The Rogue Guide for the World of Warcraft

Blood Elf Subtlety Rogue, Ganking

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 Battle for Azeroth.

If you’re looking for more detailed info on any particular Rogue spec, whether leveling or for PvE or PvP, then see the links in the contents section, just below.

This page:

Other Rogue Guides


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.


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, along with everyone else. Caster nukes were critting for completely unreal damage while 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. And Legion. And Battle for Azeroth. And probably every other expansion that coming after that.

Expect changes. Blizzard is doing a mostly decent job of class balance these days, so get down with the new abilities and then sneak up and kill something. Or someone.

(Not yet at the level cap? Get there as fast as possible with our favorite leveling guide.)


A Few of the Rogue Changes over Time

This section is just a summary of some changes. Similar changes have happened since.

Back in Warlords of Draenor Bliz decided that various classes had too many abilities. To that extent, a bunch of abilities were removed completely, such as Redirect, Disarm Trap, Shadow Blades, and others. There hasn’t been a similar ability hacking since, but who knows what the next expansion brings?

Agility 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 were changed in Legion. Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and Reforging all bit the big one.  Of the new stats added, Versatility is the only survivor.

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

The Stat Squish went live in Warlords and was unchanged in Legion. Another, bigger, squish happened with Battle for Azeroth. The game will feel the same, but the numbers will be a lot smaller. Expect more stat squishes in future expansions.

Naturally there are lots of new levels to gain, but very few new abilities.

PVP in BFA is now optional. PVP servers are gone. If you don’t want the experience of being ganked while leveling, just keep War Mode off and you’re good. Turn it on if you like PVP and the +10% experience bonus is a nice perk.

Glyphs and Perks died in Legion and are still dead in BFA. Well, you can get some minor glyphs, but they are cosmetic only.

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Rogues, a Very Brief Overview

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.)

Leveling? Check out our Rogue Leveling Guide for more information on leveling up.

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.

We’re also good at escaping/avoiding the gankers. Look into the Spy addon to keep an eye on potential player enemies.

Speaking of ganking…  Subtlety is still the spec of choice for PvP, but Outlaw is quite viable and Assassination isn’t bad at all.

  1. Assassination PvP – Poisons and consistent serious damage.
  2. Outlaw 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.
  4. Want to learn how to really do it? Check out Skill-Capped.

Some quick Rogue Details

Scroll down the page for more info on all of these items.

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

PvP? Sneak up and kill someone.


  • Tauren, Highmountain Tauren, Draenei, and Lightforged Draenei cannot be Rogues. Any other race, including Pandarens, can. Basically – if you have horns, you’re nogo to be a Rogue.
  • See below for more


  • Assassination requires daggers, Subtlety prefers them. Outlaw doesn’t care, but likes one hand weapons because they hit harder than daggers.
  • Leather gear for all Rogues.
  • Poisons are Assassination only:
    • DPS: Deadly and Crippling.
    • Leveling (questing) – Wound, Leeching (talent,) deadly and Crippling.
    • PvP: Deadly or wound on main, crippling on off-hand.


  • Weapon DPS > Agility
  • Agility is the # stat, by far, especially for Sub.
  • Forget Str or Int
  • Assassination likes Mastery, Sub wants Crit and/or Mastery, Outlaw wants Haste.
  • More Stats


  • Slots are uncommon these days, but put Agility gems in all slots.


  • Go for: Agility and your best secondary stat.
  • Stam is nice when leveling and you’re dying too much. It’ll help.



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Rogue Specs and Their 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.

Talents and abilities will change with every expansion.

A bit 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 bleeding and 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.

Daggers are required.

A bit on the Outlaw Spec

You’re the only Rogue spec with any real  “strike more than one opponent” abilities, other than Fan of Knives or Shuriken Storm, 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.

You can use any one-danged weapons.

A bit 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.

Here are the abilities common to all Rogues in Battle for Azeroth:

CP = Combo Point.
Finisher spends combo points, more points spent = greater effect.
DOT = Damage Over Time effect, such as a bleed.

Note that some abilities have “ranks.” For example, your Stealth ability.

  1. Rank one is the basic ability
  2. Rank two, for Subtlety only, lets you run on water.
  3. Rank 3, for all, drops the cooldown to 1 minute.

All Rogues get all of these abilities.

