More On Combat

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 in Commentary | 5 comments

I have a confession to make in case it wasn’t obvious: the whole point of building a Combat set was to bring back the glory days of WotLK. I’m referring to being able to run both as Combat and Assassination. I just liked having that choice back then. Now that I actually have a decent Combat set, things aren’t working out as I intended.

This explains why:

Q: What’s the top DPS spec?

A: Assassination and Combat are both reasonable options. Combat should be a bit ahead above 35% and a bit behind below 35%, but its hard to say which is going to be higher on average. In practice, I think they’re going to be pretty close on single-target, and primarily distinguished by how they perform in non-single-target situations. That is: Assassination has vastly better AoE and more broadly applicable utility talents, while Combat will be the king of DPSing two targets (via Blade Flurry) and has better burst via cooldowns; for any given fight, this distinction is likely more relevant than the theoretical single-target difference between the specs. [via EJ]

Combat used to be the spec of choice when it came to AoE situations, making it better for 5-man dungeons. Now that Assassination is the superior spec for both single and multi-target fights, the only reason to run Combat is when I’m cleaving. I don’t know about you but I find that option severely limiting.

Don’t get me wrong. Combat DPS is amazing when it’s used properly. With my current gear I usually get 6-7k DPS on single-target and 11k when I can use Blade Flurry. 11k is good damage, obviously. My only problem with it is that it seems so situational.

Think about it.  With Assassination all you need to do after the pull is to cast Tricks then go crazy with Fan of Knives. That’s it. With Combat, I have to decide whether hitting two targets only justifies not touching the others. I also have to worry about the eventual threat issue when Tricks goes down. Bottom line, I need to do more runs as Combat and see what I can learn. I also have to convince myself to stick with Combat even when I start seeing my numbers go down (cleaving nothing, KS on cooldown, etc.)

How about you guys? Any similar experiences? Have you tried running both? Is it better to just stick to one spec?

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Combat In Patch 4.0.6

Combat In Patch 4.0.6

Posted by on Feb 12, 2011 in Commentary | 1 comment


So the patch is out. I went ahead and assembled a second set for Combat to try it out. In case you’re wondering why a second set is necessary, it’s because of stat weights; Assassination and Combat have different priorities. For example, Spell Hit is critical to Assassination due to its reliance on poison damage. Special attacks play a more vital role for Combat, making Expertise a priority over Spell Hit. You can look up my previous post on stat weights for more information.

I tried out my Combat set earlier today and here’s what I can tell you.

• This is an early impression, but soloing and questing were more convenient to do in Combat because my special attacks were hitting harder. Downsides? Recuperate was healing less and I was running slower. Why? Because they were both untalented.

Blade Flurry did wonders for my DPS during trash pulls on heroic dungeons. It was fun cleaving everything. However, it also messed up my threat big time. I was using Vanish then Evasion + Cloak of Shadows when it was on cooldown more often than necessary. And yes, even when I was casting Tricks I was still having problems. I’m going to try to include Feint in my rotation and see how it goes. It’s better than turning off Blade Flurry altogether.

• How’s Combat’s single-target DPS compared to Assassination? Forget it, it’s not even close. Go switch specs and use your daggers when you’re fighting only one mob.

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Thoughts on Blade Flurry

Posted by on Jan 30, 2011 in Commentary |

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the patch notes you’ll know that Blade Flurry is about to become a toggleable skill in the upcoming patch, causing Combat rogues to get a permanent cleave. While I admit that it was a notable change, what made it even more interesting was last night’s main hand axe drop, giving me a weapon that I could use for that spec.

Long-time readers of this blog know that back in WotLK I ran Combat for 5-mans and trash pulls then switched to Assassination for boss fights. That switch involved changing specs and weapons only, which isn’t something you want to do in Cata due to the implementation of Mastery. Assassination rogues prioritize hit and mastery while those who prefer Combat reforge to hit and expertise. This leads to the conclusion that if we want to swap between the two specs, we need two sets of gear.

I’ve yet to come to a decision. I could wait until the patch is implemented to see how Blade Flurry performs damage-wise before I start working on getting the gear or I could throw caution (and gold) to the wind and prepare myself beforehand. In case you’re saying that I should check the spreadsheet, I already have. I’m looking at a 3K DPS decrease given that most of the Combat items will be ilvl 333. I’m okay with that. The spreadsheets are for single-target boss fights anyway. Cleaving a second target isn’t accounted for. Not yet anyway.

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Running Heroics As A Starting Rogue

Posted by on Apr 21, 2010 in Guides |

Note that this was written with new rogues in mind. I recently ran a fail group on my DK and it was tough to see a fellow rogue just suck at DPS. I was tanking Anub’Arak in AN and things were going well until he burrowed and the adds came. Recount told me that I was number two in DPS, behind the mage but above the rogue. You know that a group is fail when the tank is doing more damage than the rest of the group.

So, here’s a little something to raise your DPS in heroic 5-mans:

  • Go Combat. Equip your best weapons, then spec into it.
  • Set the tank as your focus target (click on the tank, type “/focus”).
  • Make this macro and map it to a button:
    • /cast [target=focus] Tricks of the Trade
  • Doing the above will cast TotT on the tank.
  • Everytime your tank pulls, hit the macro, then spam Fan of Knives.
  • Profit!
  • For big pulls, cast Blade Flurry, TotT, FoK. Whenever BF is up, remember to stand close to two adds or more since you’re cleaving.
  • For big, prolonged pulls, cast Adrenaline Rush, Blade Flurry, TotT, FoK.
  • More profit!

It’s an oversimplification and sort of a repeat post, but hopefully it should get things started on the road to better DPS. Seriously. What I just saw was painful to watch.

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Tricks Of The Trade

Tricks Of The Trade

Posted by on Aug 4, 2009 in Commentary, Tips | 2 comments


Tricks of the Trade is the lesser known (as opposed to Misdirect) aggro management skill that allows Rogues to redirect threat to the tank. Think of it as a short-ranged version of the more popular Misdirect. Used properly, it will allow you to unleash damage without having to worry about getting aggro.

As you can tell from the description, Tricks will redirect all of the threat caused by your actions to whoever you cast it on for six glorious seconds. Minus macros and addons, you can cast it by hitting the spell, then clicking your target, which is usually the tank. I don’t have a habit of casting it on another DPSer because I don’t want threat issues and I don’t want to share the damage buff. Yes, I’m selfish. Terribly, horribly selfish.

Now, doing it that way is a bit tedious. As rogues, we’re used to casting skills without having to worry about who or what to cast them on. When we press a button, there’s usually no need to select a target because we’re already on it. That’s where Tricks is…well, tricky. You have to cast it then click on your tank to use it successfully. Macros will remove that unnecessary click.

  1. Select your tank, then enter “/focus”. You can also right click on his frame and then set your focus there.
  2. Create a new macro and then type:
    • /cast [target=focus] Tricks of the Trade

Bind the macro to a key and try it out. Hitting it will cast Tricks on your focus target, removing the extra click.

What I really like about Tricks is that it gives you a full six seconds to do anything you want. The next time your raid runs into a big group of mobs, try doing Tricks + two Fan of Knives + Adrenaline Rush and watch your damage blow up everything in sight. Don’t be shy about using Killing Spree and Blade Flurry as well.

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