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For the PVE Raiding Rogue (from a combat spec perspective)
Abilities and Spells you need to become familiar with Edit
Q. What are your top 3 priorities during a Boss fight as a rogue?
A. Always perform feint during an AOE period. Feint reduces your AOE damage taken by 50% for 6 seconds. Not only does this mean your damage taken is cut in half but it helps your healers as well, i.e. saving them from using mana on you and a global cooldown.
Q. What are the best poisons I can use as a rogue use for raiding?
A. For combat spec rogues Wound Poison on your main hand weapon and Deadly Poison on your offhand. Reason: Since you will always want to maintain 5 stacks of Deadly Poison on your target the offhand is best for this type of poison. Your offhand will hit more frequently and increase the chance to apply this poison allowing you to continually have maximum stacks as opposed to your main hand with the possibility of it falling short on auto applies and forcing you to use Shiv to keep up 5 stacks. Wound for the main hand for the combat rogue is better then Instant Poison due to proc rate and the 50% healing debuff it applies. Remember you might not always be in a raid setup where other members have abilities which reduce healing done to their target. The only time instant poison would be more viable then wound poison would be if you have Improved Poisons in the 4th tier of the Assassination tree.
Q. Should I ever use Shiv?
A. Due to the fact shiv deals very little damage opposed to Sinister Strike it is hardly ever used. If you find your Deadly Poison has about 1-2 seconds then perform Shiv as you will gain more DPS by keeping 5 stacks of deadly poison on your target then having to rebuild those stacks while having used Sinister Strike.
Q. Expose Armor? Is this really necessary for PVE?
A. Expose Armor is rarely used due to the fact most raids have a protection speced warrior that will keep Sunder Armor on the target. However, if there is not one, using a 5 point Expose Armor will increase your overall raid melee DPS. This would however lower your DPS as you could have used the combo points for something else, but the DPS gained by the raid will surpass any ability you would have used instead of Expose Armor.
Q. So I have this neat ability called Adrenaline Rush that gives me 100% energy regeneration for 15 seconds, when is the best time to use this?
A. Always save your Adrenaline Rush ability for when you need to produce the most DPS during that point of time in the encounter, i.e. Heart of XT-002, Steelbreaker's Hard Mode, Brain of Yogg-Saron. If there are no times during the fight when you need to produce more DPS then another always use this ability at the beginning of the fight. Since Adrenaline Rush now only has a 3 minute cooldown there is likely a chance you will get to use it a second time if you use it quick enough the first time.
Q. When and how often should I use Tricks of the Trade?
A. The most aggro generating ability you have as a combat rogue is Killing Spree. As soon the boss encounter begins cast Tricks of the Trade on your tank and open up with killing spree. Not only does this give the tank a large amount of threat at the beginning of the fight but also means you start off with the least amount of threat in the raid. Remember your Tricks target must be within 20 yards, if not all the threat is going straight to you. It’s easily to tell if Tricks has been used by the red symbol above your head and that of your designated Tricks target. Tricks of the Trade can be used every time it’s off cooldown if needed for aggro management on the tank. As it only costs 15 energy and a global cooldown it will not impact your overall DPS very much throughout the encounter. Also remember that you as a rogue have some of the best aggro reducing abilities if you begin to pull too much TPS even if Tricks is on cooldown. Vanish is best used as it resets your entire aggro and you will most likely not reach the tanks total threat level afterward for the rest of the fight. But Feint is always a last resort that reduces your TPS for a short time.
Q. When/should I use Tricks of the Trade on a raid member that isn't the tank?
A. Since Tricks provides 15% increased total damage done by any player it is usually best (from the overall raid DPS standpoint) to cast this on the person with the most DPS. Only use this on another player if your tank is pulling the most TPS and has a substantial lead in overall threat. Even with a 6 second gain in damage done your Tricks target should not surpass the tank in total threat but might be pulling more TPS during those 6 seconds so always be sure to watch Omen before doing this. The best time to use Tricks on another DPS is when the mob has no aggro table, i.e. Mimiron Phase 2 and Brain of Yogg-Saron. Note: Tricks of the Trade does not stack with Hysteria, Enrage, Wrecking Crew, Death Wish, Arcane Power, Owlkin Frenzy, The Beast Within, and Avenging Wrath.
