Rogues in the Mists: Pandaria Class Changes

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[UPDATED 8/29 with some adjusted resource links and an updated "how are we looking?" section.]

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==

      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:
      • 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.

            With that out of the way, let's get to some of the most significant changes on the horizon for our class!
==Talent/Ability System Redesigned==

  • Rogues, along with each other class, will have a single talent tree (instead of three). Every 15 levels, you’ll unlock a new “tier” of three new similar talents (e.g., three DPS talents, three mobility talents, etc.), of which you can pick one. All specs will have the same choice of talents. You'll be able to swap talents sort of like glyphs.

    • There will no longer be multi-point talents (e.g., you won’t have to put two points into Nightstalker to get its full benefits anymore), nor will there be prerequisite talents (e.g., you won’t have to have Cold Blood in order to “unlock” Seal Fate). Every talent stands on its own and will be fully available once you select it.

      • You'll still have three specs to choose from; you make that choice at level 10, just like you do now. Your spec choice will determine which additional spec-specific abilities unlock for you as you level.

        • In addition to the new talent "tiers" and spec-specific abilities, you'll also get classwide abilities as you level.

          • There is an official rogue talent calculator that outlines every talent and ability you can get in each spec, along with what level you can get them:!

            • Wowhead has a nice, straightforward rundown of rogue class and spec abilities here:

              • Icy Veins has a set of more detailed overviews (one for each spec) that includes recommended PvE rotations at max level (though these shouldn't be considered set in stone; they're based on educated guesses about the value of certain abilities, so they might change).
==Poisons Redesigned==

  • We'll no longer have to buy poisons and store them in our bags. Instead, they'll be spells that we learn as we level. We'll still have to reapply poisons every hour, though.

  • Poisons will come in one of two types: "lethal," our damage poisons (Deadly and a combined Instant/Wound), and "non-lethal," our utility poisons (Crippling, Leeching, Mind-Numbing, Paralytic). We'll only be able to use one damage poison *and* one utility poison at a time; each poison will be applied to *both* weapons.

  • Spell hit will no longer matter for rogues; we'll only need to reach the melee hit cap (which will be 7.5% against bosses), since poisons will work off melee hit chance.

  • When a damaging poison crits, the damage will be 200%, up from 150%. (This will apply to Envenom as well.)

  • Deadly Poison no longer stacks. Instead, it has a % chance to apply a 12-second DoT. Once the DoT is applied, each subsequent poison application deals the same amount of damage as Instant Poison. It's uncertain from the tooltip whether subsequent poison applications also refresh the DoT. (Poison mechanic nerds: DP also appears to be changing into a PPM poison, which would spell the end of PPH poisons in WoW.)

  • The Shiv ability has been redesigned to enhance the effects of all non-lethal poisons in addition to its traditional enrage-dispelling effect. (It's also on a 10-second cooldown.) Details on the poison thing here:

  • Envenom no longer consumes your poison stacks (since Deadly Poison doesn't stack anymore), and in fact doesn't require that any specific poison be on your weapons. It's now much more similar to Eviscerate, except it deals poison damage instead of melee damage and still briefly increases your chances of applying poisons. (This isn't official, but appears to be the way it works in the beta.)
==Other Major Changes==

  • The days of 1.4-speed daggers are at an end. There will be no new 1.4-speed daggers introduced in Mists. Assassination and non-Hemo-build Subtlety rogues will probably wield dual 1.8-speed daggers, while Combat rogues couple a 2.6-speed weapon in the mainhand with a 1.8-speed dagger in the offhand.

    • Thanks to the removal of 1.4-speed daggers, the poison changes and some adjustments to the way the Combat Potency talent works, 2.6-speed off-hand weapons are almost as good for Combat rogues as 1.8-speed daggers. Exactly *how* close they are, we don't yet know (stay tuned as our best theorycrafters figure this out), but Blizzard's intent is for slow weapons to be close enough to off-hand daggers that they'll be an acceptable alternative unless you're really trying to min/max your character.

      • Ranged slots are being eliminated. We'll still be able to equip ranged weapons in our regular weapon slots (for looks), but you probably won't want to go into combat that way. (We'll still have ranged abilities such as Throw, Deadly Throw and the new Shuriken Toss, but their damage will be calculated differently.)

        • Glyph changes: We have a few "new" ones, a few old ones have been "removed," and changes have been made to several of our existing ones. Those wacky quote marks around "new" and "removed" are because, technically, the new glyphs are simply replacing the old glyphs within the game -- for instance, what was a Glyph of Mutilate in the last expansion will now show up as a Glyph of Disguise. For more info, see this quick overview from WoW Insider:

          • Rogues are one of the playable classes for the new Pandaren race (read: PANDA NINJAS). One of the Pandaren racials is 50% reduced fall damage, which will sync up pretty awesomely with our existing fall damage reductions.

            • Thanks to the monk class, many more fist weapons will be introduced into the game.

              • The monk class will be leather-wearing and will include a melee DPS spec, so expect more competition for gear (and, potentially, raid slots as well).
==Smaller-But-Noteworthy Changes==

  • Feint no longer requires a target (i.e., you can use it anywhere, anytime).

    • You can Shadowstep (almost) anything you can target, not just enemy players. One tester said it appears that any target that a person could cast a buff spell on can be Shadowstepped, which includes friendly players, pets and many NPCs.

      • Bandit's Guile (Combat) now stacks on the rogue. In addition, it only affects our Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike damage -- not our finishers. Taken together, these changes should make ramp-up a lot less painful for Combat rogues.

