Rogue AoE in Warlords of Draenor

I wanted to take a couple minutes to share my thoughts on the AoE-related Draenor perks. It’s easy to see they’re still iterating on the design, so these thoughts may be invalid next week but I’m going to go ahead and put them out there anyway. As a preamble, I am going to warn you that I won’t be talking much about the changes to Fan of Knives and Crimson Tempest for Assassination rogues. The reason is that I don’t believe much needs to be said. I haven’t thought about them much because they work perfectly well with the spec’s theme and toolkit. Nor are they all that strong or weak. I think they nailed the design on the AoE perks for Assassination. Read More…

Bandit’s Guile Mechanic in Warlords of Draenor

In my previous posts I was taking a qualitative look at the Mists of Pandaria iteration of the rogue talent tree. With this post I am going to go into a more mathematical analysis of one specific Draenor Perk for Combat rogues: Empowered Bandit’s Guile. Before I get into the nitty gritty, however, I should explain what exactly bandit’s guile is and how it does (or does not) fit into the combat rogue playstyle.

Bandit’s Guile is a specialization passive for Combat rogues that leads to a cyclical damage profile. As the rogue performs combo builders the mechanic gains a hidden stack, increasing damage at every 4th attack. At the start of combat the rogue does base damage, after 4 Sinister Strike or Revealing Strike casts, this advances to a 10% damage increase (shallow insight) for 15 seconds with the duration refreshing with each cast. After 4 more casts, the damage bonus is extended to 20% (moderate insight), then after 4 more it is extended to a 30% damage increase (this is deep insight). The 30% damage increase persists for 15 seconds without refreshing. Once it expires, the cycle starts over. Read More…

To the Point: Level 90 Talents

Ok. So I got lazy and didn’t do the level 90 talents right away. So sue me. Anyhow, with the realm downtime and LotRO (another MMO which I play very casually) patching, I decided to spend this time finishing up the talent overhaul and to explain what I had in mind for the level 90 talents.

So far we’ve had a talent row dealing with stealth, one dealing with stealth, survivability, mobility, non-lethal poisons, and control, all iconic aspects of the rogue toolkit. This leaves one class defining mechanic to enhance/change up in some way: Combo Points. Read More…

A Stunning Row: Level 75 Talents

Stuns. I have two thoughts that come to mind when considering stuns. While we were doing heroic Nazgim last night, I was getting very frustrated at my 8 sec Prey on the Weak-enhanced kidney shot being DR’d by shorter duration stuns that don’t buff raid dps on that target. Rogues are THE iconic stun class and they should return to that. There are too many stuns in the game and many of them have utility that eclipses that of a slight damage taken debuff and duration increase (if Combat). I think Rogues need some stun utility so I decided to dedicate level 75 to enhance the rogue’s control. Read More…

Filling a Gap: Level 60 Talents

Ok, so by now I’ve described the revisions of the first three rows of talents as you level. Cannibalizing the level 45 talents for level 30 left level 45 with a hole, which I filled with what used to be  the level 60 talents. Now that we’re still at level 60, all we’ve done is move the hole down a row. So, let’s fill it.

By now your character is at the original level cap of the game, so gameplay at this point needs to be more robust. By now rogues have Cloak of Shadows, Relentless Strikes, all of our openers, all of our poisons, our alternate combo point generators, and Combat even has a dps cooldown in the form of Adrenaline Rush. Lets look at the list above for just a moment though and reflect on what it means to be a rogue, what makes a rogue what (s)he is. When people think of rogues they think of stealth, well, we covered that at level 15. They think of a tool for every situation. Well we handled the survivability toolkit at level 30 and the mobility toolkit at 45. You may notice that one of the major iconic rogue abilities that is missing is poisons. Yup, level 60 is going to enhance our poisons since we now have all of them. Read More…

Moving Right Along: Level 45 Talents

In my previous discussion I expounded upon the general badness that is the level 30 talents and proposed a unifying solution to this. I chose level 30 as a survival tier since anything dealing with survivability is going to be useful while leveling–especially at low levels when you lack offensive cooldowns. At this point we’ve gained a few more levels (15 more, to be exact) and something I call “the novelty effect” is starting to wear off. By the time you are halfway through your leveling trip, the rate at which you gain new abilities slows down and unless you really like leveling, by now you just want to get it over with and move on to outland.

Since we’ve gutted the old level 45 talents and put a hole there, this makes level 45 a good place to move the mobility talents 15 levels earlier to help you get through leveling faster. For the PvP rogues, it can add a new strategic element to their gameplay. At this point you’ve had sprint (and nightstalker or the revised & renamed shadow focus) as your only mobility tools. Time to spice things up.

Read More…

The Shitstorm Begins: Level 30 Talents

Whenever I look at the level 30 talents, my only thought is “what. the. fuck?!” Seriously, what is going on here with this row? This is the first row that needs some serious attention, so take the same approach with the level 15 talents and look at the row as a whole and then look at what should be done with the individual talents.

So, looking at the row as a whole, I can only ask myself what exactly the theme is here? As you’re leveling a new rogue you see the level 15 talents all enhance stealth in some way or another. The balance between them is really on a much higher level and the problems are subtle. Whenever I go to row 2, I’m trying to figure out what exactly is the theme. It’s hard to balance them against each other if there is no uniformity in their function. Wasn’t this the whole point of the Mists of Pandaria Talent system? Read More…