Thursday, September 3, 2015

Anyone can play a rogue...

...but only the dedicated will get to the top.

No, seriously, I can't stress that enough.  It goes for any other class in the game, really.  Anyone can play any class reasonably well - by reasonably well I mean you can finish a heroic dungeon without being a burden to the rest of the group.  You can get in the top 10 dps spots in a LFR group.  You can get through all of the solo content in the game without any trouble.

But the trouble starts when people who know their class reasonably well start coming into raid groups.  I don't mean to be elitist, but just being "pretty good" at playing your class just doesn't cut it.  You may get carried through the first few normal mode bosses without people noticing, but when you get to later bosses or heroics, people WILL notice you struggling at the bottom of the meters or not pushing out the required hps or being too squishy to survive mechanics.  

Raids are for people who are, and want to be, more than just "pretty good".  It's for people who actually invest a bit of time into researching their class, knowing the nuances of different stat weights and enchants, knowing some of the more intricate rotations and when to use CDs, knowing at least the basics of min/maxing.  

Of course there are the dedicated few who go above and beyond that - those would be your hardcore mythic raiders who are at the top of their games.  But that requires nearly a job-like dedication to playing and raiding.  The average player doesn't need to invest anywhere near that kind of time to be a competent raider.  

I've been playing a rogue for nearly 6 years now, so I've picked up on some things here and there.  I certainly don't spend anywhere near the level of effort the mythic raiders do, but I do browse the theorycrafting forums now and again.  I stay on top of class changes as they happen and re-adjust my spec and stat weights accordingly.  I buy the best level of gems/enchants that I can afford and spend some time at the practice dummy whenever I can't decide between gear options.  I do know my class.  My dps is usually above other players in my +/- 5 ilvl range and I rank in the 80-90th percentile according to the logs.  

So when our group brings in a pug rogue who is pulling half my numbers at an ilvl that isn't too far off from mine (less than 10 ilvl), I have to wonder what this guy is doing wrong.

He was wondering the same thing, as he kept whispering me, "what are you doing different?  How are you doing so much dps?"  

Assassination spec is by far the easiest of rogue specs as it literally requires 4 buttons (mutilate, rupture, dispatch, vendetta).  He told me he was doing the rotation correctly, I asked him a couple questions about CDs, he insisted he was using them correctly.  So all I could do was shrug and suggest that it was gear issues.

Well, I linked the logs from the fights to a rogue forum, and the response was quite enlightening.  Turns out this guy was doing a whole slew of things wrong - subtle, little things here and there, but added up can result in a ~20k dps increase.

For instance he was using the +200 agi flask, not the +250 agi one.  It doesn't seem like a big deal, but why not spend the extra 50g to get more of your primary stat?  He wasn't using a prepot or combat pot, which once again, why not spring the extra few gold for the big dps boost?  His rupture uptime was only 90% (despite him assuring me it was always up), he was using a wrong glyph, energy pooling, wrong enchants, you name it.  

So all this tells me that this is a guy who wanted to play a rogue, found that leveling to 100 was pretty easy, went and read some tips on noxxic and decided he was good enough to raid in a heroic pug.  I get that everyone has to start somewhere, but I personally wouldn't have the balls to step into a heroic pug without having first shown that I can beat 90% of the other players in normal mode first.  The last thing anyone wants is to get laughed out of a pug and blacklisted...

When we removed him from group (this was after the third week of him getting carried) he bitched to me in whispers.  This leads me to think that age may be a factor too - I'm guessing he's pretty young.  Which is of course an issue in itself - you have no business trying to get in a group of 30-something adults as it is unless you're super mature for your age or just show up, pull your fucking weight and never talk in vent (we'll never know how old you are and that's fine!).

Last I heard he got discouraged and quit his rogue.  I don't feel bad for him, honestly.  Some people are better off being casuals, and that's ok.  Just don't expect to be carried through content by other people.  

Friday, June 19, 2015

Too little too late

I think I've just about had it with my guild.  For a while now I've been feeling like we've been drifting apart, but now might be the time to cut the cord for good.

