Archive for June, 2010

28
Jun
10

RealID lets me play horde

As a GM, I tend to be very interested in the goings-on within my guild.  For that reason, whenever I am online I try to be on a toon that is in the guild.  It makes me visible so that the newer players can see that the leadership has a presence.  It lets me get involved in heroics or raids that get thrown together.  It keeps me available for questions and to solve problems as they arise.

For this reason, I barely play my horde character.  It always feels like I am avoiding my guild when I play him. I don’t check email or IM or Facebook when I am playing WoW because my computer is older, so I don’t want that stuff running in the background slowing things down.  When I am on my horde toon I am truly out-of-touch with the guild.

Now, with the RealID connection to the other officers, I know that they can get in touch with me if something pops up.  I’m not really “hiding” when I play horde.

The downside is that I’m not planning to let just everyone know my RealID info.  I’m restricting it to my close in-game friends.  I hope that I don’t hurt too many feelings if I refuse some RealID requests.

24
Jun
10

Rogue Loot in Ruby Sanctum

At some point in the next few weeks we’ll be able to fight Halion in the new Ruby Sanctum raid beneath the Wyrmrest Temple.

I haven’t looked at any videos of the fight yet, so I can’t comment on it.  I have seen the loot table, though.  There are a couple of good rogue pieces that might fill in some gaps in your armor.

On 10-man, the loot is iLvL 258, which is slightly higher than ICC 10 normal loot.

There is a chest item called Gloaming Sark.  For those sporting their T10 chest for the set-bonus, this won’t be appealing.  Also, for those who have bought the Shadow Seeker’s Tunic with your Frost Emblems, you’ll likely pass on this.  But for others, this is a nice drop.

Also from 10-man normal is the neck slot Baltharus’ Gift.  Depending on your stat levels, this may be an upgrade over any neck item short of ICC hard modes.  However, with no hit rating it might be hard for ICC raiders to give up on their Wodin’s Lucky Necklace, as hit rating is hard to come by in T10+ level loot.

The 25-man normal raid has some very nice iLvL 271 items.  That’s higher iLvL than Frost Emblem purchases and ICC 25 normal mode loot, but just short of heroic ICC 25 drops.

I’ll be looking for the Umbrage Armbands.  Like many rogues out there, I am still stuck with the Bracers of Swift Death.  I haven’t been lucky enough to get the wrist items that drop from Sindragosa in ICC 10 or Saurfang in ICC 25.  This is a good third option, and almost certainly better than either of the others.

Another nice drop is the Signet of Twilight.  Finger slot items are also somewhat hard to come by.  There are a couple of comparable drops from ICC 25, so its good to have other options, or an upgrade if you’re already sitting on either Saurfang’s Cold-Forged Band or Rotface’s Seal of Many Mouths.

Lastly, of interest to combat rogues, is another armor penetration trinket – Sharpened Twilight Scale.  That’s a lot of ArPen.

Hopefully Halion has some items that you can use.  I know I’ll be looking out for a couple of nice drops.

23
Jun
10

Raid Jobs

I was talking to a hunter friend of mine about dps and other world-shatteringly important matters.  He told me that hunters are often gimped on damage meters because they tend to get assigned to jobs that detract from their damage totals.  The example he used was shooting down frost orbs on the Anub’arak fight in ToC.

I was going to mention that rogues get assigned jobs too… and then I couldn’t think of any.  Well, I thought of one, and that was interrupt duty on the Jaraxxus fight.  However, that role served to increase my dps since I was able to stay on a single target instead of switching between adds.

So, what Wrath fights have we done that had specific jobs for certain dps classes, and did they increase or decrease dps?

Maexxna – one of the early Naxx bosses.  A ranged dps gets assigned to free the people who get webbed.  Typically reduces overall damage due to target switching.

Noth the Plaguebringer throws curses around that need to be dispelled.  Hopefully you have a druid healer than can handle it.  If not, you need a mage on it, which will cripple their damage totals.

Instructor Razuvious on 10-man didn’t have any particular jobs, but on 25-man you needed a priest (probably a shadow priest with +hit gear) to mind control the Understudies, taking them away from their normal role.

Gluth needs someone to kite the skeletons around the back of the room.  Often this is a mage or shaman or paladin, and whoever it is doesn’t get much chance to attack the boss.

