The holidays are quickly approaching and the PTR cycle has slowed down until next year, so I decided to put out this Fan of Knives a little earlier than I intended to. I also have a special surprise this month, an interview with Ravenholdt’s own Whispyr! Luckily we’ve had a lot going on, so hang tight while I go through it all.

YouTube Content Producers

Marcelian Online is back again, and you shouldn’t be surprised that the channel will be a mainstay in Fan of Knives. Consistently great content as always, Marcelian delivered yet again with some prime Rogue content. This time there was a nice Sub Rogue chat with Whispyr and Jpc and a 9.1.5 Outlaw Rogue Guide which can be found below:

The Red Rogue himself, Zeratüle, is back with some great content. I’m not going to bore you with my feelings on his videos. You’ve seen them and you know the quality of his content. Check out his mage tower guides below:

Method Gaming returned to their usual business of achieving world firsts with a World First +30 Necrotic Wake featuring our very own Ramfam:

Wowhead

As always, Wowhead is my personal #1 source for all WoW updates and news. They recently wrote an article regarding Scariizard’s update to the rogue tier sets. I’m also keeping the links to the different spec guides as they’ve been updated for the Mage Tower challenges as well:

Ravenholdt

This time around I decided to bug Whispyr for the Ravenholdt portion of Fan of Knives. I decided to interview the man behind the pins and sims himself:

1. Let’s start out with an easy one: Who’s the man behind the blue hair?

I’m a 22 year old music student from California, just living my best life I guess. I work as a mechanic in a bowling alley here, but I really spend most of my time helping people out, especially during COVID. The connections I’ve built through RH was a natural fit for me, and I’m so happy to be part of the community. The Rogue community is truly just a big group of friends trying to play the best they can and I love it.

2. So I remember battling with you on the sin leaderboards in 8.3 on Area 52. I wanted to know the man who kept one-upping me (thanks a lot Siege of Boralus). When did you start playing WoW? And why Rogue?

So I actually played very very briefly during cataclysm, but I never got into it. At the time I was playing one of those free to play, pay to win knockoffs called Runes of Magic. I had a few friends with me but the game slowly died out and another one of my friends dragged me into World of Warcraft for the start of Warlords, and here I am, 7 years later. I don’t know why I picked a rogue specifically, I’ve always played rogues for as long as I could remember, even back during Runes of Magic. I can go back as far as I remember, to my first rpg game, an obscure iOS game called Zenonia 4, I played a rogue for that as well. Call me cringe, but something has always drawn me to the poisonous assassin in the shadows, always lurking and waiting.

3. These days you’re known as a sim wizard in Ravenholdt, what does that look like?

I wouldn’t really call myself THE sim wizard, there’s people like Kojiyama and Mystler who deserve that title far more than I do. I just fancy myself as a public face to the math. They are multiple levels above me, implementing changes into the core and constantly making sure bugs are reflected in sims, items are working. Mystler’s work on herodamage for example is a great show of what passion can bring to the community. They may not be as visible as I am, but I am only able to do all my sims because of them. Most of the work I do these days are running patch simulations and coming up with ways, be that a spreadsheet or a cropped screenshot, to present that to the masses. As far as I’m concerned, if people see the FaQ, see the pins, and they understand the numbers being shown at a glance, that’s a win to me. Last tier I made the profiles for Subtlety and Assassination that you see on https://www.simulationcraft.org/reports/T27_Raid.html.

Part of that work is fiddling with top gear, making profiles that reflect what a fully geared rogue might look like, but a lot of it is also running simulations on other covenants, trying to understand why certain covenants or legendaries are bad, looking at the breakdowns and the usages. If I see something that I feel like could be improved, I spend a couple hours looking at the usage, trying to find some way to squeeze more damage out of a spec. A lot of the work that theorycrafters do goes completely unnoticed, and I’ve always tried to be public and put myself out, show my process and the work I put into it. Sometimes that means streaming raidbots for 5 hours and finding nothing, other times I sim something once and find a gain in 5 minutes. It’s a really mixed bag sometimes, but really the fun for me is knowing that I’m helping other people.

