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Melee DPS Class Writers Opinions on Class Tuning Changes on the 9.0.5 PTR
01/03/2021 à 15:45
Today we've asked our Melee DPS Class Writers for their thoughts on the recent class changes added to Patch 9.0.5 PTR. For this post, we are covering the changes present in latest two PTR builds, Build 37623, from February 17th, and Build 37705, from February 24th.
It is important to remember that content on the PTR is not final and Blizzard will likely change classes more as PTR builds go by.
February 17th BuildFebruary 24th Build
Unholy Death Knight Review of PTR Changes
Unholy DK Guide
Unholy hasn't seen many changes in the latest PTR builds. The
legendary was buffed both in terms of damage and proc rate. It now deals 5% more damage and procs 17% more often. This is quite significant but I still don't see this legendary being the best choice in Mythic +. As I've said elsewhere, the fact that you cannot control when it procs is a large negative.
got buffed from 7.5 to 10%. This is nice for all DK specs since it's such a versatile legendary for all the three specs. For those of you that do tend to offspec plenty, you now have an even better option for any scenario! It still won't be best for any given spec though, but I do think that's okay.
Havoc Demon Hunter Review of PTR Changes
Havoc DH Guide
Couple of changes in the past two weeks for Havoc on PTR. First of all, talent change.
got buffed... it's a buff to our AoE damage which was already in a good place. For purely M+ havoc DH this will be a nice damage to overall damage assuming all you care about is AoE and boss damage is irrelevant but raiding DH will remain similar to the way they are now.
was buffed to 40% along with the fury cost of eye beam being refunded on proc. This is a nice change that will certainly help make this legendary more competitive and the refund is extremely welcome as chaining procs will occur more often now.
got buffed significantly as well. This buff will make this legendary power very competitive in ST and AoE as well. In cleave it promotes a weird playstyle of "multidotting" by making sure you Demon's Bite every target in range to spread the dot but outside of this small annoyance this legendary buff looks promising for M+ and Raiding DH.
Feral Druid Review of PTR Changes
Feral Druid Guide
In the last couple of PTR builds there's been a couple of changes targeting feral legendaries. Both of these changes affect legendaries that are relatively underused,
is a bit of a bizzare situation and i'm not exactly sure what blizzard are thinking about with these changes. So firstly
is a reasonably usable legendary in it's current iteration at 25% energy refund. It sits solidly in the "not-draught but ok" section of legendaries along with
but without the niche benefits that the other two legendaries bring so maybe a buff is indeed justified. The initial change brought it to 35% energy refund which to be clear is an incredibly minor buff, it's about 3 shreds across a whole 5 minute fight, not a whole lot right, but then it was reduced further down to 30%, so this buff kind of doesn't really change anything at all. I assume it's targeted as a placebo buff because i'm not really sure what else it accomplices.
got fairly significant buffs, with a 50% buff to both the cooldown reduction AND the generator damage. The cooldown reduction while a nice buff is still incredibly minor and remains heavily dependent on fight times for effectiveness, it's not quite enough to sync
and in the case whereby this legendary hits its niche (which would be requiring heavy burst in windows (say sludgefist)) it's more likely to do nothing and desync your
due to how minor the CDR is. The bleed buff is very nice and hits the niche of what this legendary should be targeting well, if blizzard were to do further looks at these changes this is really where it should be targeted. This buff does actually move the legendary up into the "not-draught but ok" section of legendaries and potentially gives it some decent value in M+
Windwalker Monk Review of PTR Changes
Windwalker Monk Guide
As of writing this, the only documented changes for Windwalker on PTR have been the buffs to the
legendary. The Critical Strike chance for
that comes after
stop channeling has been increased to 50% from 30% and the cooldown reduction provided from
crits has been increased to 5 seconds from 2.5. These are strong buffs for a legendary that many in the community, myself included, would love to see brought into prominence as it brings back the fan favorite playstyle of Tomb of Sargeras. Unfortunately, with the strength of
, the Kyrian covenant, and 2 minute cooldowns; even with the buffs,
is resigned to a 2nd place finish in the race for strongest legendaries.
However, recently we have found some undocumented changes to Windwalker that merit some comments.
The first is that on the PTR,
stacks should now correctly appear and disappear as targets do, no more persisting after a target dies or getting extra from
talked about this "bug" on PeakofSerenity.com
. While its good to see bugs fixed, this is one that many Windwalkers enjoyed and felt that it made the spec slightly easier to play and maintain, since it is toward the higher end of complexity. It will be a nerf to AOE DPS in situations where the Windwalker was able to maintain more stacks than there were targets, but how much will depend on the situation and the difference in stacks and targets.
