Updating for Battle for Azeroth
Rogues, like hunters, have a really easy time leveling; you could even say it’s in the class’s pixilated blood. Running through monsters like a meat-grinder and hitting with enough force to bash even warriors down, the Rogue poses one of the greatest leveling threats of all.
It doesn’t matter which spec you play, either: Pirate (Outlaw,) Assassin, or “Ninja” (Subtlety,) they’re all good.
Rogue Leveling Contents
Other Rogue Guides
However, it’s not only pure burst-DPS, also known as smashing power, that gives Rogues their immense advantage over all others, it’s cooldowns. Cooldowns that include everything from vanish, blind, cloak of shadows and much more. These give Rogues a great deal of versatility and generally allow the Rogue to set up their attack in a more calculating manner than most.
Buffs and Nerfs: Any time any expansion is released the class balance goes all to heck. One day a given spec is “God Mode” and the next it’s “Doormat.” Rogues are in generally good shape all around. We haven’t been in God Mode (contrary to what some wags might say,) but with even a bit of skill we’re far from being doormats. As for leveling? Rogues are a blast.
Mists of Pandaria changed the balance equation somewhat , again, and completely rewriting the talent system, but Rogues are still be in a pretty good place. Maybe not quite as deadly as before, but very much up to the task.
Warlords of Draenor does away with Hit, Expertise, and Resilience, removes a number of abilities, and consolidates some stuff. Oh yeah, you also get ten more levels, new talents, and Perks. And you will still be handing out your fair share of the damage. See the Warlords Rogue Changes here.
Legion made still more changes, zapping some abilities and talents, adding others, and creating more of a different feel between the Rogue specs. For example, only Assassination uses poisons now. and “Combat” is now Outlaw.
Battle for Azeroth tweaks a bunch of abilities and talents, but not much in the way of big changes. A few new abilities and a few removed, as usual, but your character will pretty much feel the same as before. Oh yeah, there was a huge item level and stat squish. Your item level 800+ stuff in Legion because 200+ in BFA. Ditto stats, damage, etc.
Click Here to level fast all the way through BFA!.
Quick Info For Rogue Leveling
Which race? Whichever one you like. Seriously.
Orcs and Trolls can do more damage with their specials, Humans and Undead and Gnomes have nice escapes. All the others offer something that’s useful. Even Pandarens. Only the Tauren and Draenei cannot be Rogues.
Which Rogue spec to pick?
All Rogue specs are great for any leveling, since all Rogues do is damage and lots of it. Pick whichever spec works for you.
Outlaw is the easiest for general leveling. You start out with hard hitting abilities and good energy regeneration, which the others lack, and you are better against multiple opponents. You’re also less restricted with weapon types. This is why most people recommend Outlaw as the leveling build. Does very well in PvP, too.
Subtlety is the most fun. It’s built around coming out of stealth with bone-crushing burst damage. And then they also have the deadly Shadow Dance ability. Harder than the others for long fights, but can still be at or near the top of the damage lists.
Assassination makes great use of poisons. Nice for Dungeons, raids, and PvP, and no slouch at regular leveling.
All Rogues – Gear, Stats, Poisons:
Here are the gear basics, more detail is below.
- Leather armor is what you’ll use, nothing heavier.
- Stack Stamina at low levels, if you can, and then work on Agility. This will be your #1 stat, always.
- Outlaw can use any 1-handed weapon,
- Subtlety and Assassination both require daggers.
- Poisons. for Assassination only:
- Use Deadly or Wound for your lethal poison and Crippling for the non-lethal. Deadly is for questing and general use, as Wound doesn’t do much damage. Wound is, however, nice in PvP or anything else where heals on the enemy might be an issue.
- You can also pick leeching poison, it’s a lev 45 talent, which adds a leech effect (small heal) to your deadly and wound poisons. That talent will be much more valuable, while leveling, than the others in that tier.
- Go to gearing for more details.
Rogue Enchants, Gems, Glyphs:
- Make sure you carry enough thistle tea (restores 100 energy.) You can either buy or make it. If you can cook it requires cooking skill 60.
- Gem sockets are rare while leveling and you’ll level out of that gear quickly enough anyway. Skip ’em. Sigh… if you must: Gem for Agility.
- Enchants: Skip unless you have the cash or can find them for cheap. The high end enchants do scale to lower levels,
- If you do enchant/gems: Go for Agility > Bests Stat (see below) > Stam
- Got Heirlooms? All enchants work on all gear. Get the highest level enchant you can afford and put it on the heirlooms.
- Glyphs: Purely cosmetic these days.
- Professions: Herbalism and Mining, since you get XP from them. Leatherworking will make your gear.
If you need to blast to 120 as fast as possible then check out our favorite leveling guide.
Talents and Abilities for Warlords of Draenor
At level ten you get your first specialization (spec) abilities, at 15 your first talent. As you level you will get the basic Rogue abilities, your spec abilities, and a new talent every 15 levels. In return for having to stick with one spec you get certain abilities unique to that tree. Hemorrhage or Mutilate, for example.
All abilities are gained automatically, without ever having to visit your trainer (once upon a time, ages past, you did have to visit your trainer to get new abilities.)
Mastery is an ability you will receive at level 80. It gives you an extra bonus to your abilities, such as extra attacks in Outlaw.
The leveling builds below assume that you’re questing/grinding, but there are notes for the other methods of XP acquisition. All the Rogue trees are great for leveling, but have different feels.
Assassination – Requires daggers, but can pump out some consistent, and very nice, damage. End game? Very solid for raiding. Faster Energy regen comes at level 46, when you get Rupture (driven by your Venomous Wounds, gained at level 10.) This means that on any fights lasting more than a few seconds you will want to have Rupture and/or Garrote running.
Note: once you get Envenom at level 20 you must keep your daggers poisoned at all times or you will severely gimp your damage.
