Rogues have a long history of learning to adapt. We've discovered new, exciting ways to play our class throughout the history of WoW, we've broken ourselves again and again -- and when we were deemed overpowered and readjusted, we've always managed to find another potent playstyle.
Brothers and Sisters, that time is once again on the horizon.
In Mists of Pandarea, talents are being redesigned. This is all fine and good. However, we're faced with a shattering decision. Preparation - a version buffed from its current state - is directly competing with Shadowstep. We can't get both, and this is causing most people to panic.
Yes, it's a tough decision -- IF you're planning on trying to play the same way as you are now. You know, Shadowdance Subtlety. The only truly viable PvP spec.
But wait. Look to our past. At certain times, every single Rogue talent tree has been "the" PvP spec. Simply because Sub is our best now doesn't mean it has to be in MOP. I'm here today to show you my plans for the new PvP spec, because I believe Assassination is finally coming back -- in force.
This would be a dueling spec. I would change a few things about it for arenas, but that's not important right now. What's important is that I chose Preparation over Shadowstep.
Prep over Shadowstep? But how will be survive? Our mobility...
Yes, our mobility won't be as good as it is now. However, we need to recognize and take advantage of the fact that we now have ranged capabilities.
Shuriken Toss is 20 energy and has the same base damage of FoK. It also adds a Combo Point. Go test FoK. Hits pretty hard, but doesn't give a CP and costs 35 energy. Now cut the energy cost nearly in half, and make it add a CP.
See where I'm going? Shuriken Toss is a powerful tool to use at range. It keeps a steady stream of damage going even as we're being kited. But here is where things get silly. Shuriken Toss is 20 energy for one CP. If it crits, that's 2 CP for 20 energy.
1 CP = 10 energy. Grats, that's the lowest CP/Energy ability in the whole game. And it has a 20 yard range.
Now consider this: all interrupts (kick included) are on a 15 second cooldown now. Except Deadly Throw -- which now has no minimum range. Yes, it's a 5 combo point Kick, but hey, if you're swimming in CP due to Shuriken Toss, it's to your benefit to interrupt that heal, that Mind Blast, that Cyclone. And keep in mind, this is all taking place UP TO THIRTY YARDS AWAY.
Considering our ranged capabilities, mobility isn't quite as important as it is currently. Yes, mobility always has been and always will be important, but the value has gone down. In exchange for Shadowstep we get Preparation. Prep and ranged capabilities? Yes, please.
So why Assassination? Why not Sub? Well, it's really up to you but allow me to explain my reasoning. Assassination loves DOTs. Garrote, Rupture, Deadly Poison, Venomous Wounds... and none of these things rely on distance. They're still doing their thing while you're being kited. So you open, apply your dots, and stick to your target. If they manage to blow some cooldowns and kite, you have three options:
1) Blow a CD of your own
2) Begin your ranged attack
Basically, Assassination is the spec that cares the least about being kited, yet has the energy regen from Venomous Wounds to spam Shuriken and Deadly Throw regularly. Dirty Tricks ensures that Blind is a legitimate option. A 15 yd ranged anti-kiting tool, a restealth, a full energy bar + gouge is a free 40 energy and another pseudo-interrupt. Vendetta + Shadowblades for your finisher. Better than Subtlety against heavy armor.
TLDR: Rogues now have powerful ranged attacks. When paired with Assassination DOTs and playstyle, plus a buffed version of Prep, I think Rogues will be fine. Not only that, I think this general playstyle will be the PvP spec of choice for Q4 2012 and beyond.