Archive for January, 2009

29
Jan
09

One Year and Counting

birthday-cakeI started this blog on January 25, 2008… just over a year ago.

The first comment came about a week later, written by Valenna on my post about playing WoW with your spouse. Valenna gave me a lot of great advice on blogging, and helped inspire me to continue past that first month.

Two days ago, on January 27, 2009, just past its one year anniversary, the blog got its 100,000th page view.

Thanks to those who have followed along with the tales of my rogue, my alts, my guild, and my thoughts on the game. I hope to continue this for a long time to come.

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Forever a Noob Facts…

There have been 203 total posts, at an average of 3.9 posts per week. There have been 577 comments left.

The most popular post in the past year (by far) was A Rogue’s Guide to Karazhan, and all of the follow up posts associated with that. When raiding was harder, a lot of people went to the internet to learn fight strategies and get advice.

The most viewed posts more recently have been Mutilate Build in the Patch and WotLK and Hit Rating for Rogues in Wrath. Clearly, in the expansion rogues were looking for a variety of opinions about their new talent trees, new abilities, and changes in the number crunching. Rogues min/max more than any other class, and I’m glad that I was able to clarify some of that.

Happy raiding to you rogues and non-rogues. Let’s hope we have a great 2009 in Northrend.

28
Jan
09

A Rogue in Naxxramas – Grand Widow Faerlina

This is part of a series describing rogue tactics for the bosses in Naxxramas. The focus is on the 10-man version of the fights, since that’s what most people will be running. If you have suggestions for alternate strategies, or if I say something that you disagree with, please put it in the comments.

These are not meant to be full raid strategy guides. They are written to describe the role of rogues (or other melee dps) during the encounters. For full strategy guides refer to Bosskillers or WoWWiki.

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faerlinaGrand Widow Faerlina is the second boss in the Spider Wing of Naxxramas. She has a unique mechanic that makes this a fun fight. There is an achievement that goes with this fight (Momma Said Knock You Out), and your specific strategy will change depending if you are going for that achievement.

In the 10-man version, when you start you will see Faerlina along with a group of her Worshippers. On the initial pull, dps goes straight for Faerlina, and let an off-tank gather up the worshippers. Pile the single-target dps on Faerlina as fast as you can.

She will do a couple of things during the fight to watch for. She will fire off a Poison Bolt Volley that will likely catch you. She will also cast a Rain of Fire. You can Cloak out of either of these, but they will happen often enough that your Cloak will usually be on cooldown. I suggest that you move out of the Rain of Fire, and let your healers remove the poison DoT from you. If poison removal is slow, then you can use Cloak to get rid of it.

Every so often she will Frenzy, which makes her hit the tank faster and harder. The way to stop her frenzy is to kill one of the Worshippers when it is next to her.  At this time you will change target to a pre-marked Worshipper and take it down fast. Note: the Worshipper has to be close to Faerlina for this to work. Don’t jump the gun and kill it too quickly. Let the off tank bring it close. (FYI: your Anesthetic Poison will not dispel her Frenzy)

Note that the exact way the raid manages the adds will vary depending on your raid makeup and who is tanking them.  Refer to a complete strategy guide to decide what is best for your raid.

Once the Frenzy has been dispelled, target Faerlina again and take her down. When she frenzies again, go kill another Worshipper to dispel it. Repeat. Make sure you have planned in advance which worshiper you are going to kill for each frenzy.

Further notes:

On 25-man, the role for rogues is actually easier because you’re not switching targets. She starts with both Worshippers and Followers in this case. Before you start on Faerlina, help take down the Followers fast, because they have an AoE silence ability. Once they are dead, you target Faerlina and stay on her the entire time. The 25-man version of the Worshippers need to be mind controlled by a priest and they commit suicide to stop the Frenzy. No need for you to help kill them.

If your raid is going for the achievement, then you will stay on Faerlina the entire time and dps through her Frenzy. This is much easier on us rogues, but harder on the tanks and healers that have to live through her attacks and keep the poisons cleansed. Make sure to move out of the Rain of Fire.

