It’s been a few months since any information about Mists of Pandaria came out of the woodwork. Yet, last week saw an update to the talent calculator and finally rogues have some celebrating to do. As I noted previously, before this last update, rogues looked to be in that shaky spot of “not enough info.” Some of us got scared, some angry, and I just went ‘meh’ as the guildies talked about all these awesome new abilities they saw.
That has changed.
First, as a Combat Rogue; I love haste. Attack speed is also cool, which means having a Survival Hunter, Enhancement Shaman, or Frost Death Knight in a raid becomes a nigh necessity when dealing with maximizing DPS. Mists of Pandaria will finally let me bring one of the most important raid buffs to my class and spec, Swiftblade’s Cunning, and I seriously can’t be happier.
Beyond that buff, Expose Armor is now classified as a CP generator, and will stack the armor debuff after three applications. This may have become less cumbersome to use for rogues, but it’s still not on par with the rest of the classes bringing this debuff.
One of the more interesting changes to Combat as a spec is the revamp of Revealing Strike. This poor ability went through the ringer since its inception, from being completely ignored, to mandatory, to “only if you don’t waste CP” to now, well later in Mists but you get it; the most interesting change to Combat since Killing Spree. The new RS does weakish damage, but it bakes in 35% finisher damage and gives Sinister Strike the current Glyph effect (20% chance to generate an extra CP) for 18 seconds. No more weaving RS in to every damaging finisher and hoping a timely refresh of SnD or time-off-target doesn’t negate the debuff. Simply make sure RS is up, and proceed. Excellent QoL change to Combat’s GCD locking.
Next up for changes is Shiv. Shiv currently provides great utility, but compared to what happens in Mists, the Cata era Shiv is just wasting action bar space. Not only does it dispel enrage, it applies a better and more concentrated effect from Non-Lethal poisons (Wound, Mind-Numbing, Crippling, Leeching, Paralytic). Daxxari made an excellent post on the Rogue forum about these effects, and so far they are on point: Wound further increases healing reduction, Mind-Numbing slows a cast even further, Crippling goes back to its 70% slow for a time, Leeching heals you instantly, and Paralytic will root the target. Damage-dealing poisons also saw an overhaul and finally there are specifics.
Lethal Poisons include Deadly, which has no stacking feature and simply applies a DoT (any further applications will do instant damage as DP does now), and Instant proccing damage but without a DoT. Since the values for the instant damage applied by DP are the same as IP, it’s obvious that DP is the PVE poison and IP is geared for PvP. One of the biggest changes to poisons is the Percentage-based application. This means all attacks have a flat chance to proc a poison, meaning that without the weapon speed normalization (1.8 for daggers and 2.6 for 1h), the faster weapon always wins. Moreover, poisons can be applied from any hit since they are no longer applied to weapons but simply cast out of the spellbook. The RPer in me hates this, but the raider in me loves free bagspace and efficiency.
Now, after looking at a raid buff and a few reworked abilities, it’s time to see what Blizzard developed just for us stealthy characters. Shadow Walk, obtained at level 72, will greatly increase your Stealth level for 6 seconds. Some people feel this implies a nerf to Stealth, but that puts the cart a bit too far ahead of the horse. SW could very easily work the way Vanish does when used in Stealth. The biggest thing to take away from SW is that it seems fun.
Finally, our level 87 ability is Shroud of Concealment. This ability requires a bit of speculation. It could be more like Smoke Bomb, in which case I won’t use it, or it could be like a groupwide Vanish, in which case I’ll us it all the time to
troll guildies protect people from wiping. Quite simply, no one knows how this ability works except for Blizzard, and until they show us more details, I won’t pass judgment.
Now that abilities are done with, it’s time to see what new talents are headed into the rogue tree. Replacing Improved Recuperate completely is Elusiveness, which turns Feint into a flat 30% damage reduction. It would be neat if this applied to the AoE reduction as well, but again we simply don’t know.
The new level 90 abilities finally see the light of day. These additions mean Vendetta, Killing Spree, and Shadow Dance are back in their respective specs, so no more pipe dreams of Combat Rogues stacking Vendetta with AR. In their places are three interesting new talents.
The first is Shuriken Toss, which is a ranged damage-dealing CP generator. Fairly neat overall, and it might have some PvP application but I don’t see the need in PvE unless there are significant times during boss fights where melee cannot attack.
Versatility will remove the cooldown on Redirect. This talent just became the goto for any fight involving quick target swaps. While less useful for Combat because of Restless Blades, it still may see use if the swaps are around 30 seconds.
But the last talent, Anticipation, definitely seems to be the most powerful. Storing “unused” combo points until after using a finisher is a godsend. No more 4pt finishers as Mut, or letting the new RS debuff fall off as Combat, or wasting HaT procs as Sub; all because the points are no longer evaporating into the ether. There are definite PvP implications to Anticipation, but overall I believe this talent will be a good standby or necessity just because of how fluid it will make the rotation.
Seriously, does that talent look amazing or what? I’m still eagerly awaiting the Beta as I continue to progress through heroic Dragon Soul.