Archive for December, 2012


Latest Patch 5.2 PTR Rogue Changes

The problem with datamined information is that it has a short shelf life.  Only 4 days ago I posted a summary of some datamined rogue changes coming in patch 5.2.  Well the patch information has hit the PTR and already some of what I posted is changed.

I’m not sure if its even worth posting, because its likely to change again.  However, here goes… (pulled from MMO-Champion)

  • Preparation is now a baseline ability learned at level 68.
  • Versatility has been removed.
  • New Level 90 Talent: Marked for Death

    • Marks a target and instantly generates 5 combo points. When that target dies, Marked for Death’s cooldown is reset. This talent has a 1 minute cooldown.
  • New Level 60 Talent: Cloak and Dagger
    • AmbushGarrote, and Cheap Shot now have a 30 yard range, and will cause the Rogue to teleport behind the target.
  • Burst of Speed now costs 30 Energy (was 50 Energy), can be used in Stealth, and always grants increased movement speed in addition to breaking snare effects, but no longer breaks root effects.
  • Shuriken Toss now causes the Rogue to Throw shuriken instead of autoattacking for 10 seconds after Shuriken Toss is used.
  • Deadly Throw can now interrupt spellcasting when used at 3, 4, and 5 combo points, and upon interrupt prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 4, 5 and 6 seconds respectively (was 5 combo points and 6 seconds).
  • Nerve Strike now reduces the effectiveness of healing provided by the target by 25%.
  • Shadow Focus now reduces ability energy costs by 75% while stealthed (was 100%).
  • PvP set bonuses have been changed:

    • Vigor is now the 4 piece set bonus and increases maximum energy by 50 (was 10).
    • Deadly Brew is now the 2 piece set bonus, and its effects remain unchanged.
  • Combat

  • Subtlety
    • Sanguinary Vein now increases the damage the target takes by 20% (was 16%).

Marked for Death is still there and still exciting.  The Blade Flurry nerf is still there, as are the changes to our ranged attacks with Shuriken Toss and Deadly Throw.  Preparation is being moved, as mentioned before.

The noticeable change is to the 4th tier talent.  Cloak and Dagger as it now appears on the PTR is much less interesting than the previous version I had posted about.  Now it basically just wraps Shadowstep into your opener from stealth.  Since we still have Shadowstep as a baseline ability, I’m not sure what we gain from this.  One less keystroke?  Will anyone choose this talent over Preparation?


Datamined Rogue changes in patch 5.2

We all know about the current lackluster state of rogues.  Blizzard has recognized it and dataminers have pulled out some changes to the rogue class that should hit the PTR when it comes online.  Most of the changes are buffs, and they are being tested for inclusion in the next patch.

Before I list the changes, I’ll start by saying that there are no apparent changes to our energy regeneration.  That has been the biggest complaint by rogues since MoP launched.    It looks like Blizzard is trying to compensate by giving us faster ramp-up time and better mobility, but I think that with slow energy regeneration the class will still feel clumsy.

With that out of the way, here’s what we’re seeing in the PTR data:

First, one problem being solved is the Preparation vs Shadowstep issue.  Since MoP put them on the same tier of talents, many rogues have complained at the need to choose between them.  In the PTR data, Preparation has been made into a baseline ability learned at level 68 by all rogues.

There are two new talents that have been found in the data.

One is Hit and Run.  It allows us to teleport to a targeted location.  Then we will quickly teleport back to our original spot by hitting the skill again, or we will automatically be teleported back after 10 seconds.  This is a nice mobility talent.  It will help on those fights where you have to run-out-then-run-back-in.  I’m always jealous of ranged dps  on those fights.    (side note: these type of abilities are hard on people who run with their keyboard, since you’ll certainly have to use the mouse to target the teleport)

Since Hit and Run is a mobility talent, it will likely replace Preparation on our 4th talent tier.

The second, which really sounds useful, is Marked for Death – a level 90 talent  This ability instantly gives us 5 combo points on our target.  More importantly, it resets when that target dies.  Its similar to our old Premeditation talent, but stronger.

This talent serves two purposes.  In raids, it significantly reduces our ramp-up time.  We can get a 5-CP SnD, Rupture, or Envenom (depending on spec) up in the first moment of the fight.  When soloing or in small group content, it allows us to hit hard on our first attack, instead of building up combo points just in time for the target to die.  Since the ability resets at the targets death, we can use it over and over when soloing or killing trash mobs.

