The introduction of the Raid Finder is one of the biggest features in patch 4.3, and so far it has been everything that we could ask for and more. The queues have been quick, the bosses are tuned just right for the demographic, and the rewards are potent enough to keep the system running. Anyone with decent gear can queue up for a raid, gaining valuable experience and gear. I think the new system is perfect for allowing new raiders to get their feet wet, preparing them for what lies ahead.
Even as a pure DPS class, the Raid Finder queues haven't been too bad for rogues. Between my own experience and the word on the street (not Greg), queue times are between 15 and 30 minutes, and groups are mostly competent. To a class that's historically had problems finding a spot in a raid group, the Raid Finder looks like our new best friend. The only bummer is that we can't start or progress in our legendary quest line in the Raid Finder. In order to maximize our random group's chance for success, we need to be prepared to do our best.
Raid Finder trims the fat
The Raid Finder versions of the Dragon Soul bosses are much weaker than their normal- and heroic-mode counterparts. Bosses have less life, their attacks deal less damage, and their powerful abilities are typically weakened or removed completely. While the fights are easier than usual, you will still have to know your role and duties if you want to succeed. If you treat the bosses without the proper amount of respect, it will come back to bite you.
Morchok isn't a difficult fight for rogues, but there are a few optimizations we can take advantage of. Morchok will be using his Stomp ability pretty regularly, which deals some AoE damage to everyone nearby. Feint will help by reducing our damage taken, which helps the healers spend less mana healing us. Ensure that you're using the Glyph of Feint, as it is a required glyph for any PvE rogue. By removing Feint's energy cost, we can use it at any time without costing us any damage. Feint is one of the few defining abilities of the rogue class, so use it well.
Morchok has a special phase where he brings everyone close to him and then starts bleeding all over the ground. We're forced to run away from the creeping blood, hiding in the safety behind the stone pillars that are created. While spending time away from the boss hurts our DPS, we can mitigate some of the damage loss by using Throw. Poison your throwing weapon with Deadly Poison before the fight starts, and use Sprint to quickly run way behind a stone pillar. You should be able to use your Throw ability to keep your Deadly Poison stack active, which will minimize your lost damage when you return to attacking the boss.
You might be tasked with running to a Resonating Crystal on the ground. Some raids will have ranged players handle this instead, so ask your raid leader. If melee are participating, you'll know you need to run to the crystal by looking for a laser beam shooting out of your body toward the crystal. Just run over to the crystal and wait for it to explode. You can use the Throw tactic again here to keep your Deadly Poison stack around. In fact, using Throw when you're unable to reach a boss is always a good idea.
A rude awakening for Yor'sahj the Unsleeping
Yor'sahj might seem complex but ends up being relatively simple for rogues. We alternate between burning down the boss and attacking one of the oozes that he spawns. Follow your raid leader's plan for picking the ooze to kill, and you won't have any issues. Run over to the ooze with Sprint and nuke it down as you follow it toward the boss. Note that the oozes don't have a front or back and can't parry, so feel free to attack from any direction you please. You might also be assigned to nuke down a Mana Void, which follows the same rules.
If the boss spawns add via a black ooze, then you'll be using Fan of Knives to nuke down a few weak adds. If the boss starts dealing AoE damage via a yellow ooze, you'll want to pop Feint to reduce the damage. Otherwise, you'll sit in melee range, attacking as usual. The other oozes are inconsequential for rogues.
Bouncing Warlord Zon'ozz
The ranged DPS and healers have a lot of work to do against the Warlord, while we rogues get to simply burn the boss down the entire time. If there ever was a tank-and-spank fight for us in this tier, Warlord Zon'ozz would be it. We can stay in melee range for the entire fight, only strafing for a moment to avoid colliding with the Void Orb. Your raid leader will go over how many bounces the orb should reach, and it's our job to simply step to the side to let the orb collide with the boss instead of with our backside. When the orb is going to hit us, we can Feint to cut down the damage a bit.
Resisting Hagara the Stormbinder
Hagara is by far the most complicated boss out of the first half of Dragon Soul. She has two special phases, Frozen Tempest and Lightning Storm. During Frozen Tempest, focus on running away from the ice walls and spend a few seconds killing the ice crystals. The ice walls move clockwise around the outside edge of the room, but they're not that fast. Rogues with Quickening or a speed enchant on their boots will be able to outrun the ice walls with ease. Don't bother with using Cloak of Shadows against the ice walls. During Lightning Storm, we'll be killing an add and then running as a group from totem to totem, blowing them up.
After both Frozen Tempest and Lightning Storm are over, the boss takes extra damage for a few seconds, so save Sprint or any movement speed cooldowns you have for that phase. The rest of the right is pretty easy for rogues, as we're simply killing the boss as usual. Because we spend so much time running around and not actually attacking, your DPS might not look so hot, but that's just the nature of the fight.
Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.