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taralej June 14, 2011  
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By popular demand...

There has been a lot of talking about the viability of Combat for both PvP and PvE. I already did a Combat PvP guide and Combat has proven to be viable on this server, regardless of the minor bugs it has.

Now, after being asked multiple times already, I am going to do a short

Combat PvE Rogue Guide

Contents:
Starting off directly with the talent build that you should be using at early gear levels, we will move on to the early-build rotation, gems & glyphs. Then we are going to discuss the end-game build, its rotation, gems & glyphs. Finally, we are going to delve deeper into how Combat actually works.

Abbreviations:
CP - Combo Point
SS - Sinister Strike
FoK - Fan of Knives
SnD - Slice and Dice
Evi - Eviscerate
Rup - Rupture
AR - Adrenaline Rush
BF - Blade Flurry
KS - Killing Spree
TotT - Tricks of the Trade
IP - Instant Poison
DP - Deadly Poison
AoE - Area of Effect
Go# - Glyph of #

Hit Rating. The most important thing about DPSing no matter what you do is getting Hit-capped. No other stat matters at all if you're not Hit-capped. It does not matter if you crit for 10k Sinister Strike if that SS *misses*! Hit rating until the Hit-cap is the biggest DPS increase you will get. So, the Hit-cap for special melee abilities is 8%. You MUST always have it! No Sinister Strike misses, no finisher misses. The Hit-cap for spells (poisons) is 17%. You might want to have this as well, since poisons are a very big & important part of Rogue DPS. The Hit-cap for Dual Wield auto-attacks is 25%. It is NOT worth it reaching this cap.

Q: How do I reach the Hit-cap? - 5% from Precision, 1% from Heroic Presence (Draenei) and you got 2% left, which you will get without even trying. From there on it's about gemming & gear choices.
Q: Should I aim for the spell-cap as Combat? - even though you don't get nearly as much DPS from Poisons as Assassination, they still yield a lot of your DPS. So... you should, but it's not your #1 priority.

Expertise is a negligible stat. Not that it is not important, you kinda need it, because when attacking from the front (happens in dynamic fights) it is twice as important as Hit. However, you get a good quantity of +Exp from Weapon Expertise & Racial Weapon Specializations, making the 21 Exp cap easily obtainable just from gear. Furthermore, Exp loses half of its value just by the fact that you're attacking from behind (NPCs cannot Parry from behind, they can still Dodge) and then another big chunk from Surprise Attacks enabling your finishers to ALWAYS land when Hit-capped & attacking from behind.

<THIS> is the talent build you should be using as a Combat PvE in early gear levels (see below for more info)

5cp SnD + 5cp Rup is the basic Combat rotation. It will yield most of your DPS and make a mediocre Rogue out of you, but that's not what you're aiming I guess...

In those times when you wait for either Rupture or SnD to fade, you should include an Eviscerate or two. You could spare some CPs from your SnD and take them into your Eviscerate filler.
In this case your rotation should be 3cpSnD + 5cpRup + 5cpEvis.

Question:"So why should I use Rupture as Combat instead of just spamming Eviscerate?"

Answer:
As Combat, you aim for ArP, but not on early gear levels. Same way it goes for platers and mailers with Strength & pure Attack Power being more useful for them, pure Attack Power will have a greater potential on low gear levels. This potential however does not increase as fast as ArP's potential, so at a point (the 45% ArP soft-cap) ArP becomes much more valuable. You are also gemming for pure AP (not agility - you don't need crit as bad as Assassination, you don't have Focused Attacks, only GoSS) because you simply cannot hit the ArP cap straight off - you need to switch from AP to ArP gems when you see you are able to get around 45% armor ignorance, with gems & gear.

Note: the so-called ArP soft-cap is not set in stone. The ArP soft-cap is the amount of ArP sufficient to hit the hard cap (95-100% or 1400 rating) when your ArP trinket procs.

Only then will Eviscerate be able to show its potential. Also, since you will be doing that gemming & chanting, you will have a massive amount of AP, further increased by Savage Combat. Rupture deals BLEED damage, which does not give a crap about how much armor the target has and it also scales quite well with Attack Power - that's why you use Rupture before you get good ArP gear.


=> The glyphs you should have are not set as mandatory except for one: Glyph of Sinister Strike - you *must* have this glyph no matter what the hell are you doing. Other glyphs you can use are GoAR(+5sec is +5sec), GoFoK(your only AoE, which is the second strongest AoE in-game after Blizzard), GoSnD(for more filler-damage), GoRup(for more filler-damage), GoEvi(for more filler-damage), GoKS(more usages in 1 boss-fight). You are absolutely free to pick whichever 2 from these that you want, but your 3rd glyph must... always... be... GoSS!

