12/1 Update: this post is from back in beta… things have changed since then and some of the things I tried in beta are now out of date. If you have found this post through a search engine, please refer to a more recent analysis of Mutilate.
This weekend I played around in the beta a bit. I switched from Combat Daggers to Mutilate to compare how they played. I haven’t tried a Subtlety build yet.
First, I need to say that attacking the training dummies is a load of fun. If you haven’t seen them – there are dummies you can beat up on at level 70, level 80, and level 80 elite so you can see what your dps would be like against a variety of foes. I played around on the ones in Stormwind for about a half hour.
The Combat Daggers build played very much like it does now. I used a pretty typical attack rotation that kept SnD up, lots of Backstabs, and Rupture as my main finisher.
I had a hard time testing Killing Spree on the target dummies. When I would use it, I would jump from one dummy to the next. It was very jarring. When it ended, I had to stand there for a second and figure out which dummy I was now standing behind. I’m sure that it would be great on an AoE pull, but I found it to be disorienting. It seems odd to give up control of your character, even for a few seconds.
Also, I don’t think that Prey on the Weak was up while I was on the practice dummies since they never actually lose health. So my dps probably should have been a bit higher than it was. In actual combat, it’s up almost all of the time.
I felt like my dps was a bit higher that in live WoW due to the new talents that increased my AP and damage like the 5-pt Aggression and Savage Combat. Still, it felt just like playing Combat Daggers now.
The new Assassination tree talents were interesting. I found it hard to weave them all together in a good rotation at first because there are so many that need to be used.
The Mutilate build played differently, even from the current live version. First, Mutilate no longer requires you to be behind your opponent. So for a dagger rogue using Mutilate as the main attack and Envenom as a finisher there is no more stunning and running around behind a mob. You can just fight face-to-face and use all your attacks. This causes an obvious increase in dps because there is no time wasted positioning yourself.
Envenom worked nicely as a finisher. My poisons stacked very quickly due to the increased application chance in beta. With the fast combo point generation of the Assassination tree I was able to get off 5-point Envenoms routinely in a regular rotation. Since the talent Cut to the Chase lets your Envenom refresh your SnD, that was one less thing to worry about. I did find that my SnD dropped off occasionally , so obviously I wasn’t using an ideal rotation.
I did have trouble figuring the best way to weave Hunger for Blood in there. Its a nice talent, even though the “remove bleed” effect is kind of pointless in PvE, and it stacks. But at 30 energy per use it slowed down my combo point generation if I tried to get it up to a three stack.
Even without an ideal rotation my Assassination dps was at least as good as my Combat build, if not a little better. I’ve been running around Northrend questing with the Mutilate build and my damage is awesome. I do miss Blade Flurry when I have to pull multiple mobs, so I am sapping more and being careful with my pulls. Since it doesn’t require positioning, it seems to be the way for a dagger rogue to go when soloing. In a raid situation it seems like the two builds will be very comparable in damage. Respecs are only 1 copper in beta, I’ll do some more research.
Edit: I realized after I posted this that I was testing Mutilate while still using the fast off-hand weapon that I equip for the Combat Daggers build. Since Mutilate does better with a slow off-hand, it is possible that my dps could have been even higher with the appropriate weapon equipped.