Patch 8.1 Rogue Community Feedback


Assassination is a spec that centers around bleeds and poison – damage over time with a focus on single target. It fills the spot of a rather easy to play yet strong Rogue specialization, great to get you started and also allowing you to focus more on mechanics. It is a strong progression spec and the most resistant rogue spec to downtimes. Besides, it allows to continue damaging a boss while switching to secondary targets. Since Battle for Azeroth bleeds and poisons are hasted, which is a great and long-awaited change. This has made Haste much more useful. Unfortunately, there is still the concern of Haste value vanishing quickly against multiple targets.

Gameplay feels slow and not rewarding – there is little to no difference between trying to do some advanced things like pooling energy or syncing CDs and not doing that, meanwhile, our slow energy regen is not helping it. We also lost the artifact trait that restored a big amount of energy on Vendetta, and got nothing to compensate it.

The talents feel a bit lackluster – with the main concerns being:

  • Blindside –  is a talent that was probably meant to serve as an execute choice but is actually worse during the execute phase, while also performing lower than the other two. There are also secondary issues such as decreased value of Double Dose and other Mutilate-specific mechanics. Many Rogues were very excited to see this talent on beta and really want it to be an option, but the tuning just isn’t there.
  • Master Assassin can be a frustrating option. That it is not 100% chances seems weird and the short duration makes it difficult to have the results average out. Because of this, it does not bring the same kind of excitement that its predecessor Mantle of the Master Assassin had.
  • Venom Rush is too far behind performance-wise, while also being worse as a concept – a passive talent only working with our single target filler, Mutilate, versus the more versatile & bursty ones. It is also a negative combo with Blindside.
  • Level 100 Tier:
    • Poison Bomb is still a random proc, while not doing some major damage now, is still a default pick for raiding/single target due to other talents being strictly AoE oriented.
    • Hidden Blades is something that feels more suitable for Subtlety, a spec that can actually gain some multitarget damage from it. Assassination’s main source of damage on AoE are bleeds and poisons, so this talent falls behind, while also being less fun to play than Crimson Tempest in the same tier.
    • Crimson Tempest is a bit underwhelming too – while being our only AoE finisher, it does most of its damage periodically and scales with the number of targets and time they live, being worth taking only for intense multitarget scenarios. For it to work as a good last-tier talent, we feel like Crimson Tempest could get a damage tuning pass to be worth using in more common AoE scenarios, e.g. at 3+ targets rather than 5-6+ sustained targets. One way to achieve that would be to shift more damage onto spell impact while lowering periodical damage a bit.


Outlaw Rogues are the brawlers and duelists who stand their ground in combat and fight with sheer force and mastery of weapons. The spec has started out quite strong in Battle for Azeroth, but (just like in Legion) was nerfed and “abandoned” by many players for the release of the first raid. Its main strength is AoE damage with Blade Flurry, which was an especially welcome sight in Dungeons. Nevertheless, Outlaw tends to feel a lot less useful when you have no Blade Flurry charges left as it makes it harder to keep up while the other two specs have a more consistent AoE for every pull.

  • Against a single target, the spec is still okay on paper but has its disadvantages in reality. Outlaw Rogues get hit hardest by downtimes and are rather fast-paced, making them lose the most damage when not being able to attack the boss. The other specs are usually safer choices for single target damage and some strengths in AoE are not good enough to offset this issue. Outlaw could definitely use a single target damage buff.
  • Roll the Bones continues to add a lot of variance to the spec which is, alongside rerolling/fishing gameplay, deterring some potential players. The individual buffs values are spread out quite a lot with Ruthless Precision and Grand Melee / Broadside (depending on azerite powers) being very dominant, while Buried Treasure and True Bearing being extremely weak, currently.
  • The more constant alternative of Slice and Dice is ridiculously undertuned and currently only considered for an unintended build with a dagger in your main hand which is based on a design issue (the Mastery is not normalized by weapon speed).
  • Adrenaline Rush has multiple issues that prevent Outlaw from having proper reliable single-target burst. The cooldown is variable thanks to Restless Blades and True Bearing but because of this, there is no way to reliably line it up with fight mechanics, unlike static 1/2/3 minute cooldowns. The potency of the cooldown is overall low (to match the low average cooldown and high duration) so it becomes more of a rotational skill with very high uptime and less of a powerful cooldown window.
  • Outlaw currently suffers from a lack of talent diversity and several tiers feel locked. Quick Draw is dominating the first tier for being both strong and very convenient to play with. The second tier (which is a damage tier for the other specs) is a simple utility tier featuring skills that could also all be baseline. In the Level 100 tier, Dancing Steel is too much of a niche talent to be taken often and Killing Spree is very similar to Blade Rush but on a longer cooldown, making it undesirable in M+ scenarios. Alacrity continues to be the go-to option in the Level 90 row while being quite boring. It would be nice to see the other options more competitive and Loaded Dice buffed, perhaps by making it give longer duration or more rolls.


