.
doesn't work with things like
either. There's a long-standing history of making external effects not interact, and having
now be affected in my opinion is a weird outlier. On top of that, things that then should follow the same logic, don't work with the tier,
Neither of these legendaries (
) are looking competitive currently, so this shouldn't change any choice for those looking to min-max.
Compression, compression, compression
The tier set, while powerful, brings up the question of compressing damage over time effects and how that fits into assassination as a whole. The snapshotting issue isn't unfamiliar to the rogues of 8.3, where
the go-to talent choice. This entire expansion, however,
has been one of the worst, if not the single worst talent on the entire tree. This stems from a lack of buffing effects that allow for the compression to have a meaningful existence. At the heart of the issue is the fact that compression effects like
don't actually add as much damage as people think they do baseline, due to a lack of understanding around the true benefit of the effect. The idea that
is equal to "100% more damage during
" has been mentioned quite a few times, by both regular players, as well as streamers and high-end raiders, so let us take a look at what the effect actually does.
as an example. When you press
with the set bonus, it ticks twice as fast, with half the duration. The overall damage of the dot, however, has not changed. It still does the advertised (for the sake of argument) 1000 damage, but instead of over 20 seconds, it ticks over 10 seconds. On paper, that's 100% more damage
here is the important part. There are resources involved in that
, mainly combo points in this case, that you could have spent on a different finisher, most likely
. So when you're looking at the damage gain of a compression effect, you have to consider that you aren't gaining "free"
casts, you are simply replacing what would have been
In order for the gain to be noticeable then, you have to have a reason why having more ticks in a shorter window is impactful. In 8.3, the benefit was having insane haste, buffing the damage of
. The gain for
is the connected 2 piece,
, and it's connection to
, which is also a damage increase. These time-sensitive effects are the real reason why the tier bonus is powerful. Without adding any effects on top to buff the compression, the damage gain isn't very high. It's important to think about a bonus or an effect with all the pieces, rather than trying to look at things in a vacuum. By getting too granular, you often lose sight of interactions.
This does however mean that these bonuses are intertwined. They must both exist for the other to live and in that regard,
has had no partner to allow it to live. In my opinion, that reliance on borrowed power makes the talent an awkward addition to the tree. There are plenty of talents that can be okay with some more numbers tuning,
, and even
could be good with some numbers tuning.
however, dies with no borrowed power. I have run sims with some buffs to
, with and without the tier set, lowering the cooldown to 30 seconds, making the speed increase 150%, 200%, 400% even, I've tried to give the character 120% haste and completely bonkers stats, but
simply has no leg to stand on. At the end of the day,
as a temporary effect for this patch is great, wonderful, and we have seen in blue posts how the hectic gameplay has a strong thematic drive, which I agree with. I just wish this was something that was either leaned into as a permanent option (given the talent and semi-connect row of
already exist), or removed as a permanent option, to be added in as a temporary power like the 4 piece bonus currently.
All in all, the bonus is fun to play with, the damage is tuned fairly well, and now we just have to wait and see what other class tuning will bring. There are still quite a few outliers in terms of other classes and specs (as is the nature of testing), but I hope that we end up in a balanced state. The snapshotting weirdness on the 4 piece could be an interesting change to the rotation, and I think the skill expression and learning the community has to do in order to optimize it is a strong motivator for many aspiring players. Rogue remains at the mercy of damage numbers in 9.2, but I am hopeful that our single target damage profile can allow for another strong Rogue tier moving forward.
Assassination Rogue Guide
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