2009
01.13

How’s that for a loaded question? I posed this very question to my guild’s rogue channel last night. I didn’t want to start a QQ fest so I added, “do you, really, really, deep down in your little stabbity heart think that Rogues are broken?”.

No direct answer came. Shouts of “We don’t do enough DPS” came from all about. We bring no utility, only damage and therefore we should do the top (or at least very close to top) damage. This is a valid argument, and one that I agree with. Why bring a Rogue when you can bring a kitty who will do just as much damage and can off-heal in a pinch? But does this make us broken? Are we doing too little DPS or are the other classes doing too much? That’s the million dollar gold question here ladies and gentlemen. Are we under balanced or are they overbalanced? I suppose that there’s not really a right answer to that question but I lean toward the former. A lot of guilds have ripped right through the current content and while there is certainly a strong argument that the content is easier that ever (and I believe it is), I don’t believe it is fair to overlook the fact that maybe part of the reasons it is so much easier is that most classes are doing too much DPS.

It is with that mindset that I am going to approach this issue.

So, are Rogues broken?

In my humble(ish) opinion: Short answer: No; Long answer: Yeah, kinda.

I posit that what is “broken” about us, my stabby brethren, is not that we don’t do enough DPS but rather some of the mechanics of our DPS, namely, Poisons. In Wrath, poisons now scale with attack power. This is wonderful, absolutely wonderful. Poisons have become a large part of our DPS and I’ll state firmly for the record that I have absolutely no problem with that, in fact, I love it. With that said, allow me to introduce you to something:

The Librarian’s Paper Cutter (LPC).

The LPC is a BoE (bind on equip) random drop from trash in the Halls of Lightning. OK, great, what about it? I’m glad you asked. Before Naxx-25, the LPC is currently the best main and offhand for Mutilate and HAT (Honor Among Thieves) rogues and the best offhand for combat fist/dagger rogues. I mean, hands down, flat out, the best. I want you to take a moment to think about that. Go ahead, stand up, take a little walk around wherever you are, grab a drink, maybe something to snack on. Let this fact marinate in your brain juices for awhile: A BoE blue is arguably the second best weapon in the game for rogues of all specs.

Why is it so good? The speed. At 1.3 weapon speed this little baby is wicked fast and, with poisons making up such a large portion of our current DPS, weapon speed is everything. A faster weapon means more poisons, plain and simple.

Is this really a problem? Yes and no. Is it really an issue that the faster a weapon is the better it is? Not really. If that’s how the mechanics are going to work than that’s fine, however, it points out an itemization issue in the fact that we have so few choices of weapons. As of right now, your choice is to get yourself a pair of paper cutters and then wait for a pair of Webbed Deaths. There is kind of a big empty gap of upgrades there.

OK, so it is a problem, how do we fix it? I don’t have a great answer for you there. Wiser minds than I have spent pages and pages discussing this same issue. Some thoughts are to normalize poison damage with weapon speed. Seems reasonable. Others suggest simply giving us a better selection of weapons that are faster. Also seems reasonable.

So what do I hope you take away from this post? My hope is to facilitate discussion among our community about the issues of our class. A lot of us (myself included) are guilty of thinking that Blizzard should just turn up the damage knob on our class and we’ll be set. Maybe we’d be happy, but I don’t think we’d be any less “broken” than we are now.

I don’t have the answers to the current state of rogues but I have faith in Blizzard. I honestly believe that they listen to the community but we need to help them help us by taking a good hard look at ourselves and figuring out not just what we feel is really off about our class but why is it really off.

What do you all think?

2009
01.12

Here we are again on everyone’s favorite day of the week, Monday. What’s not to love really? We’ve got a whole exciting week ahead of us. Setting aside the blatantly fake statement of my anti-Garfieldism, last week was a good week and I got more done than I expected. I picked up a few nice upgrades running through Naxx-10 and as a surprise to even myself I became Ambassador to the Horde. Go ahead and add another completely nonthreatening title to my vicious bloodthirsty stabbing machine rogue. Yeah, that’s right, I’m on fire but don’t worry…I won’t let you burn. Now that I’ve managed to creep even myself out, let’s get down to business.

Last Week’s Results

  • Reputations
  • Success! Exalted with the Argent Crusade at last. I’d say it has been fun guys but that would be a damn dirty lie. You can cram your stupid dailies up your holier-than-thou butts. I’m taking my new boots and never calling you again. Also, your tabard is ugly.

