***Please note: this guide is a work in progress and will change as we progress through beta. As MoP release nears, I expect to iron out all of the information found here and either edit this post or delete it and release a new guide. This guide is being posted in it’s “under-construction” draft version in order to get the information out there and allow for feedback. Please enjoy and comment.***
This is a guide for anyone planning to raid as a Combat Rogue in Mist of Pandaria. It is written from the perspective of a combat rogue and is intended to provide information for combat rogues only. While there is plenty of information that can be used in any spec, this information is specific to combat. This guide is written for anyone looking to obtain information about rogues in MoP. Many players may find the information elementary, but it was written for rogues at any and all levels of play, from hardcore raider to casual alt.
As MoP is still in Beta, any and all information listed here can become invalid as Blizzard changes/balances the game.
Obviously, the talent system has been completely redesigned and there are a lot of options for you to choose from when spec’ing your rogue. I have included a screenshot of the “general” talent spec I will most likely be using. Below the image, I discuss why I chose the specific talents and provide my “favorite” alternatives to the talents I will most likely be using.
Shadow Focus: I chose shadow focus because it allows combat rogues to open without spending any energy. If you take this talent, you should always open in stealth (to take advantage of the zero energy opener). Whether or not garrote is worth using is up in the air. I would recommend using either Garrote or Revealing Strike from stealth.
Alternative: Nightstalker: This ability is really just for getting around while in stealth. It does speed up your normal runback if you hop into stealth though.
Combat Readiness: Rogues are currently built to have beast mode survivability and adding combat readiness to the arsenal can’t hurt.
Alternative: Deadly Throw:This ability provides rogues with a way to attack when they have to run away from a target. I have rarely ever used Deadly throw in my years of playing, but you never know when it might just come in handy.
Elusiveness: With this talent, feint goes from being really good to god-like and easily becomes one of the best damage reduction abilities in the game. While active, feint provides 65% damage reduction from AoE abilities and 30% reduction from non-AoE abilities.
Alternative: Cheat Death:There are sure to be fights in MoP where having this “save” ability will come in handy. If you know there is an ability on a fight that could easily kill you, consider picking this talent up.
Alternative: Leeching Poison:This non-lethal poison provides rogues with something similar to recuperate, passive healing. If you know you will be taking continuous damage, consider taking this talent to help your healers out.
Preparation: Have Cloak of Shadows, Sprint, Vanish, and Evasion is already strong, this talent lets you instantly reset the cooldown on those abilities and use them again. While all of the talents in the Lvl 60 tier are viable, I feel this talent provides the most valuable use on any and all fights.
Alternative: Shadowstep:If you are going to be running around every once and awhile, this talent will allow you to instantly jump back to the boss. Given that sprint is on such a short cooldown and that Killing Spree acts very similarly to shadowstep (with less range), I feel this may be the weakest talent.
Alternative: Burst of Speed:Who doesn’t like the idea of unlimited sprint. My problem with this talent is that is cost a lot of energy and we already have 1 sprint and killing spree, but if we take preparation, we get another sprint when we need it
For me, this is a filler tier that was designed specifically for PVP. I haven’t seen any viable use for any of these talents. Unless there are changes between now and live, just pick whichever is easiest to select. If you have the opportunity to stun/slow adds, Prey on the Weak or Paralytic Poison may be good options to consider.
Anticipation: I really think this talent is a no-brainer 99.9% of the time for combat rogues. Given that Shadow Blades and AR can be marco’ed together, this talent is basically a necessity, unless you are willing to lose A LOT of combo points. When AR/SB are used together, it almost feels like you are using a set of legendary daggers. It is extremely easy (between combo point procs and normal combo point gains) to go from 5 point to 5 point to 5 point.
Alternative: Versatility:If by chance there is a fight you will need to switch targets A LOT, you MAY want to consider taking this talent. I am hard pressed to find a fight I would be willing to give up Anticipation on, but you may feel differently.
Blizzard has incorporated a lot of the damage altering glyphs of Cataclysm directly into the abilities. With that, most of the glyphs have become personal preference and situational in nature. Below are the glyphs I will be using.
Required: Adrenaline Rush Reduces GCD on SS, RS, Evisc, Rupture, and SnD by .2seconds
Optional: Feint: I will be using this one 99% of the time. Increases duration by 2 seconds.
Sprint: Will be using this most of the time as well. Increase Sprint speed by 30% (up to 100%)
Cloak of Shadows 40% less physical damage while CoS is active
Blade Flurry 30% higher chance to apply non-lethal poisons
Evasion Increase duration by 5seconds
Recuperate Increase recuperate healing by .5%
It appears these glyphs are not updated in the database and are linking the old versions.
All of the minor glyphs are personal preference.
Be careful with glyph of Killing Spree, there are many fights you may want to use Killing Spree while the boss is moving.
