The Rogue Guide for the World of Warcraft


Updated for Warlords of Draenor 6.3

Goblin RogueThe Rogue

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)

This page is an overview of Rogues in the Warlords of Draenor. It covers basics, abilities, some gemming and enchanting, and so on. If you’re looking for more detailed info on any particular spec, whether leveling or PvE or PvP, then see the links in the contents section, just below.

Warlords brought quite a few changes, you can see all of them here.

This page:

Other Rogue Guides

Blood Elf Subtlety Rogue, Ganking


Introduction to The Rogue

Blood Elf RogueRogues 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…

Mists of Pandaria changed everything. Again.

So did Warlords of Draenor. Don’t like the way it is now? Wait for the next patch and things will improve. Or get worse.

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.


Some of the Warlords Changes

Here are all of the Rogue changes in Warlords, this section is just a summary.

The idea with the Ability Pruning in Warlords is to clean up our overburdened action bars and to make things a bit more efficient. To that extent, a bunch of abilities have been removed completely, such as Redirect, Disarm Trap, Shadow Blades, and others.

Some abilities, such as Fan of Knives and Rupture, has been restricted. Neither is available to Combat Rouges, for example.

Agility no longer adds to Crit rating, but Ability classes (that’s you) now get a base bonus of +10% Crit added to the base of 5% that everyone else gets. So you start at 15% Crit before any gear, effects, or mods.

Stats are a bit different, too. Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and Reforging are all dead. You have two new stats, Multistrike and Versatility. The former gives you a chance for a pair of additional weak strikes (added damage,) and the latter is an improvement to your damage and your defense.

Also, there are some tertiary stats, such as Leech, Avoidance, Speed, etc. which will sometimes appear on gear. You cannot gem or enchant or otherwise stack those stats, other than accidentally. Still, it’s nice when the pop up.

The Stat Squish is live. Before the squish, at level 90, with half decent gear, you had around 500k health. Now you’re around 65k with the same gear. Gems that added 160 agility now add 10. All items and NPCs have been similarly squished. The game will feel the same, but the numbers will be a lot smaller.

Combo points are now stuck to you, and not the target, so you no longer need a “Redirect” ability. Kill something with three CPs left over and they’re there for the start of the next fight.

Naturally you have the ten new levels and another tier of talents for when you hit 100.

There are some new glyphs, but more interestingly, you now automatically learn some glyphs as you level.

Perks are what you get post level 90. They’re not new abilities, but enhancements to existing abilities. You will get four of them by the time you’re level 98.

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Rogues, in Brief

Scroll down for more info on all of these items.

Worgen RogueRole: Damage only, Healing and tanking are not for Rogues.

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. At the start of Warlords season 1 Combat actually seems to be the “Flavor of the Month” for PvP. As mentioned above, just wait a couple of weeks and that will change.
  • Subtlety – PvP, but can DPS quite well.


  • Tauren and Draenei cannot be Rogues. Any other race, including Pandarens, can.
  • See below for more


  • Assassination requires daggers, Subtlety prefers them. Combat doesn’t care, but likes one hand weapons because they hit a lot harder than daggers.
  • Agility & Stam leather for all Rogues.
  • Poisons:
    • DPS: Deadly and either Leeching or Crippling.
    • Leveling (questing) – Wound (mobs die too fast for Deadly 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
  • Assassination like Mastery, Sub wants Crit and/or Mastery, Combat wants Haste.
  • More Stats


  • Delicate (Agility) gems in all slots, even if the socket bonus wants something else. You can use hybrid (Ag/Mastery, for example) gems to match sockets if you really want.


  • Go for: Agility, Attack power, Crit
  • Stam if you need it, especially when leveling.



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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.

With Warlords (6.0) abilities were hacked and consolidated.

Here are the various Rogue Spec abilities for Warlords of Draenor in 6.3:

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 level 1 through the end game.

Blade Flurry, Adrenaline Rush, Killing Spree and more make Combat the king of Rogue DPS and not half bad at PvP.

SubtletyA 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 Blade Flurry – strike additional opponent, regen less energy. 10 Hemorrhage – adds a bleed, replaces Sinister Strike.
10 Improved Poisons – increases chance to apply lethal poisons. 20 Revealing Strike – Improves effectiveness of finishing strikes and Sinister Strike. 10 Master of Subtlety – more damage when attacking from stealth.
10 Mutilate – Basic strike, awards 2 combo points. 30 Combat Potency (P) – off-hand and Main Gauche strikes have a chance to recover energy. In addition, you receive +5% Haste from all sources. 10 Sinister Calling – increases total agility by 15%, plus gain +5% Multistrike from all sources
20 Cut to the Chase – Eviscerate/Envenom refreshes Slice and Dice. 32 Ruthlessness – Spent combo points reduce various cooldowns, plus your finishing moves have a chance to return energy. 10 Energetic Recovery – Slice and Dice for faster energy recovery.
20 Envenom – Replaces Eviscerate and delivers Instant Poison damage. 40 Adrenaline Rush – increases energy regen rate and sttack speed 10 Find Weakness – openers bypass 100% of opponent armor.
30 Seal Fate – more combo points from crits. 30 Premeditation – adds 2 combo points to target before attack.
40 Dispatch – Hard hitting, replaces Sinister Strike, usable when opponent is at 35% health. 60 Bandit’s Guile – Your Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike abilities increase your damage dealt 40 Backstab – requires man hand dagger, must be behind target.
40 Blindside – Chance for free Dispatches. 46 Rupture – Finishing strike adds a bleed.
46 Venomous Wounds – Rupture does more damage and returns energy. 80 Killing Spree – strike many targets 50 Honor Among Thieves – Gain combo points from the crits of party members.
46 Rupture – Finishing strike adds a bleed. 80 Mastery: Main Gauche – chance for extra attacks
54 Relentless Strikes – chance to regain energy with your finishing strikes. 54 Relentless Strikes – chance to regain energy with your finishing strikes.
66 Fan of Knives – Throw knives at everything nearby. Applies poisons, adds 1 CP. 60 Sanguinary Vein – Improves Rupture and increases damage to all bleeding targets.
80 Mastery: Potent Poisons – increases all poison damage. 66 Fan of Knives – Throw knives at everything nearby. Applies poisons, adds 1 CP.
80 Vendetta – Marks an enemy for death. More damage and they can’t hide. 80 Mastery: Executioner – Increases damage done by finishing strikes
90  Master Poisoner (P) – +5% Mastery from all sources. 80 Shadow Dance – now 8 seconds, allows use of abilities out of stealth.
Perks are acquired randomly as you level from 92 onward and they’re earned at levels 92, 94, 96, and 98. So a level 94 Rogue might have a completely different pair of perks than another 94 Rogue of the same spec. By level 98 they’ll both have all the same perks. The order of perks shown here is, therefore, not the order in which they will be acquired.




A bit more on the Assassination Spec

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 Assassination tree is Mutilate, which requires daggers. If you don’t want to use daggers then use another spec. Mutilate costs a fair amount of energy and hits like a brick against poisoned targets.

Garrote is often your best opener, spend the Combo Point on Slice and Dice. It has the additional benefit of silencing the opponent (when glyphed) and preventing stealth (since it’s a bleed.) The next Compo Points should go into Envenom, to refresh your Slice and Dice to full duration. Note that at 98+ Slice and Dice becomes passive and you can spend those combo points on other finishers.

Vendetta is your top burst 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 than for other Rogues, but much more interactive, and 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.

For more on the Assassination spec, and for builds, see our Assassination Rogue page. For leveling info check out our Rogue leveling guide.

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A bit more on the Combat Spec

You’re the only Rogue spec with any “strike more than one opponent” abilities, other than Fan of Knives, though you’re far from being 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.

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.

At very high level your Improved Dual Wield perk removes penalties for dual-wielding, so will be a nice DPS increase.

