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WotLK Rogue Talents Q and A with Devs

September 29, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Before we get into all the rogue Q and A below, I think it’s worth giving an e-high five to the best damn blue poster there’s ever been, Ghostcrawler. GC has gone well beyond the call of duty to help answer questions and concerns for every class. She’s meticulously explained the reasoning behind changes, received feedback, and truly listened to player concerns regarding WotLK balance.

Without his fine work and dedication I don’t think we’d have a WotLK looking nearly as good as it is. That said, let’s get into these rogue changes!

Rogue Raid Utility

In terms of the big raid buffs, the ones we consider rogues bringing are Expose Armor, Wound Poison and Mind Numbing Poison. There are plenty of others more along the lines of Kick and Sap that are harder to quantify.

It’s really great to see blizzard is taking a serious look at improving raid utility for rogues. I could definitely see expose armor stacking with sunder armor in WotLK, and potentially being changed to a percentage armor reduction…a change which nearly made it into TBC.

There are lots of ways Blizzard can add raid utility to the class and I’m very excited to see how they work poisons, EA, and other rogue abilities into future lich king encounters.

With that in mind can you tell us any plans that you have to better close this PvE to PvP gap that we’re seeing with certain trees? How do you plan to make all three trees viable across the board?

Yes, this is definitely a priority. It is a lot harder with classes in which all specs are still focused mostly on dps. We understand that some specs are just going to be better for 5-mans, for PvP or for raiding. We’re trying to equalize as much as possible, but we’re also trying to be realistic about our chances.

How do you plan to deal with talents which were still considered all too needed by rogues, particularly in the case of Relentless Strikes? Is there any possibility of making Relentless Strikes a core class ability we can all train?

Mandatory talents are tricky. There are certainly plenty of them in every tree. Every warrior spec without Cruelty is pretty experimental, as is every druid spec without Omen of Clarity. Part of the problem is we keep offering new character levels along with new talents, so each expansion ends up constraining you more and more to one tree. The real red flag, for me at least, is when a spec has so many truly mandatory talents (which is a funny thing to say, since it’s still a little subjective) that they don’t have any optional talents. Instead of a cookie-cutter build being something like 20 plus your choice, they become you must get these 24 talents. If that makes sense.

I wish GC would have just answered the question here instead of beating around the bush. To me this sounds more like a cop out for…no, we aren’t making them core abilities, deal with it until we figure out what to do later in the expansion. Either way, all 3 talent trees are looking pretty damn good.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to create anything but carbon copies of abilities in each of the 3 trees and not have SOME variance. If you want the highest DPS there will ALWAYS be a max DPS…even if by 1 or 2% one spec will ALWAYS be better.

I think it is very likely there will be a theoretical max dps build. However:

  • It will probably vary from boss to boss.
  • It might depend a lot on the skill of the player.
  • Because there are so many variables (by design) it may be really hard to “solve the equation” for which actually is the highest dps build.
  • For 90% of players (maybe more) that kind of damage difference is in the noise. Very few players can do 2500 dps one night and then 2525 dps another night (a 1% difference). Usually the delta is much larger than that because of random elements including things as non-gamey as Internet lag, how tired you are and just bad luck. If taking the most optimal build can’t guarantee you dps higher than the random element in the equation, it may very well not be worth taking. Now if the dps gain is significant by taking the best build, then I agree with you.

Rogue Talent Tree Conclusions

Rogue talents are hard because the class is ultimately very mathy. Without a finite resource like mana, it’s easy to analyze every possible move for its cost efficiency and ultimate damage delivery. This is coupled with the fact that it’s really easy for a rogue to move among trees. By contrast, before the advent of Frostfire Bolt a fire mage could mostly ignore frost. A shadow priest wants almost nothing in Holy. But having an emphais on poisons or stealth in a rogue tree doesn’t make a tree unattractive to a Combat rogue. I’m not trying to make excuses, but perhaps more than any other class, I find that rogues can evaluate a talent’s utility pretty easily. It’s a cool thing about the class, but it makes talent design challenging.

