At the end of every expansion cycle there is invariably some discussion about which class did best in this most recent set of changes. The big problem with these discussions is everyone wants to play the aggrieved party and discount what they got and emphasize what they didn’t. This isn’t to say that most patch cycles are even for everyone, most patches have winners and losers but examining things after the fact often leaves important information out.
The goal of this post is to define a set of rogue changes in general terms that I would like to see in Warlords. I don’t expect to get everything on the list below, that would be incredibly optimistic nor am I entirely sure what would constitute a good beta for rogues but I think this is useful exercise. Additionally having potential areas for improvement spelled out in advance should be useful to refer back to as beta progresses. These lists are in a rough order of importance and in general from a progression raider perspective. Unlike my other wishlisting posts this post doesn’t propose much in the way of solutions simply areas that I would to see addressed.
- Fix Tricks. I’ve talked about the problem with tricks at length previously, to briefly summarize, tricks is a purely mechanical button press that doesn’t add complexity to the class and provides limited at best utility.
- Vanish should not be a dps cooldown. For combat and assassination vanish is a relatively uninteresting dps cooldown, a free ability every 2 minutes doesn’t add a lot of complexity on when to use nor is it particularly powerful. For subtlety vanish nicely fits into the find weakness toolkit and does add some interesting complexity. If vanish is going to remain a relatively dps cooldown for subtlety however subtlety rogues may need a spec specific threat drop.
- Expose Armor’s current implementation for rogues (and to a lesser extent warriors) feels outdated. The changes to the armor debuff allowing everyone to share in the buff upkeep were a step in the right direction but the cost difference between rogues and dps warriors vs druids is substantial and seems out of place compared to most other debuffs. At the very least the current functionality of the expose armor glyph should be baselined and perhaps a passive upkeep glyph like the warrior glyph of colossus smash should be added in its place.
- Combo points on the rogue. Unlike many other rogues I don’t see this as a high priority change, the 5.4 glyph of redirect solves most of the problems that combo points on the rogue would solve however I certainly wouldn’t be against this change.
Talents and Glyphs:
- Anticipation is too desirable. Haileaus made a very nice post about anticipation yesterday which is nicely describes the issue. I don’t agree with his proposed solutions but his description of the problem is very good. Briefly the problem is, anticipation is in practice pretty comparable to marked for death in raw dps yet it is rarely taken. Anticipation, in addition to being a dps increase is powerful quality of life talent and adds a number of interesting mechanics to rogue PvE.
- Add a PvE option to T30 and T75. It’s pretty clear at this point that Blizzard doesn’t have a problem with talents that are situational however rogue T30 and T75 go beyond that. If a raiding rogue didn’t talent T30 or T75 at all there would be few fights this expansion where the absence was noticeable. T30 or T75 don’t need to offer a strong choice for every fight but an option that is more noticeable than the current options would be nice.
- Fix the dead talents. Each talent tier has a dead talent which doesn’t see a lot of use in either PvE or PvP. Some of these talents are a good idea but need changes to be more competitive, others should probably just be replaced.
- Nightstalker- Solid leveling talent, simply removing the dps benefit of T15 and make the tier entirely utility focused would make nightstalker more desirable.
- Deadly Throw- Minimal use in any aspect of the game, probably needs to be replaced.
- Leeching Poison- Solid leveling talent and situational PvE talent, increasing the power of the talent and removing some of its limitations (allow it to proc off all damage) would make it more competitive.
- Cloak and Dagger- Can’t really compete with the other options on the tier and unclear how to fix. Might make a good T15 talent since it is stealth related and would be useful for leveling, an improved sprint talent of some sort would make a strong replacement.
- Dirty Tricks- Simply not competitive with the other options on the tier and unclear how to make it more competitive, CC energy costs are low enough to rarely be limiting.
- Shuriken Toss- Doesn’t offer much for serious play and since a level 90 talent of limited use for leveling. Unclear if a limited ranged toolkit is important enough to have 2 of 21 talents devoted to it.
- DPS increasing glyphs. For subtlety needing to glyph to have reasonable target swapping capabilities seems unnecessarily punitive. For assassination the vendetta glyph is a boring dps increase that doesn’t add much to the class.
- Add rotational complexity. Assassination has one of the easiest rotations in the game, and unlike a number of other rotations that provide areas for optimization, assassination provides distressingly few.
- Make vendetta more interesting. Vendetta is a boring cooldown that doesn’t add much to the assassination kit other than simply being a cooldown. A more interesting cooldown that changes the rotation in some way like adrenaline rush for combat or shadow dance for subtlety would be an improvement. Additionally having vendetta tied to a single target for the full 20-30 second duration seems outdated in today’s raid environment.
- Restless Blades and Adrenaline Rush+Shadow Blades. The combination of these 3 abilities creates a number of problems for combat as a spec, feast or famine energy regen and limited optimization potential in particular. A change to reduce the power of one or both of these mechanics is very important to avoid some of the issues we ran into with combat this expansion.
- Bandit’s Guile is a boring mechanic. Bandit’s Guile is a frustrating mechanic, completely uncontrollable and with a non-trivial impact on combat dps. As combat you don’t really interact with bandit’s guile in any way, you are happy if it lines up with what you are trying to do and not so happy if it doesn’t but the mechanic adds very little decision making to the spec. A change to increase the interactivity of the mechanic would make combat a more interesting spec.
- Remove positional requirements. Positional requirements are a liability without any sort of counterbalancing bonus in today’s raiding environment and should be removed. Blizzard has already announced that positional requirements will be going away but leaving it off the list because they announced it well in advance of the big info dump would be fair.
- Stronger and more interesting AoE rotation. Obviously all specs should not have the same strengths and weaknesses, subtlety doesn’t need an AoE toolkit as strong as combat’s however its current AoE is far too weak. This issue could be solved by simply buffing fan of knives and crimson tempest but this wouldn’t solve the other problem with subtlety AoE. The subtlety AoE rotation seems oddly disconnected from the single target rotation, whereas both combat and assassination can use their single target toolkit to support AoE and vice versa subtlety’s rotation doesn’t have a lot in common.
That about covers it, there are minor mechanical tweaks here and there that fall into the category of “would be nice” but they aren’t particularly big changes and may be fixed by other mechanical changes. Also no talking about button bloat because other than saying “please don’t cut X” or “please cut Y” there isn’t a lot to say until we have more information. Depending on how much information we get in the first wave of info dumps I may continue the more solutions focused Wishlisting Posts. If we do get a large amount of information in this first info dump then I plan to jump right in and start talking about the WoD changes.