Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we discuss the recent Hunger for Blood and poison coefficient nerfs.
If you have been anywhere near a WoW forum or news source in the past week, you'll certainly have heard of the largest rogue nerf seen in WotLK. Hotfixed into the game on the 8th, this nerf hit both Assassination and Combat, though Mutilate was hit far worse. I've seen rogue pundits claim that the sky is falling, and death knight forum posters shouting that the nerf was well deserved. To put it in the words of a forum poster now quoted in Ghostcrawler's signature: "blizzards solution was F) destroy the sun."
A full 5% nerf to Hunger for Blood is pretty simple to model: it's a 5% nerf to Mutilate's DPS. Ghostcrawler has been exalting the idea of a simple talent/mechanic that allows Blizzard to tweak a class' DPS with minimal backlash or unexpected consequences, and it seems HfB is truly the precursor of what's to come with the Mastery system. The second nerf was also calculated, it struck Combat and Mutilate both, via a poison scaling coefficient that's invisible to players. While it only amounts to a 2-3% nerf for both specs, it's enough to convince many players to abandon their thieves and assassins. Here's the secret: post-nerf, rogues are still way on top.