Archive for February, 2008


Playing the Auction House for profit

Many players who play WoW seriously tells themselves at some point that they should try and buy and sell stuff on the auction house for a profit. Most people don’t try because they are afraid of losing their gold.

I had read Og’s Ledger quite a bit and I was inspired to try flipping items. It has been quite a success for me so far.

Like many players I have a bank toon. When I started this process he had about 1000g sitting in his bag doing nothing. I decided to use most of that as my seed money. I use Auctioneer Classic, and I have been scanning the AH regularly for a while, building up my price database. In my first couple of days, I bought a lot of green items and a few blues. My sales with those were mediocre. What I really cleaned up on were these:

  • Armor Kits… leatherworkers make them to level their skill, then put them on AH for whatever the system suggests. Also, people often sell them in stacks of 5-10. No one needs 10 armor kits at once! I relist them in stacks of 1 or 2.
  • Cooking raw materials… I buy them cheap, cook them into stat-boost food (my cooking skill is maxed) and resell them at a huge profit. I must have made 150g so far from Spicy Hot Talbuk alone.
  • Battleground level greens… twink blue items are way overpriced. But Green items in the “battleground levels” (18-19, 28-29, etc…) sell well for players trying to improve their gear in lower level BG. On my server the “of the Bear” and “of the Monkey” items sell well.
  • Level 40-42 Plate armor – every warrior and paladin gets to wear plate armor at level 40 and can’t wait to dump all of their mail. Find items that are not already overpriced and sell them for a good margin.
  • Low level head slot items… people hate having an empty slot on their character sheet. Head and trinket slots are the last to be filled. People will overpay for them at low levels.

I tend to avoid epic items unless they are a can’t miss deal. I have made big-profit sales on two epic crafting recipes so far… one that I bought for 112g and sold for 750g, and another that I bought for 475g and sold for 850g. The key with those is patience. Remember that Auctioneer keeps track of listings but can’t tell you what the items actually sell for.

With high-ticket items, often people are afraid that they are risking all of their gold. I say that this is impossible. Lets say, for example, that my Auctioneer tells me that an epic item is a bargain at 500g. I buy it. I try to sell for 1000g it every day for three weeks. It doesn’t sell. If I run out of patience, I can relist it for 500g again. In that case, there is someone else using Auctioneer who will buy it because he thinks its a bargain now! I lost the gold I spent on AH fees, and that’s it.

How have I done? I make anywhere from 30-50g a day, and with the help of those few big ticket sales I have made over 1600g in profit in the span of about a month. I expect to have enough gold to buy my epic flyer within the next couple of weeks, and without having to do any tedious grinding.  Sure, You could make that gold by doing dailies, but with this I could flip items and do dailies if I wanted to (I don’t – the dailies got very old for me very quickly).


Rogue vs. Attumen

note: this is not a complete Attumen strategy guide. There are plenty of those already in existence. This is rogue-specific advice on the fight.

attumen.jpgAttumen is the introductory fight in Karazhan. He is optional.. you can skip him and go straight to Moroes. But why would you want to? He’s pretty straightforward and he drops the Worgen Claw Necklace and Steelhawk Crossbow (hunter gear, but still a stat upgrade for many rogues if there are no hunters in your party). Also, he has a rare mount drop. He’s not hard, and gives up one BoJ.

The worst part of the Attumen experience is the trash. It is on a 25 minute respawn timer. Unless you are overgeared, you only have time for one or two pauses/wipes before you start to get repops showing up behind you. When you start the boss fight, any trash mobs that have respawned behind you will also pull.

For the trash on the way to Attumen – a rogue can evasion-tank or stunlock the undead humans, if necessary. Don’t try it on the horses. They hit much harder and can one- or two-shot most rogues.

Also note that the undead humans can be pickpocketed.

Once you do the boss pull, its exactly the kind of fight a rogue likes – your target can be tanked in one spot standing still, so you can park yourself at his back and go to town. My guild pulls Midnight over to the wall and starts light dps on him. Rogues, don’t even bother doing more than white damage here. You want the tank to get a big head start on threat.

Attumen himself spawns and the 2nd tank picks him up (hunter misdirect is useful there). Our guild burns Midnight down at this point while Attumen is tanked well away from the rest of the group so that his cleave doesn’t catch anyone else. You can dps Midnight fairly hard. Since he is undead, he is immune to rupture. Keep SnD going at all times. If you have combo points to spare you can use eviscerate every now and then. You can always use Vanish to reset your threat, but I prefer to save that until the last phase if I can.  Edit: Since Patch 2.4 undead mobs can be Ruptured.

