Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rogue Ability Bloat

Recently Blizzard has been giving out all sorts of information about the upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor. There's lots of interesting stuff, but the tidbit that I found most interesting was that they've removed 20% of skills and abilities from the game to combat "ability bloat". They haven't specified which abilities have been axed, and I'm guessing some classes will get more cut than others, but it's probably safe to say a few of your rogue's abilities will be gone come WoD. In light of this information here's my list of abilities we could stand to lose.

Here we go. In no particular order:

Tricks of the Trade

I hate this ability so much. Back in vanilla I rolled my rogue because my first character was a holy paladin and I was tired of healing, tired of mana, and tired of refreshing buffs every five minutes. Rolling a rogue was a nice change of pace and I immediately fell in love with the class. Little did I know that years down the line, when WotLK came out, I would get Tricks of the Trade, and instead of buffing people every five minutes I'd be doing it every 30 seconds. Great.

There are upsides to the ability. The threat transfer is nice, and giving +15% damage to an ally is nice, but it comes at the cost of my own dps which just feels...bad. If it's not a personal DPS gain, I don't like doing it, I'm a pure DPS after all. Sure rogues can trade tricks, I did it for years, but there are simply too many instances where another rogue isn't present and you're just throwing someone a buff every 30 seconds and getting nothing in return.

Plus, I feel like the buff coupled with the threat transfer is just awkward. I think we've all had those times where someone is blowing up the meters, and you give them tricks because they're blowing up the meters, and then they end up pulling aggro because they're doing even more DPS and on top of it you're giving them your threat.

Slice and Dice

Yea, I said it. Remove Slice and Dice. I feel like this ability has given the general rogue populace Stockholm syndrome, because there are so many people that seem to love this completely boring piece of shit for no reason other than the fact that they've pressed it one million times. It's like they simply can't imagine a rogue rotation without it (news flash, one already exists, it's called Assassination).

In reality it's very boring. It's just...spend combo points to buff your attack speed. Bleh. However, they don't have to remove it completely. Making it passive would be enough to reduce ability bloat (which I take to mean the amount of abilities on your bar that you have to keybind). Perhaps make it ramp up on a target over time and give us various means to keep it at that level.

Expose Armor

This spell is just...ugh. The funny thing is they upgraded it in Mists, but it still sucks! It no longer costs combo points, in fact it's a combo point generator, but it costs energy and has to be used three times to get the full effect (unless you glyph it...we don't glyph it). However, the worst thing about Expose Armor is how incredibly terrible it is in comparison to other armor shredding abilities. Just look at Faerie Fire...it has a 35 yard range and doesn't even need a glyph to apply three stacks, and Devastate is part of a prot warrior's standard rotation, so they don't have to go out of their way to use it.

All in all I'd be really happy if this terrible ability got the axe. They could make it passive or add it to an ability we actually use in our rotations, but honestly I wouldn't care if it was removed completely. I'm perfectly happy leaving the armor shredding to other classes.


This ability needs to become obsolete because combo points should be on the rogue. It is a source of endless frustration to me that so many classes have essentially stolen our resource system, and yet have it way better than we do because their "combo points" are portable. We've wallowed long enough in the primordial goo, it's time to climb out. Luckily, recent WoD gameplay footage has shown combo points automatically switching to new targets so there is hope!


I feel like Preparation is a great example of an ability that could easily go passive and save us some bar space. They should just make Prep grant Sprint, Vanish, Evasion, and Dismantle two charges. It's almost the exact same thing and it saves us a keybind. It's either that or just delete it entirely and slightly lower all the corresponding cooldowns.

Shadow Walk

This ability was introduced in Mists and it's always felt like filler to me. I think the devs were all just sitting around like "rogues need one more ability, what could it be?" and one of them was like "increase stealth for a short time?" and they were like "great, let's get lunch." It has virtually no use in PvE, and while it sort of has a use in PvP it's not that great because I don't really have a problem being seen. Plus, it's just stupid. My rogue should be stealthing at maximum effectiveness at all times. Why is it he can suddenly stealth harder, and only for a short time?

Revealing Strike

Hey, lets give Combat another button to press so they can have another button to press. That's pretty much sums up my feelings on this stupid ability. I wouldn't shed any tears if it was removed.

The Keepers

Those are the abilities I wouldn't mind being removed or at least reworked off our action bars, but there are some abilities that may feel a little superfluous, but need to stay because they add so much flavor and fun to the game. Those are:

Distract - They had better not take this out. I love this ability. It feels so rogue-like to distract a foe to get their back turned so I can stab them in it. I actually use this ability constantly...while leveling, in dungeons, in raids, and in pvp. It's just fun and needs to stay.

Pick Pocket - Sure it usually just gets macro'd into our openers, and it could easily be made passive, but there is something satisfying about having this on its own button. I used to farm Scholomance for Heavy Junkboxes so I could sell them to people trying for "the Insane", and it was really fun stealthing about the place cleaning out all the mobs. I felt very much like a rogue.


It's true that rogues don't suffer from ability bloat as much as some other classes, but we still could use some trimming. I really hope Blizzard isn't timid and really trims the fat, just get in there and cut a lot of abilities. The beta isn't even out yet so they have plenty of time to get feedback and revert the changes if necessary. I'm really hopeful that Warlords of Draenor will be a good expansion, and if they trim abilities in the right way playing rogue could feel better than ever.

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