The Rogue Leveling Guide for the Mists of Pandaria
Updated for Mists of Pandaria, patch 5.4
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.
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. We have the Rogue patch notes. up through 5.4. There isn’t much that affects leveling, other than added damage. But then, damage is what you’re so good at.
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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 have nice escapes. Gnomes has exeprtise with your weapons, and an escape. All the others offer something that’s useful. Even Pandarens. Only Taurens 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.
Combat 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 combat as the leveling build.
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 Shadowdance ability. Not quite so hot for long fights, and a bit energy starved until level 70, but Sub. can still kill very quickly which is very nice for leveling.
Assassination makes great use of poisons. Nice for Dungeons, raids, and PvP, no slouch at regular leveling. The only reason it’s behind combat is the energy regeneration, Assassination is a bit slow on that until level 70.
All Rogues – Gear, Stats, Poisons:
- Wear Leather only – you will get an ability at level 50 that makes leather wearing better (more agility.)
- Stack Stamina until you are confortable with your survivability.
- Agility – Once survival isn’t an issue stack Agility, no other primary stats matter.
- At higher levels Haste is a good stat for all Rogue specs. ( Subtlety likes crit more, but Haste is still good. )
- Resilience: Worthless outside of PvP and, as of patch 5.4, you will have 72% Res. in PvP. So don’t worry much about it.
- Weapons: Weapon speed has been “normalized” in Mists of Pandaria, which means that the old advice of “slow main hand, fast off-hand weapon” is no longer applicable. For example, all daggers are now 1.8 speed (before this they varied) and any dagger should be fine in either hand.
- Poisons: Poisons have changed alot in Mists.
- Poisons are buffs. You learn them, but you don’t not have to stock them in your bags and you no longer need to apply them to your weapons (as if they were enchants.) Activate them and they appear, just like any other buff effect.
- You can use one lethal (eg: Deadly or Wound) and one non-lethal (eg: Crippling) at any one time. It used to be that you could put Instant poison on both weapons, no longer. By the way, Instant Poison is now gone and Wound is one of your lethals.
- You get Deadly at level 10 and Crippling at 20. That’s what you should use for your leveling. Leeching Poising (talent, 45) is also a good choice for the non-lethal poison.
- More info
Rogue Enchants, Gems, Glyphs:
- Gems and enchants are much better in Mists of Pandaria, but the gems require pretty high level gear (iLevel 417+.) Enchants require i372 gear. You don’t have to worry about either until the end-game stuff (eg: raiding)
- Enchants: Skip unless you have the cash or can find them for cheap, you’ll level too fast to make the pricey ones worthwhile.
- If you do enchant/gems: Go for Agility > Attack Power > Stam
- Got Heirlooms? Get the best enchants you can that work with Item Level 1 items.
- Here’s a good example: Enchant Weapon – Agility
- Gems: Skip gems until you have a piece of gear that you’re going to be keeping for awhile. If you do install gems then go for these.
- Glyphs: See the builds below for glyph recommendations.
- Professions: Pick two from Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning. The crafting professions are expensive and take a fair amount of time. The gathering professions will keep you in gold if you work them. Herbalism comes with a very nice Haste cooldown.
Very basic Rotations: Mobs will frequently die quickly. Sub does best attacking from stealth, Combat doesn’t much care, and Assassination is somewhere inbetween the two.
- Sub: Stealth to Ambush/Cheapshot to Hemo x2 (build Combo Points) to Eviscerate.
- Combat: Stealth to Ambush/Gouge/Cheapshot > Sinister Strike to build CPs > Eviscerate
- Assassination: Stealth to Mutilate/Garrote > Mut. to build CPs > Eviscerate (Use envonom when you get it at 20.)
If you need to blast to 90 as fast as possible then check out our favorite leveling guide.
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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, thei weapon expertise applies if you’re a Combat Rogue.