Next Blizzard appears to have "fixed" the interaction that allowed
spirits to continue to channel
even while you, and they, cast other abilities. This enabled Windwalkers to, with
out, "clip" their own cast and cast other abilities, while your clones would still do it for you and copy your new abilities. We
talked about this on PeakofSerenity.com as well
. Numerically this won't result in a large change in our DPS, but it will change the fact that up til this point, Windwalkers clipped their
in order to take advantage of this interaction. The biggest effect this change will have is in PvP where it will dramatically lower a Windwalker's burst potential. Similar to the above, while bugs being fixed is a good thing, this will feel rather awful to change how we've come to use
and will take away a chunk of Windwalker's burst abilities in a PvP meta that seems entirely predicated on your ability to annihilate your opponent in a scant few seconds.
Lastly, Blizzard seems to have enabled
to do extra damage when
is out to adjust for your reduced damage. This is a positive change that won't change things noticeably, but is nice nonetheless.
Unfortunately with the "bug fixes" listed above, and very predictably any time fixes are made to
, new bugs have also been introduced. Currently we know of 3:
Mark of the Crane capped at 5. It had been capped at 6, and the tooltip says 6, so we're unsure if this is intentional or not.
Clones regularly not casting
. We believe this is due to an unexplained removal of the clone's interactions with haste and cooldown reduction, as it seems their cooldowns for abilities are now unlinked from yours. So if you are able to cast RSK or FoF earlier due to haste or another cooldown reduction like from
, your SEF clones may not cast it. This is almost certainly unintended and will hopefully be fixed shortly. It does render combining
and SEF completely detrimental as you just increase the cooldown reduction that causes the problem.
Clones consistently not casting
. We're not sure why this is happening, but it doesn't seem to be the same root cause as the above problem with them not casting RSK and FoF. We assume this is unintended and will be fixed.
Cooldown reduction from
seems to no longer work during
. Not sure why this happens, but it will hurt
as a fallback option should SEF remain a disaster.
With more bugs introduced Windwalker's future is uncertain. If these bugs go live then it will render two of Windwalker's biggest cooldowns severely problematic and may shake up what covenant and talents we use. However, in the (hopefully) likely event that these new bugs are fixed and (less likely) no new ones are added, Windwalker should only see a very small reduction in damage in single target PvE, a small to moderate reduction in PvE AOE (depending on targets and stacks), and a sizable reduction in PvP burst.
Retribution Paladin Review of PTR Changes
Retribution Paladin Guide
Over the last few weeks we've seen a series of buffs to some of the less popular Legendaries.
has had its duration and Holy damage buff slightly increased, and
has also had its duration buffed as well. These are relatively small buffs to each of them, but neither of them were that far behind to begin with so they'll end up basically on par with Legendaries like
for non Venthyr covenants.
has also had a substantial buff, as it now also does about 15% more damage than
. This is a huge single target buff, and assuming nothing else changes
will certainly be the best Legendary for single target for non Venthyr by a large margin.
There's also been another less visible change with the Kyrian conduit,
. Although it's finally had its tooltip updated, it now just describes how the conduit had always worked since launch - the more important change is that each proc now comes with a small time delay of about 0.7 seconds between them instead of all at once. This can't really be described as only a buff or a nerf, but this new behavior does have some positive impacts: if you use Divine Toll at 2 or more Holy Power and get very lucky with procs then you now have an opportunity to spend Holy Power between procs to prevent overcapping, and you now have a chance to proc
off of every extra Judgment, since its ICD is 0.5s and the procs will happen at a slightly longer interval than that.
Rogue Review of PTR Changes
Venthyr Covenant Ability
buffed to give 8 Energy when procced (up from 7 Energy).
Assassination Rogue GuideOutlaw Rogue GuideSubtlety Rogue Guide
Generally speaking, Rogues don't really get many changes in 9.0.5. Most of it is just a round of tuning up a number of legendaries that were behind. To what extent that affects the legendary meta and gearing will show as the patch notes and tuning finalize further down the road. I don't think there's a need to comment on that here.
However, there are some noteworthy changes.
