Ravenholdt Roundtable: Rogue PvP in Season 16 (Patch 6.0.3)

In our second Ravenholdt Roundtable, Haileaus welcomes Ayume and Nessper, a pair of experienced and decorated PvP rogues, to talk about the current state of competitive PvP for the rogue class in WoW’s Season 16 — a.k.a. Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.0.3.

In this 37-minute podcast, Ayume and Nessper talk about:

  • The best — and not-so-best — arena partners (comps) for rogues at the moment (starting at 7:43)
  • How rogue PvP strategy has shifted in the Warlords of Draenor expansion (starting at 12:28)
  • How each rogue spec is doing in arena — and why Combat in particular looks so strong (starting at 15:01)
  • The value rogues currently bring to rated battlegrounds — and why Subtlety can especially shine (starting at 23:12)
  • The best way to murder a hunter (starting at 25:51)
  • Why Retribution paladins and death knights are so frustrating to play against (starting at 27:04)
  • The overall direction of PvP in WoW, and how rogues fit into it (starting at 32:07)
  • Advice on how to get better at rogue PvP (starting at 35:30)


You can download an MP3 of the podcast or listen below:

{podcast id=2}


To talk about the topics raised in this roundtable, hop over to our dedicated discussion thread. If you have feedback on our Ravenholdt podcasts in general, or if you have any guests or topics you’d like to see on a roundtable in the future, let us know on Twitter.

Be sure to check out Ayume‘s and Nessper‘s Twitch streams to catch them in action!

Previous Ravenholdt Roundtables


The Mythic Rogue: To Sit or Not to Sit?

[EDITOR’S NOTE 1/7/15: The “FOOT IN MOUTH EDIT” section immediately below was written by Aeriwen on Jan. 6 and added to the top of this post at his request.]


TLDR: There was an error. Only about one rogue on average is being brought to mythic difficulty.
Moving into week 3, it was clear that the rogue numbers were still unusually high. After getting a correction from the developer of World of Wargraphs on his representation data, we now had second measure to check ours against. It shows that rogues with 1+ Mythic kills at 5.3%, and total rep at 6.2% (which is in close agreement with realmpop data), which indicates underrepresentation. After a bit of discussion on the #ravenholdt chat, vipbrj was able to correct the data. The error, which I admit should have been obvious, was that the data was missing healers and tanks from the calculations. I wish to thank Pathal, Fierydemise, and Vipbrj for their help in tracking down this error.
The numbers below are incorrect, and without healer and tank data from those weeks it isn’t possible to correct them. The article has been left intact for discussion purposes, but the numbers are wrong, and references to high representation are wrong. If you wish to read a fuller account, please see my posts on the official forums, and the edited OP.
A little over a week ago I posted in the official WoW rogue forum about mythic rogue representation. There was, and still is, a bit of concern over the topic of rogues being sat in mythic. The previous post is here.

I began by demonstrating that at least some very high end guilds were employing rogues for progression. But that wasn’t the focus of the topic which I wanted to address. The meat of the argument was that the general mythic population was utilizing rogues at a reasonable representation. There were concerns with my data, notably by the most respectable Fierydemise, that the later fights were harder and require more optimization to complete at the present gear levels and thus rogues were likely to be more of a liability going further into the tier, as most have only touched the “easy” bosses at that time. The point is a notable one, and still a point of concern, as you will see.

The crux of our “disagreement” depends on what is the most important behavior to which we should be concerned. Should we look at only what the top guilds are doing exactly when they kill the boss the first time, or should we look at the entire population also? I argued that for most players, even mythic raiders, the general trend of the total mythic population is more representative of what a rogue should expect when playing mythic with his/her guild. That the whacky things that world first race guilds do is an exceptional behavior, and not the rule.

I will admit that I am a bit stubborn. I have this notion that most players do not have multiple highly equipped characters and that even on the hardest difficulty, people just tend to play with their friends, not a specific class. I am a bit sappy sometimes. I do not apologize for that.

So now it is a week later. I was able to capture the first week of data, and now we have another week to compare it to. If indeed rogues are being sat, we might see at least some movement if the trend is significant. Keep in mind, the data is still very low quality, particularly on the later fights. There aren’t many guilds that have cleared the any mythic content, never mind the later bosses, and less of them have uploaded the data to warcraftlogs. We have to be very careful about what we can say with the data at hand.

Here’s the data. The overall data shows that rogues have 8.8% (1998 total) representation in the first week and 9.2% (4899 total) the second week. Rogues total about 6.6% of the population of level 100 US characters according to realmpop. This, as a side note, continues the trend of apparent overrepresentation of rogues in high end content from MoP.

So, let’s dig into the fights. Numbers are rogues as percent and (total).

1st week – 7.0% (59)
2nd week – 9.1% (390)

1st week – 3.7% (1)
2nd week – 8.9% (66)

1st week – 8.6% (1396)
2nd week – 8.8% (2751)

1st week – 7.3% (6)
2nd week – 10.5% (92)

1st week – no data
2nd week – 8.3% (1)

1st week – 8.8% (25)
2nd week – 9.4% (287)

1st week – 9.6% (515)
2nd week – 9.9% (1294)

We see that rogue representation APPEARS to have increased. I would caution that the numbers on all but bladefist were fairly small to begin with, which limits what we can say. And some of the later fights on the second week are still extremely low in numbers.

