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Encrypted Text: Leveling your rogue in Cataclysm

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 I was selecting my first class, back in the early days of WoW, I chose the rogue for its awesome killing potential. Mindlessly grinding mobs used to be a valid way to level, especially since questing in the past involved so much travel and downtime. Our unique mix of stuns and damage allowed rogues to chew through enemies quickly and efficiently. My strategy was to find an area populated by caster-type mobs and then simply burn through them all day long.

Over the years, rogues have continued to evolve, and we're now one of the strongest leveling classes in the game. Our past weaknesses were our lack of self-healing and our difficulty against elite mobs, but Recuperate and the near total removal of any quest-based elite mobs in Cataclysm has solved both of our problems. Leveling a new rogue today is an enjoyable experience, as we have the finesse to avoid unwanted encounters and the brawn to handle any combat that we do have to engage in.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: A rogue's guide to patch 4.2

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 topics you'd like to see covered!

Rogues have a lot to look forward to when patch 4.2 is released. If you spend most of your time in dungeons or raiding, you'll be happy to hear about the sizable buffs to all three of our talent trees. Unfortunately for rogues that favor PVP, there are some cooldown changes to Cloak of Shadows and Combat Readiness that won't be well-received. While I'm not completely satisfied with the size of our buff when compared to our relative position in the DPS pack, our potency in Firelands still remains to be seen.

In addition to the slew of balance changes, we can start salivating over the new gear that will be available. Our tier 12 set has some very fun bonuses, and also some great crafted gear coming up. Our caster rivals will get access to their first legendary weapon since Atiesh, so we'll have to do our best to keep up. The duration of Blind in PVE is going up to a full minute, giving us two forms of long-term CC in Sap and Blind. As proof that rogues are designed to be the best at what they do, most other CC effects in the game are going to start mirroring Sap. Polymorph and the rest won't aggro mobs that they're used on, which should make it far easier to coordinate CC in a PUG. Plus, even if the group manages to somehow mess up CC and starts combat early, we can just use Blind as a stand-in for Sap anyway.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

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

Encrypted Text: Rogue Glyphs, part 2

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 finish a discussion on upcoming Rogue glyphs in WOTLK.

Wrath of the Lich King (and also the upcoming patch 3.0) includes a new tradeskill: Inscription. Inscriptionists will be able to create scrolls, off-hand items, and parchments to help enchanters sell their wares. However, their key crafted item comes in the form of spell/skill enhancing Glyphs.

Every non-inscriptionist character has six Glyph slots they can use to enhance themselves. There are three major and three minor slots; of which you can mix and match appropriate Glyphs. An image of the Glyph interface is shown above (the center slot is thought to be for Inscriptionists themselves as a tradeskill perk).

Some of the various Glyphs enhance existing abilities, while others add utility to skills that change its function completely. The current Rogue Glyphs come in 3 major flavors: cooldown/energy cost reduction, range increase, and damage/effect increase. After the cut, let's explore these groups individually.

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Filed under: Rogue, Classes, (Rogue) Encrypted Text, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

Breakfast Topic: I like gold

If you're the type of player that always wants to be prepared, this pre-Wrath/3.0 period is a pretty good time to get started on that. The big thing most of these types are concerned with is gold. It's more or less been proven to be true that even if you're completely broke going into Wrath, you'll be just fine in the end regardless. Still, gold is on a lot of people's minds looking towards the future.

Everyone has a different opinion of how much gold is 'enough' gold. I tend to hang out with players that are pretty big on min-maxing, the people that are always prepared, so my sense of what's 'enough' is a bit inflated. I'm sitting on roughly 10,000 gold right now, and I only recently started feeling like it was 'enough.' I'll be hemorrhaging gold at level 80 leveling professions and getting my gear up to par, so I'm sure most of that will be gone in no time. I could also get the gold very, very easily once I've hit level 80, and not have any issues. I just had that urge to be extra prepared that wasn't sated until I hit 5 digits. It actually wasn't too hard to get. I just farmed herbs here and there, and it just sort of accumulated.

