An Assassin’s Guide to 5.0.4

On August 28th, Blizzard will release the pre-Mists of Pandaria content patch, 5.0.4. The changes rolled into this patch set the stage for Mists, including a revamp of talents and glyphs. If you’re raiding that week, things get could a bit bumpy as everyone adapts to those changes. While rogues are not the most affected class by any means, my goal with this post is to help other stabby types prepare for the changes coming and be ready to roll next Tuesday.

This guide will be focused on Assassination rogues for the most part. For the Combat perspective, check out Sinnaabun of Accession Guild’s guide.

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Fangs of the Father: Tips and Tricks

So I’ve had a few weeks to play with my legendary daggers, and I’ve learned a few lessons (most the hard way!) about how to make the most effective use of the crazy power they give you.

PvE Tips:

1. Try to convince your raid leader to leave you on the boss wherever possible. There’s not much worse than getting a proc just as you run out to DPS a Yor’sahj slime. If this isn’t feasible for your group/comp, do keep an eye on your stacks. Below 30, and DPS those adds away. As the stacks get higher, be more conservative, within reason. Leaving an add a few second early to get back to the boss may be worth it so you don’t proc and waste DPS. Make sure, though, that you’re communicating these plans with your raid leads/officers. You want to make sure you’re doing what’s best for the group, not being selfish.

2. Try to time your cooldowns for when you’re getting close to 30 stacks, so you’ll maximize a chance of a proc while they’re still up and running. Timed right, you can also get a glyphed Tricks in during a proc so your abilities cost less (I’m assuming you have at least 2 piece T13).

3. Be a bit more conservative using energy as the proc gets closer. Absolutely avoid capping, but try to run in the middle of the energy bar so you have a finisher or two worth of reserves available as soon as the proc fires.

4. Use Power Auras or something similar to tell you how many stacks you’re at and when the proc is active.

Here are my Power Aura strings:

Version:4.23; icon:inv_misc_volatileshadow; buffname:Shadows of the Destroyer; x:-240; stacks:1; owntex:true; size:0.39; y:230; texmode:2; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.LegacySizing:false; stacks.Relative:BOTTOM; stacks.h:1.55

Shadows Power Aura

Shadows Power Aura

Version:4.23; icon:Spell_Shadow_Shadowfury; buffname:Fury of the Destroyer; x:270; owntex:true; size:0.39; y:228; texmode:2; timer.h:1.77; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:BOTTOM

Version:4.23; b:0.0745; g:0.9961; icon:Spell_Shadow_Shadowfury; buffname:Fury of the Destroyer; x:270; texture:2; size:1.2; y:228; texmode:1

Fury Power Aura

Fury Power Aura

PvP Tips:

Some of the tips above also apply for PvP, but here are a few additional things I’ve learned specifically in regards to PvP’ing with the legendary daggers:

1. It’s fairly obvious you should save some cooldowns for close to your proc. But maybe not so obvious is saving your pvp trinket if you can. Nothing’s worse than being cc’ed immediately as you proc. A smokebomb and stun as you get close in stacks can also be quite helpful, especially if you’re lucky and proc early.

2. If you have two sources of burst DPS (hint, you do now, at least if you’re Sub!), you can make them more effective through one of two methods: use them at the same time, or back-to-back. Unfortunately, Shadow Dance and the Legendary proc are not mutually beneficial. For the former, you want to spam openers; for the latter, you want to spam finishers – you can’t get maximum benefit out of both at the same time. So chaining them is the right answer. And since you have very little control over the exact timing of the Legendary proc, you’ll want to use Shadow Dance second. Note: at least in my arena experience, if I use Shadow Dance as part of my initial opener, it’s up in time for the Legendary proc.

Your turn! I hope these tips help you out. If you have any others, I’d love to hear them – please leave a comment!

Race to Server First!

Three weeks ago, I acquired my legendary rogue daggers. Now that I’ve had some time to play around with them, I thought I’d blog, both about the acquisition of the daggers, as well as lessons I’ve learned from playing around with them in PvE and PvP.