- Gnomes have an escape and expertise that applies to any Rogue. Their small size is also a factor.
- Orcs have an exrta damage cooldown, stun resistance, and Ax expertise (good for Combat.)
- 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 Combat 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.
- Human – Expertise (Combat only) and an escape
- Increased 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. Mists of Pandaria brings more factions and more nice stuff to work towards.
- Mace & Sword expertise – Of some use to Combat at the high end of the game, Sub and Assassination use daggers.
- Escape – Very 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.
- Increased Spirit is useless to Rogues.
- Gnome – Expertise for any Rogue and an escape
- Escape – Very nice for PvP, useful here and there at other times.
- Good with daggers and small swords (increased expertise) which is good for all specs.
- Skilled with Engineering
- Resistance to Arcane damage helps a bit in end-game content
- Dwarf – Exp. for Combat, wash away bleeds and such.
- Ranged weapon expertise is almost useless, but will work for your dagger throws & Shuriken toss (level 90 talent)
- Mace expertise is nice for Combat, if you’re using a mace in the main hand, but useless to Sub and Assassination.
- Stone form erases certain effects and decreases damage by 10% – Very nice for PvP, useful here and there at other times.
- Skilled with Archeology
- Night Elf – a bit more agility and dodge.
- An extra stealth as long as you do’t move. Nice while lurking in wait, either for AFKing or ambushing. Works in combat 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.
- 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.
- Draenei – Nope, still can’t be rogues. They’re much too proud. Or blue. Or something.
- Orc – Damage cooldown, resistance to stuns, Ax expertise.
- Enrage 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,) but only if an axe is the best weapon available and if you’re Combat.
- Resistant to stuns – Especially useful in PvP, but also nice at times while leveling/raiding.
- Troll – Berserk, snare resistance
- Berserk to increase attack speed by 20% – Generally useful, especially for leveling. Put this in a macro.
- Regeneration increased – trivial for leveling, less useful elsewhere.
- Damage Increase Vs Beasts (Nice for leveling, some PvE value)
- Ranged weapon expertise is nice for your throwing abilties, but you won’t be using those often enough to care.
- Reduced duration of movement impairing effects – This is generally nice, especially for PvP.
- 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) spellcasting.
- They look good while stabbing you in the back
- Resistant to Arcane damage
- Good with Enchanting.
- Undead – Remove Fear and such, drian 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.
- In Mists of Pandaria undead are able to 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
- 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 another 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.
- Haste increase is always nice.
- Alchemy skill and potion healing increased.
- 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.
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Talents and Abilities for Mists of Pandaria
Rogues didn’t change much going into 4.0 and Cataclysm, or since. Except for some new abilities, from 80 to 85, they were much the same as before. The main changes were the same as for every class and that’s the new (Cata) talent system and a shuffling of abilities.
In Mists of Pandaria the mechanics are much the same, even though talents and abilities moved around a lot (eg: Only Sub. Rogues will be able to use Backstab and any rogue can take Shadowstep) and the talent system (for all classes) is completely changed.
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.
Mastery is an ability you will receive at level 80. It gives you an extra bonus to your abilities, such as extra attacks in Combat. Cataclysm (level 77) and later gear will frequently have Mastery Rating, but whether stacking Mastery has any value, as compared to hit or crit or whatever, depends on your build. Assassination loves it, Combat and Subtlety don’t much care for it.
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 – Somewhat energy starved in the beginning, requires daggers, but can pump out some consistent, and very nice, damage, especially with the patch 5.4 buffs. End game? Very solid for raiding. Since any Rogue can pick up any of the talents they are better than before in PvP. Faster Energy regen comes from Venomous Wounds, gained at level 60. 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 20 you must keep your daggers poisoned at all times or you will severely gimp your damage. Combat and Sub. do not put the same importance on poisons, though they’re still quite useful.