Subtlety has always been a single target focused spec with a focus on repeatable burst. Last few iterations have enhanced the single target aspect by aiming to funnel our AoE capability into single target damage that scales with residual enemies.

The overall pacing feels quite good for the spec. There are two main variations played; one with Secret Technique which plays similar to how Death from Above was played in Legion but less impactful and more forgiving. Bursty and intensive every 20 seconds. Then, the second one with Master of Shadows which feels quite streamlined and perhaps lacking some complexity but that is fine for a passive talent setup.

  • While our AoE to single target niche feels great and gives a lot of control to the rogue; it is also a bit quirky since it sometimes requires your group to hold back AoE so that the rogue can deal increased damage, which does not seem very natural. And then, there is Zul on Mythic, which is the only encounter which suddenly really plays into Subtlety’s cards here; possibly a bit too much, leading to a common impression that Subtlety is OP.
  • There is one concern during AoE and Cleave which manifests for the Secret Technique build. When in AoE/Cleave situations your combo point generation and thus the number of finishers and cooldown reduction on Secret Technique and Shadow Dance are much higher. This disjoints these two abilities from Symbols of Death, which can also happen during high haste periods against a single target. Perhaps an Azerite Trait or a change to some of our talents that would reduce the cooldown on Symbols of Death based on finishers could be interesting in order to combat this.
  • While the Shadow Blades rework was nice and helping with value in AoE, there is still room for improvement. Shuriken Storm is by itself not really a strong ability so Shadow Blades still is quite underwhelming in dungeons. Besides, considering its length, it might be worth trying to put it on a 2-minute cooldown instead of 3
  • The first talent tier is currently only interesting for single target situations and quite dead in AoE. This makes this row seem very limited and it could possibly use some treatment to make it more interesting. Gloomblade is also very weak, at the moment.
  • For a specialization with such a large focus on single target damage, it feels odd that the tuning during pure single target is in the lower half of the lineup. A suggestion would be to strengthen our single target damage slightly during pure single target scenarios and weaken it slightly during AoE scenarios. A simple way to go here is to increase the spec aura while reducing Shuriken Combo damage slightly. (The latter of which seems to be happening on the PTR.)
  • Other than that, the short duration of Nightblade is still something that could be addressed. Subtlety has felt great with the T19 set bonus back in Nighthold and it would be great to get such an extended duration to be baseline. Also, the damage amp on Nightblade wants us to Multi-DoT in AoE situations (unless going completely for priority damage only) which stands in some contrast to the idea of concentrating on Eviscerate and ST damage conversion via Shuriken Combo.

There’s also currently a bug with Shadow Dance. If you use Shadow Dance during a global cooldown, the Stealth stance bar will not activate until the global cooldown is over. This creates an issue if you have two abilities, f.ex. Backstab and Shadowstrike, both on the same hotkey and you spam that hotkey after you’ve just activated Shadow Dance. Due to the delay in swapping to the stealth action bar, you will be spamming Backstab until the global cooldown is up; Backstab gets put into the spell queue and you will miss out on a Shadowstrike. This is a technical bug which is quite of an annoyance nowadays. It can either be fixed by looking over what changed with Shadow Dance since Legion or by merging Backstab and Shadowstrike into one ability and making sure Backstab is not castable in Stealth stance, which is never a desirable either way.

7 Comments Patch 8.1 Rogue Community Feedback

  1. Fiska

    Not abandoned by players. All three Rogue specs are performing equally in raids and dungeons at the moment, and they’re some of the best specs in the game (actually the best in dungeons).

    -Not having bursty ST-output is most likely intended as a spec weakness.
    -Mastery: Main Gauche is, like someone else mention, not very flavorful to the spec’s fantasy.
    -Outlaw has great AoE burst with Killing Spree, which is often used in M+.
    -Ghostly Strike may not be used right now, but do we even want to use it? It’s not a particularly interesting mechanic, even if the buff is made stronger. Feels like a maintenance-ability.

    -Blindside does have issues, but Elaborate Planning is not a very fun mechanic to play with. Basically a more restrictive Envenom’s buff. Would love to see it removed.
    -Toxic Blade feels like a maintenance-ability that needs to be pressed every now and then without any noticeable effect.

    The way this spec is made complex has the consequence of making it annoying to play. Would love if Subtlety was re-envisioned to be no more complex than Outlaw and Assassination. That way we could finally play a dagger Rogue which relies on instant damage instead of lots of bleeds and poisons.