Outlaw – The most “in your face” of the trees. Starts out with good energy regeneration and is the only Rogue build with any “hit two or more at once” skills, other than Fan of Knives. Very competitive with, and maybe better than, Assassination for PvE content. Doing very well in Warlords PvP.
Subtlety – Are you seeing Rogues appearing from nowhere, behind the target, and putting down a brutal initial burst? That’s the Subtlety spec and Shadowstep is the ability (‘step is now available to any Rogue.) Not so good for longer fights, but does Ok.
These abilities are common to all Rogues and are listed in order of learning:
- Stealth – (5) You sneaky thing you. xx
- Cheap Shot (8) – 4 second stun out of stealth, 2 CPs.
- Pick Pocket (13) – Steal something from the target. Helps to Sap it first.
- Sap (14) – Knock him on the head and put him to sleep for (up to) a minute.
- Crimson Vial – (16) your own personal heal. You can take this back top back with a healing potion as they do not share cooldowns.
- Kick (18) – interrupt a spell and lock the caster out of that spell school (eg: Nature) for 5 seconds.
- Pick Lock (24) – You can pick locks of a level 5x your own, 600 in BFA
- Blind (24) Blind one target for up to a minute.
- Sprint (32) – Run fast for a few seconds. A level 66 version drops the cooldown by 50% (becomes 1 min, from two. )
- Distract (38) – distract your opponent(s) for 10 seconds.
- Detect Traps (42) – detect those traps that the unfriendly Hunters will be laying down.
- Feint (44) – take less damage from area effects for a few seconds.
- Vanish (48) – Poof, you’re invisible. Breaks movement impairing effects.
- Fleet Footed (58) – run 15% faster and take less falling damage.
- Shroud of Concealment – stealths your whole group for 15 seconds.
- Tricks of the Trade (70) – Transfer your threat to your choice of Party Member. Activate it, then you have 30 seconds to start attacking. One started all of your threat from your attacks for six seconds will be directed to the party member. So you could start attacking before the tank and he’ll get all your aggro.
- Cloak of Shadows (80) – remove damaging spell effects and then resist others for a few seconds.
Next up are the abilities that differentiate one Rogue from the other and are listed in order of acquisition. Keep in mind that you can switch specs any time that you’re out of combat, no reagents needed.
CP = Combo Points
Fin = Finishing Strike
DOT = Damage over Time
|Sinister Strike (1) whacks the enemy. Uses a little less energy at 12. Replaced by Mutilate at 40.
Eviscerate (3) is your finishing strike until replaced by Envenom at 36.
Deadly Poison (10) coats your blade with toxic stuff that puts a DOT on the enemy. Additional applications are instant damage. Note that all poisons are blade buffs that last an hour.
Improved Poisons (10) allow more efficient application of your Deadly and Wound poisons.
Poisoned Knife (10) lets you throw a poisoned dagger which then applies your lethal and non-lethal poisons. 1 CP.
Garrote (12) is a strike that bleeds your opponents and, at level 42, silences him (for 3 seconds) if used from Stealth. Awards 1 CP.
Rupture (20) is a finishing strike that bleeds the target.
Shadowstep (22) allows you to teleport behind your target and gain 2 seconds of increased speed. Must be in line of sight. You do not need to be stealthed. The target does not need to be hostile.
Evasion (26) greatly increases your dodge for 10 seconds.
Seal Fate (28, Passive) lets your crits from CP generating strikes give an extra CP.
Kidney Shot (34) is a finisher that stuns the target for a few seconds.
Envenom (36) is a finishing Strike consumes your CPs and gives a higher chance to apply poisons for a sort time. Replaces Eviscerate.
Crippling Poison (39) slows the enemy’s movement.
Mutilate (40) replaces Sinister Strike and hits fairly hard, providing 2 CPs.
Venomous Wounds (50) let’s you gain energy from targets that are bleeding from Rupture or Garrote.
Wound Poison (54) does instant damage and reduces healing received by the target.
Vendetta (56) is for when you really want to murder someone. More damage, lasts 20 seconds, and he can’t hide.
Fan of Knives (63) sends your knives flying in all directions, potentially poisoning anyone they strike. Awards 1 CP.
Mastery: Potent Poisons (78) increases the damage from your your lethal poisons.
|Combat Potency (10, Passive) increases your energy regeneration rate. At level 50 your off-hand strikes can generate 10 energy (75% chance.)
Sinister Strike (10) is your basic strike to whack the enemy. At level 12 might hit the enemy an additional time (35% chance) and also make your next Pistol shot half-cost and double damage.
Dispatch (10) is a finishing move that causes damage per combo point and has increased range.
Pistol Shot (10) pulls your hidden pistol, fire off that sneak shot, and also slows him for a few seconds.
Between the Eyes (20) is a finishing strike that damages and stuns the target. At level 42 your crits will do 4x damage.
Ambush (22) is a solid smack from stealth. Generates 2 CPs.
Grappling hook (22) was a talent, now it’s an ability. Toss out your hook, snag something, and pull yourself to it. You can use it to travel across and space that you can normally move to.
Riposte (26) greatly increases your chance to parry (100%) and each time you parry it replies with your own attack (your Riposte.)
Ruthlessness (28) gives you a chance to gain another CP when you use a finisher.
Gouge (34) incapacitates your target for 4 seconds, but must be in front of it to do that. Damage will break the effect.
Roll the Bones (36) is a finisher that provides a random combat enhancement, such as increased crit, and might provide as many as five (on a very low chance.)
Restless Blades (50) is a finishing move that does no damage, but reduce the remaining cooldown of Adrenaline Rush, Between the Eyes, Sprint, Grappling Hook and Vanish by 1 sec per combo point spent.
Adrenaline Rush (56) is a cooldown that provides 15 seconds of faster attack and much faster energy regeneration.
Blade Flurry (63) hits all nearby targets for partial damage. Lasts until cancelled.
Mastery: Main Gauche (78) increases your chance for more off-hand attacks.
|Eviscerate (3) is your hard hitting finisher. At 52 it does 50% more damage.