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, Eviscerate for the rest of your combat rogue life, not very fun in my opinion, but still effective.

For more on the Combat spec see our Combat Rogue page or our Rogue Leveling Guide.

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A bit more on the Subtlety Spec

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.

More damage out of stealth, find weakness, Shadowdance, and other abilities add to that murderous feel.

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, in that it has zero multiple opponent abilities other than Fan of Knives. Sure, you can Sap #1, Blind #2, and fight #3, but it’s still 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. Mists of Pandaria changed it so that you can S’step to pretty much any target, enemy or ally.

Shadowdance has a steep learning curve and requires careful button set up, but when used right can be brutal.

See our Subtlety Rogue page for much more on this spec, for leveling up you should see our Rogue leveling guide. If you want to blast to 90 ASAP then you should take a close look at Zygor’s guide.

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Rogue Talents in Warlords of Draenor

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.

Warlords of Draenor added the level 100 talents, shifted a few things around, but didn’t have much in the way of major changes for Rogues. Unlike other classes, where different specs have access to different talents, all Rogues have access to the same set of talents. Descriptions are below the image.

Rogue Talent page for Warlords

Talent Descriptions

Level 15
  1. Nightstalker – faster stealth and more damage with your opener.
  2. Subterfuge – Use your stealth abilities for three seconds after stealth breaks. (This allows the use of two openers when attacking. ) Can open on two opponents if your target switching is good. Good choice for PvP.
  3. Shadow Focus – Abilities cost much less Energy while you are stealthed. Sap to Ambush with minimal energy cost. Gives Combat a reason to open with Ambush.
  1. Deadly Throw – Deals some damage and greatly reduces movement speed of the target. Useful if you need to chase targets, but much more situational than the other two in this group.
  2. Nerve Strike – Opponents do less damage and receives a bit less healing when coming out of a Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot.
  3. Combat Readiness – Take less damage as the fight gets longer. Nice for long fights where you’re the target (as opposed to a boss, for example.)
  1. Cheat Death – Avoid fatal attacks.
  2. Leeching Poison – Coat your weapon with a non-lethal poison and your strikes heal you for a small amount. Nice for leveling.
  3. Elusiveness – Your Feint reduces all damage, not just A of E. Nice if there’s a lot of damage flying about. Pretty much required for PvP.
  1. Cloak and Dagger, a Shadowstep type ability. Your Cheap Shot, Garrote, and Ambush now have a 40 yard range and you are correctly placed behind the target. No Cooldown. With the Subterfuge talent you could Cheap Shot two targets that are 40 yards apart. Nice when attacking flying targets.
  2. Shadowstep – Teleport to enemy or friendly targets without necessarily attacking. Much more versatile than C&D, but a bit less range and has a cooldown.
  3. Burst of Speed – Break free from slows, run faster if not CCed. Does not break roots. Very nice for some travel or running flags in Battlegrounds or general use. Fairly high energy cost, but you’re still able to sprint across an entire battleground. 
  1. Prey on the Weak allows your enemies to briefly take more damage from all sources.
  2. Internal Bleeding – Your Kidney Shots add a 12 sec. bleed to the enemy.
  3. Dirty Tricks – Your Gouge and Blind cost no energy and don’t break from your bleeds or poisons. Lets you replace Glyph of Blind with something else.
  1. Shuriken Toss – Ranged attack, adds 1 combo point. Nice for those times when you can’t get close, or the enemy is surrounded by raging fires of Rogue incineration. Or hide behind other players and show Shurikens into those big BG or Ashran fights. Shurikens can apply your lethal poison.
  2. Marked for Death – puts an immediate 5 CPs on a target. Start a fight with full Slice and Dice or Recuperate or save for a 5 pt finisher later. Lots of flexibility here.
  3. Anticipation – Stores excess Combo points, hopefully keeping you from wasting them. This is probably the best talent from a pure DPS point of view.
  1. Venom Rush – Increases max energy and increases energy regeneration for each enemy poisoned, up to three.
  2. Shadow Reflection – summons a shadow that “memorizes” what you do for the next 8 seconds, then replays those strikes on the target. This could be rather cool and could really extend your burst. Does not copy trinket or personal buffs or procs.
  3. 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 or Envenom + 50% damage. Seems esp. appropriate for Combat. You can also use it when your opponent has moved away a bit, up to 15 yards. giving it more range than Eviscerate.