So the questline itself was pretty amazing. I’m not much into lore (I can be fairly impatient, so reading quest text is tough), but I really enjoyed using abilities I rarely have use for in a PvE setting.

A little bit about each stage, from my perspective:

Pickpocketing Hagara: This went smoothly and happened earlier in the tier than I expected. Our 25-man guild (now recruiting!) was able to get to (and two shot) Hagara on our first night of raiding. Both our raiding rogues pickpocketed Hagara before the kill and were able to get our 24 hour timers running early. In later weeks, we opened up pickpocketing for alts and non-raiding members of the guild so most max-level rogues in our guild now have the stage 1 daggers.

Killing Creed: I found stealthing here a bit of a pain at first, but got the hang of it after a while (and after a lof of failed routes). For this quest, I grouped up with our other raiding rogue who had a bit of a head start on me. He had just gotten past the stealth part and was working on the boss when I showed up. Unfortunately, soon after I grouped up with him, he downed Creed. Since I was in his group, I got quest credit as well, meaning I never actually got to fight Creed. So that was a bit anticlimactic, but who knows – maybe I’d still be on that phase of the quest!

Killing Nalice: Stealthing seemed much easier here (as well as a good deal shorter). While I found stealthing to Creed annoying and frustrating, I found sneaking underneath Karazhan to find Nalice enjoyable. And the fight itself was amazing. It stretched my capabilities and key bindings as I used abilities I hadn’t in a long, long time. A list of abilities I used other than my usual rotation: Expose Armor, Blind, Shiv, Kidney Shot, Cheap Shot, Kick, Sprint, Recuperate. Quite a selection. I probably would have had a tougher time if my PvP experience hadn’t trained me to maintain control of an opponent.

So after all of that, plus just over a month of collecting elementium gem clusters, and I was on the cusp of getting my legendary. The other 25-man guild on our server close to us in raiding progress was just behind us, but some quick napkin math showed the exact gem number didn’t matter – server first would be determined by who killed Deathwing first during the next reset.

Since our Sunday raid was going to be cancelled anyway due to the Super Bowl, we decided we were going to make a push for server first. With that, the race was on.

We found out the other guild had decided to start an hour earlier than usual to match our start time, so it was clear they were making a push as well. When we got started, they had already downed Morchok. As a guild, we approach raiding seriously, but we like to have fun and our raid leader likes to spell out instructions in detail, so speed runs aren’t our strong suit. Nevertheless, we tried to hurry things along. After clearing of trash and handing out of assignments, we pulled Heroic Morchok and we were underway.

One thing to point out – we were sacrificing progression attempts, but we were going to try the heroic modes we’d already downed (Morchok and Hagara), so it was extra exciting when we one shot Morchok. It was about this time that the rival guild shut off their DBM whispers, so we couldn’t tell which boss they were on directly. Later in the raid, we started using the armory site to check in, but all we knew at this point is that we were behind.

Yor’sahj and Zon’ozz normal modes went down quick, even though we had issues with Zon’ozz and ping pong the week before. With these two kills, I had enough gem clusters to complete this stage of the quest, so with the pre-arranged help of guildmates (Thanks, Jaymz and Srsbusiness!), I was summoned to Ravenholdt Manor to turn in the gem clusters and pick up the last quest, which called for retrieving a fragment of Deathwing’s jaw, looted from Madness. So close!

I was summoned back and on to Heroic Hagara we went. For those of you who haven’t done Heroic Hagara on 25 man, there’s a lightning phase, which for our strat requires most of our raid to create a cross formation, with players just inside 10 yards from each other so they can almost instantly chain lightning from one pillar to three others. Because of this formation, there is a good deal of pre-pull setup required, and it can be time consuming. With the pressure of the race, and knowing the other guild wasn’t going to be doing Hagara on Heroic and therefore could skip this organizational step, it felt like it went on forever. When we finally did pull, though, it went smoothly, and we soon had another heroic mode boss fight, and arguably, our least likely one shot, behind us.

About this time in the night (90 minutes in), we’d normally break, but we knew we had to push on to have any chance of getting server first. Ultraxion went down without issue, as did Blackhorn, and it was around that time that we started to use the armory site to determine how far the other raid had gotten. Based on their loot, we could tell they had just downed Blackhorn minutes before we did, so it was close. We dropped a feast, ate up, and started in on Spine.

