Well now that every other rogue has given their thoughts on the new changes announced I thought I’d give mine too. Shamelessly lifted the factual bits from MMO-Champion.
Redirect (available at level 81): Rogues will be getting a new ability to help them deal with changing targets. Redirect will transfer any active combo points to the rogue’s current target, helping to ensure combo points aren’t wasted when swapping targets or when targets die. In addition, self-buff abilities like Slice and Dice will no longer require a target, so rogues can spend extra combo points on those types of abilities (more on this below). Redirect will have a 1-minute cooldown and no other costs.
This makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t know how often I have used a 2 or 3 combo point finisher as the mob was about to go down and its very much a case of ‘Use them or lose them’. I think the smart rogues will be the ones who quickly learn when to store the points and when to spend them. I’m very much looking forward to this change.
Combat Readiness (level 83): Combat Readiness is a new ability that we intend rogues to trigger defensively. While this ability is active, whenever the rogue is struck by a melee or ranged attack, he or she will gain a stacking buff called Combat Insight that results in a 10% reduction in damage taken. Combat Insight will stack up to 5 times and the timer will be refreshed whenever a new stack is applied. Our goal is to make rogues better equipped to go toe-to-toe with other melee classes when Evasion or stuns are not in play. This ability lasts 6 seconds and has a 2-minute cooldown.
Everyone else has said it, and I’m no different – this is very much a pvp ability.
“Go toe-to-toe with other melee classes” – Seriously, are you mad? I’m a rogue! The last thing I want is a fair fight. I have no interest in going toe-to-toe with anyone (unless they are several levels weaker!). Sneak up and butcher them from behind, whilst emptying their pockets at the same time – that’s my kind of rogue. If I wanted to fight fair I’d be a paladin.
I think Arena junkies will be a fan of this, I can also see it as a ‘oh shit’ button for pve when soloing. I think Blizz have given what a number of people who play Rogues want with this ability, it’s just not something I think I will have a big use for.
Smoke Bomb (level 85): The rogue drops a Smoke Bomb, creating a cloud that interferes with enemy targeting. Enemies who are outside the cloud will find themselves unable to target units inside the cloud with single-target abilities. Enemies can move inside the cloud to attack, or they can use area-of-effect (AoE) abilities at any time to attack opponents in a cloud. In PvP, this will open up new dimensions of tactical positional gameplay, as the ability offers a variety of offensive and defensive uses. In PvE, Smoke Cloud can serve to shield your group from hostile ranged attacks, while also drawing enemies closer without the need to rely on conventional line-of-sight obstructions. Smoke Cloud lasts 10 seconds and has a 3-minute cooldown.
Now this is the really curious one, and I don’t think many people will have anticipated it. Firstly, even the most hardened cynic who plays a rogue will think Smoke Bombs are cool. I’ll really be looking forward to seeing just how this looks in game. It’s just soooo Rogue-ish. It’s bad ’70s Ninja movies all over again. Smoke Bomb – Vanish – Guards taken out by Shuriken from no-one knows where….But ahem, back to the WoW version, 10 second use with a 3 minute CD means it wont be getting overly used and frankly without seeing it in-game its open to all sorts of presumptive comment. My gut feeling is it will look great and be so situational it will hardly ever get used in PvE. In PvP I’m slightly concerned about a bunch of players grouping together for an ability, it just seems to open the AoE fest for the opposition.
Overall I still like the Smoke Bomb and not be there when the smoke clears idea. Which is why I am not a games designer but have watched some very bad movies in my formative years.
We’re also planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you’re already familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we want for each spec.
- In PvP, we want to reduce the rogue’s dependency on binary cooldowns and “stun-locks,” and give them more passive survivability in return. One major change is that we’ll put Cheap Shot on the same diminishing return as other stuns. The increase to Armor and Stamina on cloth, leather, and mail gear will help with this goal as well. The Rogue community have been crying out for reduced dependency on CDs for some time so in line with the other changes this looks like it as addressing the request – to some extent anyway. The devil will be in the detail, so again wait and see on this one.
- In PvE, even accounting for active modifiers like Slice and Dice and Envenom, a very large portion of the rogue’s damage is attributable to passive sources of damage. Yes, they are using abilities for the entire duration of a fight, but we want to reduce the percentage of rogue damage that comes from auto-attacks and poisons. More of their damage will be coming from active abilities and special attacks. This doesn’t actually tell us anything other than a pretty vague idea of where they see the class going. So they want less auto damage and us actually having to do a bit more? The main issue I have as a Mutilate rogue is waiting for the energy bar to fill up, so unless they reduce the energy costs of abilities then I’m not going to be able to do much different. There has been discussion (I’m not sure how official) about Haste allowing for faster energy regen, now that would certainly help, but I can see a damage per attack nerf coming in on the back of that one. Not enough detail to go on here at all.