What it does SEEM to say is that rogues are being used fairly widely in mythic, at levels beyond our overall class representation. Someone is being sat. It is just not rogues who are doing the sitting.

We have some problems here though, besides the low sample size, which may just have swung in our favor due to random chance. There were slight buffs to each spec’s niche moving into the second week, which could have incentivized more people to play their rogues. It could also be that more rogues were ran in the second week because they weren’t used for the progression fight. We can’t really say without armory datamining. It could also lend credence to the idea that groups with rogues were behind because they lack the dps for kills the first week, and another week of gearing lead the groups to second week kills. The difference between swapping a strong dps like windwalker in instead of a rogue would result in a small difference in raid dps, much smaller than that of simple getting a week’s worth of gear for your entire raid.

One thing that I want to make sure to be clear, these are still very low number samples. And after talking with members of the high end raiding community, we may end up seeing the true impact on the next raid. The rogues that are geared up now and progressing right now may only be doing so simply because they haven’t had time to level and gear an alt to sub out their geared rogue. As the tier continues, more alts can be geared to reasonable levels before progression begins anew in January on the next raid. As such, representation may be a lagging indicator.

This is all firmly in the realm of speculation. No matter how well reasoned or authoritative the source. If it turns out that confidence in rogues does not meet expectations, we may see a drop as players switch to other specs for the next tier. But we also have conflating factors on the horizon as well. The new tier will likely bring out more tuning adjustment, as well as the very important tier bonuses and other itemization quirks to which all the classes are balanced against. For instance, the tier bonuses for combat are projected to be on the order of 5%. Where that stands in relation to other dps specs remains to be seen.

And to absolutely clear, there is no evidence, nor any speculation from high end raiders that you should be sitting rogues for the average guild. If you are in your average guild and killing tougher bosses maybe one or two a week and progressing through normal, heroic and into mythic, you need not be concerned. Your progression will happen naturally as the result of gear inflation and as your raid gets better experienced on the fights. The vast majority of rogues need not be concerned with getting sat unless you have a guild leader who thinks he’s a world first raider and treats the raid members as such. (This simply indicates that you should probably change guilds.) This is something that many high end raiders will say themselves. If you are in an average guild, don’t worry about it.

For next time, I’ll continue to look at representation as the tier progresses, but I’ll also take a look at recruitment trends.

What we do have now, is what appears to be solid representation, and according to the latest hotfixes, and the watchful eyes of the devs, a reason to be hopeful for the future. Take heart rogues, and have a happy holiday.

Happy Stabbing! 🙂

Want to talk about this post? Head over to its dedicated forum thread!


Highmaul Tips for Rogues

This is a collection of ability tips for Rogues for the bosses in Highmaul. If you have any to add, please post in the Highmaul 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: WoD Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry Rogue Tips+Tricks


Kargath Bladefist

Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Mauling Brew.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Fire Bomb.
Cloak of Shadows will remove the debuff from Iron Bomb.
Shadow Step and unglyphed Killing Spree are safe to use during Berserker Rush.
Feint and Evasion work on Berserker Rush.

Note: Cloak of Shadows does NOT prevent damage from Flame Gout.


The Butcher

Glyphed Cloak of Shadows works on Cleave.
Cloak of Shadows will reduce damage from Gushing Wounds but will not clear the debuff.
Smoke Bomb helps reduce group damage from Gushing Wounds.

Feint and glyphed Cloak of Shadows work on Paleobomb.



Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Creeping Moss.
Cloak of Shadows works against the damage done by Infesting Spores, will remove the debuff, and if timed correctly will prevent the debuff.
Vanish removes the stacks of Infesting Spores.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Spore Shot.
Feint, Cloak of Shadows, and Kick work on Decay.

Usage Tip:
Between Vanish, Preparation and Vanish, Cloak of Shadows, and Feint you can effectively take little to no damage during Infesting Spores.



Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on the damage from Fracture, Cloak of Shadows will stop the knock-back.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Tectonic Upheaval.
Kidney Shot works on the Night-Twisted Earthwarper.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Gift of Earth.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Raving Assault.
Marked for Death will not reset if used on Tectus, or his Shards or Motes. It will reset if it is used on the Night-Twisted Earthwarpers or Berserkers.
Smoke Bomb can prevent Crystalline Barrage if you drop it on Tectus or his Shards or Motes right before Crystalline Barrage happens, as long as no ranged or healers are in the bomb area.


Twin Ogron – Phemos & Pol

Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Interrupting Shout.
Evasion works on damage from Whirlwind but does not prevent the debuff.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Quake.
Cloak of Shadows works on Blaze and will remove the debuff.



