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Thread: The fundamental problem with rogue specs

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    Default The fundamental problem with rogue specs

    It's quite simple: extremely weak combo point builders. At the moment all rogue specs revolve around one concept, that is how to most efficently avoid using any of the main combo point builder abilities; Savage Strike, Keen Strike, Primal Strike, Swift Shot, Quick Shot, Planar Strike, Blast Charge and Empyrean Bolt.

    Let's look at assassin for example. Savage Strike hit for ~6k on average while the dps target is somewhere around 26k. Half of all attacks end up being Savage Strikes but still it is only 11% of the total dps. To meet this dps target it needs a huge amount of random procs. A total of ~45% assassin dps is just from passive procs and autoattacks.

    NB is another good example. Primal Strike hits for less than 6k on average. Unlike assassin NB has put most of the dps which is lacking from builders into finishers and dots which trigger from finishers. ~35% of NB dps is passive in nature.

    BD illustrates the nature of rogue dps well also but in a different way. BD is the only rogue spec where combo point builders are the main damage dealers. To achieve this the soul has access to more powerful builders than the basic ones, then the entire tree is dedicated into first buffing the builders not just with the usual +120% or so passive damage modifier but also +90% active modifier (hack and slash, deadly dance), big AP/weapon damage and contribution bonuses. And the result from all that is ~15k dps. To lift builder damage to meaningful amounts BD also needs huge cooldowns that are up constantly to reach its dps targets.

    Marksman depends on Free Recoil and Empowered Shots to avoid most of Swift Shots. Tactician only uses Empyrean Bolt to trigger 5 combo points after torrents. Ranger has Opportunity+pet+strong finisher to cover for pitiful Quick Shot damage.

    At this point you may ask why does it matter where the dps comes from as long as it's there. So let's see what it actually causes as secondary effects. Nightblade provides two good examples.

    1. Because Primal Strike is weak then Fiery Spike needs to be weak also or they would be imbalanced against each other. But then to make Fiery Spike do any damage it needs to stack up to 5 times in addition to having some extra damage modifiers on it. The result is that we get stuck with a big stack of a dot which makes target switching extremely inefficient.

    2. Because Primal Strike is weak Weapon Flare needs to be even weaker so we wouldn't just use that instead. The result is that Weapon Flare does almost no damage at all. Exact same thing happens with ranger and Trick Shot.

    In more general terms each soul tree has its own mechanic which is usually centered around finishers of that tree to work around the weak builders. This causes the trees to have really bad synergy because you can't use the finishers of two trees at the same time. Something like a real NB/BD hybrid is completely out of the question. Assassin is the only soul which can be used as a "hybrid" second soul but it's not really a hybrid, you might use backstab and puncture but 90% of the reason to get assassin is for those passive poison procs and it doesn't have any assassin feel to it. That means NB/Sin and BD/Sin, neither one is really being used. Sin/NB and Sin/BD both just fail as hybrids.

    Assassin gameplay is basically equivalent to hoping for good proc rng at this point.

    So as a summary the weak combo point builders prevent hybrids, make gameplay more about rng than skill, prevent meaningful combo point generating aoe abilities and force too many or too high stacks of dots. The current soul trees are at their limits of how much rng procs, dots and mechanics that avoid builders they can contain. After a year of just tweaking the numbers around they are in major need of cleanup.

    The basic builders need to have at least twice the base damage they have now and then the rest of the trees rebalanced based on that.

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    I see the issues you presented more as a mechanics problem. The dps wherever it comes from matters very little as long as its there. I think the real issue is ailion's insistance on creating niche builds for rogues while the rest of the classes are allowed all encompassing builds.

    As long as rogues have to continue choosing to cleave/st/lower dps to handle dcs while other classes can simple use the same build for all three; there will be a fundemental inbalance because raid encounters don't ussually have one challange they have multiple challanges and the builds that can handle the most of them comfortably is the one that wins.

    Rogues go through the prefight raid analysis of matching the build to the encounter. Its not just melee or range? its range but need to int/purge, will a pet live? is there alot of ae little ae? The same thing happens with melee, are int needed? how bad are the dcs? is cleave needed? how often is the cleave and how much is needed? ae? Can we get to the back of the target?

