Rogues often initiate combat with a surprise attack from the shadows, leading with vicious melee strikes. When in protracted battles, they utilize a successive combination of carefully chosen attacks to soften the enemy up for a killing blow. Rogues must take special care when selecting targets so that their combo attacks are not wasted, and they must be conscious of when to hide or flee if a battle turns against them. (source)
Updated for Mists of Pandaria 5.2, with gems and enchants and skills.
This page is an overview of Rogues in the Mists of Pandaria. If you’re looking for specific info on any particular build then see the links in the contents section, just below.
Other Rogue Guides
Introduction to The Rogue
Rogues are a group that I find hard to describe – Not because the class is so very complicated, although they do have their fair share of tactical and situational abilities, but rather because it’s so very much fun, it’s almost hard to find a good place to start.
Rolling a rogue is the discovery of an entirely different world than that experienced by any other class save druid, the world of stealth, mystery, and most importantly, awesome PvE and PvP. The sheer magnitude of what stealth grants our class is what sets us apart from a simple DPS class and makes us one of the top Arena, Battlegrounds, and Raiding classes.
Rogues were once famed for mayhem and slaughter with a side-dish of being nigh unbeatable when we choose to be, that is why you might choose to roll a Rogue. Once one of the most popular classes, Rogues are a bit less common now because Bliz has been working at improving class balance. Still, all it takes is a little bit of dedication and some gaming skills to stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
The difference between a rogue who chose his class for speed leveling and ease of use to those who truly master the class is astounding.
Not yet at the level cap? Get there as fast as possible with our favorite leveling guide.
The difference is clearly illustrated by game chat. Various people complain about how other classes have passed the Rogue by for DPS, etc., and the next group, probably slaughtered by a Rogue in their last PvP match, complains about Rogues being way overpowered. Played right, the Rogue is deadly. Played wrong, well… not so hot.
Buffage and Nerfage
When 4.0 landed Rogues were kind of left behind to casters. Caster nukes were critting for completely unreal damage whille Rogues went poke, poke by comparison. A couple of days later the Rogues received a little love from the Devs and were one or two-shotting everything with their Ambushes. A few days later…
The guides on these pages won’t reflect the “flavor of the minute” game that always occurs right after a big patch. Hit your trainer up for the Dual Build ability at 30 and feel free to respec your build(s) to match the current flavor. Talents and glyphs are both easily changed, at any time, without a trainer.
Rogue Patch Notes for 5.2
- Smoke Bomb now reduces damage taken by allies in the area of effect by 20%, in addition to current effects. Originally no damage reduction was provided. This will be a useful buff.
- Blind now has a cooldown of 2 minutes (was 1.5 minutes).
- Cloak of Shadows now has a cooldown of 1 minute (was 2 minutes).
- Vitality now increases attack power by 30%, up from the original 25%.
- Blade Flurry has been changed. It now strikes up to 4 additional nearby targets for 40% of normal damage. Originally it was one additional target for normal damage.
- Sanguinary Vein now increases the damage the target takes by 20%, up from the original 16%.
Tier 1 talents:
- Deadly Throw can now interrupt spellcasting when used at 3, 4 and 5 combo points, and upon interrupt prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 4, 5 and 6 seconds respectively. The old version was 5 combo points and 6 seconds. This makes this ability significantly more useful, especially with the new Tier 6 Talent Marked for Death, which puts an instant 5 CPs on a target.
- Shadow Focus now reduces ability energy costs by 75% while stealthed, down from the original 100%.
Tier 2 talents:
- Nerve Strike now reduces the effectiveness of healing provided by the target by 10% in addition to the damage reduction. Originally no healing debuff was provided.
Tier 4 talents:
- Moved: Preparation is now a baseline ability learned at level 68. Prep also no longer resets the cooldown on Cloak of Shadows.
- New Talent: Cloak and Dagger -
Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot now have a 30-yard range, and will cause the Rogue to teleport behind the target. This gives us:
- Shadowstep to an enemy target with your attack.
- Shadowstep to friendly, enemy, or NPC target without attack. Or ‘step to disarm, blind, etc.
- Speed and freedom of movement
- Burst of Speed now costs 30 Energy (down from 50 Energy), can be used in Stealth, and always grants increased movement speed in addition to breaking snare effects, but no longer breaks root effects. This makes it more flexible and still gives us interesting flag-carrier possibilities, especially with fast energy regen, but you’ll have to trinket the roots.
Tier 6 talents:
- Removed: Versatility. Perhaps because no one was taking it? This is replaced with a
- New: Marked for Death – This marks a target and instantly generates 5 combo points. When that target dies, Marked for Death’s cooldown is reset. This talent has a 1-minute cooldown. So you could open with Cheap Shot and a 5 pt Rupture (yes, wasting CPs) or start a fight with a 5pt Slice and Dice or open with Kidney Shot or whatever.
- M for D combined with Deadly Throw will make for a nice ranged Interrupt/Silence.
- Shuriken Toss now causes the Rogue to throw ranged shurikens coated in Lethal Poison and auto-attack at 75% damage (was 80%) for up to 10 seconds if the enemy is farther than 10 yards away. Looks like a pretty nice improvement to this talent.
- PvP set bonuses have been changed:
- Vigor is now the 4-piece set bonus (used to be the 2 piece bonus) and increases maximum energy by 30, up from 10.