Cloak of Shadows works on Suppression Field.
Cloak of Shadows can prevent the debuff from Expel Magic: Fire.
Cloak of Shadows can remove the debuff from Expel Magic: Fire but the AOE damage will happen when you Cloak the debuff off.
Feint works on the AOE from Expel Magic: Fire.
Cloak of Shadows works on the AOE from Expel Magic: Arcane.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work to reduce the damage from Expel Magic: Frost.
Burst of Speed works on the slow from Expel Magic: Frost.
Tricks of the Trade works on Volatile Anomalies.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Destabilize.


Imperator Mar’gok

Kidney Shot works on the 1st and 3rd set of Arcane Aberrations. The 2nd set is immune. Nerve Strike and Prey on the Weak are good talents to enhance this.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Mark of Chaos.
Cloak of Shadows can immune Force Nova.
Feint works on Nether Blast .
Cloak of Shadows works on Slow.
Burst of Speed works to remove the movement debuff but not the attack speed debuff on Slow.
Elusiveness works on Destabilize.
Cloak of Shadows works on Displacing Arcane Aberration.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Mark of Chaos: Displacement.
Cloak of Shadows works on Force Nova: Displacement.
Cloak of Shadows works to soak Arcane Wrath: Fortification.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Force Nova: Fortification.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on the damage from Mark of Chaos: Replication.
Feint and Cloak of Shadows work on Force nova: Replication.


How Rogue DPS Is Looking in Warlords: Highmaul, Week 1

Week one of Highmaul, the firstest-ever raid in the Draenor-iest expansion we’ve ever had, is complete. How have rogues stacked up against other classes in the not-as-important-as-we-often-make-it-seem DPS category — and how have each of the three rogue specs stacked up against each other?
The early verdict is in: Rogues are mostly fine. On some fights, we’re great. On some, we’re subpar. But for the most part, across the seven boss fights that make up Highmaul, rogues finished out the first week of normal and heroic raiding with slightly above-average DPS performance compared to all other DPS classes and specs.
I’ll bang out a list of highlights later in this post. But first…
Let Me Bore You With Some Caveats
I’ve spent a pretty depressing amount of time this week looking through the statistics area on Warcraft Logs, which is what formed the basis for virtually all of the conclusions in this bloggy. I’ll provide nerdy details about what I looked at further down in this post — it’ll include links to source materials in case you want to double-check my observations or do your own separate analyses, since I’ll only talk about a fraction of the conclusions a person can probably reach by analyzing this stuff.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Warcraft Logs, it’s a relatively new resource that allows you to upload and analyze combat logs from whatever it is you’re doing in the game (though it’s usually used for raiding). It’s a lot like World of Logs in this respect. Also like WoL, Warcraft Logs — which I really want to call Warclogs but will instead refer to as WCL — allows people to browse through other folks’ logs, and to see which players have the “best” parses in various raid encounters.
But WCL also goes a bit beyond WoL in several ways. One of them is the statistics area I referred to, which takes all of the data from every public raid log uploaded to their server, mushes it together, and lets you analyze it in a bunch of different ways I won’t get into here, because there’s a lot of them. If you remember Raidbots from previous expansions, it’s a lot like that, only more customizable.
WCL is still growing as a resource, and the statistics it provides will only be as reliable as the data that’s put into it. The more raiders who save their logs and upload them to WCL, the more complete WCL’s data collection will be, the more reliable its statistics will become. It’s gotten enough traction that it’s a reputable source of information, but it can — and, if more people keep using it, will — be better. That’s the first caveat.
Still, imperfect or no, it’s arguably the best source of aggregated information on class/spec DPS that we players have easy access to. So it’s where I turned to look at how rogue DPS fared in boss fights during in the first week of Highmaul.
I like looking at Week 1 stats for raids. In the first week a raid opens, the people who are raiding tend to be very highly motivated — if they weren’t, they wouldn’t have leveled to 100 and prepped their toons so they’d be ready to bust them up some ogres the same week the raid opened. This also tends to be a group of folks who wants to kill bosses, not make themselves look good. So Week 1 is probably the week in which you’re least likely to see people trying to take advantage of fight mechanics just to pad their DPS meters.
However, I think it’s also debatable just how reflective of the “typical raider” these Week 1 pioneers are. For one thing, top raiding guilds usually don’t upload their logs, because they don’t want to give away their strategies to competing guilds. For another, I suspect these players are generally better at playing their class than most of us are; their motivation to raid as soon as it opens often translates to motivation to master their characters and properly prepare for boss fights. So we need to be careful about treating these statistics like they’re a perfect reflection of reality; they’re not.
Also, the first week of raiding is the one in which people are the most undergeared. That risks skewing *everything*. Is crappy gear offset by higher average skill level of the players? Who knows. But if, for instance, rogues end up scaling a lot better with gear than other classes do, then these early numbers will underestimate their strength. If the opposite is true… well, then, the opposite would be true. We’ll have to wait and see.
“Wait and see” also applies to tuning passes that will inevitably occur — and heck, already have occurred — for some classes and boss fights as WoW’s designers get a better sense for who is looking a little too good and who isn’t looking nearly good enough. That limits the staying power of a lot of these findings; for instance, windwalker monks may look right now like they leave rogues in the dust, but once class changes are applied over the coming days and weeks, that may suddenly no longer be the case.
So Here’s What I Did
Still, like I said, WCL’s stats are probably the best tool we’ve got to at least get a sense for where we stand on the DPS mountain at the moment. So I looked at our overall numbers, and I looked at how we did on each fight. I looked at normal and heroic modes. And I looked at various points along our  spectrum of crappiness — starting at the 50th percentile, a.k.a. the quintessential “average” rogue, and working up to the 99th percentile, a.k.a. the cream of the crop.
I took a lot of screenshots (beware the long load time; it’s a 79MB document) for posterity. I also copied and pasted some of the DPS numbers into a spreadsheet so I could see how each class and spec “ranks” on DPS compared to each other.
And Here’s What I Found
I’m going to use the 50th percentile normal-mode numbers for these conclusions, because I think they’re most reflective of what the average rogue player might expect to experience. (That said, there’s a pretty high level of similarity between 50th and 95th percentile data, as well as between normal and heroic data.)
  • Among the pure DPS classes (hunters, mages, warlocks and us), rogues are easily the best overall performers across all three class specs.
  • However, generally speaking, we’re not in the same DPS league as several specific DPS specs (most of them hybrids): most notably, windwalker monks, marksmanship hunters, retribution paladins and unholy death knights.
  • The problem in these cases isn’t that rogues are weak. It’s that those specs are unusually strong (possibly too strong) in a large number of boss fights.
  • Nearly every boss fight has one standout rogue spec — one that does demonstrably better than the other two, and that does above-average or better DPS compared to all other classes/specs.
  • Subtlety performed better on DPS overall than assassination or combat: Its average rank among WoW’s 24 DPS specs was 9th, while assassination and combat averaged 12th.
  • Those rankings are very deceiving, though. Subtlety never cracked the top 5 on any fight, but was consistently good in most fights. Assassination and combat were more streaky — for instance, Mut was the #2 DPS spec on Twin Ogron, but #16 on Ko’ragh.
  • Among the three rogue specs, here’s which one appeared to be “best” on each fight in Week 1:
    • Kargath: Subtlety (Mut and combat were below average)
    • Butcher: Subtlety (ditto)
    • Tectus: Combat (Mut and sub were average)
    • Brackenspore: Combat (but only very slightly; all three specs were above average)
    • Twin Ogron: Assassination (then sub, then combat)
    • Ko’ragh: Subtlety (Mut and combat were below average)
    • Mar’gok: Combat (Mut and sub were below average)
  • Assuming you’re equally skilled at all three specs, you will do significantly, noticeably better in Highmaul if you swap specs from fight to fight than if you stick with one spec through the whole thing.
  • However, if you’re better at one spec than the others or simply don’t want to switch, here’s a fun fact: The single spec you choose doesn’t matter. In terms of overall DPS across all seven boss fights combined, the difference between all three specs is just 1%.
  • Rogues have the most diverse spec representation among all of the pure DPS classes. The other three classes have at least one “dead” spec that’s only played by a small fraction of class players. In normal-mode raids, rogues spent 46% of the time in combat spec, 37% of the time in assassination spec and 18% of the time in subtlety spec. (The splits were very similar for heroic mode.)
Those are just some highlights I thought were interesting. As I said, please feel free to dive into the screenshots and spreadsheet yourself — or, better yet, do your own swimming around in Warcraft Logs’ statistics — and let’s talk about whatever you find!

