Rogue sword spec fixed for 2.1

Eliah Hecht
E. Hecht|05.17.07

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Rogue sword spec fixed for 2.1

This isn't in the patch notes, but I'm still surprised I didn't hear about it sooner. Ming writes that the Rogue talent Sword Specialization, which has been broken for a very, very long time, is fixed in patch 2.1. What do I mean by "broken?" Well, here's the talent's tooltip:

Gives you a 1/2/3/4/5% chance to get an extra attack on the same target after dealing damage with your Sword.

Sounds like it should work out to basically 5% more white damage plus a little more due to it proccing off special attacks, right? Well, that's not how it's been working. What it's been doing is resetting your main hand swing timer whenever it procs, causing your main hand to swing at that time. If it procs off a regular main hand swing, you're getting your money's worth. However, say you've got a 2.0 speed mainhand, and it swung 1.8 seconds ago. You cast Sinister Strike, which happens to proc Sword Spec. This causes your main hand to swing and resets its timer to 2 seconds -- but it was about to swing anyway, so you've gained very little from the talent. Off-hand procs share a similar fate, since they also cause main hand swings.

However, things have changed in 2.1. Sword Spec procs no longer reset the swing timer, so in the above-mentioned scenario where your main hand was 0.2 seconds away from swinging when Sword Spec procced, you now get your "free" swing from the talent, and then you get your regular swing 0.2 seconds later. Furthermore, these procs are now considered "yellow" damage, which means they only have a 5% miss chance and are never glancing blows, like other specials. And off-hand procs still cause your main hand to swing, which is good because the main-hand weapon is usually slower and therefore higher in average damage than the off-hand.

Ming's angle on all this is that Sword Spec may come out superior to Fist Spec in PvP once this change becomes live. I'll leave the PvP theorycrafting to others, but this is certainly enough to make me consider speccing my own Rogue, who mostly farms with a bit of instancing on the side, over to swords (from fists) if I get some good ones. Probably not though -- even if swords edge out fists in the numbers, fists win in cool points (especially when I'm rocking Reflex/Stormreaver).
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