Full rogue rework
Having some looooong night talks about rogues with @Dizlain we had the idea to completely rework the whole class. It’s not that we’re going to destroy it, we intend to refurbish and modernize it, so as to par with new, non-obsolete mechanics (like monk’s for example). There’s a lot of stuff to be done, so we’ll try to structure it well so that you may follow us well. Remember that numbers are merely orientative, and will most likely need to be tuned up or down.
Basic mechanical changes:
Combo points are now personal, so that they’re easier to track and easier to manage. Practically, it would be the same as it is now, but more responsive.
All finishers now cost 25 energy.
(You’ll see that many talents are now baseline, that’s because the whole talent tree is going to be redone)
- [Shadowstep]: is now baseline for all specializations, but has a 24 sec cooldown (up from 20 sec). We think Shadowstep is a prime ability in any rogue’s toolkit, regardless of the spec. It gives them a nice mobility, without being too over the top. In any case, other several adjustments will be made to address mobility, especially regarding Burst of speed.
- [Recuperate]: has been removed. We think rogues need a way to heal themselves, but Recuperate wasn’t the way. We’ll address that later in the new talent panel.
- [Slice and Dice]: is now a passive baseline effect.
- [Fan of Knives]: now costs 25 energy (down from 35) and is now Assassination and Subtlety only.
- [Crimson Tempest]: is now Subtlety only.
- [Rupture]: is now Subtlety only. Assassination’s Rupture is replaced by Venomous Wounds (see below).
- [Anticipation]: is now a passive effect for Assassination and Subtlety (you’ll see why Combat does not need this later). Anticipation turned out to be an extremely good talent for PvE, and quite useful in PvP as well. But also, it solved the lost combo points problems Assassination had with Seal Fate, Combat with Sinister Strike double combos and Subtlety with Honor Among Thieves. Combat will have its mechanics reworked, so Combat will not need Anticipation.
- [Dirty Tricks]: is now a passive effect, but only benefits Gouge. Like Shadowstep, we think Gouge is a key skill for rogues when playing PvP, but became underused in Mists of Pandaria because the other two talents proved much more useful. Blind will instead need to be glyphed so as not to be broken by your bleeding and poison effects.
- [Feint]: no longer has an energy cost, but has a 10 sec cooldown and reduces your threat. Feint is a good ability, but does not need energy cost since nearly everything already costs energy. To counter this, a 10 sec cooldown has been added.
- [Shiv]: has been reworked back to its Cataclysm version. Now only removes 1 enrage effect from the target, guarantees poison application and costs 25 energy. Generates a combo point for Assassination and Subtlety.
- [Shadow Blades]: has been removed. It’s already been removed in WoD. We didn’t think rogues needed any other cooldowns.
Mortal poison is always applied to your weapons, and you may choose between one other poison to coat your weapons with.
- [Deadly Poison]: is now a passive effect. However, the poison remains in your buff frame for flavor. It was always active anyway.
- [Wound Poison]: no longer deals damage.
- [Leeching Poison]: has been removed. It had only a minimal effect in PvE and soloing things, and the amount healed in PvP was inappreciable.
- [Paralytic Poison]: has been removed. Passive continuous stun effects just aren’t good.
Talents have been completely reworked and rearranged to suit a different set of purposes. This is a preview of how the talent panel will look like. Descriptions come below.
Level 15 tier – Shadowstep: We should think that stealth is what characterizes rogues, but it was never really unique (f.e. druids had always had Prowl, hunters can now use Camouflage). So, we decided that Shadowstep is one of the core skills that really represents rogues, which is why we made it baseline and now make it get its own talent tier.
- [Withdrawal]: Shadowstep’s cooldown is reduced to 18 sec CD.
- [Seize the Initiative]: The damage of your next offensive ability after using Shadowstep is increased by 30%.
- [Dubstep]: Shadowstep now has 2 charges.
Withdrawal and Dubstep are convenient enhancements for PvP, but also for extra mobility in PvE. Seize the Initiative puts emphasis on a more thoughtful use of Shadowstep, due to the unchanged CD, but makes it especially useful for burst moments or low-hp creatures.
Level 30 tier – Stealth: However, we still think Stealth is a deal when talking about rogues, which is why this tier remains, but a step above in level 30.
- [Nightstalker]: Increases your movement speed while stealthed by 30% (up from 20%) and makes you harder to detect.
- [Subterfuge]: Stealth now breaks after 2 seconds (down from 3).
- [Shadow Focus]: No changes.
Nightstalker isn’t as attractive as the other two choices, so while keeping the essence of the talent, we are tuning it high by increasing the movement speed and stealth potency to make it a solid option. We understand that Subterfuge is a fun and effective talent, but you could just plant seaforium in Strand of the Ancients harmlessly, as well as ignore 3 seconds when capping a flag, so we considered 2 sec was more than enough. Shadow Focus is just fine.
Level 45 tier – Damage Avoidance/Mitigation: This tier was mixing damage reduction with healing (Parasitic Poison, which was never really useful), so we’re getting back Combat Readiness.
- [Cheat Death]: Damage taken after receiving mortal damage is now reduced by 90% (up from 85%).