, the Venthyr covenant ability, has been reworked. While not necessarily being bad before, it had some uncomfortable quirks with having to use it twice (with a GCD) before. Also, its damage and buff windows were not always very transparent. The new version looks much stronger now. It is now a one-time use ability that deals a noteworthy amount of initial damage. For every finisher, it now lashes once with the damage multiplied by the number of combo points spent instead of scheduling a series of timed small lashes. Haste is stacking up immediately with each finisher. This window lasts for 12s, after which the Haste buff simply persists for another 12s. If the target dies early, it currently seems to compensate by granting 10 free stacks and persisting the buff immediately. The
conduit now simply adds a pseudo lash as if you spent 4 combo points right after the initial use. It also increases ALL Flagellation damage by quite a lot.
As of right now, Venthyr is looking to be quite strong with these changes. Flagellation is (looking at the ability only) the strongest covenant ability. Lashing Scars easily beats all other Rogue conduits (except Outlaw's very strong
). Quite possible further tuning will apply here but looking at the whole package with legendaries and soulbinds, Venthyr will join or even pass the current numerical top covenants on single target.
Flagellation is still not free of quirks. The 12s lash window is rather short and, while strong for every spec, an Assassination Rogue gets fewer finishers in that time frame than a Sub Rogue. This does not have to make it numerically bad, but it can feel pretty weird in direct gameplay comparisons. Also, the nature of the Haste buff usually loses some value in AoE situations. It's nice to have Flagellation provide some more noticeable priority target damage in 9.0.5 though.
Other than the Venthyr changes, there are adjustments to Assassination's energy flow. Very much to my surprise the spec-specific energy regeneration Rank 2 of
was removed. As compensation, the energy gains from
were increased by 1. This should make the change numerically somewhat neutral or positive but I don't quite understand why this is necessary. Rogue TCs have been advocating for energy regeneration on Slice and Dice a lot during Alpha and Beta because the buff has so little synergy for the slow-paced Assassination compared to Outlaw or Sub, both of which have snyergizing passives giving them more energy. I don't quite see why this bonus has to be removed from Assassination again - it makes Slice and Dice rather dull and uninteresting once more. As a new rank 2, the spec gets
. This is a neat Quality of Life effect so there is less requirement to manually maintain this dull maintenance buff... but why make it dull in the first place? If the thought is that maintaining Slice and Dice as Assassination should not be core gameplay, then you might as well remove it entirely. (This is just my opinion though, I know people are somewhat split on the concept of SnD for Assassination.)
On a more positive note, Rogues finally do get a number of more bugfixes. Just to mention a selection: That
rank 2 that was added to Assassination in Shadowlands Alpha - the one that never worked for the entirety of Alpha, Beta, and SL launch - the one you unlocked while leveling to 60 - it's finally working.
from stealth does not apply
on all specs anymore (an exploit that was excluded by Warcraft Logs).
is affected by the Assassination mastery.
buffs are not discarded when re-rolling. I am happy to see things like this addressed. I'm hopeful we'll see some more quirks and bugs, both old and new, fixed as the development cycle for 9.0.5 continues.
That was pretty much all for Rogue changes on the PTR. Overall, as an outlook on the patch for PvE content, I am slightly disappointed that we didn't see more spec-specific tuning yet. All Rogue specs are not very popular top picks in the current meta. Castle Nathria was the first raid in a long while where we did not see a single rogue during the world first race. This is quite surprising for a pure DPS class.
Within the class, Outlaw is doing very well with good single target damage and strong AoE. First preview sims of 9.0.5 indicate that Assassination may become the best single target spec while also having fair melee DoT-cleave. This leaves Sub with the concerns of treading down the same road it was on during Battle for Azeroth: no changes and falling behind more and more without having a well-defined thing they excel at.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sound whiney about spec balance and there will always be a meta. However, I wish Blizzard would look more into continuous balancing and locating where issues lie. The Sub and Outlaw Rogue spec auras were not touched since 8.1 in 2018! There was no tuning (aside from legendaries or conduits) for the entirety of Shadowlands Alpha, Beta, and 9.0 release. In other words, Rogue balancing feels like things just happen by random chance and the reason Sub started out fairly well (compared to BfA) in Shadowlands was pure luck from the few changes they made to spec gameplay. I miss some active balancing. With more active balancing and tuning, "scaling" wouldn't have to be such a buzzword in the community and the Warcraft Logs statistics wouldn't be spanning such a big range.
