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. All it takes is a little bit of
dedication and some gaming skills to stand head and shoulders above
difference between a rogue who chose his class for speed leveling and
ease of use to those who truly master the class is astounding.
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 will change everything. Again.
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.
Rogues, in Brief
Role: Damage only
Specs & Builds: All can PvP and PvE, but not
equally. All are fine for leveling (questing.)
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?
Humans: First of
the alliance races we’ll
be covering is the human, a race composed
entirely of either bulky, amazingly muscular males or stupendously disproportionate
females, either way they don’t quite look the part – but that’s
not why we care anyway now is it?
First off is 10% spirit increase passive racial. As
a rogue this is worthless.
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.
Perception (dead) - The perception increase,
useful for finding sneaky things, is gone with 4.0.
Finally we gain an increase to swords and maces
skills, five points, useful in raiding for Combat Rogues,
if swords and maces are the best weapons available to you.
Breaking Free - 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.
Night Elves, Popular despite the fact that Nelves
possesses pretty useless racial abilites as far as Rogues are concerned.
The meld ability adds to the Rogue's stealth skill, but
requires immobility. Good for lurking in ambush or going afk, but
not much else. It does not stack with Stealth.
All in all I’d say that if you’re playing your rogue right you won’t
need the increase to ghost run speed, we’re stealth assassins, made for
tactical and skillful play, not constant corpse runs unlike other classes.
The best Night Elf racial is a +2% dodge increase which increases
your survivability by a small amount.
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
Increased critical chance with guns. Rogue ranged weapons are designed
around throwing knives. Guns can be used, but you'll gimp yourself
at higher levels.
Increased resistance to Frost. Better than nothing.
Treasure finding - useless in PvP and raiding, nice while leveling.
With 4.0 it's not even useful for leveling your lockpicking
Stoneform washes away bleeds, certain other effects and
decreases damage by 10%. Definitely one of the better defensive racials.
Gnomeswere said, by some,
to be the greatest alliance PvP race (along with humans) due to the
usage of a single racial, escape
woe of all classes (that use snares, roots, and stuns) bundled up into
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 Int is useless for Rogues, since Rogues have no use for brains.
Resistance to Arcane damage has some minor utility.
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.
Worgen - 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.
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.
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
You gain a 1% increase to throwing weapons (and bows) critical
chance, this might sort of help if you use deadly
throw 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.
fury is a great talent for improving your
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 - this became useful with the 3.2
patch, since all Rogues can now use axes. If the best weapon avilable
is an axe then this has some use.
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.
Finally, underwater breathing is cool because
it saved my life when I went AFK underwater to grab a drink while doing a quest,
nothing better than avoiding a corpse run. Also I suppose you could use
it to pull off Rambo imitations via lurking in the water waiting for unsuspecting
Alliance. Otherwise? Well, there are some underwater quests (and lockboxes to be picked) where this ability would be useful, but a potion of water breathing is a least as worthwhile.
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.
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, and
Basically, while leveling, our recommendation is to skip the crafting
skills and to go with the Herbalism (or mining) and Skinning gathering
skills. The crafting skills are way too expensive, unless you have
a good cash flow or a generous benefactor. Engineering, leatherworking,
and alchemy might be the most generally useful crafting professions,
if you just have to
go for a craft.
Primary skills - Generally the crafting skills are
too expensive to be worthwhile for leveling, unless you have plenty
of cash and don't mind taking the time to work them up. If you have
the cash then you can make some nice items.
Each of the tradeskills has a self-only craft which adds about 80
Agility over comparable enchants/enhancements. Blacksmithing allows
two additional gem slots which you can use for the epic gems introduced
in patch 4.3, providing +100 total agility.
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.
Alchemy has a number of useful potions and you
get more out of your potions than non-alchemists.
has a very nice shoulder enchant and is cheaper to level up than
Engineering has a number of useful gadgets and may be worth the expense.
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 item.
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
Tailoring is of very little use to a Rogue, but
there is a nice Attack Power 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.
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
1st Aid Macro
(change the bandage type to whatever bandage
you are using:)
/use [target=player] Heavy Netherweave Bandage
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 probably the best 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. This is the most useful of the abilities gained from the
gathering skills. Also, herbs sell quite well for good prices. With
4.0 this heal also Hastes you.
