Holy smokes, what a weekend. So many discoveries. We’ll start with a total 180 from a prior post first. After some suspicion in running the LFR last week, I decided it was time to put rubber to the road and do some No’Kaled LFR version vs. Fear testing of my own. Also, I finally had the gold to get Fear all gemmed and enchantified. Soooo… I packed up my bags and spent some time at the training dummies/playground. I did 3 fights with each weapon equipped, no flasks, food, or extra buffs of any kind. Reforging was for No’Kaled both times. (I was a little short on gold and differences in dps looked negligible according to Shadowcraft) For each fight I went through 3 rotations of Adrenaline Rush and Killing Spree and ended right when the fourth Adrenaline Rush came off cooldown. The results were as I suspected, that Fear beat No’Kaled fairly significantly. The averages for the 3 fights had No’Kaled at about 19,250 and Fear at about 19,800 dps. Granted, there is quite a bit of room for variance here with only 3 fights, but I take away that Fear is at least as, and probably more, dps-worthy as No’Kaled. Sooo…. ok I’ll put away that axe…. for now.
The second and more significant discovery (to me) of the weekend had to do with subtlety spec. As a bit of background, I leveled as sub, to probably around 83 or 84. I loved sub, still do. It’s just such and interesting spec with odd/awesome abilities. For a dps rotation, sub has a lot of balls to juggle though. You have 4 core buffs/dots/debuffs that you need to keep up at all times Recuperate, Slice and Dice, Rupture, and a Hemorrhage bleed debuff/Hemorrhage bleed (glyphed). You also have a fifth thing (debuff), Find Weakness, that you want to have on target as many times as possible throughout a fight. Also, Find Weakness is applied with Ambush (which can only be used behind the target). Backstab is our main combo point builder and also can only be used behind the target. Then of course there are the other bits of “this boosts this” for “this much time” and “needs to be stacked and started here” and so on. All this is a bit tricky to balance, but it is do-able and fun actually. The reason I switched over to combat though, is that there are several fights where being behind the target is just not an option, Ultraxion comes to mind. So I gave combat a try, liked it as well, and went on swashbuckling.
Now then, Shadowcraft was also giving combat top numbers when comparing specs. Well, this was all well and good until after seeing sub rogues pulling BIG numbers in Dragon Soul, I thought I’d better give sub another look. So, I headed on over to the playground again to stab some wood. Now one thing to keep in mind here is that in testing on a training dummy and not in an actual party in a fight, sub rogues don’t get a very accurate outcome for numbers or timing. This is due to Honor Among Thieves, which grants sub rogues a combo point on target any time they or anyone in their party crits (heals included). This can only happen once every 2 seconds, but really you will be getting pretty much a constant flow of 1 combo point every 2 seconds. This alters timing of finishers (pooling energy and combo points) and also alters the speed at which you can perform a finisher by quite a bit, not to mention dps. So, on a training dummy without a party with you, it can be very deceiving. But… in this case it did give me a good idea of the potential. Now this was without reforging my gear from combat spec, but in general I was able to get significantly higher dps than combat with the training dummy. Several of my tests were well above 20,000.
This made me a little giggly. Not only was the spec that I love and prefer viable, but it was pulling better numbers. Of course the next step to this testing was to jump into some actual fights and see how manageable sub was. Test results here were good as well. I ran a few Twilights and put out similar to better numbers than I was getting with combat. After a few runs, I then moved into the LFR to do Morchok and Zon’ozz, both of which are pretty straightforward tank and spank in the LFR version. Here, I actually pulled about 4 or 5 thousand higher than I had been doing with combat. Done and done.
Needless to say, based on my prior love of the spec, I am now back to mainly sub. Combat must be there for certain fights though and sub is still much trickier to keep on top of everything. I do find that I have to focus more on my own rotation and position at the expense of certain fight mechanics, which is not so good. But… I think with more use of the spec, more of it will become somewhat habitual and will require less utter focus. So the question was and still kind of is, where to keep my reforging. Right now it’s at sub. Shadowcraft shows combat benefiting more from appropriate reforges than sub, but in all of this I’ve learned not to blindly rely on Shadowcraft or any sim engine for that matter. On EJ there is quite a bit of talk that it has some issues with No’Kaled and especially with sub in general. Does this mean that I would abandon Shadowcraft entirely? No way, but I do think practical testing is something that I should have and should do more of. It’s entirely possible that in comparing specs that some of my findings are a result of not quite playing a spec to its potential, but for the way that I’m playing the specs, I’m getting better results out of sub for certain fights. Duh.
I also imagine fight mechanics (not just in regards to positioning) will boost a certain spec as well. For instance, just before I did all this testing/time wasting I ran End Time. Normally as combat on Murozond I was finishing fights maybe 36,000 to 39,000 dps. In this run, however, whoever was flippin that hourglass was doing it scary often. I was barely able to get through an Adrenaline Rush and Killing Spree with each reset. So, it was constant cranking and I actually ended up laughing at my final 42,000 dps. Now when I did sub with that same fight, the hourglass was flipped at a more normal rate, pretty much as needed, and I ended up doing just over 38,000 (fairly normal). Also, the snapshot was taken when I was about 100 yds away from Murozond which made me miss out on some uptime while running, so I was still pretty happy to get that much. In the end though with speedy resets of cooldowns I can’t help but wonder if combat would do better with massive Adrenaline Rush uptime and many Killing Sprees. I’m not sure with sub I could appropriately or effectively get through the three/four key cooldowns (shadowdance, vanish, preparation, vanish) if the hourglass was being flipped quickly. Anyway, different specs for different fights and styles/strats of course.
I still haven’t done any testing with assassination at this point. This is something else that I should do. Combat tends to spreadsheet higher than assassination at the moment, but again I’m not going to 100% believe that without practical testing. I suspect it’s pretty on par with sub and combat, which is really nice in the end. It gives us rogues more options for funs, and I have a lot of fun as subtlety. 🙂