I feel like I’ve dropped off the grid lately.

I haven’t logged into any of my Horde characters in over a week. I haven’t done much of anything.

When I have logged into the game, it’s been to continue single-mindedly completing my Rogue’s goals.

Not exactly blog worthy fodder, eh?

Cassie and I jointly finished the entire quest chain for Dungeon Set 2… she has all the pieces for her Paladin set, but I’m still missing the Hat and Chest for my turn in.

Since I was still only level 73 when we finished that quest chain, I’m spending my free time leveling. Once I hit 80 and get a little geared, I’ll go back in and farm Scholo and UBRS solo until the two things drop.

And then? The Rogue gets retired as a bank alt in Darkmantle.

It’s been an interesting exercise, but I’ll be honest; the Rogue is a very annoying class to play solo in old school content compared to the melee classes I’m used to, the Retribution Paladin and the Feral Druid.

Mostly, I feel squishy fighting groups of mobs, even level 60 instance groups. Part of that, of course, is that I’m wearing Leather as a melee DPS.

You know, I’m really not complaining about the class itself. I’m not even level 80; I only dinged 75 last night. I don’t know how it plays in groups beyond the groups I do in regular instances.

What I’m annoyed by is something that is an ‘unofficial’ playstyle; soling old school content. And the only reason I’m annoyed is because of how spoiled I am by playing other classes.

I have a Feral Druid, I have a Retribution Paladin, and I even have an up and coming Protection Warrior.

Each of those three classes is a melee class, the same as the Rogue.

The difference is, each of those other three classes is a hybrid; each is designed to be capable of tanking in normal situations as well as of dealing DPS.

Each also benefits from the modern design of easy group aggro generation; each class has plenty of AoE capability.

The Rogue is not designed to be a tank, although while it’s up, Evasion is great. Since Rogues aren’t meant to be tanks, Evasion is on reasonably long cooldown. It’s not an “I’m the tank” ability, it’s an “Oh shit the tank is asleep” ability.

Likewise, Rogues are not designed to establish or hold aggro on large groups, so Rogues only have two abilities that affect groups of mobs; Fan of Knives at level 80 (which I don’t have, but as it costs 50 Energy to use, I don’t see it being a spam button when soloing) and Blade Flurry, which lets your attacks also hit a second target for a very short period of time. A very short period of time. And it has an annoyingly long cooldown.

Rogues are not exactly “AoE monsters”.

So, I’m spoiled. I’m cool with stealthing in and assassinating bosses in old school content, it’s fun. But there are lots of encounters where you have to deal with waves of trash to get a door open, or something, and then it’s a pain in the butt.

Laziness. It’s my anti-Rogue.

Seriously though, the longer I play my Rogue and have the opportunity to compare playstyles with the Paladin, Druid and Warrior, the more the Rogue feels like it got a rock.

How to fix it? I’m not going to make any suggestions about how to fix it. Cataclysm is coming, changes are already coming, and part of it seems to be building in nerfs to those other three classes’ ability to solo groups, so soon it might not only be the Rogue that has that ‘hang tough’ feeling.

I just wanted to throw it out there, that on the one hand, I know Rogues can really deal some smooth, slick damage in raiding environments on single targets, and bring some great utility with Tricks of the Trade, Disarm, Kidney Shot and such.

But on the other hand, for being this great evil stealthy soloing class… Rogues are one of the hardest melee classes I’ve played to solo with, just because of the weakness against unavoidable waves of mobs in scripted encounters.

21 Responses to “Dropped off the grid”
  1. Lavata says:

    As I have said on my blog and other forums the first thing to do when fixing/improving the Rogue play style would be to move Combo Points from the target and have them stack on the Rogue. Like how they are doing for Holy/Disc Priest and Paladins in general. This of course should also be done for Feral Cats.

  2. Andrew says:

    This is exactly why the Rogue gave me the most fun to level out of all the classes. Even though I switched to assasination at 80 I levelled as combat swords and had a blast. With Adrenaline Rush, Blade Flurry and Evasion you can destroy groups of mobs but even more fun was taking on groups while they were on cooldown. A Kidney shot here, a Blind there, pop off a quick Gouge on another, just feeling as though you are in the thick of a good scrap!

  3. Callyx says:

    This disparity isn’t isolated to rogues, either. Some classes are just overpowered when it comes to pve utility. I’m sure the mages and locks have to ask themselves, if I can do the same amount of damage as a ret pally, a hunter, a shammy, or a druid.. why the HELL am I wearing this dress?! And don’t you dare say ‘raid utility’. lol. At least 2 of those 4 can have an offspec that can solo most of the content and/or tank a heroic if the queue is too long. :)

  4. kattrinsaa says:

    I know what you mean, with my own “meatspace” profession upgrade underway (interview thursday BTW) and keeping all the rest of the canaries flying, I hardly ever get any playtime. When I do, I’m faced with the dilemma of level an alt or try to farm a few emblems on an established character.

    Roguewise, the only ones i have are used for bankalts, I just can’t enjoy that class. The ONLY things rogues do that my kitteh can’t are pick locks and apply poisons. and I prefer 4 paw drive to two feet.

