After the talent tree overhaul, we’re seeing a glimpse of what Blizzard has planned for Cataclysm. I’m not going to do any in-depth analysis of the talents because we’ve been told that this is a work in progress and there will definitely be changes coming.
However, besides the talent points there are also the Primary Skills. If you missed that, here’s the rundown.
At level 10 you get your first talent point. Once you put a point in one of the talent trees, then you are committed to that tree. Your first 31 talent points must go in that tree before you can start putting points in other trees. That means you’re in one tree until level 70 (since you get one talent point every two levels).
However, when you choose to specialize in a talent tree at level 10, you are immediately given three Primary Skills. These are spec-defining abilities to differentiate the three different types of rogues.
For rogues, as of now, they are:
- Dual Wield Specialization (+offhand damage) – Increases the damage done by your offhand weapon by 50%
- Blade Flurry – Your attacks strike an additional nearby opponent. Energy regeneration reduced by 20%
- Vitality (+energy regen) – Increases your Energy regeneration rate by 25%
- Mutilate – Instantly attacks with both weapons for 100% weapon damage plus an additional 44 with each weapon. Damage is increased by 20% against Poisoned targets. Awards 2 combo points
- Improved Poisons – Increases the chance to apply Deadly Poison to your target by 20% and the frequency of applying Instant Poison to your target by 50%
- Assassin’s Resolve (if dagger, +max energy, +damage) – Increases maximum energy and damage dealt while wielding a dagger
- Sinister Calling – Increases your total Agility by 15% and increases the percentage damage bonus of backstab and Hemorrhage by an additional 10%.
- Master of Subtlety – Attacks made while stealthed and for 6 seconds after breaking stealth cause an additional 10% damage
- Shadowstep – Attempts to step through the shadows and reappear behind your enemy and increases movement speed by 70% for 3 sec. The damage of your next ability is increased by 20% and threat generated is reduced by 50%. Lasts 10 sec
See that? Sub rogues get Shadowstep at level 10. How cool is that? I think a lot more rogues will level as Subtlety for that reason.
So Combat does get Dual Wield while others don’t. I had earlier expressed a concern about that, but Assassination rogues are getting Assassin’s Resolve to make up for it (as long as they use daggers). Sub Rogues get Sinister Calling, which is similarly useful once they get Hemo (no earlier than level 30 in the current trees).
I like the way that these Primary Skills will affect the leveling experience. Right from level 10, rogues have burst damage capability. Assassination rogues have high maximum energy so they can unload with an opener, Mutilate, and a quick finisher before running out of energy. Sub rogues have Shadowstep for fast single-target damage. These will be fun for leveling, rather than the Sinister Strike spam we all remember.
Combat rogues are actually a bit left out here as far as burst at low levels. They get Blade Flurry at level 10, but that no longer has the 20% haste it used to have. Now its a cleave with no purpose on single-target fights.
The Primary Skills completely define how we will play the class at lower levels. Here’s how it might work…
Level 10 Assassination rogue starts in stealth. With the large initial energy pool, he opens with Ambush, then Mutilate, and a quick 4-point Eviscerate and hopes the mob is just about dead. When combat ends, he restealths and moves on to the next mob.
Level 10 Subtlety rogue starts in stealth. Shadowstep brings him in range and he attacks (with Ambush or Sinister Strike at first until he gets Backstab at a later level). That first attack has a 20% boost from Shadowstep and another 10% boost from Master of Subtlety so it hits hard. After that, stun and SS/Evis to finish off the mob. This gets better once Backstab is learned and Sinister Calling gives another 10% bonus to that first attack. Shadowstep only has a 20 sec cooldown, so it becomes a fast way to chain your fights, jumping from one mob to the next.
Level 10 Combat rogues don’t bother opening with stealth. To make use of Blade Flurry’s cleave effect they want to pull several mobs at once. A combat rogue runs headlong into a group of 2-3 mobs. He pops Blade Flurry and starts Sinister Strike spam. With a few combo points, use Recuperate and/or Evasion because he’s is probably taking a fair amount of damage. Blade Flurry is on a 30 sec cooldown, so this can be repeated frequently as the rogue blitzes through mobs at a high rate.
Not bad for level 10, eh? I think those represent a huge improvement over the current low-level rogue experience. It almost makes me want to level another rogue.