Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Encrypted Text: How to run the Molten Front


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article topics you'd like to see covered.

Varian Wrynn isn't happy. He sent his best and brightest men to the Molten Front to assist the Guardians of Hyjal in invading the Firelands, but all he received back was a stack of casualty alerts. The cause of death on each report was the same: several deep dagger wounds. As Varian assigned more soldiers to the Molten Front, he simply received more body bags in return. Varian confronted Garrosh about the issue, claiming that the Warchief was breaking their peace accord by using assassins in the Molten Front. Garrosh feigned ignorance and promised Varian that he'd find the perpetrator and have him properly handled. The next day, I received a post from Garrosh himself. It was brief: "Lok'tar, brother!"

I've read several articles that claim that world PVP is dead and has been for a long time. The truth is that world PVP is alive; it has simply transitioned into a seasonal event. With the release of the Molten Front quest hub, Blizzard's developers directed a ton of level 85 players into a zone where they can't use their flying mounts. If that doesn't count as revitalizing world PVP, then I don't know what does. I spend every spare moment I have plunging my daggers into the questers' ribcages. There's a plethora of targets available, with new enemies zoning in every minute. World PVP hasn't been this active since the Isle of Quel'Danas, and that means I have a lot of catching up to do.

Business before pleasure

The first thing you should do in the Molten Front is finish your own daily quests. Once you start blowing up the opposing faction, they're likely to reciprocate. If you've already finished all of your quests, then you have the upper hand. You can wait patiently for them to make a mistake without worrying about leaving Stealth to heal a wounded defender. In addition, if the daily involves guarding a wisp or feeding a Crimson Lasher, these allies will give away your position when you're in Stealth. I like to breeze through all of my dailies first, and then I turn my daggers to my enemies.

Most of the mobs in the Molten Front won't aggro on you automatically, which means you can safely engage on a target without worrying about getting the attention of nearby mobs. Do be careful near Lava Bursters, though, as they have a powerful AOE-type Lava Shower that will cut your life in half. You can easily gank any target that's been hit by this Lava Shower; just be careful, as the spit can bring you out of Stealth.

You can basically roam around the starting daily area without worrying about aggro, although the later areas like the Forlorn Spire contain mobs that will start attacking you if you're out of Stealth or detected.

Everything revolves around the sanctuary

The quest hub portion of the Molten Front is classified as a sanctuary, which means you're not able to attack the opposing faction from inside the sanctuary. You also don't take damage from another player's DOTs while inside the sanctuary, so don't bother Rupturing someone who's running away. You can use the sanctuary to safely heal up after a fight or to give yourself a chance to get back into Stealth. I also chill out in the sanctuary when waiting for my cooldowns to become available again.

Most PVP encounters in the Molten Front revolve around enemies' making a break for the sanctuary after you engage them, so your primary goal is to stop them from getting there. The guards in the Molten Front don't assist in PVP situations, so don't worry about getting blown up by the druids scattered throughout the zone.

I prefer playing subtlety in this situation, as Shadowstep and Waylay make keeping your targets outside of the safe zone much easier. Make good use of Cheap Shot and Kidney Shot to keep enemy players locked down, as each second they're stunned is another second they can't move toward the sanctuary.

There's also a secret sanctuary zone down the right side of the ramp, and you can safely hide here if the opposing faction is camping the normal ramp with Flares and AOE.

Remember, you've already completed your daily quests. Your only objective here is to throw a wrench into your enemies' plans. You don't have to kill them to succeed. If you're doing your job properly, there will be a handful of enemies camping the ramp on the edge of the safe zone, waiting for you to slip up. There will also be a parking lot of enemy players up the ramp, trying to pull mobs into the sanctuary zone so that they don't have to fear your wrath.

When there are multiple players hiding at the sanctuary out of fear for your blades, you've done your job. Every minute that they're delayed is another minute you've stolen of their time. They'll have to come down eventually to administer their salves and defend their wisps, and you're preventing them from progressing.

Pick your targets

Like any predator, you need to pick your targets wisely. If you see a well-geared protection paladin beating up some mobs, you probably don't want to fight him. Rogues don't do well against tank-type classes and specs, and getting wrecked by someone wearing a shield isn't exactly admirable. Avoid any class that you can't handle. There's no shame in picking your targets, as that's precisely why Stealth was invented. Your goal isn't to kill every single player ever; it's to assassinate the most opportune targets as quickly as possible. You're not looking to get into a long fight here -- you're looking to snipe players who aren't paying attention and giving you the respect you deserve.

If you spot a mage at 50% life who's still in combat with several mobs, just finish him off with a few quick blows. You're saving him the 10% durability loss and the shame that comes with dying in PVE. Or you can do what I do, which is to just wound him seriously and let the mobs finish him off.

Every single player you encounter who's flagged for PVP made a conscious decision to allow themselves to be attacked. They either purposefully rolled on a PVP server, knowing the risks, or they flagged themselves or engaged in PVP first. Your enemies know the risk that they're taking leaving the beach with a shark in the water, and they made it anyway. Remind them why that was a bad decision with a few swift Backstabs.

Control is key

Most enemies you'll encounter don't want to fight you. They're going to make a cowardly dash toward the sanctuary, and you want to stop them before they get there. I'd like to note that most other players won't assist when they see PVP occurring, and that goes both ways. My targets almost never receive any assistance, and it's even rarer that someone helps me kill my fleeing opponent.

PVP encounters typically boil down to a race to the sanctuary. You're trying to kill them before they can get there, and they're just trying to stay alive long enough to reach the safe zone. Subtlety truly excels at handling running opponents. Waylay can't be dispelled, making it the ultimate snare and allowing you to use two DPS poisons. Shadowstep and Sprint ensure that your target will never outrun you. The best part of a running enemy is that they're always pointing their back towards you, which means you can spam your incredibly deadly Backstab the entire time.

What happens when the enemy faction groups up for protection or sits inside of town the whole time? Nothing. By forcing them to hide or to take extra precautions, you're slowing them all down. As I mentioned earlier, it's not always about slaying your opponents. Your goal here is to disrupt the flow and to make them waste as much time as possible, and you can do that without killing anyone. Of course, killing players is awesome, but you can still accomplish your goal without it.

Once I've got several enemy players stuck inside of the sanctuary out of fear, I'll just start Sapping them every time they step outside for even a moment. The mere presence of a rogue puts fear into their hearts, and they run back inside the sanctuary to wait once more. You can become a predator so powerful that your enemies won't even leave town out of fear for their very lives. This is what world PVP is all about, and it's why the rogue class is king of the gank. Nobody else can make their enemies literally tremble with just the thought of their presence.

Check back every Wednesday for the latest rogue strategies, from rogue basics and kicking your interrupts into high gear to how to handle your dual-spec rogue and how to pickpocket top tips from top-performing rogues.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr