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 This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location!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!

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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

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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!'

Petitioning Actually Works?

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As I reported yesterday, we one-shotted Gruul on Tuesday night, but the instance servers crashed before we could loot him. Our guild master's first petition was ignored, but after we all petitioned, he got a response in Zul'Aman last night and generated our loot. Among them was the [Dragonspine Trophy], which I received in the mail. I'd like to thank Raliah for passing to me as I've been waiting for this for a long, long time.

Dragonspine Trophy
Binds when picked up
Requires Level 70
Equip: Increases attack power by 40.
Equip: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to increase your haste rating by 325 for 10 sec.

Continue reading 'Petitioning Actually Works?'

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Damage Meter Junkie

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 is here. I've been reading so much and doing so much research; I wanted to try something new even if I eventually go back to what I have been playing. Therefore, I'm going to relay the first day of my experiences going from my old build to my new build.

I've been Combat Swords for a long, long time. Not to brag, but I'm often beating all of the melee (and usually ranged) by quite a margin, usually 8-15%. And I could achieve at least most of that without putting forth a major effort. I'm sure that's because I have worked out a solid routine of ability rotation and largely because of my old build and my Season 2 swords.

I had done my research and switched to a 1S/5R rotation. That's 1 combo point Slice and Dice followed by a 5 combo point Rupture. Because a 1 combo point Slice and Dice gives 17.4 seconds if you have 3/3 Improved Slice and Dice and 3 extra seconds from 2 piece set bonus of Netherblade. A 5 combo point Rupture does more damage if you get all your ticks out than a compareable 5 combo point Eviscerate and it lasts 16 seconds. After your Rupture, you have a 60% chance of getting 1 combo point back from the Ruthlessness ability and Relentless Strikes gives you 25 energy back from a 5 combo point finisher, which is exactly enough to start the process over again with a 1 combo point Slice and Dice. Combat Potency ensures you have enough energy to fuel enough Sinister Strikes to get your 5 combo points for your Rupture before the Slice and Dice runs out. Thus, you constantly have Slice and Dice and Rupture up on the mob once you get the rotation going.

But I had to experience the changes from Patch 2.3 for myself. So, I wiped my talents and took Hemorrhage. The exact build I went with was modelled after one that was posted by a high ranking Rogue. Basically, a AR/Prep build, i.e. Adrenaline Rush & Preparation, 0/31/30. I wanted to evaluate Hemorrhage firsthand, both in PvE and PvP. But I had to log off to take care of some RL, so I didn't get a chance to evaluate it immediately.

A few hours later, after a slow painful start due to server crashes, my guild made it into Gruul's Lair. Some people exited the raid and I was invited without really testing my new build at all. The raid itself went rather well. We dropped Maulgar after working out the new fear changes and then we one-shotted Gruul. And then the server crashed before we could loot him. >.<

And although I was prepared to have my damage suffer slightly, I was very depressed to see that on the first Lair Brute, I was coming in under all of of the other Rogues in our guild and even a Rogue guest. It was probably just randomness. First mob of the instance, but it was at this moment that my Damage Meter Junkie-side took over. It's not that I didn't know I was a DMJ, but I just didn't realize how much it really meant to me. Hence, when I saw that I was doing so poorly, I realized that I really just hadn't figured out the "rhythm" of my new build.

The biggest weakness of my new build was the lack of energy renewal. As I've discussed before, energy is pretty vital to Rogue DPS. And this is what I was finding with my new build. I have Adrenaline Rush and that's it. No Combat Potency, no Relentless Strikes. I also did not pick up 3/3 of Improved Slice and Dice, but rather only 1/3, a 15% boost. Instead of 17.4 seconds, my 1 combo point Slice and Dice only was lasting 13.8 seconds. Because Rupture is even nicer with Serrated Blades, I was trying to play the same way, with the same rotation 1S/5R. I have had to move up to a 2S/5R, a 2 combo point Slice and Dice will give me 17.3 seconds which should match up nicely again to my Rupture time. Still, I found myself waiting for energy. Energy to finish off 5 combo points for a Rupture before my Slice and Dice ends. Energy to get my 2 combo points for Slice and Dice.

However, now in this build, I have 10% more Attack Power from the talent Deadliness, and I have Preparation. Preparation allows me to reset my cooldowns on Adrenaline Rush and Vanish. That means I can use Adrenaline Rush three times in 10 minutes rather than twice. It also means I can Vanish an additional time to get rid of aggro or apply another Garrote.

So, how did I do? I ended up as #1 on my damage meter, but only as I started to juggle all my ability and trinket cooldowns. I know this isn't really a PvE spec, but the DMJ inside me kicked in and I had to try to do my best to keep on top of the meter. Because for me, if I'm at top the meter, I'm doing everything I can do, I can't say I'm not doing my part. At the end, my damage meter, Recount, had me at around 710 DPS for the entire fight, which seems about 50 DPS down from when I put forth the same level of effort with my previous build. I would have liked to have taken some screenshots to analyze it more, but the instance servers crashed on Scarlet Crusade before I had a chance.

What is next? Testing it in PvP for one, but I'm also thinking that I'm going to change my build slightly to include Combat Potency for energy renewal and Nerves of Steel for stun resistance. I will lose Deadliness (+10% Attack Power) and Dirty Deeds (+20% damage to target's below 35% health), but gain Vitality (+4% Stamina and +2% Agility). This new build should give me a bit more survivability in PvP and a bit more DPS from the energy renewal in PvE.

Anyone else have some suggestions on how to make Hemorrhage work with a Combat/Subtlety build? Or what have you changed with Patch 2.3?

Continue reading 'Damage Meter Junkie'

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rogues and Armor Penetration

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 to all the guilds, like Icon, Shadow Fate, Team Deathwish and Aequitas, linking to this post. Please feel free to post a comment and look around at the rest of the site.

There have always been abilities that have reduced your target's armor, and, there has been gear that has allowed you to ignore your opponent's armor, primarily from high level instances like Black Temple, but it is my opinion that with Patch 2.3, Armor Penetration will be considered by more and more players.

Rogues aren't the only class that is going to get Armor Penetration. All melee classes are getting it. However, Rogues also have the Expose Armor ability and Serrated Blades talent in our Subtlety tree. As many Rogues are going Subtlety, I thought I'd give a quick rundown on how Armor Penetration works and what sort of improvement you're going to see from it.