A lot of skills that were previously obtained through talents have now become either passive abilities or have been built into other abilities. I am not going to go through all of the changes, but I will highlight the new abilities and highlight my favorite changes:
Shadow Blades:This ability is the rogue’s new and shiny toy. I must admit, at first I was unimpressed by it, but as soon as they added it to restless blades, holy cow did I begin to love this abilitiy. Basically, you deal additional shadow damage on melee swings AND you generate 2 combo points for every combo-point generating ability you use. Additionally, it can be macro’ed with Adrenaline Rush, and both can be used at the same time.
Crimson Tempest:This is our “fancy” new AoE ability. By itself, it isn’t all that impressive. It requires combo points to use, and really isn’t worth using unless you have a lot of combo points. Even then, the dot damage is minimal and the AoE damage adds up to be similar to that of a Blade Flurried Eviscerate (depending on the number of targets). However with the change to FoK, you can spam FoK to generate combo points and apply poisons to all of the mobs, and once you get 5 combo points, hit them all with a Crimson Tempest. There is a lot of ramp up to effectively doing this for a lot of damage, but once it gets rolling, you will see yourself near the top of AoE.
Shroud of Concealment:This is really just a “griefing” ability in my opinion, which is why I love it. You create a massive ring and all players/pets inside the ring become stealthed as well. I see a lot of value in using this in pvp/world bosses. Outside of that, I am not going to discuss my plans for this ability, but let you use your own imagination.
Major Ability Changes: (These may not display the new tooltips)
Revealing Strike:RS had a major change applied to it. It retained the modifier for finishers (35% increased effectiveness) , but it is now a debuff on the target. The debuff lasts for 18 seconds and gives you a 20% chance to proc an extra combo point with Sinister Strike (basically, they built the Sinister Strike Glyph into Revealing Strike as long as the target retains the debuff).
Feint:The cooldown and requirements of having a target and being close to that target have been removed. In otherwords, you can use feint whenever and wherever you want. You can no longer make Feint have zero energy cost, but you can increase the duration through the new glyph and increase the effectiveness through the new talent Elusiveness. Feint has always been one of my favorite abilities and it just moved up the list even more. The new version of Feint, in my honest opinion, is one of the most over powered abilities in the game (at least as far as defensive cooldowns go).
Fan of Knives:Basically the only change here is that it awards 1 combo point if it strikes your current target. Therefore, you want to make sure you are always targeting a mob (preferably the one with the most hp) when you are spamming this. The change, in and of itself, is not that impressive, but keep reading about Crimson Tempest to see why I like this change.
As a pure DPS class, Rogue damage is the most important thing we bring. Yes, Blizzard made it so that all rogues bring melee haste and nature damage, but for a rogue to really shine, they need to perform well on the DPS charts. At the time this guide was written, combat rogues were the strongest rogue spec and were one of the strongest dps classes. Mastering the rotation is not an overnight process for most players. If you find yourself producing numbers that you just aren’t happy with, then find a target dummy and practice your rotation. You should be able to perform the rotation without thinking so that you can spend your time focusing on boss mechanics. After all, a dead dps does no dps.
Deadly poison is the poison of choice as a lethal poison.
Non-Lethal poisons do not directly impact the majority of the fights. These poisons should be interchanged, depending on boss mechanics and specific needs.
In MoP, poisons will be on the melee hit table, rather than spell hit table, and will require the same hit rating as specials.
Opener and Rotations:
1.) Prepot then Stealth
2.) Open on target (Garrote or Revealing Strike – See below for more information)
3.) Sinister Strike to build 3-5 Combo Points (You should be in a Shallow insight)
4.) Killing Spree (Wait until you are in a shallow insight to initiate)
5.) Use combo points on Slice and Dice
6.) Sinister strike 1-2 times to get out of energy capped
7.) Pop macro for Adrenaline Rush/ Shadow Blades
8.) Set into rotation depending on style of damage needed (see below)
Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike are your main combo point building abilities. Revealing strike should only be used once every 15-18 seconds. When you Revealing Strike, it places a debuff on the boss that lasts for 18 seconds, increasing finisher effectiveness by 35% and providing Sinister Strike a 20% change to grant an additional combo point. Revealing strike should have an uptime as close to 100% as possible.
Use Sinister Strike to build combo points when you have more than 2-3 seconds left on Revealing Strike’s debuff. If the Revealing Strike debuff is about to expire, you should use Revealing Strike once to reapply the debuff, then continue with Sinister Strike. Once you obtain 5 combo points, proceed through to a finisher, based on the following priority list:
1.) Slice and Dice – Should have as close to 100% uptime as possible
2.) Rupture – Optional, read below for more information
3.) Eviscerate – Use if all other finishers are up and have plenty of time left
Ideally, all of your finishers will be 5 combo point moves. If your Slice and Dice is about to fall, you should use whatever amount of combo points you have to refresh it, then continue with the rotation.
There really isn’t a rotation to AoE damage.
If there are only a few targets, you should toggle Blade Flurry on, and continue with the single target rotation.