  5. And then there’s that pesky lack of self healing that Pallies & Druids have.

    Rogues (and mages and warriors) are stuck with potions. Or bandages if they have time to channel. That’s tough to get used to

    Oh, and it’s nice to see a new post from ya. :)

  6. angry anon says:

    I am leveling a Rogue and Warrior at the same time now. At level 30 I have seen the “squishiness” pop up with the Rogue more and more with large mob groups. I have engineering on my Rogue so I am able to drop bombs to help him kill things….

    Have you tried any professions to help out your Rogue a bit?

  7. Aggrazel says:

    I started a rogue a long time ago after PvPing with my druid for hours constantly dying to rogues.

    I figured, the best way to learn how to fight against a class, is to learn how to fight -as- the class.

    The experiment has been somewhat of an interesting one. I’m now level 69. I always quest/instance the first 4 levels of a bracket, and pvp the last 6. So from 60-63 for example I’ll be out in the world, and from 64-69 I’ll do nothing but PvP. It makes for a very interesting view of what the class is about.

    Firstly, it made me appreciate just how unique the class is. Sure, I have no AOE damage, but the rogue isn’t about AOE. It’s about control. While my druid can just run into a group of 3 mobs and just crush them utterly, the rogue has to control the fight. Sap one, blind the other, use cooldowns, gain the upper hand. Same thing in PVP… its all about control, less about damage. The rogue has so many tools its intimidating and difficult to know how and when to use them.

    But I think the Rogue, if played purely in a PvE environment would become boring and flat. You have to mix it up with the true nature of the class, the PvP. Then PvE becomes more interesting as you get in the habit of locking things down. That, and the [Wrecking Ball] achievement is really fun to get. ;)

  8. Veeka The Tree says:

    Hey,hey! Back it up a bit! ^^
    I have got a different point of view here.
    There is nothing wrong with rogue class. I am pretty sure, there is a certain beauty about it.
    I have learned on own experience and during long conversations that not everyone can play all classes with equal devotion to them.
    Some people just wont be able to find whole use of some classes abilities in the perfect for the setup way to suceed where other classes may seem to go thru too easy. Its about giving your heart to a class and exploring it, instead of noticing the “flaws”. You may just not be into finding new solutions instead of the standart pattern. For the specific class.

    IMHO.

  9. Aggrazel says:

    @slikrx/Balthazario :

    Kidney Shot -> Bandage … its almost like having a LoH every minute. :) And you can level bandaging so that you can heal your full bar in 8 seconds almost every step of the way. It isn’t until 75+ that heavy frostweave won’t heal you to full.

  10. koalabear says:

    I too have been leveling a rogue and miss having my usual caster ability to pull single mobs out of a cluster. It seems like the old world is just teeming with clustered mobs that will chew the head off a rogue and not think twice.

    I actually haven’t been using the dungeon finder all that much on her because of my lack of AoE. Yes I can throw bombs, but those are on a fairly long cooldown.

    I guess I am just too used to warlocks/boomkins/mages to really adapt to a non-aoe melee class well.

  11. Tesh says:

    I’d like to play my Druid kitty (or a Rogue, whatever) as a real stealth/thief class. As in, forget XP from mowing down mobs, I want to get XP from sneaking in and stealing stuff that anyone else would have to fight to acquire. I want an “evasion tank” spec. I want mobility options that nobody else does, like the ability to climb walls, use ziplines and slip through cracks. I want ranged aggro distractions so I can sneak past those sentry waves. I want to be a Rogue in the classic D&D mold, not a squishy Fighter.

    Sadly, WoW is not built to offer those options.

    Pity.

  12. Darth Solo says:

    I hear you. I had the same problems with my rogue and ended up parking him at level 75 months ago. Due to lack of character slots he will become my new bank alt come Cataclysm. In fact I wrote a post about how disenchanted I became with the rogue class > Rogues are useless.

    This has truly been the most difficult class to level and I really don’t see the point of rogues. Mail and plate wearing classes such as enhancement shamans, death knights and ret paladins are much better at killing things than rogues. On my rogue I had to bandage or eat after every other fight while leveling. And there doesn’t seem to be any viable spec for leveling except for combat swords.

    On the other hand I try to understand some of the appeal that rogues have. For instance I always appreciated the stealth, safe fall and lockpicking.

  13. Kit says:

    BBB, you know what your post speaks to, more than class balance? Encounter scalability. If every encounter were scalable, it wouldn’t matter if you were solo or if your group were 100-strong. No more struggling to fill 10- or 25-man raids. Got 7 people? Go for it! the challenge level and amount of loot scale. 17? 73? Just you and your RAF 2-box “friend”? No problem. And it guarantees that anyone who wants to see content can see content. This, more than any class changes, would level the playing field for everyone.

  14. Stonedrake says:

    Rogues are excellent at soloing PvE content — especially at 80.