The 10-man version drops the Boots of the Worshiper, which are a great upgrade from the foot gear available through heroics. On 25-man you can get the Dislocating Handguards or the Widow’s Fury (a nice 1.6 speed sword).

Back to main Rogue in Naxxramas page —–>

26
Jan
09

A Rogue in Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan

This is part of a series describing rogue tactics for the bosses in Naxxramas. The focus is on the 10-man version of the fights, since that’s what most people will be running. If you have suggestions for alternate strategies, or if I say something that you disagree with, please put it in the comments.

These are not meant to be full raid strategy guides. They are written to describe the role of rogues (or other melee dps) during the encounters. For full strategy guides refer to Bosskillers or WoWWiki.

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anubrekhanWelcome to Naxxramas. If you’re like most groups, you’re going to the Spider Wing first, and the first boss there is Anub’Rekhan, a huge beetle Nerubian. This fight has two parts. One is a stand-still-and-dps phase (our favorite) and the other is kiting and killing adds.

A lot of what you do will depend on how and where the tank faces the boss. Be prepared to choose your spot quickly.

Stay out of the green gooey stuff. ’nuff said

The tank runs in and picks up the boss. He will tank him in the alcove by the door. Direct your TotT at the tank so you can jump on the boss right away.

Obviously you want to be behind the boss, but try to be considerate of your ranged players. Anu’Rekhan has an ability called Impale which targets a player and goes in a line through that player’s direction. So, if you are lined up with someone standing behind you, you’ll both get Impaled if either of you is targeted. You can help avoid this by positioning yourself between the boss and a wall or door so no one is standing behind you. Obviously, this will depend on how the tank faces the boss. When he is being tanked in the door alcove, I try and work myself into that alcove.

You may get Impaled – its unavoidable. Get back into position and start hitting again.

Adds will spawn and an off-tank will pick them up. If your group is light on dps they will need you to help take down the adds quickly to eliminate their stacking acid damage. If your group has dps to spare you will be more useful if you can stay on the boss, since single-target dps is your specialty. If you are going to help with the adds, make sure to stay behind them since the 25-man versions of them have a frontal Cleave.

Watch Anub’Rekhan’s cast bar. When he starts casting Locust Swarm, move away quickly. Try to get off a Rupture before you move away – its good to let that keep ticking while you are out of range.  Your tank should start kiting him around one side of the room. You should go around the other side to avoid the AoE damage and complete suppression of all abilities caused by the Swarm. Be ready to start up dps when the tank is done kiting. In the meantime you will help take down any remaining adds or the Corpse Scarabs that come from anything that dies.

When the tank reaches the door at the other end of the room, Locust Swarm will stop and you can Sprint back in to get back in position. Repeat this until he is dead. Remember that once the tank has a big threat lead you can throw your TotT on other players to give them the 15% damage buff.

The 25-man version is not much different, except there are two adds instead of one and they are up when the fight starts so you’ll want to help burn them down right away.

His best rogue drop in 10-man is the Collar of Dissolution. For those who are still partial to slow daggers, you will be happy with the Knife of Incision that he drops (fast or slow, 143 dps is nice!).

On the 25-man version, he drops the amazing Dawnwalkers, the Fool’s Trial neck item, the Strong-Handed Ring, and the real prize – Webbed Death (1.4 speed!).

Back to main Rogue in Naxxramas page —–>

26
Jan
09

A Rogue in Naxxramas

naxxramasThis is a series of posts covering the role of a rogue (or any melee dps) in the Naxxramas boss fights.

Hopefully rogues are getting their shot at raiding Naxx. I haven’t seen as many rogues as I’d expect in raids. We are not the kings of single-target dps the way we used to be pre-Wrath, but we are definitely serviceable. There are no fights in Naxx that require our interrupts (like Shade did, back in Karazhan). With the new AoE tanking style of raiding, we are not being asked to stun or sap at all during this instance. Our AoE with Blade Flurry (if you are combat spec) and Fan of Knives is just enough to keep us effective on trash pulls.

