Archive for October, 2010


My Current Rogue Play Experience

I actually did some raiding on my rogue this weekend.  (not as much as I’d have liked… we need more tanks!)  I tried Subtlety for the first time since early Burning Crusade.  I also put Mutilate through its paces to look for changes.


Subtlety is way complicated to play.  Trying to balance three finishers (SnD, Recuperate, Rupture) is difficult even with both SnD and Rupture glyphed.  And that’s on a stationary target.  If you are target swapping it is nothing but frustrating.

Also, clearing trash in Sub spec was like chewing tinfoil.  Even with HaT popping up a combo point every 2 seconds, Sub seemed to generate points slower than my Mut spec.  The debuff from Hemo is nice but unnecessary if you have a feral druid to apply Mangle.  Backstab is almost impossible to use on trash due to the positional requirement.  I’d Shadowstep to get behind, and then the mob would move and I was out of position again.

On stationary fights, my Sub dps was somewhere around 1500-2000 less than what I’d expect to do with Mutilate.  I’ll be the first to say that a big part of that is probably my lack of practice with the spec.  Also, you need a very good timer mod to track both the debuffs (Rupture and Hemo) and the buffs (Recuperate and SnD) in an easily visibly way.   I didn’t have one, so my attack management was not optimal.

I’d say that at this time Sub is interesting and more challenging than Mutilate, but also I think it has lower maximum dps, even if played well.   There is no way I would play it in a 5-man instance or solo, because without all the crits fueling HaT the combo point generation would be super-slow.


Mutilate plays almost exactly the way it played before.  Mutilate-Mutilate-Envenom is almost all that you do on boss fights.  Throw in a Rupture every so often to keep that up.  Pop Vendetta on cooldown, preferably in conjunction with Heroism/Bloodlust.  (its funny that when Wrath came out, Mut was a very complicated spec to play, and now its so easy)

My first impression is that it feels… slower.  My energy regeneration seems slower.  I found myself often waiting for energy regen before I could use my next attack.  That created problems due to the new spell queueing system.

I’d be ready for my next Mutilate, autoattacking while waiting for energy to regen.  I’d spam my Mut key.. 11111111111 until the attack went off.  Surprise!  I had queued more than one attacke, so it did two consecutive Mutilates.  This caused some wasted combo points and definitely a hit on my dps.  I know in my head that I need to stop spamming keys, but years of muscle memory are hard to overcome.

In the end, my dps on Festergut in Assassination spec was pretty comparable to what it was before the patch.  It would have been a little higher, I think except (1) I had to bring spores out to ranged groups twice, (2) our raid makeup was horrible for melee dps buffs, and (3) I forgot to switch to Backstab at 35% to take advantage of Murderous Intent.  So if all had gone well I think my dps would have been a little higher than before.

My Vendetta-on-cooldown doesn’t feel like its as effective as the always-up Hunger for Blood was before.    Mathematically speaking, its not quite as effective as glyphed HfB pre-patch.  However, it should be close.  Even knowing that in my head, it didn’t feel close.

Maybe it felt ineffective because of how out-of-whack damage is right now.  The top of our damage meter was flooded with mages and ret paladins and feral druids.  There were players who are typically carried by our raids doing sub-par damage, but on this night they blew my dps out of the water.

As much as I hate to QQ, it was a little frustrating to finish in the bottom half of our dps when I had been at in the #1 spot on 99% of the fights we have done in Wrath.  I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t discouraging.  Still, I think I can do better, so I’ll keep refining things. and try try again.


Has this patch been a mistake by Blizzard?

By all appearances, World of Warcraft is still rolling along, with large number of subscribers.  Dalaran is laggy, which is no fun for us but is a sign that its filled with players.  Cataclysm is on the horizon.

And yet, I have a feeling that not all is well.  I have no scientific data for this, only anecdotes.  This is the third pre-expansion patch that I have experienced.  They always bring frustration and annoyance as add-ons break, abilities change, and mains become alts and alts become mains.  However, unlike past expansions, I don’t find that there is a corresponding sense of excitement as new shinys are introduced.  This feels different to than the previous pre-expansion patches.

In guild chat this weekend, here are some things I’ve heard.

Once person in my guild has played a hunter since vanilla WoW.  He said, “I just can’t motivate myself to log onto my hunter right now”

There is a druid in my guild who loves to heal so much that she never even got dual spec, sticking completely with resto for all of Wrath.  Her resto druid is her only level 80, also.  She decided to check out moonkin spec this weekend, not because she’s excited about the new Eclipse mechanic, but because she’s frustrated with resto.

There are an assortment of players in the guild who are less than thrilled with the state of their mains, and are exploring which alts they should switch to.


