First of all, this is the 2nd version of my guide. Since some things changed, I decided to make a new topic instead of editing the post in my other guide, which can still be found on this forum. History and credentials: I've played rogues quite often in various beta's (I started playing tome in July 2011). After I beat the game with one in b43, I wrote a guide. I was inactive for a while afterwards, but after coming back in 1.0.5 I decided to try to win with a rogue again and update this guide as obviously a lot has changed. I just won the game with the 1.0.5 rogue.
The b43 rogue can be found here: http://te4.org/characters/21602/tome/bb ... 2ac9005848
The 1.0.5 rogue sadly had to be played offline because of internet issues (the only available network I have currently is eduroam, which apparantly blocks tome and several other games from connecting). The save though can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B32Kpt ... sp=sharing
. It would be useful if somebody else made the online template with that save and posted it here.
Disclaimer: there are many ways to play a rogue. I've always played them as a glass cannon that stays in stealth and kills things as fast as possible and as such my guide will explain how to do so. There are probably other ways of playing this class though.Race
Things you should certainly keep in mind while picking your race:
- Rogues start with 3 locked skilltrees: combat veteran, combat techniques and poison. None of these are essential. Rogues used to benefit a lot from upgrading stealth but that's no longer the case. Finally, several of the generic trees you can get from escorts can be very useful. As such, think in advance about how you'll spend your category points while making sure you have enough infusion slots, in my opinion 5 infusion slots are essential.
- Rogues don't need many generic points, so either you should make sure you can spend a category point on a generic tree or you should pick a race that benefits a lot from maxing many of their race talents.
- The rewards you get from betraying escorts to zigur are significantly better than the normal rewards (as a rogue), so the races that prevent you from doing so start with this have a significant drawback.
- Long fights are lost fights. Because of the glass cannon nature of the class, you'll want to make sure that the fights last a very short time, if necessary by hit-and-run tactics. As such, abilities that increase your effectiveness for a small period become even more useful, so resilience of the dwarves, grace of the eternals and luck of the little folk are pretty awesome (the other abilities like that require willpower which you don't have).
- Rogues lategame will doge everything and crit everytime regardless, so the (halfling) abilities that make either of those happen more often will eventually become overkill. With the reworked stealth, this is already the case
As such, optimal are Thalore and Halfling (unless you want to get an optimal lategame character). Also worthwhile options are Cornacs, Shalores, Dwarfs and Skeletons. The other races are in my opinion less worthwhile. In b43 I got cornac because it enabled me to upgrade stealth and unlock 2 talent trees (mobility early on and combat veteran later) while still getting 5 infusion slots. In 1.0.5 I got Shalore because I wanted to try something different and I wanted to try out timeless and it worked very well, but I doubt it's optimal. To new players I would recommend halflings.Stat points
Put everything into cunning, dexterity and constitution (don't forget constitution). Get 16 in strength when you find a great item that needs a point it armour mastery.Talents
Things you should certainly keep in mind while spending your class talents:
- Stealth got slightly reworked, making unseen actions a lot more relieable and stronger. You really should get 5/1/1/5 in the tree as soon as possible, once you have that the game becomes significantly easier. The hardest part of playing a rogue is getting that far. New stealth is better in the sense that you can now use instant cast abilities and prepare for the battle without fear of breaking stealth and that it just breaks less often.
- All passives are awesome. You'll want to maximise Dual Weapon Training, Dual Weapon Defense early on. Afterwards max Shadowstrike. Backstab and Lethality are very good as well but slightly lower priority.
- The attack talents from the Dual Techniques tree are pretty great as well, but don't need many skill points early on. Gt 1/1/1/1 while maxing your passives, afterwards put some extra points into flurry and whirlwind.
- Obviously focus on dagger mastery and thick skin for your generic points. The nimble movement skill is great and should be maxed as soon as possible as well.
- You don't need to get traps. However, I ended up going 1/1/0/0 in the trap line because lure is actually pretty useful early game, it's useful every once in a while and doesn't break stealth.