Razorscale needs a ranged dps to hang out away from the fighting to fire the harpoons.  This is often a mage or hunter, and it briefly takes them away from the action.

XT-002 Deconstructor usually has a strong ranged AoE class burn down the adds.  It has to be ranged to avoid the bomb bots, so its typically a warlock, hunter, or mage.  This doesn’t impact their damage too much, but they certainly do less damage than if they were focused on the boss.

Mimiron needs a ranged damage class to tank the flying head in phase 3.  This usually increases that player’s damage because they get to focus on a single target for that phase while everyone is fighting adds.

Lord Jaraxxus often has a person stay on the boss to interrupt his Fel Fireball.  That person (often a rogue) gets to focus on a single target, and so has good damage output while everyone else is jumping between adds and the boss.

Faction Champions is not about damage, but rather about survival.  Everyone’s damage is low in this fight, but those who have any kind of cleanse, dispel, or purge are affected most of all since there are so many curses and DoTs going around that need to be removed.  That impacts priests, paladins, mages, and shamans more than it does hunters, warlocks, and rogues (although they are certainly affected as well).

As mentioned earlier, Anub’arak requires a ranged damage class to shoot down the orbs, and that person loses damage due to target switching.

Blood Prince Council in ICC needs someone to collect shadow orbs and tank Prince Keleseth.  That person doesn’t worry about damage done, as long as he keeps aggro on Keleseth and survives the shadow damage.  Its typically a ranged class such as a hunter.

Valithria Dreamwalker is a chaotic fight without any single target to focus on, so damage is spotty all around.  Someone needs to kite the Blistering Zombies (often a hunter) and someone has to take out the Suppressors (likely a feral druid or rogue).  Those roles still provide opportunities for damage, though.

The Sindragosa fight can be done without special job assignments, but in some strategies there is a person assigned just to kill frost tombs.  That person doesn’t get to focus the boss, so has decreased damage output.  In our raid, that’s a rogue.

All of this makes for a reminder that the success of the raid is more important than performance on damage meters.  At this point in the game, we should all know that.  However, its common for raid leaders to call someone out after a wipe for poor performance.  It is important that everyone knows what circumstances might cause a reduced damage total due to specific jobs during the fight.

That said, my hunter friend was right.  Out of all those fights, rogues were given damage-reducing jobs only a couple of times.  Hunters (and other ranged classes) had damage-impacting jobs on many fights.  Try to remember that if you ever get the urge to gloat about your dps totals.

17
Jun
10

Rogue Cataclysm Talent Preview Part 3

Subtlety is where the biggest changes have taken place.  Sub has long been the forgotten stepchild of rogues.  It used to be the PvP spec, but in Wrath the Mut/Sub spec took over that place, leaving sub as the spec no one wanted.  Even though its fun to play, its mediocre dps left it as the “utility” spec that had no real place (except the short-lived HaT craze).

In Cataclysm, Blizzard hopes to get it on par with the other specs.  Lets see whats coming.

There are changes right off the bat in the first tier of talents.  Master of Deception is gone, because stealth levels are being removed.  Everyone will have good stealth – equal to what Master of Deception gave us.  Instead, Camouflage has been moved down to tier 1, and so was Improved Ambush.  Opportunity has been moved up a level, making it a bigger point investment for Mut and Combat rogues that want that talent.

A big change was made to Hemorrhage.  Its been moved earlier in the tree, and changed to

Hemorrhage (1/1) – An instant strike that deals 110% wepaon damage (160% if a dagger is equipped) and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 15 seconds.  Awards 1 combo point.

This skill, which is the basic combo-point builder for Sub, sets this tree up as the bleed tree.  It loses its raid utility, though, unless you have a lot of bleeds in your raid from druids and warriors.

Sub picked up a Dagger Specialization talent, which makes sense.  The next new one is…

Energetic Recovery (3/3) – Empowers your Recuperate ability, causing its periodic effect to also restore 1 energy.

So this is like the Subtlety version of Combat Potentcy.  This will make Recuperate a part of the Sub rotation, which isn’t great news but we’ll have to see how it plays out.

Ghostly Strike is gone, and Serrated Blades has been moved way up high in the tree.  In the 20-point tier Subtlety picks up Blood Spatter, which used to be an Assassination talent.  It fits with the bleed theme.

In the 40-point tier there is another talent that fits in with the rest…

Sanguinary Vein (3/3) – Increases your damage dealt to targets with a Bleed effect on them by 2/4/6%.