However, if there are many mobs (5+), you should consider using a combination of FoK and Crimson Tempest. First, target one of the mobs you will be hitting during your FoK spam. Preferably, you will target the boss or the add with the highest health. Spam FoK until you obtain 5 combo points and then use Crimson Tempest. If you see that the majority of the adds are about to die, consider using a lesser combo point Crimson Tempest, or reverting to the single target rotation with Blade Flurry activated.
More on Rupture/Garrote:
It has been long debated whether Rupture and Garrote should be used in the rotation. Dropping rupture from your rotation simplifies it and allows you to focus on other things. It has historically been a marginal DPS gain at best. However, SimCraft (see additional resources) was performed with Rupture and it performed well. If you decide to use rupture in your rotation, you should note that it does not currently scale up as you progress through insight. If you start rupture in a moderate insight, you will need to reapply it during a deep insight in order to gain the additional effectiveness of a deep insight. Garrote is really only used when coming out of stealth. If you chose to garrote, you will need to use Revealing Strike as your first ability out of stealth.
Combat rogues rely heavily on properly timed cooldowns to sustain high damage. Below is some general information about all combat rogue cooldowns. These are not hard and fast rules you must live by, rather, they are generally accepted principles to consider when using your cooldowns. A number of mechanics and environmental factors will play a part in your decision whether or not to use the ability directly off cooldown. You will need to consider things like: Will you be moving off the boss soon? Will you be out of range soon? Is there a phase coming up where you will need extreme burst? Properly deciding when to most effectively use your cooldowns will play a major role in determining your damage.
Killing spree should be very used early and off CD. It is best to use when you are in a deep insight (30% bandit’s guile), but if it is going to take a long time to get into a deep, just go ahead and use it. Killing spree causes you to jump behind the boss, attacking 7 times, and one attack every .5 second. The entire effect last 3.5 seconds and you will not be able to perform other abilities during this time. If you are heading into a high damage phase, consider using a defensive cooldown before you begin the killing spree. Additionally, you will not be able to use energy during this period so you should try to cast Killing spree when you are at very low energy levels. The base cooldown is 2 minutes, but the cooldown is reduced by relentless blades. Do not use this ability if you have Adrenaline Rush or Shadow Blades up.
Adrenaline Rush provides the rogue double energy regen and 20% increase attack speed. The effect last for 15 seconds and has a 3 minute cooldown, which is reduced by relentless blades. Adrenaline rush should be macro’ed with Shadowblades and used off cooldown. Try to use Killing Spree before you cast Adrenaline Rush, as the high energy regen and combo points generated will cause Killing Spree to come off cooldown much quicker.
This is the latest cooldown added to the rogue cooldown arsenal. It provides double combo points from combo point generating abilities and provides additional shadow damage. It is most effectively used when macro’ed with Adrenaline Rush. It has a 3 minute cooldown which is reduced by Relentless Strikes meaning it will always be off cooldown when Adrenaline Rush comes off cooldown
Rogues have been given a set of tools which, in my opinion, gives them some of the highest survivability tactics in the game. Effectively using these defensive cooldowns will allow rogues to survive longer while taking less damage. Learning to use these abilities correctly will allow your healers to spend more time focused on other players who lack the damage reduction that rogues have.
This is rogue’s go to ability to protect against magic damage. It instantly removes all existing harmful spell effects and grants a brief moment of immunity against magical damage. Additionally, you resist all spells for 5 seconds. However, Cloak of Shadows does not work for every ability. Blizzard has designed some abilities to ignore Cloak of Shadows. You should be aware of the abilities that are not mitigated by cloak before using it. Depending on whether you took preparation as a talent, you will also want to be very cautious about wasting cloak. Being aware of boss mechanics will allow you to more effectively decide whether or not cloak should be used at certain points in a fight. Refer to the mechanics guide found on Elitist Jerks for more information about what it does and does not work for.
This is the all-around most useful and powerful rogue mitigation tool. When glyphed, it provides 7 seconds of 50% reduced damage from AoE sources. If you take elusiveness as a talent, it provides 30% damage reduction from all sources and increase the AoE damage reduction to 65%. It does not have a cooldown and can be spammed without having to target anything. This ability can single handedly allow a rogue to survive through a number of bad situations/heavy damage abilities.
The ability grants 50% increase dodge for 15 seconds. If you find yourself with an add or boss hitting you, you should pop evasion to help reduce the chance of dying. It does not provide a guarantee that you will survive the assault, but greatly increases the odds. Using Preperation resets the cooldown on Evasion.
This ability is a good fall back to remove movement imparing abilities and an effective way to reset threat. If you have taken Shadow Focus, it also allows you to use it offensively for an additional free energy ability.
(Optional Talent): If you are going to get hit, this ability will help reduce the damage you will take. It provides 10% damage reduction, stacking 5 times, for up to 50% damage reduction. It is generally triggered by direct damage, but in MoP, there are currently a lot of other abilities that trigger the stacking effect.
Currently, there are no “hard and true” values nor has a true stat priority list been created by the major theorycrafting rogues. However, it is my belief that the stat priority list will remain the same for combat rogues. I do think the value for mastery and crit will come up some, so I have made a little bit of a change in that regard.