What we do bring is Tricks of the Trade. This is the new Misdirect. Its not done from range, like the hunter MD, so we don’t use it to do pulls. However, it does give the tank a huge amount of frontloaded threat so there is no need to pause at the start of a fight to wait for aggro.

Also, don’t forget that TotT gives a 15% damage buff to its target. During dps checks like Patchwerk and Thaddius, it is vital to use it whenever it is off cooldown. Our own personal dps is amazing on those bosses, too, since they are stand-and-kill fights.

Naxxramas has five wings, listed below with links to the boss fight posts.

Arachnid Quarter (Spider Wing)

Plague Quarter

Construct Quarter

Military Quarter

Frostwyrm Lair

22
Jan
09

Easy PuGs and DKP

Like many guilds, we use a loot distribution system. Regardless of the details, like most systems it awards points for time spent raiding, then uses those points to determine priority when loot drops. Getting loot then reduces your priority. Ideally, players will “spend” approximately as much as they “earn”.

This worked great back in BC raiding. Raiding then was moderately difficult and most raids were guild runs. In the first year or so of BC, very few people did PuG raids, and those who did were usually not successful. You ran with your guild to get gear.

In the new WotLK raiding paradigm, PuGs are a very viable and popular way of raiding. No one shuns a PuG Naxx 25 run – in fact, people seek them out.

This has an indirect effect on a loot system, especially for guilds that only do 10 man Naxx. Your players may get themselves geared up through PuG raids, then when they run with your guild they accumulate effort “points” (dependent on the specific system) but never spend any points for gear. They will rise to the top of your loot priority, and cherry pick the best gear from your guild runs.

I saw this happen in my guild. One of our players has done a LOT of PuGs and has excellent gear. We all applauded his efforts to get geared up. He has also been on a number of our guild runs, but has taken very very little loot from those runs. As a result he was very high up on the loot priority. So high, in fact, that when our guild did OS 25 he was able to snag the Fury of Five Flights AND the T7.5 gloves, and still didn’t drop a single place in loot priority.

In the same raid, we had two very well geared players that got almost all of their gear from PuGs. Because they PuG so much, they have hardly run with us at all, and have hardly any points in our loot system. They had no shot at loot from our raid, and that was also unfortunate.

Is this a flaw in the loot system? Not really… its an artifact of the loot system assumptions that are carried over from before Wrath. The systems are built under the assumption that players who raid will actually want the loot from those raids. That’s not true anymore. As long as players can PuG the 25 man raids and then do guild runs in 10-man raids, they will earn more than they spend in the guild’s loot system.

In our guild, we are talking about resetting the loot system now that we are moving into 25 man raids, much like we stopped doing DKP for Kara once we moved onto Gruul and Magtheridon. If we are in 25-man guild raids, then players won’t do as many PuGs to get geared. The downside to this is that it erases all of the effort that people got from doing the 10-man raids. I’m not sure if this is the best solution, and it will certainly anger some in the guild.

(Incidentally, we are using EPGP, and the add-on doesn’t currently allow us to keep separate lists for 10 and 25 man raids.)

My advice to guilds that are just putting a loot system in place – if you aspire to eventually do 25 man raids, make sure your system is zeroed when you start that. Either keep separate lists for 10- vs 25-man raids, or make sure everyone knows in advance that you are resetting the system once you start 25 man raids. Be clear and explain why.

20
Jan
09

Mutilate Rogues – patch 3.0.8 means you might switch your weapons

For Mutilate rogues, since the release of Wrath the general advice has been to use fast weapons to maximize poison damage.  Also, if you had weapons of different speeds, you would keep your faster weapon with Instant Poison in your off-hand, and your slower weapon with Deadly Poison was in your main hand.  The reason for that was

  1. Mutilate had a bug that was causing the off-hand poison to proc twice on Mutilate attacks, so you wanted Instant Poison on your off-hand to take advantage of that
  2. Wherever your Instant Poison goes, that’s where your fastest weapon should be to get the maximum number of IP procs.  So, as a result, we were advised to keep our faster weapon in the off-hand.

