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Subtlety Changes Incoming to Legion Alpha

by - 1 year ago

Celestalon took to the forums to address Subtlety rogue concerns on the Legion alpha recently. The feedback addresses empowering the Subtlely rotation, especially in regards to Shadowstrike, crowd control, and a new opener. He notes that “significant changes” are incoming for the next alpha build.

It was later then reposted in the official rogue forums.

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Post)

The point of alpha testing has always been to test and get feedback. That’s especially valuable and needed on ideas that are hard to test internally, and ones that need to be experienced to judge.

As such, we sometimes will go forward with testing something that people respond negatively to on paper, to see if that response remains the same once it’s actually been tried. That can be concerning, and feel like we’re not listening or caring about your feedback, but it couldn’t be any further from the truth. We hear you, loud and clear.

The idea of a Rogue that got to do the full Opener-Builder-Finisher-Vanish cycle repeatedly was an extremely compelling fantasy to us. But it also was a scary one, from a balance point of view. Because of that, we were quite timid about it, reducing the stealth to not be actual stealth, taking away more CC to compensate for the potential of many Cheap Shots, initially taking away Shadowstep to compensate for incredible mobility potential of Shadowstrike, and felt tentatively OK with the reduced flexibility of the new Shadow Dance due to its sheer uptime. Additionally, there were some bugs and tuning issues in the currently live alpha build that make Subtlety seem worse than it is, such as Nightblade doing less damage than Eviscerate, which we’ll get fixed.

Feedback has been clear. The core issue is that the Opener-Builder-Finisher-Vanish cycle doesn’t feel distinct or special; Shadowstrike feels remarkably like Backstab and it’s easy to not even feel a difference. The upside isn’t there, and the downsides are many and strong. And, the gameplay is not engaging enough overall.

So, a future alpha build (not sure yet if it’ll be the next one, or the one after that) will have significant changes to Subtlety. It’ll include things like Shadow Dance returning to being an active ability, the addition of a new opener, and the return of some more CC. Stay tuned for full details when the build is ready.

Thanks for all your constructive feedback, and we look forward to reading more of it when you are able to try the next version.

Yeah. Angsty moments aside, this feels like a pretty nice victory for the alpha testing process as a whole. This was the right time to test a major spec-gameplay change like this, and the quality of player feedback in this forum (as well as a couple of threads in other public venues) was high. Personally I much prefer having had a chance to playtest a different Sub design in this sandbox over only seeing and reacting theoretical changes on paper. And I think it’s helpful that everybody, both playtesters and onlookers alike, got to see that testing and feedback play out.

I think this is a great sentiment, and I hope it spreads. Pre-release (alpha/beta/PTR) is the perfect place for us to experiment with uncertain changes, and it works best when players trust in that process. This should be seen as an example of a successful testing process, not a ‘victory of rogues over designers’. We *all* win by trying out new things, even if those tests produce less than favorable results. If we never try out wild or scary changes, the game never evolves into something much greater or more exciting. I hope this helps players see that there is wisdom in responding to concerning-sounding changes, not with vitriol and doomsaying, but rather with testing, evaluating, and giving constructive feedback. Thanks to all who have done so.


Seth Harkins

PC gamer and lover of (most) things Blizzard. Penn State graduate from the college of Professional Writing with a minor in English.