I have a confession to make. I'm typically one of those people who quit WoW for a few months between expansions. I give myself some time to catch up on games that I've been neglecting and work on any projects at home. I find that I'm actually more excited for the next expansion when I've been out of the loop for a while, as I'm absolutely overwhelmed by shiny new things that I never saw coming. I didn't even start playing the The Burning Crusade for a few weeks after its release, and I let my overachieving friends help me level instead. But that was before I received my Cataclysm beta invite.
I'll admit that I'm new to beta testing, and I've been feeling my way around in the dark quite a bit. My first mission was to get my rogue's action bars in order. It turned out to be pretty easy, since I bind nearly everything, and I don't need to go clicking on any abilities. It's taken me a while to get used to playing without addons, and using the default UI is still a frustrating experience. I'm used to having so much more data at my fingertips, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from taking a tour of Hyjal.
I went to the class trainer to pick up Recuperate and plan out my talent spec. I decided to put my money where my mouth is and tried out Improved Recuperate and Deadly Momentum, with the goal of becoming a self-healing juggernaut. While leveling with a ton of end-of-expansion expansion gear isn't too rough, if I can keep myself topped off at all times, I cut down on my downtime. I found my way to the teleport NPC that sent me straight to Hyjal to aid the druids in defending the zone from flames.
The best leveling talent in the game
Deadly Momentum is simply the best leveling talent in the game. I started using a fairly simple combat rotation, using Sinister Strike to work up to four combo points. I follow that up with Revealing Strike, combat's new talent, which boosts the effectiveness of our next finisher and grants a combo point. At five combo points, a quick Eviscerate (boosted with Improved Eviscerate) will usually dispatch whatever I'm attacking. Now that the mob is dead, Deadly Momentum gets a chance to do its work.
On the first mob I attack in an area, I'll use my five combo points on a Slice and Dice to start, which boosts my attack speed. With Improved Slice and Dice, my SnD lasts about 30 seconds, which is plenty of time for me to find and dispatch of my next target. While I'm killing said target, I'll use a full five-point Recuperate, which begins regenerating five percent of my life per tick, for 30 seconds. Since both SnD and Recuperate last about 30 seconds, as long as I continue to kill one mob every 30 seconds, both of them continue to be active, boosting my damage and healing my wounds. In addition, I'm taking eight percent less damage via Improved Recuperate, which is welcome when I'm pulling multiple mobs.
Blade Flurry: cleaving done right
We used to use abilities like Sap to knock out enemies and ensure that we'd only end up in combat with a single mob. We were too fragile without cooldowns to let multiple attackers beat on us. Recuperate changes all of that, as we are typically regenerating faster than our opponents can damage us. However, there's no tangible benefit to pulling more mobs than necessary unless we can also kill more than one at a time.
The new Blade Flurry lasts for 15 seconds with a 30-second cooldown, which means it'll be up against nearly every mob you encounter if your factor in travel time. I literally pulled two mobs a pull for about 10 minutes without losing Slice and Dice or Recuperate and killed them with nearly double the efficiency of a Wrath rogue. The potencies of Killing Spree and Adrenaline Rush were amplified by Blade Flurry's replication effect, allowing me to destroy whatever was in melee range. It's like all of our attacks just passively hit two targets, and it's pretty big paradigm shift for us. We went from being assassins who focus on quick kills to tanks who thrive on combating entire groups. I had to work quite a bit to get it into my head that pulling two mobs was not only a good idea, but that doing anything else would simply be suboptimal.
The fixed Vanish is a life-saver
As I'm "liberating" some goods from whichever cult has infested Hyjal, I was assaulted by a cowardly night elf hunter. Yes, I migrated my rogue to the PvP beta server, because I'm not about to take the easy way out. I'll earn every level the rogue way: with the blood of my enemies still warm on my weapons. I can't think of anything more hilarious than wrecking the beta testers who aren't capable of PvP without mods. I spent most of my first night on the beta just testing the waters, attacking every Alliance player I could find. My early results show that mages are pretty soft and easy to dispatch, while retribution paladins are still to be avoided.
Anyway, back to my story about the hunter. I'm minding my own business when I'm hit with Serpent Sting and Explosive Shot from behind, with a white wolf running up on me as I turn around. I'm familiar with this situation, and it usually doesn't end well for me. After a Concussive Shot, I pop Sprint to start making ground towards the hunter, and I instinctively pop Vanish to clear the slow from CS from me. I reach the hunter, and I'm spamming my "2" key to use Sinister Strike -- except my "2" key isn't Sinister Strike, it's Pick Pocket. It's Pick Pocket because I'm still in Stealth, even with a pet searching for me and two DoTs ticking away. I've taken damage, and I'm still in Stealth. My mind is blown.
I'm not really even sure what to do right now. I'm stealthed behind this hunter, and he's not sure where I've gone. Has Vanish ever worked? It's been so long that I can't even remember what happens next. After a moment, I regain my senses and unleash a Cheap Shot > Blade Flurry > Killing Spree combo that puts his dog to sleep and has him running back to his body in wisp form. Needless to say, that hunter did not ambush me again. I looked solemnly at my "T" key, home of my Vanish bind for the past several years. It stared back at me. We shared a moment then, as we both realized that this latest discovery was about to change everything.
Check back every Wednesday for the latest strategies in Encrypted Text! Get ready for Icecrown Citadel with our rogue guide, part 1, part 2 (Plagueworks), part 3 (Crimson Halls) and part 4 (Frostwing Halls). Just hit 80 and need information? Try Combat 101 or Mutilate 101.