Combat – 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. Very competitive with, and maybe better than, Assassination for PvE content. Ok for 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.) Nice initial burst, but energy starved until Energetic Recovery is obtained at 70. Not so good for longer fights, but Energetic Recovery helps. This also means that, post level 70, you will really want to have Slice and Dice up for any fights lasting more than a few seconds.
This was the spec for PvP (less so in M of P) and is great fun for leveling. Sub. can pump out very nice dungeon/raid damage, but it takes more work than the others.
Rogue Abilities by Spec
These are the abilities that differentiate one Rogue from the other. Some of these used to be talents, some were abilties, and some have been modified over what they were before M of P. These are not talents and you will receive these in turn as you level. The abilities will changes somewhat as M of P progresses, but hovering over the links should show accurate tooltips, regardless of the patch.
Go here for the list of abilities common to all Rogues. Some of these abilities will be buffed in patch 5.4. See our patch notes page for details or just hover over the links for a pop-up which will provide up to date details.
|10||Assassin’s Resolve - more energy and damage while using daggers.||10||Ambidexterity increasesd off-hand weapon damage.||10||Hemorrhage - adds a bleed, replaces Sinister Strike.|
|10||Improved Poisons - increases chance to apply lethal poisons.||10||Blade Flurry - strike additional oppnent, regen less energy.||10||Master of Subtlety - more damage when attacking from stealth.|
|10||Mutilate - Basic strike, awards 2 combo points.||10||Vitality - Increased energy regeneration and attack power.||10||Sinister Calling - increases total agility by 30%.|
|20||Envenom - Replaces Eviscerate and delivers Instant Poison damage.||20||Revealing Strike – Improves effectiveness of finishing strikes and Sinister Strike.||20||Find Weakness - openers bypass 70% off opponent armor.|
|30||Seal Fate - more combo points from crits.||30||Combat Potency - off-hand and Main Gauche strikes have a chance to recover energy.||30||Premeditation - adds 2 combo points to target before attack.|
|40||Dispatch - Hard hitting, replaces Sinister Strike, usable when opponent is at 35% health.||32||Ruthlessness: (passive, new for 5.4) The Rogue gains a 20% chance per combo point (100% chance at 5 combo points) to immediately regain 1 combo point while performing a finishing move.||40||Backstab - requires man hand dagger, must be behind target.|
|50||Venomous Wounds - Rupture and Garrote do more damage and return energy.||40||Adrenaline Rush - Faster attack speed and much faster energy regen for a short time.||50||Honor Among Thieves - Gain combo points from the crits of party members.|
|60||Cut to the Chase - Eviscerate (and Envenom?) refreshes Slice and Dice.||50||Restless Blades - your damaging finishing moves reduce several cooldowns.||60||Sanguinary Vein - Improves Rupture and all bleeds.|
|70||Blindside - Performing a successful Mutilate has a chance of leaving you in an advantageous position, enabling a single use of Dispatch with no energy cost||60||Bandit’s Guile - Your Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike abilities increase your damage dealt||70||Energetic Recovery - Slice and Dice for faster energy recovery.|
|80||Mastery: Potent Poisons - increases all poison damage.||80||Killing Spree - strike many targets. In 5.4 it strikes one target many times, unless Blade Flurry is active.||80||Mastery: Executioner - Increases damage done by finishing strikes|
|80||Vendetta - Marks an enemy for death. More damage and they can’t hide.||80||Mastery: Main Gauche - chance for extra attacks||80||Shadow Dance - now 8 seconds, allows use of abilities out of stealth.|
Rogue Leveling Build for the Mists of Pandaria
These talents were picked with solo leveling (questing) in mind and they work well with any flavor of Rogue. There are other options depending on what you are doing and some comments are added below the image.
Talents can be changed on the fly, but you’ll need a dose of dust, powder, or tome (depending on your level) to swap them. Get the stuff from your Inscription or Reagents vendor (ask a city guard for locations.) Just click on the appropriate row, spend the dust, and pick your new talent.