Skining will increase your crit rating, providing a smallish amount
of increased chance to crit, depending on your skinning skill and
Mining will increase your Stamina, which is always nice.
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. Once 31 talent points are
earned (at level 69) you can branch out into the other trees. With 5.0
(Mists of Pandaria) this will all change again.
A deadly master of poisons who dispatches victims with vicious
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. Plus, This talent tree
makes great use of one the Rogue's signature abilities, Poisons.
Your primary Assassination abilities are:
Mutilate - This is the main combo point builder in the
Assasination tree. It requires daggers. If
you don't want to use daggers then use another spec. Mut costs a
fair amount of energy and hits hard against poisoned targets.
Improved Poisons increases the likelyhood of applying poisons
from your strikes.
Assassin's Resolve increases your total energy (by 20,
currently) and your melee damage by 15%.
Mastery: Potent Poisons: (Mastery is trainable at level
80) This increases the damage done by your poisons. Additional Mastery
rating increases that damage further.
Various talents increase the damage from your poisons and your general
damage is much more effective against poisoned opponents. Plus,
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
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.)
Cold Blood gives you a guaranteed crit (use it with Envenom) and Cut
to the Chase will help keep your Slice and Dice up,
Vendetta is a new ability which will help you greatly with
single target damage or hunting down other rogues or feral druids.
A swashbuckler who uses agility and guile to stand toe-to-toe
Combat is the stand-up fighter (swashbuckler) build. It's the only
Rogue spec that has talents designed to attack multiple opponents.
With 4.3 it might be the highest DPS spec for dungeons and raids.
Sinister strike is obviously the primary and likely
most spammed/mashed key on any rogue's keyboard from 1 through the
end game, being the primary method of building combo points on a target
outside of specific talents, as well as doing fairly nice damage on
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 Dual Weild Specialization lets your off-hand weapon do
more damage than that of other Rogues.
increases your chance to hit) is a talent that any Rogue
should seriously consider taking, regardless of build.
Your special abilities as a Combat Rogue are:
Blade Flurry is your level 10 special ability. Your attacks
strike a nearby opponent. This abilitiy does not increase your attack
against single opponents.
Dual Weild Specialization - gives extra damage to your
Vitality increases your Energy regeneration rate by 25%
and your Attack Power by 20%
Mastery: Main Gauche - (A main guache is the
off-hand weapon used by fencers, usually a form of dagger) This gives
your offhand weapon a chance for extra strikes, based off your main-hand
weapon attacks. Indirectly this makes your Mastery ability
an energy regeneration ability, since the off-hand strikes
will proc the Combat Potency talent.
A dark stalker who leaps from the shadows to ambush <his/her> unsuspecting
Subtlety is a fun build with a unique feel. You're sneaky, can teleport
(sortof,) 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.
The "I Hate ROGUES!!!" comments you sometimes see in chat were probably
brought on by encounters with subtlety rogues, especially before level
Your Subtlety abilities are:
Shadowstep - a short range teleport (you must have a target)
that briefly increases your speed and Ambush damage and sets you
up for a brutal opener.
Master of Subtlety - attacking out of stealth, and for a
few more seconds, you will do extra damage.
Sinister Calling - Increases total agility and your Backstab
and Hemo damage.
Mastery: Executioner - (Mastery is trainable at level
80) Increases the effect of your finishing moves, including Slice
At level 10 you get the Shadowstep ability, which is a wonderful
talent to play with and is great in combination with Ambush or any
other opener. It can also get you up to low flying targets or mobs
on ledges. You do not have to be in stealth to use it and it will place
you behind your target. (Note: if you target has his back to an object
that is next to a wall and you Shadowstep behind him you may get stuck.)
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 Recuperate 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 #2, but
it's atill one on one as you switch targets.
The Shadowdance skill, which takes a
bit of skill to do right, is an amazingly brutal talent once you do get it worked
out. Fighting a boss? Hit Shadowdance and Ambush > Eviscerate > Ambush > Ambush
Poisons are unique to Rogues and allow you to apply extra damage,
DoTs, and other effects.
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 buy the poisons from a vendor
(Instant Poison requires level 10) and the poison quest
Instant Poison - Just like the name says, it's
an instant burst of damage.
