Archive for July, 2010


Adapting to a rogue playstyle

If you’ve played a certain class for a long time, you really get to know the playstyle that works for that class.  It becomes ingrained in your muscle memory.

Then you pick up a new class.  An inevitable problem is when you play the new class using the methods that worked for your previous class.  When I first started playing a caster, for example, I repeatedly found myself standing in melee range because it was a habit from all my years as a rogue.  That was eventually corrected.

If you have picked up playing a rogue after playing something else for a long time, then you have more changes to adapt to than just being in melee range or not.  The rogue has a completely unique playstyle and it takes a whole different mindset.

Big Bear Butt is playing his rogue and complained that it was hard to play solo.  One quote from BBB,

the longer I play my Rogue and have the opportunity to compare playstyles with the Paladin, Druid and Warrior, the more the Rogue feels like it got a rock.

In his post, one of BBB’s biggest complaints is about the lack of AoE spam ability, and the difficulty in taking on groups of mobs because rogues take too much damage. He is specifically referring to his attempts to solo old content, but the sentiment carries over to a general complaint about rogues.

It sounds to me like he’s playing his rogue too much like he played his druid.


He’s not the first person to complain about this.  I’ve had people in my guild tell me that they can’t play a rogue, that they die too much, etc…

The rogue is a melee dps class.  That lumps them in with warriors, death knights, paladins, and druids.  All five melee dps classes have to get in close and deal damage, and so they will take damage in return.  That is where the similarities end, though.

Of the five melee dps classes, three of them (warriors, DKs and paladins) wear plate.  That gives them a great deal of survivability when dealing with large numbers of mobs.  Druids in cat form can take rogue-like damage, but they can always switch into bear form or even throw a self-heal on themselves in order to survive.  Druids and Paladins can heal themselves during combat.  So can Blood spec death knights, for that matter.

The plate armor, bear form, and self healing of druids and paladins completely dictate their playstyle.  As I was leveling my paladin, I remember running into a group of 6-8 mobs and just tearing them all up and finishing with 95% health left.

If you try and do that on a rogue you will die, and then die some more.

Rogues require a completely different approach to melee dps.  If you try and play a rogue like you played a druid or paladin you won’t like it.

Rogues pick their battles.

As a stealth class, we don’t fight mobs that we don’t want to fight.  We can use stealth, Vanish, and Distract to get around most obstacles and get to where we are going.

Nissan Rogue

I have gone solo through UBRS and LBRS to farm lockboxes.  I’ve gone into Molten Core solo to kill trash for a drop.  If I tried to take on all the packs of mobs, I might have died, even though they are twenty levels below me.

But I don’t fight them.  I stealth around them.  I use Distract to get through tight spots.  I save my Vanish to restealth if something spots me, and my Cloak of Shadows to remove any DoTs that might keep me from restealthing.

I remember doing quests while leveling that involved going into a cave to kill a named monster.  I’d see a warrior chewing his way through the mobs 2 or 3 at a time to make his way to the back of the cave complex.  Me?  I’d hit stealth and walk right past him.  I’d get to the back of the cave, pop out of stealth long enough to kill my target, then restealth and leave.

Rogues control their fights

Is there a group of three mobs all togteher?  A paladin would run in and grab all three and let Ret Aura do the dirty work.  A death knight can probably /afk while killing a group of “only” three.  Druids would swipe them all down while their self-HoT keeps their health up.  Warriors might whirlwind the whole group to bits.

A rogue, properly played, might stealth in, sap the first one, Cheap Shot the second, and then burn down the third.  Once the Cheap Shot wears off, if our health is good we can start attacking the second one, using Evasion to minimize damage.  Or we can Vanish, reapply sap to the first mob, and re-open with a stun on the second.

Rogue movie

Playing a rogue is not about taking on waves of mobs.  Its about picking them off one at a time, even in a group.  This is the single hardest part to learn about the rogue playstyle, especially if you’re playing the class after being another melee class.

Some of my greatest memories on my rogue are when I found creative ways to use sap, stun, Evasion, and Vanish to down groups of mobs that I had no business killing.  Its not about pure survivability.  Its about creativity and care, which is exactly how an assassin should be played.

Rogues are not for the impatient

That fight sequence I just described?  Yes, the rogue will take longer to kill those mobs than the other melee classes.  And we might have to bandage or eat afterward.

This is the summation.  For a rogue to take on group pulls or solo bosses takes planning and care.  It takes guile.  It takes cunning and creativity.  We can’t steamroll things, even if they are well below our level.

