October 2009


An interesting bit of information came up while I was listening to the latest Instance podcast yesterday. The boys were talking about the blue post on the official Blizzard forums which deals with the possibility in the future of being able to transfer heirloom items between factions. This adds on to the current situation where if you pay a little fee, a player can transfer a character between factions. My own guild has seen a small influx of new alts coming in, all of them having been transferred across from the Horde.
So you can transfer toons between factions, you will soon be able to transfer heirloom items as well, and to top it all off we’re doing a big tournament together with the Horde up in Icecrown with the intention of going in together with them to take out the big baddie Arthus, who we all know is really just misunderstood and there is most probably going to be a tearful scene between him and that Jania woman when we finally take him out where he will profess his love for her as he lays dying in her arms … blah blah blah blah.

But we still can’t talk to the other faction. We can do funny emotes, but I’m not sure how many complicated battles between our two factions and the Lich King’s minions we can co-ordinate using only /point and /facepalm. In the wake of all these new developments that Blizzard said would never happen ever, not in a million years so just stop asking for it already, I think that it is time for one more change.

We should be able to chat to the other faction.

At the moment in Blizzards eyes, this is bad. If you even attempt to chat and get found out, this is a bannable offence under their terms and conditions. So whatever you do, don’t sit down next to an orc in a tavern in Dalaran and ask him to pass the salt. 5 years ago when WoW first came out this rule made some sense. The game was young, in its infancy even, and Blizzard wanted to make sure that it had room to grow and develop. And a major part of all of this was the battle between the Alliance and the Horde, and they didn’t want any snotty-nosed teenage punks ruining it for the rest of us. They wanted it to be a fair playing field with as little chance as possible of information being passed from one side to the other. And it worked, and in part due to this, five years later we have the biggest online game in the world.

But what we have now is a mature game, with mature goals, and even some mature players here and there, but this rule is holding the game back somewhat from where it could go. And it’s not in line with the current Blizzard policy of everyone being able to jump between factions. Not only that, but five years ago there weren’t programmes like Skype and Ventrillo that are widely used today, and even if there were they weren’t used. Today, if players want to exchange information between the two factions they can do it without any problems whatsoever. It won’t ruin Battlegrounds because players already manage to ruin them enough all on their own. Witness teams deliberating losing battlegrounds just to get quick honor points.

I think that being able to chat with the horde would enhance the game, particularly the role playing possibilities.

“You dirty Orc, you killed my brother!”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did!”
“How do you know it was me?”
“The scar on your upper right eye that looks like a fairy! You see!”
“Dammit, I’ve been found out. Well cowardly curr, prepare to join your mangy brother in death!”

“ARGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGH” [the sound of swords meeting]

Blizzard needs to give its players some credit at being able to handle this. It’s time for us to take off those training wheels and wobble out onto the road. We all know what those kids were like who weren’t allowed to ride their bikes on the road because their parents were too scared of them getting hurt. They were pathetic shadows of kids, and spent most of their time inside playing computer games. Well, we don’t want to be like them Blizzard, so give us a chance already will ya??

You have the gear, you have it enchanted and slotted with the best gems, you’ve done your homework and got the optimal talent build for your spec, you know what poisons to use in what situation, hell, you’ve maybe even read up some boss fights on various online resources such as tankspot.

But that other rogue in the group, even though you’ve got similar leveled gear, is kicking your butt on the DPS meters. How can this be? Why is it always like this?? What do I have to do to be good at something for a change??

How you play your rogue is even more important than how it is geared and set up. This is often the big difference between “not bad” DPS and “freaking awesome” DPS. Lets look at what you can do to improve your rogue play and thus boost your DPS.

1. Don’t Die.
The longer the time you have on a boss or trash fight the more DPS you can do. Thus, dying is a very bad thing. Because you are dead. Which I suppose must hurt a bit also. It’s no fun to watch a boss fight unfolding from your corpse. Particularly when they get the Boss down to 3% and then wipe. That’s when you start twiddling your thumbs, whistling aimlessly and looking the other way, because if you had stayed alive they might have got him down. There is an old joke in WoW about not standing in the fire. You can also substitute other things for fire, such as any coloured circle or space that you wish. Common colours that will kill you are green and purple. Black isn’t very nice either for some strange reason. But why do people keep standing in these points? It should be obvious, right? How can they be so stupid?