All of that is anecdote.  Now we get into speculation and hypothesis on my part.

I think that there are a number of factors at work here.

(1)  The two-year wait between expansions is finally wearing on people.

There are a lot of people out there who are bored with WoW.  Some of them have been playing since beta, which is more than 6 years now, and they are just plain worn out.  Others started playing in Wrath, but have been running ICC several times a week for nearly a year and are simply fed up with the repetition.  I think that some of these players have been hanging on, hoping that Cataclysm would revitalize their interest in the game.

Instead, what has happened is that they now need to re-learn their class.  Or maybe they are a ret paladin and they have watched in post-patch raids as mages and warlocks double or even triple their damage output.  I fear that for some this is the “last straw” and is the final factor in their decision to give in to their waning interest.

And don’t get me started on the druid tree form debacle.

These players were on the verge of quitting, anyway.  This might just give them the final nudge.

(2) Wrath was too easy, and players are spoiled.

As we all know from the QQ in Trade chat, blog posts, forums, etc.. Wrath was too easy.  Players who knew essentially nothing about their class could still muddle their way through raids.  Players who did know a lot about the game still didn’t have to work very hard at picking up a new class or spec.  Attack rotations were easy, mana unlimited, threat limitless.

Now, in the post-patch world, its all changed.  Rotations are not simple or obvious.  Tanks are having mobs pulled off of them.  Healers are finding it hard to keep tanks alive.  Raids are wiping on farm content.  Classes that once led the damage meters are falling behind.

The frustration that this has caused, on top of the buggy instances and add-on nightmares, are making the game very difficult to play.  Still, all of this has happened before.  So why is this different?

(3) The kicker is that Blizzard didn’t give us the fun that we got in previous pre-patch expansions.

Lets look at the previous expansions for comparison.

Vanilla -> Burning Crusade:  In the pre-expansion patch 2.01, talent trees grew from 31 point to 41 points.  New spells and abilities were added.  Players respecced into their 41-point talents right away, which tended to make them overpowered for current content.  Most classes got significant overhauls, but most of them were improvements over previously existing flaws.  It was the first expansion, so it had a sense of novelty to it.  Much fun was had playing with new abilities.  The fun distracted us from the frustration.

Burning Crusade -> Wrath:  In the pre-expansion patch 3.02 talent trees grew from 41-point to 51 points.  New spells and abilities were added.  Players respecced into their 51-point talents right away, which tended to make them overpowered for current content.  Also, existing raid bosses were nerfed which allowed guilds to run content that was previously out-of-reach for them.  Much fun was had blowing through Black Temple and Tempest Keep in advance of new content.  The fun distracted us from the frustration.

Wrath -> Cataclysm: In the pre-expansion patch 4.01 talent trees were reduced from 51 points to 31 points.  Some new abilities and spells were added.  Players respecced, but found that it didn’t make them any more powerful than before, and in some cases less powerful.  Existing raid bosses are not changed (although Chill of the Throne was removed) so we’re still playing the same content at essentially the same difficulty as before.


And there is where I think Blizzard messed up.  They didn’t give us anything all that exciting to balance the frustration of relearning our class.  All we got were mostly lateral changes, with not a whole lot to get jazzed about.

What motivation do players have to re-learn their class?  Are they going to study Elitist Jerks and pore over talent trees and reforging options just to go kill Marrowgar for the 200th time?  Once the expansion is here, we’ll learn our classes through the leveling process.  We’ve just got to hold on until that point.

Sorry, Blizzard.  This patch hasn’t excited us.  You’ve got a month and a half of damage control to do now.  You need to find a way to hold onto people’s interest until Cataclysm gets here.


WoW post-patch first observations

Yesterday (patch day) was, as expected, an all-day affair.  Servers came up around 8:00 local time and I was online by 9.  That gave me three hours to play.

My first task was making the game stable.  My add-ons were borked, of course, and I crashed repeatedly.  I eventually had to shut most of them off.  Dalaran was incredibly laggy for me (again, as expected) and I had trouble even crafting the new glyphs at the trainer in Dalaran.

QuickAuctions3 with the new modification managed to work, so I was able to post a lot of glyphs.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of other scribes who haven’t gotten the memo about the glyph changes, and they are still posting at pre-patch prices.  I’m going to have to wait until their stock is gone and hope that there’s still enough market left for me and the other big glyph sellers.  Or, I’ll buy them out and resell at a higher price.  I did sell 2500g worth of glyphs in the first few hours.

I checked out the new Guild UI.  Looks nice, although somewhat sprawling.  Before, the little functionality that it had was compressed into a single Guild Control pane.  Now its spread out over several panes.  Its easier to use, though.