In other changes, Deadly Throw will interrupt spellcasts with at least 3 combo points instead of 5.  More combo points means longer duration on the interrupt.  As another change to our ranged toolkit, when we attack from at least 10 yards with Shuriken Toss, the Shuriken Toss damage is doubled and all of our auto-attacks will become shuriken throws for 10 seconds.  That’s interesting, and adds a small amount of auto-attack damage when we are forced out of melee range.

If all that sounds great, there are some nerfs as well.  The big one is that Blade Flurry’s cleave damage is reduced from 100% of normal damage to 25%.  Sorry to my Combat  bretheren.  The main reason to play Combat has been for multi-target cleave fights.  I’m not sure how Combat damage will compare if this change goes live.  Will it bring Combat “back to the pack” or will it crush the playability of the spec?

There are other, smaller changes in the mix which I won’t detail here.  If they make it through the PTR testing process I’ll worry about them then.

Remember: all of this is not even on the PTR, and will have to go through playtesting  before it goes live.  None of this is set in stone.  I’m still hoping that we get some love for our energy regeneration, because without it I’m not sure that any of these changes are a big enough draw to pull players back to the rogue class.



Two and a half months into the expansion, I finally ran LFR for the first time.  I ran on my resto druid because that is who I am raiding on, currently.  Just did the first three bosses in Mogu’shan Vaults.

It is a cakewalk, but not a total faceroll because a lot of people don’t know the fights.  Our LFR group didn’t explain the fights to anyone.  The tanks just ran up and pulled.  For the first fight, that was not a problem.  Everyone can clearly see stuff not to stand in.  On the second fight, it was a little tougher as people didn’t know what to do when they got the fire debuff.  The third boss actually caused a wipe, as no one knew to go into the spirit realm.

My druid healing is not great these days.  The priest and paladin in the raid totally blew away my healing numbers.  I can’t tell if its me or the class – I’ve heard people saying that druid healers are not too effective right now.

The loot system was disappointing.  On all three fights, all I got was a bag of gold.  I would prefer to see what dropped so I had some sense of closure on the boss.  That’s the way boss fights go – we show up, we do our thing for five minutes, then the boss dies and there is epic loot.  Without the loot at the end, it seems so anticlimactic.

So I got nothing from my run, and I didn’t see what other people got.  This does not inspire me with excitement to go back again.  I guess I will, but not with any real excitement.


So Much Left To Do

When MoP released, I had a lot of free time and I played quite a bit.  As the weeks have passed, I’ve found myself with less and less available playtime.  As such, I have had to pick and choose what parts of the game I would focus on.

Two and a half months after release, I’m surprised at how little I have done in the game.  Blizzard wasn’t kidding when they gave us a lot of options to keep us busy.

What I have done:

  • leveled two characters to 90
  • got my main to Revered with Klaxxi and Golden Lotus
  • got to Exalted with the Tillers
  • maxed professions on most of my characters
  • ran heroics on my two 90s until I was geared enough to start raiding on both characters
  • Gotten to Rank 2 in the Brawler’s Guild
  • made a lot of gold on the auction house

What I have not done:

  • made a Pandaren character
  • tried a monk
  • worked on August Celestials or Shado-Pan factions
  • worked on the new dailies introduced in the last patch
  • any dailies at all on my alt
  • pet battles (my highest level pet is 10)
  • Cloud Serpent rep
  • Lorewalker rep
  • killed rare elites in Pandaria
  • any LFR at all

I prefer not to do LFR until I have experienced the fights with my regular raid group.  That’s a choice I make for my own personal enjoyment of the game.  However, I think I might have to forego that philosophy in order to gear up, since we’re progressing very slowly.

It was leveling the 2nd character that really cut into my playtime.  I had intended on doing all of the factions and achievements and such to completion on my rogue main.  When our raid team came up short a healer, I had to devote a lot of time to leveling and gearing my resto druid alt.  That cut into my time for all the optional activities.

All along I have said that that I was in no rush.  I expect there to be long periods of downtime in the game where I have nothing to do, and during those times I can catch up on factions and pets etc..  However, content has been coming out faster than I expected.  Can Blizzard keep this up?  If so, then I may not get caught up until the end of the MoP cycle.  Hopefully I’ll have playtime during the holidays to make a dent in that “to do” list.