Enhancement Shaman Review of PTR Changes
Enhancement Shaman Guide
While on the surface the
buff looks like a small change to something that's just rotational filler, the number of hooks it has in the kit means this has a solid chance of altering the options we have. Between
, this has a real chance of opening up fire based builds with both
due to how big of a base buff the ability received. It is however, very firmly still in the camp of a specialized damage profile so may end up being a niche option to dethrone
on some encounters.
changes are mostly just offset by the loss of globals to make use of the
buff, so while it's nice, it's doubtful it's going to actually change anything with regards to its usability.
's changes comes as a nice surprise to finally cement it as a good option as an AoE alternative on an AoE focused row, but more oriented around cleave. It also allows for it to improve our single target rotation without a complete reliance on
. Unfortunately the most recent build removed the extraneous
scalling when consuming charges with stacks present, so whether this talent even sees play with that factor is unknown but at least has potential compared to the current tuning.
As an extra note - there is a 35% buff to the base damage of
that wasn't caught in the original datamining, and only recently became active on the PTR. This ups the damage of our
spenders in AoE making it firmly the best option at two targets, upping the AoE value of Maelstrom stacks where we are usually flooded, and also aligns with the
buff to improve it further. Overall welcome change given that it's ever present in our AoE rotation due to the cooldown recduction provided to
Arms Warrior Review of PTR Changes
Arms Warrior Guide
The legendary tuning on the 9.0.5 PTR are all good mechanical changes, which make them *better*, but not really good enough to promote them over the same legendaries we've been using so far.
damage buff being doubled in value looks quite appealing, although it's actual value is somewhat obfuscasted. While you would think it would be incredibly strong for Venthyr, there is a hidden modifier which reduces the effect when used with
, effectively balancing out the opportunity to buff
more often by casting
. Because this hidden modifier was also doubled, it means that
went from +25% for
and +18% for
, to +50% for
and +36% for
in 9.0.5. This means it's still a large buff (+100%), but
might not be giving you quite as much as you'd expect. Regardless, it's not very good in PvE, but is becoming surprisingly strong in PvP (for all Covenants) due to the added burst pressure. This represents a pretty clear example of where a specific PvP modifier would be useful, as to buff it to the point of being strong in PvE would leave it ludicriously powerful in PvP.
is the star of the show, nearly doubling the chance to proc and extending the effect, although surprisingly only for non-Venthyr. Because
's strength so completely outweighs
, Venthyr won't get much value from this legendary (because the value of the buff is compared against the opportunity cost of casting
less), but other Covenants make out very well - there's much less of a power difference between
, so a Night Fae or Kyrian will find this legendary much stronger than before, even competing with
which was the previous front-runner for them.
with Ravager talented is still the best option for Venthyr, while
is pulling ahead for other covenants.
Fury Warrior Review of PTR Changes
Fury Warrior Guide
The legendary tuning on the 9.0.5 PTR are all good mechanical changes, which make them *better*, but not really good enough to promote them over the same legendaries we've been using so far.
For Fury Warriors, extending the duration of
buffs are great changes which should have been made before launch, but while it makes them easier to maintain, it's but still not worth the hassle of actually doing so while also obeying encounter mechanics - invariably the buffs are going to fall off mid-combat, which results what is already a medicore legendary performing even worse. The real issue here is one of design - something that has a chance to fail invariably will fail at some point, and unless it's strong enough to compensate for that loss, it's going to have a hard time being competitive.
no longer being dependent on critical strikes is another good design change, but because the amount of cooldown reduction per proc has been lowered it's actually not that much of a buff and in some edge cases can even result in a nerf. Essentially, if
was critting more than 33% of the time, you would average more cooldown reduction than before, and while Fury doesn't stack that much crit, it's still only a minor buff which doesn't really move it out of mediocrity. The real problem here is that the legendary has a defensive bonus alongside the offensive one - so long as it also reduces the cooldown of
, it's extremely unlikely that it will ever be buffed to the point of seriously competing with DPS-only legendaries.
with Bladestorm talented is still the best legendary for all covenants, with Deathmaker close behind.
You can see how values for all class abilities have changed from Shadowlands 9.0 to the latest 9.0.5 PTR build in this series of guides:
Death Knight Class Changes
Demon Hunter Class Changes
Druid Class Changes
Hunter Class Changes
Mage Class Changes
Monk Class Changes
Paladin Class Changes
Priest Class Changes
Rogue Class Changes
Shaman Class Changes
Warlock Class Changes
Warrior Class Changes
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