  • Gear Optimization
  • I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. I spent a decent amount of time last week crunching numbers, weighing different enchants and gems and gear combinations. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? Well it was! After some juggling and a bit of gold spent (enchanting mats can be expensive) here is what I’m looking like unbuffed:

    Agility 865
    Attack Power 2920
    Hit Rating 292
    Crit Chance 32.35%
    Expertise Rating 130

    Not bad, solidly balanced I think.

This Week’s List

  • Reputations
  • The Kalu’ak exalted. I’ve been ignoring these guys for awhile. Only doing their dailies when I was bored or in the area but I noticed I’m really close to exalted so they make the list to make sure I do it. Another exalted faction never hurt – plus they have a pet!

  • Professions
  • Spend some time actually farming leather. A skinner with no leather to his name is a sad, sad man. I hate farming but I should spend an hour or two this week gathering. Leather prices are still good on my server.

  • Random
  • Run undead Strat a few times. I can clear undead Strat in about 15 minutes, probably faster if I worked on it. In addition to Argent Dawn rep, of which I have none, and the slight chance at the mount, I can pick up a good bit of Runecloth which sells well.

So that’s me, what is everyone else up to this week?

2009
01.09

I used the holidays as a nice excuse to skip a couple Fridays, but today I’m going to make it up to you with three, count them, three macros. Aren’t I a great guy? No? Oh, well, that’s fine too.

/script CallCompanion(“CRITTER”, math.random(GetNumCompanions(“CRITTER”)))

The above macro (make sure it is all on one line) will summon a random pet from your collection. A lot more people are getting into pet collecting thanks to the achievement (myself included) and this is a nice easy macro to have. I found it originally on warcraftpets.com though I can no longer find where on that site.

/cast [mod:ctrl] LandMount;[flyable] FlyingMount; LandMount

The above macro is a all in one mount macro. When your flying mount is available (Outland, Northrend) it will summon it, otherwise (Old World) it will summon your land mount. There are a few problems with this one. Northrend is still considered flyable even if you don’t have Cold Weather Flying and Dalaran is always considered flyable. It’s frustrating but luckily there’s a ctrl modifier built in that will force your land mount.

Want a random mount?

/castrandom [mod:ctrl] LandMount1,LandMount2;[flyable] FlyingMount1,FlyingMount2; landMount1,LandMount2

You’ll have to be a little picky about which mounts you put in the list though since you will eventually run out of characters for your macro.

And now one you may not have thought of:

/startattack
/cast Sinister Strike

The above will help you keep up your attack when you change targets even if your energy is low. While not totally necessary it can gain you a few extra seconds here and there. Replace SS with your combo builder of choice.

Got a macro question? Can it be done? Will I do it for you? You bet. Drop a comment or send an email.

2009
01.08

My favorite man in a dress and I had a funny conversation that I thought I would share with all of you. This conversation took place as I was sitting next to him watching him play some indeterminable amount of time ago* Names have been changed to protect the noob**

Awesome Rogue: Why are you in Shat?
Dress Wearer: Cooking Daily.
Awesome Rogue: Why?
Dress Wearer: I need the Storm Chops recipe for the achievement.
Awesome Rogue: Oh. Wow, Shat bank is dead.
Dress Wearer: Yup.
Awesome Rogue: Wait…there’s a mailbox in the Shat bank?
Dress Wearer: What?
Awesome Rogue: I didn’t know that.
Dress Wearer: You’re kidding right?
Awesome Rogue: Uh…yes?
Dress Wearer: Wow, you are so noob.
Awesome Rogue: Your mother.
Dress Wearer: Uh-huh, do you even know how to play this game?
Awesome Rogue: Yeah…it’s like footies right?

At this point I threw a handful of dirt that I always keep in my pocket for just such an occasion in his face and ran off. When I glanced back to make sure he wasn’t following me, I tripped and fell down the stairs. It hurt.

True story***.

*Last Week
**Me
***Kinda
2009
01.07

Add-ons Are The Best

I love Add-ons. They are, in fact, one of my favorite things about World of Warcraft. I can’t really tell you why. Maybe it’s the programmer in me, maybe it’s the fact that I feel like I can make my UI mine.

