The Rogue Talent Tree has undergone some fairly major changes that are now present in the Cataclysm Beta. All three trees have received new abilities, and a fair number of abilities have been shuffled around within their trees or moved to other trees. Here we will try to get a grip on exactly what has changed and what that means for the class.

Use the picture below as a visual guide to the changes. Abilities marked in blue are new abilities, anything marked in red is an ability that has been moved from one place to another.

New Abilities:


Improved Recuperate: Causes your Recuperate ability to resore an additional 1% of your maximum health. Goes up to 2% with 2 talent points invested.

Reinforced Leather: Increases your armor contribution by leather by 10% per talent point, up to 50 percent.

Sturdy Recuperation: Reduces all damage taken by 4% per point while your Recuperate ability is active. Goes up to 8%.

Restless Blades: Your damaging finishing moves reduce the cooldown of your Blade Flurry, Killing Spree, and Sprint abilities by 0.5 seconds per combo point. Talented to 3/3 the value increases to 1.5 seconds per combo point.

The first three new talents really show off how 'tanky' Blizzard seems to want to make rogues. Imp Recuperate's utility will depend on how the ability actually works, because the wording is unclear. If it awards an additional 2% per 'tick' it could be incredibly powerful. However if it just adds 2% over the course of an ability that can last up to 30 seconds then it will be lackluster.

Reinforced Leather is not negligable, 50% more leather from armor could add around 10% physical mitigation in current gear. If they decide to up the armor on leather, which I suspect they may, then this talent could turn Combat rogues into seriously durable characters. Sturdy Recuperation feeds into this as well. This is a great talent since a 5 point recuperate is going to last 30 seconds, that means that this will be easy to keep up at pretty much all times. A combat rogue with all these abilities plus the optional dodge and parry talents will be a real pain in the ass to kill.

Restless Blades is the gem out of the new combat talents. 1.5 seconds off of KS, BF, and Sprint per combo point of finishers is an absolutely massive amount. It isn't uncommon to perform 2 or more 5 point finishers every 10 seconds under the right circumstances. That's 15 seconds off your cooldowns every 10 seconds which means that you could hypothetically Killing Spree once every 30 seconds. I can't even begin to think of the implications this could have for both PvE and PvP.


Deadly Momentum: After killing an opponent that yields experience or honor, gives you a 50% chance per talent point to refresh Slice and Dice or Recuperate to their original duration.

Blackjack: After Sap breaks, enemies under its effect will have their damage reduced by 25% per talent point for 5 seconds.

Improved Expose Armor: Gives a 33% chance per talent point to refund all combo points when performing Expose Armor.

Murderous Intent: When you Backstab an enemy that is below 35% health, you instantly recover 10 energy per talent point (up to 3).

Venomous Wounds: Each time Rupture or Garrote Deals damage to an enemy you have poisoned, you have a 15% chance per talent point (up to 45%) chance to deal X (1023 at 82) additional Nature damage.

Assassination was the beneficiary of the largest amount of new talents of any tree, however they are also of the most puzzling. Deadly Momentum is a throwaway talent for leveling that no one serious is going to pick up in any level 85 build. Blackjack is a neat PvP filler ability that has little impact on PvE and is truly a niche talent. Murderous Intent also falls under the puzzling category because even with the substantial energy refund it's debatable whether this will be a superior option to spamming Mutilate in any given situation. This talent seems like it would be a much better fit for Subtlety than deep in Assassination.

Improved Expose Armor removes any excuse for Assassination rogues to ever whine about not having sunders armor up on a target. This ability essentially gives you expose armors 'for free'. If you use a 5 point expose you will be refunded 5 points as well as the 25 energy it costs to perform the finisher through Relentless Strikes which essentially negates all the costs other than the Global Cooldown you'll use performing the ability. This is a nifty talent with applications in both PvE and PvP.

Venomous Wounds is Blizzard's way of asking nicely if Assassination rogues will please start using rupture again. Since the damage this ability does is essentially unknown its utility and power are likewise unknown. I can foresee this ability scaling very poorly since it is a static amount of damage, this seems like a talent likely for modification or future buffs.


Energetic Recovery: Empowers your Recuperate ability, causing its periodic effect to also restore 1 energy per talent point (up to 3).

Sanguinary Vein: Increases your damage dealt to targets with a bleed effect on them by 2% per talent point (up to 6%).

Serrated Blades: This ability has been completely revamped and moved to the 10th tier in Subtlety. Your eviscerate has a 4% (talented up to 12%) chance per combo point to refresh your Rupture on the target to its original duration.

Sub got the short end of the stick in terms of new talents, but it also got a substantial amount of migrated talents from other trees, so it all works out. The early new talent is Energetic Recovery, this is a really cool talent with great PvE and PvP applications. Depending on how Recuperate ends up being implemented this talent may actually give you free energy for healing yourself (or more likely be energy neutral), not a bad deal!

Sub is very bleed heavy now, and Sanguinary vein increases your damage to targets with a bleed on them much like Hunger for Blood currently except that it is passive. This is a boring static damage upgrade and kind of surprising after all the talk about how they didn't like talents like this.

Serrated Blades has moved from tier 3 to tier 10 and now works similar to  the Cut to the Chase talent in Assassination. It will randomly refresh your Rupture whenever you eviscerate. With it talented up to 50% on a 5 point eviscerate this basically provides free ruptures for the duration of a PvE fight.

Migrated Talents:

The talent trees have been shuffled around and a bunch of old familiar talents have new homes:

Improved Gouge: Moved from tier 1 Combat to tier 7 Combat for reasons passing understanding. This was a great talent for Subtlety PvP that has now been moved far out of reach. This was a poor decision and is likely to be reverted or altered.

Dagger Specialization: Close Quarters Combat has been changed to daggers only and moved from tier 3 Combat to tier 4 Subtlety. This coincides with the removal of all the other weapon specializations and will be a significant hit to Assassination PvE builds. It's hard to see where to put points when you have to spec into so much useless filler to get to the good stuff early in the Subtlety tree.

Blood Spatter: Moved from tier 2 Assassination to tier 7 Subtlety. This is in accordance with making deep Sub very emphasized on bleeds, not an earthshaking change.

Hemorrhage: Bumped up to tier 3 Subtlety which makes it very accessible to the other two trees, it'll be interesting to see what they have in store for this ability and whether they intend to make it worthwhile this expansion.

Improved Ambush: Moved to tier 1 Sub from tier 4. Blizzard has said they intend to buff the openers that aren't Cheap Shot and Ambush will also be usable with any weapon type so this may be a big deal, particularly in PvP.

Puncturing Wounds: This must-have talent has moved from tier 2 Assassination to tier 3, this is not a big deal because anyone who was going to pick this up can grab the other worthwhile talents low in the Assassination tree as well.

Enjoy the changes, and hopefully the Beta will open up soon so we can get a better idea of their impact on Rogue gameplay.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016