The first instance that I ever ran was the Deadmines. When you do the fights in there you can stand wherever you want. You don’t have to think much, just stand behind or to the side of the boss and hit it as hard as you can. But boss fights have evolved over time and now they are very situational. In other words, you have to move during the fight. You have to constantly re-position your rogue to stay with the boss and to avoid the fire. This means that the tank is moving the boss around. There are two interesting fights in Naxxramas that alternate the old Deadmines type of fight with situational movement fights. These are Patchwerk and Grobbulus. Patchwerk is frequently cited as a good DPS test. That’s because apart from stepping into the slime now and then to keep your health below the tanks, there is no movement on this fight at all. Just stand behind the boss and hit him as hard as you can. If you want to know what your true DPS is in a raid, this boss will tell you. The very next boss after Patchwerk, (and after you shake your head at people dying in little slimes), is Grobbulus. This boss is eaxactly what I have been talking about, a situational fight. During the fight the boss is led around the edge of the room by the tank. Melee DPS, (in other words rogues), have to move around with the tank. But you can’t stand behind the boss as poison clouds appear. You have to stay on the side, moving with the tank, watching out for the clouds, and running off and dropping your own cloud if you get hit, (and dropping it in the right place mind you,) while all the while keeping up a good DPS rate. If you have got all the gear and some general idea of how to execute your rotations, then you will do some good DPS on Patchwerk. But Grobbulus requires you to move and fight, to think and to think outside the box. Doing good DPS on this type of fight means that you understand what you’re doing. You cannot come to this type of fight with blinkers on, if you do you will die, and what did we say about dying at the start of this?

So not dying means that you have to be thinking. And now we have the problem right there – a lot of players don’t want to have to think, they just want to play and have fun. But you can’t do that in a raid if you want to put out some healthy DPS. This is why people regularly stand in fire/poison/frost clouds/eye-beams etc. They are so set on doing their job, in our case DPS, that they forget all about the big picture. They are trying to do the right thing, sure. But that is small consolation when they die and maybe end up wiping the raid. Which leads me on to point number two …

2. Good DPS requires Effort.
It’s that simple. This may sound corny, but you have to want to do great DPS. I’ve caught myself doing average DPS before. Perhaps we have wiped a few times on a boss, or I’m tired, or whatever, but I fall into what I call, “going through the motions.” And guess what, my DPS drops. You have to concentrate and give your all for every minute of the boss fight. When Razorscale gets harpooned and pulled to the ground, you don’t just run over there to start the DPS on her, you sprint. That bit of extra effort, at every point of a boss fight that can last around 10 minutes at times, is what makes the difference between good and great DPS. But, as was pointed out in point 1, you don’t do it with blinkers on. You give your all while being fully aware of what is going on around you at all times. This is why raiding can be so much fun, because you get yourself locked in the zone and you begin to pump out some truely awesome figures.

3. Become the Slice & Dice King.

Slice & Dice increases your melee attack speed by 40%. This is a huge buff, and one that you need to keep up all the time. You just cannot let this droop, ever. But it costs combo points and you have to divide those points between slice & dice and your finishing moves such as Eviscerate and Rupture. Can you get off a 5 point Eviscerate while having only 5 seconds left on slice & dice and not let it drop? Because you will need to. You have to get very good at timing these things, because they make a big difference to your overall DPS. This is a typcial boss fight beginning for me: I throw Tricks of the Trade on the tank, run in behind and Sinister Strike to 2 or 3 combo points, then hit S&D, then I drop Killing Spree to build some good aggro, then I drop my blade flurry and Adhrenalin Rush combination, then build up to a 5 point rupture which I usually manage to get off before I am in danger of losing S&D, particularly with Adhrenalin Rush going. Then I build up to a nice 5 point S&D which gives me 35 odd seconds to run while getting 5 point Eviscerates and ruptures off. But I’m always timing my S&D to the last moment I can. And you need to as well.