Backstab (10) stabs the target and does more damage if you’re behind it. Requires daggers.
Shuriken Toss (10:) See? You are a ninja! Ranged, awards one combo point.
Evasion (8) greatly increase your dodge for 10 seconds.
Shadowstrike (12) is a hard strike from stealth or Shadowdance. At lev 42, if you’re in stealth, then it has a 25 yard range and hits 25% harder.
Nightblade (20) Finishing strike that applies a DOT and reduces healing on the opponent. You will also do 15% increased damage with your follow up strikes to that opponent.
Shadowstep (22) Teleport behind your target and gain 2 seconds of increased speed. Must be in line of sight. You do not need to be stealthed. The target does not need to be hostile.
Evasion (26) gives a much higher chance to dodge attacks.
Shadow Techniques (28, Passive) Your auto-attacks might generate a CP and 8 energy.
Kidney Shot (34) Finisher that stuns the target for a few seconds.
Shuriken Toss (11) Throw your shuriken.
Symbols of Death (36) 10 seconds of 15% increased damage with a 30 second cooldown.
Shadow’s Grasp (40) Your backstab and shadowstrike reduce the opponent’s speed by 30% for a few seconds.
Relentless Strikes (50, Passive) Your finishers have a chance to restore energy.
Deepening Shadows (54, Passive) Your finishers reduced the cooldown of Shadow Dance.
Shadow Blades (56) More CPs and your auto-attacks do +50% damage as shadow damage. Lasts for 15 sec.
Shuriken Storm (63) Spray Shurikens at all nearby targets, +1CP per target hit. Damage is greatly increased if you’re stealthed or in Shadow Dance.
Shuriken Combo (70) enhances your Shuriken Storm, increasing your Eviscerate damage by 8% for each enemy hit beyond the first, up to 40%.
Sprint (62) – This improved Sprint allows you to run over water. Only Sub gets this one.
Mastery: Executioner (78, Passive) Your finishers hit harder.
Rogue Leveling Builds
These talents were picked with solo leveling (questing) in mind. There are other options depending on what you are doing, such as PVP or dungeons, and some comments are added below the image.
Talents can be changed on the fly, but you need to be in a rested area (city or inn) to change them. No special reagents are needed. You can change your specialization (spec) any time that you’re out of combat. Do fight one as Sub, switch to Outlaw for fight #2, Assassination for #3, and so on. No trainer or reagents needed. Optionally, you can change your talents anywhere by using a Tome of the Clear/Quiet/Tranquil Mind. (example)
Tier 1 (Level 15:)
- Weapon Msaster
- Find Weakness
Tier 2 (Level 30:)
- Shadow Focus
Tier 3 (Level 45:)
- Vigor – More energy and faster energy regen.
- Deeper Strategem – You can have a max of 6 CPs and you finishers can use all six, plus you get a 10% damage bonus. Probably the best overall choice here.
- Marked for Death – puts an immediate 5 CPs on a target. Nice way to start a fight with a full finisher. Gives you an extra finisher in long fights, several when fighting more that one mob as it refreshes if the target dies in less than a minute.
Tier 4 (Level 60:)
- Soothing Darkness
- Cheat Death – Avoid fatal attacks. Just the things if you expect the occasional crushing damage.
- Elusiveness – Feint reduces all damage, not just A of E. Very nice anytime you need some damage reduction.
Tier 5 (Level 75:)
- Shot in the Dark
- Night Terrors
- Prey on the Weak allows your enemies to briefly take more damage from all sources, including from you, after you use cheap shot or kidney shot.
Tier 6 (Level 90:)
- Dark Shadow
- Alacrity adds 1% Haste when you use your finishers (at 4+ CPs) which can stack up to 20 times, though you probably won’t ever see that.
- Enveloping Shadow
Tier 7 (Level 100)
- Master of Shadows
- Secret Technique
- Shuriken Tornado
Death From Above empowers your weapons with Shadow Energy. This is a finishing strike (damage is based on your combo points used) which lets you attack all nearby enemies and then leap up and crash down on the main target for Eviscerate + 50% damage.
Glyphs for the leveling Rogue
One upon a time Glyphs had some value in combat, but that went away with the arrival of Legion. Now, they’re purely cosmetic and add no combat value. For example: Glyph of Disguise
Rogue Gear, Stats, Etc.
Agility is your #1 stat, always, regardless of which specialization you happen to be. Strength and Int are useless for all Rogues.
- Stamina should be stacked at lower levels until survival is not an issue, go for Agility after that. With your Crimson Vial ability you will have little down time.
- You should wear Leather Armor in all slots. At level 50 you get +5% Agility.
Other Stats: Don’t worry about these too much while leveling, unless you’re serious about PvP or dungeons. Otherwise wait until the end-game before optimizing your stats.
- Haste Rating – Good for all Rogues. Mobs die too fast while Quest leveling for this to be a lot of use. Raiding and PvP are another story. Outlaw really likes Haste.
- Crit Rating – The more the merrier. Always. This is the best secondary stat for Sub. All Rogues get a 10% Crit bonus through Critical Strikes
- Mastery rating – obtained at level 80. Great for Assassination, fair for Outlaw, and good for Subtlety.
- Attack Power – Great for all Rogues, but only appears on a very few items and some enchants.
- PvP Power is an old stat that adds straight up damage in PvP only. It’s useless outside of PvP. It was also nerfed in patch 5.3. If you find some gear with this stat (and you PvP,) then great, otherwise don’t bother to increase it. More about PvP Power and Resilience
- BTW – if you’re serious about PvP then check out Skill-Capped now
Gearing a rogue is, like with most other melee classes during the leveling process, all about maximizing damage while leaving just enough stamina for a reasonable health. In this case your primary statistics will be agility, Haste, and +critical. Assassination and Subtlety like Mastery (at 80+)
- …of the monkey gear is perfect for Rogues. “…of the bandit,” once you hit your 60s, is better.
