Guide to Playing a Rogue v2.0
Written By Osiris
WHAT’S NEW IN VERSION 2.0
I started to make an index of everything I changed since my last rogue guide. When I realized it would be more than 2 pages long, I decided just to let you all know that I changed almost everything. Not too much of my old guide was obsolete, but I did get a lot more in-depth from every standpoint in this guide. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am senior level salesperson selling software for wireless devices to large enterprise companies in Silicon Valley. I have lived in the Bay Area most of my life. When I’m not working, sleeping or playing with my kids I’m all about video games. I have been a complete junkie since the emergence of the Atari 2600.
I have been playing World of Warcraft since closed beta phase 2 on the PvP Server. I started with a mage as I wanted a change of pace from what I was accustomed to in other MMORPGs. I have traditionally played melee classes in the past. With a mage I just didn’t feel like I was really in the fight. I wanted to get back into down and dirty up close combat so rogue it was. I immediately fell in love with the class. I love how the rogue stealthily fights his way through situations in a very calculated, strategic and controlling manner. It’s like hack and slash with brains and heart.
In Warcraft 3 I was very much into the undead. I was good at all races, but undead was my first love. I knew I was going horde years in advance. I am the guildmaster of the Unholy Legion on Tichondrius. We’re a large yet surprisingly tight knit group. I am extremely proud of what my officers and I have been able to accomplish so far.
I have written hundreds of strategy guides over the years for various pay and free MMO sites and answered thousands of questions in their forums. People often ask me why I do it. There is little to no money in it. People ask the same questions over and over. I just feel that writing helps me get a grasp on my knowledge games. There is so much that sits in the back of our heads. We know things but don’t necessarily understand them to the point of advanced strategy. Writing forces me to consider all of this knowledge, research the holes I have in this information and force me to go back ingame and test it in practical application. I get hundreds of tells a day from my 250 guildmates and various readers from Worldofwar.net. Does it ever get tiring? Yes. But fortunately for me people have been patient with the fact that my tells fly by so fast that I don’t see half of them sometimes. Thank you all for that patience. RACES AND STARTING STATS
The difference in races in nominal at best. At level 60 each race is almost identical in statistics (items aside). Do not pick your race based on stats. Racial traits are not defining either. There is something about each race that is good for rogue. Again, do not pick your rogue based on these traits. Some will say human is best, others will say night elf is best. Frankly, the other races are just as good if not better. It’s the same story on the horde side.
Stoneform: Activate to gain immunity to poison, disease, and bleed
Gun Specialization: Increase Gun Skill
Frost Resistance: Increase Cold Resistance
Treasure Finding: Activate to see treasure chests on mini map - lasts until canceled - no cooldown
Escape Artist: Activate to break out of a Root or Snare effect
Expansive Mind: Increase Intelligence
Arcane Resistance: Increase Arcane Resistance
Engineering Specialist: Increase skill bonus to Engineering
Perception: Activate to increase stealth detection radius
The Human Spirit: Increase Spirit
Diplomacy: Bonus to faction point gain
Sword Specialization: Increase Sword skill
Shadowmeld: Activate while immobile and out of combat to enter stealth mode
Quickness: Dodge chance increased
Wisp Spirit: Become a wisp when dead with movement speed increase
Nature Resistance: Increase Nature Resistance
Blood Fury: Activate to increase Strength
Hardiness: Increase resistance to stun & knockout effects
Command: Pet melee damage increased
Axe Specialization: Increase to Axe skill
Berserking: Activate when "Wounded" to increase melee & spellcasting speed
Regeneration: Increase health regen bonus
Beast Slaying: Increase damage bonus to Beasts
Throwing Weapon Specialization: Increase Throwing Weapon skill.
Will of the Forsaken: Activate to become immune to fear, sleep, and charm effects
Cannibalize: Increase health regeneration while consuming a corpse
Underwater Breathing: Underwater breath increased
Shadow Resistance: Increase Shadow Resistance
Agility is the rogue’s primary attribute. It constitutes the rogue’s chance of dealing a critical strike and chance to dodge an attack. All other stats are extremely important except for intellect. The rogue has absolutely no need for intellect. COMBO SYSTEM
The rogues combat system is built on an energy meter and a combo system. There are opening moves, standard special attacks and finishing moves.
Opening moves and standard special stacks give combo points when executed for a hit. As many as 5 points can be built up. The more points you build the more effective your finishing move will be.
Also, the rogue has a 100 point energy bar. Every special attack uses energy which fairly quickly regenerates (20 energy every 2 seconds). This system of energy sets the pace for how quickly a rogue can use specials. Specials can be used quickly in succession (one per second) but the energy bar keeps the rogue from being able to spam attacks too much. Most special attacks have a one second timer on them and ignore weapon speed. ALL SKILLS IN DETAIL
Stealth- Our primary ability. Use it. Some quests are actually designed to be advantageous for rogues because they can stealth to complete it rather than having to fight their way through. It is our defining ability. It is necessary to be in stealth before using our best attacks (openers). Higher ranks of stealth only provide a faster movement speed while in stealth, but every level we gain decreases the chances of us being detected in stealth. To reduce that further, use the talent Master of Deception. This has a significant impact on our stealth. Keep in mind that stealth is not invisibility or invulnerability. I consider MoD a “must have” talent. While a good rogue can get around a level 62 mob without MoD, the advantages of it are too big for me to pass up.
Players deal with stealth detection differently than mobs. It is based on level difference and distance. You are basically invisible to a player until you get within a certain distance at which time they hear the stealth noise and/or see a faint transparent image of you. The closer you get, the easier you are to see.
Regardless of level, mobs will detect you and knock you out of stealth of you pass through them. While my 60 rogue is seemingly completely undetectable by level 50 mobs, even a level 1 mob will detect me if I try to walk through them.
Backstab- This is an attack in which you attack your opponent from behind for big damage. The primary difference between backstab and ambush is that ambush must be used as an opener in stealth while backstab can also be used out of stealth while in combat. Mobs will not let you walk up behind them and stab them in the back. Some will argue that from clever movement they can get a backstab in on a mob. The truth is this will usually only occur as the result of lag.
What a backstab rogue will do instead is gouge a mob, move behind it and backstab when he has enough energy to do so. To pull this off you have to wait until you have a lot of energy before you gouge. If your last 45 energy goes into gouging your enemy, you will not regenerate the 60 you need to backstab before they come out of stun.
Obviously in groups a rogue could backstab without stunning their opponent if a warrior, or anyone else keep the aggro on them and the mob’s back to you.
There is a LOT more to be said about this skill. I will cover it in detail in the Swords vs. Daggers section.
Gouge- This skill allows you to stun your opponent for up to 5 seconds. You must be in front of your target and any damage you or anyone else does to their opponent will bring them out of stun. This is one of the best skills we have if used properly. My primary use for gouge is to keep my opponent at bay while I regenerate energy and get myself into position. I am not a dagger rogue, but whenever I gouge my opponent I immediately move behind them. Even against mobs, this buys a split second of extra time while they turn around to hit you. At times it can be like 2 free hits.
I will almost always use gouge regardless of my situation when I have 4 combo points built up. I gouge them for my 5th and will eviscerate them when I gain enough energy to do so. To me, being a rogue is about control. Gouge gives me control. You don’t hit me and I get a free shot on you. THAT is control.
In large groups I really don’t use gouge at all unless I am the last in my group standing and am going toe to toe with a single elite mob or am in the rare situation of pulling aggro off a caster. In solo PvE and PvP I use it very often.
Eviscerate- This is your bread and butter. A 5 point eviscerate is what a rogue is inevitably working towards. There are other finishers, but at the end of the day eviscerate is where we get the bulk of our DPS.
There isn’t much to say about this skill. For me it represents 80% of my finishers and about 50% of my damage in solo play.
Evasion- It’s time for me to contradict myself a bit. Why on earth would a rogue need to dodge if he keeps his opponent stunned? If I can’t be hit because my opponent is stunned from cheap shot, gouge, blind and kidney shot, then there should be no reason to use evasion. The truth is, stunning isn’t always very efficient in solo PvE. While I can stun a mob quite a bit, energy prevents us from being able to maintain this stun. Also, when solo grinding, stuns aren’t everything. Just kill the mobs as fast as you can and move on to the next one. When I get low on life and take on a new mob or am pretty full and get an add, evasion is my savior.
With evasion on you will take a very small fraction of the damage you would normally take in PvE. So why not use it all the time? The cool down is 5 minutes. This is a medium length cool down. That makes it very hard to stay on top of it. If it were 60 seconds we would use it almost every fight. If it were 60 minutes we would use it only in extreme emergencies. With 5 minutes you really have to keep your eye on that cooldown. Otherwise, you end up only using it in emergencies.
I like to grind elite mobs. Because of that I use evasion often. Some elites can’t be soloed by a rogue without it.
