With Tricks of the Trade generating a hefty 15% damage increase, and too be frank the added threat has no meaning anymore to really worry about, (can you remember the last time you managed to pull threat off a tank in an end game raid?), a long standing ploy with rogues has been to swap tricks back and forth during a boss fight to boost their dps. Which was why I was kind of embarressed the other night after downing Saurfang when the other rogue asked in raid chat if I had been giving him tricks. Because I hadn’t. I assume that he had been giving me tricks as I was top of the meter on that fight by around 750dps. I hastily whispered him my apologies and then spent the whole of the fight of Rotface trying to give him tricks whilst running around with yucky slimes chasing me, which was damn difficult I can tell you.

But this tricks swapping has always confused me, and here is why. In my old guild, back in the day, when we were running Ulduar and Trial of the being bored out of your mind, there were a few other rogues in the guild who alternated between coming on runs with myself being the constant. It was around this time that tricks came into vogue with being raid swapped in this way, and I clearly remember the first time I ventured to ask one of the other rogues if he wanted to swap tricks with me during the run.

He flat out refused. As did the other rogue. And with no door left ajar for any sort of discussion on the issue. I felt that I had made a terrible social indescretion, like getting drunk when you’re 16 and attempting to make out with your hot first cousin in front of your relatives. It leaves you with a clear feeling of never wanting to go there ever again. But in my courageous attempts to improve my game play I decided to ask in every PuG if the other rogues wanted to swap tricks.

“Would you like to swap tricks for this fight?”

“No.”

I appreciate the no. Sometimes they just ignore you and you’re left wondering if they missed the whisper or if they are purposely ignoring you and if you ask them again they’ll scream obscenities in your general direction. So you stand around like the poor schmucks at the grade 10 school dance who are never and I mean never going to get asked to twirl around the room.

So when our other guild rogue asked me this the other night I was mightilly confused. Had I been right all this time? Was it all the other moron rogues and not me? But now I didn’t do it when I should have done and I’m in trouble again! ARAGHGHGHHGGHGHGH!

And I still don’t understand where to go with this because I just know next Sunday I’m going to whisper him if he wants to swap tricks and he’s going to ignore me and go dance with somebody else.

Lockpicking takes a long time and a lot of effort to level to 400 for scant reward. Oh sure you have the benefit of opening some doors, (though in the whole of WotLC they put in only one – The Violet Hold), and you can open your lockboxes that you find but it’s more a pain-in-the-butt than a help. A pain in the sense that when you get the dreaded whisper of;

“Hi, can u open sme boxe 4 me?”

You just know that this is going to waste your time. I remember one of the first times that someone whispered me like this. I felt thrilled that I would be asked by another player to help them! What a sad, misguided young rogue I was. The trade window opened and I proudly pressed the unlock button. Then it opened again. And again. I think I opened 18 boxes for the prick, all in total silence without a word whispered. Until then end of course when I got a, “thx”, and that was it. Not even a lousy copper piece.

And the fact of getting a rogue to open valuable items for you doesn’t make a lot of sense. If anything, we should be trying to steal those items from you. Wouldn’t it be great if a rogue could pick the pockets of players? Particularly of the other faction? That would change the environment around Dalaran, I can tell you.

I never charge for opening boxes because I never know what to charge. What level is the box? What level is the player? What would be fair in each unique situation? I just don’t know. So you wait to see if you get a tip. You can wait a long time, I can tell you. Just make it a secondary profession and give everyone the chance to level it up. Except paladins of course. Those goody-two-shoes should be made to have to suck up to everyone. Can you open this for me? Please? Pleeeeease? Oh, and priests. And druids of course, those pesky nature lovers. Would be silly to give it to shamans as well, just thinking about it …

I would never want to work in game design.

Last night I achieved two little WoW milestones – I got into ICC and we got our 2 man Arena team above the 1000 rating. The ICC 10 man was being organised in-guild as I logged on and I gamefully stuck my hand up. As they were searching for more players I went and tried to find the entrance. Flying up and around and all over the place until someone pointed out to me that it was the big broken front door with the war machines around it and people fighting. Oh, you mean that entrance?

