Cataclysm Rogue Preview – New Talents

I’m fairly certain that most, if not everyone, has read the Rogue preview for Cataclysm and I’m a little late to the part y on this one.  First off, I’ll be looking at the new Rogue talents for the expansion.  We have three new talents that are currently being worked on for Cataclysm.  Whether or not they make it into the game is something we won’t know for a while, but in the time being, let’s take a quick peek at them…

– New Rogue Abilities –

Redirect (available at level 81): Rogues will be getting a new ability to help them deal with changing targets. Redirect will transfer any active combo points to the rogue’s current target, helping to ensure combo points aren’t wasted when swapping targets or when targets die. In addition, self-buff abilities like Slice and Dice will no longer require a target, so rogues can spend extra combo points on those types of abilities (more on this below). Redirect will have a 1-minute cooldown and no other costs.

It’s really annoying to have a mob die right before you get a finisher off and watch four or five combo points just go to waste.  This ability fixes that, allowing the transfer of those unused points to the next target.  Initially I was irritated that we would only be able to do this once a minute, but upon further thought, it really shouldn’t be much of a problem.  In most cases where you are fighting enough mobs to warrant a large amount of target switching, you’d probably be using Fan of Knives anyway, and in other cases, such as the trash mobs in the Blood Wing of ICC, the mobs would die slow enough that you’d probably be able to use this ability twice if needed. 

The place I see this ability making the most impact is in PvP.  Being able to build up Combo Points while controlling one player only to Gouge or Blind them and peel to quickly to burn another player down, while transferring those points is, quite frankly, just filthy.  Depending on just how effective Rogues are at using this in Arena, it might get completely locked out of use there, especially with all of the survivability that’s being thrown our way.

Rogues have been asking to unlink Combo Points  from targets for a while, and while this isn’t exactly what most of us were envisioning, it is a step in the right direction.  As for the brief mention of Slice and Dice, you will be able to activate it (and a few other abilities) using Combo Points that are still active from a dead mob, or even on a mob that isn’t your current target.  This does not mean that you can store combo points on multiple mobs.  Performing a combo move on a new target will still reset your combo points to that target.  I’ll be talking about this more in another post.

Combat Readiness (level 83): Combat Readiness is a new ability that we intend rogues to trigger defensively. While this ability is active, whenever the rogue is struck by a melee or ranged attack, he or she will gain a stacking buff called Combat Insight that results in a 10% reduction in damage taken. Combat Insight will stack up to 5 times and the timer will be refreshed whenever a new stack is applied. Our goal is to make rogues better equipped to go toe-to-toe with other melee classes when Evasion or stuns are not in play. This ability lasts 6 seconds and has a 2-minute cooldown.

I won’t say that this is a purely PvP talent, but it’s pretty close.  I can see some situational use leveling or if you’ve gone and pulled aggro in an Instance or Raid.  Beyond that, some inventive players might be able to use it while chaining mobs so that the buff doesn’t drop for the 30 second limit that Blizzard has imposed for it.  All that said, most of the players leveling from 83-85 outside of battlegrounds probably won’t bother much with it.  I’ll probably level from 80-85 Subtlety if it’s anything like the leveling I’m doing on my second Rogue, and probably won’t use this much myself either.

As far as PvP is concerned, I’m sure it won’t take long for other players to figure out what this looks like, and follow the Rogue around for 6 seconds while not hitting them before unloading again.  It looks really cool on paper, but until I see how other players react and counter this ability, I’m not sure how well it will work.  Even if this ability does work as planned and is effective, I’m not sure how I feel about it, as it’s just another transition into making the Rogue and leather-clad Warrior.

Smoke Bomb (level 85): The rogue drops a Smoke Bomb, creating a cloud that interferes with enemy targeting. Enemies who are outside the cloud will find themselves unable to target units inside the cloud with single-target abilities. Enemies can move inside the cloud to attack, or they can use area-of-effect (AoE) abilities at any time to attack opponents in a cloud. In PvP, this will open up new dimensions of tactical positional gameplay, as the ability offers a variety of offensive and defensive uses. In PvE, Smoke Cloud can serve to shield your group from hostile ranged attacks, while also drawing enemies closer without the need to rely on conventional line-of-sight obstructions. Smoke Cloud lasts 10 seconds and has a 3-minute cooldown.

This is probably the coolest ability I’ve seen for us in a while, but I’m trying to not get overly excited about it.  Unless Cataclysm levels everything to the ground, using line-of-site is still going to be a viable option, and in most cases, probably still the prefered method tanks have for pulling.  Also, with the ability only being available at the level cap, there will be little chance to use it while soloing.  So, while it is a really interesting ability as far as PvE is concerned, a 3 minute cooldown and sparse situational use may mean that it’s not used a lot.

This might have good use in PvP, but it could also backfire miserably.  I can see the worst case scenario now:

Everyone groups up as a Rogue uses Smoke Bomb.  Five people are now standing in the same area taking the punishment from any combination of  Blizzard, Rain of Fire, Death and Decay or Volley. 