4. You can heal yourself sometimes you know …

It is easy to get lost in the zone and forget about that little thing called your health, cause there are like a bunch of healers to heal me and stuff, right? Oh, you’re dead. Hang on, what did I say about dying …?
You need to be aware of damage you are taking from AoE effects that you cannot avoid. A lot of these can be mitigated by a little spell we have called Feint. The threat drop can be handy at times, but the real good bit here is the 50% damage reduction for 6 seconds that you take from AoE attacks. If you know when to pop this, and you pop it regularly, you take a huge load off the healers, which means they save mana, which means that they might be able to heal you when you really need it. You should also have healing flasks and actually be using them when you need to. Also health stones and bandaging if things get really desperate.

5. Know the Fights.
Everything that I have just said also depends on one other little detail. You have to know what you’re doing in there. So study the fights beforehand. Make some effort to find out what you have to do, where you need to stand and what you need to watch out for. Don’t rely on other people to tell you. That’s being carried, and if everyone did that, why … we’d have pugs I suppose …

We’ve been running Ulduar 25 in normal mode for the last two weeks. We’re progressing slowly, but so far we’re up to Auriaya, better known as the crazy cat lady. We have merged with another guild for these runs, and between us there are six rogues in the group, with the top four rogues pumping out some nice DPS numbers at the top of the damage sheets. There are a couple of druids in the group as well, plus three shammy’s and a hunter. That’s a good amount of players who can wear leather armor. The problem is, there isn’t any.

So far in two runs with 11 bosses down we have seen 4 leather drops. Three of these have been items with intelligence stacked on it, ie not something for a stabby rogue to use. The one rogue drop was the Relic hunters cord which dropped off a random mob. I lost the roll, yippee!!

I can’t imagine what’s going to happen if some decent rogue gear actually drops. I think that us rogues are going to go mad. Plus it’s hard to do these runs, night after night, and not get anything. The amount of plate that is dropping is quite simply astounding. Our tanks are getting some really great gear. If you add to this the fact that all of the cloak, amulet, trinket and ring drops have been for tanks and spell-casters, us rogues are looking at each other a little bit bemused.

There are 23 leather item drops in Ulduar 25 normal. Of these, just 12 are rogue items. I know that everyone has been saying that you can gear up really quickly now, but Ulduar has me scratching my head. There are 19 rings to be found in Ulduar, yet only a measly 3 of them can be used by rogues, and two of those drop off Yogg-Saron and Genral Vezax, bosses found right at the end of the raid. I can’t see us getting those any time soon.
There is just a single neck piece available out of 10 amulets and, yes, you guessed it, this one also drops off Genral Vezax. We have only 2 cloak drops out of 9 in total, one of which is a random mob drop while the other drops off Hodir. I have conflicting information on this but it could be that this cloak only drops in hard mode. If that is the case, insult to injury! I won’t talk about trinkets as we know that if one drops just about everyone will roll on it.

Really, after going through all of these it’s just a tad depressing. Looking at this, if I really wanted to gear my rogue then I’d just run heroics plus Naxx a couple of times a week. All those badges would be a much better idea than taking my few hours available per week to play and smashing my head against the loot-less world of Ulduar.

Oh, and did I mention that these are two-guild runs? So that means that there is no loot system. I think that my monitor would be in grave danger if something nice finally dropped after weeks of running these and a first-timer for the raids topped the roll. Blood would flow …

I don’t normally take other bloggers to task. They can write what they want, it’s their blog after all, if they want to write that the sky is green and the sea is hazlenut, who am I to tell them otherwise?

You know what’s coming, don’t you. I have never read the Pig Pinktail inn before, and after reading this post I’m pretty sure the only reason that I would ever go back is if I needed to confirm my disbelief somewhat over the human race. Now I know that by playing WoW we are playing in a fantasy world, but does this mean that we actually have live in one? The writer of this post talks about the social nicities of whether or not you can apply to another guild while you are still in a guild. OK, I suppose this could be an interesting topic, but we all know that 99% of people playing WoW do this already or will do this at some point so what is there to talk about …?

Oh wait …

” … I can’t help wondering a bit about what makes people apply to other guilds behind the back of their current one….”