=> An ArP trinket is a <must-have> for Combat. When it procs, it causes your attacks to almost fully ignore the opponent's armor if you are already ArP-soft-capped. This is a list of the 3 pre-ICC ArP-proc trinkets:
-Mjollnir Runestone,
-Needle-encrusted Scorpion,
-Grim Toll


Note! Having Set bonuses which boost Rupture, such as the T9 Set2 bonus, can make the difference between staying on your Rupture spec or respeccing to Evi-spam when sitting on the ArP soft-cap. Keep the Set bonuses into consideration.

<THIS> is the talent build you should be using after you get hard-capped and obtain one of the trinkets I mentioned.

The Combat part of the build, as you can see, stays the same. However, there are changes in the Assassination part, the effects of which change the play-style of your Rogue from this point on. Instead of striving to keep Rupture up and include an Eviscerate from time to time, you are now going to spam Eviscerate. So the fight will basically be a 5cpSnD and then just spam Evisc and refresh SnD when you see it's going to fade.

Note! It is arguable if your poisons, considering the high natural AP you will have at that point, will be worth more than speccing 5/5 Rele Strikes, considering the high gemmed & natural ArP you will have, to maybe perform 1 more Eviscerate. It is a personal choice but it also greatly depends on your gear - whether you have a high Haste rating or are closer to the ArP hard-cap. In Case 1) poisons will outdmg the extra Evi; in Case 2) the extra Evi will be better.

=> The glyphs you are going to use. Again GoSS and also GoEvisc, since it is now a big chunk of your DPS. You are free to get whichever glyph you like from the others - GoAR, GoSnD,GoFoK, GoTotT, GoKS.

Don't worry - you will have that massive amount of energy needed to perform those moves (Combat does 3 or more combos in a rotation, Assassination only spams 1 after the initial setup burst). All of this energy comes from Vitality & Combat Potency. Because of that second talent, you must ALWAYS have a fast weapon in your OffHand (and a slow one in your MainHand for hard-hitting Sinister Strikes, ofcourse). Choosing 5/5 Rele Strikes over improving your poisons will also help you in this direction.

Combat PvE relies extremely on "white damage" and some basic rules about the talent tree derive from this. First, this is the reason why you ultimately gem for ArP and why SnD is your Number One priority - IT... MUST... ALWAYS... BE... UP! Second, Haste is an important stat for you too. Haste increases your attack speed & thus the number of "white hits" you do. In doing that, haste also increases the potential of your Combat Potency talent. You will start gemming for Haste when you get hard-capped on ArP. Yes, this is totally possible with Combat Rogues as of patch 3.3.5. By that time you should have pretty nice AP-Use & ArP-Proc trinkets. All you need to do is to replace the ArP-Proc with an AP-Proc one (Whispering Fanged Skull is BiS)

=> Rupture is a very important finisher early-game for Combat Rogues. SnD + Rup has been the bread & butter for Rogues ever since this freaking game exists. There are also alot of Set bonuses which favor Rupture. Such is the T9 Set2 Bonus - you *should* stick with the early-game Rupture build & rotation as long as you have this Set bonus for obvious reasons.

=> Killing Spree
Be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when using Killing Spree - it can wipe the whole raid group on certain bosses like Thaddius. Yes, it was the best laugh I've ever had about this game, but my friend's Guild's Officers didn't think so & he ended up losing some DKPs... You can use KSpree in conjunction with TotT to help your tank with a massive aggro gain. You should watch your Proc trinket and any crucial debuffs on your target too and then use your AP-Use trinket and perform the KSpree for maximum effect. Watch to have 5xDP on your target before you perform it - KSpree can & will proc poisons.

=> Blade Flurry
BF is a short-cd (2min) skill which increases your attack speed by 20% and grants you the same effect as Sweeping Strikes, allowing your attacks to strike a nearby target in Melee range as well. Activating BF means you get a short DPS boost right away since Auto Attacks are Combat's main source of damage. However, there are some smart ways to use BF. The skill works very good in conjunction with KSpree and Fan of Knives. Combined with KSpree when attacking 2 nearby targets in Melee range will result in doubling the effect of KSpree. Combine BF with FoK and activate Adrenaline Rush before that and you will get the most insane AoE damage in the whole game for the duration of BF and AR.