Q. As a rogue how do I contribute to interrupting?
A. Rogues are the best class in the game for interrupts due to frequency. As a combat rogue it is almost imperative that you put 2 points into Throwing Specialization located in the 8th tier of the Combat tree which gives your Fan of Knives ability a 100% chance to interrupt the target and prevent any spell in that school from being cast for 3 seconds afterward. This is one of your most unique abilities you bring to the game as a rogue, being able to interrupt any spell (assuming the spell is interruptible) in the game. This is very handy in trash mobs and boss fights. By interrupting mobs that cast spells this forces them to walk closer to tank putting them in range of the tanks AOE so that they can start generating aggro on that mob. Fights such as The Iron Assembly when Rune of Power is placed under Stormcaller Brundir and the tank has to move him, but the tank might not have an interrupt off cooldown so all you would have to do is run over and drop a Fan of Knives and he runs to melee range of the tank. Encounters such as General Vezax where his Searing Flames ability must be consistently interrupted, sometimes at a rate to where the rogue might not have the 50 energy required to perform Fan of Knives. This is why you should always be ready to Kick as it only requires 25 Energy but has a 10 second cooldown. It is always best to let your raid members know if you have used kick. Using Fan of Knives against the Corruptor Tentacles in the Yogg-Saron encounter will put much ease on your healers and dispellers as you are saving them mana, global cooldowns, and reducing overall raid damage taken. Just remember that the spell casting interrupt mechanic on the talented Fan of Knives takes roughly 1 second after Fan of Knives is used before the interrupt occurs.
Q. So Fan of Knives seems pretty cool should I just consistently spam this 1 ability?
A. During trash pulls where you have no designated focus mob to kill, Fan of Knives will produce more DPS then any other ability the rogue has in their arsenal. Fan of Knives does weapon damage equal to 100% of your main hand and offhand and 150% weapon damage if daggers are equipped. This is mainly just to even out the AOE damage since 100% weapon damage on a slower weapon with more base damage would hit harder then that of something less. Since Fan of Knives is based only off weapon damage you may have equip a weapon previously used for your main hand that can be equipped in your offhand, it is not a bad idea to do so as it will increase your offhand damage done by your Fan of Knives ability. Paring your Blade Flurry spell with Fan of Knives can result in very high DPS on multiple mobs, it is often best to use Tricks of the Trade on your tank before you do this or anytime AOE threat management for your tank is a problem.
Q: Speaking of Blade Flurry...
A: Use Blade Flurry every time it’s off cooldown whether you’re on a trash pull or a boss encounter. Blade Flurry increases your attack speed by 20% and causes your melee attacks to hit nearby targets as well. Before Fan of Knives and Killing Spree this was the only AOE a rogue had. Some rogues may prefer to save Blade Flurry in a boss encounter until Bloodlust/Heroism for maximum attack speed, but this really only should be done when you need more DPS during one point in the encounter then at other times. If there are no times during the fight where DPS should be higher then another always use it at the beginning since Blade Flurry has a 2 minute cooldown and will more then likely be usable again during the encounter. But always be sure to make sure you’re a safe distance from CCd mobs as to not break it.
Q: Ok I see the last ability in the Combat tree called Killing Spree it sounds cool, just use it whenever it’s off cooldown?
A: This is almost very true. Killing spree does a large amount of burst damage, costs 0 energy, and allows you regain energy during the time you’re using it. However, there are some times where Killing Spree should and shouldn't be used. Killing Spree is very random with its choices since it can attack multiple targets. As the tooltip reads: "Step through the shadows from enemy to enemy within 10 yards, attacking an enemy every .5 seconds with both weapons until 5 assaults are made. Can hit the same target multiple times. Cannot hit invisible or stealthed targets." Make sure your 10 yards away from a target you do not wish to attack such as a CCd target or an add during a boss encounter. It can be frustrating if there must be mobs that are within your Killing Spree range that you do not wish to attack as you may end your spree on that mob and have to run back to your primary target while losing DPS in the process. Certain encounters you cannot/shouldn't use Killing Spree such as Sapphiron or many other dragon bosses where you could get Tail Swept, Kologarn which results in an "Invalid Target" error, or during Yogg-Saron's phase 3 as you will jump behind him and be knocked back a good distance. If you have the glyph for Killing Spree this ability can contribute to a larger amount of your DPS. If there is a point during the fight where DPS needs to be more intense then save your Killing Spree cooldown for that, but due to such a short cooldown on this ability it can be used multiple times throughout the fight even if you do need to save it for a particular point during the encounter. It is very important if your are going to use Tricks of the Trade on anyone other then the tank to not use this ability during those 6 seconds as your Tricks target will generate a great deal of TPS. If your tank is in need of aggro management try to save Killing Spree and pair it with Tricks on your tank.
