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Encrypted Text: Designing the ultimate rogue quest chain


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 suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

In preparation for researching the upcoming pair of legendary daggers for rogues, the Fangs of the Father, I have already copied over several rogues to the PTR servers. Unfortunately, it's impossible to start the quest chain just yet, as not all of the new dungeons are accessible. I will have more information on exactly what's required to obtain our upcoming orange weapons once I'm able to actually start working on it. The black dragon Wrathion will be giving us orders, and we'll be completing his missions in return for the legendary weapons.

Some information has been datamined on a few of the quests that we'll be completing. While we don't know much, we do know that there will be at least one Pick Pocket job and a Stealth mission, based on both the datamined info and Lead Systems Designer Ghostcrawler's own statement on the rogue-themed quest line. Picking a few mobs' pockets for a ring and sneaking into Ravenholdt doesn't seem to that challenging, but obviously we don't see the whole picture yet. I have been mulling over ideas for what pieces of quintessential rogueness could be introduced to make our quest for legendary weapons that much more memorable.

Stealth makes the rogue

When thinking of what defines the rogue class, the obvious answer is Stealth. While assigning us to sneak past a few mobs isn't too exciting, the key is to expand on our core themes. What does Stealth enable? We could have a mission to assassinate an important target silently, Assassin's Creed-style. One part of the quest chain could have us free running all over the opposing faction's major city, stalking a target and forcing us to stay in range or lose chase. If you want to go big, set up a ton of enemies to defend an important artifact, and allow us to simply sneak in, obtain the object, and then set off a poisonous gas bomb that clears the room for our escape.

In order to make a Stealth mission exciting, you need to do more than simply move around. Distract, Sprint, and Sap are all important parts of our Stealth repertoire, and we should be actively doing everything we can to remain undetected. We can also use Cloak of Shadows while stealthed, making elemental traps useless since we can run through the fire and flames. We should be popping cooldowns like candy just to stay alive. Since this will be a rogue-specific quest chain, there's no reason not to pull out all the stops.

Running Plugger

The most infamous, yet unofficial, rogue quest in the game was the coming-of-age moment for nearly every rogue who played during vanilla -- Plugger and the Barman Shanker. All of Blackrock Depths stood between us and one of the best weapons in the game, but there was no chance in Azeroth that you could ever find a group competent enough to clear the whole place properly. Rather than suffer through unsuccessful PUG after PUG, our best and brightest found a way for rogues to kill Plugger without any outside assistance.

To make a successful Plugger run, you needed to have several important rogue skills. You needed to be a shade, understanding Stealth and its mechanics, as there were plenty of patrols and mobs that aimed to knock out into the visible spectrum. Your timing had to be exacting, as you couldn't kill Plugger without precise interrupts. You had to be clever, distracting your opponents with free booze and then dispatching their corpses in a corner like your name was Sam Fisher. You had to be brutal, because otherwise Plugger or his backup would make quick work of you. You needed to be a true rogue to kill the bartender without any assistance. Your reward was the ultimate sign of the assassin -- the ultimate stabbing implement.

Plugger runs were so much more involved than the numerous "sneak through here and kill that guy" missions that we all completed while leveling up. The rogue legendary quest chain needs to push us to our limits, like the hunter and priest quest chains did all the way back in Molten Core. Rogues are capable of amazing feats of finesse and bravado, and these are the tones that we need to see emphasized in our legendary story.

Incorporating rogue elements into Dragon Soul

I understand that rogues are but one class amongst many others and that designing an epic quest chain entirely for rogues chews up a lot of development time. We know that there are going to be solo missions, but some of the chain's epic moments could be introduced to the Dragon Soul boss encounters, giving each fight a bit of rogue flavor. While casters simply had to pick up a few shards in Firelands, I think we can do better than that.

I have always wanted to build up combo points on a boss, and then target something like a stalagmite and use Redirect and Deadly Throw to bring it crashing to the ground on top of our foes. We could be forced to use Smoke Bomb at just the right moment to avoid a volley of magical damage. We could be faced with a few extra balloon-like adds that explode when Ruptured or targets that can only be damaged from behind, requiring us to use Gouge and Kidney Shot like we did in the old days. Rogue-specific assignments in Dragon Soul would not only give us a legendary experience, it would also allow our fellow raiders to contribute as they did with Dragonwrath.

Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.

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