That fits nicely with the other new stuff.

Serrated Blades has been moved all the way up to the 45-point tier, and changed…

Serrated Blades (3/3) – Your Eviscerate has a 4/8/12% chance per combo point to refresh your Rupture on the target to its original duration.

So if you do a 5-point Eviscerate you have a 60% chance (fully talented) to refresh your Rupture.

The Sub spec will be very DoT heavy.  It also looks like the rotation will be very reactive.  You won’t be able to just memorize a series of keybinds.  You’ll need to get SnD going, get Rupture going, use Recuperate to regain energy.  Then you’ll use Eviscerate to refresh your Rupture (60% of the time).  If all goes well you’ll be switching between SnD and Evis, but you’ll need to throw in a Rupture when Serrated Blades doesn’t proc, and Recuperate when you need more energy.  That’s pretty complicated.

For all that, you’ll get 30% increase bleed damage from Hemo, another 30% bleed damage from Blood Spatter, and 6% overall damage increase from Sanguinary Vein.  Honor Among Thieves should keep the combo points rolling in to refresh SnD and hit Evisc when needed.  Remember that the Sub Mastery bonus is harder hitting finishers, also.  Energy might be a problem though, if you can’t easily work Recuperate into the rotation.

I think we’ll see a lot more tweaking to this as the expansion approaches.  It seems like making Sub playable is a big priority for Blizzard these days.

16
Jun
10

Rogue Cataclysm Talent Preview Part 2

The first post went through the Assassination tree, which has a lot of changes.  Now I’ll look at the Combat tree.

The first change is that Improved Gouge was moved from the first talent tier all the way up to the 7th.  I don’t see why, but OK.  Improved Slice and Dice was moved up a little higher, also.  That was moved to make room for Improved Recuperate.

Improved Recuperate (2/2) – Causes your Recuperate ability to restore an additional 1/2% of your health.

Recuperate is a new skill being added in Wrath that lets you use your combo points to heal yourself.  Its definitely a soloing talent.  I don’t know how attractive this will be, unless we’re forced to take points in it as filler to get the higher level talents.  Unless….. well, read on for more speculation.

Close Quarters Combat is gone, and replaced by Aggression, which was moved lower.  I suppose that Aggression might be available for Mut or Sub rogues now, although I don’t think Mut rogues will take it, even if Backstab is the new Execute.

There’s a fascinating new talent up where Hack and Slash used to be (yes, that’s gone too).  Its called Reinforced Leather.

Reinforced Leather (5/5) – Increases your armor contribution from cloth and leather by 10/20/30/40/50%.

Could we see tanking rogues?  That’s the only reason a talent like this would exist, other than some pvp utility.

Mace Specialization is gone (all the weapon-specific talents are removed).  Then there are few changes all the way up to the 40-point tier where Sturdy Recuperation makes an appearance.

Sturdy Recuperation (2/2) – Reduces all damage taken by 4/8% while your Recuperate ability is active.

Combine Reinforced Leather with Sturdy Recuperation.  I don’t see this as made for soloing – its too many defensive talents.  To me, it really points to rogue tanks.

So far, all the new Combat talents are defensive.  Finally, at the 45 point tier there is a new damage talent – Restless Blades.

Restless Blades (3/3) – Your damaging finishing moves reduce the cooldown of your Blade Flurry, Killing Spree, and Sprint abilities by 0.5/1.0/1.5 seconds per combo point.

Interesting.  So if you have this fully talented, for every 5-point finisher you do it knocks 7.5 seconds off your cooldowns.  That could add up pretty quickly.  Its a creative talent.  Those are often unpopular, because its harder to see exactly how well they will translate to improved damage.  I’m sure EJ will have it all figured out.

I think that Combat rogues are likely disappointed.  They didn’t get any really shiny changes, unless the possibility of tanking intrigues someone.  Still, I have no doubt this will continue to be a popular spec, as it always is.

Next post will be Subtlety, where there are more changes.

15
Jun
10

Rogue Cataclysm Talent Preview

Earlier in the week, Blizzard released a preview of the talent trees for rogues.

Unlike Wrath, this is not a major overhaul.  When Wrath came out, then level cap was going up by ten, which added whole new tiers of talents to the trees.  In Cataclysm with the level cap only going up by 5, they have bulked up the trees a bit but not made them any “taller”.