Rogue Poisons

Poisons are unique to Rogues and allow you to apply extra damage, DoTs, and other effects. Mists of Pandaria brought some poison changes and Warlords removed a couple of poisons. Coat your blades with icky stuff that debilitates the opposition in some way.

Warlords of Draenor killed off Paralytic and Mind Numbing poison.

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 is no longer available.

Your Poisons in Warlords of Draenor

  • Poisons are 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 (as you used to do.)
  • 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.
  • Your lethals are
    • deadly – Damage over time. Nice for long fights. A Combat perk changes this to Instant Poison.
    • wound – Some instant damage and suppresses heals on the target.
  • Non lethals are

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.  All lockpicking training became obsolete.

In Mists of Pandaria all boxes required 450 skill, which meant you needed to be level 90 to open  them.

In Warlords of Draenor all boxes found in the Draenor lands will require 550 skill and you will need to be level 100 to pick them.


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.

In Warlords you no longer pick potentially useful items from pockets (such as healing potions) or bad items (Ogre underwear.) You pick money and a jewelry sort of item. All the jewelry has to be fenced, no vendor will take it.

Your Fence is summoned by a Secretive Whistle, which you will quickly find while picking pockets in Draenor. Summon the fence, sell you goods and gain… dingy coins. Eventually  you can sell 1,000 of these coins to that same fence for 250 gold or more coins for more gold.

Since you have the Pickpocket skill here’s an easy way to make sure you actually 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.

By the way, you can have some productive pick pocketing of Ashran NPCs.

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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 12

  • 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 18

  • 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. If the enemy takes damage or has any kind of bleed or DOT effect then it will break your gouge.
    • Run up to mob, gouge, hop behind, and backstab.
    • Spellcasting happens > Gouge
    • Gouge and bandage for a small mid-combat heal.

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 and stop an opponent, which will 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.

Cheap Shot – Level 30

  • Opens your attack by stunning the opponent for a short time.

Blind – level 38

  • Blinds the target which causes it to wander aimlessly for a while. Interrupts spells and any damage to the target, as with Gouge,  will break the effect. Glyph of Blind and the Dirty Tricks talent 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

Kidney Shot – Level 40

  • Uses your Combo Points to stun your opponent for a few seconds. Also interrupts casting. The Internal Bleeding talent adds a 12 second bleed.
  • a minor stun lock is Sap > Cheap shot > strike until you have up to 5 combo points > Kidney Shot > strike > strike > blind…

Shadowdance (80, Sub. only)

  • This top tier Subtlety ability isn’t a stun by itself, but it does allow the use of Cheap Shot while out of stealth, so it allows more stuns. A Subtlety perk adds two seconds to the duration.
    • Marked for Death > Slice and Dice > Premeditation > Cheap Shot > Shadowdance > Eviscerate > Ambush > Ambush > Kidney Shot

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Rogue Stats

Warlords notes: Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and Reforging are all dead. There is still a Dual Wield penalty for your auto-attacks, and it’s always been there, but if you’re Combat then a Perk (level 92+) will remove that penalty.

Agility no longer adds to crit rating, but all Agility classes get a bonus 10% crit rating via a Critical Strikes ability.

Attuned stats: each flavor of Rogue has an “official best secondary stat,” which is supposed to increase damage output. Each spec has an ability which adds 5% more of that stat.

You have two new stats, Versatility and Multistrike. See below for a bit more detail.