Tier 1 (Level 15:)
- Nightstalker – faster stealth and more damage coming out of stealth, for a harder hitting Ambush. The increased movement speed will trim some time from the leveling, as will the harder hitting opener. This talent was buffed in patch 5.4 and will often result in a one shot kill, though not against dungeon mobs or players.
- Subterfuge – Stealth doesn’t break immediately. (This allows the use of two openers when attacking. ) You could open with Ambush and then do Cheap Shot before your stealth breaks. Or visa versa. It allows for more contral and a margin of safety.
- Shadow Focus – Abilities cost little Energy while you are stealthed. Leaves more energy for the followup attack.
Tier 2 (Level 30:)
- Deadly Throw – Reduces movement speed and can interrupt if you use 3+ Combo Points. Very situational talent.
- Nerve Strike – Opponents does less damage and healing when coming out of Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot. This is the easiest talent of this level to use and, since you will be Cheap Shotting and Kidney Shotting all the time, the most useful.
- Combat Readiness – Take less damage as the fight gets longer.
Tier 3 (Level 45:)
- Cheat Death – Avoid fatal attacks. Might be the choice to take on an active PvP server or where you expect the occasional crushing damage.
- Leeching Poison – your strikes heal you, helping to eliminate recovery breaks. It’s a small heal, but it helps. It’s in addition to any healing you have from Recuperate.
- Elusiveness – Feint reduces all damage, not just A of E. Better for instances or PvP, in general.
Tier 4 (Level 60:)
- Cloak and Dagger: Makes Ambush, Cheap Shot, and Garrote into ranged attacks. You teleport in behind the target and strike. In 5.4 it’s range is increased to 40 yards! Mages beware…
- Shadowstep – Teleport to target, brief speed increase, but no damage increase. Can be used to teleport to friendly targets, as well as enemies, and to targets on ledges and out of the way places. More versatile than C & D, which is why it’s the pick, but the range is less and the cooldown is longer.
- Burst of Speed – Break free from CC, briefly run faster if not CCed. Can be used while stealthed.
Tier 5 (Level 75:)
- Prey on the Weak allows your enemies to briefly take more damage from all sources, including from you, while the effect lasts.
- Paralytic Poison – Your poisons can stun, but quest mobs will generally die long before the stun happens. This talent is more interesting as fights get longer.
- Dirty Tricks – Gouge and Blind cost no energy and don’t break from your bleeds or poisons. Most useful in PvP rather than leveling.
Tier 6 (Level 90:)
- Shuriken Toss – Ranged ninja attack, adds 1 combo point, and uses your lethal poison.
- Marked for Death - puts an immediate 5 CPs on a target. Nice way to start a fight with a full Slice and Dice or Recuperate.
- Anticipation – Stores excess CPs on target and applies them after a finishing strike.
Glyphs for the leveling Rogue
Prime glyphs are gone in Mists of Pandaria. You will have six total glyphs by level 75, three each of Minor and Major. Majors handle real changes to your abilities, Minors are mostly cosmetic or have minor utility.
There are a number of glyph changes, to all classes, in 5.4.
- Ambush – Increases the range of Ambush, making positioning easier. Do not take this if you also have the Cloak and Dagger talent.
- Deadly Momentum - Your kills will refresh Slice and Dice and Recuperate. Great for fighting several opponents in a row, useless for Arena (lack of easy kills.)
- Cloak of Shadows - A nice survival glyph, especially on PvP servers.
- Sprint - Faster sprinting, for the Usain Bolt Rogue.
- Stealth - Just that much sneakier, which is always nice.
- Subtlety should seriously consider the Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins (once you hit level 60 and get the Sanguinary Vein ability.)
- Need healing? Look into Glyph of Recuperate (+1% healing from Recuperate in 5.4) and Glyph of Recovery
- Safe Fall Less damage from falling.
- Blurred Speed Run on water while Sprint is active.
