Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Respeccing to Wordpress

Parry! Dodge! Spin! has moved! This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location! Please go to http://www.parrydodgespin.com for the new location!

I caved in. I bought in.

After some pressure, I've switched over to Wordpress for its increased freedom and independence in design and features. You can now find updates to this blog at www.parrydodgespin.com. If you have a link to me, I'd love it if you pointed there now, instead of here.

I have to thank Phaelia for helping me make the transition smoothly. It's also great to benefit from someone else going through the experience first!

There still a lot of work to be done, but the furniture is in and the drapes are up.

See you all over there.

Continue reading 'Respeccing to Wordpress'

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Patch 2.3.2: Back to Combat

Parry! Dodge! Spin! has moved! This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location! Please go to http://www.parrydodgespin.com for the new location!

Patch 2.3.2 is here and with it, I've decided to go back to a Combat build of 11/43/7. It's fairly standard.

What am I losing?

  • Camouflage: 6% boost to movement when stealthed. 2 seconds off of Stealth cooldown. I found that I could actually reach my targets for a Sap and I could go Stealth after a Gouge or after most Fears.
  • Sleight of Hand: 2% crit reduction on ranged and melee. Kinda like 40 points of resilience against physical damage. I'm not sure how much I'll really miss this as I'm quickly getting gear to replace it.
  • Initiative: Chance to get another combo point when Garrote or Cheap Shot is used. I never really noticed this much, but I'm sure it contributed when I wanted to keep someone stunlocked, it was much easier to build up a 5-point Kidney Shot with this ability.
  • Ghostly Strike: A fairly useless attack because of its high cooldown (20 seconds) and high cost (40 energy). I would use this during Evasion to kick my Dodge up another 15%. I'll miss that.
  • Serrated Blades: Ignore 560 armor on targets. +30% Rupture damage. I'll miss this one as it will take most of my new arena gear to make up the Armor Penetration. The Rupture bonus was nice, but doesn't, in my opinion, come close to the damage given by a solid Combat build.
  • Hemorrhage: An instant attack with 125% weapons damage. Of course, today it's only 110% weapon damage. The damage debuff is nice for a large raid. I won't miss this all much honestly. Hemorrhage was fun, but it was the AR/Prep I loved, not the Hemorrhage.
  • Preparation: The ability to use Sprint, Vanish, Evasion and Adrenaline Rush a second time. But Adrenaline Rush has been removed. I will miss the second Sprint, Vanish and Evasion though. But with the other changes I can't see myself going this deep into Subtlety just get this one ability anymore.
  • Dirty Deeds: Reduced energy cost on Cheap Shot and Garrote. +20% damage on targets with less than 35% health. I'll really miss the bonus to targets with low health. As I played with my build during 2.3, I definitely noticed a difference when I did and did not have this ability with a Subtlety build.
  • Deadliness: 6% to Attack Power. With the 2% boost I'll receive from Vitality in the Combat tree. I'll only be losing 4% Attack Power. I can live without this one.
  • Lightning Reflexes: +3% Dodge. I can't see holding on to this if I can use the points elsewhere to bump up my damage. Besides it only takes 10 Expertise to render this useless. Might as well rely on my healers to heal me rather than expect to possibly dodge an enemy's attack.
  • Deflection: +5% Parry. See Lightning Reflexes. It was nice though because it bumped Parry up to 10% and combined with Riposte, it was very nice for PvP.
  • Riposte: Disarm opponent after you parry an attack. Probably one of the abilities I'll miss the most because I really felt it made a difference against melee opponents in my level of the Arena.

That seems like an awful lot of abilities. So, what am I gaining from my new build?