Warlords Rogue Changes FAQ

Click here for the 6.2 FAQ

This FAQ is intended to answer questions about warlords for rogues who are already familiar with the class in 5.4 and 6.0.  If you are looking for additional information check the full Ravenholdt guides (Assassination, Combat, Subtlety) or ask on the forums.

What spec should I level as?
I’d advice against sub for obvious reasons but otherwise it doesn’t really matter.  If you’ve been gearing from Siege of Orgrimmar at any point during the previous 14 months(!) you probably have enough gear to make leveling through at least 94 quite easy.  If you have one of the Garrosh heirlooms I’d pick your leveling spec based on that, combat if you have the axe, assassination if you have the dagger.

When should I replace gear while leveling?
As a simple rule of thumb use the item with more agility (remember to include agility from gems, enchants and socket bonuses).  Use set bonuses or non-agility enchants as a tie breaker if two items have similar amounts of agility.

What Spec is best at level 100?
All three specs are very close, within ~5% on single target dps and on sustained cleave.  Combat has a number of advantages on higher target and burst AoE due to the simplicity and low ramp up time of Blade Flurry and the the ability to use its major dps cooldowns on AoE as well as single target.  SimulationCraft results show subtlety slightly ahead on sustained single target but it is unclear how of this is due to a better optimized SimulationCraft profile.  In general the standard recommendation of spec your weapons applies.  The damage deltas between specs are small enough that you should be able to play the spec you are more comfortable with without being a major liability to your guild.

