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Posts with tag Rotation

Encrypted Text: Ghostcrawler explains it all

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.

Greg Street, more commonly known as Ghostcrawler, is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. While we can never know exactly what his responsibilities are internally, we do know about his external presence: He is the authoritative voice concerning class design. Players flock to his increasingly rare blog and forum posts to read about the direction their classes are headed. There are a slew of developers working on WoW, but his words are the ones that seem to guide our fate.

In a completely unprecedented event, Ghostcrawler has been replying to dozens of posts in a Mists of Pandaria beta rogue thread. His posts are so frequent on this thread that he even had time to reply to my comment personally. He's shared several pages of information with us about rogue design in Mists, Blizzard's concerns and design for the class, and class design in general.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Complexity of systems and player retention

If you don't read Cynwise's Warcraft Journal, you probably should. Cyn's been doing an excellent series of posts about warlocks in Cataclysm that are interesting and thought-provoking -- even if, like me, you're not a warlock and don't really know much about the class. For me, one of the most striking tidbits was that rogues are the second-to-least-played class overall, but the second-most-played class in high-end PvP, implying that people only play rogues to PvP. There's a lot of interesting data in there about class representation, role representation, and who is playing what and at what levels.

The post that really grabbed my attention was this one about warlock complexity in Cataclysm because it highlights an extreme form of something we've talked about before, the design philosophy that argues for increased complexity in a character's suite of abilities. In its simplest form, it can be summed up as the hitting buttons is fun argument, although at the extreme Cyn describes for warlocks, it becomes a game of if X, then Y that resembles programming your first computer in Basic. If you remember making a chain of dirty words scroll on a loop up the screen, congratulations on being old with me.

Cyn's comparison of the destruction rotation in Wrath and Cataclysm shows a rotation with seven elements mushroom out to one with 14 elements to remember and consider. That if X, then Y flowchart just got as complex as a subway map. In my experience, all DPS rotations in general have a little bit of this kind of gameplay nowadays. The difficulty is in hitting the sweet spot where the rotation is designed so that random elements or procs serve to liven up an otherwise predictable set of abilities (providing the fun in the hitting buttons scenario) without making a rotation so complex you need six to seven addons to help you plot it out.

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Filed under: Paladin, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Raid Rx: Why healing rotations spell death for your raid

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

Are you going through your healing rotation properly?

No question has raised my wrath more than that. The idea of a healing rotation is my ultimate pet peeve. I once had a ret paladin ask me what my healing rotation was. Not even his bubble could protect him from my stony glare that penetrated his monitor.

Healing is all about a priority system. It's about who needs what healing spell when. So as you're progressing through all the normal and heroic modes that Dragon Soul has to offer, learn to cultivate smarter healing habits. Find out what you need to focus on. Figure out what crappy habits you need to break.

Coincidentally, Mike Gray wrote about the DPS side of spell priorities just the other day. He goes into great detail about the history of the DPS rotation and what developers were witnessing from the players. With healing, though, no real rotation exists. It's all about priorities. Two types of priorities exist: spell choices and healing targets. For players who are just getting started with healing, let me go into further detail about each type.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

The Light and How to Swing It: An updated look at the prot paladin rotation

Casting Holy Shield
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

With some of the buffs from 4.3 (specifically the buff to Seal of Truth, when Judged) along with ever-increasing stats and item levels, our rotational priorities have changed as well. In order to keep everyone up to date on the latest theorycrafting being brought down from Mt. Sinai from Theck over at Maintankadin (as well as a refresher for the rustiest among us), this column today will look over single-target and AoE threat rotations and talk about what is the most optimal way to roll face.

First things first -- the right setup

Talenting is important when it comes to producing threat. If you're sacrificing a key DPS increaser like Reckoning for a monstrosity like Hallowed Ground, you're going to be doing yourself a disservice in the long run. No matter how cool a damage-dealing talent sounds (Eye for an Eye is case in point here), unless it brings the proper numbers to the table in the sims, it's not worth it if optimal play is your goal.

This is the pretty standard setup. I included the three heaviest-hitting prime glyphs in there as well. With regard to the talents, you can also go a little deeper by swapping the second point out of Pursuit of Justice and finishing off Grand Crusader. The second point is worth about 241 DPS with 2% hit/10 expertise.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Encrypted Text: The complexities of rogue DPS

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 am often asked about my favorite aspect of the rogue class. While our plethora of cooldowns are quite amazing and Stealth defines the class from an outsider's view, they're simply not relevant that often. Stealth is what rogues do when they're not in combat, and our cooldowns are only effective occasionally. The most pervasive portion of the rogue experience is our rotation system, which we're dealing with during every single second of every combat engagement.