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 and Dodge.
    1. Each point of Ag provide 1 Attack Power
    2. Ag does not add to armor nor does it add to Crit.
  • 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:

  • Crit Rating – Directly increases your chance to critically hit the opposition. Sub. can never have enough. Crits do 200% damage in all but PvP, where they do 150%.
  • 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 and Subtlety it’s very nice, Combat prefers Haste.
  • New: Versatility adds directly to your offense, any healing you do, and your damage reduction. Pretty decent for PvP, a little less interesting for max DPS.
  • New: Multistrike gives you two chances for an additional weak (30% effect) strike. In PvP you get one chance (which is really only a small nerf.)
  • PvP Power and Resilience – Both of these are gone on Warlords gear, but you can find them on PvP gear that’s level 90 and lower. PvP Power adds to your attack power Vs players only, Resilience reduces damage from other players.

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Gems for Rogues to Equip:

What gemming? The gems are there, but the sockets only appear (rarely) on PvE or PvP gear and those items have to appear as drops or rewards. There are no sockets on vendored items.

The gems are all prismatic (and so are the sockets,) meaning they fit into any socket and any socket takes any gem (of high enough level.) None of the new gems have primary stats (Agility,) they all have secondary stats (Mastery, etc.) There are no Meta sockets or meta gems. All the gems are (Stat) Taledites and go from regular to greater to immaculate. For example:

  1. Immaculate Mastery Taladite: +75 Mastery
  2. Greater Mastery Taladite: +50 Mastery
  3. Mastery Taladite: +35 Mastery

The immaculates are pricey, but you do have a few gold to your name, right?

Warlords note: the stats squish wildly changed gem values. a 320 Mastery gem now adds +20 Mastery. A +160 Agility gem now adds +10 Agility. The relative value of the gems should be very similar to what they were previously, as all other stats and values have been similarly squished.

Gems that were previously +Hit are now +Crit, gems that were +Expertise are now +Haste

  • 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 a hybrid gem.
  • PvP – Gem for Agility or hybrid gems with Ag and your best secondary stat
A Whole Buncha Rogue Gems for Warlords of Draenor
Mists of Pandaria Gems, for gear under ilevel 600.
Meta Capacitive Primal Diamond: +20 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance
Agile Primal Diamond: 14 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Powerful Primal Diamond: +20 Stamina and Stun Duration Reduced by 10%
Red Delicate Primordial Ruby: 10 Agility
Precise Primordial Ruby: 20 Haste
Yellow Quick Sun’s Radiance: 20 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: 20 Mastery
Smooth Sun’s Radiance: 20 Crit
Blue Rigid River’s Heart: +20 Crit
Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
Orange Deadly Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Crit
Adept Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Mastery
Crafty Vermilion Onyx: 10 Haste, 10 Crit
Deft Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Haste
Purple Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 5 Ag, 10 Crit
Accurate Imperial Amethyst: 10 Haste, 10 Crit
Green Sensei’s Wild Jade: +10 Crit and +10 Mastery
Piercing Wild Jade: +10 Critical Strike
Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
Cogwheel Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 38 Crit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Precise Tinker’s Gear: 38 Haste
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 38 Mastery


Enchants for 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.

In Warlords enchants with Hit have been changed to Crit, enchants with Expertise are now Haste. None of the Mists of Pandaria enchants can be applied to items with an item level of 600 or better. Also, Warlords has removed all profession bonuses. No more +Extra Ag from Leatherworking or Inscription, for example.

There are no head enchants, all shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession and are only for items under item level 600. There are new enchants for Neck, Cloak, Weapons, and your Rings. Not for any other pieces. (Not yet, anyway.)  All of the Warlords enchants can be added to low level items, just as with all other enchants, and will scale down appropriately. So yeah, get all those level 1 heirlooms fully enchanted.

“Mists” enchants cannot be added to items higher than item level 600.

Enchantments For Rogues
Ranged wpns not applicable
Main and off hands




Other enchants, for gear under item level 600.

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Rogue Races

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.

Warlords note: All racials dealing with either Hit or Expertise are dead. Most of them have been replaced. New abilities will be so noted.

