The expansion is less than three weeks away. You’ve got some spare time on your hands. You could waste time chasing silly frills and achievements (like me) or you could get all hardcore and try to fine-tune things so that you are ready to rock come December 7th.
Here are some things to check out.
(1) Fix your spec…
When patch 4.0.1 hit, did you put a lot of thought into your spec? Or did you just click what looked good?
Now that you have had a chance to play around with the new talent trees, you should look again through your spec and examine where your points are. Are you making good use of the new mechanics? Are there talents that you specced into that maybe aren’t as good as you thought? Have you tried all three talent trees on for size?
Re-read your talents. Are you making the best use of them? (for example – are you assassination rogues remembering to use backstab when the mob health is under 35%?)
(2) Choose your profession…
If you plan to change your profession in Cataclysm, then the time to change is now. It will take you some time and a few thousand gold to powerlevel a new profession from 1-450 before December 7th.
In Burning Crusade, rogues usually took LW to make ourselves the BoP crafted gear. Blizzard has since changed its approach on that, and the crafted gear is BoE (and often quickly replaced by running heroics). I personally like making my own gear, but I don’t think that’s the driving force behind my choice of profession.
Some of us take our professions to make gold. Gathering professions are great for that, as are inscription and jewelcrafting and alchemy after you get over the initial cost of leveling them.
In general a lot of players like to min/max with their professions – taking the one that provides with the greatest dps bonus. For rogues, the professions perks in Cataclysm are mostly similar to the ones that we have now, but scaled up of course.
- Skinning will give you a +80 crit bonus
- Blacksmithing will give you extra gem sockets in your wrists and gloves.
- Enchanting will allow you to place a +40 agility enchant on each ring.
- Engineering gets the epic engineered goggles/helms that have been in every expansion. Plus they get the utility tinkers that are moderately useful.
- Inscription gets improved shoulder enchants
- Jewelcrafting gets the JC-only gems that are better than the other available gems
- Leatherworking gets improved wrist enchants
- Tailoring gets a cloak embroidery with a periodic AP boost
- Herbalism gets a 20 second haste boost (2 minute cooldown)
- Alchemy gets a new alchemist’s stone that has Mastery rating. They also get the Flask of Enhancement, which is like Flask of the North in that its stat bonus is not great but it will work in arenas.
Blizzard has really tried to balance the benefits that you get from the various professions. However, as it currently stands it looks like agility is going to be a much better rogue stat than any others. If that ends up being the case at level 85, then the Leatherworking wrist enhancement will be worth more to us than any other profession perk, as it currently provides 130 agility over the non-LW wrist enchants.
Jewelcrafting, enchanting, and inscription also provide agility bonuses. So does blacksmithing, by having more slots for +agility gems. The skinning and tailoring bonuses are OK, but probably not quite up to the +agility perks.
The bonuses provided by engineering are currently very mediocre for rogues. The gathering professions are good for making gold, but their dps perks are not competitive with the crafting professions. If your goal is strictly to get the most raiding benefit at 85, then you’ll probably want LW/JC or LW/BS.
Protip: you should look to see what recipes are still yellow or orange when you are at 450 skill in your chosen profession. Gather the materials to make some of them. That way you can get some quick skill-ups as soon as you log in on Cataclysm day.
Other tip: if you haven’t been through an expansion before… the materials needed to make Cataclysm crafted stuff will be outrageously expensive for the first few weeks. If you plan to have two crafting professions (like LW/JC) then you had better have a whole lot of gold stored up.
(3) Fix your button bars
Do you have Sap keybound or on a button bar? If you are strictly a PvE player, you probably haven’t used it in a couple of years. Put it someplace convenient. How about Blind? Gouge? These abilities, which saw virtually no use in PvE content in Wrath, may very well come in handy in Cataclysm. Don’t be the guy that says, “Wait 1 minute – have to put that spell on my bar” when the party leader makes crowd control assignments.
(3) Practice, practice, practice
Its easy to write this off. Someone might say, “We’ve got weeks of leveling and running instances to figure everything out.” I’ve got an answer to that – you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
When you go on your guild runs into 5-mans at level 81-85, you want to bust your rear to tear up the damage meters and properly CC your assigned targets. Why? To show that you know your stuff. When you hit level 85, and your guild officers are choosing the raid team, you’ll have left an impression by your performance in all the content leading up to the endgame. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.
This is especially true if you are planning to play a new spec. I hear a lot of people talk about running as subtlety. I find that to be a pretty challenging spec to play well. I’m sure that its great fun when soloing, but in a 5-man group it might be hard to keep up with the other dps. Try it in some runs now. Get to a training dummy. Do what you can to work the kinks out.
I worry that the performance of other rogues will reflect on me. I remember at various times in the history of the game when you would hear in conversation, “Paladins are terrible tanks” or “enhancement shaman do low dps” or any number of similar generalizations. I don’t want to hear “rogues do bad dps” when I hit level 85. I’m counting on all of you to do your part and give us a good name.
(4) Read, read, read
There is no way that the game will be properly balanced on release. Blizzard will be tweaking spells and classes for the first few months of Cataclysm. You want to keep up with any patches so that you’re not left behind when things change.
Find your resources and bookmark them. Whether its my blog, Elitist Jerks, Encrypted Text, the brand-new official forums, or any of the numerous rogue blogs out there, don’t miss the news as it happens.
One more thing that is not rogue-specific. Make sure that your play goals still connect with those of your guild.
One blogger that I read said that he wants his guild to be ready to raid within two weeks after the release date of the expansion. I personally wouldn’t want to be in that guild. I like the leveling experience, and I enjoy the questlines. I don’t plan on racing through the content just to get to endgame. (can it really be called “endgame” if it starts two weeks into an expansion that will be around for two years?)
If your guild is planning to drop from 25 to 10-man raiding, try and make sure that you’re still part of their raiding plans. If you suspect that you might be on the outside looking in, its time to have some conversations with the guild officers.