First, you need to realize that some of our attacks don't even consider armor. So, for the rest of this post when I talk about DPS, I'm speaking of DPS that is affected by your target's armor.

Here's a list of the damaging abilities we possess that don't consider armor:

  • Garotte
  • Rupture
  • Poisons
  • Envenom

Next, how does Armor work? At level 70, World of Warcraft uses the following formula to determine a character or NPC's damage reduction (or mitigation) from armor.

Damage reduction =        Armor       
(Armor + 10557.5)

Thus, the more armor you have, the less damage you take from attacks. Makes sense, right? Stacking on more armor has a diminishing return effect for the increase to your mitigation. However, your increase to your time to live remains constant as you add armor. For each 1000 armor, you increase your TTL (time to live) by 9.47%. Damage mitigation from armor is capped at 75%, so having more than 31672.5 armor doesn't gain you anything.

How does Armor Penetration work? It simply removes armor from your opponent and recalculates their mitigation before your attack. If your opponent has 7700 armor and you have 1500 Armor Penetration, they only have 6200 armor versus your attack. They go from 42.2% mitigation to 37%. Therefore, you've increae your damage against them by 5%.

With Patch 2.3, Rogues are receiving 11 new pieces of gear that will feature Armor Penetration.

SlotNameSourceArmor Penetration
BackDory's EmbraceBadges of Justice112
WaistBladeangel's Money BeltZul'Aman77
RangedAncient Sin'dorei LongbowZul'Aman126
FingerSignet of Primal WrathZul'Aman126
ChestShadowtooth Trollskin CuirassZul'Aman210
MH WeaponProwler's StrikebladeZul'Aman140
MH WeaponDagger of Bad MojoZul'Aman140
MH WeaponVengeful MHArena49
OH WeaponVengeful OHArena49
HeadVengeful Gladiator's Leather HelmArena84
LegsVengeful Gladiator's Leather LegguardsArena84
FingerVindicator's Band of TriumphArena56
ChestVengeful Gladiator's Leather Tunic Arena84
Total Max from Gear 1155

That's a lot of gear being introduced that has Armor Penetration. You can get about 1200 Armor Penetration. But you are probably wondering, "How does that correspond to DPS?" Well, after a bunch of math, I came up with the following graph:

Click for an expanded chart.

The way to determine you DPS increase from Armor Penetration is first find your Armor Penetration total on the bottom (x) axis. Then, find the line corresponding to your target's current armor total.


So, say you have 1715 Armor Penetration (1155 from the gear above and another 560 from Serrated Blades) and your opponent is a boss in Serpentshrine Cavern that you know currently only has 3690 Armor because Warriors applied 5 Sunder Armors (-2600 Armor), Druids cast Faerie Fire (-560 Armor) and Warlocks applied Curse of Recklessness (-800 Armor).

Find 1715 on the bottom axis and then finding the 3000 and 4000 armor lines. 3000 is near 11% and 4000 is near 9.5%. So, I'd guess about a 10% boost to DPS. The actual value is 10.14%.

A couple of quick facts arise from analysis at this data:

  • The more Armor Penetration the better. It's not a diminishing return, but rather an increasing return.
  • The less armor your target has the greater benefit you get from Armor Penetration and every additional point of Armor Penetration.
  • Every ability that your team uses to reduce your target's armor helps your Armor Penetration.

Outside of gear and Serrated Blades, we also have Expose Armor and the corresponding talent Improved Expose Armor. Expose Armor negates 410 armor per combo (512.5/615 with each points of Improved Expose Armor respectively). This doesn't stack with a Warrior's Sunder Armor and is the reason why it isn't widely used. However, if you examine the graph for a 2050 Armor Penetration (normal 5 combo point Expose Armor), you can see that you're getting 7-16% increase in your DPS once applied and, with a Rank 2 Improved Expose Armor, you're applied a 3075 armor debuff for a 11-22% increase in DPS.

Also new in Patch 2.3, the Executioner Enchant can be applied to any weapon and will occasionally proc the Executioner self-buff which will add 840 Armor Penetration for 15 seconds. These do not seem to stack and they have been reported to proc about the same rate as Mongoose, or about 1 proc per minute. Most reports I've seen seem to report that Executioner will result in lower DPS than Mongoose, but these tests seem to be judging Executioner vs Mongoose in a vacuum of many of the other factors that are going to come into play during both Arena and PvE.

Here's a few more items that I found that have Armor Penetration:

Icon of Unyielding Courage
Binds when picked up
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves hit rating by 30.
Use: Your attacks ignore 600 of your enemies' armor for 20 sec.
Warp-Spring Coil
Binds when picked up
Classes: Rogue
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves hit rating by 21.
Equip: Your special attacks have a chance to give you 1000 armor penetration for 15 sec.

As I go into Patch 2.3, I plan to evaluate this firsthand and I'll report back with what I find. I would love to hear other Rogues' encounters with Armor Penetration as well.

Continue reading 'Rogues and Armor Penetration'

Friday, November 9, 2007

First Rogues? Now Mages?

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!

That's right! On the heels of Rogue Tanking, we now have Mage Tanking! Euripedes over at Critical QQ posted about Mage Tanking!

He goes into a full discussion about how the changes to 2.3 for the Arcane tree for Mages will give them more survivalibilty and potentially a way to allow Mages to tank. I'm not a Mage expert myself, but it sounds very interesting!

Mages give it a try! BTW, this is apparently humor. These changes aren't real. Next time I should read posts more carefully after a long work week.

For Rogues that have tried some tanking from my post, what results have you found?

Continue reading 'First Rogues? Now Mages?'

Saturday, November 3, 2007

More 2.3 Rogue Changes

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!

PvPScene has some additional PTR changes that were made. Here are the Rogue ones:

  • Dirty Deeds: This talent will no longer interfere with getting the bonus damage from the Druid ability Mangle on Rupture and Garrote.
  • Hemorrhage: This ability now does 125% of weapon damage.
  • Shadowstep (Subtlety) can now be used at any time, not only while stealthed. Now increases the damage and reduces the threat caused by the next damaging ability. Cooldown increased to 30 seconds. Range changed to 25 yards. (Minimum range removed)

More Subtlety love. I would have to say that 2.3 will be the patch that has a lot of Rogues going to Subtlety, possibly forever.