Before we begin I should state that I am not in any way, shape or form a minimalist when it comes to my UI. I like a lot of information and I like it to be in an easy to find location without a lot of eye movement. This is not to say that I don’t believe in a slick and clean UI, it’s just that you won’t be seeing a lot of empty or dead space in my interface.

That said: My UI as of last night.

Looks a bit different than when you first load up the game. How did I get there? I’m glad you asked. I’ve broken up my Mod list into three separate categories: Informative, Functional, and Pretty. Let’s take a closer look shall we?

Informative

ag_UnitFrames
ag_unitframes
ag is a mod that allows you to change and move your unit frame, your target frame, your focus, your group, your raid…well, all the frames. It is highly customizable, including size, color, shape, position, even whether to show the frame or not. To go into great detail would take a post in and of itself. That said, as far as unit frame mods go I find it to not only be the best overall but the easiest to plug-n-play. I mean, look at that 3D rendering of that sexy rogue.

Cartographer, Lightheaded & nQuestLog
nQuestLog
I list these three as a pack because they work together so well. Cartographer fills out your entire map for you while also giving you the ability to create waypoints. Did you see the arrow in my full UI with a distance on it? That was from a Cartographer waypoint. You can right-click anywhere on your map and set a waypoint. Neat stuff.  However, when you combine it with the other two mods, life gets real smooth. Clicking on a quest in nQuestlog will bring up the Wowhead comments on that quest! From there you can click on any coordinates given and a waypoint will appear! Tada! Questing made easy.

ClassTimer
ClassTimer
Want to know how much time you have left on Slice and Dice? Need to know when Rupture is going to drop off? How many stacks of Deadly Poison are applied? Look no further than ClassTimer. The bars are easy to customize, adjusting both their size and position (I like to keep mine close to the center of my screen to keep that limited eye movement I was talking about). It also has bars for your target and focus. It should be noted that this mod is not just for rogues as it will monitor the abilities of other classes as well (whatever those may be).

ComboPoint Redux
Combo Point Redux
Having my current combo points as little dots on my target frame never did it for me. Information that important should be much more in your face. Enter EPR with both a visual and textual representation of your combo points in an easily re-sizable and movable format (seeing a trend here?).

CowTip
CowTip
You ever wish you could move your tooltipr or that it had more information? Congratulations, your wish is granted with CowTip (it’ll graze your pastures). Mousing over a player just got more interesting, as you can tell what they are targeting, their guild rank, and their spec right in the tooltip! You can also tell if they are noob or not*.

*This is 100% not true

Elkano Buff Bars
Elkano
As you can probably tell – I like bars. Like, a lot. I strongly prefer an exact amount of time that a buff or debuff will last rather than having to guess from the timer that appears on the default buff icons. Elkano displays your buffs and debuffs in a (you guessed it) highly customizable manner. You can even decide which buffs to display or not. Don’t care about that silly spellpower buff? Turn it off!

Omen
Omen
If you only install one mod ever, this is it. You must, must, must have a threat meter. You pull aggro, you die (probably), and everyone will hate you forever and always. Harsh, but true.

Parrot
Parrot
Have I mentioned how much I love information? Well I do. It’s delicious…num, num, num, num. Parrot is the scrolling combat text mods. It’s the one to rule them all. Outgoing damage and heals? Check. Incoming damage and heals? Check. Cooldowns and Notifications? Check. Completely customizable? Double-Double Check. Download it and thank me later (I accept cash and all manner of gifts).

Recount
Recount
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one. Recount is simply a damage meter (it does have other functions that you can use for some quick theorycrafting -tracking your miss and crit rate for example- but I won’t go into them here). Just remember to clear it now and then because it can be a resource hog.

Functional

Advanced Tradeskill Window
ATSW
This is a mod I only recently came across and boy do I feel like I wasted a bunch of time with the default tradeskill window. If all it did was increase the size of the tradeskill window then it would be a great mod, but ATSW goes beyond that – way beyond. You can set up queues of items to create, tell it to check your bank and alts for materials, and automatically buy the reagents for the items in your queue!

ArkInventory
ArkInventory
To me, this is the ultimate bag mod. It can be a little heavy on memory (not super bad though) but after using it I don’t think I could survive without it. On the simplest level it merely puts all your bags into one window but as you dive deeper into customizing it you can add filters for sorting and even search! As you can see, my bags aren’t the most organized but they’re getting there. Certainly more organized than my work desk.

