I play Metzli on the Beholder server. This is going to be a guide covering everything you could ever want to know about rogue dps, and probably more. I will be making many points that differ with what you may see in other guides. Most of those are discussed in the main post, any other questions you can comment here and I will get back to you. I continually update this to reflect corrected/new information.
First off, here are screenshots of the power/feat builds that I am using:
Dailies: Shocking Execution/Whirlwind of Blades, Lurker's Assault
At-Wills: Could of Steel, Duelist's Flurry
Class Features: Tactics/Invisible Infiltrator, Skillful Infiltrator
Encounters: Lashing Blade, Shadow Strike, Blitz/Wicked Reminder
A "/" between two abilities means to situationally swap the two abilities, or that I have yet to determine which is actually stronger overall.
A few notes on the spec before we get started:
1. This spec is purposely not defensive in any way. If you want to do anything other than dish out damage and apply some offensive debuffs, this spec is not for you. It is also not particularly strong for pvp.
2. I do not currently know of a *convenient* way to watch the stacks of the duelist's flurry bleed on a target or the deadly momentum buff, so I am disregarding different ways to optimize around these (Such as trying to weave in Sly Flourishes. I explain later in the post why this is currently not a good idea).
3. The spec is also designed around the usual role of a rogue in end game dungeons, IE murdering the boss as efficiently as possible. Therefore some possibly better AoE is not included in the main boss build.
Open with Wicked Reminder to start your debuff stacks.
[U]If you have a daily ready at the pull[/U], pop stealth then lurker's assault from stealth and stack Duelist's Flurry. You may have time to use wicked reminder, then shadow blade, then finish stacking if you are quick. Using Lurker's after already being in stealth has a couple of benefits:
1. All your crits will gain the 25% severity buff from being in stealth, plus the 60% damage buff from Lurker's assault.
2. You are almost guaranteed to exit Lurker's Assault with a full stealth bar, unless you stand in an AoE.
3. Using Lurker's Assault after already running through part of your stealth bar will allow you to double dip that stealth bar, essentially gaining several times the duration of stealth from the same bar of stealth.
If you have time after reaching a 10 stack of the bleed, you should use Lashing Blade from stealth (if wicked reminder falls off at this point that's ok, but try to maintain it).
[U]If you do not have a daily at the pull[/U], then proceed with the normal rotation until you have a daily nearly ready. At this point find an add to flurry on until the boss's bleed stack falls off (about 8-9 seconds). Hitting an add allows you to maintain your deadly momentum stacks while still allowing your boss bleed to fall off. Once it falls off follow the above opener as if the fight is just starting.
At this point try to take note of whether your flurry bleed is a crit or not. If your bleed is not critting you will need to let it fall off before your next lurkers and try again.
In order of Priority:
1. Use Duelist's Flurry to maintain Deadly Momentum / Bleed stacks.
2. Use Lurker's Assault when ready above 10%, and Shocking Execution below 10% (Shocking Execution's damage really isn't that great, so if you happen to get a daily up when the boss is near death, you can try to finish it off, and get the crit/crit severity buff for a stealthed Lashing Blade). When possible be in stealth when doing this.
3. Use Wicked Reminder to maintain your debuff stacks.
4. Use Shadow Strike to fill your stealth meter when Lashing blade will be up within 4 seconds. Or Just after using lashing blade.
5. Use Lashing Blade from stealth on cooldown.
Positioning and Situations
You should aim to position yourself behind the boss / highest health elite mob to gain combat advantage, and to have minimal movement from frontal cleaves. But adjust accordingly for varied encounter mechanics.
Also keep in mind the mechanics of the boss fight. If the boss does lots of melee range AoE, it may be in your favor to bring Impossible to Catch so you can eat the aoe safely, maintaining uptime on the boss. If the boss summons adds that cc heavily it may be worth bringing dazing strike or smoke bomb to silence them momentarily.
If you are planning to activate stealth to use Lashing blade, activate it during the third hit of a flurry. Doing so will allow you to get in a second flurry before using lashing blade, as well as apply the stealth crit severity buff to part of your flurry hits.
Always use an encounter as close to the end of your stealth bar as possible. You will get used to the timing needed as you play. Waiting as long as possible gives you the maximum benefit from your stealth (Crit severity and AP regen).
