The task of giving rogues three unique specs is incredibly difficult. Our class design doesn't allow for much flexibility in our mechanics. Assassination, combat, and subtlety all rely on the same energy bar and the same combo points to get the job done. The cyclical rotation of generators and finishers is always going to make up the core of our button presses.
Rogue spec diversity is maintained by three main tenets: differing finishers, interesting cooldowns, and a unique generator mechanic. All rogues will be using Shadow Blades as often as possible and Feint to reduce their damage taken. The utility abilities of the class have been consolidated, and the variance in how we deal our damage is what's left to separate each spec.
While Mists of Pandaria is still actively being developed and patches are dropping regularly, the rogue of tomorrow is starting to take its final shape. The amorphous blob of shadow that we see on the horizon is congealing into something resembling a functioning class. In fact, rogues have been receiving fewer changes these past few weeks than any other class. I'm not surprised by this fact, as there's really not much to improve upon when we're already a model class.
With talent choices reduced to a half-dozen easy decisions, there's really not much you can mess up while playing your rogue in Mists. I like to think that you can break a class down into three basic categories: customization, enhancement, and execution. You need to pick the talents and glyphs that best suit your situation, gear up with the right gems and enchants, and finally push the right buttons.
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. This week, we discuss the new abilities that we'll see as we level up in the upcoming expansion.
As I've mentioned several times before, rogues are often thought of as the "cooldown class." We've got a plethora of abilities, with nearly one (or two) for every situation. We're then regulated via cooldowns attached to each abilities, limiting how often we can use them. This gives the rogue class incredible potency in short fights, when our cooldowns are able to be used in quick succession. However, we have often stumbled in longer encounters, when our cooldowns are only active for a small percentage of the overall fight. Blizzard has been working on resolving this by reducing both the potency and the cooldown of a few of our moves, like Sprint, to give us more flexibility.
The DPS model for rogues hasn't change at all since The Burning Crusade. The only real addition was the creation of Mutilate and Envenom, which have been staples for rogues for years now. While Fan of Knives was a fun addition at level 80, its use on anything but trash has been limited at best. It's unsurprising that even though we're receiving three new abilities in Cataclysm versus BC's two, they're still all cooldown abilities. However, our new spells are actually incredibly fun and useful. They also take some skill to use properly, which is something that the rogue class needs desperately to get back to. Using your abilities wisely should yield a large reward -- and with that thought, I will now introduce the 2010 graduates of the Rogue Ability Academy.