Archive for the 'Rogue' Category


Beta Day 2

Finally got a chance to check back in on the beta.

I made it through the intro scenario.  Success!  It was interesting – mostly a zergfest of continuous combat.  As I was running at about 3 fps, and also hadn’t hotkeyed all of my abilities, I didn’t do a whole lot of damage and I died a lot.  Broke all my armor, in fact, before the end of the scenario.  I’m looking forward to seeing this scenario again when the game is live so I am on my own character and I have a better computer.

I made it as far as finding my way to my Class Hall.  I won’t spoil it, but it was neat.  I have the quest to get my artifact weapon.  Then… bugs. The NPC I have to kill to advance the questline is missing.  So I am at a standstill until it is fixed.

All in all, doing some fresh questing was a welcome change from standing in my garrison.


Rogue Talents Datamined – Subtlety

Disclaimer: datamining is unreliable.  Nothing here is certain to make it live.

Disclaimer: these talents, even datamined, may not be in their right place in the talent tree.

First, it must be said that Subtlety Rogues have new baseline abilities.  This is important to set out first because many of the talents modify them.

Shadowstrike – Appear behind your target and attack.  Awards two combo points.  This will replace Ambush and Shadowstep.  Requires stealth.

Shuriken Toss – Formerly a talent, now a Subtlety baseline attack from range. Awards one combo point.

Nightblade – melee finishing move that does Shadow damage and reduces movement speed by 50%

Now that that is out of the way, let look at what the dataminers have found in the Legion beta files.

Subtlety Talents:

With the removal of Honor Among Thieves, the combo point generation will be very different for Sub rogues.  The new baseline ability Shadow Techniques gives a chance to proc combo points from autoattacks.  That will replace HoT.

Eleven out of twenty-one of our old talents have been removed for Outlaw spec.  Here are the new talents that replace them:

New Talents

  • Master of Subtlety – its back!  Attacks made from stealth and for 10 seconds after cause 10% additional damage.
  • Weaponmaster – Your attacks have a chance to hit the target twice each tie they deal damage
  • Gloomblade – basic attack, replaces Backstab.  Does shadow damage, awards one combo point.  No positional preference.

One interesting aspect of Subtlety rogues is how much of their damage is being shifted from physical to shadow.  If they use the Gloomblade talent and also use Nightblade as the finisher, then only their autoattacks are doing physical damage.

  • Deeper Strategem – can gain up to 6 combo points, and finishers can use up to 6 combo points
  • Acrobatic Strikes – increases the range of your melee attacks by 3 yards
  • Into the Fray – increases your movement speed at all times by 15%
  • Deeper Strategem – you may now have up to 6 combo points and finishing moves can cosume up to 6 combo points
  • Vigor – increases maximum energy by 50 and base energy regeneration rate by 10%
  • Soothing Darkness – Heal 3% of your life every second while you stay in stealth
  • Strike From the Shadows – Your Shadowstrikes also stun the target for 2 seconds.

Strike From the Shadows is interesting.  It turns Shadowstrike into a combination of Shadowstep, Ambush, and Cheap Shot all in one.

  • Tangled Shadow – Nightblade now reduces target movement speed by an additional 20%
  • Premeditation – Cheap Shot and Shadowstrike generate 1 additional combo point
  • Alacrity – Finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to grant 1% haste for 20 seconds.  Stacks up to 25 times.
  • Expanded Technique – your combo point generators now have a chance to trigger Shadow Techniques

Expanded Technique should just be built into a baseline ability.  Otherwise it is dull.

  • Relentless Strikes – you gain an additional 40 energy when you enter stealth

Also, rogues gain a baseline ability called Master of Shadows at level 54 that provides 60 energy when you enter stealth.  Thus, if Relentless Strike is chosen as a talent you would get 100 energy.

I can’t really get a mental feel for this spec.changes to this spec.  It clearly intends for you to jump in and out of stealth as often as possible, which is interesting.  Not sure about the interplay of all the talents and new abilities.  I’ll be sure to try it if I get into the beta.


Rogue Talents Datamined – Outlaw

Disclaimer: datamining is unreliable.  Nothing here is certain to make it live.

Disclaimer: these talents, even datamined, may not be in their right place in the talent tree.

First, it must be said that Outlaw Rogues have several new baseline abilities.  This is important to set out first because many of the talents modify them.

Saber Slash – grants 1 combo point, has a 35% chance to strike an additional time, giving another cobo point and making your next Pistol Shot free.

Pistol Shot – Draw a pistol and fire a shot at your opponent.  Gives 1 combo point and reduces the target’s movement speed.