    1. Yes, we currently lack self healing, but that exact situation is addressed in Cataclysm with Recuperate. One way to address it now, though is to be an alchemist/herbalist. Lifeblood is a great self-heal, and it’s off the GCD. Throw in an Endless Healing Potion or pots and Mixology…

    2. The loveliest thing about modern rogues in solo PvE is that Sap works on so many more things than it used to. It’s so much easier to peel apart groups than it used to be. In a five pull, often you can sap the guy in the middle and just pull two back out of range.

    3. It gets easier at 80 when you have Fan of Knives.

    4. Bosses are where you suffer from the lack of healing but that’s mitigated by the unholy damage you can unleash. Any Northrend geared rogue should be able to out-race the boss DPS wise these days. Again, this get’s better at 80 when you get access to some tier gear.

  15. Stonedrake says:

    I also just read Darth Solo’s piece about rogues and I’ll add a comment about it here, since it also ties in with BBBs roguery. Rogues in solo PvE — especially whilst levelling — are about tempo. The game becomes something of a symphony of destruction if you’re doing it right. You set up that first pull in such a way that you can reduce the numbers to just one or two, burn them down and move on. You’re still carrying over Slice and Dice into the next fight, as well as Remorseless Attacks. You move from mob to mob and group to group, trying to keep Slice going at all times.

    Yes. You’re in leather and you’re going to take damage. You don’t care. You are a remorseless, focused killing machine. You ride that green bar DOWN. As long as the mobs green bars go down faster, you win. Keep it up. Rock that killing beat on and on. When you’re about to die… vanish and go somewhere to bandage or eat. Rogues are so completely mechanical that when you go into a fight against a given mob, you should already know how many of them you can kill before you need to rest. If you follow the levellers conventional wisdom and only do quests you out-level a bit, by the time you have to rest, your cooldowns will be up anyway.

    As I mentioned before, this gets even better in Cataclsym. As Anne Stickney has said repeatedly: Recuperate makes you an unkillable little god of death.

  16. Callyx says:

    I really want to side with the rogue proponents on this comment board. There’s only one problem..
    In the world of warcraft.. many if not most mobs worth killing are not stunnable or slowable.
    An honest question here from a non-rogue.. what is it you do, in those circumstances?

  17. Aggrazel says:

    @Callyx – Find a friend to help.

    The thing is while the Rogue class is weaker in PvE than most, its stronger in PvP than most. So if you aren’t PvPing as a rogue, you might have more success as a warrior or paladin. The beauty of the rogue class is being able to pick your fights, and control them. Like I say, the rogue is about technique more than any other class I’ve played.

  18. niceas says:

    To the person who said that warlocks and mages look in askance at Shaman and some of the other ‘hybrid’ classes?

    Using shaman as an example was a BAD example. When they hit the end-game content, Shaman (Enh, Ele) scale the worst on DPS – to the point of being effectively the bottom of the totempole. When I can trot out my undergeared warlock and do more DPS than my 4 piece T10 ele shaman, something is wrong with the scaling.

    Sorry – this is just a pet peeve of mine.

  19. Feorfin says:

    My main is a rogue so I understand your feelings. Even feral kitties can wipe out groups of mobs with little worry. Rogues, however, are soft as grapes so the mentality is don’t get hit and kill everything fast. I very much agree with Stonedrake that rogue solo play is about pace and set up. You can’t generally just wade in and outlast a large pull like you can with a druid. There are some helpfull talents that can boost dodge and increase survivability when you’re soloing so if you plan to solo alot of older content you might want to consider a secondary spec specifically for that. Also, proper use of cooldowns can allow you to wade through large packs of mobs about every 2 minutes. I don’t know what spec you are, but combat has some of the better solo talents. As soon as you make 80 try hitting Evasion, Blade Flurry, Adrenaline Rush then spam away at Fan of Knives and watch the mayhem ensue.

  20. Stonedrake says:

    Hey, my only complaint about rogues is all the Elemental Awesome built into the class that blizzard completely ignores until Icecrown. Bring the Player Not the Class only made it worse. Tesh sort of addressed the same thing. Here we are, a class with trap detection and removal, pick pocketing and lock picking — and these almost never see use. When is the last time it was of value to have a rogue to pick the lock on a door? Shortcutting part of BRD? Maybe dodging the reconstruction of the Scholomance Key? Oh wait! Unlocking the back door of Stratholme (incidentallly, this goes out for the Blacksmiths and Engineers too. They have their own means of dealing with locks, Blizz, and you give them nearly no reason to use them). Removing traps? the first trap I ever had to handle anywhere was in Icecrown. Pick pocketing? Ok, that’s a good one for some change and the occasional epic that you’ll throw away pretty fast anyway. I advocate creating instances that allow a rogue to give his group an easier path (unlocking a door, disarming a nasty trap, or lifting a Macguffin from a mob’s pocket).

    All of that aside, I still don’t get why people think that rogues are sub-par for solo PvE content. No, you can’t wade into a group of ten mobs and take them all on like you were wearing plate. A rogues strength is turning that 10-pull into two 5-pulls, then turning one 5-pull into a pair of 2-pulls with a sapped mob in the middle.

  21. Dinaer says:

    I’m going to write a blog post about changing to a rogue playstyle, and I’m going to quote a bit from your post here, BBB. Hope you don’t mind.

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