Recently Ghostcrawler was asked about what changes were in store for rogues and he made a interesting remark. They are looking at getting rid of some of our "boring" abilities like the hated Hunger for Blood and expanding what abilities rogues will get as "standard". This way we will no longer have to spread our talent points across several trees as we have in the past. So I got to thinking about what abilities I consider "fun" or at least, the best in our arsenal. Originally this was only a list of Ten but Ardol over at WoW Philosophized challenged us to come up with 25 of our favorite things. This meant I could include not only all our "fun" moves but also those that are what make Rogues awesome. They are not in any particular order.
1. Stealth. When you are first starting the ability to stealth gives you a sense of freedom. I thought it meant I could go anywhere, do anything I wanted, without fear of being destroyed. I soon discovered that this ability was only as good as your level so no a level 12 could not stealth through Burning Steps. At least not without causing a lvl 60 Forsaken Warlock to fall off his mount in laughter. (My feelings towards warlocks may have started there.) It is our ability to stealth that makes others fear and hate us, they can not control their envy. Even Druids who CAN stealth are not able to utilize it as well as we do, missing out on fantastic opportunities. When you first roll a rogue be sure to get yourself that 10 copper and learn this ability, it is available at level 1.
2. Vanish. Sure it is buggy but after all this time the vast majority of us are so use to it I am not sure we would know WHAT to do if it didn't fail from time to time. This is our get out of crap card. Rogues LOVE to live on the cutting edge of danger but we also know we are squishy so sometimes disappearing to return another day is the best option.
3. Shadow Step. When this ability was first introduced I thought it was the stupidest thing imaginable. Basically the lazy rogue's method of getting into position behind their target. As time went on and they continued to work out the bugs I came to value it as a time saver and instant way to catch my fleeing target.
4. Cloak of Shadows.When this was first introduced it was a Subtlety only move. Then suddenly they took it away after teasing us with it for only a few short weeks. They were forgiven however when they then granted this ability to ALL rogues at level 66. My warlock friends HATE this move as it removes all of their hard work. Since then us clever rogues have found ways to use it to mitigate damage and increase our dps time on raid bosses. If I ever had to change my blog name, this would be what I would call it next.
5. Killing Spree. I still remember the first time I used this move...There is such an element of danger because you have no control over which targets you are going to go after. At times it will result in throwing you into places you certainly did not plan to go but OH the amount of damage you do along the way.
6. Shadow Dance. This is another talent based ability that has undergone some MAJOR reworking. When it was first introduced this baby was SO over powered but at the same time rather difficult to get a handle on. Even today it is still something that takes skill to manage but when you do it is a power house ability in Arena as you can use it both to control other players and do mass amounts of damage.
7. Evasion. We have all had it happen at some point in our careers, the tank goes down and guess who is next on the aggro meter? This move has lead to more downed bosses rather than wipes at 1-2% than any other. There are even some rogues who have created entire "evasion" sets so that THEY can tank. In pvp it can allow you to avoid damage while continuing to stab away. What is not to love about that?
8. Feign. Ok, at lower levels this is still a waste ability, but get to rank 8 and it adds a whole other dimension. 1-7 only manage to "reduce our threat" by minisucal amounts for more energy than I am willing to spend. Rank 8 adds the ability to "reduce the damage you take from AoE attacks by 50%". Know when to use this and you can continue to dps when others have to run away or lower the amount of damage you are taking when raid wide AoE is happening. This is an ability that has gone from never seeing the light of day on my action bar to being a standard.
9. Pick Pocket. It boggles my mind the number of Rogues who DON'T use this ability. It is like double loot from every humanoid mob. Why waste time wandering around looking for locked boxes to level lock picking when you can get them for free while questing? Even better those boxes often contain poisons. I don't even BOTHER going to a poison vendor because locked boxes keep me MORE than adequately supplied. They even have the chance of giving you gems and Epics.
10. Sap. This is a great ability that has fallen out of favor during Wrath with our "burn through everything quickly" mentality. Once a rogue's ability to sap was considered an asset. It sounds like Blizzard is trying to bring crowd control BACK in Cataclysm so it doesn't hurt to refresh you knowledge. While leveling this standard rogue ability can allow you to complete quests much quicker or even get to ore and herbs before that pesky druid because you can pick while they have to kill nearby mobs first. Sap was also improved to not only work on humanoids but also beasts, demons and dragonkin at higher levels.
11. Sprint. Our classic "Get out of Dodge FAST" move. You can even glyph it to allow you to walk on water, go even faster or spend talent points to so that you can also get out of movement impairing effects like traps and ice.
12. Kick. This is another ability that I am constantly surprised by the number of rogues who are NOT versed in it. It allows us to interrupt casters and even prevents them from using spells from that same school for 5 seconds. In Pvp it is great on healers and casters but in PvE a well timed kick can be vital to downing a boss. Learning when to pool your energy and time your cool downs so you can place those kicks precisely is a sign of a GOOD Rogue.
13. Pick Lock. I am constantly hearing rogues complain about how DIFFICULT this ability is to level. I never had that issue, but then I am a Pick Pocket fiend and when leveling will keep 5 boxes in reserve to max out at each level. Once upon a time dungeons use to contain locked chests that only we rogues (with the skill level) could open and retrieve the goodies. Since then Blizzard has removed them because for some reason they didn't appreciate the number of us who liked to do stealth box runs and walk away with all those aforementioned goodies. At lower levels Lock Picking can allow you to get into places other classes must have a key for like BRD, Scholomance and Strat UD. It can also generate a small amount of cash as others who have gotten a hold of locked boxes seek ways to get into their treasures. I love this ability and I hope it gets a resurgence in popularity in Cataclysm. There is also a pair of gloves that leather workers can craft which increases our lock picking ability called Dark Leather Gloves. The only problem is that this is a dropped recipe so finding a pair may be difficult.