- Distract Increased range for this ability.
- Glyph of Improved Distraction: Distract now summons a decoy at the target location.
- Required for Troll Rogues: Glyph of the Headhunter: Throw and Deadly Throw abilities will now throw axes regardless of the Rogue’s currently equipped weapon.
Rogue Gear, Stats, Etc.
None of this has changed in Mists of Pandaria. Agility is atill #1, especially for Sub.
- Agility is, by far, the best for any Rogue spec, especially at higher levels, and most especially for Subtlety with their Sinister Calling ability.
- Stamina should be stacked at lower levels until survival is not an issue.
- Strength, Spirit, and Int are useless for all Rogues.
- You should wear Leather Armor in all slots. Your Leather specialization (at 50) gives even more reason for that, as it adds 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.
- Hit Rating -
- For leveling and PvP (Vs same level mobs & players) 3% Hit rating is enough to make sure you hit with your main attacks and 6% with your poisons, since they count as spells.
- For Raiding you will need 7.5% for your specials and 15% for your poisons (they count as spells.)
- Hit up to 27% has some value as it means that more of your auto-attack strikes will hit.
- For notes on how stat caps work, go here.
- Expertise applies to the opponent’s chance to dodge your attacks and is calculated after you Hit, so you need both stats. The numbers are the same as for Hit. 3% Hit and Expertise means that non player enemies of the same level as you (or less) will never avoid your strikes.
- 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. Combat really likes Haste.
- Crit Rating – The more the merrier. Always. This is the best secondary stat for Sub.
- Mastery rating – obtained at level 80. Great for Assassination, fair for Combat, and good for Subtlety.
- Attack Power – Great for all Rogues, but only appears on a very few items and some enchants.
- PvP Resilience applies only to PvP and reduces the damage of incomming attacks. As of patch 5.4 your Resilience is 72%, which will mean you won’t need to add mroe to your gear.
- PvP Power replaces the old Spell Penetration stat and is a straight up damage add 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
- Visit Skill-Capped if you’re serious about PvP.
- At lower levels stack Stamina. With First Aid, enough Stamina and the Recuperate ability (level 12) you should be able to level quickly and have very little downtime.
- Past the lowest levels Agility is the all important stat. It adds to your damage and your defenses. It’s the most important stat for any flavor of Rogue.
- Stamina is very important for questing/PvP, less important for dungeoning since the other guy is taking all the damage. Otherwise, since you will be face to face (or back) to the opposition 100% of the time, and since you have little in the way of heals, you need to have enough health to survive.
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, +critical, and +hit. 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. Cataclysm gear is obtainable at 77 and is a whole lot better than any other non-cata gear you’ll get without PvP or level 80 raiding. (How do you tell? Check the item levels. Cata gear starts at level 77 and an iLevel of about 270.) Mists of Pandaria gear is better still and available as low as 80. (see below for more.)
- At low level, when gear has only a point or two of this or that stat, stick to stamina. You get a lot more bang for the buck with stam gear, at low level, than the way over-priced agility gear. A couple of points of Agility will do nothing for you, while a couple of points of Stam may mean avoiding a corpse run.
- After the late teens, what comes first is agility. It combines all the damage stats and improvements desired rolled up into a single stat choice, and even shows up on 90% of leather armor to boot. Increasing +critical, dodge, and attack power are second to agility.
- 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 +hit 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
- Heirloom note: There are level 85 guild heirlooms that will require guild achievements to unlock. Unlike most of the old heirlooms you will be able to keep these to level 85. You will still want to store them for 77-80, since Cata gear will be better. The heirloom gear ramps up for Cata at 81. M of P gear is better still.
- At level 70 do enough Battleground PvP to get your level 70 epic arena gear from the arena legacy vendors. It doesn’t take a lot of honor points to get this stuff (about 2k total.) This will keep you well geared for anything until level 77, even if you don’t do any more PvP.