How much gold do you think is enough gold, especially when we're heading into an expansion? Are you content to sit down in the single digits, and go out and run a daily quest if you need to repair your armor? Do you gather up as much gold as possible and sit on it?
How much gold do you have?
Less than 10218 (1.6%)
11-100609 (4.5%)
101-5001712 (12.8%)
501-10001745 (13.0%)
1000-50004796 (35.7%)
5001-90001569 (11.7%)
Over 90002776 (20.7%)

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Expansions

Encrypted Text: Rogue Glyphs

Every Wednesday, Encrypted Text explores issues affecting Rogues and those who group with them. This week Jason Harper, the Rogue feature blogger, discusses a new feature in Wrath, Glyphs and the opportunities for Rogues.

Inscriptions, a new profession in Wrath of the Lich King, allows for the creation of tradable Glyphs that can enhance your spells and abilities. Recently a number of these glyphs were released into a beta build and Inscription was announced to be apart of the new pre-Wrath patch.

As you'll see in the list below, Rogues get a wide variety of both lesser and greater glyph options, and in a lot of cases can greatly effect your talent choices in a way that gemming or enchanting never did.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text, Wrath of the Lich King

Encrypted Text: Blizzard called and they want their OP back

Every Wednesday, Encrypted Text explores issues affecting Rogues and those who group with them. This week Jason Harper, the new Rogue feature blogger, discusses the state of the Rogue class, effects of the 2.4.3 patch and the news from the Wrath beta.

I think I've got a pretty big job ahead of me as the new Rogue columnist here at WoW Insider. Sitting here, freshly unwrapped, I know I'll have to both balance the need to fairly represent "real" issues and not get too lost in "rah-rah-rogue" points of view. I'll need you, dear reader, to keep me honest and call-out the unintentional errors or oversights. We're a community and I absolutely want to know what you are thinking, what you love or hate and what you'd like to see me bring to this column that represent your needs.

Like a "do-not-toast-in-the-wrapper" warning on your box of PopTarts, I'd like to point out that any references I make to skills or talents in the Wrath beta should be taken with a grain of salt since they are subject to change at any time.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Features, The Burning Crusade, Classes, (Rogue) Encrypted Text, Battlegrounds, Arena

Forum post of the day: Rogues are unhappy

The patch went live today, and Blizzard wasn't kidding about the Cheat Death Nerf. In case you missed it, here's how it reads:

Cheat Death: This talent has been rebalanced significantly. Killing blows are no longer 100% absorbed. If the Rogue is below 10% health, the killing blow is still completely absorbed; if the Rogue is over 10% health, enough damage will be absorbed to reduce the Rogue's health down to 10%. For the following 3 seconds, damage is not always reduced by 90%; it is now reduced by a maximum of 90%, depending on how much resilience the Rogue has. The damage reduction will be four times the damage reduction resilience causes against critical strikes.

Needless to say, Rogues are pretty unhappy, especially since Blizzard hasn't taken much interest in fixing the "vanish bug." Skudo of Altar of Storms takes this as proof that Blizzard hates Rogues. On top of that this must mean that Blizzard favors Druids since they rescinded their decision to make Scare Beast an instant ability.

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Filed under: Rogue, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Talents, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Encrypted Text: Examining your spec

So yesterday on Build Shop, I mentioned that I'd gotten an email this past week from a Rogue who wanted to know about the viability of a 30/0/31 build for casual instances, raids and PvP. The short answer is OK, not very, and sure. The long answer is slightly more complex, so this week on Encrypted Text I'm examining exactly where a non-conventional hybrid build like could work, and why there are usually better specs available for both PvE and PvP.

