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Are Rogues Good In Shadowlands

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Daniel Brown
• Wednesday, 27 January, 2021
• 15 min read

Rogues will have to dodge a million nerf bats before shadow lands launches. No nerfs to legendarily, soul binds, conduits, etc.

(Source: worldofwarcraft.mgn.tv)

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If Blitz brings the nerf bat again like they did to Sub in BFA because not enough time was left for testing? Its almost like they have no idea what they are doing with rogue designs and just throw darts at the wall, then when it does not work out in a balanced way they just blanket nerf the hell out of things.

There is no way to know how drogues are in SL because Blizzard has not done a tuning pass. What matters more is how it feels to play your class or spec, the numbers can come later.

Rogues are currently looking really strong, though bone spike with necropolis for sure needs a nerf and other cows buffed. I can’t think of a time we were literally the worst DPS class in the game, id say rogue is always a safe bet to perform at a mid-high level.

Sorry to repeating in three times a row in three different posts, but every time it fits, here too. The wise monk chooses their own style, rather than letting popular opinion dictate it.

Rogues are looking like monsters. If the tuning is right we could see all 3 specs being viable for the first time since I can remember. Rogues are looking in bad shape if Blitz bring the damage nerf bat (and they will).

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People like you can drive, vote, and have kids its wild Just go into your user settings and put him on ignore like most of general discussion has.

Without proper testing of legendarily, soul binds and conduits it is not looking good for Rogues. Most dedicated Rogues testers are now forced to level and gather as much they can, but time is running out.

Rogues are looking like monsters. If the tuning is right we could see all 3 specs being viable for the first time since I can remember. Do not conflate the effectiveness of a class with it being fun to play.

Assassination is insanity right now, but that doesn’t make the rogue a FUN class to play, it just means Blizzard set it up to be the top tier, and that’s only a matter of tuning, something that’s can be easily taken away or given at any time. Many rogues like myself are upset about the class because it’s not fun to play anymore, because it’s lacking much of its native tool kit.

We want the tools back, because being pruned down to a level where players just EVE into each other in arena or battlegrounds is bad design. A lot has selected Subtlety Rogue and definitely did not disappoint as they dominate in skirmishes and battlegrounds.

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Outlaw rogues are still relevant and are very strong contenders for mythic plus. It is true not a lot are playing the Assassination Rogue, and it seems like it is left behind.

In previous expansions, Assassination has been a spec that ends up scaling at a later time. In battle for Zeroth, it started out as a very strong spec, a little behind Outlaws for mythic pluses, but instead of race there was nothing to compare with vendetta.

When you play Subtlety as a spec in BFA, the only thing it could do essentially is for funneling in terms of using AOE abilities to build up calm points for each animated hit. Funneling those combo points into massive eviscerate which worked for a few fights allowing Subtlety a spotlight for a month or two before.

Potentially, Assassination is a spec that is going to scale at a later time, it will have enough stats in terms of secondaries in order to shine. Blizzard is going to adjust by taking specs that are over performing and constrain them down to become more in line with everyone.

There is no point of testing a lot of Assassination, most just wanted to see results oriented gameplay and play what is favored. It did get much needed changes, for example slicing is giving you energy which amplifies the play style.

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Critical strikes allow you more common points to build up, as you get more CRT compared to the end of battle for Zeroth where we had insane CRT numbers especially blood of the enemy. Might be able to take advantage at a later time with a massive con point building that the spec can grow off of.

If there are a lot of mechanics where you can’t even tag the boss for long periods of time, you lose out on damage. Subtlety is a little less, as long as you get your burst, you’ll get the majority of the damage out.

It is another thing you are going to see in the mechanics, so if you need that affliction warlock style of doing dots on two enemies that are apart, assassination does have that advantage over the other two specs. Assassination can spam phantom knives, dot up enemies, crimson tempest all over them.

With the right set up, you will have great sustain in the closely packed scenario. It needs something extra in order to realize its full potential.

I would love to be as invested into retail as I was years ago but that’s hard when my favorite class has become boring to play. At one point before classic wow shipped I thought it was just me getting burned out on wow, but that’s wrong because classic as dead simple as it is, does something retail is failing to do; the classes are super fun to play.