  • Critical Strikes – (1) +5% chance to crit.
  • Stealth – (5) You sneaky thing you.
  • Cheap Shot (8) – 4 second stun out of stealth, awards 2 CPs.
  • Pick Pocket (13) – Steal something from the target, while stealthed.
  • Sap (14) – Knock him on the head and put him to sleep for (up to) a minute. Must be stealthed to use.
  • Crimson Vial – (16) your own personal medium sized heal. Takes 6 seconds. You can take this back to back with a healing potion as they do not share cooldowns.
  • Kick (18) – interrupt a spell and lock the caster out of that spell school (eg: Nature) for 5 seconds.
  • Pick Lock (24) – You can pick locks of a level 5x your own, 550 in Legion.
  • Blind (24) – cause the target to wander for a minute. Much less for players.
  • Sprint (32) – Run fast for a few seconds and can run over water.
  • Distract (38) – distract your opponent(s) for 10 seconds. Works on players, though briefly. Does not require stealth.
  • Detect Traps (42) – much better chance to detect hidden traps.
  • Feint (44) – take less damage from area effects for a few seconds.
  • Vanish (48) – Poof, you’re invisible. Breaks movement impairing effects. You also get 3 seconds during which you cannot be knocked out of stealth.
  • Fleet Footed (58) – run 15% faster and take less falling damage. The old Safe Fall is now part of this ability.
  • Shroud of Concealment (68) Stealth your whole party for 15 seconds.
  • Tricks of the Trade (70) – Transfer your threat to your choice of Party Member. Activate it, then you have 30 seconds to start attacking.  One started all of your threat from your attacks for six seconds will be directed to the party member. So you could start attacking before the tank and he’ll get all of your aggro.
  • Cloak of Shadows (80) – remove damaging effects and then resist others for a few seconds.


Here are the various Rogue Spec abilities:

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.

Outlaw – A swashbuckler who uses agility and guile to stand toe-to-toe with enemies.

Blade Flurry, Adrenaline Rush, Killing Spree and more make Outlaw 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 (with your 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.

Sinister Strike (1) is your basic strike. Costs less energy at 13. Replaced by Mutilate at 40.

Eviscerate (3) Hard hitting finisher.

Deadly Poison (10) Coat your dagger with toxic stuff that puts a DOT on the enemy. Additional applications are instant damage.

Poisoned Knife (10) throw a poisoned dagger which then applies both of your poisons.

Garrote (12) Strike that bleeds your opponents and, when 42 and when used from stealth,  silences him . Awards 1 CP.

Rupture (20) Finishing strike that bleeds the target.

Shadowstep (22) Teleport behind your target and gain 2 seconds of increased speed. The target does not need to be hostile.

Evasion (26) gives a much higher chance to dodge attacks.

Seal Fate (28, Passive) Crits from CP generating strikes give an extra CP.

Kidney Shot (34) Finisher that stuns the target for a few seconds.

Envenom (36) Finishing Strike consumes your CPs and gives a higher chance to apply poisons for a sort time. Replaces your Eviscerate.

Crippling Poison (38) Slows the enemy’s movement.

Mutilate (level 40) Hits hard, 2 CPs

Venomous Wounds (50, Passive) Gain energy from targets that are both poisoned and bleeding.

Wound Poison (54) Does instant damage and reduces healing received by the target.

Vendetta (56) when you really want to murder someone. More damage and he can’t hide.

Fan of Knives (63) Knives go flying in all directions, potentially poisoning anyone they strike. Awards 1 CP.

Mastery: Potent Poisons (78, Passive) More damage from your poisons and bleeds.

Sinister Strike (10) Whack the opponent. At level 12 might hit a 2nd time and give you a free Pistol Shot.

Dispatch (10) You basic Finishing strike.

Pistol Shot (10) Shoot him for some damage and also slow him.

Between the Eyes (20) Finishing strike that damages and stuns the target. When you hit 42 your Crits do 4x damage.

Ambush (22) Yes, it’s now only for you. Hard smack from stealth. Generates 2 CPs.

Grappling Hook (22) toss your hook and pull yourself to that location. Works for any place that you would already be able to run to.

Riposte (26) Greatly increases your chance to parry and attack and adds your own attack (your Riposte.)

Ruthlessness (28, Passive) Chance to gain another CP when you use a finisher.

Gouge (34) Incapacitate your target for 4 seconds. Must be in front of it.

Combat Potency (50, Passive) Your off-hand strikes can generate 15 energy.

Roll the Bones (36) Finisher that provides a random combat enhancement, and (currently) might provide as many as six. Potential Mightiness.