Sap- Under rated or over rated? I find sap to be one of our most important abilities. Any rogue that has been a sapper in upper BRS will tell you that sap is incredibly hazardous to your health. But it is absolutely a necessary evil. I find it to be extremely important for PvP as well.
When sapping in solo PvE, try to let the mobs separate as much as possible. If you sap the first mob and attack the second one from far enough away you can kill the second mob and immediately come out of combat. This will allow you to go back into stealth to take the sapped mob.
Make sure you are cautious with sap. You can get detected out of stealth, you can miss and you can fail to get back into stealth. Any of these things happening can mean a rogue’s instant death. More on all of this later.
Sprint- It makes you run fast. Not much to say about it. Sprint can be used in stealth, so make sure you have it on your stealth toolbar. A level 60 rogue in stealth and no points in camo can outrun a hunter with aspect of the cheetah while he is sprinting. In solo PvE sprint is a nice way to escape a bad situation. I STRONGLY suggest you use sprint first and vanish second. No sense in wasting a flash powder against a melee mob that you can get away from in seconds.
Also note that some long jumps can only be made with sprint on. Speed makes a gigantic difference when it comes to jumping distance. It doesn’t affect height though.
Slice and Dice- In terms of cool factor I give slice and dice a “10”. In terms of effective damage on a full combo finisher, I give it a “3”. The increase in speed just doesn’t translate into that much damage. A lot of that has to do with how much we miss. If Blizzard does indeed reduce miss rates of melee then Slice and Dice will deserve another look.
In the meantime, to get the most of SnD, I suggest a few things. Daggers in both hands, get the talent blade flurry and ALWAYS use poisons. All three of these things are why I don’t like SnD. I’m not a fan of the combat tree, I’m not a big fan of dagger builds and any rogue grouped with a shaman will have a big hit taken from them because of wind fury and flame tongue totems. They take poison off the main hand. I don’t think Blizzard sees that as a bug.
Do not activate SnD if you think that you’ll be gouging your opponent any time soon.
Kick- Kick with silence a caster for the entire school of magic of the spell being cast if they are kicked while casting it. If you kick a mage in the process of casting a fireball, then for the next 5 seconds they will be unable to cast any fire spells. Very handy in PvE. It’s not so great in PvP against mages as they tend to cast instant cast spells.
You need to have outstanding reflexes to use kick. Some spells have a VERY short casting time. It also has to be anticipated. If you know you’re fighting a spellcaster then you will have to keep some energy in reserves so you can kick whenever you want.
Sounds like a pain? It kind of is. But kick is a very important weapon. It is one of those things that separates a great rogue from all others. Make it second nature.
Expose Armor- I don’t use it. I haven’t even trained it in retail and don’t really plan to. You can’t use it in instance groups. Doing so prevents a warrior from being able to sunder armor. He will hate you for that as it is one of his best means of generating hate from a mob so it will stay on him. There’s no sense in using it in solo PvE as mobs drop too fast for it to make a difference. Most mobs I fight that are my level will be at about 25% health when I do my 5 point eviscerate. There’s only a few seconds before I kill the mob at that point, so expose armor is senseless here.
Some argue that expose is good to use against warriors in PvP. While I can buy the fact that it would be efficient in terms of DPS, it is not a smart move in PvP. I would use eviscerate, kidney shot and even rupture before I dedicated myself to taking whatever beating a warrior wants to throw at me while I get somewhat of a damage bonus for a few seconds.
Even with expose armor on a warrior our damage to tankability ratio is terrible compared to a warrior’s.
The only time a rogue in my guild uses expose armor is when we do 5 rogue stealth instance runs. It makes sense for one person to use it while 5 pure melee beat on a mob. Even then mobs drop so fast it becomes a wasted finisher.
Garrote- Our first DoT. This is very much a double edged sword. On one hand, DoTs ignore armor and garrote does a nice amount of damage. Even without talents to improve garrote it will outdamage ambush with opportunity and improved ambush. I’m not getting into any theorycraft math in this guide, but feel free to break out your calculators. Your calc will tell you that in a normal situation ambush will clearly outdamage garrote. Try those numbers against any mob past rend in Upper BRS and almost any boss in the game.
So why not use it as an opener? A few reasons. There are other openers that make more sense including the “inferior” ambush. Ambush gets the fight over with quicker while garrote must run its course. Cheap shot gets you to a 5 point combo much faster and controls the mob.
Garrote also breaks stuns from gouge and blind. It’s out of the question for me.
I like garrote against bosses that are immune to stun and/or have a ton of armor. Otherwise, I don’t use it at all.
Sinister Strike- Oh how I love thee. This is our bread and butter damage attack. It is best to use the highest max damage one handed weapon you can find for your main hand. The best weapon in the game is a 178 max damage sword. The damage this weapon would do on a sinister strike would be absolutely amazing. For the record, I led the raid in Molten Core where that sword was found. I was master looter and actually had to trade it to the person who won the roll. Very painful.
Sinister Strike ignores weapon speed. Energy permitting, you could do one every second in addition to your normal attacks. Again, we will get more into this in the daggers vs swords section.
Feint- This “attack” reduces the amount of hate an enemy has for you. Hence, you can put aggro on yourself and brush it back off on someone else in your group. This skill does nothing to lower my hate for how worthless it is. Far too often will you use it 5 times in a row right next to a warrior and still not be able to get aggro off of you. It costs far too much energy for a skill that doesn’t generate combo points. I was a big fan of it in beta and don’t use it at all now.
It has its place. I don’t use it because I have 6 awesome defensive spec warriors in my guild. I don’t have to shake the hate off me because they always do their jobs. In fact I always have a full guild only group that is on Teamspeak with me. If I had to get in pickup groups all the time, I would use feint a little more, especially if I weren’t typically the main assist.
Ambush- This is an opener that does huge damage. It requires a dagger. I have a lot to say about this in the daggers vs swords section.
Distract- This is a highly underused skill. You can use distract in or out of stealth. It can be used to increase your chance of sapping a mob, splitting roaming mobs and helping non stealthers to sneak by mobs. I don’t know what the exact range is, but you can get a LOT closer to a mob out of stealth when walking up from behind them rather then walking towards them.
To separate roaming mobs you distract one of the mobs in the back. This will split him off from the rest of the group for 10 seconds. If you stand there and do nothing afterwards he will snap out of it and run to catch up with the other roamers. If you wait 9 seconds and attack it, the other mobs will still be close enough to aggro afterwards. In most cases you can distract. Wait about 9 seconds, sap, wait another 10 seconds and attack the sapped mob. I don’t know if Blizzard considers this an exploit, but it does split mobs. It takes some practice. Find some non elite mobs your level to practice this on.
Rupture- This is a finisher DoT. Against extremely high armored elite mobs and bosses this is the first finisher that I will typically do. Don’t make the mistake of using this on a low to medium armored mob. 22 seconds is a long time. Some people will tell you that rupture is a good finisher to use against warriors. That is an EXTREMELY bad idea. Just like any other DoT, rupture will break gouge and blind.
Vanish- This is how we go into stealth while in combat. I can’t stress enough how important it is to carry an insane amount of flash powder at all times. I used to carry 20 at a time. I kept running out and moved it up to 40 then 60. Now I completely fill a 16 slot bag. Yes, I agree, that is ridiculous. Why do I go through so much? I sap, I miss, I vanish. A lot. I hate dueling. But guildmates challenge me to duels every chance they get. I prefer real PvP, but I don’t often refuse a challenge. Each duel burns one or two flash powders. I also vanish quite a bit on instance runs especially when things go bad and I quickly need to control a situation. If I don’t have an off tank and I am not main assist, I will on occasion pull aggro off of casters. Vanishing and hitting a mob with cheap shot is a great way to do this. I also vanish when I draw too much aggro from too many mobs. I don’t do it often, but I do sometimes fail to judge my distance from a set of mobs and get aggro from 4 elites. I vanish and yell into teamspeak, “I DIDN’T DO IT”.
I will on rare occasion vanish in solo PvE. This of course is only in emergency situations where I am doing it to survive a bad situation. In solo PvE you cannot vanish without resetting the mob. They will evade and move back to their point of origin. However, if you have a mechanical yeti, or any trinket that summons something to fight for you, you can vanish to start a new opener. I don’t do this myself, but it would be a great way to solo elites.
Try to NEVER use vanish without stunning your target or sprinting away to get some distance. Obviously you can’t stun 5 elite mobs, but whenever possible, stun or run. Sprint will get you out of harm’s way very quickly, so you might not need to vanish, but it will likely give you the safe distance you need in case sprint itself is not enough.
Kidney Shot- I am finding myself using this more and more, even in PvP. I am typically the main assist on instance runs. If we are not taking a mob down quickly or if the warrior isn’t holding aggro well, I will use kidney shot to take the mob out of commission for 6 seconds. Don’t overuse it. A warrior generates rage from striking a mob and being struck by a mob. If he has control and it seems like the healers aren’t draining mana quickly, then just use eviscerate.