Crippling poison more useful in PvP it also has
use when fighting mobs that run away. Of course, so does Rupture. Crippling
poison is also applied via your Deadly Brew (assassination)
Deadly Poison applies a DoT (Damage over Time) to the opponent. It
can stack multiple times and so, in theory, can do more damage than instant over
a long fight. So use this when fighting elites in instances, or bosses. Otherwise
the mobs die too fast for it to be useful while leveling.
Wound Poison Does instant damage and supresses
heals by a small amount. Useful against mobs (or players) where healing
is a significant factor, otherwise use Instant instead.
Anesthetic Poison - THis has been removed from
the game. Your Shiv ability replaces it.
Mind Numbing Poison - Slows the opponent's casting speed. Of some
use against casters, but it falls far behind Instant and Crippling for
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
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:
/cast Preparation (if you have it. This adds 2 combo points before
/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.
Of course, if your timing is off and/or the lag monster gets you then
you aren't interrupting anything.
Sap - Level 10
Stuns your target for some time. 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 16
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 30
Stuns 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 38
Removes weapons, shields, and carried items from the opponent for
a few seconds. It is not a stun, but melee types will be
This top tier Subtlety talent isn't a stun by itself,
but it does allow the use of Cheap Shot while out of stealth,
so it allows more stuns.
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 no longer adds 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 our recommendation is to 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 - Strength does add to Attack Power,
but not as much a Ag and it gives the Rogue nothing else. Skip Str
in favor of more Agility or Stam.
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 8% "hit
to always hit with your special attacks, such as Sinister Strike.
Crit Rating - Directly increases your chance to critically hit the opposition. You 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.
Haste Rating - Increases the speed of your
attacks, so it also increases your overall damage done.
Armor Penetration - Gone with WoW 4.0+
Resilience - A special stat with zero value
outside of PvP. This stat reduces the damage taken from other
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.
The table of numbers - here are the amounts
of each stat that you need to get to 1% effect. Numbers are rounded
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
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.
If you're on a PvP server consider maximizing your stealth skills, especially if you're doing the ganking.
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)
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
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) and given that healer mana is at a premium you should
consider having Recuperate up
at all times.
As you level use Instant Poison on both weapons, unless you're
Assassination. In that case use instant and deadly. Otherwise, mobs
will die too fast to make Deadly
and the other poisons are more specialized.
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.
This is currently the spec of 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 from 1-85. 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.
As you progress through the tree you’ll pick up a number of improved finisher talents and eventually cold blood, all of this improving your burst DPS to insane amounts for the brief amount of time required to kill a given mob, but no more than that – lengthy fights will put the odds against your survival.
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.
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 trees you will definitely
feel more Rogue-like.
might hit harder, but Subtlety is more fun. And nothing hits
harder than Shadowstep to Ambush.
Almost every talent improves our ability to both control and escape
fights if need be, giving us amazing combo-point generation, stealth
capabilities, and eventually the ability to even reset the entirety
of our cooldowns. Once you're deeply into the Subtlety tree you will
see combo points building very quickly. Being able to go straight
Shot/Ambush to a 5 point Eviscerate is rather nice.
Hemorrhage becomes your primary strike in your 30s. It's
more energy efficient than Sinister Strike and is likely a
bit better in overall effectiveness. It's definitely better if you're
Shadowstep is a fun, short range, teleport 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.
Shadowdance has a steep learning curve and requires careful button set up, but when used right can be brutal.
With 4.0 Subtlety has brutal openers.
Before the 4.0 patch a hybrid Assassination/Subtlety build was very
popular. With 4.0 being live the hybridization is dead. However, each
of the trees has their virtues and each has PvP talents.
With Cataclysm 4.3 Sub. is looking like the spec of choice for PvP.
Regardless of which build you choose you will find leveling to
be relatively 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 85 the fastest is another game,
which is why we highly recommend a full-blown 1-85 leveling
Guide is the one we use and recommend. Zygor's is an in-game guide
and it nearly automates the whole leveling process: you just
pick your starting point 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.
Fully 4.3 compatible, grab a copy of Zygor's and cruise to 85.
What could be better?
Playing with Heirlooms and/or Recruit a friend? Zygor's has you
covered with its Smart Injection System. The guide knows
what level you are, even if you just got 17 levels in the dungeons,
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.