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 talk about the upcoming Vanish fix that is currently on the PTR, and how it stacks up to the hype. From our mouthsto Ghostcrawler's ears: we have finally seen the fruits of our continued patience. GC responded to a thread calling for Vanish's swift repair, indicating that there was a change in the works for patch 3.3. This is even earlier than I had hoped we would see it, as I had resigned myself to expecting a fix in Cataclysm via some new mechanical change. The PTR notes indicate that we should have a 1-second immunity to being brought out of stealth after Vanishing.
This seems like the ultimate fix and one that's been brought up several times before. It prevents nearly any random effect from removing stealth from us, while still giving our opponents a chance to remove us from the shadows if they act quickly. The question is whether or not these mechanics are working properly, and if we have gained any additional survivability from this fix. I hopped onto the PTR, and with my trust rogue and paladin, I tested the mechanic in full. Read on for the gritty details. Edit: Since this article appeared, the patch notes were edited to reflect a 0.5 second immunity, which coincides with the results seen here.
I recommend viewing the video on YouTube in high-definition, it should allow you to read the combat log. I've posted snips of it here for easy reading as well. Also, please forgive the UI, I downloaded the PTR about 5 minutes before I started taping. I attempted to test Vanish in nearly every environment in which I've seen it fail before. These categories are:
When I'm standing in AoE
When there's a ranged projectile headed my way
When I'm being auto attacked
When I'm auto attacking
When I'm in the middle of PvP combat
Standing in AoE (Consecration):
Those cursed paladins and their Consecration: it has been my bane in PvP for quite some time. Death Knights also have Death and Decay which wreaks similar havoc on our precious Vanish. While testing, I attempted to Vanish out of Consecration several times. It seems like Vanish is not giving us a full second of immunity to being brought out of stealth, but rather, only until the next second occurs. That is, if we Vanish just one millisecond away from 5:10, we will be brought out of stealth immediately at 5:10.
I enter Stealth + Vanish at 18:04:53, yet take damage at the exact same instant from Consecration. This then causes me to be removed from stealth a second later, at 18:04:54, when I take damage from a DoT on me as well. I also take Consecration damage in the 18:04:54 second, meaning that I didn't avoid ANY of the Consecration damage when using Vanish.
Incoming projectiles (Avenger's Shield): I managed to dodge both incoming Avenger's Shields, and even reflected one back! I tested this three or four times, and I was able to absorb every Avenger's Shield successfully at a variety of distances. I attempted to Vanish out of a few Hammer of Wraths as well, but with an interesting result. I always took damage from the Hammer, but it also failed to bring me out of stealth. This occurred on three separate instances, back to back to back. I'm not sure what the difference between the spells could be, but I am certain neither will be causing us to reappear.
Incoming auto attacks:
I successfully dodged several incoming auto attacks, waiting for my opponents AA animation to start before I vanished. This seems to be resolved, although I didn't get to test it against a Hunter pet. They're notorious for auto attacking us out of Vanish, and so it remains to be seen what effect they'll have on its new and improved version.
Outgoing auto attacks:
I also was able to successfully use "regular" Vanish without macro'ing it to Vanish and automatically stop attacking. I tried this several times with a variety of haste, poison usage, and positioning: it worked every time. It looks like we'll be able to take /stopattack out of our Vanish macros and use the spell straight from the book again. This will be great for newer player who previously would've never thought that one's own attacks would cause Vanish to fail.
PvP is a potpourri of mechanics: auto attacks in both directions, special abilities, AoE spells being thrown around. I attempted to 1v1 my paladin while Consecration was on the ground, and saw some interesting results from Vanish. I vanished at 18:19:20, but took damage again from Consecrate in the same second. The next second, 18:19:21, I faded from stealth and took more Consecration damage. I didn't avoid a single tick of the Consecration, and my time in stealth was minimal to say the best (I was even running away).
Conclusion: EDIT: I'm fine with taking damage from all effects, DoTs, etc. I'm just saying that we are clearly being "hit" while in Stealth, and this is what I am surmising that brings us back out of stealth. My understanding was that if we we're hit in the first second, we would STAY in stealth 5 seconds later. What I'm seeing is that if we're hit in the first second, we are exposed at second two regardless of what happens. It's not protecting your stealth at all. If I were hit at second two, I would be fine with removing stealth. What happens now is that Vanish will ALWAYS fail after 1 second, instead of at least giving us 1 second of "stealth removal immunity" but not "damage immunity". I was hoping we had a full 1 second window where no attack would bring us out of stealth: at that moment, or a second later. What happens now is that if we're hit in the first second, stealth WILL be removed when the next second ticks.
The fact that Vanish is still routinely failing in the presence of any DoT or AoE effect is disheartening. I was hoping to at least have a second to run away from our opponent, to collect ourselves and stealth away. Instead, unless we're in all but the most barebones of auto attacking battles, the Vanish fix amounts to nothing more than a dream. Here's to hoping that Ghostcrawler and the other devs continue to work on Vanish on the PTR to achieve a state of the spell that actually allows us to escape from our victims without fear of failure. We've waited a long time for this day to come, and so let's make sure that Vanish is 'finished' before this patch is done.