I have played my wife's retribution paladin a few times, and suffice it to say that I hate the spec with every fiber of my being. I hated their old FCFS priority system in Wrath, and I hate their new, holy power-infused "rotation" of Cataclysm. There are so many procs and random events that it's impossible to work out any sort of fixed strategy or priority system. Rogue rotations are actually true rotations, capable of being quantified and easily repeatable. Our combo point and energy systems work together to create a functional DPS model that hasn't changed since the game's original inception.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Rediscovering Alts: A private Cataclysm

I've been playing an enhancement/resto shaman since The Burning Crusade. I like my two shaman because they're not warriors; they have a different playstyle and instead of tank/DPS hybrids, they're healer/DPS hybrids. (Admittedly, they once kind of tanked, if you squinted.) Even to this day, I read Josh and Sarah and Joe every week.

Once Cataclysm came along, I was forced to put my shaman on the back burner for a while. Raid needed tank. Me tank. Me tank hard. (Okay, so I neither write or speak like that.) I also got to enjoying messing around with the various warrior DPS specs. But with the passing of time, as my warriors got geared enough to perform the roles expected of them, I got to missing my shaman.

My orc, I may never level again (at least not until I finally break down and buy a race change to tauren -- you can thank Garrosh "Where did my neck go?" Hellscream), but my draenei, I still enjoy a great deal. I know a lot of Alliance shaman players went dwarf, but I'm fond of my big blue. So I went back and started leveling him and quickly discovered a few things.
  1. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. A lot of the essentials of the class are still there, but a lot really has changed. Fire Nova works entirely differently now. Stat weights are entirely different. We have whole new abilities, and our older abilities were either redesigned, moved around, or in some cases removed entirely.
  2. Sentry Totem is gone. I won't lie: I cried.
  3. We have two forms of CC now! Two! Holy crap, I remember when Hex was barely even viable. Now, it's pretty solid.
  4. Mages have stolen Heroism. This also made me cry.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Enhancement post-patch theory

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shamans. Rich Maloy lives and breathes enhancement: his main spec is enhance, his off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance and leads the guild Big Crits (Season 2 Ep 04 now out!) as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby.

This patch hit me hard, harder than any patch before it, and I know I wasn't the only was one to be drastically affected by it. Other than the usual spate of patch-related addon issues, I was struggling to keep the downloader connected. After turning off all anti-virus, firewall and other sorts of computer safety monitoring programs, I finally got into game on Friday night. Mostly, though, I just lacked time to log in this week. Once in game, I was faced with just as many challenges getting Stoney in order and raid-ready as I was trying to get online. This patch was more disruptive in game than any patch before.

A far an enhancement goes, there's so much that still needs to be tested and refined. The greater enhancement community is working hard at the theorycrafting, but even the simulations are not fully refined for level 80 testing; the latest alpha of EnhSim is tuned to level 85 right now. The decisions I made in game are based on the best available data as well as some things I want to test out for myself. There was a lot to accomplish in-game including, respeccing, retraining, regemming, reforging, readjusting and refining.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

The Light and How to Swing It: Ret rotation and cooldowns in 4.0.1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to my email at

A couple of weeks back, I covered the basics of things that changed for retribution paladins. At the time, I was putting off any information about rotations, because our class has drastically changed and I wasn't sure if there were any more changes coming down along the lines. Now, 4.0.1 is here and locked in.

I'll be honest. Some of you might not like the direction the class has taken. I do ask you all to at least give it a try for a week before getting upset. A lot of classes have been revamped and I expect a lot of class-swapping before the expansion. However, those of you who are looking at these changes and drooling should find much more depth to the class.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Lichborne: Death knight talents, specs and rotations for patch 4.0.1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights.

By the time you read this, there's a pretty high chance that patch 4.0.1 will be on the live servers. If it's not, it's probably coming next week. Either way, that says to me that it's time to finalize your spec choices and get your rotations figured out. We talked pretty extensively a couple of weeks back about patch 4.0.1 changes in general, but now we'll get down to specifics, going through each tree and checking out some general talent spec and rotation advice to help you start WoW's newest era off on the right foot.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Encrypted Text: The rotation system

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the rogue class. This week, we discuss the rotation model of DPS, and how it defines our class in every way.

Blizzard has a long history of taking popular addons and rolling their functionality into the game's base user interface. The first instance of this that I can remember was when Blizzard introduced its own quest objective tracking overlay, nearly copying MonkeyQuest's original configuration. The dev team also inserted dungeon maps for the various instances, taking a page out of Atlas' book. Their latest invention is a replacement for Power Auras, the popular notification mod that displays custom graphics when a specified event occurs.

Looking at the list of spells for which Blizzard created custom "spell activation" effects (thanks BB!), we see mostly random and reactive abilities on the list. Paladins will enjoy the art for Art of War, and every mage spec has a particular proc to watch patiently for. What intrigued me was that there is actually a spell activation effect for rogues, an orange lightning bolt that represents Slice and Dice. Slice and Dice, as any rogue will inform you, is not a random proc; it's a core part of our DPS and should be up at all times. While having a lightning bolt on my screen at all times sounds like fun, it got me thinking about the rogue DPS model. I utilize Power Auras extensively on every other character I play, yet I don't even have it enabled on my rogue.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Totem Talk: Enhance me

Axes, maces, lightning, Windfury, and wolves. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance and leads the guild Big Crits (Week 8 now out!) as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby.