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I’m for the first time in ages looking forward to the next expansion TBC because it’s a massive upgrade to FUN, and that’s something Shadow lands cannot fix over BFA because the class design in shadow lands is only slightly less bad than BFA. And I don’t care how over tuned assassination is and has been since legion, it’s a freaking free gladiator title to go collect if you want it, but still it’s not fun to play.

His method of fixing the class is one part at a time, it’s a practical way of getting to where you want to be. On my 470 copied too I feel weak in PVP living from 50-60 but decent enough in Eve.

I mean it seems every caster has access to insane DMG that hits harder and more often than my 5cp envenoms but at range This is how Shiv, shadow step, SND, Blind, and poisons were returned.

If they can return a Cut to the Chase mechanics for Assassination to utilize SND even better. Because if they prune SND from Assassination I think it is a step back, but we must look forward.

Looking forward means pruning Gouge, Smoke Bomb, Cold Blood. Dapple: What matters more is how it feels to play your class or spec, the numbers can come later.

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Considering that they will base their number tweaking off of these buffs, it’s going to be an incredibly boring spec. Poly shore: Dapple:What matters more is how it feels to play your class or spec, the numbers can come later.

Considering that they will base their number tweaking off of these buffs, it’s going to be an incredibly boring spec. This is just your opinion, I have been a Rogue main for years and the class hasn’t felt this fun on beta in a long time.

But things like someone’s personal perception of fun and their subjective feelings are often not based in logic. You should remember that human beings are constantly at war within their own minds between logical and irrational thinking modalities.

Asking someone to logically explain something which has a basis in irrational / emotional thinking doesn’t always lead to a productive or satisfactory answer. When you decide the game should be a series of spreadsheets, sims and checklists you end up with Battle for Abilities design and chore list.

We have a very different entry in our Shadow lands spec highlights series today, as Leviathan takes us on a trip down Assassination lane and explains the problems the spec has, and might have for a long time in the new expansion. The spec has gotten probably the least updates of all on the beta, being basically ignored, and so we take a look at what can and should be done, some history of the spec and how it works, the massive number of bugs present with it, as well as the usual changes, Covenants, legendarily, conduits and other highlights.

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Because playing Assassination on Beta right now is a very frustrating experience and while I am going to go into detail and inform about all the new things that are coming for the spec, it feels nigh impossible to do so without also looking at all missed opportunities and the things that create the frustration I feel on Beta every day. Before I go into the disappointing details, let me preface this opinion piece by saying that in order for Assassination to work well, there's really not a lot that needs to change.

There's a clear theme to all of these changes, and they all come back to generating resources, so let's compare them to the exciting new stuff we get once we venture into the Shadow lands. Toxic Blade is now a baseline ability, or rather it is now a Rank 2 version of Shiv, with the other specs gaining access to the utility portion only.

As was mentioned previously, Assassination doesn't really need a lot of changes, since the core gameplay works incredibly well already. With Shiv now being a baseline ability for all specs, combining it with Toxic Blade makes sense at least thematically and frees up the talent slot.

While doing so technically still aligns with the whole notion of Assassination Rogues generating more energy, doing so through a talent that you cannot live without feels wrong. Most rogues would've loved to see a change to Venom Rush which has been a useless talent for the entirety of Legion and BFA, and will remain so for Shadow lands as well.

Exsanguinate will also feel very lackluster again once we lose the massive amounts of Haste we currently have, and with no bonuses to bleed damage in sight. Sadly, the change to Toxic Blade is yet another utility tool that is now also part of our DPS rotation, same as Vanish.

Deciding whether to forego some damage to keep access to a useful utility ability is not something anyone likes to do, and Shiv increasing that number of abilities is forcing us to make more of these choices where no matter what you choose, you lose. However, it is not nearly enough to give credence to the “Master of Poisons” class fantasy the spec has going for it.

Slice and Dice is making its return as a maintenance finisher, increasing your attack speed by 50%. Assassination gets a Rank 2 upgrade to this ability Slice and Dice, boosting that number to 70%.

