Archive for February, 2009


A Rogue in Naxxramas – Gluth

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.


Sit, doggie, sit!  Good dog!

gluthGluth is a big, creepy, undead dog.  Why something like this would exist, only the strange minds at Blizzard could say.  What I do know, though, is that he is hungry.

First note – do not go into the room before the tank.  Gluth aggros even before you enter.  Let the tank go first.

Gluth starts is a two-phase fight.  Two tanks and most of the dps startt on the boss, while the healers and kiters are toward the back of the room.

Because he stacks a Mortal Wound on the tank, there will be two tanks taunting him back and forth.  That makes it tough for us to target our TotT.  Watch your threat meter carefully before throwing that on anyone.

Gluth will enrage every so often, and that needs to be dispelled.  Either a hunter with Tranquilizing Shot or a rogue with Anesthetic Poison can do this.  (Finally!  A rogue-role other than just dps! )  Its easier for the rogue to do it, although you’re giving up a little dps by swapping out a poison.  That’s OK, we’ll do it for the team!

While all this is going on, someone is kiting the zombies around the far end of the room.  The zombies have an enormous amount of health and apply a stacking debuff, so no one will be attacking them other than to build threat.  That won’t be a rogue’s job, so don’t worry about it… yet.

All of a sudden… Bang!  Your health just dropped to almost nothing.  What happened?  Every two minutes Gluth casts Decimate –  and everyone in the room, both players (except the tank) and zombies included, drops to 5% health.  At this point the healers are scrambling to heal everyone.  ALL dps leaves Gluth and goes for the Zombies.

The whole pack of zombies will turn and start shuffling toward Gluth.  If any of them reach the big dog, he will eat them and gain back 5% of his health.  Since Gluth has a hard enrage timer, you really don’t want that to happen.  DPS needs to kill the zombies before they reach him.

Even at 5% health they are tough to kill.  Fortunately, they can be stunned, rooted, trapped, snared, or slowed.  Hit one to get a combo point and Kidney Shot to stop it.  If a zombie is getting too close to Gluth, Vanish and stun it with a Cheap Shot.  There should be druid roots and mage frost novas going everywhere.  If your group is really short of slowing effects, you can Fan of Knives with Crippling Poison to hit a bunch of them at once.  Hopefully you won’t need to do that – using Anesthetic Poison and Crippling Poison will seriously gimp your dps on the boss.  If you find yourself needing to do that, try using a weapon-swap macro to switch between your boss-damage weapon with dps poison and a secondary weapon with crippling poison during the Decimate phase.

Once Decimate ends you will see the zombies revert to their normal health pool.  Stop attacking them and go back to Gluth.  He does have a hard enrage sometime after the fourth Decimate, so go-go-go on the dps.

This fight will take some practice while the kiters learn how to hold the zombies far from Gluth without getting killed.  Expect a few wipes your first time.  When he dies, he has a huge loot table that he shares with other Naxx bosses.  Most notable is that he can drop your tier 7 (or tier 7.5 on heroic) chest, shoulders, and/or legs.  On the 10-man he can drop the Collar of Dissolution or Cuffs of Dark Shadows.  In the 25-man raid he can give up the Chestpiece of Suspicion, Sinner’s Bindings, and even Webbed Death.  There is more, but I’m not going to list it all.

Back to main Rogue in Naxxramas page —–>


Dual spec craziness

Edit:  this is a rant, and not entirely coherent… after seeing the amount of discussion generated by this post, I wrote a follow-up, more sensible post about my objections to Dual Specs here

/begin rant

From a blue post on the forums about the process of switching specs…

You literally just click a button, and after a 5 second cast, your specializations, glyphs, and action bars swap. You must be out of combat, and it still cannot be used in battlegrounds or arenas. There is currently no cooldown on the ability to swap specializations though.

I cannot tell you how much I hate this.


To me, part of the fun of the game was assembling your “team” for going into a raid or instance.  Balancing strengths and weaknesses of each class, managing raid buffs and enemy debuffs – this was a meta-game that went along with raiding and instancing.

Gone.  Kaput.