Yes, our fights can take longer.  When a paladin fights six mobs at once, they all die pretty much simultaneously in a nice semicircle.  Not so for rogues.

This Isn't Good

If you have played a druid or a DK or a paladin, then it might be hard to adapt to the rogue style. It might seem slow or underpowered.  Its not.  Its just different.

Why play a rogue, then?

I remember someone telling me that he would rather play his Death Knight because it was easier to kill lots of mobs really quickly.  He also complained that rogues had to bandage a lot.

I tried playing a Death Knight.  Yes, its true that I could wade into an entire camp of opponents and leave nothing but destruction in my wake.  It was fun at first, being an invincible God of Death.

But then it became boring.

Let me restate that.  It was BOOOOOOOORRRRRRRIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGG.  Leveling the Death Knight was without a doubt the most dull thing I have ever tried to do in WoW.  Leveling my paladin was a close second.

That’s not a knock on those classes.  Its that I was used to the rogue playstyle.  I liked having to use my smarts to make careful pulls.  I liked having to use all of my sneaky abilities to control my opponents and keep from dying.  I was used to the slower pace of the game.

I think that the changes in WoW over time have made us impatient.  When we log into WoW, we want to hurry up and get to where we are going.  Leveling is about getting to 80 as fast as possible.  We use add-ons to help us finish quests without reading the quest text.  Dungeons are about blitzing to the end boss at breakneck speed.  We are in a huge hurry to get places.  In that mindset, the idea of moving at 70% speed while in stealth is horrifying.

BBB sums it up well, saying

Laziness. It’s my anti-Rogue.

I’m not saying that BBB is lazy (those are his words).  But its true that the rogue solo playstyle takes more attention and thought to do it right.  Its certainly no easy-mode or faceroll.  When you’re leveling your third or fourth alt, maybe that’s not what you’re looking for.  I can understand that.

But if you’re going to play a rogue, try not to play it like a paladin or a druid or a death knight.  Play it like it was meant to be played.  You might have fun!


What’s My Main Again?

At the end of the expansion cycle, a lot of us have multiple characters at the level cap.  With new talent trees and redesigns being released, there are a lot of “oooh shiney” moments where we get excited about some of our classes more than others.

Which leads to the “which toon will be my main?” conundrum.

Some people really agonize over this.  There is one person in my guild who has gone back and forth an uncountable number of times about which of his four or five level 80 toons will be his main come the expansion.

You look around other blogs and see a lot of main-changing.  Some of the rogue blogs I have read in the past have become tanking or healing blogs.

I can’t imagine any character other than my rogue as my main.  He was my only toon through vanilla WoW, and my main ever since.  I am certainly better at rogue-ing than I am at paladin-ing or priest-ing or mage-ing, so sticking with this toon is not only better for me, but better for my guild when we get to raiding.

Also, my achievements are concentrated on my rogue, so for that purpose I’d be advised to stick with the one character.

That said… one of my guild’s main tanks has taken an indefinite leave from WoW.  That leaves my paladin as the most suitable candidate to step in for our final push to clear ICC.  So for the near future I’ll be on my paladin much more than my rogue.  Will that convince me to change my main?  Not likely.

Are you changing your main in Cataclysm?  If so, what made you decide to do that?


Primary Skills

After the talent tree overhaul, we’re seeing a glimpse of what Blizzard has planned for Cataclysm.  I’m not going to do any in-depth analysis of the talents because we’ve been told that this is a work in progress and there will definitely be changes coming.

However, besides the talent points there are also the Primary Skills.  If you missed that, here’s the rundown.

At level 10 you get your first talent point.  Once you put a point in one of the talent trees, then you are committed to that tree.  Your first 31 talent points must go in that tree before you can start putting points in other trees.  That means you’re in one tree until level 70 (since you get one talent point every two levels).

However, when you choose to specialize in a talent tree at level 10, you are immediately given three Primary Skills.  These are spec-defining abilities to differentiate the three different types of rogues.

For rogues, as of now, they are:



  • Mutilate – Instantly attacks with both weapons for 100% weapon damage plus an additional 44 with each weapon. Damage is increased by 20% against Poisoned targets. Awards 2 combo points
  • Improved Poisons – Increases the chance to apply Deadly Poison to your target by 20% and the frequency of applying Instant Poison to your target by 50%
  • Assassin’s Resolve (if dagger, +max energy, +damage) – Increases maximum energy and damage dealt while wielding a dagger


  • Sinister Calling – Increases your total Agility by 15% and increases the percentage damage bonus of backstab and Hemorrhage by an additional 10%.
  • Master of Subtlety – Attacks made while stealthed and for 6 seconds after breaking stealth cause an additional 10% damage
  • Shadowstep – Attempts to step through the shadows and reappear behind your enemy and increases movement speed by 70% for 3 sec. The damage of your next ability is increased by 20% and threat generated is reduced by 50%. Lasts 10 sec

See that?  Sub rogues get Shadowstep at level 10.  How cool is that?  I think a lot more rogues will level as Subtlety for that reason.