- Heightened sense is nice, but you may encounter a thief escort so don't worry about it before you did Old Forest.
- Evasion is useful for a while but rapidly becomes overkill and costs a turn to use, get misdirection instead and nothing will ever hit you lategame.
- Poison is awesome. It does nice damage, has no costprice whatsoever, greatly lowers the damage of your enemies (you want the numbing/crippling poison) and venomous strike makes unlocking marauders really easy. However, I still didn't unlock it. Simply because eventually, once you're around lvl 25 and got decent daggers, you'll start killing enemies too fast for poison to work at all. The strength of a lategame rogue is the ability to kill everything in one turn (with an attack talent if it's an elite) and as such at that point poison becomes useless. Basically, before dreadfell it's awesome, during dreadfell it's useless because undeath is immune to poison and after dreadfell it's only useful against bosses.
- Combat veteran is something you may consider unlocking at lvl 36 (or with wyrm bile) for the spell shield and at the very end it allows you to get a certain game breaking prodigy I'll talk about later. In both my runs I got it, but in 1.0.5 I only got it at the very end when I didn't have anything else to put points in.
- Combat techniques gives you rush, which is really useful but you could also try finding an item that lets you rush (or use rushing claws) without investing a category point if you find you need it.
- As above with poison, both lacerating strikes and scoundrel strategies are unnecessary to max.
- Deathly strikes (attack in the lethality skill tree) is instant use for some reason and as such is actually a very good 1 point wonder, alowing you to get an extra attack in without giving an enemy a turn to act.
So, at a certain point you'll reach a situation that you put enough points in all your good skills and are free to do whatever. This is once you got:
Dual Weapons: 5/5/1/0
Dual Techniques: 1/3/1/1
Dirty Fighting: 1/0/0/0
Combat Training: 5/1/5/0/5
(total: 36 class points and 24 generic points)
Useful talents left, that don't require an unlock include: misdirection (makes you harder to hit and as such harder to kill), willful combat (fights are short, so things that make you more effective for a short while are worth it, but you only need 1~2 point(s)), switch place (one point wonder that might save your life), cripple (for against bosses), and upgrading whirlwind. New Cripple is very good for bosses. Besides lure, the trap line also offers sticky smoke. This allows you to reenter stealth even when you're too close to enemies, but in my opinion it's not that useful in practice once you have maxed unseen actions.
Talents that look useful to level up but aren't: Snap (costs a turn to use, you shouldn't have any cooldown problems) and Evasion (costs a turn to use, overkill).
There's also momentum. Advantages: you can kill an enemy in half a turn instead of in one turn or a stationary boss in 2~3 turns instead of in 3~5 turns and stamina isn't really an issue anyway. Disadvantages: it takes a turn to activate and again to disactivate and doesn't solve any problems you have since it just makes you even better at killing stationary things. Get it if you want, it's a pretty great ability, I just don't like it on a rogue.
As seen above you'll have too many generic talent points unless your race talent require a lot (and even then). So you should consider unlocking an extra generic tree, good options are:
- Mobility (betray a Sun paladin). This is what I did with my cornac and it was awesome, although probably a bit overkill since it stacks with misdirection. At the end I had 100 defense all the time. If more than 10% melee attacks hit me after I maxed those 2 I'll be surprised. Hack'n Back is also nice to reactivate Stealth.
- Conditioning (Warrior escort). This is what my cornac would have unlocked if I hadn't betrayed a Sun paladin. Probably very useful since it helps against status effects and makes you harder to kill. I ran around with 2 wild infusions all the time, vitality might have let me get away with only using 1.
- Dreaming (betray Temporal Explorer). Dream Walk is by far the most useful skill you can get from an escort as a rogue. The tree is pretty awesome in general as well, but rogues probably don't have the mindpower to use it.
- Harmony. I did this with an earlier rogue and was unimpressed. Don't get me wrong, it's useful when you need it the most and gives nice bonuses, but I don't think it's optimal.
