As Usual Suspects moves into Hammerknell, I've been very impressed by the complexity and difficulty of the instance so far. It's also very cool looking. There is a lot for rogues to do in this instance, but so far, one thing is clear: Sabdancer is king.

Murdantix is going to be the new benchmark for raid DPS in Raid Tier 2, just as Plutonus was in Raid Tier 1. It's a single target fight with good uptime on the boss and not too many secondary mechanics to worry about. It looks like 2.2k DPS is the highest benchmark being floated about.

Matron Zamira is a fun and challenging encounter that basically requires Saboteurs for AOE and has a few mixed mechanics as well. We were able to get Shard First on this encounter and if you see "skull" talk on the forums, you know what its about. I don't anticipate the fight will be much more difficult next week.

We haven't done any of the other bosses, but judging from videos and discussions, there is a wide array of mechanics and strategies that should keep us busy for a long time. However, if you're a rogue DPS, it really looks like Sabdancer is the only spec you need.

Oh, and a little humor.


Posted by Dunsparrow
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 2:18 AM | 0 comments  
From the rift forums:
I understand everybody's disappointment that we're not allowed to reveal the date of HK's release. I will say that we've had a very solid release date for many months and that we plan on meeting that date.

As a reward for your patience... here's an image from one of our dungeon team white boards.

So it seems like HK is today.
Posted by Dunsparrow
Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 1:40 AM | 2 comments  
As you can see, the PvP synergy crystal will add 125 AP at Rank 5. This makes the 4-piece PvP gear best in slot for raiding until Hammerknell 2-piece.


Good amount of favor/prestige for closing PvP rifts.

Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
...Still Sabdancer.

Yes we have some new changes to potential viable specs and they are all nerfs to prospective "sab-beater" specs.

Currently fast weapons are better than slow weapons, because whetstones add a flat amount of damage, so daggers get a much larger boost than, say, maces. Also, Spotter's Order benefits fast attacks and pet classes for basically the same reason - it adds a flat amount of damage to each attack, so the more attacks you have, the more DPS you will do. This all changes, come 1.4:

So with the new Spotter's Order, it will add a fixed amount of damage every 3 seconds, meaning it will be about 170 DPS for everyone in the raid, regardless of their spec.

With some specs, this will mean as much as a 300 DPS nerf, just from this change alone, but Sabdancer will not be greatly affected.

Combine this with the new whetstones now adding DPS to the weapons instead of a flat amount of damage, and daggers will not be any better than axes or maces.

Incidentally, the new Oilstone means that two-handers will be good for warriors once again. It's too early to tell if anything will beat paragon, but at least 2h specs won't be far behind.

The specs that will be greatly nerfed by these changes will be the Hoko Spec (because pets won't proc Spotter's) and the raiding bleed spec (Because Spotter's can only proc every 3 seconds).

For now, this will leave Sabdancer as the king of DPS mountain.

Also, if you're like me, you probably already use multiple pieces of PvP gear while raiding. Next patch, this will pay off big time, as the new PvP synergy crystals for rogue will add a nice smattering of attack power:

Rogue PvP Synergy Crystal
2-piece: +500 Health
4-piece: +200 Attack Power

This bonus is for Rank 7/8 gear, so we'll get a bit less, based on our current rank, but this will still put 4-piece PvP gear as best-in-slot until we start getting PvE synergy crystals out of HK. Glad I wasted all my DKP on stupid tanking weapons!

While this AP-boost will be nice, eventually we'll still want to use PvE synergy crystals in PvE and PvP. I'll take 30% increased Blazing Strike and 7 extra stacks of Scourge of Darkness over 200 AP any day.

Oh Trion, why can't you balance anything properly.
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 11:09 PM | 1 comments  
From my youtube video comments:


Don't wait 48 hours bro. Act now!
Posted by Dunsparrow
Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 11:01 AM | 6 comments  
From the Rift forums, some rogues have been doing some good investigations on the new crit cap and I want to summarize the situation here. According to Trion, the "soft" crit cap is 45% crit. This includes any stat increase buffs, but not any % increase buffs/talents.

What this means is that anything that increases your stats (Fanfare of Power, Powersurge Vial, Vitality of Stone, Ambidextrous, etc.) pushes you toward the soft crit cap of 45%.

Anything that increases your crit percentage by a fixed amount (Ruthlessness, Eagle Eye, Motif of Focus, etc) does not count toward the crit cap.