Since the release of BRF I've switched from playing a dps toon to healing since we needed a healer to fill in for a missing person.  That's fine, I didn't mind too much.  At that point, I had progressed through heroic Highmaul and even downed imperator on my rogue all through the group finder.  I didn't feel like I was "missing out" on progression by not raiding with the guild on my dps toon, so that was all good.

And it was, for a while.  I enjoyed healing, and I even found a steady group to progress through BRF on my rogue every week.  But then problems started a couple of months ago when attendance dropped off dismally in the guild.  People started bailing at the last minute or not signing up at all, and we were getting into BRF (normal mode, mind you) maybe like 3-4 times a month.  On no less than two occasions raid was cancelled at literally the last minute because our GM was "not feeling up to it".  Fine.  Whatever.

It was fine, though, my rogue was progressing along with the other group (the schedules were different so there was no conflict) and I even managed to get a heroic blackhand kill with a random pug group.  Hooray for AOTC!

After that I kind of lost interest in raiding.  My main guild wasn't really clearing anything, and I already had my blackhand kill on my rogue, so I was content to just sit tight and wait for the next patch cycle to bring some new content.

Well, apparently a couple of weeks ago our GM decided that she REALLY wanted AOTC before the patch drops.  And so she kicked up raiding into gear again in a frantic attempt to get the blackhand kill.  Last night I wasn't even going to raid but was roped into it and ended up staying an hour later than I intended.  Actually, when I called it quits, she was trying to get people to stay even later (not sure if it actually happened though).  And now I see that she's put up raid signups EVERY SINGLE DAY until next Tuesday, when the patch drops.

Here's my issue with what she's doing:

1.  A few months ago she was content to pretty much ignore progression and just do a few normal bosses or cancel raid altogether when we had less than 10 signups.  I suggested pugging a few people but she was very hesitant to do that.  Well, now that the patch is a few days away that really lit a fire under her ass (she's a huge achievement whore) and she didn't have a problem bringing pugs in last night in a desperate attempt to get a blackhand kill.

So what's the deal?  Back when she wasn't excited about raiding pugs were not good enough for her, and now that she's about to miss out on her AOTC suddenly that's all cool?  WTF?

2.  She told everyone to come focused and watch videos, etc.  I laughed at that, because pretty much all throughout BRF she has been completely clueless.  It was usually me or a couple other people who had done the fight before that had to explain everything.  Which is fine, except that she still likes to scream at people as if she knows what's going on.  Case in point: she yells at people to not get stamped on H&F, but when you look at skada, she gets stamped more than anyone else.  Someone stands in fire?  She yells at them.  When she stands in fire, she always has an excuse - 'I was too busy watching the tanks hp".

Bottom line is, if you want to actually lead the raid, then you need to know what's going on in the fight and you need to lead by example.  You can't show up with zero knowledge about mechanics and then make more mistakes than anyone else, and then expect others to perform better.

3.  She changed raid schedules and times.  When I initially committed to raid, that was based on certain times and dates.  And now that we're raiding at times that I specifically said I couldn't/didn't want to do, it's unfair of her to rope me into this shit.  Yeah, I could say no and I probably should, but I feel bad when she says shit like "we really need a healer~~~~"

This is a really long rant.  I guess what I really want to say to my GM is: You were content to sit back and be lazy and ignore progression, and now that the patch is a few days away and you want your AOTC you suddenly pressure everyone to raid.  We could've had AOTC three months ago if you had actually stuck to the raid schedule, pugged a few spots when we had to, and didn't make mistakes constantly and stand in fire.  Well, just because you want it now doesn't mean I'm going to sacrifice my weekend making it happen for you.  You don't get to slack off for months and phone it in, and then suddenly go all drill sergeant hardcore trying to get everyone to push progression at the last minute.  I'm done.  I'll be pugging my way through Hellfire Citadel on my rogue, like I did with HM and BRF.

/end rant

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Robot Logs has a really cool new feature - it now automatically parses your fights and organizes it into a very handy and digestable infographic.

