Warlords of Draenor Rogue Talent Review

A while (when I started writing this) ago I was considering the latest change to rogues in the 6.2 patch notes:

  • Deadly Throw now reduces the target’s movement speed by 70% (up from 50%) but no longer interrupts spellcasting when used with 5 combo points.

This got me thinking.  Maybe it’s just that I’ve been preoccupied lately, but I haven’t heard much annoyance about talents lately.  Seeing as the last major content patch is nearly upon us I figure it’s high time we started revving up the feedback engine.  To kick off my part, here are my thoughts on the individual rogue talents and their tiers.  As always before I start I’d like to make a few things clear:

I am of the opinion that not all talents should viable or even relevant to raiding, so don’t expect me to complain about a talent or tier just because someone who only plays this game to raid doesn’t feel it caters to their desires.  I am of opinion that some talents should be exceptional for each type of content – solo PvE, world PvP, Arena, BGs, dungeons, and raiding.  Just as important as a diversity in the content each talent or tier caters to is the presence of tough, meaningful decisions.  For what it’s worth, I also think it should be substantially more difficult to change talents, because doing so is cheap and takes no skill and therefore removes a lot of the fun and skill from the system.


Tier 1 – Stealth

  • Nightstalker:  I like this talent from a few angles.  From a flavor perspective, I appreciate rogues as a class having an option to straight-up increase the damage of their opener.  The mobility the talent offers is super nice when unable to mount, and all in all I think this is a great talent for questing and clearing legacy content since it reduces the time between pulls while speeding up the fight in a way that is flavorful and often relevant.
  • Subterfuge:  I’m not sure if it’s just because of how I used this throughout all of MoP, the amount of testing that I’ve had to do on the talent’s interaction with Glyph of Vanish, or what but I’ve gotten pretty disillusioned with Subterfuge lately.  As a Subtlety PvE rogue I still like having to optimize for using my Ambush as late as possible and making sure I have as much energy pooled as possible before hand so the talent is by no means a 0 in my mind.  The fact that Blizzard had to make rogues visible during Subterfuge is unfortunate and removed a lot of the flavor from the talent but also completely fair.*  From a PvP perspective I think this talent offers a lot of great dynamics, like using Cheap Shot on multiple targets during your opener.
  • Shadow Focus:  Simple, elegant, and a little boring, I have some mixed feelings about this talent and have already pretty much said them all.  If I had the choice between this and Nightstalker, I’d take Nightstalker any day.  I do like how it feels mid-rotation though.

All in all I think this is about what a tier should look like.  It addresses an iconic part of the class in three two and a half different ways and offers options for various different playstyles.  The tier as a whole is relatively low-impact which I wouldn’t call good or bad.  In terms of difficult decisions this tier does have the problem of there being a right answer in most situations.  In casual PvE it’s the one that gives movement speed, in PvP it is whatever is most effective based on your team/playstyle, and in PvE it’s whatever the math tells you is optimal.

Tier 2 – Uh…

  • Deadly Throw:  I have one good memory of Deadly Throw and it’s from back when it was baseline.  I killed a mage in the arena with a 5 CP crit, then another DT off of the HaT proc.  As fun as that was, what killed them was actually the poison damage.  With the interrupt part of the ability gone, I see no reason why Deadly Throw should take up a valuable slot on our talent page.  Moreover, while the rest of the tier is defensive, Deadly Throw is…well not.  I guess when it used to interrupt you could call it a form of defense but with the slated changes (and I’d argue even before them since usually heals/CC is what gets interrupted) Deadly Throw fits with the other members of the tier even less.  From a PvE perspective, this talent is bad.  From a PvP perspective, this talent is bad.  From a flavor perspective, I guess I can see this talent being alright but honestly I’m still not convinced.  In fact I think if there’s one talent that should be cut, it’s Deadly Throw.  What do you replace it with?  We’ll get to that in the overview because I think the tier as a whole has issues.
  • Nerve Strike:  This is a good talent.  It has an impact, is useful for most content (not so much group PvE but the rest for sure), and is noticeable without being overpowerd.
  • Combat Readiness:  This should have been removed instead of made a talent.  It has redundant negative synergy with Evasion, is less fun than Evasion, and I think the only reason it has stuck for so long is because nobody likes to see their toys get removed from the game.

Given that this tier has precisely one talent that isn’t terrible I say we start over.  One option is to move Nerve Strike up to another tier and design fresh new level 30 talents.  That option I’m totally down for, but since this is supposed to be a short summary let’s assume we keep Nerve Strike.  We could have a tier that reduces the effectiveness of our enemies, which would be very in-line with the flavor of the rogue class.  Alternatively, we could have talents that augment certain aspects of our toolkit – Nerve Strike for stuns, then things for mobility, vanish, or finishers?  Another problem with this tier is that it struggles to find relevance.  It is one of the talents that mythic raiders could reasonably not take any of and still play at 100% capacity.  Solo players are in a similar position, since enemy damage is usually small enough to make our defensive options irrelevant and Deadly Throw continues to be a terrible choice.  It is also worth noting that with the removal of the interrupt no rogue will ever want to take Deadly Throw.

Tier 3 – Defense

  • Cheat Death:  In my mind this is a prime example of a good talent.  It is useful in all circumstances, is flavorful, and is noticeable.  I do think the talent is a bit undertuned, but as a talent I like it a lot and think it is important.
  • Leeching Poison:  First off, I hate that there is only one non-talent non-lethal poison.  I think it’s a disgrace to World of Warcraft that such an iconic part of such an iconic class is so stripped down as to require a talent in order to add even a suggestion of choice.  More than having Leeching Poison as a talent we need another non-lethal poison, so my first choice with what to do with this is to replace it so that rogues can have proper choice for both non-lethal poisons and for their third talent tier.  That said, I think Leeching Poison is pretty cool.  I like the flavor and the effect is quite relevant in non-bursty content.  It loses a lot of its value in high-level PvE and PvP but the heal and shiv effect are both about right.  I also like that this is a poison.
  • Elusiveness:  Generically good?  Yup.  Bit overpowered?  Yup.  Competitive with the other choices?  Yup.  The on-demand damage reduction also makes anticipating incoming damage easier which I approve of.

Overall this is a good tier.  Too bad our poison system sucks so much.

Tier 4 – Mobility

  •  Cloak and Dagger:  I was gonna name the talent “Cloak and Swagger” but it’s just so underwhelming that I can’t bring myself to do that.  Plus it’s too similar to Cloak of Swagger.  This talent tries real hard, but it has the distinct problem of being…well, bad.  It’s great for saving time when farming but that’s about it.  I suppose I did enjoy it when I was leveling and in a world where it is more common to enter stealth it would be pretty cool but with the current iteration of the class I just don’t see a place for it.  Of course it doesn’t help that it’s next to…
  • Shadowstep:  It’s hard to know where to start here.  Shadowstep sets the bar for this tier and maybe for talents as a whole.  It is iconic, powerful, and everybody loves it.  It even has that special something** that all great rogue abilities have.  Any talent on this tier has to compete with Shadowstep and it’s actually quite impressive that Blizzard has managed to create ones that can do this.
  • Burst of Speed:  I like it, it’s fun.  For me it’s a zero in terms of immersion (Compared to Shadowstep which adds to it and CnD which I actually think takes away from it).  It does well what Shadowstep does poorly and vice-versa, which is important because it fills out our mobility well.

Given that this tier includes Shadowstep, the tier as a whole is actually very well done.  Between Shadowstep and Burst of Speed competitive rogues have their bases covered, and the fact that our third talent is Cloak and Dagger makes it defensible.