We have a new rogue in the guild who transferred his main that very day, and it was just the two of us sitting amongst what seemed to be an army of blacksmiths just inside the door. I sneaked a peek at his gear, and then I sneaked a peek at my gear. I have been dedicating myself so much to my PvP gear set over the last few months that I had kind of neglected my PvE set, and a close look at it was not pretty. I even had an empty socket for gods sake, and the only thing I had to put in it was a green gem. It really is a mish-mash of gear and I found myself explaining in a joking way to my very well geared companion that I’d been doing a lot of PvP … heh heh heh …

He said I should find a JC. I told him that I am a JC. He didn’t know what to say to that.

So we went in and started the raid. How exciting! I am proud to say we one-shotted the first boss. The raid leading was excellent – calm and clear with roles and strat very patiently explained and set out in chat. A nice countdown for the tank to run in so I could time my tricks of the trade perfectly and the first fight went off without a hitch. 2 plate drops. Meh. The second fight on Lady deathwhisper started off badly when we wiped in the first 20 seconds. But we picked ourselves up off the floor and got her down the very next try. Plate drops once again. A hunter in the group who had distinguished himself by pulling out a train set asked if hunters could roll on leather. I said sure, if us rogues can roll on mail. But you can’t use mail! he said.

Then we got to the gunship battle. We jumped on the ship and someone started the event immediately, I won’t say who, (the fucking hunter!), and that of course led to a wipe. So we came back and our raid leader put a big skull on the dude not to talk to and began carefully assigning roles and explaining what to do when somebody talked to the guy with the big fucking skull on his head and we wiped again. So we called it at that point. No drops but it was good to see inside the ice cream citadel.

Straight onto my arena team after that, (no breaks for us hard cores!), and we played around 20 matches, winning about 14 of them if I remember correctly. We are starting to gel very well together as a team, and rogue/druid is a great combo for annoying people particularly at the start. You stealth in and see the panic on their faces. Either they run around like crazy using all their abilities to show stealth in a big random mess while we watch from the sidelines and giggle or they huddle together behind a piller or a box and hope that we might not see them. The only team that we didn’t look like winning against was a DK/Druid combo who were both decked out in full heroic ICC 277 gear, and even on that fight we got the DK down.

The difference between running a raid and playing arena’s is your focus. In arena you have a lot of tunnel vision – you only need to worry about what’s in front of you and keep one eye on the other opponent. In raids you need to be much broader in your scope, taking in the whole fight and the whole 10 man team. Balancing between running both of these back to back is a good excerise in trying to become a well rounded player. Now all I need to do is go and find a JC …

Yesterday I did another 25 Arena 2v2 matches with my druid partner. We came out of it with 14 wins and 11 losses, which pushed us up to a 750 ranking. Not bad for just 50 matches played so far. My gear is just about where I can get it to at this point without getting arena ranking gear. What I really need are a couple of ilvl 264 weapons, but until we get our ranking up or I manage to step foot in ICC, that’s not going to happen. I’m definitely improving in arena, although I learn something almost every match. Yesterday I learnt with some shock that Warriors have a shout which will take you out of stealth. I never knew this. What a noob, huh? So shoot me.

My arena partner is very experienced, he used to have a 2200 rank team. Now he’s playing with me, which isn’t as low as you can fall, but it’s close. Think of me as a slight rebound upwards after hitting bottom. But he’s very patient and only lets out the occasional exasperated sigh over skype when I do something particularly noob-like. My partner has a weird balance spec that lets him heal as well as go into bear form and soak up a shit-tonne of damage. We were in a fight against a warlock and a druid where I died early on and it took another 4 minutes for them to take him down. I made a joke over skype that I should try and not die so early eh? heh heh heh. He agreed.

He knows everything about every class and their cooldowns, while I know a lot about rogues and … a lot about rogues. So when a DK puts down his blood area of effect thingy that I can’t stealth into, my partner knows that once it fades there is a 5 second cooldown for me to get in and sap. He can then rattle off that the mage has a 45 second cooldown on this, and the shaman has a 45 second cooldown on that, while I stare at the screen and try and work out if I’m still alive or not. Or I disarm an opponent and he immediately informs me that I have just wasted X amount of energy because you don’t disarm druids, you moron.

