TLDR: See Conclusion on the bottom.
This post will NOT be talking about the rogue legendaries, covenants and covenant-class abilities and how they feel on the rogue class. This post will be about the Rogue class and it's baseline gameplay (without added power).
Bit of background:
Been maining Rogue for a decently long time. I have about 5000 hours invested on my main, and I've seen the class evolve and be reiterated quite a number of times. I've gone for Cutting Edge, and I've gone for high M+ (and a bit of PvP – but just <2k so I don't feel too comfortable to give feedback for it).
First off – it seems there has been very little development and information about rogues, pretty much since Early Alpha. I hope we get more info soon, so we can have proper view of the class.
Second – I will go through all 3 specs. I will talk generally about the specs' playstyles and also go through their talent trees with some feedback. Needless to say – all of this is my opinion.
Assa seems mostly the same. It has had a minor change by Toxic Blade (TB) becoming baseline (renamed Shiv) and instead we get Alacrity. I like the gameplay of keeping up DoTs, pooling energy and then dumping it during TB windows.
Side note: I do miss Kingsbane, as it was another DoT/CD to manage and aligning with TB and maximising your damage window set up was a fun part of the rotation.
15: I hope Blindside is tuned to be better than EP and MP as it is the only talent in that row that changes gameplay and makes it more engaging and fun.
25: Nightstalker can be fun as a set up, combined with Exsang, but honestly, I would rather us not having it. Unless Sang (45) is the best option by a lot, it's not useful and a dead talent most of the time; Subterfuge is the funnest talent by a long shot – in dungeons amazing to spread garrotes on packs (especially useful and synergistic with Iron Wire talent); Master Assassin (MA) is a bit disappointing since its Legion Origin. The shorter duration, lowered crit and most of all the GCD change have made it much less fun, but still viable in single target situations.
30 / 35 / 40: I am happy with these talent rows. They are for the most part versatile, used in different situations and provide a decent trade-off between each other.
45: Venom Rush has been pretty much a dead talent ever since its implementation. I don't really have memory of a time where it was used ever. I don't know why it's in the game. Alacrity is probably the most used talent in this row for the past 2 expansions. It's just good and useful. Is it interesting? No. Exsanguinate is a cool spell in my opinion, but it also feels a bit out of place. It changes how the whole spec functions for the sake of making itself work. I've had fun with it, but personally, I'm ready to let it go.
50: My biggest problem-row by far. Honestly, I would love to see a complete revamp of this row.
I absolutely despise Poison Bomb (PB) as a talent. Either make it baseline or remove it. It's the only talent on this row that increases ST damage while being AoE vaiable which makes it mandatory for a lot of cases.
Hidden Blades I think is boring and will never be better in a dungeon scenario than the other two talents.
Crimson Tempest is probably my favourite talent on this row, it feels really nice to use in dungeons, especially on beefier packs that last a long time. I know I am greedy, but I'd love to see it baseline (I know it might be too much).
Oh boy. Where do I start.
I wasn't a fan when they turned Combat rogues into Outlaw, I will admit. However, I've grown to appreciate the outlaw playstyle over the last two expansions. Especially once you get more gear, the spec really starts rolling – the Azerite Traits Deadshot and Ace Up Your Sleeve really make it fun, and hitting for 150-200k on live is never boring.
In Shadowlands, we see a big change in how the spec works. There needs to be long-term testing for me to say exactly how I feel about it. First impression however – bad direction.
Outlaw is slowly becoming extremely homogeneous with Rogues' other two specs. With the change to Between the Eyes (BtE) it starts to serve the same function as Toxic Blade(now Shiv) and Shadow Dance – wait for it and dump all you can in the damage window. It's a fun playstyle, but I don't want every spec to have it. Another problem is Roll the Bones – the little control players had over the RNG buffs is now removed and is completely out of our hands. I do agree – re-rolling is a problem, but I don't think this is the solution.
As for the Blade Flurry (BF) change – need more testing to say if it's better or worse. First impression however is – I like that if you are in combat, you get it back quicker. This change also leads me to a certain talent I will get to later.
15: Nothing special, but I don't have any particular problems with the row.
25: I am very happy to see Acrobatic Strikes stay. I think it's such a saviour of a talent. Especially when your M+ group has other mele, and you need to not stack. Very good quality of life. The other two talents are fine, and have situational use.
30 / 35 / 40: Same as Assa. Dirty Tricks is the one talent I don't see much use for, but not a problem overall.
45: Inclomplete, still waiting on third talent in this row. Loaded Dice similar to Poison Bomb should either be baseline or not in the game.
50: Dancing Steel and Blade Rush are pretty decent talents and they saw plenty of use throughout BFA.
Killing Spree (KS) absolutely breaks my heart. It was such an iconic spell for Combat Rogues back in the day, that it's incredibly sad to see it as a talent and not baseline. Moreover, with the change to Blade Flurry (BF) only having one charge, and it's cooldown being affected by Restless Blades (CDR), I think KS should be brought as baseline. Why? Well, using it will give you burst AoE, but trade off will be that you are gonna miss out on the extra CDR on BF. And most importantly – it's a fun and visually unique spell.
Ah yes, BFA's sacrificial lamb. The black sheep of the Rogue arsenal. First off – as a rogue main, I have to admit I am salty the Devs just killed the spec for being great on one boss, while fire mage exists (obviously biased).
In Shadowlands Sub is looking substantially better! Great news as it's quite the fun spec. I love having Shadow Dance (SD) back as 1min CD. To give you an idea of my ideal sub – it would be HFC Sub rogue with it's 4 set. By far the most engaging and fun spec the game has offered since its creation (for me personally, obviously).
I can't say too much about sub as I haven't had the chance to test it properly, and also because its talent tree is incomplete as of writing this.
15: Incomplete! Gloom Blade is more or less a dead talent. It's either too strong to not pick or useless.
25: Overall, okay-ish and relatively versatile talent row for Sub.
30 / 35 / 40: Same as Assa/Outlaw. Soothing Darkness needs either a big buff, or redesign, as Sub rogues can no longer be in Shadow Dance for a prolonged time. Night Terrors is now a dead talent since all rogue specs get Poisons back (including Crippling Poison) – wtb new talent.
45: Haven't had a chance to play around, but it seems okay ish.
50: It seems it's a trend for Rogues' last talent row to be disappointing. Master of Shadows seems to have a Poison Bomb-type role in this talent row. Secret Technique is fine, and based on the tuning, can see it work. Since the old "aoe" of sub was slaughtered, I think Shuriken Tornado can either use a buff or a redesign.
Overall, for Shadowlands, Rogues see little change so far. The homogenization of the three specs is a bit disappointing. Obvious issues not being addressed for the third expansion in a row is just questionable and very discouraging. Some good changes for Sub, some mixed for Outlaw and almost none for Assassination. I hope we get more info and changes soon, because it feels like Rogues have been completely neglected on the Alpha and Beta so far.
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