Tier 5 – Crowd Control

  • Prey on the Weak:  It’s a generically good yet boring talent!
  • Internal Bleeding:  It’s less boring than Prey on the Weak…
  • Dirty Tricks:  I love this talent.  I realize it’s bad, but the ability to throw out Gouges like nobody’s business or Sap then open on another target without losing energy makes me feel great.  Unfortunately this just doesn’t compete with the other options.  In terms of talents that I don’t take but most want to, this is at the top.

This tier is boring.  It has no impact on PvE, and on PvP the interesting talents are the least viable ones.  I guess Internal Bleeding has some decent flavor and I do like that it exists but honestly this tier as a whole has serious issues with relevance on the PvE end and choice on the PvP end.

Tier 6 – CP Management + Shuriken Toss

  •  Shuriken Toss:  I guess some rogues like this talent but looking at the tier as a whole I get the feeling that one of these things is not like the others, and that thing is Shuriken Toss.  It does have decent flavor but it struggles for viability as its niche is something that WoW is designed to make largely irrelevant for rogues.  I’d also much rather Throw be buffed to deal actual damage than continue having our only way to do actual ranged damage be a level 90 talent.
  • Marked for Derp:  This is a great talent.  It’s powerful, which for a level 90 talent it should be, it works well with existing/established class mechanics, and the cooldown reset clause adds the spice it needs to feel like a talent rather than just an ability.  It can even kill you if you take DfA!  It does have a bit of trouble competing with Anticipation, but that’s more a symptom of Anticipation’s existence than anything else.  Speaking of which…
  • Anticipation:  Last year I wrote a piece on Anticipation that I stand by.  Basically Anticipation offers far more than what most talents should offer.  It allows a rogue to execute their rotation optimally, using all finishers at max CP without spilling over.  For many of us, Anticipation is the talent that we always want to take not because it is good, but because it makes us feel good.  Well that and it’s also pretty good.  It terms of flavor, well there isn’t really anything there.  In terms of viability, it is actually pretty week for anyone but raiders, and even then MfD usually beats it.  In solo play Marked for Derp’s cooldown reset makes it vastly superior, and PvP will always prefer the bust and versatility that Marked for Derp grants over Anticipation’s utility.

Tier 6 is a surprisingly problematic tier.  World of Warcraft has (rightly) come to the point where Shuriken Toss is completely unnecessary.  Marked for Derp is a good ability, makes sense as a talent, but is also the all-around most powerful option.  And then we get Anticipation, which is such a huge Quality of Life improvement that people actually take it over a talent that reads “Deal more damage, or even more if there are adds.”  So, in conclusion this tier should be Marked for Derp, something to replace Shuriken Toss, and something to replace Anticipation which has just been made baseline in some form or another.

Tier 7 – Cool Stuff


  • Lemon Zest:  I like Lemon Zest a lot given that it is a passive talent.  Both the extra energy and increased haste during multi-target scenarios are noticeable which is something many passives struggle with.  My only complaint is the long-standing bug where the game doesn’t call the talent by its real name.
  • Shadow Reflection:  Yo, Blizzard, real talk – You gotta do better.  You said one of your goals going into WoD was to reduce cooldown stacking, and then you give us an ability that copies what we do, including during cooldowns?  C’mon.  To make matters worse, this ability is a complete nightmare for theorycrafters as its behavior has been demonstrated to be inconsistent and unintuitive.  So not only did you give us a boring ability but you also gave the community members who do the most work more work.  If you want a talent to make our cooldowns better, then add a special effect for each spec that modifies it like you’ve done with some set bonuses.  For instance Combat could add extra attacks to Killing Spree for every X seconds it has been since you’ve used the ability last, with a max number of extra attacks of the 2-minute amount.  Shadow Dance could have a 25% lowered cooldown and duration (Blitz has increased the duration too much already).  Vendetta could…aw who am I kidding you’d just give it a flat damage increase because Assassination isn’t allowed to have interesting cooldowns, abilities, rotations, or…anything.  Either way Shadow Reflection is a terrible ability and the fact that I have to take it for DPS purposes makes me very sad.
  • Derp from Above:  I tried really hard to dislike this talent in Alpha/Beta, and had great success.  Then I tried it, and found I really liked it.  I then proceeded to ignore it because it is a terrible talent and went back to trying – and succeeding – to dislike it.  Unfortunately due to a ShadowCraft bug I recently tried the talent out again.  Here’s the thing about Derp from Above:  It’s fun.  Once every 20 or so seconds I get to jump up in the air, do a fancy flip, and land a massive blow on my enemy’s face.  What’s not to love?  The cooldown is just the right length for it to feel special while also being frequent.  Seriously Blizzard, if you are reading this, DO NOT REDUCE THE COOLDOWN.  Is it bad because two out of three specs don’t use finishers for their direct damage?  Who cares?  I’m doing flips!  Flavor?  What part of “I couldn’t care less I’m doing fancy flips” don’t you understand?  Is it incredibly hard to use optimally for Subtlety rogues?  Why do you think I like it so much?

Overall our Tier 7 has one huge problem:  There are three DPS increasing talents on it that do not compete adequately.  Combat rogues use Venom Rush and Subtlety/Assassination rogues use Shadow Reflection, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.  Usually in situations where talents compete over the same purpose/niche there are situations where one talent will shine over the usual choice but that’s simply not something that we’ve seen with this tier.

 Anyway, that’s all I have to say about talents.  I strung this article out over the course of something like a month so forgive me if it is a bit hard to follow.  Got opinions on talents?  Wanna tell me how awesome I am for writing this post?  Post away on our forums in the discussion thread.


*Of course, it would also be completely fair to trim down the ways classes have of kicking rogues out of stealth in PvP.

**That being the ability to accidentally kill you.  What’s that, your Haunted Memento procced when you were sneaking around Stormwind?  Sucks to suck!


Better Roguing Through Macros

Using effective macros can increase your efficiency and effectiveness, as well as make you a few extra gold. The following are a few “must have” macros for any serious PvE rogue and a few “don’t leave home without it” macros for any rogue.


Weapon Swap Macro

Weapon swapping as part of the Combat rogue rotation. It’s a thing.

The Macro:

#showtooltip Blade Flurry
/equipset [equipped: dagger] Combat; Cleave
/cast [noequipped: dagger] Blade Flurry
/cancelaura [equipped: dagger] Blade Flurry

What does it do?

This macro equips a dagger in your main hand when you turn Blade Flurry on, and re-equips your slow weapons when you turn Blade flurry off.

Why do I want it?

Hopefully this macro won’t be needed for much longer, but as things stand Combat rogues can gain a substantial DPS increase by swapping to having a dagger in their main hand for AoE situations. Note that depending on the number of targets that you are facing and how long they are likely to live, you may not want to swap weapons. You should keep an unmacroed version of Blade Flurry handy for those occasions.

More information:

Where is it useful?

In any situation where you will be doing cleave or AoE damage.

Set up:

This particular macro needs a little bit of setup:

  1. Save your regular Combat gear set. You can name it anything you like. I am calling mine “Combat.”
  2. With your regular Combat gear set equipped, create a new gear set. I am calling this additional gear set “Cleave.”
  3. Move your best slow weapon (sword, mace, or axe) into your off hand. If all else is equal, pick one with Multistrike. A current excellent choice is Hans’gar’s Forgehammer in as Mythic and Warforged a form as you can manage.
  4. Equip your best dagger into your main hand. If all else is equal, pick one with Multistrike. A current excellent choice is Oregorger’s Acid-Etched Gutripper in as Mythic and Warforged a form as you can manage.
  5. Save your new gear set.
  6. Create the macro – be sure to replace “Combat” and “Cleave” with the names of your gear sets.
  7. Use the macro in place of Blade Flurry.

Note: If Blade Flurry and your gear set get out of sync, click the macro to reset it. This can happen if you die with Blade Flurry on.

Credit for this awesome little macro goes to Wavefunctionp.


