When good isn't good enough
A rogue's primary export is damage. As a pure DPS class, our damage is what defines our value. With that considered, rogues did pretty good damage before patch 5.0.4 launched. Combat was soaring whenever it had the opportunity to cleave something, and we were doing well outside of purely AoE encounters. I don't think many rogues were complaining with our relative strength throughout Dragon Soul.
Typically, the introduction of a legendary weapon into the raiding ecosystem results in a dramatic change. Unfortunately for rogues, the Fangs of the Father simply didn't live up to the hype. Rogues did well both with and without the daggers. Outside of using a few extra finishers per fight, the Fangs didn't really change our playstyle.
Patch 5.0.4 finally delivers
If you've used your Fangs of the Father since patch 5.0.4 launched, you were greeted with a pair of massively improved legendary daggers. While their relative stats haven't changed, the proc rate for the Shadows of the Destroyer was dramatically increased. Assassination rogues are getting so many procs from their poisons and regular attacks that their Fury of the Destroyer wings are up about every 30 seconds. Rogues everywhere are setting new DPS records. Well, we would be setting records if World of Logs hadn't disabled records in patch 5.0.4, but you get the idea.
All it took was a tweak to the proc rate to change what Fangs of the Father mean to rogues. The final wings proc went from a minor part of an encounter to a regular occurrence. Assassination rogues are able to unload dozens of extra Envenoms and combat rogues are scoring bonus Adrenaline Rushes from all of the extra Eviscerates.
I admit that the new potency of Fangs of the Father is a bit much. Rogues have become unstoppable raiding machines, topping every chart. I was uncatchable in Dragon Soul this week, leaving second place in the dust. The extra finishers from our legendaries were all it took to push us over the top. Our new Crimson Tempest is simply icing on the cake that allows us to win AoE battles too.
The shift to active damage
The most exciting part of the new Fangs proc rate is that it shifts the balance of our damage towards active attacks rather than passive swings. Rogues are required to watch for the wings proc and then unleash a flurry of attacks. When I'm spamming Envenom or Eviscerate, it actually feels like I'm personally contributing to my own damage. I can even watch my DPS rise in Recount while the proc is active.
Rogues have traditionally relied on mostly passive damage to succeed. It is actually quite refreshing to feel like you're in control of your damage. There's something viscerally pleasing about watching your screen explode in huge numbers as you actually get to deal some real damage. The rhythmic nature of combo points ensures that we're always working in cycles. We work towards a finisher, get a moment of burst with that one attack, and then we're back down to the bottom of the cycle, and we start working up towards another. With Fangs of the Father, we finally get the opportunity to hit the big button more than once in a row, and it feels great.
If you have played other classes, you know what it can feel like to push that big button. When you're a mage unleashing a massive Pyroblast or a warlock that just finished casting Soul Fire, you know a massive blow is headed towards your enemy. Have you ever felt like that when playing your rogue?
Good, but not great
I loved the Fangs of the Father quests. Working for Wrathion
felt incredibly rogue. We were assassins.
My own Fangs of the Father have served me well. I used them during my first heroic Deathwing kill, completing the story of the black dragons
. I was excited every time the proc activated, even if it was infrequent. I still find myself using the winged slow fall effect every time the cooldown is ready. Our legendary daggers were a good pair of weapons.
But, they could have been great. They could have affected our DPS in a meaningful way. They could have completely invalidated all other weapons. They could have shifted our damage towards active attacks. They could have felt legendary. For the next three weeks, we get to see what we could have had. Enjoy it while you can.
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.