I don’t use kidney much in solo PvE. I have tested it extensively. While it will increase your damage to tankability ratio, it is a very slow means of grinding. You could CS, SS, gouge, KS, SS, SS, gouge, SS, SS, evisc. This might be enough to kill a mob. Maybe a few extra hits. But using eviscerate instead of KS kills mobs much faster. Speed isn’t everything when grinding for XP or cash, but it is enough of a speed difference where I will typically not use KS in solo PvE. The only time I will use it is when I am low on health, am about to kill the mob I am on and get an add.
Blind- 8 seconds of stun as long as your opponent takes no damage. I LOVE this ability. Blind them and apply first aid with a full energy bar before your opponent recovers. I really don’t use it in PvE much unless I am soloing elite mobs. It is great for PvP. What I don’t like about this skill is that it misses more than any other attack we have. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s the glue and paint thinner talking.
Safe Fall- You fall…..safely. Use it when…..you fall. Seriously though, it reduces the amount of damage you take when you fall. You don’t fall slower, you just take less damage. You don’t have to activate it. It’s a passive ability. Just keep in mind that it is buggy. Sometimes I will fall a great distance and take no damage or just a scratch, other times I make a drop that shouldn’t damage me much and I end up dying. Again it could be the glue talking.
Improved Eviscerate- If you EVER use eviscerate as your finisher, this is a no brainer. Max it out. At level 56, 3 points brings a 984 max damage eviscerate up to 1131.
Remorseless Attacks- Nothing has been nerfed as hard as this talent has. Maxed out you have a +40% chance to crit with SS, ambush, backstab or ghostly strike. While this isn’t terrible, it is not the double damage crit move of the gods it used to be. It is very common for a rogue to get the last hit in when in a group. We tend to be very good at timing that last eviscerate as a finishing blow. I find myself getting the remorseless counter in instances quite a bit when I have this talent.
Malice- Increases your chance to crit by 5%. That doesn’t sound like much, but an extra 5% to crit means a lot. No brainer in my eyes.
Ruthlessness- With 3 points you have a 60% chance of gaining a combo point when performing a finishing move. Lies. I think the proc is bugged because I almost never get that point. It is in my template, but it needs to be fixed.
Relentless strikes- 20% chance per combo point to restore 25 energy. This one works. If I do a 5 point finisher, I always get energy back. The best part is that it seems to be able to crit for an additional 50%. I sometimes get 37 energy when performing a finisher.
Murder- 5% more accurate when performing an opener. I don’t know what is so murderous about this talent, but it is in my template.
Improved Slice and Dice- Increaes the duration of SnD by 45%. This basically means taking SnD from 22 seconds to 32 seconds. 32 seconds is a long time. I have been able to do 2 more combos in that time. This is a no brainer if you use SnD.
Improved Expsoe Armor- No matter how much polish you have, you just can’t polish a turd. This talent gives expose armor a HUGE boost, but it is extremely rare that we should ever use it. Again, that’s my opinion, but good warriors will be furious if you expose armor and fights where a warrior isn’t present just don’t last long enough for EA to be a factor.
Lethality- This talent significantly increases the amount of damage your crits do on most of your special attacks. This is perhaps our biggest DPS talent.
Vile Poisons- This talent increases the amount of damage your poisons do. If I were alliance, hence never having a shaman in my group, I would probably get this talent. Poisons are nice and this adds 15%.
Improved Instant Poison- This increases the chance to apply instant poison by 10%. Also a sweet boost to what is surely our most commonly used poison in PvE.
Improved Kidney Shot- Reduces the cooldown of KS by 5 seconds. The only reason I don’t have this talent is because KS has diminishing returns. I can also stun kite a mob if I need to. I’ll get to that later.
Cold Blood- My best friend EVER! Once every three minutes I nearly double my DPS in a single fight. The chicks dig it and it has me signing autographs all day. It is godly in PvP and great for taking mobs down faster in PvE. If I could only have one talent, this would be it.
Improved Deadly Poison- Increases the chance to apply deadly poison by 15%. That’s a 45% poison. Nearly every other hit will be a lethal DoT.
Seal Fate- I am currently experimenting with this talent again. It is nice for a dagger build. I’m actually testing it on a non dagger build right now. My biggest problem with it is that it requires HUGE sacrifices. In simple terms it equates to an extra combo point in the process of you building a 5 point combo. To me, it’s not worth the sacrifice. There are a lot of other talents I’d rather get. If you are a hardcore backstab rogue, you should consider this.
Vigor- Increases maximum energy by 10. Oh man, I’m so excited about this one. Someone hold me, I think I’m going to burst with excitement. “Congratulations, sucker, you made it to the bottom of the assassination tree. Tell him what he’s won, Johnny…..10 friggin’ energy to start a fight!” WEEEEEEEEEEE. Seriously though, I suppose you may as well get it if you get seal fate, especially if you’re burning 60 energy per backstab and ambush.
Improved Gouge- 1.5 seconds of extra stun. That is the difference between gouge breaking even in how much energy you get while they are stunned for how much it costs and getting free energy whenever you gouge. I am a very big fan of gouge and improved gouge.
Improved Sinister Strike- Reduces the cost of SS by 5 energy. Everyone always asks me if 5 energy is that much. Hell yes it is. It’s gigantic from day one. This is the first talent I max out when starting a new rogue.
Lightning Reflexes- An extra 5% chance to dodge. I’ve been over the whole dodge thing. Its nice to have for solo PvE but that’s it. For the most part, at least.
Improved Backstab- Increases your chance to crit a BS by 30%. That is huge. If you use backstab get this, otherwise don’t. I’m just a fountain of knowledge.
Deflection- 5% to parry. Eh, big deal. Parry is like dodge except that overpower doesn’t get triggered from it. What’s necessary about maxing deflection is that it is a prerequisite for riposte.
Riposte- It triggers after you parry. It does 150% of weapon damage and disarms your opponent for 6 seconds. This is a nice skill, but you really have to be on top of it. If your phone rings off the hook, your parents scream at you to do your homework or your wife and kids are screaming for attention, this skill is not for you. It’s easy to be lazy and not respond to a parry. You have plenty of time to activate riposte, but for it really to be worthwhile you need to be on your game.
Improved Evasion- I like evasion, but extending it by 4 seconds doesn’t make me want to sing love songs.
Improved Sprint- “Hey, look at me, I can run away like a girl more often.” Sprint is a great thing to have at your disposal in PvP. There is so much in the game that slows our movement. Sprint’s cooldown is normally 5 minutes. Elusiveness brings it down to 3 minutes and 40 seconds and Improved Sprint brings it down to 2 minutes and 10 seconds. That’s a lot of sprinting.
Improved Kick- The ability to silence a caster for 2 seconds is nice, but 2 seconds just isn’t that long. This is not the answer to warlock and priest fear, it is not the answer to polymorph and it is not the answer to paladin invulnerability.
Dagger Specialization- 5% extra chance to crit with a dagger. Man that’s sweet. Too bad it’s in a tree I don’t like and deep into it. In phase 2 open beta it was at the top of the tree. That kind of made it a no brainer if you used daggers. But now it’s too far out of reach for a rogue to get opportunity, improved ambush and all of the good stuff in the assassination tree. Forget about seal fate. If you dump the entire subtlety line, you can still only get 2 points in seal fate.
Dual Wield Specialization- This is one of the best talents in the combat tree. Increasing offhand damage by 50% is gigantic.
Mace Specialization- You get a 6% chance to stun your opponent when using a mace. I’ve tested this extensively. It just doesn’t proc enough for me. It was an occasional benefit, but it would really seem to proc when I already had my opponent stunned. It by no means sucks. If I find a legendary mace in Molten Core this weekend I will reconsider it.
Blade Flurry- First off its fLurry not fUry. It’s like the thing you get at McDonalds, the McFlurry, not the rage and fury that the Incredible Hulk builds when he is angry. This is a nice addon to slice and dice. With SnD and this running at the same time and 2 daggers in your hand the ginsu action is extremely cool.
Sword Specialization- You get a 6% chance to gain an extra swing when using a sword. This procs more often than you’d think. With this, a thrash blade in your hand and a shaman with a wind fury totem down, you will get a lot of extra hits. It’s not a no brainer talent by any means.
Fist Weapon Specialization- Is fisting supposed to hurt? O_o ‘Cause I’ve yet to see a fist weapon that really impressed me. This talent gives 5% to crit, just like daggers.
Throwing Weapon Specialization- Increases your range with a throwing weapon by 6 yards. This talent upsets me more than boy bands and the billionaire Olsen twins combined. Do you need me to explain it to you? Cause if I do, you need to stop reading this guide, uninstall WoW and reistall Diablo II. Play it on single player and don’t update it with 1.10. Ok, I’m feeling better now, let’s move on.
Aggression- 6% extra damage on SS and eviscerate. That’s a pretty nice boost. It’s way down the tree but a worthy investment if you are in the combat line anyway.
