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Encrypted Text: Rogues and RPPM


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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.

If you have any questions about what gear you should use or about your specific DPS stat weights, you should use Shadowcraft to get the answers. WoW is a game with dozens of different mechanics and complex intersections. There's no way to guess or intuit what's right for your rogue. Every rogue has different access to gear, and you're always limited by what actually drops. You shouldn't focus on trying to theorycraft in a gear vacuum, because the gear you currently have is important in planning the proper upgrade paths.

That said, there's no reason you shouldn't understand some of the underlying mechanics that determine what gear and stats are good for you. The newest mechanic in WoW is the Real Proc-Per-Minute (RPPM) system, which affects several proc-based effects like our weapon enchants, trinkets, and the legendary meta gem. RPPM is a very different system for procs than we've seen in the past.

Attack frequency and boring ICDs

RPPM was introduced to fix the issue of fast-attacking classes getting more procs than slow-attacking classes. A dagger-wielding rogue with Slice and Dice will clearly stab a target far more often than a 2.6-speed axe-toting shaman. If your proc system is based off a flat percentage (like our Deadly Poison), then the fast attacker will get more procs than the slow attacker. The difference can make it tough to balance items like trinkets for different classes.

The previous solution was to give trinkets a very high proc chance, but tether them to a long internal cooldown (ICD) to prevent them from being activated too often. Because the limiting factor is now the trinket's ICD and not attack speed, both rogues and shamans will see roughly the same trinket uptime. The issue is that the ICD system is pretty boring, with procs (which are supposed to be unexpected) happening pretty much on-time, with little variance.

RRPM reintroduces (some) randomness

The key difference between an RPPM proc and a flat percentage proc is that RPPM procs automatically adjust for attack frequency. If a weapon enchant, like Windsong, is given an RPPM value of 2, it will proc about twice per minute for everyone. It doesn't matter whether you're swinging quick daggers or slow axes, you'll still see about the same number of procs. Because there's no fixed ICD, you can't tell exactly when the procs will land. You can get back-to-back procs or they could be a minute apart.

The RPPM system has a factor that adjusts the proc chance based on the time since the last attack landed, so assassination rogues and their quick daggers see the same number of procs as a combat rogue with their slow maces. RPPM also allows you to "save up" up to 10 seconds of proc chance, so minor time spent off of a boss doesn't negatively impact your uptime.

There are four RPPM trinkets in Throne of Thunder that are of interest to us:

Note that these RPPM values are for the base trinkets, the LFR versions will have slightly lower RPPM values, while the thunderforged, heroic, and upgraded versions will have slightly higher RPPM values.

Haste affects RPPM

RPPM proc chances aren't based on your weapon speed, they're dynamically calculated during combat based on the time since the last attack landed. Abilities like Slice and Dice don't change your proc chance, since the increased number of attacks landing during SnD is accounted for in the dynamic formula. Unleashing a flurry of attacks with Killing Spree doesn't guarantee that you'll see a proc.

The only thing that affects the RPPM proc chance positively is pure haste. Haste rating on your gear, the 5% haste buff that's common in raids, and Bloodlust are the main three ways to obtain pure haste. If you have 20% haste on your gear and 5% from the raid buff, you'll see 25% more RPPM procs. A 2 RPPM proc like Windsong would then produce 2.5 RPPM procs. It's important to realize that the increased proc chance comes not from the increased number of attacks, but rather from the haste itself factoring into the RPPM formula. Haste grants you extra attacks, and separately boosts your RPPM procs.

Haste vs mastery

Mastery has been assassination's go-to stat for most of Mists of Pandaria. In equal amounts, it typically beat crit, expertise, and haste. We've been stacking mastery via our gems and enchants, and reforging to it where possible. However, we are seeing more rogues start to prioritize haste over mastery, and that can be confusing to rogues that are used to mastery being the top stat.

Because haste positively affects the proc chance of RPPM procs, rogues with a lot of RPPM effects will see a lot of improvement when they add haste. If you're sporting the Capacitive Primal Diamond in your helm with the trinket pair of Renataki's Soul Charm and Talisman of Bloodlust with Dancing Steel on both of your weapons, haste will improve the proc chances of all of those effects. Now, instead of just increasing your number of attacks, haste is improving these RPPM procs.

When does haste outpace mastery? When does mastery outpace haste? Shadowcraft has the answer you're looking for. Shadowcraft does a pretty good job of modeling the various RPPM effects and items, although the Rune of Re-Origination might be wonky (but is generally bad). The decision between stacking haste or mastery is deeply dependent on your specific gear. There's no reason to generalize (no RPPM trinkets = go mastery!) because Shadowcraft is going to give you the most accurate answer, and it's quick and easy to use.

The bad luck factor

Because RPPM trinkets have a relatively low proc chance, it's entirely possible to not get any procs for a long period of time. Some trinkets have RPPM values as low as 0.55, which means they're only designed to proc once every two minutes anyway. It would be easy to see that trinket not generating any procs at all during a short 2-3 minute Jin'rokh encounter. Sometimes random can be fun, and sometimes random can be not fun. Randomly not getting any trinket procs in a full boss encounter is in the "not fun" category.

In order to help account for that, RPPM trinkets that haven't had a proc in 1.5x their average proc time will begin to accrue an additional chance to proc. Blizzard's example was a trinket with a 1.33 RPPM value, which corresponds to about 45 seconds between each proc. If you went 72 seconds without a proc (1.6x the 45-second average), you would see a 1.3x boost to your proc chance.

For a trinket like Bad Juju, with its value of 0.55 RPPM, it has an average proc interval of 109 seconds. You'd have to wait 163 seconds (2:43) before the increased chance to proc would activate. Considering that many Jin'rokh kills are shorter than that, it's still very possible that you won't see any procs at all.

The bad luck factor also builds up when we're out of combat, which means that if your raid takes a few minutes setting up for a boss, all of that time is accruing towards a big chance to proc at the start of a fight. However, for low-RPPM trinkets like Bad Juju, you would have to wait a long time (10 minutes) before you could be guaranteed a proc at the start of a fight. Even if you waited 5 minutes, you couldn't count on a proc in the first 10 seconds. In my testing, the bad luck factor only accrues when you have the trinket equipped, so swapping to your RPPM trinkets right before a boss isn't helpful.

It's important to remember that there's no "good luck factor" in play with RPPM. While two of our Throne of Thunder trinkets (Renataki's and RoRo) have ICDs, there's nothing else to prevent you from getting procs in quick succession. If your Talisman of Bloodlust procs on the trash before the boss, that doesn't negatively affect your chances of getting procs on the boss itself. There's no "you got a proc recently" debuff that will cause you to get fewer procs. Unless you're specifically sitting idle with an RPPM trinket equipped to build up your bad luck factor, there's no negative consequence to getting an RPPM proc. You could get another proc on the very next attack!
Sneak in every Wednesday for our patch 5.2 guide, a deep-dive into the world of assassination and combat rogue AoE rotations -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to a raid-ready rogue.

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