- Deadly Brew is now the 2-piece set bonus (used to be the 4 piece bonus) and its effects remain unchanged.
5.1 Patch notes are here: For Rogues there were a few tweaks, but nothing big.
Mists of Pandaria (Patch 5.0.4) brought:
- Completely revised talent and ability system.
- Change talents like glyphs
- Third weapon slot is gone, though you still have Throw and two ranged talents.
- Ranged attacks can be dodged, which will give you a bit more survivability from Hunters and Casters.
- Poisons are now buffs, and you can use one lethal and one non-lethal at a time.
- Druids have a new ability, Symbiosis. This allows the Druid to copy one of your abilities and allows you one of the Druid’s abilities. Note that these are copies, you don’t lose anything in the transfer. This means that you will want to have a Druid in your group. Any group. This videowill show you how it works.
- Various other changes.
Rogues, in Brief
Scroll down for more info on all of these items.
Specs & Builds: All can PvP and PvE, but not equally. All are fine for leveling (questing.)
- Assassination – DPS, PvP
- Combat – DPS, PvP if you have high skills and want a challenge.
- Subtlety – PvP, but can DPS quite well.
- Tauren and Draenei cannot be Rogues. Any other race, including Pandarens, can.
- See below for more
- The old “Slow main-hand, fast off-hand” is dead. Equip what you like in either hand.
- Assassination requires daggers, Subtlety prefers them, Combat doesn’t care.
- Agility & Stam leather for all Rogues.
- DPS: Deadly and Leeching or Crippling.
- Leveling (questing) – Wound (mobs die too fast for Deadlly to be useful) and Crippling or Leeching.
- PvP: Deadly or wound on main, crippling on off-hand.
- Weapon DPS > Agility
- Agility is the # stat, by far, especially for Sub.
- Forget Str, Int, Spirit
- Hit (7.5%) and Haste are good stats for all, same level PvP only needs 3%.
- Mastery is good for Assassination, Bad for Sub and Combat.
- Reforge to Hit and then to Haste (Crit if you’re Sub.)
- More Stats
- Delicate (Agility) gems in all slots, even if the socket bonus wants something else.
- Mystic (Resilience) gems are worth considering if you PvP.
- PvP Power gems, new to M of P and replacing Spell Penetration are almost as good as Agility.
- Go for: Agility, Attack power, Crit
- Stam if you need it, especially when leveling.
Returning to step one, before you lead daring attempts at capturing the flag or can even think about topping the DPS charts, you have to start from the beginning. You have one rather large decision to make – What race of rogue should you roll, and what benefits does each provide?
The best race? It depends on what you are doing. Read on and you’ll get an idea.
Pandarens can be either Horde or Alliance and get to choose when they leave their starting area.
- You’re Bouncy and so take less falling damage. This stacks with other Rogue falling abilities and is most useful in some PvP and for cliff jumping.
- You can stun with a strike of your paw, er… hand. Another stun for Rogues. Heh.
- Your Rest XP lasts longer than for other races
- You get more benefit from food buffs
- You can Cook
Humans: First of the alliance races we’ll be covering is the human, humans have access to one of the most useful and powerful (PvP) racial abilities, Every Man for Himself.
- First off is 10% spirit increase passive racial. This is completely worthless for any Rogue.
- Next up, Diplomacy offers another 10% bonus, however this time it’s to faction/reputation gains, and with the entirety of the game being one massive faction grind it can’t hurt to have it.
- Every Man for Himself - Very useful for PvP this ability allows the Human Rogue to break free from roots and snares every two minutes. Much less useful outside of PvP. It also allows you to use two damage trinkets in PvP, putting you a bit ahead of other Rogues in the damage department.
- Finally we gain an increase to swords and maces Expertise, useful for Combat Rogues, if swords and maces are the best weapons available to you. Sub. and Assass. have little use for this ability.
Night Elves most notable racial is shadowmeld, highly useful due to the ability to force stealth twice when used in combination with Vanish.
- The meld ability is similar to your stealth skill, but is usable in combat and requires immobility. Shadowmeld to Stealth is an option if Vanish is on CD, so that you can move away. It can also interrupt spells if you time it right. Meld as the spell comes at you and the spell fails. You might be able to take advantage of the Caster’s moment of confusion. More here.
- It does not stack with Stealth. It does drop aggro in PvE, though you can be seen if close enough.
- (Slightly) Faster movement when stealthed has it’s uses.
- Being agile, the next best Night Elf racial is a +2% dodge increase which increases your survivability.
Dwarves have stoneform as the only notable racial, and it can be especially useful in crucial PvP situations, although strangely enough this is largely a defensive racial for fighting other rogues.
- Ranged weapon expertise is not a very useful skill for Rogues.
- Good with Archaeology.
- Stoneform washes away bleeds, certain other effects and decreases damage by 10%. Definitely one of the better defensive racials.
Gnomes were said, by some, to be the greatest alliance PvP race (along with humans) due to the usage of a single racial, escape artist, the woe of all classes (that use snares, roots, and stuns) bundled up into one root/snare breaking ability. The ability is not what it used to be, but it’s still good.
- Their small size has some utility, making gnomes a bit more difficult on people who target opponents with the mouse. This is more useful (for PvP) than it seems at first glance.
- The Increased mana pool is useless for Rogues.
- Expertise with Swords and Daggers is just fine for any flavor of Rogue.
