Anti-Aliased: Rogue rage

Seraphina Brennan
S. Brennan|12.17.09

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Anti-Aliased: Rogue rage
There's always a rogue. Doesn't matter what setting you're really dealing with either. Medieval times? Rogues. Renaissance? Professional rogues. Great Depression? Organized crime. Modern day? Thieves. Sci-fi? Assassins. It's the one job that follows you no matter where you go.

Yet, I don't think we utilize our fine shadowy friends well. No, let me say it even stronger, we've sidestepped our shadowsteppers. Rogues use to be more than backstabbers and cutpurses, but since the traditional MMORPG model has taken over, our rogues have taken steps backwards.

No guys, this isn't just some rant thread about how the rogue classes needs uber l33t buffs. This is about how the class plays at its very core across all games. This is about taking advantage of a class's passive abilities and how just a few new tricks of the trade can aid social gameplay for everyone.
Not even Blizzard got it right


For as much as Blizzard has done right with World of Warcraft, the one thing they masterfully bungled was the rogue's class abilities. This wasn't even something I'd consider a minor screw up -- this was a major, major screw up.

For those not in the know, World of Warcraft Rogues come with two passive class skills in the form of Pick Locks and Disarm Traps. These two skills are some of the old staples of pen and paper roleplaying games, where the rogue serves two purposes: detection and elimination.

Now, the problem is simple -- Blizzard dropped in these two skills without actually giving rogues a reason to use them. In the old days, when instance doors were locked, having a rogue pick a lock was actually really useful. Rogue picks lock, door opens, everyone gets into the instance without a key. Disarm traps, however, was a different story. Originally meant for a rogue to disarm the traps of a hunter or traps in an instance, Blizzard failed to make the ability useful. Disarm traps only really works for a few instances in the game: the rogue class quest going to Ravenholdt Manor (which is a freakin' shameful set of quests in its own right as they do nothing and the line isn't completed) and in a few (very few) dungeons.

Some people will probably scream in the comments that disarm trap really is useful, as it can disarm a hunter's traps in PvP, but really, when was the last time you used it? For real now, don't be lying to us.

But why bring up these two abilities?

These two abilities, disarm traps and pick locks, are long standing staples of the class that are missed by many, many MMOs. Developers constantly seek to innovate without "pushing the envelope," so to speak, and these two abilities are aspects of evolving gameplay without going out of your way to design innovation.

They aren't game breaking, they aren't unbalancing, and if you design it right then they aren't even necessary for the completion of a dungeon. Instead, these abilities can open a wide variety of options, should a rogue be in your party. Perhaps there are two doors in front of you when you enter a dungeon, one locked and one unlocked. If you take the unlocked one, the dungeon is more balanced for a party without a rogue. Enter the locked one, and the dungeon is more balanced for a party with a rogue and may offer some added incentives. It could be as simple as that -- not much to unbalance the game but enough to give an added change.

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