  • Improved Sinister Strike: Reduced energy cost on Sinister Strike. Yes, it's goodbye Hemorrhage, hello again Sinister Strike. With all the energy from a Combat build, Sinister Strike is just a GCD away at most moments.
  • Improved Slice and Dice: +45% duration to Slice and Dice. I honestly missed this a lot. Slice and Dice is a 30% speed increase, which is a 15% damage increase if you get 50% white damage. One point of Slice and Dice gives 13 seconds which is the equivalent of 2.5 combo points without Improved Slice and Dice.
  • Endurance: Reduces Evasion and Sprint cooldown by 1.5 minutes. Since I'm losing Preparation and sinking points in Combat, I'm going to try this as a poor substitute for Preparation. Though honestly, by reducing their cooldowns by 30%, it allows you to use them one less time than in about 11-12 minutes as you could before with Preparation. Preparation would simply allow you to choose the first two times rather than wait for the oooldowns.
  • Sword Specialization: +1%, for 5% total, chance to get an extra swing. I only had 4% before. This is minor, but figured I'd mention it anyway.
  • Aggression: +6% damage to Sinister Strike and Eviscerate. Combat is all about damage, so it was hard to pass this up.
  • Vitality: +4% Stamina, +2 Agility. I'm going to use this as an excuse to shift my gems in my PvP set from +Stamina to +AP or +Resil.
  • Combat Potency: 20% chance to regain 15 Energy from any off-hand attack. Energy equals damage. 'Nuff said.
  • Surprise Attacks: +10% damage to Sinister Strike, Shiv and Gouge and finishing moves can no longer be dodged. Icing on the cake and well worth 1 talent point for more than the +6% to Sinister Strike Aggression provides.
  • Malice: +5% Critical Strike. My critical strike is pretty low and I'm not really focusing on it as I believe Attack Power is more useful for Combat Rogues, but I needed to take something to get further into Assassination. ^_^.
  • Murder: +2% Damage to humanoids, dragonkin, giants and beasts. More damage for PvP.
  • Ruthlessness: 60% chance to regain a combo point after finishing move. Great replacement, in my opinion, for Initiative as it affects all of my finishing moves rather than openers.
  • Relentless Strikes: 20% chance per combo point used on a finishing move to regain 25 energy. Combat loves Energy.

Overall, I'm both excited and slightly disappointed to go back to Combat. The biggest thing I'm keeping from my old build is Dirty Tricks, which I mocked before. The added range to Sap is vital in PvP where I'm often able to get a Sap off just outside the range of Consecrates and before Warlocks or other stealth scouts can react.

Now that 2.3.2 is out, are you thinking of changing your build?

Continue reading 'Patch 2.3.2: Back to Combat'

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

PvP Source and Rogue Weapons

Parry! Dodge! Spin! has moved! This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location! Please go to http://www.parrydodgespin.com for the new location!

PvP Source has an excellent article regarding Rogue builds and arena. I thought it was really well-written and highlighted exactly why I didn't think Shadowstep builds will be the future of the Rogue class. But now I'm not so sure.

It also got me to thinking about how Rogues seem to be one of the few classes that are so gear-dependent that even our choice of weapons pretty much forces us to go one build or another. And if you decide to change your build, you're facing getting new weapons to adapt. At first, this seemed severely unfair, but on second thought, many other classes need to get a completely new set of gear if they want to change their build from one talent tree to another. Rogues simply have to pick up some two new weapons. However, so much relies on the weapons, you either have them or you don't.

As so much relies on our weapons, consider our choices and the playstyle encouraged by each type:

  • Mace. I've never heard of anyone touting a high-end raid DPS Mace build. I don't think it exists. Because Maces aren't really for DPS, their main advantage is for stuns during PvP. Now, don't get me wrong, Maces have good sustained DPS and with the added critical strike, they even have decent burst damage. However, the one thing Maces have that other builds lack is stuns. And as Doomilias has pointed out, stuns in PvE should be precisely timed and the Mace specialization proc is completely random. When Blizzard added the critical strike portion to the talent, it was just icing. No one was picking Mace for burst damage. If you interested in Mace spec for PvP, I'd probably suggest a Hemorrhage build such as this.

    If you're interested in a Mace spec for PvE, I'd suggest you get your head examined (or maybe this build).

  • Sword. I'm unsure if any other weapon build can match the DPS output of a Combat Swords build. Attack power, not critical strikes, is the name of this game. Sword specialization gives you extra swings and together with a high average damage, you'll be pulling ahead of most other classes in DPS without much effort. The downside of Swords is that most people consider it to be incredibly boring. Mostly you are maximizing your time in Slice and Dice, spamming Sinister Strike and avoiding stealing aggro on the tank's mobs when you use Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush.

    But that's just Swords in PvE, how does Swords work in PvP? I've been using my Swords in PvP for a while now and I feel like I've done pretty well with them. As long as I've kept those abilities we have that give me a burst of damage when I want it and those abilities that help me maximize my mobility, I've been able to make Swords work in PvP.

  • Fist. I considered using Fists for a long time, but after doing some quick math, I noticed that Swords are more plentiful and have a much higher average damage. Fist is critical based. Consider it Daggers without positioning. There's nothing really "special" about Fists however. I consider Fists to be more boring than Swords simply because with Swords I can at least be excited about doing more damage than Fists. Heh.

  • Dagger. In my opinion, the true weapon of the Rogue. We were designed around it. We have three abilities that require it: Backstab, Ambush, and Mutilate. Which also means, taking a look at our three trees, we also have two talent trees that focus around it: Assassination, which ends with Mutilate, and Subtlety, which I believe can only achieve a level of burst DPS for arena through Ambush and Backstab.

