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Encrypted Text: Roleplaying as a rogue

Much like the rogue class itself, Elizabeth Wachowski's Encrypted Text usually pops up just when you're not expecting it, is prone to disappearing without notice for large periods of time, and steals your lewtz.

Hey, fellow rogues! It's been a while! Well, more like nearly two months. Sorry. But we're back with some fresh ideas, one of which is this: how can you roleplay as a rogue without seeming like a cliche?

Admittedly, I'm new to RP, and my RP character is a draenei priest -- about as far from my beloved troll rogue as one can get. So this article is geared to people who, like me, are new to RP. The more experienced RPers can correct all my horrifying, glaring errors in the comments.

So, let's start out with:

Picking a race

Each race has different rogue traditions, heroes, and senses of morality. Here's a quick overview:

  • Humans control several rogue organizations: the Ravenholdt guild, their archrival Syndicate organization, and SI:7, the official intelligence agency of Stormwind. If you're interested in "joining" any of these organizations (or the vaguely rogue-ish Defias Brotherhood), human would be a good choice.
  • Night elf rogues would seem to have some difficulty fitting in with their peaceful, nature-loving society. However, night elves have skills at stealth, and every society needs its enforcers. The night elf police force, known as the Wardens, always has room for a good rogue -- and the archdruid Fandral Staghelm might not be above employing some sneaky folk to advance his political goals.

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Filed under: Guides, RP, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Finish him!

One of the biggest challenges for new rogues is figuring out the combo points/finishing move system. Sure, the combo points are easy, even though they really don't rely on "combos" per se. You hit stuff with your main move and get points. Any human, great ape, or intelligent robot could do it. But without an understanding of finishing moves, your target will die with five combo points on him and you will curse yourself for ever getting involved in this soul-sucking game.

So, to help you decide what move is appropriate when, here's a guide to the seven rogue finishers. (We'll get to openers in a couple of weeks.)

Eviscerate

  • What it is: Your first finisher, and if you're like most rogues, probably your favorite. This most basic of spells does direct physical damage based on how many combo points you have.
  • Mechanism: According to WoWWiki, the official damage range of Eviscerate Rank 10 is:
    Eviscerate = (Base Damage Minimum + Attack Power * (Number of Combo Points used * 0.03)) - (Base Damage Maximum + Attack Power * (Number of Combo Points used * 0.03)). Yeah, I'm bad at math too.
    So what does this mean? Well, starting in 1.12, Evis finally began scaling with AP (a change many rogues were clamoring for.) But it scales very slightly -- and the more combo points you have, the better it scales, since the AP multiplier increases with each point.
  • Affected by: Improved Eviscerate, a first-tier Assassination talent, improves Evis's damage by 5/10/15%. Aggression, a sixth-tier Combat talent, improves it by 2/4/6%, along with SS and Backstab. The two-piece bonus of Tier 5 armor increases Evis's damage by 40 per combo point.
  • Analysis: Sinister Strike/Eviscerate is the bread and butter of rogue leveling, particularly for combat swords/maces/fists rogues who don't spend a lot of time stunning. It's also great for grinding and finishing off opponents who have low health. However, when it comes to raiding, Evis is nearly useless. Unless the mob can't bleed (like in Kara), Rupture will always end up doing more damage than Evis, assuming the mob doesn't die before Rupture finishes ticking.

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Filed under: Rogue, Guides, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: The Lazy Alt's ten must-do Outland quests

Sometimes, in all the drama of raiding and arenas and new patch days, we forget that not all rogues are 70 and geared out the watoozle. A lot of rogues -- whether they be alts, new players, or just seriously behind the times -- are still struggling through the levels. And with the myriad number of quests out there for levelers, it can be hard sometimes to figure out which ones to focus on. Will skipping this quest leave me out of a fantastic chain quest reward, or just save me hours of searching through fel droppings?