Run Through – melee finishing move

Between the Eyes – Pistol finishing move, 20 yard range

Now that that is out of the way, let look at what the dataminers have found in the Legion beta files.

Outlaw Talents:

Wow!  Fourteen out of twenty-one of our old talents have been removed for Outlaw spec.  Here are the new talents that replace them:

New Talents

  • Ghostly Strike – basic attack with your cursed weapon, awards 1 combo point, causes target to take 10% increased damage from your abilities for 15 seconds
  • Swordmaster – Saber Slash has an additional 15% chance to proc an additional free Saber Slash
  • Quick Draw – Free uses of Pistol Shot granted by Saber Slash now generate 1 combo point and do 50% more damage

Outlaw rogues will have to choose a preferred attack rotation.  Are you strictly sword/melee?  Then Saber Slash + swordmaster sounds good.  Want to weave in pistols?  Go with Saber Slash and Quick Draw.  Want to be a more ninja style?  Then Ghostly Strike can replace Saber Slash as your combo point generator.

  • Grappling Hook – pull yourself to your target
  • Acrobatic Strikes – increases the range of your melee attacks by 3 yards
  • Into the Fray – increases your movement speed at all times by 15%
  • Deeper Strategem – you may now have up to 6 combo points and finishing moves can cosume up to 6 combo points
  • Vigor – increases maximum energy by 50 and base energy regeneration rate by 10%
  • Iron Stomach – increases your healing from health potions, healthstones, and Crimson Vial by 30%
  • Parley – pacifies the target, who is forced to negotiate instead of fighting for 60 seconds.  Only works on humanoids, dragonkin, and demons.  Breaks on damage.

Parley sounds neat, and clearly invokes the Johnny Depp character from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  That said, I predict that no one will take this talent and it doesn’t make it to live.

  • Cannonball Barrage – Command a ghost ship crew to barrage an area with cannonballs, doing damage over 8 seconds and slowing enemies
  • Alacrity – Finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to grant 1% haste for 20 seconds.  Stacks up to 25 times.

I don’t get the Alacrity as written.  If it only lasts 20 seconds, there is no way to stack it 25 times, unless each new application also extends the duration of previous applications.  If that is the case, then as long as you use a 5-point finisher once every 20 seconds, you will eventually have +25% haste.

  • Killing Spree – no longer a baseline ability, now a talent (gasp!).

I think that moving Killing Spree to a talent is a good idea.  Lots of rogues get frustrated when the mechanics of a fight prevent the use of Killing Spree, or make it buggy.  This way you can spec out of it for those fights.

  • Roll the Bones – a finishing move that provides a random combat enhancement.  Number of combo points determine the duration.

We know that, as much fun as an ability looks, players typically hate randomness.  Theorycrafters won’t be able to accurately assess the strength of this talent since it has random effects.  Therefore, I predict that no raiders choose this talent and it doesn’t make it to live in this form.

BIG changes to this spec.  It looks fun, but it also seems like it will have a lot of tweaking before it is finished.


Rogue redesign in Legion

I’m not sure how long it would take me to get used to not using poisons.  I’ve used them since vanilla, going back to when we had to craft them ourselves.  They are second nature to me.  Fortunately, I typically play an Assassination rogue, and they are keeping poisons.

Here’s the quick recap:

Assassination rogues

No huge changes for assassination rogues.  No word in today’s preview about AoE.

  • Still use poisons
  • Still use rupture, garrote, mutilate, envenom
  • Seal Fate can now proc off of each hand with mutilate.  That means that  a single mutilate could potentially award 4 combo points on a double-crit
  • Venomous Wounds gives energy
  • Mastery increases poison damage

Combat Outlaw Rogue

The spec has been renamed and redesigned to embody more of a bandit/swashbuckler/pirate type.  Seems like it will play similarly to how combat plays now, but with a couple of neat new attacks.

  • Stealth de-emphasized.  Ambush is the only opener.
  • No poisons.
  • Still uses Slice and Dice, Combat Potency, Ruthlessness, Adrenaline Rush, Blade Flurry
  • Saber Slash replaces Sinister Strike.  35% chance to proc an additional attack, ad an extra combo point, and make the next Pistol Shot free
  • Pistol Shot – draw a concealed pistol. 20 yard range, slows movement.
  • Lunge Through = finisher
  • Mastery = Main Gauche

Subtlety Rogue

Emphasizing stealth.  Multiple ways of returning to stealth during a fight to re-open.  No poisons, but now can apply shadow DoT.