I think I mentioned this in another thread, but our team has a really amazing rogue theorycrafter who stays really in touch with the community (anonymously). We have a surprising number of really good players on the team in general, but I always feel really safe about his conclusions on rogues. But that has also meant fewer blue posts than you deserve, so I’m trying to make up for that.

Rogue / Rogue Vs. Druid / Rogue 2v2 Arena Strategy

September 10, 2008 by · 5 Comments 

rogue 2v2 strategyRogue / Rogue vs. Druid / Rogue is no easy match, typically any team with a druid is going to be a tough match for a double rogue team. That said, using systemic decision making and quick reflexes we can learn how to effectively counter these 2v2 teams.

Ideal Strategy, Jump the Druid in Stealth

Ideally what we’re going to try and do is find the druid in stealth and immediately open on him. This serves 2 purposes.

  1. Gets you into combat and prevents you from being sapped
  2. Puts immediate pressure on the druid

If everything goes as planned you’ll kill the druid straight up, but for any of you who have played double rogue for any stretch of time you know this is rarely how it happens.

The Druid is in Bear form, what do I do?

Often times druids are wise to double DPS teams and will immediately exit stealth as soon as they realize there are rogues and enter bear form. This is when this combo can be very difficult.

Let’s be frank, you probably aren’t going to burst a druid in bear form out. So you have a few options. First, and probably the most effective is going to be attack the open and drop a bomb on the rogue. If you get a solid opener and / or if the druid is out of position you can immediately red line the rogue. Make sure you have your rupture up on the rogue as you know he’ll be going for a vanish.

druid arena strategyOnce you’ve got the opener going on the rogue you need to be looking to crowd control the druid. Either via gouge, kick, or if the druid is dumb enough a blind / sap combo. Most games the druid is still going to get a few HoTs and the NS off, but this doesn’t mean you lose. Keep up the damage, evasion tank the rogue and keep working to get the druid out of the fight. You’ve got 2 blinds, a potential sap combo, kick and gouge to punish the druid with.

Is Switching Targets a Good Strategy?

I think many double DPS teams really are reluctant to try a target switch, in some cases this fear is rational. However, if a switch is handled in the proper way it can be very effective. For example, many rogues may panic when they see a two other rogues attacking them. In the event he trinkets a CS or  KS you’ve got him right where you want him.

What if the rogue trinkets my blind?

At this point you should throw the blind, which you’re going to transition into at least 1, probably 2 saps. This will give you a minimum of 20 seconds to have unrestricted damage on the druid. Even if the druid is sitting in bear form 20 seconds is a long period of time, especially if you can evasion tank the rogue for an additional 15 seconds after your crowd controls have ended.

Final Points on Avoiding Crowd Control

On a double DPS team every second counts, it is absolutely crucial you avoid being crowd controlled at all times. In the case of this team you are going to want to save your trinket for a blind, the only scenario you wouldn’t want to use your trinket on blind is if the rogue was just reeling on you and caught you medium / low health in a KS.

It’s very helpful to set the druid as your focus target, this will allow you to watch incoming crowd control on you so you can take the appropriate action to avoid being taken out of the fight. These actions include:

  • Preemptive Cloak of Shadows on cyclone / root
  • Vanish immune on cyclone / root
  • Vanish immune on feral charge
  • Preemptive evasion if you believe the druid may attempt to bash you
  • Preemptive evasion if you believe the rogue is about to blind you (if your trinket is down, note: This is very hard to watch for, especially if you don’t have your focus on the rogue)

Looking for more rogue / rogue strategies? Check out the complete rogue / rogue 2v2 arena guide!

Mage / Rogue Vs. Paladin / Warrior 2v2 Arena Strategy

September 4, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Much like most warrior / healer teams, your opponents will probably have to try harder than you.