    However, Daggers suck. I hate Daggers. Daggers might be fast and you get to see big numbers, but having to maintain positioning in an online game is annoying. Yeah, I know it's called Backstab, emphasis on the Back, but no other class in the game has to worry about positioning so precisely. Okay, maybe Warriors do as they tank and Druids have similar constraints in Cat Form. But Druids don't have to be wielding a certain type of weapon as well.

So, realistically, we have two clear options for PvP now: Maces and Daggers. Sure people will make Swords and Fists work in PvP, but I think if you're going to get serious, you're going to have to go Maces and soon Daggers.

Why Daggers? Examine this build. Since they all seem to have clever nicknames, I'm going to call this one BAD(A)SS. Backstab/ Ambush/ Deadliness/ Shadowstep. With Ambush's damage factor going from 250% to 275%, the 10% bonus to Backstab from Sinister Calling, Shadowstep's bonus of 20% damage to the followup attack, the already inherent bonuses from talents such as Opportunity, Improved Backstab, Malice, Murder, and Lethality, Daggers suddenly look a lot nicer, especially with all the Season 3 Armor Penetration against clothies. I would expect this would do better in 5v5, rather than in 2v2 or 3v3.

What do you think?

Continue reading 'PvP Source and Rogue Weapons'

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No More AR/Prep and More!

Parry! Dodge! Spin! has moved! This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location! Please go to http://www.parrydodgespin.com for the new location!

New PTR notes include some interesting news:

  • Hemorrhage: This ability now correctly does additional damage when its debuff has already been applied.
  • Preparation now resets the cooldown of Shadowstep and no longer resets the cooldown of Adrenaline Rush.
  • Shadowstep now adds a 3 second, 70% movement speed increase.
  • Sinister Calling now also increases the percentage damage bonus of Hemorrhage and Backstab by 2/4/6/8/10%.

So, my 0/33/28 build is dead. Many things remain, but the ability to pop Adrenaline Rush twice on a target really was what not only made this build viable in PvP, but also allowed me to use it in PvE. Now, I foresee me definitely having to change my build multiple times a week.

Blizzard wants every 41 point talent in each tree to be useful enough that people will use them. I'm sorry, but Shadowstep and the rest of the Subtlety tree just still isn't there. With such a huge penalty from dual wielding, Rogues are pretty much forced to pick up Precision and the middle of the Combat tree to be effective in groups.

We've gained back some of our Hemorrhage damage if we pick up Sinister Calling and Shadowstep. With 110% from Hemorrhage and an extra 10% from Sinister Calling, we will be back up at 121% of normal weapon damage.

Shadowstep is getting nicer, but I'm curious how big a tooltip can get in World of Warcraft as they keep adding more and more things to it to try to entice us to take it.

I'm filled with rage and I'm not a Warrior, so it's pretty useless. I feel like Blizzard is showing that they really have no clue where they want our class to go or any type of foresight as to how their changes might affect their own game.

I'm eager to hear what other rogues think of the changes. So, please chime in and let me know what you think of this. Is it just minor, or is it as monumental as it feels?

Continue reading 'No More AR/Prep and More!'

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Death Cheated

Parry! Dodge! Spin! has moved! This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location! Please go to http://www.parrydodgespin.com for the new location!

imagine cool picture here

Unlike Elistana's Rogue Sightings, which apparently is now wiped from the face of the blogosphere, I am not calling it quits. I am still alive and well. Having finished a mammoth project at work, I can now blog again without feeling like I'm neglecting my deadlines.

But what is new? Not much. If you've been following the other sites, you know that Hemorrhage is currently broken and on the PTR is has been nerfed from 125% to 110%, though the extra damage is going up 6 points for the 10 charges. While this poster may think this is a minor nerf, I'm not at all thrilled by the change. I read elsewhere that Blizzard made this change to give Rogues a utlity to help groups and raids more. If this is the case, I wish they would have allowed it to scale with AP or something. Blizzard should know by this point that fixed point values on end game abilities makes them less and less useful as gear improves. Just ask a Druid.

I don't believe that Rogues have changed to Hemorrhage because it is overpowered, as the blue reply came back, but rather that it is now simply a viable alternative to Sinister Strike. I have a 0/33/28 AR/Prep build. I did because I wanted to see how it worked and I think many other Rogues did the same. I hope Blizzard doesn't base their "overpower" evaluation on popularity of a build or Combat Swords has been overpowered for a long, long, long time. And although I do well with this build, I do much, much better with my Combat Swords build.

