Patch 2.3 is here. I've been reading so much and doing so much research; I wanted to try something new even if I eventually go back to what I have been playing. Therefore, I'm going to relay the first day of my experiences going from my old build to my new build.
I've been Combat Swords for a long, long time. Not to brag, but I'm often beating all of the melee (and usually ranged) by quite a margin, usually 8-15%. And I could achieve at least most of that without putting forth a major effort. I'm sure that's because I have worked out a solid routine of ability rotation and largely because of my old build and my Season 2 swords.
I had done my research and switched to a 1S/5R rotation. That's 1 combo point Slice and Dice followed by a 5 combo point Rupture. Because a 1 combo point Slice and Dice gives 17.4 seconds if you have 3/3 Improved Slice and Dice and 3 extra seconds from 2 piece set bonus of Netherblade. A 5 combo point Rupture does more damage if you get all your ticks out than a compareable 5 combo point Eviscerate and it lasts 16 seconds. After your Rupture, you have a 60% chance of getting 1 combo point back from the Ruthlessness ability and Relentless Strikes gives you 25 energy back from a 5 combo point finisher, which is exactly enough to start the process over again with a 1 combo point Slice and Dice. Combat Potency ensures you have enough energy to fuel enough Sinister Strikes to get your 5 combo points for your Rupture before the Slice and Dice runs out. Thus, you constantly have Slice and Dice and Rupture up on the mob once you get the rotation going.
But I had to experience the changes from Patch 2.3 for myself. So, I wiped my talents and took Hemorrhage. The exact build I went with was modelled after one that was posted by a high ranking Rogue. Basically, a AR/Prep build, i.e. Adrenaline Rush & Preparation, 0/31/30. I wanted to evaluate Hemorrhage firsthand, both in PvE and PvP. But I had to log off to take care of some RL, so I didn't get a chance to evaluate it immediately.
A few hours later, after a slow painful start due to server crashes, my guild made it into Gruul's Lair. Some people exited the raid and I was invited without really testing my new build at all. The raid itself went rather well. We dropped Maulgar after working out the new fear changes and then we one-shotted Gruul. And then the server crashed before we could loot him. >.<
And although I was prepared to have my damage suffer slightly, I was very depressed to see that on the first Lair Brute, I was coming in under all of of the other Rogues in our guild and even a Rogue guest. It was probably just randomness. First mob of the instance, but it was at this moment that my Damage Meter Junkie-side took over. It's not that I didn't know I was a DMJ, but I just didn't realize how much it really meant to me. Hence, when I saw that I was doing so poorly, I realized that I really just hadn't figured out the "rhythm" of my new build.
The biggest weakness of my new build was the lack of energy renewal. As I've discussed before, energy is pretty vital to Rogue DPS. And this is what I was finding with my new build. I have Adrenaline Rush and that's it. No Combat Potency, no Relentless Strikes. I also did not pick up 3/3 of Improved Slice and Dice, but rather only 1/3, a 15% boost. Instead of 17.4 seconds, my 1 combo point Slice and Dice only was lasting 13.8 seconds. Because Rupture is even nicer with Serrated Blades, I was trying to play the same way, with the same rotation 1S/5R. I have had to move up to a 2S/5R, a 2 combo point Slice and Dice will give me 17.3 seconds which should match up nicely again to my Rupture time. Still, I found myself waiting for energy. Energy to finish off 5 combo points for a Rupture before my Slice and Dice ends. Energy to get my 2 combo points for Slice and Dice.
However, now in this build, I have 10% more Attack Power from the talent Deadliness, and I have Preparation. Preparation allows me to reset my cooldowns on Adrenaline Rush and Vanish. That means I can use Adrenaline Rush three times in 10 minutes rather than twice. It also means I can Vanish an additional time to get rid of aggro or apply another Garrote.
So, how did I do? I ended up as #1 on my damage meter, but only as I started to juggle all my ability and trinket cooldowns. I know this isn't really a PvE spec, but the DMJ inside me kicked in and I had to try to do my best to keep on top of the meter. Because for me, if I'm at top the meter, I'm doing everything I can do, I can't say I'm not doing my part. At the end, my damage meter, Recount, had me at around 710 DPS for the entire fight, which seems about 50 DPS down from when I put forth the same level of effort with my previous build. I would have liked to have taken some screenshots to analyze it more, but the instance servers crashed on Scarlet Crusade before I had a chance.
What is next? Testing it in PvP for one, but I'm also thinking that I'm going to change my build slightly to include Combat Potency for energy renewal and Nerves of Steel for stun resistance. I will lose Deadliness (+10% Attack Power) and Dirty Deeds (+20% damage to target's below 35% health), but gain Vitality (+4% Stamina and +2% Agility). This new build should give me a bit more survivability in PvP and a bit more DPS from the energy renewal in PvE.
Anyone else have some suggestions on how to make Hemorrhage work with a Combat/Subtlety build? Or what have you changed with Patch 2.3?