Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dirty Tricks to Surviving

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Tons of people have rogue alts. And while I don't want you skeevy scum leveling up and taking my loot, I'll take a stab (stab - haha get it?) at giving a series of posts oriented at leveling a Rogue for those of you who aren't on Scarlet Crusade. (Note: Mrs. BBB, the newly-minted Rogue who was the inspiration for this piece, doesn't play on Scarlet Crusade.)

Playing a Rogue is all about one thing: Damage. We are one of the few non-hybrids in the game. In fact, we are one of the only classes that has only one role among the major three of Damage, Healing and Tanking.

So Rule #1 is ... survive. Er, what? Yeah, you can't really kill that mob and level if you're dead. In fact, later as you reach the levels where you group, you need to use as many of these tricks to survive as possible because your DPS is zero when you are dead. But right after Rule #1 — let's call it Rule #2 — is maximize your damage.

But back to surviving, the first thing you should do is plan your escape for when things go bad. Do this even before you begin your fight. You young rogues have it easy! Back in my day, we didn't have a Sap that allowed us to remain in stealth!

In Case of Emergency

Pick your fights carefully with the following dirty tricks in mind:

  • Level 1: Stealth
    K. This may seem obvious, but being stealthed means you are less likely to be attacked, which means you less likely to die or start a fight until you want it to. I used Stealth so much as I leveled, I found it difficult to remember to unstealth for buffs later in the game. But that was back when your own teammates couldn't target you if you were stealthed. That isn't really an issue anymore.
  • Level 6: Gouge and First Aid
    Sometimes when a fight is neck and neck, you'll want a dirty trick to give you the edge. Just a few more health is all it takes. And for after fights, First Aid should get you up and fighting faster than food. I'm unsure if these two abilities can be macroed together, but I'll find out and let you know.
  • Level 8: Evasion
    Evasion is best used when you are facing more than one mob. It's a good ability to save for when you get into trouble, especially since it's on a 5 minute cooldown. Adding 50% to your dodge rate makes you feel like a god for 15 seconds. Afterwards though, you're wormfood again, so make those 15 seconds count.
  • Level 10: Sap
    Why fight two mobs when you only have to fight one? And when gathering herbs or mining, you can use this to fight none! This ability takes one Humanoid (and only Humanoids) out of the fight for 25 seconds. It can be used over and over as long as those baddies are NOT in combat. This is our "crowd control" and while it doesn't compare to Polymorph, it does last a long time and cannot break early.
  • Level 10: Sprint
    Running faster by 50% isn't just for getting to that herb or mining rock faster. Combined with a Gouge or even Evasion, Sprint is excellent for running away when things go south. Just run until you've exited combat and stealth.
  • Level 12: Kick
    While essential for fighting casters of all types, it interrupts and cancels any action with a casting timer. This includes interrupting melee types who Whirlwind or have another channeled ability.
  • Level 16: Feint
    Feint lowers your aggro against a target. While not useful when soloing, you should hit this whenever its available while grouping. You'll be surprised at how much your survivability improves when you aren't tanking.
  • Level 22: Vanish
    Vanish instantly removes you from combat and puts you in stealth. It's awesome ... when it works. This is usually best used as a last ditch effort to stay alive.
  • Level 26: Cheap Shot
    This opener stuns your target for 4 seconds. One of the key parts of surviving as a rogue is avoiding damage as much as possible. If you can stun your target and prevent them from hurting you as you stab them, it's a lot easier to survive.
  • Level 30: Kidney Shot
    This finishing move stuns your target one second for each combo point you have on them. Like all your stuns, using this allows you to avoid incoming damage which helps you live longer.
  • Level 34: Blind
    Like a mini-Sap, Blind can take a target out of a fight for ten seconds. Blind is great to use when fighting multiple mobs or when you need a few seconds to bandage before finishing a single mob off. It's probably best to make a macro for this, however, as using Blind does not cause you to stop attacking like using Gouge.
  • Level 66: Cloak of Shadows
    This ability deserves its own post someday, but all I can say is that against targets using spell effects, your survivability goes up immensely as you can shake off any negative spell effects and prevent new ones for five seconds after using this ability.

Other Tips

  • Install Scrolling Combat Text
    SCT announces when you enter and leave combat, letting you know when you can stealth, eat food, etc.
  • Use Health Potions
    Get a lot of them and get the best ones you can. Don't use them unless you think you might die. Otherwise, just use food and bandages for healing after fights.
  • Eat Food
    Get a lot of it and get the best kind you can. You can't eat during combat, but regaining your health quickly after a fight will allow you to survive any surprises that may come your way. Look for food that grants Stamina, as more health means greater survivability. Stealth when you sit down to eat as this will allow you eat in peace!
  • Use Elixirs
    Whether you choose Alchemy or not, surviving in Azeroth will be easier with a stockpile of the following alchemical elixirs:
    • [Level 1-24] Elixir of Minor Fortitude (+27 health)
    • [Level 25-49] Elixir of Fortitude (+120 health)
    • [Level 50-70] Elixir of Major Fortitude (+250 health and restores 10 health every 5 seconds)

Limited to leather armor and forced to do our fighting up close and personal, a Rogue is most successful when leveraging not only her death-dealing abilities but those that limit our target's ability to fight back. By incorporating the twelve survivability skills listed above along with a fair share of consumables and a bit of caution, you should be able to level more quickly than many of your peers.


BigBearButt said...

Wow! What a great post!

I read the whole thing, nodding my ehad and thinking, "yep! Yep! Great advice! Yep! Ooooh, I forgot to mention that to Cassie... ooh! I haven't been doing that!"

Thank you for taking the time to post this, I think that this is the best damn breakdown of why and how to use your non-Sinister Strike abilities for the first 15 levels that I've seen anywhere.

I can't wait to read more!

Cassie said...

Thanks for a wonderfully thorough post and for mentioning BBB and me on your blog *blushing*

I've just gotten my first 2 talent points and I have no idea how to allocate them. I tend to be more combat focused so far (rather than subtle skills). Do you have any advice on what kind of specs I should go for as I get more points or which combat tree to focus on?

Mrs. BBB

Ontherocks said...

Don't forget, for new rogues: Always be pickpocketing humanoids! Always. It will keep you in stock with blind/vanish/poison reagents, and flush with health pots and lockboxes for your lckpick skill.

Don't be the level 70 rogue with your LP skill barely touched. No one likes that guy.

Ontherocks said...

Oh, and for those first talent points. Even if you don't care for subtlety, the early talents that make it harder to be detected in stealth and that lower your stealth cooldown and increase run speed are pretty great leveling talents.

Chris Connelley/Valenna said...

Thank you all for leaving comments!

@BBB: Thanks. I can't wait to find the time to write more!

@Cassie: With your first two points, you should definitely invest in Improved Sinister Strike. By shaving off 5 points off of the energy cost of Sinister Strike, you lower the cost to 40 energy which syncs with your energy recovery of 20 energy per 2 seconds. This allows you to get in another Sinister Strike as you build up from 0 combo points up to 5 combo points! [it shaves off 2 seconds] Sinister Strike should be your main attack and you should probably pick up a Nostromo and automate the spamming you have to do to save your Sinister Strike finger from extra work. ^_^

@OnTheRocks: Definitely! I wanted to focus on the survival possiblities of a rogue, but that can't happen when you get Blind without Blinding Powder! And the best place to get it is in Lockboxes. =)

As for early talents, I'll be focusing on the first eleven talent points a rogue can pick up as my next post!