An old guildie of mine used to parse all our fights and upload it to world of logs, but he is no longer with us.  And those logs weren't always the most informative - mainly just a lot of numbers that were hard to puzzle out.  But the logs on mr robot are simple and easy to figure out as they display everything in chart form.

Best of all, it compiles the data and lets you know how you and your raid are doing compared to the "average" - ie, how good your dps/hps is compared to others at your gear level.  It's really handy!

I've always been dps but due to a shortage of healers of late (a problem common to many guilds and pugs these days, it seems), I've gone over to healing.  And after looking over the logs for the past few attempts, one thing became very clear: people can't dodge fire.

It almost made me laugh when I saw just how much damage our healers were eating - all of it avoidable damage, mind you.  The number of times hit by stamp on Hanz & Franz, the times stood in Gruul's cave-in, the times pinned by Darmac's spear...yeah, a LOT of avoidable damage.

And yours truly?  Almost none at all.  I was lowest (of the healers) on avoidable damage taken.  Hell, I was doing better than most of the other dps too.  On some of the logs I didn't even show up because I didn't take ANY avoidable damage.  None at all.  And I think I know the reason - because my main is a dps toon, and always has been.

As a dps, you'r always told to dodge shit.  It's implicitly agreed on that for any fight, the job of the tanks and healers are always much harder than that of the dps (something I agree with 90% of the time, I do think there are fights where it's equally stressful for everyone and maybe even harder as dps).  Therefore, the dps should always be dodging the bad stuff, not only because their task is the easiest (stab boss), but because it makes the healers work less.

As a healer though, you're already doing a stressful job, so the task of dodging the bad shit is somewhat secondary.  This is not strictly from personal experience, but what I assume to be the default attitude of main-spec healers.  And I think overall the raid tends to feel more forgiving towards a healer who stands in the fire than a dps - that's something I've certainly observed first-hand.  Dps is replaceable, healers less so.

And so there it was - me, having been told to dodge fire for years, managed to do so, even though I was playing a healer.  And the other healers sat there and ate it.  It struck me as rather funny that the very people who are always screaming at me to move out of the fire were doing the exact thing themselves.  And that I had never noticed this pattern until the logs made it abundantly clear.

To be sure my healing needs some practice (not to mention gear, as I'm quite a few ilvls behind our main spec healers).  But dodging fire?  Apparently I'm already a pro.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The triumphant return of PUGs

Maybe PUGs never went away, but I sure as hell haven't stepped foot into any since wrath...

Since I began raiding with a semi-hardcore guild at the end of wrath, I haven't felt the need to pug, really.  There was plenty of normal raid content for my guild to do, and I didn't feel a pressing desire to pursue heroics (in fact, the guild was clearing a good amount of heroics as it was).  There was LFR for my alts, and beyond that I didn't see a need for pugs as they caused me more stress than fun.

With Warlords, however, we saw a major slowdown in guild progress.  And blizzard decided it would be fun to add yet another tier of raiding - mythic.  In essence all it did was push down "normal" mode raid down a notch.  That was what my guild was running.  I decided to give pugs another chance when I saw the new group finder feature, which looked pretty seamless - and it was, to a point.

It works kind of like a dating site, imo. You browse around to see which groups are running the bosses you want, and what their requirements are in terms of ilvl and class/role.  You apply to a few, and if you meet the criteria, they'll invite you and you're in a raid group, easy as that.  No more spamming trade chat for people, no more resorting to third party services like o-queue or openraid.

I found quickly, however, that making it so easy has also made pugs much more of a brutal place to be.  Back when you had to spam trade for hours to find a player, you generally put up with other players' incompetence of mistakes, up to a point.  Obviously if someone was really dragging down the group you'd replace them, but otherwise you sighed and resigned yourself that someone was earning a free carry.

Not in these group finder pugs, however.  You make one mistake and they might keep you around, but make two in a row, and boom, you'll find yourself removed from the group.  And why not?  There are 20 other DPS waiting in queue to take your place.  If that one mage isn't dodging fire properly or that rogue isn't pulling his weight in dps, it's as easy as a few button clicks to kick them and have a new one with a higher ilvl to take his place in literally seconds.  The only hassle is to re-summon the new members (a cinch if you have a lock) and having to deal with some nerdrage.

