In this thread, dearest scalawags, I'll be compiling an overview of the most noteworthy changes to the rogue class that have already taken place in Patch 5.0.4 or are on tap for the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion. Virtually all of the changes summarized in the next few posts went live with Patch 5.0.4 on Aug. 28.
I'll be using "Mists" and "Patch 5.0.4" interchangeably in this thread, though technically that's not accurate (Mists doesn't launch until Sep. 25). Sorry for any confusion. You'll be OK!
Sprint (ha!) to a specific topic:
- The Big Picture: look down
- Talent/Ability System Redesigned: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4044506920#2
- Poisons Redesigned: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4044506920#3
- Other Major Changes: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4044506920#4
- Smaller-But-Noteworthy Changes: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4044506920#5
- Blue Posts and Analysis: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4044506920#6
==The Big Picture==
- According to Blizzard's in-house testing and calculations, *almost all* classes/specs are within about 2% of one another in terms of DPS potential at level 90 (although, obviously, numbers are going to vary widely on a fight-to-fight basis depending on how a certain boss fight works. As recently as Aug. 22, though, CM Crithto acknowledged that Subtlety DPS wasn't yet as close to that 2% threshold as they'd like it to be.
- We don't know yet which of the three specs will do the most DPS, but as the note above suggests, on paper all three are likely to end up very close to one another. Which means that, unless you're doing competitive/progression raiding, extreme soloing or some other type of challenging PvE, you will likely be totally fine using any spec.
- Just as it did in Cataclysm, simple logic will often dictate the best spec to use in a given PvE boss fight. If it's important for you to attack two targets at once, Combat will be best. Assassination still looks like it'll be strongest for AoE damage. And Subtlety, despite talents like Shadowstep becoming available to all specs, still may be our best choice for fights that involve a lot of movement.
- Rogues appear to be spending the most time "waiting" while DPSing. In other words, during a boss fight, we tend to spend more time than other classes literally not pushing any buttons, usually because we're busy screaming at our energy bar to regenerate faster. It's normal for melee DPS to wait longer than ranged DPS (due to mobility issues), but for rogues -- especially Assassination rogues -- it currently appears a little worse in Mists than it had before, with "wait" times nearing or passing 40% of a "tank-and-spank" boss fight.
How are rogues looking in Mists, both as a PvE class and a PvP class?
The answer, as of Aug. 29, is: We still don't know yet. We likely won't begin to get a *true* sense for how things shake out until October, when Mists has fully launched, raiders start raiding and the new PvP season begins. Until then, there are still a whole lot more assumptions, conjecture, bad math, mistaken theorycrafting and poor logic flying around on the Warcrafty Interwebs than there is worthwhile information regarding how rogues will perform in the new expansion. So if you come across anyone who claims they know without a doubt which spec or class will suck or be OP in Mists, they still don't know what the heck they're talking about.
As for how things currently are at level 85 since Patch 5.0.4 was released: We don't exactly know how that's shaking out, either. Our brightest roguey number-crunching minds are mostly focused on what we'll be doing at level 90 in Mists, not what we'll be doing at level 85 during the strange, month-long limbo period between Patch 5.0.4 and the official launch of Mists. Anecdotal evidence so far seems to suggest that some people are convinced we absolutely suck now, while others think we're doing better than ever. So that probably means that we're doing just fine.
Of the few things we *do* know at the moment regarding class balance in Mists, here's what's relevant for rogues:
With that out of the way, let's get to some of the most significant changes on the horizon for our class!