This means that the soft crit cap is actually a crit rating cap. The crit rating to reach the cap is currently 1187 crit. This is easily reachable in Raid gear if you're using a crit sourcestone and if you are heading into HK, its a virtual certainty you'll be reaching it.

What happens after the crit cap? Normally, its 26 crit rating for 1% crit. After the crit soft cap is reached, its 132 crit rating for 1% crit. That is a 5x increase in rating to get the same 1% crit. This means you want to avoid at all costs going over the crit soft cap.

The best way to avoid this is to swap out all your crit essences for AP essences. Here are the top 7 AP essences that every rogue should be using once they start approaching 1100 crit rating fully raid buffed (and where to get them):
As you can see, your main goal should be to amass Inscribed Sourcestones, and if you run any extra rifts, they should be death, for a chance at Shade Slice or Final Cut. Good hunting!
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
So 6 months after Rift is released, someone at Trion finally observes "Hey clerics might be healing too much" Hurrr.

As a result, Cleric instant/reactive heals are getting shitcanned. Finally. I think the way they are doing it is stupid, though. Heals will be normal until the player enters PvP, then many of his heals are nerfed.

Clerics in PvP
  • All instant and reactive heals reduced in PvP only.
  • Barb of Shackles (Templar) removed. Replaced with...
  • Nysyr's Brand (1o point Templar root). Increases target's chance to be crit and prevents stealth for 30 seconds. Eat shit Assassins. Blahaha.

Seriously, it does seem strange to single out stealthers in this way, but whatever. Anway, the healing nerf is stupid for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that new players won't understand why their heals start to suck when another player attacks them. It will amount to a Fell Blades-style debuff for all classes in PvP. Kinda... clumsy.

I also don't think that Healing clerics need this much of a nerf. It's pretty OP for hybrids to heal out the wazzoo, but pure healers should be able to have a few instants at their disposal, especially self-heals. I think this patch goes too far.

Also Dominators are finally getting a good old fashioned nerfing. They were way overpowered, as I mentioned weeks ago.

Dominators

  • Split Personality damaged reduced
  • All energy/power drains reduced by about 50%
  • Transference no longer completely prevents energy/power regen

Dominators will still be good, but you might actually see a mage or two with a different spec. Gasp. Drama.

If you want to see my thoughts on the viability of rogue builds in 1.4 and the general outlook for rogues, check my post from a couple days ago.

Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 4:44 PM | 0 comments  
http://forums.riftgame.com/showthread.php?225785-PVP-1.4-Discussion

Got plenty to say on this, but its a lot to sift through. For now digest the pvp spec analysis below.
Posted by Dunsparrow
1.4 Notes: http://forums.riftgame.com/showthread.php?225786-Rogue-1.4-Discussion

Seems like Trion is faltering once again on the PvP front. I hope you like Assassins, because that's all you will see.

Highlights:

Assassin
51 Assassin/15 Inf will be getting a massive buff in PvP. I hate Assassin, because its impossible to be extremely good at it, like you can with NB. The worst Assassin is decent, and the best Assassin is pretty good. Here are the relevant bits:
  • Impale now increases Final Blow by 30% instead of 8%. This amounts to a 20% increase in an already hard-hitting ability.
  • Anathema now works exactly like Fell Blades. Because Assassins did not get Fell Blades, this amounts to a huge buff to Assassin, as they now get a much-improved healing debuff with the same cookie-cutter spec.
Assassins are going to seriously destroy anyone.

Nightblade
Nightblade is getting a mixed bag. While the Anathema change is (apparently) a direct nerf to Nightblade, it is getting a bone tossed its way that could even make it raid viable... maybe. Deets:
  • Dusk to Dawn - that pesky problem where it didn't work if the target was immune to snare is now fixed.
  • Nightrage - When you use Dusk to Dawn you get a 1m buff called Nightrage, which increases your Blazing Strike and Flame Thrust damage by 40%. Bear in mind that Blazing Strike already gets 30% extra damage when a target is below 30% and the new set bonus gives it another 30% all the time. Get ready to one-shot everyone for 2 days until they nerf it. Except Assassins, who will kill you in stunlock.
  • Fell Blades - It appears that this ability will now be redundant with Anathema. If so, you won't use it anymore, since Anathema can't be dispelled. You would instead just use Molten Blades, I guess. This means that healers will be significantly more effective against you, which won't be a big deal until they nerf Nightrage and you can't one-shot them anymore.
The reason I say "apparently" when talking about Fell Blades/Anathema redundancy is that I have a sneaking suspicion that a big change is coming to Fell Blades. If you look at the post, Fell Blades is not mentioned as a redundant debuff, but debuffs from other classes with identical functionality are mentioned. This is a strange word choice, seeing as its the rogue thread.

