Patch 3.0.9 for Rogues – nerf or buff?

We got news of a surprise patch for tomorrow, and it has some fairly important changes for rogues. Nothing that changes gameplay mechanics, but pretty significant changes to some core abilities. Its clear that Blizzard wants to reduce the burst damage of Assassination rogues without hurting their overall PvE dps. Did they accomplish that?

Here are the incoming changes:

Hunger for Blood (Assassination): Now increases damage 5% per stack, (up from 3%.) – The three-stack will have a 15% damage buff instead of 9%. This is nice. It affects all of our abilities top to bottom. Its not exactly a straight 6% increase in damage, but its close enough (as long as HfB is kept stacked).

Mutilate damage will now do 20% increased damage against poisoned targets, down from 50% – Now before all the Mutilate rogues panic, read carefully. It doesn’t say that Mutilate is being nerfed by 30%. It says that the increase in damage is being reduced.

I looked at a recent WWS parse of my raid damage. It said that my average Mutilate hit was about 1400 damage. Since my targets are always poisoned that means that my damage was being increased by 50%, as stated in the Mutilate tooltip. That means that my base Mutilate attack was 1400/1.5 = 933.3 before the 50% increase. Now change that to the new formula, which has a 20% increase on poisoned targets, by multiplying 933.3 x 1.2 = 1120.

BUT those damage amounts were using the old Hunger for Blood, which was 9%. With the new shiny Hunger for Blood, my damage goes from 1120 to 1181.

Therefore, my new Mutilate attacks should average 1181 instead of 1400 which is 84.3% of what they used to be. That is a 15.7% “nerf” in Mutilate.

Slice and Dice: This ability now increases melee attack speed by 40%, up from 30% – Pure wonderfulness. This is a straight buff to sustained white damage. Is it a 10% buff, though?

Haste works by reducing the attack speed of your weapon. If you have a 1.4 speed weapon (ex: Webbed Death) then you attack once every 1.4 seconds. In a 5 minute fight that means you attack 300 sec / 1.4 = 214 times.

With 30% haste, your attack speed is reduced to 1.4 / 1.3 = 1.077. That means that in a 5 minute (300 second) fight you would autoattack 300/1.077 = 278 times. That is a 30% increase in the number of autoattacks, so you do 30% more white damage.

With 40% haste, your attack speed would be 1.4 /1.4 = 1.0 second. In a 5 minute fight (300 seconds) you would do 300 autoattacks. That is, of course, a 40% increase over the unhasted autoattacks.

We’re not comparing hasted vs unhasted though, We’re comparing 40% haste vs 30% haste. If you used to get 278 autoattacks in 5 minutes, and now you’re going to get 300 autoattacks in 5 minutes, that is an increase of 300/278 = 7.9%. So this is about an 8% buff to white damage.

BUT then add the new Hunger for Blood (15% vs 9%) on top of that. That loosely brings your white damage up to 13.9% of what it used to be while SnD is up. (playing with percentages which combine multiplicatively… 1.08 / 1.09 x 1.15 = 1.139 or 13.9%)

That doesn’t even include the increase in the number of procs from Focused Attacks and Combat Potency.

So, what is the net effect of all of this? Well that will vary depending on your spec and playstyle. Clearly, Combat rogues come out of this with pure Win. They get the boost in white damage from SnD and the increase in HfB without losing anything from the Mutilate nerf.

Rather than overwhelming you with algebra, lets use some hypothetical numbers.

In my last Naxx run as Assassination spec, my damage on bosses had this breakdown:

  • White damage – 35%
  • Mutilate – 20%
  • Instant Poison – 18%
  • Envenom – 10%
  • Deadly Poison – 9%
  • Rupture – 7% (yeah, this is a little low)
  • Fan of Knives – 1%

Rather than using the actual ugly numbers in the actual run, lets say that I did a nice round 1,000,000 total damage. If that were true, then the damage breakdown would be

  • 350,000 from white damage
  • 200,000 from Mutilate
  • 180,000 from Instant Poison
  • 100,000 from Envenom
  • 90,000 from Deadly Poison
  • 70,000 from Rupture
  • 10,000 from Fan of Knives

Now I’ll apply those increases and decreases that I calculated above

  • White: 350,000 * 13.9% increase = 398,650 damage, or an increase of 48,650
  • Mutilate: 200,000 * 15.7% decrease = 168,600, or a decrease of 31,400
  • Instant Poison: 180,000 * 6% increase (approx) from new HfB = 190,800 or an increase of 10,800
  • Envenom: 100,000 * 6% increase (approx) from HfB = 106,000 or an increase of 6,000
  • Rupture: 70,000 * 6% increase (approx) from HfB = 74,200 or an increase of 4,200
  • Fan of Knives: 10,000 * 6% increase (approx) from HfB = 10,600 or an increase of 600

All told, my damage output would have increased by 38,850. Based on the original 1,000,000 total damage, that is a minor overall increase of 3.89%, assuming that HfB is always up.

Add in the Combat Potency and Focused Attacks procs and all rogues should see a little increase in damage. And if white damage is a larger percentage of your overall damage (read: combat spec) then your increase will be even larger. Combat is probably seeing closer to a 7-9% buff, as a rough guess.

Tuesday afternoon people will be testing on practice dummies and maybe some of these calculations will be refuted. I’ll revise the post if I made any errors.


5 Responses to “Patch 3.0.9 for Rogues – nerf or buff?”

  1. February 10, 2009 at 5:36 am

    “Clearly, Combat rogues come out of this with pure Win. They get the boost in white damage from SnD and the increase in HfB …”

    Combat rogues don’t use HfB as it’s a deep Assassination talent.

    Will be interesting to see how the HfB and SnD changes work out, though, and I think you’re right when you say they will make up for the Mutilate change (which is clearly a heavy PvP nerf).

    With Lightning Reflexes (and mace spec) getting haste in 3.1 (possibly), Combat Rogues will probably see an even bigger increase to their white DPS when you add the SnD change.

  2. 2 Illianeth
    February 10, 2009 at 8:12 am

    I’ve updated my spreadsheet with the new coefficients of these abilities, and for me in my gear, these updates work out to be a 5.11% increase. This was much better than I was ever expecting Blizz to give us, so I am happy. Our combat brethren fare even better, with a 7-8% DPS increase.

  3. 3 Thimble
    February 10, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I guess I might be looking at this wrong, but shouldn’t you increase your instant poison damage by more than 6%? Since you’re getting more attacks due to increased haste, you’re going to get more poison procs as well, no?

  4. February 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    @Aeltyr – fixed that dumb error. Thanks for pointing it out. I was getting all excited there and let my fingers run on without my brain.

    @Thimble – probably true… it almost seems wrong to have IP be that big a part of my overall damage

  5. February 12, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I think main thing for mutilate bonus dmg nerf was pvp.. and thats where we lost some big chunk of damage, because noone uses snd or hfb in pvp

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