Don’t look now, but this might just be a WoW-related blog entry. Is the world ending? Is the Cataclysm coming? Yes, folks, the end of days are nigh. At least in Azeroth as we used to know it. Not only is Blizzard changing the landscape of Azeroth, but they’re changing how we’ll be playing our classes … well at least somewhat. Now don’t fret, I’m not going to go into detail of the nine class change teasers released this week, there are far better sites out there for that analysis. I will, however, in a series of posts offer my opinions and takes on the changes that affect the classes I play: rogue, priest, mage, druid, and death knight.

As a short aside, I think Blizzard’s “world friendly” release schedule for the teasers was horrible. Releasing teasers at 11:58pm PDT? C’mon Blizzard.

Rogue Ninja

Anyone else disappointed with the rogue teaser? I am, especially considering the duplicity of statements of “rogues are too cooldown and stun dependent making them very binary in pvp.” So what do we get? More cooldowns -.- … Well, at least with more cooldowns we can try to not blow them all at once. But let’s be honest, other than the increased health pools and supposed armor increases to leather, we’re still going to be a very binary class in pvp. Our stuns are getting nerfed again which means we’ll have to blow combat readiness against melee or smoke bomb against ranged and then hope our increased yellow damage will be enough after nerfs to our white and poison damage output.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really like combat readiness and smoke bomb, but I was hoping for shadowstep to become a baseline ability. Recuperate may be able to provide us with some sturdiness in pvp situations, but we’re still completely reliant on cooldowns. We’re still going to get roflstomp’d trained when combat readiness isn’t up and vanish will continue to remain borked. But I digress, I don’t pvp with my rogue anymore so my pvp QQ is pretty much moot anyways.

Unfortunately we’re getting slightly tuned nerfed in PVE content as well. I’m cautiously optimistic that overall our numbers won’t change much, but the adjustments to Fan of Knives and Tricks of the Trade have me a little worried. Greg “Tiberius” Street can claim that neither adjustment is a nerf, but let’s call a spade a spade, they ARE nerfs.

Blizzard HOPES to allow us the ability to apply poisons to our ranged weapon, which likely means that it won’t be at Cataclysm’s launch, or ever. *cough*fixing vanish*cough* While having a ranged poison applier would be useful in PVP, we’re losing FoKs ability to apply two poisons in PVE. Not a huge nerf, but a nerf nonetheless, even if it is sound in its logic; it’s not called fan of swords/maces/axes/fists after all.

Then there’s the adjustment to tricks, one of the best utility spells we were given in Wrath. Sure, they’re happy with how well it has worked out for us, but they’d like to lower the amount of threat transferred. >.> Okay, maybe I’m over-reacting to this “adjustment” especially with the return of necessary crowd control in Cataclysm, but it has been a blast never having to worry about throttling my DPS (unless paired with an epic-fail tank). I’m sure casters have appreciated their ability to open up their arsenal from our threat transference.

Oh well. At least Blizzard has fixed our combo point problem when switching targets … once every minute. Seriously Blizzard? Couldn’t you just make the points stack on US instead of the target? Oh right, that might be too over-powered in PVP. @.@ Then again, I’ve become accustomed to how our combo point system works and haven’t had issues with it in PVE situations. It is entirely possible that I may never even need to use redirect, but I imagine there will be situations where it will be useful. Hell, I may even herald it as the ONE change made to our class that reinvented how we play … okay, I jest.

Not everything in the teaser disappointed me though as recuperate and smoke bomb will have huge impacts on how the rogue class plays while leveling and give us incredible group utility respectively. When I remember back to my days of leveling my rogue in vanilla WoW I recall having to eat and/or bandage every couple of mobs. While we had zero downtime on our ability to kill things, we had downtime on our ability to survive.

If you got more than one add while blind was on CD, it was usually game over. Now rogues will have a chance to live through some situations that we weren’t able to previously. We will have to wait to see what kind of HoT recuperate will provide and whether or not it will it will find a place in the new end-game, but for now it looks good on paper. Well, other than the potential to have healers completely shun us for heals now that we can heal ourselves outside of potions and bandages. Like we’re not shunned right now … ^^;

Smoke bomb underwhelmed me at first, but after re-reading the ability description I’ve grown quite excited about it. We’re ninjas now! Yay! or something … I only wish Blizzard had gone all the way with this and turned our subtlety tree in a pseudo-evasion tank tree. Now before you roll your eyes, there are precedences for evasion tanks in other MMOs and for a brief period of time in WoW itself. Sure it is counter to the direction Blizzard has been taking tanking in Wrath, but I’m not suggesting the ability for rogues to evasion tank end-game content. Although it was awesome to see rogues become physically unhittable in the Burning Crusade.

No, definitely not end-game content … but it would be quite cool if a subtlety rogue could “tank” normal dungeons and possibly easier heroics through the use of absorption shadows (ala the ninja’s utsusemi spell in FFXI). Absorption shadows are what I would have imagined shadowdance to be and given subtlety a completely different purpose. If I were to think this redesign out completely this is what I would envision:

It’ll never happen, but it would be damned cool if Blizzard did go this route with subtlety rogues. It’s not terribly overpowered and the % to dodge could be adjusted if +agility on gear does get out of hand, pushing a rogue’s chance to passively dodge too high. It’s impossible to become unhittable in Wrath, so I don’t think this would be an issue in Cataclysm, but you never know; with reforging it might be possible.

Again, I’m not suggesting to make rogues capable of tanking end-game content or harder heroics (well maybe when over-gearing heroics) but it would be fun as fuck to tank normal dungeons as a rogue. This redesign would also give subtlety rogues survivability in PVP without making them horribly unbalanced providing that Blizzard doesn’t substantially boost subtlety’s damage output.

Okay, enough dreaming …