I’d argue that the problem with Sub in 4.0.x has never really been the damage output. I mean, it was behind, and that was a problem, but it wasn’t so far behind that you couldn’t imagine people playing it. The problem with Sub is and always has been that the cycle is so monstrously painful to maintain. Rolling 3 selfbuffs/DoTs is a serious nuisance and very hard to get up on a target in the first place. Shadow Dance is a miserable DPS cooldown to need to use. The reliance on Vanish/Ambush type mechanics to boost DPS is a nuisance. The complete and utter lack of any filler points means you don’t get quite the same utility that you do from other specs. And so on.
In short: the problem is that Subtlety is miserable to play, not that the DPS is bad. Even if it were theoretically, say, 5% ahead, I wouldn’t play it – situational awareness is too important to need to be worrying about a complicated cycle and hard-to-use cooldowns and random fluxuations in CP intake. If they expect PvE Subtlety to catch on in any meaningful way, they need to make it so we can drop Recuperate, Rupture, or SnD from the cycle and have a more typical 2-DoT cycle. They need to make Shadow Dance either less important from a DPS perspective or less painful to use. They need to allow room in the tree to take a few points of filler – which won’t always matter, but sometimes will. They need to fix the way the spec *plays* if they want to see widespread PvE adoption of the spec. Tweaking the damage up or down a bit simply won’t do it for most players.
Sub seems very comparable to feral, actually. Sub has Recup/Rupture/SnD; we have Rip/Rake/Savage Roar. They have Shadow Dance and Vanish->Ambush as DPS cooldowns; we have Berserk/TF/FC->Ravage. We have to Mangle, also. Admittedly, Shadow Dance kinda sucks to use, but the survivability buffs that Subtlety brings are very nice. Is there something I’m missing, or are all the rogues just going Assassination because it’s easier? (I don’t want to be trollish, I’m honestly asking. I just read this post over the weekend and the first thought I had was “complexity never stopped the ferals!”)
Had a pretty productive week of raiding. Killed Maloriak (thanks for the suggestions, all) and will start actively working on Atramedes next week. I snagged Malevolence off of Halfus, which is my first Cataclysm raiding epic. (Yes, even in 25man, you can have bad loot RNG. We’ve been sharding 1h weapons left and right.) Followed that up with a GREAT 19.5k DPS parse on V&T, where everything just clicked. (WoL link). I wasn’t too excited about having the ranked Halfus parse, since the only way to get up there (now) is to play selfishly. This was clean, though.
Which reminds me of something. Someone asked me the other day “Why do you care about the numbers so much?” I see it as validation of the theorycraft. I’m wearing blue PvP gear, deliberately using a blue trinket…choices that a normal raider would not make, or if that was all that was available, claim “oh, I’m not geared enough to pull good numbers.” I used it and placed in the world top 200 for my spec. That feels great.
(Of course, before my ego gets too inflated, I should mention that I got tunnel vision and died in the fireballs on our first Halfus pull 30s prior to enrage. We wiped at 1%. Go me.)