The Other Side of the Coin

I am, and have always been an Alliance player.  It’s not that I have any grudge against the Horde, I’ve just played with people that have also always played Alliance.  I’m primarily a PvE player, and I’ve thoroughly played through most if not all of the Alliance quest-lines over the years.  I know practically nothing about the Horde side, and I intend to rectify that issue.

I’m not going to faction change any of my characters, but I did recently have an idea.  Patch 6.1 and the new heirloom system will make it very easy to roll a new Horde Rogue.  I intend to level through at least one character Horde-side in this patch, maybe more.  I haven’t leveled a Rogue from scratch since BC, and if nothing else, it will help me write and update a lot of very out of date material on the blog.  I don’t foresee any live-streams (I think watching me level would be less than exciting), but I do plan on blogging about the experience.  I could use a little help getting started though.

I am full on Lightbringer and I don’t want to delete any characters to make room.  I want to know if anyone could recommend a good US server (PvE or PvP) that has a healthy population of Horde Players, but isn’t overcrowded.  Also, I really am interested in learning more about the Horde culture and lore.  If there are any zones or quest hubs that are unique to the Horde side that I should go out of my way to see, let me know.  Finally, does anyone have a race recommendation?  The easy choice would be Goblin, as I see them as the Gnome equivalent, but I’m open to anything, excepting Pandaren.  Nothing against Pandas, but I’ve already seen that starting zone.

Anyway, I’m excited to get this started soon, so let me know if you have any suggestions that would help.


– Sam

P.S. – Wouldn’t a BoA (Unique) 16 slot bag be a great addition to the game?

Baby Rogue: Cataclysm Edition

The Cataclsym happened, and for one reason or another, you’ve decided to level a Rogue.  If you’re unfamiliar with the class, and you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come (I hope) to the right place.  In this post, I’ll be discussing the basic mechanics behind the class, the abilities you’ll get in the first 10 levels, and strategy for surviving those levels as well.

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Sam’s All Purpose Combat Spec

I’ll be discussing my current off-spec today, and the 5 points I intend to add to it leveling in Cataclysm.  This spec is highly geared toward solo play, and is, for lack of a better term, a Jack of all Trades spec.  You will be able to do decent damage in groups, survive in PvP (if you have PvP gear, of course), and solo content that was previously not possible for a Rogue to solo.

While this spec is clearly inferior to my Assassination Raiding Spec, it will do decent damage in a group.  I’ve also noticed the ability to survive for an extended time in PvP matches, and was able to solo the entirety of ZG (level 60 raid) several times to get my Zandalar to exalted before the Sundering makes that impossible.  I will stress again that this spec isn’t the best damage dealer, or PvP spec, but it will do a good job at both of those tasks while vastly improving your abilities to solo content you couldn’t before.

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How to Spec Assassination (4.0)

The Pre-Cataclysm Patch has been nice to Rogues.  While the class wasn’t drastically changed, some things are different and it can be a bit confusing.  Today I’ll break down the Assassination spec I use and how I play it.  This spec is set up for my gear, which is likely different from the gear you’re using; therefore, I will point out any places where you might want to change some points around to better suit your gear.

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4.0 First Impressions

The server was up soon enough for me to work on some of my goals, but not much else.  I didn’t have time to run any instances or raids and really test anything out properly.  I did, however, get my talents put in and get a general feel for some of the changes.

  1. I love the change to the combat point system.  If you haven’t tried this out yet, you can use the combo points that used to be wasted when a mob dies on Slice and Dice or our new heal, Recuperate.  You don’t even have to target the old mob to do it either.
  2. Speaking of Recuperate, it’s a great ability for those of us soloing things and working on pre-wrath achieves.  I couldn’t solo all the heroics before the patch because I lacked the heals to get past certain situations.  That’s not an issue any longer.  For my soloing / leveling spec, Recuperate heals 5% of my health ever 3 seconds, or 50% every 30 seconds.
  3. I’m still figuring out the nuances of the revamped Assassination play style.  My most basic advice would be to get Slice and Dice active, keep Rupture up and Envenom for 4+ combo points otherwise.
  4. Expose Armor is now something a Rogue can keep up with less effort if they are Assassination.  All combo points spent will be refreshed if you spec 2/2 Improved Expose Armor
  5. Someone mentioned in vent at least once every 5 minutes that the “water looks amazing.”  I concur.
  6. I was pulling about 7k dps unbuffed on a combat dummy in Ironforge without having an optimal spec or rotation.  I think with some tweaking, I’ll be looking at 2-3k increased damage across the board.  What that translates to at level 85 is anyone’s guess

I’m not quite ready to write a guide yet, and even Elitist Jerks isn’t quite sure what the “best” specs are yet.  I will, however, share with you the two that I’m currently trying.  Again, these aren’t perfect, and I’ll probably tweak them some, but in my opinion, they’re good starting points for now.

Well, that pretty much covers anything that I’ve actually had time to look at.  I won’t get much opportunity to play tonight, but the guild wants to try a raid on Thursday so I should have more information then.  If there’s anything that you’re particularly interested in knowing about, let me know in the comments section, and I’ll have a look when I can.