- If you’re doing too many corpse runs then you’re either fighting stuff that’s too high, doing a lot of PvP, need to practice some skills, and/or need to get more Stamina.
- Second comes the individual stats such as +haste and +critical. Often you’ll find these in greater amounts on items with higher numbers of stamina or other single stats – Whether this makes them worthwhile to equip or not is up to you.
More Rogue Gear Notes
- Got Heirlooms? Heirlooms are as good, or slightly better, than blue (rare/superior) gear of the same level. They increase in level as you do, so you won’t have to think about that gear until they hit their level cap.Buy them with gold and upgrade them to level 110 (120 is not yet available.) A very cool feature is that the heirlooms live in a tab at the bottom of your mounts/pets window. When you finally get better gear you can destroy them and then pull them right back out of that heirlooms window for your next character. So you only have to buy them once, ever. Note that If you enchant the ‘loom and then destroy it then the enchant is lost, so you might want to save those, for future reference.
You will still have to get regular pieces for your wrists, hands, belt, and boots and maybe a ring and a trinket.
To get your heirlooms go see:
- Alliance: Krom Stoutarm is in the Library of Ironforge, which is found on the north-eastern edge of the outer ring.
- Horde: Estelle Gendry lurks around the south-western side of the Rogue’s Quarter of Undercity. Note that if you’re 110+ and have seen Lordaeron sacked, then you’ll find her atop the gates of Orgrimmar.
- At any particular level, if you don’t have (or want) heirlooms, then you can get better gear by running regular Battlegrounds (PvP) or dungeons. Smash player or monster heads, win, get some nice gear (usually.)
- Enchanting note: With patch 5.4 any high level enchant, including crafter enchants (such as Angerhide Leg Armor) can be added even to level 1 items and the enchants will scale to the appropriate level. You can add these to your heirlooms at level 1. For the crafter enchants they will need to be applied by a high level (85+) character, though they can be used by a level 1. With a full set of enchanted heirlooms you’ll do well.
Useful Rogue Macros
You have a Pickpocket skill, here’s an easy way to make sure you use it. Open up your macro creater, create a new one, and add this code. Note that Premeditation is a Sub. ability.
- #showtooltip Cheap Shot
- /cast Pickpocket
- /cast Cheap Shot (Or use Garrote or another ability, or make one for each.)
The above macro will pickpocket your opponent and then attack. If it can’t have its pockets picked then the macro will just attack. The automatic pocket picking will result in several gold over the long haul as well as a few other items, such as lockboxes and healing potions.
1st Aid Macro
This will fire off First Aid even if you don’t have a target to Blind. (Change the bandage type to whatever bandage you are using.)
- /cast Blind
- /use [target=player] Put Your Best Healing Potion Here
- /use [target=player] Your Best Bandage Here
So a Draenor version would be:
/use Healing Tonic
/use Antiseptic Bandage
Can’t find the mob you’re looking for? Try this macro. Enter the name of the mob you’re looking for, in place of Mistblade Ripper. It will find the mob, if it’s in range, and put a skull icon on it. Change the ‘8’ to a different number (1 to 8) if you want a different icon.
Partial names work, such as Mistbl, but they do have to be spelled correctly. It targets players, but won’t mark them with the icon. So if Phredd ganks you just put his name in and it will target him, if he hasn’t run away yet.
- /target Mistblade Ripper
- /script SetRaidTarget(“target”, 8);
Lockpicking & Picking Pockets
Pocket Picking in Warlords and Legion is a bit more interesting than before. Most NPCs with pockets have green, blue, or purple “stuff,” but you can’t sell it to a vendor. You need a fence.
Early on in your Draenor pocket picking you will find a Secretive Whistle. Use this item to fence your “loot” in exchange for “dingy coins.” Once you get 1,000 of these your fence will buy them from you for 250 gold. Each item that you pick will be worth 2-20 coins. Patch 6.2 extends all this to make it a bit more interesting.
In Battle for Azeroth Pickpocketing is back to where it originally was, you just find some coin and maybe some misc. stuff.
Lockpicking – With 4.0 you gained the lockpicking skill from your trainer and could automatically able to pick locks up to 5x your level. The lockpicking quests (from Vanilla WoW) were made obsolete.
The Glyph of Pick Lock is dead.
Boxes are pickable and will let you know what skill you need to have to pick them.
Rogue Poisons – for Assassination only
With Legion, and later expansions, all poisons are Assassination only.
Like spells, poisons scale with your level. You used to have to make them and then you used to have to buy them. A poison quest used to be required, now you just get the skill like any other skill. The poison quest has been removed from the gamer and the Horde trainer who gave it to you has been disappeared.
Your poisons are just like any other class’s buffs and they last for one hour and last through death. You do not have to apply them directly to your weapons anymore. Just activate and you’re good.
You can have one lethal and one non-lethal up at any one time.
- If you change weapons to something else, such as equipping a fishing rod, you will lose the poison buffs. So be aware of that. If you change weapon types (dagger to sword, for example) you will not lose the buffs.
- Deadly (lev. 10, ability) does damage over time.
- Wounding (lev 30, ability) does instant damage and suppresses enemy healing
- Crippling (lev 20, ability) slows your opponent’s movement. Nice for mobs (or players) that run away. Shiv increases the Slow effect.
- Leeching Poison (lev 45, talent) heals you for a percentage of the damage done. Harder hits from you = better healing. It’s a small, but nice and steady heal. Shiv heals you for 5% of your health.
For leveling: Use Deadly poison, it hits harder than Wounding. Use Wound poison for PvP or dungeons where the enemy has access to heals. Using Cripping as the non-lethal poison will make sure that mobs don’t run so much. This makes kiting the mobs much easier.
- Deadly for most uses. It keeps damage ticking and will interrupt stealth. Glyph of Blind will remove the effect so that Blind sticks.
