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Encrypted Text: Dough for your cookie cutters

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. In this special 3.0.2 edition of Encrypted Text, we'll be talking about the new talent trees that are coming this Tuesday with the release of the patch.

With 3.0.2 right around the corner, all three of our precious talent trees are about to get shaken up. Talents are getting moved around, point costs are travelling in both directions, and a lot of rebalancing is taking place. Blizzard has been removing bloat from certain areas, and also adding some very cool new abilities for our class.

With all these changes, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. (Get it? Talent trees? Haha!) For a detailed analysis of all the changes, I recommend reading the patch notes. I am going to give my readers (you) exactly what a busy Rogue wants: what's nerfed, what's buffed, what's good when the dust settles?

In order to condense all of this information into a single article, I will be rating each change with a number in parenthesis, e.g. (5) is a big buff or is an awesome new talent, (1) is a big nerf or a not-so-useful new talent, (3) means the talent wasn't changed much, just moved around, or the new talent is okay.

Assassination Changes:

Buffed:
Vile Poisons (5), Murder (4), Deadened Nerves (5), Find Weakness (4), Master Poisoner (3), Vigor (3).
Nerfed:
Improved Poisons (3), Fleet Footed (3).
New PvP talents:
Blood Spatter (5), Deadly Brew (5), Overkill (2).
New PvE talents:
Blood Spatter (5), Focused Attacks (5), Turn the Tables (4), Cut to the Chase (4), Hunger for Blood (4)

Takeaway:

Assassination saw several buffs, in particular to the poison talents. Nearly all of their changes were buffs, and their nerfs were not significant. With the changes to the poison mechanics (I talked about this a bit ago) and the attempt to remove RNG from WoW, the Assassination tree comes out with no true nerfs and a lot of very strong new talents. Daggers are back, and Mutilate will be the facilitator of their return. Hunger for Blood also adds some variety to the Mutilate rotation, attempting to set it apart from the old standby of Combat.

Builds:

41/5/15 – Picks up Blood Spatter + Serrated Blades for 60% more Rupture damage, also picks up all the nice stealth and PvP talents in Subtlety. I see this as being the serious PvP Mutilate build until 80, where Mutilate + Prep becomes possible.
51/3/7 – PvE build with Hunger for Blood. I really like the way this build looks, and this will be the base for the Mutilate raiding build at 80 as well. Getting used to the new rotations now will make it easier as you level in WotLK.
42/12/7 – PvE with more combat talents, as we see in Mutilate builds today. I don't think this is as strong as the HfB build, but it will be more consistent with what a Mutilate Rogue would play with currently.

Combat Changes:

Buffed:

Deflection (5), Precision (3), Endurance (3), Aggression (3), Mace Specialization (5 in my opinion!), Blade Twisting (5), Vitality (5).
Nerfed:
Mace Specialization (1 if you loved the RNG)
New PvP talents:
Throwing Specialization (1), Unfair Advantage (3), Savage Combat (4), Prey on the Weak (3), Killing Spree (3)
New PvE talents:
Savage Combat (4), Prey on the Weak (4), Killing Spree (3)

Takeaway:

Combat had several buffs and a lot of the tree's bloat has been removed. However, many of the new talents are lackluster, and very boring "your DPS will go up by X" type talents that Combat has been plagued with for so long. I think Unfair Advantage may be my new favorite Rogue talent, it really adds some flavor to deep Combat. Look to avoid Throwing Specialization, it's nearly a complete waste if you already have your PvP gloves. Killing Spree is great talent to try out, I suggest every Rogue play with it once.

Builds:

5/51/5 – Vanilla combat build, very similar to what a raiding Rogue would use today. We pick up all the new talents, which are all significant DPS increases.
0/49/12 – A PvP build that picks up the important Sub talents. Combat won't really be viable as a PvP build until there are more points to allocate to other trees.

Subtlety Changes:

Buffed:

Master of Deception (5), Opportunity (5), Camouflage (5), Endurance (3), Setup (4), Initiative (4), Improved Ambush (5), Sinister Calling (4).
Nerfed:
Enveloping Shadows (1), Shadowstep (1, no longer usable while rooted), Relentless Strikes (1, this talent was moved to Subtlety and had its point cost increased from 1 to 5 for the same effect - the biggest nerf of this patch for Rogues.)
New PvP talents:
Waylay (2), Filthy Tricks (3), Slaughter from the Shadows (5), Shadow Dance (2).
New PvE talents:
Honor Among Thieves (3), Filthy Tricks (4), Slaughter from the Shadows (5).

Takeaway:

Shadowstep was nerfed very hard though almost every other Subtlety talent was buffed nicely. However, many of our new talents in Sub are very situational or just plain terrible. Enveloping Shadows may prove to be useful in the more AoE-centric WotLK, but I see it as a big nerf on one of my favorite RNG talents. Rogues don't have a lot of that random proc goodness that will completely own our targets. We are traditionally very calculated and a very precise class, so we will largely be buffed by the removal of our opponents' RNG talents and abilities. I am also very disappointed in Shadow Dance, I will cover it in detail on Wednesday.

Builds:

8/2/51 – This Shadow Dance Daggers is for the guys who love to Ambush. I personally don't think Shadow Dance is worth the point investment. However, if you want to Ambush 3 times in a row, this is the build to do it with.
10/0/51 – Shadow Dance Hemo again features the 51 point Sub talent, however I feel this build is much weaker than the traditional Shadowstep build that we see used in high-end play.
18/0/43 – Cookie Cutter Shadowstep gets a bit more flexibility with several key talents being reduced to 3 points instead of 5, letting Rogues pick up a few new goodies like the new-and-improved Setup.

Conclusion:
Hopefully this provides a nice summary for all of you who are on the fence about certain talents, or trying to choose a new build for this coming week. I predict that there will be significant changes to each tree when Wrath hits, so I want to stress the importance of experimentation. You have approximately one month until we see Northrend, and I suggest trying out different builds and exploring all the new talents available. The arena season ends Tuesday, so there's no pressure to maintain a specific rating. Many guilds have paused PvE activity until November. So take this opportunity to try out the new trees: you might just find yourself attached to a spec you had never even thought to give the time of day!

Check in this Wednesday as I will have a few notes from my trip to Blizzcon and an in-depth analysis of Shadow Dance.
Encrypted Text is your source for Rogue guide goodness. From enchants for Rogues to Patch 2.4 gear guides to raiding as a Rogue. And, of course, our Rogue leveling guides for levels 1-20 & 21-40.

Filed under: Rogue, Patches, PvP, Raiding, Talents, Buffs, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

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