We had some interesting fights yesterday, but none more so that the fight against a shaman and a druid who were both healers. They were great at healing, not so great at dps. I don’t know if this is a very effective combination to win but it’s a sensationally awesome combination at making a fight last a very long time. It took us 20 minutes to get them down, (no exaggeration), and by the end of it I was suffering from carpel-tunnel. I ditched stealth very early on and just played my rogue like a dps warrior – in your face. We locked one down with cyclone or blind and wailed on the other until it was time to switch, thus slowly, and I mean slowly getting their mana pool down. If only sex lasted this long.

I only saw my partner panic once when we walked into a match and he exclaimed in a blind panic, “Mage/Rogue, arghhh, quick! You go that way! No,no,no! Watch out for the…! Arghghghgghhgh!” Dead.

I’m not having problems with paladins anymore, largely because I don’t try and attack them when they bubble. I just walk off, get behind a piller or something, restealth and flounce back and stick 100 daggers into them. I am having trouble against the kiting classes, warlocks, mages and hunters. Must get better there. The good thing about this bunch of matches was that we are now competitive. There were only a few matches where we lost quickly, the rest came down to the wire. We need to get some more matches in though because that 1800 is looking a long way off at the rate we’re going. And I need to get into ICC and get some daggers, cause once we get past 1200 ranking my weapons are going to be as usefull as tits on a bull.

You roll need on lockboxes because you want to level your skill.

You stealth slowly into fights so that they’re almost over before you get there.

You think that strength is a good stat for you.

You still haven’t got any helm at level 50 because you haven’t found one yet.

You don’t use poisons.

You die early on and keep writing ‘Rez me!’ in the chat box while we’re still fighting.

You ask my mage for water, (I mean really, what the fuck?)

Your name has the word ‘killer’ somewhere in it. Examples, Deathkiller, Killerguy, thekilla, killsforgolds, killsyoualls, etc.

There is a reason why I don’t want you to attack the sheep.

Did you know that you can use your kick ability to interrupt spellcasters, particularly the healers? Oh no, you didn’t? And I am a fucktard for telling you? Well, how about that.

You need on gems because you’re leveling jewelcrafting? Really? Well, I’m levelling enchanting, so I suppose that i can roll need on everything then.

Why is your DPS really low? Well, lets have a close look at all those points that you have in the subtlety tree …

You don’t look good wielding a bow. Or wearing that cloth.

The sound of your pets wings flapping is very annoying. I don’t care if the parrot makes you look more like a pirate, put it the fuck away.

There is a reason why nobody is a dwarf rogue you know.

The Undergeared Project continues apace – I recently passed the all-important level 40 barrier on my mage, and now get to ride around at something above a slow crawl. Some new spells, the 7th tier of the talent tree, and a bunch of new portals to whisk me around the world.

Although rogues and mages are both DPS classes, their play style is vastly different. My rogue was my first ever character in WoW and as such, I don’t think that I have ever really appreciated quite how tricky it is to play. Leveling a mage and running instances is proving to be substantially easier. (more…)

So a few weeks ago I posted that Ghostcrawler was a moron for the changes to rogues in patch 3.3. Now it seems that our awesome ‘Lead Systems Designer’ is doing the back-peddle faster than a centipide on a brakeless bicycle going downhill. Here’s what he has to say:

” … As many of you have suspected, we think rogue damage is too high. We will be making hotfixes to lower the maximum damage output of Assassination and Combat rogues. The Combat nerf will be slight. Both specs should still do just fine on damage meters (assuming skill, gear etc.) but shouldn’t be beating out other specs to such a large degree.”

Here is the link.

Now, we all knew that the mutilate buff was too over-powered. Blind Freddy could see it. But still they did it. And now we have the enevitable nerf. The problem is, as Daraia rightly points out, is that this will now mean mutilate rogues will have to re-gem all over again. Blizzard just seems to love to tinker with things. Lets tinker with this, lets tinker with that, lets tinker all over the bloody place. What they seem to fail to understand is that the continual tinkering, particularly when flying in the face of everyone else telling them that it will fuck things up, (as in the stupidly ridiculous rogue 3.3 buff), is that players are getting fed up with it. How do I gem, enchant or even gear up now when I have no idea if my decisions will be valid in the months to come?

