Heroic Rogue DPS 101
August 11, 2009 35 Comments
How do I improve my Heroic DPS?”
This is a question I am asked quite frequently. Since there’s a rise in Heroic activity these days, I figured a brief primer on increasing your DPS in a Heroic might be useful to some of my fellow Rogues out there.
Before I talk specifically about Rogue DPS, I’d like to discuss what I think is the root issue with DPS in general. I see requests by players on this site, other blogs and wow related forums for the *best* DPS rotation. The problem is that your best DPS on trash doesn’t come from your maximum sustained (or Boss) rotation. In fact, there’s a chance that you might have to treat every pull differently.
A smart DPS knows when to use certain abilities to both increase their DPS and contribute utility to the party. Ingorant DPS will continue to use the exact same abilities for every situation. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant; you could certainly (an accurately) claim that I am ignorant about a great many things. The problem is being satisfied when you know you can do better but you don’t care to learn how. If you’re here, you don’t have that problem, and since you’re here, let’s get to work…
– Heroic Rogue DPS 101 –
Great Heroic DPS on a Rouge is about instinct, not rotations. On most Boss fights, you’re going to be using a standard rotation, and any alterations to that rotation will be minor at best. In contrast, trash DPS requires more thought because of the need to tailor your abilities to the pull. This is one of the reasons I really enjoy the class so much.
DPS for Heroic trash mobs often require you to think about almost every ability you use. Do I pop this cooldown, or use ability x? These decisions make a huge difference in the overall DPS you’ll put out. It’s not as hard as it seems to pull good heroic trash DPS, and once you’ve worked on it a bit, it will become instinctive and natural.
– Combat –
Combat works ridiculously well on trash in Heroics. The cooldowns are better than Assassination, and that makes a difference. Properly utilizing those cooldowns is the difference between good DPS and great DPS.
Rupture, one of our rotation staples really has little use in Heroic trash. It deals more damage for longer per combo point, but there are few mobs that have enough health that will allow it to completely tick through. Unless you are fighting a mob that will allow Rupture to complete it’s duration, leave it out, and use your combo points for Envenom / Eviscerate.
Killing Spree, Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush should be used as often as possible, as long as they will be available for the next boss fight. Also, Killing Spree will do more damage if it is used with Slice and Dice and Blade Flurry due to white damage continuing during the ‘Spree. Don’t hesitate to use these abilities on single pulls if the mob has enough health to live through them, but they really shine on multi-mob pulls.
Fan of Knives will provide superior DPS to single target in pulls of 3 or more. Using Fan will not interrupt your white damage, so make sure to target something and begin auto-attacking it before you go nuts. If Adrenaline Rush is up, you can Fan for some ridiculous multi mob DPS.
Here’s two examples of optimal situations, meaning that all cooldowns are available, and unneeded for the duration of their cooldown:
One Target / Two Targets
Slice and Dice
Evisc / Envenom
You can even add Adrenaline Rush in there, but that’s usually enough to take down a Single pull mob, as they generally have just over 100k health.
Three or more Targets
- Sinister Strike
- Slice and Dice
- Blade Flurry
- Fan of Knives
- Adrenaline Rush
- Fan of Knives x 3
- Killing spree
- Fan of Knives
Those things don’t necessarily have to be used in that order, nor do you have to use them all. The basic Idea is to make sure you’re Auto Attacking, and to use Killing Spree when your energy is low to allow for some regen. Remember this is a maximum / blow every thing example. Sometimes you’ll just have Fan, and that’s still going to do good DPS, just make sure that you’re still Auto-Attacking a target while you do it.
– Assassination –
Assassination isn’t quite as competative on Heroic trash as Combat because of cooldowns and the necessity to keep Hunger for Blood active. However, you can still be effective on trash as Assassination if you know what to do.
One major difference between Combat and Assassination is that while Assassination, you’ll want to open from Stealth every opportunity you can. Assuming that your trash pulls are 20 seconds or less long, you should always have the Overkill buff, and therefore, 30% faster energy regen. While not as effective as Adrenaline Rush, it doesn’t have a cooldown, so it’s up more often. As as side note, you can Vanish on a longer fights to gain this boost, turning Vanish into an offensive cooldown.
Here’s what most Assassination trash pulls might look like:
Hunger for Blood
Slice and Dice
4/5 Combo Pt. Envenom
If Hunger for Blood doesn’t need refreshing, skip it until the mob is almost dead and it will (depending on the speed of pulls) be up for your next pull. Also if Slice and Dice is still active, even a 1 point Envenom will refresh its duration. Single target Mutilate Trash is basically a standard Mutilate rotation minus the Rupture. Cold Blood will help ensure that your Envenom hits hard, but don’t use it right before a boss.
- Hunger for Blood
- Slice and dice
- Cold Blood
- Fan of Knives
As you can see there’s not a whole lot going on when fighting multiple mobs as Assassination. You’re getting your auto attack damage, the Garrote DoT and Fan of Knives. Those will all add up to a fairly potent Combo. Cold Blood is nice for the guaranteed Crit, but again, don’t use it if you’re about to fight a boss.
– ~ –
If you’re looking for some things to try to up your Heroic DPS, this should keep you busy for a day or two. If you’re already pro at trash and you have other suggestions on how to help the readers of this blog do better trash DPS, the comment box is waiting below. One final thing, if Tricks of the Trade is available, use it on the tank before you pull, or you might get squashed, as some of the things I suggested will pull a good deal of threat.
Enjoy the badge farming,