Now, with Hemorrhage doing more damage, it should be even more viable. Plus all the changes to Shadowstep make it seem a lot more fun. No minimum range and an increased maximum range. The cooldown was just doubled, however, and that is definitely going to make it a little less fun.

Continue reading 'More 2.3 Rogue Changes'

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Not So Naked in Season 3

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Image stolen from MMO Champion

As Phaelia pointed out on Resto4Life, it looks like a few of my wishes come true; Season 3 armor has several of the things I wanted on my list. Here was my initial list from my response to the Rogue class review on the WoW forums:

  • Less Critical Strike rating.
  • More Hit.
  • More Stamina.
  • More Armor.
  • More Stealth.
Here's what we got with Season 3 over Season 2:
  • More armor. A lot more armor value. We went from 1740 to 2186 Armor. That's not including Armor value from Agility. Counting Agility we went from 2096 Armor to 2514 armor.
  • More hit. Three items have +12 Hit Rating. +36 Hit Rating total. Wow. Amazing.
  • Less Agility. This surprised me. They still increased our Attack Power and Critical Strike Rating, but overall Agility went down 356 to 328 on these five pieces.
  • More Stamina. 29 more points total.
  • More Critical Strike Rating. 18 more points. However, with the decrease in Agility, Critical Chance goes up by a little less than half a percent.
  • More Attack Power. Counting Agility changes, Attack Power only sees a gain of 22 points from Season 2 to Season 3.
  • More Armor Penetration 252 total from 3 pieces.
  • No additional Stealth Levels, no change to Resilence, no change to number or types of sockets.

Finally, the ones that have most changed are the Head, Legs and Chest pieces. So, if you already have Season 2, I'd save up for those first. Each of them have the added Hit Rating and Armor Penetration.

I know I'm saving all my Arena Points for Season 3 at this point.

Continue reading 'Not So Naked in Season 3'

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Now with Less Parry! and Dodge!

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On the official WoW Rogue Discussion forum, Palaelf asked,

Why no changes for combat rogues? Us combat rogue stuck it up with a boring spec to play with in Arenas how about something nice for us? All I see is changes to Sub and Mutilate trees and the only thing I see so far for Combat Rogues is a NERF with this new "Expertise" rating how will Arena rogues keep a proper hit rating? We already miss a ton in a full arena gear set. Now we are going to be missing our sinister strikes making us a shiv only class?
Drysc replied,
Nope. No changes. We're not required to make changes to every class or every tree just because other trees may see changes. Have you tested or even thought about the dps increase of actually being able to stop your target from dodge/parry with the expertise rating? I'm going to guess not.

So, how good or bad is Expertise going to be for Rogues? I guess that depends on a lot of factors.

Currently, it is widely acknowledged that +Weapon Skill is most useful when fighting against level 73 NPCs, aka boss mobs. Weapon Skill has a unique mechanic in that once a mob's Defense exceeds your Weapon Skill by 11 points or more, your Miss chance is increased by an extra 2.5%, rather than just an extra 0.5% to Miss. Thus, a level 73 mob has 365 Defense and players have a natural maximum Weapon Skill of 350. 5 points of Weapon Skill are enough to eliminate this 2.5% advantage. 5 points of Weapon skill is also enough to improve your to Miss chance against any mob by 0.5%. So, if you have 355 Weapon Skill versus a level 73 mob with 365 defense, you have given yourself a 3% bonus to hit versus the mob.

At level 70, 3.9 points of Weapon Skill Rating are required to increase your actual Weapon Skill by 1. However, in Patch 2.3, all Weapon Skill bonuses will be converted Expertise. Expertise Rating will convert at the same rate as Weapon Skill rating.

So, what exactly is Expertise then? A totally separate mechanic from Weapon Skill. In fact, after patch 2.3, there doesn't appear to be a way to increase your Weapon Skill except waiting for level 71 when Wrath of the Lich King is released. Every piece of gear, every talent, every racial abililty that affected Weapon Skill has been removed. Racial abilities have been converted to +Crit. Talents have converted to Expertise and gear from specific weapon skill rating to an expertise rating.

For each point of Expertise, you eliminate 0.25% of your target's Parry and 0.25% of your target's Dodge. Where does the eliminated Parry and Dodge go? Straight into the ordinary hit part of your attack table. I'm not going to go into an entire discussion of the attack table, but I do suggest you read up on it on WoWWiki if you are not familiar with what I am talking about.

So, while 5 points of Weapon Skill eliminates 3% of the Miss chance on Level 73 target, 5 points of Expertise will eliminates 1.25% of your target's Parry and Dodge for a total of 2.5% to hit. This may be very disappointing to some tanks. However, Expertise scales much more quickly than Weapon Skill. 6 points of Expertise gives a total of 3% to hit and the 7th points of Expertise gives a total of 3.5% to hit. You need 10 points of Weapon Skill to eliminate 3.5% Miss Chance on a Level 73 target. 10 points of Expertise is going to eliminate 2.5% Parry and 2.5% Dodge from your target. Would you rather than a 5% better chance to hit your target or a 3.5% chance.

You might have noticed I keep using Weapon Skill against a Level 73 target. That's because that's where you get the most benefit. On a level 60-72 target, each point of Weapon Skill above 350 merely gives you a 0.10% reduction to miss your target. So, if you have 355 Weapon Skill, you have a 0.5% better chance to hit your target. 365 Weapon Skill only gives you a 1.5% better chance to hit your target. Compare this with Weapon Expertise which gives you a 0.25% reduction to your target's Parry and Dodge, so 0.50% reduction per point. At 15 points of Expertise, you'll reduce your opponent's Parry and Dodge by 3.75% each, or 7.5% total, regardless of their level.

However, Rogues and other melee DPS fight from behind their targets if possible. We do it to avoid nasty Cleaves, but also because when you attack an NPC target from behind, they are denied their Parry. Thus for Rogues, half of the benefit for Expertise is negated by this mechanic. Against Level 73 targets, 10 more points of Weapon Skill from Weapon Expertise gave Rogues 3.5% to hit. After Patch 2.3, Weapon Expertise will grant 10 points of Expertise attack ing from behind will give Rogues a 2.5% chance to hit.

Lastly, players do not get a chance to dodge attacks from behind. So, in PvP, if you are focusing on attacking another player from behind, you will gain no benefit from Weapon Expertise as they cannot parry or dodge.