Talent Swapping Macro

Do you switch between talents and then have to remember to change your bars? I know I do – especially with Burst of Speed and Shadowstep. This handy little macro switches out the button on your bar for you.

The Macro:

/cast [talent:4/1] Cloak and Dagger; [talent:4/2] Shadowstep; [talent:4/3] Burst of Speed

What does it do?

This macro changes your button to reflect the talent that you have selected from a specific talent tier.

Why do I want it?

Switching a talent that requires a button press and forgetting to switch your button out sucks.

Where is it useful?

Any time you switch out a talent that requires a button press.

Set up:

The macro as written is set up for tier 4 talents. Just use it in place of Cloak and Dagger, Shadowstep, and Burst of Speed. You could conceivably set it up for tiers 6 and 7 as well. Just switch “4” to “6” or “7” and switch the talent names appropriately.


Secondary Target Interrupt Macro

Sometimes you just need to kick someone you aren’t actively stabbing.


Version 1

/cast [@focus] Kick

Version 2

#showtooltip Kick
/cast Kick

What does it do?

This macro allows you to interrupt a target other than your main target, as long as it is in melee range. If you have Deadly Throw talented, you can add it in and use this at range but note that with Deadly Throw, the interrupt only works with 5 combo points so you need to make sure you have those stored up.

Why do I want it?

Sometimes you want to focus down one target while keeping another interrupted.

Where is it useful?

The Admiral Gar’an Dreadnaught phase in the Iron Maidens fight in Blackrock Foundry is a good example of this. In that fight you want to focus down Uktar while not allowing Battle Medic Rogg to cast Earthen Barrier.

Set up

For version 1, you need to set the intended target of your interrupt as your focus.

For version 2, you need to know the name of the intended target of your interrupt and hard code it in. Replace “TARGETNAME” in the macro with the name of the interrupt target.


Rotation Macros


In some cases macroing cooldowns together can smooth out your rotation, making sure you use the cooldowns as often as possible with fewer button pushes.

If you are an Assassination or Subtlety specced rogue and have selected Shadow Reflection as your level 100 talent, you can use the one of the following macros:

For Assassination:

#showtooltip Vendetta
/cast Shadow Reflection
/cast Vendetta

Note that in this macro, Shadow Reflection is cast before Vendetta. This is important as it allows your reflection to cast its own version of Vendetta.

For Subtlety:

#showtooltip Shadow Dance
/cast Shadow Reflection
/cast Shadow Dance

In this macro the order in which you cast Shadow Reflection and Shadow Dance does not matter.


If you have an on-use trinket, you can macro it to a cooldown in much the same way as you do when you are macroing cooldowns together. You can call the trinket by name but it is much easier to instruct the macro to just use gear slot that the trinket is occupying. Your upper trinket is in gear slot 13 and your lower trinket is in gear slot 14.

The following is a basic example using Killing Spree. If you want to macro your trinket to a different ability (Adrenaline Rush, Vendetta, Shadow Dance, etc.) just replace “Killing Spree” with the name of your chosen ability.

#showtooltip Killing Spree
/use 13
/use 14
/cast Killing Spree

Note that if you want to add a trinket to the Vendetta/Shadow Reflection macro, you will want to make sure that you use the trinkets after you cast Shadow Reflection so that your reflection can take advantage of them as well.

#showtooltip Vendetta
/cast Shadow Reflection
/use 13
/use 14
/cast Vendetta

Note that if you are an Engineer with all those wonderful toys, you can create macros to hotkey them using the same method. The gear slots that you may need for these are:

  • Hat: /use 1
  • Belt: /use 6
  • Boots: /use 8
  • Cloak: /use 15


Macro Tips for New Rogues

Veteran rogues will probably already know these sneaky tricks!

Pick Pocket

If you macro Pick Pocket to your stealth opener and crowd control abilities, you can always pick at least one pocket, even if you are in a hurry. This is a basic way to make a little extra gold without even thinking about it.

The following macro will pick your target’s pocket before you Ambush. If you are using a different stealth opener (Cheap Shot, Garrote, etc.), replace “Ambush” with the name of your chosen ability.

#showtooltip Ambush
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Ambush

The following macro will pick your target’s pocket when you use Sap.

#showtooltip Sap
/cast Sap
/cast Pick Pocket

Tricks of the Trade

If you are in a group and you are concerned about pulling aggro off your tank, you can create a quick Tricks of the Trade macro. Here are a couple of easy ones that work in the same way as the interrupt macros above.

Version 1

#showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
/cast [@focus] Tricks of the Trade

Version 2

#showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
/cast [@TANKNAME] Tricks of the Trade

For version 1, you need to set your tank as your focus.

For version 2, replace “TANKNAME” in the macro with the name of your tank.


Got a favorite macro? Tell us on the forums.


6.2 Preliminary Analysis

Update 4/15: The dps numbers for subtlety did not take into account the sanguinary veins buff which understated the damage increase for sub, I’ve updated numbers accordingly.

This post will focus on the changes announced in the patch notes as well as the trinkets available on the PTR. There is some ambiguity in the set bonus notes and the subtlety 4pc looks broken so I’m going to hold off on analyzing those for now. Lets start with the most baffling change of these notes, the Shuriken Toss buff.

Shuriken Toss now deals 53% more autoattack damage. Additionally, fixed a bug that caused hits made with offhand weapons to deal 15% more damage than intended.

To be clear about what this change does, it buffs the damage of the ranged auto attacks from 75% of a regular white swing to 114.75% of a regular white swing. That’s right, if you are greater than 10 yards from the boss your white swings now hit 14.75% harder. I’ve already seen some people suggesting that this buff combined with the Archimonde trinket we may see the rise of the ranged combat rogue. This is unlikely, first using this build would require some really finicky positioning, within 10 and 20 yards of the boss, weaving in and out for killing spree, which is unlikely to work well on bosses with large hit boxes, highly mobile encounters or encounters requiring precise positioning, that is to say most modern raid encounters. Second ST still doesn’t advance bandit’s guile rendering it much less useful, there is a plausible rotation that involves weaving out of melee range during deep insight, whether that beats out marked for death however is unclear, and I hope it doesn’t become a thing.

Other than this theoretical rotation with the Archimonde trinket I don’t get the point of this buff. In the past Blizzard has made changes to keep shuriken toss out of single target rotations, it doesn’t advance BG, it doesn’t advance sub dots, it doesn’t proc blindside, it’s just flat out less efficient at generating cps than our regular cp builders. Even if we can auto attack from 30 yards away we still can’t use finishers (Archimonde trinket excepted). It’s a solution in search of problem, if Blizzard puts in another Atremedes boss rogues will somewhat less bad than other melee but still hardly worth bringing not to mention what would happen to the other melee without a partial ranged rotation. Shuriken Toss is a waste of a talent grid square, it has been since it was introduced and buffing it doesn’t really change that.

Tuning Changes:
The following numbers are based on ShadowCraft using gearsets based on the SimC T17H (ilvl 685) and T17M (ilvl 700) sets. These include T17 set bonuses.

Envenom now deals 10% more damage.
Mutilate now deals 10% more damage.

Overall this works out to be an approximately 3.2% buff for assassination single target. It does not buff multi-target damage nor does it change stat weights.

Eviscerate now deals 10% more damage.
Sinister Strike now deals 10% more damage.
Mastery: Main Gauche has increased in effectiveness by 10%.

Overall this works out to be an approximately 5.7% buff for combat on single target and 4.8% on three target sustained AoE. Mastery moves from combat’s worst stat to combat’s 3rd best stat on single target and challenging multistrike for 2nd best stat in some gearsets. The buff to combat’s mastery is curious, while mastery tended to be combat’s weakest stat it wasn’t by much, in the test gear sets mastery and crit were roughly equal as dump stats with versatility only slightly ahead (<0.02 EP). Why Blizzard felt the need to buff mastery while leaving crit and versatility as dump stats is a mystery.

