Spec Me Out! : Rogue

I have always loved playing a rogue. Generally my rogue was my “escape” character back when you were able to have those characters you went to when you needed a break from the guild, or just needed to be anonymous for awhile. I did not PVP on my rogue but instead did fun other challenges like pickpocketing for epics. When Combat Rogues became a thing I naturally gravitated to that specialization as I was always less about the sneaky sneaky and poisons and more about a swashbuckling style combatant. So here I am, wanting to play a rogue but my time and style in WoW often revolves around getting good 5 man queues – since I enjoy that the most. This eliminates any pure DPS class for me as a “main” as the 10-15x extra wait to play one hurts the enjoyment of the game for me. This is how I am deeply rooted in the thought that due to the way WoW plays every class needs at least one heal or tank spec. I am going one further in this series as I introduce ideas for every spec a class is missing. The Rogue gets to be the first! This is meant to be a thought starter and hoping people share their thoughts and ideas.

Swashbuckler – Tanking Spec

Dodging blows, parrying attacks, a nimble tank that steps in and out of trouble with flair and reckless courage. This is by far the easiest, because the Rogue already has so many great tools to tank. Feint, Evasion, Cloak of Shadows, Feint/Elusiveness, Cheat Death – you can almost tank as is, and some Rogues have done small stints in the past when the tank went down. The Rogue tank is only missing the ability to take consistent and big damage.

Tanking mechanic: Panache: Takes X% less damage to enemies within X yards of the Rogue. The focus on defensive mechanics lowers damage output by X%. Panache is meant to close the game on straight up damage soaking baselines of the other tanks while bringing their DPS in line. You can tweak dodge and parry mechanics to make up the rest. X% being the difference of what the rogue has versus current tanks and the X yards range is to keep things interesting and force good cooldown use and positioning. Abilities could increase / decrease the percentage DR (damage reduction) on Panache to allow good use of energy and combo points.

Really, that is all it would take to make a Rogue a tank, along with tweaks to their defensive cooldowns. Figured to start with the easy one!

Gunslinger – Ranged DPS

Living between the edges of melee and ranged the Gunslinger wields pistols with accuracy and lethality. With pistols being introduced to the Rogue class in Legion this is a great opportunity to have the Rogue as a ranged spec. Pistols: Range X% less than rifles. Dual wield.

Mechanic: Speed Reload – the Gunslinger starts with 6 Combo points (representing 6 bullets) and spends them on damaging abilities. They must be “reloaded” before being able to be used again at a rate of X seconds per point

The idea behind the gunslinger is to switch the combo points mechanic on it’s head. Legion already introduced the idea of 6 combo points being possible. It’s a midrange dps spec that needs to be closer to the action than their traditional ranged counterparts, and has almost complete mobility – except when they have to reload – for which they have to be completely stationary to do. This puts them in a niche spot where most ranged DPS classes are timing their DPS losses while moving – and the Gunslinger is timing their DPS classes on reloading while forced stationary. Skills and procs / shots can lower reload time by X% and the player needs to balance when to reload vs burst windows. This is also unique as most classes either have a priority system or a builder/spender setup. Tons of ideas on different abilities from trick shots to emptying the chambers – would be a really fun specialization to fully kit out and living between the melee and ranged dps puts it in a very unique spot.

Bandolier – Healer

This was the hardest spec to think about. I didn’t want to introduce magic to a martial class so had to go the route of alchemy. If they can use poisons to such good effect, why not concoctions that heal as well? The Bandolier supports their group by tossing potions that have strange and wonderful effects with buffing and healing during combat. Many are attached to his bandolier for quick access, but due to the volotile nature of these alchemized creations some of the more powerful ones need to be combined / mixed right before use (which explains casting cooldowns on use). Think shades of Professor Putricide.