    All those questions have to be answered and then we choose the spec we will play. Now consider those same questions with other classes, and you will see that alot dont matter or don't exist and others have the same answer.

    Clerics don't care if cleave dps is needed they still play there best st spec- same with interupts. Mages are worse not only do they not care about cleaving, or ints they can ignore most dcs that would kill any real melees dps. Wars with the new paragon gth are nearly as bad as mages with dcs now. And those same issues infect all other melee builds that rogues use.

    Ailion's flavor that he attaches to all the rogues specs is nice to see and its fun that each spec is different in its strengths and weaknesses. However rogues won't ever be balanced as long as we are the only ones having to sacrifice ae for st, or dps for dc abilities. Tradeoffs only work in a game if everybody makes those choices and currently rogues are the only melee class that does have tradeoffs and that is the biggest challange that ailion faces in fixing the rogue builds.
    Last edited by sancin; 10-18-2013 at 10:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gery View Post
    So as a summary the weak combo point builders prevent hybrids, make gameplay more about rng than skill, prevent meaningful combo point generating aoe abilities and force too many or too high stacks of dots. The current soul trees are at their limits of how much rng procs, dots and mechanics that avoid builders they can contain.
    People talk about the problems the Assassin soul has, when this is what I dislike about it most. Out of curiosity I just ran a 'sin parse on the PTS playing it as poorly as it can feasibly be played. I attacked from the front, used the following macro, and used only Final Blow.

    #show Backstab
    suppressmacrofailures
    cast Thread of Death
    cast Jagged Strike
    cast Backstab
    cast Savage Strike
    cast Serpent Strike
    cast Poison Malice
    cast Enduring Brew

    This was the result. Playing Assassin as bad as you possibly can only loses you ~10% dps, a very notable chunk of that due to the positional requirement and starvation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sancin View Post
    Ailion's flavor that he attaches to all the rogues specs is nice to see and its fun that each spec is different in its strengths and weaknesses. However rogues won't ever be balanced as long as we are the only ones having to sacrifice ae for st, or dps for dc abilities. Tradeoffs only work in a game if everybody makes those choices and currently rogues are the only melee class that does have tradeoffs and that is the biggest challange that ailion faces in fixing the rogue builds.
    Part of the issue is that the other callings tend to have fewer souls dedicated to a role (in this case you could say cleric and mages), so they tend to supply a lot more utility and give them decent amounts of damage with it too. The other problem I think is the whole melee > ranged dps as well.

    As a result, I think they are "forced" to make Harb and Shaman perform fairly well even though they have limited amount of souls to work with. Rogues don't really have that limitation when it comes to dps as we have 2 ranged souls, 3 melee souls, and 1-2 dedicated AoE souls (if you want to count Tactician) however, the synergy between them is pretty poor in most cases anyway.

    You probably won't see that sort of "balance" or decision making for other callings unless they're given more melee souls or whatever souls they need to create that kind of situation. To be honest, if I were a main mage, I'd be pretty annoyed that Harb is a pretty good performer in raids, considering that most of the mage souls by design is caster/ranged based.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stihl View Post
    People talk about the problems the Assassin soul has, when this is what I dislike about it most. Out of curiosity I just ran a 'sin parse on the PTS playing it as poorly as it can feasibly be played. I attacked from the front, used the following macro, and used only Final Blow.

    #show Backstab
    suppressmacrofailures
    cast Thread of Death
    cast Jagged Strike
    cast Backstab
    cast Savage Strike
    cast Serpent Strike
    cast Poison Malice
    cast Enduring Brew

    This was the result. Playing Assassin as bad as you possibly can only loses you ~10% dps, a very notable chunk of that due to the positional requirement and starvation.
    Haha, oh god, I think I just threw up a little. Anyway, yeah, the poisons procs are extremely powerful. I think it was done to make Poison Malice cooldown actually useful. It also makes parsing with assassin really annoying because if you get bad poison proc rng, especially with Malicious Poison, you can basically just toss out that parse.