Those abilities probably won’t immediately kill your party, but your group would be in trouble for sure.  I’m not saying that this ability is useless, I’m just pointing out that depending on use, you might  be opening yourself up to more trouble than it’s worth.  Used wisely, this ability may prove invaluable, but time will tell on that one.  Still, I have to admit, it’s a really cool ability.

–  –  –  –  –  –

I’ve got to say that overall, I’m pleased with the new talents.  They address some concerns Rogues have been voicing for a while.  It will be interesting to see if these changes make a difference in how many people play Rogues, as Rogues are currently one of the least played classes in the game.  Either way, it should be interesting to see if and  how these new talents look when Cataclysm ships, and what changes to the Rogue play-style they bring. 

I’ll be looking at the other information from the preview in my next post.  Hopefully I’ll see you there.

– Sam

12 Responses to Cataclysm Rogue Preview – New Talents

  1. SpearXXI says:

    For PVP I think rogues might use Smoke Bomb as a new distract/vanish in pvp. Take for example, rogue has a mage on him, etc. He pops cloak of shadows, smoke bomb, and immediately vanishes, which he then proceeds to get out of the smoke bomb asap. The mage starts to blizzard the smoke bomb, but you are no longer there, so while it channels you sneak up to him and go at him. He could also counter with Wall of Fog as soon as you use Smoke Bomb, etc. Just a thought, as to one usefulness of smoke bomb.

  2. samueltempus says:


    Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of adding the extra abilities to make Rogues less reliant on 5 seconds of cooldown popping? At that point, you’ve popped everything you can to survive from that mage and you’ve got at least a minute before you can do anything else to stop a potential onslaught.

    I’m fairly certain that Arena in Cataclysm is going to feature much longer matches. Under that scenario, I’d put my money on the classes that have the most available survival tools available at any given time.

    – Sam

  3. SpearXXI says:


    You are correct. I don’t PVP much, so I don’t know the best strategies in the field. My idea in my head would work for like a sub pvp spec as they can burst after the vanish (thinking of the future rogue tree; not the lvl 80 one). But I guess its kind of up in the air till people start playing around with the new abilities. I’m stoked to lvl my rogue up to 85 after my druid and shaman.

  4. Pingback: In the Still of the Night… (in Which Elentari Comes Late to the Party…) « A Rogue's Diary

  5. Gnomejitsu says:

    I definately see smoke bomb being usefull in a PVE setting as a generic LOS pull for ranged mobs. Drop the bomb, ranged move in and tank shifts out. I’m definately psyched to be able to move my combo points onto another target.

  6. Vulpina says:

    I wish they had given us a group buff. I mean, all the other classes have them! I want to be able to play Assassy and still give the group a buff!

  7. SpearXXI says:

    Blizzard already said in the rogue Q & A long ago that they feel rogues should be the one greedy class that does not have a buff. That could always change in the future, but they feel that rogues are there to bring some utility and do tons of dps. =3

  8. Banibaq says:

    I agree with you Spear, Rogues kind of give this feeling that they are using other classes’ strengths and weaknesses to their advantage. In my mind, this is an essential part to the rogue playstyle.

    Either way, I am very excited to the upcoming changes in all the classes. I just don’t feel like leveling all my characters again, lol. Btw, 2 more to go for Littleears to be 80, yay

  9. BenDover says:

    For PvP these abilities are pretty great. Smoke Bomb can bes used as a great diversion or escape tool if things get hairy. Redirect is great for target switching and control. Combat Readiness will give us one more cooldown to survive a beatdown. I’m not entirely sure if any of these will actually help us feel less impotent when the abilities are on Cooldown though. At least we got more to play with, but this will hardly let us stand toe to toe with other melee classes.
    Unless we see something major to our passive survivability I don’t see this changing very much of anything for PvP.

  10. BenDover says:

    For PvE… we’ll for questing and solo content I can see some use for all of these abilities. Redirect might have situational use in boss fights where there’s a lot of target swapping. Combat Readiness could possibly ease the healers load, which is always a good thing, especially since the end game emphasis is most likely going to be healers going OOM causing deaths, instead of spike damage causing tanks to die, which then causes the wipe.

    Smoke Bomb… from the current content I can’t see many places where that could be used actually. Maybe good for getting casters come into the tanks range, if they can’t be silenced. I can see this ability messing up a pull just as easily though. I guess we’ll have to see what kind of dungeons and raids are coming to see if this will have more than the once-in-an-expansion use. We had to wait for the ICC dungeons to make CC a good and more usable tactic again, instead of AoEing everything at sight. I hope they expand on that.

  11. mara says:

    Rogues actually got 4 abilities, but as the specifics on the fourth one are not set, it is only mentioned later on in the preview. the fourth ability is Recuperate, a selfheal-over time fininshing move rogues will get pretty early. That should provide some more survivability

  12. Ab says:

    line-of-site…. ?


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