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Encrypted Text: A stealthy year in review


Ah, New Year's Eve. At midnight tonight, we'll drink champagne, kiss our loved ones, and bid 2007 a fond farewell. Or alternatively, we'll sit in our bedrooms, accidentally spill Pabst Blue Ribbon all over our keyboards, and prepare to hibernate through the presidential primaries.

Whatever your New Year's plans, we can all agree on one thing -- it's been a year of changes in WoW, both for the game in general and the rogue class in particular. From the Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King to Vanish STILL NOT WORKING, here's the lowdown on 2007 for Azeroth's rogues.


Early January: Rogues playing the Burning Crusade beta begin complaining about the amount of cleave and AOE attacks in raids and dungeons. Everyone else playing the Burning Crusade beta begins complaining about Cloak of Shadows in PvP. This will continue until ... forever.

January 15: Ashamed rogues stealth through the mall to wait in line for Burning Crusade's midnight release.

January 16, 12:01 AM: The race to the Dark Portal culminates in huge, bloody battles on nearly every server. Attempts to sneak through are foiled by mages spamming Arcane Explosion.

January 16: Hundreds of thousands of rogues walk into Outlands and immediately begin looking for a Ramparts tank.


February 22: Blizzard representatives post that the weird 2.0.1 stealth animations will be reversed. Orc rogues scuttle around in celebration.

February 25: Good news for raiding and dungeon-going rogues -- Tigole reports that 360 degree cleaves will be reduced to 180 degree cleaves. Everyone standing behind the mobs will now be served delicious pie instead of a horrible death.


March: Many rogues begin raiding Karazhan, where they notice that their DPS doesn't quite compete with mages and warlocks. A massive forum outcry begins, and is quickly buried under a heap of "LOL cloak of skill" posts. March was probably the worst month for rogues throughout the year.

Late March: Record amounts of facestabbing follow the release of the movie "300."


April 13: The Public Test Realm notes for patch 2.1.0 are released. Rogues rejoice at an automatic return to stealth after sapping, a reduction in glancing blows, and the elimination of those damnable limited-charge poisons. On a related note, "I HOPE BLIZZARDS MAIN FRAME SYSTEM CRASHES & ERASES YOUR OVER POWERED POS CLASS FOR WORLD OF WARCRAFT FOR EVER & EVER & EVER & EVER" pretty much sums up every other class's feelings on 2.1.0.


May 1: Rogue guru Ming notes that Sword Spec no longer resets the sword swing timer on the PTR. Thousands of PvP rogues wear out their "2" key.

May 22: Patch 2.1.0 hits the streets.


June 24: The rogue Celalia, from the European guild Forte, receives the world's first Warglaive of Azzinoth through the clever use of "/em pickpockets Illidan for [Warglaive of Azzinoth] and 4s52c."


July 12: The 2.2 PTR patch notes come out. The rogue forums get all excited about a change to Blind (8 seconds, 1 min cooldown, no reagent) only to have it reversed on ...

July 16: Sorry! Keep pickpocketing that Blinding Powder!


Early August: There's not a lot of new rogue info at Blizzcon, aside from the note that mages, warlocks and rogues are supposed to be about equal in end-game DPS.

August 18: PTR data shows that melee haste has been nerfed to be about equal to spell haste. A vicious theorycrafting attack leaves many forumdwellers lethally confused.


September 17: Drysc explained that melee haste was nerfed because it was scaling too well compared to attack power. He also told rogues that the developers were looking to do something when a target died with unused combo points on it.

September 26: More Drysc fun, as he announces that Shadowstep will be changed in 2.3 to be usable out of stealth and decrease threat, Deady Throw will be much faster, and Blind will be subject to PVE diminishing returns -- but not require a reagent!

September 27: In a blow to jerks everywhere, Sap now flags you for PVP on a PVE server.


October 8: Will the last rogue out of Mechanar before 2.2 please turn off the lights?

October 9: Patch 2.2 hits, with the aforementioned (lack of) rogue changes.

October 11: Patch 2.3 goes up on the PTR, with pretty much the same changes Drysc noted in September.

October 20: A couple more 2.3 changes: Aggression increases Backstab damage too, Shadowstep's cooldown is 30 seconds and there's a 20% threat reduction on your next move, and Hemorrhage got a giant buff: a 36 damage increase when your target is debuffed (up from 10.) Hemo rogues come out from wherever they've been hiding to let out a cheer.

October 23: Another big rogue buff in for 2.3 is announced, as Cheat Death is increased to a 100% chance to, uh, cheat death with full talent points -- and also gives you 90% less damage for 3 seconds when it triggers. It's like a second Cloak of Shadows that works on melee as well!


November 13: Patch 2.3 goes live.

November 17: Button-mashing rogues have trouble killing anything after Patch 2.3 changes the global cooldown around.


December 14: The 2.3.2 test realm patch notes have a few rogue changes. Ambush's damage multiplier is increased to 275%, Sinister Calling increases the damage bonus of Hemorrhage and Backstab, and Shadowstep adds a 70% movement speed increase for 3 seconds. However, Hemo is planned to be slightly nerfed (110% weapon damage instead of 125%) and Preparation will now reset Shadowstep but not Adrenaline Rush.

So that's the month by month breakdown, but altogether, how have rogues done this year? After BC came out, we were a little underpowered in PVP. Mages and warlocks topped the damage meters for a while. But as rogues began getting better gear and arena weapons, we again soared to the top of the charts -- if we were good, that is. 2.1 seriously buffed our raiding ability, and 2.3 made subtlety builds viable again. In PVP, we're still the master gankers, and although we're not the greatest at battlegrounds and small arenas, we can still be valued parts of 5v5 teams.

We didn't get dramatically better or dramatically worse, but all in all, I'd say we're in a better place now than we were right after BC's release. What do you think?

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