- Wounding is better if you’re fighting healers or those being healed (and someone should be on that healer…)
- Crippling keeps your opponent slowed.
- Leeching if you need the heals.
Stunning Moves & Interrupts
Practice these all the time. Of course, if your timing is off and/or the lag monster gets you then you aren’t interrupting anything. In general, none of these will work on boss mobs, though they will work on most elites, rares, and players.
All stuns are subject to Diminishing Returns (DR.) Your first stun of any given type within a 15 second period is at full effect, the second is at half, the third is at a quarter. Your team’s stuns count towards that DR. So when you Sap a player you get the full 8 seconds, then Bob saps it and gets 4, and Jane Saps it and gets 2 seconds.
15 seconds of Sap Free living resets the DR.
Cheap Shot – Level 8
- Opens your attack by stunning the opponent for a short time. This gives you a bit of time to beat on the opponent in safety. Learn to CS and then immediately hop behind the opponent to attack (if you have Backstab.)
Sap – Level 14
- Stuns your target for some time. Great for setting up attacks or just keeping one enemy out of play while you kill another. Great in dungeons when you need to hold a mob before the fight starts. Great for just being annoying to enemy players.
Kick – Level 18
- Interrupts spells, but does not stun. Use this often against casters. It will also block some of their casting for a few seconds.
Blind – level 24
- Blinds the target which causes it to wander aimlessly for a few seconds. Interrupts spells and any damage to the target will break the effect.
Gouge – level 34 – Outlaw only
- Causes zero damage, stuns the opponent for 4 seconds, and takes you out of Combat. It will interrupt spells. Any damage will break the Gouge.
- Run up to mob, gouge, hop behind, and backstab.
- Spellcasting happens > Gouge
Kidney Shot – Level 34
- Uses your Combo Points to stun your opponent for a few seconds. Also interrupts casting.
- a minor stun lock is Cheap shot > strike until you have up to 5 combo points > Kidney Shot.
- Your level 75 Internal Bleeding talent adds a bleed to the stun.
Distract – lev 38
- Distract is neither an interrupt nor a stun, but it does turn and stop non-player opponents, for about 10 seconds, allowing you to slip past them or set them up for an attack. It will also turn and stop running players.
- It does not break stealth, either yours or the opponent’s.
Shadow Dance – (Requires Subtlety) Lev 40
- This top Subtlety ability isn’t a stun by itself, but it does allow the use of Cheap Shot (CS) or Sap while out of stealth, so it allows more stuns. Make sure your “jump behind opponent” skills are up to snuff. Practicing this on the target dummy is highly recommended. When Shadow Dance is active your stealth bar will also be active.
- Shadowstrike becomes your Combo Point builder, most of the time.
- If you’re Sub. then you must learn to ‘dance effectively. Yes, it’s required, otherwise you’ll be half the Sub Rogue that you could be. Find a target dummy or a cooperative player friend. Or uncooperative enemy.
- Shadow Dance > Cheap Shot > Shadowstrike > Shadowstrike > Nightblade…
Dismantle – Level 52 – PvP talent, Outlaw only
- Disarms the enemy for 6 seconds.
Opening and Finishing Strikes
You generate Combo Points with your opening and primary strikes. You spend your Combo Points on your Finishing Strikes. CP = Combo Points.
You must be in Stealth to deliver these strikes. Shadowstep (not for Outlaws) also puts you behind the target, with a brief speed increase, but gives you the option of doing a Sap instead of an attack.
- Shadowstrike (Sub only) has a 25 yard range (from Stealth, not while in Shadow Dance) at level 42+.
- Ambush (Outlaw only) – Crushing strike delivered from behind. Awards 2 CPs.
- Cheap Shot – Stun the enemy for a brief time. Awards 2 CPs.
- Garrote – Attack from behind causing bleed damage and briefly silencing spell casting (at 42+.) Awards 1 CP.
- Eviscerate – Your big hit.
- Nightblade – DOTs the enemy and increases your followup damage.
- Kidney Shot – Stuns the opponent.
- Envenom (Assassination) is the big whack for Assassination Rogues. It replaces Eviscerate and increases the chance for poison application for a brief time.
- Rupture (Assassination) – Causes him to bleed. More CPs makes it last longer.
- Kidney Shot – Stuns the opponent.
- Dispatch is a finishing move that causes damage per combo point and has increased range.
- Between the Eyes damages and stuns the target. At level 42 your crits will do 4x damage.
- Roll the Bones that provides at least one random combat enhancement, such as increased crit, and might provide as many as five buffs (on a very low chance.)
Enchants and Gems
Gems: Every now and then while leveling you’ll come across gear that has sockets, especially if it’s dungeon of PvP gear. If you want every last bit of firepower then drop a gem into those sockets. Otherwise skip it, since you’ll be out of that gear soon enough.
If you have questions about “how to socket your gear” then hop over to YouTube and watch this video.
Enchants -Unless you have lots of extra gold don’t worry about enchants. As with gems, they are more useful, even necessary, in raiding and PvP, but they are an expensive luxury while leveling, especially since you will be leveling fast enough that you will be quickly replacing the enchanted gear. Enchanting your Heirlooms is a good idea, since you’ll have that gear for awhile.
If you have the gold and want to do it anyway, then look for Agility, Stamina, Attack Power, and Stamina. More or less in that order. Yes, Stam is listed twice. That said, some low level Stamina enchants are available, on scrolls, for very little cash. It’s cheap HP which means better survivability.
Any enchant can be added to any lower level item, even the highest level enchants. Yes, you can take that top level enchant and add it to your level 1 item. Do this with your heirlooms. For some crafted enchants you might need a level 85+ character to cast the enchant onto the item, which won’t work with heirlooms. However, your 85+ can do it, if you have one. Just mail the item back and forth.
Which Race for the Leveling Rogue?
Which races can be Rogues?
Most of them, even Pandarens. the only exceptions are the Tauren and Draenei. Why? Who knows. Maybe it’s the horns.
