Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 12:51 AM | 6 comments  
If you haven't seen the "improvements" to PvP, brace yourselves.


Trion has obviously never heard of incremental change. Hope you didn't grind to P8 yet.
Posted by Dunsparrow
Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 2:51 PM | 3 comments  
Now to start on my warrior, the real PvP calling. :/
Posted by Dunsparrow
Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 1:03 AM | 0 comments  
Well, its finally confirmed. Whetstones are bugged and have no effect. I thought I was just going crazy. A Trion poster confirms, its not just your imagination.
Atrius
We are currently looking into what is causing this, and as soon as we find the culprit it will be dealt with. Thank you all.
How comforting. Save your stones gents.
Posted by Dunsparrow
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 10:47 AM | 10 comments  
I've been working on squeezing as much DPS as possible from the general Sabdancer spec, and I've come up with a Puncture-less spec that has been giving me slightly better results on both single and multi-targets. I have humbly interjected my own name into the spec:


The only real change in this from the standard Sabdancer, is that you don't get puncture, and instead get another point in Ambidextrous for 3% more dex. The real refinement is in the rotation:

Spike x4 > Keen > Deadly > Precision > Spike > Detonate
Shrapnel x5 > Detonate

What this does is allow you to use the "extra" Deadly Dance charge in the standard Sabdancer rotation to power a Precision Strike. This offers superior single target damage compared with standard Sabdancer, both by utilizing this strike and by no longer needing to take Puncture, to get more dex.

For AOE situations, such as Zilas and Matron, you can still just drop Precision from your rotation to maximize AOE damage.

This isn't going to move you from #7 to #1 on the damage meters, but it should help you eek out an additional few percentage points of damage. With HK's tight tuning, this can mean the difference between victory and a 1% wipe. Hope it helps!
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
I usually keep this blog focused on rogue PvP and DPS, but as I spend a good amount of time tanking, I wanted to chat briefly about Rogue Tanking.

Anyone who has played Riftstalker for any length of time knows the severe limitations it has compared to the shield-tanks. Without blocks or any self/reactive heals, rogues are not able to mitigate/offset the damage of multiple mobs nearly as well.

Many rogues consider this a tradeoff as the difference is not as noticeable on single targets, like raid bosses, and Riftstalkers have increased mobility and magic mitigation compared to warriors and clerics.

However, as the bosses have scaled higher in physical damage output, we quickly saw the inferiority of the rogue tank. Rogues in Hammerknell take approximately twice as much physical damage as a similarly geared warrior or cleric. They tend to have more health, so they can survive these hits, but they quickly become a mana sponge for healers that makes them by far the most difficult tank class to keep alive in all those physical HK boss fights.

Our Riftstalker had been our MT from the beginning of GSB, through RoS and all those T2s and 10-mans in between. He was our raid leader, friend and stalwart shield and he never wanted to be anything other than a tank. As we moved into HK and he could see that his class was a liability, it had a negative effect on our raids and progression and was no doubt the reason he quit the game.

I'm sorry to lose a friend, but glad we're no longer being held back by our full-T3 best-in-slot everything Riftstalker tank that spent so much of his time getting geared for HK only to have his efforts overshadowed by T2 warriors with much better mitigation.

Our guild now uses 2-3 Warrior tanks, depending on the boss fight and I step in to tank a couple magic-damage fights in RoS. It's good for progression, but not so good for the game, if Trion really wants to keep all tanks roughly equal. Riftstalker is largely dead.
Posted by Dunsparrow
Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 5:48 PM | 15 comments  
You know, I was thinking the other day as a warrior was killing me from 100% to 0% during a Titan Strike stun that Rogues don't have a lot to offer in PvP that isn't done better by another class.

For single target damage, we are outpaced by warriors, and warriors have much greater survivability. For AOE damage, all the other classes outpace us completely. Warriors can even apply an incurable AOE healing debuff.

When it comes to healing, bards are light years behind chloro/lock or almost any healing-type cleric.

In fact, the only areas where rogue has an advantage are speed with the flag runner specs, and Eradicate, which is the best offensive dispel in the game.

Nightblade used to be an exception to this rule, but the other classes are so far outpacing NB damage now that it feels like your spitting into the wind.

Just some thoughts. Anyone have a PvP spec or style that doesn't feel like you're a massive underdog? Let me know!
Posted by Dunsparrow
With the changes to Nightblade in 1.4, many players are coming into the NB fold from other specs. Since this spec was already on the ascendancy due to its burst cooldown and defenses, NB is definitely the most common spec to see a rogue in WFs at this point.

However, the new buffs to NB are weighed down by the nerf it received through the changes to Anathema. No more 75% reduction in healing. Since Anathema + Fell Blades was really required to kill healers most of the time, NB really lost its edge in a key area, although all-around it is still very strong.

With the predominance of the spec but the loss of surefire healer killing, I have decided to venture into the Marksman tree. MM is very powerful and while I rarely had Marksman rogues kill me as NB, it always felt vulnerable to them. And vulnerable it is. Here is my group PvP and NB-slaying spec I've embraced after various MM build tests:


While many MM like to go 38 + x and spend points in Ranger or Assassin, I feel the final 13 points in MM are just too good to make up anywhere else. Adding Retreat, Eradicate and Sniper Pedestal is well worth the additional points.

Key abilities: Swift Shot, Barbed Shot, Rapid Fire Shot, Empowered Shot, Deadeye Shot

Macros

#show Improved Hit and Run
cast Improved Hit and Run
cast Empowered Shot
use Words of War

#show Deadeye Shot
cast Deadeye Shot
cast Bull's Eye

Playstyle

Like Nightblade, Marksman is cooldown-dependent to a degree. However, the major MM cooldown, Improved Hit and Run has a shorter cooldown (86 seconds) and adds an incredible amount of damage, especially if you remember to put down Sniper Pedestal (naysayers be damned, its awesome).

