Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What is Rogue?

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To begin, I am not a fan of PvP. I am a PvE Rogue. There are some that say you can't be a good Rogue without being good at PvP and PvE. They are wrong.

When I first started World of Warcraft, the very first character I made was... a Warlock, but that was back in the beta and it was undead. I didn't enjoy how weak and frail I felt. When I made a character on my normal account, one of my first was a Rogue. As I began to play my Rogue, nothing else has ever seemed as fun.

So, here's the question: What is "Rogue"? What does it mean to be a Rogue? What should be the purpose of a Rogue? Why should you play one?

While I have loved my Rogue since I started playing her, I have struggled with this question.

According to the World of Warcraft website:

ogues are a lightly armored melee class capable of dealing massive damage to their enemies in a flurry of attacks. They are masters of stealth and assassination, passing by enemies unseen and striking from the shadows, then escaping from combat in the blink of an eye. Rogues can also craft poisons that damage or cripple their enemies, reducing their effectiveness in battle. Groups will find Rogues valuable, for not only do they deal massive damage, but they can open locked doors or chests, and disarm hidden traps as well.

Hmm.. Well, it is true. Rogues are all of those things. Here's my take:

  • Versatility. Rogues have a lot of options in a fight. Sometimes all those options aren't appropriate, but they are still there and depending on how a fight goes, sometimes they may suddenly become useful.
  • Survivability. While we aren't tanks and we aren't healers, we can survive bad encounters like no other, and, if we decide to, we can plan "bad encounters" as well, taking on several mobs at once through Blade Flurry, Evasion and Adrenaline Rush. We can lock up our opponents with Cheap Shots and Kidney Shots. We can escape through Gouge, Vanish and Sprint. We shrug off magical effects with Cloak of Shadows. This isn't always the case. We can't always survive every encounter, but it does seem like we were made to avoid death in our own way.
  • Damage. It's worth repeating. A properly skilled and properly geared Rogue should challenge any other DPS for one of the top spots. With all the aggro-reducing abilities such as Feint, Vanish and a natural reduction on damage to aggro, Rogues can sit up near a mob dishing it out without getting it back. This helps out a lot with our contribution to groups.
  • Planning. If a Rogue plans out an encounter, he can usually own the encounter. With stealth and several openers, a Rogue can choose to stun lock an opponent, often without taking more than one or two hits from them. Not to mention using Sap to take out another mob that might make a normal pull impossible for another class without crowd control.
  • Distinct class identity. Rogues are a staple of fantasy. We have virtually all the trappings of Rogues from roleplaying games, such as Dungeons and Dragons. We can pick locks, pick pockets, sneak, backstab, use poisons, etc. Some of these seem less useful in play, but other times you are thankful you have them.
  • Energy and Combo Points. These are so integral, sometimes I don't even think of these. I often hear that we are superior to other damage classes in that we don't have to rely on mana for our abilities, we have an infinite supply of Energy. That is true. However, in a single fight against any single mob or against trash pulls in an instance where the group can and will drink after every pull for their mana users, this fact becomes a lot less important. Imagine as a mage you have mana pool of 10000. You also have a mana regen of 2000 every two seconds. Every ability you use costs you about 3500-6000 and each time you use one you get one point that is most useful when you score five points against an opponent. Damn. That sounds cool. Nevermind. Still, as you can see, it's a different paradigm about how a class works in WoW and that alone is fun and cool.

So, Rogues rock. But almost all of that information applies to Rogues working alone. Working together with another player or in a group, Rogues are able to contribute a lot. Our crowd controlling abilities aren't flashy like a Mage or a Hunter, they are a lot more subtle and can be a lot more pervasive than other classes'.

  • Sap. With Improved Sap rolling into normal Sap, every Rogue can now contribute a non-renewable crowd control at the beginning of every pull with humanoid combatants.
  • Off-tanking. With a naturally high Dodge, Evasion, stuns and interrupts listed below, a Rogue can very effectively off-tank a casting mob and often lock-up other types of mob long enough for an armored character to pull it off after using Feint or Vanish. We can also use Blind to take a mob out of the fight for a short time.
  • Stuns. Rogues can't heal, but they can help both the tank and the healers by stunning the mob focused on the tank. Mobs that are stunned won't be damaging or using their special abilities on the tank and the healers won't have to heal as much.
  • Interrupts. We have at least four forms of interrupt. We can Cheap Shot (stun), Kidney Shot (stun), Kick (interrupt), Gouge (stun) and Blind (crowd control). Most mobs have special abilities that are "casted" and, therefore, interruptable. Ensuring that mobs don't get off their special abilities is one of the main roles of a Rogue.
  • Damage. It's not important enough that we can do all of the above. What we really contribute is our damage. After all the name of the game is kill-them-before-they-kill-you. Dead mobs can't hurt us and the faster the mobs die the less healing needs to be done to the group.
  • Poisons. In boss fights, we shine. We have a lot of poisons and Rupture that can continue damaging our opponents even after we have to move away to bandage, or, Elune forbid, die.

I've really enjoyed soloing as a Rogue. Afterall, Rogues are INCREDIBLY soloable, but a Rogue really proves their worth in a group. It allows the Rogue to shine by using their key abilities over and over.

However, this is what WoW has done right for most classes, almost all of the things I've listed can be applied to other classes or those classes have something similar.

In the end, what is Rogue? After a lot of searching, I've realized the answer isn't important. I can't see playing any other class and I'm quite content in my role and contributions to groups.

If there is an answer, it must be zen: Rogue is Rogue.

p.s. This doesn't mean I wouldn't mind a more inherent evasion ability against area of attacks, but, for now, I'll live.

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