Cloud of Steel is in the spec, if you need to back off a target, or you need to deal damage faster than Duelist's Flurry (which has a fairly long buildup time) then use Cloud of Steel.
You will often notice that your encounters come off CD in the middle of a Duelist's Flurry windup. My suggestion is that if you are to the second strike already, just finish your Duelist's Flurry combo before using your encounters.
Duelist's flurry is essentially divided into 3 hits. The game gives you some leeway between hits before it starts back at the first hit. For example, if you end up missing a target completely with the first or second hit, but it is reasonably close by, you can pause a little between each hit to gain ground on the target, then the 3rd hit will usually port you to your target. Using this effectively is the key to playing this spec well against mobile targets.
Some Alternative Strategies / Explanations
1. If you need to bring AoE for a boss you can replace wicked reminder with Blitz. Your party will lose a lot of DPS on the boss, but Blitz is a pretty strong AoE. I do not suggest replacing shadow blade as a free stealth bar is very valuable due to the different bonuses you gain from stealth.
2. Bait and Switch can feed you a ton of extra AP if you use it correctly. If you can force a boss AoE (or adds) to kill your dummy, you can usually generate at least 50% of your AP. Thus, depending on the boss mechanics, Bait and Switch can be a very strong DPS boost. Again I suggest dropping Wicked reminder for this if you see fit.
3. I keep saying to drop Wicked Reminder for other utility because it can be very labor intensive to maintain the stack, especially on a high movement boss. Wicked Reminder provides somewhere in the neighborhood of a 15-20% damage buff due to dropping the enemy's defenses at 5 stacks. But maintaining the stack can sometimes prove challenging due to the short debuff duration.
4. I am very fond of Lashing Blade simply because it can crit as hard as Shocking Execution (one of your dailies) if used correctly (I have gotten crits as high as 85k with it). Also it has no casting animation like many other skills (or at least it is short enough to be negligible). This is a pure damage ability with no utility however, so if you find your play style / group setup would benefit more from something else, then by all means change it. But you will lose boss DPS if you do.
Clearing The Trash
When clearing trash mobs you have a lot more options for how to be effective, since you are not expected to simply murder a target like on bosses. I will detail the different options you have based on the different trash mob mechanics you may encounter:
1. [I]Smoke Bomb[/I] - Our best CC. An AoE Daze (essentially a stun in PVE) that can also slow if used from stealth. On any pack that spams AoE's, especially melee range AoE's, this is very useful.
2. [I]Path of Blades vs Blitz[/I] - I tested the damage of the two attacks, and Blitz comes out on top by a lot, no contest in terms of damage. Path of blades does 17-19 individual, non critical hits to random targets within range, regardless of how many targets there are. Blitz will hit up to 5 targets within the cone, and can crit.
The actual damage breaks down like this (just using the damage from the tooltip):
PoB: 19*650 = 12350 average damage per cast. 20.1 second cooldown.
Blitz: (X/2)*2100 damage > 12350. X = 3. 9.6 second cooldown. I divided the number of targets, X, by two to account for Blitz having half the cooldown of PoB. Therefore if there are at least 3 targets within your Blitz, Blitz is stronger. This is not even considering critical hits. So basically the only reason you should use Path of Blades is if targets are too spread out to hit with Blitz, or you are feeling lazy. I have also heard claims that PoB has very high AP regeneration. You could use path of blades from stealth to dish out 25k damage in 4.5 seconds to a target if you wanted to, Blitz does not have that capability.
3. [I]Dazing Strike[/I] - This is a small conal stun, on a fairly short cooldown, that does good damage. You should use this in place of lashing blade for trash. The damage is not quite as strong, but it is an extra cc, which can come in handy given the game's propensity for mass AoE, and its ability to stun multiple stacked mobs.
4. [I]Whirlwind of Blades[/I] - Strong AoE daily. For some extra damage you should use this instead of one of your other dailies for trash (I suggest replacing Shocking Execution, as Lurker's Assault can easily clear rooms).