Adrenaline Rush- Increases your energy regeneration rate by 100% for 15 seconds. This is probably the only good “ultimate” talent we have. The cooldown is longer than I’d like to see, but getting this talent is usually inevitable as once you get half way down the combat tree there are so many things worth taking that extra step for.
Rapid Concealment- Why would anyone want to get into stealth faster? I mean, how many fights do you get into that only last 5 seconds and require you to get back into stealth quickly? I’m not going to get upset again, I’m really not. Ok, breathe. I could see getting this if you were using an ambush build with remorseless attacks. In beta it was possible to one hit a mob, but it just doesn’t happen now against mobs our approximate level.
Master of Deception- Harder to detect in stealth. On one hand a rogue could argue that with good skill, a rogue doesn’t need MoD. That’s absolutely true. But why on earth not take that extra step towards invisibility. I can stand about 15 yards away from a level 60 player and be almost completely undetectable. With MoD I can get a LOT closer. I like that a lot. It will always be in my template.
Camouflage- Increases stealth speed by 15%. Speed is good. The faster you move, the less of a chance you have of a roaming mob catching you by surprise. It really helps with players too. When an opportunity arises, you need to be able to respond to it before they hearth, ride off, have their buddies join, etc.
Elusiveness- This is a must if you like to duel and PvP a lot. I recently dropped it to test something else and I just find myself waiting a lot. An impatience talent? Perhaps. But how effective a rogue is in PvP is in part dictated by his special abilities being ready. There are guildmates of mine that I simply cannot beat in a duel if I don’t have any of my cooldowns ready.
Opportunity- Increases ambush, BS and garrote damage by 20%. If you are a pure ambush/BS rogue, this is an absolute no brainer. 20% is gigantic with crits factored in.
Improved Ambush- Increases your chance to crit with ambush by 40%. Ambush stinks without a crit. You have to get this if you’re going to ambush.
Initiative- 75% chance to get an extra combo point when doing any opener but BS. I love this talent. I love it despite the fact that I don’t get that point 75% of the time. There’s nothing like doing a cheap shot, having 3 points, knowing that you are about to do a cold blood eviscerate in a couple of seconds.
Ghostly Strike- This is another one that people ask me about a lot. I’m not a big fan. If the cooldown were shorter it could be used more consistently. The energy cost is kind of high too. 15% dodge for 7 seconds is not a lot of extra dodge. What I do like is
Improved Garrote- It increases the duration of garrote by 6 seconds but reduces the damage by 10%. The math works out in our favor, but why on earth would we want to extend the duration? Sure a rogue would have trouble getting back into stealth for an extra 6 seconds, but we also can’t gouge or blind him either. Alex, I’ll take talents that don’t impress me much for $200.
Improved Vanish- This talent makes me want to stick a hot poker in my eye. No, it makes me want to bob for apples in a vat full of piranhas and rubbing alcohol. No, it makes me want to turn on my gas oven, crawl inside and play with matches. Hold up one second. In theory, one could vanish in which they would be able to move faster than normal walking speed if they have camo for 10 seconds. Throw this talent on and you move another 30% faster. Sprint and you’re moving 70% faster. In theory you could run faster than a level 60 mount for 10 seconds. I guess that’s kind of cool in theory, but I’d rather spoon with Rush Limbaugh than spend 3 points here. But do keep in mind that some long jumps can only be made if you have enough speed. If there was a spot that only a rogue could get to, I suppose I would consider it if they payoff was worthy.
Improved Rupture- Increases rupture damage by 30%. That takes rupture up to 1215 from 935. That is big damage that ignores armor. Consider this for your templates.
Improved Sap- After you die about 100 times from sap failing, missing or not getting you back into stealth, you will wish you never had to sap. It’s a necessary evil and so is this talent. If you are in a position of not having to sap, you could pass on this talent. There’s literally 50 rogues in my guild. When 5 of us are in a raid in UBRS we don’t all need to be sapping.
Preparation- No hemorrhoid jokes today. I love this talent. It automatically ends the cooldown of all rogue abilities. This gets into some pretty advanced stuff that I cover later. This is a lot of power. To vanish, evade and cold blood twice in a fight is a massive amount of power. It’s cooldown is once every 10 minutes. I make it a point to keep a close eye on it at all times.
Improved Cheap Shot- Reduces the energy cost of CS by 20. That is huge. I almost exclusively open with CS. That extra 20 energy insures a stun lock when it lands.
Improved Distract- Increases the radius of distract by 5 yards. If anything, I wish the radius were smaller. Sometimes I use distract in a manner that it is difficult to pull off a single mob.
Setup- 45 % chance to add a combo point when you dodge. This sounds really good at first glance. It sounds even better if you do the math. What it really comes down to is that you must never stun your opponent and have to use ghostly and evasion as often as possible. One use of evasion is good for 1-2 combo points. In the run of the entire fight you might get another. Still sounds good, right? I just didn’t like it. I don’t like leaving myself open and never stunning. In PvP I stunlock. I instances my tanks take the damage. I guess this would be a nice one to get if you only solo PvE. The game isn’t designed for much solo play after level 60. I’m just not a fan of this talent.
Hemorrhage- Another talent that I love. Hemorrhage costs 35 energy, does normal melee damage, adds a combo point and for the next 30 hits or 15 seconds increases the damage that a mob takes in melee by 7. I realize that doesn’t sound like much. Spam it on the giants in Molten Core and what how much of a difference it makes with 20 melee pounding on it. It can add thousands of damage in a single fight. It stacks up to 5 times. The damage doesn’t stack but the charges do. With 20 melee on a single target those charges get used up fast.
Basically it is a 35 energy SS without the damage bonus but a sweet proc that lands every time. So should we use it instead of SS? No. You will give up a lot of DPS in many situations. SS just does too much damage for 5 extra energy, especially when it crits. In solo PvE I use it when I hit specific energy levels. If I’m at 35-39, 50-54 or 70-74 energy, I will use hem instead of SS. Not so much in the 70’s but definitely at 50 and 35. I will get 2 hits off 2 seconds faster than if I just did SS alone. These oddball energy numbers usually occur when you miss a special attack.
In PvP I only use it if I really need a combo point. I’ll use it when CS only gives me 2 combo points, when SS or gouge misses or when CS gives me no combo points at all.
If I’m in an instance and my main tank is poor at holding aggro, I will use hem instead of SS to generate less hate giving him a 7 point per hit boost at the same time.
Premeditation- I tested this a lot in beta. I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to start out with 2 extra combo points. If you have initiative as well, there is a chance that you will be opening with CS and immediately doing an eviscerate right afterwards. That is a great thing. And yes, it works on players.
What I don’t like is that it is a huge investment. Targets move around. It actually has a casting time. The cooldown is a little long. It’s a really nice talent but I just don’t understand why they put it at the bottom of the tree. In fact when they put it at the bottom of the tree, I made it a point to pick it up again to see if they somehow improved it and it was no different.
It would be really nice to couple this with cold blood and preparation. It just isn’t in the cards though. I think that’s probably why they moved it to the bottom.
PvP Build (My Build)
Assassination Talents (21 points)
Improved Eviscerate - 3/3 points
Malice - 5/5 points
Remorseless Attacks - 1/5 point
Murder - 2/2 points
Ruthlessness - 3/3 points
Lethality - 5/5 points
Relentless Strikes - 1/1 point
Cold Blood - 1/1 point
Combat Talents (5 points)
Improved Sinister Strike - 2/2 points
Improved Gouge - 3/3 points
Subtlety Talents (25 points)
Master of Deception - 5/5 points
Camouflage - 5/5 points
Elusiveness - 1/5 point
Initiative - 5/5 points
Improved Sap - 3/3 points
Improved Rupture - 3/3 points
Preparation - 1/1 point
Improved Cheap Shot - 2/2 points
I’ve made some subtle changes to this build over the last year. My most recent change is dropping 4 points in elusiveness, maxing out gouge and maxing improved rupture. I find myself using rupture more and more. I find myself dueling and solo PvPing less and less. I was left with one extra point. I could have put it into precision but I do still love elusiveness. 30 seconds isn’t much. Put the point wherever you like.
I like this build better than any combination in the game and I’ve tried them all. You can call it the “Osiris Build”. Good lord, please don’t. I’m happy to serve my community and I don’t need my ego stroked by naming something after me.
There are a lot of changes that you can make here. The core of it is cold blood and preparation. This leaves you a lot of room to play around. I actually tested a version of this with opportunity and improved ambush. I didn’t like it. Even with a weapon switching macro, I just don’t feel great about ambush over cheap shot. I like control and I like getting to eviscerate as quickly as possible.
I’ll get into how to use this build in PvP when we get to the PvP section.
