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Posts with tag subtlety

Encrypted Text: Combat and Subtlety under Siege

Encrypted Text Combat and Subtlety Under Siege WEDS 109
Every week or two, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Scott Helfand (@sveltekumquat) will be your shadow on this treacherous journey; try not to keep your back turned for too long, and make sure your valuables are stashed somewhere safe.

When we last left our devious, poison-festooned heroes, they were assassinating the heck out of every raid boss in sight, much as they have been this entire expansion. Assassination has been the spec of choice for raiders of all stripes in Mists -- but might Patch 5.4 change the balance?

The answer may depend as much on you as on the gifts that WoW's designers wrapped up and handed us for the new patch. Combat and subtlety both are looking like perfectly good options in almost every situation. Unless you're with a group that is seriously trying to squeeze every last drop of damage out of its DPSers, and you're already playing your spec perfectly, your main criteria for which spec to use should rely on 1) whether you enjoy it and 2) whether you've got the right gear for it.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Patch 5.4's new Killing Spree and rogue glyphs

blade's edge arena
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.

Killing Spree has been killing rogues since 2008. While assassination rogues are discussing the best opportunities to use Vendetta and subtlety rogues are planning their Shadow Dances, combat rogues are just hoping their cooldown won't throw them off a cliff or into fire. I remember when rogues simply didn't play combat when fighting Magmaw. Killing Spree on Garalon? Only if you had a death wish.

The Glyph of Killing Spree fixed most of these errant deaths, but didn't fix the root problem: Killing Spree takes away control from the rogue. We're not capable of choosing our targets or our destination when using Killing Spree, which makes it a liability in high-stakes situations. The new PTR version of Killing Spree looks to change that. The normal Killing Spree will turn into a powerful nuke on a specific target, while Killing Spree under Blade Flurry's influence will result in the random attacks we're used to.

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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

Mists of Pandaria: Guide to Rogues

glowing rogue
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.

While Mists of Pandaria is still actively being developed and patches are dropping regularly, the rogue of tomorrow is starting to take its final shape. The amorphous blob of shadow that we see on the horizon is congealing into something resembling a functioning class. In fact, rogues have been receiving fewer changes these past few weeks than any other class. I'm not surprised by this fact, as there's really not much to improve upon when we're already a model class.

With talent choices reduced to a half-dozen easy decisions, there's really not much you can mess up while playing your rogue in Mists. I like to think that you can break a class down into three basic categories: customization, enhancement, and execution. You need to pick the talents and glyphs that best suit your situation, gear up with the right gems and enchants, and finally push the right buttons.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text, Mists of Pandaria

Encrypted Text: An interview with Haileaus, the white knight of subtlety rogues

hail
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.

One of the developers' design goals in World of Warcraft is ability parity between PvE and PvP. The problem with this strategy is that it becomes very difficult to buff a dominant PvP class if it's performing poorly in PvE. Beast mastery hunters and frost mages have long been maligned in raids while being feared in PvP combat. No spec knows this story better than the subtlety rogue, which has simultaneously been the best PvP spec and the worst PvE spec in the game.

Most active subtlety rogues are quite content, as their main focus is PvP. Due to the stringent requirements of most raiding guilds, there are only a few raiding rogues that have stuck with subtlety through the years. In order to get inside the head of these persistent shades, I spoke with one of subtlety's most stalwart champions, Haileaus. He currently maintains the amazing subtlety PvE thread on the official forums and was the rogue who inspired me to try out subtlety raiding on more than one occasion during Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: The Shock and Awe build

guards
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.

If you have been raiding 10-man Dragon Soul every week, Wrathion should be handing over the Fangs of the Fathers any day now. Even the second rogues in most 25-man groups will be collecting their last Elementium Gem Clusters shortly. For many rogues, these daggers are the first legendary weapons that they've ever acquired. When you receive them from Wrathion, it might feel a bit overwhelming. What do you do with these weapons? What will they do to you?

There is a quote that's been passed down from thief to thief, assassin to assassin, and rogue to rogue for generations: "If your blades are happy, you're happy." You want your weapons to work for you, and not the other way around. You can't starve your blades, trying to forcefully adjust their diet to tolerate Morchok's rocky hide or Hagara's snow cones. If you want to keep your blades happy, you have to feed them what they really want: player blood, and lots of it.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Finesse in 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.

