Had an idea I thought I would share. I'm thinking this would help remove some skill-clutter on the hotbars, as well as making openers more worthwhile. Let me know what you think;
1. Remove 'Shadow dance'
2. Skills which require Stealth (ex; Ambush, Garrote, etc) no longer have an energy requirement
3. Garrote & Rupture combined. Skill name; "Bleed Out". When stealthed, silences the target for 3 seconds and causes X damage (same as Rupture) over 24 seconds (up from 18). Awards 1 combo point. If not stealthed, same as rupture.
4. Ambush & Backstab combined. Skill name; "Defenseless". When stealthed, does 600% (+200% with daggers) weapon damage + X to the target, awards 2 combo points. Must be behind target. If not stealthed, same as Backstab. No longer requires daggers (+150% weapon dmg with daggers).
5. Cheap Shot & Kidney Shot combined. Skill name; "Blackjack". When stealthed, stuns the target for 6 seconds (up from 4). If not stealthed, same as Kidney Shot. Cooldown removed. Energy cost for non-stealthed Blackjack increased to 35 (up from 25)
6. Sap & Blind combined. Skill name; "Stupify". When stealthed, the same as Sap. When not stealthed, the same as Blind. Affected targets are no longer mutually exclusive (translation: Rogues can now incapacitate two targets at once.)
7. Shadowwalk reworked; Now usable while not in stealth. While in stealth, increases Stealth effectiveness and provides immunity to AoE attacks/effects for 10 seconds. While not in stealth, the rogue is not targettable by ranged attacks for 6 seconds. Cooldown is now 45 seconds (down from 60).
Some of you have pointed out that certain traits would need to be altered to preserve the balance. I agree, I was just lazy about not concept-crafting them before. I have added them below.
8. Subterfuge Reworked. New version; You remain invisible for 4 seconds after receiving or dealing damage. Stealth skills are disabled upon dealing damage.
9. Shadow Focus Reworked. New version; Abilities cost 50% less energy for 3 seconds after breaking stealth.
10. Shadowstep Reworked. Is now a ground target skill.
Why did I write this? Well, the belief is that openers are in a "weak state" due to the presence of Shadow Dance. Shadow Dance is just another steroid with clunky mechanics, resulting in confusion on the hotbars and the perpetual-neutering of opening skills. Simply put, Blizz doesn't want us to be able to spam strong openers from Shadow Dance. That's why I say it should be removed, and the power put back into the openers as it should be. With the only way to get access to those Openers being to blow Vanish - they should be a lot stronger as a result.
So I made them stronger. I'll leave it to veteran rogue players to tell me if they are now "strong enough" or if the changes were just a drop in the bucket. I found it a bit ridiculous how little the power-differential was between Ambush and Backstab, considering the more extreme requirements for Ambush. I also found it a bit disappointing that they were removing the position-requirement on Ambush in WoD. Kind of takes the fun out of it - but is understandable considering the ease of which a rogues stealth can be broken (hence the changes to Shadowwalk). Furthermore, the changes to Shadowwalk should keep Rogues on par or slightly better than Camo for Hunters (which should be a given since we are the Stealth class, afterall).
I also think that with the removal of Shadowdance, that the openers shouldn't have a cost. This obviously has an impact on talents like Shadow Focus, but I don't want to touch on that now. It's a rarely used talent anyways.
Lastly, I wanted to consolidate some of the skills on the hotbar, since they are similar. Why do we need to have two different skills when we can just have 1 skill with a separate effect while in stealth? This is more of a big deal with the Shadow-dance hotbar of course, but whats good for the goose is good for the gander. I've consolidated like-effects on the stealth-requirement skills as a result. In order to bring back some of the importance to Rogues that was lost when multiple classes started getting their own 'Saps' - I made ours uniquely better. We can sap up to two targets with my version.
So, I know these sound radical and scary - but other than that. Thoughts? Most importantly, does this fix the issues I'm trying to address?