Attumen will periodically drop an AoE curse on the raid that reduces your chance to hit by 50%. Use Cloak of Shadows to remove this, but be careful. If you’re hitting, and the tank is missing a lot, you can overtake his threat very quickly. Hopefully someone in the raid can decurse the tank.

When Midnight reaches 25% health he and Attumen join together. Attumen mounts up and their health resets to 100%. STOP DPS AT THIS TIME. Threat is wiped and you need to let the tank reestablish aggro. Once the tank has good aggro, plant yourself behind them and go all-out. I like to save my Vanish for sometime during this phase – I catch up to the tank’s threat, hit Vanish, drop back to zero threat, Ambush and start again.

Watch out for Attumen’s charges. You won’t be a target because you are melee. But if you have anyone standing at range then Attumen may charge them, then slowly trot back to the tank. While he goes back to the tank he may do a shadow cleave on the way that will one-shot a rogue. Don’t stand between him and the tank in this case. (even better – if no one is at range he won’t charge, so have everyone cluster around behind him)

This fight is ideal for a rogue. If you are a damage-meter watcher you should be at or near the top on this fight. Enjoy it because you probably won’t be there for most other fights in Karazhan.

Attumen is optional, but a nice thing about taking him out is that you can go around the corner (careful! there is one more pull there!) and have access to a repair NPC once you reach Honored with Violet Eye. At this point, its time to move on to Moroes.


A Rogue’s Guide to Karazhan

KarazhanI have been getting hits from people searching for rogue strategies for Karazhan. Here is my epic guide to rogue strategies for defeating this raid instance…

Stand behind stuff. Stab it. A lot.

There you go. Can’t-miss rogue technique, sure to have you at the top of the damage meter.

But seriously…

I love playing a rogue. It is by far my favorite class. But I will be the first to admit that its not as complicated to raid with as many of the others. Our crowd control (Sap) is rarely used in raids, and then it is do-it-once-and-forget. We don’t have to maintain it or switch targets to recast after it breaks. Our role in raids is mostly self-centered: concentrate on attack rotation and do as much damage as possible. We don’t need to watch the health of everyone in the raid, like the healers. We don’t need to be aware of multiple mobs and make snap situational decisions, like tanks. We don’t need to multi-task with pets like hunters and warlocks. We do damage, and we are built to do it better than anyone else.

That said, Karazhan presents some logistic difficulties for rogues. Most mobs are immune to bleed effects. Many encounters are hard on melee classes due to splash and AoE damage. So it is probably worthwhile to put down in pixels a few bits of wisdom for rogues venturing into Medivh’s old place.

Edit: In patch 2.4 undead mobs were made susceptible to bleed effects. Rupture away!

First – a few pieces of general advice.

  1. If you use one of the traditional attack rotations that includes Rupture as a finisher, scrap it. Almost everything in Karazhan is undead. Maiden of Virtue and Prince are your only Rupture targets. For everything else, use SnD as your main finisher. See above. Undead can now be ruptured.
  2. Use the /assist function frequently. If you are new to raiding on your rogue, most of the trash mobs can one-shot you. Don’t grab aggro or break CC. Keep an eye on your threat meter of choice and only attack mobs that are being tanked. Except when…
  3. Evasion tanking and stunlocking has its place. There are some non-elite mobs scattered around, and even a couple of elite caster mobs that can be evasion-tanked. Make sure to follow your raid leader’s instructions on this.
  4. Unless your raid has 3+ good healers, bring a lot of bandages.
  5. Always stand behind mobs, regardless of your spec. Mobs can’t parry if you are behind them . Also, several bosses have Cleave, and you’ll want to stay out of the way of those.
  6. You won’t be sapping anything.
  7. Without sap or any other form of CC, your only role is dps. Do it well, and don’t grab aggro. If you’re messing up, you can be replaced with a BM hunter who can do the same dps as you but also has traps. Or a mage that does the same dps as you but can AoE. Your place in a Karazhan raid is tenuous, so take it seriously.

I’ll add to this in the coming days. I don’t want to repeat something that has already been done effectively by other authors, so I will link to rogue Kara strategy guides if I find any. If you’re new to Karazhan and looking for some advice about gear, you can find a thorough list at Parry! Dodge! Spin!.