2.) Yellow Hit
6.) Crit = White Hit
The new hit/expertise caps that you will want to obtain are 7.5%. This takes 2550 Hit and 2550 Expertise rating to obtain.
(this section is still under construction and will be added later via edit or in a separate post)
This is a very useful macro to use to combine Adrenaline Rush and Shadow Blades. This macro is HIGHLY recommended, as they should be used together.
#showtooltip Adrenaline Rush
/Cast Adrenaline Rush
/Cast Shadow Blades
This is a start attack assist macro, designed to ensure you begin attack even when you have too little energy to cast your ability.
#showtooltip Sinister Strike
/Cast Sinister Strike
This is a very handy tricks of the trade macro, designed to cast tricks at your focus target without having to actually target them. All you need to do is set a focus target and then press this macro.
#showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
/cast [@focus] Tricks of the Trade
Rogue Power Bars – Timer bars for all rogue abilities (poisons, cooldowns, potions, etc.
NugComboBar – Combo Point tracking addon
Combo Point Redux – Combo Point tracking addon with insight tracker
Sinnaabun’s UI – Here is a link to download the UI I was using in Cataclysm. This is a custom build ui. When MoP goes live, many of these addons will need to be updated.
Elitist Jerks MoP Discussion
Elitist Jerks 5.0.x Mechanics Guide
Simcraft T14H Results
ShadowCraft Rogue Reforging tool
This Thursday after our Dragon Soul raid you can catch one of our raiding roundtables live via our livestreams.
The following members are set to attend (so far):
Amalyth (Protection Warrior)
Vida (Guardian Druid)
Saramore (DPS Warrior)
Chimerian (Restoration Druid)
Rachen (Shadow Priest)
…and perhaps more to come!
It all starts following our Dragon Soul clear! So tune in to http://www.twitch.tv/amalyth starting at 7pm CST for all the fun!
I’ve also included a “BiS” list bellow; however, this list is VERY preliminary and possibly completely incorrect. I’ve done a bit a testing using SimCraft and it seems that our three DPS stats (Haste, Crit, and Mastery) are very close together in value. I will have to do much more personal testing/experimenting to convince myself of what the true stat priority will be, and there may or may not be another build or two that will change our class once again before release, so it’s impossible to be 100% confident in the list I’ve made.
GEAR LIST SORTED BY INSTANCE:
Carapace Breaker (Mace)
Fallout-Filtering Hood (Head)
Pendant of Precise Timing (Neck)
Shoulders of Engulfing Winds (Shoulder)
Frenzyswarm Bracers (Wrist)
Bomber’s Precision Gloves (Hands)
Leggings of the Frenzy (Legs)
Viscous Ring (Finger)
Vision of the Predator (Trinket)
Greatstaff of Righteousness (Staff)
Whitemane’s Embroidered Chapeau (Head)
Forgotten Bloodmage Mantle (Shoulder)
Scorched Earth Cloak (Back)
Leggings of Hallowed Fire (Legs)
Signet of the Hidden Door (Finger)
Triune Signet (Finger)
Headmaster’s Will (Staff)
Necromantic Wand (Wand)
Barovian Ritual Hood (Head)
Anarchist’s Pendant (Neck)
Deadwalker Bracers (Wrist)
Incineration Belt (Waist)
Leggings of Unleashed Anguish (Legs)
Price of Progress (Trinket)
Gustwalker Staff (Staff)
Breezeswept Hood (Head)
Whisperwind Spaulders (Shoulder)
Bombardment Bracers (Wrist)
Breezebinder Handwraps (Hands)
Vial of Ichorous Blood (Trinket)
Flashfrozen Resin Globule (Trinket)
GEAR LIST SORTED BY SLOT:
Fallout-Filtering Hood (Gate of the Setting Sun | Saboteur Kip’tilak)
Whitemane’s Embroidered Chapeau (Scarlet Monastery | High Inquisitor Whitemane)
Barovian Ritual Hood (Scholomance | Jandice Barov)
Breezeswept Hood (Siege of Niuzao Temple | Wing Leader Ner’onok)
Pendant of Precise Timing (Gate of the Setting Sun | Saboteur Kip’tilak)
Mindcapture Pendant (Mogu’shan Palace | Xin the Weaponmaster)
Temperature-Sensing Necklace (Scarlet Halls | Flameweaver Koegler)
Anarchist’s Pendant (Scholomance | Instructor Chillheart)
Necklace of Disorientation (Shado-Pan Monastery | Sha of Violence)
Mindbreaker Pendant (Temple of the Jade Serpent | Sha of Doubt)
Shoulders of Engulfing Winds (Gate of the Setting Sun | Raigonn)
Regal Silk Shoulderpads (Mogu’shan Palace | Xin the Weaponmaster)
Forgotten Bloodmage Mantle (Scarlet Monastery | Thalnos the Soulrender)
Whisperwind Spaulders (Siege of Niuzao Temple | Wing Leader Ner’onok)
Cloak of Cleansing Flame (Mogu’shan Palace | Gekkan)