Which is the best race?
Whichever works for you. The racial abilities aren’t that important unless you’re really looking for every last drop of efficiency. The best DPS that you get from any racial is a 1% improvement in something, or a Burst abilities once every two minutes, which just isn’t that much.
So play what you like, especially if you’re an RPer. It doesn’t matter if one race is a tiny bit better in one area than another class, if that class just doesn’t work for you.
- Humans have that nice escape and can have, effectively three PvP trinkets. This is why a good half of the top PvPers are human.
- Gnomes have an escape and you get a bit more energy. Their small size is also a factor, making it harder on people who click their targets.
- Orcs have an extra damage cooldown and stun resistance.
- Undead can escape from certain effects and their Drain Life helps. And they can eat the enemy after killing them.
- Pandarens have a melee stun and get better buffs from food both of which are nice. They also level a bit faster due to more rest XP.
- Alliance: Humans, Gnomes, and Dwarves get a bit of extra weapon expertise. Worgen have a slightly increased crit chance.
- Horde: Orcs can Enrage and have weapon expertise (for Outlaw Rogues only.) Trolls can go berserk, increasing attack speed. Blood Elves look good while stabbling you in the back and Goblins will sell your stuff for you (for a hefty cut, of course.)
Pandarens can be either Horde or Alliance.
- They’re “bouncy” so take less falling damage. This probably stacks with other Rogue “safe fall” abilities.
- They get improved benefits from food buffs, which is pretty nice in all situations.
- Their rest XP lasts longer for slightly faster leveling.
- Skilled with Cooking
- Can put enemeis to sleep with a touch of their paw, this is a 4 second stun, which is nice. Rogues can always use another stun.
Racial abilities that are gone in Warlords of Draenor are crossed out. New abilities are marked: WoD:
- Increased rep: rep gains – This is nice if you have any interest in gaining rep with any of the bazillion factions in WoW. The various factions have some nice stuff well worth working for and this will save you a bit of grinding. Warlords , and later expansions, require a serious rep-grind in order to get Flying. This will help.
- Escape – Allows you to break free from stuns every 3 minutes. Nice for PvP, useful here and there at other times. Allows you to use two regular trinkets in PvP, instead of one being an escape trinket, and get those extra stats and burst.
- Your Human Spirit adds to all of your secondary stats: Crit, etc.
- Escape allows you to break free from movement restricting effects, which is rather nice for PvP, useful here and there at other times.
- More Energy (5%) and a bit (1%) more Haste: Energy and Haste.
- Skilled with Engineering (+15 skill:) Engineering
- Resistance provides a bit if resistance to Arcane damage.
- Your Stone form erases various bad effects and decreases damage by 10% – Very nice for PvP, generally useful at other times.
- Your Frost resistance keeps you a bit warmer in those chilly places, or when some mage tells you to “Freeze!”
- Skilled with Archeology (Archeology)
- Critical Strike provides bonus damage and healing increased by 2% (this is not Crit Rating.)
- Night Elf – a bit more agility and dodge.
- An extra stealth as long as you don’t move. Think of it like a mini Vanish, as it works in Outlaw and can break incoming spells if your timing is very good. Shadowmeld will also drop aggro if things get tight and Vanish isn’t available. You can also ‘meld to stealth to escape.
- They have a bit more agility and are a bit harder to hit, which is nice for any rogue.
- Nelves are also slightly faster in stealth than other races.
- WoD: 2% faster movement speed
- WoD: +1% Crit by day, +1% Haste by night
- Worgen – Crit bonus and Sprint.
- Can occasionally move quickly – extra speed is always good.
- Increased crit chance is generally useful to any Rogue.
- Reduced duration of curses and diseases – pretty situational
- Skinning skill and speed increased
- Resistant to Nature and Shadow damage.
- WoD: no changes
- Void Elf
- Draenei – Nope, still can’t be rogues. They’re much too proud. Or blue. Or something.
- Highmountain Tauren also cannot be Rogue, just as with the “regular” Tauren.
- Orc – Damage cooldown and resistance to stuns
- Enrage (Blood Fury) to increase damage – generally useful and quite nice for leveling. Drop this into a macro to use right after your opener (since it breaks stealth.)
- Good with axes (increased expertise,)
- Resistant to stuns – Especially useful in PvP, but also nice at times while leveling/raiding.
- WoD: Stun resistance is nerfed a bit.
- Troll – Berserk, snare resistance
- Berserk to increase Haste by 15% – Generally useful, especially for leveling. Put this in a macro.
- Regeneration increased – trivial for leveling, less useful elsewhere.
- XP increase from Beast slaying.
- Ranged weapon expertise
- Reduced duration of movement impairing effects – This is generally nice, especially for PvP.
- WoD: Beast Slaying now increases XP earned.
- Blood Elf – A of E silence.
- Area effect silence effect also restores some energy , nice when fighting anything that casts spells as it interrupts NPC (but not Boss or player) spellcasting.
- They look good while stabbing you in the back
- Resistant to Arcane damage
- Good with Enchanting.
- WoD: +1 to Crit chance
- Undead – Remove Fear and such, drain life, eat dead enemies.
- Remove Fear, sleep, charm which is useful in PvP and of occasional use elsewhere.
- Cannibalism is a nice “in your face” for PvP and eliminates the need to use a bag slot for food. Just eat what you kill, no one else can.
- drain life (Touch of the Grave) and the old Underwater Breathing ability is gone. Touch is a passive ability and will add a small amount to your overall damage and self-healing.
- Resistant to Shadow damage
- WoD: Underwater Breathing is back, as part of your Drain Life ability, and is now indefinite.
- Goblin – leap away, Haste
- Can rocket jump forward, or away, so is a bit like the Mage spell Blink. It breaks your Stealth, so it’s not a cheap Shadowstep.
- Can launch rockets at enemies. This is more of a “bottle rocket” than an ICBM. Probably good for pulling mobs.
