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Encrypted Text: Examining assassination's AoE rotation

crimson tempest
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.

Deadly Poison is everything to an assassination rogue. It makes up between 35-40% of our single-target DPS. Our mastery bonus, Potent Poisons, increases our poison damage and causes mastery rating to be our best stat by far. Our primary finisher, Envenom, is designed specifically to increase the amount of Deadly Poison procs we see. Mutilate, Dispatch, and assassination's other abilities are all minor players compared to Deadly Poison.

Deadly Poison is also the key to assassination's AoE performance, as it makes up over 50% of our overall damage. All of our AoE decisions have to be seen through the lens of maximizing Deadly Poison's damage. Fan of Knives is the key to applying Deadly Poison to several targets at once. When there are more than two targets around, we replace Mutilate and Dispatch with Fan of Knives as our main combo point builder and work from there.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: What would make you play a rogue?

visuals
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.

Everyone has a different idea of what the perfect rogue consists of. I know plenty of rogues that wouldn't play the class without its subterfuge and stealth tactics. Other rogues focus entirely on our combat mechanics and couldn't care less about our burgeoning bag of parlor tricks. There are PvP-focused rogues that will never Pick Pocket their targets, and there are PvE-centric rogues that have no idea that Shadow Walk was ever introduced.

The question is what makes us play rogues? What would make new players try out the rogue class? Every player has their own reasons for picking the rogue over the other classes. What changes could be implemented that would bring in more players? Ghostcrawler has indicated that the relative power isn't correlated with our population stats. If cranking up our damage by 20% wouldn't increase the number of active rogues, what would?

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Cat and mouse in rogue PvP

rogue pvp
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 deal maximum damage when in melee range of their opponents. The new Shuriken Toss is potent, but it's still no substitute for melee uptime. Ranged classes want to keep rogues at bay, while rogues want to close the gap as soon as possible. Rogues will beat a warlock that stands still, but a slippery mage can defeat us. When it comes to PvP, it's all about location, location, location.

Mobility has become a back-and-forth battle between rogues and ranged classes. We compensate for their slows and snares with our Crippling Poison, while they counter our stuns with their teleports and trinkets. Rogues can use Shadowstep to close the gap, only to be rooted in place and left out in the open. Rogue PvP has become a mobility cooldown dance, as we try to snuggle up to our targets and they try to play hard-to-get.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Rogue basics in patch 5.2

argent
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.

With one glance at the notes, you'll see that rogues are obviously the class getting the most updates in the upcoming patch. There's an unusual number of changes coming our way. I'm used to a few terse sentences under the brittle yellow Rogue heading in the patch notes. Currently, we're facing paragraphs of tweaks, a handful of completely new abilities, and even redesigns of old techniques.

None of the changes should affect our core DPS mechanics. Our rotations are going to stay exactly the same, our weapon and poison changes won't be changing, and we'll want the same stats on our gear. Combat and subtlety rogues were both slightly buffed, but all three specs should be competitive in PvE. Many of the changes should significantly increase our stock in PvP, via both offensive and defensive improvements.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Smoke Bomb's new trick

smoke bomb
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.

Kick will cost zero energy in patch 5.2, bringing it in line with most of the other melee interrupts in the game. Ghostcrawler indicated that as PvE utility ability, Kick should be free to encourage regular usage. In PvP situations, Kick was already the straggler in the process of becoming free, not the forerunner. Blade Flurry's new 4-way 40% cleave allows us to deal 260% of our normal melee damage to 5 targets. Combat's cleave is still quite potent against two targets, but now excels when facing small groups.

In addition to these improvements, Smoke Bomb is learning a new trick. In patch 5.2, Smoke Bomb will reduce damage taken by our allies inside the Smoke Bomb radius by 20%. While Tricks of the Trade has always been a valuable addition to our arsenal and we have several buffs and debuffs, the new Smoke Bomb is our first true raid cooldown.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: The rise of the ranged rogue

shuriken
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 original Shuriken Toss never made sense. Why would rogues, a purely melee class, want a single ranged attack? We don't have the supporting toolbox to make the transition into a ranged DPS spec. Melee uptime is our top priority. Because of our reliance on our melee attacks, mobility is our most requested feature. Why would a class want Shuriken Toss when they can have Shadowstep?

