The wording of the Tier Set bonuses did leave a lot of room for interpretation when first introduced. The option to test it on the PTR server and a blue post announcing further changes in its function clarifies a lot of the questions initially asked and allows us to discuss it further.
The tier set bonuses work like the following:Immortal Technique
- The 2p proc behavior was changed and now always extends applied instances of Shadow Blades
- The 4p proc works just like a regular Shadowstrike
, this means it applies all the effects like Find Weakness
, can proc Weaponmaster
, Akaari's Soul Fragment
and even Immortal Technique
, generates stacks for Perforated Veins
, benefits from Shadow Blades
and generates combo points. There are 2 exceptions, both the Symbols of Death
critical strike buff and the Premeditation
buff potentially need a regular Shadowstrike
cast to work.
The mentioned behavior is not in its entirety implemented on the PTR, but should come to it soon going from the Blue Post
The change to the 2p bonus Immortal Technique
is a very good quality of life change that does eliminate the situation of losing Shadow Blades
uptime when casting the spell.
The 4p bonus in general seems extremely good with all the bugfixes. Being able to generate even more Immortal Technique
procs as well as combo points will end up in a very strong feedback loop.
The 2p bonus Immortal Technique
does work mostly passive and gives the spec a slightly higher combo point income, which result in a lower amount of Shadow Dance
downtime and a slightly faster pacing.
The 4p bonus does change up the gameplay flow, it introduces moments of uncertainty/ pauses every time you use a finisher in anticipation of a proc.
The set bonuses also increase the output in low target situations, which is one of the weaknesses of the specialization. This is the case because of additional Find Weakness
uptime on secondary targets as well as the option to keep using Shadowstrike
in 3 target settings.
Both the 2p and the 4p proc make hitting the anima charged combo points generated from Echoing Reprimand
harder, this leads to more frustration when also dealing with Shadow Techniques
The 4p proc also introduces situations in which Shadowstrike
is used multiple times after each other, assuming that it acts as a regular Shadowstrike
cast, can lead to lost damage from Akaari's Soul Fragment
due to the refresh behavior of the legendary power. However, this is unclear before its testable on the ptr.
The entire set is designed around introducing random procs to the specialization.
This seems fine if we look at the 2p bonus Immortal Technique
given that Shadow Blades
is a fairly low impact cooldown and also procs with a low duration of 5 seconds.
Having the 4p bonus also proc based however, seems to introduce wider swings in output. This isn't inherently bad but Subtlety is usually known for its consistency and reliability in output.
The fear here is that skill metrics like damage output become less reliable and other classes or specializations with more controllable damage profiles get prioritized. The only counter argument against this is that there is a fairly high percentage chance on both procs, which gives you a certain assumption of an predictable average impact.
There is another problem, given how powerful the tier set currently is with a damage increase in or above the range of 20% damage, it is certain that we see tuning changes. Balance changes will hopefully focus on remaining the proc rate of the tier set high while reducing other areas like Shadow Blades
uptime of the 2p bonus or the damage of the Shadowstrike
casts from the 4p.
There is currently nothing to complain about in terms of output, but a lot in terms of reliability.
The tier set introduces randomness to an else fairly strategic rotation which is not my preference in gameplay, but is potentially just something to get used to if it does not get changed.