Archive for May, 2009


Overkill change will reduce Rogue AoE

Current OverkillAbilities used while stealthed and for 6 seconds after breaking stealth cost 10 less energy.

New Overkill: Talent redesigned. Now increases energy regeneration by 30% while stealthed, and for 20 seconds after breaking stealth.

The recently announced change to Overkill was viewed by many as a way to reduce rogue stunlock and burst damage in PvP. Other rogue bloggers have taken it calmly, despite it being a “nerf.”

It does have a significant PvE impact as well.  It should decrease our damage on the AoE trash pulls in raids.

I have posted before about rogue AoE dps. Key to these high numbers was the Overkill talent, which reduced the cost of Fan of Knives from 50 energy to 40. In a previous post, I detailed the mechanics of starting in stealth so that Overkill helps you to get off 4 FoK in the first 6 seconds of combat.

With the new Overkill that will no longer be possible.

Here is an opening sequence for a group trash pull with the new Overkill:

Start with 100 energy, stealth into place and

FoK! Now you are at 50 energy

Wait on GCD during which you regen 13 energy (10 + 30% bonus from Overkill) so you are now at 63 energy, and then…

FoK! Now you are at 13 energy.

Wait on GCD during which you regen 13 energy so you are now at 26 energy.

You will have to wait for some Focused Attack procs off of your autoattacks, or pool energy for about 2 seconds before you can get your third FoK off.  Then you’re going to switch to single target dps rather than stand around and wait for more energy.  So with energy pooling you got 3 FoK off in the first 4-5 seconds of the pull.

With the old Overkill we could do three FoK in the first 2-3 seconds of combat and hit a 4th at 6 seconds. With the new FoK we can only get two FoK in the first 2-3 seconds, and get a 3rd by waiting to pool energy. Effectively, this will cut our AoE dps by about 25% on fast-kill trash pulls like the spider packs in early Naxx.

Even Vigor doesn’t help (not that raiding specs have Vigor, anyway)

I’m OK with that. Rogues shouldn’t be the top AoE class anyway.  I am still a little embarrassed when I out-dps warlocks and mages on AoE pulls.  Maybe they will pass me, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I’ve still got them beat on single-target fights.


Open Recruitment Policy

applicationBack when I was in college, during one summer break I was in need of a job to earn money for gas.  I went to a local department store, walked into the human resources office, and asked if they were hiring.

“Are you looking for full-time or part-time work?” the receptionist asked.

“Full-time,” I replied.

“Sorry, we’re only hiring part-time employees right now” she informed me.

“Well, I’d like to apply for a part-time position then,” I said.

“Sorry, we won’t hire anyone who is looking for full-time work.”

I was stunned.  That wasn’t an interview, or even a fair opportunity.  It was essentially one multiple-choice question… “full-time or part time?”  There was only one correct answer, and if I chose wrong I was precluded from any opportunity from employment.  I never got to show a resume, talk to a manager, or explain the skills that I could bring to the company.  I was shot down by a secretary after one question.  Pointless.

That’s pretty much what I think of guild applications.

I’ll be honest – I have never understood why most guilds have applications.  This is not a job.  Its a pixel-drawn world with monsters and bad guys that, honestly, don’t hold a candle to most Disney villains.  Its a chance to hit buttons on your keyboard and make colors and numbers flash on your screen.  It is not Serious Business.

If my friend wants to play Rock Band with me, I don’t ask for his prior guitar-playing experience.

If someone wants to play Wii Sports with me, I don’t ask for a screenshot of previous sports game scores.

The typical stated justification for making people fill out an application is that it weeds out the immature, the children, and the slackers.

Do you really think so?  I don’t see it working that way at all.  I think a lot of guilds have applications just to puff up their own self-importance.  If someone fills out your application, it makes you feel desirable.  As I see it, most guild applications serve two purposes:

(1) It weeds out those who are too lazy to fill out an application.  Is that what your guild wanted when they made an application?  When you put out a recruitment message, were you looking for gamers or someone to help you build a house?  Almost by definition, some of the best gamers are extremely lazy people outside of Azeroth.  What if you just weeded out an uber-geared 5k dps and all-around nice guy because he didn’t go online to fill out an application?  Was that the goal of your application process?

(2) It allows people to nitpick at things like grammar and sentence structure in order to justify their completely arbitrary selection process.  I see in many guild recruitment forums where the guild members make fun of the writing style of the applicants.  Again, would you eliminate a skilled holy priest healer because he made punctuation errors?  Does it take great spelling skills to hit 111121111211113111112 in the game?

Lots of people would argue that their application is different, and effective.  Its true that some guilds have a careful vetting process that includes written applications, vent interviews, and in-game play.  If you’re not doing all of that, then I would claim that your application is fairly meaningless.  And if you are doing all of that, WHY?  Anyone other than a cutting-edge progression guild should not put prospective members through a gauntlet like that.