        • In addition to the new level-90 talent Shuriken Toss, we're getting a couple of new/enhanced AoE attacks for all specs. Casting Fan of Knives now generates a combo point on your current target. And a new finishing ability, Crimson Tempest (available at level 83), deals damage and puts a damage-over-time bleed effect on all enemies within 8 yards.

          • In addition to a large number of glyph changes, including some major overhauls, we're gaining a whole bunch of really fun minor glyphs (as are all other classes); (The Glyph of Detection tooltip is vague, but it means that you see the old "swirly ball" animation when you Detect Traps; here's a video of the glyph in action from Madsushi@Azgalor: )
==Blue Posts and Analysis==

The Horses' Mouths

          Blizzard Community Managers and developers have been super-active in communicating with forum denizens about the upcoming changes to our class. Here are some of the most noteworthy rogue-related Blizz posts and threads.

          • The Loss of Stats in Mists, Especially Haste/Crit, "Are So Low as to Be Unfun" (Ghostcrawler, 6/22/12)

            • The Current State of Class Balance in Mists (Ghostcrawler, 6/20/12)
                    Analysis of GC's Comments on WoW Insider (Madsushi/Chase Christian)

              • Wide-Ranging, General Discussion on How Rogues Are Looking in the Beta (Ghostcrawler, 6/14/12)

                • Rogue Spec Homogenization, Play Speed, Passive Damage and PvP Talents (Ghostcrawler, 6/13/12)

                  • Assorted Rogue Questions Answered in the Beta Forums (Ghostcrawler, 5/10/12)

                    • Meet the New Shiv (Daxxarri, Feb 2012)

                      • Changes to Hit, Expertise, Resilience and Spell Resistance/Penetration (Ghostcrawler, 3/1/2012)

                        • Clarifications After the Unveiling of the February 2012 Talent Calculator Update (Kaivax)

                          • Dev Q+A 11/9/2011: Yes, They Really Want You to Choose Between Prep and Step

                            • Dev Q+A 10/27/2011: Poison, Ramp-Up, Guards & More

                    Analysis and Discussion

                            Here's a quick, almost certainly incomplete, list of active threads and discussion boards where some of the most constructive, informative talk about rogues in Mists is going down.

                            • Beta Classes Forum: "Assassination and Speed"

                              • Beta Classes Forum: "[Rogue] Highlighting Some Major Issues"

                                • Elitist Jerks Rogue Forum: "Mists of Pandaria: All Specs"
Are throwing weapons going away for good? I suppose there won't be any use for them by any class, but this means we'll be in a world without shuriken. RIP Sure-Fire Shuriken, et al.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen any explicit statement that the *weapons* are going away, just that the *slot* is. Whether they remove the soon-to-be-useless weapons from the game entirely or they just render them unequippable (and remove them from all existing loot tables), I ain't rightly sure.
...I'll miss not being able to flahs my Thori'dal in org shotting critters with blue glowing arrows. :(
Turn them into gray items with no stats for all I care...I wouldn't feel right without some shuriken in my inventory.
02/12/2012 09:12 PMPosted by Gyroscope
It'd go well with my Thieves' Tools. :)

Kiwe, I feel like we had a thread about this not long ago, but didn't some of those Wrath thrown weapons look craaaaazy when we popped Fan of Knives with one of them equipped?
No evidence to back this up, but I feel like the thrown weapons will go the way of hunter ammo, becoming useless vendor trash, but again, this is just a guess.
It'd go well with my Thieves' Tools. :)

Kiwe, I feel like we had a thread about this not long ago, but didn't some of those Wrath thrown weapons look craaaaazy when we popped Fan of Knives with one of them equipped?

Stolen Vrykul Harpoon was one of them I believe.
I'm pretty sure they'll still let us equip range weapons just it will be on our main slot ( Just like hunters will be able to equip melee weapons).
As for throw weapons, I doubt they will delete the old ones but rather just stop making them.
I'm pretty sure they'll still let us equip range weapons just it will be on our main slot ( Just like hunters will be able to equip melee weapons).
As for throw weapons, I doubt they will delete the old ones but rather just stop making them.

Equip for vanity, yes. But I wanna shoot creatures in org with my blue glowing arrows from my rogue bow. :( On a side note I did learn that one of the first thori'dals was given to a rogue on my server. The more you know.
Well, I was under the impression that at least wands would just become like staves and one handers for casters. I didn't stop to think what that would mean for our thrown weapons. I'm going to miss some of these thrown weapons though.

If they did the same thing we could like... Dual wield shurikens and stab people in the eyes with them? Just not the same... RIP Throw.
I wonder what sort of changes will come to Envenom for Assassination rogues, since from what I gathered in the post, Deadly Poison will no longer stack.

The forced use of one damage and one utility poison? Seems a bit uneccesary, but I'll see just what sort of difference it makes once I try it out in beta.
I personally can't wait for leeching poison. I'm a sucker for self-healing.
02/12/2012 08:57 PMPosted by Rfeann
Poisons will come in one of two "types": damage (Deadly, Instant, Wound, maybe Leeching depending on how they categorize it) and utility (Crippling, Mind-Numbing, Paralytic). We'll be forced to have a damage poison on one weapon and a utility poison on the other weapon; we won't be able to use two damage (or utility) poisons at the same time.

The Q&A you linked states that both the damage poison and the utility poison are likely to be on both weapons at once.

02/12/2012 09:13 PMPosted by Rfeann
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen any explicit statement that the *weapons* are going away, just that the *slot* is. Whether they remove the soon-to-be-useless weapons from the game entirely or they just render them unequippable (and remove them from all existing loot tables), I ain't rightly sure.

RIP Mut FoK.

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