I went all the way to BlizzCon this year, stood in line to ask the developers about rogue utility in person, and didn't really get an answer that anyone was satisfied with. Rogue utility came from our stuns, which every melee class now has in spades. I hung my head and accepted that rogues were going to suffer through another expansion without any improvements. I had been hoping that Ghostcrawler, WoW's lead systems developer, would have more news to share.
But then, at first light on the fifth day after BlizzCon, Ghostcrawler appeared atop the hill on his brilliant crab Shadowfax. His white robes shone brilliantly in the bright dawn, and his nerf bat was raised high over his head. With him rode 1,000 answers, ready to rush down the hill to trample our questions, which were rallying in the valley below. As he parted his lips, a beautiful song poured forth: "We are reworking poisons."
Utility poisons will provide utility
Here's the full quote from Ghostcrawler:
Why couldn't they just tell me this when I asked? I know this is going to seem strange to all of the veteran rogues in the audience, but we're actually going to get the opportunity to use a utility poison in a raid environment. We are currently forced to choose between a damaging poison or a utility poison, and since Instant and Deadly Poisons make up such a huge chunk of our DPS, there's really no choice. Assassination rogues are worthless without both DPS poisons active. The Wrath-revamped Deadly Poison is simply too good, and its mechanics make Instant Poison mandatory as well.
In my mind, Blizzard is going to remove the damage component from Wound Poison, and we're going to be left with two DPS poisons. Instant Poison will be used for PVP and when we need to deal damage immediately (perhaps with an improved proc rate), and Deadly Poison will be used for raid encounters and any protracted engagement. We choose between either Instant or Deadly Poisons based on the situation we're facing.
On our other weapon, we get to pick one of our utility poisons. Since there's no DPS penalty, we can really go crazy here. I am seriously saying that you are going to get the chance to use Mind-Numbing Poison in a raid. How awesome is that? We have all of these unique poison types, and now we get to actually use them. This announcement changes everything we know about poisons.
New poisons now make sense
When we got to peek at the upcoming Mists of Pandaria talent trees, there were two new poisons on the list. Their descriptions in the talent tree didn't show any damage components, and so of course they were immediately relegated to niche or PVP usage.
Leeching Poison heals us for 10% of our damage dealt against poisoned targets, while Paralytic Poison stacks on our target and stuns them when we hit five stacks. The ability to stun adds for free or to heal ourselves without any penalty will be two new additions to our arsenal. In fact, between Recuperate and Leeching Poisons, I bet rogues are going to be downright annoying to kill and a breeze to heal.
More poison changes?
If Blizzard is going to such great lengths to redesign rogue poisons, what other changes could be coming to the system? Aldriana envisioned our DPS poisons moving to a more runeforge-like system where they're semi-permanent weapon enchants, while our utility poisons become temporary abilities that we can pick for the occasion. I've also seen it suggested that our poisons should be switched to short-term enchants, allowing us to swap between them on the fly.
Are poisons going to even require actual poison any more, or will we finally reclaim some bag space? If poisons are still items, then how will Leeching Poison and Paralytic Poison work? Will those poisons only appear on the vendor if we have the talent? What happens to any leftover Leeching Poison in our bags if we spec out of the talent? Poisons moving from an item to an ability makes sense, as Blizzard is working to streamline the game. What other poison changes would you like to see?
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