21 arena games and we managed to drop down 4 points. I mean sure, we got our weekly arena badges, but it still feels like we were out there for nothing. Kind of like the Australian football team …
And most of the fault I must pin on myself. Last night I was the suck. I just wasn’t in the zone. We won 5 matches out of 11 sure, but still I was the suck. How does running up to sap a hunter and forgetting about his ice trap sound? Or standing right out in the middle of an open space so a warrior can charge me? Or how about failing to learn that a shaman will open with his hurricane-force-blow-you-back-thingy every fucking time? Forgetting to use blind? That was me. Disarming the wrong class? Hands up for Adam. Doing overall crap damage with my measly ilvl232 weapons against very good geared teams? That would be yours truly. One of the games we ran was against a paladin/druid team. I managed to off the druid in double quick time which left the two of us to take out the paladin. We stood there wailing against this dude in the same spot without any movement for about 4 minutes before he finally did us a favor and keeled over and died. I can just imagine what he was saying to his partner in real time:

“Do you think these two are ever going to kill me?”
“Doesn’t look like it. Keep it up while I go and get a coffee.”
“Sure. Man, this rogue really sucks.”

If you’re going to do arena you must be warned. In any other part of the game you can convince yourself that you’re a good player when actually you suck. In arena there is nowhere to hide. I could feel my partners pain last night, I felt it in his voice on skype. There were these long drawn out sighs. And then at one point I was sure that I could hear him banging his head against the keyboard in a slow thudding motion. Either that or he was jerking off which I don’t want to think about.

But I did learn one thing last night for all you would-be arena rogues out there. Use obstacles. You don’t want to go toe to toe with a warrior, you want to just keep him out of your line of sight. We managed to win a game where I kept a well geared warrior busy chasing me around a large tombstone. He couldn’t use charge or any of his nasty stuns, and every now and again I would turn and unleash a bunch of damage on him and then recommence running in a tight circle again. Eventually my partner gave me the super secret code word to burn him down:

“Finish him!”

And then I blinded him, restealthed and then ass-chopped him to oblivion. Obstacles are great as a rogue. Keep moving around, sprint away and hide to get out of combat, make them waste time looking for you, use distract as often as you can. And above all else, when you’re playing like shit, call it early and go and kill some male blood elves.

Gevlon has a post up today about a little situation in our guild the other night concerning a guildie who got saved to ICC and then when asked why in guild chat replied with, ‘That’s your problem.’ Apparently Gevlon got whispers that he should kick the ‘traitor’, which I find incredible as if you know Gevlon that is a good way to find yourself kicked as a result. However, I did reply in guild chat myself at being disappointed in his decision to get saved. And he won’t find me bending over backwards to help him in the future either. Does this make me a dreaded social?

ICC is starting to become hugely important, and that is for one reason: weapon upgrades. At the moment I have 232 weapons. The only upgrades I can get are from ICC or Arena. The problem with Arena weapons is that they require an 1800 rating. The problem with getting that rating is that once you find yourself above 1200 your opponents for the most part have ICC weapons. So you hit a sort of advancement brick wall. There aren’t that many daggers in ICC either. And we cannot include drops from 25mans as we’re not going to get into those in the forseeable future. Lets have a look at them and where they drop:

Bloodsipper, which drops from the Blood Queen.

Flesh carving Scalpel, which drops from Putricide.

That’s it. Oh, the Lich King has a drop as well but yeah, I don’t think we’ll be seeing him anytime soon. Lets be honest, I don’t like our chances of seeing these two bosses anytime soon either with a once a week raid that some ‘smart guildies’ give up on to go and PuG the first boss with another group.

And if we manage to get one of these bosses down and one of these 2 daggers drop? Every rogue in the raid will be wetting themselves over these. And here is the big problem with guildies pugging this raid over coming with us. Gevlon announced a few weeks ago that we would be using a GDKP system to distribute loot, partly as a means of ramping up our interest in the AH. I love gold runs as it means I have a much better chance of getting the drop that I want. Yet when we dropped Marrowgar on Sunday and we went to distribute the loots, we were told to roll. The reason? We had to PuG a couple of players from outside the guild. So the big effect of guildies getting themselves saved to ICC is that we cannot use gold to bid on the drops and have to instead press the horrible ‘/roll’. I tend to sacrifice a small child just before hitting enter, you know, for luck.

It’s worth mentioning that there are a couple of dagger drops in Trial of the Crusader, but these are only worth getting on heroic mode, and even then it is a small upgrade from a 232 weapon. There is a real dagger brick wall in end-game WoW at the moment. And we all know that a rogue lives and dies on their weapons. It’s not worth trying to PuG these raids as you are certain to get a fail group. It’s a tricky situation for us dagger dependant rogues and unless I get very lucky I seem to be in a right pickle.

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.