Friday, June 13, 2008

Rogue School: Racial Abilities

My main nowadays is a rogue and I decided to write a series of entries intended for class guidance. My intent here is not tell people how to play, but to provide them with hints and helpful information that help them make informed decisions. I don’t really consider this a “rogue” blog, but I thought this would be both useful and fun to write. With that in mind, lets start with character creation.

The only thing that matters from a gameplay perspective during the character creation phase is Race. Draenei and Tauren are both excluded as playable races for Rogues. I guess they are deemed to be too noble or something and can’t be seen sneaking around. Ha! Noble cows…

Humans: You don’t know this yet, but when you reach end-game, you will learn that Rogues hate other Rogues more than any other class. It’s crazy but no one hates the idea of getting blinded, sapped or stun-locked more than another Rogue. So needless to say, Perception (which greatly increases stealth detection) is a wonderful ability to have as a Rogue and ensures that you are the Rogue that comes out on top. Humans also get +5 expertise to Mace and Swords making them the top DPS race among Alliance.

Gnomes: The small model size of the Gnome is an undocumented racial advantage because spotting and targeting something small that is stealthed can be damn hard. You can also hide behind things like battleground flags while capping them and not be noticed. Engineering is also a popular tradeskill for Rogues, so the +15 racial bonus makes leveling Engineering affordable as low cost stuff provides skill-ups for much longer. And finally of course, is Escape Artist. It’s critical that melee classes stay in melee range to DPS and Escape Artist dispels the effects of immobilization or movement speed reduction effects to keep you from getting kited or rooted. There is no single ability that I miss more than Escape Artist now that I am Horde side again. When I rolled Alliance, I chose Gnome for this ability and never once regretted the decision.

Dwarves: Dwarves are surprisingly underrated Rogues. Like Gnomes, they have the undocumented racial advantage that comes from the smaller model size. They also have two racials that are well-suited for Rogues. The first worth mentioning is Find Treasure. As a Rogue, it’s very convenient that all the lockboxes (used for leveling lockpicking) and locked chests show up on your mini-map. More importantly, they also have Stoneform which lasts 8 seconds and makes them immune to bleeds, poisons and disease. Since many of these have damage over time effects that interrupt stealth, this is can be an excellent way to clear off annoying debuffs and re-stealth or vanish.

Night Elves: If you have played Alliance-side, then you know how much more quickly the graveyard runs can go as a Wisp. They also get a +1% to Dodge, which is always useful to a melee class. Most importantly, they have Shadowmeld. Which, for Rogues, means a passive +1 level to your effective stealth. That +1 is the equivalent of 1 talent point in Master of Deception or 1 player level difference between you and the hostile mob or player. One point by itself is unremarkable, but it can easily be the difference maker between one stealth class spotting another a fraction of a second earlier.

Orcs: Blood Fury is the highest DPS racial for Rogues providing 282 attack power for 15 seconds at level 70 and has a 2 minute cooldown. They also have a passive 5% resistance to Stuns which is helpful against other Rogues.

Trolls: Orcs and Humans both have racials that can provide slightly better sustained DPS, but Berserking keeps Trolls in the argument by providing the best burst damage. Berserking provides a minimum 10% haste bonus (that scales up to 30% with damage) that last for 10 seconds, costs 5 energy and is on a 3 minute cooldown. Trolls also do 5% increased damage to Beasts and 1% extra damage with a Thrown weapon. While the Thrown damage is nearly useless, that extra Beast damage is pretty significant and equivalent to an extra attack every 20 swings. Lastly, Trolls also receive a 10% health regeneration that is active in and out of combat. For Rogues, this trait is not particularly useful as ideally we aren’t taking much damage unless soloing (in which case, eating food is better anyway).

Undead: Will of the Forsaken makes this race one of the most popular Rogue races for the Horde. WotF is activated to become immune to fear, sleep, and charm effects for 5 seconds and is on a 2 minute cooldown. Like a Dwarf’s Stoneform, the immunity can be used to cancel the effect and regain control of your character. In addition, Undead also get 3x the amount of time to breathe underwater. While the prolonged breathing is a neat passive ability, spending a couple of gold to keep a Water Breathing potion is pretty comparable and can be done by any race. Likewise, Cannabilize provides 35% of your health over 10 seconds, but simply having your character well stocked with food can provide a similar effect.

Blood Elf: Similar to Gnomes and Engineering, they get a useful +10 passive skill bonus to Enchanting. If you want ring enchants, this will help keep the costs down while you level the skill. Blood Elves have two main abilities: Mana Tap and Arcane Torrent. Mana Tap reduces your targets mana (by 120 mana at level 70) and charges you with a buff that can be consumed by Arcane Torrent to provide 10 energy for each buff consumed (up to a maximum of 30 energy). More importantly however, Arcane Torrent silences all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds AND this can be used without stacking Mana Tap first. Arcane Torrent is on a 2 minute cooldown. All of that sounds complicated, but if you just ignore the Mana Tap part altogether (never even use it), then you can still use Arcane Torrent as a 2-second AOE Silence every 2 minutes. This is like an extra stun against casters and can be used to stop fear, heals and even prevent a mage from blinking out of a stun.

In summary, the number one thing to consider while picking your Race is to choose something that suits you. I’ve talked a lot about the racial abilities, but the most important thing is that you actually LIKE the character and is something you want to play and is visually appealing. Ideally, you can strike a balance between “the look” and the abilities that race offers you. As I have hopefully pointed out here, every race has some attractive qualities for racials.

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