To add some flair and to make this class more interesting it could be a bit off centre like Disc Priests – using Damage Reduction shields, concoctions to add hit points, stats, etc. More of a buffer than straight healer but with enough juice to heal solo through using the various means. The AOE healing would be a Mentos / Coke style item thrown into a group and the resulting spray has AOE effects.

Healing Mechanic: Oops! – while preparing a potion with a concoct timer there is an X% chance that the effect is increased by X%, X% chance that one or more effects are included in the potion, or that no concoct (combo) points or energy is used.

This adds a bit of “roll the bones” to it which I found a very fun mechanic (I know others disagree!) but a few elements of randomization can add some fun flavour to the class as long as that randomization is minimal and not dependent on the class performing against their peers.

None of these specs are much of a stretch in terms of lore or what has been previously introduced into the game.

Would you play any of these Rogue specs?

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. As a longtime rogue main and arm chair class designer, I’ve often thought about other potential specs for rogues, and I’ve had some similar ideas. In particular I love the idea of a ranged rogue spec, because I love rogue mechanics but don’t always love how encounter design tends to penalize melee. Also it just seems logical that the assassin class that will do whatever it takes to kill the target should have range as an option.

    I tend to lean towards the idea of an archer spec — silent arrows and all — perhaps inspired by Dark Rangers like Sylvanas, but a gunslinger is also a very good and flavourful idea. The reload mechanic you’ve come up with is quite inventive, and I’d definitely give it a try if it were implemented.

    A rogue tank spec could also be cool, although it would be very hard to make it feel noticeably different from a brewmaster monk, which is already effectively a rogue tank. Perhaps they could wield two-handed swords — sort of a samurai feel? Deflecting strikes with lightning quick parries of their blade? Not sure how that would translate into game mechanics.

    Damn it, now you’ve woken my inner theory-crafter, and I’m tempted to post my WoW class concept again…

    1. I like the theme of the archer spec but felt it was too close to Hunters – although I did toy with throwing knives. I think if you are in the Sub / Ass Spec lines of Rogue (as your main) you lean more toward that style. As a combat/outlaw Rogue I was more leaning this way.

      The Gunslinger was my favourite of all of them and definitely could make for some interesting gameplay.

      I’d love to see some ideas you have – these types of things are the fun side of armchair developing! =)

      1. I’m actually a combat/outlaw main too; I just like bows. Back in the day bows were a pretty common thing for rogues to equip (if only as stat sticks), and even though it was sub-optimal I liked to pepper mobs with arrows while out questing before finishing them off in melee.

        I might post that class concept someday, though with my interest in WoW waning it’s less likely than ever. Basically it was a mash-up of a bunch of archetypes from lore that are not represented by the current class choices — Troll axe-throwers, Dark Rangers, and Shadow Hunters. Two ranged DPS specs and a healing spec.

  2. I’ve always been curious at how dodge tanks would work. They were extremely hard to balance in Rift, and caused massive damage spikes. Maybe an active that caused damage to do less and split off to another player instead? Sort of like stagger, but more of a shared damage option.

    1. The problem with Stagger in general (in my opinion) as a newer Monk levelling up is that I don’t see or feel the stagger. I know it’s there, I know it’s working, but using it isn’t the same as a big cooldown or graphic change as the other tanks. A shared stagger is a GREAT idea though as a cooldown way to shed big damage. It might actually fit better on a monk as a big CD.

      I agree evasion tanks are hard to balance which is why I went the easy route with Pananche and just have a straight up Damage Reduction modifier to bring it in line with the other tanks. It’s not really that sexy as a mechanic, but it is entirely workable and believable. I was a little more creative with the other specs.

      1. The thing about Stagger is it really doesn’t become relevant until you start raiding. It’s definitely balanced around Blizzard’s “raid or die” mentality because it really doesn’t do much when soloing or in five-mans. However, when you’re eating huge hits from a raid boss, it becomes very powerful. Being able to Purify half your health worth of Stagger damage feels pretty good.

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