– Sam

Break time is over

That is, if you can call the last month and a half break time.  No excuses though, I should have found some time to write something.  I’ve been getting messages like this from a good friend and guild member for a few weeks now:

Josh! A MONTH! Boe was in a random yesterday, and at the end of it one of the pugs (from another realm) said, “Hey, you’re in Bucklers of Swash. Tell Sam to update his blog.” YOU HAVE TO UPDATE YOUR BLOG if even random pugs are telling your guildmates you’re behind!

I’d feel weird with the RL name there but, hey, it’s not like anyone who wanted to know couldn’t find it elsewhere on the site.  Over the next 4 days, I’m going to speak briefly about each of the Rogue trees in Cataclysm as they currently stand.  Speaking of, who decided to give the developers a World Enlarger?  Having said that, you might think that I’m upset about the shrinking trees, but honestly, it’s not that big of a deal.  It makes things much less complicated, and I can probably re-write the how to guides for Cataclysm with a thousand less words that the WotLK guides took.

Also, I just hosted the Bucklers of Swash first RL guild event last week, and it was a blast.  I’m sure to have some highlights from that for you as well.  Pictures may or may not be forthcoming, but that’s another story.

Finally, now that I’m back to work, so to speak, if there’s anything that you want covered let me know, and I’ll see what I can do.


– Sam


It’s been a busy day here at S&D.  I’ve managed to get the three most viewed guides updated to current level information.  The guides now reflect what I’m doing with my Rogue for both Combat and Assassination.  Also, I’m currently using the Sublety leveling guide myself, and finding that with the 3.3.3 changes, it might actually be the most fun leveling a Rogue I’ve ever had, and pretty quick too.

Just as a note, the Combat guide is currently a Ruptureless build.  Using Rupture can give you a moderate DPS increase with its current changes, but there’s been no diffinative word from EJ as to what the best spec would be for that yet.  I’ll do my own testing when that happens, and rewrite the guide (again…) if necessary.

I’ll get to the other leveling guides soon, but I’d like to revamp my gearing guide as well.  Hopefully I can get on that before the end of the week.

– Sam


Update 4/1/10 – The other two guides are updated as well.  No joke.

Math: Hemo and Daggers 3.3.3 Style

Just over a year ago I took a look at how Hemorrhage worked with daggers to express why Hemo was being used with daggers in my Subtlety Leveling Guide, written a few days before.  With patch 3.3.3, the changes to Hemo (and Ghostly Strike) using daggers with Hemo is no longer questionable.  In fact, based on the numbers I’ve crunched, daggers are finally working with all of the subtlety tree, instead of being used mainly for Ambush.  It appears that daggers are producing similar results to all other weapons with Hemo.

Fair Warning, I’m about to launch into some math here.  If you’re a TL;DR fan, take the jump and check out the conclusion at the end.

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Patch 3.3.3

Patch 3.3.3 is live as of today, so let’s take a look at the Rogue specific changes:


  • Rupture: The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes.


  • Filthy Tricks: Now Reduces the cooldown by 5/10 seconds and energy cost by 5/10 of Tricks of the Trade, Distract and Shadowstep abilities, and reduces the cooldown of Preparation by 1.5/3 minutes.
  • Ghostly Strike: If the rogue has a dagger equipped, this ability now deals 180% weapon damage instead of 125%.
  • Hemorrhage: If the rogue has a dagger equipped, this ability now deals 160% weapon damage instead of 110%.
  • Serrated Blades: This talent now allows the rogue to ignore up to 3/6/9% of the target’s armor, rather than a fixed amount of armor ignored per level of the rogue.
  • Slaughter from the Shadows: Now adds 1/2/3/4/5% damage to all attacks and reduces the energy cost of Backstab and Ambush by 4/8/12/16/20, up from 3/6/9/12/15.
  • Waylay: The debuff from this talent can now be caused by Backstab in addition to Ambush and can be triggered by all hits from these abilities rather than just critical strikes, but the snare component is now 50%, down from 70%.


  • Glyph of Deadly Throw: Now increases the slowing effect on Deadly Throw by 20%, up from 10%.
  • Glyph of Expose Armor: Now increases the duration of Expose Armor by 12 seconds, up from 10 seconds.
  • Glyph of Feint: Now reduces the energy cost of Feint by 20, up from 10.

Before I get too carried away with this post, I didn’t participate in the 3.3.3 PTR, so I haven’t seen the effect of these changes firsthand.  I’m excited to test them out, and I will be testing them for the remainder of the week, but take anything I say today with a grain of salt.

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Getting Past Level 10

There was a discussion in guild chat (SAN-US) a week or so ago about how new players to the game tend to not make it past level 10 before they decide that WoW is not for them.  In the course of that conversation the idea was brought up to post about it, so here I am doing just that, from the Rogue perspective.  I’ll warn you though, you’re in for a Wall of text.

Having struggled through the starting zone leveling Sam (my first toon), I was surprised at how much easier the “kiddie pool” area in Dun Murogh was this time around.  Nothing in the starting area is hostile, so you can pick and aggro what you choose.  Because of this, getting to level 5 isn’t too much of a problem.  However, getting from 5-10 can be a challenge, and it’s my guess that’s where people lose interest.  Today, I’ll talk about my perspective on this issue and throw out some tips / tricks that might make life a bit easier for the lowbie Rogues out there.

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