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Encrypted Text: Everything but Vanish


Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we talk about what's up next for the Rogue class. Hopefully, nothing!

While I don't have any official numbers, I think it's easy to say that Rogues are the class that sees the most complaints from others. Crying about Death Knights has been en vogue recently, but we've still got years of threads calling for the complete and utter downfall of every assassin. While all of this negative press has resulted in a few nerfs that nobody was happy with, it seems that Blizzard has chosen to rise above the noise and ensure our slot at the top of both the DPS meters and PvP representation charts.

We went through a spell as the least-played class of WotLK: a level that Rogues had never even approached previously. We were largely middle-of-the-pack in PvE and PvP, with HAT exploits and Glyphed Vigor + Overkill + Mutilate combos barely sustaining us. However, Blizzard heard our cries for a resurrection, and we were reborn in patch 3.1. With the newly minted PPM Poison mechanics adding gobs of nature damage to every spec, and the redesigned Combat tree breathing life into the raiding scene, we're sitting pretty as the #1 DPS class in both Ulduar and the arena. The question that's on my mind now: "What next?"

Blizzard's Q&A Series:

In a move that I find incredibly refreshing, Ghostcrawler and the entire dev team is opening the floor for classes to ask their most important questions. Class design, the game plan for the next few patches, and specific mechanics: they're answering questions of all types. Shamans recently had their comprehensive Q&A discussion completed, and received a lot of interesting feedback and insight into the dev team's plans.

Rogues are currently slated for the next-to-last slot in the Q&A program. I'm sure this is no coincidence, as we're in a very strong place right now. However, this also gives us a few weeks (or months) to consider what questions we would like Blizzard to answer. I started writing a list, but ended up just writing down "Vanish" and "Please let it be us getting axes!" over and over again. It was hinted that either Rogues would be getting to use Axes, or Death Knights would gain access to Fist Weapons. I am unfortunately cynical, and when confronted with question of who will likely get the new weapon skill, I'll quote Vulajin's sarcastic remark: "Hero Class."

Vanish is easily the most talked about spell the Rogue class has ever possessed. Rogues hate using it, everyone else hates when we use it, and the development team can't reproduce any issues with it. I see a hundred posts a day about the futility (or OP factor) of Vanish, and I'm left thinking it may be the only issue remaining with the Rogue class. We're obviously getting brought to raids due to our stellar damage capabilities, and our PvP stats are better than we've ever seen. What should we be asking Blizzard about, when we're working as intended?


Shamans, I'm just kidding. I would, however, like some role to play in a raid besides "just do the most DPS and nobody will care otherwise". I've noticed that in Ulduar we've had a few niches, usually interrupting, providing Wound Poison's debuff, or helping a tank generate AoE threat via Tricks of the Trade. Combat now also brings a strong physical damage increase with Savage Combat, and Master Poisoner has ended up being far stronger than Ret's Heart of the Crusader (especially with Fan of Knives to spread it). Add in Feint, Quick Recovery, and the effectiveness of Judgment of Light for us, and we're taking less damage and requiring less healing than anyone else. When we look at the big picture, Rogues actually have a fairly solid role cut out for them in the raiding world.

Sustained damage in PvP:

I've heard a lot about Blizzard's constant nerfs to Overkill and Mutilate really killing the entire viability of Rogues in PvP. When I think about the fact that the new Overkill actually yields more energy than it did previously, and gives Mutilate something in the way of a "cooldown" to use for on-demand damage with Vanish, I have a hard time seeing the complaints. Combat has always had excellent energy regeneration via Combat Potency, and Assassination is incredibly strong with effective use of restealthing. While our survivability in the open still leaves something to be desired, we are simply required to play the game of cat and mouse instead of dog versus dog.


With a fairly complex class to play in both PvE and PvP, along with multiple viable trees in both environments, Rogues are sitting pretty after patch 3.1. As before, I am simply hoping that leaves us relatively untouched. This will allow us to continue to excel while providing an engaging experience in all areas. So, Blizzard: unless you really want to get your hands dirty and fix Vanish once and for all, feel free to just leave us how we are.

Are you a Rogue looking to up your game? Check back every Wednesday for the latest strategies in Encrypted Text! And for the raiding Rogue, get ready for Ulduar with Ready Check and our Ulduar guide for Rogues, parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

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