5. [I]Impossible to Catch[/I] - This is basically a button to give you a few seconds of near invulnerability (or full imperviousness if used from stealth). Again this is mostly a playstyle encounter. Completely unnecessary, but if you want to just AFK on a mob then this will help you do that without dieing to AoE's. This can be used to increase uptime on bosses that use lots of melee range AoE.
6. [I]Impact Shot[/I] - Gives a small knockback with 3 charges. There are many locations in Neverwinter's dungeons where you can knock mobs to their doom. We have a very weak knockback, but if used in an opportune moment you can avoid having to DPS down a target. This also provides a good amount of mid range burst, and Dazzling Blades decreases the cooldown of all 3 stacks at once.
7. [I]Deft Strike[/I] - This can give you some added mobility, and help chase teleporting targets. Usually chasing them can be easily accomplished without this skill, or they will just teleport again anyway, so I suggest taking something more useful.
Other Skills (And why you generally should not use them)
1. [I]Courage Breaker[/I] - The damage is terrible, and the debuff does not last long enough to be worth a daily slot. Maybe in the future if this is either changed, or becomes necessary to deal with a boss mechanic, then it will be worth having, but otherwise don't bother.
2. [I]Sly Flourish[/I] - If Duelist's Flurry bleed stacking is ever fixed, and deadly momentum's buff duration is increased, then it may become appropriate to weave in Flourishes at 10 stacks of the bleed. However, currently it is a dps loss to use flourish because:
A. Its damage is comparatively terrible.
B. Deadly Momentum *WILL* fall, and it can take a while to restack. We crit around 50% of the time. Momentum is 15% bonus crit damage. Simple math tells you that it is worth something near 7% of our dps. That's a lot.
C. Your bleed can fall off. There is not currently a great way to track your bleed stacks without greatly reducing your ability to view the field. Especially on boss sized mobs. Your bleed is somewhere near 40% (sometimes more) of your damage. You do not want this to fall, ever.
I understand some people suggest using flourish just for those situations in which you can't use a full Flurry. However, Cloud of Steel does competitive burst damage and provides more utility.
3. [I]Bloodbath[/I] - The damage is not that great, and losing control of your character, even if immune to damage/CC can leave you in a potentially bad situation. It's very possible that you can find a very specific use for this, but it is not recommended under any normal circumstance.
4. [I]Tenacious Concealment[/I] - This is a good passive, but only for very distinct situations. If you will be taking unavoidable damage (thus reducing your stealth meter very quickly) such as a persistant aoe, or poisons, then take this. Otherwise this passive skill just makes up for lack of skill. It provides no actual boost if you are playing rogue correctly, and there is no unavoidable AoE going out (Such as flame damage in some parts of Karrandax).
5. [I]First Strike / Infiltrator's Action[/I] - Buffing one hit (usually just Duelist's Flurry) is pretty much useless. And you will almost always have combat advantage when using a daily anyway, so why would you waste a passive slot to ensure this?
6. [I]Gloaming Cut[/I] - In a permanent stealth build this can be somewhat useful. For all other situations it's a waste of a slot. Bad damage, has a long animation, and successfully killing an enemy with it rarely happens.
7. [I]Invisible Infiltrator[/I] - This skill basically gives you a 15% damage buff for 6 seconds and a full stealth bar after using a daily. This is bar none the best passive to take for bosses. It does not have that much value for non bosses as they die too quickly. But based on the way our bleed currently works, this passive essentially gives your bleed +15% damage (more if it crits) (depending on how many stacks you can apply with the first flurry). So overall for single target dps this is an amazing passive, at least until they break it.
The other situation would be using a daily that is just an instant burst or aoe. When using these skills you do not gain the 15% damage buff until *after* the skill hits, so the damage does not apply to your big burst.
For now I suggest shooting for near 2400 (24%) armor penetration (to completely remove all? PVE mob's mitigation, still testing on the exact number for mobs over level 60). Currently it is possible to take mobs to negative resistance while using things such as Wicked reminder, faerie fire and Ray of Enfeeblement in conjunction with Armor Pen, so it is very strong. Armor Pen also has no diminishing returns until around 2300, at all.
If you have a 25% vorpal enchant, you are aiming for ~3500 crit rating.
If you have a 12% vorpal enchant, you are aiming for ~2750 crit rating.
