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Encrypted Text: Readiness gone, Preparation next?

preparation
As part of the pre-Mists patch 5.0.4, in August 2012, hunters were given Readiness as a baseline ability. Readiness is a carbon copy of Preparation, which has been a rogue workhorse for years. While I am typically hesitant to give hunters any more ink, there's something interesting for them in the patch 5.4 PTR notes. Readiness is being removed from hunters entirely, and their cooldowns are being rebalanced to compensate. An ability that was considered so crucial that it was made baseline is being pulled completely just a year later.

Cooldown management has been an integral part of the rogue class since day one. Preparation has been our go-to PvP ability since its inception. The entire World of Roguecraft video series was predicated by how amazing Preparation is. A rogue with full cooldowns is a deity, a rogue without cooldowns is a pushover. When Preparation was made baseline in patch 5.2 (January 2013), I was certain that the once-optional ability would be a permanent part of our arsenal. Now, I'm wondering if Preparation's next on Blizzard's chopping block.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Why mobility doesn't matter

sprint
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.

Brian Holinka, who is quickly becoming the most frequent tweeter on the dev team, recently talked about Shadowstep and rogue mobility in a series of tweets. Mobility is one of those things that gets trotted out every time a melee class starts talking about PvP balance. One melee class has a teleport, another has a snare break, yet another has a speed boost –- no two melee classes are equal. I'm sure we all remember ret paladins complaining about their lack of a "gap closer." The problem with mobility is that mobility doesn't matter. Well, not really.

What really matters to a melee class is uptime. Our goal isn't to have 100% mobility, it's to have 100% uptime. We want to be attacking our target as often as possible, and that usually requires being in melee range. Looking at mobility in a vacuum is missing the forest for the trees. Mobility is just one of the tools that we use to achieve a high melee uptime. All of our other abilities, like CCs, stuns, and slows are critical components to maximizing our uptime. Shuriken Toss is the exact opposite of mobility, but its strength comes from increasing our uptime despite being out of melee range.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: How to play a rogue in patch 5.2

Encrypted Text How to play a rogue in patch 52 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.

Now that the patch is live, we know which changes made it and which were cut in development. Vitality's buff was cut in half, but combat rogues are still sitting quite pretty. Assassination had a last-minute 10% boost to its damage via Assassin's Resolve, which should ensure that the spec performs well. Subtlety's Sanguinary Vein buff also stayed put, which should increase the number of subtlety rogues raiding in this tier.

Along with the purely numerical changes, we also have to factor in our new set bonuses, talents, and ability changes that arrived with the patch. Rogues received more changes than usual in this patch cycle, and I am hopeful that we'll continue to excel in PvE while also gaining ground in PvP representation. Patch 5.2 is full of cool new tools for rogues, which has me very excited for this raid tier.

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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: 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: 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: Openers and the element of surprise

stealth 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.

One of the interesting dichotomies of the rogue class is use of Stealth. Stealth, and by extension, surprise, is paramount to rogue PvP and most of the rogue leveling experience. In these situations, the optimal strategy is to use an opener to gain an early advantage over your foe. Ambush, Cheap Shot, and Garrote immediately set the pace of the encounter. When fights only last a few brief seconds, Stealth tips that tenuous balance in our favor.

Once raiding enters the picture, the value of Stealth drops to near zero. Assassination rogues get a slight boost from using Garrote against a raid boss, but we're talking about less than a 1% difference. Combat rogues don't even bother using an opener at all -- all of the options are too weak. Subtlety rogues, who are designed around Stealth and openers, require the cooldown Shadow Dance to function. Stealth and its relationship with combat simply don't work in protracted battles.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Rogues can actually tank

tank 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.

In the original WoW beta, rogues were designed to be off tanks. Complete with a high dodge coefficient from agility and a buckler, rogues could survive quite a beating. Evasion was a tanking cooldown, and Vanish was a useful tank-swapping ability. Hunters worked similarly, also sporting bucklers and using Feign Death to lose aggro. Obviously, the developers scrapped both of these ideas before launch.

During The Burning Crusade, Gaeowyn broke the combat table by achieving unhittable status with 102.63% avoidance and using it to successfully slay Illidan. After that, the crew slew Gruul with just five people while it was still relevant content. In Wrath, Jider abused Shadowstep and our amazing damage output to solo several Naxxramas bosses. The upcoming Mists expansion looks to again revitalize rogue tanking, with the advent of the druid ability Symbiosis and our bonus ability, Growl.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: 2 Stealth secrets in Mists

worgen rogue stealth
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.

Our Stealth system, which has survived dozens of patches unscathed, is seeing some new action in Mists of Pandaria. In spite of the developers' previous attempts to normalize Stealth levels via the removal of Master of Deception, they're bringing some of that flavor back. Shadow Walk and Shroud of Concealment bring brand new elements to our Stealth repertoire.

Shadow Walk looks to improve our own personal Stealth capabilities, while Shroud of Concealment allows us to share our Stealth with others. The duo is the most exciting thing to happen to Stealth since Distract, and I look forward to finding new and unique ways to abuse both of them.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: My rogue wish list for Mists of Pandaria

stealth mount
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.

