Since the departure of BigRedKitty from our site, we haven't had many new videos for you to watch while idling at work. I decided to step up to fill this gap in programming by FRAPS'ing some of my adventures on the patch 3.1 PTR. With several changes to Rogues in this latest content release, I wanted to stay ahead of the curve by testing the modifications out before they are deployed to live servers.
There were reports of new animations for several spells, as well as moves that had been changed mechanically. Catching any bugs that had slipped through QA was also a top priority. I copied my Rogue over to the PvP PTR realm and started shooting, and the results of that labor follow after the cut. A few caveats: all videos were shot without UI addons or keybindings, and so I do click quite a few of my abilities. I tried out five specs in about 30 minutes, and so my action bars are also disheveled. That said, let's review the videos.
Fan of Knives:
Not only did Fan of Knives get a new 20% damage Glyph in patch 3.1, it also received a significantly awesome graphical update. The new animation is among the most amazing I've seen for any class. The old Fan of Knives was no slouch either, with a flurry of knives striking all nearby targets. The previous noise, however, was fairly painful in a 25-man raid where multiple Rogues would be spamming this ability constantly.
The revamped version looks like a sprinkler head, spinning around in all directions for two full revolutions, throwing knives the entire time. Although the video doesn't reflect it, the sound effect was also updated. This will make it far easier on your raid mates' ears when you're spamming it on every trash pull. With Adrenaline Rush active, Rogues will be topping the trash DPS meters in every AoE-able encounter.
Hunger for Blood and Focused Attacks:
Focused Attacks' animation (when you crit with any attack) appears to be significantly longer lasting, and Hunger for Blood's red swirly effect is persistent for the entire 30 second period that the buff is active. You can see that another Rogue's Rupture enabled me to use Hunger for Blood on the Heroic target dummy, even when they weren't in my group. There is a blue-confirmed bug with applying HfB, but I was unable to reproduce it on the latest PTR build.
Honor Among Thieves and Ghostly Strike:
Ghostly Strike received a new graphic detail upon striking the target, though it's largely uninteresting. Since Hemo and Ghostly Strike's recent lack of popularity, it hasn't seen much action in recent times. However, HaT has been all the rage amongst the raiding community, and it received a brand new effect when a combo point is added to a target. Any of your special attack crits (or your party-mates') will show up with a new red under-effect. I wasn't able to test this with more than one or two people in a party, so we'll see if it gets overly annoying with four Hunters and their pets firing away.
Killing Spree's damage potential has increased significantly, especially against a single target. Combat's PvP viability may be close with all of the 3.1 buffs. I'm not sure how any PvP spec can perform without Preparation, and so I will be doing more testing to see exactly how effective Combat can be. However, I am working on getting a slow main hand to try this spec out in PvE. PvP with Killing Spree's oddities will be another story.. Wish me luck!
Shadow Dance had a new bar created just for it, removing the need for macros and action bar switching. However, it seems that it has also been either nerfed or bugged in the latest PTR build. As discovered by Reckful (one of the few Gladiator-quality Rogues using Shadow Dance on live), when activating Shadow Dance, your energy bar disappears and you no longer generate energy. Relentless Strikes also fails to yield its normal 25 energy return.
This means that you're capped at an unlikely maximum of 130 energy to use during the Dance, greatly reducing its effectiveness. Leaving the glyphed duration ShD with 0 energy also leaves you incredibly vulnerable after it wears off. If this change is intended, the last nail in deep Subtlety's coffin will be hammered into place.
Switching between dual specs:
With the ability to switch specs on the fly for no cost, it will give us the freedom to choose both PvE and PvP specs without trying to find a hybrid spec that is less than perfect for each. As covered in a previous edition of Encrypted Text, Rogues are amongst the least affected by the dual spec option. However, I still think that it is well worth the 1,000g that it will cost to add this to your repertoire. It takes only 20 respecs to pay for this investment, if you're at the 50g limit.
Tricks of the Trade exploit:
As discovered by a few forum Rogues, there is currently an exploit that allows a Rogue to cast Tricks of the Trade on themselves. It only works out of combat and is unusable in the arena, but it should still be addressed as soon as possible. It is in no class' favor to have bugs and exploits skewing our output and causing Blizzard to work with inaccurate data. This burned Rogues when the HaT and double poison proc Mutilate bugs were corrected without compensation for the nerf that they resulted in.