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face="Times New Roman" size="3">::rocks back
and forth on the rocking chair on the front porch::
Listen here, sonny. I've stabbed a lot of goons in my
time. Ever since those days when the entrance to Western
Plaguelands was blocked off by big bad nasty Infernals, or Guardians of
Blizzard as they used to call 'em, it's not always been the glorious
time we have today. In the good ol’ days, we had a
lot of blessings. Paladins had to actually spend talent
points to get to Consecrate, and boy, haha, was that ability a pile of
garbage. We could approach 'em guarding points in Warsong
Gulch and the only thing to fear was fear itself, and Perception if it
was a Human. There were also a lot of, well, not so fun
times. Dagger Specialization was way down the combat
tree. A lot of mobs didn't even have a problem checking for
stealth behind them! But I'll save the boring stories for
another time. Stay a spell, kiddo. I'm going to
learn you some history on stabbin' things.
Ridiculous Glut - The 1.0 Era
Potency : High
Potency : Arguably the best
face="Times New Roman" size="3">Now I think we
all have our little stereotypes of stealth classes branded into our
minds by now. However, seeing as World
of Warcraft was a lot of
people's first major foray into seriously playing an MMORPG, people
flocked to the Rogue for the rush of approaching an opponent from the
shadows, unseen! Unfortunately, these newbies didn't know a
Kidney Shot from Buckshot, and we quickly got a bad rap. Many
rogues would run around like maniacs in instances, attacking targets
seemingly randomly and just laying into them with no regard for
'heal plz' Sigh.
But those of us that were serious about skinning heads slugged it out
and hit that illustrious level 60 cap. At that point, we
didn't have a lot of options for weapons, but one classy weapon stood
out. The Barman Shanker. A rare drop in
Blackrock Depth, this 2.00 speed main hand dagger took glorious
advantage over the total lack of normalization in the damage formulas
for weapon speed. From that point on, in PvP, those properly
equipped and specialized were more than capable of more or less....
instagibbing a cloth class.
Ambush. Vanish. Ambush.
Ambush. Bwahahahaha. Don't even
get me started on the Stunlock on the other classes, that's another
A solid ambush at the time did a whopping 2000-2400 damage.
Whopping, you ask? You little whippersnapper, do you remember
how much health people had at the time? Boy, on my prissy
little night elf warrior alt at 60, I felt tough at 4500 and 5500 raid
buffed. So with the naturally lower stamina/health, and of
course, sexy cloth armor of the caster classes, you can guess how this
went. Well, Blizzard didn't like that. Slowly, the
nerf bat fell upon us. Stealth detection auras and abilities
were buffed. Taking environmental damage removed us from
stealth, so no more Lava ganking adventures in the hub of Blackrock
Mountain. Then the normalization patch hit us like a ton of
bricks, and forced the Barman Shanker to the stuff of legend and myth,
talked about by old folks like me.
But hey, it wasn't all bad. We got scaling from Attack Power
on a lot of our finishers, and no longer had to spam Detect Traps vs.
Hunters in PvP when it was made passive.
Thankfully, Burning Crusade handed us a lot of new toys shortly
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Time of Daggers - Burning Crusade
: Steadily dropping
Potency : Still up there
: Far weaker
face="Times New Roman" size="3"> Every
class needed love for the expansion, and Rogues got a mixed
bag. Combat had stellar talents, but damn was it boring, and
we just got a 41 point passive? Assassination
learned how to stab with two daggers at once in Mutilate, and it
instantly became the new favorite. It had a major downside
though that many of you probably would never remember after playing
You could only Mutilate from behind. Well, so much for
leveling that. 60-70 was dominated by more sword
specialization and hammering of that already worn out Sinister Strike
key. I tell you, we had it rough then.
