Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 8:00 AM | 19 comments  
1.5 is here. I have a brief wrap up of what you can expect, what you should do and what works and doesn't in PvE and PvP. First, the obvious:

Planar Attunement

AKA "So you thought you were done leveling" this basically requires you to earn tons of experience to get marginal upgrades that are nonetheless necessary for min/maxers. I'm not thrilled with the system and before you ask, no one has seen the 2nd/3rd tiers. There are 6 elements and you have to max the first tier in an element before you can unlock the 2nd tier. My guess is the 2nd tier isn't even implemented yet. Its a very long grind.


You got that chronic-what? -cles of hammerknell! Hooray for 2 player instances. They're easy and although I hated the idea of them, they're actually pretty entertaining and give Attunement points, yeah! Good for running with a noob friend that you just forced to level to 50. Gogo casual content.


All your Crystal Sourcestones were just converted to Inscribed. Grats. Prices were tweaked and so were rewards for Rift dailies. Experts give 6 inscribed, Raids give 10 and there's a new weekly for 25. Costs were increased as well and you can now buy gear and synergy crystals with Inscribed (60 each) which work with your Raid 1 gear.

PvE Specs

Whet your whistle, your DPS just went up. Here are the parses I made. All parses were 5 min with fervor and the same gear (no greater essences or synergy crystals) unless otherwise noted. No other buffs or stones, etc. Bear in mind that some talents have changed, but the points are in the correct location. Just waitin on Zam to update. Thanks to Geriatrix and Bloatality for theorycrafting and Woetoyou for bardbotting it up after he went to bed.

Deep Nightblade - 1550 DPS
38 NB / 18 Sin / 10 MM
This is a relatively fun spec, and the synergy crystal is pretty good for it. Run the macro and Scourge every CD. Make sure to use Dusk to Dawn right after a finisher. You need the time to regen energy while it channels.

cast Dusk Strike
cast Puncture
cast Twilight Force
cast Primal Strike
cast Fiery Spike

Full Marksman - 1650 DPS
51 MM / 15 Rang / 0 whatever
Finally, a viable ranged spec. The Shadow Fire greater essence (100 AP) is amazing for this and so is the synergy crystal. This is more than likely what I will be raiding as. The reason for no Head Shot is you basically have to choose between 2/2 Head Shot and 3/3 Exposure, and if you don't max Exposure, you will overwrite the warrior's armor debuff with your inferior one. With 3/3 yours is better. This also simplifies the rotation, as you no longer have to mess with Head Shots for the 5% damage. Use Bull's Eye with Deadeye Shot.

cast Empowered Shot
cast Shadow Fire
cast Crippling Shot
cast Piercing Shot
cast Quick Shot

cast Rapid Fire Shot
cast Deadeye Shot

Blinkblade - 1650 DPS
25 Sin / 21 BD / 20 RS
This is a fairly complex spec and with skill, patience and practice it may be tops. However its simply too complex to run successfully in raids, especially since I am raid leader. It likely won't be used on much progression by anyone but will top meters on Murdantix, so people will claim its good. If you're interested, check out the thread by the spec's creator.

Dundancer - 1600 DPS
26 Sab / 20 BD / 20 Sin
If you fear change, fear not. Dundancer still rocks the house and is solidly competitive. You need to make a few changes though, to grab improved blast charge. You'll also need another macro or two, since Expose Weakness is now off the GCD. Otherwise, your rotation and skills are largely unchanged. Swap in Shrapnel for AOE (and prepare to be disappointed).

cast Blast Charge
cast Expose Weakness
start attack

cast Precision Strike
cast Keen Strike
cast Expose Weakness

PvP Specs

Marksman may not prove viable in its new form, but that's not stopping me from rockin' out. We'll see how NB does too. Gunblade variants could be promising as well. Followup posts are a certainty.

Full Marksman
51 MM / 15 Inf / 0 whatever
The spec hasn't changed, but the play style has. Gone is Improved Hit and Run. We'll see how bursty the spec can be without the go-to burst ability. Damage is up overall and Silver Tip Munitions go nicely with Focused Intent. New strafe aint bad either. *Not responsible for deaths by warrior when mashing Hit and Run fails to produce results.*

38 NB / 18 RS / 10 Inf
Nightblade is back. I think this spec will kick ass, but I haven't been able to test it. I also think every damn person in the universe is going to have RS in their builds. Joy.

cast Dusk Strike
cast Twilight Force
cast Primal Strike
cast Fiery Spike

Teleporting Sniper
38 MM / 18 RS / 10 Inf
I almost wish I was joking. This build could annoy the crap out of people, and has better survivability than 51 MM. Not sure if the burst will be there, but you have a lot of tools at your disposal. Didn't I see this in the Rogue preview for Rift like 5 months ago?
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels: , ,
Monday, September 26, 2011 at 7:14 AM | 3 comments  
Here's a little preview, for your amusement. I'll probably be doing the podcast weekly and I would like to spend at least part of the time answering your questions or responding to your comments. Leave em here if you like or tune in to the podcast. Times and dates will be announced soon!
Posted by Dunsparrow
Friday, September 23, 2011 at 1:58 AM | 5 comments  
The Devs did a really thorough content dump that you should take a look at if you have time. A lot of is just documenting stuff that's already been reported by players, but at the bottom, they list a lot of the rogue specs that they used for testing, and they made a huge list of specs that they believe are competitive with Sabdancer.