First of all, I'm a big supporter of non-standard specs. I think that your own play experience should help determine where you spend your talent points. However, I do think that you should at least examine why certain specs are tried and true, and how certain talents outperform others. If you never play in any type of group (instance, raid, battleground, arena, etc), then how you spec only affects you. Once you start spending time with other players, though, the way you play and spec starts to directly impact your teammates. Raids especially are all about teamwork, and if you're not contributing 100% in all the ways that you could, you start to become a liability. You become less of a liability in dungeons where fights are generally shorter, but you're still not living up to your potential.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Upcoming Rogue changes

This week on Encrypted Text, I'm going to go over some upcoming changes to the Rogue class that everyone should be aware of. Rogues have some nice tweaks and some serious changes in the pipeline, so let's get to it.

As a long time fan of the Subtlety tree, I've been really enjoying the last couple changes Blizzard has made to Rogue abilities. In patch 2.3, Hemorrhage was buffed to deal 125% weapon damage, Shadowstep became usable out of stealth, Cheat Death became more reliable -- all great changes. Although the next patch will nerf Hemo down to 110% weapon damage, there's also a talent in the Subtlety tree to increase it's damage by 10%, so heavy Subtlety rogues won't feel the pinch quite as bad.

Another important change that we reported on indirectly a few days ago was a new tweak to Shadowstep -- once activated, it grants a 3 second, 70% speed increase. What does this mean for rogues? Read on and find out.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Return of the Hemo talent builds

For the sake of other rogues out there who are pretty excited about the return of Hemo, Deadeight has complied his own list of favorite Hemo builds for us to try if we want to use the ability but aren't really sure how it should fit with our other talents.

One of the builds is quite a bit like my rogue's new leveling build (as well as Chris's latest Build Shop rogue build), so I guess that means a number of other players love the new Cheat Death too, and not everyone thinks Shadowstep is a waste. I'm not a high-end raider going for the top damage, or a PvPer going for the ultimate skill combination. I just like zipping about all over the place every 30 seconds while questing or doing normal instances, and I figure whatever I lose in damage in order to get that is more than made up for by the "wheee! teleport!" factor.

So if you're the type of rogue who suddenly feels tempted to cause lots of hemorrhages, this guide could be a handy starting point, or else a nice way to measure up your own personal build against what other people thought would be good.

Filed under: Rogue, PvP, Raiding, Guides, Talents

Build Shop: Rogue 16/3/42

Welcome to another edition of Build Shop! This week, we're going to examine a Rogue build (something that hasn't been done since this column began way back when). Subtlety has long been labeled as a Rogue's "utility" tree, but there are so many goodies in there... talents that buff your attack power, your agility, improvements to stealth -- the list just goes on.

Patch 2.3 is bringing lots of changes to the Subtlety tree, so it's as good a time as any to examine a build I can't wait to try out!

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Filed under: Rogue, Build Shop

Patch 2.3: Return of the Hemo? [Updated]

With todays news that Hemorrhage is being buffed yet again in the latest build of patch 2.3, I'm getting more and more excited to take out my old rogue character and use my favorite ability again. Back in the days before The Burning Crusade I used to enjoy using Hemo to succeed as a rogue in PvP when latency and casual gear would have left me at a bad disadvantage otherwise. Hemo was just strong enough that it gave me a real chance at success sometimes, and all the other buffs to stealth in the Subtlety tree made me feel like a real rogue sneaking around and stunlocking people, rather than a warrior without the heavy armor, or a backstabber who could never seem to get behind anyone or crit often enough to kill things.

Once The Burning Crusade was released, I felt terribly disappointed to learn that there were few if any more very slow main-hand weapons at the new level cap. Today there are still very few with a 2.7 weapon speed, and even fewer with 2.8, which, before the expansion, was really the minimum weapon speed you needed to start making use of Hemo successfully. This is because Hemo is not "nomalized" like other abilities; it does progressively more damage the more time passes between weapon swings. With only one high-level 2.9 speed weapon in the game (and that a legendary), and all 2.8-speeds being either too low-level to be useful or to far out of my reach to attain, I feared my preferred playstyle would be dead and useless by the time my rogue reached 70.

But now I'm not so sure. I still don't know why Blizzard didn't add more slow weapons like they used to have in the old days, but I'm hoping these buffs to Hemo will make up for the loss, both in raids and in PvP. Still, I'm hardly the best rogue theorycrafter out there. Are any of you good mathematicians able to speak authoritatively on whether this change is enough to raise Hemo from the dead?

Update: Our commenter, Rick, shared with us a link to an Elitist Jerks discussion in which they provide some good research about this change to Hemo. Among other things, it seems this new version of Hemo is now normalized, meaning that, like Sinister Strike, it won't matter what weapon speed you have when you use it -- it'll still do the same amount of damage. Many of them are eager to try it out.

Filed under: Rogue, Patches, PvP, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

PTR patch notes for Friday, Nov 2

World of Raids is reporting lots of small fixes in the latest PTR build of Patch 2.3, but with a few surprises as well. There's a good amount of class changes along with some Badge of Justice loot tweaks and a new Hunter volley animation seen above.

Highlights for the class changes include: Feral Druids getting their single target and group based taunts buffed by their +hit rating; Rogues getting Hemorrhage buff as well as a redesign of Shadowstep; and Priests receiving the Focused Will buff as well as Druids getting the Natural Perfection buff even buffer than we reported on earlier.

Chest spawns in Hellfire Ramparts, Karazhan: Chess Event and The Mechanar will not be lootable by anyone absent for a significant amount of the boss fights near the chests. On the upside, Heroic Ramparts and Heroic Mechanar chests will contain a Badge of Justice for every member in the party and the Karazhan cache will contain two! I can tell what two Heroic dungeons are about to get very popular.

Finally, special Engineered goggles are no longer necessary to see the gas clouds in Netherstorm for mote extraction. However, the goggles will now allow the gas clouds to be seen on the minimap in addition to whatever other tracking the player currently has up.

With Patch 2.3 background loading this week, one can only hope Zul'Aman will be available for all of us to enjoy soon and Patch 2.4 introducing the Sunwell Plateau will be served up on the PTR right after.

[Thanks Calypso!]

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Classes

The latest changes on the PTR

World of Raids once again has the latest breaking news on the latest Patch 2.3 Public Test Ream changes! Today's class changes seem to be mostly happy buffs, especially for hunters and rogues and paladins, as well as a slight nerf to warriors beyond the jump. Also read on below for Guild Bank prices, New Arena Season 3 weapon models, a Field Repair Bot change, as well as a few new engineering toys.

  • It looks like hunters get their version of Mortal Strike after all: Aimed Shot now reduces all healing done on the target by 50% for 10 seconds, in addition to the regularly increased damage.
  • The dead zone has not been eradicated, but it has been reduced to just about 1 yard. Why not just get rid of the dead zone and be done with it? Is Blizzard paranoid about the possibility of using melee and ranged abilities at the same time through latency bugs or something?
  • The rogue talent "Aggression" is being improved so that its damage bonus applies to Backstab as well as Sinister Strike and Eviscerate (at +2/4/6% with each rank).
  • Shadowstep now has a 30 second cooldown in addition to being usable out of stealth. Its range has been changed from 0-20 yards to 8-25 yards, and its +20% damage bonus now applies to whatever special attack you make next (i.e. Sinister Strike, Hemorrhage -- even Eviscerate or Rupture). Could this make it beneficial to non-dagger rogues as well?
  • Hemorrhage has received a huge buff: It now increases physical damage dealt to its target by up to 36 (increased from 10!), but its number of charges has been reduced from 30 to 10. This should make hemo rogues more desirable in groups, and also increase the benefit from having more than one in a raid -- but is it really enough?
  • The "Fanaticism" talent in the retribution tree now reduces the paladin's threat by 30% at the highest rank in addition to 15% increased critical strike chance with all judgements.
  • The protection talent "Precision" now gives a +3% chance to hit with spells in addition to melee attacks.

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Filed under: Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Warrior, Engineering, Patches

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