Even healers and tanks aren't immune - their mistakes are tolerated a bit more due to their natural scarcity in the queue system, but even then I've seen tanks kicked for not getting mechanics (completely justified as this is almost a certain wipe) and I've seen healers get kicked for low numbers.

Another facet in this is that the new raid system allows for flexible numbers - bosses hp and damage scales to raid size.  So that gives even more incentive to kick players.  Back in wrath you had to bring 10/25 players for a 10/25 player raid - even if one or two or five were really bad, it was better than not having anyone at all.  Whereas in the new system, if you have one really bad dps, it's actually beneficial to kick them, thereby reducing the boss's hp by an amount greater than what that player was contributing.

Sometimes you get invited to a group, and before you even zone in they'll kick you for seemingly no reason.  I've yet to whisper anyone to ask why, but my guess is they found a high ilvl dps in the queue.  Or someone complained about tier token imbalance.  Or they found a friend in the guild who's done the fight before.  A thousand possible reasons.

Basically, all this amounts to a brutally competitive and cut-throat raid environment.  I'm constantly on edge not not fuck up - it's either pull amazing numbers, or don't make a single mistake.  That's the only way I've found to not get kicked.  Even if your dps isn't amazing, if you do your job properly (interrupt, get adds, etc) and stay alive to the end, you generally keep your spot, assuming your dps wasn't dead last.  Or if you balls-out embarrass everyone else with your dps, they'll hesitate to kick you even if you fuck up a couple times.

My strategy has been to play it very safe, mechanics-wise, at least on heroic modes.  Generally my dps isn't anything to brag about when I'm surrounded by all the better geared people so I concentrate on not dying.  As the higher dps folks start dying to mechanics towards the end, my numbers start climbing the charts as I stay alive.  I pad the numbers whenever I can - going balls-out aoe with my combat spec on add-heavy fights really helps.

I'm not gonna lie, it's super stressful and there are times when I wonder if I'm actually good at the game or not.  But then I realize, not many people have 9/10 bosses cleared on the first week of a new raid.  But man, it's really killing my sanity...

Monday, January 26, 2015

You know I'm getting bored when...

When I start pvp-ing.

Although this has been true for almost every other patch (i.e., after we kill the final boss of whatever raid is current), this time around, I pvp'ed for a different reason - gear.

Up till now pvp gear has been crappy for pve except in instances of extreme ilvl differences and/or lucky secondary itemization.  I personally don't think I've ever resorted to using pvp gear...until now.

The itemization in Highmaul is so silly in that exactly one piece of gear for each slot for each class drops from a single boss.  Which means that only one dagger (a decent one, not some LFR crap) drops in the whole instance, and that from just one single boss.  And so for almost two months now we've been downing Ko'ragh over and over, and I've been using my bonus roll token every single time, even pugging him on different difficulties, and all with no luck.  Mind you, that's like going 0 for 30-40 possible chances of getting a dagger.

Why not craft one, you say?  Well, I've thought about it.  But every reset I told myself, 'Surely this is the week that I get my dagger', and instead used my resources to upgrade other gear.  And now two months into Highmaul I find myself wearing mostly heroic/WF pieces and still using a blue dagger.  The tragedy.

I was lamenting this when a guildie offered to do some arenas with me so I can get pvp daggers.  And that's when it dawned on me for the first time in this whole xpac - they removed resilience from pvp!  Except for the fact that ilvls change outside of pvp, that dagger is every bit as good as a pve dagger.  And even then the conquest dagger is ilvl 660 - a whopping 30 ilvl increase!

Of course, the very thought of arena made me want to vomit, so I looked around for easy ways to get conquest.  Everyone pointed to ashran, so I decided to give it a try.

The que was about an hour to get in, but boy once I got in, I could see why.  It was utter insanity.  It was like alterac valley on crack.  It was the craziest thing I've seen in wow.  And I got about 1000 conquest points in my first hour there.

