Assassination is still really good
While there's still plenty of time for rogues to optimize their gear and their builds, it's clear that assassination is still the spec du jour. Assassination rogues are topping the World of Logs parses on several encounters, and I couldn't find a rogue in a top 25 guild that wasn't playing assassination for progression. I have no doubt that assassination's strong AoE capabilities are at least partially responsible its success.
Combat and subtlety rogues are doing great right now, but we're still not seeing a significant number of rogues switching from assassination. It might be due the sheer inertia that assassination had coming into patch 5.2, and as we delve deeper into the Throne of Thunder, we'll see rogues trying out different specs. Both combat and subtlety rogues have big weaknesses that are holding them back, ineffective AoE being the primary cause, but there are certainly several fights where they could shine.
Blade Flurry is so close to awesome
I can't tell you how excited I was to try out Blade Flurry against Horridon. I was going to be cleaving my way right to the top of the meters! The warlocks and shadow priests were so sure they would dominate a multi-target encounter, but they hadn't seen the new Blade Flurry in action. I had all of my gear reforged for combat and I was certain that nobody would be able to touch my DPS.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Blade Flurry has an Achilles' heel: an incredibly short range. We have to be in melee range of all of the targets we want to cleave in order for Blade Flurry to work. While it's traditionally been easy to just straddle between two mobs to achieve this effect, trying to find the right spot to hit five mobs at once has proven quite difficult. It's almost impossible for a rogue to get in range of that many mobs at once, especially when they're being handled by a single tank.
Blade Flurry's range needs to be extended if it's going to stand a chance at giving combat some serious AoE capabilities. I'm thinking 10 yards (5 yards beyond melee range) in every direction. Without Blade Flurry, combat rogues are simply dead in the water when facing more than one target. Fan of Knives and Crimson Tempest aren't even worth using as combat. Blade Flurry is core to the identity of the combat rogue, and right now, there's no way for us to get the full use out of it.
Don't forget the Glyph of Smoke Bomb
Our major glyphs aren't exactly exciting. While all three specs tend to pick up the Glyph of Feint and perhaps one for their cooldowns, every spec generally has an open major glyph spot. We should all be picking up the Glyph of Smoke Bomb, especially considering Smoke Bomb's new utility in reducing incoming damage. Smoke Bomb is better than ever, and the Glyph of Smoke Bomb significantly improves the duration. It's worth dropping your Glyph of Sprint in order to improve your utility.
Is it time for haste?
We all heard the "haste will fix it" jokes when we were lamenting the slow pace of rogue energy regeneration in Mists. Unfortunately for most rogues, haste wasn't exactly a great stat. While we'd obviously pick some up via our gear, many rogues were reforging out of haste and into mastery. Our energy regeneration stayed mostly stagnant throughout patch 5.1, except for the baseline amount on our gear.
In just the few short weeks since 5.2 launched, I've already seen dozens of top assassination rogues moving all of their stats to haste. Mastery is still their second priority, but they're reforging and gemming as much haste as they can. Not everyone has transitioned from mastery-focused to haste-focused, but enough top rogues have made the switch to make it a trend and not an anomaly.
The new RPPM enchants and trinkets, which may sound confusing at first, both scale directly with haste. The more haste we have, the more often they proc. It's that simple. We're privy to several awesome RPPM trinkets in the Throne of Thunder, so it's likely that those trinkets are driving people towards haste. It wouldn't be the first time that trinkets have influenced our stat choices, and it probably won't be the last.
Sneak in every Wednesday for our patch 5.2 guide, a deep-dive into the world of assassination and combat rogue AoE rotations -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to a raid-ready rogue.