  • No poisons.
  • Shadowstrike – opener combines Shadowstep and Ambush.  Teleport and attack from behind.
  • Backstab no longer requires you to be behind the target, but grants a 30% damage bonus if you are.
  • Nightblade = finisher that deals damage and applies a shadow DoT
  • Still has Eviscerate as finisher, also
  • Shadow Dance – on a finisher, 20% chance per combo point to activate stealth for 3 seconds.  Creates a decoy of you to confuse enemies. Works differently in PvP.
  • Shadow Techniques – autoattacks can generate combo points (probably replaces Honor Among Thieves)
  • Mastery = Executioner, increases damage by finishers


Even though Combat was renamed and re-themed, it looks like Subtlety got the most changes.  Still, reading the forums indicates that people are pretty excited about the Outlaw spec.  We’ll see how all this evolves as Legion approaches and when we see all of this in beta.


Sha-Touched Weapon… good or bad?

When we got our sha-touched weapons back in Throne of Thunder, we were, of course, excited.  The 500 Agility gem made those weapons super-powerful.

That was then.  This is now.

Now I’m a little annoyed.  I mostly run LFR and Flex raids.  The daggers that drop, although a higher iLvL, are not really an upgrade over the sha-touched dagger.  That 500 agility gem is overwhelming.

For this reason, I’m still running with my dagger from the previous tier.  Its a little frustrating to keep raiding without getting upgrades for that item slot.

Looking back, I wish that the sha-touched bonus was something that could be applied to future weapons, much like the capacitive primal diamond that I have for my head slot.

Its always interesting to look back on game features that seemed good when they were new and examine how they age as the game moves on.


Patch 5.4 for Rogues

A rare post from me here.

Rogues are getting nicely buffed in tomorrow’s patch.  I find that curious, because on my assassination rogue I regularly out-dps players who are 10 iLvL higher than me in gear.  I thought that maybe it was going to be buffs targeted at Combat, which is the stepchild spec this expansion.  But no.  Its across the board.

I think that other classes are getting buffed as well, so this may be just a push to bump numbers up overall for the new raid tier.



  • Evasion now increases dodge chance by 100% (was 50%), cooldown has been reduced to 2 minutes (down from 3 minutes), and duration has been reduced to 10 seconds (down from 15 seconds).
  • Eviscerate now deals 10% less damage.
  • Fan of Knives damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Recuperate now restores 4% of maximum health every 3 seconds, up from 3%.
  • Sinister Strike deals an increased 240% of weapon damage (up from 145%), but now costs 50 Energy (up from 40 Energy).


  • Assassination Rogues should no longer be eligible for any other weapon types except daggers in situations where loot is automatically awarded(Raid Finder, Bonus Rolls, Heroic/Normal Scenarios, and the upcoming Flexible Raid difficulty.)
  • Dispatch now deals 645% weapon damage (up from 460%).
  • Mutilate now deals 280% weapon damage (up from 200%).


  • New passive ability, Ruthlessness: This passive ability is learned by Combat Rogues at Level 32. The Rogue gains a 20% chance per combo point (100% chance at 5 combo points) to immediately regain 1 combo point while performing a finishing move.
  • Killing Spree targeting has been changed. If Blade Flurry is not active, Killing Spree will now hit the Rogue’s target 7 times or pick the closest eligible target if none had been selected. Killing Spree will continue to work as it has while Blade Flurry is active.
  • Revealing Strike now deals 160% weapons damage (up from 125%).
  • Vitality now increases Attack Power by 40% (up from 30%).
  • Fixed an issue where certain conditions can cause Blade Flurry to not deal damage to additional nearby opponents.


  • Backstab now deals 380% weapon damage (up from 275%).
  • Hemorrhage now deals 160% weapons damage (up from 140%); 232% weapons damage if a dagger is equipped (up from 203% for daggers).
  • Sanguinary Vein now increases damage against targets with bleed effects by 25% (up from 20%).


  • Burst of Speed’s cost has been reduced to 15 Energy (down from 30 Energy).
  • Cheat Death now reduces damage taken by 85% after activating (up from 80%).
  • Cloak and Dagger now allows the Rogue to use Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot from 40 yards away (up from 30 yards).
  • Nightstalker now increases damage dealt by abilities while stealthed by 50%, up from 25%.
  • Paralytic Poison now stuns the target at 4 applications of the poison (down from 5 applications).
  • Shadowstep now has a reduced cooldown of 20 seconds (down from 24 seconds).


