In the past I’ve talked about the fact that I am a die-hard dagger rogue. I’ve stated this many times, and its due to lore-like reasons. I’ve always pictured rogues attacking with a dagger in the back from the shadows. I know that others disagree – commenters have made very well-written cases for swashbuckling rogues with swords or ninja-like rogues with fist weapons. I can see that. Its just not my personal vision. For me, Assassination spec has always been my preferred way to go, even when Combat was the top dps spec.
Game mechanics have pushed me to change my tune on Combat spec. Specifically, the chain-pulling speed runs in heroics with the LFD tool.
Assassination is a great single-target spec, but it lags when the targets are dying in just a few seconds due to massively overgeared instance groups. As a Mutilate spec, I’m usually forced to use FoK spam because I can’t build up poison stacks or combo points fast enough for envenoms.
Combat, though, has those nice cooldowns. If I alternate Blade Flurry, Killing Spree, and Adrenaline Rush on trash pulls, and save two out of the three for boss fights I can do excellent dps in heroics.
This has given me a lot of practice with Combat Sword/Axe, to the point that I’m now comfortable using it in raids. My routine is ICC now is to go with Combat spec for trash and Mutilate spec for bosses. This has kept me at an acceptable level of damage (by acceptable I mean #1, of course).
It helps that I’ve been the recipient of a nice axe and sword through the “take it or it gets disenchanted” loot system. If I was really dedicated to this, I’d actually build up two different sets of gear, since Combat seems to improve with ArPen and haste more than Mutilate does. However, Combat is still a special-situation set and trash doesn’t require min/maxing the way tightly-tuned bosses do.