Can someone really be this stupid? What is all this ‘behind the back’ bullshit? A guild is not a ‘social contract’, as she put it, (I’m assuming that anyone who has a blog called the Pink Pigtail Inn is a she), it isn’t any contract at all. I didn’t sign anything. I pushed a button that said ‘join guild’, and I can leave the guild any time I choose with no consequences by punching another button called ‘leave guild’. Hell, I can just write it in chat and I leave! It’s like the old mexican divorce by pointing at your wife and saying, “I divorce you” three times, only quicker and without someone throwing kitchen utensils at you. But wait, it gets better …

” … While I wouldn’t hesitate a second to throw in applications for other jobs while still employed in real life – I’ve done it several times myself – I would never do the same in WoW …”

Ok, so what she is saying is that working together with people in a job in real life in a productive activity for lets say, 40 hours a week, and where she has most probably signed a real contract with writing and stuff causes her to have no loyalty whatsoever, but playing a fantasy game on the internet with people that she has never met in her life before causes her to suddenly take on levels of loyalty and ethics that would do Ghandi proud. That’s brilliant. I hope she never comes to me looking for a job.

But the real problem here is that she acts a certain way in real life but then another in WoW, which is fine, but she seems to be under the mistaken illusion that everyone else will be partaking of this schizophrenic activity. Here is the big news flash; people in WoW act the same as in real life, if not more so. The 14 year old writing “lolzs, looking for gear upgrades” outside the Stormwind auction house will actually talk like that in class tomorrow. Anyway, back to the quoting …

” … When I left my former guild and joined my current last year, I didn’t apply before I was guildless. It’s a matter of honesty …”

Like in the real world with your employers, yeah? (She mentions honesty a few times in her post. Hilarious.) And what happens if you’re pugging a heroic and one of the group says that you’re the best gnome tank that they’ve ever seen and that they would love you to join their guild? Do you run around screaming with your hands over your ears because to even listen to them speak about applying to their guild would contradict your high-end morality? Or can you speak about it, check out their guild web-site, see what their progression is like etc and that is ok? You can’t apply, that’s all. Because, and this is the best bit;

” … If you think that guild applying people are showing disloyalty and disrespect, and you’d rather kick them from the guild if you’d find out – you should make this clear from the beginning …”

Excuse me, but how on earth are you ever going to find out that one of your guildies has applied to another guild? You’re going to find out eventually I suppose, when they leave your guild for their new found love. It’s a bit late to kick them as punishment for applying to another guild when they have already left yours. And what sort of punishment is this anyway? By this morality it would be ok for your employer to kick you in real life for applying for another job if they found out. Yeah, I bet you’d be the first one to run screaming to the lawyers if that happened.

She goes on to wonder why on earth players would ever deem to look for another guild while they were still in one. Golly gee whizz, Jimmy Bob, I just can’t think of any reasons at all. How about that your current guild sucks big fat donkey balls? That could be a reason, I suppose. Oh no, wait. She came up with a reason all on her ownsome:

” … The only reason I can think of is character progression and gearing …”

As we used to say in grade 4, ” Well like, no shit sherlock.”

I was going to talk about gear and rotations in this episode. But I have decided to talk about something a little more important, and that is heroic and raiding philosophy. It is useless for you to gear yourself up, gem and enchant, get your professions maxed, sort out your talent tree, download addons and all the other stuff if you don’t come to the raid prepared with the right attitude.

Because my little stabby friend, you will suck. You will suck big time. You who have never run a raid before, who never had their dps hit 1000, who never even knew how much dps you were doing, you will be crap. You will die within 10 seconds of the floor dance beginning on Heigen the unclean. You will stand in the fire, you will pull the slimes, you will pull threat, you will stand in the wrong place, you will probably stand in front of the boss for all I know. You will be last on the dps meters and if you aren’t, it’s only because someone else was pulling adds off the healers while you were blinkered on the boss. Other players will be whispering the raid leader saying, “who is this fucking moron?” And that’s if they’re being nice. And the raid leader will be thinking the same thing. And you will be thinking;

“Awesome! I finally get to see the inside of this place! And it’s so cool!”

Yes, my friend, you will be the grand-daddy of suckiness.

But there is something that you can do.