Overall, this may eventually help Rogues. We'll do more damage against trash mobs and we won't always be behind our PvP opponents. There have been some extensive testing posted on the Elitist Jerks boards, but I still think the verdict is out on whether Expertise will be better than Weapon Skill.

Continue reading 'Now with Less Parry! and Dodge!'

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blinding Powder's New Tooltip

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LOL! At least Blizzard has a sense of humor still.

Continue reading 'Blinding Powder's New Tooltip'

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Rogue Badge Loot and AEP

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Recently, MMO-Champion posted all the new Badges of Justice loot from Patch 2.3. Among them were some major Rogue upgrades for neck, back, wrist, hands, legs, feet and trinkets. So, start running some Heroics and saving up your Badges of Justice as you'll need 475 to get everything that's new.

I plugged the items into Shadowpanther's Excel spreadsheet to determine their AEP. As far as I know, Ming was attributed to coining the phrase or at least making it so widely known. His work is the backbone behind most Rogue theorycraft. Shadowpanther uses a group of fixed values for AEP, though some other Rogues theorycraftsmen have a dynamic AEP based on current gear, talents, etc.

Quick rundown on AEP. AEP stands for Agility Equivalency Points. Each stat an item possesses is given an AEP score to measure it against Agility. Each point of Attack Power is valued at .5 AEP because Agility gives Attack Power, Dodge and Crit. Strength is also valued at .5 AEP because it is worth 1 AP. Stamina is valued at 1 AEP for survival in the base AEP ratings but there are also two other AEP values called DAEP and MAEP. See, normal AEP is weighed for PvP, DAEP is weighed for PvE and MAEP is weighed for Maximum Damage. Once each stat is given a weighed AEP value, you can then look at a piece of gear convert all the stats to AEP and add them together. The item with a higher overall AEP should be better for you character than an item with a lower AEP. This isn't always the case, but it's a pretty good estimation.

The other two stats that are useful to examine are Total Crit (TCrit) and Total Attack Power (TAP). TCrit is a calculation of the total crit for an item converting Agility into +Crit and adding it to the item's +Crit. TAP is the same concept adding Strength plus Agility plus Attack Power to give you one score.

Brooch of Deftness, neck slot, cost 35 Badges of Justice. It ranks only 28 MAEP (Maximum DPS AEP) and 49 on DAEP (PvE AEP) which is incredibly low down with the level 70 blue and greens, but not surprising given only +22 Hit Rating. It ranks much higher on AEP (PvP AEP) at 67 (Worgen is rated at 76). While this won't replace the Worgen Claw Necklace because it lacks Agility and Attack Power, it might go into my PvP set as it has 37 more Stamina.

Brooch of Deftness
Binds when picked up
+48 Stamina
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves hit rating by 22.

New gloves, Trickster's Stickyfingers, costs 60 Badges of Justice. AEP 120, DAEP 106, MAEP 93, TCrit 0.75%, TAP 98. Like the Shallow-grave Trousers below, +25 Haste makes these gloves much more desireable based on AEP. They rank about 4th overall even above the Tier 4 Netherblade Gloves.

Trickster's Stickyfingers
Binds when picked up
252 Armor
+30 Agility
+28 Stamina
Durability 40 / 40
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves haste rating by 25.
Equip: Increases attack power by 68.

Dory's Embrace is a new cloak, 60 Badges. AEP 106, DAEP 69, MAEP 54, TCrit 0.90%, TAP 45. If you look at AEP vs MAEP and AEP is twice as high, you can immediately surmise an item was built for PvP. The high AEP is a result of more Stamina than any cloak rated on Shadowpanther's list and +20 Resilence and a feature from the Tier 6/Season 3 gear: Your attacks ignore 112 of your opponent's armor. Nice.

Dory's Embrace
Binds when picked up
114 Armor
+34 Stamina
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 20.
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 20.
Equip: Increases attack power by 46.
Equip: Your attacks ignore 112 of your opponent's armor.
"Approximately priceless."

New bracers, Master Assassin Wristwraps, 35 Badges. AEP 93, DAEP 81, MAEP 71, TCrit 1.33%, TAP 67. There's not much special about these except they rank 4th for sheer awesomeness. You'll probably still want to wear your Veteran's Leather Bracers for PvP though.

Master Assassin Wristwraps
Binds when picked up
177 Armor
+17 Agility
+22 Stamina
Yellow Socket
Socket Bonus: +2 Critical Strike Rating
Durability 40 / 40
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 18.
Equip: Increases attack power by 50.

Shallow-grave Trousers, 75 Badges. AEP 171, DAEP 148, MAEP 127, TCrit 1.13%, TAP 137. Due to its +30 Haste Rating component, this is rated 3rd on MAEP, 5th on MAEP and 4th on DAEP. That's about Tier 5, Deathmantle, equivalent. Wow.

Shallow-grave Trousers
Binds when picked up
353 Armor
+45 Agility
+46 Stamina
Durability 90 / 90
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves haste rating by 30.
Equip: Increases attack power by 92.

Nyn'jah's Tabi Boots, 60 Badges. AEP 126, DAEP 117, MAEP 105, TCrit 0.73%, TAEP 89. Imagine these boots did not have the gem slots or the slot bonus, this item would still hover around 5th on all 3 AEP lists. With the slots and the slot bonus, these boots rise up to the 2nd (or 3rd) best boots for Rogues.

Nyn'jah's Tabi Boots
Binds when picked up
278 Armor
+29 Agility
+21 Stamina
Blue Socket
Red Socket
Socket Bonus: +3 Hit Rating
Durability 60 / 60
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves hit rating by 22.
Equip: Increases attack power by 60.

Two new trinkets, Cruelty and Determination.

Cruelty gives +Crit and for 15 seconds, once every 3 minutes, 1750 maximum health. This doesn't rate high on the AEP charts, but is definitely important for PvP players.

Binds when picked up
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 40.
Use: Increases maximum health by 1750 for 15 sec.

Like Cruelty, Determination gives the same On Use effect for 15 seconds, but instead gives +80 AP. As I'm a Sword Rogue, I'll be using Determination over Cruelty, because of the +AP.

Binds when picked up
Requires Level 70
Equip: Increases attack power by 80.
Use: Increases maximum health by 1750 for 15 sec.