Eviscerate now deals 10% more damage.
Mastery: Executioner has decreased in effectiveness by 8%.
Backstab now deals 20% more damage.
Sanguinary Vein now causes the Rogue to deal 30% more damage to targets affected by Rupture (up from 25%).

Overall this works out to be an approximately 2.6% 6.7% buff for subtlety on single target. Mastery as expected becomes weaker however in the tested gearsets it remains the 2nd best stat for single target subtlety. The subtlety change does however nerf subtlety’s AoE capabilities by shifting damage from rupture and crimson tempest into backstab and eviscerate. This further marks subtlety as a primarily single target spec, since its AoE was already limited except in specific, relatively rare, situations such as high target sustained AoE. The backstab buff also appears to kills hemorrhage weaving.  Given that this was a minor optimization that added very little complexity to the spec I don’t mind this change.

Balance Considerations:
The primary effect of these tuning changes appears to be the ascendance of combat into the primary spec for most encounters. Currently combat is approximately 5% behind subtlety on single target and while these buffs do not completely cover the gap they get combat close enough that many may not be interested in swapping specs for an extra 1-1.5% damage. Additionally combat’s already strong advantage on AoE becomes even more pronounced as it is buffed while assassination sees no changes and subtlety takes a small nerf.

Overall these changes do not appear to substantially change the basic balance calculus for sub and combat currently.  Sub gains a larger single target advantage and combat gains a larger AoE advantage.  These changes appear to be further doubling down on niche based design encouraging the sub/combat setup that it appears most raiders are running.

These changes also also do not address the problems of assassination, currently the odd-spec-out. While assassination does get a non-trivial buff it is smaller than the combat buff and not enough to bring assassination within striking distance of subtlety on single target. Additionally the buffs to mutilate and no changes to dispatch further dilutes one of assassination’s potential niches. Currently execute range is an approximately 11% dps increase for assassination, these changes reduce that 9%. Nothing in these changes is enough to break the current combat/subtlety status quo.

Trinket Analysis:
Trinkets were implemented in ShadowCraft and tested with the SimC T17H (ilvl 685) and T17M (ilvl 700) gearsets with and without set bonuses. This analysis is based on 6.1 mechanics but that should not substantially impact the value of these trinkets. Since this is a ShadowCraft trinket analysis there are a couple important caveats.

  1. ShC does not currently take into account proc stacking so beating heart of the mountain is somewhat undervalued for assassination and subtlety.
  2. ShC’s envenom uptime modeling is a slightly optimistic at high (>80%) envenom uptimes which may distort the value of the assassination Archimonde trinket.

This analysis compares the ilvl 695 version of each trinket with the ilvl 685 and ilvl 700 versions of BRF trinkets. For reference the five trinkets analyzed:
Fel-Spring Coil
Agility DPS Trinket 2
Agility DPS Trinket 3
Agility DPS Trinket 4
Archimonde Spec Trinket

Since we cannot currently test these trinkets I make the following assumptions about their functionality. If you discover any of these assumptions are incorrect during testing let me know and I’ll update the analysis. Since I will be updating these numbers as I get more information if people could refrain from copying the raw EP value tables to other places that would be great.

  1. The mirror images from Agility DPS Trinket 2 attacks inherits the owners haste, crit and multistrike using a 2.0 speed weapon. Additionally I assume the mirror images follow similar rules to shadow reflection, that is, they do not benefit from the rogue’s assassin’s resolve, bandit’s guile, find weakness , sanguinary veins, and vendetta.
  2. The damage stored by trinket 3 only applies to the rogue’s damage, damage from the shadow reflection clone is not stored.

General Thoughts:
Overall the trinkets are reasonably well balanced. There are some balance discrepancies but these are generally consistent with standard trinket variation. For most of the tested gearsets the gap between the best and worst 6.2 trinket is not substantially worse than the gap between the best and worst BRF trinket of the same ilvl.

Trinket 3 seems problematic due to the RPPM mechanic. Unlike many I don’t dislike RPPM on principle however the random nature of trinket 3 could make the trinket actively detrimental to your raid. Imagine if it procced during a short duration, blast furnace phase 2 for instance, and the burn would end before the effect explodes, during that duration you are dealing no damage to the burn target. An on-use trinket or an old style ICD trinket would be better fit for this effect, by contrast trinket 2 could easily be made an RPPM trinket.

The assassination spec trinket goes from underwhelming to very good depending on the T17 set bonuses. As I mentioned the trinket may be slightly overvalued with the T17 set bonuses because they inflate envenom uptime dramatically but not substantially. Some of this wide swing will be solved by gear scaling but at lower gear levels the trinket may be a bit underpowered. The trinket also potentially contributes to assassinations oversupply of resources at higher gear levels which breaks the envenom pooling mechanic.

Based on the assumptions I’ve made about the mirror images trinket 2 seems a bit underpowered. Rogues have a number of big percent modifiers that currently the shadow reflection clone does not inherit, if the mirror images follow the same rules it may end up an underwhelming for all rogue specs.

{slider EP Values|closed}

Assassination 685 No Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     631.57197927
agi_3_695:                         592.776343664
fel_spring_coil_695:               586.817787623
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 580.462954146
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      566.032698861
agi_4_695:                         562.443136655
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     549.017916199
agi_2_695:                         531.543385726
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 503.703574604
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      491.808904858
assn_spec_trinket:                 377.171031558

Assassination 685 Tier
assn_spec_trinket:                 668.647672409
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     654.68416442
fel_spring_coil_695:               608.591519747
agi_3_695:                         592.486537412
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 580.105013736
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     569.057958644
agi_4_695:                         561.99682644
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      559.174794119
agi_2_695:                         521.605026608
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 503.392289289
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      485.939172783

Assassination 700 No Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     646.353830887
agi_3_695:                         616.681190776
fel_spring_coil_695:               609.699826106
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 598.229278053
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      587.087858666
agi_4_695:                         582.387451401
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     561.864678713
agi_2_695:                         544.552207422
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 519.145330524
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      510.096069977
assn_spec_trinket:                 424.377446051

Assassination 700 Tier
assn_spec_trinket:                 768.501708599
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     673.067790726
fel_spring_coil_695:               632.118625873
agi_3_695:                         616.254724951
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 597.763137328
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     584.967138823
agi_4_695:                         581.811806555
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      578.521453046
agi_2_695:                         532.836983028 
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 518.739980466
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      502.694430385


Similar to the assassination spec trinket the combat spec trinket appears to rely heavily on current set bonuses for its value. However unlike the assassination spec trinket gear scaling is unlikely to make up that gap for combat. At most gear levels without the T17 set bonuses it looks like a midpack trinket. Also the range buff on eviscerate makes no sense, it doesn’t appear to be subtracting from the itemization budget so I’m not going to complain about a unique perk but it seems really out of place (Please don’t make 10-20 yard ranged rogue a thing).

{slider EP Values|closed}

Combat 685 No Tier
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      672.61734129
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     633.218346574
agi_2_695:                         620.640853217
agi_3_695:                         616.273825263
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 597.818266102
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      584.323326126
agi_4_695:                         581.010828565
fel_spring_coil_695:               576.811716031
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     550.466165804
combat_spec_trinket:               521.459869691
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 518.780099047

Combat 685 Tier
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      679.208710855
combat_spec_trinket:               676.261727092
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     631.30911392
agi_3_695:                         613.939463938
agi_2_695:                         599.252417897
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 595.807575502
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      590.003421189
agi_4_695:                         578.851341613
fel_spring_coil_695:               574.187346592
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     548.806658021
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 517.03373904

Combat 700 No Tier
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      709.104652422
agi_2_695:                         646.307858279
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     645.93741969
agi_3_695:                         639.781633076
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      616.003549311
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 610.027502547
fel_spring_coil_695:               596.451739497
agi_4_695:                         594.721243675
combat_spec_trinket:               589.326863392
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     561.520137401
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 529.391788013

Combat 700 Tier
combat_spec_trinket:               764.15213655
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      716.583821542
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     643.916097965
agi_3_695:                         637.225171383
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      622.448512457
agi_2_695:                         622.206287212
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 607.908004965
fel_spring_coil_695:               593.53573908
agi_4_695:                         592.432546943
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     559.763220075
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 527.550827013


As noted with the trinket 2 for assassination the assumptions I’ve made about how the mirror images interact that make the trinket somewhat underwhelming. This behavior would be consistent with shadow reflection but in this case I think some inconsistency to help increase the value of the trinket in line with the other agility trinkets may be needed.