What level 100 talent should I use?
Assassination: Shadow Reflection.
Shadow Reflection synergizes well with vendetta for assassination due to the matching cooldowns.  Vendetta and shadow reflection should be macroed together making sure that Shadow Reflection is cast first so the clone casts its own copy of vendetta.
Combat: Venom Rush.
Venom Rush benefits combat’s energy dependence and synergizes very well with blade flurry helping by mitigating the energy penalty.
Subtlety: Shadow Reflection.
Shadow Reflection and Death from Above are comparable for subtlety however shadow reflection is substantially easier to use as it can simply be macroed together with Shadow Dance.  Death from Above by contrast requires careful energy and combo point pooling and takes away control of your character making it harder to use in a raid setting.

How good are the new glyphs?
Assassination: Glyph of Disappearance is ~1% dps increase and probably worth using when at all possible.  Glyph of Energy is a <0.1% dps increase, you are probably better off using a utility glyph instead.
Combat: Glyph of Energy is a ~2% increase for combat and makes the rotation more forgiving on energy capping.  Glyph of Disappearance is an ~1.5% dps increase and probably worth using on most encounters.
Subtlety: Glyph of Energy is a ~2.5% dps increase allowing for better energy pooling for shadow dance and find weakness window.  Subtlety cannot use glyph of disappearance.

Are there any talents or glyphs I should change from 6.0.2?
Probably not.  With the removal of shadow blades marked for death is now a small (~1%) dps increase for all three specs on single target, whether this small dps increase is worth a more difficult rotation is a matter of personal preference. 

How does my single target rotation change at 100?
Assassination: Remember that slice and dice button you’d hit once per fight? Now you don’t even have to do that thanks to improved slice and dice. Empowered Envenom makes proper envenom pooling and timing more important than it was during MoP.
Combat: Rupture is no more and revealing strike no longer advances bandit’s guile but there are no major rotational changes for combat.
Subtlety: Sinister Calling causes backstab and ambush multistrikes to advance your bleeds, since you can now accumulate multistrike on gear this will make ruptures substantially shorter and require more attentive monitoring. 

How does my AoE rotation change at 100?
Assassination: For sustained AoE rupture all the things is still the name of the game.  For burst AoE you now want to use Crimson Tempest before spamming fan of knives thanks to the imp CT perk. 
Combat: No major changes, just toggle on the new and improved Blade Flurry
Subtlety: Thanks to the improved fan of knives perk fan of knives should now be used when it will hit more than 1 target.  On low target cleave multi-rupture on higher targets use crimson tempest if the adds will live for the full duration.

What stats should I be aiming for?
Standard caveats about static stat weights apply, for accuracy always use a tool that can compute dynamic stat weights but the following should be reasonably accurate.
Assassination: Best: Mastery and Crit, Worst: Haste
Combat: Best: Haste, Worst: Crit
Subtlety:Best: Multistrike and Mastery, Worst: Haste

What is the optimal garrison build?
There are many people far more qualified to talk about garrisons.
The Godmother: http://garrisonsguide.blogspot.co.uk/
Ask Mr. Robot: http://blog.askmrrobot.com/2014/11/garrison-guide-everything-you-need-to-know-in-one-place/
Wowhead: http://www.wowhead.com/guide=2456/guide-to-garrisons-in-warlords-of-draenor

What crafted gear should I be focusing on?
This depends heavily on your guild’s strategy for progression and gearing.  A weapon is a popular choice however since it requires an upgrade to be better than a heroic dungeon weapon it isn’t necessarily the best choice.  If your guild expects to clear normal and heroic within the first week and/or you have reasonably low weapon competition a crafted weapon is probably not the best choice.
The new Darkmoon Faire trinket Skull of War is another commonly discussed option.  There are only two trinkets in Highmaul and one drops off the last boss in the instance making the Darkmoon Faire trinket a potentially strong choice.  Note however that trinkets have been reduced in potency across the board and are no longer guaranteed to be the best non-weapon item you can get.
The large leatherworking pieces, helm, chest and legs provide the most stats for your crafting materials 

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


Ravenholdt Roundtable Episode 1: Rogue Raiding Preview With Vigilate and Flim

In our inaugural Ravenholdt Roundtable, Fierydemise sits down with Vigilate of Midwinter (@Vigilate_MW) and Flim of ScrubBusters (@Flim__) to talk about T17 and the future of Rogues as we move into Warlords of Draenor.

You can download an MP3 of the podcast or listen below:

{podcast id=1}

If you have any guests or topics you’d like to see on the Roundtable in the future let us know on twitter.

Update: ScrubBusters has clarified on twitter that they are requiring only 1 main and 1 main alt not 4 alts as Flim stated during the podcast.


Warlords of Draenor Pre-raid Gear

So you’ve hit 100 and you need to get geared to raid. This guide includes available pre-raid gear of ilevel 630 and above.

Weapons and Trinkets are notoriously hard to acquire so they are separated out. All other gear is listed by source. Note that due to secondary stats and personal loot, these lists are quite long compared to Mists gear lists.

