Monday, 17 June 2013

The Cata Sub Rogue

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EDIT: Featured!

I loved playing a subtlety Rogue in Cataclysm.

Having played most classes and specs I found that at that time in the game it was definitely the most difficult and rewarding (damage output wise). You had to use your finishers to maintain uptime of 3 buffs/debuffs (Slice and Dice, Eviscerate to refresh Rupture, Recuperate for the bonus health/energy regeneration), maintain Haemorrhage (+ bleed damage) unless someone else in the raid was doing it and of course use any survival cool downs, interrupt and move out of the poop.

If you got your rotation and finishers right, you'd be nothing special. The niche lay in using Shadowdance, Vanish and Preparation to maximise the expose weakness debuff at the right times (eg not before SnD was about to fall off) whilst executing everything else flawlessly. If done really well the damage meters would make you stand out but it was very difficult to do perfectly. It was that level of difficulty that I really liked. At the time there were very few sub rogues about as most players simply found it too difficult. I got so many whispers after running Baradin Hold asking how my damage was so high and people saying that I shouldn't be doing that much in my gear so they'd be reporting me for cheating. It's funny that a lot of people just don't believe some people really are better than they are. I remember nine manning Argaloth with only one tank early on when most people didn't have the dps to beat enrage; few people I told that story to ever believed me and I couldn't be bothered to argue with them.

Combat as a sub rogue would go something like this:

Target the boss and ask healers to over-heal until you get 5 CP’s on the boss. I would usually /w a resto druid or shaman a little while before combat so their trinket procs would be off cool down before the pull, but some liked them being on cd as there’s never much healing to be done in the first 30 secs or so (with the obvious exception being HC Halfus who puts out a hell of a lot of damage early on in the fight).

Hit Tricks macro 20 secs before pull.

Pop SnD or Recoup just before the pull.

Use “+stealth opener” macro to get into combat, I had premed, shadow-step, ambush and backstab all tied to one macro and spammed it until I had 5 CP’s.

Use backstab to build CP’s interweave Hemo before it drops off if you're the "mangle bot", hit Rupture early then use Eviscerate to refresh it. Maintain a rhythm of SnD, Recoup and Eviscerate finishers from then on throughout the fight; usually had to do them in order and I’d usually find myself refreshing them just a couple of seconds before they would fall off.

After refreshing SnD and then Recoup I’d hit Shadowdance then spam that “+stealth opener” macro to get the expose weakness buff. During Shadowdance I'd hit nothing but that macro and Eviscerate. Whilst the expose weakness buff is active I could usually maintain Eviscerate finishers for the duration (hence why it’s so important to refresh SnD and Recoup before Shadow-dance “burn” phases as you really don't want to be refreshing SnD/recoup whilst expose weakness was up).

By the time expose weakness fell off it’s time to refresh SnD and Recoup.

Hit Vanish, pop macro, expose weakness, go back to burn phase.

Depending on fight mechanics, either wait for shadow dance to come off cool down or hit prep so you could shadow dance or vanish again and get back to the burn phase.

Other things you might need to do during a fight include using tricks on either the tank or another rogue, feint to drop threat or reduce damage (threat wasn’t usually an issue in Cata), redirect when target switching, sprint when movement was involved, cloak to remove magic debuffs, shiv to dispel enrages oh and of course interrupt the boss!
There were a few abilities I hardly ever used; garotte, cheap shot and kidney shot had little use in a raid environment as most bosses were immune to those sort of things, and I found I had a lot of buttons that just didn't need to be used very often.

How I made it easier on myself:

I always found having an interrupt bound to a hotkey helped except on fights where you had to use feint to soak damage in which case I’d switch the interrupt for feint. In either case it's good to have the button where you can hit it without thinking.

I used TellMeWhen (addon) to highlight important buffs/debuffs I needed to keep track of. I used power auras to keep track of my combo points and set it up so that it would make a noise when my target or focus cast something I had to interrupt.

The way Serrated blades worked it was a gamble using Eviscerate to refresh Rupture at anything less than 5 combo points as it had a 20% chance per combo point to refresh it, so if you hit it at 2 the odds on it “working” was only 40%. I had some micro thrills when those gambles paid off as having to re-cast rupture was quite the dps loss as 5CP finishers should really be used elsewhere.

So yeah, sub rogues – very challenging compared to the “cast X unless Y is off cool down” play style of a lot of classes but the challenge and difficulty is what drew me to it. I had to go Combat for Ultraxion (also made trash easier) but I found it a very boring spec to play, was far too simple for my liking. I regret never really giving assasination a good attempt but for all I could tell it wasn't that different to combat really, as most of the damage came passively from poisons.

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