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Encrypted Text: Stealth, openers, and the 5.3 nerfs

stealth
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Rogues have an identity problem. We're a class that's based around Stealth and subterfuge, but WoW's combat mechanics aren't conducive to that design. Our opener abilities are immensely powerful to compensate for their relative unavailability. If you've ever dueled another rogue, you know how critical the element of surprise is to PvP combat. A rogue stuck in the open is hardly a rogue at all.

The flip side of that coin is that a rogue in Stealth is a powerful force. Cheap Shot and Garrote are amazing abilities without any true cooldowns, and Shadow Dance keeps subtlety at the top of the arena charts. Rogues that specialize in PvP are focused on how to sneak as many openers as possible into an encounter. Vanish, an inconsequential PvE ability, is one of the most potent offensive PvP cooldowns available. The divide between a stealthed rogue and an exposed rogue is massive.

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Encrypted Text: An interview with Pathal, Shadowcraft's unofficial lead dev

Pathal
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

After Aldriana decided to give up the title of master rogue theorycrafter, nobody knew who would take up his mantle. A handful of rogue champions worked together to develop Shadowcraft's engine for Mists of Pandaria. As time has marched on, many rogues faded away, but one has risen to the top. Pathal has been the lead developer working on the Shadowcraft back-end for several months now, tweaking the numbers as patches and hotfixes drop and working on exposing more options and expanding SC's capabilities.

I had the opportunity to speak with Pathal about his history as a rogue, what he thinks of the class and its mechanics, how he got started in rogue theorycrafting, and what working on Shadowcraft has been like.

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Encrypted Text: Swirly Ball and a bag of coins

glyph of disguise
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

When Blizzard reintroduced Detection via the Glyph of Detection, I was ecstatic. Trap detection had been baked into the class when Detect Traps was originally removed, but that didn't stop rogues from waxing nostalgic about Swirly Ball. Warlocks wanted their green fire, warriors were trying to use Titan's Grip with polearms, and rogues begged for Swirly Ball back. The Glyph of Detection is the perfect minor glyph because it's fun and it's purely cosmetic. Or is it?

Balarak, who is unfortunately a hunter, discovered a secret rogue event while infiltrating Ravenholdt Manor. Nobody expected what he found there. Ghosts and spirits, a hidden tribute to the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, a rogue-only item with amazing capabilities, and the implication that maybe, even in this age of data mining, we haven't found everything WoW has to offer.

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Encrypted Text: The true cost of Feint

feint
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

I used Feint once while leveling up in 2004. I was in Razorfen Kraul, attempting to duo Agathelos the Raging for a shot at a Swinetusk Shank. While fighting Agathelos, the great boar focused on me. With Evasion down, my life was dwindling. My brother of the shadows told me to use Feint, which would lower my threat. It didn't reduce my threat by enough, and I died. I learned then and there that Feint was not my friend. Luckily there was a dagger on the boar's corpse, so my run back was ever so sweet.

After Tricks of the Trade and Misdirection entered the scene, I put Feint on button without a hotkey -- the action bar equivalent of Siberia. For nearly five years, Feint went unused. Rogues already have potent passive threat reduction. Patch 3.0.8 changed all that, and now I'm pressing Feint as often as Mutilate or Envenom. Feint is now a core ability of the rogue class.

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Encrypted Text: Learning the rogue calculus

rogue scribbles
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

You don't have to be good at math to play a rogue. Anyone can log into WoW and create a rogue. You can get all the way to level 90 and into raids without ever having to do any addition or long division. You can do dailies and dungeons simply by using the highest ilvl gear available and ignoring everything else. Rogues are played with a keyboard and mouse, not a pen and paper.

However, if you want to wring every last drop of DPS out of the class, you're going to have to get your hands dirty with numbers. I love when a class' design forces the player to make tough choices. The choices that we make as rogues, when you think about it, are really just math problems. The secret to making good choices is to do the math ahead of time. You don't want to be faced with an unexpected set of fractions in the middle of a tough raid encounter.

