Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rogues. A PvP Analysis.

Rogue. The mention of that word either inspires a devious smile, or a resigned sigh. It simply depends on which end of the blade you happen to be. Thankfully, Rift seems to provide not only depth but also variety to this shady staple of fantasy archetype. So, I'm going to do my best to break them down for people to understand, in a way that pertains most to the key functions of any cold blooded killer. Maybe some of you marks out there can also learn a thing or two, that you will eventually forget, when panic sets in because you've just been jumped at half your health. 

Enough introduction from me. Find a shadowed corner (it's the internet, there are as many shadowed corners as you'd like) and have a seat. Or just lean against the wall where people can't see you, because you are clearly too calm, cool, and collected to be bothered with chairs.

(Starter Soul - Normal Soul)

Stealth (root; level 4, 30s duration, 30% speed redux,10s cooldown)
Disorient: 1 (root; level 4, 2s dur, stealth rq.)
Incapacitates: 2 (root; level 8, 15s dur, target out of combat, stealth rq.
branch; 21 pts, 15s dur, no stealth rq.)
Damage Shield: 1 (root; level 18, 80% redux, reduces your damage by 40%, 8s dur., 10s cd)
Silence: 1 (root; level 20, 4s dur, stealth rq.)
Mortal Strike Debuff (root; level 32, 20% proc, 15s dur, 10% per stack, 5 max)
Cleanse (root: level 38, removes all harmful effects, immune to damage for 4s, 2m cd)
Blind: (root: level 44, all damaging attacks will miss, 6s dur, 2m cd)
Snares: 1 (branch; 12 pts, 60% snare, 6s dur)
Roots: 1 (branch; 31 pts, 4s dur, DoT damage, channeled) 

The Nightblade's main source of damage seems to come from from weapon dps (low end + high end / 2), fire damage, and death damage. What makes them rather interesting as far as a typical rogue is concerned is that they have 3 attacks that do AoE damage. One of them being the 51 point root ability Living Flames. It is also worth noting that the Nightblade has a number of CC maneuvers. Those being; a 4 second silence; two incapacitates (they break on damage); and a disorient. Anyone who has played rogues for a while will notice something missing from that list; Nightblades do not have any stuns. However, when things get sticky, they do have 4 different ways to mitigate damage coming to them, one of them removing all harmful effects (dots? cc, maybe?) as well as being immune to new ones for 4 seconds. Nightblades have traditional weapon enchantments (commonly called poisons) that have a chance to deal damage upon each hit, as well as a ranged attack that can be talented to also provide a 30% or 60% snare for six seconds. Oh... they can stealth too. 10 second cooldown, 30 second duration.

Did I mention that one of their weapon enchantments reduces incoming healing by 10% per application, stacking up to 5 times, for 50% reduced healing that lasts 15 seconds? This is quite important to note.

(Starter Soul - Normal Soul)

Stealth (root; level 4, 30s duration [21 pt branch makes permanent], 
30% speed redux [13 pt branch removes this],
 10s cooldown
root; level 51, stealth no longer breaks on damage)
Incapacitates: 1 (root; level 4, 15s dur, stealth rq.)
Snares: 1 (root; level 12, 70% speed redux, 8s dur)
Stuns: 2 (root; level 16, 5s dur, stealth rq.
branch; 11 pts, 4s dur)
AoE Confuse (root; level 44, 7m radius, 8s dur, 2m cd)
Vanish (branch; 31 pts, instant stealth, damage immune for 3s, removes snares and roots)

Okay... for all of you wretches with murder in your hearts, let me give you the highlights of this soul in point form.


-) Basic stealth. 30 second duration, 10 second cooldown.
---) 21 point branch advancement; Stealth lasts indefinitely.
---) 51 point root advancement; Stealth does not break on damage.

-) Stuns - You get 2 of them, plus one of the Nightblade's incapacitates (think Sap).
---) 11 point branch advancement; 4 second stun.
---) 16 point root advancement; 5 second stun opener from stealth.

-) Hide in plain sight. 31 points into the branch will get you Slip Away. It puts you into improved stealth while making you immune to all damage effects for 3 seconds.

Needless to say, this is the soul that gets you in, allows you to unload on one target, and then get back out again. If 9 seconds of stun is not enough, Assassins also receive an ability that snares their target by 70% for 8 seconds. Abilities deal weapon damage (top end?), poisons deal water damage. While Assassins do not get the healing reduction that Nightblades do, they do get a poison that increases the energy/mana cost of the target's spells by 10% per stack, up to 5 stacks. Other poisons reduce the target's chance to hit, reduce the target's chance to crit, as well as increase the critical strike chance -against- that target. Assassins can also apply bleeds through abilities and critical strikes, as well as increase the damage that the target takes from said bleeds and physical attacks. While all of this may sound heavenly to gankers everywhere, know that Assassins have very very limited defensive options. In fact, there are only two. One of them confuses all targets within 7 meters for 8 seconds (which breaks on damage, so your bleeds will render it useless)... the other is Slip Away. That's it.