So Combat does get Dual Wield while others don’t.  I had earlier expressed a concern about that, but Assassination rogues are getting Assassin’s Resolve to make up for it (as long as they use daggers).  Sub Rogues get Sinister Calling, which is similarly useful once they get Hemo (no earlier than level 30 in the current trees).

I like the way that these Primary Skills will affect the leveling experience.  Right from level 10, rogues have burst damage capability.  Assassination rogues have high maximum energy so they can unload with an opener, Mutilate, and a quick finisher before running out of energy.  Sub rogues have Shadowstep for fast single-target damage.  These will be fun for leveling, rather than the Sinister Strike spam we all remember.

Combat rogues are actually a bit left out here as far as burst at low levels.  They get Blade Flurry at level 10, but that no longer has the 20% haste it used to have.  Now its a cleave with no purpose on single-target fights.

The Primary Skills completely define how we will play the class at lower levels.  Here’s how it might work…

Level 10 Assassination rogue starts in stealth.  With the large initial energy pool, he opens with Ambush, then Mutilate, and a quick 4-point Eviscerate and hopes the mob is just about dead.  When combat ends, he restealths and moves on to the next mob.

Level 10 Subtlety rogue starts in stealth.  Shadowstep brings him in range and he attacks (with Ambush or Sinister Strike at first until he gets Backstab at a later level).  That first attack has a 20% boost from Shadowstep and another 10% boost from Master of Subtlety so it hits hard.  After that, stun and SS/Evis to finish off the mob.  This gets better once Backstab is learned and Sinister Calling gives another 10% bonus to that first attack.  Shadowstep only has a 20 sec cooldown, so it becomes a fast way to chain your fights, jumping from one mob to the next.

Level 10 Combat rogues don’t bother opening with stealth.  To make use of Blade Flurry’s cleave effect they want to pull several mobs at once.  A combat rogue runs headlong into a group of 2-3 mobs.  He pops Blade Flurry and starts Sinister Strike spam.  With a few combo points, use Recuperate and/or Evasion because he’s is probably taking a fair amount of damage.  Blade Flurry is on a 30 sec cooldown, so this can be repeated frequently as the rogue blitzes through mobs at a high rate.

Not bad for level 10, eh?  I think those represent a huge improvement over the current low-level rogue experience.  It almost makes me want to level another rogue.


Milestone and some history

I never got into blogging to get lots of pageviews.  Yes, its nice when people want to read what I have to say, but sheer numbers are not a priority.  I never installed Google Analytics, I have no idea how many people read the blog in a feed reader.  Its nice information, but its not my main focus.  The only statistic I have is the view counter that’s build into  Is that accurate?  Beats me.

For what its worth, it hit 500,000 views last week.  That’s pretty cool.

I’ve been playing since March 2006.  I started reading WoW blogs after a little more than a year of playing – sometime in late 2007.  I started the Forever a Noob blog in January 2008.  Back then, there were very few WoW blogs (mostly druid blogs, as I remember) and the math of WoW wasn’t as widely known.  It was all there in WoWWiki for anyone who took the time to research it, so there was a niche for new bloggers who wanted to collect and disseminate all that information for the masses.

In its first month the blog had 39 views, almost all from Valenna at the defunct Parry! Dodge! Spin! rogue blog.  My first post that got some attention was discussion about playing WoW with your spouse.  The first time I got linked by numerous other blogs was when I observed that PvP realms were lagging in progress on the Quel’Danas dailies.  What really launched this blog, though, were my Karazhan guides for rogues.  Those remain some of my all-time most viewed posts.  They later inspired me to do Naxx guides (also very popular), Ulduar guides, and ICC guides (still unfinished).

My all-time most popular post, which still gets over 100 hits a day, is my explanation of hit rating in WotLK.  That one post has had more than 50,000 views.

Since I’m traveling down memory lane, here are some screenshots of my playing days.  Unfortunately, I didn’t discover the screenshot function until 2007 – almost a year after I started playing.  My first screenshots are just before BC dropped, so I don’t have any shots of my first 60 levels.

