video games

Building a Consistent Rogue

What is a rogue? Actually, a rogue is a mixture of different properties activated by the appropriate talents. Some most obvious of these properties are:
  • Mobility (example: Camouflage, Elusiveness, Shadowstep, Fleet Footed, Improved Sprint)
  • Sustained damage – means, total damage over a long period (example: Precision, Dual Wield Spec, Sword Spec)
  • Burst damage – means, total damage over a short period (example: Premeditation, Adrenaline Rush, Master of Subtlety)
  • Combo Generation (example: Seal Fate, Ruthlessness, Initiative, Setup, Premeditation)
  • Crits (example: Improved Ambush, Malice, Puncturing Wounds, Lethality)
  • Big Finishers (example: Imp. Evis, Serrated Blades)
  • Energy Efficiency (example: Relentless Strikes, Quick Recovery, Combat Potency, Dirty Tricks)
  • Control – means, keeping enemy disabled for an extended time (example: Improved Gouge, Mace Specialization, Blade Twisting, Improved Kick)
Basically, you spend your talent points to boost some of these properties. Whichever build you chose, you must be careful about one thing – the talents you chose must work together! What I would recommend is to choose the properties you like the most, and distribute your talent points accordingly.
In this blog entry, I am going to inspect my current build – which is a combination of the properties big finishers, combo generation and energy efficiency – sorted by priority. First, I will try to expose how I came to the idea that I need these three properties. And then; we will inspect how to approach the subject of talent distribution.
Please note that my current build is perfect for me because it matches my preferences and playstyle. Purpose of this entry isn’t to tell that “Mutilate pwns!!!”. I rather would like to introduce to a way of thinking about how to choose talents. I could pickup any other balanced build as an example; but my current build seems to be my best example because I know it very well.
Choosing Properties (Sample)

After spending a virtual fortune trying different builds, I finally decided that a 4x/0/1x mutilate dagger build brings the perfect balance between fun, power, deadliness and usefulness in both PVP & PVE. 