You can admit to everyone that you suck. Admiting something to yourself and others is the first step into not sucking. But there is something even more important for you to do on this first raid and for every one after.

At some point, after your 20th fuck up in a row, some poor soul on the raid is going to summon up the courage to offer you some advice. They might do it in a friendly way, they may not. But whatever way they do it, this is the most important moment for you. How you react when that first advice is offered will determine your raiding career for here and ever after. Firstly, I am going to give you an example of how 95% of noobs in this position react:

“xXkillerXx, we really need you to stop standing in the fire on this boss. And can you also DPS him from the side and not behind as his tail will kill you.”

There are two possible reactions here that suck. Here they are:

Reaction 1: “No way man, it wasn’t me, I wasn’t in the fire, how come you are all picking on me just cause I’m new ….???”

Here is the second reaction. The second reaction is worse:

Reaction 2: “kk.” (while thinking the exact same things in reaction 1.)

Do you want to be one of the 5% who react well? The 5% go on to be great raiders who incedently do awesome dps and get all the cool gear and hot chicks. How do the 5% react? Like this:

“No probs, sorry about that, let me know if I do it again, and thanks for telling me.”

If you say this, then the whole raid will breathe a collective sigh of relief in front of their monitor screens. Now they know that they can mold you into a raider, and one that will do awesome dps. Because you have the right attitude. You know that you suck, you want to get better but you don’t know how. And these guys can help you, in a big way. But return the favour. Don’t let them teach you and gear you up only for you to leave them for a “better raiding guild.” Show some loyalty and help those other newbies that are trying to get in.

There are some other important points for a raiding attitude:

Turn up 15 minutes before the start time, at the summoning stone, with all your pots, poisons, food buffs etc, ready to go. If you do this then you’re already in the top 5%.

If you think that you could never stand someone telling you that you’re doing something wrong, just do us all a favor and stay with yuor 600 dps. It will save pain all round.

I play on a PvE server, which is classed as “normal” on the Blizzard listing. I initially chose a PvE server because PvP scared me. You mean I could be killed at any time wherever I am by a cackling 10 year old and then he could camp my corpse?? Yeah, pretty gutless of me I know. I didn ‘t chose an RP server because I thought that it would be full of hard-core nerd morons. You know, the type who don’t just play Dungeons and Dragons, they dress up, go outside and swing swords at each other while playing Dungeons and Dragons. That’s not weird. That’s scary. And I figured that they would all be speaking like morons in chat. Here’s how I imagined such chat going:

“Oh veerily I besooth thee to place thine hand on thoust sword and cast down this dragon with me to rid the land of this great evil that has plagued us since the time when the three maidens of virtue …”

You get the drift. But lately my dear readership of hard bitten rogues and mutant cat herders, I have found life on my server growing a little stale. You log on, do your dailies, maybe run a heroic to get some badges, butcher the auction house, and a couple of times a week run some raids. It’s become hum-drum, tedious even. And it’s not just myself that has this impression. Most of my guildies and friends that I have made on that server feel the same way. Then the other day I logged on to WoW.com and the first article was from their Roleplaying writer, titled something like, “So you Want to be an Evil Killer Death Player”, or something like that. Whereas in the past I had viewed such articles with scorn and contempt, this time I still viewed it with scorn and contempt but I actually read it. And it got me thinking – would an RP realm be more rewarding from a game play point of view? Surely there you wouldn’t just be logging on and going through the motions. So I decided to roll a new toon on an RP server. But then I thought that if I was going this far I might as well go the whole way and go for a PvP server as well. No point in being a chicken twice over. But which server? Ah yes, that was the question.

I had heard that some RP servers were in a terrible state of decline, with horrible lolzers trolling up the chat and making fun of the poor roleplayers, (it wasn’t me I swear). So I couldn’t just choose any server, I had to do my homework. So I read around the net trying to get information on servers when I cam across this thread on the official Blizzard forums. I started reading it and then I got to this bit:

“The Smoking Blade

The Smoking Blade is a player-run tavern in the Dwarven District of Stormwind which is open almost every evening and functions as a hub and a meeting place for Role-players. Shady characters might get some useful contacts there and get hooked up for criminal role-play. The tavern is run by the Old Town Syndicate guild.”