So in the spirit of helping our newbie brothers and sisters, Encrypted Text presents the top ten must-do Outland quests for rogues, with their corresponding rewards and tips to help you through them. Note: This only includes non-dungeon quests. Sorry, you'll have to get that Hauberk of Karabor by yourself ...

10. The Trampoline Quests

  • Starts with: I Must Have Them! from Wazat in Nagrand (61,67)
  • Requires: Two players
  • Steps in the chain: Two
  • Rogue rewards: Delicate Green Poncho or Nomad's Cloak
  • Details: This is either one of the most fun or the most frustrating quests in Outland, depending on your sense of depth perception. Basically, you need to collect gas from air elementals to power the "Jump-a-tron", which is a trampoline for some reason. After that, you need to use the trampoline to get on top of a tree, steal an egg, and defeat the angry mother bird who comes to attack you (a 66 elite.) This means that you have to click off the trampoline's "float" buff at the exact point when it'll get you onto the tree. And if you try it with anything less than full health, you'll probably die. Note: This is one of the few points on my heavily contested PVP server where I have ALWAYS seen Alliance and Horde working together. It's such a pain to get up on top of the tree that dying to the mother bird is a devastating blow.

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Filed under: Rogue, Items, Quests, The Burning Crusade, Guides, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: My bad reputations

Of all the things I fail at in WoW, one of my most epic failures is my reputations. Something about facing the long grind to exalted kills a part of me. Looking at my Armory, I'm exalted with exactly three factions: Sporeggar (because I wanted to be the only alchemist with Shrouding Potion), Frostwolf Clan (for the ram), and Scryers (for the offhand dagger that I replaced, like, FIVE DAYS after getting the rep to buy it.)

I blame my dislike for rep grinds squarely on the Cenarion Circle. Endless hours in the desert of Silithus for a mediocre cloak made me lazy. But there are lots of decent reputation rewards available out there, mostly for newly 70 rogues. So what are the best factions for rogues to grind?

Cenarion Expedition

This reputation is worth it to drive to revered, if only for the Glyph of Ferocity, which is the best rogue head enchant in the game. Otherwise, it's all profession stuff and druid/hunter gear -- with one exception. The CE is a necessary stop if you're planning on getting the Opportunist's Battlegear, the new, rep-based version of the old PVP GM/HW gear. This set is meant as a starter for arena newbies, or PvErs looking to try out some PvP. You need to be revered with CE to pick up the headpiece. Watch out, though -- it's going to be a long haul to get all five pieces.

Honor Hold/Thrallmar

This isn't one of the best rep grinds for rogues, although you'll need to get to honored if you want to grab the Opportunist's Leather Gloves. And considering that the gloves make your Deadly Throw silence enemies, you'll definitely want them. Other than that, Alliance can pick up the Footman's Longsword at honored, which is okay for early Outland leveling, and exalted brings both sides an excellent bow or gun.

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Filed under: Rogue, Factions, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Job perks

I love the profession system in WoW, but sometimes it strikes me as odd that we're basically paying money to go to work. I wouldn't run around the world and skin animals, pluck feathers, find rare threads and cause massive environmental destruction for a leather jacket in real life, but I'll gladly do all that to make an epic leather chestpiece in WoW.

Nevertheless, it's a good idea to pick up a crafting profession in WoW, just for the perks. (Unless you want to be one of those ultra-capitalists who take two gathering professions.) We've covered this in general terms before, but today we're going to focus on the crafting profession-specific BOP items and abilities that can really help out rogues in the end-game.

Alchemy

Honestly, alchemy doesn't have a lot of good BOP stuff. It's good for money-making and as a support profession for an alt (someone has to get all those transmutes done), but it doesn't offer a lot of enhancement for your main, unless you count "Being the guy at the raid who sucks up to everyone by giving them pots" as an enhancement. Which, for rogues, is not a bad thing -- there's enough of us out there that being an alchemist can help get you that coveted raid spot. But for pure min/maxing, it might be better to buy herbs off the AH or farm them on an alt and then have a guildie make you your pots. Particularly useful pots include Flask of Relentless Assault, Haste Potion, Insane Strength Potion, Fel Strength Elixir, Elixir of Major Fortitude, Onslaught Elixir and Super Healing Potion.

