As you've probably heard, patch 4.1 is now being tested on the PTR. We know about a few of the new dungeons and raid bosses, and Blizzard's developers have given us some sparse information about the incoming class changes. There wasn't anything earth-shattering in the notes -- at least until you reached the rogue section. Once I saw our class' name in that infamous Brittle Yellow hue, I was prepared for the worst. Patches can only go one of two ways for a rogue: awful or awesome.
There's not a single patch note for rogues that is going to increase our DPS. There's not a single patch note for rogues that is going to lower our DPS. Instead, our section of changes features quality of life and survivability changes that have me more excited than a toddler on Christmas Day. You already know that I love Stealth, and it gets even better. Recuperate, the best leveling spell in the game, got buffed back to its Cataclysm beta values. Tricks of the Trade received a quality-of-life change that takes it from good to amazing. Patch 4.1 has taught me that I don't need to have my damage buffed to fall in love.
Tricks of the Trade reaches out
We're a melee class. We're built to work within 5 yards of our opponents. We don't really have any buffs to speak of. That's why Tricks of the Trade's 20-yard range seemed to strange to us. We actually weren't used to the idea of having to figure out where someone else was standing.
We'll never have to worry about that again. Tricks of the Trade now has a 100-yard range, which is basically infinity. We can Tricks trash to our tank no matter how slow they are to approach. Tricks saw a buff when Cataclysm was launched that reset its cooldown if the buff faded without being used. With this latest improvement, Tricks' ease of use is vastly improved. Boss hitboxes can be so large sometimes that we're not within 20 yards of the tank even when we're both meleeing the boss, and this resolves that issue.
Buffs for Recuperate
Recuperate's base healing was buffed back to its Cataclysm beta level, now restoring 3% of our life per tick instead of 2%. I like to think that Aldriana's post about how Recuperate was about as bad as using a Bandage may have spurred this on.
Blizzard did nerf Improved Recuperate to compensate, though I didn't see many rogues picking that up. It's still a huge DPS loss for assassination and combat rogues to use Recuperate, but it's not quite as painful as it was previously. Subtlety rogues should love this change, though their survivability was already quite impressive with perma-Feint and Enveloping Shadows.
Back in the day, a rogue had to spec 10 points into Stealth talents just to make it usable. Master of Deception and Camouflage were crucial to any PvP build. Later, Heightened Senses became mandatory for PvP, as we needed to be able to root out our opponents. We were using trinkets and goggles just to keep our Stealth level on par with the other rogues. It was an arms race with no winners. In Cataclysm, we saw Stealth normalized across all rogues. However, this was only the first buff to Stealth that Deathwing would bring.
The new version of Stealth on the PTR has a new cooldown of only 4 seconds. Every single rogue spec gets Stealth with only a 4-second cooldown. It gets better. Stealth no longer applies a movement penalty. Take a second to think about that. Rogues now move at full speed while Stealthed, and that includes Quickening or any boot enchant you may have. That means that with Quickening, you can catch up to people while in Stealth. You can walk anywhere in Stealth without missing a beat. Honestly, it means that there's no reason to not be Stealthed at any time.
Nightstalker: My new favorite talent
While these improvements are obviously powerful, nothing comes close to what the revised Nightstalker talent does for us. Now that Stealth's cooldown is only 4 seconds, Nightstalker just goes ahead and removes the cooldown altogether. Want to see? Watch the above video, and be amazed. I literally spent 30 minutes in Stormwind just going in and out of Stealth. It's an amazing feeling, and honestly, I am certain that I am going to bind my Stealth macro to every single key. I won't be visible unless I'm busy killing something.
But wait, there's more! Nightstalker still improves our movement speed while Stealthed by 10%. Didn't I just say that there's no longer a movement penalty for being Stealthed? Well, Nightstalker just makes you move faster than normal while Stealthed anyway. And according to some great research done by Docrev, it stacks multiplicatively with our other movement speed increases. If you're following along, you're now realizing that rogues with Nightstalker actually move faster while Stealthed than they do out of Stealth.
My mind was immediately blown. It's still blown. I don't even know how to process the data. Rogues move faster while Stealthed than they do out of Stealth. This is madness. The entire idea of Stealth was that you traded mobility for surprise. Now, we get to have our cake and eat it too -- and we're invisible the whole time. Honestly, I am more excited about these changes than I have been in months. I spent hours on the PTR just walking around in Stealth, outrunning people who were scurrying about the city streets.
Imagine with me for a second. You're fighting someone in some sort of PvP scenario, and you're winning. They hit you with a crowd-control effect and begin retreating. They may even turn around and flee. They see you standing there as their stun wears off. Then, you're gone -- you've disappeared. As they run at full speed away, a sinking feeling finds itself in their gut. They realize they can't make it. You're invisible, a deadly shark with no fin, and you're catching up. You're the monster of their dreams that their subconscious won't let them escape. Their death isn't an anomaly; it's a certainty. They are being chased by a perfect killing machine that they can't outrun -- that they can't even see. You extinguish their hope.