I’ve got some catching up to do with Ghostcrawler rogue tweets; leave it to a cold to snot away a normally-obsessive-compulsive person’s motivation for twitstalking. This one’s from more than a week ago:
@Aulper7 Have you looked at the 5.2 patch notes?—
Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) January 12, 2013
Without a doubt, it’s looking like our level-90 talent tier options in Patch 5.2 will be much closer (in terms of their value) in raids and challenge-mode dungeons. Shuriken Toss will allow us to autoattack at range, dramatically increasing its power, and Marked for Death’s five free combo points per minute provides us with a nice little active-DPS bump that may be especially useful for burst situations.
But is either change enough to unseat Anticipation as the talent of choice in end-game PvE?
The gist of the feedback over at Elitist Jerks is that few expect ST or MfD to win out. I’m no whiz-bang theorycrafter, but I’m inclined to agree: It’s hard for me to envision many scenarios in which, *over the course of an entire raid fight*, it would be more valuable for me to
- deal decent DPS at range or
- gain 5 extra CPs per minute,
instead of using Anticipation, which guarantees me that I will
- almost never waste a combo point and
- never have to settle for a four-point finisher instead of a five-point finisher.
As of this post, we know next to nothing about most fights in the upcoming raid tier, so there is always a possibility that a surprising number of fight mechanics will favor the buffed ST or the new MfD. But I was one of a number of rogues who, back in the Mists beta, said the same thing about ST and our soon-to-be-dearly-departed level-90 talent Versatility. “But wait!” said I, I said. “Who knows how many raid fights in Mists will require a huge amount of target switching! Or constant running around at range like a maniac?”
The answer turned out to be: Basically none. Or, at least, not enough of a given raid fight required those things to make it more valuable to choose the “old” ST or Versatility over Anticipation.
Maybe that experience has made me more cynical this time around, and I’m being unfair in my negativity. Then again:
For Shuriken Toss — buffed or not — to be more desirable than Anticipation in a given raid fight, it likely means that the fight itself needs to be brutally unfriendly to melee DPS. Designing a fight like that feels like it’d be fundamentally against Blizzard’s current approach to encounter design, which is to allow for a wide range of classes to be viable.
For Marked for Death to be more desirable than Anticipation, we’d need to gain more DPS through getting a magically full CP bar once per minute than we would by never losing a combo point. In most standard fights, that feels unlikely to happen. *Especially* not for Assassination rogues, who gain two CPs (and sometimes three, thanks to Seal Fate) every time they use Mutilate, thus guaranteeing that they’ll be Envenoming at 4 CPs without Anticipation.
But it’s not just Assassination rogues who lose out if they drop Anticipation. Our new-in-Mists DPS cooldown, Shadow Blades (which adds an extra CP onto every CP-building move we use), ensures that other specs lose out, too. Shadow Blades all but requires Anticipation if we want to use it to maximum effectiveness; otherwise we’re either wasting CPs while it’s active, or we’re using smaller finishers.
The only scenario in which I can see MfD potentially being worth that kind of trade-off is a fight that involves a tremendous amount of target switching or a lot of spawning/despawning targets, such that we don’t have a lot of uptime on our targets (reducing the effectiveness of Shadow Blades and reducing the number of CPs we even have the opportunity to gain on our targets). In that scenario, being able to guarantee a quick 5-CPs-and-BAM could be pretty handy. Especially if burst matters.
But, for the same reason it seems unlikely that we’re going to see raid fights that punish melee DPS enough to make Shuriken Toss the best choice, it feels unlikely we’re going to see raid fights that punish DPS who can’t frequently switch targets all that well.
It may be that the best we can really hope for in Patch 5.2 is that, for those of us who *do* choose to go with Shuriken Toss or MfD on raid fights because we find those abilities more fun to use than Anticipation, our DPS won’t suffer quite as much for our decision as it would have before Patch 5.2.