While the other specs get more resources and not just raw auto-attack and poison damage out of this, Outlaw with Combat Potency and Subtlety with Shadow Techniques (which also grants 1 CP every time it props), Assassination doesn't actually gain anything from attacking faster besides a bit more damage. The opportunity was lost to add a meaningful Rank 2 version for this ability, and instead of introducing some way of letting it generate additional energy or Combo Points, it's just even more attack speed.

It also directly leads to less Envenom uptime, an ability that actually accentuates the niche and fantasy of a poison-based spec. Here's the list of changes Blizzard hyped up in their initial Class Update reveal.

Using it with numbing poison was supposed to dispel enrage effects, but that was removed months ago and has not been brought back since. This is great and shows how Assassination has an edge over the other rogue-specs when it comes to utilizing poisons.

Where Outlaw and Subtlety had access to other movement-speed slows and disrupting tools like Gouge or frequent uses of Cheap Shot, Assassination had its poisons. Deal Arcane damage to an enemy, extracting their anima to Animacharge a combo point.

This scales both the damage and the duration of any effects associated with the increased amount of combo points being used. Lining it up with Cooldowns such as Shiv or Vendetta will inevitably lead to a lot of disappointment, because you just didn't get lucky enough to score the amount of CP you needed while these effects were active.

Apply a bone spike in the target, dealing Bleed damage every 3 sec until they die. Deals damage and generates 1 Combo Point per active bone spike.

This ability feels very fun to use whenever there are multiple targets, due to its fracturing mechanic. Unfortunately it is also the one that interacts the least with the Assassination toolkit, and can become the only button you press on AOE until you run out of charges.

Serrated Bone Spike allows for a much smoother AOE opener due to its low cost, and gives Assassination Rogues a much easier and faster ramp-up before sustaining high AOE damage. If the target survives its full duration, they suffer additional damage, and you Vanish from sight.

This covenant ability scales directly with the usefulness of Vanish as a DPs cooldown. With an entire talent-line dedicated to stealth-based functionality this provides some very interesting choices with Night stalker, Subterfuge or Master Assassin.

Having Access to these bonuses more often during a fight is a nice addition and seem like a tailor-made choice for Assassination. Despite the synergy, both Rupture and Garrote simply don't deal enough damage for this Covenant to become the go-to choice.

Having a covenant that is essentially unusable during one of the main draws of the expansion is just incredibly demotivating. While Sepsis is a nature-damage poison-like effect, it does not work with any poison-related passives and bonuses Assassination has access to except its damage being boosted by Shiv.

Lash the target with Anima 3 times, each dealing Shadow damage, condemning them for 60 sec. Once the target has been lashed 20 times, reactivating Flagellation will increase your Mastery by 15% for 60 sec.

Slaughter was notoriously terrible for Assassination in particular, because it dealt the exact same damage as both Ambush and Deadly Poison. We don't currently have a Conduit that improves this ability in some way, but it already looks like a candidate for one of the better Covenants for Assassination.

Assassination has always been mixing bleeds and poisons together into one spec to deliver strong sustained single-target and AOE DPS. There was a heavy divide between poison and bleed builds in Legion, best represented by choosing either Toxic Blade or Exsanguinate as a DPS-talent, and then picking other talents and gear to further enhance this chosen identity.

Battle for Zeroth united both aisles by applying its Mastery: Potent Assassin to bleeds as well, introducing haste-scaling for bleeds, and providing multiple options for poison-based aerate traits while there was no significant bleed-based one besides the iconic Shrouded Suffocation. Thus, all Assassination rogues were now using both bleeds and poisons, without any distinct differences between the two types.

This was much less a unification than it was watering down the original ideas and fantasy of poison vs bleed, without improving on either of the two. A lot of our damage also did not actually come from bleeds and poisons, but from our builders or generators, with heavy emphasis on both Mutilate and Fan of Knives for single-target and AOE respectively.

While during the later stages of BFA we started utilizing Exsanguinate and a bleed-heavy build to deal high DPs, we lost the sustained-dps niche in the process and instead became one of the strongest cooldown-based single-target DPS with only Fire Mages providing an even stronger 2-minute cooldown burst. Shadow lands then finally promised a return to the old formula of strong sustained DPS by using bleeds and poisons.