If you have no vorpal enchant, you are aiming for about 2000 crit rating.
After this recovery may be better than power to a certain point, but definitely less than 2900. After 2900, recovery loses value at a rate of ~3% per 200.
Once you have reached all of these goals, just stack as much power as you can.
Here is a link to my spreadsheet that determines the diminishing returns for the offensive stats:
There is definitely some margin of error in my math (due to not being able to get exact amounts of stats, and the character sheet only providing one decimal place), but everything should be accurate enough for the conclusions to be correct.
For defensive stats, Life Steal will probably give you the most effective health (a measure of your ability to survive). Pure health will probably be best after this. However if you are going to stack one stat defense can pay dividends. Deflect is probably not worth stacking, though I have not worked out any diminishing returns on defensive stats.
When rolling a character you will have various options for your primary stats. In all cases you will want to maximize your strength and dexterity, and take as much charisma as possible third. The stat priority is the following:
Strength > Dexterity >= Charisma > Intelligence > Constitution > Wisdom
As far as I can tell rogues gain no real bonus from wisdom.
I ranked the races in terms of their dps advantage. Half orc and drow are very close.
Human and Tiefling are probably pretty close as well. Human is probably the most pvp viable due to the extra feats.
Value of primary stats is Strength > Dexterity >= Charisma > Intelligence
1. Half Orc: +5% crit severity, +2 Dexterity and +2 strength, +10% run speed on combat start
1. Drow: Faerie Fire: -3% damage reduction/-5% power, +2 Dexterity and +2 Charisma
2. Human: +3 heroic feats, +2 Strength, +3% defense
2. Tiefling: +5% damage on mobs under half HP, +2 Charisma, +2 Intelligence
3. Wood Elf: 1% crit, +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, 10% slow resistance
4. Halfling: +3% deflect, +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, 10% CC resistance
5. Half-Elf: +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma, +1% crit severity, +1% deflect
6. Dwarf: knockback resistance, +2 Strength, DoT resistance
The only special case again, is drow. Faerie fire works out to provide a 3% damage buff once you reduce a target's damage resistance to 0%. So if you plan to meet the armor penetration "cap" for PVE then the value of faerie fire increases immensely (It changes the comparison of half orc to drow to essentially 5% crit severity VS 1% damage and 2 charisma. Drow probably comes out ahead).
Vorpal enchantment is probably the best overall, as it provides a sizable amount of crit severity. I have heard that it does not function properly if you are using Tenebrous enchantments (Which you will not be if you are following this guide). If a vorpal is too expensive, a Plague Fire Enchantment is a relatively cheap alternative, which provides defense reduction.
Soulforged Enchantment is the most useful overall. It essentially saves you from death once per minute. It is relatively expensive if you plan to buy one though.
I tested these, and maybe if you are at a very low gear level they might be marginally useful, but as you gear up the raw stats you can gain from enchantments are far more valuable than a Tenebrous Enchantment. The proc mechanic is such that you hit the enemy for 1/2/3 % of your current hp once per 10 seconds. So say you are an average rogue who doesn't stack hp, you probably have somewhere between 19-23k HP depending on your gear level. Even with a Greater Tenebrous you are only doing 23000*0.03 = 690 damage every 10 seconds, and that's in a best case scenario for an enchantment that will probably run you in the millions of Astral Diamonds. This damage will go down as your hp goes down as well. Also they appear to cause Vorpal Enchantments not to work for some reason. So basically don't use these. They're bad.
I am just going to list the sets in order of best to worst, and list the set bonuses gained:
1. Swashbuckling Captain - 450 recovery, 6 second 1014 power/recovery buff (3 stacks of 338).
2. Sinister Shade - 450 Crit rating, 6 second 1013 Recovery buff (may have less than 100% uptime).
3. Master Assassin - 450 Power, 6 second 1350 power buff after using a daily
The difference in the overall damage you gain from each of these sets is tremendous. Swashbucking is 1014 power better than Sinister. And Master Assassin stacks power which hardly accomplishes much. Especially when swashbuckling gives you most of the same power, 100% of the time. The only reason you might choose to use Sinister over swashbuckling is due to the fact that Sinister provides deflect rating over life steal. Personally I like life steal though. Given how much dps we can dish out, the ~7% life steal on the full set is quite a bit of self healing.
