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 …

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