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 is twice that of the other races (in 5.4)
  • You get more benefit from food buffs
  • You can Cook
  • WoD: nothing new.

Alliance Races

Human Rogue, Field Marshall VestementsHumans: 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 and this one racial is why Humans make up 50% of the races in the top arena brackets.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An increase to your Versatility which scales with level.

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.
  • Being agile, the next best Night Elf racial is a +2% dodge increase which increases your survivability.
  • 2% faster movement overall.
  • +1% Haste by night, +1% Crit by day.

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.

  • Good with Archaeology.
  • Stoneform washes away bleeds, certain other effects and decreases damage by 10%. Definitely one of the better defensive racials.
  • Critical Strike bonus damage and healing dealt increased by 2%.

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.
  • 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.
  • 5% more energy


  • 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.
  • WoD: no changes

Draenei cannot be Rogues. Perhaps they’re just too noble?


Horde Races

Undead Rogue in Field Marshall VestementsTrolls

  • Regeneration now grants a completely worthless and pathetic boost to health regeneration. Use a bandage, it’s much better.
  • Secondly you have Berserking: a 15% 20 second increase to your Haste. Very nice, add it to your macros.
  • A Reduced duration of snares/roots is nice for PvP, though not nearly so useful as the break free that Humans and Gnomes get.
  • WoD: Beast slaying now gives you 25% more XP for kills. Great for leveling, useless at max level.

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.
  • 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 you don’t need to carry food.
  • New in Mists of Pandaria the Undead gained 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.
  • In WoD an old ability, Underwater Breathing, returned and is now indefinite. No more water breathing potions for you.

Blood Elves

  • 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.
  • +1 crit rating helps.


  • 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.
  • WoD: no real changes.

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Tradeskills for Rogues

In Warlords: All profession bonuses have been removed. No more Haste from Herbalism, Agility from the Leatherworking bracer enchant, etc.

Any gear or weapons made by a crafting profession can also be upgraded by the same profession. You create items to do this and also create items that can reroll the secondary stats on the item. For example:

  1. You make your 640 item level chest, but it has the “wrong stats.” Usable at level 91.
  2. Reroll them as necessary with leather refurbishing kit until you have the stats you want.
  3. add 3x burnished essence to boost the item to 685.
  4. add 1x mighty burnished essence to boost it to 700.
  5. add 1x savage burnished essence to boost it to its 715 max. Still usable at 91.
  6. Note that you can only have a max of three crafted items at one time. So I recommend Chest, Legs, and Weapon.

All of the Warlords crafted items (armor, weapons, jewelry, tinkets) basically work the same way. Create, reroll, enhance.

Basically, while leveling, our recommendation is to skip the crafting skills and to go with Herbalism and Skinning gathering skills. Mining is also an option, obviously.

Before level 90, when you can access the Warlords crafts, the crafting skills are generally 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 and leatherworking might be the most generally useful crafting professions.

The crafts, below 91, aren’t all that useful even for gear, though there are some sweet spots.

  • Leatherworking has a lot of nice items that you can create and use. Skinning is a natural match. You’ll be able to make some useful stuff while leveling or for your leather or mail wearing alts. At 91 you can make item level 640 gear (see above,) which is nice for starting raids or PvP.
  • Alchemy has a number of useful potions and various transmutes. There is a very nice trinket, as well.
  • Inscription makes all the glyphs, all the high level shoulder enchants, a few nice items for your caster buddies, and some misc items, including Fortune Cards.
  • Engineering has a number of useful gadgets and may be worth the expense, but watch for side-effects. Draenor engineering is easier, faster, and lets you make rockets, shields, and other useful items.
  • 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. Dreanor Blacksmithing will let you make item level 630 weapons.
  • 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.
  • Tailoring is of no use to a Rogue, unless you really want a flying carpet.

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.

Draenor First Aid will let you make the usual bandage, but also healing potions that actually heal more than the bandages.

1st Aid Macro
(change the bandage type to whatever bandage you are using:)

/cast Gouge
/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.

