Posted Mon, Feb 11, 2013 by Sardu
For the first Neverwinter public beta weekend, participants had the opportunity to play as one of three classes which loosely helped represent the core of the "holy trinity" class options. Of the three available options, the Trickster Rogue represents raw melee DPS, with some basic crowd control abilities thrown into the mix as you advance your character.
In this article we'll be taking a look at what makes the trickster rogue tick, offer our thoughts on the class having played it through to level 30 (the cap durinig the beta weekend) , and offer a number of tips that can help improve the quality of life for a trickster rogue dramatically.
During character creation, the official description of the trickster rogue informs you that:
"The master of stealth and misdirection, the Trickster Rogue maneuvers across the battlefield and strikes from the shadows with paired daggers. The Trickster dodges in and out of melee, inflicting massive damage on foes with a flurry of deadly blows."
While that is certainly a technically accurate description of the class, it also rings of the kind of generic MMO class description that is all too common during the character creation process. So let's take a look at what each of those core elements mean in the life of a Trickster Rogue to give you a better feel for what the class is all about.
A core class ability of the Trickster Rogue is Stealth which is mapped to the [Tab] key by default. This ability unlocks early on, with each activation lasting for 5 seconds. Upon entering stealth you'll slowly replenish your stealth meter, and it must be full again before successive uses of the power.
Stealth is less about sneaking around in the shadows, although that would
be incredibly handy for scouting purposes, or disabling traps for your
party members. Instead, stealth helps you accomplish two key things:
reducing threat, and increasing the damage caused by your at-will and
encounter powers. Many of your powers will also have additional
interactions or functionality based on whether or not you're in stealth
Misdirection comes in the form of some of the encounter powers you can slot in the [Q], [E], and [R] slots on your action bar. Perhaps the most critical of all your available encounter powers is Bait and Switch. Upon activation, Bait and Switch will drop a decoy while your character jumps backwards out of harm's way. Any enemies that are near the decoy will attack it instead of you.
So on a base level, this power is a critical survival mechanic. However, each time the decoy is hit you also gain Action Points which can allow the Trickster Rogue the ability to use their Daily Powers quite frequently. Likewise, activating Bait and Switch from stealth will instantly refill your stealth bar.
A basic usage scenario would be to hit Stealth, run up to a group of mobs, hit Bait and Switch, then reactivate Stealth to deal damage while your decoy absorbs any incoming damage that would have otherwise been directed at you.
This can be a little misleading in the description, as you have the ability to equip two different daggers rather than a pair of daggers that share attributes or take up a single equipment slot. Otherwise, dual wielding daggers is pretty much the bread-and-butter of melee weapons for a Trickster Rogue.
When possible, you'll want to use daggers that have an enchantment slot available. Open slots can be seen directly beneath the core attributes for the weapon. Right-clicking on the weapon from your inventory, select "enchant weapon" from the available options, and that will open the Enchanting interface.
Towards the bottom of this screen (as shown to the right) you will be able to slot the enchantment of your choosing. Please note that some slots will have a specific color which indicates which specific benefit you'll gain based on the matching color on the enchantment itself.
Given the lower armor class of the Trickster Rogue paired with its rapidfire dagger attacks, I've found that slotting my daggers to steal life on hit to be highly beneficial. Between base manuverability, life stealing enchants, and a Devoted Cleric companion (more on this below), I rarely - if ever - needed to rely on health potions while solo.
Another innate ability of the Trickster Rogue is the Shift power, which is simply another way of describing the defensive class ability to dodge attacks. This utility power is fittingly mapped to the [Shift] key, or you can double-tap any of the directional movement keys to dodge as well.
This mechanic is very similar to the active dodging system in Guild Wars 2, complete with the ability to increase attributes that help replenish your energy meter to allow you to dodge more frequently. Likewise, you'll want to get into the habit of using Shift to avoid larger direct or AoE attacks. If timed correctly you'll negate any incoming damage from the attack which is indicated by the "resist" floating combat text.
Based on my experiences playing the Trickster Rogue up through level 30, including plenty of solo time and full group dungeon delves, I've put together a short list of tips below.
Starting at level 15 you'll have the ability to slot and level up a number of NPC companions. While only one can be summoned at a time, you'll still be able to slot a few that can be made active with a click of a button in your character sheet (shown below).
For the Trickster Rogue, I found it optimal to use the Cleric Disciple
companion. It has the ability to cast a heal-over-time (Healing Word) on
your character which, while somewhat weak at lower levels, can help a fair
amount while soloing. Combine this with some life steal enchants, and
you'll rarely need to rely on using health potions outside of major boss
As with all classes in Neverwinter, as you continue to level up you'll gain access to a wider variety of at-will land encounter powers. Your encounter powers in particular can help shape your approach to combat in various ways. Below are two different skill combos that I've found to be highly effective.
The fist caters more towards single target DPS and can be optimal for boss fights, or burning down tougher priority targets quickly. The chain here will be:
Stealth > Bait and Switch > Stealth > Deft Strike > Lashing Blade
The way this one works is you'll first distract your target with a decoy. Using Bait and Switch from stealth will instantly replenish your stealth meter, so you can use it again immediately. Deft Strike will teleport you behind your target and deal a decent amount of damage, and then you'll close with Lashing Blade which does massive damage including a 50% damage bonus if used from stealth.
This can be handy for burning down groups of weaker mobs quickly and became one of my go-to setups while out in the adventure zones, or within dungeons outside of boss fights.
Stealth > Bait and Switch > Stealth > Path of the Blade > Bloodbath
As above you'll start out by setting up a decoy. While the distraction mechanic is still handy, the main purpose here is to capitalize on the power's ability to help generate Action Points very quickly. Path of the Blade will do moderate area damage, and then you can finish things off with the Daily power, Bloodbath, which does heavy damage to all enemies in the area with a succession of quick strikes.