Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The man who doesn't like to pug...

...pugs the 10-man version of the Wintergrasp raid.

I decided to have a go at Wintergrasp whilst online just to see what the zone was like and see how well the Eviscerator's set I've crafted holds up when fighting against everything else.

As it turns out the Horde were outnumbered but the Tenacity buff and some good work from those involved (no real idea who) meant we won, provided the buff to all the instances the rest of the guild were running and made the raid instance available.

There were soon messages running around the General channel, and having heard good reports about pugging normal and heroic instances I decided to give it a go, especially as there would be the chance for some nice epics. Sadly no rogue loot dropped but I did get a chance to have a look at the boss fight.

First up, we are definitely in a dps race, there's a 5 minute hard enrage timer so you need to get him down within that time. Second there's a lot of damage everywhere, the boss has a couple of random target abilities and leaves an AoE effect about the place meaning ranged need to keep on their toes as well as the tank if he leaves one on top of the melee. Finally he'll wildly lunge and grab the main tank, meaning he needs to be picked up by an off tank for the duration.

As a rogue there are two key things for this fight.
1) Stay below both tanks on threat. Think Gruul, think Moroes, just stay below both of the tanks or you'll be dead as soon as the main tank gets picked up.
2) Tricks will aid which ever tank needs it most so use it as much as possible.

The week lock out means you're not going to be farming it any more than the other raid instances but with the right group (or even within guild) there's a potential quick way to some epics and a couple of emblems.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Rogue DPS in instances

I was lucky enough to run a couple of level 80 instances with some guildies and as with most things I had recount running as a way to check how I was doing. I'm very aware that having respecced that my dps cycle is not down pat yet, the variations in combo point generation, energy regen and mob abilities mean that I'm not keeping up all buffs and debuffs that I should.

There were times that I was feeling about down about my performance, out of the five of us I was running third overall in damage done, behind a DK and slightly worrying the tank. However before running off to the forums and QQing about how rogues are broken and need x, y and z done to fix them let's look at how the pulls were being done.

Generally we would have a group of 3 or 4, the tank would mark the skull and charge in, we'd take down the skull and then pick off the rest. Given I have no real AoE dps, other than Fan of Knives which is currently on a 10secs cool down trying to get poisons and rupture up on mobs that are already below 50% health means there's little to no chance of getting those key abilities up for any meaningful time.

Ok, so my damage is nerfed, how come I'm below the tank? Well while there's 3 or 4 mobs on him he's busy using Swipe and a glyphed Maul which means he's hitting multiple mobs as is the DK who has a ghoul minion in tow.

Let's compare this to the final boss fight in Halls of Lightning. Loken requires that everyone stay close within range of each other and then run away when he starts casting the large AoE spell. This is a single target fight, and while there's movement, it's not bad enough that every debuff drops off. Checking the stats for that fight showed me well up in the number 1 spot in terms of damage done and raw dps figures.

What this shows is that rogues are still the kings of single target dps, and needs to be considered when looking at damage meters just how the damage was being dished out and how the mobs were being taken out.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Mutilate Solo DPS

As I mentioned in the last post I've switched back to mutilate spec and have found it very, very efficient for killing mobs whilst keeping me alive. So I thought I'd share what I've chosen in terms of spec, what buffs I have up, glyphs and what rotations are used.

The spec I'm currently using is 57/8/5 and is geared to being a soloing spec, hence why there isn't 5 points in Precision and I haven't taken Blood Spatter. However Deadly Brew and Improved Kidney Shot are great soloing abilities as well as for use in PvP.

In terms of poisons I run with Instant on the main hand and Deadly on the off hand. Instant on both wouldn't allow for the poison debuff from Master Poisoner and Mutilate to be available and Deadly on both is over kill due to having 1.4 speed daggers and some haste rating available on gear. Along with the increased chance to apply poisons from the Improved Poisons talent getting a deadly poison debuff up isn't a problem.

Ability rotations depend on whether I successfully get the jump on the mob from stealth or pull (either by proximity or Throw).

Pickpocket -> Cheap Shot -> Mutilate -> Kidney Shot -> Mutilate -> Envenom
There may be time (and energy) to get a second Mutilate after the Kidney Shot, and if you're unfortunate enough to come up against a poison immune mob then replace Envenom with Eviscerate.

Mutilate x2 -> Kidney Shot -> Mutilate -> Envenom

Finally in terms of glyphs I'm still running with a Glyph of Slice and Dice, but have also picked up a Glyph of Vigor giving me a total of 120 energy, and am looking for a Glyph of Rupture to fill out the slots. If the dual spec implementation also allows you to swap glyphs then I may revisit but at the moment they're mostly geared to group play.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Ding 80!

Some heavy questing (thanks in part to a four day Thanksgiving weekend, I'm not American but whilst working here I get the holidays) has meant that Crash has dinged 80 and now it's time to play the rest of the game without the nagging though in the back of my mind that I need to be levelling and how much XP I need to hit that next level.

Along the way I've replaced nearly all the epics I had from TBC which was a bit hard for the first few but gave way over time as it became clear they were definitely upgrades. Also with the exception of trinkets they've all been blue rewards from the end of quest chains or group quests.

I managed one afternoon of serious instance boshing doing Gun'drak, Halls of Stone, Drak'tharon Keep and the Violet Hold (twice). In all this I managed to pick up one drop, sometimes the RNG is a harsh mistress. The instances on the whole feel very good, the trash isn't horrendous and the bosses are different without being insane. My only complaint would be that too many so far have relied on switching target or some other mechanic which causes a loss of combo points or things like Slice'n'Dice fading. While it's not been a massive problem or caused a lack of damage output on my part it does seem slightly frustrating.

I've switched back to Mutilate and wow, it's just fantastic now. Mobs die within a stunlock if I cheap shot them or if I'm not in stealth then they don't have long to hit me before being stunned and finished off. I thought losing blade flurry would hurt more when I had two or more mobs on me but due to the speed at which things die it hasn't been a problem.

For weapons a friendly blacksmith made me a couple of Saronite Shivs which are so loaded with goodness that I don't see them getting replaced quickly and the speed means that poisons are nearly always up, which is handy for using Envenom to refresh Slice and Dice. I'm just about getting a skills rotation down but the fights and spec means it's not as cookie cutter as combat swords was at 70 so expect a write up soon(ish) on what I do and the spec I'm going to use for raiding. Currently my spec is more suited for solo questing so when duel specs finally come in it may be worth switching between the two rather than anything else.

Right, time to decide which faction to champion first :)