- Stone alchemy is great for everybody.Prodigies
or how to break the game and make the prides a walk in the park.
Things to certainly keep in mind when chosing/planning your first prodigy:
- Prodigies should be used to make the truly difficult situations easier, a prodigy that makes you even better at handling stuff you can already do isn't worth it. Even if it had been available (it wasn't because I didn't get strength), I'd still wouldn't have got flexible combat because damage on my melee attacks was something I had plenty of already.
- A typical example of a nightmare situation for a rogue is the entrance to the non-warrior prides. It contains 7+ spellcasters spread out over a small area with nowhere to hide. They'll either blanket the area in fire and water or summon tons of enemies. Currently, you'll either have to use nimble movements (or movement infusion) and lose your chasing ability and a prime escape mechanism or you'll have to try to use stealth and not get blasted apart by aoe effects and/or minions (by the way, minions are bad because they make the fight longer and long fight = lost fight). You need something to help with situations like this.
- By this point your defense is alrady sky high, so you should worry more about spellcasters than about warriors/archers. Extra armor or aoe disarm isn't that good anymore.
- Unless you got rush, you really need mobility. Even if you got rush, you probably still need mobility. Every turn moving is a turn wasted.
- Again, fights will be/must be short. Long cooldowns don't matter because even abilities with a short one are only useable once. Cooldowns in general are not an issue at all, so shortening the ones you have isn't helping much.
- You have very low health and should be using a heroism infusion to help with this. For reference, my lvl 50 rogue had 1200 health, but had a -700 health infusion. This means that draconic body is slightly less useful.
- If you want to get the prodigies that require "20 stamina talents" you'll need to prioritise such talents.
Really, my conclusion is that Giant Leap
the best prodigy to get at lvl 30. Simply because the truly hard situations for a rogue happen to also be the situations in which Giant Leap shines. For example, in the entrance area of the prides (the typical rogue nightmare scenario), Giant Leap solves the problem in turn 1 by killing 3 enemies at once despite them being quite far away. Ridiculous range, instant kill of everything in an aoe and unlike rush and nimble movements it lets you jump over things. I know many people will think it's just a slightly better rush, but it's really a world of difference because you can exactly chose your end destination so you can always hit several enemies in it's aoe and you don't need exact line of sight. Inititiation mechanism, aoe, chasing tool and emergency escape mechanism are all things a rogue really needs at that point of the game, so this is perfect.
Another option theoretically is Never Stop Running, but you either need some other ways to cross large gaps (rush and/or controlled phase doors in addition to nimble movements) or have great stamina control for it to be doable. Draconic Body is of course a great choice on every single character, but it just isn't anywhere near as game breaking as giant leap is at this point and suffers from the small healthpool.
Windblade got buffed a lot and is now really good. Perhaps slightly inferior to giant leap still but a perfectly viable option if you have enough mobility already since the aoe is huge and 320% weapon damage is ridiculous.
The Lucky Day prodigy and wordly knowledge should not be necessary. Crafty Hands is a decent choice if you have stone alchemy, but I'd personally pick it as second prodigy in that case. Tricks of the Trade I personally don't like. At the end I had 2 ways of going invisible (shalore racial, death embrace) but as a rogue you never need them and the bonuses to stealth is nice but not as good as "kill everyone near you" or "jump to the other side of the map and kill everything" or "never lose a turn moving in a fight".
Things to certainly keep in mind when chosing your second prodigy (assuming you got Giant Leap):
- All of the things above, most importantly the point about "pick something that solves your weaknesses". Rogues at this point still have the following weaknesses: fragility to magic and status effects and lack of chasing power.
- You want something that gives you an extra edge against the few hard moments left: the bosses on each floor of high peak and the end bosses themselves.
- Plan for it in advance. It should now be doable to get a willpower or strength prodigy if you plan for it.
It was honestly a hard choice between Draconic Will and Never Stop Running.