Here are some of the interesting changes in the assassination tree:

Assassination

The first tier stays the same.  Second tier loses Blood Spatter (now a deep Sub talent) and replaces it with Deadly Momentum.

Deadly Momentum (2 /2) – After killing an opponent that yields experience or honor, gives you a 50/100% chance to refresh your Slice and Dice or Recuperate abilities to their original duration.

Most of us stay away from the “after killing an opponent” talents unless we’re soloing.  I don’t see this one being used by most rogues.

Also in this tier, Puncturing Wounds is moved up a tier higher.  Its replaced by Blackjack.

Blackjack (2/2) – Even after your Sap wears off, its effects linger on enemies, reducing their damage done by 25/50% for 5 seconds.

The big question here… will we be using CC, as Blizzard promised?  If so, this isn’t bad.  Although we won’t ever be sapping bosses, and damage reduction on trash mobs might not be the most useful talent.  Its good for PvP, though, where Sap is used all the time.

Vile Poisons got some love.

Vole Poisons (3/3) – Increases the damage dealt by your poisons and Envenom ability by 7/14/20% and gives you 33/66/100% of the normal chance of applying poisons from your equipped melee weapons when using Fan of Knives.

If you remember, Fan of Knives is being changed so that your ranged weapon gets poison, and FoK uses the poison from your ranged weapon rather than melee weapons.  According to this talent, FoK would apply poison from your ranged, and both melee weapons.  Interesting… very powerful for AoE, and useful for applying poisons in PvP.  Could rogues be AoE monsters again?

Improved Expose Armor wasn’t changed, but it was moved much higher in the tree, up to the 7th talent point tier.  Blizzard is going to make this ability easier to use,

Expose Armor (3/3) – Gives a 33/66/100% chance to refund all combo points used when performing your Expose Armor ability.

Neat!  Free EA.  Makes it less distasteful to use when you don’t have a warrior around.

Probably the most interesting change is the removal of Find Weakness, replaced with Murderous Intent.

Murderous Intent (2/2) – when you backstab an enemy that is at or below 35% health, you instantly recover 10/20/30 energy.

So Backstab becomes our execute, to be used when the target is at low health.  Interesting.  Changes our build and rotation.

A talent was added at the 45-point tier – Venomous Wounds.

Venomous Wounds (3/3) – Each time your Rupture or Garrote deals damage to an enemy that is afflicted with  your poison, you have a 15/30/45% chance to inflict 1 additional nature damage.

Are assassination rogues back to using Rupture?  If so, this is a nice talent.  We may see some assassination/subtlety builds that use Hemo and push bleeds, I suppose.  This may be too deep in the assassination tree to be useful, there.

The final change in the assassination tree is the removal of Hunger for Blood, and replacing it with a better talent – Vendetta.

Vendetta (1/1) – Marks an enemy for death, increasing all dmage you deal to the target by 20% and granting you unerring vision of your target, regardless of concealments such as stealth and invisibility.  Lasts 30 sec. 2 minute cooldown.

What I didn’t like about HfB is that we are balanced around its 8% (glyphed) damage bonus.  If you are ever in a fight where there is no time to apply bleeds, then your damage is 8% less than what it should be.  This is especially true in pvp and trash fights.  With Vendetta, we can turn on that buff as needed once every two minutes – no bleeds required.

In a 5 minute boss fight you’ll get to use it three times – once at the start, once at 2 minutes, and once at 4 minutes.  Thats 1.5 minutes of a 20% buff, rather the old way, which was an 8% buff all the time.  Mathematically the HfB is a little better on long fights, but you can time your trinkets to coincide with Vendetta also for increased effect.

That’s enough for now.  I’ll do the other trees in separate posts.

10
Jun
10

Guild O’ Blogs

What do a whole lot of WoW know-it-alls do with their spare time?  Apparently, they write blogs.

Two more blogs have hit the interwebs from my esteemed group of guildies.  Our do-it-all ret pally has been writing Dwarven Light and our meter-topping hunter (huntress?) is sharing her wisdom at Shot and Awe.

Add that to the previously established blogs at Primal Precision and I Be a Tree, plus The Mage’s Den (which is inactive now while Real Life has a hold of the author).  That’s six WoW-bloggers in my guild.