World of Warcraft is more than just a game. Over the years, an entire ecosystem surrounding the game has developed, created by the gaming community. I've read a few WoW novels and comic books, seen fanfics and fan art featured on the community portal, and I've enjoyed so many awesome pieces of WoW machinima. It's actually quite common for the community to influence the game itself, as we've has seen countless changes implemented after community demand. The fan-created Leeroy Jenkins video, for example, still represents WoW for most of the world.

When I first started playing the rogue, I watched a lot of rogue-centric machinima. Boss encounter videos weren't very popular then, and so most of the machinima was based in PVP. I watched in awe as Grim annihilated everything in his path. I laughed as Happyminti stomped on characters who were 10 levels higher than himself. I sat agape as Hector leaped off of the tower of Karazahn after a mage who tried to escape. My style of rogue PVP has always been colored by the finesse and grace of these rogues, and that still holds true today.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: The subtlety experiment

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, or hate mail if you play subtlety.

Over the past few years, I've been accused of playing favorites with the rogue specs. During Wrath, I was characterized more than once as the ArP-mongering combat rogue who neglected Mutilate builds. In Cataclysm, I'm supposedly the devoted assassin who never gives combat or subtlety a fair shake. The truth is that I don't care what spec I'm playing, and I'll play whatever gives me the best results.

I played Mut/Prep, HARP, and even pure subtlety in the arena during The Burning Crusade. I've raided extensively as both combat and assassination, and I've leveled my rogues (plural) with each of the three specs, as well. I frequently swap specs. I love combat for solo PVE play, while subtlety holds a special place in my heart for ganking and world PVP. I currently raid as assassination simply because it's how I get the best results. I'm not alone in this philosophy, as most rogues will do whatever it takes, including a respec, to get the most out of their characters.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Controlling tempo in 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. Please email me with any topic requests or questions you have!

PvP is hard to discuss in writing. (I'm not talking about how to properly 4-gate your opponent on Shakuras Plateau, but rather about WoW's player-vs-player content.) It's a relatively easy task to distill a PvE encounter into a list of salient points, but that's because raid bosses aren't random. Magmaw is going to do the same thing against every single raid group that encounters him, and so our strategies for countering him are fairly unilateral. We're playing rock-paper-scissors with the developers, except that we know they're going to throw paper ahead of time. All we have to do is successfully become scissors, and the raid bosses will fall over and explode with purples -- they're just loot piñatas.

PvP, meanwhile, is impossible to condense into a single strategy. In a raid setting, most classes use less than a dozen simple abilities on any given encounter. In an arena or battleground, players will be drawing from the deepest, darkest pages of their spellbooks to gain any advantage. I can't tell you what that warrior on the opposing team is going to do, because he can literally do anything. Instead of trying to make some sort of overly complicated flowchart in an attempt to remove all decision-making from PvP, you have to adjust and react on the fly. The key to surviving in this volatile environment is to maintain control of the tempo -- you need to fight on your terms.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Breaking subtlety's cipher

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. If you're looking for information on patch 4.1's rogue changes, take a look at my previous writeup.

I spent the majority of my time during The Burning Crusade as a subtlety rogue. Hemorrhage provided me with the damage I needed to crush anyone wearing cloth. Shadowstep allowed me to keep up with even the most slippery druids. The shadows were my ally, and I Cheated Death more than once. The Mutilate build that rules today's raids was still in its infancy, while combat was the only viable raiding spec. Even then, subtlety couldn't hope to compete, and our only purpose was to slaughter the opposing faction with stealth and grace.

On the timeline of WoW, subtlety did enjoy one blip in the PvE spotlight. During the early months of Wrath, a bug with Honor Among Thieves made subtlety rogues the best DPS class in the game, at least when stacked in a raid environment. Once the loophole was closed, the spec was relegated back to its PvP-only jail cell. Cataclysm was heralded as the new age of True Balance, with every spec getting a slice of the DPS pie. Unsurprisingly, the rogue utility spec of subtlety is still falling behind (along with frost mages, our old rivals for the bottom spot). The meters can be deceiving though, as subtlety is nowhere near as limp and lifeless in a raid as it once was. There's talk of high-end rogues even choosing to play subtlety. The whispers of the dead spec's long-waited return have been spreading through the shadows of the rogue community like a bad rumor.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Answers to your rogue questions

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 comments you have.

My favorite part of playing a rogue is the camaraderie that I can share with my fellow assassins. There's an amazing web of players that make up the rogue community, and they're willing to spend their time and energy to help other rogues out. Whether it's Antiarc and Aldriana's Shadowcraft or Ieatpaperbag's informational threads for combat and assassination, there's such a wealth of great information available for those who seek it. While our numbers may be few, the rogue community is still powerful.