The Alchemist's Stone is one of two items that are only usable by alchemists, and though it's a good starter trinket, it'll be quickly eclipsed for everyday wear by more rogue-specific trinkets. It really shines for hybrid classes and mana-users, but rogues shouldn't be popping healing potions like bubble wrap in PVE. If you are, you have bigger problems than your trinket selection. The other alch-only item is the Mad Alchemist's Potion, which restores health and mana and gives you a random buff. Nice, but not reliable when you need it.

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Filed under: Rogue, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Engineering, Leatherworking, Enchanting, Jewelcrafting, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: 222223, or how to level 1-20 as a rogue

Welcome back, fellow rogues! Everyone on the site has been going into a leveling guide frenzy, and it's our turn to cover the earliest possible levels.

However, I rolled my rogue ... well, I rolled my rogue a long time ago. An embarassingly long time ago. Suffice it to say that when I rolled my rogue, Gwen Stefani was singing about not being a hollaback girl, whatever the frude that is. So the memories of level 1-20 are sort of fuzzy in my head. But I recall it being a lot easier than my hunter (gee, ten levels of raptor striking anything with no pet) and less boring than my pally (seal, judge. seal, judge.)

The first thing you need to do is pick your race. Krystalle covered this fairly in-depth in the past, but for the quick and dirty, here's a few tips:

  • The best PVP racials are those of the undead (Will of the Forsaken), gnomes (Escape Artist) and blood elves (Mana Tap/Arcane Torrent).
  • The best PVE racials are those of the trolls (Regeneration and Berserking, theoretically) and the humans (Sword and Mace Specialization, Diplomacy).
  • Night elves, gnomes and trolls have the most starting agility.
  • Dwarves and orcs have the most starting stamina and health.
  • The most common rogues are night elf, blood elf, human and undead.
  • Dwarf, orc and troll rogues are fairly uncommon.
  • The best all-around choice for a new rogue planning on a mix of PVP and PVE will probably be a night elf, human, troll or orc.

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Filed under: Rogue, Leveling, Guides, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: A stealthy year in review

Ah, New Year's Eve. At midnight tonight, we'll drink champagne, kiss our loved ones, and bid 2007 a fond farewell. Or alternatively, we'll sit in our bedrooms, accidentally spill Pabst Blue Ribbon all over our keyboards, and prepare to hibernate through the presidential primaries.

Whatever your New Year's plans, we can all agree on one thing -- it's been a year of changes in WoW, both for the game in general and the rogue class in particular. From the Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King to Vanish STILL NOT WORKING, here's the lowdown on 2007 for Azeroth's rogues.

January

Early January: Rogues playing the Burning Crusade beta begin complaining about the amount of cleave and AOE attacks in raids and dungeons. Everyone else playing the Burning Crusade beta begins complaining about Cloak of Shadows in PvP. This will continue until ... forever.

January 15: Ashamed rogues stealth through the mall to wait in line for Burning Crusade's midnight release.

January 16, 12:01 AM: The race to the Dark Portal culminates in huge, bloody battles on nearly every server. Attempts to sneak through are foiled by mages spamming Arcane Explosion.

January 16: Hundreds of thousands of rogues walk into Outlands and immediately begin looking for a Ramparts tank.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Enchanting your gear, part 2

Two weeks ago, I discussed how enchanters can make your shiny new level 70 rogue gear sparkle even more. But post-BC, enchanters aren't the only gear-enhancers in the game.

Leatherworkers can make armor kits and leg armor that can "enchant" gear that could previously only be enhanced by those stupid ZG enchants that drove everyone nuts. The Aldors and the Scryers are engaged in a constant war over what you put on your shoulders, and many places are offering relatively inexpensive head glyphs. And, of course, the jewelcrafters have a multitude of lovely gems to socket your stuff.