The minute I entered I got invited to an event group.  From there it was a constant and hilarious back and forth between 40 people intensely focused on a sole objective and 40 people participating in an utterly chaotic, disorganized, AoE-fest of honor kill/broken bone/nemesis farming.

I mean, literally.  Whenever the event notification was announced at least 10 people would announce it over raid chat, and immediately an entire 40-man group would sprint off towards the designated area.  And then no one said a word as we waited for the event to pop, and the moment it did all 40 people would simultaneously try to complete the objective.  As soon as it was done we would all sprint towards the next event.

After completing all four within 5-10 minutes, the RL would say, "lets go clear base" and then we would all rush into our base where allies were GY camping and killing our faction leader.  What ensued then was not something that I could call actual pvp - it was just more a mess of everyone laying down their biggest aoes possible over as many allies are possible.  As for me, I just ran around with evasion/combat readiness one while spamming FoK/crimson tempest.  Sometimes a large tree would be there and everyone would focus it down within a matter of seconds.

When the base was clear of allies, then began the long, excruciating push all the way down the road to the ally base.  People would get hopeful and say things like, "we got this, let's get a kill and win ashran".  And then just as we were about to make the push across the bridge into the ally base, would come the inevitable zone-wide message: [Amphitheater of Anguish] begins in 3 minutes!

Everyone suddenly disengaged and booked it to the next event destination.  A few stragglers would complain and say "we got this one guys, keep fighting, rush their marshall" but it was all in vain.  All anyone cared about were events - and the 125 conquest points it awarded.

Sometimes at the event spot we would find a ragtag team of allies trying to complete the objective, but we basically just zerged them and took over.  And during the 4 or so hours I spent in ashran, the allies never got a single event.  And the horde didn't win ashran once.

After two days, with a total of 10-12 hours devoted to ashran (I had to leave once in a while because I was capping honor after 2 hours), I had a full set of 675 blue pvp gear, and two purple pvp daggers.  The joy of finally sharding that crappy blue dagger!  Not to mention I was able to rack up about 5000 broken bones for my gladiator's sanctum.

I hear Ashran is getting nerfed because obviously, if you want to do actual pvp, you'd be mad at the fact that the zone is overrun with asshats farming events.  All I have to say about that is, I better get cap my conquest points before the nerf!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

You can't go home again

In life there are many times where the second, third, or the hundredth time you experience something is actually much better than the first.  For example the first time I got drunk was not memorable at all, but I recall many times after that initial sip of beer where drinking was so fun!  Falling in love is another good example, it might take a few relationships until you meet that perfect someone.  

Video games are not like that, though.  I can't recall a single game that I've played (not counting silly little games on my phone to pass the time, I'm talking about a 40+ hour commitment epic-feeling games here) where the second play-through was better than the first.

Don't get me wrong, the second time you play a game may be easier since you know better what to do and it may have more things you can unlock after beating it for the first time.  But that epic feeling, that tear-welling emotional moment when you finally watch the ending is never there the second time around.  You just can't go home again.

The first game I ever really seriously got into was FF7 (which will always be, to me, the pinnacle of RPG perfection and the benchmark standard for all time).  I was so hooked on it and I spent over 100 hours of gametime (likely a lot more, but the counter only goes up 99:59:59) doing everything in the game - beating all the minigames, breeding the gold chocobo & winning the races, killing all the weapons, collecting every materia, etc.  And when I finally killed Sephiroth and beat the game, well...words can hardly describe how it felt.  Despite the crappy, polygon-ed quality of the ending cinematic (it was 1997, ok?), it was so beautiful.  FF series, overall, are also renowned for amazing in-game music so that had something to do with the beauty as well.  I wept over the fact that I saved the world, and Aeris's sacrifice had not gone in vain.  I was an epic hero and I saved the world.

