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Encrypted Text: I roll on caster loot


Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we'll be talking about hit rating and the seeming lack thereof in Northrend gear.

After a few all-nighters in a row and a lot of showing up to work very tired, I finally reached level 80 this weekend. After a few victory laps in Dalaran to celebrate my victory over experience points and blue bubbles and Hemet Nesingwary (not for long, I'm sure); the looming realization of level-cap responsibilities started to enter my mind. Reputations, heroics, arena points, and honor – I had a lot of work to do.

So, I took my own advice and decided to start some heroics, but not before spec'ing into my PvP mutilate build. I thought about trying out the truly insane DPS of Honor Amongst Thieves builds, but decided to postpone that until I've got some more gear to give it a real trial. Read on to see what I discovered on the way to my first Emblem of Heroism.

Doing the Daily dance
I'll admit it, I only ran 3-4 instances while leveling. My ret paladin partner doesn't enjoy mindless DPS rotations and so we focused on questing & grinding. So as a newbie to these new Northrend Heroics, I went with an obvious first choice: the daily! I walked my way over to Archmage Lan'dalock and checked what the flavor of the day was. Turns out that Violet Hold was on the menu, and only a few feet away! So I started my trade channel PUG and we went headfirst into the fray; after I picked the lock on the door of course!

My first Heroic at 80 taught me a few very important lessons, the first of which is that Blizzard has gifted EVERY giant dragon with both frontal AND reverse cone-based damage attacks. Secondly, that I can be seen through stealth by mobs with far larger weapons than I, as well as far angrier temperaments. Thirdly, that I hate Void Walkers and the flashbacks to Jin'do the Hexxer that they induce. However, the real lesson I learned is to always roll 'Need' on items that you want, regardless of the looting rules. Because you never know when there's a warlock waiting to shard your precious trinket as soon as you pass to discuss your desires.

The Trouble with Trinkets
The ever-benevolent Cyanigosa (blue dragon named Cyanxxx, very clever Blizzard) dropped a fantastic Rogue trinket, and one that I was in dire need of. I leveled from 70-80 in nothing but Season 4 gear, and so I was desperately lacking the +hit needed to connect on many of my special attacks. This little jewel provided over 73 hit rating, making it one of the best +hit items in current itemization. Just one little thing... it's also meant for casters.

Mark of the War Prisoner has 2.78% chance to hit on it alone, which will bring a Rogue with 5/5 Precision more than halfway to the special hit cap by itself. It also has a 346 spell damage Use: effect, making it a fantastic item for those casters who are in the same +hit drought that Rogues are experiencing at 80. However, none of the other casters in the group wanted it!

I passed on the item to explain myself before looting the trinket. I mean, I don't want to be seen as that leather wearer that stacks spell damage and spirit. But before I could get a sentence into party chat, our group Warlock had looted the item. By the time I mustered a "what...?" he had already turned it into a Dream Shard and had started his hearthstone. Now I know that we've been wrecking Warlocks in PvP lately, but is that really a reason to steal the light from my sunny skies? I guess so.

No +hit for you!
Blizzard and company (that sounds strange considering that Blizzard IS a company) has decided that Rogues no longer need any hit rating on our gear anymore. They've compensated us for this lack of our previous god stat with a relatively new creation: haste. I have been finding more and more gear with haste in place of hit, and it has caused my DPS to be far below what I expect.

While it's true that hit is no longer the #1 stat as it was previously, it's still very important for every rogue to achieve the "special attack hit cap" as soon as possible, and the "spell hit cap" very soon after. The special attack hit cap is floating around 300 hit for those of us without Precision, and closer to 125 hit for those of you that picked it up. The spell hit cap (used for poisons) is 446 without Precision, and 315 for those of us with it. So with Precision, there's no reason to top 315 hit rating, as all other stats will provide a greater benefit for the same investment; the same goes for Mutilate or Subtlety w/o Precision stopping at 446 HR.

There are a few pieces of gear that will be released next week that should help ease my suffering and the spam of "Miss, Miss, Miss" in my WWS parses. The Hateful and Deadly off-set pieces "Of Victory" provide over 1% hit each, and will definitely help me in PvE and PvP alike. Also, the addition of level 80 PvP gear will allow me to throw some +20 hit gems in there to help me achieve the coveted poison hit cap.

Haste is a waste
While we're on the topic of Blizzard's stat choices, let's talk about Haste. It seems like they've thrown it on just about everyone's gear, and yet for every melee class, it is a bottom-tier stat. While I understand a Mage's need for Haste to reduce their GCD and allow for new Shatter combos (thanks for the tutorial Raddy), I don't see Haste being more than a 'bonus' stat for us Rogues. And by that I mean "oh... I guess some Haste is better than none."

Haste would REALLY be completely worthless if it weren't for the newly redesigned and AP-scaling poisons that rely on quick strikes to maximize their damage. So please Blizzard, give us Rogues some more itemization choices by putting +hit on the next tiers of quest rewards and Heroic drops so that we're all not forced to farm Heroic Nexus for the Sphere of Red Dragon's Blood (which surprisingly does not drop from Magentagosa).

A PvP tip
I'll leave you with something I found while helping a guildmate level her Inscription: the new Glyph of Preparation. Death Knights, Warriors, Hunters, Enhancement Shamans, and Paladins beware! This Glyph and its reset of the Dismantle cooldown will completely destroy arena play for the previously mentioned 5 classes. I kid you not, 20 seconds of being completely shut down (10 seconds if they're smart enough to add a Weapon Chain) a melee class, in addition to a Rogue's many other CC's, will render one of these classes worthless for most of the duration of any fight. This Glyph alone makes Preparation the must-spec-talent of Season 5, don't queue up without it.

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