- Increased engineering skill is ok if you choose to level that profession as there are a number of Engie trinkets that Rogues will find useful.
- They come with a Sprint type ability (nice when it’s needed) and
- increased crit rating, also nice.
- Their “Reduced Duration of Curses and Diseases” is occasionally useful.
- Worgen are good at skinning things.
Draenei cannot be Rogues
- Regeneration now grants a completely worthless and pathetic boost to health regeneration. Use a bandage, it’s much better.
- Secondly you have Berserking: a 20% 20 second increase to attack speed. Very nice, add it to your macros.
- Beast Slaying is a straight up 5% bonus to all damage dealt when fighting beasts, quite nice given how many animals there are in the World of Warcraft leveling grind, not so hot for PvP, since Worgen aren’t beasts, and helpful when fighting some raid trash.
- Ranged Weapon Expertise might sort of help if you use deadly throw or Shuriken more often than you really should. Since you’re not a Hunter this isn’t so useful.
- A Reduced duration of snares/roots is nice for PvP, though not nearly so useful as the break free that Humans and Gnomes get.
Orcs on the other hand get far more of the good horde racial abilities, namely blood fury and hardiness, both of situational brilliance for rogues.
- Blood fury is a great talent for improving your DPS. As with the Trolls you can add this to your macros.
- Hardiness on the other hand is a useful partial counter to any class that uses stuns. It doesn’t sound like much until you note the number of people complaining about Orc stun resistance.
- Axe expertise – If the best weapon avilable is an axe then this is nice. Nice for Combat, that is, not so much for the other specs.
- The increased damage by pets is something that you will never use, so Zzzzz….
Undead are a staple PvP Class and make up a lot of the Horde Arena Rogues.
- Will of the Forsaken, a racial granting temporary immunity to fear, sleep, and charm as well as breaking any already present effects of these types. Uuseful when fighting Warlocks, Priests, etc. Not so useful outside of PvP.
- Cannibalize is fairly gnarly to rub it in whenever you kill someone, also a great leveling regeneration talent. Why bother with /spit after you’ve killed another player when you can eat that player? Also frees up a bag slot since yoiu don’t need to carry food.
- New in Mists of Pandaria the Undead have a Drain Life ability. This is a passive effect that also heals you. It will add to your overall damage done.
- Resistance to Shadow Damage. Yawn. Ok, every little bit helps.
- Arcane Torrent, the real gem, which silences nearby casters for two seconds and restores a small amount of energy. Any silencing ability, even a short one, is of use against any caster class.
- The increase to Enchanting skill has no direct usefulness,
- A bit of magic resistance is occasionally nice to have, but will rarely be noticed.
- Rocket jump is a forward leap, usable every 2 min, and which will break you out of stealth. It’s also a nice escape which will probably let you get behind cover and back into stealth quickly.
- Rocket Barrage is a short range attack that does decent damage at low levels.
- Increased haste is always nice
- Vendor discounts and summoning a personal bank won’t help you to kill things, but is nice when gold is short.
- You’re good with Alchemy, which is a pretty useful skill.
Basically, while leveling, our recommendation is to skip the crafting skills and to go with the Herbalism (provides a Haste buff) and Skinning (Crit buff) gathering skills. Mining is also an option, but only provides Stam. The crafting skills are way too expensive, unless you have a good cash flow or a generous benefactor. If you just have to go for a craft, then Engineering, leatherworking, and alchemy might be the most generally useful crafting professions.
The crafts aren’t all that useful even for gear, though there are some sweet spots. They do come with buffs, though that’s a pretty expensive way to get buffed.
Primary skills - Each of the tradeskills has a self-only craft which adds Agility over comparable enchants/enhancements. Blacksmithing allows two additional gem slots which you can use for nice gems.
- Leatherworking has a lot of nice items that you can create and use. Skinning is a natural match. You’ll be able to make your own starting PvP gear and your own bracer enchants. This skill has a bracer enchant that’s good for 500 Agility in MoP.)
- Alchemy has a number of useful potions and you get more out of your potions than non-alchemists. Figure 30% more effect and an extra houir duration for your flasks and elixirs.
- Inscription also has a very nice shoulder enchant good for 520 Agility and 100 crit.
- Engineering has a number of useful gadgets and may be worth the expense, but watch for side-effects. Synapse Springs is something to keep an eye on, with its 1,920 Ag cooldown.
- Blacksmithing has a couple of useful weapons, but is a very expensive profession to level if you want those. It’s easier to buy the mats and hire a Blacksmith to make your items. You do get those two extra gems slots though, for the very nicest gems you can afford/make.
- Jewelcrafting & Enchanting have little value while leveling. If you need gems or enchants it’s much easier just to buy them from a crafter or off the AH. JC can create gems that are better than you can find otherwise and you can slot three of them. Ench. will let you enchant your own rings for +160 Ag each.
- Tailoring is of very little use to a Rogue, but there is a nice Attack Power (sometimes get 4k AP for 15 seconds) cloak enchant.
Previously First Aid and potions were the only methods we possessed for healing and they both can serve to boost your leveling speeds dramatically. Now we have Recuperate which often means that we have a heal going at all times. Very nice. Leeching Poison, at 60, adds another (much smaller) heal. It might be that you’ll never have to use another bandage, but take the skill anyway.