The first screenshot I have saved is this…

For those who don’t know, that’s a 40-man world boss that is summoned as part of a Silithus questline.  Someone in our guild found him in the desert, and we gathered a whole bunch of us to try to fight him, and failed miserably.  It was the first big “event” that had happened after I joined my first guild, and it was a blast.

A huge event was the opening of the Dark Portal when BC was released.  For the days just before and right after the opening, the space in front of the Portal was a huge world PvP free-for all.

Here’s an early shot of me and my wife while leveling in Zangarmarsh.  I like the way we are looking at each other.

Here’s me standing over the corpse of Grandmaster Vorpil in Shadow Lab.  I’m pretty sure that no one leveling now even sees Shadow Lab.  If you’ve never been in Shadow Lab – imagine an instance (not a raid) that could take upward of 5 hours to complete, with bosses that challenged even pretty well-geared groups.  And that’s on regular, not heroic.  Vorpil was our bane back in the day.

This next shot is our first ever pull in Karazhan.  This followed a night of drama, as picking the 10 who would go into our first raid caused some ruffled feathers and eventually a split in the guild.  Unlike Wrath raids, Karazhan was a challenge right from the start.  On our first night of raiding we never even made it to the first boss.  It took months of raiding to progress through Karazhan.

After the first foray into Karazhan, I got pretty heavily into raiding, so most of my screenshots are of boss kills.  I won’t include those.

My last screenshot is a little more recent.  This is the world event in Stormwind just before WotLK, where the new SW harbor was opened up and attacked by the Lich King’s forces.

This is a good reminder for those who are new to WoW that Blizzard does fascinating lore events leading up to new expansions.  They did it for BC and Wrath, and I expect something equally cool for Cataclysm.

Thanks to everyone who has read my blog.  I’ll keep it up if you keep reading.


Doing the old AQ Opening Questline, Part 1

(The pictures are minimized, so click them to see larger versions if interested)

We all do odd things when we are bored.

I first became interested in the AQ questline through cooking.  On a lark, I looked to see how many cooking recipes I had.  I realized that I had almost every recipe in the game, except a couple of horde-only ones and a few hard-to-get ones.  I had my wife get me the horde ones to me through the neutral AH, and then I was left with just Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops – an epic recipe that drops as part of the AQ opening questline.

Aside:  for those who are new to the game… back in 2006 when the Ahn’Qiraj raids were first added to the game, the gates were initially closed.  It took a server-wide effort to get them opened, and there was a huge rep grind and quest chain.  The first one to finish the chain and open the gates got a unique title and mount.

The questline can still be done today, except for the last step since the gates are already open on all servers.

So I started grinding Brood of Nozdormu rep by doing the rare AQ pug raid.  You start at Hated and have to get to Neutral before you can do the quests.  I just got to Neutral this week and started the quests.

First, you talk to Anachronos, standing outside of the Caverns of Time.  He’s part of the Brood of Nozdormu so he’s not hostile to me anymore).

He sends you to Silithus, outside AQ.  You look in a crystal there and you see the dramatic events played out before you.  Fandral Staghelm and four dragons appear before you.

One at a time, the dragons turn from their human guise to their dragon form to combat the Qiraj forces before the gates.

Finally, Anachronos and Fandral Staghelm realize that the Qiraj forces are too many, and together they they magically seal the gates.

Anachronos gives Staghelm a sceptre that can open the gates if ever there is a reason.  Staghelm was in the midst of an emotional breakdown because his son was killed in the fight against the Qiraj.  He refuses the responsibility and shatters the sceptre.

Anachronos takes the pieces of the sceptre and gives them to the blue, red, and green dragonflights for safekeeping.  The rest of the questline involves retrieving the pieces.  I’ll need to visit Eranikus of the green dragonflight (in Sunken Temple), Vaelestraz of the red dragonflight (in Blackwing Lair) and Azuregos of the blue dragonflight (in Azshara).  They will each have their own tasks to complete.

Along the way I will have to visit and kill several world raid bosses that are unique to this questline.  Did you know there is a raid boss on the Isle of Dread off the coast of Ferelas?  Or another one on Alcaz Island in Dustwallow Marsh?  How about a summonable one in the water off of Azshara?  They all required 30+ people to kill back in vanilla WoW, but I should be able to solo or duo most of them now.  I’ll document some of this and post it for posterity.



Any email from Blizzard yet?

Nope.  Not yet.

<10 minutes later>

Nothing yet

<10 minutes later>


Darn, still nothing.