- [Combat Readiness]: Whenever you receive a direct hit, you gain 10/20/30% damage reduction for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
- [Elusiveness]: No changes.
We reverted back Cheat Death to its previous versions to make it more viable at a higher level. Combat Readiness has been redesigned; Blizzard came with it first as a passive, saying that rogues shouldn’t depend too much on defensive cooldowns, but somehow was transformed into an active cooldown in Mists of Pandaria. So, we’re making it passive, as it was going to be originally. Elusiveness is ok, but is somewhat nerfed due to Feint’s change.
Level 60 tier – Movement speed: This tier was originally focused on mobility (and it still is), but we think rogues need more ways to control their movement, especially when being rooted or afflicted with snares. And because Cloak and Dagger was turned useless and we made Shadowstep baseline.
- [Unshackled]: Passively increases your movement speed by an extra 15%. In addition, the duration of root and snare effects on you is reduced by 30%.
- [Relentless]: Sprint now and lasts 12 sec (up from 8 sec). While sprinting, your movement speed is unhindered (snare protection).
- [Burst of speed]: Has 40 sec cooldown and also removes root effects. Replaces Sprint.
Regarding Unshackled, we’re ok with rogues having a high base passive movement speed. They’re sneaky and hard to shackle, after all. We also wanted to enhance Sprint by giving an option to extend its duration, as well as warding off snares while dashing, so it was a nice idea to have as a talent. Burst of speed is currently too over the top, so now we have a Sprint focused on snare prevention, and Burst of Speed acting like a freedom effect.
Level 75 tier – Healing: Since we removed baseline Recuperate, we had to think of another way to make rogues able to self heal. This empty talent tier (the talents in this row were horrendous) allowed us to make this the healing one.
- [Ace up the Sleeve]: Passively increases all healing received by 20%. On use: increases all healing received by 40% for 6 sec. 1 min cooldown.
- [Break]: Each combo point used heals you for 2% of your maximum health.
- [Recuperate]: Heals yourself for 4% of your maximum health every 3 sec for 30 sec. 20 energy. 1 min cooldown.
In a World of Warcraft in which most classes and roles can effectively heal himself, rogues cannot be undervalued. They need some sustenance. Ace up the Sleeve is a good healing CD when you are supported by a healer. Break is a more active healing way, whose impact and power lies in how well you manage your combo points. Recuperate is similar to the one in live, but it didn’t feel like a finish move, even more when its uptime can be so high.
Level 90 tier – DPS tools: We didn’t think the current lvl 90 talent tier was doing nice. Marked for Death worked well in low-hp mobs and PvP, and Anticipation felt like mandatory in most cases for PvE due to Seal fate, Revealing Strike and Honor among Thieves. So, we left Marked for Death and recovered other two mechanics that were fun from old rogue talents.
- [Cold Blood]: Gain 30 energy, and your next special attack deals 20% more damage is guaranteed to crit. 30 sec CD.
- [Marked for Death]: No changes.
- [Overkill]: Increases your energy regeneration by 30% for 20 sec. 1 min CD.
In addition to each specialization CDs, another two options following the style of Marked for Death would do nicely (Why was Cold Blood removed in the first place?). Overkill would work here as an energy management skill. It previously worked whenever you entered stealth state, but in PvE combat you won’t find yourself in stealth often, if so, using Vanish, but wouldn’t work due to its 2 min CD.
Level 100 tier – DPS throughput: Lorewise, rogues have little representation. We thought many people would like a talent tree with something they can identify with. Also, lore oriented talents are interesting to have, as they can symbolize somehow the personality with the talents’ effects.
- [VanCleef’s Vengeance]: Increases your critical hit chance by 5% and multistrike by x%. Envenom also causes your melee attacks on poisoned targets to spew exploding blobs of poison around them that deal x Nature damage in 4 yd radius. Headcrack has a x% chance of allowing the use of an identical Headcrack (if it triggered with 5 combos, the proc counts as if it had 5 combos). Eviscerate also refreshes your Rupture on the target and causes your Crimson Tempest to spread Rupture. “The Brotherhood shall prevail!” – Edwin VanCleef.
- [Wrathion’s Guile]: Increases your versatility by x% and your mastery by x%. Seal Fate has 100% chance and Honor among Thieves has 50% chance to grant an extra combo point whenever they trigger. Your Sinister Strike has a x% chance to generate two combo points; if you performed Bandit’s Guile well, the bonus is also doubled. Whenever this triggers, cosmetic black wings flap on your back (as if you were using the legendary daggers). “You’ve proven that a single skilled assassin can strike a decisive blow where a whole army may fail.” – Wrathion.
- [Moroes’ Eagerness]: Increases your haste by 15% and readiness by x%. Reduces the cooldown of Vendetta by 30 sec, Adrenaline Rush by 30 sec and Shadowdance by 10 sec. Some cool visuals are expected. “Time, never enough time!” – Moroes.