- At level 77 start grabbing Cataclysm green gear. The damage and stats are way better than anything else you be able to easily get. Put away your heirlooms, too. Send your level 80 heirlooms to your alts, you won’t use them anymore. Keep the 85 stuff (eg: Cloak and Helm and any others from your guild vendor.)
- At 81 put your level 85 Heirlooms back on.
- At 85 buy the crafted PvP set (Vicious Leather, ilevel 377) or whatever M of P gear is on the Auction House.
- M of P gear starts at level 81 with some blue pieces. Scan the Auction House for pieces that might be available and within your budget. M of P blues are often cheap and are better than your Heirlooms. The item level 417 blues are better (higher iLevel) than the best Cataclysm raid gear.
- At 85 you can get gear from various vendors in the M of P zones, they sell M of P green gear for not much gold. Here are a few of them. You can also get blue titled gear off the Auction House if you have the gold.
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:
- #showtooltip Ambush
- /cast Premeditation (if you have it. This adds 2 combo points before your attack)
- /cast Pickpocket
- /cast Ambush (Or use Cheap Shot or Garrote, 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 gouge. (Change the bandage type to whatever bandage you are using.) You can also use Blind in place of Gouge, but it has a much longer cooldown.
- /cast Gouge
- /use [target=player] Dense Embersilk Bandage
Add the Lifeblood power to the appropriate macro, it comes with a nice Haste effect and a small heal. Here’s an example:
- #showtooltip Ambush
- /cast Premeditation
- /cast Pickpocket
- /cast Ambush
- /cast Lifebood
You can do the same thing with any “on use” trinkets that you might have.
Annoying other players
You cannot pickpocket other players, but they don’t necessarily know that. So here’s a macro…
- #showtooltip Pick Pocket
- /cast Sap
- /cast Pick Pocket
- /e has successfully pick pocketed %t for 15s and 39c!
This will try and sap them, then pick pocket. Naturally it won’t Sap or PP friendly players or entities, but it will still do the emote (/e).
The %t inserts the target’s name into the macro. So if you’re Phredd and the target is Gnomie, it will output: Phredd has successfully pick pocketed Gnomie for 15s and 39c! If Gnomie is an enemy player it will try to sap him first.
Replace the %t with You and it will say: Phredd has successfully pick pocketed You for 15s and 39c!
If you’re lucky you’ll get someone ranting about you in trade chat and he’ll be teased by other players…
And you can always replace the /e with Some Rogue, for example: Some Rogue has picked your pockets for…
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);
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 were made obsolete.
The Glyph of Pick Lock makes the lockpicking instant. Mists of Pandaria does not change this in any way.
Boxes pickpocketed in M of P will require 450 lockpicking, so you won’t be able to open them until level 90. Boxes picked up as loot seem to be few and far between, as always, but don’t necessarily require the 450 skill.
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 from your trainer. The poison quest has been removed from the gamer and the Horde trainer who gave it to you has been disappeared.
In Mists of Pandaria the poisons are just like any other class’s buffs and they last for one hour and last through death. Poisons are no longer bought from vendors and you do not have to stock them in your bags. You do not have to apply them to your weapons anymore. Just activate and you’re good.
You can have one lethal and one non-lethal up at any one time.
All Rogues now get the Master Poisoner ability, which adds 5% to the spell damage taken by the opponent (and poisons count as spells.) While Assassination makes much better use of poisons than the other specs, it’s still highly recommended for all Rogues to always have their weapons poisoned.
Your Shiv ability applies a concentrated dose of your non-lethal poison, but doesn’t use it up. The Shiv has a 100% chance to apply the poison.
- Deadly (lev. 10, ability) does damage over time.
- Wounding (lev 30, ability) does instant damage and suppresses enemy healing
- Instant poison is dead and gone.
- Crippling (lev 20, ability) slows your opponent’s movement. Nice for mobs (or players) that run away. Shiv increases the Slow effect.