Continuing what seems to be a broad theme, the subtlety spec trinket seems a bit underwhelming. The inclusion of garrote on the trinket is particularly funny since garrote isn’t worth using except to get SV up fast on the opener. As Hail joked last night, a 75% increase to 0 is still 0. The ambush buff seems very large but due to the lack of static stats on the trinket and subtlety’s high agility multiplier the trinket appears average if not well behind the other trinkets.

{slider EP Values|closed}

Subtlety 685 No Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     717.81392058
agi_4_695:                         687.91018447
agi_3_695:                         684.794519487
fel_spring_coil_695:               669.551137623
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 666.551680983
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      643.69604081
agi_2_695:                         627.049954773
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     624.005580502
sub_spec_trinket:                  605.714067908
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 578.415345071
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      559.330517175

Subtlety 685 Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     713.354818764
agi_4_695:                         683.270972448
agi_3_695:                         679.367305868
fel_spring_coil_695:               666.999468947
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 662.019219189
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      631.158817149
agi_2_695:                         621.31479507
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     620.130241226
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 574.475915662
sub_spec_trinket:                  553.968729771
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      548.438227061

Subtlety 700 No Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     732.064143011
agi_4_695:                         711.664801256
agi_3_695:                         706.479053833
fel_spring_coil_695:               691.031978382
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 682.671493239
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      659.932979772
sub_spec_trinket:                  656.766293776
agi_2_695:                         642.168292319
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     636.390237536
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 592.426023013
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      573.436979564

Subltety 700 Tier
humming_blackiron_trigger_700:     731.41590484
agi_4_695:                         711.857094369
agi_3_695:                         706.400178482
fel_spring_coil_695:               692.470243376
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_700: 682.25937745
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_700:      652.451010871
humming_blackiron_trigger_685:     635.826863353
agi_2_695:                         635.764894246
sub_spec_trinket:                  628.568990732
beating_heart_of_the_mountain_685: 592.067828917
meaty_dragonspine_trophy_685:      566.93655128


Disagree with my analysis, see something I missed, think I’m an idiot, let me know on the forums.


I Ain’t Afraid o’ No Sub – or how I learned to stop worrying and love Subtlety

A few weeks ago, in a conversation between Fierydemise, Haileaus, and myself, Fierydemise posited that the single best thing that an Assassination rogue could do for his/her raid team would be to forget optimizing and instead take that time to learn Subtlety. He suggested that the half hour that might be spent on messing with gems and enchantments would be better spent reading up on Subtlety and switching specs. Haileaus and I were both a little dubious on this and felt that there would be a bit of a learning curve to Subtlety that might cancel out any advantage. We all agreed that to only way to know for sure would be to test. Since I just don’t do Subtlety, I volunteered to lab rat.

What I did:
I switched my Assassination spec to Subtlety. I spent exactly half an hour prepping. And then I went to raid. It was an interesting and humbling experience and my conclusion is, much to my surprise, that we are really both right. I do think that there is enough to Fierydemise’s theory that I, an Assassination-lifer, will keep the Subtlety spec for now at least.

Weeee 26k!

Was I perfect? Heck no! I’d been doing this for less than an hour, including setup time.

The Details:

  • I carefully did no research or reading on Subtlety prior to this so all I knew was what was in my memory from trying it back in Cataclysm – which is to say, nothing useful.
  • At 6:02 pm I went to the trainer and switched to Subtlety.
  • I went to Wowhead and read over the Subtlety rotation section of the very pretty rogue guide.
  • I then went to the Ravenholdt guide for Talents, Glyphs, multi-target rotation, and all of the finer details.
  • I set up my bars.
  • I set up a few macros (eg. macroing Shadow Reflection to Shadow Dance).
  • I went to the training dummies just to make sure that my buttons were in usable places and that I hadn’t forgotten any.
  • I did not touch my gear. My main gear was currently optimized for Combat and I switched out a few pieces when I went to Assassination – so it was a sort of hybrid setup. I had a two piece but not a four piece set.
  • I did not touch my addons. I do run SliceCommander and it was already set up to track Slice and Dice and Rupture.
  • At 6:32 I stopped messing with my spec. I even switched back to Combat to do my mine, and slaughtered the wee beasties with gleeful Killing Sprees so that I would have no additional practice or time to absorb what buttons were where.
  • At 8:00 I went to raid. We did Heroic Hans’gar and Franzok (1 attempt as Subtlety then switched to Combat for the kill), Gruul, and Oregorger.

The Subtlety rotation is a whole lot less complicated than I was expecting. Significantly so. I realized that I had been pretty intimidated by it – and needlessly. I was remembering the last time I tried it, when Shadow Dance was a separate stance and the bars were a pain in the …neck to set up.

The positional requirement for Backstab is annoying – especially since I’m out of practice taking that into consideration. It’s not that bad on most bosses, but on trash when the mobs are all milling about any which way or on Hans’gar and Franzok when the bosses are bouncing around like jumping beans, it’s seriously inconvenient.

Much to my surprise, the Backstab icon being the same as the Dispatch icon really bugged me. A couple of times my brain actually hesitated and said, “No you idiot, don’t Dispatch now!” Apparently I’m really visually oriented. Who knew!

Hans’gar and Franzok: the rotation wasn’t bad but I found it a bit difficult to concentrate on a brand new (to me) rotation with all the movement. Knowing that the boss is fine for all three specs, I switched to Combat after we wiped.
Gruul: I had no trouble pulling top dps early on. It fell off a bit over time as movement increased but I really feel that with a bit of practice I can kick butt as Subtlety on this boss.
Oregorger: same impression as Gruul.

The Takeaway:
Subtlety has a bad reputation for being complex and difficult to master. My experience suggested that it is no more difficult than either Assassination or Combat. With all three specs the mastery is in the timing. Getting Subtlety’s subtleties right is probably no more difficult than controlling Insight optimally is for Combat.

Overall, yes, I think Fierydemise is right. I am surprised and happy to admit that my reservations were unfounded. I do think that Haileaus and I were correct in that it will take a bit more practice to see a really significant difference and to get comfortable with more movement while maintaining numbers – but it really was less of a big deal than I was expecting. With a little more practice, it will be a significant improvement. If anyone is thinking about making the switch, I’d maintain that Subtlety is no more complicated than Combat. It takes a little bit more focus between the positional requirement and no coffee break while you Killing Spree, but it is a not a stretch at all.

If you are on the fence about trying Subtlety, I say go for it. If I can do it, you can do it.



WoW Warlords Patch 6.1 Rogue FAQ

What is changing for rogues in 6.1?
Not much, this is a pretty light patch for us after all the frenzied hotfixing of the previous couple months.

DfA got buffed, is it any good now?
Probably not. I can’t guarantee that DfA is never worth using but based on a lot of experimentation with Simulation Craft its hard to show DfA as a dps gain outside of some very contrived scenarios.  One thing that should be less of a worry in 6.1 are DfA whiffs.  At least on a stationary target the problems with DfA whiffing should mostly be fixed.