This blew my mind. Player-run taverns? You mean I could go in there and get contacts from shady characters in a corner whilst sipping a lager? This sounds cool. I read on and then I found this under the Guild section:

“Dwarven Rifle Squad
Keywords : w-pvp, military, political, internal RP
Alignment : Lawful

A regiment of Ironforge Army; these dwarves value their ale and have a passion for shooting hordes (or anything else, for that matter). The Squad act as guards of Ironforge and are actively involved with Ironforge Senate/Tinker’s Court and allied to the Gnomish Artillery Squad. One of the server’s oldest and most actively w-PvP guilds.”

And this got me thinking. What is the purpose of my own guild? Well, we want to raid. And we have a guild bank. And I designed a Tabard, even though it sucks. And … holy shit, we don’t have a purpose. We just log on and say “grats” a lot in guild chat …

And this blew my mind a little bit. So I thought I may as well give this RP-PvP server stuff a try. So I pressed the ‘Change Realm’ button on the log-in screen. Exciting stuff. Up came the list and I scrolled down to the Defias Brotherhood. There they were. I clicked on it and up came the page. Oh crap, what to play? I hadn’t thought about this. I knew that I wasn’t going to play a rogue, (sorry dear readership), and I didn’t want to start in the Human or Night Elf starting zones as I’d done those before. Horde wasn’t an option because I knew one thing for sure – i wanted to know my way around in a PvP server. And I didn’t feel like playing one of those weirdo space aliens, so it had to be the starting area near Ironforge – I’d never done that before. And I chose a gnome. I can feel your inaudible gasps now, but let me explain. This is an RP realm, right? I wanted to be a nasty gnome, the kind that will bite your hand off if you pat him on the head. A sarcastic little retard that hates anyone taller than him. And thus it was inevitable that I made him a Warlock into the bargain. I stay with the DPS theme. I don’t like tanking and I find healing outright boring. I want to be the guy taking them down.

So I rolled him up, designed his hair and entered the world …

We’ll leave out completely what it’s like to play a Warlock, as the point of this is what it is like to play on an RP-PvP server. The whole way through the starting zone I only ever saw a couple of players, and they didn’t bat an eye at me. True, one of them was a paladin and I can’t see paladins with their holyer-than-thou attitude coming over to chew the fat with an evil warlock death bringer. But the interesting thing was that I was making an effort to get into the character that I was playing. Who was he, what was he doing there, what were his goals, his strengths and weaknesses? And it slowly dawned on me that I was having fun. In a lowly starter zone. Just going up to an NPC to get my armor fixed I was imagining my way through the scene. The only times that I had been having fun in the game were in the big-end raids, and even then it was more of a chore than anything. This for some reason was cooler.

I made my way to ironforge and slunk around after leaving my imp behind outside the gates. Nobody was talking in a funny way, people were going about their business. And I wasn’t about to break my role-playing cherry by blindly going up to someone. I was a noob again. It was on the train to stormwind that I had my first RP expereince. I was on the carriage and a shadow priest jumped on with me. I had my imp out at this time.

“Does your imp always do that?”
“What, staring at me like that?”
“Yes, it’s un-nerving.”
“It freaks me out but what can I do? I need him.”

And so on. Then we were getting off the train, the prick patted me on the head. I immediately threw insults at him, calling into question his parentage amongst other things. He laughed evilly and said gnomes were there to be stepped on and hurried away.

Well, this gnome ain’t there to be stepped on. Mind you, I haven’t got to the PvP bit yet.

Talent builds, Glyphs, Poisons and Cooking

I had some interesting reactions to part 1 of this series – both positive and negative, enough that I will soldier on with my task ahead of the usual barrages of criticsim. A rogue has to learn to take it. There’s a lesson for you newbie rogues. Enough of the skulking in the shadows, lets get to it.

Talent Builds.