Weapons and Trinkets

{slider Daggers|closed}

Item ilevel Source Location Stat 1 Stat 2
Steelforged Dagger 630 Blacksmithing Profession Variable Variable
Ner’zhul’s Ritual Blade 630 Ner’zhul Shadowmoon Burial Grounds Haste Mastery
Felshanker 630 Warlord Zaela Upper Blackrock Spire Mastery Multistrike
Scherer’s Culinary Chopper 645 Invader’s Forgotten Treasure Garrison  Versatility  Multistrike


{slider Combat Weapons|closed}


Subtlety in 6.0.2

With the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch coming out tomorrow, I’ve decided to finally get off on my tush and write about what’s going on with Subtlety.  I’ll start with a description of what’s changing, then move on to what’s staying the same, and finally talk about what you’ll need to change.  Keep in mind that this article is coming from the perspective of a raider, and as such I will not be explaining every change or ramification, but only the ones I deem relevant for raiding.  This is also somewhat geared towards what we’ll be seeing at level 100 rather than on live, however I will try to distinguish between these two when the difference is relevant.


Subtlety:  It’s different…

The devs went through a huge amount of iteration with Subtlety.  They tried having Hemorrhage and Crimson Tempest’s DoT roll over through refreshes making them spammable, having Backstab and Ambush multistrikes give extra ticks from our DoTs, removing Premeditation, making Hemo way better than Backstab, making Hemo way worse than Backstab, and probably some other things.

Here’s what they ended up doing:

  • Not specific to Subtlety, but all of our buffs/debuffs can be refreshed early and get up to 30% of their original duration tacked on, making refreshing our buffs/debuffs a lot easier.
  • Hemorrhage really wants to be worse than Backstab, and mostly succeeds.  (More on this later.)
  • Backstab and Ambush multistrikes cause our DoTs to advance forward 2 seconds, gaining exactly one tick’s worth of damage for all DoTs (Hemo/Garrote now tick ever 2 secs).
  • At level 100, Vanish will have a 1.5 minute cooldown due to a leveling perk.
  • At level 100, Fan of Knives will grant a Combo Point for every target hit.
  • At level 100, Shadow Dance will last 10 seconds instead of 8.
  • Some stuff got better and some stuff got worse, but not so much that we care.
  • Some other things, but we don’t care.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of changes that seem relevant.


…but also the same…

Here’s the thing:  As much as they changed Subtlety, the spec as a whole really isn’t all that different.  In MoP, our goal was to maximize uptime on Slice and Dice, Rupture, Hemorrhage, and Find Weakness, while being smart about cooldown usage.  With these changes, our goal will be to maximize uptime on Slice and Dice, Rupture, Hemorrhage (we’ll get there), and Find Weakness, while being smart about cooldown usage.  Note how close those look!

When it comes down to it, all these changes to Subtlety actually mean very little.  Well, except for the Fan of Knives one, that’s actually about as big of a deal as it looks.

At this point you might well be wondering if any of these changes are relevant to you.  If you are like most rogues, then they aren’t, because you don’t raid as Subtlety.  However, for the three of you that do, the answer is yes.


…but actually, different.

All of those changes that didn’t actually change anything are surprisingly impactful.  It’s not that what we want to do is different, but rather what the best way of achieving that is.  I’ve been doing a lot of mucking around in SimulationCraft and have come upon some interesting findings.

Disclaimer time:  Everything that I’m saying after this point comes from mucking around with SimulationCraft.  When possible, I cross-checked with my character’s ShadowCraft.  The theorycrafting you see here is only as good as me and the tools I used, which is to say, distinctly questionable but notably alright.  As always, if something looks fishy, feel free to inquire or investigate, but please refrain from calling me an idiot without backing it up with evidence.

Here’s a list of things:

  • Shadow Focus is now significantly better than Subterfuge, which is now slightly better than That Other One.
  • Pooling energy before Vanish doesn’t matter as much as you thought.  (Pooling energy before Shadow Dance probably does matter as much as you thought.)
  • With sufficient levels of Multistrike, Hemo Weaving is a thing of the past.  (READ:  If you are level 90, Hemo Weave.)  Hemorrhage continued to be useful for keeping up Sanguinary Veins, and is better than Backstab if the Sinister Calling multistrike mechanic will cause Sanguinary Veins to expire, because that’s not confusing at all.
  • Garrote is comically bad and should never be used.  Ever.
  • Because of Sinister Calling’s multistrike mechanic, refreshing Rupture as early as possible without losing ticks is recommended.


The Takeaway

As confusing as this all is, I actually think the takeaway is pretty simple.  If you liked Subtlety in MoP, you’ll probably like it in Warlords.  I’m hesitant to say whether the changes make the spec funner or not, because that’s really quite subjective.  For sure the experience will be different, but at the core the two iterations of the spec are close enough that I doubt very many people will change their mind about the spec.  Well, until Draenor at least, when people pick up the uber leetness that is Empower Fan of Knives.



6.0.2 Changes & Rogues

This guide was written by Sativ. If you’d like to seem more by Sativ check him out on Youtube and on Twitter.

The 6.0.2 Warlords of Draenor Pre-Patch is here: There have been drastic changes to the game in this patch. So lets start with breaking down the changes to the game in general. Then move onto RoguesThere will be a Video covering all this linked at the END of these posts.