Never underestimate the Gouge and First aid combo whether it’s a PvP or PvE situation. This macro works just fine even when you don’t have a target. Just bind it to a key and hit that key whenever you need to bandage yourself. It will work even if you don’t have a target to Gouge.
1st Aid Macro
(change the bandage type to whatever bandage you are using:)
/use [target=player] Heavy Netherweave Bandage
Secondly Cooking combined with Fishing can ease the price of food while leveling should you feel like picking them up, Certain fish and some cooked foods sell well, so there’s gold potential here. Neither of these skills take up a profession slot making it easy enough to pick both up.
Out of the true profession skills, I personally like picking up gathering types (herbalism and skinning) as Rogues are one of the better hunter/gatherer class in the game, making it an easy method of building up decent store of excess cash for Raiding materials, epic flying mounts, etc. Also…
- High level Herbalism will give you a decent heal. Not major, but it helps. With the heal comes a Haste effect, which at level 85 provides a max of 480 Haste rating for 20 seconds, and 2880 at 600 skill. This is the most useful of the abilities gained from the gathering skills. Also, herbs sell quite well for good prices.
- Skining will increase your crit rating, providing a max of 480 Crit rating.
- Mining will increase your Stamina by 480.
Rogue Specs and Abilities
Rogue skill and talent trees are quite fun to play around with, all the abilities will likely remain in common use due to the simple requirement of variety to remain viable as a rogue.
With 4.0 the talent system changed, greatly reducing the number of available talents and locking you into an initial spec.
With 5.0 (Mists of Pandaria) this changed again and talents, as known in Cataclysm, were completely revised. Now any Rogue of any spec can pick any one talent from any one of the six rows. Each Rogue spec (and this is true of all classes) has a unique set of around ten abilities which define that spec. As an example, Subtlety has backstab and no other Rogue spec can use that ability.
Here are the various Rogue Spec abilities for Mists of Pandaria.
|Assassination – A deadly master of poisons who dispatches victims with vicious dagger strikes.Assassination fulfills the traditional image of the rogue to one degree, that of the Poison Master, giving us massive critical strike damage from stealth, a whole slew of finishing move improvements, and pretty decent continuing DPS.||Combat - A swashbuckler who uses agility and guile to stand toe-to-toe with enemies.Sinister strike is likely the most spammed/mashed key on any rogue’s keyboard from 1 through the end game.Blade Flurry, Adrenaline Rush, Killing Spree and more make Combat the kind of Rogue DPS.||Subtlety - A dark stalker who leaps from the shadows to ambush his/her unsuspecting prey.Subtlety is a fun build with a unique feel. You’re sneaky, can teleport (if you take Shadowstep) and are pretty much set up to do some serious burst damage and then slip back into hiding.Hard to beat when picking and choosing your fights. Not quite so hot when the fight picks you and your abilities are on cooldown.|
|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.||40||Adrenaline Rush||40||Backstab - requires man hand dagger, must be behind target.|
|50||Venomous Wounds - Rupture and Garrote do more damage and return energy.||50||Restless Blades - your damaging finishing moves reduce several cooldowns.||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.||60||Bandit’s Guile - Your Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike abilities increase your damage dealt||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||80||Killing Spree - strike many targets||70||Energetic Recovery - Slice and Dice for faster energy recovery.|
|80||Mastery: Potent Poisons - increases all poison damage.||80||Mastery: Main Gauche - chance for extra attacks||80||Mastery: Executioner - Increases damage done by finishing strikes|
|80||Vendetta - Marks an enemy for death. More damage and they can’t hide.||80||Shadow Dance - now 8 seconds, allows use of abilities out of stealth.|
Various talents increase the damage from your poisons and your general damage is much more effective against poisoned opponents. Plus, the Venomous Wounds talent returns some energy if the opponent is poisoned. This means, of course, that if you forget to apply your poisons (it happens) then this spec will be far less effective than otherwise.
The main combo point builder in the Assasination tree is Mutilate, which requires daggers. If you don’t want to use daggers then use another spec. Mut costs a fair amount of energy and hits like a brick against poisoned targets.
Garrote is your best opener for longer fights since it starts the energy return via Venomous Wounds. It has the additional benefit of silencing the opponent (when glyphed) and preventing stealth (since it’s a bleed.)
Vendetta is the top ability and it will help you greatly with single target damage or hunting down other rogues or feral druids.
Assassination Rogue Leveling
This is currently a good choice for raiding and for PvP, and it’s no slouch for leveling, either. You will be using daggers, so if you really love your swords you’ll have to put them on the shelf.
Assassination is a slightly slower leveling experience, but much more interactive, this can count as either a pro or a con depending on what you’re looking for. Many players would rather blast the music and watch a movie when grinding, others would rather have all attention focused on the game, this is for the latter as the former will be more suited to Combat’s style.
Assassination is all about poisons and the set-up, beyond that everything should die quite easily if you’ve properly prepared and opened the fight as you should be doing.
With proper set-up and usage of the abilities given you by assassination you’ll be capable of killing mobs before they break stun or have time to retaliate, an easily enjoyable leveling style. At high levels you will likely be killing mobs before your stealth cooldown is finished.
You’re the only Rogue spec with any “strike more than one opponent” abilities, though you’re far from beng able to tank groups. You have faster energy regeneration and can use any one handed weapons. Your abilities allows you to do high damage and maintain that damage over long fights, though your burst damage isn’t so hot.