Where are Rogues Going?

Matthew Rossi at WoWInsider has written an article based off of some number crunching by Cynwise at Cynwise’s Warcraft Manual.  He analyzes the distributions of the classes and how they have changed over the past two expansions.

(Image taken directly from Cynwise’s Google Docs):

Warcraft population data indicates Rogue decline

Note the precipitous decline in Rogues since the release of Mists.  The WoWInsider article and the comments that follow do some speculation about the causes of this.

As a long-time rogue player (PvE only) and blogger, I’d like to offer my thoughts.

  • Monks.  Obviously, a lot of people rerolled to the new class at MoP release.  A lot of those players then went back to their mains after getting used to the monk.  I would speculate that monks took a bigger chunk out of rogue players than other classes.  The reason is that monks play a lot like rogues, but with better resource management and more interesting abilities.  In particular, monk AoE is more compelling than rogue AoE these days.  I have heard from a lot of people that monks are what rogues would be if rogues had been redesigned.

and that brings me to the second point…

  • Sameness.  For a long time, the Blizzard developers have implied that they really liked the rogue design.  Rogues have received the fewest tweaks over the past few expansions.  I have grown used to looking at patch notes and seeing nothing listed for rogues.  At first, that was a point of pride – we didn’t need adjustments or tweaks because we were already damned-near perfect.  However, over the years we have seen other classes get changed and buffed, gain new abilities and grow.  Rogues today are essentially the same as they have been since Wrath.  There are subtle differences, but our main mechanics are almost unchanged.  This can easily become boring, and when we hear that warlocks or monks or the other flavor-of-the-month classes are a lot of fun, the draw to switch classes can be strong.

and finally…

  • Decreased energy regeneration.  At the surface, this seems like such a small adjustment in our class mechanics.  In reality, it has completely changed the way the class plays.  In Wrath and Cata we were whirling dervishes of death, attacking with a ceaseless stream of stabs and slashes.  The class played frantically with almost no downtime.  Now, in MoP, we have these comparatively massive pauses in between attacks while we wait for energy.  The class no longer feels like a rogue.  When you combine this with the interesting mechanics of the new monk class…  yeah.

I’ll also concede that there may be some sour grapes among rogue players.  For the past two expansions, rogues sat easily at or near the top of damage meters in a lot of raid boss parses, and it took very little effort to reach those lofty damage totals.  When you’re used to being at the top, it might be hard to adjust to the new paradigm where we are middle-of-the-pack.  I’m certain that there are some rogues who have fled to a DK or mage or warlock since they are the top of the dps heap these days.

I don’t PvP, so I can’t speculate on how the changes to the rogue class have impacted that side of the game.

What can be done?

It’s long past time to redesign rogues.  I still think that rogues are very well designed mechanically, but a redesign would create buzz and interest and bring some wayward rogues back into the fold.

In that redesign, I think rogues should get additional mechanics linked to stealth.  Also, stealth should be a more integral part of combat rather than just a way to get an opener at the start and after a Vanish.

I think that it is imperative that the class returns to its frantic non-stop attack playstyle.  We’re not warriors or ret paladins, so it shouldn’t feel like we’re playing those classes.

I’d like to see Slice and Dice folded into other abilities, and free up those combo points for other more interesting purposes.  Assassination already does this, allowing SnD to refresh with every Envenom.

Rogues need more interesting and effective AoE.  Blade Flurry is too limited, and Fan of Knives too energy intensive with our current energy regen rate.  The idea of using FoK to build up combo points for a Crimson Tempest was a good thought, but in practice this is too slow to be an effective AoE rotation.  Every time we’re in a heroic instance and do a group pull and see a warrior or monk more than double our dps, it’s just a bit more demoralizing than the last time.




A Rogue in the Brawler’s Guild

fight-clubLast week I was debating whether or not to bid on an invitation to the Brawler’s Guild.  As part of my decision, I spent some time in the Brawler’s arena watching and listening.  I was worried that the awful trolls would heap scorn and abuse on those who failed in their fights.  That’s not at all what I found.  The majority of people were supportive.  They were forming raid groups to share buffs.  They congratulated each other on victories.  I was sold.  I waited a few days until I could get an invite for under $25k, and then I bought one.