Your warriors can be tanks one minute and dps the next.  Your priests can go from healers to dps and back at the raid leader’s say-so.  Paladins can go tank-to-healer-to-dps  from one pull to the next.

Heaven forbid that we actually ask players to make a CHOICE.  We can’t possibly expect players to make a decision and STICK WITH IT FOR THE DURATION OF A THREE HOUR RAID.  Our attention spans are so short that we have to be able to jump from one role to another on a whim.

To me, this is like playing chess (the real game, not the Karazhan event), and partway through the game you say, “This rook isn’t really so useful to me right now.  I want to swap it out for another bishop.”  If you allow that, it removes the meaning of the game and makes it just goofiness.

I cannot see the reason in this at all.  OK, some players respec back and forth between PvP and PvE builds.  That can be expensive.  I get that, and I like dual specs for that purpose.  But if that was the issue being solved here you could do the respec in a major city, or at an inscription trainer.

No – this is specifically for players to swap specs in the middle of a raid or instance.  What problem is this solving?  This is just for the people who have whined about having to make a choice.  Want to play a priest?  Choose if you want to heal or dps.  What?  You don’t want to choose?  Fine, you can do both and switch them at will!

Are you a paladin or warrior in a progression-minded raiding guild?  Better buy some bigger bags.  Because your raid leader is going to FORCE you to carry two or three sets of gear into raids.  Anub’rekhan needs two or three tanks, but Maexxna needs only one.  If dual-spec were around when Naxx came out, anyone who was not the main tank would have been REQUIRED to switch spec to dps after the Anub’rekhan fight.  And you’d better have good gear for both specs.  Paladins – you could have been healing on Loatheb, off-tanking on Patchwerk, and dpsing on Razuvious.  Got three sets of epic gear?   Its not an issue in Naxx now because the hardcore guilds are beyond all of that.  But Ulduar is coming…

Imagine that you are a resto druid.  And you really like healing.  How will you respond when your raid leader says, “We don’t need three healers for this fight.  I need you to respec to Feral for dps.”

To me this is one more step in the dumbing down of the game.  First the homogenizing of the classes, now the smearing out of their roles even within the span of a single run.

If Blizzard is in the mood to continue removing distinctions and choices, here’s my list of demands…

  • I want a healing spec for rogues.  And it had better be equal in healing power to priests, shamans, paladins, and druids.  And you better believe I will QQ if you put a cooldown on my AoE heal.
  • I want a tanking spec for mages.  Buff their mage armor, let them be magical fighters.  And give them awesome tanking staves.  You know Gandalf could have tanked a raid boss.  He’s bad-ass.
  • I want bags of infinite size.  If my paladin is going to have to carry three sets of armor, you better give me 30 slot bags.  Or let me teleport my gear directly from my bank.  Or summon gear from some deity on my command.

/end rant

Feel free to disagree with me.  I won’t be hurt.


Rogue Blogs

I haven’t updated my blogroll in a long time.

When I started this site there were very few rogue blogs to read.   That has gradually changed over the past few months.  These days there are a whole bunch of active rogue bloggers out there.  I am reading…

Also, Roguespot is up and running again after a hiatus during the latter half of 2008.  And the new kid on the block is Big Hit Box, a resource for all melee dps.

Have I missed any?  Let me know what other rogue blogs you are reading.


A Rogue in Naxxramas – Grobbulus

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.


Grobbulus stinks.

Not just because he leaves big clouds of noxious fumes behind him.  Just because he’s hard on melee.  This is a constantly moving fight.  There is a lot to watch out for.  This is hands-down my least favorite fight in Naxx.

grobbulusGrobbulus has three major abilities that need to be avoided.

First – he frequently drops circular clouds of gas behind him.  These clouds slowly expand and do significant nature damage.  You can’t stand in them for more than a few moments.  For melee combat, when you are trying to stand behind him to attack, this is an annoyance.

To avoid these clouds, the tank is going to drag Grobbulus all around the perimeter of the room.  You have to keep up with the moving boss.  It can help to stand on his sides and strafe so you are never in a cloud.  Try not to let your SnD (and HFB if you are Assassination) drop while moving.  Keep Rupture up all the time so that it ticks even when you are not on the boss.