Assassination Talents (21 points)
Improved Eviscerate - 3/3 points
Malice - 5/5 points
Remorseless Attacks - 1/5 point
Murder - 2/2 points
Ruthlessness - 3/3 points
Relentless Strikes - 1/1 point
Lethality - 5/5 points
Cold Blood - 1/1 point
Combat Talents (8 points)
Improved Gouge - 3/3 points
Lightning Reflexes - 2/5 points
Improved Backstab - 3/3 points
Subtlety Talents (22 points)
Master of Deception - 5/5 points
Opportunity - 5/5 points
Improved Ambush - 3/3 points
Initiative - 5/5 points
Improved Sap - 3/3 points
Preparation - 1/1 point
This is very similar to my PvP build. It has cold blood and preparation. I merely sacrificed a few things so that I could get improved ambush, improved BS and opportunity. Many people will argue that seal fate is a no brainer when it comes to this type of build. I strongly disagree. While I do agree that seal fate is a nice way to make up for the lack of combo points built with CS and SS, I don’t agree with putting a bandaid on a broken arm. A dagger build really isn’t a broken arm, but in doing this type of build you are dedicating yourself to doing big burst damage hits. They don’t happen as often as SS does because of the energy costs, but when they land they are huge. Seal fate is by no means a crappy talent. I just think the points are better spent elsewhere. I see a dagger rogue as a very calculating assassin. If you want to rush to do as many eviscerates as possible, don’t go with daggers, because seal fate simply isn’t going to make up for the slow speed of your combo building.
I don’t like these builds for PvP. I extensively tested these builds and found that the best combination I could come up with would be: CS, vanish, cold blood, ambush, gouge, preparation, cold blood, eviscerate, blind, vanish, ambush, gouge, BS, SS, eviscerate. That’s a sweet stunlock combo but it has some holes in it. The big one is gouging after you ambush the first time. A mage that knows what they are doing will not turn around and backpedal. They will get the nova in, blink away and here comes little bo peep. You know, the one that lost her sheep? Also, using that combo will not be that devastating to a warrior, paladin or shaman. You might take a shaman out, but don’t hold your breath. I agree that it is a nice combo against rogues, warlocks and maybe priests. The problem with priest is that they will get that shield off before you get that gouge in. I’ll get back to that later. Energy is the biggest problem here. Everything you do costs 60 energy. It’s a lot of hit and wait. Timing must be exceptional. Get ready to down some thistle tea to pull that combo off.
I like this build for PvE. Big aggressive hits are nice. The downside is the big sudden slowdown you get in doing the whole gouge, run back, backstab thing. Heavily armored mobs will drop very slowly because of all of this waiting. On the bright side, a few crits in a row and you are set. Your ambush will crit a lot and backstab crits almost as much.
In group PvE you will run into the problem of pulling aggro off of a warrior. The best tank in my guild has a vice grip on him. I couldn’t pull aggro off of him with a crowbar and a stick of dynamite. I can’t say that about 99.9% of the tanks I’ve grouped with. When you open with ambush, be damn sure the warrior has had time to taunt and get a couple of sunders in. After that nothing you do should be too detrimental to aggro management. But I promise you, even the best tank in the world won’t keep a mob from turning around, smacking you 5 times and taking you out. I sometimes have that problem with just eviscerate. I sometimes will use rupture or kidney shot just to keep my aggro down. Every time I tested daggers I had an aggro management problem.
I used this build as an example of a dagger build. I think it helps open rogues to other paths that can be taken when making an ambush/backstab build. Also consider making sacrifices somewhere so you can max remorseless attacks. It pains me how much that talent got nerfed, but it is a guaranteed crit.
Assassination Talents (21 points)
Improved Eviscerate - 3/3 points
Malice - 5/5 points
Remorseless Attacks - 1/5 point
Ruthlessness - 3/3 points
Murder - 2/2 points
Relentless Strikes - 1/1 point
Lethality - 5/5 points
Cold Blood - 1/1 point
Combat Talents (30 points)
Improved Sinister Strike - 2/2 points
Improved Gouge - 3/3 points
Deflection - 5/5 points
Precision - 5/5 points
Riposte - 1/1 point
Dual Wield Specialization - 5/5 points
Blade Flurry - 1/1 point
Sword Specialization - 5/5 points
Aggression - 3/3 points
Subtlety Talents (0 points)
This is a pretty classic combat build that a lot of people call a 30/21. In a nutshell, the DPS is fantastic, but the utility is lacking. No preparation, no seal fate, absolutely nothing in the subtlety tree, etc. I’m just not a fan. I’ve tested it like crazy. I’ve tested it with daggers, subbing sword spec for dagger spec and improved SS for improved BS. Preparation to me is a gigantic amount of damage and a gigantic amount of control that I have at the push of a button every ten minutes.
What I can do is very precisely predict how much damage I will do. This build is outstanding in how consistent the damage is. What I cannot do is consistently defeat level 59 elite mobs. You run into energy problems trying to stunlock in PvP without improved CS or hemorrhage. Your DPS will go up, but your control will go down. That’s not ok with me.
Be on top of blade flurry, riposte and adrenaline rush. You need to use those often
When I grind mobs for cash with this build I feel like the terminator. Nothing big or grandiose, I’m just a solid killing machine. The problem is it doesn’t outdamage my PvP build nor does it outdamage most BS/Ambush builds.
Assassination Talents (24 points)
Improved Eviscerate - 3/3 points 30-32
Remorseless Attacks - 5/5 points 25-29
Malice - 5/5 points 33-37
Murder - 2/2 points 43-44
Ruthlessness - 3/3 points 45-47
Relentless Strikes - 1/1 point 48
Lethality - 5/5 points 38-42
Combat Talents (10 points)
Improved Sinister Strike - 2/2 points 10-11
Improved Gouge - 3/3 points 49-51
Precision - 5/5 points 52-56
Subtlety Talents (17 points)
Master of Deception - 5/5 points 12-16
Opportunity - 5/5 points 17-21
Improved Ambush - 3/3 points 22-24
Initiative - 4/5 points 57-60
Many people ask me what is the best build to grind with. I did it the first and second time with a dagger build. In retail I just used my PvP build. While it served me well, in retrospect I feel that a good remorseless ambush build is potentially better for grinding.
One important talent here is remorseless attacks. It will keep you from being slow and lazy when it comes to moving from mob to mob as you will always want to get that remorseless bonus. Your remorseless improved ambush will crit almost every time. It is amazing at low levels and as mobs gain ridiculous amounts of armor at higher levels ambush will do mediochre damage. Avoid those mobs and you will be a grinding machine.
Open with ambush do sinister strikes and close with eviscerate. If you really want to maximize damage, use a weapons switch macro to switch from daggers to swords when you come out of stealth. You could use the weapon switch in Cosmos. It’s in the combat stances section. Activate it and put a dagger in your main hand while stealthed then come out of stealth and put a sword in your hand. You could also get this addon mod: http://ui.worldofwar.net/ui.php?id=121
I have been asked a million times what build order they should use. I have outlined that near each talent above.
I would not use this build at 60.
Note that grinding with this build requires that you are extremely aggressive. If you stealth immediately after you kill one mob you will often find the 20 second timer on remorseless go away. You will learn exactly how close you can get to a mob your level before you have to go into stealth. This is exceptional training for a new rogue.
Get yourself a good dagger. I’m starting to see daggers with decent stats that are green pop up in the AH lately. Slow daggers with a high min/max damage are key.
Poisons are a huge boost to our game. Simply put, use them. I have broken down each poison below:
Crippling Poison- It slows your opponent’s movement speed. No one can maintain a stunlock consistently and some mobs like to run away. I almost always use it in PvP. You will not kite me, you will not get away.
Mind Numbing Poison- This significantly slows the casting speed of a caster. In PvP this isn’t such a great thing. Mages in particular have more instacast and channel spells than we have attacks. It is hard on warlocks and priests. It’s hard to keep us feared when your fear spell takes 9 seconds to cast. A lot of PvP rogues like to have crippling on one weapon and mind numbing on the other.
Instant Poison- This is a very good poison to use in PvP to boost your damage. This is particularly so for ambush rogues who like to pick off wounded stragglers. It is nice for soloing elites. I commonly gouge and blind elite mobs, so deadly poison is out and caster elites are easy to kick.
Deadly Poison- This poison used to aggravate me. I can’t use it in PvP without sacrificing gouge and blind. But it is our best DPS poison. I use it when I solo grind normal mobs for cash. My killing speed gets a huge boost against them.
Wound Posion- Gee Blizzard, thanks for the new poison. NOT. It’s worthless. I’m hoping I can find a reasonable application for it in battlegrounds. It only lasts 15 seconds. If I stack it 5 times it will reduce a priest’s healing by 500. So a crit big heal will only do 2500 instead of 3000. Oh man they’re screwed. Then again I could stunlock them which keeps them from healing and then well……kill them.
Be stubborn about using poisons. I admit I can be lazy about it. My shamans take poisons off of my main hand and my offhand doesn’t hit much. But DPS is DPS. You need to pull out all of the stops.