This leads me to believe that Fell Blades may get reworked into something different (like a power drain or something) or removed entirely and replaced with a new ability. I'd settle for an immunity to power drains.

There's also the outside chance that Fell Blades will stack with Anathema for 100% reduction. If so, that will be nasty, but like Nightrage, it will be nerfed. I don't think anyone wants a complete healing shutoff.

Marksman
Who cares, bunnyhopping suckbags. But seriously, nothing is changed.

Other PvP Specs
Do not exist.
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
Posted by Dunsparrow
Monday, July 11, 2011 at 4:55 AM | 0 comments  
Still quite a few PvP bugs floating around that need fixing
  • Any stun/disable effect will interrupt someone trying to capture a flag, even if they are immune to the effect. This is especially annoying with rogue Lost Hope as they can spam it at range from stealth indefinitely in a place like Vault.
  • Similarly, clerics can cast Circle of Oblivion on the flag while being out of line of sight. This likewise needs a fix.
  • Dominator Split Personality scales far, far too well with gear. The dominator soul is extremely powerful, with the ability to crush and/or disable entire groups on their own. The extra damage from the Split Personalities is much too high. In 750 valor, these pets crit me for upwards of 700 damage each.
I post about these bugs because Trion has a propensity to ignore bug reports until they reach some kind of critical mass. Just like the old bunnyhopping bug, the more people that are aware of the bug, the more likely it is to be fixed.

I'm really tired of rogues sitting in stealth and chain sapping at vault.
Posted by Dunsparrow
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:

These crystals look fairly amazing overall for those of us who enjoy melee rogue. Obviously some things are unfinished or bugged, as they show a bonus of +0 but we can still extrapolate some data.

A poster on the forum said he tested and the MM bonus is 10% energy reduction and the BD bonus is 1% per stack up to 20 stacks, and it self-refreshes.

This makes the BD crystal the best one by far, especially considering every raiding spec right now uses BD. The 4 piece bonus is junk, but thats fine.

The Nightblade crystal will be extremely awesome for PvP. I'm not sure if their will be a way to get multiple synergy crystals, but if so, running 4 piece R2 in PvP as Nightblade will rock, with 30% bigger Blazing Strikes and 15 stacks of Scourge of Darkness. Pretty awesome right there.

The Saboteur 4 piece bonus looks very good as well, but unless they nerf Sabdancer, the BD crystal will be better. I'm not sure why Trion keeps putting Frag bomb bonuses on Sab things. Frag bomb is garbage for everything. Very strange.
Posted by Dunsparrow
I've received a surprising number of people asking me about specs and one thing that seems to come up in conversations is some variation of "whats the best way to get ready for raiding?" I decided to address that here. Behold: everything you need to know about getting ready to raid.

Goals
  • 100 Hit for T2s
  • All T1 blue or better gear
  • 200-220 Hit for Raids
  • Weaponating your Weapon slots
44-49

In this level range, you need to spend 100% of your time in instances or in the following 3 zones doing quests: Ironpine Peak, Shimmersand, Stillmoor. The reason is simple: you need the reputations from the major factions in these zones for important items that will help you not be a 300 dps charity case when you get into T2s or Greenscale. Once you're 48, the only instances you should be running are Charmer's Caldera or Abyssal Precipice.

Day 1: Ding 50!

