November 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

After the Great Update for Lord of the Rings Online, I did indeed log in.  But whilst I felt that a number of screens had lost their previous air of genteel refinement in favour of a couple of rather loud and brash Cash Shop! buttons, all in all it seemed to be pretty much business as usual in Lotroburg.

Which is nice; whilst I might have an instinctive dislike of the Free-to-Play model, that doesn’t mean I will only be happy when hordes of subscription-less barbarians have put The Shire to the torch.

No, if anything, Lord of the Rings Online is *the* Free-to-Play game out there.  Put together out of loving box-price admission and brought to life with the whole premium subscription model, if there’s a game to play that is less likely to need to run the gamut of Free-to-Play conspiracy theories, it’s this one.

As it was though, I didn’t play long.  Right now, Lord of the Rings Online isn’t calling to me.  It’s got to deal with a resurgence of World of Warcraft and the old-school game-play of Fallen Earth, and is therefore coming in fourth in the MMO stakes, behind Eve Online.

That’s not to say I’ll never be back, just that right now the holiday continues.

What’s that?  The resurgence of World of Warcraft?

Aye.  What a difference a patch makes.  Firing up World of Warcraft after a few months’ absence as well as into the face of that new Patch 4 malarky meant some extreme confusion.  The new Talent Tree systems might be old news to everyone else, but for me they were scary-new.

Cue a short trip to Wowhead for a play with their talent calculators, and I realised what was going on.  Back to Skooge, then.

Now, I’d been one for moaning about Rogues in the past.  I know, I know, I try not to moan and whinge, and I fail.  Miserably.  I do try and be positive, but sometimes the teenager in me just wants to get out and make strange and unhappy shapes in the church of goth.

Ahem.  Back to Rogues.  Glass hammer, fantastic dps, but can’t even stand up in a light breeze.

I used to love playing a Rogue.  All that sneaking and shivving meant that most of the time when playing, it felt like I was some sort of hyperactive shark, cruising through the shallow waters of Azeroth, choosing my prey from amongst the happy-go-lucky mobs swimming in the shallow end.

There really was a feeling of cool; a Rogue had to be smart, and pick their battles wisely.  And when they attacked, it was in the form of a screaming ball of sharp and nasty pointy poisoned things, where a fight was won within the first 2 seconds.  If a fight lasted longer it was just because the mob was a bit tougher than most, but too stupid to realise it had already lost.

Then came the dark times.  The time when Blizzard seemed to be constantly ramping up the damage dealing capabilities of all the other classes, even to the point of surpassing the rogue; without a function other than deal damage, that’s when you know the love-affair is over.  Especially when the healer classes were out-damaging the Rogue…

Yeah, I know.  QQ moah, Rogue-boi (please forgive my attempts to emulate the patois of the leet masses.  My old age means I’m contractually obliged to make passing attempts to “get down with the kids” every so often, and fail feebly.  kthxbai).

My response was just to stop playing a Rogue.  Shamans killed stuff close up, and in addition had the whole range thing *and* healing; what’s not to like?  And, like all of the other classes, you could turn up to any given target-rich environment, and just start at one end and kill everything on the way to the other side with minimal waiting.

Unlike that poor, poor rogue.  The one that had to run away from the scary mobs that were adds, or who had to stop and eat after each fight because they took too much damage.  The one that either had top-of-the-tier gear and did well, or didn’t and failed.

It’s fun being a Shaman.  There is a lot of skill to playing the class well, but there’s also an element of being able to step through the swinging doors of the saloon John Wayne style, before clearing the room without breaking a sweat.

Rogues just can’t do that.

Well, they still can’t.  But I decided to go for an Assasination build, as a bit of a return to the Skooge of old.  And the carnage began.

In the time it took to learn what skills worked best in which situations, evil Recount told me my average dps had gone up by over 100.  No new gear, no levelling, just the change in the Patch.

For the first time in years, playing Skooge gave me that same “this is so cool” feeling.  Suddenly, every mob was a bunny wabbit, and I was the apex predator.  Strike from nowhere, and disappear just as rapidly leaving only a recently looted corpse as the only sign of anything happening.  It’s a heady feeling, really it is.

The skills are much nicer to use now, especially now that Blizzard have razor-sharpened the talents available:

  • Mutilate: the skill information recommends that you never use Sinister Strike again, and it’s right.  Mutilate is just wonderful, ensuring a high combo-point generation, with maximum stabbage.
  • Expose Armour: I just didn’t use Expose armour in the past.  Those combo points just seemed far better spent as extra damage, rather than the potential to do damage later.  In a game of more tactical combat such as Lord of the Rings Online such a skill would be useful.  But in the fast and frenetic world of five-clicks-and-death, extending your combat time to 7 or more clicks just seemed like the worst sort of crazy-talk.  But now, with the opportunity to have Expose Armour return the combo points spent on it, Expose Armour is the skill I now habitually use before Eviscerate or Envenom.  It truly has become the Prodigal Skill.  Yay!
  • Eviscerate/Envenom: This Autumn, fashion pundits are saying that big explodey finishing moves are back, and I for one am happy.  Kicking off a five point Eviscerate is as much fun as it was at level 2, if not more.  Nice!
  • Recuperate:  Well, if any skill was the World of Warcraft equivalent of Robbie Williams rejoining Take That, Recuperate is it.  Add in the ability to power it with those unused combo points still on the recently departed, and it’s as if Blizzard looked down from on high, and said; “Let there be less downtime between fights”.  It’s fantastic.  Sod the rationale for it, this skill means I can fill Skooge’s bags with looted trez, rather than whatever health-generating food is available in the local tavern.

These revelations have meant that I’m going through all the available Rogue skills, trying them out and seeing what works with Skooge’s build, what doesn’t, and what’s just a giggle to use.  It’s fun, and it’s refreshing.

Playing Skooge is *fun* again.

I know that Shaman Herewerd will remain my choice of character to play when Cataclysm…  erm, “cataclyses”? Azeroth, but Skooge will no longer be the ugly stupid kid kept under the stairs.

No, thanks to the changes to Rogues, Skooge will most likely be the go-to character when a change of pace is required.

That’s a great thing.  In all my questing for trez and levels, sometimes I forget about the sheer joy to be found in playing a character that’s just fun.



1 Comment »

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  1. Agree totally with your article played a rogue from vanilla through to cataclysm launch and then promptly deleted him (stupid i know). Having played the beta I can honestly say the rogue is back with a bang!

    In my opinion its the best and most fun class in the game…… Thats why I’ll be rolling a goblin rogue as my main.

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