Rogues 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
But wait, 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 just fine, thank you.
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.
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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 and Gnomes have nice escapes. All the others offer something that’s useful. Even Pandarens. Only the Tauren and Draenei and their Legion counterparts 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 might be the most fun. It’s built around coming out of stealth with serious 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 and bleeds. Nice for Dungeons, raids, and PvP, and no slouch at regular leveling.
Which Race for the Leveling Rogue?
Well, first things first. Which race is your new Rogue going to be? Undead? Human? Dinky Goblin or Gnome? Massive Orc? Other?
So Which races can be Rogues?
Most of them, even Pandarens. the only exceptions are the Tauren, Highmountain Tauren, Draenei, and Lightforged Draenei.
Why not them? Who knows. Maybe it’s the horns.
Which is the best race?
Best race for what, exactly?
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 ability once every two minutes or so.
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.
Best For PvP?
- Humans have that nice escape, which currently only works against stuns, and so 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 a bit. And they can eat the enemy after killing them. Truly a fearsome ability.
- Pandarens have a melee “gouge” and get better buffs from food both of which are nice. They also level a bit faster due to more rest XP.
- Alliance: Humans have better secondary stats, Gnomes have a bit more energy, Dwarves due a bit more crit damage, Night Elves have Shadowmeld (which can drop aggro,) and Worgen have a slightly higher crit chance.
- Horde: Orcs can Enrage, Trolls can go berserk, Blood Elves have a decent debuff, Goblins can leap away, and Void Elves have a portal ability and sometimes do a bit more damage.
Pandarens can be either Horde or Alliance.
- They’re “bouncy” so take less falling damage. This probably stacks, to some extent, with other Rogue “safe fall” abilities.
- You are an Epicurean, so naturally you get improved benefits from food buffs, which is pretty nice in all situations.
- Your Inner Peace, due to your meditation, no doubt, gives you twice as much rested XP as others get. Depending on how often you play this may result in faster leveling.
- Cooking gives you +15 to that skill.
- Quaking Palm is much like the Outlaw’s Gouge, in that it can put enemies briefly to sleep with a touch of their paw. It takes you out of combat and damage will break the effect.
The Alliance Racials:
- Human – Escape and better secondary stats.
- 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.
- Gnome – Small size, escape, and more energy.
- 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%, so that’s why Gnomes are so hyper…) and a bit (1%) more Haste: Energy and Haste.
- Skilled with Engineering (+15 skill:) Engineering
- Resistance provides a bit if resistance to Arcane damage.
- Dwarf – damage reduction and a bit more crit 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 2% bonus critical damage and healing (not that this is not Crit Rating.)
- Night Elf – an extra “vanish” and a bit harder to hit.
- Shadowmeld provides an extra stealth as long as you don’t move. Think of it like a mini Vanish, as it 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. Note that if you unmeld in combat that aggro will return. Once ‘meld is active you can then go into real stealth and escape.
- Quickness provides: 2% faster movement speed and 2% higher dodge against both melee and ranged attacks (not spells.)
- Your Touch of Elune give you a bonus +1% Crit by day which changes to +1% Haste at night.
- Your Nature Resistance reduces Nature damage taken by 1%.
- Oops, you’re dead. Darn. Your Wisp Spirit transforms you into a wisp upon death, increasing your “move while dead” speed by 75%.
- Worgen – Crit bonus and Sprint.
- Can occasionally move quickly, with Darkflight. Something like an extra Spirnt. Extra speed is always good.
- With Running Wild you are your own mount. Ok, that sounds weird… You drop to all fours and run as fast as any other ground mount. Better?
- Altered forms lets you shapeshift back and forth.
- Your natural Viciousness Increases your crit chance by 1%, something generally liked by all Rogues.
- Naturally since you’re Viscous, you’re a Flayer, so your skinning skill and skinning speed speed is increased
- You’re an Aberration, so of course you’re slightly resistant to Nature and Shadow damage.
- Void Elf – Open a portal and do a bit more damage.
- Spatial Rift opens a portal that you have 5 seconds to activate. It moves away from the original location, so cast it here, run over there, activate, and poof you’re back. More here.
- Your connection to The Void provides you with with a chance for Entropic Embrace. This gives you 5% increased damage (and healing done) for 12 seconds, then has a 1 min cooldown.
- Since you’re chill (Chill of Night) you take 1% less Shadow Damage.
- You don’t cast spells so you won’t care about Preternatural Calm.
- Like Transmogging? Use Void storage? Your Ethereal Connection makes it cheaper.
- Draenei – Nope, still can’t be rogues. They’re much too proud. Or blue. Or something.
- Highmountain Tauren also cannot be Rogues, just as with the “regular” Tauren.
