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.


Slaign said...

I have to disagree with your suggestion to pick up Relentless Strikes right away at level 22. Not a good idea. As any seasoned rogue knows, going combat to level is the best idea, and switching over to assassination for Relentless Strikes is not worth it.

Lets look at what our level 22 friend would be losing: Improved Sinister Strike (Which automatically means it's a bad idea.) Lightning Reflexes, and Precision.

While you are levelling, you get 1, maybe 2 finishers per fight. Then you have to move to the next one, in this time your energy regenerates naturally.

Relentless Strikes is an awesome talent for a 70 rogue in a raid, but don't confuse that to mean it's good for a levelling rogue.

BigBearButt said...

I'd be curious what your talent point path would be while leveling to combine these three talents.

For now, I'd been intending to invest all of my points while leveling in the Combat tree.

Guidance from amsters is always apprecaited.

In teh meantime, I'm going to go play with the Talent Tree tool at wowhead and try to paly some games with what to take when.

Great post!

Valenna said...

@slaign: Good point. However, most of Combat is SO good, that's it's hard to justify diverging at all until you hit 51.

My level 22 estimation was after picking up Improved Sinister Strike; otherwise, Relentless Strikes could be picked up at level 20.

But you're probably right, the return on this ability is good, but not really good enough to pick it up so early.

@ BBB: Hopefully I'll finish my talent post quickly enough that you haven't already leveled your rogues to 70. ^_^