Restless Blades (50) is a finisher which just reduces the cooldown of various abilities.

Adrenaline Rush (56) 20 seconds of faster attack and much faster energy regeneration.

Blade Flurry (63) Hit all nearby targets for partial damage. Lasts 12 seconds.

xMastery: Main Gauche (78, Passive) Chance for more off-hand attacks.

Eviscerate (3) Hard hitting finisher.

Backstab (10) stabs the target, does more damage if you’re behind it. Requires daggers. Awards 1CP

Shuriken Toss (10) Throw your shuriken.

Shadowstrike (12) Shadowstep and strike, all in one. Must be stealthed.

Nightblade (20) Applies a DOT and reduces healing received by the opponent.

Shadowstep (22) Teleport behind your target and gain 2 seconds of increased speed. The target does not need to be hostile.

Evasion (26) Greatly increase your dodge for 10 seconds.

Shadow Techniques (28, Passive) Your auto-attacks might generate a CP plus energy.

Kidney Shot (34) Finisher that stuns the target for a few seconds.

Symbols of Death (36) 10 seconds of increased energy and damage with a 30 second cooldown.

Shadow Dance (40) 6 seconds of being able to use stealth abilities out of stealth.

Shadow’s Grasp (40) Both your Backstab and your Shadowstrike reduce the enemy’s movement speed for a few seconds.

Relentless Strikes (50, Passive) Your finishers have a chance to restore energy.

Deepening Shadows (54, Passive) Your finishers reduced the cooldown of Shadowdance.

Shadow Blades (56) More CPs and your auto-attacks do Shadow damage. Lasts 20 seconds.

Shuriken Storm (63) Spray Shurikens at all nearby targets, +1CP per target hit. Damage is greatly increased if you’re stealthed or in Shadowdance.

Mastery: Executioner (78, Passive) Your finishers hit harder.


Rogue Talents in Legion

See the various other pages on this site for talents and much more. The links to those pages are in the table of contents, above. Just go to the Top of the Page

Rogue Poisons

Poisons are unique to Assassination 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 learn the poison spells like any other ability and the poison quest is no longer available.

Your Poisons:

  • 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.


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.

You pick up lockpicking like any other ability 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.


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 and Legion 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 your 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 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 those items to sell to your fence.

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.

Kick – Level 18

  • Interrupts spells, but does not stun. Use this often against casters.

Gouge – level 22, Outlaw only. 

  • Causes no damage, stuns the opponent for 4 seconds, and takes you both 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 29

  • Opens your attack by stunning the opponent for a short time and generating 2 CPs.

Blind – level 38, Outlaw and Sub only. 

  • 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.
  • It can stop a mounted opponent and doesn’t require stealth. Blind > stealth > attack

Kidney Shot – Level 40, Assassination and Sub only. 

  • Uses your Combo Points to stun your opponent for a few seconds. Also interrupts casting. The Internal Bleeding talent, for Assassination, 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 (36, Sub. only)

  • This 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. Lasts three seconds and has three charges. The Subterfuge talent extends it to 5 seconds. With the Vigor talent you’ll have enough energy to do good work.

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Rogue Stats

Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and Reforging are all dead, as are Multistrike and “Attuned stats.”

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!)
  • 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 desirability:

  • 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. Outlaw 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, Outlaw prefers Haste.
  • 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 in the raid.
  • PvP Power and Resilience – Both of these are gone on Warlords/Legion 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.)

Just find gems with the best stats and pop them into the socket. Some might cost a bit, but you do have a few gold to your name, right?

  • Raiding and PvP – 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.


Enchants for Rogues

Enchants of any level can be added to any lower level item. So yes, you can take the top level enchants and add them to your low level gear. I recommend only doing this with your heirlooms, as the other gear you will level out of too fast to make the enchant worthwhile.

Crafted enchants, such as those by the Inscription profession, will require a level 85+ character to apply (to your heirloom,) but then your new level 1 can use it.

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.

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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?

All races, except those with horns (Draenei, Tauren, Lightforged Draenei, and High Mountain Tauren) can be Rogues.

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 is twice that of the other races.
  • You get more benefit from food buffs
  • You can Cook

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

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.

First Aid has wandered off into the void. Buy bandages and potions off the Auction House or tram a Tailor or Alchemist.

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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How to Get to the Level Cap Fast!

Hit 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 the top 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.

Grab your copy here or read our review


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11 thoughts on “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?

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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

    1. (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.)

  4. 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.

    1. 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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