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I have decided to play another run of this game on PotD Upscale, as I had never finished the game on this diffuculty before. I have tried few classes as my PC, mostly melee, as I want to play with my nukers NPCs such as Aloth, Hiravias, and Durance. Choosing another caster would make the party "unbalanced" IMHO of course. Among those classes I had chosen, I found Rogue is the weakest melee attacker. It does nothing good enough, even as a single target damage dealer.

I know that many topics like this one had been discussed thoroughly in the past. Creating a new one seem unnecessarily redundant. Yet, I find those topics mentioned are not clear and concise enough. Sometimes, those posts even transformed into a war between Rogue-lovers and the opposite, which I do not mind if it was not dragged too far and too long. Anyway, I hope my new post would suit anyone who wants to find the answer on Google about how good Rogue is on PotD Upscale.

Rogue has the worst starting stat. Damage dealer Rogue cannot tank or off-tank. 

Starting with only 15 deflection, Rogue is the worst tank class in this game, while Fighter starts with 30 deflection and monk has 25. The only way to play melee Rouge is to hit an enemy that had been already engaged by another tank or party member, which seems to be the correct method to play. The problem is that if some archers target you, what would you do ? Walking away, Escape, or Shadaowing Beyond means that you do not attack and thus cause less damage. Not to mention that in order to doing so, you must spend some skill points on non-damage skill first, which is not effective also.

This low-deflectioned problem will happen or cause another problem no matter how you distribute your stat points. Most people tend to do it either a glass-cannon way or balanced way. The first one is dumping RES to minimum like 3-4 depending on race, and the other one is keeping RES at 10 so that Rogue might mitigate some damage. The rare one is pumping RES to max and gimping other stats, increasing Rogue survivability. The sad thing is that even at max RES, Rogue still has lower deflection than Monk at 10 RES.

Reckless Assault does not stack with Savage Attack.

I am not sure who decide the rule like this but it hurts so badly. If these 2 skills stack on each other, Rogue would be considered stronger. The net benefit would be +40% atk damage +3 accuracy -8 deflection, which is pretty good. By the way, in reality, they do not stack, which means that other melee damage dealer classes have a way to get +20% as well. The difference would be that Rogue has +13 accuracy more relatively. Aceeptable ? Let's find out later.

Sneak Attack requires a target to be debuffed or flanked.

In order to flank an enemy in Pillars of Eternity, 2 characters must attack the same target on the opposite side, which means one character needs to spend time walking to the back side or use some skill while the other one engages in the front. Usually, the one doing the walking is Rogue and tank go in front. This seem to be normal and effective for any melee attacker class since you always want an enemy to be flanked as the stat is lowered. However, in some circumstances, you cannot just walk casually to their back side, because in most situation you need to use a choke point to prevent your party from getting swarmed by a horde of enemies. On PotD Upscale, there are a lot of enemies.

Without flanking, you need other party members to debuff for you. They may be required to use certain skill or spell for you at the moment instead of doing their things. For instances, Aloth may use fireball or Hiravias may use Spiritshift. All preparations must be done so that Rogue can get +50% damage from melee weapons. As a result, net party DPS may be not as efficient as you think.

Comparing Rogue vs Spiritshifted Druid, I also find that by the time Rogue reachs the back side of an enemy, the Spirited Shift Druid (Hiravias) has attacked 3 times already. The damage per hit is also much more than Rogue's Sneak Attack. Spritshifted Druid, they surely hit hard and fast.

Rogue has no attack speed buff.

Even though Rogue can hit hard with proper setup. Sneak Attack in a combination with Deathblows can produce a big damage number. Rogue lacks attack speed. This is why most Rogue players must put a lot of stat on DEX in compensation.

Per rest abilities are not enough.

Shadowing Beyond, Finishing Blow, and Fearsome Strike are per-rest skills. Such constraints limit Rogue damage output harshly. When playing Rogue, unless meta gaming (you know what will happen next), people tend to keep these skills for the hard fight, which they do not know whether it will come soon or not. Eventually, they may not have a chance to use them at all. Limiting 1 time per rest on Fearsome Strike is a joke.

