Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hunger for Blood Becomes Vendetta

A while back Ghostcrawler said that that Hunger for Blood would be going away in Cataclysm, and there was much rejoicing, but we didn't know what its replacement would be. Now, scarcely three weeks from that first announcement information has been released about our new ultimate ability: Vendetta! I've always thought vendetta would be a cool name for a rogue ability, and I was disappointed to find such an awesome moniker was wasted on some stupid DK talent, but apparently Blizzard doesn't care that two spells now share the same name. In this post I'm going to do a critical analysis of this new ability; what I like about it, and what I don't.

First off, let's take a look at the new spell:

30 yard range
Marks an enemy for death, increasing all damage you deal to the target by 20% and granting you unerring vision of your target, regardless of concealments such as Stealth and Invisibility. Lasts 30 seconds.
2 minute cooldown

Wow, sounds like Avenging Wrath and Hunter's Mark had a mutant love child. I notice that there isn't an energy cost associated with this spell, which is cool. Of course this may change before it goes live, but I'm hoping that it doesn't, and considering Killing Spree and Shadow Dance are also free I'm guessing this ability will be as well. That's already one plus in Vendetta's column over Hunger for Blood. In my opinion if a spell is going to cost a paltry 15 energy, it might as well just be free.

The same, but different

Another thing to note is that Vendetta actually comes out to be the exact same damage increase as Hunger For Blood. It provides a 20% damage increase for 30 seconds with a 2 minute cooldown. 2 minutes divided by 30 seconds is divide 20% by 4 and you get a flat 5% damage increase...just like HfB. It's actually less damage than glyphed HfB, but I'm guessing it will get its own glyph to bring it up to snuff. So the damage is essentially the same, but the good thing about Vendetta, obviously, is that it can be used in tandem with trinkets and/or Heroism for extra damage. It's the cooldown that Assassination has sorely needed.

There's a few problems

A problem I see with Vendetta is that you can easily waste it. Vendetta lasts a whole 30 seconds, so to get the maximum effect you have to really need to think ahead, and it's not always easy to predict what's going to transpire in that amount of time. There are certain boss fights (like Sindragosa) where you're constantly forced off the boss, and in pvp you might get peeled or need to switch targets. When that happens your Vendetta is gone. In certain scenarios Hunger for Blood might actually be better than Vendetta, because when you switch targets at least you can bring your HfB with you.

I personally think that 30 seconds is too long. This is just Blizzard's way of keeping the ability from being too powerful in pvp, just like when they lengthened Overkill's effect from 6 seconds to 20. The reason they do this is so that you don't get all the energy (or damage) up front, instead it's doled out over time. 20 seconds was a bit long, I don't think most heroic trash pulls last for more than 10, but 30 seconds is just unwieldy. I'd be much happier if Vendetta's duration was lowered to 25 or even 20 seconds. The damage would have to be increased or the cooldown shortened to for it to retain its potency, but I'm sure making those small changes wouldn't be the end of the world.

Another thing I don't like about Vendetta is there's no aoe component. It's great single target ability, but when dealing with a large trash pull it's not going to amount to much of anything. If you look at combat you'll see that every single one of their cooldowns is useful in both situations. I realize that Vendetta is not alone in this, and that there are other 51 point talents that are ineffectual against multiple targets, but it kind of sucks that Vendetta just doesn't measure up to the older rogue cooldowns in terms of aoe devastation.

PvP implications

In pvp I see this just being one of those abilities: really fun when you use it, but it's going to be a bitch when it's used against you. You can use it after when you're stunlocking another rogue so if he tries to vanish away you'll still be able to see him. Assuming you can use it in stealth you could spam it with your sap macro so if you catch sight of the opposing rogue once you'll be able to see him for the next 30 seconds. There's a lot that you can do with it. I've heard some mages saying "oh noes our Invisibility", but honestly the #1 use of invisibility, which is disappearing at the beginning of an arena match, is still safe. When the gates open enemy players are way out of Vendetta's range.

So assassination rogues are definitely going to be a difficult matchup for other rogues, especially if they're not assassination. It basically nullifies stealth for 30 seconds. In arenas if you get knocked out of stealth somehow and the opposing team has an assassination rogue, you're pretty much screwed if he gets Vendetta on you. Somehow I doubt vanish will be able to clear Vendetta off, but if it does then the ability will be somewhat less desirable in pvp. I'm sorry mages, but nullifying your invisibility isn't that important to me, but nullifying vanish would be a great perk.


All in all I'm very glad that assassination finally got a cooldown! Now when the raid leader says "burn the boss, pop all your cooldowns!" I'll have a button to press. No not those buttons! A real honest-to-God cooldown. I'm also excited to to have our own version of avenging wrath for pvp. I just wish the effect was condensed somewhat, because I foresee a lot of situations where you either won't need the full 30 seconds or you get forced off your target early. I think there's a reason that most other cooldowns don't last more than 15 or 20 seconds, because if they were any longer it's difficult to use them to full effect.

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