Scorched Earth Cloak (Scarlet Monastery | Brother Korloff)
Cloak of Hidden Flasks (Stormstout Brewery | Hoptallus)
Cape of Entanglement (Temple of the Jade Serpent | Liu Flameheart)
Frenzyswarm Bracers (Gate of the Setting Sun | Raigonn)
Deadwalker Bracers (Scholomance | Rattlegore)
Bombardment Bracers (Siege of Niuzao Temple | Commander Vo’jak)
Bracers of Displaced Air (Stormstout Brewery | Ook-Ook)
Bomber’s Precision Gloves (Gate of the Setting Sun | Striker Ga’dok)
Conflagrating Gloves (Mogu’shan Palace | Trial of the King)
Gloves of Enraged Slaughter (Shado-Pan Monastery | Sha of Viloence)
Breezebinder Handwraps (Siege of Niuzao Temple | General Pa’valak)
Paralyzing Gloves (Temple of the Jade Serpent | Sha of Doubt)
Viscous Ring (Gate of the Setting Sun | Commander Ri’mok)
Beastbinder Ring (Scarlet Halls | Houndmaster Braun)
Vithrak, Gaze of the Deadman (Scarlet Halls | Flameweaver Koegler)
Signet of the Hidden Door (Scarlet Monastery | Thalnos the Soulrender)
Triune Signet (Scarlet Monastery | High Inquisitor Whitemane)
Ring of Malice (Shado-Pan Monastery | Ring of Malice)
Alemental Seal (Stormstout Brewery | Yan-Zhu the Uncasked)
Vision of the Predator (Gate of the Setting Sun | Striker Ga’dok)
Price of Progress (Scholomance | Darkmaster Gandling)
Vial of Ichorous Blood (Siege of Niuzao Temple | General Pa’valak)
Flashfrozen Resin Globule (Siege of Niuzao Temple | Vizier Jin’bak)
Greatstaff of Righteousness (Scarlet Monastery | High Inquisitor Whitemane)
Headmaster’s Will (Scholomance | Darkmaster Gandling)
Gustwalker Staff (Siege of Niuzao Temple | Wing Leader Ner’onok)
Wort Stirring Rod (Stormstout Brewery | Yan-Zhu the Uncasked)
Staff of Trembling Will (Temple of the Jade Serpent | Sha of Doubt)
Carapace Breaker (Gate of the Setting Sun | Raigonn)
Je’lyu, Spirit of the Serpent (Temple of the Jade Serpent | Sha of Doubt)
Firescribe Dagger (Mogu’shan Palace | Xin the Weaponmaster)
Melted Hypnotic Blade (Scarlet Halls | Flameweaver Koegler)
Necromantic Wand (Scholomance | Rattlegore)
Bottle of Potent Potables (Stormstout Brewery | Hoptallus)
For the most part, I’ve stuck with the old Shadow Priest stat weights and given haste a vast priority over any other stat. I personally think haste is still going to be very good, but since DP is so important to our rotation (and MB along with that) hit will probably becoming more important. For that same reason, crit and mastery may get more appealing as well. Also, as a small note, this list is specific to the items available in the Heroic 5 Mans in MoP. Again, this list is very preliminary, and will likely change in the future, so feel free to check back as we get closer to launch to see if there is an updated list posted.
Head – Whitemane’s Embroidered Chapeau
Neck – Mindbreaker Pendant
Shoulder – Shoulders of Engulfing Winds
Back – Cape of Entanglement
Chest – Robes of Fevered Dreams
Wrist – Bombardment Bracers
Hands – Conflagrating Gloves
Waist – Fermenting Belt
Legs – Leggings of Unleashed Anguish
Feet – Soulbinder Treads
Finger #1 – Vithrak, Gaze of the Deadman
Finger #2 – Signet of the Hidden Door
Trinket #1 – Vision of the Predator
Trinket #2 – Flashfrozen Resin Globule
Weapon – Headmaster’s Will
I’m also going to try and create a complete Shadow Priest guide here in the next few weeks. It kind of depends on how busy I get at work and how often I can pull myself away from LoL, but check back now and then to see if anything new is available. I hope this post will be useful to those out there who like to have things all in one place like I do.]]>
I don’t know about other people out there, but I simply don’t like this design. Sure, it’s fun to put some RNG proc’s into the game for some variety and to make the game not stail, but what about when you’re trying to push the highest DPS you can and it actually matters? For hardcore raiders, we want to be able to push out the maximum damage possible, as consistently as we can. A simple example: Heroic Ultraxion, where we literally wiped at less than 500K HP on the boss several times before getting the kill. I remember looking at logs in between attempts and wondering, “Why am I 1-2K DPS less than I was last attempt? I felt like I did better this time.” When we are attempting a boss with such a strict enrage timer we needed every little bit we can squeeze out, and it’s just disappointing to wipe at such low numbers knowing you had no control whether or not you did 38K DPS or 42K DPS.