So, should you start racing through Heroics now saving up or wait until Karazhan and Zul'Aman bosses start dropping Badges as well? That's up to you, probably both! Don't forget about the great items already available from Badges like the Bloodlust Brooch, Blood Knight War Cloak, Choker of Vile Intent, Ring of Arathi Warlords, and the Mask of the Deceiver. Now, you have get a full set of epic gear without having to raid 10-man or 25-man instances, and if you do, you have even more options.

Continue reading 'New Rogue Badge Loot and AEP'

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Er, Kick was Broken?

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While most of the changes in the recent 2.3 patch that made it to the PTR today are well-known, there was one interesting note from the official World of Warcraft notes on the 2.3 PTR notes for Rogues that I haven't seen before:

Kick: Interrupting a channeled spell with this ability will now always properly prevent casting spells from the same spell school for 5 sec.

Now, I have Improved Kick for PvP:

Improved Kick: Gives your Kick ability a 50/100% chance to silence the target for 2 seconds.

I honestly didn't realize Kick was broken. And now it makes me realize how relatively worthless Improved Kick seems. How many schools of magic do most casters employ? Two? Three for mages? I hope that Blizzard also takes 2.3 as an opportunity to look at Improved Kick and improve it somewhat (we can call it Improved Improved Kick). A one tick silence doesn't really seem all that useful when we are already silencing for 5 seconds the school of magic they were using when we kicked them.

Continue reading 'Er, Kick was Broken?'

Let There Be (Back)Light!

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And Valenna saw it was good. Nah, good is an understandment. It's sexy. It's futuristic. Just looking at it makes my swords sharper. It makes me want to play with the lights off.

I... I think I need a moment. ... K, I'm done.

If you didn't read my post about the Belkin Nostromo n52 SpeedPad before, go do it now.

The Nostromo, in my opinion, raises your play to a new level. Yeah, it may just seem like a "keypad", but the ability to create macros, rebind keys for different profiles and its comfortable layout make it indispensable. Playing without one makes me feel like a n00b. I'm lost with it.

Besides looking cooler than anything else on earth, why am I so excited? Belkin joining forces with Razer. Razer is renowned for its mice and keyboards. Combine their style and technological style with Belkin's ultimate gaming accessory and there's no question in my mind that it's worth the $70 price tag and the te, Tournament Edition, label.

Need more reasons?

  • On-board memory. Why? Right now you have to store your profile on your system. Now you can take your Nostromo, plug it into your laptop and it will remember all your keys and all your macros.
  • It matches my slick LG Widescreen LCD monitor.
  • It glows. Yeah, I'm not really going to be looking at it when I use it. But let's face it, gamers love glow. Razer put it in their mice, people install glows inside their cases and under their streetracing cars.
  • It's more responsive. While my current Nostromo is quite responsive, there are a few moments when I can feel I don't press the thumb button just right and I have to press it again. From the appearance, the new thumb button is metal with a lower profile which will make it easier to tactilely find and use.
  • Look at the backlight. Look a the metal. It looks awesome.
  • It appears like it can receive some punishment. I'm on my second Nostromo and I know people who are on their 3rd Nostromo. This is not really an indication as to the quality of the Nostromo. They hold up well, but when you play one for 3-5 hours every day for more than a year, they tend to start showing that wear in responsiveness.

Hopefully, it should have one of the features I've desired the most. A way to macro in the keymap states into my games. Not only does the Nostromo have 15 buttons, the keypad, a mousewheel and a button, but you can change the keymap state between normal, red, green and blue for a completely different set of keybinding for each keymap state. However, right now there's no way I can combine the change in keymap state into a macro so I can also alert the game I'm playing that I've changed my keymap state. In other words, I want to map a key to change the keymap state to red and press another key like "Q" to alert my game that I've entered Stealth. I've managed to get around this in World of Warcraft through in game macros and never changing my keymap states on my Nostromo, but I'd love to be able to use this functionality on the Nostromo n52te.

Continue reading 'Let There Be (Back)Light!'

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I Feel Naked in the Arena

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...and not in a good way. No, I'm not talking about ERP. I'm talking about craptastic armor values of my Arena gear!

After reading about Season 3 gear and armor penetration over on Phaelia's Resto4Life, it made me start thinking about the armor value I have now compared to the armor value of the cloth wearers.

With a little digging, I discovered the following:

  • For Tier 5 gear pieces that correspond to Season 2 gear (head, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs), cloth wearers get about ~1k in armor, leather wearers gets about ~2k in armor, mail ~4k, plate ~7k.
  • For Season 2 gear pieces that correspond to Tier 5 gear, cloth wearers get about ~2k in armor, leather wearers gets about ~2k in armor, mail ~4k, plate ~7k.

Uh... what? In our Arena Gear, the gear that is supposedly designed toward survivability against those who would rather we not continue stabbing them in the eye, we have as much armor as a Priest. Yeah. Priests and all other clothies got a 100% boost to their armor from Season 2 gear. Meanwhile, Rogues (and to a lesser degree the various Druid specs) get virtually no armor boost.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the various classes and their abilities designed around the type of armor they wear? A Warlock has Fear and other tools to help compensate for his cloth armor. A Mage has Polymorph and Frost Nova and other abilities. Every cloth wearer has already been balanced for their armor type.

Now this is probably the result of them already giving the cloth wearers the +910 armor that will be partially negated by the armor penetration of Season 3. However, why should Rogues (and Restoration Druids) be penalized by not getting any armor bonus? No wonder why in a 5v5 match, our team met with a Priest who seemed to have more armor than me. Add on Inner Fire and all their other abilities, she had way more armor than me.

Therefore, since the beginning of Season 2, cloth wearers have gotten tougher, while melee characters and healers in leather have received zero compensation. Even next season, it will take weeks for melee players to get Season 3 pieces. Meanwhile, cloth wearers will continue to enjoy their day in the sun.

All of this and rogues still get to stand toe to toe with their opponents to do damage. Cloth wearers already have ways to distance themselves from melee characters and now they have twice the armor as they did before as well!

It seems to me that the entire idea of armor penetration is flawed and this solution is even more flawed. Even a proposed solution of giving all characters 910 more armor just seems like a bad fix because PvP characters will have an advantage over PvE characters.

I'm under no illusion that game mechanics are easy to balance for PvE and PvP, but there has to be a better solution.

