My recent investigation/killing spree in the Sunken Temple highlighted the need to use Ambush as an opening move, which I could achieve by having both a one-handed sword and dagger and using the dagger in the main hand. I then checked to make sure that my Sword Specialisation was proccing with its off-hand use, which it was. I left any thoughts about the relative damaging ability for another day. Specifically, yesterday.
I was buzzing around Azshara and after attacking many a monster I had a curious feeling that I hadn't seen a single extra swing from my Sword Specialisation talent. With the new combat log of patch 2.4, I didn't have to spend all my time scrolling back through hundreds of lines of hitting and being hit, although that didn't stop me initially. I then created a new filter that only reported extra attacks being gained. Sure enough, after a couple of dozen combats I still hadn't gained a single extra swing from the talent.
Being curious, I switched the dagger and sword so the sword was in the main hand, and attacked the closest mob. It happened to be a neutral turtle, but the attack was in the interest of science and so its life wasn't taken in vain. With the new filter in place, and the sword in my main hand, I got three Sword Specialisation procs in that one combat. That was a little too coincidental for my liking. A bit more swapping to and fro and I realised that the patch had not, in fact, changed the talent without telling anyone, as Sword Specialisation was still proccing with the sword in my off-hand. I also realised that the off-hand weapon doesn't hit as much as the main hand weapon, and so the talent won't proc as much naturally. So while it is good that I can wield a sword in the off-hand and get Sword Specialisation to proc, and a dagger in the main hand and be able to Ambush as an opening move, it doesn't do me much good in terms of actual combat damage.
Pondering over this more today, I remembered that I know that despite a character not being able to change armour mid-combat it is possible to switch weapons during combat, so all I had to do was start with the dagger in my main hand, Ambush the target, then switch the weapons over so that I could get the higher proc-rate and DPS of having the sword in my main hand. I also know that a macro can help me with this, after the hunters in my old raid group had to do something similar for the Nefarian fight. But I don't know much about macros.
Being fairly sure that I am not the only Rogue in World of Warcraft, and that there are people more versed in the ways of macros around, I checked in with the Guild of Assassins to see if anyone could help. What I found was a way to switch weapons between both hands. Perfect. From that, and my limited knowledge of how to use abilities, I thought I'd be able to craft a little macro to enable me to put the dagger in my main hand, Ambush my target, then switch the weapons back again so I end up with my sword equipped in my main hand. Unfortunately, a bit of testing on frogs in Darnassus, because I'd never kill a squirrel, showed the the macro wasn't working. It would only switch weapons once, and if I started with my sword in my main hand then Ambush wouldn't be triggered.
I couldn't correct this, and couldn't find any macro that would do exactly what I wanted, so I compromised and took out the second weapon-switch. All I had to do was run the macro until Ambush triggered. If I had a dagger in the main hand Ambush would trigger, my weapons would swap, and I'd end up fighting with sword-dagger. If I had a sword in my main hand Ambush wouldn't trigger, but the macro would leave me with dagger-sword and then would run a subsequent time with the previous result. And if I am running solo then I can just use Cheap Shot anyway and keep my sword-dagger configuration. The manoeuvre may be a bit of a kludge, but no more manual weapon swapping is needed and maximum Sword Specialisation extra attacks are generated.
This is the macro I am using:
/script PickupInventoryItem(17); PickupInventoryItem(16);