So, now we’re here in Mists of Pandaria Beta; what does Blizzard have for us in store? Well to start, let me give you a brief run-down of the changes that I feel are very impactful towards our damage/rotation:
Now of course there are many more small changes that I haven’t mentioned, but these are the big changes that significantly affect our damage output. We went from having a random aspect to our rotation (Shadow Orb procs) to being rewarded for casting our Mind Blast on cooldown and generating Shadow Orbs to cast Devouring Plague which, from experience on Beta, is our number one priority. Blizzard is moving in the right direction, giving us more damage for skillful play as opposed to giving us damage randomly with no skill attached. Other than that change, there are some new differences that might take some getting used to, like Shadow Word: Pain no longer being refreshed by Mind Flay, but nothing that an experienced Shadow Priest will have a difficult time with. There are also some interesting choices in the new talent tree that allows for some diversity in specialization, but I’m sure anything to do damage will be calculated out through SimCraft.
Of course, RNG is never going to completely gone from our rotation… I mean, it’s World of Warcraft we are talking about; however, the more they make X happen because of Y instead of X happening on a percent chance the more people will feel rewarded for their skills. I play this game because I enjoy the progression race. I enjoy taking the time to strategize a boss and execute said strategy with 24 other people. On top of that, I can compete with other DPS within my raid, and now with World of Logs and similar websites, I can complete with the rest of the world. True enough, it’s not very difficult to press my buttons in the right order, move out of fire on the ground, or use my cooldowns when I’m supposed to, but it’s the combination of everything all at once and being able to still beat other people doing the same thing is what drives me to play well. At the end of the day, making my rotation based more on skill and less on RNG aligns with my desires in the game, and so I’m very pleased with Blizzard’s change to my class.
Yes, Heroic Strike doesn’t do as much damage as Slam, but that’s really the only bad thing about this change. Despite that, there are multiple pros that make Taste for Blood better than it was before the patch. For starters, Taste for Blood now affects an ability that’s off the GCD instead of an ability that’s on the GCD. Not only does this allow you to go about your normal rotation with ease while being able to make use of your proc, but you can also use this more to your advantage to try and get extra stacks before using the proc without losing DPS. As an example, you could get one proc from an Overpower, use Slam+Slam (or CS+Slam depending on if CS is up and you don’t have the CS debuff applied to the target), MS, Overpower, and then get two more stacks. Because of this change, you were able to add two extra stacks to Taste for Blood without losing any DPS whatsoever. This also allows you to make better use of your procs during the Execute phase compared to before, which was harder to manage than it is now.
Deadly Calm is now even more useful because of this change. You can now either use Deadly Calm to use your proc in case you are low on rage, or use it strategically to help with a burst of damage, which brings me to my final point. This change now allows for more small bursts of damage to your target compared to when Taste for Blood affected Slam. As an example, you can pair Heroic Strike with an incredibly hard hitting ability like Dragon Roar to get a good, small burst of damage. Before this change, you were unable to do something like that.
Overall, I’m very happy with the recent changes and when you truly think about how this change now affects other things, you will likely be more content with how it now works and see that the current frustration is very unnecessary. I hope now when Blizzard makes a change with an ability, people won’t jump the gun and instead think about how a future change could work out better than how something previously did.]]>
With Mists of Pandaria around the corner I figured I would go ahead and provide a good resource for Protection Warriors to know both WHAT and WHERE to get the items they need to be ready to begin their first raid.
If you don’t know by now: warrior rage has been completely redesigned. No longer are Protection Warriors going to be full of excessive rage to dump whenever we want. I will leave my personal opinion out of it, but for better or worse — they had an intent with this. Among the obvious ones was they felt that we really did not have the task of managing our resource (at least as much) as others. The other, however, was a more systematic one. If you recall a number of months ago there was a blog post by Ghostcrawler who addressed the issue of tank itemization. The primary issue was tank gear having expertise and hit on them, in what appeared to be “just because.” His response to this was something along the lines of “we want tanks to value expertise and hit, and will eventually implement a way to make this happen.” And, that is exactly what they did. As of the date of this post the only ways a Protection Warrior can obtain rage are the following:
Keep in mind, leaving Defensive Stance subjects you to being critically hit from a boss, among the other significant meanings of being in this stance as a tank.
With the changes to rage generation also came changes to the rage cost of abilities. The majority of our abilities are now free to use, meaning they cost 0 rage. Below are the abilities that cost rage, and their correlating costs:
I stated all of that above to outline the rationale of almost all of my gear choice selections, which is seemingly counter-intuitive. I will explain this later.
What gear is there? Where does it drop?
I am going to organize first by WHERE, and then by SLOT. Click on the instance name to toggle the item and armor slot attributed to it.
Now, click on the item slot to toggle the item and heroic dungeon attributed to it.
Helm of Rising Flame (Scarlet Monastery)
Sap-Encrusted Legplates (Siege of Nivzao Temple)
Ook’s Hozen Slicer (Stormstout Brewery)
Ok, now that you know where to get things, and what’s available to you — it’s time to delve deeper into what specifically you should be getting, and why.