Grats! Now shut the hell up. We have to work to do.
  • Buy at Wyrmbane Spire (requires Decorated with Dragonslayers): Drake Scale Choker for +26 hit
  • Run Chamer's Caldera (CC) at least once (preferably before 50) to complete the quest and get: Wind-Touched Mace for +26 hit
  • Buy at Zareph's Return (requires Decorated with Mathos): Sapphire Studded Mathosian Band x2 for total of +40 hit
  • Crafted: Spined Compound Bow with augment. +30 hit
  • Crafted: Wayward Breeches with augment. This is equivalent to T2 leg.
  • Get your 6-slot Sigil/Core and throw some cheap level 40+ lessers in there with dex/crit. Get as many Agile Reflex as you can afford, and fill the rest with whatever is on the AH. Put lessers in your greater slots. Greaters are bad.
  • OPTIONAL Crafted: Sword of the Order or Callous Blade. +25 hit. Only do this if your weapon is particularly bad.
If you're not decorated with Mathos and Dragonslayer yet, get there. Its very easy. In the rest of the slots your questing/leveling items will suffice. You now have over 100 hit and are set for Tier 2 dungeons. Do not spend time in Tier 1s unless you just want the experience.

Runes

Now that you have some shiny (and some not-so-shiny) gear. What runes to use? Eventually, you'll want to be using the Mathos, Icewatch and Dragonslayer runes for your Belt, Helm and Legs, but you're probably not there yet. Runecrafters can get you started and the vendors in the zones you leveled through can fill in the gaps:

Helm
Get the Radiant Accurate Rune or Luminous Accurate Rune if you're not hit capped. If you are hit capped, grab Icewatch Bandit's Rune if you have the notoriety, otherwise the Redscar Strider's Emblem from Perspice.

Shoulder/Chest

Gloves

Belt
Get the Mathosian Pugilist's Rune if you have the notoriety, otherwise the Runeguard Battlemaster's Emblem.

Legs
Get the Radiant Accurate Rune or Luminous Accurate Rune if you're not hit capped. If you are hit capped, grab the Crafty Dragonslayer's Rune if you have the notoriety. Otherwise, get the Arcane Sneak's Rune from Lantern Hook.

All Weapons

Day 2: Tier 2s

If you are LFG for T2, you stand the best chance of finding one if you can queue as both DPS and support. You should have at least 2 roles.
  • Your DPS role should be ranged saboteur. This will allow you to crush the DPS meters while having maximum awareness to not stand in fire and do other stupid crap that will make people hate you. The rotation is 5x Shrapnel > Detonate, 5x Spike > Detonate. Cake.
  • Your support role should be raid bard. Focus on learning to be a good bard, keeping Motifs active, group healing, timing cooldowns and not dying.
You may have different ideas about these specs. You might think you know better or you might have a pet spec that you used while leveling. Maybe you really are smarter than everyone else, but I encourage you to learn to use the cookie cutter specs first and then once you have the basics down, you can use them as a baseline to compare with whatever you want to try. You will find that the cookie cutter specs are there for a reason: they are best in the vast majority of situations.

Which T2s to run?

As a DPS rogue, your weapons are of paramount importance. Expert Runic Descent should be your #1 priority and I encourage you to queue for that first before using the random queue function. RDx has the Eyemangler and Blackheart Blade for weapons, the trash drop Rune-Carved Bow (best for a long time) along with the Cover of Night, Loop of the Dangerous, Shard of Planes, and several excellent blue items. Its a rogue item bonanza.

There are great upgrades in every T2, and eventually you'll want to run them all many times. Your best items will come from RDx and DSMx.

Once you run 2-3 T2s, you should have the hit required for Greenscale/RoS.

Day 3: Ready to Raid

Your target hit is 220. On the off chance that your T2 runs didn't put you over the 200 hit soft cap, craft Mask of the Hunter for +20 more hit. You can then stick this in the wardrobe slot when you find an upgrade.

Before you march off into Greenscale and RoS, make sure you are doing the Daily Raid Rift each day. The quest is available in your faction's capital city and doing this will get you 7 Inscribed Stones, and a chance at some nice items each day. Every 3 days of doing the Daily RR will allow you to purchase one epic lesser essence and start tricking out that source core and replacing those blue/green essences. Nice!

Good luck in your raid career!
Posted by Dunsparrow
From the Rift forums, we get this genius.
Since the patch I seem to be having a problem with intermittent pulls when prestacking my 5 bombs prior to pull.

I'm using the 44/20/2 sabo/assasin/ranger build and I have made two macros to use specifically to load bombs pre pull that I "thought" were supposed to force melee auto-attack mode and make sure that ranged auto attack did not kick in. Macros are:

/cast Spike Charge
startattack

and

/cast Shrapnel Charge
startattack

but it seems like every now and again when I'm stacking bombs or even when I just click on the boss I seem to pull.