- Mind Numbing (lev 28, ability) slows opponent spellcasting. Shiv greatly increases the casting time of the opponent’s next spell.
- 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.
- Paralytic Poison (lev 75, talent) stacks up and on a 5th stack stuns your opponent for a few seconds. Shiv roots the opponent for a short time. This isn’t a stun, he’ll still be beating on you, just not running away.
Always have your weapons poisoned. While this is far more important for Assassination than Combat or Sub, it’s still added damage and control for those two.
For leveling: Use Deadly poison. After level 30 you can use Wounding, especially if mobs are dying fast. Using Cripping as the other poison will make sure that mobs don’t run so much.
- 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, but Paralytic roots him.
- Mind Numbing is nice for casters, especially if a “long cast time” spell is coming up.
- Leeching if you need the heals.
- Paralytic is great for those types who like to run away or kite you.
For PvE (Dungeons, etc.)
- Deadly for almost all situations.
- Leeching for the untility poison.
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 and players.
Sap – Level 10
- Stuns your target for some time. Great for setting up ambushes and such. Great in dungeons when you need to hold a mob before the fight starts. Great for just being annoying to enemy players.
Kick – Level 14
- Interrupts spells, but does not stun. Use this often against casters. It will also block some of their casting for a few seconds. Don’t bother to glyph this.
Gouge – level 22
- Causes a small amount of damage, stuns the opponent for 4 seconds, and takes you out of combat. It will interrupt spells.
- Run up to mob, gouge, hop behind, and backstab.
- Spellcasting happens > Gouge
- For the Gouge-happy, there’s a glyph that removes the positioning requirement.
Cheap Shot – Level 26
- 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 (with Backstab.)
Blind – level 34
- 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. Glyph of Blind will remove damage over time effects when blinding the target which makes the effect stick better. Examples of such DoTs are your Rupture, Garrote, and Deadly Poison. These do need to be removed for Blind to be effective.
Kidney Shot – Level 40
- 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.
Dismantle – Level 52
- Removes weapons, shields, and carried items from the opponent for a few seconds. It is not a stun, but melee types will be greatly inconvenienced. Using this against tougher mobs will make them do much less damage to you.
Shadowdance – (Requires Subtlety) Lev 80
- This top Subtlety ability isn’t a stun by itself, but it does allow the use of Cheap Shot (CS) 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.
- Ambush 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.
- Shadowdance> CS/Ambush > Eviscerate > Ambush …
Distract – lev 28
- 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.
Opening and Finishing Strikes
You generate Combo Points with your opening and primary strikes. You spend your Combo Points on your Finishing Strikes. All Rogues get all of the openers and finishers. CP = Combo Points.
You must be in Stealth to deliver these strikes. Cloak and Dagger gives each of these a 40 yards range (in 5.4) and also puts you behind the target. Shadowstep also puts you behind the target, with a brief speed increase, but gives you the option of doing a Sap instead of an attack.
- Ambush (level 6) – Crushing strike delivered from behind. Awards 2 CPs.
- Cheap Shot (level 30) – Stun the enemy for a brief time. Awards 2 CPs.
- Garrote (level 48) – Attack from behind causing bleed damage and briefly silencing spell casting. Awards 1 CP
- Eviscerate (level 3) – Your big hit.
- Slice and Dice (level 14)
- Recuperate (level 16)
- Assassination: Envenom (lev 20) is the big whack for Assassination Rogues. It replaces Eviscerate and increases the chance for poison application for a brief time.
- Kidney Shot (level 40) – Stuns the opponent.
- Rupture (level 46) – Causes him to bleed. More CPs makes it last longer.
- Crimson Tempest (lev 83) – Hit all nearby enemies and causes them to bleed.
Enchants and Gems
Gems and enchants are much better in Mists of Pandaria than previously. M of P Gems require item level 417 gear, so you won’t be doing much with them till 90. Enchants require iLevel 372 gear, which your crafted PvP set, Cataclysm raid gear, and regular M of P and PvP gear can use.