In the preface I went over, in detail, the rage changes and what abilities actually generate rage. The most important factor to remember here is that in order for your Shield Slam and Revenge to give you rage, they MUST hit. That means if you have 0% hit and expertise, you are not going to see optimal rage gain.
Until this point, Protection Warriors have greatly ignored Hit and Expertise, and for good reason: they were essentially useless. However, after participating in the raid testing thus far I have to say that I STILL don’t value using these stats over our other “tank” stats. There were only several occasions that a non-hit resulted in not being able to use Shield Block or Shield Barrier by choice. Additionally, both of our primary avoidance stats, dodge and parry give us the ability to use Revenge — which gives us rage. So, if you have taken a look at the gear available from heroic 5 man dungeons you can see a relative trend. And they are:
That being said, Blizzard has inadvertently (or intended, but I doubt it) given us a choice, and an easy one in my opinion.
Option 1: We can select our gear directly to generate rage and maximize our active mitigation via not missing Shield Slam, but substantially reducing the number of Revenge proc’s we get by selecting one Hit or Expertise secondary stat combined with one Mastery, Dodge, or Parry stat. All the while we take more damage over the course of the entire encounter from the reduced Dodge, Parry, and Mastery loss we sustain from choosing Hit or Expertise.
Option 2: We continue to aim for maximum avoidance and mitigation stats. While we do miss the occasional Shield Slam, but overall we get more Revenge proc’s. Contrary to option #1, we take less damage across the duration of an encounter due to the added dodge, block, and parry.
With that being said, below is the list of items I believe to be best-in-slot prior to stepping into your first raid. Keep in mind, there is not much variety in gear selection so picking up some Hit and Expertise is non-avoidable.
Helm: Helm of Rising Flame (Scarlet Monastery)
Neck: Armsmaster’s Sealed Locket (Scarlet Halls)
Shoulders: Spaulders of Immovable Stone (Siege of Nivzao Temple)
Cloak: Soulrender Greatcloak (Scarlet Monastery)
Chest: Canine Commander’s Breastplate (Scarlet Halls)
Wrists: Bubble-Breaker Bracers (Stormstout Brewery)
Gloves: Gauntlets of Resolute Fury (Shado-Pan Monastery)
Belt: Sparkbreath Girdle (Shado-Pan Monastery)
Legs: Sap-Encrusted Legplates (Siege of Nivzao Temple)
Boots: Wraithplate Treads (Scholomance)
Ring 1: Lime-Rimmed Signet (Stormstout Brewery)
Ring 2: Crystallized Droplet (Temple of the Jade Serpent)
Trinket 1: Iron Protector Talisman (Mogu’shan Palace)
Trinket 2: Heart of Fire (Shado-Pan Monastery)
Weapon: Ook’s Hozen Slicer (Stormstout Brewery)
Shield: Shield of Blind Hate (Shado-Pan Monastery)
Here are the raw (purely gear) stat gains you’ll be looking at with this gear (pre-reforging, which I will get to next):
Mastery (%): 2481 (4.12%)
Dodge (%): 4645 (5.25%)
Parry (%): 4752 (5.37%)
Hit (%): 254 (0.75%)
Expertise (%): 279 (0.82%)
And, for those interested — below are the base stats for Protection Warriors at level 90. (I am unsure of the algorithm’s to calculate the final stats, or even if they have been changed — so I did not bother to predict it.)
Mastery (%): 0 (17%)
Dodge (%): 0 (5.01%)
Parry (%): 0 (3.21%)
Hit (%): 0 (0%)
Expertise (%): 0 (0%)
Unless the math has changed dramatically since Cataclysm, and considering my explanation of gear selection earlier — this is going to work almost identically as before. Stat priorities being:
With that, when you have a piece of gear with both Dodge and Parry — you take the highest stat and reforge it to Mastery. If they are the same, choose whichever stat you currently have more of. If a piece has Dodge and Mastery, and your Parry is higher than your dodge: do nothing, and likewise with a piece with Parry and Mastery. If an item has Hit or Expertise combined with any Mastery, Dodge, or Parry stat you will always choose the Hit or Expertise and reforge it based upon the stat priorities listed above.
This is still up for debate. During the initial Cataclysm cycle, we gemmed pure avoidance and mastery, or even pure mastery. This may be subject to change in Mists of Pandaria with the introduction of Shield Barrier. I’m going to explain in greater detail in the next section as to why. The options though, would be to continue the same style of Cataclysm, or gem pure stamina. The answer to this, in my opinion, is going to come down to a per-encounter basis.
Shield Block versus Shield Barrier
The change to Shield Block was a very strong change. If you are unfamiliar with it, it’s quite simple. Shield Block now blocks every incoming attack for the next 6 seconds with the ability to critically block as well, and is usable twice within 15 seconds. Alternatively, you have the new ability, Shield Barrier. Shield Barrier acts much like the Death Knight ability Blood Shield. It is an absorb shield that absorbs damage based on two components: first, the amount of rage you have when used (the maximum being 60 rage, the cost of Shield Block), and second, your attack power.
