Friday, July 25, 2008

Welcome to World of Roguecraft

I logged in yesterday to play some Arathi Basin, and keep moving closer towards getting the Season 2 Crossbow.

As I'm playing, I begin to notice something. Against other classes, it's the usual scenario of winning a few and losing a few. That's normal, and I have no problem with it.

Against Rogues in particular on the other hand, I begin to notice a pattern where whenever I get targetted by one of them, I'm essentially a free kill; there's virtually nothing I can do about it whatsoever. The stunlock sets in, and even when I trinket out of it, a stun is immediately reapplied.

My long time readers will know that the Rogue isn't a class I've ever been hugely fond of, but up until 2.3-2.4 I had been moving towards a grudging form of semi-acceptance. However, they were then given a couple of new abilities (Shadowstep in particular, and a 3 second stun to Mace Specialization, as though they really needed another stun) which has caused them to become even more imbalanced than they were previously.

The culmination of this, I think, has been seen in a proposed Rogue ability in the beta for Wrath of the Lich King:-

Disarm the enemy, removing all weapons, shield or other equipment carried for 10 sec.
1 min cooldown.

I don't think I really need to say too much about the above ability; its' implications for all but the caster classes should be entirely obvious.

The one thing I wish I could ask Blizzard is what the rationale is behind their continual favouritism of the Rogue. Hunters have had some improvements over the course of TBC, but they've still been largely incremental, and at one point a proposed change to the Warlock risked destroying that class's fundamental mechanics more or less entirely, until it managed to be appealed at the eleventh hour. Although the Shaman's problems are being resolved more or less entirely in the expansion, the Mage also is still in dire need of help. Feral Druids are still more or less a one trick pony in PvP, in terms of Mangle spam, as well.

Yet the Rogue is continually given a never-ending series of abilities which are little more than blatant exploits, and which no other class in the game has any form of counter to; Vanish, Cloak of Shadows, Shadowstep, the aforementioned stun to Maces, and a form of Stealth which has had the number of counters to it gradually reduced over time. A subtle alteration in the last patch was Rogue stealth no longer being broken by Snake Trap. With the addition of Dismantle in the expansion, the establishment of the Rogue as the one totally uncounterable class in the game, will likely be complete.

The other thing that is surprising is that when a couple of isolated posts have appeared in the General forum, attempting to draw attention to the problem, they are almost immediately drowned out by a large number of replies from members of pretty much any other class, insisting that the Rogue is fine, and should not be complained about.

I had started to consider that, since I didn't have much interest in raiding, PvP would gradually become the end-game track I would persue. Against other classes, that's likely to work out fine, but if I know that I'm going to be an entirely helpless free kill every time I see a Rogue approaching, it's going to take a lot of the fun out of it.

I don't ask that other classes be rendered completely defenseless against me as a Hunter. All I do ask, however, is that I myself am also not completely defenseless against them. I have consistently noticed that the average Rogue player's definition of an overpowered class is one that has any viable form of defense against them.

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