MM is very powerful in group situations with its ability to assist melee and add huge amounts of damage, or pick off wounded targets without putting you at great risk. The biggest downside is that it is very squishy, so you need to rely on your speed and maneuverability to stay out of trouble. If you get pinned down, you're done.

This spec massacres Nightblades. Eradicate will remove nearly any cooldown they pop (Ebon Fury, Nightrage, Blackout, Twilight Shelter, etc.). Without Ebon Fury, a NB has no chance of killing you, as you can keep him at range all day. If needed, Cleanse Soul can get you out of a sticky situation, as 90% of NB damage is magic, but you really shouldn't need it. A NB can protect another buff for 6-9 seconds by popping Cleanse Soul or Twilight Transcendence himself, which makes him immune to eradicate, but this is fairly uncommon and with Getaway, you should be able to still get to range and remove his CD as soon as this ends. Plus, you just made him waste 3-4 cooldowns and not even survive.

I'm not giving up on Nightblade. I still love the soul and the play style. I am currently toying with a spec that abandons all reason and drops Infiltrator entirely, but its not ready for prime time yet (if ever). For now, I think the sustained damage of NB is not quite there, and its damage is too easily mitigated by kiting.

I still have Gunblade, but the current metagame makes killing Nightblades a priority and this spec does that just fine. There are a few Gunblade variants that are now more viable since the patch, including a MM-heavy Gunblade. I think the synergy between NB and MM still exists and that you can weight these 2 souls to your liking. I'll post a few of them soon.

Oh, and Deadeye crits for 2000 on 900 valor targets. Weee.
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels: ,
Posted by Dunsparrow
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 3:27 AM | 12 comments  
Looks like 1.4 is tomorrow which means new raid-quality crafted items, new Unseen PvP quests and items (including PvP Rifts) and a new 10-man instance - Drowned Halls. We cleared this instance on the test shard and I'll post those videos up later today. I'll also be posting my new Nightblade PvE spec in a bit. I doubt it will beat Sabdancer, but it will be fun and interesting to play NB in raids for a change. I'll be giving it a shot.

With Fell Blades and Anathema no longer stacking, a few things will shift with rogue PvP specs. My only new spec is a variation of Gunblade that is more defensive, if you're lower rank or feel a bit too squishy in standard Gunblade spec. I'm not sure which I'll use yet.

Gunblade 2.0

Because Anathema no longer stacks with Fell Blades, this spec drops 5 points from Infiltrator to pick up Blackout in Nightblade. You lose a bit of damage from Focused Intent and Murderous Thoughts, but make up for it with defense:


Original Gunblade will still be viable as well. Either way, you probably don't want to use Hasted Shot anymore, because you'll be better off waiting to get in range to Flame Thrust with the Nightrage buff.

Living Flame

This spec will remain relatively unchanged. While Anathema no longer stacks with Fell Blades (and is inferior to Fell), it will still be worth getting 15 Inf, because you need at least 10 for Cleanse Soul and there is really nothing else you would get with 5 points.

This leaves you with the standard Living Flame spec: 51 NB / 15 Inf / 0 BD.

Since I haven't gone over macros and play with this spec, I'll go over it here. Although most things are the same as with the Deep Nightblade spec.

Macros
#show Dusk Strike
cast Dusk Strike
cast Primal Strike
cast Fiery Spike

#show Twilight Force
cast Twilight Force
cast Fiery Spike

#show Scourge of Darkness
cast Scourge of Darkness
cast Blazing Strike
cast Flame Thrust
Gameplay

Unlike the Deep Nightblade spec, this spec relies heavily on being in melee range. You can do reasonable damage at medium range but your damage output is much lower than melee. This spec has a wide array of defensive and offensive cooldowns.

Offensive CDs
Living Flame
The namesake of the spec is also a great ability. This creates a physical damage AOE around you that pulses for about 400 per tick for 5 seconds. Its not channeled so you can continue doing your DPS rotation, which is what makes this spell worth getting.

Ebon Fury
Know it, use it, love. This is your greatest damage CD and allows you to spam Dusk Strike and Twilight Force, so it allows you to deal good damage even at range if needed.

Dusk to Dawn
It's barely a cooldown, but with the new Nightrage buff it grants, you'll want to pop this puppy ASAP when its off cooldown. Nightrage gives your Blazing Strikes and Flame Thrusts an additional 40% damage. Should be badass, but its purgable so its not reliable against dispel classes.
Defensive CDs
Twilight Shelter
Reduces incoming damage by 80% and outgoing by 40%. You generally want to use this one against assassins to deal with their dots while you kill them. Also useful to time with a mage popping their own damage shield.

Blackout
This one is awesome against any non-dispel class, though marginal against Assassin. Best used against warriors and Marksman who pop Hit n' Run (cover it with Cleanse Soul).

Twilight Transcendence
Makes you immune to all damage for 3 seconds. Also removes magic-based stuns/cc. I tend to use this right when an Assassin jumps me to prevent him from applying Impale. I also use it against casters if I get a huge number of debuffs.

Cleanse Soul
Makes you immune to magic for 6 seconds. Its awesome against Duracell-type clerics and any mage. Also very good when fighting another Nightblade.

Sidesteps
Most useful against any other rogue. I generally pop this any time a rogue opens on me, if its up.
This spec is vulnerable against talented Marksman (not many of those) because of their long range and dispels, and against Riftblade warriors. Anyone with a mana bar is a target.
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels: ,
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
Posted by Dunsparrow