Alpha patch notes for Warlords of Draenor were posted earlier, and it came with big changes for all aspects of the game. Our favorite stealth class was no exception, and I will try to detail and discuss the changes to the best of my ability and experience with the class.
Before we go any further though… DATAMINING DISCLAIMER: Please note that any and all information acquired through datamining is subject to change. Just because something is in the files doesn’t mean it’ll ever be implemented in the game.
First of all, we have to look at some basic changes that are not specific to the Rogue but do affect us in some way.
– Agility no longer provides an increased chance to critically strike with melee and ranged attacks or abilities.
– Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2). All other sources of Attack Power now grant half as much as before.
– There is a new passive, named Critical Strikes, which increases chance to critically strike by 10%. It is learned by all Rogues, all Hunters, Feral and Guardian Druids, Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks, and Enhancement Shamans.
These changes have been made to make all primary stats be equal in the way they help their respective classes. It does make sense that Agility classes have a bigger chance to crit, so they have added this new passive to make them feel that way.
In the department of ability pruning, we were not targeted as much as other classes. The only changes in the patch notes were the following:
When it was announced that they would be taking a look at each individual class and spec to see what abilities seemed excessive, I looked at my rogue and took note of how often I use the abilities we have for both PvP and PvE. Disarm Trap was never on any of my hotbars; I even forgot that ability existed, so it makes total sense. Combat Rogues are very energy hungry, and even when doing casual PvP, I never found the time or energy to fit Rupture into my rotation. Finally, with Shadow Blades, it just came down to the pruning of cooldowns Blizzard has been talking about. I always found myself adding Shadow Blades to a DPS cooldown macro, which was one of the metrics they said indicated when an ability wasn’t necessary. It also gives all individual specs their own unique spells, which in my opinion gives them some flavor.
For the PvP changes, I found the ones that most affect Rogues are these:
– Removed all Disarms.
– All Stuns now share the same DR category.
– Paralytic Poison has been removed and replaced by Internal Bleeding.
– Internal Bleeding: Causes successful Kidney Shots to also apply a periodic Bleed effect for 12 seconds, with damage increasing per combo point used.
Disarms are not only relevant because we lose Dismantle, but disarming Rogues was always a good way to counter them, since we can’t deal much damage while disarmed. One of Blizzard’s biggest concerns regarding PvP has been the large amounts of crowd control effects we currently have in game, so the changes to stuns and Paralytic Poison come as no surprise.
– Tricks of the Trade now has no energy cost and no longer increases damage caused by the target by 15%.
– Assassin’s Resolve no longer requires daggers to function.
– Dispatch can now be used with fist weapons or one-handed swords, dealing 331% weapon damage (instead of 480%) when used – with those weapons instead of a dagger.
– Mutilate can now be used with fist weapons or one-handed swords, dealing 137% weapon damage (instead of 200%) when used with those weapons instead of a dagger.
– Sinister Strike now deals 188% weapon damage when used with a dagger (instead of 130%).
– Seal Fate now also grants a combo point for area attacks that critically strike the Rogue’s primary target.
– Honor Among Thieves can now also be triggered by critical hits from the Rogue’s melee Auto Attacks.
These next few changes can be found in the general Rogue section. Most of them are pretty straightforward as to what they are, but the reason behind the changes is what interests me the most. We already knew about Tricks of the Trade losing the DPS increase, and now it comes as pure utility. It is something I agree with; it was always awkward knowing that for some situations you wanted to set your Tricks on a tank, but knew it could be used on a DPS for a damage boost.
The weapon changes are probably the most controversial for the Rogue. Being forced to wield daggers was something unique to the stealth assassin character the Rogues are supposed to be, but in terms of game play mechanics it did bring some constraints when gearing up your character. Coming into Siege of Orgrimmar, I had been playing an Assassination Rogue for the whole expansion, with my offspec being Combat for those certain encounters that required AoE. Once I began raiding in 5.4, I started a bad streak of not getting any daggers to drop, to the point of it becoming a big joke in my guild. That made me go Combat for this tier, which is still very good in most encounters; for the encounters I would prefer to go to as Assassination, I don’t have the option, as I don’t have a set of daggers to do any competent damage. To this day, I have not got any daggers to drop from normal difficulty and only have one drop from flex in over 50 attempts at bosses that can drop them. I might be biased in the way I look at this issue but it makes sense that you are not being forced to only use one type of weapon. You are still encouraged to use Daggers, and they even made them viable for Combat which is not the case right now, so the unique trait of being a dagger class does not change much.
Having played much Combat I did feel frustrated with the random aspect of Bandit’s Guile. I want to have more control as to when and where I want my DPS boosting abilities to come in, and with the Revealing Strike changes I now have better control over my damage output. It makes the spec reward skill in a better way.
With all this new information on Warlords of Draenor coming in, I am sure we will see more changes to the Rogue sometime in the future. Looking at other classes and their changes, it seems that overall Blizzard likes the place the Rogue is in, and the changes they announced in this batch of patch notes just help in solidifying the identity of each spec and improving some aspects that needed it.
How do you feel about these tweaks to the Rogue class? Too much? Too little? Let us know in the comments!