We learned a lot of information about Mists of Pandaria at BlizzCon 2011. The early talent trees were released, and so we have a rough idea of what we'll see at level 90. We don't know exactly what abilities we'll receive as part of choosing a talent specialization, but it's assumed that we'll see most of our former talents returning.

While we do have some information, we're still missing pieces of the puzzle. It's likely that we'll receive new abilities in Mists of Pandaria in addition to the talent system revamp. Any predictions about what might happen are purely speculation, but there's no harm in talking about what we'd like to see. I have a list of abilities and ideas that I think fit with the rogue theme, and I'm hoping that I might see one of them implemented in Mists of Pandaria.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Addon Spotlight: Grab bag 5

Each week, WoW Insider brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same.

Grab bags are always popular Addon Spotlight columns. The amount of email I get after each grab bag spotlight is usually leaps and bounds more than any other type of Addon Spotlight article. Why, you may ask? People love lots of addon recommendations in one spot! It's a plethora of new, fun things all in one space.

This week's grab bag is truly a diverse collection of addons, each providing players with a unique function. Do you have any favorite addons that belong in the grab bag? Grab bag addons are usually addons that don't really need too much explanation or write-up to fully grasp. Little utilities, quality-of-life tweaks, and other minor novelties are great for grouping together. If you've got a suggestion for the grab bag, please email it to mat@wowinsider.com with a subject referencing addons!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Encrypted Text: Maximize your rogue's cooldowns

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 suggest a topic you'd like to see covered!

Rogues are the cooldown class. You've heard it before. For the entire lifetime of World of Warcraft, rogues have been defined by their cooldowns. Vanish and Blind were the key ingredients to the infamous Roguecraft videos, while Shadowstep and Adrenaline Rush defined an entire expansion's worth of arena matches. Preparation, the cooldown-eliminating cooldown, has been considered to be the most powerful ability in a rogue's arsenal.

Aside from the low-level ability Recuperate, all three of our new Cataclysm abilities are cooldowns. We have a plethora of both defensive and offensive cooldowns, and knowing when to use them becomes key in defining the difference between a good rogue and a great one. While it may seem simple to pop CDs as soon as they're ready to be used again, defensive cooldowns are much more complex. Offensive CDs can be coordinated with external effects to increase their potency significantly. Many cooldowns ride the line between the offensive and defensive categories, as they're viable for each purpose.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Rogue mechanics for the Cataclysm era

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 rogue questions you may have.

After writing Encrypted Text for over two years now, I have gotten into the groove of writing about rogue life at level 80. I've talked about all about armor penetration's various iterations (and eventual removal) and where to snag the best leather gear with your emblems justice points. We've discussed the trade skills that best suit the discriminating rogue and how to hide from our would-be assassins and their Turkey Shooters. However, all that is about to change.

Blizzard has implemented a ton of changes that affect the rogue class in serious ways. Cataclysm is by far its most ambitious expansion yet. With such a huge delta between what was and what is, the transition is going to be a bit rough as we cope with the post-Shattering world. Poisons have been streamlined (again), our Stealth was buffed significantly, and our talent trees were redesigned from the ground up to ensure that each spec provides a useful raid buff. I think it's safe to say that the rogue as we know it has evolved.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: BlizzCon news for patient rogues

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. This week, I'll be sharing my report from BlizzCon 2010 for rogues.

As a member of our shadowy brotherhood, my duty to investigate and report on the rogue class is never over. Even though I was enjoying the festivities at BlizzCon 2010 and testing out the new demon hunter class in Diablo 3, I still made time to take care of business. The class Q&A panel is one of the best places to communicate directly with the WoW development team, and so I staked my place in line before the prior panel had even ended.

When my turn finally came, I had to first pay my respects to the developers. I had asked them at the prior year's BlizzCon if we would ever see a Vanish fix implemented, and Ghostcrawler avoided promising anything. Fast-forward a year and we finally have a Vanish that I'm proud to call my own. I opened my time by giving them their much-deserved thanks. I then took the opportunity to ask about something near and dear to my heart: off-hand weapon speeds. Axes and daggers were simply never meant to be used at the same time. Their art styles don't even match!

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Guest Post: Confessions of a noob rogue

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Back in the dark ages of history, in vanilla World of Warcraft, I rolled a rogue. This was before battlegrounds, when dishonorable kills were a fear and world PvP was a rush, when men were men, mages sheeped for fun and warlocks ... well, let's just say that warlocks have a reputation that they've earned.

World of Warcraft was my first MMO, after coming from persistent worlds hosted by Neverwinter Nights. I played a rogue there, too, steeped in Dungeons & Dragons rules and the like. World of Warcraft was both nothing like and exactly like my roguish experiences before -- a sneak who dealt devastating damage with small weapons, no matter whether the target was gnome or giant, fearsome orc or fiery dragon.

In the midst of a Westfall investigation (tasked by SI:7 to infiltrate a tower), I noticed a few growing complaints in guild chat: "We have seven rogues in the guild but only one priest; would someone please roll a priest?" I told them I would, sent my rogue back to the character select screen, and rolled the character that would take up the entirety of my vanilla experience.

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Filed under: Rogue, Guest Posts

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