- We would like to improve the rogue leveling experience. Positional attacks and DoT-ramping mechanics will be de-emphasized at low levels and then re-introduced at higher levels for group gameplay. We are also providing rogues with a new low-level ability, Recuperate, to convert combo points into a small heal-over-time (HoT). Well large chunks of the Rogue blogging community have really thrown the toys out of the pram with this one! We is Rogues, we DPS – not healz! Personally, I think it’s a good idea. The key here is the use of the word “leveling”. Lots of people have commented that levelling a rogue is a lot harder and more time-consuming the either say a paladin, hunter or DK. This ability I do not believe is aimed at the experienced player who already knows the class mechanics and is using BoA gear to help him. Think of the new guy to the game who has never really played before. For him/her this talent should be a Godsend.
- To complement the change to combo points, non-damage abilities such as Recuperate and Slice and Dice will no longer have target requirements and can be used with any of the rogue’s existing combo points, including combo points remaining on recently killed targets. This will not affect damage abilities, which will still require combo points to be present on the specific target you want to damage. To coincide with this, the UI will be updated so that rogues know how many combo points they have active. All sounds good, just need to see the exact detail.
- Ambush will now work with all weapons, but will have a reduced coefficient when not using a dagger. When opening from Stealth, all rogues will be able to choose from burst damage, DoT abilities, or a stun. I’m a mixed bag on this one. Makes sense to avoid having to carry the weapons caddy around (‘Pass me the no.4 sword for this one please, my good man…’). But I’m wondering if it is too over simplified. Perhaps I just have an unhealthy liking for daggers?
- As we’ve done recently with some of the Subtlety abilities, we want to make sure more rogue abilities aren’t overly penalized by weapon choice. With a few exceptions (like Backstab), you should be able to use a dagger, axe, mace, sword, or fist weapon without being penalized for most attacks. A mace is never subtle, that’s always puzzled me. But pretty much as above here.
- Deadly Throw and Fan of Knives will now use the weapon in the ranged slot. In addition, we hope to allow rogues to apply poisons to their throwing weapons. I like this, its my kind of flavour. But I do wonder about poison procs and throwing weapons. I suspect that’s why the word ‘hope’ features there. I suspect they will want to do it and then find it doesn’t translate as well.
- We are very happy with Tricks of the Trade as a general mechanic and as a way to give rogues more group utility, but we don’t want it to account for as much threat transfer as it does now. It’s fine! Leave it alone
In Cataclysm, the overall feel of each of the rogue’s talent trees will change, as we would like each tree to have a clearly defined niche and purpose. The talent details below are meant to give you an idea of what we’re going for.
- Assassination will be more about daggers, poisons, and burst damage.
- Combat will be all about swords, maces, fist weapons, axes, and being engaged toe-to-toe with your enemies. A Combat rogue will be able to survive longer without needing to rely on Stealth and evasion mechanics.
- The Subtlety tree will primarily be based around utilizing Stealth, openers, finishers, and survivability. It’ll be about daggers, too, but less so than Assassination.
- In general, Subtlety rogues needs to do more damage than they do today, and the other trees need to have more tools.
- Weapon-specialization talents (for all classes, not just rogues) are going away. We do not want you to have to respec when you get a different weapon. Interesting talents, such as Hack and Slash, will work with all weapons. Boring talents, such as Mace Specialization and Close Quarters Combat, will be going away.
- The Assassination and Combat talent trees currently have a lot of passive bonuses. We plan to dial back the amount of Critical Strike Rating provided by these trees so that rogues still want it on their gear. Ah the language of the Games Designer… You say Dial Back and I say Nerf…. That said, all the above make reasonable sense.
- Melee damage
- Melee critical damage
- Poison damage
- Melee damage
- Melee Haste
- Harder-hitting combo-point generators
- Melee damage
- Armor Penetration
- Harder-hitting finishers
The initial tier of rogue Mastery bonuses will be very similar between the trees. However, the deeper that a player goes into any tree, the more specialized and beneficial the Masteries will be to the play style for that spec. Assassination will have better poisons than the other two specs. Combat will have very steady and consistent overall damage. Subtlety will have strong finishers.
Meh – it’s all a bit vague isn’t it? Sort of stating the obvious which will attract little criticism but doesn’t really tell us much. Keeping us hanging on for the next installment.
Overall I’m slightly disappointed with the whole bunch. They have addressed a number of concerns of the class and tried to make the class more attractive to new players as well, so that’s all good. But aside from the Smoke Bomb (which you only get at level cap) I don’t see much new in there other than tweaking the mechanics (and by the sounds of things doing it well). I was looking for something a bit more flashy as well as the tweaks. It’s all just a bit too much ‘sensible’ and not enough ‘fun’ factor.