Calm Down

I had a fairly scathing post written criticizing a lot of the over-the-top drama that the RealID forum issue has generated among a lot of my fellow bloggers.  I deleted it in order to let the issue fizzle out, rather than contributing to the flames.

This was a bad P.R. decision by a big company.  Nothing more.  It wasn’t a betrayal or a slap in the face or a reason to start a million-Orc march on Blizzard headquarters.

And its gone.  We can now resume our previous gaming experience.


Surprise! Talent system to be overhauled.

I love expansions, and not just for new content.  Large-scale changes to mechanics make the game seem new and fresh as opposed to the same old thing with new zones and different bosses.

This one took me by surprise, though.  Blizzard has long been saying that they wanted to get rid of extraneous talents in the trees, and they especially want to remove the “boring” talents.  In order to decrease the bloat and streamline the talent trees, they announced that they are shrinking the trees.

Instead of 30 or so talents in each tree, there will be around 20.  Instead of getting a new talent point to spend every level after 10, you’ll now get a new talent point to spend every other level.  The top talent in each tree will be 31 points instead of the current 51.

All that is fine with me.  I agree that the talent trees could use some pruning.

The part that concerns me is that once you spend a point in a tree, you cannot spend any points in any other trees until you have 31 points in your primary tree.  That would happen at level 70.

For rogues, that means that if you choose to spec into Assassination (for example) when you are level 10, you will have to put all of your points in the Assassination tree until you hit level 70.

Now, we have absolutely no idea how the trees will look.  This concept has been proposed by Blizzard, but not yet implemented in the beta.  The talent trees that we were shown a month ago are now going to be thrown into the scrap heap and rebuilt from scratch.

Here’s my concern.  Lets take a talent like Dual Wield Specialization.  This is in the combat tree, yet there are absolutely no rogue builds of any kind without 5 points in this talent.  It is a major contributor to our damage.  Without access to this talent, any Assassination or Subtlety rogues could be disadvantaged for the first 70 levels.

Maybe this is a pointless concern.  Most rogues level as Combat spec, so this concern applies only to the few who level as other specs.  Of course, you can always respec as desired.  And we know that Blizzard can use the new passive talent tree bonuses as tweaks to balance damage across the three specs.

Still, I’m sure that there are many examples of talents for other classes that are “must-have” across all three specs.  I’m holding my breath until the new talent trees are revealed to see how this plays out.


Real Names on Blizzard forums? just posted a link from Blizzard with a surprising piece of information.  Now that the RealID system is in place, the plan is that all posts on official Blizzard forums will show the real name of the poster.

I’ll be surious to see if they hold the line on this or back off.  I expect there to be a lot of backlash.

On one hand, people will be less likely to troll when their real name is attached to their obnoxious posts.

On the other hand, people who are concerned with internet privacy will most likely not post on the Blizzard forums at all.  If your name is attached to your posts, then people will see those posts by Googling your name.

Personally,  I like to keep my personal, professional, and gaming lives separate.  I have different email accounts for each aspect of my life, and I am careful to minimize overlap.  As a teacher, I’m not sure that I want my students to follow my doings in Azeroth.

Also, in the current information age we all know that businesses will Google the names of job applicants.  If you wouldn’t put your WoW accomplishments on your resume, then you probably don’t want a prospective employer to find out about that side of your life.

Facebook recently took a lot of flak when they made their information less private.  I am sure that Blizzard will face the same criticism.  I don’t post on the official forums very often, but with this in place I am even less likely to do so.


Are Glyph Prices really that high?

For the past few weeks I’ve been mass-producing glyphs and selling them on the AH, earning myself a few thousand gold per week.  Its easy and fun and keeps my wealth increasing without having to spend time on dull farming or repetitive dailies.

Recently, Gevlon at the Greedy Goblin and Marcko at Just My Two Copper have had a bit of a debate about the best methods for crafting and posting glyphs in order to maximize profit.

In reading their posts, that thing that jumps out at me are the prices!  Gevlon (who is a deep undercutter) has a minimum price of 7g before he will post a glyph.  Marcko, who is more choosy about his glyph sales, has a minimum sale price of 30g to craft a glyph.

That astounds me!  On my server, every glyph sells between 5-10g.  Before I was an inscriptionist, if I had to buy a glyph, and I saw it for more than 10g, I was likely to wait until the next day when it was sure to be listed for a cheaper price.  The only time you see glyphs on the AH for more than 10-15 g is when there is only one person posting, which only happens during off hours.

Herb prices on my server have remained below 12g per stack, which may contribute to the low prices.  I’m making profit posting glyphs for 2-8g each.

What are glyph prices on your server?


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)
July 2010
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