Should I change any gems or enchants?
Stat weights should remain the same however if you are using Mark of the Shattered Hand on your weapons you want to reconsider.  There was a bug with shattered hand in 6.0 that inflated the proc rate for classes with a source of non-haste attack speed (rogues with SnD), this bug has been fixed in 6.1.  Shattered Hand in 6.1 is now like the cheap enchants of previous expansions, if you aren’t concerned with topping meters and/or want to save a little money it’s a good choice but it is no longer the best weapon enchant choice in most gear sets.

Should I change my rotation?
Nope, there are no mechanic changes in 6.1 that require a rotation change.

What is BiS for BRF?
I don’t know and I don’t care.

Have other questions, ask on the forums.


Blackrock Foundry Tips for Rogues

This is a collection of ability tips for Rogues for the bosses in Blackrock Foundry. If you have any to add, please post in the Blackrock Foundry tips forum thread and I’ll update this article.

This post on MMO-Champion is awesome for additional insight and discussion of how to deal with mechanics for each boss as well as advice on whether or not to use a bonus roll: [PvE Guide] Quick Tips for Blackrock Foundry Bosses



Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Inferno Slice
If you use Shadowstep you may be hit by Overwhelming Blows or the area of effect component of Overhead Smash
If you use Killing Spree you may be hit by Overwhelming Blows or the area of effect component of Overhead Smash
Cloak of Shadows works to prevent Petrifying Slam if you cast it before the animation
Feint works on the Shatter from Petrifying Slam



Kick works on Blackrock Barrage
Cloak of Shadows works on Retched Blackrock
Cloak of Shadows works on Explosive Shard
Evasion works on Rolling Fury – but you have to be facing him
Feint works on Earthshaking Collision


Blast Furnace – Heart of the Mountain

Cloak of Shadows works against damage from Foreman Feldspar’s Rupture
Kick works to interrupt Foreman Feldspar
Feint works on Blast
Kidney Shot works on Firecallers
Kick works on Firecaller’s Cauterize Wounds
Cloak of Shadows works to remove the debuff from Firecaller’s Volatile Fire
Feint works when boss reaches 100% energy

Note: Create a macro or hot key to detonate bombs – /click ExtraActionButton1


Hans’gar & Franzok

 Feint works on Shattered Vertebrae


Flamebender Ka’graz

Cloak of Shadows and Feint work on Firestorm
Cloak of Shadows works on Singe



Cloak of Shadows and Feint work on Stone Breath
Feint works on Reverberations

If you miss getting Rune of the Grasping Hand, immediately Feint, use glyphed Cloak of Shadows when you get knocked up, Shadowstep to a Hand on the way down. 
If you stand towards the very edge of the platform (past the boxes) you can avoid all Reverberations.
You can use Killing Spree on this boss however you should be careful to time it to not coincide with Rippling Smash.
You can use Shadowstep on this boss while you are actively engaging him, however do not use it while Rune of the Grasping Hand is active or you will end up behind him and dead.


Beastlord Darmac

Feint works on Inferno Breath
Feint works on Conflagration
Shiv works on Unstoppable
Cloak of Shadows works on Tantrum
Shadowstep works to avoid Rend and Tear if you use it just as Darmac/Cruelfang is landing


Operator Thogar

Cloak of Shadows works on the trains


Iron Maidens – Admiral Gar’an, Enforcer Sorka, Marak the Blooded

Vanish works on Penetrating Shot
Vanish works on Blood Ritual
Cloak of Shadows works on Blood Ritual allowing you to solo-soak it without a tank
Cloak of Shadows works to remove the Dominator Blast debuff from Deploy Turret
Kick works on Earthen Barrier
Evasion works to prevent Expose Armor stacks if you are fixated by Iron Eviscerator 



Feint works in Phase 3 and transitions
Smoke bomb works in balcony
Shadowstep works to counter the knock-back from Shattering Smash and Massive Shattering Smash
Feint works on explosions
Feint works on Shattering Smash and Massive Shattering Smash
Smoke Bomb works on Massive Shattering Smash
Vanish works to remove the attached Slag Bombs
Cloak of Shadows works on the first floor drop but not the second
Shadowstepping to Blackhand will not save you when the floor falls out during the transitions



Don’t Run Two Sub Rogues

UPDATE: Lore has confirmed on the official forums and on twitter that a fix for this bug is in the works.  Lore’s 2nd post about how this bug may have fallen through the cracks is worth reading as well.  That said I stand by my comments in this post on the issues with Blizzard’s new communication policy.

UPDATE 2: It looks like ruptures from an assassination rogue also trigger this bug so if you are going to run multiple rogues you should probably run combat/sub to avoid this bug.

UPDATE 3: According to Lore the bug is fixed


There is a bug with subtlety right now that depresses the damage of a sub rogue if you have more than one of them in a raid group.  This bug is important, it is notable on its own, it’s a substantial dps loss and it explains a ton of things but that’s not why I’m making this blog post.  For most bugs like this I’d toss off a couple tweets, make a forum post or two and call it good but not with this bug.  This bug showcases many of the problems with Blizzard’s new communication policy in Warlords and it’s time to talk about them.


The Bug

The bug itself is pretty simple, if you have two subtlety rogues only one of them is getting sanguinary veins.  Only the rogue that cast the most recent rupture or glyphed hemorrhage gets SV, the other rogue simply deals -20% dps.  This means if you have two sub rogues on the same encounter on average they are each doing 10% less damage than they should be.  If you have three sub rogues in your raid group you are losing 13.3% from each rogue.

Looking at logs it’s pretty easy to see this bug in action.  Here Ninjablaze and I are both naked using grey daggers.  At this point in the logs both us have rupture up and my rupture is the most recent.  You’ll notice that before the bolded line where Ninja refreshes rupture, my rupture and melee attacks do ~25% more damage, 871 vs 697, 626 vs 500.  Now look at what happens immediately after Ninja refreshes rupture, the situation switches: now Ninja is out damaging me by exactly the same margin.

00:01:58.496     Fierydemise Rupture Raider’s Training Dummy Tick 871
00:01:58.899     Ninjablaze Melee Raider’s Training Dummy 500
00:01:59.866     Fierydemise Melee Raider’s Training Dummy 626
00:02:00.083     Ninjablaze Rupture Raider’s Training Dummy Tick 697
00:02:00.584     Ninjablaze Melee Raider’s Training Dummy 498
00:02:01.194     Raider’s Training Dummy’s Rupture is refreshed by Ninjablaze
00:02:01.586     Fierydemise Melee Raider’s Training Dummy 501
00:02:02.156     Ninjablaze Rupture Raider’s Training Dummy Tick 871
00:02:02.312     Ninjablaze Melee Raider’s Training Dummy 624
00:02:02.412     Fierydemise Rupture Raider’s Training Dummy Tick 698
00:02:03.317     Fierydemise Melee Raider’s Training Dummy 499
00:02:04.016     Ninjablaze Melee Raider’s Training Dummy 627
00:02:04.161     Ninjablaze Rupture Raider’s Training Dummy Tick 871
00:02:04.475     Fierydemise Rupture Raider’s Training Dummy Tick 697 

Note: These logs have been trimmed for readability, the full section of interest can be found here.

Despite being very easy to see when looking at logs carefully this bug is devilishly hard to find.  Unless you carefully walk through the log looking at what happens around bleed applications from each player you probably aren’t going to find it.  Just looking at trends, it looks like the results of this bug will look very much like random fight-to-fight variance.  As far as I can tell this bug was almost entirely unknown within the rogue community. As recently as two weeks ago Method was using two sub rogues for farm and the current world #6 guild, From Scratch, used double sub rogues on Mythic BRF progression.

