Two weeks ago, I asked you to throw out everything you knew about rogue poisons. I was being silly, because I know that would be a lot to ask. Many of us have spent years learning the intricacies of the poison system, studying PPM charts and evaluating our options. Unfortunately, it looks like there was actually no hyperbole in my original request. With the latest round of info we've received, every single poison mechanic in the game will be overhauled in Mists of Pandaria.
We already know about the new lethal/non-lethal designations and how we'll be able to have two poisons on both of our weapons at all times. We already know that poisons will be critting for double damage in Mists and that their crit chance will be calculated based on our melee crit rate. These improvements are just what we needed to increase our utility options and to boost crit's viability as a secondary stat. In addition to these sweeping changes to poison crit mechanics, we've learned that poison's hit mechanics are also being revamped.
Cataclysm brought us the mastery stat, the removal of armor penetration, and haste's ability to increase our energy regeneration. What Blizzard has planned for Mists is even more ambitious.
Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, WoW's lead systems designer, recently released some information about the stat changes we'll see in Mists. The most important change for rogues and their poisons is the update to expertise. Expertise rating will scale identically to hit rating, with the same amount of either rating providing 1% of the respective stat. The concept of expertise points it gone, and expertise is simply measured by its percentage value, like hit and crit are today.
All of those changes are just housekeeping for the big reveal: Expertise rating will negate both dodge and spell miss at the same time. As I'm sure you know, many rogue specs and builds stack hit well past the yellow hit cap (for special attacks) in order to improve their hit rate with poisons. Poisons will continue to use the
According to some numbers from Ghostcrawler, a raid boss might have a 15% spell miss chance, 7.5% melee miss chance, and 7.5% dodge. Now, as a rogue, you can either stack up 15% hit rating and all of your poisons will land. Alternatively, and ideally, you'll actually pick up 7.5% hit chance and then 7.5% expertise, since that nets you both the spell hit cap and removes the boss' ability to dodge. Assassination rogues will actually want expertise again. Unfortunately, since ranged attacks can be dodged in Mists, hunters will want expertise too.
Expertise and hit take center stage
You're going to want to get to 7.5% hit and 7.5% expertise as soon as possible, regardless of what spec you play. Every single rogue is going to want to reach these two caps immediately. I imagine that all of our gearing choices in the first tier of Mists of Pandaria will revolve around this goal.
Even though 7.5% hit might be our first goal, you can still benefit from additional hit rating, as it will help you to land more white swings, just like it does today. In addition, expertise over the cap can also let you avoid a target's parry and block chance, which is useful in some situations such as leveling.
The secondary stat shuffle
After reviewing what we know about Mists so far, it's clear that Blizzard is aiming for more parity amongst the secondary stats. Every rogue is going to want both hit and expertise rating, crit rating is gaining potency to make it an enticing option, and all daggers are going to be 1.8 speed. Haste is already an amazing rogue stat, and mastery rating can always be tweaked to make it viable for every spec. I see the trend in itemization and stat design leaning toward the idea of "no bad gear" via this more even stat balance.
With rogues, druids, monks, and shaman all rolling on agility gear, it's going to be a much more competitive landscape. In fact, with these changes, the entire concept of melee vs. ranged physical gear is completely dissolved, as hunters are going to want all the same stats as a melee class. I guess everything really is hunter gear in Mists.
Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.