Statistics you will need as a Rogue Edit
Q: Ok so I know my abilities and how to use them but what stats do I need to do decent DPS on a raid boss?
A: 1. Hit Rating: A very important stat which reduces your chance to miss with your attacks. The less misses you have the more DPS you will produce. Currently these are the Hit stats: 8.0% (263 Hit Rating) for 2-Handed Weapons and 27% (885 Hit Rating) for Dual Wield. A Soft Hit Cap means that your special abilities will always land. A Hard Hit Cap means that you’re Special and normal attacks will always land. The minimum hit rating required to always land your special attacks on bosses is 98.37 (3%) assuming you have 5/5 Precision which would be the same as having 262.32 (8%) Hit Rating. For a decent geared raiding rogue you want somewhere around 250-350 just remember you will always occasionally miss auto attacks while Dual-Wielding. For every 32.79 Hit Rating you acquire you gain 1% increased chance to hit your target. While it is not necessary to have more then 98 Hit Rating with 5/5 in Precision you still gain 1% more hit for every 32.79 Hit rating you have which can increase your melee auto attack success ratio and indefinitely increase your DPS by providing you with more procs such as trinkets, weapon enchants, energy generating talents, and poisons.
A: 2. Expertise: This reduces the chance you are dodged and parried by mobs. You want to be dodged and parried as least as possible for maximum DPS. Currently these are the Expertise stats: 26 Expertise (214 Expertise Rating) to negate a boss's dodge chance, and 56 expertise (460 rating) to prevent parries. As a rogue you will not have to worry about parries due the fact you will be behind the majority of the bosses you face although there are some exceptions. Your positioning, unless stated otherwise by a different strategy, is to always be behind the boss. You as a rogue will not need 214 Expertise since you will be putting 2 points into Weapon Expertise which gives you 10/10 Expertise even if you have a rating of 0. An Expertise rating of 32.78 will = 1% Expertise at level 80.
A: 3. Agility: This is a stat in which rogues benefit from by providing them with Attack Power, Critical Strike Chance, Armor Count and Dodge Chance. While stacking Agility won't provide you with as much Attack Power if you gem/enchant all Attack Power, nor will it provide you with more Critical Strike Chance then if you gem/enchant Critical Strike Rating. Agility is balance between the 2 and provides you with a decent amount of both without having to put more emphasis on one stat then another. As a rogue your top offensive priorities are Attack Power, Critical Strike Rating and Attack Speed. Attack Power for increase damage in physical attacks and poisons (Savage Combat 2/2 located in Tier 9 of Combat tree increases Attack Power by 4% also providing the Savage Combat debuff on mobs that are poisoned increasing physical damage take by 4% contributing to overall raid DPS). Critical Strike Rating for an increase in DPS particularly on your most damaging abilities (Malice 5/5 found in Tier 1 of the Assassination tree increases your Critical Strike Chance by 5% and Close Quarters Combat giving you 5% increase chance to get a critical hit with either daggers or fist weapons, it also applies for your offhand as well. Also putting talents into making your critical strikes deal more damage such as Prey on the Weak 5/5 located in the 10th tier of the Combat tree increases your Critical Strike damage by 30%, Lethality 5/5 found in the 3rd tier of the Assassination tree which increases your critical strike damage of combo generating moves that do not require stealth by 20%. And the Meta gem Relentless Earthsiege Diamond which provides 3% increases critical damage and 21 Agility as well. With these is it possible to have 53% increased Critical Strike Damage and this will increase your DPS significantly. Just remember the more hit you have the more chance you have to produce a critical strike. It does not technically increase your critical strike percentage but a miss on a melee swing that could have been a critical strike if you had sufficient Hit Rating.
