Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why Madness Assassin PvP is Bad

Madness Assassins Perform Poorly in PvP

In support of the Shadow and Assassin class representatives Kitru and Xinika, we're taking a look at Madness Assassin PvP.

A Madness player brings nothing to Warzones that another spec or class wouldn't do better. I'm fanatical about this spec, so this has frustrated me for some time.

Impact of RotHC Class Changes

The points brought up in our Q&A brainstorming thread are mostly tied to the (massive) changes we saw in Rise of the Hutt Cartel.

Removal of Instant Whirlwind

Whirlwind as an extra stun/interrupt was an important tool to our DoT spec. It was necessary to take the pressure off of us so we could set up without getting wrecked.

Without it, the cast time reduction talent probably doesn't even cross your mind anymore, does it? By the time we put our DoTs out and sit through an inevitable stun or two, we're near death. Whirlwind used to provide a few more seconds of 1v1 time before being targeted.

Poor Burst

Our "signature" Advanced Class ability, Maul is no longer supported by talents for a full Madness player. It was more complex to include in our skillset, but provided burst when put to use.

Without it, we hit like a wet noodle.

Lightsaber Wet Noodle

Post-2.0 PvP is a burst game and Assassins are designed to use melee abilities once our damage over time effects are up. You'll often find yourself dead shortly after applying Creeping Terror and Lightning Discharge. Those alone certainly aren't enough to threaten someone.

We were given a "DoT Execute" - barely noticeable in PvE, but outright unhelpful in PvP when other classes can take 30% of your health in one skill.

New Role: Node Guard

The one thing we are capable of us stalling at a Warzone objective long enough for help to arrive (if we see the enemy coming.) Madness also has a disadvantage here over our other specs.

We have no boosts to our stealth level, detection, or movement speed. Deception or hybrid builds are better suited to guarding because Madness is easy to get opened on by other stealthers.

Our unique defensive talents are a cool thought, but they're weak against the kind of incoming damage you're hit with in PvP. 15% reduction on DoTs is decent; you're almost always going to have a ranged class applying them.

When it comes to 30% damage reduction while stunned - presumably this is supposed to help keep us alive while our DoTs tick. I would argue that even 50% reduction against 6k-9k critical hits wouldn't provide enough survivability to resume our attack before getting shot down.

This leaves us better off as Deception, where your defensive cooldowns also grant an offensive boost (reduce Recklessness CD, extra force regen, proc Exploit Weakness.)

One final push on the topic of defensive skills: it's come to light that abilities always have a 5% chance to hit. Our class reps are asking that Shroud either be reworded to let the user know it isn't truly 100% Tech and Force avoidance. I would go a step farther and ask the developers to consider dropping the 5% guarantee for resists. This one applies across all specs and PvE as well.

4v4 Arenas in Patch 2.4

I hope we'll see some class rebalancing in 2.4 since Ranked PvP will become small-scale 4v4 battles without objectives... other than killing the other team. It's more likely than ever that this format will enforce "cookie-cutter builds."

In other words, all classes may be reduced to one specific spec for Arenas. If you can't get the balance right, the game will be respec or go home. We'll see what happens when 2.4 goes into testing. If you've stuck it out and PvP'd through the rough patch, please share your thoughts on improving our performance.