since the new 6.0 Alpha notes are released, i think many of you got the news that Backstab's positional requirements are getting loosened a little, but not removed entirely.
I had a pretty nice conversation about this over at twitter with some well-known representatives of our craft, @Fierydemise and @Haileaus.
(for people which want to read the whole convo, it starts off here https://twitter.com/teh_Copperbolt/s...36355783376896)
It offers no tangible reward for the player to offset the disadvantage.
That is, in my opinion, the biggest problem with a limited ability like this. Backstab delivers exactly the most basic, core functionality you might expect: it costs energy, it deals direct damage, and builds a combo point. That's it. There is no interaction with any passive or active ability. I don't think that is enough to justify a binary drawback like attacking from behind: you either can cast BS, or you can't. There is no possible differentiation between the two. Which lead's to my second point-
You often have no opportunity of bypassing this limitation on your own.
There's three scenarios where BS often leads to frustration:
- Encounter Design
- Tank Movement
The first is the most apparent: when you have a Bossfight or mechanic which forces you to stay in front of the boss,
you can't use your core ability.
The second is situational: your Tank is a independent entity which doesn't care for you stabbing shennanigans. It moves out of bad, it tries to catch adds, etc. The boss usually follows those (sometimes quite spastic) movements.
It even gets more exciting since there are TWO meatshields!
The third one may sound weird (from a raiding PoV) but actually, you "face" mobs a whole lot of time.
It's called soloing. Quests, old Raids, you name it.
The proposed change for 6.0 only will alleviate most scenarios of the category "Tank goes wild".
You have Hemo for Face Stabbing, right?
There comes two problems with that idea:
First, it removes the need to monitor Hemorrhage's bleed entirely: one of the stated goals of the Subtlety Spec is indeed micro-managing our debuffs.(can't find the specific tweet from celestalon atm) This contradiction is quite obvious, so lets not dwell on it.
Even more problematic i think is the impact on our pacing when spamming Hemo. It's cheaper, which means it speeds up our rotation. So...you're first making me feel bad for standing in front (its suboptimal), then..i..what... - A ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS.
It's not coherent with the Spec Design overall. (Fun Fact: The damage disparity between Hemo and BS has never been higher as in MoP)
Requirement vs. Advantage
Let's take a look at Blackout Kick from Windwalker Monks. It differs from Backstab in the sense that it's a "spender" not a "builder", but it has two bonus effects affected by our position: in front, it heals the player. Hitting the back applies a short DoT for 20% additional damage. So basically, BoK achieves the same effect as BS, but doesn't so via an artificial barrier. This gives us three advantages:
- The additional damage is exactly that: it can be fine-tuned, seperatly, from the base attack without impacting gameplay too much.
- Perception: we (as humans) always interpret things more positively when we get rewarded for doing stuff right.
BoK has no inherit drawback besides its Cost.
- Modification. A barrier is pretty hard to modify, it's static.
The 6.0 change illustrates this pretty well: the barrier will be smaller, but it still is one. Split components makes it easier to adapt,
for example via a Glyph or talents, or rebalancing.
System vs. Feel
Mathematically, this may not be improvement over the old Hemo-Spam. From an Effciency PoV, we trade suboptimal for suboptimal, which may confuse a few people, but that's ok. That is not the point of this post. My focus is on gameplay and fun-factor.
I feel that many players (and Blizzard included) like the base concept too much to let it go entirely, but I wish to reduce the hassle of a barrier affecting many situations ingame (making it unattractive in comparison) while maintaining the "fantasy".
I would love to see some effects or ideas you may have for a new, better and faster OMNISTAB!!!!1
Front: Increases your Movement-Speed by 30%. Doesn't stack. (For better Positioning, right? Maybe no front effect at all?
Back: Triggers "Master of Subtlety" for 3-5 Seconds. (yeah, ofc that would need rebalancing. but hey, just roll with it for now!)
From @TikariofET Front: Backstab renews the duration of Feint by X.
no tl;dr. sowy.