So rogues, if you're ready to squeeze the most out of your gear, head onward to glory! Edited to make it clearer that these are rogue suggestions as part of the class column.

General

  • Heavy Knothide Armor Kit: This 10 stam "enchant" is new in patch 2.3, and can also go on heads, shoulders, chests, legs and feet. If you need to stack stamina for PVP, give it a whirl -- it shouldn't cost you too much. 5/10 PVE, 7/10 PVP.

Head

  • Glyph of Ferocity: This 100g, Cenarion Expedition-revered head enhancement is really your only choice here, unless you have a burning desire to shepherd a group through Zul'Gurub a bunch of times. Luckily, at 34 AP and 16 hit, it's totally worth it. 10/10 PVE, 8/10 PVP.

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Filed under: Rogue, Enchants, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: How to be evil

I am not, generally, a mean, vicious, or all-around evil person -- except when UNC plays Duke in basketball, when my venom becomes more potent than a black mamba's. I help my friends move, I call my mother every week, and I give money to beggars on the street if they can come up with an entertaining story. I even volunteer with rescued dogs at the SPCA, as the many pit bull tooth marks on my shoulderblades can attest to.

But yet, I'm also a rogue -- one of the two least ethical classes in WoW, along with those demon-loving warlocks. For us to be effective in WoW, we have to be sneaky, deceptive, and just plain evil. But how can those good-natured rogues among us find ways to be bad? Sure, we can gank, but in the end, ganking is just an artless exercise of brute force. And ninjaing is just tired and outdated. Real evil/insanity requires a bit more creativity.

Fun with Lowbies

  • Follow a lowbie around, close enough that he can hear your stealth sounds but can't see you. If you're feeling lucky, you can also stealth and unstealth around him, hoping that he has a mod that will show your stealthing on the screen. The lowbie will either think you're a same-level player and AOE to knock you out of stealth, whereupon you can kill him for "attacking you first", or he'll leave you alone, and you can watch his nerves become frayed to the breaking point as he wonders when the other shoe is going to drop.
  • Team up with a rogue or rogues of the opposite faction on a PVP server and station yourselves outside a popular instance or city. Demand that anyone passing through pay a "docking fee" or "road toll.'" If they refuse, have your friends unstealth and attack. Two guilds on my server completely controlled Booty Bay using this method in the early days of WoW, making them forever e-infamous.

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Filed under: Rogue, Humor, RP, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Ten great rogue trinkets

Vanquished Tentacle of C'thun

Even though I haven't raided on my rogue for about two months, I'm still pretty happy when I look at her gear. 4/5 T4, the Chestguard of the Conniver, the awesome offhand dagger from heroic Ramparts that I obtained after my guild found it in the chest, held the chest open, and summoned me in -- *Monty Burns voice* why, this is less a rogue than a god. (Disclaimer: My rogue is not actually a god, and yours is probably better geared and also prettier.)

But there are two blues disrupting my sea of adequate purples -- I have yet to replace either of my trinkets. And when I talk to other rogues, many of them have the same problem. The truly good epic trinkets for rogues are hard to find or have many competing rogues after them, and many of the other trinkets are just ... meh. So to help out my fellow rogues, I'm posting a guide to some of the best max-level trinkets (as rated by their power and their ease of attainability.)

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Filed under: Rogue, Items, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Most valuable procs

Most raiding rogues I know tend to look for pure, solid stats on their weaponry. Agility, stamina, AP, crit and hit -- these are the backbone of the rogue arsenal. Procs can be less than ideal, given their unreliable nature and spiky DPS increase.

But there are some procced abilities that stand out above the others. Procs that are frequent enough or major enough to turn the tide in boss fights, destroy your enemies in PVP, or just look really cool and flashy on your weapons. Read on to discover which Burning Crusade procs to use and which procs to lose.