As of today’s patch, that bug with Mutilate is fixed.  No more double-poison-procs.  So now, the new advice is

  1. You want the Instant Poison on your main hand, because then it has a chance to proc on special attacks as well as autoattacks.
  2. Since your Instant Poison is on your main hand, your faster weapon should go in your main hand as well.

Also in today’s patch – no more cooldown on Fan of Knives.  That’s a minor improvement, since it costs a whopping 50 energy so we still can’t hit it more than once or twice in an AoE trash pull.  But in a nice turn of events, using Fan of Knives with daggers equipped will do 150% weapon damage.  Its a small concession to the fact that there are a lot more dagger rogues than there used to be.

Also make sure that you note the new Feint.  The top rank of Feint (learned at level 78) not only reduces threat, but also reduces AoE damage by 50% for 6 seconds.  What counts as an AoE attack, exactly?  Will that work against the whirlwinds by the Dark Touched Warriors in Naxx Military Quarter? (even at 50% damage it will still kill us, so its a purely academic question)

The Saronite Shiv is having its stats reduced.  For a crafted weapon, it was very powerful.   It will have +35 hit (down from 55) +15 Expertise (down from 20) and +40 AP (down from 56).  Its still a nice weapon, but not as amazing as it was.  A number of other crafted weapons are being weakened as well.

One more thing in the patch – R.I.P. HaT bug.  HaT will still be a good PvE spec, I think, if the raid is set up to maximize its use.  But I’ll be waiting to see the new WWS parses from the rogues that had been putting up 6k dps before the bug fix.

16
Jan
09

PvP for cooking

I am working on my cooking achievements so that I can get my Chef title as soon as the next patch makes it possible. In addition to hours of fishing to gather the mats, I was forced to PvP to complete the Dinner Impossible achievement.

If you have read this blog, you know that I don’t PvP at all.  I haven’t been in a BG since level 29, and even then the only one I did was WSG.  My biggest concern was that my inexperience would cause Alliance to lose, and then I would be the target of the arrogant, self-important loudmouths I remember from my old WSG days.   I was prepared to /afk out to make a spot for someone else in the queue.

WSG first… I learned that I got credit for dropping the Feast as soon as I did it, but I decided not to /afk out. I stayed on defense, got acouple of HKs, and Alliance won 3-0, which got me another achievement.

Next – to Arathi Basin.  I had never seen this before.  So I zoned in, dropped my feast, and then just followed he biggest group out into the field.  I have no idea what I was doing, but I went between the Farm and the Blacksmith fighting Horde where I saw them, and Alliance won.  I actually led in Killing Blows in that one.

Into Alterac Valley… Alliance was outnumbered 40-15.  I died and then a group of Horde camped the graveyard, so that was over quickly.  I barely had a chance to put out the feast.

Next was Eye of the Storm.  I dropped the feast, and then again just followed the largest group into the field.  We defeated a group of horde at the Fel Reaver ruins.  Then, to my surprise, I found myself escorting a flag carrier.  Alliance won this one in just a couple of minutes, which earned me the Flurry achievement.

Finally into Strand of the Ancients.  This was totally confusing.  I repeatedly found myself in the wrong place, usually surrounded by horde.  I attacked siege engines, then players, ran to the beach, then to a gate.  Alliance won that battle, but I had almost no part in it and was at the bottom of the damage and HK charts.

The entire process took about an hour.  It was somewhat fun, mostly because I won four of the five battles I was in.  However, it did not inspire me to start doing PvP regularly.  I will say that there was no one acting like a Napoleon wanna-be in the chat (again, probably because we were winning) which was nice.  Maybe if I’m bored I’ll give BG another shot.




Armory

Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
January 2009
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