Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Encrypted Text: Why does Kick cost energy?


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.

Rogues have always been the premier interrupters of World of Warcraft. Back in the day, druids and paladins didn't have any interrupts, much to their chagrin. Warriors couldn't interrupt from Berserker Stance, which left them unable to interrupt effectively. Up until recently, death knights and monks didn't even exist. Shamans have been valuable in the past with their short-CD interrupts, but the main job of locking down a target always fell to the rogues.

Rogues have been tirelessly interrupting spells since WoW's launch 8 years ago. Individual mobs use spells quite frequently. You're bound to find an array of dangerous casters in a dungeon. Interrupts have been a crucial raid mechanic from the days of Molten Core. Other players are also notorious for trying to cast spells at rogues. Kick has been a featured part of the rogue arsenal for years. So why has it failed to evolve alongside the other interrupts?

Our PvP gloves aren't cutting it

Rogues used to equip their PvP gloves when facing tough interrupt-drive encounters like General Vezax. Sacrificing a little bit of damage to ensure the raid's survival seemed like an easy call. Because rogues were the only efficient interrupters in the game for so many years, we're always tasked with the job. General Vezax, the Reliquary of Souls, and the Iron Council are all examples of encounters that hinged on a rogue's ability to keep a boss' spells under control.

Previously, our PvP gloves only lowered Kick's energy cost, but didn't eliminate it. With the latest PTR changes dropping Kick's energy cost to 10 energy, the gloves will finally make Kick free. I don't think that's going far enough. PvE rogues shouldn't have to use PvP gloves simply to do their job effectively, and PvP rogues should have the ability to use PvE gloves if they have access to them. Kick's energy cost is overly punitive and serves no real purpose in this new world of interrupt diversity.

Interrupts were homogenized, except for Kick

Blizzard made the decision to give every single melee class a reliable interrupt, and as such, rogues are no longer the only game in town. In fact, due to the energy cost of Kick, rogues are actually the worst interrupts you can use (after monks). I was surprised to learn that nobody else pays an important resource to use their interrupt anymore. I thought I was reading the tooltips wrong. Surely everyone else pays to interrupt, right?

Warriors can now Pummel from every stance for 0 rage, and they can also pick up a free AoE interrupt in Disrupting Shout. Death knights can use Mind Freeze for 0 runic power. Paladins have access to Rebuke, which only consumes mana and has no impact on their overall damage. Shamans are in the same situation, as Wind Shear only costs mana and can, in addition, be cast up to 25 yards away. Even guardian druids, who usually mirror rogues quite directly, have a free interrupt in Skull Bash. Why are rogues left holding the bag? (edit: guardian druids have a free interrupt, feral druids also pay 15 energy)

Every Kick costs us damage

While it's quite complex to calculate our exact damage-per-energy, it's also simple to see that each Kick we use lowers our overall damage. We could've used that 15 energy towards another Mutilate or Sinister Strike. According to my napkin math, we're losing between 15k and 25k damage every time we use Kick. If we're using it on cooldown, that could add up to a 2-3% damage loss simply for doing our jobs. We're losing 20k damage every time we counter Shadow Blast when facing Zian of the Endless Shadow. Every other melee class can do the same thing, and for free.

Rogues are now the worst option when it comes to picking an interrupter. Not only does our damage output go down when we use Kick, our reaction time can also be delayed since we need energy to cast Kick. If a quick cast starts just as you use a Sinister Strike or Mutilate, you could be left without enough energy to interrupt before it finishes. We're both less flexible and less effective when we're interrupting, which is a burden that only rogues are facing.

Remove Kick's energy cost

In a PvE environment, removing Kick's energy cost will have immediate upsides. Our damage will be increased on any encounter where we are interrupting. In addition, and more importantly to me, we'll be able to react quicker to spells since we're not waiting on our energy bar. There is no practical reason for Kick to cost energy in PvE, as it only serves to ensure that rogues are worse at interrupting than all of their competition.

In PvP today, Kick already costs just 5 energy for a rogue with PvP gear. On the PTR, Kick will be free if we're wearing our PvP gloves. It's still not fair. When a warrior uses Pummel to silence a priest, he doesn't sacrifice any of his damage to do it. In addition, not every rogue in a battleground has access to the PvP gloves and their Kick cost reduction.

Interrupting is one of the most important things that a melee class can do in PvP, and putting rogues at the back of the pack only serves to further reduce our effectiveness in PvP. I'm not saying that rogue arena representation will skyrocket overnight, but removing stupid roadblocks can't hurt.

I don't really see a way for rogues to regain the top spot when it comes to interrupting, and that's alright. Kick does lockout our targets for 5 seconds, and that is an important perk in PvP. In PvE, I understand the need for homogenization amongst interrupters, to ensure that rogues aren't strictly required for any encounter. I just don't want to be penalized for doing my job. How about we let homogenization work for us for once?

Reducing Kick's energy cost from 15 energy to 10 energy on the PTR is a good start, but it's still not quite there. No more half measures. Remove the energy cost from Kick (and Spear Hand Strike) like should've been done ages ago and call it a day.

Sneak in every Wednesday for our Mogu'shan Vaults guide, a deep-dive into the world of rogue rotations -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to a raid-ready rogue.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr