The upcoming patch 5.0.4 only contains part of Mists of Pandaria's content, but it does bring all of its class changes. Our new talent trees and glyphs will be in place, and our specializations will be dramatically revamped. While rogues are receiving fewer changes than any other class, we will experience a shift.
Our new mechanics will be in place following patch 5.0.4's release on Aug. 28. We will have nearly a month to learn our rotations before Mists' official launch. That should be plenty of time to get our gear and glyphs in order in preparation for leveling in Pandaria. Poisons and talents will be at the forefront of our effort to adjust.
Poisons are simple
If you're in any sort of PvE situation, you want to be using Deadly Poison as your lethal poison. There's really no other option here. Put your legacy poison items in your bank and make a nice hotkey for applying DP. You can pick either Leeching Poison or Crippling Poison for your non-lethal poison. With the removal of Instant Poison from our arsenal and the improvements to Deadly Poison, your choice is simple.
Check your reforging
Expertise and hit ratings are undergoing some changes in patch 5.0.4 and will likely require some manual effort on your part. The new special melee miss chance is moving to 7.5%, while our spell miss cap is moving to 15%. You'll want to set up your expertise and hit rating up to pick up one or both caps, based on your spec. Assassination rogues will still want to top the spell miss cap, so expertise rating will become especially valuable for them. I expect all three rogue specs will be aiming for both the 7.5% hit rating cap and the 7.5% expertise rating cap.
Your glyphs will be jumbled
The pre-expansion patch is bringing several swaps to our glyphs. With the removal of prime glyphs from the game, we'll need to evaluate all of our glyph choices from scratch. Ensure you have all possible rogue glyphs ahead of time so that you won't have to pay inflated market prices for them post-patch. Combat and assassination rogues will be scoring their cooldown-specific glyphs, while the remaining choices have a bit more flexibility.
You'll also be able to score the Swirly Ball glyph, along with all of the other fun minor glyphs for rogues. While you're busy having fun, see if you can get a druid to toss you Symbiosis so that you can try your hand at tanking.
Drop your vestigial gear and enchants
With Fleet Footed becoming a passive ability for all three specs, you won't need a speed enchant on your boots anymore. Feel free to swap to the far cheaper Enchant Boots – Major Agility option. Helm enchantments are also disappearing from the game, so you won't have to worry about enchanting your hat ever again. For those of you who held out leveling up your rep with Ramkahen, your stubbornness has finally paid off.
Speaking of disappearing, our ranged slot will also be vanishing. Vendor any throwing weapons you have stocked up. This is one of the few changes I'm actually unhappy about, as I quite enjoyed tossing harpoons around via Fan of Knives.
It's Crimson Tempest time
While we won't pick up our new cooldown, Shadow Blades, until level 87, we will have access to Crimson Tempest at patch 5.0.4's release. Crimson Tempest, along with the redesigned Fan of Knives, gives us the opportunity to have a real AoE rotation. We will be using Fan of Knives to generate combo points and then hitting Crimson Tempest to unleash them. I can't wait to top the meters on Yor'sahj and Madness of Deathwing.
Use an opener
Due to our new level 15 talent options and the improvements Blizzard has made to our opening abilities, there's really no reason not to use one on every pull. Combat rogues were notorious for never entering stealth, but a recently buffed Ambush and the potency of Shadow Focus or Nightstalker should be enough incentive to change that habit.
I really wish that Blizzard had found a way to bring elements of Stealth into a raid encounter, but encouraging us to at least open a fight properly is movement in the right direction. Depending on how powerful our openers become, Vanish may end up being a DPS cooldown for assassination and combat rogues.
Learn your new rotation
Each of the three rogue specs has had its rotation changed in some way. I would suggest hitting the target dummies and dungeons to learn the ropes before taking your rogue into a serious Dragon Soul raid. Many guilds are still working on their final achievements or bosses, and the bosses aren't getting any extra nerfs in the patch. You'll still need to perform optimally if you want to down Deathwing again, especially when you remember that your fellow raiders might be doing less DPS than usual as well.
Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.