Backstab is just an illusion. The skill is really hard to use.

In order to Backstab an enemy, you need to be invisible or in stealth. With Stealth, you can do Backstab 1 time per encounter. With Shadowing Beyond, you can do 2 Backstab per rest. With level-15 skill Feign Death, you can do Backstab 1 time per encounter. The number of availability is low and what you get is merely +150% damage. Any normal character can reach +200% damage by attacking 3 times. A minmax Spiritshifted Druid may even attack 5 times while Rogue "prepares" to do Backstab. However, you might take this skill anyway because you do not have anything better to choose. This is kinda sad.

Dirty Fighting is just a lesser version of +10 accuracy.

Dirty Fighting is a great passive skill for any damage dealer. Everyone likes it. This skill is one of the reasons anybody wants to play Rogue as PC. However, other classes might have similar skill too such as Stalker Link from Ranger and Discipline Barrage from Figher.

 

In summary, I want to like Rogue but the class is just not that good in PotD Upscale.

All Rogue-lovers, please read this before comment. My opinion is based on PotD Upscale only. If your Rogue works on lower difficulty, I understand, but that is not the point here. Try playing White March II at level 15-16 and choose level upsacle to High Level and you will see what I mean.

Edited by ekt0
wording
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Well, Rogue appears on bottom Tier on most class rankings I've seen. I don't think there is a huge debate about it. 

It could be said in an even more simple way : their Single Target damages are not distinctively better than other classes, they are squishy and none of their special tricks are great. 

Still it does its main job in an okay fashion so isn't unplayable. Deathblows + Scrolls is a decent backup feat. And I personnally like Sap+ Blunderbuss to super reliably control and damage a high priority target on every fight even with a melee Rogue. But that's it. 

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Yes, PoE's Rogue is one of the weakest classes on PotD. The way the difficulty spike is achieved (more monsters with higher endurance/health) makes single target damage dealers less viable than characters who can target AoEs. That's why Rogue plays very well in the lower difficulty tiers with fewer and weaker enemies. There you can kill very quickly as a Rogue and one dead enemy out of 3 has a much bigger effect than one dead enemy out of 10.

This is not a Rogue-only problem. A Fighter, played as (sturdy) single target damage dealer, is also a pretty weak pick on PotD difficulty. As is a Ranger who focuses on single target damage.

They can still be useful though if you use them with high mobility and a focus on caster-hunting. It can be quite effective to rush and kill enemy casters such as Priests and Wizards asap - even if your Rogue goes down in the process.    

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Hello, you are right, Rogue is not very powerful compared to other classes but you can take some workaround playing it with some micro as you were in SOLO, if you have patiente for that.
By the way, in a group PotD Upscaled, I'd play Rogue as ranged, taking somenthing like Borresaine with high accuracy a let someone else in front of me tanking and killing enemies in melee.

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Rogue has the worst starting stat. Damage dealer Rogue cannot tank or off-tank

Ok, you can first drink some potion like Llengrath's Displaced Image before to go in combat.

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Reckless Assault does not stack with Savage Attack.

Who cares? Recless Assault is far better than Savage Attack. And you can put on top of that +5 Deflection if you want, if you wanna play defensive, also because rogue don't need many talents to be effective.

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Sneak Attack requires a target to be debuffed or flanked.

Debuff enemies by yourself. Rotfinger Gloves for example. Or, if you wanna flak someone: figurines.

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Rogue has no attack speed buff.

I agree, you have to keep always some Potion of Deleterious Alacrity of Motion and/or Gauntlets of Swift Action, in addition to high DEX and maybe two-handed style. I'd change Shadow Step with some speed bonus.

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Per rest abilities are not enough.

