I recently promised someone a rant on Tricks of the Trade. Here it is. In other news, I am incapable of resisting a pun.
First off, because there is almost never overlap between the people who you want to give damage to and the people you want to give threat to, TotT is essentially two abilities that share a cooldown. I have no issue with that. What I do have issue with, is the fact that the TotT: Threat is highly situational while TotT: Damage is simply the worst.
On TotT: Threat
Whether it is helping a timid tank pull mobs, helping a bad tank take threat off me or the healer, helping a stressed tank pick up extra packs, or trying to get hunters killed, using Tricks for threat is generally pretty interesting. I also like how it involves some skill, especially when trying to kill hunters since the price of failure is a more effective hunter. It’s worth noting that with the current level of tank threat generation, using Tricks for threat on the pull is usually useless (This may not be the case for raids that are massively front-loading their damage, but that is something Blizzard has stated they want to reduce anyway).
The problem with TotT: Threat is that it is highly situational. In raids, the only time someone really needs a rogue’s threat is when there are many mobs in different locations that need to be tanked. This is compelling gameplay, but this situation does not occur very often in a given tier. In dungeons, I find I use TotT: Threat much more often, but that is more to rush through the content faster than out of necessity. When it comes down to it, if Tricks of the Trade was only for threat, then I don’t think it would be worth the bar space. Now, to argue why it should only be used for threat:
On TotT: Damage
TotT: Damage is in my opinion the absolute worst. I think a large part of the reason it exists is to increase the skill cap, which while a noble reason, doesn’t work in PvE and works too well in PvP.
In PvE, players use TotT: Damage on cooldown on either the highest reachable DPS or another rogue. In terms of raid damage, it is almost never best to delay
HfBTricks more than a few seconds. Simply put, this is not something that raises the skill cap in any meaningful way. When I imagine a young rogue coming up to me and asking “Haileaus, why must I use Tricks every 30 seconds to increase raid dps at the cost of my own?” the only answer I can come up with is “Well son, it builds character!” Increasing someone else’s dps at the cost of your own is about as far from the rogue archetype as you can get. I mean, at least giving someone your aggro can be seen as selfish.
A lot of these arguments apply to some degree in PvP, but for a casual PvPer like me who cares about their performance, I hate Tricks of the Trade. I don’t have anywhere near the amount of keybinds as hardcore PvPers, but having to bind tricks to all my (usually 1) DPS partners is annoying at best. While TotT is good and for sure increases the skill cap in PvP, I’d wager that at most levels of play TotT is neglected.
All in all, an ability that lowers our dps in order to improve the dps of a member in our group has no place in the rogue arsenal, especially when it is almost exclusively used in PvE where its optimal use is wholly uninteresting.