Two weeks ago a fellow enhancement shaman contacted me on Twitter asking how to improve his damage output. He was kind enough to let me use his email as the topic for the weekly enhancement shaman column here on Because he was brave (crazy?) enough to face the public scrutiny that comes from being in the spotlight here, show him the high level of respect our fellow enhancement brother deserves. Here's his email:

I just switched to enhance for raiding a couple of weeks ago and I still feel like my DPS is lower than what it could be. I'm using Shock and Awe and still depending more or less on the priority frame, which I hope to ween off of soon. I'm still not 100% sure if I have the priorities set up correctly at this point. They are set at:
  • SR
  • MT
  • LS
  • MW5 LB
  • SS
  • ES if SS
  • FS
  • LL
  • FN
I also use Wolves every time they are up and also Fire Elemental when off CD. With just my buffs at the heroic dummy I seem to be maxing out around 6-6.5k. Again, seems a little low to me. If you would like to look at my armory, the name is Alyssian on Durotan. We use WoL, too, and my guild is Chi Cerca Trova.

PS - Any tips for helping me get off of the SAA priority window? I'm mainly concerned with keeping the shock rotation going, I think I can handle the rest.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Enhancement 201, spell selection

Rich Maloy is currently working on a distributed processing application called SimIt!@HOME which will calculate all possible enhancement shaman spell rotations for any possible situation given any gear combination. The application will also have an option to calculate all potential scenarios in which "sim it" is a half-a** answer but you should say it anyway.

If I told you the enhancement shaman basic spell rotation was: SR, FE, SW, MW5_LB, MT(0), LS(1), ES_SS, SS, FS, ES, LL, FN would you run away screaming?

What if I told you that was just for single target boss encounters and there's a different priority for boss fights that require changing targets, another priority for boss fights with heavy adds, and yet another priority for trash mobs. Scared yet?

It's OK. Please come back. This is what we Enhancers have bouncing around in our head. I'll make everything alright by breaking it down into a few easy-to-remember chunks. Because we all like chunks.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Enhancement 101

Axes, maces, lightning, fire, frost, and wolves, and best of all, Windfury. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy (aka Stoneybaby) loves it and lives it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. And he will be penning the enhance side of Totem Talk.

It seems 101 guides are all the rage these days, which makes enhancement shaman 101 a convenient place to start with my inaugural post. Playing an enhancement shaman, and playing it well, means dealing with the most extensive spell rotation in the game, having two caps to hit in gearing, and a dozen cooldowns to track. Not to mention the need to run out of fires, avoid whirlwinds, and generally dodge all that hate on melee. It's safe to say enhance is one of the most complex specs to play. It's also one of the most fun.

My favorite part is that we're right up front making a mess of things with both physical and magical damage–to deadly effect. You want to play enhancement? Let's dive right in to get you started!

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Filed under: (Shaman) Totem Talk

Spiritual Guidance: On rotations, and having a good time

Welcome to the darker side of Spiritual Guidance. Each week, Mr. Fox Van Allen teaches the craft of shadow priesting to new players and end-game raiders alike through the clever use of a sports training montage.

A wise ski instructor named Thumper once said, "If you french fry when you pizza, you're gonna have a bad time."

Let's put that in Warcraft terms: You need the right spells for the right situations. Soloing, five-man instances, raids -- they're all different and require different mind sets. If you Mind Sear when you pizza -- let's say Mind Flay -- you're gonna have a bad time.

In the context of skiing, a bad time means crashing through the wall of a ski lodge. In the context of Warcraft, a bad time means pulling aggro, putting out lousy DPS, and getting yourself berated by a "leet" fourteen-year-old who recently learned the phrase "l2play" and is just dying to use it.

It all happens when you french fry when you should have pizza'd.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

WoW Rookie: What's my DPS?

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic, and be sure to visit's WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's.

You're level 80 now, you've picked up a few sweet upgrades from five-mans and heroics, and you're ready to try a PuG into Naxx. You've found a group that's looking for members, but you're not quite sure how to answer the raid leader's demand: "What's your DPS?" The best way to figure out what your raid DPS, of course, is to measure it while you're raiding – but if you haven't started raiding yet, you can't really do that, can you?

The first thing you'll need in order to figure out what kind of DPS (damage per second) you're capable of putting out is an add-on that keeps track of your performance. Recount is popular and widely acknowledged as a fairly accurate tool. There are plenty of alternatives on all the major add-on sites. Select and install the DPS meter that appeals to you.

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Features, Raiding, Bosses, WoW Rookie

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