Yes, they had to do like Barbarian, Fearsome Strike per rest, mmm. Or maybe, since Rogue has very good per combat abilities, make Fearsome strike better.

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Backstab is just an illusion. The skill is really hard to use.

Yeah, I think no one serious can use Backstab. Better to drop it, at this point.

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Dirty Fighting is just a lesser version of +10 accuracy.

Mmm, I disagree. See my recent build about that ;)

By the way, I agree with you, best Rogue ability for me is skipping encontures (where possible) or pull enemies with Shadowing Beyond, but in a group this is quite useless :(

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For solo it's indeed a bit different because Rogue has access to Shadowing Beyond which makes so many difficult encounters a lot easier to deal with. Kill a single enemy, go invisible which stops the combat, repeat. Or just skip the combat altogether because fighting doesn't give a lot of XP anyways. 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

On PotD Upscale, Rouge cannot fight at Abbey of the Fallen Moon without dying in the process. He will be knocked down a lot. If he chooses to hide, his teammates will be downed instead.

No matter how aggressive RP Rogue is, they have to do this quest in the diplomatic or sneaky way, which is kinda RP paradoxial.

Even using a potion of Llengrath Displace Image might not be enough to withstand the horde of monks, paladins, and priests. They are so tanky and hit hard like a truck.

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Maybe also he died with monks and others enemies of Torn Bannermen outside Cragholdt, yes, maybe he should use escape or similar forms of abilities to run otu of danger and then use ranged weapons or perhaps these abilities are too weak... if he is am aggressive Rogue he should have the chance to kill an enemy with one shot from the shadows, but in POE this is nearly impossible, you know. Or instead with some buff of a Priest he can live longer... by the way in SOLO those quests are performed in "pacific" way and also for others classes many quests in SOLO are not feasible in the RP way your character follows... this is it for PoE, you're right. Even if I suppose that with a party built for a rogue, the rogue can live longer in very difficult situations, maybe someone can try this guess.

Edited by Chaospread
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--- Rogue with bashing shield:
You can build a sturdy Rogue with a shield who is capable to survive in tough battles without hiding and still do good melee dmg.
Let the Rogue use a bashing shield to still profit from the Full Attack strikes that contain afflictions (Blinding Strike etc.) and a hard hitting one handed weapon (war hammer, sabre, mace and so on). WIth a Full Attack the (weaker) offhand will strike first, not dealing that much damage but applying the affliction already. Second swing from the harder hitting main hand then gets the Sneak Attack bonus right away. A Bash is considered an ability - so it scales its accuracy with level (char level -1 = acc bonus) and is never behind your main weapon's auto attack too much - it keeps being decent (in terms of accuracy). 
My favorite late-game setup for such a rogue was Godansthunyr + Badgradr's Barricade. They work beautifully together. The bash of the shield procs Thrust of Tattered Veils - which has no limit per encounter. It will proc on every bash-crit. ToTV is a spell and thus doesn't profit from Sneak Attack - but it profits from Deathblows (+100%dmg) which makes it a nice addition to your dps. At the same time Riposte makes a lot of sense with such a Rogue (bash-crits from Riposte will proc ToTV, too). Godanthunyr allows to stun enemies on crit (so they won't be able to attack you) which also helps with unlocking Deathblows right away.
The early to mid or even late game can be done with the superearly Larder Door and later Scath Gwannek if Azurro wants to sell it (kinda random event). Unfortunetly Dragon's Maw can't be bound to a Rogue so that leaves Badgradr's Barricade as the best option. Scath Gwannek is also nice because it has a 3/rest-spellbinding of Winter Wind (spellbinding with a Rogue: see below).
This is still not a tank - but it's a quite sturdy Rogue who doesn't lose a lot of damage output. And you know what they say: "dead Rogues deal the least damage"... ;) 

--- Ranged Rogue
You can of course also play a ranged Rogue and thus circumvent the problem of getting knocked out so much while still contributing nicely to the party's damage output. Rogue with maxed MIG, low INT and Persistence (its wounding dmg per tick scales with MIG, its overall dps raises the lower the INT) has great ranged, single target dps.
Also arquebus with Rogue is not a bad pick imo. Especially Pliambo per Casitàs, which has a marking enchantment, is great to hunt down casters and such in the back rows. You can team up with another ranged party member near you and while delivering deadly shots give your nearest partner all-stacking +10 accuracy on the target. Shoot at he same enemy and they will go down very quickly.