A: 4. Attack Speed: It’s very simple the faster you attack the more procs you will have such as energy generating talents, weapon enchants, and poisons. Attack speed can be increased by always keeping up Slice and Dice 40% increased melee haste, Blade Flurry 20% increased attack speed, the talent Lightning Reflexes 3/3 located in the 4th tier of the Combat tree will provide you a passive 10% increase in melee haste. Also raid buffs such as a death knight's Improved Icy Talons 20% increased attack speed, shaman's Windfury Totem 16% (20% with talents) increased haste although the 2 don't stack. Also Bloodlust/Heroism provides an additional 30% increase in attack speed, Haste Potions, and many pieces of rogue gear come with haste as an equip stat. While Attack Speed isn't the most important stat a rogue should worry about or stack it is still something that you would want to have a moderate amount of. Slice and Dice being is your primary means of attack speed, for example: A weapon with a speed of 1.8 = 1.2857 with Slice and Dice active. Slice and Dice is the equivalent of 960 haste rating. You will most definitely want to put 2/2 in Improved Slice and Dice (31 second maximum duration@5combo points) so you have more options to choose from with your combo points.
A: 5. Armor Penetration: Unless a rogue stacks Armor Penetration this is one of the least stats you need to worry about. Armor Penetration increases the damage done by your auto attacks and the critical damage done by your special attacks. Example: 50 Armor Penetration Rating = 4.1% meaning a mob with 5000 armor would have 4797. Armor Penetration begins to have diminishing returns against mobs with more then 8317 armor. A warrior would benefit more from this stat because warriors rely on their critical strikes for rage, buffs, and debuffs. In all, the only Armor Penetration a rogue should need is the stats that come with certain pieces of gear.
How to manage your Resources and Energy Edit
Q: What’s the best way I can generate combo points quickly and efficiently?
A: Opening with Garrote out of Stealth (50 Energy) will grant 1 combo point. Sinister Strike, talented will cost you 40 energy and award 1 combo point. Glyph of Sinister Strike gives your Sinister Strike critical hits a 50% chance to add an additional combo point. Ruthlessness 3/3 located in the 2nd tier of the Assassination tree gives your finishing moves a 60% chance to add a combo point to your target.
Q: Energy Management? I’m always oom on Energy!
A: During boss encounters you will find that the maximum energy you will have the whole fight might be around 40-50. The best ways to manage your Energy is to invest talents in Combat Potency 5/5 located in the 8th tier of the Combat tree which gives your offhand auto attacks a 20% chance to gain 15 energy. Relentless Strikes 5/5 which can be found in the first tier of the Subtlety tree gives your finishing moves a 20% per combo point to grant you 25 energy. This means you should always try to break off finishing moves with at least 4 or 5 combo points.
Q: So I think I understand this all, when all my special abilities are on cooldown I just use Sinister Strike?
A: Yes. The top 2 contributing factors to your overall DPS are your melee auto attacks and Sinister Strike.
A: Only use Envenom if your speced for it. You will only use Eviscerate when you have sufficient time left on your Slice and Dice and Rupture. Never use Eviscerate when these 2 abilities are within 2-3 seconds of expiring with the only exception being if the boss is low on health (5% or less).
Q: Ok you have given me all this information on Combat spec, what about Assassination and Subtlety?
A: Subtlety has very low options for DPS and PVE in general. Assassination rogues who are geared can deal decent DPS but will fall short of the combat rogue. The Combat rogue not only brings superior DPS to the raid on single bosses but also provides the Savage Combat debuff increasing physical damage taken by the boss by 4% which will boost the overall raid DPS. Another ability the Combat rogue has the Assassination rogue lacks is the Throwing Specialization talent which is currently the best interrupt in the game.
Q: Best Flask and Potion I should use for DPS?
Q: So my duties as a rogue are to sustain a decent amount of DPS, interrupt casters, and help regulate the flow of aggro?
Written by Inexorably of Gorefiend (US)