Part I – Rogue vs. Attumen

Part II – Rogue vs. Moroes

Part III – Rogue vs. Maiden of Virtue

Part IV – Rogue vs. Curator

Part V – Rogue vs. Opera Events

Part VI – Rogue vs Shade of Aran

Part VII – Rogue vs. Prince Malchezzar

Part VIII – Rogue vs Terestian Illhoof


Calling in sick to a raid

sickThis weekend our guild decided to go take a run through AQ20. We got 12 level 70’s and a few 60-68’s together to do it. Only two of us had ever been in there before, so it was a fun run just to see a part of the game that we had missed.

A couple of hours before the run I got quite sick. By the time the run began I had that run-down-and-tired feeling that you get when you’re ill. I considered not going, but (a) I’m the guild leader, (b) I’m one of the most experienced players, and (c) our guild has gone through hard times lately so I wanted to be there when we had some fun together. So I dragged myself in there.

The run was enjoyable. It seems like it would have been a good time and a real challenge back when we were 60. As it was, the only boss that gave us trouble was Ossirian.

As I struggled to stay awake during the latter parts of the raid, it got me thinking. As bad as I felt, I definitely would have called in sick to work, passed up on any parties or social activities, and even avoided talking on the phone. But I still propped myself upright for a couple of hours in front of my computer for WoW.

I’m sure they could have done the raid without me. We were ten levels higher than the instance was designed for and mostly in Kara gear. Fourteen is as good as fifteen.  But I felt bad leaving them. I imagine that it would be even worse if it were a real raid – like Kara or ZA, where losing the top dps guy can really impact the success or failure of the run.

How do you call in sick to a raid? If you take the night off due to illness, and the raid gets canceled, do you feel bad? Do you find yourself forcing yourself to participate for the good of the other players?  I would have to be really, really sick to be to skip out on a raid.


Time to change my theme

Even though this theme is light on graphics, I really like it.  I like the color contrast and the layout.  It is, however, a stock theme from since this is a hosted blog.

Well, darned if another WoW-blogger isn’t using the same theme.  I guess its like two women wearing the same dress to a party.  Now I feel like I have to change it.  That’s OK, really.  I always intended to do that once I was sure that I would continue this project.  This just gives me a reason to get to work.  I’ll be interested to see how much freedom I have in customizing the hosted blog.

If anyone has a suggestion about layouts and such, let me know.  Otherwise I’ll do it by trial and error.


Badges – Spend or Save?

Badge of JusticeEveryone has heard the upcoming patch news, I am sure. There are many new Badge of Justice rewards waiting for us, some equivalent to T6 gear. The cost is high if you are not in a guild that clears Kara weekly. Since I’m not raiding right now, running heroics as often as I do right now (which is not that often), it would take me nearly two months to save up 100 Badges.

At the moment I almost have the 50 Badges I need to get my Searing Sunblade. I am faced with the big question. Do I buy the Sunblade, and start again at zero Badges? Or do I forego the Sunblade and keep those Badges as a start toward the new patch gear?

I have always been of the opinion that you get gear now because the improved stats will make it easier to get even better gear later. I had this debate with myself when I first started going into Karazhan – buy the Choker of Vile Intent now, or wait until the Worgen Claw Necklace drops from Attumen? For me, that was a no brainer – I bought the Choker. I figured that having the improved dps right at that time was the important thing. (note: it was a good choice, because the Worgen Claw Necklace has never dropped for my Kara group)

So I am leaning toward buying the Sunblade now, and hoping that my increased dps will help make it easier and faster to accumulate Badges in the future.

Agree? Disagree?

Besides – I’m not a gear freak. I like to play the game for fun, not to get top end gear. I don’t really care that much if I have T4, T6, or T25 gear as long as I am having fun each time I log on.


My tankadin alt

Since our guild exodus has left us with fewer raiders, I’ve had little to do on my main lately, which has given me time to work on my alt.

I’m not a big alt person. My rogue main has over 85 days of /played time. My few attempts at alts had a combined 5 days /played, I think. I tried a mage once. At first it was exciting to kill mobs before they even reached me. That was fun for a while, but then it got boring and I gave up on that toon. I decided later to try a class that was underrepresented to find out why no one plays it. I was torn between a boomkin and a ret pally. Since you can’t get the moonkin form until at least level 50, I decided to go with a ret pally. That lasted a little while. I felt kind of like I was playing a rogue with a little more armor but about half the dps. I was probably playing it wrong, but I ended up putting that one aside, too.

