Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Word About Rogues and Energy Starvation

The argument itself seems ancient yet here we are in 2012 beating the proverbial dead horse with a piece of its own skeletal remains.  As the peaks of an oncoming storm materialize on the horizon, Rogues around Telara are gleefully slashing away at the remnants of Infernal Dawn.  Some Rogues are timing plane shifts to maintain 100% uptime of Ruthless Stalker and, even with Anthem of Fervor are seeing dead air from time to time as they halt the rotation to allow their energy to catch up.  Other Rogues are perched at a distance Strafing away with barely a care in the world despite the absence of even Living Energy.  Side how you'd like on the issue at hand but at least admit that one thing is perfectly clear:  energy starvation is not fun.  It is not "fun" when forced to stop what you are doing before being allowed to take more actions.  It is not "fun" having your rhythym disrupted by error messages.  You can argue it's reasonable.  You can argue it's necessary.  But, quite simply, nobody argues that it's fun.

It's therefore my intention with this post to disregard any arguments about "fun" and instead focus on the other aspects of energy starvation.  For example, is it reasonable?  To begin to answer this question, we need to first understand why we have energy in the first place.  First and foremost, energy is a resource which Rogue's spend to perform actions.  Every ability has an energy cost and these costs vary widely.  As an example, however, assume with me for a moment that all Rogue abilities cost 1 energy from a rapidly regenerating pool of 100.  Further, assume that the regeneration rate is 2 energy every 0.75 seconds.  Under this extreme premise, it's obvious that energy starvation is not mathematically possible as it would be required that you work two off-GCD cooldowns into your "rotation" between every two abilities you use for 99 consecutive GCDs.  Given the small subset of off-GCD cooldowns available to any Rogue spec, this is not possible.  So the question follows:  under this example, what use would energy be at all?  Why even have energy?  It's at this point energy would have become nothing more than a pink bar taking up UI space.  I think we can all agree that a scenario such as this is neither realistic nor does it make any sense in a game where all four callings do indeed have a "resource".  Based on this, I would argue that unless we are planning on throwing out the entire concept of "resources" in Rift, some form of resource "management" must exist for each calling.  Yet in the first paragraph we agreed that energy starvation or, stated universally, resource deprivation, is not fun.  So where is the middle ground in this debate?

My argument I plan to support is as follows:

Energy starvation should only come into play when the Rogue deviates from his role's intention or when encountering extraneous circumstances.

In using the word "intention", I'm referring to the most basic design philosophy behind each soul the Rogue is using.  In Storm Legion, this philosophy is referred to as a "gift".  Each soul has a "gift" the describes the intention of that soul.  For example, a soul designed for DPS will have the gift of "1% damage increase per point spent in the soul".  So take for example the current Ranger build of 51RNG/15MM/0SIN.  All three of these souls have the intention of damage dealing.  More specifically, all three of these souls specialize in single-target damage.  My reasoning, then, is that any single-target, damaging abilities performed from any of these three souls should never result in energy starvation.  As another example, consider the AoE DPS soul of Saboteur.  By the aforementioned logic, any AoE damaging abilities performed from the Saboteur soul should never result in energy starvation.  As one last example, consider the tanking soul of Riftstalker and... hopefully you get the picture.

In actuality, the above examples and reasoning are merely stepping stones en route to my larger point:  so long as the abilities you are using are consistent with the intentions of the souls they come from, energy starvation should be off the table.

We did say, however, that the initial scenario where energy starvation was mathematically removed from possibility was nonsensical and unrealistic.  So when should energy starvation be a valid concern?  My belief is that energy starvation should come into play when the Rogue uses abilities that deviate from intentions of the souls they come from.  As an example, Static Shot can be found in the Marksman soul - a soul designed for single-target DPS - yet it's effect is not one of single-target damage.  Rather it is a utility available to Marksmen allowing them to root their target in place.  Likewise, Fanout is a Marksman ability enabling the Rogue to pump out some AoE damage when needed.  However, like Static Shot, Fanout is not central to the design philosophy of single-target damage for the Marksman soul.  It is my belief that using such abilities should bring energy starvation to the table for Marksman Rogues.

So take this reasoning and pass it around to each of the souls.  What results is a clear philosophy wherein abilities that are consistent with their soul's intention are designed with the preventions of energy starvation in mind while those abilities that are available from the soul but not consistent with the soul's core purpose may cause it.  Stated plainly, if I'm going through my single target Marksman rotation on Warboss Drakk but need to Eradicate three times to remove his buff, I should expect a brief period of energy starvation as a result for that choice of utility over the soul's primary intention (As a side note, I find the 1.11 change of a 5s CD on Eradicate to be the wrong way of going about things.  Rather, I feel Eradicate should simply have its energy cost increased drastically such that spamming it is impossible).  Likewise, if I'm pumping single-target Ranger damage into Laethys but need to spam Trick Shot and use Consussive Blast when the adds are brought in, I should expect a brief energy deficiency.  The obvious should also be stated: there are mechanics available to various soul's in Rift that are intended to starve Rogues of energy.  Their use should absolutely come with the desired effect.

In closing, energy starvation should never be an issue when a Rogue is simply fulfilling their spec's primary objectives.  Energy starvation should only come into play when the Rogue chooses to step outside the prescribed intention for his respective souls or when extraneous circumstances, such as another player using an energy-draining/hindering ability, cause it to occur.  There is nothing "fun" about energy starvation but without energy as a limiting resource in some regard, its existence is entirely unnecessary.  What are your thoughts on Rogue energy?  Do you agree with me or do you take issue with some of my points?  Let me know in the comments below or on the official Rift forums!


  1. Ailion (Rogue Dev) isn't that smart.

    On the other side, Warriors have multiple passives that give back energy or reduce energy consumption that have stayed in the game from when Warriors had 75 total energy and a slow regen over a year ago and Rogues only get passives that return 4 energy every 5 seconds while Warriors can reduce or gain 4 energy every 2 seconds. In the case of Warriors its just not using off GCD abilities while for Rogues, its stop doing anything all together.

    Terrible design and the new mechanics for Rogues that highly revolve around energy are just flat out inappropriate.

  2. You aren't arguing against any competent players. Only the devs think rogues should remain energy starved. Unfortunately they have all the power. It's like they don't even play their own game.

  3. You want them to have infinite energy? While other classes have to manage resources, you just want us to ignore that part of the game?

    Just stop using macros and change your rotation to slow energy use, the same as the other classes.