I used combat swords for a while; some variations of 1x/4 x/ 0. I agree that it probably has the best damage output for raiding situations. But it is dull and boring as being a healbot. You just hit things into the face, that’s it. I felt like being a light warrior without all the bells and whistles. Little creativity, little fun, not really my thing.
I also tried variations of subtlety as well – like 20/0/41 and 3x /0/ 3x. Now that’s much better for PVP situations. You can’t be kited that easily, preparation saves your rear end a lot and you can use many movements twice, premeditation makes sure you can burst real fast (if you have Imp. Ambush and switch between daggers & swords of course), and Hemo provides a certain sword damage output. However, this build won’t work very well in PVE situations and I hate to pay 50g each time I want to raid (+50 more to respec back to Sub).
Therefore; I needed a balance between the 2 worlds of PVP and PVE – with the acceptance that I would have to sacrifice some extreme advantages of a pure PVP or pure PVE build. Finally, I came up with my current Mutilate build. Let’s inspect the key points of this build.
Basically, this build is based upon energy efficiency, fast combo point generation and big finishers. Because I was a feral druid for a long time, I was limited to combo point generation for DPS; therefore it didn’t feel awkard to me. And this approach is applicable (with some sacrifice as mentioned) for both PVP / PVE.
Distributing Talent Points (Sample)
Now that I’ve decided which properties I want to boost, I can move on to talents. First of all, check my current build:
To make sure that I have big finishers, I have to pick up Serrated Blades (+30% Rupture) and Improved Eviscerate (+15% Evis). The rest is obvious; but still, I will go into details.
Let’s start with the Subtlety tree. To pick up Serrated Blades, I need 15 points in the Sub tree. With this assumption;
  • 5/5 Master of Deception is a must for PVP if you don’t want other rogues to jump on you all the time. 
  • 5/5 Opportunity is also nice to boost the Mutilate damage, the regular source of damage.
  • I put the rest into Camouflage because it’s a hell of fun to walk that fast in battlegrounds and the arena. Many will criticise this idea but hey, if I’m not having fun, then why play? 
  • After I have 15 points, I can have 3/3 Serrated Blades.
Now let’s take a look at relatively obsolete talents which look nice at the first glance. 
  • Dirty Tricks? You already have 5/5 MoD, no mob can see you don’t worry. 1/2 is enough for energy efficiency. If you insist, you can have 2/2 Dirty Tricks and 4/5 Master of Subtlety.
  • Initiative? It sounds nice to have %70 chance to add another combo point to your opponent. However, a mutilate build simply doesn’t need it. Why? Well; a Cheap Shot will give you 2 points. A following Shiv + Mutilate will give you +3 points, and that’s all you need. If you activate Cold Blood before mutilating, or just mutilate on a lucky moment, you still get +3 points without Shiv. So, having 5 combo points without your opponent being able to move is very easy with Mutilate. You don’t need to waste 3 points here.
  • Ghostly Strike? Energy-wise too expensive for my taste. Although it is a nice  boost to Evade, I am happy with Evade alone. If you think otherwise, you can steal a point from Dirty Tricks or Camouflage and activate Ghostly Strike.
  • Improved Ambush? I really like the Crit Ambush + [optional Shiv] + Mutilate + [etc] + [any finisher] combo on unsuspecting clothies. However; on a mutilate build, I can activate Cold Blood if I want my Ambush to crit. And I never wanted my Ambush to crit more than once per 3 minutes (cooldown time of Cold Blood). Therefore, this talent is also a waste in my opinion.
  • For the rest, I don’t have enough talent points anyway. 
And now, let’s inspect the Assassination tree. 
  • 3/3 Improved Evis is mandantory for a big finisher. For PVP situations, it will work well on anything except plate. In PVP situations, combining this talent with Cold Blood will kill any weakened mob; and it’s also usable on bosses when you are low on aggro.
  • 5/5 Malice is a must on any rogue build. If you don’t know why, you shouldn’t be reading this anyway.
  • 3/3 Ruthlesness is a no-brainer for a fast combo generation build.
  • 3/3 Puncturing Wounds will boost your regular DPS source – Mutilate. Malice + Puncturing Wounds will give a +20% crit chance to your mutilate. If your base crit chance is 30%; 30 + 20 = 50% crit chance of Mutilate! Means that one of every two of your Mutilate attacks will crit. This will work in harmony with other Mutilate and Crit-related talents as well.
  • 5/5 Lethality – same purpose as Puncturing Wounds. Boost your Mutilate crit damage. 
  • 1/1 Relentness Strikes – I could discuss this if it would require an investment bigger than one single point. Fast combo generation, big 5-point finisher, BANG! You get 25 energy back immediately! A must have for energy efficiency.
  • 5/5 Vile Poisons: I prefer it over Improved Poisons because Shiv gives me 100% chance to apply a poison anyway, and more damage is never bad. ((I feel like I might be missing something here, hmmm…))
  • 1/1 Cold Blood – Crit at will for one single point? Diddle-Y-A-Doo-Dat!
  • 2/2 Fleet Footed is just for PVP fun. Watch this poor noob run away while you are at his/her back, and if your timing is good you don’t have to activate Sprint. Works for me! 15% snare resistance effect isn’t useless either.
  • 2/2 Quick Recovery is also good for energy effectiveness. Remember that you don’t have a hit rating boost from the combat tree and you can miss a lot. Saving 80% of the energy is good; + 20% more healing from healers and bandages is also not bad.
  • 5/5 Seal Fate is a must for fast combo generation. Every time you crit, you get +1 combo point for free! Crit during opening, you get +1 point. Crit on Mutilate, you get +1 point. Use Cold Blood, you get +1 point.  Crit anytime, you get +1 point. Can’t miss it!
  • 1/1 Vigor:  +10 Energy doesn’t sound too much. However; after you get 4 pieces of the PVP gladiator set you get +10 more energy, which makes 120 in total. Now; +20 energy enables a whole new set of interesting combinations. For energy efficiency, it is a must.
  • 5/5 Find Weakness: You made your opener (5 combos), hit your finisher, and want to keep your DPS up? Find Weakness is the answer. It also works after Slice & Dice; so it will boost your DPS in PVE situations as well.
  • 1/1 Mutilate: Just read it. Have your target posioned before mutilating – a crippling Shiv will do it. The only con of Mutilate is the positioning requirement – which is usually no problem in PVE. In PVP, you have to be sneaky. Having a hard time getting behind your opponent? Wait for him/her to get distracted, get behind open. Vanish, get behind, open. Or; blind, run out of combat, stealth, get behind, open. Or; gouge, get behind, mutilate. Even if your opponent uses a trinket, you’ll have enough time. 
Of course; there are – and will be – many variations of this build. I just wanted to share my personal experience. A pure PVP build (Subtlety perhaps?) may outperform this build in the arena – depending on playstyle. Or a pure PVE build (Combat perhaps?) may outperform this build in raids. However; I like to taste all the aspects of WOW (PVE, heroics, raids, BGs, Arena)  and I can’t spend 50g every time I want to make something different. With some sacrifice on the extreme ends made me a respectable rogue for all situations. And I never heard anyone say: “Hey! Your [DPS/CC/Mobility/etc] is bad! Go respec [XX/YY/ZZ] or go away!”. 
If I intended to be a pure raid player, I would probably go Combat. Or as a pure PVP player, I would go Subtlety. But in my case, Mutilate has been my solution. Did I mention that it is also extremely fun?
Required Playstyle (Sample)
Now, let’s talk about the basic playstyle of this build.
In PVP, you are going to have to be sneaky. You just can’t jump in the middle of the fight because you don’t have “In-your-face” talents; you rather have “In-your-b*tt” talents. Therefore; wait until the fight starts and one of the opposing players get out of the heat “alone”. Then, do your combo: CS – Shiv – Muti – KS – Muti – [Shiv / Muti] – [Gouge – Shiv / Muti] – [Evis / Rupture]. Or, find a victim who is already fighting one or two of your friends, sneak behind him / her and do a similiar combo with less CC concerns. Something like [Ambush / Garrote] – Shiv – Muti – [Evis / Rupture] should be enough for starters.
In PVE, you will make respectable damage; but must be careful about aggro. High damage in a short time will piss mobs and bosses off, and a dead rogue means 0 DPS. Therefore, always keep your eyes on your favorite aggrometer (KTM or Omen should do) and don’t make any special movements if your aggro increases dangerously. Make smart usage out of Feint; and if the opponent turns on you, you can usually use Vanish or Sprint to stay alive – you won’t need them in PVE situations for anything else.
I hope you found this entry useful. I’m sure that it’s full of technical / mathematical mistakes, but this is not a theorycrap entry anyway. Main purpose of this entry is to demonstrate an approach to build a consistent rogue; not promoting Mutilate builds or calculating the best DPS. Decide what you’ll be doing, pick your favorite properties accordingly, distribute talents, and prepare some tactics for your regular playstyle. This approach can also be adapted to other classes.
Don’t expect your first build to be perfect, and don’t be afraid of trying different builds. Doing a small portion of daily quests in Island of Q. will give you 50g easily – then you can respec and try something new. 
Remember that World of Warcraft is for entertainment only! Don’t try to make anything else out of it, or you’ll get hurt!

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