Rogue Class Changes in Dragonflight

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A new WoW expansion is getting closer and closer to its release on November 28. Each build makes it easier to speak about various class changes and suggest firm predictions on Dragonflight meta. This text will cover crucial Assassination, Subtlety, and Outlaw Rogue changes.

Rogue Class Tree

The revamp of the talent system in the new expansion leads to the emergence of two separate trees for class and specialization. One tree contains basic class talents which are accessible in every spec. And another one — those that belong only to a particular specialization.

Players have 31 points to spend in the class tree and 30 points in a spec one. These restrictions will make players choose a limited number of skills and traits by holding more or less to the right, middle, or left branches. One more feature to remember is that talents placed in octagons must always be chosen out of two options.

The main Rogue skill tree will receive many other specialization features in Dragonflight. For instance, you can see the former Subtlety Shadow Dance spell at the bottom of the right branch. Its effect remains unchanged, although the duration is now 6 seconds instead of 8. However, most traits affecting this spell remain at the Subtlety spec. The Outlaw Rogue Acrobatic Strikes talent will also become a basic skill. It’s at the bottom of the middle branch, and with it, you will be able to increase the range of your melee attacks on every spec.

A few spells are inspired by the past or directly taken from it. The legendary Cold Blood was an Assassination skill. Before its removal in 5.0.4, it granted a critical hit from the next non-periodic damaging ability. In 7.0.3 it returned as a specific PVP trait with another effect, but it was again removed in 9.1.0. Its classic version can be found at the bottom of the Rogue new talent tree.

Right below the Cold Blood, at the end of the left branch, there’s a Thistle Tea spell. In the past, the Thistle Tea was a class item crafted with Cooking. It restored 100 energy to the character with a 5 mins cooldown. It becomes a talent in the Rogue tree, and the effect of this spell is greatly improved.

Before the basic Rogue talent preview is finished, a few new passive traits deserve some attention. Some of their analogs with similar effects may have already been in Shadowlands. For example, as effects of the Conduit or Tier sets. Now they are traits like the Virulent Poisons, which makes your weapon poisons 10% deadlier. Or the Tight Spender, which reduces energy spent on casting finishing moves.

Subtlety Changes

Although Dragonflight talent changes have deprived Subtlety Rogues of unique ownership of the Shadow Dance, they received many new features instead. What’s interesting, most of them heavily depend on this talent. That’s why it will remain one of the key Subtlety spells. For example, the Danse Macabre at the end of the middle branch.

Or, right before it, the Lingering Shadow talent. The last one increases the damage of the Backstab after the end of the Shadow Dance effect. The way that damage is increased is quite interesting. Backstab starts dealing 50% more damage, but every second amount of that additional damage becomes 2.8% less. (If two points are put here: 100% more damage, with it becoming 5.6% less each second.)

The Dark Brew at the end of the right branch changes the type of damage dealt with Subtlety Rogue abilities from Natural and Bleed to the Shadow one. That’s a perfect combination with the Depper Daggers, which makes some spells of this spec increase all the Shadow damage. And the Silent Storm passive at the upper part of the right side of a spec tree connects Subtlety stealth mechanics with the Shuriken Storm. Now that AoE is guaranteed to deal critical damage if it’s cast from invisibility or with the Shadow Dance.

The Finality trait’s effect is taken from the eponymous Shadowlands Runecarving Power. Once again, it makes your Eviscerate, Rupture, and Black Powder trigger an effect that increases the damage of the same spells cast in the next 12 seconds by 15% or 30%. At the end of the left branch, there’s The Rotten, another former Runecarving Power. Its only difference from the original is that the Shadowstrike or Backstab are guaranteed to make critical hit.

Assassination Changes

The Assassination spec received fewer updates, with its new builds being too dependent on the basic Rogue class changes. It can gain at least two important new poisons at the same time. The Amplifying Poison, which is in the spec tree, and the Atrophic Poison in class one. The first one is mainly stacking an Amplification effect on the enemy, which increases damage from the Envenom when there are 10 stacks, as the last skill will consume them. The second poison doesn’t deal damage but helps your dungeon or raid party in a different way. With a 30% chance, it reduces your enemy’s damage by 3%. However, the duration of this debuff is only 10 seconds, and only direct damage is affected.

These fresh spells are going to make good combinations with the reworked Master Poisoner. This Assassination Rogue’s first tier talent is changed in Dragonflight: now it’s a generic passive and empowers only the non-damaging effect of your poisons. Besides, another new talent Dragon-Tempered Blades from the end of the Assassination middle spec branch will obviously serve good here.

The bottom of the right branch contains an interesting talent choice between former Night Fae, and Necrolord Covenant abilities — the Sepsis and the Serrated Bone Spike. They are almost unchanged, except for the numbers of the damage dealt. But the most long-awaited skill is the Indiscriminate Carnage, which finally gives Assassination players the possibility to cast a really deadly AoE.

Outlaw Changes

Outlaw Rogue talents will contain the former Covenant Sepsis spell. However, it is in an octagon with the familiar Ghostly Strike. That will make you think twice about what choice to make and in which situation. But it can work very interesting in combination with the Restless Blades, as the last now affects the Sepsis too.

Besides, the left spec branch contains the fresh Heavy Hitter and Hidden Opportunity passives. The first one just increases the damage dealt by all the skills that give you combo points. And the second empowers the Ambush with all the effects that give your Sinister Strike a chance to make an additional strike. And you can guess how deadly the combination of all of it can be with the Shadow Dance. Even though you may not need it because of the fresh Audacity talent.

Finally, the Fan the Hammer brings a powerful update to the crucial Outlaw Rogue mechanic in Dragonflight. In short, it makes the mechanic of additional strikes from the Sinister Strike give you even more stacks of the Opportunity. Which results in much more than one Pistol Shot becoming cheaper and deadlier.

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