Tuesday, December 18, 2007

PvP Source and Rogue Weapons

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 This version of the blog is no longer being updated, but all posts and comments are over at the new location!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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

Continue reading 'PvP Source and Rogue Weapons'

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No More AR/Prep and More!

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

New PTR notes include some interesting news:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Death Cheated

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

imagine cool picture here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sound like a deal?

Continue reading 'Death Cheated'