Also, I do not know whose image this is to provide proper credit, but this image shows all the T1 and T2 sets and their stats / bonuses.
Regular pets provide very few useful bonuses, little extra damage, and die frequently. If you cannot afford an augmentation pet then I suggest a cleric pet as it will at least serve a useful function (healing a bit).
An augmentation pet, however, is a [B]great[/B] investment to improve your stats. The stone of allure will run you somewhere in the neighborhood of 700-850k astrals currently, but it also happens to be the best one. They are very worth the astrals, and are a much better investment than all the expensive gear you can find. [B]They will not increase your gear score though, just your stats.[/B] For an idea of exactly how big a bonus you can get from them, here is my companion. It's decked out with a T2 icon, T2.5 ring/necklace, and rank 7 runestones (so quite a big investment). I gain 100% of the pet's stats directly, and an extra 9% from the eldritch runestone.
How Duelist's Flurry *Actually* Works
I am still missing a few details, but here's what I know so far:
1. The hit of the flurry that applies the 10th stack of your bleed determines whether your bleed will be a crit or not. For example, if that last hit crits, your bleed will be a crit for the entire duration.
2. The actual damage of the bleed is in some way related to the damage dealt by each hit of the flurry. This is why it can be so random. I do not yet know the actual math behind this. There is a post later in the thread with some information from the combat log if someone wants to help me figure this out (Someone better at math than I am; or at least algorithms).
3. Once your bleed reaches 10 stacks its damage no longer updates by reapplication. Damage resistance debuffs on the target are still factored in however. [B]Use the opener I described above to maximize your dps.[/B]
4. The bleed does not appear to benefit from our armor Penetration for whatever reason. Or at least other people have claimed this. I have not tested this myself.
If I forgot to cover anything, or you see an oversight on my part somewhere, please comment and I will explain myself or correct it. Also if you have any suggestions for making the guide more user friendly by all means send me a PM.
How Overrun Critical Actually Works
This explains exactly what Overrun Critical actually does. Keep in mind I am using averages for a lot of these numbers, so there is some margin of error, but it is definitely within an acceptable range.
Here's the base observation:
Sly Flourish Crit without overrun: 2572.
Sly Flourish Crit immediately following with overrun: 3113.
Damage bonus % = (3113-2572)/2572 = ~21%. I have 100% crit severity so this does not add up correctly for a 30% bonus from that end, however, if we try it from the base damage, then apply crit severity, we can see the following:
Base hit : 1260
Base hit + overrun critical: 1580
If we apply 100% crit severity:
Base hit: 1260*2 = 2520
Base hit + overrun critical: 1580*2 = 3160
Within a reasonable margin of error this is pretty accurate to what we observed earlier. So what this means is that overrun critical applies 30% of your crit severity to your base damage, then your crit severity is applied to that new total.
I can also find that overrun critical does not include vorpal enchants when it draws from crit severity:
(1580-1260)/1260 = 25.4% This is ~30% of 75% (base crit severity). So you can see that vorpal enchantment does not affect the actual damage bonus of Overrun Critical. However I will show that it does still apply at the end of the calculation.
So the actual formula for how overrun critical is applied to a crit is:
(Damage + (Damage*0.3*0.75)) + CS
EX: (1260 + (1260*0.3*0.75)) + 100% = (1260 + 283.5) + 100% = 1543.5 * 2 = 3087
So you can see that overrun critical gives you a bonus of 30% of your character sheet crit severity to your base damage, which then is increased by your actual crit severity (including vorpal) on a critical hit. This decreases the value of vorpal enchantment slightly, since it doesn't double dip.
Power vs Crit
You can look at each of your skills to figure out what 6 weapon damage actually does to them. For example, if I drop 154 power I lose 6.2 weapon damage. This results in a change of 7 damage in my duelist's flurry, which averages out to a 7/1166.5= 0.6% increase in my flurry (1166.5 is the average tooltip damage of flurry). If we take this as an average (which flurry probably scales much better with power than anything else we have) then we can say that this is about the same as just a flat 0.6% dps buff. Or to simplify that, 0.6% is an overestimate of the value of the dps increase from 154 power.