Most people are probably looking at 10% thinking it’s a big number, but before we move on lets put 10% in perspective.  10% dps is about what you get from upgrading every single piece of gear you have by 10 ilvls, its bigger than almost every T17 set bonus and if you had a <1% wipe on Mythic Butcher you can blame this bug. If your guild ran double multiple sub rogues on Mythic Ko’ragh like almost every mythic guild in the world, you experienced this bug.  If your guild had a low percent wipe on Gruul or Oregorger this past week with two sub rogues, again you can thank Blizzard.


The Real Problem

As I said at the top, the fact that this bug exists doesn’t really bother me. Bugs happen, I get that.  The real problem is how I came to find out about this bug.  I did not discover this bug. A rogue who wishes to remain anonymous, we’ll call him Jack, brought this bug to my attention on Friday since it hadn’t been fixed.  Jack told me he originally discovered this bug in mid December while his guild was working on Mythic Butcher.  Then Jack did exactly what I suspect Blizzard wants players to do, he didn’t go running to the forums to make a “Blizz hates rogues!!!!!!” thread, he put in a bug report using the official in game tool.  A few weeks later he followed up, he tested again to see if SV was still bugged, he found that it was and put in another bug report.  Finally this past week, over 6 weeks after his first bug report he put in a 3rd bug report with data showing the bug existed and seeing no results, he contacted me.

If multiple bug reports over a several week period is not enough to get a bug fixed then what is? To use an old unix joke, are the in game bug reports sent directly to /dev/null?  This bug will probably be fixed by the end of the week now that someone with a louder voice is raising a stink about it but that shouldn’t be necessary. I get that Blizzard probably gets a ton of bug reports through the in-game tool and many of them are nonsensical or not actually bugs, but if they don’t have sufficient staff to look through the in game bug reports then why does the tool exist?  Maybe Jack should have submitted a bug report on the bug report forum, but if that’s the case why does the official battle.net support site say to use the in-game feature?

The issue Jack had is representative of a disturbing trend I’ve been seeing since Warlords launched.  It isn’t enough to find a bug and report it. To actually get something fixed you need to bring that bug to a prominent community member who has the developers’ ear or can raise hell or your behalf.  This fits into a complaint I’ve made many times about the new Warlords communication model. In previous expansions you could tell the developers were listening, either because they’d respond on the official forums or because you had a direct line to them via twitter.  Now it feels like every avenue to the developers is mediated by community managers who may not have enough information to properly judge the quality or accuracy of some feedback.  In this environment the best approach to getting issues addressed appears to be sheer quantity of noise rather than skill or intelligence in argumentation.

I don’t know how to fix these communication issues, managing a large community is hard but I hope Blizzard reconsiders their current very locked down approach to player communication.  It may be easier for them but its bad for the community and leads to an unproductive, adversarial relationship between the developers and the playerbase.



Fans of Knives: Our Weekly News Roundup for February 10th, 2015

Blogs are the big news for this week!

In his blog, The Shadowy Dancer, Haileaus took on the topic of self-improvement:

Are you looking to improve, or help others become better rogues? Do you want feedback on your logs or to see what others are doing? Post in this thread in our forums:


Vigilate has started his own new blog, The Bandit’s Guile, where he will talk Rogue stuff and other stuff. He is anticipating being able to post twice a week and we are looking forward to seeing what he has to say:


As everyone probably knows by now, WoW Insider is effectively dead, but from the ashes a new, crowd funded site has arisen, Blizzard Watch. Response to this has been so fantastic that Alex Ziebart and company have been able to bring back much of the content that was axed a year or so ago. We are very excited to learn that our own Rfeann, Scott Helfand, will be back to write Encrypted Text again. Super congratulations to Alex, Scott, and all of the BW crew.

If you would like to join over 2500 other Blizzard Watch fans and contribute to this incredibly promising site:

Also you can keep up with the latest Blizzard Watch goings on on Twitter by following:


And in other news, one wee hotfix for us:


That’s the haps in the Rogueverse this week – looking forward to lots of lovely new blog content coming up…


Dr. Deeps or: How to be a Perfect Rogue in just Three Steps

Hey all, in this post I’ll be going over some of the fundamental ways to improve raid performance.  While this is centered around raiding rogues, the general principles apply to all classes and all areas of the game.  Anyway without further ado, here is How to be a Perfect Rogue in just Three Days Steps.


Step 1:  Maximize your Resources

Rogues have three resources:  Energy, Combo Points (CP), and Uptime.  Without Energy we can’t use our abilities, without Combo Points we can’t use our finishers, and without Uptime we can’t even melee.  For anyone looking to increase their DPS, maximizing these resources is one of the most important – and challenging – things they can do.

For Energy and Combo Points the name of the game is not going over the maximum.  For energy this means never pooling energy so much that you reach your cap (100 base, +20 with Glyph of Energy, +15 with Lemon Zest, +20 with Assassin’s Resolve).  It also means making sure to dump energy if you know that you are going to lose uptime soon.  Combo Points are a similar story.  Using a generator when capped or using Marked for Death when already at 1+ CP will translate to wasted Combo Points.  Now of course there may be times when the situation or your rotation requires you to do this, for instance Combat rogues can rarely do better than using Marked for Death at 1 CP due to Ruthlessness and Assassination rogues should not be squeamish about using Mutilate at 3 Combo Points.

Maximizing Uptime is one of the biggest tests of skill that exists in game.  Partially, this is because uptime is extremely trinary:  Either (1) we are on the target, in which case we are happy (no DPS loss); (2) we are not, in which case we are sad (30-50% DPS loss); or (3) we are not and have capped energy, in which case we are even more sad (95-100% DPS loss).  You know how the worst thing you can do in a raid is die?  This is because death is the ultimate loss of Uptime.  For this reason, maximizing Uptime deserves its own paragraph.

The first and most important way to maximize Uptime is to not die.  There have been times when I have actually stopped DPS and run away from the boss for multiple seconds because there was AoE near the melee pile and I was at low health.  I distinctly remember after one such occasion placing second on overall damage, which for me with this group is actually slightly above average.  After not dying comes the more traditional form of Uptime, staying on your target.  This is usually done by minimizing travel time using Sprint and our tier 60 talent (usually Shadowstep but occasionally Burst of Speed for PvE).  This is where it is important to know fight mechanics, as for some fights it may be worth it to use Shadowstep for a very slight knockback whereas for others it may be a poor choice as saving it for another mechanic is more important (Think Imperator, where the adds push you when they die but you really want to be saving Shadowstep for the boss’s AoE).  The other way to increase Uptime by staying on target is ignoring mechanics using abilities such as Cloak of Swagger, Feint, and Smoke Bomb.  By ignoring waves of death that would otherwise destroy anyone near your target you can get an edge on the other members of your raid.  In fact, this is one of the ways in which rogues have historically shined, and one of the reasons that I genuinely think that if all specs were capable of dishing out the same amount of damage per second, rogues would naturally rise to the top.



Step 2:  Understand your Rotation

Even with 100% Uptime and no wasted energy/CP, a rogue will not be topping any charts with a broken rotation.  While most people reading this have probably read our guides, knowing the most up-to-date rotation and understanding it are two entirely different things.  This goes a bit into theorycrafting, but honestly thinking like a theorycrafter is exactly what I’m suggesting you do.  Using the Subtlety and Combat rotations as examples there are a few places where understanding the rotation can lead to non-trivial DPS increases:

Proper Pooling:  It is suggested that you pool energy before using most cooldowns.  This is because for cooldowns that create windows of increased damage from abilities (Shadow Dance, Vendetta, Shadow Reflection) it is beneficial to load more abilities into those windows, and since our abilities require energy, having a stockpile will allow that to happen.  That said when you consider the “why” it may become obvious that pooling Combo Points for those phases will also increase DPS.  In fact, the same logic can be applied to procs.  If I am running a weapon with the Frostwolf enchant, then pooling energy and Combo Points when I have no damage buffs so that I am ready to take advantage of a Frostwolf proc at any time will yield good results.  This is actually one of the main ways in which Anticipation can be a DPS increase, as pooling Combo Points without this talent is virtually impossible.  Using addons to help you notice when a major cooldown is almost ready can be helpful here, as being ready to use your cooldown as soon as it comes up can make a difference.