Get a sap on the warrior and open on the paladin going full out dps to force his bubblmage rogue 2v2 strategye. Once he bubbles reset the fight via vanish. If you and your partner are having trouble CC’ing the warrior while forcing the paladin to bubble pop Evasion and Ghostly Strike as needed to avoid unwanted bleed effect when resetting the fight. Kill the paladin, and get away from the warrior if you have to.


Crowd control the warrior as best as possible with sheeps, frost novas, Rank 1 Frost Bolts(to Frost Bite snare him). These are all able to be cleansed by the pally, so tell your rogue to dodge it up if you’re having trouble controlling the warrior. Assist dps, and once the pally bubbles hit iceblock to reset the fight and wait it out. You decide when you want your rogue to blind, but I recommend while going for a kill on the pally or after killing the pally one of you has to get away.

Looking for more strategies? Check out the complete rogue / mage 2v2 arena strategy guide!

Mage / Rogue vs. Warrior / Druid 2v2 Arena Strategy

September 3, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

mage rogue 2v2 strategyOh man for every one of you guys out there, you’ll see about thirty of these. Some are competent, others face roll.


See if you can find the druid in stealth. Before opening try to sap the warrior if possible. Do a KS lockdown to force the druid to trinket. Once you and your mage have a good CC train rolling on the warrior, Kidney shot again to shatter burst the druid.


Control the warrior in any way possible. Freeze effects, sheeps, whatever just take him out of the game and kill his carrier.

If the druid can’t be found:

Rogue open on the warrior(save premeditation) to force the druid to come out. Vanish and pull a switch to the druid, run cc trains on the warrior and win. It’s a good idea to not wait for the stealth detect eyes, as a smart druid will go into bear form at this point.

Looking for more strategies? Check out the complete rogue / mage 2v2 arena strategy guide!

Rogue / Rogue vs. Priest / Rogue 2v2 Arena Strategy

August 9, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

rogue 2v2 strategyThis match-up is usually longer than most other combos. You can play it like Priest/Warlock, but it’s hard if you don’t get the sap off the rogue. If you’re sapped that can possibly work in your advantage, but usually it’s a bad thing(depending how far apart the priest and rogue are.)

Rogue 1

Get on the priest, burn your first set of cooldowns on him. The opposing rogue will likely counter open on you, but continue to wail on the priest. If you’re dotted think of them as a comfort zone to trinket. Your ultimate goal is to force the priest to trinket.

Rogue 2

Counter open the counter opening rogue. Use everything you’ve got on him, and lock him down as much as possible. You and your partner together have to pressure heals from the priest. Meaning you have to pump out damage to panic the priest into having to desperately heal his partner, while your partner forces the priest to have to heal themselves. Try to avoid dotting the rogue as you might have to keep him fresh for a blind.

Once either target trinkets simply blind them and train their partner. If both are resilient and neither decide to trinket they will likely die within the same time, as one can only survive so long on instants. To simplify the strategy in one phrase: Split dps, until one slips up.


You can play this out like priest/Warlock

Rogue 1

Hop on the priest, hit the rogue with a blind once he comes out and continue to dps the priest. If the priest lives through your onslaught and your partner is under pressure peel the rogue off him to let him bandage.

Rogue 2

Get on the priest as well, hit the rogue with a second blind. You both now have 5 seconds to kill the priest, or vanish sap the rogue. If the priest lives through your damage and the rogue is pressuring your partner peel him off to give your partner a chance to bandage.

I personally prefer strategy number one, but everyone has a preference. This is kind of a hard match-up so don’t take it too hard.

Looking for more rogue / rogue action? Check out Scyth’s the full strategy guide, rogue / rogue 2v2 arena strategy!

Rogue / Rogue Vs. Warrior / Druid 2v2 Arena Strategy

July 19, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

rogue arena strategyRogue / Rogue vs. warrior / druid 2v2 can be a difficult match up. If you get the opener you win, if not you’ve probably lost. Pay attention if your opponents are human and if that’s the case stay away from them for 20 seconds. Once the match begins you have about 2 minutes to find the druid(before stealth detect eyes come up). If you don’t find the druid, don’t worry Zuggaming has you covered on what to do.

