Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ring Around the Rosie

Back when I used to play a dagger rogue (before I learned "the way"), I incorporated a tactic I learned from watching undead rogues kill me and my friends. I'm not sure what term is used for this tactic, so for now I'll just call it "ring around the rosie."
The method is simple to conceive, but for some, difficult to apply. The rogue literally runs circles around the opponent, facing the opponent the entire time.

Let me create a crude graphic to demonstrate.


Okay, that's sufficiently crude. The X is the opponent, and the asterices represent the path of the rogue. Remember, always facing X. Using a mouse and keyboard combination, assuming the rogue is going clockwise, requires a constant "turn" to the right while holding down the left sidestep button (default A). All the while, the rogue needs to be hitting appropriate attack keys. Sequoia's rogue mod allows him to hit only one attack key, but potentially execute two or more different attacks, depending on whether cooldowns are over, or other circumstances are allowing. That mod would be very helpful here, because keeping along the circular track requires a bit of adjustment (requiring more key taps), especially if the opponent is moving.

The object of this tactic is twofold. First, it allows a rogue to have a greater opportunity to hit with backstab. As rogues find out early on, pve mobs almost never turn their backs on players after being aggroed. So, getting behind a pve mob is somewhat of a challenge, but facilitated by using gouge, kidney shot, distract, or other tricks. PVP, on the other hand, requires players to track (turn to face) targets on their own (for the most part). This opens up a great opportunity to get behind opponents. I wrote a comment on Terra Nova's blog about this:

There are a suprising number of WoW players who, for whatever reason (new to PVP games, laptops, etc.) do not use the keyboard/mouse combination to move about, or are just very inexperienced at it. In dueling and PVP combat, I have used this to my advantage in many situations, and my ability to run straight through my opponent has been a key factor in my tactics. I will often engage my opponent, run through, and quickly 180 so that I can fight facing my opponent's back. These players have a tough time turning around to face me, and by the time they do, I've already gone through them again, forcing them to start rotating the other direction. Attacking one's backside has numerous advantages: for a rogue, it's obvious, and for everyone else, melee attacks can't be blocked or parried from behind. In addition, when I attack casters, I often interrupt spells that require line of sight by quickly stepping through the caster at the last second. There are also advantages I've used against PVE mobs related to lack of CD.

Besides all the potential (inevitable) griefing, if WoW were to implement CD, most of these combat tactics would not be usable. Of course, I'm not advocating one way or the other. I'm merely saying that it does detract from the realism of close combat.

Another similar issue is the ability of some types of spells and projectiles to ignore certain objects in the game such as trees, walls, mounds of dirt, etc., and how some have taken advantage of these tricks to the point where they're considered bugs or exploits in the game.


The blog topic was concerning the tangibility of objects in WoW and other games (i.e., the ability or inability for players to "touch" or block each other physically).

The second reason for using this tactic is to create confusion and make the rogue harder to hit. Running around in circles requires an opponent to spin around in circles (or at least root the rogue in place) just to be able to hit the rogue.

I haven't used that tactic in real combat for a long time, but tried it out last night in WSG. The reason I tried it out was because I was getting my butt kicked, and needed to figure out why. Thus, I used the time-honored method of troubleshooting. I'll skip my methodology for now, but I had determined that my combat rogue tactic of just standing there, and occasionally sidestepping behind my opponent was not effective enough when I'm literally surrounded by horde. I needed to increase my lifespan so that I could at least bring down one or two of the vile things before I fell. You'll find that, perhaps to conserve mana, many casters will default to melee when in close encounters. I was fighting against shamans, mages, rogues, warriors, druids, and priests all at the same time.

As you know, I tend to focus first on healers. This distracts at least one caster, then, but leaves a lot of melee hunting me. I found that if I just stood there, not moving much, I didn't last very long. The warriors could just stand there and pound on me, and the rest had an easy time targeting me and pounding on me. So, I started running the circle. And, surprise, it was effective! And I don't even use daggers!

What happened is that my target was, as predicted, confused, and had a great deal of trouble facing me. This already saved my health a great deal of turmoil. In addition, anyone wanting to pound on me had to run around, trying to hit me. Since I consider myself very good at running this circle, it gave those without that experience a bit of trouble, and they were often too far behind or on the other side of the circle, and it probably reduced the number of hits I took by 1/3 to 1/2. In BG, that's impressive, and prolonged my life significantly.

Now, I can't say it's very effective in all situations, so I won't. You must know when it's appropriate, and when it's inefficient. But that's part intuition and mostly experience. I suggest to all rogues out there, and even other melee classes, give it a try and see how it works. If you don't like it, keep doing it till you're decent at it before giving up on it. It may come in handy. It's also good in dueling, especially if you're playing against a hybrid melee/caster like a druid.

Needless to say, I came out in the top 3 of the scoresheets anyway, once getting 110 HK and highest among both alliance and horde, although the horde won. So, I must be doing something right!


Blogger Tolaknahs said...

I've also found this tactic extremely useful Psyae. I kind of started doing it on my own about 4 or 5 months ago on my old main alt.

He was a combat spec, so there was no gouging or kidney shots going on, I was purely SS'ing with a few special attacks in there, so its a must that you be moving all the time, or you will get outdone by someone with higher health like a warrior or pali.

But its supprising because 3/4 of rogues don't do this! they just kind or run around or even worse, face off head to head.

Another good tactic I like to use is the jump through... let me also demonstrate with a crude graphic.


The X being the target and the asterices being the run and then jump, 180', attack path. Combining this together with the circle running is huge.

Good post here, and nice to see an update!

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Psyae said...

Thanks for the comment. I've been using my time mostly writing in our guild website: www.pathoshammer.com and forums, as well as rofkahr.com.

Combat rogue that doesn't use KS? Odd. ;)

Thursday, December 08, 2005 2:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tolaknahs said...

Yeah, I've aways been a big fan of Eviscerate... I use it every chance I get:)

I always hated the stop and go action of KS and gouge, so it was nice to keep it going with just SS's.

Friday, December 09, 2005 1:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks a lot like Quake circle straffing. Does it work when your target can just walk through you?

Friday, December 16, 2005 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Psyae said...

Yeah, still works. Mostly. Some don't fall for it, and just walk backwards (shamans are really good at this). Most just spin around and miss a lot of shots.

Monday, December 19, 2005 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm on a laptop, so rogues cause me all sorts of troubles (no mouse/keyboard combo here). Actually I did pick up a wireless mouse recently, but I still need to incorporate it fully into my game use, and find a place to put it where the cats won't step on the mouse buttons and kick it off the couch at inconvenient moments. They make PvP kinda hard sometimes... =}

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 5:37:00 AM  
Blogger Psyae said...

Heh, I used to have a cat that sat on my keyboard while I tried to pvp.

Using the most conventional gear, the mouse/keyboard combo is the best. There are gadgets out there that do some extraordinary stuff (Nostromo52, for example), but most of us are limited in cash and space to the bare minimum.

The best thing about using the mouse is that it replaces your need to use keys to rotate your view, thus increasing your agility out of and in the game. And, if you acquire a high-end mouse, its multiple buttons and scroll wheel can offer a number of combinations for alternate key configurations to make your life easier. Some players perform all of their movment actions with the mouse, and use their keyboard hand for combat keys.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 8:54:00 AM  
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Thursday, April 15, 2010 9:29:00 PM  

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