Yet, I also went with the AR/Prep build because of the success many give it for PvP. I've been playing a bit more PvP lately. Okay, a lot. Just last week I participated in five different teams, 2 2v2, 2 3v3 and 1 5v5. None of the teams are uber. You can check my armory. We are just merely getting by. However, I've been having a blast and this AR/Prep build helps a lot. Being able to Sap from 10 yards away is amazing. I find that I can Sap Warlocks with Felhunter pets before they can see me and Sap people on the edge of pillars in Blade's Edge Arena. And the smaller the team size, the better this gets. It's great in 5v5, but in 2v2, when you Sap the Paladin, he trinkets, you Blind him and then you kill his partner blowing your Adrenaline Rush. Mmmm. Tasty.

As I've noted elsewhere, although I love my swords dearly, I wish I would have bought the maces first. Watching other Rogues stun my partners or myself, is painful knowing that I could be doing the same, but just chose not to.

On the other side, I'm committing to posting at least once a week, hopefully twice. You might see more fluff pieces — er, like this one — but at least you'll see something.

Sound like a deal?

Continue reading 'Death Cheated'

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day of Thanks

Parry! Dodge! Spin! has moved! This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location! Please go to http://www.parrydodgespin.com for the new location!

I kiss you!

There's a few thanks long past due. Days like today are good to set aside to think about how things affect our lives and touch us in profound ways. Therefore, I'd like to start by thanking my Season 2 swords, [Merciless Gladiator's Slicer] and [Merciless Gladiator's Quickblade]. You look so awesome and you hit so hard it makes me want to cry sometimes. I'm thankful for the Mongoose enchant on both of my weapons, because nothing is better than proccing dual Lightning Speed with 240 Agility, 240 Attack Power and 4% Haste. I'm thankful for my two pieces of Netherblade giving me the 2 piece set bonus increasing my Slice and Dice duration by 3 seconds. There's a lot of other pieces of gear for which I'm thankful. Every one of them, in fact. From my new [Dragonspine Trophy] to every one of my non-combat pets, like my new [Tiny Spore Bat].

And as you can tell from the last paragraph, I'm thankful for WowHead and how easy they made it to include tooltips on a site. WoWHead is always improving, like a Google of the WoW data reference community. Along with WoWWiki, they've changed the way I research information about the game.

I'd like to say how glad I am to have found the blogging community and be introduced to it and encouraged into it by Phaelia and so many others. There so many people theorycrafting and sharing their experiences, it is amazing. I track over 217 WoW Blogs on my Google Reader. Many are semi-inactive, but many are incredibly prolific generating over a post a day, and I skim every one of them — even the Shaman ones. ;D And Google Reader makes it possible, because without it I wouldn't have the time to visit each of them looking to see which ones posted something new.

I want to thank Blizzard for making something so fun to play. Like Phaelia posted on her blog, Blizzard filled World of Warcraft with multiple ways to feel like you're improving your character constantly. I'm so thankful for every thing on that list. Not only is the process fun because of that, but they filled the World with wonder, awe and humor. Before WoW, I'd only play most MMOs about 3 months before I just didn't feel like there was much of a reason to play. I've been playing WoW since beta, and though I did take a short break, I can't see myself ever leaving such a fun place.

But when it comes to WoW and life, what I'm really thankful for is the people. I am so lucky to be able to play with a great guild. We aren't the 'litist and we aren't the biggest, but it's filled with my friends, both local and distant. We've had at least 3 RL guild parties with over twenty players attending, some driving hundreds and hundreds of miles. I'm glad I have friends to play with, because without them the game would lose it's magic. It would lose the spark that I hold so dear. I'm so glad when I came back from my break I moved to Scarlet Crusade to join all my real life friends and I made so many other friends I hold so dear now. Just look at the guild roster and you'll see their names. They are Valenna's family.

Lastly, I'd like to thank the people standing in line when I bought my copies of World of Warcraft: Phaelia, Ebene and Khatrina. We have had so much fun together in game. Leveling our first characters, leveling horde, leveling and playing Burning Crusade. But more than anyone I have to thank Khatrina, my wife, for letting me play the game so much and for everything she does for me in our life together.

Continue reading 'Day of Thanks'

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rogue Sighted!

Parry! Dodge! Spin! has moved! This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location! Please go to http://www.parrydodgespin.com for the new location!

I just wanted to say "Hi!" and "Welcome!" to Elistana for joining the Rogue blogging community! Her blog, Rogue Sightings, is completely devoted to PvP and has been marked as a "No Raiding" zone. Elistana also looks like she may be releasing more movies in the future, as she already has one featuring the new engineering mount. With already 7 posts since its launch last week, I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more from Elistana.

It seems Elistana has completely disappeared. Rogue Sightings isn't up anymore and the character has been marked as inactive on the Armory. If someone knows if she moved, let me know. It was the beginnings of a great blog.

Continue reading 'Rogue Sighted!'