If you find the druid…

Rogue #1 Strategy

Alert your partner the druid has been found, wait for them to get near you, then open up with a cheapshot going into an expose armor. Get ready to pop Evasion + GS because the warrior is going to be wailing on one of you. Blind the warrior and call his trinket. If your partner needs to bandage try to slow down the warrior any way possible to let them get away.

Rogue #1 Strategy

Once your partner finds the druid and you’re alerted hit the warrior with a real quick sap and get ready to down the druid. Open with a garrote going into a kidney shot(as your partner opened with CS and did an expose armor). You should also be ready to pop Evasion + Ghostly Strike as again the warrior will be wailing on one of you. Once the warrior pops his trinket on the first blind, you hit him with a second and continue to kill the druid. If your partner needs to get away to bandage stunlock the warrior or slow him down any way you can.

If the druid can’t be found:..

Rogue Arena Strategy

Both open with garrotes on the warrior followed by ruptures, once the druid pops vanish and do all of the above.

Hopefully you two will find the druid as it will make the match easier, but if not best of luck to you.

Looking for more rogue / rogue action? Check out Scyth’s the full strategy guide, rogue / rogue 2v2 arena strategy!

Shadow Priest / Rogue vs. Shadow Priest / Rogue 2v2 Arena Strategy

June 21, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Nobody likes these, and to be quite honest this fight comes down to racials. If you’re Undead gratz you made the right race choice as the other team is going to be struggling with you. You know unless they happen to be undead too…

Rogue Arena Strategy
If you see the opposing rogue it’s never a bad idea to sap. Anyways open up on the priest and do everything in your power to get him down as fast as possible. You will want to blind/sap the rogue if you’re permitted to do so.

Priest Arena Strategy
The opposing rogue will be starting on you, and you’ll probably want to do as much damage and give out as many DoTs as you can before this happens. If you’re opponents are undead a CC train is almost out of the question.

In the end this fight will come down to luck and your amount of damage, best of luck to you.

Need more strategies? Check out the full shadow priest / rogue 2v2 arena guide!

Strategy courtesy of S-Scythe

Shadow Priest / Rogue vs. Shaman / Warrior 2v2 Arena Strategy

June 21, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

This team has an advantage over Priest/Rogue, but not over you!
Rogue Arena Strategy
Alright you just want to start off the combat quick in this match. Sap the warrior(Shadowstep sap if he’s like right next to his shaman partner). Open up on the shaman and unload. The warrior will probably try to lock you down so Ghostly Strike + Evasion and continue to unload on the shaman. You’ll also want to conserve energy for kicks, as they shaman will be spam healing themselves every time they don’t move

Priest Arena Strategy
Using your mount get to the shaman ASAP. Unload damage upon him, and help your rogue with interrupts via silence. Fear bomb every now and again to give your rogue or yourself some breathing room from the warrior.

Very simple match-up, have fun!

Need more strategies? Check out the full shadow priest / rogue 2v2 arena guide!

Strategy courtesy of S-Scythe

Shadow Priest / Rogue vs. Warrior / Priest 2v2 Arena Strategy

June 21, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

This team actually isn’t too bad. Keep in mind that a warrior can still lock down a shadow priest well, but you guys can really be a handful for his partner.

Rogue Arena Strategy
Once you’ve determined your opponents go for a sap on the warrior. If the opposing priest is a Night elf you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding them. Open up on the priest and on your first 5 points use a Kidney shot. Another 5 points and you’ll probably want to Expose Armor as they have probably popped pain suppression(you may also pop Ar/BF at this time if you’re Ar/Prep.) Continue to lay out dps and Kidney shots, but also be wary of interrupting heals. If your KS is resisted don’t be afraid to continue to Expose Armor or even SnD(regardless of ShS’s yellow damage orientation).