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Leveling Up

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.

They’re also good at escaping/avoiding the gankers.

Openers – starting the assault

  • 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. At high level, with good weapons, Ambush + Sinister Strike/Mutilate + Eviscerate/Envenom can unload a lot of damage very quickly. There is no positioning requirement for 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.


Finishers – spending your Combo Points

  • Eviscerate – Uses up all your CPs in one damage burst. Ambush + Premeditation > 5 Combo Point Eviscerate 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.) Note that your Internal Bleeding talent makes it into a bleed as well as a stun.
  • 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 – Replaces Eviscerate for Assassination. Hits hard and increases your poison application chance.
  • 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. An Assassination perk makes this passive at 92+.
  • Recuperate – This is your Heal over Time ability. Finish a fight with leftover combo points and hit Recuperate. With this ability (especially 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 (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.



Rogue PvP

With Warlords of Draenor Sub. is still the spec of choice for PvP, but Combat is very viable and Assassination isn’t bad. With 6.1 Cbt was kicking butt. With 6.2 Assassination got some buffs and was probably #1 and still is going into patch 6.3. Subtlety is now possibly #3.

  1. Assassination PvP – Poisons and consistent serious damage.
  2. Combat PvP – Solid consistent damage, good burst damage.
  3. Subtlety PvP – Murderous burst out of stealth and with Shadowdance, but weak damage when not in those situations.

See our Subtlety Rogue PvP page for more info and our Rogue Gearing page for info on how to gear for PvP.



How to Get to the Level Cap Fast!

Hit the Level Cap FastRogue 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 backThe 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. Not even in Warlords of Draenor or Legion.

Grab your copy here or read our review


Like this page? How about recommending it?

Other Rogue Guides – Where to go from here:

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  11 Responses to “The Rogue Guide for the World of Warcraft”

  1. thanks for this very nice guide! rogue is my alt, so i’m not the best in the world at the class. i had so much fun with my rogue last night thought i might put some more thought into it. this is gonna help me a lot!

    simple question, just for clarification: your comment about lockpicking kinda jogged my memory, but it’s not something i can actually level by lockpicking right? i just have to level my rogue and i’ll eventually be able to open the 10 or so level 425 lockboxes i have in my bags right?

    • That’s correct, which I recently was reminded of as my Rogue picks up those M of P boxes requiring 450 skill (and level 90.) 🙂

  2. Thanks for the reply

  3. I’m a new rogue so maybe I don’t understand but gouge doesn’t take me out of combat. Is this not updated or am doin something wrong.

    • Hey Tau, I just tested this to be certain. Gouge does take you out of combat, but you have to be sure that something else you’re doing isn’t putting you back into combat, such as any kind of follow-up attack. Any damage the target receives, such as from your bleeds, deadly poison, etc. will break the gouge, but won’t put you back into combat. Test it on a target dummy or a willing opponent.

  4. Best rogue related website ive ever seen. good job.

    [Thanks. -Rog]

  5. Yes Shadowmeld is good but he is right when Humans are pvping U gotta figure (Shadowmeld + STealth Will not help u in the Humans Special Ability of seeing Stealthed objects which will make u detected) Plus Shadowmeld is for Standing Still So u fuckup ur plans and Stealth can be upgraded Last i knew to make u 45% less noticeable

    • (Shadowmeld notes on the guide were updated.) The Human “Stealth Preception” ability was zapped back when 4.0 was initially released and it doesn’t look like it’s coming back.

      I think Shadowmeld is more useful to non-rogues, but a sharp player could make it work. For example, it can be used in combat. Shadowmeld > stealth > move away might well have some situational use. People have reported that you can use your openers from ‘meld (I haven’t tested this.)

  6. Shadow meld is a far superior rogue racial to ANY other racial, if you don’t know why, then you probably shouldn’t be making rogue guides.

    • While I consider Shadowmeld one of the better racials, the human racial is arguably more useful in a greater variety of situations which is why PvPers make humans more often than night elves.

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