Spine went smoothly as well, and when we checked the armory while buffing on the platforms of Madness, we still did not see another Spine kill for our competition. Through some discussion after raid, we found out the other team had disconnect issues on the fight, leading to a wipe, and allowing us to take the lead. We continued on, taking Madness down in a one shot. I looted the jaw fragment, and now all I had to do was turn it in and pick up my daggers first, and we’d win the race and server bragging rights.

For those of you who have seen The Amazing Race, you have probably witnessed a team caught up by the frantic nature of the game and suddenly turn blind, unable to see their objective, despite it being smack dab in front of their face. Usually at this point, the cameraman will pan from their faces frozen with “Where is it??” looks to the item in question to underscore how oblivious they are. Yeah, that was me. I was summoned back out to Ravenholdt, ran into the manor and found… the building in flames with no quest giver inside. Confused, I thought maybe I was out of phase with the rest of my raid group and couldn’t see the NPC, so I flew to the bottom of the hill, dropped group, and came back. No luck. I then hearthed to see if that would solve it. Again, I was summoned back to the same burning manor. Finally, after taking a few seconds to survey the area, I saw the NPC outside but near the manor and I was able to complete the quest, retrieving my legendary daggers. I guess getting outside of a burning house is smart, even if you’re an NPC.

The guild headed to Stormwind to announce to trade chat took some screenshots in front of the Stormwind Cathedral. You can see me in the middle of the pack, falling with my batwings. About twenty minutes later, our competition got their legendaries, and it was a big celebration for us all.

Fangs of the Father

Fangs of the Father

All in all, it was a great night for me, and I hope for the guild as well. I wish there had been a guild benefit for completing the legendary (other than me doing more DPS), like there was for Tarecgosa’s Rest, because obviously there was no way I would have gotten it without all of them contributing, sacrificing playing time and some time on progression for me. So my sincere thanks to Apotheosis for all of their assistance.

I plan on posting some tips and tricks on legendary use soon, including power auras, but I have a few other posts to get out there first. Look for more updates to the blog soon!

Blogging Challenge Day 9: My First Blog Post

Day 9 of the Blogging Challenge! Today’s topic is about my first blog post. It wasn’t that long ago that I started this blog, writing a Mists of Pandaria Rogue Talent Preview. I’d had a few brief attempts at starting a blog before and always ended up stuck on what to say in an “Intro” post. Eventually I realized my problem; introducing myself to readers I didn’t yet have felt weird. So I decided to jump into the deep end and start with something related to the point of my blog – rogue-relevant content. Since I had just been to Blizzcon, and I had strong opinions about the talent preview there for my class, I had a topic, and went with it.

Looking back at it now, I feel good about the entry. Some of my opinions have changed with the release of additional information. The desire for Vendetta to allow you to match melee DPS at range, and the goal to have one damage poison and one utility poison both change which talents I would take and how I would use them, but I plan on letting information solidify a bit more before updating. Especially because the talent calculator put out since contradicts this (Instant and Deadly Poisons still show as critical for Assassination rogues, for instance).

Making that post also changed my mindset in at least two ways. First, since I wrote that, I’ve felt a need to post every few days. That’s a great feeling, because I need that drive to keep the blog current and fresh. Second, I’ve started looking at things I do in-game and WoW news I hear in a different way. I see things through a writer’s perspective: “What could I write about here?” “What is interesting about this?” “Is there anything that gave me trouble that I could help others out with?” Asking those questions as I’ve experienced the game has given me some good posts and even more post ideas.

I’m glad I made that first post; I hope I don’t make my last for a very long time.

Evaluating Assassination Rogues with World of Logs

About a year ago, over at Cannot Be Tamed, Jasyla wrote an extensive guide on “Evaluating Healers with World of Logs.” She suggested I write one covering what people could look for on World of Logs to evaluate a rogue’s performance. Sounds like a great idea to me! For this post, I’ll look specifically at the Assassination spec.

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