When my play schedule recently opened up, I started on my pally again, but switched him to full prot. What a blast! So my dps is low. Who cares? Nothing can kill me! I can outlast just about anything up to 4 or even 5 levels above me, or a whole group of mobs at my level.  On my rogue, I used to swear if I accidentally aggroed 2 or 3 mobs at once.  On the pally that’s just efficient grinding!

After reaching my mid-40’s I finally tried tanking an instance. We went into ZF. I let the mage sheep things and the hunter trap stuff just because they were bored, but we never really needed it. I would just run into the pack of trolls, Consecrate, Seal, Judge, rinse and repeat and hold the whole bunch, while watching my mana bar actually increase over the course of the combat. Great fun.

So, while my rogue is in a holding pattern, I’m trying to powerlevel my pally to 70 to see if I can get him into some raiding before the expansion hits. Thanks to all of the paladin bloggers out there for some great information. I’ve started reading Blessing of Kings, Ardent Defender, Honor’s Code, and Banana Shoulders. I’m sure I’ll find more soon. I also got great information from Maintankadin.

Note: despite my paladin adventures, this is still going to be a generally rogue-themed blog.  I’d hate to have to change my color scheme.  Did you notice that most rogue blogs have a black background and most pally blogs have a white or light background?


What to get? Dirge vs. Searing Sunblade

DinaerSo here I am, newly respecced to Combat Daggers. I’ve got my Emerald Ripper in my main hand (thank you Mr. Moroes) and a Guile of Khoraazi in my off hand (thank you, folks at the Consortium).

It seems that the primary way to improve dps in combat daggers is to get a fast off hand weapon. With more off-hand hits, you get more Combat Potency procs. With enough of that, you get lots of energy for more backstabs and their sweet, sweet 60%+ crit rate.

Guile of Khoraazi is a 1.6 speed, which is OK. But there are upgrades out there. I don’t do PvP, so the three really fast daggers easily available at level 70 without raiding are Warp Splinter’s Thorn, Dirge, and Searing Sunblade. These three appeal to all types –

  • Warp Splinter’s Thorn is an instance drop from the final boss in regular Botanica. Botanica is a fun instance, and I think Warp Splinter is one of the easier final boss fights.
  • Dirge is crafted, and it doesn’t come cheap. You’ll need to find a Blacksmith with the pattern (random world drop) and two Primal Nethers (!), and then you’ll have to farm/buy 10 Felsteel Bars and 8 Primal Mights. That’s a lot of farming.
  • Searing Sunblade is purchased with 50 Badges of Justice, which drop from bosses in heroic instances and Karazhan.

Obviously, Thorn is the easiest to get of these three. Dirge is the most expensive, and Sunblade is probably the longest grind if you are not clearing Karazhan.

(Note: I am not including PvP rewards here because I don’t PvP myself. The Gladiator’s Shiv and Merciless Gladiator’s Shiv are comparable to, if not slightly better than the Searing Sunblade. Since I don’t PvP, I can’t comment on how difficult it is to obtain those items.)

Lets compare these three items:

  Speed dps AGI AP hit crit stam
Warp Splinter’s Thorn 1.3 71.5 16   15   13
Dirge 1.4 83.6   40   20  
Searing Sunblade 1.3 85.4 24       22

These are the gear comparisons that people hate to do, since the three items have completely different stats so its hard to see exactly how your damage output will compare with crit vs hit vs AP. That’s exactly why the AEP system was created. The best AEP database is at Shadowpanther‘s site.

Its pretty clear that the Searing Sunblade is better than Warp Splinter’s Thorn. They are both 1.3 speed, but the Sunblade does higher dps and has more AGI and Stam. That more than makes up for the 15 hit rating from Thorn.

So lets compare the Sunblade to Dirge. I’m going to use Shadowpanther’s MAEP point equivalents, which is just for raid dps. It neglects stamina and emphasizes stats that directly impact damage. Lets compare these two items:

Dirge 325 324
Searing Sunblade 338 325

Sooo… close.

