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Encrypted Text: If you could ask one rogue question

Scott Helfand

Every week or two, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Scott Helfand (@sveltekumquat) will be your shadow on this treacherous journey; try not to keep your back turned for too long, and make sure your valuables are stashed somewhere safe.

The BlizzCon 2013 schedule was released last week, and I spied with my ninja eye one notable omission: For the first time in several years, there will be no open Q-and-A session or discussion panel devoted to talking about WoW's classes. In fact, the only Q-and-A session apparently scheduled for BlizzCon expressly forbids class-specific questions.

Well, ain't that a Shiv in the pants.

On the plus side, this means I don't have to take the fall for the fact that we're about to snap a streak of three consecutive BlizzCons in which WoW Insider's resident rogue columnist boldly strode up to a microphone during a Q-and-A and asked the game designers a question about our class. (Chase Christian asked the devs in 2011 how they planned to keep rogues distinct from monks (they have); in 2010 about whether rogues would ever be able to wield something other than a dagger in their off-hand (they now do -- if they're in combat spec); and in 2009 about whether Vanish would ever be fixed (believe me, today's Vanish issues ain't nothing compared to yesteryear's).

On the minus side: What are we going to do with ourselves during BlizzCon if we can't spend our time becoming progressively more frustrated during the course of an hourlong Q-and-A session, watching the minutes tick inexorably by, never to return, as players of blatantly inferior classes take up the panel's precious time with their clearly inconsequential questions?

I'll tell you what we're gonna do: We'll create our own Q-and-A panel -- well, minus the A's, at least for now. We've got a decent audience here, right? We've got a comment section, no? Let's do this.

The Rules of the Question-Asking Road

Let's play pretend for a moment. You, you lucky stabber you, have a ticket for BlizzCon. And a plane ticket. And a hotel to stay in. And friends in town you can mooch dinner off of. And in this beautiful fantasyland, there is a class Q-and-A, and you've been standing in line for two hours just to make sure you'd have a chance to ask this question.

One shot. One opportunity. One moment. To ask WoW's designers, face to face, one question about the rogue class.

What's that question?

Unless you're a downright fool, you won't waste this opportunity by flinging rage, sarcasm or insults. This ain't the forums; this is real life. This is your chance to be heard, and to have a serious question you genuinely wonder about answered by the people who are in the best position to address it.

So. What are you asking?

I'll get things started with the question I'd pose, if I could only ask one:

How Do You Plan to Make Playing a Rogue More Fun?

It's no secret that rogues are an unpopular class at max level. Heck, we've whined about it regularly, and at length, for years now. Here on WoW Insider, we've recently pondered whether the rogue's demise is imminent; meanwhile, there's some weirdo in a hat out there on the Internet who won't shut up about our population trends.

But here's the funny thing about rogues' lack of popularity: It doesn't start out that way. In fact, at level 10, rogues currently make up 11% of all U.S. characters, according to Realm Pop -- only hunters are more popular at that level.

But by level 30, rogues make up 10% of all U.S. characters (in third place). By level 45, the proportion drops to a little over 9% (in seventh place). And by level 90, we're down to 6.6% of all U.S. characters at the moment -- above only monks, who are still the new kids on the virtual block.

There are many theories as to why people progressively drop out of the leveling process as they're playing their rogues: the decline of the stunlock, a lack of cool-looking attack animations, poor AoE damage, slow gameplay and Blizzard's inability to follow through on the rogue fantasy, just to name a few. But I think most of these theories, accurate or no, follow the same basic theme: Folks just reach a point where they stop enjoying themselves. And that appears to take place more when people are playing a rogue than when they're playing any other class.

But surely, this isn't simply the way of things. We don't have to be the paladins of stealth, but surely WoW's designers must wish that fewer people would abandon their rogues before they've fully matured into leather-clad harbingers of level-90-flaunting doom?

So. That's my question for the game's class designers: What are you guys gonna do to finally turn that tide, and make rogues fun and interesting for more people in the future?

Spin Your Wheel of Queries

Now it's your turn. If you could ask the designers just one question, what would it be? Sound off in the comments below -- or heck, tweet them with the hashtag #roguequestions and let's see if we can make this a thing. Take the time to read others' questions, too, and offer your thoughts.

Who knows? If we're fortunate enough, maybe we can even get some of these questions answered sometime in the future, BlizzCon panel or no. I'll also pull together some of the Q's I felt were most compelling in a future column so they can get a little more attention.

Be thoughtful, be civil, be curious. One question. What you got?

Sneak in every Wednesday or two for our RPPM guide and tier 16 set bonus review, a look at the eight key things you should keep in mind when leveling your rogue -- and of course, why we'll always be the bad guys.

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