Monday, July 9, 2007

Mutilate for PvE, Part II: Combat

It's essential. Your role is as clearly defined as any class in the World of Warcraft. You do one thing, and you do it very well. Deal damage. Burst. Sustained. Even damage over time (the lesser known advantage of the Subtlety talents).

Traditionally, rogue dps is thought of in two ways: PvE and PvP. Either you have specialized yourself through talent points to be most effective for instancing and raiding, or battlegrounds and arenas. Can one specialization work for the other's purpose? In a word, yes. I will always believe that regardless of talent spec, what makes any toon worth his or her weight in primal mights is the person at the controls. But, having said that and for the purposes of this post, I want to consider all things normal in that respect.

As far as rogue talent builds go, 15/41/5 (or some general variation of) combat daggers/swords/fists will produce the highest sustained damage over the course of any instance or raid (I dont consider combat maces to be viable for any sort of PvE, since the stun effect will be resisted by most instance and raid bosses...I know, kind of contradictory to the main point of the previous paragraph. Meh, I digress.) The primary talents, such as improved slice and dice, adrenaline rush, combat potency, aggression, and improved [weapon] are specifically designed for a rogue to maximize white damage and increase the base damage of skills. But what if we took the foundation of the combat build and married it to the burst damage of the mutilate build?

A few posts ago, I went through what I feel to be the best distribution of talent points in the assassination tree (for the purposes of raiding and PvE). Here, I want to review how to use your remaining 20 points in the combat tree and how to pull it all together to give you a very potent, very powerful and fun build.

Improved Gouge - 3/3 - Increases the effect duration of your Gouge ability by 1.5 seconds
Why? Because you're going to be grinding alot, and your main attack is still made from behind. This ability gives you a short break in battle to regenerate energy and reposition yourself for that wonderful burst damage. However, there is an interesting contradiction here. Since I am going with vile poisons, I use deadly poisons almost always. Gouge is broken by any damage, including periodic DoTs. Alas, this talent becomes highly useful when I am grinding and aggro an extra mob (ogres, elementals, etc.), and need a bit of extra crowd control.

Improved Sinister Strike - 2/2 - Reduces the cost of your Sinister Strike ability by 5
Two of the first 10 talent points a rogue spends will go here. You wont use this very often, but when you need it, you really need it. If the situation requires you to not or prohibits you from being behind an enemy, well, you get the point.

Improved Slice and Dice - 3/3 - Increases the duration of your Slice and Dice ability by 45%
As I so gracefully discussed with poor math, this post, Slice and Dice is really one of your most important finishers. Simply, you attack faster; you hit your target more times per second and you apply more poisons per second. Putting 3 points in this talent means you can keep Slice an Dice up for a longer amount of time while freeing up combo points for other finishers.

Precision - 5/5 - Increases your chance to hit with melee weapons by 5%
Rogues, well, we miss alot. Enemies can dodge. One thing that I notice alot about rogues (since in neurotic and need to check every rogue I see on armory) is that they don't pay enough attention to their hit rating. I haven't the slightest idea how to calculate it (which means I'm just too lazy to look it up right now), but I know it makes a big difference in your damage dealt. Either way, this talent isn't one that any rogue will put 5 points in here for the hit, but you really want that Dual Wield Specialization...

Dual Wield Specialization - 5/5 - Increases the damage done by your offhand weapon by 50%
Remember, this is a Mutilate build intended for PvE situations. It's the beauty of burst damage with all the benefits of sustained dps, and this talent is where it all comes together. As a rule, offhand weapon damage is reduced by 50%. With this talent, that becomes 25%. Simple enough, right? Right. White damage, normalized. Check. But something that is largely unknown is that this talent also increases your offhand Mutilate damage. Don't believe me? Allow me to plagiarize: "Previously, the Mutilate Bonus Damage was listed as being reduced by the offhand penalty. However, it is in fact not reduced by the offhand penalty. Also, not only is the bonus damage not reduced, 5/5 DW Specialization increases it by 50%. This means the offhand bonus ends up being 101 if you don't have DW Specialization, and 151.5 if you have 5/5 DW Specialization." Check out the calculation here. Is it as much of an increase as Opportunity? No, not at first glance. At least not to Mutilate. But Opportunity does nothing for your offhand. And in a long instance or raid, your white damage is more vaulable than your burst damage.

Endurance - 2/2 - Reduces the cooldown of your Sprint and Evasion abilities by 1.5 minutes
Not my favorite cooldown reduction talent. I like Camouflage better, and Elusiveness the most. But well, we're not in the Subtlety tree at this will do. I do use evasion quite often when grinding, just to increase my survivability, so having it's cooldown reduced is nice. The main purpose for putting two points here is to reach Dual Wield Spec. It's not going to make or break the build if you choose to put two points in Improved Sprint, or even split 1 point to each.

I wish I had more time today to bring it all together, but I think I could take a whole entire post just for that. There is such a ridiculously high rate of combo point generation with this build that you really need to pay attention to your energy ticks and time your finishers to keep Find Weakness up as much as possible. Until next time, if anyone has experience with this build and wants to share their own findings, I'd love to hear them.