=> Weapon Specialization
Weapon Spec in PvE is an issue that a lot of Rogues hate. Basically because they have to respec every time they get a cool new weapon. This is the reason why WepSpec is being removed in Cataclysm. Having said that, weapon specialization depends mainly on what type are your current best weapons in possession. Of course, there are some general things that should be mentioned about Weapon Specialization.
- Mace Spec - good if you are in a hurry to switch to ArP or you are going for the hard-cap
- CQC - crit is always nice, unless you are capped on it already (yes, there is a thing called crit cap)
- H&S - the general talent of choice, H&S is unrelated with ArP or crit - it just grants you an extra hit... which can proc poisons & crit. I think this makes it clear why H&S is the best choice.

=> Bugs & the consequences:
1) Hack & Slash has been reported in the Bug Tracker as bugged. This means 2 things: 1) it's heavily inferior to the other weapon specializations & 2) you will have to change your spec depending on whether you're not ArP capped yet (picking Mace Spec) or crit capped (picking CQC). Have in mind that getting maces through raiding and dungeons is much more harder than getting a slow MH fist weapon & a fast OH dagger.

=> Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Why not gem for Crit & Agility instead of pure AP? - Two reasons: First) you are not Assassination & you do not have Focused Attacks or Seal Fate - you do not benefit from crit as much as Assassination & it is more important for you to get high damage and *then* to crit, instead of critting for low damage; Second) Savage Combat.
2) Does Eviscerate work? - YES
3) So which is better for PvE - Combat or Assassination? - The general case says that in a motionless tank'n'spank fight Assassination will always outperform Combat (considering same gear & skill levels). However, a lot of raid fights require movement, target switching & interacting. This is how it is supposed to be - otherwise it would be plain boring. This is where Assassination's flaw is - changing targets, losing the 5xDP stacks and the Envenom buff results in a massive DPS drop for Assassination. This is where Combat shines out - it does not rely on DP as much as Assassination, it doesn't have a short-time buff to keep up, so everything you have to do in a dynamic fight is just to make sure you have SnD up & continue spamming SS... And then, of course, we have personal preferences - if you like Combat more than Assassination, don't ask which of the 2 you should play if you already have the answer in your head

Off-topic In that point of view, even playing Sub as PvE can provide some support for the raid-wide Physical DDs in the face of Hemmorhage & Expose Armor, although it is seen as a slot-taker because of its awful DPS & is the reason why it is not prefered for PvE.

I will update this Guide as often as possible.
I will appreciate all kinds of constructive criticism, mistakes & friendly On-Topic discussions!
Peace^^



Edited: October 6, 2013
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Cheaptrix June 14, 2011  
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Envenoms as combat eh? Interesting lol!

Pretty good guide man. I am not a PvE guy so I could not tell if this was 100% correct tho.



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ezyl June 14, 2011  
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Posted by taralej View Post
=> The glyphs you are going to use. Again GoSS and also GoEvisc
You keep saying eviscerate is bugged and we should use envenom instead, yet you say we should glyph eviscerate.

Mind = blown



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csernay June 14, 2011  
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you will gem for agility instead of ap/arp as long as you aint going for arp and aint crit capped .



Edited: June 14, 2011
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taralej June 15, 2011  
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Posted by ezyl View Post
You keep saying eviscerate is bugged and we should use envenom instead, yet you say we should glyph eviscerate.

Mind = blown
You *did* notice this is referring to the end-game build, right? You *will* use Eviscerate regardless of it being bugged in the end-game, because the loss of the 5xDP would be too great now and because you are ArP-capped. Eviscerate is in the Bug Tracker, is listed as Confirmed and *will* get fixed.

I guess you missed the part in the beginning of my Guide where I mentioned that the fact that Eviscerate is still bugged was the reason I postponed this Guide for so long. Now if you don't have anything helpful to suggest - shut up!
---------------------------------
Posted by Cheaptrix View Post
Envenoms as combat eh? Interesting lol!

Pretty good guide man. I am not a PvE guy so I could not tell if this was 100% correct tho.
I'm just gonna give out a quick fact:

ICC

Envenom - 15k crit (3/3 Vile Poisons)
Eviscerate - 8k crit (3/3 Imp Evi, 5/5 Aggression)

Same gear in both cases

End of discussion...
---------------------------------
Posted by csernay View Post
you will gem for agility instead of ap/arp as long as you aint going for arp and aint crit capped .
Combat does not benefit from criticals in any way, unlike Assassination (Focused Attacks). I am excluding special attacks criticals (Seal Fate vs GoSS). Also, have in mind that Prey on the Weak is bugged at the moment. Thus gemming for Agility, although being a totally valid option, is not recommended, especially having in mind Savage Combat. I don't think the bonus to Armor & Dodge are taken into consideration here.