There is one other little bit in Ghostcrawlers post that we cannot let slide by:

” … We’ll continue to refine and look at the Icecrown weapon procs.”

Lets look at a little item called Heartpierce This is for Assasination rogues, obviously, as it happens to be a dagger. Is there a similar item for combat rogues? Yes, it is called Black Bruise and it is a fist weapon. They could have made it an axe, they could have made it a sword, but they made it a fist. Sigh, oh well. We get what we are given. The proc rate on both of these items have been upgraded recently as they were proving to be a big pile of suck. Heartpierce is now considered BiS for Assasination rogues. The jury is still out on Black Bruise. If you want to follow the updates on the testing for these weapons you can follow the progress at Elitest Jerks.

Thursday is my day off which coincided well with the release of patch 3.3 yesterday. After lunch I jumped online to see what was up for offer. The first thing was to check my addons. At this point in time, Deadly Boss mods and Atlasloot have been updated and are working fine. Omen3 and recount have not. The next thing was to get my attunement for the Frozen Halls 5 man dungeon. I used the new looking for group feature which uses your realms battlegroup to find players for you to run the instance with. It was a bit slow, we had a 10 minute wait at one point to find another tank, but it worked quite well. As recount is not working I was not able to compare damage charts, but our group which had a hunter and shadow priest with me for DPS worked well. The hunter was mostly geared in lvl 245 gear and we had no problems running through the three dungeon wings. A lot of plate dropped. In fact, only plate dropped. And a two handed hammer. And a tanking cape. Sucks to be us. The dungeon was interesting, and I must say that I like attunements. Also the emblems really start piling up quickly.

I am still specced combat and I am going to stay that way unless I get some awesome dagger drops. I will be the lone rogue flying the combat flag. Yey me. The big news though is the daily raid quest. This awards 5 emblems of frost and 5 triumph. Holy crapparoony. Today all you have to do is take down Ignis the Furnace master. You can do it in 10 or 25 man, heroic or normal. I think that this is a game changing feature. You will be able to use this to gear up to raid without being in a raiding guild. And seeing as I am now guildless, this will be a nice little experiment for me to try out. The Looking for Group interface does not list raids anymore. For that you need to go into the new raid browser. Here is a guide.

The other big news? The next wing of Icecrown opens in 28 days. As I thought, Blizzard is going to string this one out. They say that the next one will be released quicker. Yeah, it’ll be 25 days.

I still have to run the Heroic version of the new 5 man instance, which I’m planning on doing tonight. The normal version was not that challenging – it was a lot of fun, but we never even looked like wiping. I have heard that the Heroic version is a good deal harder, we shall see this evening. What else? Apart from a constant stream of players spamming chat for Battered Hilts, that’s about it. Encrypted Text has a post up listing the new gear in the patch. Have fun wading through all of that. One thing about the gear, they are really pushing Haste and armor penetration. As Chase says, Hit is becoming a rare stat in Wrath end game.

Me? I’m hoping to find some new swords. Bugger those dagegrs for a joke.

What is happening to all the rogue blogs? This week the best rogue blog for hard technical information in the rogue blogosphere, One Rogues Journey, was pulled. Zaltu has decided to call it quits on not just his blog but the game itself. This led me to check out all the other rogue blogs out there to see what the current blog situation is. And it’s not very good. If we go down my own blogroll on the right hand side of my home page you start to get an idea.

And Two Rogues, a blog that I have always enjoyed had its last post back in July. That post is somewhat ironically titled, ‘Not Dead Yet.’ Well he may not be dead but he sure hasn’t stirred in a while.

Ravenholdt Manor is one of the few still being consistantly updated. A lot of Dariaia’s posts are about factions and famous rogues in the game, but with the dearth of information on rogues for the last month or so it’s commendable that this blog is still being so regularly updated. A rare victory as we shall see.

Forever a Noob is also being regularly updated, so good on ya bro for shining the torch in a sea of darkness.

Gone Rogue is gone. The link now connects to some strange site in another language whose safety I cannot guarantee. So don’t click on it and it’s coming down from tomorrow on my list. I was not aware of this until just now. A pity for this to happen as I liked that blog.

