A Tricky Rant

I recently promised someone a rant on Tricks of the Trade.  Here it is.  In other news, I am incapable of resisting a pun.


First off, because there is almost never overlap between the people who you want to give damage to and the people you want to give threat to, TotT is essentially two abilities that share a cooldown. I have no issue with that. What I do have issue with, is the fact that the TotT: Threat is highly situational while TotT: Damage is simply the worst.

On TotT: Threat

Whether it is helping a timid tank pull mobs, helping a bad tank take threat off me or the healer, helping a stressed tank pick up extra packs, or trying to get hunters killed, using Tricks for threat is generally pretty interesting. I also like how it involves some skill, especially when trying to kill hunters since the price of failure is a more effective hunter. It’s worth noting that with the current level of tank threat generation, using Tricks for threat on the pull is usually useless (This may not be the case for raids that are massively front-loading their damage, but that is something Blizzard has stated they want to reduce anyway).

The problem with TotT: Threat is that it is highly situational. In raids, the only time someone really needs a rogue’s threat is when there are many mobs in different locations that need to be tanked. This is compelling gameplay, but this situation does not occur very often in a given tier. In dungeons, I find I use TotT: Threat much more often, but that is more to rush through the content faster than out of necessity. When it comes down to it, if Tricks of the Trade was only for threat, then I don’t think it would be worth the bar space. Now, to argue why it should only be used for threat:

On TotT: Damage

TotT: Damage is in my opinion the absolute worst. I think a large part of the reason it exists is to increase the skill cap, which while a noble reason, doesn’t work in PvE and works too well in PvP.

In PvE, players use TotT: Damage on cooldown on either the highest reachable DPS or another rogue. In terms of raid damage, it is almost never best to delay HfB Tricks more than a few seconds. Simply put, this is not something that raises the skill cap in any meaningful way. When I imagine a young rogue coming up to me and asking “Haileaus, why must I use Tricks every 30 seconds to increase raid dps at the cost of my own?” the only answer I can come up with is “Well son, it builds character!” Increasing someone else’s dps at the cost of your own is about as far from the rogue archetype as you can get. I mean, at least giving someone your aggro can be seen as selfish.

A lot of these arguments apply to some degree in PvP, but for a casual PvPer like me who cares about their performance, I hate Tricks of the Trade. I don’t have anywhere near the amount of keybinds as hardcore PvPers, but having to bind tricks to all my (usually 1) DPS partners is annoying at best. While TotT is good and for sure increases the skill cap in PvP, I’d wager that at most levels of play TotT is neglected.

All in all, an ability that lowers our dps in order to improve the dps of a member in our group has no place in the rogue arsenal, especially when it is almost exclusively used in PvE where its optimal use is wholly uninteresting.



8 thoughts on “A Tricky Rant

  1. Shawn says:

    My thoughts on tricks:

    Tricks, Stormlash, and Skull banner all need to do the exact same thing and be mutually exclusive (with a sated-like debuff).

    Alternatively you can even make tricks another lust. I can almost see it fitting the rogue theme (call it a misdirection if you will), and rogues are a good candidate for lust since the global doesn’t really cost us anything like it does mages/shaman/hunters (bar maybe enhancement shaman).

    Either way, ToT: threat is marginally useful (we did fine without it in vanilla and BC, back when threat mattered more), and the single target damage buff is drama-inducing and the fact that it reduces the rogue’s damage just makes it not a fun button to press for the rogue.

  2. Rauros says:

    I love and hate tricks…
    On the one hand, it’s fun from a birds-eye view to min/max the raid’s dps by tricksing the correct target at the appropriate time to amplify someone’s burst.
    On the other hand, it blows to be required to hit it on CD and have it be a personal dps loss (some fun in picking what you think the best target is every 30sec, but it doesn’t feel very rogue-like to move your dps loss into their dps gain).

    Feels pretty awful to have everything rolling and lined up for awesome dps to have tricks come off CD, then to feel obliged to hit it and be a good, non-selfish dps to buff someone else. Can I delay the 15% 6sec buff for a moment to finish my awesomeness, or do I risk losing a tricks useage? Is my tricks target actually taking advantage of the buff moreso than I would be taking advantage of the resource cost? I tend to tricks whoever’s topping the chart because idk how all the dps specs work…but we’re talking about a 6sec window here. Who can best use that 6sec buff at the moment it comes off cd? I doubt that correlates that strongly with current dps chart position.

    Tricks is certainly in the awkward middle ground in between hunter’s MD and stormlash/skull banner, but I wonder if there’s a 3rd thing that blizz is going for. DK’s have had a tricks-like move in the old Hysteria and unholy’s current Unholy Frenzy. So from a design perspective, I guess we’re talking about a raidwide dps boost, a friendly target dps boost, and a threat misdirect. What should tricks be? You got me.

  3. […] Haileaus posted a thoughtful, intriguing rant about why he hates Tricks of the Trade. […]

  4. […] couple weeks ago Haileaus made a nice post over at his new rogue blog about why Tricks of the Trade is a failed ability. Tricks has been a pet […]

  5. […] that are almost always best used as soon as they are ready, such as Tricks of the Trade, and well, you probably already know how I feel about that one.  While Cooldowns that tend to only show up in macros and ones that have uncompelling usage are […]

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