Almost immediately I made a new file and played through again.  But the second time, while fun, wasn't as great as the first.  Everything was too easy, for one.  And discovering a random treasure chest or a hidden item in the world didn't feel as fun because it wasn't a surprise anymore.  The long dialogue-filled cutscenes felt boring.  The plot twists didn't catch me off-guard.  It was like seeing a really great movie the second time around.  And when the ending cinematic rolled through the second time?  I hardly even felt like watching it all.  It just didn't feel the same as the first time.

The same deal with the scores of other storyline-based games I've played - FF6, FF8, FF9, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross (amazing game, definitely #2 on my list), Breath of Fire, Neverwinter nights, Skyrim, God of War, Devil May Cry, etc etc.  Most of them were awesome games and I'm not afraid to admit that I cried while watching the ending cinematic to a couple of them.  But the second play-through?  Half of these games I never even had the motivation to see the ending again, and if I did, I certainly didn't get emotional about it.  

And that's the thing about games.  A lot of games tout it's "replayability", saying that even after you beat it once, you an go back through on a different difficulty level, or unlock hidden secrets, or just to earn some more achievements.  And while that might be fun, that amazing, emotional, overwhelmingly epic, "I-did-it-I-saved-the-world-from-evil" feeling is something you can never capture again.  

If only I could selectively wipe my memory.  I'd happily play FF7 over and over again...

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Subtle Change

The big news of the day is...I've gone subtlety.  After nearly 4 years of die-hard assassination I finally had to swap specs.

I really had no choice.  The recent assassination nerf was...brutal, to say the least.  I saw my dps drop at least 20k literally overnight.  Suddenly I went from being #1 on the charts nearly every fight to not even beating the tanks on some fights.  It was really depressing.

The word on the street was that assn spec was overdue for a nerf compared to not only the other two rogue specs, but all the other melee dps as well.  That's apparently according to dps logs, although I can agree based on personal observation as well.

All throughout ToT my dps was always #1 or 2.  I only saw some competition for the top spot on add-heavy fights like Horridon.  A lot of fights in ToT were static for me anyways since my aoe/multi-target dps was weaker than most so I ended up almost never pulling add duty.  Which, of course, ended up skewing the meters towards my favor even more.  But even on fights like Jin-Rokh or Durumuu I was untouchable.

Then came the 5% overall damage reduction nerf.  I guess I didn't realize how big of an impact that would have.  Considering that some other dps classes and specs got buffed at the same time, all of a sudden my dps plummeted in comparison.  The first week of Siege I was still top, then the second week (when the nerf came) suddenly I was bottom.

There are other things as well such as gear drops that I won't go into, because bad gear was never a limiting factor for me when I played assassination.  In fact, I went through all of ToT using daggers from Terrace while other people had thunderforged weapons so I don't think it's all about gear.

Anyways, so I respecced that very week to subtlety.  I would've preferred to play combat as the rotation is simpler than sub but sadly I had no slow MH weapons.  Not a single one.  So I had to go sub.  *gulp*

Subtlety spec was a huge step up in difficulty for me.  I guess I never realized what a truly brain-dead spec assassination was until I tried a spec that actually requires all of your focus.

With assassination there are exactly 2 buffs you want to maintain in your rotation: slice and dice and rupture.  But in reality, you don't even have to think about maintaining SnD because it gets automatically refreshed by your envenom, which is your main finishing move that you cast all the time.  Rupture is the only thing you need to worry about, and with the tier 6 talent Anticipation, keeping enough combo points around to make sure rupture never drops was no problem either.

With Subtlety you have to maintain SnD, rupture, hemo, and to the extent you can, Find Weakness.  None of these buffs refresh automatically meaning you have to keep an eye on all of them at all times.  Hemo is easily refreshed but it's not as strong of a combo point generator as backstab so you want to avoid spamming it.  You can't maintain FW full time as it's only up right after a stealth opener (meaning I would have to vanish or use shadow dance) but you want to maximize its uptime.

Which brings me to another thing - using CDs.  With assn all your cooldowns are the "activate and then not worry about it" type.  Vendetta, shadow blades, and vanish.  Vendetta and SB you just set it and forget it.  Vanish is a small dps boost in that you can get a free ambush, so I usually just saved it for an aggro drop.  To maximize dps I simply timed all my CDs to go off at the same time, preferably in conjunction with a bloodlust.  On fights like Jin Rokh or Durumuu where we lusted on pull my dps would easily break the 500k mark just by stacking multiple CDs + lust + potion.