I’m going through this gradually.  I figure out one or two fights each time I go to brawl.  I’m not looking at kill videos or strategy guides in advance.  What’s the point of that?  This isn’t group content, where my mistake causes 9 (or 24) other people to have repair bills.  Its just me.  I’m in no rush, and I’ll figure it out as I go.  If there is a mechanic that I cannot figure out, then I’ll do a little research.

However, some of you might be interested to hear about my experiences, so I’ll share some advice about the fights here.  I’ll only include what I have seen first-hand.  As I get through more fights, I’ll add to the post.


Gear: right now, I’m way undergeared.  My iLvL is 468.  I have yet to set foot into a raid – not even LFR, so no I have no raid gear.  I’m still using a green helmet and a green off-hand dagger.

Spec: I am sure that either Combat or Assassination would work here.  Since most fights are single-target, I’m going with Assassination.  I’m not sure how well Subtlety would work.  I know that Sub has been a great single-target dps spec lately, but you won’t be behind the targets so you can’t backstab.

Talents and Glyphs:  I switched some things around for this activity.  My Recuperate ability in Mutilate spec wasn’t healing me as much as I had hoped, so I added Glyph of Recuperate.  That plus Leeching Poison helps a lot, but I still needed to keep my defensive abilities handy.  I made sure that I was specced into Combat Readiness.  Preparation is probably more useful than Shadowstep on these fights since it resets your key defensive abilities – Cloak , Evasion, and Dismantle.  You’ll use those a lot.

NOTE ON VANISH:  I learned this the hard way.  Using Vanish ends the fight.  I have done it several times just out of habit.  My Kidney Shot is on cooldown, so I figure that I will Vanish and Cheap Shot.  Nope.  When I vanish, the fight is over.

Stats – there is a guy sitting at the bar who keeps stats on all of the fights.  When you talk to him, he lists each fight and the wins-losses of the fighter.  If your opponent has fewer wins than losses then you can expect he’s not too tough, because most people beat him on their first attempt.  If he has more wins than losses, then most people are taking multiple tries to get past him.


I start each fight by popping Vendetta + Shadow Blades + Brawler’s Deftness Potion right away.

Bruce:  This fight is easy.  Bruce does melee attacks, but your self heals along with defensive abilities will make that almost a non-issue.  Most importantly – he casts Chomp Chomp.  Make sure that you are not in front of him when he is done.  I had a hard time running straight through him (he’s very large), but I was successful when I ran sideways.  He does not turn to follow you once he starts the cast.  He is stunnable (like most of the fights in the Brawler’s Guild).

Vlad the Volatile: I just went all-out dps on this fight.  He throws around a lot of fire stuff.  I moved away from the fire lines on the ground and tried to avoid as many fireballs as I could.  Cloak of Shadows is your friend here – especially with Preparation so you can use it twice.

Goredome: Another pretty simple fight.  He charges, and before he charges it highlights the area on the ground where he’s going to charge.  Make sure that you are not there.  Its just like killing the mushan in Pandaria, really.  Evasion helps for his normal melee attacks.

Dungeon Master Vishas: He has one fire attack that hurts a lot – Heated Pokers.  He casts it and it gives himself a buff.  The cast can be interrupted, or he can be stunned until that buff wears off.  Or, since it is fire damage, you can use Cloak to mitigate it.  Our toolkit gives us a lot of methods to deal with him.

Dippy: This is the first fight that forced me to do research online to figure it out.  Dippy has a melee attack called Peck.  It will one-shot you.  The key to the fight is to never let him use it.  (I felt like an idiot the first few times I tried the fight and died in less than 3 seconds).  Dippy’s attacks are interrupted if he takes any damage at all.  There are two ways to win: either stay at range at all times, or make sure that he is constantly taking damage so he never gets an attack off.  I had no luck with keeping him interrupted, so I went with the “ranged rogue” approach.  I specced into Deadly Throw and Shuriken Toss, and I just stayed at range throwing knives at him.  When he got close, I’d Sprint and run, hitting Fan of Knives as I went.

Kirrawk: This fight was really simple.  First, with Vendetta + Shadow Blades running, I think he was down to less than half health before he even got to use his main mechanic.  I used Cloak to mitigate some of his lightning bolts and interrupted his other big spells.  His big mechanic is a tornado that he summons.  Make sure that you move so that it hits the boss rather than you.  Kirrawk will go up in the air and you get a couple of seconds to bandage or let Recuperate tick before he comes back down.

Next up: Fran & Riddoh


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)
December 2012
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