PvP Source has an excellent article regarding Rogue builds and arena. I thought it was really well-written and highlighted exactly why I didn't think Shadowstep builds will be the future of the Rogue class. But now I'm not so sure.
It also got me to thinking about how Rogues seem to be one of the few classes that are so gear-dependent that even our choice of weapons pretty much forces us to go one build or another. And if you decide to change your build, you're facing getting new weapons to adapt. At first, this seemed severely unfair, but on second thought, many other classes need to get a completely new set of gear if they want to change their build from one talent tree to another. Rogues simply have to pick up some two new weapons. However, so much relies on the weapons, you either have them or you don't.
As so much relies on our weapons, consider our choices and the playstyle encouraged by each type:
Mace. I've never heard of anyone touting a high-end raid DPS Mace build. I don't think it exists. Because Maces aren't really for DPS, their main advantage is for stuns during PvP. Now, don't get me wrong, Maces have good sustained DPS and with the added critical strike, they even have decent burst damage. However, the one thing Maces have that other builds lack is stuns. And as Doomilias has pointed out, stuns in PvE should be precisely timed and the Mace specialization proc is completely random. When Blizzard added the critical strike portion to the talent, it was just icing. No one was picking Mace for burst damage. If you interested in Mace spec for PvP, I'd probably suggest a Hemorrhage build such as this.
If you're interested in a Mace spec for PvE, I'd suggest you get your head examined (or maybe this build).
Sword. I'm unsure if any other weapon build can match the DPS output of a Combat Swords build. Attack power, not critical strikes, is the name of this game. Sword specialization gives you extra swings and together with a high average damage, you'll be pulling ahead of most other classes in DPS without much effort. The downside of Swords is that most people consider it to be incredibly boring. Mostly you are maximizing your time in Slice and Dice, spamming Sinister Strike and avoiding stealing aggro on the tank's mobs when you use Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush.
But that's just Swords in PvE, how does Swords work in PvP? I've been using my Swords in PvP for a while now and I feel like I've done pretty well with them. As long as I've kept those abilities we have that give me a burst of damage when I want it and those abilities that help me maximize my mobility, I've been able to make Swords work in PvP.
Fist. I considered using Fists for a long time, but after doing some quick math, I noticed that Swords are more plentiful and have a much higher average damage. Fist is critical based. Consider it Daggers without positioning. There's nothing really "special" about Fists however. I consider Fists to be more boring than Swords simply because with Swords I can at least be excited about doing more damage than Fists. Heh.
Dagger. In my opinion, the true weapon of the Rogue. We were designed around it. We have three abilities that require it: Backstab, Ambush, and Mutilate. Which also means, taking a look at our three trees, we also have two talent trees that focus around it: Assassination, which ends with Mutilate, and Subtlety, which I believe can only achieve a level of burst DPS for arena through Ambush and Backstab.
However, Daggers suck. I hate Daggers. Daggers might be fast and you get to see big numbers, but having to maintain positioning in an online game is annoying. Yeah, I know it's called Backstab, emphasis on the Back, but no other class in the game has to worry about positioning so precisely. Okay, maybe Warriors do as they tank and Druids have similar constraints in Cat Form. But Druids don't have to be wielding a certain type of weapon as well.
So, realistically, we have two clear options for PvP now: Maces and Daggers. Sure people will make Swords and Fists work in PvP, but I think if you're going to get serious, you're going to have to go Maces and soon Daggers.
Why Daggers? Examine this build. Since they all seem to have clever nicknames, I'm going to call this one BAD(A)SS. Backstab/ Ambush/ Deadliness/ Shadowstep. With Ambush's damage factor going from 250% to 275%, the 10% bonus to Backstab from Sinister Calling, Shadowstep's bonus of 20% damage to the followup attack, the already inherent bonuses from talents such as Opportunity, Improved Backstab, Malice, Murder, and Lethality, Daggers suddenly look a lot nicer, especially with all the Season 3 Armor Penetration against clothies. I would expect this would do better in 5v5, rather than in 2v2 or 3v3.
What do you think?