The Horde Racials:
- Orc – Damage cooldown and resistance to stuns
- Enrage (Blood Fury) to increase damage every 2 min, which is generally useful and quite nice for leveling. Drop this into a macro to use right after your opener (since it breaks stealth.)
- Your Hardiness makes you resistant to stuns (20% shorter duration, about 1 second off a 5 second stun) – Especially useful in PvP, but also nice at times while leveling/raiding.
- Troll – Berserk, snare resistance
- Berserking increases your Haste by 15% – Generally useful, especially for leveling.
- Your Regeneration gives you slightly faster healing overall.
- You get a 20% XP increase due to your love of Beast slaying.
- Do Voodoo Shuffle gives you a nice 20% reduced duration of movement impairing effects – This is occasionally nice, more so in PvP.
- Blood Elf – Debuff and a bit more Crit.
- Undead – Remove Fear and such, drain life, eat dead enemies.
- Your Will of the Forsaken removes fear, sleep, and charms which is useful in PvP and of occasional use elsewhere.
- Your Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that will add a small amount to your overall damage and self-healing.
- Cannibalism is a nice “in your face” ability for PvP and eliminates the need to use a bag slot for food. Just go full zombie mode and eat what you kill.
- Your Shadow Resistance provides 1% reduction to Shadow damage
- Goblin – leap away, rockets, a bit of Haste
- Can rocket jump forward, or away, so is a bit like the hunter ability disengage. It breaks your Stealth, so it’s not a cheap Shadowstep.
- Rocket Barrage!!! The perfect Goblin ability. Can launch rockets at enemies. Note that this is more of a “bottle rocket” than an ICBM. You can probably find a use for it.
- Goblins get the Best deals Anywhere, which always gives you the best deals available.
- Your Pack Hobgob can periodically summon a personal bank. Just the thing for when you’re in the middle of nowhere and need that item.
- Since Time is Money, naturally you get a +1% Haste increase.
- Better Living Through Chemistry increases your Alchemy skill by 15.
- Nightbourne – Reduce enemy speed.
- You can do an Arcane Pulse, which slightly damages all nearby enemies and reduces their speed for 12 seconds. Note that this will break any Sap or Blind you might have on those enemies, so get out of range of them before firing your pulse.
- Your Arcane Resistance lets you take a bit less (1%) Arcane damage.
- Your Cantrips ability will let you summon up access to your mail every ten minutes. Might be interesting if you find that item in an otherwise inconvenient place and have to mail it. Or if a buddy/guildie/other needs to send you something, now.
- Your Magical Affinity gives you 1% more Arcane damage. Do you care?
- Your studies of Ancient History give you +15 to your Inscription skill.
- Tauren: What? You think a 9′ tall man-cow thing can be sneaky? Maybe it’s the horns.
- Lightforged Draeei – Too honorable, or something, to be Rogues.
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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. Pistol Shot 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 harder hitting finishing strike for Sub.
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.
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 their base ability: Critical Strikes
- Mastery rating – obtained at level 80. Nice 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. In BFA it’s making something of a re-appearance.
- 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.
“…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.
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.)Your heirlooms live in a tab at the bottom of your mounts/pets window. When you finally get better gear you can destroy them, but they still exist in 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.
Heirlooms do not exist for all gear slots, 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: 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 in previous expansions. 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 Legion you will find a troll who fences the gear and who gives out pickpocketing quests. Finish the quests and every few days you can had in your coins of air for 5k gold. Talk to Griftah and his Genie pal to get things started.
In Battle for Azeroth Pickpocketing is back to where it originally was, you just find some coins and misc. stuff to sell to a vendor.
Lockpicking – With 4.0 you gained the lockpicking skill from your trainer and could automatically able to pick locks up to 5x your level. This died awhile back and now you get the skill automatically as you level.
Any boxes you find are pickable and will let you know what skill you need to have to pick them.
Rogue Poisons – Now 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 automatically, like any other skill. The poison quest has been removed from the game 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 the buff from your action bar 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. Deadly does a lot more damage, so only use wounding if your opponent’s healing is an issue.
- Crippling (lev 20, ability) slows your opponent’s movement. Nice for mobs (or players) that run away.
- 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.
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.
- 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.)
Gear, Stats, Enchants for the leveling Rogue:
Here are the gear basics:
- 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 are 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, etc:
- 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. Ok ok… if you must: Gem for Agility.
- Got Heirlooms? All enchants work on all gear. Get the highest level enchant you can afford and put it on the heirlooms.
- Enchants: Skip unless you have the cash or can find them for cheap. The high end enchants do scale to lower levels, so you can put your top level enchants onto your heirlooms, though you might need a high level character to apply some of them, such as the leatherworking leg armor.
- If you do enchant/gems: Go for Agility > Bests Stat (see below) > Stam
- Glyphs: Purely cosmetic these days.
