I spent the majority of my time during The Burning Crusade as a subtlety rogue. Hemorrhage provided me with the damage I needed to crush anyone wearing cloth. Shadowstep allowed me to keep up with even the most slippery druids. The shadows were my ally, and I Cheated Death more than once. The Mutilate build that rules today's raids was still in its infancy, while combat was the only viable raiding spec. Even then, subtlety couldn't hope to compete, and our only purpose was to slaughter the opposing faction with stealth and grace.
On the timeline of WoW, subtlety did enjoy one blip in the PvE spotlight. During the early months of Wrath, a bug with Honor Among Thieves made subtlety rogues the best DPS class in the game, at least when stacked in a raid environment. Once the loophole was closed, the spec was relegated back to its PvP-only jail cell. Cataclysm was heralded as the new age of True Balance, with every spec getting a slice of the DPS pie. Unsurprisingly, the rogue utility spec of subtlety is still falling behind (along with frost mages, our old rivals for the bottom spot). The meters can be deceiving though, as subtlety is nowhere near as limp and lifeless in a raid as it once was. There's talk of high-end rogues even choosing to play subtlety. The whispers of the dead spec's long-waited return have been spreading through the shadows of the rogue community like a bad rumor.