Ninja Chimp retired from both blogging and the game back in September. I was sad to see this one go.

As stated above, One rogue’s journey has reached its final destination. Zaltu was the source for quick and easy access to first-rate rogue technical information. This is a great loss, no doubt about it.

Rogue Rogue is, along with One rogues journey, one of the best rogue blogs out there for technical analysis. So far in November he has made only one post. Things are not looking good here either.

Slice & Dice is still flying the flag, but even Sam has been hard pressed to find much to write about this month. Keep at it brother!

That’s it for rogue blogs on my links. Over at Twisted Nether the rogue blogs listed are mostly either inactive, deleted or dying a slow death. It’s well known that Parry! Dodge! Spin! was last updated almost a year ago. Lets face it, there aren’t many of us left. Apparently in the comments for Zaltu’s farewell post, my own blog has died. This is news to me. I am still here. I might have made a few posts this month bemoaning the state of the game, but I am still here. Here I am. This is me waving my hand frantically.

So why is the current number of active rogue blogs small enough to be counted on one hand? I think that the game could be in trouble. I have said this very month that things are not that great in the game, as I have said that I am not happy with the direction that it is going in or with decisions taken by Blizzard recently. Check out this post from WoW insider from yesterday. The topic is, ‘When will you Quit WoW?’ There are over 250 comments, which is a huge amount, the majority of which state that they already have quit or will do so soon. Many reasons are given, but it seems that players are broadly dis-satisfied with the game. They are logging on because they feel that they have to, or they log off because they are bored.

The thing that interests me the most with this post is the number of ex-players posting a comment in it, players who quit the game some time ago. They state that they regularly check sites such as WoW Insider to keep themselves updated, informed, or to just get their WoW fix. This tells me that they did not want to leave the game, they want to keep going with WoW. But the state of the game is so dire that they are just not able to, and they are reduced to quitting playing and then checking online sites so as they still feel part of the community.

Another frequently cited motive for players staying in the game longer than they wish to is their guild or social network within the game. They do not want to play the game any longer but they are unable to leave as they dread abandoning the friends that they have built up during their online stay. This is the great strength of a good MMO: the ability to keep people playing far longer than they normally would based on their in-game social network. And WoW has the strongest player community out there. Is this factor artificially prolonging a game that would otherwise have fallen by the wayside? It could very well be. But with the dramatic fall in rogue blogs, perhaps this social “guilt-trip” is not as strong as it once was or maybe it is not strong enough to overcome the games negative points, perceived or not.

Bloggers are a vital part of an online community, they reflect its state of health. Age of Conan, which I am currently trying out, has an incredibly poor blogging community. The most recent podcast I can find for Conan was last updated in October 2008. I listened to that last episode. The host used the word, ‘disappointing’, about 4356 times. This is an apt word to use when considering Zaltu packing up shop and the state of the game at this time: disappointing. I hope that the state of the game can change for the better, that great players and bloggers like Zaltu will come back. I do not wish the game to decline in this way, nor to gloat over it from some lofty perch. But I will call out failings that I see. And I hope myself to keep flag waving for some more time to come.

The WoW Insider podcast episode from the 18th of May talked again about the Insider teams incredibly stupid idea of giving Bloodlust to Rogues to buff their raid utility. Well, to be honest, they mostly spoke about Shamans but they did speak about Rogues once. Mike Schramm asked Lesley Smith what her opinion was about giving Bloodlust to rogues. She thought that it wasn’t a good idea, and then backed up her opinion with this devastatingly profound explanation:

“… Rogues are big on the all, … sneaky-sneaky, killy-killy, rather than so much, pewy-pewy.”

I mean, are we fucking serious? What the hell does “pewy-pewy” mean? I don’t even know if I spelled that right. I had to listen to it five times just to try and work out what the hell she was saying. This is the wowinsider podcast, supposedly the font on the internet on serious information regarding all things WoW, and this is what they come up with based on their own originally crap idea.

The wowinsider podcast has always been something of a lame duck, but this is just pathetic. For those of you who are masochistic enough to listen to it, the quote in question occurs around the 29 minute mark.

Coming up later on today or tomorrow, I will review the main WoW podcasts. Trust me, the reviews will be scathing.

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