  • Major Glyphs
    • Glyph of Adrenaline Rush’s effect is now baseline and has been replaced with Glyph of Redirect.
      • Glyph of Redirect now reduces the cooldown of Redirect by 50 seconds (down from Redirect no longer has a cooldown).
    • Glyph of Blind now only removes damage-over-time effects that would cause Blind to break. For Rogues that also have the Dirty Tricks talent, this means Blind will no longer remove the Rogue’s poison or bleed effects.
    • Glyph of Crippling Poison has been replaced with Glyph of Sharpened Knives.
      • Glyph of Sharpened Knives now causes Fan of Knives to also damage the armor of its victims, applying 1 application of the Weakened Armor effect to each target.
    • Glyph of Debilitation has been replaced with Glyph of Recovery.
      • Glyph of Recovery increases the healing  received by the Rogue while Recuperate is active.
    • Glyph of Recuperate now increases the healing of Recuperate by an additional 1% (up from 0.5%).
    • Glyph of Sap has been replaced with Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins.
      • Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins causes Sanguinary Veins ability to also increase damage done to targets affected by Hemorrhage.
    • Glyph of Shiv now reduces the cooldown of Shiv by 3 seconds (was 2 seconds).
  • New Minor Glyphs
    • Glyph of Improved Distraction: Distract now summons a decoy at the target location.
    • Glyph of the Headhunter: Throw and Deadly Throw abilities will now throw axes regardless of the Rogue’s currently equipped weapon.

Class Armor

  • Rogue Tier-15 4-piece set bonus now causes Shadow Blades to reduce the cost of all abilities by 15% (down from 40%).

Horridon the horrible

In MoP, each raid has had its “roadblock” boss.  Mogu’shan Vaults had Elegon.  Heart of Fear had Garalon.  Terrace… well that didn’t have anything (on normal mode, at least).

Now in Throne of Thunder we are at a dead stop on Horridon.  I feel like this isn’t even the roadblock boss for most people, but it is for us.

I have issues with this fight, and not just because its a rotten fight for rogues.  Its also an annoying fight for just general playing.

(1) Horridon has a big ass.  Seriously.  I can’t tell you how many times my view has been blocked because this huge dinosaur has charged into my screen.  I have to keep adjusting my camera view during the fight to see around it.  Very frustrating.  I ended up playing with my camera zoomed out into the sky, but I really don’t like that perspective.

(2) Targeting is awful when adds are all grouped together.  In many add-based fights, you can simply AoE down a group of adds.  In this fight, that big group of adds has one tougher one in the group that you are trying to focus.  Finding him in that pile is a terrible chore.  Yes, you can write a targeting macro, but I consider that to be an inelegant kludge solution to an encounter design problem.

(3) Frozen Orbs.  Oh, to be a ranged class that can spread out and plink away at the Frozen Warlords without standing in the midst of Frozen Orbs.  Either I’m in the melee zone, dying to Orbs or I’m out of range doing essentially nothing.  This phase stinks for rogues.

I have yet to see past the third door, so I can’t even comment on the rest of the fight.

Maybe something will suddenly click and I’ll find a secret that I’ve been missing.  Until that happens, this fight annoys me more than any other in MoP raiding so far.



Rogue-only Easter Egg

I originally saw this on Reddit, then it was posted on WoW Insider.  There is a hidden bit of content in WoW that is a nod to the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.  Only rogues can access it.

For the full discussion including background and a thorough walkthrough, go to Chase Christian’s writeup at WoW Insider.  For the quick version, here are the steps:

  • Go to Ravenholdt Manor
  • Outside the Manor, find Reislek’s Ghost
  • With the Glyph of Disguise equipped, pickpocket Reislek’s Ghost and take his appearance
  • Go into the Manor and go to the basement
  • With the Glyph of Detection equipped, look for a sparkle near the floor in a corner of the room
  • Use Detection to reveal the ghost of Orsur
  • Talk to him.  He’ll think that you are Reislek.
  • You’ll get the Survivor’s Bag of Coins, which is a fun item to play with
  • Pickpocket humanoids to get coins to fill the bag (they fade whenever you change zones)

See the WoW Insider article for more discussion on how you can play with the coins.




Are PvE rogues all the same spec now?

Look up and down the top dps parses for rogues.  Lots of assassination rogues tearing it up.  Nary a combat rogue to be found (no subtlety either, but that’s old news).

Recently my guild has been working on Garalon.  This is the quintessential cleave fight.  You target a leg and get a crit buff for doing so, and your cleave hits the boss.  When the leg dies, its damage is transferred to the boss, so all cleave damage is pure bonus.

At the start of MoP, combat rogues were putting up obscene numbers on this fight.  Patch 5.2 brought the big change – making the cleave do only 40% weapon damage (down from 100%) but affecting more targets.  Sure, it was a needed fix to a balance problem.  However, it has perhaps gone too far.

