Title. As the first season has gone on, it’s become increasingly apparent that the current state of Outlaw’s talent tree is more lacking than it initially seemed.
To summarise, there is a pathetic amount of flexibility in creating talent builds due to the structure of the tree, an enormous amount of over-centralisation around Audacity + Find Weakness builds, the entire right side of the early tree is utterly useless, and worse, Outlaw has no clear niche to fill.
So, first point; restrictive talent tree design.
Outlaw’s tree has three main branches with very little connection between them. They share a root at the start, and then the sole point of connection is in the middle, and this connection is only from the middle branch to the left and right.
If you look at the trees of basically any other spec you will see significantly more interconnectivity, where there aren’t really distinct, disconnected branches but rather areas of specific focus towards certain abilities.
This leaves players with very little choice in how they wish to customise their talent builds, leaving Outlaw feeling extremely inflexible.
Second point; over-centralisation.
Outlaw has become a very fast-paced spec centred around generating as many combo points as possible in as few GCDs as possible. As a result, using Audacity, Hidden Opportunity, Improved Ambush and Fan the Hammer already has a massive leg up over any other talent build.
Using Sinister Slash at all, especially if you don’t get an Opportunity proc, just feels awful and performs awful.
But wait, there’s more!
Find Weakness benefits Outlaw’s pure Physical damage output enormously, and adds even more value to the aforementioned build because of how much you use Ambush.
There is no synergy anywhere else in the tree that even comes close to this.
I don’t personally enjoy this build; it’s too many buttons, too many cooldowns, too energy intensive, but there are no competitive alternatives. If you take anything else, you’re dead in the water.
Third point; useless early talents.
I don’t think I’ve seen any spec that has as much garbage, filler trash in the early sections of their talent tree. Practically the entire right side of Outlaw’s early tree is useless.
Riposte has no use case in PvE, Deft Maneuvers is utterly redundant when Acrobatic Strikes exists, and this means while Improved Between the Eyes and Ace Up Your Sleeve might have use, you will never take them because you would never take the talents leading into them.
Then there are talents like Dirty Tricks, Retractable Hook and Blinding Powder, which would be nice QoL talents but they’re so far off the beaten path that the amount of throughput you’d sacrifice to take is mind boggling.
Fourth point; Outlaw has no niche.
Historically, Combat/Outlaw has been Rogue’s premier Cleave and AoE spec. However, this is no longer the case.
Outlaw has near to no talents focused on cleave or AoE, and is still saddled with a hard cap of at worst 5 targets, at best 8, with only one ability that isn’t subject to this cap; Blade Rush, a 45 second cooldown.
Subtlety, which has historically been a single target focused spec for Rogue, is vastly outperforming Outlaw in practically all Cleave and AoE situations.
Outlaw’s single target isn’t bad, but it is practically all sustain with next to no burst, and the spec is very reliant on specific trinkets and rings in order to be competitive. So, why would you use it over Assassination or Subtlety in those situations?
Taking all of this into consideration, it seems quite clear to me that Outlaw needs a rework on some level.
- The layout of the tree needs to be made more flexible.
- It needs stronger synergies and capstones to facilitate a greater variety of talent builds.
- Numerous talents need to be completely scrapped and replaced with talents people will actually use.
- More talents focused on strengthening Cleave and AoE output, and a soft cap on Blade Flurry rather than a hard cap.
To end, I’ll propose some of my own suggestions and ideas. I welcome others to make their own in the comments as well!
- Devious Stratagem and Quick Draw should be linked to the middle portion of the tree.
- Count the Odds should be linked to the left and right portions of the tree, rather than Loaded Dice and Sleight of Hand.
- Sinister Slash should be strengthened so it feels better to use.
- Riposte, Deft Maneuvers and Swift Slasher should be replaced.
- Improved Between the Eyes should be folded into baseline Between the Eyes and replaced as a talent.
- Improved Main Gauche should be folded into baseline Main Gauche and replaced as a talent.
- Sepsis should be replaced with Flagellation.
- Killing Spree should be replaced with Serrated Bone Spike.
- Greed should be implemented as a talent as a means of strengthening AoE.
- Improved Adrenaline Rush should make your next finisher free and behave as if it used max combo points when you gain Adrenaline Rush, and again when it ends, rather than filling your combo points.
- Revert the nerfs to Summarily Dispatched and Dreadblades.
- Keep It Rolling should be replaced with a less circumstantial talent.
- Outlaw’s Mastery should be changed so it’s actually a useful stat.