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Encrypted Text: Adjusting your rogue to patch 5.2

sha on head
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Patch 5.2 only came out three weeks ago, and there's already talk about what's coming in the next patch. While the new PvP gear changes are interesting, we still have to deal with what the last patch dealt us. Rogues typically receive fewer changes than the other classes, for better or worse. When we have a patch like 5.2 that introduces several updates and new additions, there's naturally a period of coping with the changes.

Marked for Death is an amazing talent for chewing through mobs, if you remember to use it. I tend to use it to dispatch a few enemies while doing dailies, forget about it for 5 minutes, and then I remember it, and wonder how I forgot in the first place. With the Glyph of Deadly Momentum, I feel that rogues are the most efficient solo class in the game. We can keep Slice and Dice up permanently, and with Rupture applied immediately, we're dealing full damage right off the bat.

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Encrypted Text: The incredible, indestructible rogue

rogue tank
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

There used to be a saying amongst healers: "It costs less mana to rez a rogue than to heal one." Rogues were the only non-plate melee class (shaman and druids were healers), and our leather armor didn't absorb heavy blows. I remember gearing my first rogue specifically for stamina and fire resistance. I wouldn't be invited to the raid unless I could meet the 4,000 HP minimum health requirement. If I accidentally stole aggro, I would be squashed like a grape.

Times have changed. Rogues are now the most durable melee class, and it's not even close. Enhancement shamans and fury warriors can't toss on a shield without severing all hope of dealing competitive DPS. Rogues are capable of dealing nearly their maximum damage while taking less damage than any other class in the raid.

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Encrypted Text: How to play a rogue in patch 5.2

Encrypted Text How to play a rogue in patch 52 WEDNESDAY
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Now that the patch is live, we know which changes made it and which were cut in development. Vitality's buff was cut in half, but combat rogues are still sitting quite pretty. Assassination had a last-minute 10% boost to its damage via Assassin's Resolve, which should ensure that the spec performs well. Subtlety's Sanguinary Vein buff also stayed put, which should increase the number of subtlety rogues raiding in this tier.

Along with the purely numerical changes, we also have to factor in our new set bonuses, talents, and ability changes that arrived with the patch. Rogues received more changes than usual in this patch cycle, and I am hopeful that we'll continue to excel in PvE while also gaining ground in PvP representation. Patch 5.2 is full of cool new tools for rogues, which has me very excited for this raid tier.

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Encrypted Text: Examining our tier 15 set bonuses

rogue tier 15
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

The Nine-Tail Battlegear is our new tier 15 raid set, and it's beautiful. The nine-tailed fox is a famous Asian mythological creature. The animal is known in many cultures for its trickery and cunning, both of which are famous rogue attributes. They're also known for frequently running from hunters and their pets, which is another one of our pastimes. I think that our opponents are likely to find the sharp-toothed fox snout on our helms to be quite imposing.

Our tier 15 set bonuses are very interesting, and much more exciting than our tier 14 bonuses. I've never been a fan of the simple "Ability X does Y% more damage" set bonuses. Our two-piece bonus is unlike anything I've seen before, and our four-piece bonus has already been the topic of much discussion between the rogue community and the developers. All three rogue specs are receiving sizable buffs going into patch 5.2, and with some fresh new set bonuses to look forward to, exploring the Throne of Thunder should be a good time.

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Encrypted Text: Blade Flurry math in patch 5.2

blade flurry
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

The new Blade Flurry that's on the PTR is by far the most exciting update for combat rogues in at least a year. The current version, which still isn't finalized, allows 40% of our melee damage to be cleaved onto up to 4 targets at once. It's a significant step up from the old Blade Flurry when we're facing a handful of targets, but what about in a regular cleaving situation?

In order to do the math for Blade Flurry, you have to figure out what you're gaining and what you're giving up by activating it. Blade Flurry increases our melee damage by 40% per target, but not all of our attacks are replicated. Our autoattacks, Shadow Blades, Main Gauche, and most of our other abilities are all affected by Blade Flurry. Notably, BF doesn't apply to Deadly Poison or Rupture. While many combat rogues are ignoring Rupture today, it will likely be worth using once we have our 2-piece tier 15 bonus, which extends its duration.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text