Subtlety is a lot more...subtle.  All my CDs are focused on getting the find weakness buff and maximizing its uptime.  Which means I always want to open out of stealth and start the buff going.  Then you have to use your CDs one by one, making sure that it doesn't overlap too much and waste your FW uptime.  For instance, you wouldn't want to use Shadow Dance and then vanish right after that when you still have 5 seconds left on your FW.  You want to be smart about cycling through your CDs.

My opener is always ambush x 2 (tier 1 talent subterfuge makes this possible), get all my buffs going then start shadow dance when FW runs out.  Shadow Dance is tricky because you want to make sure you're almost capped on energy before you start (to allow you to spam ambush as much as possible) and you want to make sure you're behind the boss. When FW from shadow dance runs out, vanish and ambush x 2 (again, want to cap energy before so you can get both ambushes).  Use Preparation to reset vanish and use again once FW runs out.  Then use shadow blades -  you don't want it to overlap with FW because SB allows you to bypass armor anyways.  Once SB runs out, the cooldown on shadow dance should be almost finished, at which point you SD again.  After that it's about using whatever CDs come off cooldown first.  All the while maintaining SnD, rupture, and hemo and keeping an eye on your anticipation stacks to make sure you're not capping out combo points from Honor Among Thieves proc.

You see how long it took me to explain all that?  Here's the assassination rotation: Open out of stealth, ambush, use combo points to start SnD.  Get 5 combo points with mutilate, use rupture.  Use SB and Vendetta either on pull or on bloodlust.  Keep up rupture.

Another big thing is stat priorities.  With assn I used a mastery build, which increases the flat damage of your poisons.  My energy regen was slow, but my poisons hit hard and made up the bulk of my damage.  Which meant I had reliable damage output through deadly poison and envenom, and the pace of combat was relatively slow.  I never had to worry about capping energy because of the slow regen.

With sub, I use a haste build, which means my energy regens really fast.  I'm constantly trying to spam as much backstab as possible to make sure I'm not capping.  My poisons don't hit as hard and instead I'm relying on increased trinket and meta gem procs due to the high haste.  So my damage is spikey - sometimes when everything procs at once it skyrockets and sometimes when nothing procs it's very low.  I see as much as a 40k difference in two different attempts at the exact same fight.

Positioning is also a huge deal.  I remember back in Dragon Soul everyone complained that they couldn't play sub because of the Ultraxion fight, where you're literally stuck in front of the boss with nowhere else to go.  Well, I'm glad there really aren't any fights like that in SoO and I can manage to get behind the boss 95% of the time.  Because you can't use ambush or backstab unless you're behind, which is incredibly crucial to my rotation and damage.  Hemo is useable in front, but so much weaker compared to backstab.  Mutilate has no positioning requirement which made assn so much simpler.

It took me two weeks of trial and error to finally get comfortable with subtely.  I think I've got the basics down as far as rotation and buff uptimes, I just need to fine tune and really learn the gritty little details to squeeze out the extra 5k dps.  With assassination everything was muscle memory  for me, whereas I've got a ways to go with sub spec.

But already I'm seeing some improvements.  For instance I finally got back on the top of the charts on Iron Juggernaut (completely static fight) and Malkorok (mostly static except for avoiding ground effects).  I'm also learning some of the severe limitations of the spec - mainly it's very poor for add-heavy fights and target-switching fights.  Since there are so many buffs to keep up and the damage ramps pretty slowly, target switching is really a dps killer.  Fights like Galakras and Spoils of Pandaria really suck for me as there isn't really a "main target" and there's nothing for me to build CPs on.

I'm considering going back to assn for those fights, but staying haste-heavy stat wise.  The damage output won't be much better than sub but at least the rotation will be simpler.  I'd love to go combat but currently I still don't have decent weapons, plus I don't think I have it in me to learn a third rogue spec!