14. Detect Traps. Hunters in Pvp HATE this ability, and for a long time it really served no purpose outside of pvp. Then came Icecrown Citadel and FINALLY at long last the ability to see traps is not only useful but something to ensure a rogue gets invited to a raid. Keep some flares on you and you can mark those for other players speeding up your raid time.
15. Disarm Traps. Unless you were raiding Black Wing Lair or battle ground pvping this ability was another that languished in the underutilized until recently. With Icecrown Citadel rogues can now remove the danger of someone setting off a trap when you don't want to deal with it. Once upon a time I thought this ability was tied to Picking locks because back in Vanilla while I had no difficulty with it another rogue I ran with who NEVER leveled their lock picking was always failing when attempting to disarm traps. However I have never found any official evidence to support this. It may just be talent. Some rogues seem to get this ability where others struggle, a little practice and your raid leaders will love you.
15. Dismantle. This is a newer ability that when I first heard of it made me giddy because in my mind's eye I envisioned naked plate wearers. It doesn't QUITE work that way, instead we can remove both weapons AND shields from players and some bosses. This can be very helpful, especially if you run with a pally tank who has no disarm ability. It is of course great in pvp against those annoying plate wearers.
16. Kidney Shot. Every other class HATES this ability which is why we love it SOOO much. Part of the classic "stun lock" rotation, team it up with Cheap Shot and Gouge and many can't get a single thing off before they are dead at your feet.
17. Distract. Most rogues use this as an annoyance ability more than anything else. From time to time it will get used to keep Mobs or bosses from wandering off while you wait for the rest of your group members to arrive. However in Pvp especially it can be VERY helpful in that it forces the other person's character to turn in the direction you "distracted" them. With a little practice you can get very good at redirecting other players and even PvE mobs. Another nice thing about distract is that IT DOESN'T REQUIRE STEALTH, nor does it break it. This means so long as your target is not engaged in combat you can use it to redirect its attention. I have found this very helpful in delaying patrols while fighting since it effects all mobs in the area of influence.
18. Blind. This standard rogue ability is so awesome it even had a movie named after it. Once this was a "poison" ability that require a regent called "blinding powder", allowing it to be dispelled. This venerability has been removed and it is now a physical ability inviting us to use whatever materials are on hand from sand, dirt to snow. Suddenly this went from a seldom used to a standard in Pvp. Even in PvE it can be helpful if you find yourself overwhelmed and need either a way for a quick escape or to heal up before finishing your target off.
19. Safe Fall. Since this ability is passive the majority of rogues don't even THINK about how advantage it is. Basically it reduces the amount of damage you take from any fall over 17 yards by 30%. Add the minor glyph and you can increase the distance by another 10 yards. In fights like Malagos you will be one of the few NOT taking damage from the fall, in Pvp it can be hysterical when you jump off the Lumber Mill or a Tower and some poor sap follows you only to splatter on the rocks below or loses so much health you can easily kill them off.
20. Ambush. This single move does SO much damage it is unbelievable. 275% of your main hand weapon damage PLUS an additional set amount based on level. Now at the moment this is limited to daggers but soon it will include ANY main hand weapon. It is not unusual to be able to drop a target to 30% health in Pve situations, however resilience greatly reduces its effectiveness. All it requires is stealth and to be positioned behind your target to deploy it.
21. Envenom. I have a love hate relationship with this finishing move. When it was first introduced wading through all the math to figure out exactly how much damage this actually did was annoying. However as an Assassination rogue it is GOLDEN. The fact that it IGNORES armor makes it wonderful where combat has to stack armor penetration to get the same benefits from Eviscerate. They had a glyph once on the ptr but decided to remove it feeling it was to powerful, especially when combined with weapon swapping, instead they placed the effect as part of talents.
22. Garrote. This is another classic opener that Assassination rogues especially should make use of to start their bleed effects. In Pvp when going against a Pally or Druid those three seconds of silence can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Even better it has NO weapon requirement so it doesn't matter what weapons you are using, just that you start out behind them and in stealth.
23. Gouge. At lower levels this move is fantastic as your "oh crap" move before you have access to vanish and our major stunning moves. High levels can at times use it as a spell interrupt when you don't have kick available. The fact that this also scales with Attack power can at higher gear levels lead to an INCREDIBLE amount of damage as well. Just make sure you have some sort of main hand weapon.
24. Fan of Knives. While this ability has been in the World of Warcraft cannon since Warcraft 3 it is only within the last expansion that rogues managed to get their grubby little hands on it. It has undergone several animation reworkings since then from arching blades, to horizontal spiral as well as to the daggers themselves, the amount of damage this move does has also been adjusted several times. (For some reason Mages and Boomkins didn't care for rogues doing more AoE damage than them.) I may still call it "the sprinkler" but at some point I want to get a shirt that says "FoKing Rogue".
25. Dual Wielding. No other class gets to start out with a weapon in both hands. Now this wasn't always the case, many of us remember leveling with just our one little starter dagger, anxiously awaiting the time we could have two. No longer. While fury warriors and enhancement shamans can learn the ability, to us it is now innate. Put some talents in it and the amount of damage you do with your off hand weapon increases by up to 50%.