Combat. There are two key parts of the combat talent tree:  These are Hack & Slash which effects swords and axes, and Close Quarters Combat, (commonly known as CQC), which entails fist weapons and daggers. There is also a 5 point mace specialization talent but I doubt that you are sitting there young noobie rogue with two awesome maces, so forget about it.  Any reputable combat build will include 5 points in one or the other of Hack & Slash or CQC. This means that it is inadvisable to mix weapons such as sword/fist. If you do this then you will get inferior DPS. The talent build that is generally regarded as having the highest DPS in combat is the 15/51/5 build. In this link there are 5 points in CQC. Just swap them to Hack & Slash depending on your weapons.

Mutilate: I haven’t played Mutilate, ever. But I can do research for you, and the 51/13/7 build is the stock standard “I have awesome DPS” Mutilate spec. Although if more experienced Mutilate rogues want to chime in with their opinions, that would be most welcome.

Glyphs

Combat: At anything below high end raiding level the two must have combat glyphs are Sinister Strike and Rupture. Your third Glyph is up to you. Killing Spree is a good option, but there are quite a few fights where Killing Spree is tricky to execute or unusable. For that reason I go with Slice & Dice, but the choice is up to you. Eviscerate isn’t a bad option either.

Mutilate: Mutilate, Rupture and Hunger for Blood.

Minor glyphs are just that, minor. The Glyph of Blurred Speed can come in very handy though.

Poisons.

It’s amazing how many rogues I see using the wrong poisons, and these are so important to your DPS. As a combat rogue on a straight DPS boss fight such as the Deconstructor in Ulduar, (a great DPS test as you do not have to move much, you can just pour on the damage. Patchwerk is another example of a good DPS boss test), my poisons usually make up around 25% of my damage output. That’s a lot, so you need to get these right. For combat rogues it is very simple. Repeat this mantra:

Main Hand – Wound Poison, Off hand – Deadly Poison.

For Mutilate Rogues I am pretty sure that you want Instant poison on your main hand and Deadly on your off hand. I could be wrong here though. It’s been known to happen …

If you’re about to go into a boss fight make sure that you have at least 15 minutes available on each poison. If not, reapply them. They cost next to nothing you cheapskates!

Cooking.

I know what you’re thinking. Cooking?? Why the hell would I want to do that??

I can give you some reasons: Fish feast, Poached Northern Sculpin, Rhinolicious Worm Steak, Snapper Extreme, the list goes on. These food buffs are invaluable in a raid or Heroic situation and you shouldn’t be relying on other players to have them. If everyone did that then we wouldn’t have them on a raid at all. They are also a great source of income as you can sell stacks of these for big casharoola on the auction house. It’s a great idea to level fishing at the same time as cooking and this guide from El’s Extreme Angling is brilliant.

That’s it for this week, if you have any questions, queries or abusive comments, please post them up! Otherwise I’ll catch you next week for the big fat juicy bits – your gear, rotations and how to actually fight as a melee dps player.

Post edited to make things clearer due to reader comments.

Professions and Stats

Today I was waltzing around one of the cities when I noticed a rogue spamming chat with, “DPS wants to run any heroic 5 man”. This went on for a while until I felt pity for the poor soul, invited them into a group and set up the group to run the Heroic of his choice. He said any heroic was fine. When pressed he admitted that he had never run a heroic before, or any instance in Northrend for that matter. I looked at his gear – it was PvP. Okaaaaaay …

So we went into the Violet Hold – no point in him getting lost on the way out to The Nexus or something. He managed to put up an awesome barrage of around 650 DPS. DPS stands for Damage per Second. 650 at level 80 is not good. It’s not that good at level 70. So we ran him through and then I did the dreaded whisper of, “If you want some help I can give it to you.” Thankfully he responded really well, and we spent some time going through what he needed to do to get his act in order if he wanted to progress to raiding. So in this series of threads I am going to include the basics, and I mean basics of getting your DPS up to scratch and what it should be. If some of this seems really obvious to you, it’s probably not obvious at all to the other guy.