Continue reading 'I Feel Naked in the Arena'

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Energy, Pure Energy

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I've covered surviving as a Rogue. It's essential. Live longer and do more damage. But that's just part of what it means to be a Rogue. Our primary role is to deal damage and lots of it. How we (and copycat Druids) do damage relies upon the energy and Combo Points systems. The Combo Points and Finishers system is significant enough to be deserving of a separate discussion, so I'd like to focus upon the energy system and how to maximize your energy regeneration first.

got energy?

Every tick — 2 seconds — you recover 20 energy up to your maximum, which is normally 100. Like Warrior Rage, your maximum energy doesn't increase as you level, though it may with certain gear or talents. Your energy recovery rate also never changes, but you can regain energy by utilizing Thistle Tea or similar items or through certain talents or gear effects.

Energy equals damage. About 50% of the damage a Rogue does comes from special attacks, attacks which are powered through energy expenditure. This damage is generally called "yellow" damage because it shows up in yellow text in your combat log. Normal auto-attacks generate "white" damage for the same reason. Since all special attacks require energy, any increase in available energy allows a Rogue to use more abilities, and thus generate more damage. One of our abilities, Slice and Dice, increases white damage, as well, making it hard to pin down an exact number. As a general rule, however, our damage output is tied directly to our energy recovery. Basically, you can estimate that an increase of 2% in energy regeneration should result in a 1% increase to overall damage (via special attacks).

The primary ways of regaining energy outside of innate regeneration are Thistle Tea and the talents Relentless Strikes, Adrenaline Rush, and Combat Potency.

Relentless Strikes is the first accessible talent that allows you to regain energy at an accelerated rate. You can and should pick this up at around level 22. For each Combo Point you have when you perform a finishing move, Relentless Strikes gives a 20% chance to regain 25 energy. So when you perform a 5-point finishing move, you have 100% chance to regain 25 energy. It's hard to judge the exact increase from this, but I've had it trigger about 3 times a minute over a 43 minute fight. That's about 12.5% increase to energy/6% increase to damage.

At level 51, if you choose to go Combat, you should pick up Adrenaline Rush. Every 5 minutes, Adrenaline Rush can be used to double your natural energy recovery for 15 seconds. Since we get 20 energy every tick, you get 40 energy for about 7-8 ticks, or an extra 150 energy. That's a 5% boost spread over five minutes. However, it's best to be applied during situations where you are trying to apply a high level of damage in a short amount of time. For this reason, most Rogues pair it with Blade Flurry.

You can technically pick up Combat Potency at level 49, but because you should also have Relentless Strikes from the Assassination tree, you won't be able to pick up Combat Potency until level 60. Combat Potency has a 20% chance for each off-hand hit to generate 3 energy per talent point, or 15 points for the maximum five points you can invest in it. Combat Potency gives me 37% more energy than Relentless Strikes, and I try to use 80% of my finishing moves at 5 combo points which gives me a lot of energy back from Relentless Strikes.

For Rogues with fast off-hand weapons, this adds up fast! I have a 1.5 speed weapon, so I should get about 40 swings in a minute. If 20% of those 40 swings trigger the Combat Potency energy regain effect, I should get 120 (8*15) extra energy back from Combat Potency every minute. That's a 20% increase in energy and, therefore via our estimation, a 10% increase to damage. Weapons with a speed as slow as 2.0 will only give about a 7.5% increase while those with a 1.0 speed would increase damage about almost 15%! Also, any haste or Slice and Dice also affects your weapon speed and should add to the amount of energy you regain through Combat Potency.

In the combat build, energy recovery is an important source of damage. Through Relentless Strikes, Adrenaline Rush and Combat Potency, Combat Rogues can boost their damage 18% by supplementing their normal energy regeneration.

Continue reading 'Energy, Pure Energy'

Decyphered Script: Trinkets

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Encrypted Text on WowInsider highlighted Ten Great Rogue Trinkets. I'm a bit envious that I didn't beat her to the post myself as I had been thinking about just such a thing.

While I'm not in 100% agreement with everything in it, it was pretty funny and hit most of the major trinkets.

We differ in that I use TrinketMenu to cycle through my "On Use" trinkets which she seemed not to prefer over the "On Hit" trinkets. Therefore, let me recommend two starting trinkets for Rogues: Bladefist's Breadth and Core of Ar'kelos. Both are rewards from readily available quests in the Outlands. Their "On Use" abilities get me to swap them out for the Bloodlust Brooch whenever it is down. In this way, I always have +200 AP when I want it most.

Core of Ar'kelos
Binds when picked up
Use: Increases your melee and ranged attack power by 200.  Effect lasts for 20 sec.
Equip: Increases attack power by 52.
Bladefist's Breadth
Binds when picked up
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 26.
Use: Increases attack power by 200 for 15 sec.

Continue reading 'Decyphered Script: Trinkets'

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Val's Response to the Rogue Class Review

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WoWInsider highlighted a Rogue Class Review on the official Europe servers. I'm not going to go into every part in depth, but I will highlight some of the ones I found to be most interesting.

Rogues versus Warrior & Feral Druids Rogues feel they don’t bring enough to raids. Warriors give shouts, loads of HP/armour and equal DPS. Feral Druids give buffs, raid abilities such as resurrect, innervate and are also good in DPS. Rogues feel left alone because they are suppose to be the jack of all DPS classes but they don’t bring buffs, raid abilities or high DPS. Improving DPS overall would help. Giving buff abilities is an option but doesn’t really fit in with the Rogue profile. An option would be to introduce more debuff abilities for Rogues like Hemorrhage (acid reducing armour for example). Also giving less immunity on bosses could boost Rogues’ DPS.

I think this is what Rogues have been asking for all along. Either make us the unquestioned gods of DPS or allow us to bring a little bit more to a raid. As it is, there is no question that Hunters dominate the DPS charts on end game and do so standing 30 yards away from the dangers of the mob. Instead we stand within arms reach of our targets wearing the second to weakest type of armor.

Rogues are reporting they are missing a lot of +hit rating on the Arena PvP items. +hit is very important for Rogues so that their melee abilities land on the opponents. Also with a lot of abilities/gear having +stealth detection, it makes Rogues easy targets in some situations (Warlock with Paranoia + Cast Eye Goggles for example). Giving some +stealth on gear would help a little.