This all ties into the gemming dilemma I was discussing earlier. As of this post, in full 476 gear (LFR item level) and a maximum stack of Vengeance (relative to your stamina), you are looking at an approximate 140,000 absorb shield (more if gemmed full stamina). Bosses in 10-man normal mode are currently hitting on average for around 50,000-80,000 damage in 476 item level gear, at varying speeds depending on the boss. So, hypothetically if you are tanking a boss — Shield Barrier is going to be superior for damage reduction. If a boss melee attacks you for 60,000 damage every 2 seconds, and you opt to use Shield Block (and assume you critically block [60% mitigation] all 3 swings) you mitigate a total of 108,000 damage. Alternatively, if you used a 60-rage Shield Barrier, you are going to mitigate (absorb) 140,000 damage. So, the only situation in which Shield Block is going to be more appropriate is going to be on an encounter where you are getting hit by multiple targets, or very quickly from one target. Otherwise, Shield Barrier is your go-to.
I will be releasing more guides as time goes on, but I figured this would be a great starter guide for those whom have yet to do their homework, or do not yet have access to the beta. Feel free to comment below with any questions, comments, or errors.
From the top!
The Stone Guard
This was quite clearly a bad encounter to begin testing with. I’m not going to speculate on the tuning too much for this encounter this early on, but I suspect they do not intend to for any encounter to potentially be AoE’d down in less than 45 seconds. My experience with this boss was this: we accidentally pulled the boss(es) as we were under the impression it was more trash, and killed it with only knowing what was written in the dungeon journal. Compared to the Cataclysm entry-level bosses like ODS, Conclave, and Halfus — this isn’t even in the same league. After the experience there, my outlook was quite grim as to what was to come.
Gara’jal the Spiritbinder
All I can say is “wow.” This was the polar opposite of The Stone Guard. As far as I understand there was only one guild to kill this, and it involved heavy raid stacking. If I was not under obligation to take my kittens to the veterinarian, I believe we could have adequately stacked our raid composition sufficient enough to have done the same. Alas, we ran out of time. However, what an amazing encounter. No doubt, this was incredibly overtuned to be a normal mode encounter, but this reminded me of the golden days of World of Warcraft. I cannot wait to see more from this encounter in the future.
The Spirit Kings
This one, on paper, seemed to be a reboot of ODS in Blackwing Descent. However, it turned out to be slightly different. In terms of tuning — I think they got this just about right. I believe damage could be increased moderately to at least run the risk of deaths. As it appears now, it seems as if randomization will play a key role in strategy. Unfortunate as RNG can be, it can also provide your raid to showcase their talent, and I look forward to seeing this on heroic mode.
Will of the Emperor
This encounter looks REALLY promising. I think it’s perfect tuned for normal mode. The key to this encounter is a mix between raid balancing, and melee (including tanks) figuring out how to properly avoid the boss’s Devastating Arc to gain the damage bonus. There are several theories as to why this exists. First, not as a necessary tool to the encounter, but an assist to melee due to the nature of movement. Conversely, a needed component to defeat the rather well-balanced soft-enrage timer. Outside of that, again — a really interesting encounter that shows huge promise for heroic mode.
Imperial Vizier Zor’lok
Rather interesting encounter mechanically. Again, we pulled this boss prematurely and defeated it nonetheless. This may be appropriately tuned for normal mode, but most guilds wont have much of an issue here. Heroic mode? We’ll see.
I personally did not get to test this encounter, alike many other guilds due to the spawning issue. However, our one group that did successfully get him to spawn killed him rather quickly. My opinion here is entirely from observing other streams, but I found a mixed bag of results. It appears as if many guilds were having major issues while others caught on at some point. The encounter seems somewhat gimmicky. Hopefully I’m wrong with that observation.
Any encounter that involves vehicles automatically sets off alarms in the minds of the vast majority of raiders. However, this fight seemed to implement it in such a way that it didn’t seem out of place. While our personal best was roughly equivalent to that of our competition, and we did not defeat this due to the short testing schedule — this seems like a very promising encounter. The only downside of this encounter is that it appears to suggest some strict class stacking, and while this isn’t a new venture for Blizzard, hopefully they address the issue. (I’ll leave the reasoning unsaid for those whom have yet to test it.)
After a very unsettling start, this expansion’s raid content seems to look very promising. Almost every encounter is loaded with more unique mechanics as opposed to gimmicks, and that almost always equates to fun. Thus far, testing has been very well executed as opposed to past PTR testing (barring Garalon). Lets hope this trend continues. With 18 bosses up for the first tier of content, it’s looking like a lengthy progression cycle. And, I, for one look forward to it.
As it stands now there seems to be two standard testing times:
If you would like to watch, feel free to visit my stream: http://twitch.tv/amalyth during those hours (also before and after) to check out strategy discussion, progress, and the encounters themselves.
Here’s a quick update on our recruitment needs:
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There will most definitely be more of these to come in the future, so make sure to keep checking back!