Professions

The first thing I’m going to talk about is which professions a raiding rogue needs. Now if you already have your professions leveled and are quite happy with them, then that’s fine. But a fair number of players that I meet haven’t leveled any professions past the basics. In some cases, they haven’t leveled any professions at all. And your professions, apart from making you money, can give some handy advantages to your character. If you look at any top rogue in the armory, you can bet your life that they will most probably have Enchanting and Jewelcrafting as thier professions. The reasons for this are many.
Enchanting gives you a 40 attack power increase to your own rings, that’s 80 extra attack power. Attack power is very important, it is one of the big three stats that you will need to focus on. Apart from this benefit, you can enchant your own gear and now sell enchants as scrolls on the Auction House.
Jewelcrafting, (JC), lets you craft unique JC only useable gems. You can equip three of these at any one time. Which one interests us? The Delicate Dragons Eye gives us a huge 34 agility, and agility is the next one of the big three stats that we like. This fits into a red gem slot. It’s important to put the right gem into the right slot as it will give you a slot bonus, though sometimes it can be worth skipping the slot bonus altogether, and this post from Zaltu explains why. There are red, yellow and blue slots. Some gems, such as orange ones, fit into two different slots, in this case red and yellow. The awesome thing about this design is that you can use it at 350 JC skill. Another great thing about jewelcrafting is that you get a daily quest which nets you around 13 gold for basicly doing bugger all and gives you a token which you can use to learn high end designs. That daily quest is very important to you, because I’m sure that you have a gathering skill right now and you don’t want to drop it as it’s your cash cow. Wrong, not any more. Daily quests are your new cash cow as well as selling your jewels and enchants. So you’re going to level up cooking and fishing while you’re at it. More on those later.

Now for the big information: You can level these together. The items that you create while you’re leveling jewelcrafting you can then disenchant and use the mats to level enchanting. Here are some good leveling guides for Enchanting and Jewelcrafting. The trick is to use mining to collect the mats for jewelcrafting beforehand, or you can simply buy them off the Auction House. Don’t buy off the Auction House on weekends, as it is more expensive. Once you have all the mats, simply start leveling away. Any extra mats you can sell off on the Auction House.

So what enchants should you use and what gems should you equip? Remember I said that there were three crucial stats for rogues? These are Attack Power, (AP), Hit Rating, (hit), and Agility. You need to concentrate on these, both with your gear and your enchants and gems. There are other stats as well such as expertise, haste, critical strike,(crit) and armor penetration, but these will come along well enough with your gear itself. Lets go through each of them one at a time. I am not going to go into the detailed math here. This is going to be as simple as possible. It’s confusing enough as it is.

Hit Rating: You need to be able to hit stuff without missing, and that’s what your hit rating is all about. There are different levels of hit rating, which are commonly referred to as hit caps. The first thing though that you should realise is that any half decent rogue, whatever their spec, will have all 5 points in Precision on the combat talent tree.

Your base hit raiting is 99, (66 if there’s a weird Draenei in your party due to their Heroric Presence racial ability). This means that your yellow attacks don’t miss. This is good. If you’ve got this covered you can run Heroics.

The next cap to aim for is the poison hit cap, which means that your poisons don’t miss. This is 315. The white attack hit cap is unattainable at this stage. You could reach for it but it would be to the exclusion of all other stats. This guide from WoW.com is a good start, although I disagree slightly with Christian concentrating on Expertise. Expertise will come of its own accord at this point. Don’t fret it. For what it’s worth, the expertise cap is 214. Anything over this is wasted, as is anything over 315 hit. With high end gear now, you’ll go over these anyway without gemming or using enchants.

What enchants should you use? I could write this all out myself, but this post is getting long and Zaltu has done it already. Check out his awesome list.

Gems are a bit easier. I gem Agility, a bit more Agility and then throw in any more Agility that I can get my hands on. Agility is the base component of AP and Crit. So you want it. The meta gem that you want is the Relentless Earthseige Diamond. This gem requires a red, yellow and blue gem to be equipped in other items of your gear to become activated. You don’t actually have to have three different gems though, as some gems can match two slots. The Balanced Twiglight Opal matches a red or blue socket leaving only a yellow socket to match up. Or you can use the Nightmare Tear or the Enchanted tear,to satisfy one of the meta gem slot requirements. Remember, if you are missing a gem slot as you do not have enough items with gem sockets, you can equip the Eternal Belt Buckle to add a missing slot, (though if you clicked the enchantment link earlier you would already know this.)

That’s enough for now, Part 2 will talk about Talent builds, Glyphs, Poisons and Cooking.

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