People will cite the great players they have found through their application process.  But how many players did you miss out on because they never filled out the app?  You’ll never know.

Remember – no one will write on their application that they plan to ninja your guild bank.


My guild has no application process.  It is open recruitment.  If you are interested, and you chat with an officer for a few minutes without swearing or coming off like an ass, we invite you.  There is no better application process than actually playing with someone.  We get to hear you in vent, see how you talk in chat, and run instances with you.  An application cannot even begin to evaluate a player in that depth.

We take precautions, of course.  New invitees do not have any withdrawal access from the guild bank for a couple of weeks until we get a feel for them.  They only bring one toon in at first – no alts yet – so it will be a quick clean break if we decide to part ways.

Do we get immature people?  On occasion.  And when then act immaturely in chat, the officers ask them (through whispers) to stop.  Eventually, they realize that they are in the wrong guild and they leave on their own.  It usually takes a week or two, but there is no harm done.

Do we get children?  Sometimes.  That’s not the end of the world.  One of our guild’s best shaman healers joined us when he was 13.  We have a pally tank who is no older than 15, if that.  I have no complaints about children if they are well-behaved in chat and vent.  If they are not well-behaved, then see the previous paragraph.

Do we get complete jerks?  A couple of times.  And when it became obvious that they would be intolerable we asked them to leave the guild.

However, mixed in with those characters are the jewels of open recruitment.  The burned-out former progression raider who has amazing gear and is just looking to relax.  The awesome tank who has done mostly PuGs because his former guild was too small to raid.  The incredible dps who couldn’t get a raid spot when he switched spec or main toon.

Any of those players might have been discouraged by a web application full of meaningless questions.  All of them are an asset to the guild.  Applications are OK for guilds that are pushing for server-first kills.  For everyone else, maybe your app is not doing what you hoped.


Gasp! I tried PvP.

My guildies begged and wheedled and got me to agree to be on their 5v5 Arena team.

I am a carebear through and through.  I last did regular PvP at level 29 in WSG.  Since then, my PvP has been limited to an occasional duel, running a few BG to get a couple of achievements, and twice in WG to try and get control of it for a VoA run.  That’s all.

So now I need to try not to embarrass myself in PvP.

First – I felt like I needed a PvP trinket.  I still had the Insignia of the Alliance that I got when I reached Corporal back in the old days of PvP.  So I used what little honor I had to buy the Medallion of the Alliance, adding a little resilience and a shorter CD.

Next, rummaging through my bank I found a couple of PvP armor pieces that have dropped off of Archavon and Emalon.  I gemmed them up and equipped them.  More stamina than my regular raiding gear, mostly.

Next – I put Blind on my action bar.  It hasn’t been there in a long, long time.  I’ll also need to remember to use it.

I started running a few BG to get the hang of it.  Surprisingly, raiding is pretty good preparation for BG PvP.  Through raiding, I have learned what my abilities do and I use them instinctively.  I am quick on Vanish and CoS as panic buttons, which works for me in mass PvP situations.  If anyone focuses on me I can usually take some kind of useful action.  Once I started remembering to use my trinket to get out of CC, I was pretty effective in Strand of the Ancients.  I still stink at WSG, though.

Then we did some arena…

[What follows is really embarrassing coming from someone who has played WoW as long as I have.  Remember the title of this blog.  No matter how much you think you know – you are always a noob in some areas.  I am a PvP Noob.]

I was lost.  It wasn’t even the combat, which was frantic and over in a flash.  First I had to overcome my UI, which is set up for raiding.

For example, I have it set to show health bars above enemies.  That’s fine in raiding, when there are rarely more than 4-6 enemies on the screen.  When we went into our first arena, and I had a mass of health bars for the 5 players, their pets, and all their totems, I couldn’t see anything.  All I saw were red health bars.  As I tried to find a target, I basically did nothing useful and died.

Then in the next Arena fight, I turned off the health bars.  That was no better.  Now amid the mass of enemies I couldn’t find the person I had targeted.  So I ran around trying to get in range of a target I couldn’t even see, and died.

I decided that the health bars were better.  Next battle… I actually did something useful and we won.  I stayed alive, and got some stuns on the opponent’s healer, and did useful damage.  Not as much as the ranged dps, but still useful.

Another battle.  Our team leader told us to stay back on defense.  So we all hung back – then the other team’s ranged dps was able to burn me down in no time before I was even close enough to get an attack off.

Overall, we did 11 matches and won 3.  I wasn’t frustrated, just overwhelmed.  The matches were over so fast that I barely had time to make any decisions.  All the talk of strategy and maneuvers that I have read about weren’t really useful, because it happened so quickly.