Note that since MoP gear (of iLevel 415+) is available as low as 80 you can be running through Cata zones with MoP gear and enchants.
Enchants -Unless you have lots of extra gold don’t worry about enchants. 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.
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.
Gems – You won’t find too many pieces of gear that require gems while leveling, but there are a few. If you can afford it then look for Agility gems, skip all the others. If Ag gems cost too much then look for Hit, Crit, or Haste.
Remember that Mists of Pandaria gems start at item level 417, so you’ll be at or close to 90 before worrying about those.
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. 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 combat 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.
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.
- Skip the agility gear at low levels and buy Stamina, instead. It’s way cheaper and you get a lot more bang for the buck. You won’t notice 5 points of agility, but 5 points of Stam will save your butt.
- Skip enchants, except maybe cheap Stam, and save for your mounts. if you follow our guide then all your mounts should be pocket change, even 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? Dugi’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 90 won’t take much longer than the old 1-60 grind.
- Questing and or Grinding (just mashng endless mobs with no quests attached) – low stress and you’ll level fast enough. The in-game quest helper is fine, but Dugi’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 youir 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 Sutlety build (a talent lets your Recuperate restore energy.) In M of P 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. I hit level 42 in 12 hours played this way. People who are actually trying hard will go faster. I’ve seen people hit 85 in under three days with RAF, Heirlooms, and Dugi’s guide.
- 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.
- Arathi Basin - 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.
- 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.
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 and tailoring is the only one that’s useless (since you don’t use cloth armor,) 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.
All of the crafting and gathering professions offer some kind of self buff, which will be much greater in Mists of Pandaria. If you have to pick up crafting skills, consider:
Keep in mind that …
- Mining adds to Stamina
- Herbalism has a small heal and a very nice Haste cooldown.
- Skinning adds a bit to crit rating
At top level most professions have certain self-only items that add a buff to your best stat (Agility.)
- Alchemy can make a number of useful chemicals to consume when needed. Take Herbalism with this, you’ll save a ton of gold. You get a better effect and duration from potions if you make them. Figure 30% more Agility and an extra hour duration for Flasks and Elixirs.
- Enchanting? Very expensive to level, but can put some pretty nice buffs on things. Self-only ring enchants will add 80 total Agility to your rings, 320 in M of P.
- Engineering? If you’re rich and want to ride on of those Mechano Hog Motorbike things eventually then get this profession. Synapse Springs is a very nice wrist gadget. 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 a ton of gold. The Inscription shoulder enchant is great for your end-game gear. Scribes can make staves for their Mage/Druid friends.
- Jewelcrafting? Can be a good money-maker. Take Mining to go with it. You can make self-only gems for your end-game gear.
- Blacksmithing? A couple of nice weapons and you get two extra gems slots for more +Agility gems.
- Tailoring? Swordguard embroidery adds attack power and youi can make a 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.
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:
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 Mists of Pandaria (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. The downside is that you have to clean your cache before each session.
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.
Boss Notes - If you’re just questing then this mod is useless. If you’re dungeoning or raiding then it’ll let you pass “how to” notes to the group and send pre-written notes to the group, such as the strategy for whatever boss.
Fonter – Don’t like the style or size of the in-game fonts? Change ‘em.
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 interface.
Auctioneer – Another auctioning addon. Does lots of stuff.
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 90 in Mists of Pandaria can take a while. A long while. An in-game leveling guide will (almost) automate the whole leveling path for your Rogue.
Start from any level and use Dugi’s to blast to the finish. Heck, you can even grab a few levels in the dungeons and battleground PvP. Dugi’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: Dugi’s is always quickly updated to the latest patches and expansions, whether it’s Mists of Pandaria or whatever comes after that. Grab your copy now and hit that level cap ASAP.
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