Bartender4

Bartender4
Everyone has their own favorite bar mod and I’m no exception. Bartender4 is the mod for me, in fact, we’re going to run away together to whatever state it is that a man and several lines of LUA code can be married (New Hampshire, I think). My favorite thing has to be the easy to use keybindings. Simply enter keybinding mode (/kb), hover over a button, push the key and you’re done.

Cellular
Cellular
Do you ever miss an important whisper? How about an unimportant one? Well, no more. Cellular turns your whispers into an Instant Message like client, complete with history. And would you guess that it’s very customizable? Good, that means you’ve been paying attention, have a cookie. Before you ask, yes I do talk to myself often, I’m just so amusing.

Chatter
Chatter is a nice chatbox replacement. I enjoy it because of it’s small memory footprint, the ability to easily change the font family, size and color, and it’s overall slickness. I’m not saying much about it but don’t let that fool you, I highly recommend this one.

FuBar
You see the bars with a ton of variously information at the top and bottom of my UI? That’s FuBar and it’s many many plugins. Going into detail would be a post in and of itself (and maybe will be!) so I’ll just say if you like quick access to information and want to get rid of all those buttons on your minimap, FuBar is for you.

Postal
A mailbox mod that lets you get all your mail at once with one button press. Do I need to say anything else? Nope, didn’t think so.

Pretty

ClearFont2
Have you ever wanted to change WoW’s font? I mean, all of the fonts. This is your answer. This may seem unnecessary at first but once you install it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Trust me.

SexyMap

SexyMap
SexyMap is just that, sexy. Move, resize, or load up any of the many templates for a super slick looking map. Look at it man, it spins! Need I say more?

Skinner
Did my UI look a little…different to you? Everything kind of smooth. Almost as if every piece of the Blizzard UI had been stripped and reskinned. Well, that’s Skinner for you. Currently I just have it set to add the flashy red bursts around the edge but you can even import your own skins and really make your UI stand out.

Conclusion

Are these all the mods I use? No. That list is embarrassingly long, but these are the big ones that I just couldn’t live without. My main focus when I’m building my UI is the ease of access to information when in combat. You’ll notice most of the important combat related information is around the center bottom of the screen. By limiting your eye movement you are able to gather and process this information quicker which, I believe, will greatly improve your situational awareness and as we all know, the number one rule of WoW is: Don’t stand in the fire.

So, is it the greatest UI ever? In my opinion, yes, yes it is…that is until I build a new one. Should you copy it exactly? No, because it won’t be the greatest UI for you. Your UI should be just that, yours. Only you can truly know what information you need and where the best place is to put it for you. So play around, try different things, and most importantly have fun. UI design can be a game within the game so get out there and enjoy it.

Questions? Comments? Love? Hate? Presents? Cool Mods I missed?

2009
01.05

Monday To-Do List

Happy New Year! I hope you’re all as excited about 2009 as I am (I measure my level of excitement as about a 9.4 on a scale of 5.4 to 10.1).

So the vacation time is over and it’s time to start rolling again in both my real and fake lives (you can decided for yourself which one I consider to be which). I’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned for the near future, not the least of which is that addons post I’ve been promising for awhile now. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait, in fact, I’ll say that it will be worth it’s wait in gold. Ow…ok, yeah, that one was really bad, it actually caused me physical pain. I’d apologize but I don’t really want to. I’m getting mean so let’s move on shall we?

Last Week’s Results

There was no list last week and I didn’t do anything. Therefore, last week can only be called a HUGE MIND-BLOWING SUCCESS. Thank you, thank you, hold your applause.

This Week’s List

  • Reputations
  • Argent Crusade Exalted. I’ve been working on this for awhile and their lack of decent dailies is really starting to irk me. I’ve done a bit of championing though and I should definitely hit exalted this week. I’ll then have a shiny pair of new boots, stacked with a delicious amount of hit to really open up some options.

  • Gear Optimization
  • I’ve been less than perfect with my gems and enchants for a little bit now. No more. Once I get my boots I feel I can do some really nice work and get a solid balance going. Expect a full report next week. Numbers are fun!

New Year’s Resolutions

I have only one resolution this year: Be Awesome. Can I pull it off? Only time will tell.

So what are your plans for this new year and week?