    Bladedancer also has it's own annoyances with rng as well. Get good rng with Double Strike during Fated Blades, you'll feel like a superstar. Get bad rng, and well, better luck next time!

    Anyway, I agree with Gery in general with the overall feel with rogue dps. However, I don't think the solution is to simply make builders stronger though (while making big hitters a bit weaker as well). DoT stacking should be toned down some and proc based dps needs to be toned down as well. While I don't mind rng, but it does suck a lot when your dps can swing wildly due to things like poison procs or if your super big hitter doesn't crit enough times during a cooldown (see above Bladedancer part, and to a lesser extent, your poisons during Poison Malice).
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    Spot on Gery, lets hope Ailion took a look at t his thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Muspel View Post
    I believe Assassin DoTs are uncleansable.

    It's still a terrible PvP spec compared to Marksman, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sancin View Post
    I see the issues you presented more as a mechanics problem. The dps wherever it comes from matters very little as long as its there. I think the real issue is ailion's insistance on creating niche builds for rogues while the rest of the classes are allowed all encompassing builds.

    As long as rogues have to continue choosing to cleave/st/lower dps to handle dcs while other classes can simple use the same build for all three; there will be a fundemental inbalance because raid encounters don't ussually have one challange they have multiple challanges and the builds that can handle the most of them comfortably is the one that wins.

    Rogues go through the prefight raid analysis of matching the build to the encounter. Its not just melee or range? its range but need to int/purge, will a pet live? is there alot of ae little ae? The same thing happens with melee, are int needed? how bad are the dcs? is cleave needed? how often is the cleave and how much is needed? ae? Can we get to the back of the target?

    All those questions have to be answered and then we choose the spec we will play. Now consider those same questions with other classes, and you will see that alot dont matter or don't exist and others have the same answer.

    Clerics don't care if cleave dps is needed they still play there best st spec- same with interupts. Mages are worse not only do they not care about cleaving, or ints they can ignore most dcs that would kill any real melees dps. Wars with the new paragon gth are nearly as bad as mages with dcs now. And those same issues infect all other melee builds that rogues use.

    Ailion's flavor that he attaches to all the rogues specs is nice to see and its fun that each spec is different in its strengths and weaknesses. However rogues won't ever be balanced as long as we are the only ones having to sacrifice ae for st, or dps for dc abilities. Tradeoffs only work in a game if everybody makes those choices and currently rogues are the only melee class that does have tradeoffs and that is the biggest challange that ailion faces in fixing the rogue builds.
    You can think of it as just mechanics problem but it's also the mechanics that largely cause many of the issues that make our specs more niche. For example the target switching penalty on NB is caused by the damage being dependent on random drop debuff (ebon blades) and a stacking dot (fiery spike). Neither one would be that big of an issue if our abilities themselves packed enough punch that the same damage could be reached with 2 or 3 stacks of fiery spike and the damage was shifted away from random procs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gery View Post
    You can think of it as just mechanics problem but it's also the mechanics that largely cause many of the issues that make our specs more niche. For example the target switching penalty on NB is caused by the damage being dependent on random drop debuff (ebon blades) and a stacking dot (fiery spike). Neither one would be that big of an issue if our abilities themselves packed enough punch that the same damage could be reached with 2 or 3 stacks of fiery spike and the damage was shifted away from random procs.
    I think of it as a mechanics problem because its the way they apply the dps rather then philosophy of how dps is balanced. Your right that changing the nature of our builders and finishers would help some dps balancing problems, however i don't see true balance happening until devs adopt a consistant philosophy on how to handle single soul and multi soul classes. Their current design strategy is impractical and unbalancing, classes' roles shouldn't get additively stronger the less souls per role they have.
    Last edited by sancin; 10-22-2013 at 04:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sancin View Post
    I think of it as a mechanics problem because its the way they apply the dps rather then philosophy of how dps is balanced. Your right that changing the nature of our builders and finishers would help some dps balancing problems, however i don't see true balance happening until devs adopt a consistant philosophy on how to handle single soul and multi soul classes. Their current design strategy is impractical and unbalancing, classes' roles shouldn't get additively stronger the less souls per role they have.
    I think it goes even deeper. Until they get consistent, in terms of dps, on simply the design of single souls, there is a problem. If you have a soul in one calling, that for whatever reason have good/great performance in melee, disconnects, AoE, and no positional issues and then another where you pick one depending on the specific nature of the encounter, you have an issue.