If you have a question about your rogue that you just can't figure out, there's nothing wrong with asking for help. Elitist Jerks has a simple questions thread dedicated to quelling your uncertainties, and you can always consult a more senior rogue for advice and guidance. I regularly receive emails with questions from old rogues and new rogues alike. I've been seeing several messages with similar questions lately, and I think that the answers are worth delving into.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: The subtlety rogue of tomorrow

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 future of subtlety rogues.

Last week, Blizzard released the Cataclysm talent preview for rogues. If you read my coverage of the changes, you noticed that I mentioned that Master of Deception is missing from the subtlety tree. While I praised the change due to the removal of the frankly dumb mechanic of stealth levels, many rogues were worried that this meant all rogues would be left with simply basic stealth and we'd be sitting ducks against any competent opponent. Luckily, Lead Systems Designer Ghostcrawler chimed in on the issue, and informed us that all rogues would gain the benefits of Master of Deception, and for free.

It's clear from looking at the previewed talent trees that Blizzard's design intent is to try to give each rogue tree some PvP viability. By removing three filler points that any rogue serious about PvP was forced to take, they allow us to explore other talents deeper in our core trees. Subtlety had the reverse problem, though, where the tree was too PvP focused and didn't have enough damage talents to let it compete in a raid environment. Aside from one broken talent for a few months, sub rogues have been stuck in battlegrounds and arenas in Wrath. The new subtlety tree looks to have several new DPS talents available, but will it be enough to bring this spec back to life?

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

The Art of War(craft): Introductory guide to fighting rogues, Part 4

Zach thinks rogues are dastardly, sneaky and will backstab you at the first opportunity. Take this guide, for example. Rogues just ambushed Zach with a ton of useless information. I mean, they're just stabby little things, aren't they?

This final part of our exceptionally long introductory guide -- who would've thought rogues could be such a long subject? -- we'll talk a little more about rogue playing styles, the different specs, and ways on how classes can counter them. I mentioned in the very first part of this guide that taking away a rogue's opener is important. If you have means to detect rogues in Stealth, make sure to use it and have instant cast abilities ready to quickly break them out of it as soon as you do.

An obvious fact that bears mentioning is that rogues are a melee class. They can't do you any real harm when you're outside of melee range, so the obvious strategy would be to kite them. Rogues have some abilities that allow them to break out of roots and snares, but these are all on relatively long cooldowns, so don't be afraid to reapply them. Even as a melee class, you'd want to keep applying a movement-impairing effect such as Hamstring or even Judgement of Justice. Impaired movement takes any PvP player out of their groove, and it disturbs rogues who must always have the ability to chase or flee.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Encrypted Text: Patch 3.3.3 changes mean subtlety is back

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 upcoming patch 3.3.e changes, and what they mean for subtlety.

I promised myself I would never say this. When I took up the mantle of Encrypted Text, I knew that with great power comes great responsibility. It was my duty to ensure that accurate information reached the readers of this column, and to keep them abreast of upcoming changes. The other sites could do as they pleased: I would remain steadfast.

Unfortunately, as we all know, Blizzard loves to shake things up when they feel that the status quo is stale. The recent subtlety changes are an example of this. Because of those changes, I have to break that promise that I made. Today, I am forced to say something which I never thought would be seriously true. Today, I am telling you that hemo daggers is a viable spec.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Shifting Perspectives: Restoration 101

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, a quick and dirty guide to raising one's tree from a young sapling to a mighty oak, or other suitably impressive arboreal species.

Whenever other columnists here write really good columns, I sit at my computer and swear a blue streak, for I am a jealous god. Sacco, damn him, turned out a great article on the basics of elemental shamans, and for a while I've been kicking around bits and pieces of 101-esque columns for all four druid specs. This was the last shove I needed to get that done. While I expect our new balance blogger (a.k.a. Murmurs, the person I will be forcing to do all my number-crunching in the future with bribes or, when necessary, threats) will address moonkin, I'll cover bears, cats, and today, trees.

A quick note on what I want to accomplish here: I'm addressing this to people with no prior knowledge of the spec who want the tools to become reasonably competent healers quickly. By necessity, that means we're going to gloss over a few finer points; this is a cheat sheet, not an encyclopedia. When I say (for example) that Improved Tranquility needs to be dragged out behind a barn and killed with an axe, I'm not going to spend paragraphs explaining why that is, or examining situations where you could actually get some use from it. If you think I've glossed over something truly important, please drop a comment and I'll direct readers to anything they really need to know.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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