4. How did you get into theorycrafting and simming in general?

I’ve always been interested in getting the most out of my character just as a personal test. I remember the first time I saw the netherlight crucible in legion, I was overwhelmed by the options that relics could roll. It should be noted, I was really bad at the time. But I saw that the discord had pointed out which combinations to go for, and had some numbers to show for it. That fascinated me. Later on at the start of BfA, I really got into optimizing. Raidbots was already something I used in legion, but now I was pushing mythic with my guild, and some of them had never simulated before. I taught them how to sim, how to compare items, ran some simulations with them, all that fun stuff. They then had questions that I didn’t know the answer to. Simulations were still mostly black magic to me at the time, but as the expansion grew older, I was simming more and more and more. It all sort of came to a peak in 8.3 with corruptions. During that patch, the discord was flooded with an endless queue of people not sure which corruptions to take when and why, if X corruption was better than Y, how that impacted their stats. There was a whole thing about exsanguinate, is my gear good enough for exsanguinate, when do I swap to crimson tempest, do I use blood, is it worth farming blood. The entire Assassination channel was basically in flames with what ended up being the same 4-5 questions. So I sat there, and just like I did with my guild mates, I started simming rogues. Every rogue that needed help simming, I’d run, and I did that for the rest of 8.3. I remember the patch coming out in january, I was still in school, just raiding casually, and then towards mid february, things started heating up, and I looked at the calendar, it was now july 21st, my birthday, and I was sitting in discord, simming 15-20 people an hour for half the day. It was a great time, and that’s really where I started learning how sims worked. I dabbled with some APL improvements during the end of 8.3, and then at the start of the 9.0 beta, I started theorycrafting more rigorously, which leads us to where we are today! I’m still not where I want to be, and I want to eventually learn how to work on the simc core, like Koji and Mystler do, but that’s a goal for the future, and I’m happy being where I am today 🙂

5. I tried helping contribute to the aoe optimizations you did for assassination in 9.0.5, and while you didn’t laugh at me I’m sure you did at least have a chuckle to yourself. What keeps you motivated to keep grinding out optimizations for the APL?

The thing that motivates me the most about simming is just being able to see rogues push themselves higher. I’m not the best player ever, but being able to help the community as a whole play better is very rewarding. Doing a log review for someone and having them come back with way better parses, or finding another 0.5% optimization is a great feeling, not for myself, but knowing that I just had an impact to someone’s gameplay. Every new patch is a new opportunity for optimizations, and being able to find those and share those with everyone is honestly more fun than actually playing the game sometimes!

6. Which optimization are you most proud of?

Honestly I like a lot of them, for different reasons. I’d say my proudest optimization is the work I put in for obedience on subtlety during 9.1. Seeing it go from a 4-5% legendary to an 11% legendary, pushing it harder and harder, day by day, was such a journey and process. Having it then get nerfed before it went live, it was a ride all the way. Sometimes I blame myself for getting it nerfed because I showed the potential it had, but I have enough pride knowing that my optimizations changed the meta for sub rogue for the rest of the expansion. Having that impact and sharing it with the world. I’ll give an honorable mention to assassination though, the blood sweat and tears I put into dungeonslice optimizations this expansion has been insane. I lost count after about 50 hours of sims, all that work, for about 1.5% of gains. It took a lot out of me, but it was well worth the time.

7. Do you have any advice for those of us that are interested in getting into theorycrafting and APL optimizations?

If you’re interested getting into it, I think the best advice I have is have a goal in mind. Know what you’re looking for and what you’re trying to see. I rarely start optimizing by going “lets look at crimson tempest and see what pops out!”. Instead identify something in the sim that you think can be better, and focus your effort on only that. If you’re not sure where to start, the github wiki for simulationcraft is a great source of info. A lot of the time, other people may have already looked at things as well, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or ask about a specific topic. It can be quite a rabbit hole to go down alone!

8. Many have heard your soundbite about outlaw rogues (thanks primarily to myself and Seli), do you have any further comments to our pirate brethren?

Stay mad, stay capped. Outlaw just isn’t my thing man, too many buttons, too fast and and wild. As an assassination player I’m also tired of living in outlaw’s shadow in mythic+, that kind of grinds my gears. I actually really enjoyed combat in WoD as well, I played it on numerous fights throughout Warlords, but the legion rework really killed my vibe for it, nothing personal to the zoomers who love the spec.

9. I don’t have an eighth question but I just want you to shout out your twitch stream and give people a reason to tune in (besides to see you die on the inside with every painsmith pull).

I’m a clown. Shout me out make me popular. I am your god king. Shower me with attention idk what else do influencers say? Buy the merch?

Make sure to check out Whispyr’s Twitch Channel, he’s got some of the best emotes on twitch: twitch.tv/Whispyrttv

Newsmakers

Follow this week’s news-makers on Twitter/Youtube/Discord:

If you’re interested in being featured in Fan of Knives, reach out to me on Discord!

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If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me on discord at oxi#9722 (I'm also usually in RH's #assassination channel).