---Spellcasting Rogue
Another way is to focus on spellbinding/-holding/-striking (and so on) gear. Since Deathblows works with spells you can pile all sorts of damaging spell-per-rest gear on the Rogue (see Flames of Fair Rhian, Amulet of SUmmer Solstice, Sun-Touched Mail etc.). Once enemies have two afflictions on them the Rogue can bombard them with his double damage spells with high accuracy. As with all spellcasters, you might want to spare the bulk of the spells for the tough fights and "just be a normal Rogue" in the easier ones. But once it's time to turn the tides the Rogue can really pull off some tricks then. Same with scrolls: a Rogue with Deathblows and a scroll of Missile Barrage on double-afflicted enemies is very deadly (again: +100% damage).

 

--- Draining Rogue
A Rogue with a draining weapon and good DR can survive a single encoutner long enough do have decent impact. Tidefall is a great weapon because it combines the health draining (which is dependent on the damage you deal) and the wounding (which works like a multiplicative lash and thus also is dependent on the damage you deal). Hitting with it won't raise your health of course (use potions of Infuse with Vital Essence for that), but it will work well for your endurance. You will sacrifice a bit dps because no Full Attacks/dual wielding and also bc. of longer recovery due to thick armor - but it's doing very well against high DR foes (wounding is raw dmg that bypasses DR completely and the higher base damage of two handers has an easier time with DR in the first place). It also makes using Backstab+Shadowing Beyond (and Cape of the Master Mystic) worthwhile in tough encounters.
There are other alternatives with draining and they start pretty early (Gaun's Share, Oidhreacht etc. ). It's one of the very few times I actually used Rose of Salthollow - and it worked quite well. Also looks badass imo.    

---
The standard melee Rogue unfortunately isn't that well-suited for PotD's late game. Way too many enemies with way too much health (or endurance) for a single target damage dealer who's not able to survive concentrated attention.

Edited by Boeroer
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  • 3 weeks later...

I pretty much agree with everything that has been said. I just want to add that I don't like playing a rogue as my main character, but I like to play with Devil of Caroc.

If you have a priest in your party, with Shields/Crowns for the Faithful a dual wield rogue is totally viable. If you take advantage of her immunities and, for example, with fast weapons + vulnerable attack, she can be very powerful and funny, at least for me.

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Yes, although I think the Rogue class is one of the weakest (or let's say most unfun) for PotD difficulty I really like the Devil of Caroc as a companion. She was the one I gave Badgradr's Barricade and Godansthunyr to (the first time I tried that combo out), but she was also fun with Tall Grass. Her immunities can be exploited with some friendly-fire AoE spells (mostly from Wizard iirc) where you can place her in the front line to bait enemies and then shower them with spells which won't affect the Devil. I once made a "team of two" for that purpose: Devil oC & Bilestomper, one of the builds I posted here in the forums back then.  

 

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I've taken a look at your Bilestomper build, perhaps not suitable for most tastes, but it seems very original to me. I had tried a wizard with very low MIG and high DEX and INT as a crowd controller, but never thought of dumping DEX. This is what I like most about PoE, that this offers so many different possibilities  for different types of players. And in Deadfire it still offers many more, even though it never got past Act I. The 2 times I've tried it, when I got the ship I left it.

About DofCaroc, I agree with what you say. To add something, their immunities make it much easier to Luminescent Caves, if you don't have a very high level and you rush to get Silver Flash. I like to use blunderbusses, even if it's just to trigger Combusting Wounds.

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