Game Mechanic Changes: MoP->6.0

Stat Squish: 500k~ Health Pools to 70k~


  • Basically this means health pools and damage have been squished down to early Cataclysm numbers.
  • While this might feel confusing at lvl 90. Health is considerably higher at level 100. So don’t get too comfortable.

Game Responsiveness: Faster Server to Client Interaction

  • In the past: data was sent and received in batches of 400ms(Milliseconds)

Basically in a situation where you Gouge a druid Cyclone Cast: There’s a 400 millisecond window of opportunity where your action and his action can both be registered at the same time. Leaving you Cycloned and the Druid Gouged.

  • In 6.0.2 and onward: Data is accepted as soon as it arrives. Which is generally 1-10ms according to Celestalon


This means it’s still possible for that situation to occur. Only it’s much less likely
It also effects other players position on your client in relation to their position on the server. Making those ‘I’m on top of you but out of range?’ situations rarer.
Additional Information about how this effects various aspects of Gameplay can be found here (By NCPRicket)

Agility in Warlords: No longer grants Critical Strike Chance, Less Attack Power 

  • In warlords all main stats have been homogenized to be slightly less effective and shifted some of that strength into secondary stats.

Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2). 
Attack Power now increases Weapon Damage at a rate of 1 DPS per 3.5 Attack Power (up from 1 DPS per 14 Attack Power)

Hit and Expertise Removed: 

  • All Hit and Expertise on your gear has been turned into Haste
  • All characters now have a 100% chance to hit, 0% chance to be dodged, 3% chance to be parried,
  • Dual Wielding still imposes a 19% chance to miss, to balance it with two-handed weapon use.*

*This only effects auto attacks.

Changes to PvP

  • Base Resilience has been reduced to 0%.
  • Battle Fatigue has been reduced to 20% (down from 60%).
  • Critical Damage and Critical Heals in PvP combat now deal 150% of the normal spell/ability effects (down from 200%)
  • Multistrikes can only Trigger Once instead of Twice

Racial Traits
There’s been a lot of changes to Racial in Warlords of Draenor I suggest you view the patch notes, as they would clog up this post.


I’ve also made my own Video about Racials from a PvP Rogue Perspective



  • They have removed the direct combat benefits of Professions.
  • There is no Best Profession for PvP or PvE anymore

Well that’s the basics of things you’ll notice for the next month at level 90 in relation to Game Mechanics. Lets move onto Rogues.

Rogue Related Changes: MoP->6.0

Combo Points

  • Combo Points for Rogues are now shared across all targets and they are no longer lost when switching targets.
  • Redirect has been removed.

At long last brothers and sisters- we’ve got combos not restricted to a single target. Much like any skilled Assassin.

Abilities Pruning

  • Disarm Trap has been removed(*).
  • Mind Numbing Poison has been Removed(*)
  • Shadow Blades has been removed.
  • Shadow Walk has been removed.
  • Fan of Knives is no longer available to Combat Rogues.
  • Rupture is no longer available to Combat Rogues.
  • Tricks of the Trade now has no energy cost and no longer increases damage caused by the target by 15%.

(*)All Similar effects have been stripped from other Classes

Ability Refinement

  • Swiftblade’s Cunning now grants 5% Haste & Multstrike (instead of 10% attack speed)
  • A lot of Passive effects you’re used to seeing in your spell book have been merged into the abilities they effected
  • Examples include Find Weakness, Master of Subtlety, Venomous Wounds, and Blindside.
  • Unless otherwise stated in Patch Notes. All Rogue passives remain intact.

Talents and Glyphs

  • Subterfuge has been reworked

Instead of allowing you to remain in stealth. You instead gain access to your Stealth Skill-set for 3 seconds. Making you vulnerable to peels. But stills relatively easy to get your opener, or multiple openers off

  • Burst of Speed now 30 Energy. (up from 15)

This makes Burst of Speed way weaker when you tunnel vision a target. But still extremely strong for restealthing, or escaping enemies

  • Deadly Throw only interrupts at 5 combo points
  • Cheat Death now procs at 7% (down from 10%)
  • Leeching Poison’s Shiv effect was nerfed but the direct healing was raised by 5%
  • Paralytic Poison replaced by Internal Bleeding which places a strong bleed on the target when they are stunned with Kidney Shot.
  • As for Glyphs we do not have access to the three new options. So keep utilizing what you have been in the past, or explore new options!

Specialization Changes
Specs generally play the same with the exception of damage being shifted to or from abilties, changing the priority of them. This thread is aimed at covering what’s changed. Not Explaining how to play each spec.