This has been one of my major hesitations to picking up PvP gear. A lot of classes can pick up PvP gear and replace pieces of their PvE gear with it. This isn't true of Rogues. The majority of rogues benefit highly from +Hit and rogue PvP gear is completely lacking in +Hit. Instead, Blizzard gives us +Crit which everyone who wears PvP gear has resilience to counter. Rogues need a significant boost in PvP. In my opinion our PvP gear needs:

  • Less critical strike rating.
  • More hit.
  • More stamina.
  • More armor.
  • More stealth.

Until this occurs, Rogues will continue to suffer in PvP.

Going in PvP with a Rogue versus Range the range class wins most of the time. Rogues only have two abilities (Sprint and Shadowstep) with huge cooldowns. This makes them an easy target. Giving Rogues more chance to reach their range target would help a lot. And example would be shorter cooldown and longer effect on sprint.

Oh yes. Yes please. With Sprint being our only boost, I'd love to see the cooldown reduced. Honestly, I'd love to see Rogues get a run speed boost that is passive.

Expose Armor currently has a fixed value and does not improve against good geared players. To give Rogues more scaling, let Expose Armor have a percentage of armour reduction depending on the opponents armour. Letting this ability stack with Sunder Armor and also stack with AP would increase the usefulness of this ability.

Expose Armor is worthless and has been since beta. It needs to stack or do something in conjunction with Sunder Armor.

Rogues are saying that once all their cooldowns are on they are having a hard time killing people in PvP. Giving a few key abilities lesser cooldown would help. An example of class versus class would be Rogue versus Paladin/Warrior. An example of abilities would be Evasion, blind & Adrenaline Rush.

Yep, exactly. Every one of our "tricks" is on a cooldown, usually around 3 minutes. This gives us one good span of 15 seconds in PvP in order to drop our targets. If it doesn't happen, it's over. I'm not sure what can be done about this however. If these cooldowns changed, they would significantly change how Rogues perform in PvE. Perhaps a change in Rogue cooldowns would fix a good majority of the issues listed here.

Eviscerate seems to be lacking the Rogues choice of ability. They are saying Bleed and Rupture are doing way more damage then Eviscerate. Improving Eviscerate would help a lot on Bleed immune mobs. And example of this would be let it stack more with AP and/or weapon damage. Another example would be adding a percentage to ignore armour.

I think there should be ways that every finisher, including Eviscerate, should be a possible choice for a rogue depending on the situation. However, having Eviscerate as just a damage finisher for when you can't use Rupture doesn't seem to make Eviscerate special enough to keep as a finisher. Rupture does more damage and does so when a Rogue's target moves away. Eviscerate needs to do more damage since it is instant in order to be considered.

To be able to help on grouped mobs, giving Rogues the ability to hold combo-points on targets even if they are building more combo-points on other targets would help. This would also boost the PvP Arena DPS. Another way to do this is to make combo-points a buff and it will keep on holding those combo-points for a certain time before the combo-points go away (including when switching targets!).

Combo points are so essential to the way rogues are played that something should be done to allow all of these wasted points to be used. A change like this would make Blade Flurry even more vital to most builds, something I'm not sure that Blizzard really wants to encourage. An interesting idea would be to return the combo points as a target dies to the Rogue as a buff that could be reapplied to the next mob with a new move or just enchances a Rogue much like Remorseless Attacks an essentially useless talent was meant to.

While I appreciate the moderators on the European forums consolidating these concerns, I would much rather hear what Blizzard intends for the future of the Rogue class.

Continue reading 'Val's Response to the Rogue Class Review'

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tea Anyone?

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*sip* Mmm... Thistle Tea. Sounds tasty, doesn't it? I think it tastes like swamp, but regardless, nothing gets you moving like a good cup of Thistle Tea. *sip*

While the talents and gear to raise your maximum energy aren't available at lower levels, Thistle Tea is a drink that when consumed gives you an instant burst of energy. Thistle Tea can be consumed as early as level 5. While it might seem like a young age at which to begin experiencing the joys of mind-enhancing drugs, there is no Alliance or Horde Drug Enforcement Agency to police it. And even if you aren't able to craft it or can't collect the ingredients yourself, you can still use it.

As great as Thistle Tea is, it does have a 4-minute cooldown, meaning you'll have to do some planning ahead to make optimal use of it. Also note that, even at the earliest levels (its potency unfortunately diminishes as you gain levels), the maximum energy granted by Thistle Tea is 100, the same amount of energy recovered by a Rogue over 10 seconds.

Thistle Tea
Classes: Rogue
Requires Level 5
Use: Instantly restores [100 - 2 * max(0,PL - 40)] energy.

Thistle Tea is a rogue-only Cooking recipe. It is available as a quest reward from the level 24 quest, Klaven's Tower (Mission: Possible But Not Probable if you are Horde). A Cooking skill of 60 is required to craft it. So, grab a fishing pole and don an apron as fishing in your hometown and cooking the fish you catch is one of the quickest ways to raise your Cooking skill to 60. Now that you can cook Mac and Cheese without burning down your house, you're ready to brew your first kettle of Thistle Tea. To do so, you'll need 1 Refreshing Spring Water and 1 Swiftthistle. The water can be purchased from vendors, but the Swiftthistle is an herb rarely spawned when gathering Briarthorn and Mageroyal. These will be harder to come by and are one of the reasons Rogues should pick up Herbalism, especially at early levels.

Despite not being able to learn the recipe until at least level 16, from level 5 to level 39, your Rogue should become a Thistle Tea junkie. Find yourself some from the AH or bribe an older rogue to make it for you. Drink it whenever your Energy dips near zero. Why?

Math time. One Rogue leaves Darnassus and another Rogue using Sprint leaves Stormwind... wait, wrong page... Say it takes you a minute and a half to kill some monster. During the course of the fight, you'll regain 900 energy (90 seconds * 10 energy/sec). While you can't change the rate at which you naturally regain energy, you can down a Thistle Tea for an extra 100 energy. At best I'd guess you can utilize between 60-90 of the energy due to timing, but that's still a 6-10% increase in your available energy. Even at 60 energy, that's a Backstab or almost two Sinister Strikes. During a longer fight, using it every four minutes, you're looking at an extra 2-4% energy. Energy equals damage. You want to do more damage, right?