We wanted here to design some talents to anger theorycrafters. We like the idea of them all buffing slightly a couple of secondary stats, as well as providing some fun and useful passive utilities that can be decisive in both PvE and PvP. VanCleef adds functionality to your finishers and more control over your AoE damage. Wrathion has a nice increase in combo point generation, but since Combat needs a more stable source of combo points (see Combat below), a proc has been devised to balance it. Moroes smooths the overall DPS graph by accelerating your CD regeneration. Rogues need fun and fresh stuff.
We think Assassination is pretty much ok, but needs a little tweaking to a few things.
- [Venomous Wounds]: Finishing move that causes your target to bleed for x Nature damage every 2 sec for 8/12/16/20/24 sec, increased by your attack power and mastery. If an enemy dies while afflicted by your Venomous Wounds, you regain energy proportional to the remaining Venomous Wounds duration. Gain 15 (up from 10) energy whenever Venomous Wounds deals damage. Venomous Wounds wards off your other poison effects from being dispelled. Replaces Rupture.
Although the tweaks are simple here and it is very similar to what it is in WoD now, this helps making Assassination more viable into PvP, due to the dispel protection and slightly higher energy regeneration.
- [Agglutinating Poison]: Coats your daggers with an Agglutinating Poison that gradually obstructs the veins of your target for 12 sec. Upon reaching 5 stacks, the venom bloated enemy explodes in a burst of poison, dealing x Nature damage to all other nearby enemies. Damage increased by attack power and mastery. There can only be one poison active (aside from Deadly Poison, which is now passive).
We also want specs to be thematically different from each other, which is the main purpose behind this poison, making AoEing different for all specs. This one is especially useful for PvE, but may find its uses into PvP as well for extra damage purposes or who knows?
- [Dispatch]: Now has a new icon and its icon is highlighted in the action bar when the target is at or under 35% health.
Flavor change to make it different from Backstab.
Like in Assassination, we wanted to remake the AoE mechanics. To do so, Crimson Tempest should be a good finisher, but it is not currently. In addition, since Fan of Knives is the main AoE combo builder in Subtlety and currently deals very few damage, we considered it’d be a nice change to buff it considerably as well. Rupture is also buffed for Subtlety.
- [Crimson Tempest]: Now deals considerably more damage (both initial and periodic), plus x extra damage over 3 sec (down from 12).
Our preferred change was to directly buff Crimson Tempest and reduce the time it lasts down to 3 sec, so that damage is dealt more rapidly.
Since Assassination can also use Fan of Knives and Rupture (Venomous Wounds), we couldn’t directly buff them, as it would then buff them as well for Assassination, and Fan of Knives is used for Poison spreading in that case, so the best thing to do was making up a new passive.
Due to Recuperate being a talent now and Slice and Dice a passive/perk in WoD, Subtlety needs a way to regen energy. Since in WoD Subtlety is being somewhat attuned to multistrike, we thought it could be something related to that, and devised two options for it:
- [Nerves of Steel]: Your multistrikes either have a x% chance to grant x raw energy points OR increase your energy recovery rate by x% for 2 sec.
Combat is being refurbished, some skills changed and mechanics altered. Current Combat’s rotation is fairly boring, but Blizzard tried to solve it adding Revealing Strike. While a nice addition, it didn’t work. So here’s the “new” arsenal.
- [Headcrack]: Finishing move that flails your target and deals increasing damage per combo point spent. Deals more damage the more energy you have. 20 yd range. 25 Energy. Replaces Eviscerate.
- [Killing Spree]: Now always returns the rogue to where he was when he used Killing Spree. In addition, increases the damage each enemy hit receives from Headcrack by 10% per assault.
- [Sinister Strike]: No changes, but see Bandit’s Guile. Aesthetically, the rogue whirlwinds if used with Blade Flurry.
- [Deadly Throw]: Is now a combo builder skill. Hurls a weapon at your target that inflicts x% weapon damage and slows him by 50% for 6 sec. 20 yd range (down from 30 yd). 35 Energy. Its damage should be fairly lower than Sinister Strike.
- [Blade Flurry]: No changes.
Although this is similar to what there is now, it will not when the combo building mechanic is up, which is basically an update on Bandit’s Guile.
- [Bandit’s Guile]: When you hit an enemy with a melee attack, you recognize and take advantage of the ebb and flow of the combat, revealing the target’s flanks. Successful Sinister Strikes that grant a combo point following the flow increases your damage and effectiveness of your finishers by 10%. Stacking up to a maximum of 50% (5 stacks) if you perform well all the combos. The cycle repeats when you use Headcrack and stops if you get 5 combo points. The possible movements are the following:
- [Left!]: Using Sinister Strike while moving to the left grants 10% damage bonus and finisher effectivity. Doing it successfully generates another random movement command.
- [Right!]: Using Sinister Strike while moving to the right grants 10% damage bonus and finisher effectivity. Doing it successfully generates another random movement command.
- [Forward!]: Using Sinister Strike while moving forward grants 10% damage bonus and finisher effectivity. Doing it successfully generates another random movement command.
In short, Bandit’s Guile is now a much more active mechanic, requiring you to move to that direction in order to inflict more damage. Since it also increases the effect of your finishers, including Kidney Shot. Thus, the reward for doing it well should be indeed rewarding, since it’s especially challenging in PvP.