The Full Post by Elrar

The interesting part (dev testing specs) is at the bottom, but some of the specs are honestly pretty ludicrous and would never be competitive with any top-tier spec. However, I think the post is very informative to the devs line of thinking, and there are some specs I had not thought of, but are at least worth looking at. Here are some takeaways:

  • The devs key in on 51 point specs. If you notice, every souls they tested and said was competitive with Sabdancer had 51 points in at least one variation. They clearly balance around 51 point specs, and if anything significantly beats it, they look to nerf it.
  • The devs prefer to change damage modifiers, not mechanics. If you look at what led to the rise (and fall) of the blinkblade, it was completely due to changing damage modifiers. They solved energy starvation by increasing rogue energy regeneration across the board. They "solved" the low damage of 51 BD by increasing the BD strike damage. On the other hand, they did change mechanics in MM, but once the first pass was done, everything else was just tweaking and juggling.
  • The devs don't understand what makes Warriors so far superior to rogues in PvP. Like it or not, these classes are comparable, because they have largely the same function. Warrior damage, health and mitigation is so far above rogues, and so much less dependent on cooldowns and gear, that the dichotomy is almost humorous. Yet the patch does really nothing to address it. The lackluster Infiltrator soul is untouched and while warriors can't unload as many off-global abilities as before, their damage and mitigation are still tremendous.

Rogues will certainly be in better shape when 1.5 hits this Wednesday than they are now, but by no means will we be on even footing with Warriors in PvE or PvP. I'm okay with that, because it will make success all the sweeter when its not handed to me, but I'm concerned that Trion will see it as "mission accomplished." The job ain't over.
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 4:25 AM | 7 comments  
With the changes to souls still in flux and more probably still to come, a few specs are beginning to emerge.

25 Sin / 21 BD / 20 Rift
This is one getting a lot of attention and it is definitely going to be one of the strongest contenders for top DPS. The talents are changing with the patch, but these are where the points will go.

This spec is strong because it takes advantage of the buffs to Stalker Phase in RS to rotate teleports and keep 25% additional damage and 15% additional crit active 100% of the time. The spec is a mess and the teleports don't fit well in any rotation, but you can't argue with results. Unfortunately, this is probably the top melee spec.

Deep Marksman
51 MM / 15 Rng
Variant 38 MM / 28 Rng
Marksman is getting a whole lot of love. With the new Silver Tip Munitions (15% extra damage), and less reliance on burst cooldowns, this spec is going to provide some extremely competitive ranged damage.

Also check out the new 4-pc synergy crystal (HK crystal has the same bonus as 2-pc)

38 NB / 18 RS / 10 Inf
Variant: 44 NB / 22 RS / 0 Inf
For PvP, I'm working on some variant of NB and RS. It may or may not be what you see above, and it will likely take some warfronts to sift out what works and what doesn't. I don't think the 4th port is necessary in PvP like it is in raids.

This spec will have incredible mobility and damage output, plus the reflective shield in RS. I expect it to shred a lot of things.

More to come as D-Day approaches.
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels: , ,
Monday, September 19, 2011 at 6:45 PM | 0 comments  
New mount in 1.5 and the way to get it. No damn Mossy Tartagon this time.
Posted by Dunsparrow Labels:
Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 8:21 PM | 5 comments  
This is the reason I didn't want to start speculating on builds. A new wave of changes have hit PTS and they appear to be both good and bad.

First, the bad. Rogues now get .5 crit from str and .5 crit from dex. Same for AP. This makes str and dex the same for rogues and makes a huge nerf to our crit, since we're dex-heavy. This might be a bug, but its not clear from what Trion is saying.

Apart from that, Marksman is receiving additional buffs, which should lead to significantly increased raid damage, possibly having the best single-target damage of any spec. Master Archer is scaling now to 35% increased damage with 51 points in MM, and the new 51 point talent gives a new munition for a stacking buff of 20% more damage. Not bad.

Riftstalker mitigation is getting increased with a new ability called Shadow Armor, that reduces physical damage taken by 5% +1% for every 1000 armor, up to 20%. It won't bring RS in line with warriors, but its a start.

Big one: Flash of Steel is now a root Bladedancer ability with 10 points in the tree. The 21 point talent now gives you temporary CC immunity when you use FoS.