- Receives vendor discounts, which will ease the gold issues a bit.
- Can periodically summon a personal bank.
- +1% Haste increase is always nice.
- Alchemy skill and potion healing increased.
- WoD: No changes
- Nightbourne –
- Tauren: What? You think a 9′ tall man-cow thing can be sneaky? Though War Stomp out of stealth would be fun, it’s not happening at this time. Must be the horns.
- Lightforged Draeei – Too honorable, or something, to be Rogues.
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Leveling Notes and Tips
At low level Stamina is the only stat you’re interested in (I think I mentioned that before…?) After the mid/high teens Agility starts to appear in numbers high enough to be worth stacking. Don’t drop the Stam for agility though.
Gouge is your friend. Before you get Garrote, you can run up to an opponent, Gouge, run/jump behind if you like, and attack (Backstab if you’re Subtlety.) Forget stealth, unless you’re avoiding something (or someone.) If you’re in trouble then Gouge and run.
Ambush is a nice, big whack from behind. It doesn’t requires daggers, but it hits for a lot more if you’re using them. You do have to be behind the opponent and stealthed. A glyph will increase Ambush range. Your Shadowstep and Cloak and Dagger talents will put you behind the target.
Cheap Shot – Run up, stealthed, and whack. Use whatever weapon you have and you don’t have to be behind the opponent.
Stun-locking– The idea is to lock up your opponent so that he/she/it is always stunned or incapacitated. Keep in mind that stuns suffers from Diminishing Returns, making a long stun-lock somewhat more difficult.
One basic routine is…
- Cheap shot (strike, strike) to Kidney shot (strike, strike) to Gouge, jump behind and Backstab to Blind (move behind, as necessary) & backstab. If you don’t have Backstab (and you won’t if you’re not Subtlety) then skip the “jump behind” part.
- Cheap Shot is an opener
- Kidney shot is your finisher
- Gouge and Blind take you out of Outlaw and stun the opponent, but your bleeds will break both. Glyph of Blind fixes that issue with Blind.
Picking Pockets – You might as well pick the pockets of all humanoids you come across. The cash doesn’t amount to much, but you also find potions and the occasional odd item, not to mention lockboxes to use to practice your lockpicking skill. See above for the pickpocket macros and Draenor changes.
Eviscerate – Your standard finisher. Open, strike, strike, strike, BOOM! Keep an eye on the Mob’s health, often you won’t be able to get to 5 combo points before using Eviscerate. Assassination will use Envenom at level 20.
More Notes on Leveling
Nowadays we have three (or four) ways of gathering our XP. All are fast. It used to be that going level 1 to 60 in 6 days in-game time was pretty fast. These days? Zygor’s + heirlooms + questing + Recruit a Friend + charging as hard as you can can get you to 85 in under three days (in-game time.) Our RaF pair has gone 1-80 in 17 in-game hours, doing just that. Leveling to 100 won’t take much longer than the old 1-60 grind.
- Questing and or Grinding (just mashing endless mobs with no quests attached) – low stress and you’ll level fast enough. The in-game quest helper is fine, but Zygor’s is much better. Questing is, overall, about as fast as dungeon or PvP leveling for Rogues. Grinding is just… bad. Unless you’re farming certain items (eg: cloth) for gold or professions.
- Dungeoning – via the Dungeon Finder tool: DPS classes are a dime a dozen so the wait times to get into the dungeons can be a few minutes, but this can result in fast XP and better gear than you’ll get from questing. Just go questing while you’re waiting for the dungeon queue. Dungeron leveling isn’t much faster than questing (mostly due to the sometimes long wait times for a group,) but it’s different and you get the nicer gear. Groups tend to move quickly, so you’ll need to know your stuff and keep up. Sometimes you get a great group, sometimes you get jerks, usually it’s somewhere inbetween.
- PvP leveling – Battleground weekends can result in seriously fast XP if your side wins. Since winning doesn’t seem to be a priority these days, for either faction, it might be best to do this with a well-oiled team. Even if it’s not the BG weekend, wins still result in very nice XP gains. XP while losing is about the same as questing XP and is more frustrating (to me, anyway.)
- Healing – Unless you just aren’t taking damage you should have Recuperate up at all times, especially if you have a Subtlety build (a talent lets your Recuperate restore energy.) Your Leeching Poison will be quite nice for leveling.
- Always have the biggest bags you can afford.
- Make an Auction House alt and send anything (that isn’t grey) to the alt instead of vendoring it. Vendor the grey junk.
- Questing is faster than grinding, except at the very lowest levels, but you do have to have a plan for your questing. Get a guide (see below) or study the in-game quest help thing and organize your quests to hit several at one time in the same place.
- Keep your weapons updated; the rest of your gear can fall behind a bit.
- Killing mobs of a bit lower level gives less XP but a lot less downtime, for a net XP per hour increase.
- Always log out at an Inn, to get the Rest XP when you come back.
- Level with a new friend for 3x XP. (see above)
- Dungeons (instances) are a great source of XP (especially if you get the associated quests ) and much better gear than you’ll find while soloing. Depending on the teams you join they may also be a great source of irritation or fun. See our dungeon leveling guide for more info and “how not to fail” tips. For example:
- Only attack what the tank is attacking.
- Stay out of any goop on the floor unless your guys are creating it (such as healing circles.)
- Stay behind the opponent at all times.
- If you get aggro then either kill the mob or Vanish.
- Keep Recovery and Slice and Dice up at all times for all Specs.
- How to win in the BGs?
- Warsong Gulch – the only thing that matters is the flags. Stay in a group and grab the other side’s flag while keeping them from taking/keeping yours. Protect your flag-carriers and kill theirs. Your Burst of Speed talent is terrific for flag carrying.
- Arathi Basin – Only the bases matter. If you can take and keep three flags/bases then you will win. If you take a base and everyone leaves to go to the next one then you will lose that base soon. If one person stays they can call for help when the other side comes to claim that base.