Never noticed this pre-patch, and I've never "seen" an arrow from me, but others say they have, and its clear i'm occassionaly pulling somehow. Others having isssues or am I just special.
To summarize his problem: he is targeting the boss and attacking, and can't figure out why the boss is getting pulled.
Posted by Dunsparrow
When PvP'ing, its often difficult to tell what class you're facing, much less what souls he is using. This makes it difficult to know your enemy, so what's a rogue to do? Continue reading.

Melee Clerics

These guys come in 2 flavors: Shaman and Druid. Both rely on melee weapon attacks to deal primary damage, so avoiding melee range can significantly reduce your incoming damage. Shaman-Druid is a common PvP spec, and in this spec, kiting and/or healing debuffs are your best friends.

Shamans
Easily identifiable by the snowflake buff, or if they charge you, Shamans deal combination melee and magical damage. Of their damage, the magic damage is more "bursty" so preventing it with Cleanse Soul is extremely helpful. Avoiding melee damage can be a big help as well, especially when they use Faceroll of the North. Shamans have self-heals and shields so healing debuffs and/or Eradicate can help quite a bit.

Druids
If they have a Satyr demon pet, they're a druid. Druids also do combination melee and magical damage, and their pet is full-on melee and does solid damage. Because druids are so often paired with Shaman, and because, like Shaman, druids primarily rely on weapon strikes to deal damage, moves like Side Steps are extremely effective against druids. Druids also have self-heals and shields.

Caster Clerics

Caster Clerics come in 3 flavors: Inquisitor, Cabalist and Cherry. These Clerics deal heavy magic damage, and thus having Cleanse Soul or some other form of magic avoidance is crucial to surviving. Like all clerics, expect some self-healing even if they are full-out DPS oriented.

Inquisitor
This is an extremely popular choice because of the high damage, versatility and AOE. You can identify them through the shield buff and when you see it, expect bursty-magic damage. Most of them mindlessly try to cast AOE Soul Drain or Circle of Oblivion in groups of your teammates. If you're ranged, go ahead and kill them, otherwise don't eat the damage. These guys spam the high-damage instant Sanction Heretic, which is the biggest thing you have to worry about. Cleanse Soul is vital.

Cabalist
This rare animal is not spotted much on the PvP battlefield because it sucks, except as a support soul. If left alone they can deal heavy burst magic damage, so if you see one of these, just go fucking kill it.

Healing Clerics

Warden
Wardens are really the only healing soul that is a major threat. With their major hots and reactive healing from orbs, they are a big pain in the ass. Typical they will be difficult to kill, and so should be saved until last, as their healing output is not as high as other healer souls against focus fire.

Not Warden
Purifiers and Sentinels are much easier to kill than Wardens, and are also much better healers. As a result, Purifiers and Sentinels should be priority targets in an engagement, which an emphasis on interrupting their castable heals and Eradicating if you have it to remove shields. If warden is also sentinel, they will have less damage reduction abilities and should be treated like a non-Warden. Just kill them.

Support Souls

Justicar
This is easily identifiable and immediately tells you that the cleric is spec'd into passive-healing and damage reduction. You most often see this paired with Warden and Inquisitor but it can be done with anything. Anyone sporting the Justicar soul will be harder to kill but also deal less damage or do less healing.

Templar
Templars are hard to quickly identify because they don't have any tell-tale buffs. Typically if you see a Warden-Justicar, this will be their third soul. The giveaway is that most of the time, when they cast a heal, they will receive a golden shield buff. Treat them basically like Justicars.

Putting it Together

Obviously, you can't think of someone as "just" an Inquisitor or "just" Druid. Instead, categorize them by their playstyle. Do they intend to cast on you from range? Treat them like a caster. Do they try to hang back and heal? Healer. Do they try to melee? You get the idea. You can then isolate their abilities by their buffs, as I've outlined and get an idea of what options and they have, and thus how they will try to kill or survive you.

For example, Shaman-Inquisitor is very common. This type of cleric will attempt to melee you, but he has a lot of magic damage at his disposal. Recognize the Inquisitor soul, despite his melee attacks, and be ready to use Cleanse Soul at the right time to survive his onslaught.

The key is being versatile and observant. Knowing what your opponent can do is the first step to knowing what he will do. Don't be surprised when that Druid self-heals to full. Don't be shocked when that healer suddenly hits you with Sanction Heretic for 2k. Be ready.
Posted by Dunsparrow