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Encrypted Text: Bringing fun back to the rogue class


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.

The amount of fun that you can have on a rogue has been steadily declining since WoW's release. The original stunlock is gone, Swirly Ball was removed without any warning, and the Dungeon Finder effectively killed stealth boss runs. There are no more random chests for us to unlock, and our lockpicking levels up automatically. In Cataclysm, for the first time since launch, there was no epic weapon to look forward to through pickpocketing.

Mists of Pandaria is bringing fun back. With just three little glyphs, I've had more fun in the past 48 hours than I've had in years. Glyph of Detection reintroduces Swirly Ball to our arsenal, after years of fervent lobbying for its return. Glyph of Decoy leaves a copy of you behind when you Vanish to distract your enemies, just like our old friend, Archmage Vargoth. Finally, Glyph of Disguise allows you to copy the appearance of any humanoid that you use Pick Pocket on. There is nothing more fun than flying around, looking for new appearances to steal. I will never forget the first person I ganked while disguised as Durn the Hungerer.

Gallery: Mists of Pandaria new rogue glyphs | 13 Photos

Swirly Ball is back

The bad news is that, unlike the original Detect Traps, our new Swirly Ball can't be used while mounted. Everything else about Detection is awesome. After you equip the minor Glyph of Detection, a new spell called Detection pops up in your spell book. You can spam it as often as you like, in or out of stealth, with no energy cost. Both the spell's description and the tooltip of the temporary buff it yields are throwbacks to the original Detect Traps.

Rogues have been calling for the return of Swirly Ball for years, ever since its original removal. It was a core part of the rogue experience in vanilla WoW, and I know many rogues who have reserved an action bar slot for it ever since. From the official rogue forums to the question and answer panels at BlizzCon, rogues have asked the powers that be to return Swirly Ball to rogues. With Glyph of Detection, their dreams are coming true in Mists of Pandaria.

Bringing back Swirly Ball was a minor change for the developers to implement. The animations and tech were already in the game and simply needed to be reattached to the class via a new ability. The point isn't that Blizzard spent months engineering some new mechanic to throw at us, but rather that the devs listened to our feedback and fulfilled our #1 request. With Vanish fixed in Cataclysm and Swirly Ball returning in Mists, rogues are going to have to find something new to complain about.

Glyph of Decoy's clever origin

Speaking of Vanish, our new Glyph of Decoy makes Vanish more fun. When you Vanish, an image of you is left behind, which lasts for a few seconds. The image isn't targetable and it just sort of idles there, but it's still visually confusing for your opponents. Glyph of Decoy is completely pointless in PvE, as mobs aren't going to be fooled by your decoy. In PvP, however, the glyph can prove invaluable.

I'm looking forward to pre-Vanishing while I'm already stealthed, leaving a copy of myself behind to distract my opponents. The beauty of the new glyph design in Mists is that minor glyphs are allowed to be silly. Minor glyphs don't provide any tangible benefits to players, so you can afford to burn a minor glyph slot just to empower your Vanish.

Glyph of Disguise checks all three boxes

I am in love with Glyph of Disguise. First and foremost, it's genuinely fun. You get to steal your opponent's model, which lets you constantly reinvent yourself. With the thousands of humanoid enemies in the game with pockets to pick, you could spend weeks just experimenting with different models. While I would love to see the duration extended indefinitely, it's still incredibly fun to steal the model of the mobs you're grinding at the time. The disguises are synergistic to the flavor to the rogue class, as we're essentially stealing our enemies' uniforms during our infiltration and recon.

Secondly, the ability is unique. While Potion of Illusion allows players to copy the models of other players, the new Glyph of Disguise is rogue-only and works with enemy targets. There's no other ability in the game that allows for such a variety of model shifting, as druids only have a handful of forms to pick from. Because of unique abilities like this, the rogue class will be able to draw in more players. Unique abilities are good for the long-term health of our class.

Finally, the genius of the Glyph of Disguise is that it's the glyph that keeps on giving. As Blizzard's art crew creates new models and races, they'll be automatically available to rogues as soon as they're added. We can keep disguising ourselves throughout Mists and any expansions that follow. Blizzard can even purposefully put pockets on certain mobs just to ensure that rogues can transform into them. The tech is simple yet provides us with an expansive and expanding supply of fun.

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.

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