At level 40, you start getting less energy for each consumption of Thistle Tea. I like to attribute this to a Rogue's growing tolerance for the bitter drink, rather than Blizzard's nerfing of a class staple. For every level starting at 40, you get 2 less energy per level as you drink it until you only get 40 energy back at level 70.

This reduction in benefit changes things significantly for the conscientious consumer of consumables. At level 70, you only get 40 energy. For a raiding Rogue, that's 40 extra energy every four minutes which is a boost of 1.6%. Thistle Tea goes from a substantial boost at earlier levels to a nice addition during raids. I'm sure it's because of the introduction of the talent Combat Potency which gives Rogues a new source of energy recovery starting at level 45. It is also probably to reduce Rogue's dependence on an item that can be difficult to acquire for higher end characters.

There has been a large outcry from the Rogue community for something to replace Thistle Tea in the Outlands, even if it recovers not more energy but requires a new herb that is more accessible to players in the Outlands. So far, the East Azerothian Trading Company hasn't seen fit to reduce the tax on regained energy or introduce a new recipe as an alternative to this class addiction.

Tea party, anyone?

Read Doomilias' post on Thistle Tea here.

Continue reading 'Tea Anyone?'

Monday, October 1, 2007

Dirty Tricks to Tanking?

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!

Tanks are hard to find. Sure we have tanks in our guild like Antipas, Beefshank, DevilCS, Semore, and even an excellent druid tank named Currant. However, sometimes you just can't find one — especially in the middle of an Alterac Valley weekend.

So, I've found myself tanking with surprisingly interesting results. So, I'm going to go into how to tank entire instances as ... a Rogue.

Now, you think I'm kidding, right? I'm not, but then again, I'm not talking about tanking Karazhan or Heroic instances ... yet. But I have successfully tanked Steamvault and Old Hillsbrad. Yesterday, I tanked Old Hillsbrad twice with only one death (but it was a Mage and they don't count!) The first time was with two resto Shamans, one with pre-Heroic gear and another with Karazhan gear. And the second time was with a pre-Karazhan geared Paladin and the same pre-Heroic geared Shaman. Old Hillsbrad is unique also in that Thrall joins you and tanks targets as well.

Steamvault was more of a result of our druid tank (not Currant) not being able to keep aggro against even my Auto Attack.

It's all about surviving and killing the mobs before you die. So go back and read my Dirty Tricks to Surviving if you haven't. Just remember you can't use the tricks that push your mob back onto your tank, because you are the tank and when you do, you push the mob onto your healers. 0_o

In Old Hillsbrad, our secret was that we had myself and a Karazhan geared wizard named Semoreo as DPS. As the "tank", I never had to hold back DPS or use Feint either. We also had my wife, a DPS warrior, who rounded up loose adds.

There is one major thing I left out of my previous post about surviving. Stamina means health and more health means living longer. A lot of rogues ignore this completely. Currently, I don't have a lot of stamina in my PvE gear, my unbuffed PvE health is only 8824. However, I swap out 6 pieces of my PvP gear and unbuffed I now have 10124 health, 3154 armor (23% reduction), 93 Resilence and 24.76% dodge.

As one of the five pieces, I found my PvP trinket, the Medallion of the Alliance, to be incredibly useful when faced against fears, stuns and Polymorphs. Like a Warrior's Berserker Stance, I use the Medallion with Sprint to get right back to my targets.

Medallion of the Alliance
Binds when picked up
Classes: Rogue
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 20.
Use: Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character.

Next, I got this piece for the Stamina and the Resilience from Keepers of Time at Exalted:

Timelapse Shard
Binds when picked up
+27 Stamina
Requires Level 70
Requires Keepers of Time - Exalted
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 24.
Use: Reduces your threat to enemy targets within 30 yards, making them less likely to attack you.

My strategy was pretty simple:

  • Use effective crowd control and mark your targets. In the first time we did Old Hillsbrad, I used Sap and the mage used Polymorph at every opporunity. We also focused our damage burning down our targets as quickly as possible.
  • Use your stuns. Like I've said before, if your target is stunned, you're not taking damage. Use Cheap Shot and Kidney Shot whenever you can.
  • Use your Evasion. Usually I saved Evasion for the bosses or way before I knew we'd be at a boss when I had multiple opponents as I was using Blade Flurry.
  • Attack multiple targets at once. Making sure you're not breaking crowd control, you should be using Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush to burn down multiple targets at once.
  • Use the right poison. As targets were going down so quickly, use Instant Poison rather than Deadly Poison. I also had the luxury of having Shaman on both runs, so I left my main hand open for Wind Fury which helped immensely.
  • Get back to the action! I saved Sprint to mimic Warrior's Charge ability, for after fears or knockback.
  • Don't let them escape. For those targets that try to run, I'd usually hit them with a Deadly Throw to finish them off or let myself catch up to them.

I asked some of the healers afterwards how they thought it went and we all agreed upon some things. First, it was awesome. I wasn't all that hard to keep alive even on the first two bosses. Second, I did have help. We had two warriors (albeit DPS Warriors) in each, a lot of crowd control and a lot of healing. Third, the biggest issue was that because I rely more on dodge than just armor or defense, I would go without getting hit for a while and then get large spikes of damage. However, with the pool of health I had available, it was fairly easy for the healers to keep up. We theorized that perhaps if I had a full set of PvP gear I might have enough armor, resilience and stamina to be even more effective.

This certainly didn't make me want to play a Warrior. It was fun and it is really just a novelty and something that can be done in a pinch. In the end game, gear plays a major role and it was obvious during these runs. Now, a lot of the normal BC instances give me that same feeling I had going back to Blackrock Depths when I hit 60. It's not a complete snoozefest, but it certainly makes you feel like you are a badass.

Continue reading 'Dirty Tricks to Tanking?'

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Video: "Hemo is Dead" by Skahr

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!

Skahr announced he was working on it two weeks ago and "Hemo is Dead", his PvP video, is finally done!

Coming in at a whopping 24 minutes, the video highlights his PvP play in battlegrounds, duels, world PvP and 2v2 arena.

After watching this, I have a newfound respect for the Subtlety tree.

And I suggest you watch the full version if you have the bandwidth, which allows you more control over the video to pause, rewind and skip ahead. Alternately, you can watch it in-line below.

Continue reading 'Video: "Hemo is Dead" by Skahr'