All the theorycrafters have emphasized that Blade Flurry is still a plus whenever you have two or more targets in proximity (and its effect increases for three or four targets).  Since Garalon has been the Combat Spec Fight in this tier, I completely regemmed and reforged for combat when we got to this boss.

After a number of tries and lots of practice, I was frustrated with my sub-par dps numbers.  So, this week I switched back to assassination.  Immediately, I gained nearly 20k dps without using any cleave.

Currently, I don’t see any reason to spec combat in raids.  Assassination is so far superior its not really even a discussion.  Since subtlety has again fallen out of use in PvE, I guess that means that all raiding rogues are or will be assassination spec.  World of Logs reports bear this out.  While there are still combat rogues out there, it looks like that spec is around 40k dps behind assassination in ToT raids.

Having specs a little unbalanced is routine and almost expected.  If two specs are producing numbers that are 5% apart, then you can justify using either one based on familiarity or gear or just preference.  However, if one spec is 20% ahead, as it is now, then its almost impossible to justify not using the top spec.

Until this is addressed (and it will be), I expect to see just about all raiding rogues in assassination spec.  That’s a shame – especially in a pure dps class.  I look forward to seeing how Blizzard balances things.


Rogues in patch 5.2

How patch 5.2 going for everyone?

This is my busiest time of year in my life outside the game.  My son’s baseball season is in full swing.  My work responsibilities are more significant in this part of the year than during other seasons.  I can barely find time to sit at my desk at home.

I’ve logged on enough to do the Isle of Thunder dailies once and have two nights of raiding in MSV and HoF.  That’s all the time I’ve spent in WoW so far since the patch.  I had to figure out a lot of changes by trial and error since I have not had time to keep up with them.

Right away in MSV, I noticed that my Combat spec did less damage than normal on Stone Guard.  That’s because of the change to Blade Flurry in the patch.  It now hits for less damage, but affects more targets.  On Stone Guard, when you’re hitting two or three dogs, you’re not getting the most out of Blade Flurry.  Damage is good, but not as spectacular as it once was.

I also noticed that my single target damage in Assassination spec was a little higher, but not much.  Assassination got buffed a bit in the patch.  I hear that Subtlety got a small buff as well.  I expect Blizzard to keep giving us small buffs until more people play rogues.  For those of us who still play our rogue mains, it just makes us that much more awesome.  However, I will also note that I wasn’t as far ahead on the damage meters as I usually am on some MSV fights, like Elegon.  I suspect that other classes got buffed as well, and maybe more than we did.

I was really surprised when I went to use Ambush as an opener and I teleported to directly behind the target without using Shadowstep.  That’s when I remembered that there were talent changes in the patch.  Preparation was removed as a talent, and now all rogues have it as a baseline ability at level 68.  Instead they added Cloak and Dagger in Prep’s old spot on the talent tree.  It works like Shadowstep built into your stealthed openers.  It essentially gives your openers a 30 yard range.

A change that I noticed while I was fighting Elegon was for Cloak of Shadows.  It now has a shorter cooldown (1 minute), but its no longer reset by Preparation.  That surprised me.  I usually use Cloak-Prep-Cloak to mitigate damage at the end of the fight when we’re burning Elegon down.  Didn’t work this time.

I was, as usual, dismayed when our raid got to Will of the Emperor.  I don’t like that fight.  At some point in that fight, I always end up far from my target with Vanish and Sprint on cooldown.  This time I specced into Shuriken Toss.  This gave combo points and also made my autoattacks into ranged shuriken throws.  I don’t think it was very effective, but it was fun.

Also on the Will of the Emperor fight, when we all grouped up to AoE heal through the Titan Gas phases, I threw down my Smoke Bomb.  It was just given a new ability – reducing incoming damage by 20% on everyone in its range.  I have a defensive raid cooldown!  That felt good.

There’s another talent change that I tried.  Versatility was removed as a top-tier talent and replaced with Marked for Death.  This gives 5 combo points to start with on the fight, so its much like the Premeditation ability on steroids.  A major difference is that when your target dies, Marked for Death resets.  That makes this good for burst damage in target-switching situations, since you can start with 5 CP on each new target.  Its not useful on most boss fight in PvE, but good in fights with a lot of adds that need to be bursted down.  That said, I tried to use it on Garalon’s legs, and the cooldown never reset when a leg died.  Is it because the legs don’t really “die”?  Is this a bug?  (not Garalon himself, but the lack of cooldown reset).

Most of the changes were not very noteworthy, although a lot of rogues are affected by the alterations to the talent tree.  The Smoke Bomb change is nice – I wonder how long it will take everyone to realize that it is there, so that raid leaders call for it at times of high incoming damage.


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)
January 2021
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