Knowing the Why:  This one’s important.  Understanding a rotation means knowing your abilities, how they interact, and why each ability should be used when whatever trusted source tells you to.  Consider Revealing Strike.  Most Combat guides simply say “Keep up the debuff.”  This is because Revealing Strike increases finisher damage and gives your Sinister Strike a chance to proc an additional Combo Point.  Well, what if your Revealing Strike falls off when you are at 3 Combo Points?  If you use Revealing Strike, then even if your next Sinister Strike would proc an additional Combo Point, it would be wasted.  However if you use Sinister Strike, then you will have gotten the same number of Combo Points you would have anyway, but now you are in a position to use Revealing Strike later for your 5th Combo Point.  Why does this matter?  Well the more you procrastinate on putting up the Revealing Strike debuff the greater the chances are that you won’t have to do it again later.  Similarly, pooling for a Shadow Dance becomes a DPS loss if the boss has only 10 seconds to live anyway.

There are tons of ways to push out more damage for those who understand the rotation, often including ones that theorycrafters haven’t even thought of.  By thinking critically about your rotation and understanding why theorycrafters and guide writers suggest what they do you can often find new ways to push DPS.


Step 3:  Strive to be the Very Best – Like no one ever was.

Make no mistake: there are always ways to improve.  Here are a few extra tips:

If your raid isn’t using WarcraftLogs, then start taking logs yourself.  It’s easy.  Look over them, taking special care to look at your cooldown usage, ability Uptimes, and encounter-specific mechanics.  If you want help, ask in our forums – I even made a thread.

Be flexible.  Different specs and talents are more useful for different fights.  While progressing on Ko’ragh our Combat rogue switched to Assassination because our raid needed more spell damage despite her daggers being far inferior to her Combat weapons.  On The Butcher as a Subtlety rogue I’ve switched out my Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins for Glyph of Smoke Bomb because my Rupture was never falling off and our raid needed that extra damage reduction to live through the soft-enrage.  Our job as rogues is to make the boss fall down as soon as possible.  Usually this means pumping out numbers with our preferred spec, but occasionally this means helping our healers save mana or saving the butts of squishier classes.  If it helps, consider that as soon as we save them with Smoke Bomb, all of the damage they do from then on is ours.

Get involved.  The only reason that we have anything close to the correct idea for how to play a rogue is because of our great community.  From the developers of ShadowCraft to the rogue who found out that Glyph of Vanish extends the duration of Subterfuge, the community is easily the most important factor in the average rogue’s performance.  If you are looking to truly push yourself, then come hang out in IRC, post in forums, and let us guide writers and theorycrafters know when something we do seems wrong or could be improved upon.  There are a ton of unanswered questions and even more that nobody has thought up yet and the more people who step up to ask and answer those questions, the better off everyone is for it.



Comments?  Join the Discussion Thread.


What Happened to Rogues: Niches and Weaponlock

Two months ago I interviewed Vigilate and Flim, rogues in World 20 and 25 respectively, and they both agreed that rogues looked good coming into WoD.  Two months ago when we were looking at T17 none of us expected that rogues would be widely considered the one of weakest melee and a poor choice for mythic content during the most melee friendly tier in recent memory.  And none of us could have imagined the most recent batch of balancing hotfixes, hotfixes that contained buffs for rogues, being mocked all around.   So what went wrong? 

There is no one answer, the problems facing rogues in current PvE content come from the accumulated crud of several expansions worth of questionable or short-sighted design decisions and changing philosophies.  Numbers can be fixed, and they may be fixed yet but there are much deeper issues with rogue design and how rogues fit into the current raiding environment that need to be addressed long term.  This is going to the first in a series of posts on what went wrong with rogues coming into WoD.  Today the first and probably most pressing issue facing the rogue class, spec niches and weapon lock.

Blizzard likes spec niches, they’ve said as much many times.  The problem is their application seems inconsistent.  Blizzard’s logic has always been niches are fun, it’s fun to have a fight where you can shine but it creates problems with single-spec-per-role dps.  If you only have one spec it doesn’t seem fair to limit the spec to only a single or small number of niches because if one of your niches isn’t needed the alternative is swapping characters or feeling like a liability to your raid comp, neither of which is particularly fun.  Instead you end up with ret paladins (not picking on rets, some of my best friends are actually rets) above average single target, cleave and burst.  I should note here that not all single-spec-per-role dps are good at everything, some such as ele and enhance shamans for example still have a relatively rigid AoE niche.

The logic here is basically sound, and if the game were only made up of single-spec-per-role dps it would be a fine design but when more than half the classes in the game have multiple-specs-per-role there are problems.  While a ret paladins can do everything in a single spec, a rogue needs to swap between multiple specs for the same effect.  To achieve the same effectiveness as many single-spec-per-role dps a rogue needs to be comfortable with several, often dramatically different playstyles and rotations.  In fairness to single-spec-per-role dps, talents often define different rotations for different situations. For instance a serenity windwalker, specializing in burst and single target plays very differently from a chi explosion windwalker specializing in cleave and AoE.  Even in these cases however the windwalker can still use the same spec, similar binds, the same mechanical primitives, and a similar basic rotation while the rogue cannot and this ignores the elephant in the room, weapon lock.

Rogue specs are defined by our weapons, combat needs a slow main hand and now more than ever a slow off hand as well (recent discoveries about main hand daggers for combat AoE may change this somewhat but during beta a slow MH was noted as the design goal for combat), subtlety needs a dagger main hand and assassination needs two daggers.  To be fully effective a rogue needs four weapons and each poses it’s own set of challenges.  Daggers as niche loot tend to be quite rare, in Highmaul for instance there is only one dagger drop.  Since both assassination and subtlety need a dagger this single dagger drop boss can effectively lock rogues out of those specs with poor loot luck.  Slow weapons are much common however it doesn’t feel right (or smart) to take a slow weapon you will use for 50% of the bosses over another dps who will use it for 100%.  In the long term things mostly work out but over short progression gearing windows when weapons are the most important upgrades getting weapons for multiple specs is often a major concern.

The key problem here is Blizzard has been inconsistent with spec niches, on the 5.2 PTR Ghostcrawler said of Blade Flurry, “We feel like the implementation of Blade Flurry on live forces rogues to go Combat on any cleave fights, while leaving Combat too far behind on any single target fights.”  During WoD beta when combat looked to be far ahead of the other rogue specs on AoE, Blade Flurry was nerfed from 40% mirror to 30% mirror and the other specs AoE buffed significantly.  This quote makes the most recent combat hotfix even more baffling, with combat appears to be suffering on single target dps (player bias likely plays a role here however there are enough combat parses on Kargath and Butcher, possibly due to weapon lock, that I think WCL numbers have some validity) and yet the hotfix buffed combat’s AoE only.  The problem for combat is unlike in T14 it doesn’t have any perfect encounters, fights with all cleave all the time.  Instead T17 is full of partial cleave fights, sometimes you get to cleave, sometimes you don’t and on those fights combat’s below average single target dps rapidly becomes a liability despite its theoretically strong AoE/cleave toolkit.

Blizzard needs to figure out a consistent approach to niches.  If single-spec-per-role dps can do everything competently in a single spec, it doesn’t seem too much to ask for rogues as well.  If Blizzard plans to stick with the current niche heavy design where a rogue is expected to play multiple specs for full effectiveness weapon lock needs to be addressed either by increasing weapon availability or by making rogue specs more weapon agnostic.