Weapon: The Night Blade
Weapon type: Epic 1.8 speed dagger
Proc: Your attacks ignore 435 of your enemies' armor for 10 sec. This effect stacks up to 3 times.
Proc rate: Approximately 6.5%.
Analysis: This proc used to be ridiculously overpowered. With a proc rate of 21 percent, rogues could have this up constantly, adding an extra 11-14 percent more damage in raids. Blizzard nerfed the proc down to a more managable 5-8%, but it still seems to proc in "stacks", making it a worthwhile investment -- though probably not worth several thousand gold.

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Filed under: Rogue, Items, Analysis / Opinion, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Tricks of the trade(skills)

We've covered many different aspects the world of Roguecraft has to offer thus far -- from class quests to gear to number crunching. However, one of the things I've heard from people who are new to Rogues is the question of what trade skills are useful to take up and why. As such, this week's edition of Encrypted Text will contain some of my views on what each trade skill can offer a Rogue. Obviously, short of starting a wiki -- this is not going to be a fully comprehensive version of all that Trade skills can offer. But hopefully between my experience of bouncing between many, many trade skills, and comments from the seasoned Rogues in the WoW Insider crowd, we'll be able to de-mystify one of the earliest choices facing the new Rogue.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Enchants, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: How not to be seen

If you've ever watched Monty Python (and of course you have), you've probably seen the wonderful informational film "How Not To Be Seen." It takes the form of a crash course on how not to be detected, with explosive consequences for anyone who fails. Among the tips are not to stand up, not to choose an obvious hiding place, and not to let anyone know where you're planning on taking your holiday.

How Not To Be Seen reminds me a lot of questing and world PVP as a rogue. As long as you're invisible, you're fine -- but if you get caught out in the open, prepare to get pyroblasted into eternity. Other classes have huge swords, the light of the gods, demonic powers, endless channels of arcane magic, angry animal companions, and the powers of nature itself. We've got, what, two measly daggers? No wonder we need to hide.

So this week, Encrypted Text will present some tips -- both physical and psychological -- on how not to be detected when in stealth.

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Filed under: Druid, Rogue, PvP, Leveling, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: A plea for proper poisons

One of the many things that I remember from raiding pre-Burning Crusade was how often many Rogues would lament the lack of real use for poisons. As such, a whole generation of PvE Rogues let their Poisons get dusty, and judging from some of the things I've seen in pick-up groups since then, I can only wonder if there is a true appreciaton for the art of poisons. (There again, I could just happen to be getting continually unlucky in PUGs and always seem to luck into the Rogues who just don't know better.)

Now this isn't to say all elder Rogues abandoned their poisons altogether, nor that all new Rogues don't understand them. This is instead an open letter to those Rogues who simply haven't messed with them enough to know the difference between an instant poison and a hole in the ground, and who continually use caster poisons on melee targets. It is for those folks that I'm writing this week's column. (Well okay, and for anyone curious about poisons in general...)

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: A field guide to bad rogues

A wise man once wrote that there aren't as many people in the world as there seems to be. Yes, there are billions of bodies on this humble planet -- but sometimes it feels as if there's only a couple of thousand personalities, since we keep running into the same archetypes over and over again.

It's the same with WoW players -- particularly bad WoW players. We even have names for some of them: ninja, drama queen, lootwhore. Today on Encrypted Text, we'll be discussing some rogue-specific types of bad players, including their plumage, distinctive mating calls, and where to spot them in the wild.

The Clumsy Rogue

  • Identification: This rogue missed out on the stealthy part of playing a stealth class. Whether it's breaking crowd control by misclicks, walking into mobs while stealthed, or simply falling off a cliff/bridge/elevator/stairwell into a group of angry murlocs, this rogue is the equivalent of a ninja walking around in hobnailed boots. With a cane. Banging on cymbals. I'd say I'm a bit of a Clumsy Rogue myself, and my guildmates would probably agree as soon as they run back to their bodies
  • Mating call: "Oops. Just let me die! Just let me die!"
  • Habitat: Any instance that requires moving around the edge of things, moving outside a certain radius, or not running directly into your teammates (Gruul.)

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Filed under: Rogue, Humor, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

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