Hotfixes Include Rogue, Death Knight Nerfs

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.

12/10 hotfixes

  • 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.

Ghostcrawler's first post on the hotfixes

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.

Ghostcrawler's second post on the Scourge Strike Nerf

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.


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but... oblit -is- better
# Dec 14 2009 at 10:35 AM Rating: Decent
16 posts
At least he acknowledges that maybe they should have just not touched sourge strike at all. it implies that if they -did-, then it would be too powerful. maintaining diseases aside, obliterate, and its respective talent in frost, does -better- then taking a talent that you have to go down 40ish points into unholy, for an attack that uses up the same runes. I'm on the fence with his post, he at least tells us that there's not a lot he could do, but at the same time, you get the feeling like he's not going to do anything/missing the point of the complaint. I personally don't like scourge strike now, because before it had a point, now it just seems like a bloated filler talent, even with the buff ( as opposed to when the glyph for SS had a chance to re-applying diseases, rather then pointlessly lengthening them and forcing you to rework your entire rotation )
Great post
# Dec 13 2009 at 8:42 AM Rating: Decent
9 posts
GC is spot on once again. The folks that are unhappy are the typical "I win" FOTM players. I have no sympathy for them having played a Warrior from day 1 for 5 years. Learn to play your class and when there are changes, (which are always inevitable) roll with it and stop whining on the forums.
One simple problem
# Dec 13 2009 at 3:03 AM Rating: Good
21 posts
The majority of these people that are complaining about this being nerfed or that being nerfed really drive the rest of us players crazy.

When something is changed, there is a legitimate and logical reason for the change. Yes, there are times when the change does not work and has to be reevaluated.

The problem is that most of the people who have issues with changes are those who just want to do everything as quickly as possible without much thought or effort. This is evident in all the posts where players claim that certain thngs don't work...very rarely is this actually true. They just haven't figured out HOW to use the ability/talent properly. If those players would take the time to truly "learn" about the class they play, and then adapt accordingly, all of these changes would seem fairly transparent.

I know multitudes of players (myself included) who play at least one character of each class and have absolutley no complaints about ANY of them. This is because the designers have ensured that each class is fully viable in all scenarios. The occasional odd bug pops up from time to time, but once changes are implemented, the viability of the class DOES NOT CHANGE! You just need to know your class well enough to continue to be as successful, which is entirely possible when one puts their mind to it.

Edited, Dec 13th 2009 4:09am by JohanDreamer

Edited, Dec 13th 2009 4:22am by JohanDreamer
Poor DK's
# Dec 12 2009 at 9:19 AM Rating: Default
5 posts
We just cant get a break. We finally get some burst and its gone that fast. "Hit as fast as a rogue", sorry but ticking diseases are at the mercy of a dispeller. Even with virulence, I notice my diseases dropping faster than you would like to see. We were seeing what, 5-6k crits? Heaven forbid some heavy hits from a talent that so heavily relies on our diseases being up, which i have stated are usually dispelled. We have no burst, no mortal strike ability and what damage we can do can be easily be mitigated indefinately with a click of a button.

Im sorry but I do not agree with some of the changes DK's have/are going through. But of course as long as other classes can lolstunlock or lol2shot my healer, its fine. /sigh (yes slightly exaggerated)
# Dec 11 2009 at 3:49 PM Rating: Default
6 posts
Its nice to see a post by GC that isn't flaming posters or subtly insulting people. I realize he's not a public management position, but he really could use some people skills...

I'm completely cool with the SS nerf. Gave me the opportunity to hop on my DK and spec into frost and do 2.7k DPS with 3500 gear score :D
Better PR skills
# Dec 11 2009 at 2:46 PM Rating: Decent
1,882 posts
I have to say on a side note, GC seems to have taken some PR lessons. A lot of his comments are more eloquently explained than usual. I don't necessarily agree with everything he said, but this time I can't find any fault in how he said it. Kudos GC.
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Oh look, more nerfs
# Dec 11 2009 at 11:04 AM Rating: Decent
132 posts
Christ, I'm getting tired of this. I'll say it again, but I know it will always fall on deaf ears - instead of nerfing the **** out of anything that works, how about boosting the things that DON'T work? Wouldn't it be nice to log in one day and see "hey, we realized that this talent is completely useless in PvP, so we decided to make it a little better" instead of "well, that talent is too good, and everyone uses it instead of using the talents that suck, so we're going to make this one suck also."

It's not worded like that, but that's the message I get every time we see yet another DK nerf.
Awesome post by Ghostcrawler
# Dec 11 2009 at 10:47 AM Rating: Excellent
Learn to be Stealth
6 posts
I just gotta say, that post is awesome. He goes into detail on some very specific thinking that went into making the change. Insight you very rarely see / hear about.
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