Edited: June 15, 2011
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Artoodetoo June 15, 2011  
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Posted by taralej View Post
You *did* notice this is referring to the end-game build, right? You *will* use Eviscerate regardless of it being bugged in the end-game, because the loss of the 5xDP would be too great now and because you are ArP-capped. Eviscerate is in the Bug Tracker, is listed as Confirmed and *will* get fixed.

I guess you missed the part in the beginning of my Guide where I mentioned that the fact that Eviscerate is still bugged was the reason I postponed this Guide for so long. Now if you don't have anything helpful to suggest - shut up!
---------------------------------


I'm just gonna give out a quick fact:

ICC

Envenom - 15k crit (3/3 Vile Poisons)
Eviscerate - 7k crit (3/3 Imp Evi, 5/5 Aggression)

Same gear in both cases

End of discussion...
---------------------------------


Combat does not benefit from criticals in any way, unlike Assassination (Focused Attacks). I am excluding special attacks criticals (Seal Fate vs GoSS). Thus gemming for Agility, although being a totally valid option, is not recommended, especially having in mind Savage Combat. I don't think the bonus to Armor & Dodge are taken into consideration here.


Don't leave out the Deadly poison ticks you lost while building up the stack, and the potential Instant poisons you could've procced from OH. The IP procs should easily replace the 8k damage loss imo.

And crit does benefit Combat A LOT, *cough* Prey on the Weak *cough*. Although it's currently bugged



Edited: June 15, 2011
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taralej June 15, 2011  
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Posted by Artoodetoo View Post
And crit does benefit Combat A LOT, *cough* Prey on the Weak *cough*. Although it's currently bugged
i lol'd pretty hard here...

--------------------------------------
i am not sure the poisons actually make up for the less damage eviscerate does at this gear level with such low ap regardless of the ap gemming & chanting and my Recount agrees with me too...

stop thinking like assassination rogues pls and bear in mind that this *early-game* build was the most common build @ uldu patch. thanks! (yes, DP wasn't buffed at that time, combats were freely wasting the 5xDP ticks and were topping the meters, have in mind HfB was still not nerfed)



Edited: June 15, 2011
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Artoodetoo June 15, 2011  
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Don't lol me, you edited your post after seeing my argument about Prey on the Weak, you completely forgot about that.



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taralej June 15, 2011  
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Posted by Artoodetoo View Post
Don't lol me, you edited your post after seeing my argument about Prey on the Weak, you completely forgot about that.
does it matter when its not valid this way or another?



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Artoodetoo June 15, 2011  
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It matters, you were spreading untrue information regarding Crit for combat rogues, without providing argument about Prey on the Weak being bugged, until I proved you otherwise.



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taralej June 15, 2011  
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Also, in the end of my Guide I mentioned:

"I will appreciate all kinds of constructive criticism, mistakes & friendly On-Topic discussions!"

Thanks!



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Artoodetoo June 15, 2011  
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I have managed to keep friendly tones so far, even after you saying to me
"i lol'd pretty hard here..."

I criticized you, you edited your post saving yourself some face, you lol'd at me, way to go. Internet argument is silly, I'm outta here. And you're welcome.



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taralej June 15, 2011  
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I laughed because you mentioned I was wrong because a talent, about which you said yourself it doesn't work, changes it all... which just sounds stupid & funny by itself.

I edited the post only to make it clear to everyone else, it wasn't mandatory and to be honest I was wondering if I should edit it at all, because since most of the rogue community knows that the talent doesnt work, it's pointless mentioning those things whatsoever... Nevertheless you can see a neat & clean "Bugs & consequences" section in the end of the Guide now - thanks to you again!

And bye...



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Artoodetoo June 15, 2011  
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Well, I was merely pointing the obvious (Combat rogues in general, not bugged ones like it is in Molten), you probably missed Prey on the Weak and you're not to blame. All in all, good guide, could use a better formatting. Also the really contrasting font size and color can prove to be a little difficult to read. You could maybe split it like this:

1. Early 80 guide
a. Guide catering to the current status in Molten
b. Guide when everything becomes ideal
2. Endgame 80 guide
a. Guide catering to the current status in Molten
b. Guide when everything becomes ideal



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ezyl June 15, 2011  
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Posted by taralej View Post
I'm just gonna give out a quick fact:

ICC

Envenom - 15k crit (3/3 Vile Poisons)
Eviscerate - 8k crit (3/3 Imp Evi, 5/5 Aggression)

Same gear in both cases

End of discussion...
8k eviscerate crit in icc? the ****, I do more than that self buffed on the heroic dummy...
Are you a wizard?



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