    The issue is simple...lets say for arguments sake that Kervik had not overly buffed the stuff he is in charge of (I know crazy idea). When you look at warriors and rogues you have one of a couple options. Due to no AoE and a positional requirement...from a purely logical point of view, Sin should be the top...period, end of story, no argument... melee dps... However if that happens then the other callings get all emo. Bladedancer has zero ability on DCs so it should do more in your face dps than those that can....however same argument applies.

    I know some people will argue "well you can do this soul for that fight and that soul for this fight" BUT for practical purposes this simply does not work.

    First from a development stand point it is illogical.

    1. If you want to keep these niches in place you have to spend at least as much time on balancing inside the calling as you do AGAINST other callings. As we can see having to do this has essentially meant that rogues are falling behind as the other callings really do not have to deal with the same dynamic that much.

    2. encounter devs and calling devs do not coordinate intimately with one and other. Due to this you can have periods where a specific niche build is lacking it's effective niche.

    Second there are issues on the player level....

    You saddle one specific calling with a headache none of the other callings really have to address in that where you can have melee dps build A and and ranged dps build B in one calling...in the niche build calling you have the players needing melee dps builds A, B and C. This creates a learning curve that for most players is more of a head ache than it is worth, and if you really want to min/max a PITA when it comes to gear optimization due to the different stat weight values.

    Hell even Clerics and healing do not have to deal with this that much. How often do you have cleric healers swapping builds between fights? Usually it's "you are the puri, you the warden, you the defiler..." that is a very different dynamic than "one second guys we are doing fight X let me swap to build 1....oh fight Y time for build 2...

    Now if all 4 callings were working on the niche build concept it would not be an issue. However no calling is really working on that concept to the extent that the Rogue is. This dynamic is an imbalance at the foundation that needs to be addressed one way or the other. Ultimately I don't care which way it goes...want to have every calling deal with the same exact headaches that rogues do.,..I am good with that too. What do you think the chances are of that happening though?
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    I like this thread very much a lot of good points were made and many questions raised. Rogue class to me has lost its identity. To be fair I think all the classes have some generic overtones affixed to them now. There needs to be clear separations made between the actual game play of the classes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adastra View Post
    Part of the issue is that the other callings tend to have fewer souls dedicated to a role (in this case you could say cleric and mages), so they tend to supply a lot more utility and give them decent amounts of damage with it too. The other problem I think is the whole melee > ranged dps as well.

    As a result, I think they are "forced" to make Harb and Shaman perform fairly well even though they have limited amount of souls to work with. Rogues don't really have that limitation when it comes to dps as we have 2 ranged souls, 3 melee souls, and 1-2 dedicated AoE souls (if you want to count Tactician) however, the synergy between them is pretty poor in most cases anyway.

    You probably won't see that sort of "balance" or decision making for other callings unless they're given more melee souls or whatever souls they need to create that kind of situation. To be honest, if I were a main mage, I'd be pretty annoyed that Harb is a pretty good performer in raids, considering that most of the mage souls by design is caster/ranged based.
    You raise a great point, and I wonder whether the problem goes back to the original intent of each calling. If we exclude the SL souls, and use older classifications of each soul, I think you end up with this:

    Warrior: 4 Tank / 4 DPS / 0 Heal / 0 Support
    Rogue: 1 Tank / 6 DPS / 0 Heal / 1 Support
    Mage: 0 Tank / 5 DPS / 1 Heal / 2 Support
    Cleric: 1 Tank / 4 DPS / 3 Heal / 0 Support

    Based on this break-down, it seems to me that Rogues and Mages were intended to be the DPS in the game; Warriors were intended to be the tanks, and Clerics intended to be the healers. Granted, Clerics and Rogues made fine tanks pre 2.0, and Mages obviously made fine healers, etc. But in terms of options available to a particular calling, Rogues and Mages had the greatest amount of DPS options, Warriors had the greatest tanking options and Clerics had the greatest healing options.