Horde Poison Quest:
Mission: Possible But Not Probable
Level 26 Rogue
Steal Silixiz's Tower Key from Foreman Silixiz to enter the tower, then kill two Mutated Venture Co. Drones, two Venture Co. Patrollers, and two Venture Co. Lookouts.
Assassinate Grand Foreman Gallywix and take his head, then unlock Gallywix's lockbox and steal the Cache of Zanzil's Altered Mixture. Take the Cache and Gallywix's Head back to Shenthul in Orgrimmar for further instruction.
Mutated Venture Co. Drone slain: 0/2
Venture Co. Lookout slain: 0/2
Venture Co. Patroller slain: 0/2
Gallywix's Head: 0/1
Silixiz's Tower Key: 0/1
Cache of Zanzil's Altered Mixture: 0/1
: 0/2 You will need to steal the tower key from Foreman Silixiz, Tils. Once you've got the key in your possession, unlock the entryway and slip inside.
Remember, the poison has weakened everything in this tower. Use your abilities to bring chaos and destruction to its inhabitants. Slay them all -- show no mercy!
Once everything inside lays in a bloodied heap, unlock Gallywix's lockbox and steal the cache of Zanzil's mixture held inside. Take both the head of Gallywix and the mixture to Shenthul in Orgrimmar. Rewards:
Recipe: Thistle Tea
The Barrens Map
You obtain this quest at level 20 but it cannot be soloed. Your first challenge is being able to pick the pocket of Silixiz in front of the tower. He is level 25 so he will have an easy time detecting a level 20 rogue even with the master of deception talent maxed out.
The NPC at the top of the tower is Galliwyx. He is a level 26+ elite. He cannot be soloed at level 20.
Alliance Poison Quest
Level 26 Rogue
Steal the Defias Tower Key, break into the Defias Tower and uncover the contents of the Duskwood Chest. Take whatever information you find back to Mathias Shaw in Stormwind.
Klaven Mortwake's Journal: 0/1
Defias Tower Key: 0/1
I've been staking out this tower for weeks, Trevvie. Recently a major shipment came through from Duskwood, and along with it came those guards.
What are they? Your guess is as good as mine. I can tell you one thing - they aren't human.
Anyhow, the shipment had a chest - which is what I assume those abominations are guarding. The one with spikes holds the key to the tower.
Get that key, get in the tower, and uncover whatever is in that chest. Take your findings back to Mathias.
Recipe: Thistle Tea
Master Mathias Shaw
This is a MUCH easier quest than the horde version. It can be soloed.
STUN, STUN and STUN some more. Always initiate the battle and always open with cheap shot. You are not drawing a line in the sand on the field of honor. You are a sneaky dirty fighting bloodthirsty animal. You can’t win going toe to toe with pretty much any other class, so keep them stunned the entire battle. DPS is secondary to control. A warlock lives to keep you under control not eat his pet and go toe to toe with you. A mage is going to nova and blink.
Cheap shot is the opener to use in PvP. Here is my typical combo:
CS, SS, gouge, get behind opponent, wait, cold blood, eviscerate, blind, vanish, it wait 7-8 seconds, CS, SS, gouge, preparation, cold blood, eviscerate, blind, vanish, CS, SS, gouge, eviscerate.
That is 3 full eviscerate finisher combos with complete stunlock. Two of these eviscerates are crits. There isn’t a player in the game who can withstand that much damage.
Sound easy? It’s not. First off timing and positioning are important. After you eviscerate you have to be behind your opponent otherwise they will stun you and go into their routine. You also have to time your gouge and blind timers well. You need the energy, so you do have to wait these stuns out before you re-engage, but not wait too long otherwise you lose control. You will also miss. With some luck those misses will just be normal hits, but it is not uncommon for us to miss that cold blood-eviscerate or even worse cheap shot, gouge or blind. Also the combo requires that initiative procs for that extra combo point. A lot of people ask me what I do when it doesn’t proc. I will sometimes do 2 hemorrhages instead of one SS, but that doesn’t make up for energy problems. It works, but there is an added moment of vulnerability when you do this. But the safe bet is to do a 4 point eviscerate. Control is always better than damage. We are simply too fragile to go toe to toe with pretty much any other class.
Sometimes cheapshot misses or is bugged and stuns but gives no combo points. When this happens I gouge, vanish and start again.
Kidney Shot will stun as well, but it is a waste to have a 5 point combo and not use Eviscerate in many cases. However, the truth is it will extend your stun on opponents that drop easily. Rogues are a good example. If I CS, SS, gouge, cold blood eviscerate, I will kill a lot of rogues but not the ones with good gear. It won’t take me out. I’ll easily have 1000 life left. Rogue is a dangerous class, so a missed blind will likely mean you might get stun locked yourself. Hence I will usually do the following combo:
CS, SS, gouge, kidney shot, SS, drink thistle tea, SS, SS, SS gouge, cold blood, eviscerate.
I find my eviscerate doing a 4 pointer sometimes as energy and stun duration play a significant role here even with thistle tea. The tea is to ensure you are getting enough hits in to make kidney shot worthwhile. Another thing you could do is replace SS with hem. That’s 50 energy you’d save in that combo. I’ve been working on this combination for quite some time now and I just don’t feel like a have a perfect formula down. I instead take fewer risks and settle for smaller eviscerates. It’s great control against someone that is very dangerous. Don’t use it on warriors, paladins or shamans. It won’t take them out. You will have to keep it going with blind. And if that’s the case I prefer to eviscerate.
Explosives used to be a good way to maintain control in PvP. It doesn’t seem to work now.
Warriors and rogues can disarm us. Our defense against this is a weapon chain that a blacksmith can put on your weapon to make you immune to disarming. The downside to this is that you can’t put an enchantment on a chained weapon at the same time. I prefer a weapon enchant. Disarm moves do not last so long that it is a gigantic issue. Sprint away if you have to. If a rogue disarms me then he is willing to concede a stun lock. I’m not, and when that very short six seconds wears off I will show him why. I’m not saying that disarm is worthless. In fact, it would be nice in those situations where I miss a key stun and need some time to get my energy back. Disarming is just something to note and be prepared to deal with.
Mage- This is perhaps our toughest matchup. I do very well against them but they have a great bag of tricks and cannot be stunlocked. They were our puppets before they were able to blink out of stun. This stun break applies to CS and KS. It does not get them out of gouge or blind. The best tool we have is surprise. If they don’t see us they won’t typically have their mana shield on and that means death for them. If they get the jump on us it really becomes about timing your vanish and sprint. It doesn’t take a lot of hits to kill a mage, but they can also play keep away with you indefinitely if you don’t use all of your utilities properly.
Priest- You need to lock him down. I mean seriously lock him down. If he gets the fear off on you it’s over. You will not wear his mana out. He will kill you long before that and all he has to do is fear you twice and dot you twice. When you finally get back inside he will have a shield up and will be fully healed. If he slips out of your grasp, get ready to kick and gouge. Do everything you can to keep him stunned after that.
Warlock- Treat him like mage and a priest combined. The warlock is pretty helpless unless he gets the jump on you. You will get 2 dots on you, a pet and nukes like crazy until you’re dead. Run away, come back and take him out on your terms. They are nastier with fear than the priest is. 2 dots and a curse will keep you from vanishing. If you leave them an opening they will eat their voidwalker. This gives them an amazing shield. Even undead like myself can only use will of the forsaken once in a fight. Left unstunned, the warlock will take control of the fight.
Warrior- Every time you stun a warrior he loses rage. Without rage he does terrible damage. It is very difficult to keep a warrior stunlocked. If it is a defensive spec warrior you have no excuses. We should absolutely beat them. However, a warrior with a PvP build and good gear will make life hell for a rogue. I often practice against one of the best PvP warriors on the server. If I miss with any of my stuns for 2 full combos or any of my cooldowns aren’t ready, he will get me every time. Pray for that blind to land. Consider playing keep away if he doesn’t hamstring you. If you hit him with crippling poison and sprint away, you can perform first aid and get your energy back before he can get anywhere near you.
Paladin- He can tank for massive damage and can heal himself too. This is a mana draining contest. You need to stun him enough through the fight to maintain control and force himself to heal and shield. Heals cost him a lot of mana. When he is out of mana he is yours. Don’t forget your poisons. Mind numbing and crippling are a very nice combo. If either of them proc his effectiveness will drop significantly.
Shaman- The shaman doesn’t out-damage the rogue but can out-tank him. He will try to kite you by using a grounding totem and will also drop a magma totem to keep you from vanishing. Don’t go after the totems unless you blind first. I usually ignore them altogether. Stun him, wait for the magma to hit you, vanish and hit him with cheap shot before the next one knocks you out of stealth. Sprint wisely. It will more than compensate for the grounding effect but if the shaman is too far away sprint will wear off before you can get inside and punish him.
Druid- He’s a strong healer and won’t fight from an animal form if he’s smart. This really shouldn’t be a tough fight. However, if he controls the battle you will be snared by his entangling roots as he kites you with spells. Again, work towards blinding him and go into your long stun combo.