Patch 5.2 is turning a one-off ranged ability into everything a rogue needs to attack targets from range. If you use Shuriken Toss on a target that is farther than 10 yards away, your auto-attacks gain a 30-yard range for 10 seconds. The auto-attacks turn into tiny shuriken that you throw at your target. These shuriken have several special properties, but the extended range is obviously the most important aspect of the ability. With Shuriken Toss, ranged auto-attacks, and Deadly Throw, rogues suddenly have a ranged repertoire.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Subtlety doesn't need a buff

Encrypted Text Subtlety doesn't need a buff 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.

You would have to be pretty dumb to play a subtlety rogue right now, right? If you check out World of Logs or DPS Bot, it's one of the game's worst specs. Subtlety is ranking down there with frost mages, as usual. Blizzard is buffing Sanguinary Vein by 4% in patch 5.2, which results in a slightly smaller overall buff for subtlety. Toss in a couple of extra Vanishes from baseline Preparation, and you're looking at a reasonable DPS boost for sub rogues. But how can a few percentage points of damage make up for the 50% gap that subtlety is showing on the meters?

Subtlety is not doing just 50% of assassination or combat's DPS. In fact, top subtlety rogues are parsing right up there with the best assassination and combat rogues in the game. Subtlety's problem is self-fulfilling: the rogues with the most skill and the best gear aren't playing sub because it looks bad. Subtlety looks bad because there are so few parses from rogues with the appropriate skill and gear. Most subtlety parses are from poorly played rogues in PvP gear that are just soaking up valor points and leather gear.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: It's time to eat cake

preparation
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.

Preparation
has always been our most controversial ability. From the early episodes of The World of Roguecraft, to the chart-topping AR/Prep days of BC, to our recent Prep vs Step conundrum, Preparation has always been the focal point of rogue cooldown discussion. Many rogues have advocated removing Preparation altogether and adjusting our cooldowns to be potent without it. Several other classes don't see the ability as a fair technique, lending itself to our image as a cooldown-reliant class.

Blizzard clearly has other thoughts on the matter, as the ability will become baseline and available to all rogues at level 68 in the upcoming 5.2 patch. If I was making a list of rogue talents that might become baseline abilities, Preparation would've been all the way at the bottom. Many vocal rogues have been asking for Shadowstep to be added to every rogue's repertoire to resolve the Prep vs Step debate, but I don't think anyone saw the reverse happening. The decision to baseline Preparation is a clear buff for rogues everywhere.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Santa Ghostcrawler kills Blade Flurry

santa ghostcrawler
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.

Apparently rogues haven't been getting the message. Year after year, as punishment for our evil deeds and shady dealings, we've only received coal in our Winter Veil stockings. We were not deterred, as we simply pickpocketed good presents from everyone else. A frustrated Greatfather Winter, tired of our shenanigans, finally turned to his manager. Santa Ghostcrawler, with the rumored Naughty List tight in his grasp, set about enacting a Winter Veil surprise that rogues would not be able to ignore. A 75% nerf to Blade Flurry in patch 5.2 did the trick.

Melodrama aside, Blade Flurry was broken. While I would've preferred to see the ability spread to all three rogue specs and balanced appropriately (back to a cooldown?), Blizzard went in a different direction. Blade Flurry remains firmly a combat-only ability, but the edge it held over assassination and subtlety has waned significantly. Combat is no longer shackled to purely two-target gimmick fights, and assassination and subtlety rogues no longer need to respec and reforge multiple times per night to flex for Blade Flurry. The net effect is incredibly positive for rogues as whole, and we should be embracing this change.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Rogues, spam, and haste

haste
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 spent the past weekend playing a new mech game, Hawken. One of the game's signature weapons is a powerful RPG, which has a short cooldown. During intense battles, I often found myself spamming my RPG button, just as I would spam Mutilate while playing my rogue. I wanted to make sure I used it as soon as it came off of cooldown. Unfortunately for me, pressing the button a second time once the RPG is airborne causes it to detonate prematurely, which usually resulted in the RPG's explosion damaging my mech instead of my target.

While raiding in Dragon Soul, combat was the spec du jour, you had to spam your Sinister Strike key. If you weren't fervently mashing the '2' button on your keyboard, your energy would cap and you'd be throwing away free DPS. What's worse is that combat's favorite stat was haste, which only served to exacerbate the issue. Rogues weren't spamming their keys because they were impatient, they were spamming their keys to do their job.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

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