  2. Neil

    Hi, I think the feedback to Outlaw is really solid. But I have to add one more thing.
    Outlaw rogue has the most boring and useless mastery in this game. The mastery is not related to any other skills for outlaw. Above all, no matter how many damage it brings to Outlaw, it is still the most sucked Mastery in this game.

    Please fix it.

  3. Mikihisa

    Hello !

    One thing that disapointed me a lot with bfa’s sub is that we are forced to play Shadow Focus. Back in Antorus, this talent was a “not so bad” option for thoose who wanted a smoother and easier rotation while not being mandatory. I feel like this make subtely loose its cycled-style dps with big damage on very short windows (hello dfa). This is also due to inevitability that allow us to have a much more important uptime on SoD (about 50%).

    I think Inevitability could be redesigned to be more reliable on damage than on duration. For example “During SoD, each combo point spent increase the damage of Eviscerate by X” or something like this. The idea behind this is to make Subtely’s damage more reliable on big numbers. The idea behind this is to fix our “energy issue” not by giving us more energy generation but by giving energy more damage value. In this way, we will no longer feel the need of going Shadow Focus as long as we have enough energy to fit our globals during Shadow dance windows.

  4. Shoes

    Hi. I have mained Rogue since 2005 and have done all kinds of content from both casual and hardcore raiding in my past to mostly PvP that I do recently. This thread promises to be filled with expert level feedback about the dps rotations, about raiding and M+. My post will aim to add something different to the discussion: I will focus on the ways that Subtlety Rogue PvP is not a good experience compared to what it was prior to the Legion redesign.

    Subtlety has been considered a classic and iconic spec in WoW PvP and has long been a go-to spec for Rogues. However Subtlety was completely redesigned in Legion in many ways which have made the spec less fun, interesting, and cool in PvP.

    Loss of positional requirements has negatively impacted Rogue gameplay

    Positional requirement of Gouge added a lot of depth, e.g. focus shadowstep (run through, jump turn 180 degrees) and gouge an inner focus heal.

    There is no easy way to tell if I am getting the 30% extra damage from Backstab. Greatly preferred having the choice between Backstab and Hemo so that I could opt situationally for less damage but faster combo point generation. Rolling these into one button removed that choice and made it difficult to judge whether getting the Backstab bonus damage.

    As a side effect of combining Hemo and Backstab, we don’t have access to the Hemo bleed for denying restealths and bandages.

    Dance uptime is too high for PvP

    This results in too much access to Cheap Shot, which is a boring and one dimensional playstyle when the entire spec revolves around being a stunbot for your teammates

    The classic Rogue toolkit was pruned to enable this more frequent access to Dance. For PvP, this feels horrible. It’s simply not even a Rogue anymore without tools like Gouge, Shiv, etc.

    Reducing Dance uptime would reduce the amount of linear and scripted stun spam and allow for a more open and varied playstyle, giving the player more tools (but less frequently available) and real choice about how to use them

    Increased Dance uptime also contributes to devaluing restealths

    Restealthing / hit and run gameplay doesn’t feel encouraged

    Reduced incentive to restealth in PvP when Dance is so available

    This is exacerbated by the CDR on Dance caused by using finishers. In PvP this doesn’t encourage a thoughtful/patient Rogue playstyle it encourages running at people constantly to reset charges faster

    Find Weakness doesn’t feel as impactful as it was in previous expansions so there is less incentive to restealth for FW application

    Loss of so-called “maintenance buffs” has also made Rogue gameplay one dimensional

    Maybe refreshing SnD in a raid encounter doesn’t feel rewarding, but it honestly feels like I’m missing a limb not having this button in PvP and world content

    It was nice to have something to do with combo points after defeating a mob, when resetting in PvP, when preparing to open on another player from Stealth, etc

    This playstyle encouraged thinking ahead in PvP. “I want to do big damage in my Kidney Shot in 10 seconds, let’s get up SnD now to prepare for it”

    It’s a common position among PvE crowd that SnD was a chore and didn’t add anything interesting. This position could not be more wrong. Please watch this video to better understand the importance of these abilities in PvP:

    Aesthetics of Subtlety just don’t feel like a Rogue anymore

    I’ve been playing a Rogue since 2005. I never wanted this spec to be reinvented in Legion. I just want to feel like I am playing a Rogue

    Please unprune Gouge, Poisons, Bleeds, etc. I’ve played a Rogue for literally half of my years on the planet and these new aesthetics make me want to puke. This isn’t a Rogue anymore it’s something else entirely and I honestly hate it with every last fiber of my being.


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