In b43 I eventually went with Never Stop Running
after spending some of my class points in combat veteran (I truly had too many class points at this point so this sounds less of a disadvantage than it was). For reference, with that prodigy instead of spending a turn to move you lose 20 stamina. Stamina isn't an issue (never ran out when I needed it) as long as you use Giant Leap and nimble movement to bridge large gaps. In practice, you just use it to completely remove the problem of things running away from you, or to get in the perfect position for whirlwind, or to pretend like you have the passive Set up and kill one enemy each turn despite there being some room between them. It's a really neat ability and perfect for rogues that already have at least a few ways to bridge the large gaps. It has some utility beside the obvious ones, like allowing to reactivate stealth midcombat without losing a turn, as a foolproof scouting mechanism and as an escape mechanism. It got buffed (stamina cost from 20 to 12), so it's even better now.
In b43 Draconic Will would have been my second choice and would certainly have been extremely useful as well, but I still like my decision for Never Stop Running.
In 1.0.5 I decided to pick Windblade as second prodigy since I wanted to try it out and didn't feel like spending that many class points on getting the stamina necessary for never stop running. It was great.
I did not know if the timeless + draconic will combo still worked in this version, I assumed not so I did not get it. If it still works, that would probably have been optimal.General guidelines
- A Heroism infusion is invaluable on a rogue, because the fights are so short and because you have such a small health pool. It lets you postpone wasting a turn using a regeneration/healing infusion and at the same time greatly increases your damage and defense. It's really ridiculous and while I haven't been below zero health often at all, I have often stayed in a fight while below 20% health (instead of trying to heal up or teleport away) because my heroism infusion guaranteed I'd still have time to heal up after I killed a particular hard enemy/boss.
- Make sure you have some way to teleport/jump away in case a hard fight starts going too long. The "enemies lose track of you" part of hidden in action is also insanely useful (jump behind a wall and use it immedately).
- Plan your fights a bit, plan which enemies you'll kill first (ie. skeleton mages), check wether you can kill a group at once with whirlwind, etc.
- Base damage is much more important than any on hit effects your weapon you might have.
- Never go to the dark crypt as a rogue. My shade instant killed me in 1 turn from invisibilty despite heroism infusion and full life.
- Early game, chain stun everything you can't kill in less than 3 turns.
- Use your category points for more infusion slots, they're extremely useful. Putting a category point in stealth is still very beneficial.About the changes
I felt like playing rogue was generally easier in 1.0.5 compaired to b43. Not only where many previously bad abilities significantly buffed, but the bread and butter of the rogue stealth got way better. The earlier prodigies help as well, as did some new items (the untouchable is amazing). However, the very early game is still challenging and playing as shalore I was quite fragile lategame. In general I didn't take that much damage, I only had 1 regernation infusion (no healing infusion) and 1 healing charm (I almost never used since it disables my psychoportation as well) and I felt it was enough because I had enough ways of clearing debuffs (physical wild, mental/magical wild, timeless, relentless pursuit, crown of command) and getting out of the fight in case things turned badly.
However, late game my new rogue is significantly worse than my b43 one. In b43 my cornac rogue had 100 defense instead of 67, 37 resist all and higher resists across, better infusions and way higher damage (but less health) than my 1.0.5 shalore rogue. The final boss fight was trivially easy in b43 while now it still took me some time to do it in 1.0.5 and was challenging now. This was because I didn't prepare myself as well this time: in this version I entered high peak at level 41 (instead of 50), began the final fight at 43 (level 48 after killing 1, level 50 after killing the second) and never had much trouble in high peak and had worse gear all around. In addition, I died 5 times now instead of 4 times in b43: once from my own shade, once from a paradox effect (or a bug, I don't know, log said I got hit by "turn back the clock" twice in one turn), once from a lightning rune doing 1000 damage (bug?), once from an enemy using reversal making me deal 300 damage to myself in one turn when I had 500 max and the other time I can't remember.
Either way, it was very enjoyable playing the rogue again, so I can certainly recommend it. I liked shalores as well and didn't feel that the low life was such a big problem.