I was all ready to add an Authenticator requirement to our officer rank.  However, it won’t let me do that while someone is in that rank.  I’m going to have to demote all of the officers to a different rank, add the authenticator requirement, and then re-promote them.   =/

I do like the fact that you can see the crafting recipes of everyone in the guild.  That’s only moderately helpful now, because a lot of crafters have most of the recipes right now.  It will be very helpful in Cataclysm as we are learning a lot of new patterns.

After messing with those features, I switched over to my rogue.  I ported to Darnassus which was, as usual, deserted.  I visited the trainer and picked up my new/changed abilities such as Recuperate and Leather Specialization and Mastery.  I expect a lot of players will forget to visit the trainers, and so they will be missing their Mastery bonuses from not learning the ability.

I did my new spec, and then flew out to kill some stuff.

The new Mutilate spec played exactly like the old spec.  Sure, I could have used Recuperate if I wanted to, but at the current state of the game we don’t need that when soloing.  The only difference is using Vendetta as an occasional cooldown instead of keeping Hunger for Blood up 100% of the time.

I’m not sure if this makes me happy or sad.  As I listen to my hunter and paladin friends lament about having to relearn their class, I think to myself “that’s fun!”   I wish I had more new stuff to learn.  I’ll have to try Subtlety to give myself a little challenge.

I’ll have to see how the class changes play out in a raid environment.  I hope to raid this weekend, but due to guild needs I may have to tank on my paladin instead of test-drive the rogue.  At the very least, I’ll run some heroics in Assassination, Combat, and Subtlety spec and see how they do.

Also still left to do: reforging, learning my paladin and priest, figuring out the best glyphs and gems


Summary of Rogue changes in patch 4.0

I’ve made a few posts about various changes that we’re seeing in the patch.  However, judging by the search terms that people are using to find the site, what is really needed is one overall summary.

So here that is…



What has not changed for Rogues in Patch 4.0…

In practical terms, there are not a whole heck of a lot of big changes.  We still use energy as our resource.  We still attack from behind.  We still use poisons.  We still want to be over the poison hit cap, and preferably expertise-capped.  I expect that playing a rogue will feel pretty similar to the way it did before the patch.

That’s because we were already perfect.

Combat rogues are still going to use their swords, manage their cooldowns (Blade Flurry, Adrenaline Rush, and Killing Spree).  Most of their attacks will be Sinister Strike and Eviscerate.

Mutilate rogues are still going to use Mutilate and Envenom more than anything else.

There still won’t be enough Subtlety rogues out there.



What has changed for Rogues in Patch 4.0…

We will have slightly different attack rotations.  Rupture will be used by all three specs.

We might want to get used to using Recuperate in our rotation.  While you may not need it now, it will be very useful once the Cataclysm happens.

New specs, of course.  Making a new spec is easy.  Go through your talent tree of choice, taking all of the talents that have an obvious impact on a damage ability that you use often.  Once or twice you will get stuck having too few points to go to the next tier.  When that happens, go back and add a couple of filler points that you like.  When you have 31 points in your tree, put the rest in either Lethality, Precision, or Relentless Strikes (whichever two don’t already have points).

Armor penetration is gone, as is Attack Power as a stat on our gear.  Agility is our big stat now.



Be More Specific!

Assassination rogues

Try this spec on for size.

Attack rotation: Get combo points and start SnD.  Mutilate until you have either 4 or 5 combo points.  Rupture.  If there is already Rupture and its not about to run out, then Envenom.  Repeat.  Switch to Backstab when the target is below 35% health.  Pop Vendetta during heroism or with Potion of Speed for a damage boost.

You probably want the glyphs of Mutilate, Backstab, and maybe Rupture or Vendetta.



Combat Rogues

Try this spec.

Attack rotation:  Get combo points and start SnD.  Sinister Strike to build combo points.  Rupture is your priority finisher, or Eviscerate if Rupture is up and still has enough duration remaining.  Use Revealing Strike as your last combo point builder right before your finisher to give a 20% boost to the damage of the finisher.  Combine cooldowns to get burst dps.  Keep in mind that Blade Flurry no longer gives haste, so it is useless on single-target fights.

Most likely useful glyphs are Sinister Strike, Rupture, and maybe Adrenaline Rush.



Subtlety Rogues

Try this spec.  Use daggers.

Attack rotation: Use Hemo once to get the debuff going.  Make sure you use it once every minute to keep the debuff up.  Start SnD.  You will be getting combo points from Honor Among Thieves.  Use Backstab to generate more combo points if you are not getting enough.  Keep SnD up.  Keep Recuperate up for the energy return.  Get Rupture going, and then hit lots of Eviscerates to refresh Rupture with Serrated Blades.  (yes, that’s three finishers – SnD, Recuperate, Evisc – that you have to rotate through).  Use Shadow Dance and spam Ambush for a damage boost when you have trinket procs or other +AP effects.