  • Rupture Ticks vs Poisoned Targets now have 100% Chance to Generate 10 Energy
  • Envenom now increases Poison Application rate by 30% (up from 15%)
  • Wound Poison’s Direct Damage is higher than Deadly Poison. Making it more burst Damage

These three changes alone make Assassination a lot smoother and comfortable to play. Once you gain access to Perks at level 100 the spec becomes one of strongest and easier to play of the three Rogue Specs


  • Main Gauche now hits with your Off-Hand Weapon. Making two slow 2.6 weapons important for Combat Rogues
  • Revealing Strike no longer advances Bandit’s Guile

in the past players would use Revealing Strike to quickly advance to Deep Insight as it was a cheaper alternative to Sinister Strike

  • Killing Spree no Longer Increases all Damage done by 50%

Killing Sprees damage has been increased to compensate. Though this hurts combat’s overall pressure out side of Deep Insight All in all combat has a very similar flow to it. Though It depends a lot more on Deep Insight now due to the Killing Spree ‘nerf’


  • Sinister Calling: Now causes successful Multistrikes with Backstab or Ambush to advance your Bleeds by 2 seconds, casusing them to instantly deal damage
  • Ambush can now be used from any position. Yes that means FACE AMBUSH! HIYA!
  • Backstab’s positional requirement has been loosened. Though still can’t be used from the front
  • [Cloak and Dagger] once again is working with Shadow Dance
  • Rupture’s Damage is a lot stronger and should be utilized for more than Sanguinary Vein

All in all the only note worthy change here is how much Damage Rupture deals… It’s very strong at level 100 and I assume the same for 90s.

As this guide is designed to be quick and simple: I’ve also included a video covering the entirety of these posts as well as a bit more:

-This video is going live Tuesday the 14th- Though is viewable from the direct link exclusive for the next few hours here on Ravenholdt.

Thanks for Reading.


Rogue Damage Tuning Rides the Roller Coaster in New WoD Beta Builds

A pair of new Warlords of Draenor beta builds — 18967 and 18973, for those of you keeping score at home — have brought a host of tuning adjustments for the rogue class (among others). Alongside these builds, a series of tweets from technical game designer Chadd “Cobra-thon” Nervig clarified, and explained some of the reasoning behind, several of the changes.

Let’s recap, shall we?

[UPDATE: Celestalon replied to this post by noting that some of the adjustments listed below are already due to be changed in an upcoming beta build. Tuning is fast, furious and fluid in these last couple of weeks before Patch 6.0.2 launches.]

Assassination’s damage appears to have been adjusted upward. Most of its key abilities have gotten roughly 5% stronger since last week, if the datamining is accurate:

  • Mutilate deals 210% weapon damage, up from 200%.
  • Dispatch deals 330% weapon damage, up from 315%.
  • The random-damage component of Venemous Wounds deals damage equivalent to 33.6% of our attack power stat, up from 32%.
  • Envenom damage has been boosted by 5%.

There is one downward shift that affects Assassination: Rupture’s damage has taken an 18% hit.

Combat’s damage appears to have been nudged downward, if the datamining is accurate:

  • Eviscerate’s damage has been reduced by about 18%.
  • Blade Flurry’s damage has been reduced by 25%; it copies 30% of our damage onto nearby targets, down from 40%.
  • Ambush’s damage has been reduced by roughly 18%; it deals 245% weapon damage, down from 300%.

These changes come one week after substantial buffs to Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike; taken together, we’re seeing a notable shift in the proportion of Combat’s overall damage that comes from combo point builders vs. finishers.

On Twitter, incidentally, Celestalon confirmed that the Eviscerate change is meant to bring Combat’s overall damage more in line with their goals, and noted that the Blade Flurry change was intended.

Subtlety’s damage also appears to have been reduced (again), if the datablah is bloo:

  • Last week’s buff to Backstab has been reverted, and then some: It’s now at 145% weapon damage, down from 175% — and also down from 156%, where it had been prior to *last* week’s changes.
  • As noted above, Ambush’s damage has been reduced by about 18%.
  • Also as noted above, Eviscerate damage has been reduced by 18% as well.
  • Also-also as noted (further) above, Rupture damage has gotten an 18% cut.

On Twitter, Celestalon affirmed that heavy slashes to Subtlety were intended; according to him, the spec was performing 15% better than the rest of the pack (except for feral druids, which he said had been similarly overpowered and were also toned downward in this week’s beta builds).

Finally, one all-spec change: Crimson Tempest has been… buffed? We think? Datamining seemed to indicate that the ability had taken an 18% damage reduction, but Celestalon stated that the ability was actually having its up-front and DoT damage *increased* by 50%. Maybe an erroneous tooltip change, given how many other rogue abilities had been chopped by 18% at the same time?

Regardless, if the datamined changes to all three specs are accurate, then the overall adjustments to DPS would be as follows, per Fierydemise:

Keep in mind that regardless of the impact of these particular beta builds, all of these adjustments are part of the designers’ ongoing effort to pull various levers in order to get the performance of all specs and classes within whatever their target range is. Although I often refer to these tweaks as “buffs” and “nerfs,” it’s probably better not to think of them precisely that way, given that balance has to be completely redone in the switch from Mists to Warlords. As with every expansion, the scales are being reset.

Quick closing note: Celestalon also tweeted quite a bit about Death From Above this evening, responding to Fierydemise’s blog post from earlier in the week. The easiest way to see the collection of these — and all of Celestalon’s rogue-related tweets — is to check out @Ravenholdt’s favorites list, which we update whenever we spot a new class-relevant tweet from a member of Blizzard’s WoW team.

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