Between these six players, there are a combined sixteen nineteen level 80 characters.  They include 3 feral druids, resto/enh shaman, resto/ele shaman, a resto druid, 2 paladin tanks, ret/holy paladin, 2 DK tanks, arcane mage, 2 MM hunters, 2 warlocks, a holy priest, a disc priest, and a mutilate rogue.  Two of these players have raided since vanilla, and two others played extensively that far back.  The other two have played and raided since BC.

My guild is a fountain of knowledge.  Ask a question in guild chat and someone will know the answer.

08
Jun
10

Sindragosa, and Why Its OK to Be Hero Support

Have you seen the movie Sky High?  Its a movie about superpowered kids at a high school for superheroes.  The main characters in the movie are “Hero Support” which means that they don’t get the glory, but work behind the scenes as sidekicks.

A hero can’t be a hero without good hero support.

While it may sound like self-promotion, I’ll come out and say that in our raids I’m usually the Hero.  My meter-topping dps along with my many “oh crap” buttons for survival give me a big role in the success or failure of our progression raids.

Until this weekend when I got the honor of playing hero support.  That’s right.  The honor.

The fight: Sindragosa, which had still been an obstacle for us.

Our early attempts focused on improving dps time to get through her health bar as fast as possible before we started to buckle under the weight of the raid damage and frost tombs.  At first, my dps lagged.  All the running in and out made this a relatively ranged-friendly fight.

With each passing attempt I learned the rhythm of the fight and the timing of the special abilities.  I used my Cloak judiciously and never had to stop attacking due to stacks of Permeating Chill.  My dps climbed and climbed until I was routinely running either #1 or #2 on the meter (behind our uber-mage).

However, while my personal performance was improving our raid was not making progress.  We wiped at 10-20% every time.

Our mega-tree healer made the key suggestion… put someone on dedicated Frost Tomb Breaking duty.  The logical choice: the rogue, who was the only melee dps in the raid.  My burst dps would get the tombs down quickly, it made Permeating Chill a non-issue, and it reduced the distance for me to run back after the frost novas.

Yes, we took the top dps off the boss and put me in a support role.  No complaints from me.  It made perfect sense. I know some players who would have complained about the hit to their personal dps.  I like to think that I’m more mature than that.

After a couple more attempts to get the timing down, the new strategy proved to be a success.

Sindragosa Kill

It was very weird.  Since I wasn’t targeting the boss I didn’t even know the kill was coming.  I was focused on the frost tombs, and got startled out of my focus by the achievement pane popping up in my field of view.

Did I top the damage meter?  Nope.  Did I do my job to the best of my ability?  Heck yeah.  The lesson here:  the raid is more important than your personal performance.

My role, while not measured on the meters, was crucial to the kill.  Remember that you can be a vital cog without being in the spotlight.

Now, on to Arthas…

04
Jun
10

What Have I Been Doing?

I’m in somewhat of a slow phase in my WoW-playing.  I’m still playing.  Quite a lot, actually.  But the game no longer requires the attention it used to.  I haven’t written on my blog or even read any other blogs in a couple of weeks.  I’m not striving for any particular gear upgrades.  I have no immediate goals.

What’s caught my interest now is making gold in the auction house.

My latest alt is now at level 77.  I maxed his inscription skill.  I’ve read online that you can make a lot of gold with inscription.  You know what?  Its true.

The income from inscription comes from volume of sales.  Right now I am listing about 200-300 glyphs per day, which is nothing compared to the real power sellers.  I check back a couple of times every day and cancel-repost where I have been undercut.  At the moment this is netting me around 300-400g per day, but I still don’t have nearly all of the glyph patterns.  As I get more glyphs I’ll list more and (presumably) make more gold.  Except that herb prices have spiked, so that will cut into my margins.

I spend so much time on my alt and my bank toon that I’ve let my rogue performance slip.  I haven’t been doing damage up to my usual standards in our raids.  I need to get it together because we’re trying to finish ICC 10 before our main tank lets his account lapse.

I finally got some time in on Sindragosa yesterday.  It was the first time I had been in on serious attempts at her.  We got her to 15% but we don’t have the rhythm of the last phase down yet.

Note:  if you hit Killing Spree just as Sindragosa lifts off for her air phase, you follow her up into the air as you attack her.  Then you fall and you’re far out of position for ice blocks.  The more you know…

I guess I can start my work on Loremaster.  Its mindless, and should take up my free time this summer.




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)
June 2010
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