Hunter- A surprisingly strong opponent. Hunter traps aren’t too effective so far but he can kite because of his big speed advantage. Don’t vanish early. Get inside first, blind, vanish and start a cheap shot combo. Sprint to get inside. If he can’t kite you he can’t win. Sprint will not compensate for traps and his poison sting attack. Hit him with any attack when he tries to kite you. Aspect of the cheetah causes him to get dazed when you hit him. Getting a gouge in afterwards will be easy. Know where his traps are at all times by using detect traps. Don’t bother trying to disarm them, just go around them. And no, you can’t jump over traps. More and more hunters are figuring out how to play their classes every day. A hunter that knows what he is doing will punish you.
Rogue- This is pretty much common sense. When a rogue gets the jump on me I am simply waiting for my opening. If you don’t know where the hole in your combo is you certainly won’t know where his are. When you get the opening, gouge him and vanish. Show him what a real stun lock is.
The best PvP happens when 100 horde take on 100 alliance. In these situations it is wise for the entire group to stick together in a small cluster. You want to avoid the divide and conquer at all costs. Unlike almost every MMO I have played this is a huge factor in WoW. However, this tactic doesn’t necessarily apply to the rogue. This isn’t to say he can just run off and do what he pleases, but it isn’t always best for the rogue to stick with the pack.
A rogue should sometimes be picking off strays. Disrupt them when they are close together by sapping one and moving away. This tends to make the half the group scatter or cluster on the sapped individual while the other half continues their push forward becoming an easy battle for your tightly grouped party. Rogues should also hunt other rogues. We don’t see stealth better than anyone else, but an experienced rogue knows how other rogues move, what they hide behind and what targets we go after. I always find myself able to pick off the smart rogue who is sneaking around sapping my group.
Battlegrounds will require significant strategy and will be a completely different experience than the lag fest we experience in large scale PvP today. I will cover this in detail in version 3.0.
SOLOING ELITE MOBS
I don’t consider soloing elite mobs a good means of gaining XP or making money. They are capable of dropping some great items, but it is actually a less effective means of finding world drops than just killing normal mobs. So why do it? Because I can. It’s great practice to learn how to be as effective as possible. You really learn what to do and when to do it to maximize your damage to tanking ratio. There will be times where you are stuck soloing elite mobs in instances and it becomes vital that you can handle yourself well.
Note that not all elites are created equally. There are level 59 elites that I can beat all day long without using cold blood, evasion or blind. There are level 54 elites that will beat me every time. Know what you’re getting into in advance.
Use evasion wisely. There is no sense in evading a caster mob. You shouldn’t be using evasion while you have the mob stunned. Use blind. This is a great way for you to fill your energy bar completely and use first aid if necessary.
Then we have stun kiting. At first glance this will seem a bit like an exploit. Believe me, you will find that this is not the case. Gouge the mob and immediately run away. Don’t walk backwards, turn around and run a reasonable distance that the mob will chase you to rather than resetting. You will have a full energy bar when it gets to you, so get yourself 4 points and gouge again. The gouge timer will be ready by then. Run away again. When the mob gets into range hit him with a kidney shot and light him up for 4 more points and again hit him with a gouge. Repeat as necessary. You will get hit a lot less than you normally would. In fact, you will only get his once each time you stun and maybe a couple more times as you are building up to 4 points and waiting for 45 energy to gouge. The truth is, somehow the mobs will nail you for extra damage in these situations. Either they get some kind of crit bonus or they are much more apt to do their big specials when they come out of stun. At the end of the fight you will have taken a lot less damage than if you were to have just fought the mob straight up. And of course it takes about 5 times as long to kill a mob in this manner. To maximize this technique further use crippling poison. Doing so will allow you to run shorter distances.
HIGH LEVEL INSTANCES
Most of your endgame content consists of taking groups into challenging instanced dungeons. Typically in these situations no one party member can solo much in these dungeons. As a group, if everyone works together, an appropriate dungeon is a walkover.
The rogue isn’t considered a vial part of a group by most. Everyone wants a priest and a warrior with a mage as a back line damage dealer. However the rogue can perform certain functions that make him a more desired class.
There is a lot the rogue can do to make life for the group much easier. First is sap. This takes a humanoid NPC out of commission for up to 45 seconds keeping the group from having to fight the entire cluster of mobs. Any rogue that ever wants to be in a group should have improved sap.
We can also serve as main assist in groups. The main tank’s job is to get as much aggro on him as possible and the rmain assist’s job is to focus on the right targets at the right time. Everyone but the healers for the most part is supposed to focus their damage on the assist’s target. This is done by making a macro /assist osiris, for example, to make sure everyone is on the same target at the same time. This is a very challenging job. Knowing what to attack first can be a challenge. People will often not /assist like they are supposed to which will be a challenge for the rogue. I cannot solo most of the NPC’s in Upper BRS. Near the end of the instance by the General the NPCs there can take me out in 4-5 hits. This is too much for a healer to handle and will generate a lot of hate on him to keep me alive. To control mob movement and keep the need for healing to a minimum I will open with cheap shot and close with kidney shot as often as possible unless I have a strong group behind me.
A good warrior will keep all aggro on him while the rogue is supposed to go after all targets in the proper order. With few exceptions, you should always kill casters first and the big tanks last. You need to know your dungeons. Know where the patrols are. Know what kinds of spells each spellcaster has. Know the skill level of your group and help your group determine the right course of action on every pull.
In groups warriors like to dash in and stun the opponent. Be in stealth, wait for the stun to wear off and use cheap shot to extend the stun. Continuing to use stun moves in situations where the warrior is taking too much damage will help the group sometimes much more than if you dish out the big damage.
Dishing out the big damage will draw aggro to you quickly. Again, the priest should be healing the warrior, not you, so moderate your damage. Not all warriors are excellent at taunting aggro to them like they’re supposed to. One way to moderate damage is to use garrote and rupture instead of ambush and eviscerate. Try to avoid using 5 point cold blood eviscerates whenever possible. If your sinister strikes and/or backstabs crit too many times in a row consider backing off a bit.
Vanish is also an excellent means of getting aggro off the rogue and allows him to use another opener. Do not do this near casters, make sure you are right next to your main tank when dumping aggro. I have seen this go extremely badly.
I’ve seen a lot of rogues slow groups down. Don’t be one of those. Be sharp and stay stealthed and in front of the group near the main tank. Know the dungeons you are going into. If you’ve never been there before read a guide or walkthrough.
Know what kinds of poisons you should be using in every given situation. In Scholomance I switch between mind numbing poison and crippling poison. In most other instances I use instant or deadly poison as most mobs in instances don’t flee or cast spells.
BRD- This is a pretty traditional instance. Most of the mobs here are humanoid and a lot of the layouts will test your ability to judge aggro range and handle crowd control.
Lower BRS- This is a fairly challenging 5 man instance for groups who are just hitting 60. Smart saps and smart pulls are very important here. You will find a good amount of rogue gear here from bosses.
Upper BRS- You will learn to become sick of this place. There is a ton of exceptional rogue gear here. Between getting your Onyxia key and chasing the sword and dagger, get ready to do 100 runs in this place. It can’t be done with 5 ppl. I usually take 10. This is where being main assist can really shine.
Scholomance- Personally, I hate this instance, but there are 3-4 things you’ll want. It’s a very long and tedious instance.
Stratholme- I actually enjoy this place quite a bit. There are 6-7 items you will want.
Molten Core- Take 40 people in here. This is actually a really good place to take rogues. People often prefer mages as damage dealers, but if they pull aggro in MC the mob will AOE its way across 40 people to get to them. The rogue stands behind the mobs here helping to keep things stationary. Also, it takes thousands of hits to kill the weakest mob here. This translates into potentially 10,000 damage that a rogue could be responsible for. You will not be main assist here as mobs will take you out in a hit or two.
Onyxia- Getting the key to enter her lair is challenging enough. Once inside get ready for an extremely difficult challenge. Many argue that the rogue is completely helpless here as she does far too much damage with her AOE attacks. I unfortunately tend to agree. You will have to move in, do a little damage and back off to heal as her proximity damage is enough to take us out fairly quickly. Of course that is if your group can get past the mobs on the way to her lair. They are much tougher than the mobs in MC.
Pick up skinning and mining as early as possible. They are an excellent means of making fast money. It is challenging to make 100 gold before level 40 so that you can buy a mount. Skin every beast you kill. There are a lot of time that you will be grinding in a cave or near a mountain that has several mining spots. They are great places to stop while you regen between sets of mobs.
Crafting isn’t an ideal low level means of making money unless you don’t care too much about leveling.
Get in the habbit of pickpocketing every NPC you come across. This is tedious in very early levels as rank 1 stealth is so slow and you’re still getting used to sneaking up on opponents effectively, but it will get a lot easier. The money you make per PP is nominal, but you will be killing about 100,000 NPCs by the time you get to level 60.
