A number of new hotfixes have been implemented in World of Warcraft to address various topics, including more Onyxia bugs. Perhaps the most noteworthy changes were covered in a lengthy post by Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street. He goes into detail about the decision to nerf Hunger for Blood for rogues and Scourge Strike for death knights.
To make a long story short, the team felt both abilities were giving the classes access to too much damage. Hunger for Blood now increases damage by 10% instead of 15%, and Scourge Strike can now crit only once. You can read all of the hotfixes and Ghostcrawler's points after the jump.
- Onyxia will now move at a normal speed when performing a Deep Breath.
- Onyxia has been cut off from the magic that sustained her invulnerable state.
- Players will no longer die while zoning into Icecrown citadel as the Gunship event resets.
- The Battered Hilt will show it’s appropriate faction-racial restrictions.
- Hunters, Rogues, and Shaman will once again be able to roll need on off-hand weapons when the need before greed looting system is active.
- Earthen Power now properly removes snare effects.
- Hunger for Blood now increases a rogue's damage by 10% down from 15%.
- The Ephemeral Snowflake trinket now has a very short cooldown to prevent it from restoring inappropriately large amounts of mana.
- The Shadow damage from Scourge Strike will no longer be able to critically strike. The physical component will continue to be able to critically strike.
- You are now able to recast Mind Flay after missing with the spell without receiving a “This spell is not ready yet” message.
After evaluating damage dealt in instances and PvP over the last two days, we are going to deploy three changes. There could always be more along the way. These hotfixes should hit sometime today (Dec 10).
Hunger for Blood now increases damage by 10% instead of 15%. We wanted to increase Assassination rogue damage, and we were succesful, but we overshot the mark. We buffed Hunger for Blood back when Assassination needed a damage boost, so we're more than happy that this talent won't account for such a huge dps increase. Because of the nature of hotfixes, it is unlikely the tooltip will change to 10% right away.
Scourge Strike can now crit only once. The Shadow portion of the damage cannot separately crit. We wanted to keep the double crit mechanic as a way of making Scourge Strike do more than just being an attack that hits for equal part physical and Shadow damage. The change just proved to be too bursty in PvP and provide too much sustained damage in raids. The Shadow portion Scourge Strike will continue to be increased by effects that currently boost Shadow damage.
Rolling Corruptions no longer use the initial haste value indefinitely. This is really more of a bug fix than a nerf. The problem here was that players could inflate the initial cast of Corruption and have the spell tick for that damage indefinitely as long as it was refreshed. This resulted in some "jaw dropping" damage. Technically this was a tricky one to fix but we wanted to keep the Glyph of Quick Decay and were able to ultimately find a solution. When this fix goes live, the hasted Corruption should correct itself to your current haste within a tick or two of the spell being refreshed.
Ideally, we'd rather make changes while we're still in PTR before a patch goes live, but in the end we'd rather make changes than allow something imbalanced to continue just because we didn't change it pre-patch. To the community's credit, some players predicted these issues might become a problem. We appreciate the feedback as always, even if we don't always immediately make changes suggested by the community.
I'm going to go ahead and lock this thread, but only because it covers three different topics and not because we're trying to limit any response or feedback to this announcement.
Players have made several requests for more explanation on the Scourge Strike nerf. I tried to find a post to respond to, but the ones I found were very angry and I didn't feel like a response in there was going to do anything to discourage more angry posts. So I'll just do it here.
We initially started mucking around with Scourge Strike based on numerous requests and complaints from Unholy DKs that their talented strike wasn't very appealing. At the time a lot of Unholy DKs were just using Obliterate instead, especially in PvE. Their logic made a lot of sense. It's obvious that the tree is built around Scourge Strike to some extent. There are many talents that are less interesting without Scourge Strike.
Side note 1: *You* personally may have been happy with Scourge Strike as it was. We don't take a public vote on these things. When players make a lot of sense, the designers sit down and discuss whether we agree with them and whether than warrants any changes. In this case we thought it did.
Side note 2: We have a design law around the office, named for one of the designers here, that anything overpowered is fun. There was a time when Scourge Strike hit for silly numbers. Many DKs knew it did too much damage. Others were nostalgic for that day, perhaps even subconsciously. I've read several times before something else that makes a lot of sense: too many DKs want a class that hits as often as a rogue but hits as hard as a warrior. You can see the problem there. As long as DKs do so much spell and disease damage, their strikes can't hit for really big numbers. (If you don't care about spells and disease damage, then you're probably playing the wrong class.)
In any event, we tried a lot of different things with the talent. You can probably find my old posts. There were many, which makes these claims that DKs were ignored ring a little hollow. We couldn't make it just hit as hard as a physical swing since it completely ignored armor. The problem was that in a raid environment in which armor was routinely sundered / exposed or otherwise bypassed, Scourge Strike's smaller base damage fell short. Again, you can find more detail in older posts.
That's why we came upon the answer of letting Scourge Strike do half physical damage. Half of the attack would respect armor (and therefore sundered armor as well) but the other half could still benefit from all of the DK abilities that improve Shadow damage. As a side bonus, this made the armor penetration on so much of the dps plate slightly more attractive to Unholy DKs. Players argued that this made the ability less interesting or even compromised. We understood the logic there, so we tried to let the physical and Shadow portions crit separately. We knew there was a risk of it feeling too RNG, and some players brought up that risk. But remember we were still trying to solve two other problems (SS needs to hit hard and not be boring) so we decided to try it anyway.
The parses that came out of the PTR weren't too bad. There were some big hits of course, but they didn't happen too often and in PvP the damage didn't seem out of control. Remember though, our PTRs are voluntary. We get some great players trying things out and sending feedback, which is awesome and much appreciated. We have great internal testers who beat on the raid encounters over and over again before they're ready to go public. But none of that testing compares to the flood of data we get the day something goes live. The handful of Icecrown raid parses grew by thousands over night, and many of those had Unholy DKs doing much higher damage than was warranted. Go check out any parse by a decent guild for the Icecrown raid. Once you skip over all the Mutilate rogues, there are all the Unholy DKs.
Maybe in retrospect we made a mistake messing with Scourge Strike at all. Maybe a superior solution would have been to let some Unholy DKs just migrate over to Obliterate or whatever. Just remember as passionately as you feel about things now, many DKs felt just as passionately back then when they urged us to reconsider Scourge Strike. As another designer commented recently "You rarely see indifferent players come to the forums to post their indifference."
Will it stay this way for long? It's too early to tell. This implementation has a chance of working out, but we also want to see the Icecrown hard modes start up as well as the new Arena season kick in.