Gouge and Kick both can be used as interruptions, gouge for emergency bandaging and both Gouge/Kick for interrupting enemy spellcasters when needed, quite useful for grinding Mage-type mobs or in PvP.
The Ambidexterity ability lets your off-hand weapon do more damage than that of other Rogues.
Combat Rogue Leveling
Using daggers, swords, or maces, Combat rogues are the fastest leveling types of an already speedy killer, however they pay for this consistent and immense damage output by being the most boring as well. Despite all my comments on rogues being fun and such, this enjoyment factor evaporates when you spend all your time mashing sinister strike and eviscerate.
Unfortunately for combat rogues, that is the only method of maximizing your potential DPS. However things can be spiced up by pulling multiple mobs at a time and blasting our Adrenaline rush/Blade flurry/Killing Spree to drop groups of five to six monsters at the same time.
Leveling will be both fast and efficient, but don’t expect things to magically become fun at higher levels, expect to be mashing SS, SS, SS, Eviscarate for the rest of your combat rogue life, not very fun in my opinion, but still effective.
The “I Hate ROGUES!!!” comments you sometimes see in chat were probably brought on by encounters with subtlety rogues. You’re the master of sudden burst damage and stuns. Not so hot for long fights, but pretty fine for ganking players and mobs.
Various other Sub abilities, such as find weakness, add to that bursty damage.
Sub is a bit energy starved until you get Energetic Recovery, which causes your Slice and Dice ability to also restore energy. While leveling you won’t need to worry much about energy as you have a Brutal opening: Shadowstep to Ambush to Eviscerate will severely damage or kill most things, especially with good/heirloom gear. Even in PvP. (Look for future nerfs to this combo.)
Sub is not a very good multiple opponent spec, party due to the energy issues (early on) and also that it has zero multiple opponent abilities. Sure, you can Sap #1, Blind #2, and fight #3, but it’s atill one on one as you switch targets.
The Shadowdance skill (gained at level 80,) which takes a bit of practice to do right, is an amazingly brutal talent once you do get it worked out. Hit Cheap Shot > Shadowdance > Eviscerate > Ambush > Kidney Shot… Practice this on a target dummy till you get a handle on it.
Subtlety Rogue Leveling
Subtlety leveling is an odd mixture between Assassination and combat without truly matching either them in speed, but then again it represents amazing utility and freedom as to how you wish to combat any given opponent –a real king of the thieves style tree. While you won’t be chopping down the mobs as fast as the other specs you will definitely feel more Rogue-like.
Mutilate builds might hit harder, but Subtlety is more fun.
Hemorrhage becomes your primary strike in your 20s. It’s more energy efficient than Sinister Strike and is likely a bit better in overall effectiveness. It’s definitely better if you’re grouping.
Shadowstep is a fun, short range, teleport (that’s now a level 60 talent) than puts you behind the opponent for a quick Ambush or whatever. Unfortunately, it is not an escape ability. Fortunately it will teleport you up onto a ledge where your opponent is lurking. With Mists of Pandaria you can S’step to pretty much any target, enemy or not.
Shadowdance has a steep learning curve and requires careful button set up, but when used right can be brutal.
Stuns – Stats – Gems – Enchants – Leveling Tips – Level Faster
Rogue Talents in Mists of Pandaria
Any Rogue can pick any one talent from any row. This does mean that you will see some Combat Rogues with Shadowstep and maybe some Subtlety Rogues without that talent. Once you learn a talent you have the whole thing, there are no longer points to be spent in any talent or ability.
One you’ve learned a talent you can easily change it, just like a glyph. Click the row while in-game and you’ll see a pop-up asking you if you really want to do that and what the cost is. Spend the dust/powder/tome and pick the new talent. (You can buy these bits at the Inscription Supply Vendor.) Of course your trainer will still wipe the whole list for you.
In patch 5.2 Preparation becomes an ability and Versatility is dead. Both are replaced with new talents.
|Nightstalker – faster stealth and more damage coming out of stealth, for a harder hitting Ambush.||Subterfuge – Stealth doesn’t break immediately. (This allows the use of two openers when attacking. )||Shadow Focus – Abilities no longer cost Energy while you are stealthed. Sap to Ambush with no energy cost. In 5.2 it will reduce energy cost by 75%, not 100%.|
|Deadly Throw – Reduces movements speed and can interrupt. In 5.2 it can be used with 3+ Combo Points instead of 5.||Nerve Strike – Opponents does less damage when coming out of Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot. In 5.2 it adds a healing debuff to the target.||Combat Readiness – Take less damage as fight gets longer.|
|Cheat Death – Avoid fatal attacks.||Leeching Poison – your strikes heal you.||Elusiveness – Feint reduces all damage, not just A of E.|
|Cloak and Dagger, a Shadowstep type ability. Your Cheap Shot, Garrote, and Ambush now have a 30 yard range and you are correctly placed behind the target. No Cooldown.||Shadowstep – Teleport to target. Teleport to enemy or friendly targets without necessarily attacking. More versatile than C&D, but a bit less range and has a cooldown.||Burst of Speed – Break free from CC, run faster if not CCed. Does not break roots.
|Prey on the Weak allows your enemies to briefly take more damage from all sources.||Paralytic Poison – Your poisons can stun.||Dirty Tricks – Gouge and Blind cost no energy and don’t break from your bleeds or poisons.|
|Shuriken Toss – Ranged attack, adds 1 combo point. In 5.2 it uses your lethal poison and has an auto-attack.||Marked for Death - puts an immediate 5 CPs on a target.||Anticipation – Stores excess CPs on target and applies them after a finishing strike.|
Poisons are unique to Rogues and allow you to apply extra damage, DoTs, and other effects. Mists of Pandaria brought some poison changes, but the idea is still the same. Coat your blades with icky stuff that debilitates the opposition in some way.