Glyphs are probably Backstab, Rupture, and maybe Shadow Dance or SnD



What else is important to know?

Hit rating conversions have changed.  See this post for new caps.

Reforging allows you to tweak your gear.  Haste is probably better than crit for all specs.  Socket gems with agi/haste and agi/hit, making sure to match socket bonuses.

Mastery is nice, but don’t go crazy reforging all your stuff to get Mastery Rating just because its new and shiny.  The conversion at level 80 is 45.906 Mastery Rating = 1 point of Mastery. So you have to get a bunch of Mastery Rating to see a significant effect.

  • Assassination Mastery is Potent Poisons:  Increases the damage done by your poisons by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 2.5%.
  • Combat Mastery is Main Gauche: Your main hand attacks have a 10% chance to grant you an extra off hand attack. Each point of Mastery increases the chance by an additional 1.25%.
  • Subtlety Mastery is Executioner: Increases the damage done by all your finishing moves by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 2.5%.

That’s about it for rogue-specific changes.  Now go forth and dominate the meters again!


First thing I’m going to do when I log on is…


/leave Trade



Hit Rating Change in patch 4.0

If you need a refresher on how hit rating works, go read my full-length mathy post about it from back in 2008.  Its changing now, somewhat.

First of all, the Precision talent is changing.  Currently it gives +1% hit chance per talent point, up to +5% total.  After the patch, Precision gives +2% hit chance per talent point, up to three points or +6%.  Also, due to the condensed talent system, not every rogue will have Precision fully talented.

Second, the conversion between melee hit rating and +hit % is changing.

Melee hit chance:

  • Wrath: for level 80, 32.77 hit rating = +1% hit chance
  • Cataclysm: for level 80: 30.76 hit rating = +1% hit chance (from Whitetooth at Elitist Jerks)

The spell hit conversion has not changed at all.

So, here is the end effect.  Assuming that we’ll all have more than enough hit rating to beat the specials soft cap, then all that matters is the poisons soft cap and the white attack hard cap.

The poisons soft cap is as follows:

  • if you have 3/3 in Precision, then its 289
  • if you have 2/3 in Precision, then its 341
  • if you have 1/3 in Precision then its 394
  • if you have no points in Precision then its 446

Remember that you can go over the poison cap and it still is a benefit to your dps, but not as much as it was when you were below the poisons cap.

If you have managed to load up with tons of +hit gear and you are closing in on the white attack hard cap, then these are the values to watch for.

  • if you have 3/3 in Precision, then its 646
  • if you have 2/3 in Precision, then its 707
  • if you have 1/3 in Precision then its 769
  • if you have no points in Precision then its 830

Remember that hit rating has no value at all if you happen to get above the white attack hit cap, because you have already eliminated any chance to miss.


Rogue Builds in Patch 4.0: Subtlety

Since the pre-Cataclysm patch is imminent, I think that it’s safe to treat the talent trees as fairly complete.  There should only be tweaks from here on out, rather than wholesale changes.  That means that its time to start looking at talent builds.

I haven’t played Subtlety since the early days of Burning Crusade.  Therefore, I’m not going to try and work out varying specs for different situations.  I will almost certainly give Sub a try during the two months between patch 4.0 and Cataclysm.  Here’s what I’ll likely do:

  • 3/3 Imp Ambush
  • 3/3 Relentless Strikes
  • 2/2 Initiative
  • 3/3 Opportunity
  • 2/2 Find Weakness
  • 1/1 Hemorrhage
  • 3/3 Energetic Recovery
  • 1/1 Premeditation
  • 3/3 Honor Among Thieves
  • 1/1 Preparation
  • 2/2 Sanguinary Vein
  • I need 1 more talent point to open up the next tier, so for PvE I’ll go with 1/1 Enveloping Shadows
  • 3/3 Slaughter from the Shadows
  • 2/2 Serrated Blades
  • 1/1 Shadow Dance

That opens up the other trees for me.  I only have 5 points left to spend.  So I’ll divide my points between 3/3 Lethality and 2/3 Precision.  It should end up looking like this.

When fighting with this build, you’ll want to keep the Hemo debuff on the target.  It lasts a minute now, so you can use Backstab as your main combo point generator.  Keep Recuperate up for the energy return from Energetic Recovery.  Also Rupture once, and then use Eviscerate to refresh Rupture for you through Serrated Blades.

All this is subject to change as new theorycrafting reveals nice synergies between talents.  Or myabe I’ll just change my mind.


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)
October 2010
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