Encrypted Text: Rogue poisons dramatically redesigned in Mists of Pandaria

poison quest

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Throw out everything you know about rogue poisons. No, we need to go deeper than that. Throw out everything you know about rogues altogether. In the past few days, we've seen more blue posts on the official rogue forums than we'd seen since Cataclysm's launch. Poisons have been at the heart and soul of the rogue kit from day one. Even though parts of the poison system have changed over the years, the general concept has always remained the same.

Let me blow your mind: In Mists, you can have two poisons on each of your weapons at once. Let me do it again: All poison proc rates will be percentage-based. And a third time: Poisons are no longer applied to your individual weapons but to both weapons at once.

What does it even mean to put your poisons on both hands at once? What in the world am I supposed to write this column about if nobody's asking which hand to put Deadly Poison on any more? I'm going to slip and tell some new rogue that IP/DP is the best, and he's going to laugh and call me an old man.

Poisons are now skills, and this post is now diamonds

I miss crafting poisons. I used to love going to the vendor and using a sticky note next to my monitor to figure out my reagent shopping list. Buying poisons from a vendor made the whole experience feel cheapened -- and it also meant losing the poison crafting skill altogether. Now, poisons are finally leaving our bags and becoming skills. You'll simply learn how to apply your poisons automatically as you level up (remember, you don't learn from class trainers in Mists). While it means some reclaimed bag space, I will miss physically carrying my poisons around with me.

When you use your poison skill, you poison both of your weapons for an hour. You'll still be able to swap them in combat, and you can obviously still pick what poisons you want to use. You just won't have to visit a poison vendor every few days anymore. It's a quality-of-life change for rogues that I saw coming a mile away when hunters stopped needing ammo for their ranged weapons. Do you want to know how sentimental I am? I still carry around a stack of Shatter Rounds in my inventory, just in case. Just in case.

PPM is gone completely

I've talked quite a bit about the difference between PPM and percentage-based poisons, and all that is being made irrelevant. All poisons will be moving to a percentage-based proc rate. The problem is that percentage-based poisons favor quick weapons immensely over slow weapons. In order to facilitate this change, all daggers are going to be unified to have 1.8 speeds in Mists.

There will only be two types of weapons: slow daggers and slow non-daggers. Non-dagger off-hand weapons for combat rogues are still being discussed, and my guess is that any change would be purely visual, but nothing's official yet. So long, Julie's Dagger and Webbed Death. It was nice knowing you.

No more handedness to poisons

Poisons in Mists will automatically be applied to both of your melee weapons at once. We won't have a ranged weapon slot in Mists, so don't worry about that. You decide that you want to use Instant Poison, you cast the spell, and now both of your weapons are ready for stabbing people. It's as simple as that. All of the old macros and addons we used to manage which poison went on which hand will be obsolete.

Double the poisons, double the fun

The most significant change to poisons in Mists is their breakdown into two classes of poisons. There are now lethal (damage-dealing) and non-lethal (debuffing) poisons, and we can have both applied to both weapons at any given time. I was excited about this when it was originally announced, and the final implementation looks amazing.

We simply pick our lethal poison, which will either be Instant or Deadly, and then any one of the non-lethal poisons. Every single swing we land has a chance to proc both our lethal and non-lethal poisons at the same time. Rogues will finally be able to bring some of the utility of our non-lethal poisons without sacrificing any DPS.

I am going to try to refer to poisons in Mists using the same slash notation you're used to, with the lethal poison first and the non-lethal poison second. For example, I would say IP/CP if I wanted you to use Instant Poison (lethal) and Crippling Poison (non-lethal).

Instant vs. Deadly

Let me cut to the chase here: You'll be using the new Deadly Poison in PvE. Deadly Poison has been reduced down to a single-stack debuff instead of five stacks and immediately starts dealing instant poison damage on every subsequent proc. Instant Poison deals the same instant poison damage as Deadly Poison but obviously doesn't require the DP DoT to be applied first.

Because DP can be dispelled in PvP and won't be present immediately on new targets, Instant Poison might be the lethal poison of choice for PvP rogues and fights with tough burst requirements. Deadly Poison might still be too good in PvP, though, as the DP poison debuff can help prevent a healer from dispelling your other poisons from the target. In all other situations, Deadly Poison seems to be the clear winner, as it will only take a second or two to generate the single stack required for it to beat Instant's DPS.

That's my take on it based on the initial talent calculator, but obviously this might change once we've had a chance to see how IP and DP actually work in the (hopefully) upcoming beta.

More changes to come

While the above changes are obviously massive in scope, there are even more changes coming to the rogue poison system. We've got brand new poisons to explore, a completely revamped Shiv that amplifies our poison effects, and new abilities like Shuriken and the new-old Fan of Knives that will interact with poisons in interesting ways. I will be covering all of the new information we've learned (and continue to learn) in the coming weeks.

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.