    It seems to me that there is interest from Trion to make this more uniform, but do this slowly. To a point raised by another, I agree that the trend is to strip not just Rogues, but each calling of its unique nature. For example, giving Warriors a 1 sec GCD makes Warriors feel more like Rogues. Giving Mages a melee spec makes Mages feel more like Warriors.

    This leaves what I believe is the fundamental question -- is this a good thing or bad thing? I think it is in line with Trion's move to reduce the need to have alts. If Rogue can heal just as well as a Mage or Cleric, then there is no need to have an alt. Think about it, currently, you can have all of the trade skills on one toon. So there is no longer a need to have a gathering toon, and several crafting toons. Is this the same direction that the game is heading with respect to spec? And if so, is it a bad thing?

    I do not think it is a bad thing. Currently, I play with a finite number of people (20-25), and occasionally pug a few folks. If we need a particular calling for something, someone goes and gets his/her alt. If the drive is to eliminate the alts, I am fine with that because in the end, I would not decide to do particular content if it resulted in excluding a friend because we really needed a mage. The only concern is that the souls within a particular calling maintain a certain feel, which I think that they do. Bring the player not the calling is my point of view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrodon View Post
    This leaves what I believe is the fundamental question -- is this a good thing or bad thing? I think it is in line with Trion's move to reduce the need to have alts. If Rogue can heal just as well as a Mage or Cleric, then there is no need to have an alt. Think about it, currently, you can have all of the trade skills on one toon. So there is no longer a need to have a gathering toon, and several crafting toons. Is this the same direction that the game is heading with respect to spec? And if so, is it a bad thing?

    I do not think it is a bad thing. Currently, I play with a finite number of people (20-25), and occasionally pug a few folks. If we need a particular calling for something, someone goes and gets his/her alt. If the drive is to eliminate the alts, I am fine with that because in the end, I would not decide to do particular content if it resulted in excluding a friend because we really needed a mage. The only concern is that the souls within a particular calling maintain a certain feel, which I think that they do. Bring the player not the calling is my point of view.
    Rift was more or less a game designed to break the typical stereotypes in a game. ex. Warriors = tank, clerics = healers, mages = spell damage, rogues = physical damage

    There's nothing wrong with this and I do like the soul system. The number and types of souls allocated to each calling is different, so there was obviously some "remaining stereotype" so people won't feel so alienated I guess. I do hope that over time they will balance out the types of souls between callings, that way they can achieve a better balance between callings and souls. Perhaps some point down the future, mages may have 1-2 additional melee souls to create that niche, and maybe rogues will have 1-2 more heal or tank souls, etc.

    Until then, when callings have only 1 soul to do a certain role they haven't done before, it might be too flexible/good at the role. Although, from what I hear at least for the rogue healing soul is that it's primarily going to be a single target healer with maybe some aoe healing. It makes sense I guess since we already have "some" AoE healing, although not on the level of an actual AoE healer, but that's fine since it's capable of dealing damage instead and/or providing raid buffs.
    Last edited by Adastra; 10-24-2013 at 12:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adastra View Post
    Rift was more or less a game designed to break the typical stereotypes in a game. ex. Warriors = tank, clerics = healers, mages = spell damage, rogues = physical damage

    There's nothing wrong with this and I do like the soul system. The number and types of souls allocated to each calling is different, so there was obviously some "remaining stereotype" so people won't feel so alienated I guess. I do hope that over time they will balance out the types of souls between callings, that way they can achieve a better balance between callings and souls. Perhaps some point down the future, mages may have 1-2 additional melee souls to create that niche, and maybe rogues will have 1-2 more heal or tank souls, etc.

    Until then, when callings have only 1 soul to do a certain role they haven't done before, it might be too flexible/good at the role. Although, from what I hear at least for the rogue healing soul is that it's primarily going to be a single target healer with maybe some aoe healing. It makes sense I guess since we already have "some" AoE healing, although not on the level of an actual AoE healer, but that's fine since it's capable of dealing damage instead and/or providing raid buffs.
    I may have misspoke, and should have said stereotype rather than intended purpose.