- Professions: Herbalism and Mining, since you get XP from them. Skinning provides no XP other than from the kill, but does supply your Leatherworking, which will make your gear.
BTW – If you need to blast to 120 as fast as possible then check out our favorite leveling guide.
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.
Leveling Notes and Tips
|Click here to get to level 120, fast|
Sneak up, Cheap Shot, and then take him down. Toss in a Kidney Shot or Between the Eyes, to stun again (remember the Diminishing Returns rule.)
Blind or Gouge or Vanish if you need get away or reset the fight.
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.
Kiting: This is where you attack while staying out of range. For example:
- Assassination can use Crippling Poison to slow the enemy while running around, keeping out of range, and throwing poisoned knives. Leap in every now and then to spend your combo points on Rupture/Envenom and refresh Garrote. Outlaws can do something similar with regular Pistol Shots. Either can toss in a stun as a finisher to get an extra couple of seconds.
- Subtlety‘s Shadow’s Grasp will also slow the opponent, but not as much.
Shadowstep will bring Assassination and Sub. back into the fight. Sorry Outlaws, but you don’t have the ability. All of you can Sprint.
Healing: All specs have Crimson Vial, which is a pretty cool ability. You can use Kidney Shot or Between the Eyes to stun the enemy and then bandage yourself. It’s also pretty nice to have a bunch of healing potions. Buy potions and bandages off the auction house or from a friendly Alchemist or Tailor.
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, such as lockboxes. The Dreanor and Legion zones provides additional stuff that you can fence to your fence (and only your fence.)
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 (RaF) + charging as hard as you can can get you to 120 in similar time, or less. Our RaF pair went 1-80 in 17 in-game hours, doing just that.
- Grinding (just mashing endless mobs with no quests attached) used to be the thing to do, many expansions ago. Nowadays it’s pretty pointless. And boring. You will get XP, but all the other ways are better. About the only use for grinding is to farm for certain items that those mobs will drop.
- Questing – Lots of peoples all over the land have jobs that only you can do. Questing is, overall, about as fast as dungeon or PvP leveling for Rogues.It also helps to plan your questing. For example – when you come into a new area you should grab all the available quests then do them in an order when makes sense for you.
- Dungeoning – via the Dungeon Finder tool: DPS (yeah, DPS = Damage, so that’s you) classes are a dime a dozen so the wait times to get into the dungeons can be a few minutes or longer, 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. Groups tend to move quickly, so you’ll need to know your stuff and keep up, or at least make note of who the Tank is and follow that person around. here are some very basic dungeon tips:
- Only attack what the tank is attacking.
- Stay out of any goop (fire) on the floor unless your people are creating it (such as healing circles.)
- Stay behind the opponent at all times, your attacks will be a little more effective that way.
- If you get aggro then either kill the mob or Vanish or use Tricks of the Trade.
- 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.)Also note that in Battle for Azeroth, putting yourself in “War Mode” gets you 10% more XP and possibly better gear. If that’s for you then you can get more details here.
Miscellaneous leveling notes:
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.
Keep your weapons updated; the rest of your gear can fall behind a bit. Assassins make sure that they are always poisoned.
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)
Gonna bash player heads in the BattleGrounds?
- Stay in the group and grab the other side’s flag/goal while keeping them from taking/keeping yours. Protect your flag-carriers and kill theirs.
- Sap/blind/stun flag carriers or any important runner.
- Fighting some enemy in some corner of the BG is fun for dueling, but does not help you team to win and it’s winning that gets you the XP and rewards.
- Each BG has certain goals that have to happen in order to win. Make sure you know those and focus on doing things to accomplish those.
- 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.
- Lots more Rogue PvP stuff here.
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 and time-consuming to level up.
I suggest you stick with mining, herbalism, and skinning (pick any two) for now. Work those hard, and either sell all of your stacks of ore/herbs/skins on the Auction House or save them for when you want to start crafting. Notice that Mining and Herbalism give you XP for each one you pick or dig up. Skinning does not, beyond the XP of the kill.
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. These tents can only be used in Draenor.
- 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. Backfires? The Goblins and Gnomes have pretty much dealt with backfires.
- 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, darkmoon cards, and other trinkets.
- Jewelcrafting? Can be a good money-maker. Take Mining to go with it.
- Blacksmithing? You’ll be able to make some nice weapons/
- Tailoring? You can make a nice flying carpet, bandages (as of BFA) and some other neat stuff, including nets to snag players or mobs.
- Cooking can make interesting foods, some of which buff Agility and various other stats.
- Fishing can provide mats for cooking.
- First Aid was removed in Battle for Azeroth. Tailors now make all bandages.
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.
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.
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 the level cap 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 (or the equivalent in tokens) to boost to 110 you’ll still want to cruise through those last 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 get you to 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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