More to come...
Posted by Dunsparrow
Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 2:39 AM | 8 comments  
Finally, a silver lining in the rogue cloud. Still early yet, but keep an eye on the PTS. Rogue changes are starting to appear. Here's what they've put on the launcher for now:
General gameplay goals for the Rogue update:

* Competitive PvE Alternatives to Sabodancer, both melee and ranged.
* Competitive PvP DPS. You should fear seeing a Rogue the same way you see a Warrior. Of equal Prestige Rank, the two should be capable of providing a similar amount of PvP threat.
* Survivability improvements. Some self heal improvements and vampiric-type Healing Siphons - Abilities that reduce the healing intake capacity of one's target, with a portion of the stolen amount going to the rogue.
* Better synergies between souls
* More utility without giving up the majority of their DPS to get it, bringing them closer in line to the flexibility that other callings have.
* Large pack tanking improvements - Improvement to threat on multiple mobs
* Running capacity remains -- BUT, Double-teleport-invulnerable runner (the "bugged" one) goes away.
* Reduction in required reliance on "unfair" tactics (invuls, slips, etc) via adding true competitive power

Themes used to arrive at the goals:

* Marksman: No longer suffers an identity crisis around being the mobile-soul-that-requires-mostly-stationary-play. Pedestals are gone. Sniping remains. They get enchanted Ammo buffs (via their new "Munitions" line), and can bring one more ability into an AE rotation. New survivability as well. Better synergy.
* Ranger: Synergizes with other souls better. No longer overly dependent on Shadow Fire.
* Riftstalker: Offensively synergizes through +AP and reflect shields. Some new multi-target threat coolness here too. You should be able to take some RS without flooring your DPS, as melee souls' ability to close all currently lives in this tree.
* Saboteur: Use of bombs should not be a DPS downgrade.
* Bladedancer: Should be a viable in-your-face combat rogue.
* Nightblade: Some more survivability, without having to rely on pure immunities.
* Assassin: More up front damage, less reliance on super-long, annoying DoTs. Better poisons. Less "waste a finisher to apply a short buff." Slip away should not be a requirement to compete. Slip away will be receiving changes in a future update as well.
* Bard: A little more low level survivability - More of a reason to take this as a 3rd solo soul if you're inclined to get some more survivability back.
This thread lists many of the changes in detail (posted at the start and throughout the thread), but no notes have been posted yet. I've looked and all the changes on the first 10 pages are accurate as of tonight.

Some highlights:
  • Marksman - New "Munition" weapon enchantments that give extra damage or healing debuffs (pedestals removed) and now synergizes with non-ranged souls.
  • Ranger - Shadowfire: now buffs all ranged weapon damage and scales with points spent in ranger.
  • Bladedancer - Contra Tempo: Now gives a 25/50% chance for Quick and Precision to add an additional Combo point (just as I wished for??)
  • Nightblade - Enkindle: Increases AP contribution of fire abilities by 10/20/30% (and Primal Strike is now Death damage!)
  • Assassin - Backstab: AP contribution increased to 150% (the highest of any CP builder)
  • Riftstalker - Annihilate: Now increases AP by 20% (instead of a fixed amount).
  • Saboteur - Improved damage/scaling of bombs. Doesn't mesh with Sabdancer at all. Not sure what they were thinking here because the soul is still worthless without Deadly Dance.
Still missing?
  • Anything to address Riftstalker's horrible tanking situation. If you're planning to tank HK as a rogue, cross your fingers that more changes to this soul are in the pipe.
  • Anything to address the CP builder AP contribution disparity. NB builders still get 50% AP contribution, while BD gets 100% and Sin gets 100-150%.
More to come...
Posted by Dunsparrow
Friday, September 2, 2011 at 4:59 PM | 2 comments  
Posted by Dunsparrow

This patch is now live. Here's what you have to look forward to upon logging in.

Old Words of War - 20 Endurance + 16 AP + 250 AP on use
New Words of War - 20 Endurance + 60 AP/Vengeance on use

Old P7 Synergy Crystal - 500 HP + 200 AP
New P7 Synergy Crystal - 500 HP + 75 AP/Vengeance

If you haven't heard of Vengeance, its a new stat. Essentially, its Attack Power that only works in PvP.

If you're like me and did the grind in Codex and to P8 so you could have the best gear possible for PvE, you just lost 141 AP in a single, shining moment. Really, its more than that, because you won't have the use function of Words of War anymore. The trinket is now garbage for PvE and basically anything else is better.

The Cold Heart (final boss of DH) remains best in slot, but now there is nothing else even close. Start running DH and hope your luck is running hot.

Top 5 Trinkets, ranked:
Its hard to say if the P8 gear will remain BiS until HK. At the very least, you will be more inclined to break the set earlier in HK, so having the Raid 1 pieces to use when that happens will be important.

I parsed 2049 DPS on Murdantix this week, using Dundancer. We'll see next week how much these nerfs have hurt.
Posted by Dunsparrow