I also plugged all three of these into the Rogue DPS Spreadsheet from the EJ forums. With my combat dagger spec, Searing Sunblade was the clear winner in dps. Equipping Dirge on the gear page increased my dps by 18.2 over my current off-hand (Guile). Equipping the Sunblade upped my dps by 25.2.

Warp Splinter is a great option of the new level 70 combat rogue, since Botanica is a fun instance and the Thorn drops fairly often (11%).

The Sunblade and Dirge are very comparable. For raiders, the 50 Badges are easier to get than the mats for Dirge. Dirge is a good choice for the solo player who cannot get into heroics and raids, but has time to farm primals. and the money to buy the felsteel and the primal nether.

Searing Sunblade is, by all measures, the best PvE pre-BT offhand dagger for combat dagger rogues. That’s #1 on my to-get list with my Badge collection.  I should have it by next week, I hope.


Vanish = dps

How many times have we all seen this: the tank goes down, and the mob that he was tanking goes running around one-shotting everyone else. A classic instance run wipe. During your corpse run you look down the portraits on the left of your screen… dead… dead…. dead… wait a minute. The rogue is still alive. How did he pull that off?

bamfAh, the wonder of Vanish. PvP rogues use it all the time to get a second opener during a fight, or to keep up a stunlock going with Cheap Shot. But for a PvE rogue its the wonderful reducer of repair bills. In pre-70 instance runs there were times when I did not die even once on a run, despite our group having three or four wipes.

Unfortunately, many rogues keep this mind-set that your Vanish should be reserved for an “Oh sh!t button.” Its kind of a “Break in case of emergency” button on your screen. After all, its got a 5 minute cooldown so you wouldn’t want to use it too early, right?

Every rogue need to realize that Vanish does not only put you into stealth during combat. It also resets your threat.

Rogues – do you find yourself constantly catching up to your tank’s threat? Do you have down time during combat while you wait for the tank to establish aggro? Do you find yourself using Feint often?


In a typical tank-and-spank boss fight, I can usually catch up to my tank’s threat at some point during the combat. If Vanish is not available, then I have to hold back on dps to avoid grabbing aggro. However, if my Vanish is up then I can reset my threat when I get too close.

My typical routine is: wait for the tank to get in a few shots and sunders, then stabbity-stab, backstab, rupture, etc… and watch my threat on Omen. It climbs gradually upward… 80% of the tank’s threat… 90%… 95%…98%…

Vanish! Zero threat! Ambush! Hit Adrenaline Rush! Lots of energy. More stabbity! No holding back on DPS!

By doing this, rogues can maintain a very high dps output without getting aggroed by mobs.  Looking at my WWS reports, there is often a lock or mage with higher dps than me, but I always have higher overall damage output because they get aggro and die when they go all-out.


Noob mistakes

The blog is entitled “Forever a Noob” because I always feel there is more to learn. No matter how much reading and research I do, all it takes is one other player to say, “why aren’t you doing it this way?” or one web site to point out what should have been obvious.


One of my classics can only be appreciated by other rogues.

I leveled from 1-60 mostly in a subtlety spec. I didn’t PvP, but I enjoyed the Sub talents. Especially useful was the Improved Sap that let you stay in stealth when you sapped your target. Sap was changed back in patch 2.1 so that all rogues stayed in stealth when sapping, but then they replaced Imp Sap with Dirty Tricks, which gave extended range to sap. It seems like you can sap from across the room with that talent!

As I leveled with my family my sap was our main form of CC in instances. With the BC expansion came Mutilate, and I switched over to that for the much improved dps, losing Dirty Tricks in the process.

Suddenly, my sap seemed useless. Mobs would see through my stealth regularly. It got so bad that we almost completely stopped marking mobs for sap in instance pulls. It stayed this was from level 62-68. It made me feel kind of useless in instances, really. Hunters are trapping, mages are sheeping, and I’m just stabbing things.

One day I decide to completely reformat my UI. I’m going through my spellbook and I stumble up on Distract. I never even had that ability on my toolbar through level 68. All of a sudden, my noob alarm goes off! What an idiot I was!

Now I’m all sap-happy again, although a little embarrassed that it took so long for me to figure that out.


Classic WoW:
Dinaer - 11 Assassination Rogue
Cepheid - 13 Prot Warrior
Cartho - 11 Elemental Shaman

Retail WoW:
Dinaer - 120 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Cartho - 120 Elemental Shaman (US - Quel-dorei)
Derence - 120 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 120 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 120 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 120 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
February 2008
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