Once upon a time there was a poison quest needed to learn how to create the poisons that you will be applying to your weapons. Nowadays you just learn the poison spells and the poison quest isn’t needed.
Still, if you want to give it a try, here’s a poison quest walkthrough (for Horde and Alliance.)
Mists of Pandaria Poisons
- Instant Poison is dead and gone with M of P.
- Poisons are now a buff. You cast them like any spell and you no longer apply them directly to your weapons (as you do with Enchants.) They last one hour.
- You do not have to stock them in your bags anymore, they’re basically spells now.
- You can have one lethal and one non-lethal up at any one time. You can change them on the fly.
- Your Shiv ability deals a concentrated dose of the non-lethal poison. Details:
- Your lethals are
- Non lethals are
- crippling - slows opponent movement by 50%, shiving it results in a bigger slow, 70%.
- mind-numbing – slows cast time by 50%, shiving it results in doubling the cast time.
- Leeching (talent) – heals you, shiving it is an instant 5% heal.
- Paralytic (talent) can stun your opponent, shiving it roots (but does not stun) him.
The Assassination Rogue makes much better use of poisons than the other Rogue specs.
Lockpicking is another unique Rogue skill. It’s the path to ultimate riches, piles of Epics…. Well, maybe not. The main use for Lockpicking is to unlock the various boxes that are found throughout the game, some of which may actually, on occasion, contain something interesting, such as healing potions.
If you’re opening a lot of boxes or picking a lot of locks you might want to get a Glyph of Pick Lock. This reduces the time to pick a lock to zero.
With 4.0 and Cataclysm the lockpicking quests are completely obsolete, you will be unable to even get the quests. You pick up lockpicking from your trainer and your skill automatically scales with your level, just like weapons. Your skill will always be 5x your level, so if you’re a 43 Rogue then you can open locks up to skill 215.
With 5.0 and Mists of Pandaria there have been no changes, Lockpicking works just as it did in Cataclysm.
Pickpocketing is a fun little skill that, like lockpicking, can sometimes result in some interesting finds. Over time it will add more than a few gold to your pockets.
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 Preparation (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 potions.
If you use Sap it makes the pickpocketing more reliable and you can wander through humanoid infesting areas and sap > pickpocket all of them, safely.
Stunning Moves & Interrupts
Of course, if your timing is off and/or the lag monster gets you then you aren’t interrupting anything.
Sap – Level 10
- Must be out of combat to use. Stuns your target for some time (only a few seconds for players.) Great for setting up ambushes, slowing flag carriers, keeping a mob out of combat in PvE, and so on. Glyph of Sap increases the duration against non-player characters.
Kick – Level 14
- Interrupts spells, but does not stun. Use this often against casters.
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
Cheap Shot – Level 26
- Opens your attack by stunning the opponent for a short time.
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.
Blind – level 34
- Blinds the target which causes it to wander aimlessly for a few sconds. 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.
- It can stop a mounted opponent and doesn’t require stealth. Blind > stealth > attack
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.
Shadowdance (80, Sub. only)
- This top tier Subtlety talent isn’t a stun by itself, but it does allow the use of Cheap Shotwhile out of stealth, so it allows more stuns. Glyphof Shadowdance adds two seconds to the duration.
- Cheap Shot > Shadowdance > ( 4-5 CPs) > Eviscerate > Ambush > Ambush > Kidney Shot
Distract – Level 28
- Distract is neither an interrupt or a stun, but it does turn non-player opponents, for about 10 seconds, allowing you to slip past them or set them up for an attack.
- In PvP it will turn an opponent, which can change their run or otherwise “distract” them, possibly setting you up for an attack or other action.
- It does not break stealth, either yours or the opponent’s.
Rogue Stats and Mechanics
As for your basic stats :
- Agility – This is your main stat, by far, especially at high level and especially for Subtlety. It adds to your Attack Power, Dodge, and Crit Chance.
- Each point of Ag provide 2 Attack Power
- Crit rating and Dodge rating are increased on a sliding scale. This means that as your level increases so does the amount of Ag needed to get 1% of either dodge or crit. At level 85 you need over 300 points of Ag for +1% crit.
- Ag does not add to armor.
- Stamina – This is your second important stat, while leveling, though it’s well behind Agility in importance at mid to high levels. At low levels you should get lots of Stam. You’ll need it to survive and level easily and a few points of Stam will count for a lot more than a few points of anything else. At higher level keep the Stam and start looking for more Agility. Stam is also much more important for PvP than PvE.
- Strength – Useless.
- Intellect – Rogues have no use for Int. (We don’t need no stinkin’ brains!) We have no mana pools and no other skills or abilities that relate to Int in any way.
- Spirit – As with Int, Rogues have no use for Spirit.