Second – He hits random players with Mutating Injection.  When someone gets that, they have ten seconds before they will “explode”, causing Nature damage to themselves and everyone around them and creating a new poison cloud.

Watch the raid warnings.  When you get hit with this, run somewhere away from everyone else.  The safest place for this is to run between two existing poison clouds.  No one should be standing there so your explosion should damage no one but yourself.  Don’t forget to move out of the cloud once you explode, otherwise you start taking the cloud DoT.  In my experience, Cloak of Shadows has not canceled the debuff or stopped the damage from the explosion, but it did seem to prevent the ticks of the DoT from the new cloud while I was running out of it.

Third – periodically he sprays slime on anyone standing in a cone in front of him.  Anyone hit with the slime takes damage and spawns a Fallout Slime, which is a little blob that does AoE damage.  These need to be off-tanked.

Obviously, the only one that should be hit by the slime is the tank.  Everyone else should be behind Grobbulus.  However, he has a tendency to turn toward the raid to target someone for Mutating Injection just as he does his Slime Spray.  This often results in a bunch of melee dps getting hit with the spray, lots of Fallout Slimes, and then the raid leader gets mad and blames melee for the wipe.

My approach here is to make sure I stay at Grobbulus’ left shoulder (the side away from the center of the room) when I am behind him.  I know he is going to turn to his right toward the raid to target them, so I shade toward his left and avoid the spray even when he turns.  All melee should do the same.


  • DPS Grobbulus, staying behind him, shading toward his left or outside shoulder.  Keep DoTs up.
  • Follow him as the tank drags him around.
  • Stay out of poison clouds that will be left behind him.
  • When you get Mutating Injection, run away from the raid to a spot between existing clouds.  Cloak to avoid the DoT after the explosion.  Sprint to catch back up to the boss.
  • Don’t forget to refresh your HfB or SnD while running so they don’t drop off.
  • If there are too many Fallout Slimes you’ll have to leave the boss to help kill them before they start taking out healers.  However, if there are too many Fallout Slimes this is a symptom that your raid is doing something wrong.

He is hard on melee.  Remember that a dead rogue does zero dps, so avoiding clouds is a priority over maintaining time on target.  Bandages and potions are very important here.  Good luck!

He drops some nice items.  The Sealing Ring of Grobbulus is one of the best dps rings you can get in 10-man content.  Good luck rolling against all the other dps classes, though.  An item more directly for rogues is the Blistered Belt of Decay, although it does use some of its item budget on the underwhelming armor penetration stat.

In 25-man raids you can get the highly prized Tunic of Indulgence – one of the top chest slot items in the game.  He could also give you Twilight Mist, which is a slow dagger (1.8 speed) for you PvP fans.  Other drops include the Aged Winter Cloak, which drops from several Naxx bosses.  You might also see Grim Toll which is awesome and also on a shared loot table.

Back to main Rogue in Naxxramas page —–>


Almost a Happy Ending

71459Like so many others, I ended up one candy short of the Fool for Love meta-achievement. Also like many others, I logged on once an hour over the whole weekend and late into the night Sunday hoping for a bag of candies with the one I was missing.

Monday morning, dejected, I went to my bank to throw away all the leftover items from the holiday event – dozens of Love Fools and Friendship Bracelets, several Lovely Black Dresses, and numerous arrows. I decided to reorganize my bags in the process.

Then – a discovery! I found a bag of candies from 2008, sitting there untouched for a year. It had three charges left… and I only needed one candy.

First pull… No luck. Second candy… Nope. Third and last try…

If it were a movie, there would be a feel-good ending here ending with my screenshot of the achievement. Alas, the scriptwriters at Blizzard didn’t help me out. No title for me in 2009. No shot at the violet proto-drake until at least February 2010.


Tribute to my Wife

This post goes out to Aellkynne – a wonderful wife, mother… and healer.

aellkynne3When we started playing WoW back in early 2006, there was no question that she would roll a healer. She is a nurturer at heart, which is why she is so good with our three children. She chose a druid, in part because it is a healing class, but also because of the appeal of the various animal forms.