People are always asking me how I made 179 gold before I hit level 40. I did it by solo grinding. I killed mobs close to my level with and without pickpocketing and sold the stuff I looted off of them. It’s that simple. What I didn’t do was split my loot in a group. I didn’t waste a bunch of money on purchasing equipment or grinding tradeskills. Argue all you want, but tradeskills cost money to grind. There’s always a financial sacrifice when it comes to crafting.
I made the mistake of not selling green items in the AH as often as I should. In fact I should have sold my cloth, leather, etc etc in the AH as well, but almost never did. I probably would have made 2-3 times as much. However, even without selling in the AH I was able to grind to 300 enchanting (which easily cost me 500g) and purchased my level 60 mount very shortly after reaching level 60.
I also happen to be the unluckiest guy in the game when it comes to getting world loot drops. I’ve seen 2, both were total garbage and I solo grind a lot for cash.
Here are some of the best trade skills for rogue:
Skinning- This is an excellent skill for making extra cash. The loot that drops off beasts is typically horrible. The ability to skin them compensates for this quickly. It is also an essential trade skill for leatherworking. Skinning elite mobs can fetch a nice profit especially after you find Finkle’s skinner off the Beast in UBRS.
Leatherworking- Rogues can only wear leather armor so it’s nice to be able to make your own. However, the items you can make in leatherworking are pretty terrible. I mastered this profession in beta and didn’t like it. There are a couple of items that are pretty nice, but note that you will likely not wear most of the things you can make.
Engineering- This trade actually offers a lot of really amazing stuff for PvP. There are a lot of things that are great for the “cool” factor alone. This is a very difficult profession to grind but I promise you will like some the stuff you make.
First Aid- The healing from this trade is really nice. You can use it in combat and it’s nice to reduce your downtime between sets of mobs once in awhile. It’s also really use in PvP when you blind your opponent. It doesn’t take away from your 2 primary professions, so it is an absolute must have trade skill.
Alchemy- There are a lot of potions that really compliment the rogue’s abilities. This is another trade that is excellent for PvP but anyone can buy potions from someone else instead of making them. However, you will not find all of the potions you want all the time. I have 4 alchemists in the guild and can’t exactly ask them to make me 100 major healing pots or 100 free action pots when 250 guildmates are asking for the same thing. I rarely use potions, but that will change when I finish grinding out my warlock.
Cooking- Thistle tea instantly gives the rogue 100 energy. Another great tool for PvP.
It is difficult to save for a mount when you’re constantly upgrading your equipment. Try to get the gear you need from quest rewards and instance boss drops.
Swords vs. Daggers- Ah the most tired argument to be had within our class. I prefer a sword in my main hand. I am always on the lookout for the highest min/max sword I can find. I don’t care about speed and even DPS is secondary to me. Sinister strike ignores weapon speed. Energy permitting I can spam it for massive damage once every second. Mathematically, opening with ambush and using backstab on a mob is superior to SS with a sword opening with cheap shot. In practical application daggers pale in comparison to swords when it comes to DPS. One could argue that they could open with ambush and use a weapon switch macro to use a sword for SS and have the best of both worlds. I’ve tried this. At the end of the day, ambush is just a poor opener for PvP because of the lack of stun and bad for instances because of aggro management. I just don’t like the tempo and playstyle.
If you go with swords you will want a Krol Blade a Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge or the holy grail of swords: Teebu's Blazing Longsword, which I had the displeasure of handing to the winner of the roll in the Molten Core raid I ran. So painful. They all have outstanding max damage. At the very least get your hands on a Skullforge Reaver. It has a dot on it which will disrupt gouge and blind, but it is a fairly easy sword to get at the end of Stratholme on the undead side.
If you are a dagger rogue your holy grail is the Deathstriker. Or you could get a Keris of Zul'Serak from Voone in LBRS.
Everyone asks what kind of weapon they should carry in their offhand. I prefer a dagger or fast sword in my offhand. Max damage isn’t as big of a deal. Speed becomes more important for applying poisons. I actually spoke with someone the other day who had several people tell him that “Every idiot knows that you are supposed to have a sword in your offhand.” I happen to carry a Dal'Rend's Tribal Guardian. It’s as fast as most daggers.
We can’t ignore maces. There are some really nice maces out there. In my eyes they are no different than swords. If the min/max damage is superior, then that’s what I’m going to equip. I have thoroughly tested a mace build utilizing the mace specialization talent. Generally a 6% proc is pretty nice. However, even with dual maces with the best speeds I could find, the stun proc from that talent happened far too seldom. It would stun maybe once every other fight and never when I needed it. It would stun from my gouge, stun from my cheap shot and stun from my kidney shot. What’s nice is when it stuns after you eviscerate. Chances are you will see that once a day if you grind all day.
Armor gets expensive if you get in a rut of buying minor upgrades in the AH. Upgrade, but upgrade wisely. I always get my stuff in instances and from quest rewards. There are too many to name, but
Ah the next great debate. Let’s take a look at all of your options:
Agility- This is our primary stat. It increases our chance to get a critical strike, chance to dodge and increases our armor.
Stamina- Each point of stamina increases our hit points by 10. The more stamina we have, the longer we last in combat.
+Accuracy/+Crit- Most of your best high level armor will increase your chance to crit, chance to dodge and/or will increase your accuracy.
So which is best? The best means of increasing your DPS seems to be +accuracy gear. I don’t have the numbers behind this nor do I have the formula for chance to hit and how stats affect it. What I do know is if I get cursed by a banshee that reduces my chance to hit by 10% I will almost never hit her. Not my most scientific discovery but it is logical. +crit gear is nice. With all of my +crit stuff on my chance to crit is about 24%. 31% is possible, maybe more.
Let us not forget about stamina. My highest stamina build put me over 4700. A rogue could never be a tank but with 1300 more HP than most rogues you will be VERY tough to beat in PvP. A lot of the time that we lose in PvP it is a matter of failing to keep the stunlock on and a good PvPer finishing the job that you failed to do. I have found that 4700 HP puts me over the threshold of getting a second chance.
You can’t ignore agility. But it does take 30 agility at level 60 to get 1% crit. Dodge isn’t critical for the rogue. The armor bonus merits sticking with agility to some extent. However the best agility build I could come up with did not offer a tremendous amount of benefit and sacrificed a lot of everything else.
So which is best? To say that a combination of all of the above is too wishy washy. But the truth is the gear you will find at 60 has a pretty broad mixture. My short term goal is to get over 4300 HP have at least 2% to accuracy and a 25% to crit. I’m close right now. But I do have my pure stamina gear, my pure agility gear, my shadowcraft build and my variety of “best” pieces.
You’re going to have to figure out what you like for yourself. I strongly suggest testing things in extremes. If you stay too “middle of the road”, you will likely not get a strong feel for which is best for you even if middle of the road might be precisely what you need.
Questing is the fastest way to level. HOWEVER, this requires that you can knock them out quickly without the aid of a high level friend or guildmate. Many people make the mistake of trying to find a quest location and die dozens of times trying to do a quest too difficult for them or insist on running around for hours to find a quest’s location. Three hours pass, you finally finish the quest and have only gained about 3000 XP. If you had just killed appropriate level mobs in that time you would have made 5-10 times that amount.
Have a strong game plan when it comes to questing especially in huge areas that give a lot of quests. Know the destinations of them all and figure out the best order to do them. Go to your furthest point and work your way back to town.
To be efficient in your questing ALWAYS look them up on http://www.thottbot.com first. In most cases Thottbot will give you a map to the location of your objective. If it doesn’t, your quest occurs indoors. If you have Cosmos http://www.cosmosui.org/ you can mark your quests on your map after you look them up in thott using the map notes feature.
When killing creatures for XP you want to be as quick and efficient as possible. Ideally you will want to kill mobs 2 levels above you and only have to rest and heal once every 4 kills. This is very difficult to do. There is nothing wrong with killing things 2 or more levels below you. I have found that doing so can potentially allow you to burn through as many as 10-12 before having to heal. If you have to rest after every kill you are doing something wrong.
Ogres are a great thing for rogues to kill. Spellcasters are ideal as they have very little HP and armor. Use gouge and kick to stop their spells
Instanced dungeons are still a TERRIBLE place to level despite Blizzard boosting the XP you get in instances. Killing elites takes too long even with a strong focused group.
When it comes to grinding solo, solo, solo. If you group with another person you get an XP bonus. Let’s say the mobs you kill give you 100xp. If you are grouped with one other person it gets cut in half but you get a bonus. So instead of 100 you get 50 plus a nominal bonus that might get you to 55 or so per kill. In theory you could get a nice bonus for teaming with someone. However, it is inevitable that the person you are grouped with will slow you down. I’m not the god of all grinders by any means, but I have found very few people that can keep up with me when it comes to killing mobs. I never feel like I’m killing twice as fast as I would solo when grouped.