But then we also got one of the most hated abilities ever given to
Rogues. Cloak of Shadows. With the flick of a
switch, the push of a button, we shrugged all magic currently on us off
and ignored it more or less for seconds afterwards. The
tears, they were beautiful. I could've dined on
them. Time and time again, the warlocks fell without putting
up much of a fight. Perhaps that really hasn't changed much,
hm? Against healers, Wound poison was changed to deal damage
in addition to the debuff, making it a more viable main hand poison
Eventually though, the same thing that happened to other classes
started happening to us. Crap talents were being merged with
other crap talents, to hopefully create something useful. In
addition, abilities and talents that were considered 'necessary' were
gifted to the class as innates. And from that point on, Sap
stopped removing us from stealth no matter what.
Unfortunately, it also lost a lot of its bite in the process, dropping
to 15 seconds at the most, and later to a mere 10. PvP in
Burning Crusade became drastically worse. Between Resilience
and the 50% decrease in the item cost of Stamina, once fragile people
were now towering monsters, no matter what they wore. Every
fight had to be won in a hard fought battle, especially since the PvP
Trinkets removed everything that we love to apply to maintain
control. Even if we got Deadly Throw, to give us a way to
fight Kiting, and Shadowstep, to get into position at any given time,
we fell drastically in PvP effectiveness compared to before.
Oh, but through all of the monotony of PvE, we did get our first sexy
epics in Illidan's dual blades. Fame and Glory to any Rogue
who used those. Bonus points if you didn't look ridiculous as
well. They even lasted you well into...
Resurgence - Wrath of the Lich King
Potency : Moderately Good, now Stellar!
Potency : Good
face="Times New Roman" size="3">
face="Times New Roman" size="3"> I
think Blizzard finally understood what we like at this point.
Wrath gave us an on command disarm, which also removes the Shield of
the target so we could better fight those Protection Paladins, who had
moved very quickly up the rankings of threats to us with Burning
Crusade. More talents were combined and more buffs were given
to those talents that well, no one liked.
We got two main new moves that remain staples in our arsenal to this
day. Tricks of the Trade makes us the single
greatest aggression assister in the game, and full use of that on every
cooldown will more or less ensure what is hitting your tank, never
Well, until it dies I hope. We also got Fan of Knives to
finally give us some kind of area of effect power that isn't Blade
Flurry, so now we can mash that like a champ in area of effect
encounters to contribute.
Hunger For Blood was a powerful new assassination talent, but boy were
we vocal about having to hit it every so often to keep it
active. No other class has had such a potent self buff that
they had to keep refreshing every 30 seconds with the exception of the
old Paladin Seals. But who cares about those stupid warriors
of the light. We have a trainable Cloak of Shadows, kneel
Subtlety actually became viable in the PvE environment with the
addition of Honor Among Thieves, which has always been a weird talent
to balance. You just can't argue with the combo points it
generates, at the cost of other generic damage boosting
talents. One of the big changes was giving Lightning
Reflexes, once a 5 point talent for 5% dodge, a passive haste in
addition to reducing the point costs, making it 3 points for 6% dodge
and 10% melee haste. Suddenly it went from worthless to
necessary for anyone in combat that deep, and that's proof that
Blizzard is trying to make even the defensive talents worth our while
when it comes to slaying stuff.
In our current state, all three trees are highly viable for PvE, and
Rogues are part of several top Arena teams competing in this year's
Blizzcon. Our DPS numbers have surged past most other classes
when similarly geared as well. We really don't have a lot to
complain about at the moment, 3.2 is even giving us the ability to use
axes (and change the appropriate talent to include Axes as well for
Combat). Unfortunately I'm not sure if Blizzard is thinking
that one through, you can see my article href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/70892">here about
how there is a total deficiency of solid DPS axes at the
moment. Fear not, Rogues. Our time now is quite
bright, and to our enemies, quite dark as they enter death's
embrace. While we were once kings, and then ousted from our
realm for being potentially overpowered, we are well on our way back to
that throne at this rate.
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