Other stats that are useful and start appearing on gear at higher levels. These are more or less in order of desireability:
- Hit Rating – This number increases your chance to hit the opposition. The Dual Weild skill used by almost all Rogues imposes a large Hit penalty. This stat is not quite so important for leveling, fairly important for PvP, and most so for Raiding. You will need 5% “hit rating” to always hit same level opponents with your special attacks, such as Sinister Strike. You will need 8% for raid bosses. Also see our stat caps guide.
- 17% Hit means that your poisons will allways hit Raid bosses. This is more interesting for Assassination than the other specs.
- 27% Means your basic (white damage) strikes will always hit. This much hit is generally much less effective than other stats.
- Crit Rating – Directly increases your chance to critically hit the opposition. Sub. can never have enough.
- Expertise – Reduces your opponent’s chance to avoid your attacks. Very nice, especially for raids.
- Attack Power- Directly increases your damage and a very desirable stat for any Rogue.
- Haste Rating – Increases the speed of your attacks, so it also increases your overall damage done. Combat prefers Haste over other stats.
- Mastery – Gained at level 80 all specs of all classes get this ability. It increases some ability that defines your character. For Assassination it’s very nice, for Combat and Subtlety the other stats all have higher priority.
- Resilience - A special stat with zero value outside of PvP. This stat reduces the damage taken from other players.
- PvP Power – This stat replaces the Spell Penetration stat from Cataclysm. It’s like Attack Power for PvP only.
The table of numbers – here are the amounts of each stat that you need to get to 1% effect. Numbers are rounded off. Numbers for Mists of Pandaria are not included, but look at the progression and take your best guess.
Cap @ 85
Agility for 1% crit
Hit rating for 1%
14 AP adds +1 DPS (Damage per Second)
Gems for Rogues to Equip:
Skip the green level gems, the blues are listed below and they’re cheap enough (you do have a few gold to your name, right?) The Epics can get a bit pricey, though. Mists of Pandaria gems are much nicer than Cata gems, but require iLevel 417 gear to use.
- Raiding – Gem for your offensive stats. Agility before everything else. Especially for Subtlety.
- Leveling – Skip the gemming, you’ll outgrow your gear too fast. If you have plenty of gold and want to gem anyway, then go for Agility or Hit.
- PvP – Gem for Agility, Resilience is important, but your high level gear should have enough.
Mists of Pandaria gems have twice the value for secondary stats than for primary stats. 320 Haste vs 160 Agility, for example. For this rason yoiu might want to go ahead and match socket colors if the bonus is a strong Agility bonus.
For PvP 320 PvP Power is better than 160 Agility. Consider using the Vivid green gem (see table) in yellow and blue sockets. (If you don’t have the gold for all your gems go here.) Expertise gems are shown if you want to top off that stat.
|Gems for Rogues|
|Meta||Agile Primal Diamond: 216 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect|
|Red||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Yellow||Mystic Sun’s Radiance: 320 Resilience
Quick Sun’s Radiance: 320 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: 320 Mastery
Smooth Sun’s Radiance: 320 Crit
|Blue||Stormy River’s Heart: 320 PvP power|
|Orange||Lucent Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Resilience
Deadly Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Crit
Adept Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Mastery
Crafty Vermilion Onyx: 160 Expertise, 160 Crit
Tenuous Vermilion Onyx: 160 Expertise, 160 Resilience
Deft Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Haste
|Purple||Assassin’s Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 160 PvP Power
Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 160 Hit
Accurate Imperial Amethyst: 160 Expertise, 160 Hit
|Green||Vivid Wild Jade: 160 Res, 160 PvP Power|
|Prismatic||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Cogwheel||Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 600 Crit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste
Enchants for Subtlety Rogues
If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about improving your situation.
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession. The chest item is the only Resilience enchant, there are no PvP Power enchants.
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel: Sometimes add 1,650 Ag when striking.
Living Steel Weapon Chain- Reduces duration of disarm effects, 200 Expertise.
|Shoulders||Secret Tiger Claw Inscription 520 Ag, 100 Crit, requires Inscription 575
Greater Tiger Claw Inscription: 200 Agility, 100 Crit
|Cloak||Swordguard Embroidery: Sometimes pops 4k AP for 15 sec. Requires Tailoring.
Enchant Cloak – Accuracy: 180 Hit rating
Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike: 180 Crit rating
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Super Resilience: 200 Resilience
Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: 80 to all Stats
|Bracers||Fur Lining, Agility: 500 Agility, requires Leatherworking.
Enchant Bracer – Greater Agility: 170 Agility
Socket Bracer: Self only, Blacksmithing, pop in a nice Agility gem.
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste: 170 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: 170 Mastery
Enchant Gloves – Superior Expertise: 170 Expertise
Socket Gloves – Self only, Blacksmithing, pop in a nice gem.
|Belt||Living Steel Belt Buckle: put a nice gem into this slot.|
|Leggings||Shadowleather Leg Armor: 285 Agility & 165 Crit rating|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Blurred Speed: 140 Agility and Slight run speed increase.|
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Agility: 160 Agility, Requires Enchanting 550|
This section is only an overview of Rogue leveling, check out our Rogue Leveling Guide for more information.
Leveling as a rogue is actually quite fun in my opinion, more so than that of likely any other class. The class simply becomes more fun as you level, the enjoyment factor increasing as you pick up each new tactical and intriguing ability, cheap shot, ambush, etc. Most the the Rogue’s strikes play as if they were intended for PvP.
