The upcoming Neverwinter Heart of Fire update comes with a full balancing pass that affects all classes to some extent. We’ll be going over all relevant aspects and tackle the most important points related to the current meta and builds within our extensive preview series. Wrapping off the balance changes with the Trickster Rogue is no coincidence. The little stabbers receive the most extensive rework in Module 15, and the most extensive nerf. Crawling through the feedback thread and understanding the changes took some time, especially since it’s one of the classes I do not actively main or alt at the moment.
That’s why I won’t detail everything, it’s simply too much. This write-up will more cover the purpose and intention of the changes and how it will affect TR gameplay in general. You also shouldn’t expect specific advise how to build a Mod 15 Rogue in this article. There are better places to get this kind of information, like the TR Discord for example that features many major theorycrafters of the class.
As you might already have figured from the first paragraphs, the future of Trickster Rogues doesn’t look too bright. Some favorable changes in Mod 14 bumped the class into the first DPS tier of the current meta, maybe even made them the top damage dealers. But the devs decided that one mod of glory is enough for our assassins and terminated them. And to be clear, it is indeed a designed nerf. It’s not like the devs tried to tweak a few powers and accidentally trapped the class. Noworries made it fairly clear in the feedback thread that they felt TRs were overperforming.
So what did change that shocked a large portion of the playerbase? Currently DPS builds of Trickster Rogues rely on power stacking, which synergizes pretty well within the current buff meta and other power-sharing classes. And pretty much all major abilities that made these builds work got nerfed, most namely Courage Breaker (no longer increasing power), Whirlwind of Blades (no longer increasing power), Press the Advantage (guess what, no longer increasing power). Add a nerf to Shadow of Demise, which now only deals 50% (down from 75%) of the damage done to the target during its duration, and it’s clear why the rage is real in the official feedback thread. Some reports from preview talk about a 40-50% loss of DPS. Even if factoring in the usual hyperbole, there’s no doubt that you won’t see the same orange numbers as in Module 14.
There are some other changes (to At-Wills or Smoke Bomb for example) that may or may not affect you depending on what you were using, but the stuff above is what Rogues mostly complain about. Even if you take into consideration that the current balancing pass is a two-step process ranging into Mod 16, there was no specific need to completely penalize DPS TRs this way.
PVP Rogues report back from preview with a DPS loss as well. But what those builds might affect even more is some changes to their controlling and utility powers.
- Stealth (PVP): Trickster Rogues will now be visible to opponents when they deal damage from stealth. Powers that do not remove stealth will not reveal the rogue and damage over time effects, such as smoke bomb and path of the blade, will not remove stealth.This only occurs while in a PVP mode.
- Smoke Bomb: Stealth: No longer slows enemies
- Impossible to Catch: Base duration increased to 4 seconds (up from 2)
- Impossible to Catch: Buff duration no longer increases at each rank
- Courage Breaker: Now slows the target by 70% (down from 90%)
That being said, PVP TRs should still be fine, but their survivability and ability to control opponents took a hit. I’m fairly sure I missed some important changes regarding PVP by the way. So feel free to add them and their impact in the comments below.
What’s Next for Rogues?
So what’s next for Rogues? First and foremost, there are some positive changes as well. All Feat and Paragon Paths move closer together and make more play styles viable. Unfortunately the “buffs” to Scoundrel or Saboteur are largely due to the nerf to the current Executioner builds. But theoretically the balance across different builds should be a little better. Also while players mourn the loss of their precious DPS, the first endgame players have already one-phased Orcus on preview. So it’s not like the class now hits like a wet noodle, but they definitely took a hit in the meta charts.
What’s definitely true is that theorycrafters need to clear their whiteboard and get to work again. All builds will need a rework of some sort and maybe the excitement of retooling builds is the one thing Rogues can look forward to. Other than that it could become a long wait until the next set of changes in Module 16.
What’s your take on Trickster Rogues? Will you retire your stabber (for now) or am I too pessimistic about the changes? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit our message board!
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