Conversely, math has been done in other threads to show that with 100% crit severity, 1% crit is roughly equal to 1% damage buff. And we actually can easily obtain much higher than 100% crit severity. Also that math does not factor in overrun critical, which essentially buffs the next attack after every crit by 21% if you have 100% crit severity (I did math in my guide to show this). If you have 50% crit that works out to each crit buying you 10.5% average bonus damage. You can then add extra value to each crit worth 10.5%/50% = 0.21% damage. Granted this bonus only comes from the executioner tree. So grand total we can estimate the value of 1% crit to be near 1.21% damage buff for an executioner rogue with 100% crit severity.
This is also not taking into account 25% stealth severity, or 15% deadly momentum severity. If we do that math crit's value raises to roughly equal:
Vorpal(25%) + DM(15%) + Stealth(25%)/2 + base = 128.5% average crit severity for a well played executioner rogue. I divided the stealth buff by 2 since 50% uptime on stealth playing an executioner rogue represents pretty solid play.
Crit severity damage bonus per point of crit is roughly CS%*crit chance%/crit chance, so 128.5%*50%/50 = 1.285%
1166.5 + 1166.5*128.5% = 2665.45 Normal Critical damage
Using my formula for calculating overrun critical damage:
(1166.5 + (1166.5*0.3*1.035)) + 128.5% = 3493.08 crit damage 50% of the time.
For a bonus of (3493.08 - 2665.45)/2665.45 = ~31% damage buff, 50% of the time. Which is roughly a flat 15.5% damage bonus. Therefore 1% crit gives roughly 15.5%/50% = 0.31% damage bonus due to overrun critical for a rogue with 128.5% crit severity.
Grand total we get 1.285%+0.31% = 1.595% damage bonus from 1% crit.
So with all this in mind 0.4% crit is worth about 1.21%*40% = 0.484% dps increase with 100% CS.
0.4% crit is worth about 1.595%*40% = 0.638% damage bonus with 128.5% CS.
I calculated earlier that the 154 power was about a 0.6% increase.
So it looks like crit scaling is better than power at your 50.6% unless I did some bad math somewhere, or missed some other buff to the value of crit. This is probably less true without a vorpal enchantment. So if we do some quick math to find how much power is a 1% dps buff, ~257 power = 1% dps buff. We already calculated that 1% crit is a 1.595% dps buff. So doing some more math, we can show that 0.63% crit is a 1% dps buff. So to find the point where crit is worth less than power, we check my spreadsheet to see where 0.63% crit costs more than 257 crit rating. This point is close to around 3500 rating.
So using this math you should prefer power to crit at about 3500 crit rating as an executioner rogue with a 25% vorpal enchantment. If you do not have a vorpal then you are looking at (using the same math) a number closer to the 2000 crit rating mark. As any other spec this number will be significantly lower. Basically crit rating scales like crap. Crit % is really good, but it is too expensive.
Unless someone has something to correct me here, I should probably update my guide to reflect this information. (Someone please find an error, I don't want to drop below 50% crit lol). Also, if anyone better at math than me can confirm that this is correct, then I can make a spreadsheet that at least can tell value of ARP, crit and power on your gear in terms of overall dps gained. I still do not know exactly how to value recovery.
My last addendum is that if using Duelist's flurry the value of crit versus bosses diminishes severely if you are playing it correctly, as you only need to make your bleed be a crit at the beginning to ensure it will crit the rest of the battle. The bleed is a solid 60% of your damage.....so you see where I am going with this. This may be fixed soon though as I believe the devs are aware of this bug. Read my guide for more info on this.
So to recap, you are aiming for these stat caps for pve damage:
ARP : ~2400 (24%)
Crit : ~2000 (+~750 per rank of vorpal), less if you are not an executioner rogue.
Recovery: Do not know how to value it versus power, 2900 begins the DR.
Power: ALL OF THE POWER.
In that order. The stat caps represent when power becomes stronger than the stat (recovery not included as I have no idea how to accurately calculate that).
Also, big thanks to ekphora for pointing out a fatal flaw in my math that was overvaluing power by a large amount.