Get in. Unload. Get the hell out.

Perfect, because that is how Assassins are supposed to work. Especially when your backstab can be branched to ignore 100% of the target's armor.

(Starter Soul - Normal Soul)
Official - Abilities - Builder

Stuns: 1 (root; level 16, target based aoe, 2s dur)
Cleanse: 1 (root; level 20, clears roots/stuns/snares, immune to the same for 4s,
branch; 27 pts, immunity lasts 8s )
Roots: 1 (root; level 32, target based aoe, 5s dur)
Snares: 1 (branch; 6 pts, 50% snare, 6s dur)
Stealth Detection (branch; 12 pts)

If you've played a Hunter in World of Warcraft, you are familiar with what a Ranger is capable of doing. Some may not like the reference to that game, but the Ranger is essentially the pet class for Rogues in Rift. Pets are acquired through both root and branch advancement. So while every Ranger will have some, not every Ranger will have all. The Ranger deals physical damage, with many root and branch skills that increase said physical damage through bleeds, raw percentages, armor penetration, critical strike chance, attack speed, and even a branch skill that will randomly (25% if you invest 5 points) shoot a 2nd arrow with each auto attack. The Ranger also features self buffs called instincts (think Aspects in that Blizzard game), with effects like increased attack power, and increased movement speed while out of combat. The thing that stands out to me when looking at this soul, is the lack of control available. Root advancement provides a stun (16 points in), while branch advancement provides a snare (6 points in). That's it. Rangers do not have traps.

As per the usual for Rangers in most MMOs, they do have tracking (humanoids and beasts) as well as stealth detection. They also have a "get out of jail free" card that removes roots, snares and stuns. It is also worth noting that at 25 points up the tree, that ability can get your pet out of jail for free too. 

(Neutral - Normal Soul)
Official (not up yet) - Abilities - Builder

AoE Mesmerize (root; level 26, 7m radius, 8s dur, 2m cd)

Bards = Buffs. At the same time, there are a few options through branch advancement that involve dealing Life damage based on combo points. Damage that scales with your dexterity. Depending on how well that damage scales, Bards might not be as much of a push over as support roles can often be. Especially because Bards can also heal, reduce damage taken, increase damage done, increase armor and resistances, increase movement speed, increase physical and spell critical chance, increase attributes, increase attack and spell power, and increase regeneration of whatever it is you use to do your job (mana, power, energy, or charge). If all of that wasn't enough, Bards also have an 8 second AoE mesmerize. 

Their branch options also include reducing their cooldowns, and increasing the effectiveness of their songs. One of their branch abilities even awards 5 combo points upon use, so just when you think that Bard has nothing left they can still perform one of their combo point dependent abilities to its fullest extent, right then and there. 

Rogues can no longer complain that they are useless. Parties and raids will love you.

(Neutral - Heroic Soul)
Official - Abilities (not up yet) - Builder (not up yet)

This is where I talk about how awesome Blade Dancers are, when I have information to talk about.

(Neutral - Heroic Soul)
Official - Abilities (incomplete) - Builder (not up yet)

From what little there is available through word of mouth and an incomplete ability list, the Rift Stalker is looking to be quite interesting. The class defining ability here is an instantaneous teleport behind your target that can be followed by other attacks that also require you to be behind them, but that's not all. There are a variety of ways to mitigate incoming damage through personal shields and armor increases. Further, gone are the days of mourning lost combo points when a target dies before you can use your finisher; Riftstalkers can be healed for a percentage of their health based on the number of combo points on the target when it dies.

What is even more interesting is that from an IGN article here the journalist mentions they were able to tank an early game instance.

Rogue. Tanks. Yes, you read correctly. When I have information about root advancement and the upper tiers of branch advancement, this shall be rounded out with more.

(Neutral - Heroic Soul)
Official (not up yet) - Abilities (not up yet) - Builder (not up yet)

This information is based on word of mouth, squinty eyed video observance (thank you Kedon), and speculation amongst the Rogue community. Saboteurs... make things... go boom! These guys are where traps come to the Rogue archetype in Rift. If you are any good at being bait, then the Saboteur is the one you want to be baiting for. Minefields anyone?

I can't wait till we have more information on this soul.

(Neutral - Heroic Soul)
Official (not up yet) - Abilities (not up yet) - Builder (not up yet)

If anyone looked at the Ranger and was disappointed because they wanted more of a dedicated sniper class, well, here you go. Thanks again to Kedon and his squinty eyes, the Marksman can not only increase the range of their attacks, but (and here is one of the key control points Rangers are lacking) they can knock a target away from them. If they possess any other forms of control (snares, stuns, roots) then Marksmen (and women!) will be the kiters that drive melee classes absolutely crazy.

At this point in time it is unknown how well their damage compares to that of a Ranger, if you were looking to only take one ranged soul to complement your stabbity stab. So stay tuned!

There are still more things to talk about!
They just haven't been released yet.

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