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I've been thinking a lot about rogues in PvP lately, specifically I've been thinking about the sub rogue playstyle. Rogues have always been known for control and being squishy but slippery. Sometimes rogues have great burst, other times its decent - and rogues have been lacking in sustained damage for quite some time (except mutilate, which has high sustained yet weaker burst potential and fewer true burst windows). It's hard to say exactly which direction blizz would go if they were to buff rogues but I've seen/heard/thought of some interesting solutions to any number of areas that could promote the same overall feel of rogues without leaving them too lacking overall.
However, I also believe that there are a few major flaws in the rogue playstyle: running and hiding outside of CDs, low margin for error, and overall clunkiness.
First, outside of shadowdance/shadowblades rogues are too heavily incentivized to run, hide, And restealth while waiting for cooldowns. There are two main reasons for this:
Pressure is nonexistent; Rogues lack the sustained damage and/or mobility to make it worth being out in the open. If rogues had higher sustained damage, or better mobility it'd incentivize being out damaging/controlling the fight more instead of hiding behind a pillar fishing for restealths while your team is left in a 2v3.
The second reason, which ties into another design flaw, is that being out in the open - even if the damage or mobility got better - is too risky. The amount of damage rogues take out in the open is insane; rogues are often trained because its easy to force rogue defensive cooldowns - and once you've taken their trinket they're one of the easiest classes to kill in a stun. The risk/reward of popping your head out is just totally out of whack. And it makes the class sometimes frustrating to play because there's so little margin for error because of it.
Lastly, I'd like to talk about the overall clunkiness. Subtelty rogues need SnD & rupture to optimize damage, and recuperate & feint (talented) are both needed for what little damage mitigation rogues get. Making a choice isn't necessarily a bad thing but because sustained damage AND survivability are so poor you're making a choice between bad and less bad. And everyone knows it feels better when we're rewarded. I actually prefer that feint/recuperate remain as reactive abilities that sacrifice damage - but losing one or both of your offensive buffs not only weakens sustained damage but forces the reapplication of the buffs and that's where it feels clunky.
So I've got a few ideas, and some of them aren't original - but I'm just spitballing here. There are any number of whys rogues could be changed for the better, and I don't pretend to know which way is best.
Allow hemo bleed to activate sanguinary veins
This accomplishes a few goals: first, the spec becomes less clunky - rupture is less required allowing more eviscerates or recuperates. Allowing more situational flexibility with finisher choices (eviscerate if target is low, rupture if not, recuperate if you're being focused) than otherwise - and because you don't lose your buff when you lose rupture, there's less of a damage penalty and thusly better overall sustained damage. shouldn't there be more room for those kinds of choices in PvP? Being locked into a pve-like SnD & rupture rotation just isn't fun in a PvP setting.
These abilities hit like wet noodles. Indeed, buffing these abilities is ideal considering that doing so doesn't effect shadowdance burst (because hemo and backstab aren't used during dance, ofc) nor does it effect other specs.
There are tons of ideas out there focusing on buffing shadowstep. Making it have 2 charges, allowing it to break roots, allowing it to be used in roots, lowering the cooldown, etc. the bottom line here is that shadowstep isn't very good compared to the tools other classes have at their disposal and rogue mobility is poor overall. More mobility would mean more damage (because the rogue would be on target longer) and further incentivizes the rogue to participate in the fight instead of hiding behind a pillar.
Buff cloak and dagger
Really, the mobility section is mostly about the mobility talent teir and that effects all rogues, not just sub. - but they all need attention here.
cloak and dagger can be buffed without it being 5.3 style OP. if Cheap shot and Garrote got put on a 3-5 second CD whenever this talent is chosen you could still jump from one person to another but you couldn't control all three enemies with CS/garrote. You could, however, stun one target and garrote another (and doing so lessens your dance burst, so there's a meaningful choice between burst and control without either being too extreme on either end). This would also bring back the cool teleporting during ambush spam which wasn't the OP part of the talent anyway. Alternatively, you could make cloak and dagger only effect ambush during dance and it would limit the rogue to controlling only one target.
Burst of speed
Root break? Longer duration? Idk. This talent needs to be better, though.
Snare suppression? Root break? CD reducing mechanic (when hit, rooted)? Sprint is probably The weakest "major" rogue cooldown IMO. That alone makes this ability ripe for much needed buffs.
Cheat death fix, buff and/or making it baseline
Cheat death is one of those really rogue-ish abilities that really adds to the slipperiness aspect of the rogue class. If it worked more reliably, it would likely be worth speccing into again. Cheat death is already there, and could help tremendously with that whole "easiest class to kill in stuns" thing.
And what about a vanish component to it? Imagine that when cheat death procs the rogue just disappears (breaking the stun/CC and allowing the rogue a get out of jail free card)... It could have a longer debuff to make it only happen once every 2-3 minutes, but it would be a cool ability nonetheless and keeps with the theme of slipperiness over tankiness.
Either way, cheat death needs to be more reliable. It could even be made baseline if kept as-is and another activated ( or even a proc!) talent added in its place for survivability. Maybe even a CD reduction mechanic on defensive cooldowns like evasion, combat readiness or vanish lower cooldowns when the rogue is trained. It could be: "every time you are critically hit the cooldown of <ability> is reduced by X seconds". Idk. Like I said, spitballing.
I've got one last idea, maybe for a talent, but it seems like it would be too powerful (although itd be fun!). Allow for a proc for extra restealths during combat. It could be when the rogue goes below X HP or it could be a proc chance off of gouging or something along those lines. But if blizz wants rogues to stealth more this could be an interesting mechanic... Sure beats pillar humping for half a match.
And obviously I don't expect all of these changes to go through at once... Just looking to start a conversation about the class.
Edited by Volcker on 6/20/2013 3:23 PM PDT
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