Rogues use energy to drive their special strikes. No energy, no specials, so energy management becomes important. Combo points (CP) drive your finishing strikes and you get CPs from your opening strikes and special strikes (such as Sinister Strike.)
Finally, and everyone who inhabits a PvP server will most likely agree with me on this one, rogues are one of the the ultimate ganking classes in the game. We not only possess the tools to avoid an attempted gank and survive quite easily, but are also pretty good at returning the favor.
- Cheap shot – Locks up your opponent for a few moments. By the time it wears off you will have likely done 30-50% of the mob’s health. You will probably have done more than if you opened with Ambush. (Except as patch 4.0 went live Ambushes were one-shotting opponents.)You don’t have to be behind the opponent. Just run up (stealthed) and CS.
- Ambush – Must be stealthed and behind the opponent, which means you have to position yourself more carefully. With a few talents you will have a very high crit rating on this strike. At high level, with good weapons, Ambush + Sinister Strike/Mutilate + Eviscerate can unload a lot of damage very quickly. Use Sap to better position yourself for the Ambush.
- Garrote – Also must be stealthed and behind the opponent. Causes an 18 second bleed, which is great for PvP and Instances. It’s best use for leveling is for mobs that run away. With Garrote on them they run and die.
- Eviscerate – Uses up all your CPs in one damage burst. Ambush + Premeditation > 5 Combo Point Eviscereate can be brutal.
- Kidney Shot – Much like Cheap Shot, KS locks up your opponents. More CPs = longer stun duration. Great for cancelling your opponent’s actions (such as spell-casting.)
- Rupture – Not so useful for leveling, nice for certain PvP situations, very useful in raiding and instances (where things don’t die immediately.) Also useful when fighting mobs which run away. Rupture before they run and watch them die over there.
- Envenom – A very nice finisher if you’re using Deadly Poison on your blades, which you will when raiding. For Leveling you should use Eviscerate instead.
- Slice and Dice – Very nice for long fights, or when fighting one after the other. This increases your normal attack speed, not your special attacks, so it’s an overall damage increase.
- Recuperate – This is your Heal over Time ability. Finish a fight with leftover combo points and hit Recuperate. With this ability (expecially if you take the appropriate talents) there is very little downtime while leveling and your survivability in PvP and PvE is increased. Instances – With all the area effect and random damage in Cataclysm (meaning you’ll take damage even if the tank is good) you should consider having Recuperate up at all times.
As you level use Wound and Crippling poisons.
With Mists of Pandaria Sub. is still the spec of choice for PvP, but with the new talents system the other two specs will be a bit more viable.
See our Subtlety Rogue PvP page for more info.
Rogues in Mists of Pandaria
All Rogues will have a common pool of abilities, gained as you level, just as always. In addition, each spec has a set of abilities unique to that spec. (See this post on Subtlety Rogues in Mists for an example. ) Certain abilities/talents, such as Assassination’s Cold Blood, are gone.
This section covers general M of P details, you can see more in our Rogues in Mists post.
New Abilities for all Rogues:
- Swiftblade’s Cunning, level 30: Party & Raid buff
- Shadow Walk, level 72: Briefly have much better Stealth.
- Shroud of Concealment, level 76: Conceal your party.
- Crimson Tempest, level 83: Area effect attack (a finishing attack.) More Combo Points = more damage.
- Shadow Blades, level 87: For a short time your auto-attacks do Shadow damage and your CP generating abilities generate more CPs.
So far it looks like Rogues will be undergoing the same changes as most of the other WoW classes. That is – revised talents and abilities and a few new abilities.
Some of the changes to look forward to:
- You can no longer equip or use any ranged weapons, though you still have throw and a talent called “Shuriken Toss.”
- Prime glyphs are gone.
- Talents, as known in Cataclysm, are gone.
- All Rogues can pick from any of the talents in the new talent system. There are six tiers of talents, gained at levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90. Any Rogue can pick from one one of the three talents in each tier. You will have six talents at level 90. Shadowstep is one of the talents and this does mean that Combat or Assassination Rogues might choose to be able to Shadowstep and some Sub rogues might not.
Rogue Talents Overview
This video goes through the coming Rogue changes. He briefly covers the abilities and then moves onto the new talent system and has some pretty clear opinions about them. Keep in mind that there may be a few changes from the time this video was made (early April) and the release of Mists.
How to Get to the Level Cap Fast!
Rogue leveling is easy and all specs work well. Regardless of which build you choose you really will find the leveling to be easy. Still, there are thousands of quests and a bazillion mobs to kill (not to mention other players, but they don’t count here.) Sorting out which quests are best and which series of quests will get you to 90 the fastest is another game, which is why we highly recommend Zygor’s Guide.
Zygor’s is an in-game guide and it nearly automates the whole leveling process: you just pick your starting point, at any level, and the guide tracks which quest you’re on, tracks the quest objectives, and automatically advances and updates as you complete your tasks and quests. In addition, a waypoint arrow is set automatically, so you never have to wonder where to go. All of the important quest info is included in the guide so you never have to wonder what to do.
Playing with Heirlooms and/or Recruit a friend? Gaining a few levels in the dungeons or in PvP? Zygor’s has your back. The guide knows what level you are and will correctly suggest where to go next. It will also dump all of your obsolete quests. And you will probably never need to look at your quest log again.
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