- Eye of the Storm – Take and keep three bases and the flag captures won’t matter (though they’re fun.) The flag is only worth while if both sides have two bases and can’t manage to take a third. If you have three bases and are bragging flags then youi’ll win faster.
- Alterac Valley – You have to take out the opponent’s towers while protecting yours. When their towers are gone you kill their General in their base. Some teamwork is essential here. Big fights in the middle of the field are great fun, but otherwise hurt your cause (which is to win.)
- Strand of the Ancients – You will be on both offense and defense. On offense, get into the tanks and attack the gate, don’t fight in the field. If you’re not driving then you need to protect a tank and don’t fight in the field. Defense needs to kill the tanks and not fight in the field. The team that breaks the last gate and takes the relic, in the least amount of time wins. Fighting in the field doesn’t help. Gathering bombs to blow up gates does help.
- Random fighting in the field, for any BG, does not help your team.
- The team with the best teamwork will win and winners get far more XP and honor than losers.
Briefly: In Warlords the professions are only for making things and for the gold. There are no special stat bonuses anymore.
Professions – While leveling, unless you already have a ton of cash, skip all of the crafting professions. They are way too expensive. Yeah, there is some nice gear to be had with leatherworking, but they’re all expensive to level up.
Unless you’re rich I suggest you stick with mining, herbalism, and skinning (pick any two.) Work those hard, sell all of your stacks of ore/herbs/skins on the Auction House, and you will have enough gold to buy your mounts and some decent items.
In Warlords there are no longer an profession bonuses. No agility enchant for Leatherworking, no Crit from skinning, nothing. You can make some very nice gear (item level 640,) but it will take awhile to accumulate the necessary materials for such. It’s not very expensive, just time consuming. Those items can be boosted to 700+ and that is pretty expensive.
And the others:
- Leatherworking makes your gear. If you have a level 2 Garrison and a follower working your LW hut then you have access to tents which will boost your stats by 10%. These tents are account bound, so mail them to all of your alts.
- Alchemy can make a number of useful chemicals to consume when needed, such as potions and flasks for stat boosts. Take Herbalism with this, you’ll save some gold.
- Enchanting? Very expensive to level, but can put some pretty nice buffs on things.
- Engineering? If you’re rich and want to ride on of those Mechano Hog Motorbike things eventually then get this profession. Watch for backfires which may make PvE content (dungeons/raids) a bit too interesting (you’ll pull aggro.)
- Inscription? It can be a nice money maker, if you work at it. Take Herbalism with this, you’ll save some gold. Scribes can make staves for their Mage/Druid friends.
- Jewelcrafting? Can be a good money-maker. Take Mining to go with it.
- Blacksmithing? You’ll be able to make some nice weapons, especially useful if you’re just not finding them.
- Tailoring? You can make a nice flying carpet.
- Cooking can make interesting foods, some of which buff Agility (such as Warp Burgers.)
- Fishing can provide mats for cooking.
- First Aid is a very handy skill to have. Keep it maxed at all times. Makes a very nice Healing Tonic once you get to Draenor.
At last count there were 23,098,147,365 addons for the World of Warcraft (actually, Curse has just over 5,700,) covering just about any aspect of the game, several times over. Everyone has their favorites and there’s usually something else out there that’s pretty cool. Here are some that I use and like:
NeedToKnow – Nifty way to track buffs, debuffs, your poisons and bleeds, etc.
NugComboBar – Keeps track of your energy and combo points. Also tracks resources for several other characters, such as Druids and Paladins.
NPCScan – If you’re hunting rares in Draenor (or anywhere else) then this is essential. It detects them and marks them and you can download some extras, such as the path that the rares take.
Altaholic – If you have a bunch of alts, especially if you store stuff on different alts, then you really want this. If you’re just sticking to the one character (and who does THAT?) then it’s useless. 😉
Gatherer – This is an addon for herbalists, miners and treasure hunters in World of Warcraft. It’s main purpose is to track the closest plants, deposits and treasure locations on your minimap. If you do any serious gathering, and not just leveling the skill, then you’ll find this addon very worthwhile.
OneBag3 – Merges all of your bags into one bag. There are several of these out there and some UI mods, such as LUI, will provide their own “one bag” utility.
Deadly Boss Mods – This will tell you what the boss is going to do and what you should do when he does it. It has a few other useful abilities, as well. Very nice if you’re dungeoning.
Auctionator – A very nice Auction House addon. Lets you make shopping lists and does a much better job of presenting info than the standard auction house interface.
Auctioneer – Another auctioning addon. Does lots of stuff. Much more complicated than Auctionator.
LUI will completely redo your user interface. Bars, frames, chat, bags, everything. It’s pretty nifty, but it’s not trivial to set up. Set aside an hour or two to set it up the first time. The upside is massive customization of your interface. New players should skip this.
Tycoon (not free) – This one is for people serious about getting more gold. See the linked page for a lot more detail.
Rogue leveling, the fast way
Once you have decided on the right build for your Rogue consider a in-game Rogue Leveling Guide for the most effective (fastest) leveling.
Why? With thousands of quests and a million mobs to grind the trip to 110 in Legion can take a while. A long while. An in-game leveling guide will (almost) automate the whole leveling path for your Rogue.
Even if you pay the $60 to boost to 100 you’ll still want those lest ten levels.
Start from any level and use Zygor’s to blast to the finish. Heck, you can even grab a few levels in the dungeons and battleground PvP. Zygor’s guide will figure out your new level and the best spot to continue your questing.
Pick your starting point and the guide will show you where to go and what to do. It automatically updates and advances as you complete tasks and quests, sets a waypoint arrow automatically (always showing you where to go next,) and includes all the important quest info. You will probably never need to look at your quest log again, much less stop mid-play to browse some website.
Note: Zygor’s is always quickly updated to the latest patches and expansions, whether it’s Legion or whatever comes after that. Grab your copy now and hit that level cap ASAP.
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