Also if the warrior decides to lock you down simply use an Evasion + Ghostly Strike combo and run circles around the priest(literally just run). Once the priest is down shiv spam crippling poison on the warrior so you can give your partner some breathing room. Mainly shiv spam so that you can give your partner a higher chance to survive, chances are he’s low on mana and popped his shadowfiend already. Also as Shadowstep going toe to toe with a warrior isn’t a very appealing idea.

As opposed to sapping the warrior, sap the priest then open up on the warrior. Continue to lay out DPS and spam shiv to keep him off your partner. Once your partner forces the other priest to pop trinket hit him with a blind, bomb the warrior, vanish and sap and it’s good game from there.

Priest Arena Strategy
Your job is to also hop on the priest, but you will be put under pressure by the warrior. Basically hit the opposing priest with some dots, dispel spam, fear bombs(on the warrior too), and mass dispel the pain suppression if you can find some room to breathe. Most of the time the warrior will be trying to lock you down. Simply fear the warrior as you would any melee class, and you can all the trinket pop for a blind(but keep in mind it probably won’t last the full ten seconds due to the disorient immunity.) With dispel spam, mass dispel on pain suppression and your DoTs combined with your rogue’s damage the opposing priest’s health will be hurting. When you find the priest near death simply do a Focused casting Mind Blast + Shadow Word: Death combo to send him packing. During the shiv spam period(listed above) just kite and DoT as much as your mana allows you to.

That would be the usual way that me and my partner do it, but the alternative(and probably simpler sounding strategy) you could apply is the following(please keep in mind this strategy is going to be harder or maybe plain impossible to pull off with undead opponents):

Alright you too are going to want to lay out some moderate damage, but your main goal is to use fear and force the opposing priest to trinket. Once this happens it’s up to your rogue partner to pull off a blind/sap and you continue to both bomb on the warrior.

Need more strategies? Check out the full shadow priest / rogue 2v2 arena guide!

Strategy courtesy of S-Scythe

Shadow Priest / Rogue vs. Priest / Rogue 2v2 Arena Strategy

June 21, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

This match is a hard one, so don’t feel too bad losing to them. Luckily I play this combo, so I’ll start by breaking them down.

The opposing rogue will either be: Mutilate, Shadowstep or Deep Combat. In BG:Ruin, Shadowstep is definitely the most common of the three for this setup.
Now as for the priest they will 9/10 times be deep disc meaning they have pain suppression. If they don’t, then this match just became ridiculously easier. If your opponents are undead that just lowered your chances of winning by a very good amount…

Rogue Arena Strategy
Much like the warrior/priest fight you will be doing your best to lock down the priest via stuns and kicks. Before moving on the priest keep your eyes peeled for the opposing rogue and get the sap off. Chances are if he’s mutilate or combat he’s going to be a far distance away from his priest, so explore a good amount of turf. Once the other rogue is sapped proceed to open up on the priest. For this combo you’ll want to look out for a blind/sap combo on whichever target has their trinket on cool down. You must also be careful of them pulling a blind/sap combo on you. Also you can drive-by gouge the opposing rogue as needed, because no opponent even with their trinket up is going to pop it on that.

Priest Arena Strategy
Well if your rogue didn’t catch the opposing rogue you’re pretty much done(if he’s shadowstep maybe not). With Combat you have to be careful of Ar/BF you have to try and keep the guy busy so he doesn’t get a full duration to just bomb you. Mutilate you can’t give him too much time either especially with the Imp KS. It turns into a battle of outlasting the disc priest, but chances are you will lose this. Now if you did manage to catch the rogue first then hop on the priest with your rogue. Dispel spam, DoTs, fear bomb when the opposing rogue comes back. You will want to try and find a time for your partner to do a blind/sap, but if you can place a well timed silence the priest will be under pressure to perform.

Need more strategies? Check out the full shadow priest / rogue 2v2 arena guide!

Strategy courtesy of S-Scythe