Here are things that I’m going to think about if I am going to continue this…

  • Back in the day, I used to use Crippling Poison to keep from being kited.  In Arena, though, it seems like the areas are too small to effectively kite.  If that is the case, I’ll be better off using Wound Poison, and perhaps hitting FoK to get it on a whole bunch of the enemies.
  • Right now both of my weapons are enchanted with Berserking.  That’s great for raiding, when I’m not usually getting hit.  In PvP, though, if both of my weapons proc then my armor is reduced by 10%.  Is that worth the gain in AP from the proc?  Or should I have a separate set of PvP weapons with Mongoose?
  • I think that a run speed enchant on my feet (like Tuskarr’s Vitality or Cat’s Swiftness) is probably more useful than the AP enchant I have.  Since I don’t want to switch enchants all the time, I need another set of boots, at least.

Also, I need a change in mindset.  Right now I am trying to do as much fast damage as I can.  Having tried this a few times, it seems like it is easier for ranged dps to put out the big damage, because they don’t have to do any work to stay on their target.  When the enemy moving, I have to work hard to stay in range, and my damage is reduced.  I think that I will be more useful if I focus on stuns, kicks, and blinds.

Or I may just give up on the whole endeavor and got back to being a carebear.  Time well tell.


Combat Daggers?

I spent some time this weekend at the practice dummy working on my Combat Daggers dps.

“What?” you say.  “Everyone knows that Combat Daggers is crap!  Not raid-viable!  Low dps!”

Well, that’s true.  My dps dropped by about 400-500 by switching from Assassination to Combat Daggers.  Keep in mind, though, that I was still using Mutilate glyphs, so take those numbers with a grain of salt.  If I re-glyphed I might have bumped that up a bit, although not to where my full Assassination spec was.

Here’s the rub, though.  With Combat spec, I would get points in Savage Combat.  That provides a 4% increase in physical damage for the whole raid.

That debuff can also be applied by Arms Warriors with the Blood Frenzy talent.  Unfortunately, our guild doesn’t have an Arms warrior.

So here’s the decision – I can switch to Combat, and since I don’t have any good swords, I’d go with Daggers.  My personal dps would take a hit, probably dropping me from #1 dps in the guild to #3 or 4 behind the hunter, mage, and warlock who are nipping at my heels.  However, by doing so, I increase the damage of all of the feral druids, hunters, enhancement shamans, death knights, and warriors doing physical damage.

In a typical 25-man raid we have 2-3 hunters, 1-2 warriors, and 1-2 DKs.  If they do a combined 13,000 dps, for example, then my 4% buff would be a raid-wide increase of 520 dps.  That more than makes up for the decrease in my personal dps, so out total raid damage would benefit from that change.  And if I can grab a nice sword or fist weapon along the way I can probably get close to what my dps was in Assassination.

In 10-man raids, we bring fewer physical dps classes, so I don’t think that it would balance out there. In that case, I’d be better off in Assassination maximizing my own damage.

That said, I hesitate to do this.  Why?

My thinking is twofold, and both reasons are somewhat selfish.

#1 – I like doing a lot of damage.  Its what rogues do.  Sacrificing my own performance to benefit the guild is nice in principle, but it will decrease my personal enjoyment of the game.

#2 – More importantly, I find fighting in Combat spec to be dull.  Its very repetitive, without the careful rotation management that Assassination requires.  Again, that would decrease my personal enjoyment of the game.

So I’m thinking about it.  I may try it in a Naxx run this weekend to see how it goes.  Or I may stall and see if I can’t cajole a warrior into switching to Arms…


Are Rogues the top AoE class now?

I was reading someone else’s blog (I don’t recall which one, but it was written by a caster) and he lamented how he was doing less dps than rogues on AoE trash pulls.

Rogues have always been the best single-target sustained dps class.  Trash has given us trouble because rapidly switching targets causes us to lose our combo points.  Now we have Fan of Knives spam.  Is that better than Blizzard and Rain of Fire?  Better than Consecrate and Mind Sear?

I can only speak from my personal experience.  In my guild’s runs, I can top the meters on AoE trash pulls… as long as they last six seconds or less.

If I start in stealth, I can toss out four Fan of Knives in quick succession.  After that, I have to wait for energy regeneration before I can do more, or switch to single-target dps.  So on any group trash that is over quickly, I can out-damage our mages, warlocks, paladins, and shadow priests.

However, if the trash takes more than six seconds to clear, like when we are chain pulling, then I can’t sustain that level of AoE damage and I fall behind the traditional AoE damage powerhouses.

Is anyone else seeing these kind of results on trash pulls?


Dinaer - 100 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 92 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 91 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 100 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 100 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
May 2009
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