Greetings, everyone! 🙂
I thought I would raise a plea for the Burglar regarding the coming changes in the new patch. You can find my posting about these things over on the Overlords’ forums here. Please weigh in if you wish to do so, and thank you if you so choose! 🙂
What I wrote over there is as follows:
[Note: This is in regard to PvE, not PvMP. There will likely need to be a different ruleset for PvP Burglars if there is ever to be a hope of balancing them for both.]
While many are discussing the coming changes with regard to damage increases and decreases, I think it is important to put a spotlight on how these changes are going to affect the very nature of Burglar play. Remember, one of the arguments for the changes that came with Helm’s Deep was to incorporate a faster and more smooth style of play.
Because neither crowd control nor debuffing are required for any instance, placing both the Gambler and Mischief-maker lines into the ‘play for fun’ category, let us focus on the Quiet Knife line for Burglars. By traiting in the Gambler line for the Gambler’s Advantage skill, a Quiet Knife burglar has 8 combat skills with a cooldown of under 1 minute:
Surprise Strike – 10 seconds
Cunning Attack – 5 seconds
Double-edged Strike – 5 seconds
Flashing Blades – 5 seconds
Gambler’s Advantage – 5 seconds
Improved Feint Attack – 5 seconds
Provoke – 5 seconds
Subtle Stab – 3 seconds
37.5% of these skills, 3 of the 8 (Double-edged Strike, Flashing Blades, and Gambler’s Advantage) are gated behind the requirement of a critical hit to open. Because of the fast-paced nature of play in this line, it is quite easy and relatively often that one finds themselves with no skills available to use if multiple critical hits are not forthcoming.
It was not long ago that the Critical Chain Skills Critical Chance legacy on Burglar’s tools was changed to Critical Chain Skills Critical Rating. This changed what was once a +15% extra chance for critical hits on the 3 critical chain skills into a very small increase in Critical Magnitude for these skills, as it is very difficult not to reach the Critical Rating cap on Agility based classes, and who would not do so even if it were not, with how important critical hits are to Burglars, anyway? This change made times when Burglars suffer from a lack of available skills and stunted, frustrating play even more common.
There are two aspects to this coming patch that will exacerbate this issue all the more. First is the decision to not increase the level of Epic Battles:
The decision not to increase the battles puts Burglars in a very difficult spot. We will need to decide whether or not to wear the outdated, non-essence battle jewelry, sacrificing a great deal of potency, in order to keep the extra critical chance and magnitude this jewelry set provides. Due to the issues that arise when critical hits are not forthcoming, this is, by no means, a trivial decision. Either choice will be quite costly.
The second aspect is the coming changes to full and partial avoidances. Without getting into the debate upon the merits of this change, it is quite clear that, if it remains the case that critical hits cannot be made on partial avoidances, which are soon to be far more common, the impact to Burglars goes far beyond a decrease in their DPS. A further decrease to critical hit frequency will compound the trending decline in the very nature of the Burglar’s playability, resulting in the exact opposite of what was the stated goal for the fundamental combat changes of a few years ago: fast and smooth, seamless play.
In addition to this, there have been calls to increase the cooldown of the Provoke skill from 5 to 10 seconds. While I understand the reasoning for this in PvMP play, this would be an absolute disaster on the PvE side, for two reasons:
1. Burglars simply cannot have more skills put out of their reach and not be standing around idly far too often, and…
2. The Improved Feint Attack skill allows for the Burglar to attack from ‘stealth’. Improved Feint Attack also gives a +10% Melee Damage buff until a skill is used from stealth. Because Improved Feint Attack has a 5 second cooldown, it makes sense that one would use a ‘stealth’ skill just before the cooldown of IFA is over and then use IFA, renewing the buff and creating another ‘stealth’ opportunity. There are, effectively, 3 skills that benefit from attacking from ‘stealth’: Surprise Strike, Cunning Attack and Provoke (Trip has a big cooldown, and fellowship maneuvers are all but useless, anyway). But of these three skills:
– the animation for Surprise Strike when stealthed is so long that attacking from stealth with this skill lowers DPS rather than increases it. Surprise Strike is far better used when not in stealth and has a 10 second cooldown to boot.
– Cunning Attack is a wonderful attack from stealth… once. It places a bleed of either 20 or 30 seconds on a foe when used from stealth. Repeated Cunning Attacks from stealth merely refresh the bleed and, as such, are only useful once every 20 seconds or more.
– Provoke, being the best option after Cunning Attack, for repeated uses from stealth.
Increasing the cooldown of Provoke would render the very goal of trying to ready attacks from stealth to near ambivalence and irrelevancy.
This, of course, does not address the very real issue of the Burglar’s overall irrelevancy in group play, suffering from a world that has made crowd control and debuffing largely useless; placing a class that can affect just a single foe at a time almost exclusively into a world that has, ever more increasingly, been remade into fight after fight with scores of foes at a time (skirmishes, epic battles, etc.)
It may be time to consider a separate ruleset for Burglars in PvE and PvMP. It may be that the Burglar should become a PvP only class, or its players be given the option for a class change.
Please, Turbine. Please address these concerns.