    But to get to Gery's point, I think the issue raised in this thread is whether Rogues should e penalized for poor rotations. If I understand the argument, you just need to stand near a start and hit buttons, and you will be just fine because 45% of your damage is rng, mitigating any lack of skill or understanding of what to do. For dummy parse, I think that is fair, but in order to encourage a healthy volume of players, making raiding harder by having to worry about where you are standing, and increasing the difficulty of a rotation may discourage many from playing the game.

    In my last guild, the majority of players struggled with T1 raid mechanics. This resulted in players quitting the game. Some quit because the guild was not progressing. Others quit because they could not do the mechanics. Considering this, if there is an increased level of skill needed to effectively do a rotation, would that decrease raid DPS, and reduce game population? I would think so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrodon View Post
    But to get to Gery's point, I think the issue raised in this thread is whether Rogues should e penalized for poor rotations. If I understand the argument, you just need to stand near a start and hit buttons, and you will be just fine because 45% of your damage is rng, mitigating any lack of skill or understanding of what to do. For dummy parse, I think that is fair, but in order to encourage a healthy volume of players, making raiding harder by having to worry about where you are standing, and increasing the difficulty of a rotation may discourage many from playing the game.

    In my last guild, the majority of players struggled with T1 raid mechanics. This resulted in players quitting the game. Some quit because the guild was not progressing. Others quit because they could not do the mechanics. Considering this, if there is an increased level of skill needed to effectively do a rotation, would that decrease raid DPS, and reduce game population? I would think so.
    That does remind me of a time I was on another guild's voice chat and I was listening to one of the members from that guild talk about dps rotations and mechanics. He mentioned that in Rift you tend to focus more on dps rotations because they are typically more involved than in other mmos (not sure about this but at least from what I've personally played I guess it's true for me). But he said he'd rather have easier dps rotations, but much harder boss mechanics.

    When I played vanilla WoW, dps rotations were incredibly simple, mostly just pushing 1 button maybe 2 other buttons, everyone's dps was more or less about the same give/take rng etc. Paying attention to mechanics was all you had to do then.

    Compare that to Rift and you'll see there's a pretty big gap in typical/average guilds. I'm sure most guilds out there have probably 1-2 (or more) exceptional players in there and the rest of the guild is somewhere below them. So I think it would be safe to say that for a good amount of players, the current dps rotation difficulty is probably challenging enough for them or perhaps "too hard" for them. I can't really say for sure if dps rotation difficulty along with having to pay attention to mechanics drives away the average player.
    Last edited by Adastra; 10-24-2013 at 01:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adastra View Post
    That does remind me of a time I was on another guild's voice chat and I was listening to one of the members from that guild talk about dps rotations and mechanics. He mentioned that in Rift you tend to focus more on dps rotations because they are typically more involved than in other mmos (not sure about this but at least from what I've personally played I guess it's true for me). But he said he'd rather have easier dps rotations, but much harder boss mechanics.

    When I played vanilla WoW, dps rotations were incredibly simple, mostly just pushing 1 button maybe 2 other buttons, everyone's dps was more or less about the same give/take rng etc. Paying attention to mechanics was all you had to do then.

    Compare that to Rift and you'll see there's a pretty big gap in typical/average guilds. I'm sure most guilds out there have probably 1-2 (or more) exceptional players in there and the rest of the guild is somewhere below them. So I think it would be safe to say that for a good amount of players, the current dps rotation difficulty is probably challenging enough for them or perhaps "too hard" for them. I can't really say for sure if dps rotation difficulty along with having to pay attention to mechanics drives away the average player.
    There is a noticeable difference in the average difficulty of DPS specs between now and pre-SL. I mean just look at what Riftblade and Champion used to be, 2 button wonders. Marksman was even easier than it is now and Inquisitor was easier still. There aren't many specs left you can "maximize" with less than 4-5 keys and a good understanding of the priority. Which is a good thing from the perspective of those who wish to work for their numbers. For those who don't you can still do reasonably well with almost any spec if you just leave out an ability or two. You are not going to be effective in a progression guild this way but the question is: should you?

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