We leveled together from 1-60, and reached the level cap just before the release of Burning Crusade. Until then we were both extremely casual players. Once we entered Outland she became more serious about the game. She was the leading healer for the guild when we first went into Karazhan at level 70.

She doesn’t theorycraft or min/max or use cookie cutter specs and rotations. She doesn’t usually top the healing meters. Yet people always seem to stay alive when she is the healer for a run. She knows her class extremely well through experience and perseverance rather than by doing what others tell her to do.

She encouraged me when our guild reorganized and I became GM, and has been a steadying influence through inevitable bouts with guild drama. I never wanted to promote her to a guild Officer position because I didn’t want any appearance of favoritism. It was only when the rest of the guild leadership demanded it that I finally promoted her. She earns the respect and trust of everyone who she interacts with.

I bounce all of my guild decisions off her first. I know that she will give me an opinion based on a caring approachaellkynne2 rather than from the “raiding first” mentality that sometimes creeps into my mind. Every guild leader should have someone like that – a confidante who thinks about the people behind the avatars.

She is able to balance taking care of our kids and doing regular household chores with herb farming for alchemy mats for the guild’s use.

OK, so I have paid for every mount she has ever owned, and most of the training as well. But is that such a steep price to pay for such a WoW Goddess?

Aellkynne, I love you for being who you are. You’ve kept Lifeblooms rolling on my heart for all these years. May our love never be nerfed. Happy Valentine’s Day.


How a Rogue AoEs


In the Wrath expansion rogues got Fan of Knives at level 80, giving us a true AoE ability. (Blade Flurry is not a true AoE since it can only hit two targets no matter how many are nearby) It even procs poisons, so we can hit everything around us with both weapon and poisons for a satisfying burst of numbers exploding on the screen.

Unfortunately, it originally had a cooldown that prevented us from spamming it. It costs half our energy pool every time we use it. Its damage is based on weapon damage, which means that daggers were sub-par for Fan attacks. All of this made it fairly ineffective – more of a gimmick.

Then patch 3.0.8 came along. The cooldown was removed so we just have to wait on a GCD. Daggers do 150% of weapon damage, so they are now very good with FoK. The only obstacle is that is takes half our energy for one use.

For any Assassination rogues that haven’t figured this out yet… the key is starting in stealth do take advantage of Overkill. I see a lot of rogues that don’t start a fight stealthed because of the slowed movement speed. If you want to use FoK effectively, you really need stealth. With that talent, your FoK costs only 40 energy for the first 6 seconds after you come out of stealth.

So… Assassination rogues… start in stealth… get your HfB stacked… get yourself in the middle of the tanked mobs… and…

FoK… now you are at 60 energy

wait on GCD, during which you regen 10 energy so you are now at 70 energy, and then…

FoK… now you’re at 30 energy

wait on GCD, during which you regen 10 energy so you are now at 40 energy, and then…

FoK… now you’re at 0 energy

wait on GCD, during which you regen 10 energy so you are now at 10 energy

Its been about 3 seconds since you came out of stealth. You don’t have enough energy for another FoK until you wait about 3 seconds, give or take a little latency delay and Focused Attacks procs. At this point you are still within the 6 second Overkill, so you’ll be able to hit one more FoK.

Therefore, if you start stealthed you can get off 4 Fan of Knives within 6 seconds. Trash still alive? You can Vanish and start again, although you’ll still need to wait for your energy to regenerate. If you are in a big enough group of trash mobs, that will keep you at the high end of the damage chart on any big AoE pull.

Its even easier for rogues that have Vigor for that 10 extra energy.

Using this, I have been right up there with the locks and mages on the trash pulls in Naxx where there are lots of little spiders and geists and such.

Note: for comparison, if you are not Assassination spec and don’t have Overkill, or if choose not to start in stealth, you can only get off 2 FoK before you have to wait on energy to regenerate for a full two seconds before you can throw a third FoK.

Note #2: This does not account for Combat Potency or Focused Attacks procs from your autoattacks while doing FoK


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 2009
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