The current reality on the Beta does not reflect the initial class fantasy, and with both Outlaw and Subtlety gaining access to poisons and even bleeds, Assassination Rogues are left wondering how they are supposed to still feel unique. While losing a lot of uniqueness by giving poisons to all rogue specs at the same effectiveness, the opportunity was there to instead focus on Assassinations class fantasy by adding more interesting bleed-based effects and options, but sadly that has not been the case either.

No new bleed abilities, passives or conduits exist, and instead we risk treading towards using our builders, not our damage over time poisons and bleeds, to deliver ever-increasing amounts of our damage. There are quite a few legendary effects available in Shadow lands, so we have picked out some of the strongest ones for Assassination rogues ** (power level subject to change).

Master Assassin's Mark is back and provides a 100% increased crit-chance for 5 seconds after using Vanish. Using this makes the Night FAE ability Sepsis quite a bit more powerful, and might deliver some very strong burst opportunities by lining this up with Shiv and Vendetta.

Pollock Insignia makes a return as well, boosting your bleed and poison damage once the target hits 35% health. Dashing Scoundrel is a slightly reworked set bonus we used to have during An torus, the Burning Throne.

It significantly increases the amount of energy we generate, especially on AOE, and allows for a faster and smoother rotation on single-target while putting bigger emphasis on having a very high Envenom uptime. There are plenty more legendarily with different power levels, these are just a few that currently perform strongest and offer the most opportunities to build around for Assassination.

Poisoned Qatar further boosts the idea of using Fan of Knives as the ability to carry your AOE damage, by providing even more chances of applying your lethal poison and also increasing its base damage. Maim, Mangle increases your Mutilate damage whenever Garrote is active, which should be the case at all times.

While the new additions to the spec are questionable and the identity crisis should've been addressed in BFA already, the most frustrating thing about playing Assassination on Beta right now is the plethora of bugs. I'll list some of the most egregious ones in no particular order, to give everyone an idea on what we have had to deal with for almost five months now.

Speaking of Shiv, it is supposed to be an enrage dispel (at least it used to) but that part has been missing for months. Tiny Toxic Blades is one of the new legendarily, that could potentially work with some Covenant abilities and create very interesting synergies.

Pollock Insignia another legendary, doesn't currently work for poisons, only bleeds. Thankfully Blizzard seems to be paying more attention to rogues now, with the most recent build fixing a variety of important bugs.

The total lack of communication is exemplified by our Rogue Class Feedback Post on the official forums. A single Blue post which was made in late August, after both Outlaw and Subtlety had Placeholder talents for 5 whole months.

When other classes had their talents changed or become baseline, a replacement was ready immediately. When Rogues have placeholder talents and Blizzard finally adds the new ones, they're riddled with bugs that have yet to be fixed.

This lack of communication creates a lot of confusion and makes the entire rogue community feel ignored. It didn't help that most rogue legendarily and conduits were introduced with the same patch that removed the vendors from Beta realms.

Overall Blizzard has done a much better job throughout the Shadow lands Beta than they did during the BFA Beta cycle, responding to Feedback of most classes within days or weeks, and addressing concerns and issues with manifestos describing their design goals and explaining decisions. This picture shows the amount of Blue posts for Druid, Shaman and Rogue (from left to right).

And while we're on the subject of things that really shouldn't have been that difficult, the final complaint that echoes the lack of attention for all rogue specs, not just Assassination: When the main goal is supposed to be to test and try out newly introduced abilities, changes to the spec and figuring out interesting and potentially overpowered or under powered interactions, one would assume that inviting some or all of these people would be the best way to ensure that people with deep knowledge of the class would be able to give feedback as early as possible.

Instead, we couldn't do so until very late into the beta cycle, and the current state of not just Assassination but all three rogue-specs is a perfect reflection of this lack of testing that could've been done by dedicated rogue players early into Alpha, if we would've received access. This still holds true, and it is the saving grace amidst a situation that could only be described as messy and disorganized, with little to no communication or thought put into it.

But Assassination can handle that, and while it might not be the best out of all three rogue specs once Shadow lands finally releases, it will not be the worst DPS spec in the game either, and only needs a few specific changes to become the raiding powerhouse it has been for the last couple of years.

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