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, Legion, Battle for Azeroth, and And probably every other expansion in the future..

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? Shadowlands’ level crunch, for one.

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. That’s now gone.

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 Battle For Azeroth 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 take advantage of the +10% experience bonus.

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

Shadowlands brought changes, as well. Including the first level smash. What was level 120 is now 50 and the cap is 60. You’ll also find your way into another realm entirely and meet up with various groups of entities. Also, poisons are returned to all Rogue, though Assassination still has the poisonous edge. Various other abilities shifted around, too.

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Rogues, a Very Brief Overview

Rogues use energy to drive their special strikes. No energy? Then 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 has War Mode activated will most likely agree with me on this one: rogues are one of the the better 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. (And you can see Skill-Capped to improve your ganking skills.)

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.  Note that all Rogues now have poisons.

  1. Assassination PvP – Better 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 relatively 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? Just fine. Sneak up and kill someone.


  • Most races, including Pandarens and most of the Allied Races, can be Rogues. But if you have horns, such as the Tauren and Draenei, then forget it.
  • 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, in Shadowlands, available to all Rogues, but Assassination has a better assortment. They are applied like any buff and last an hour.


  • Weapon DPS > Agility > Stats
  • Agility is the # stat, by far, especially for Sub.
  • Sub likes Mastery, the others like Versatility.
  • More on Stats

Gems and Enchants:

  • Gem slots are uncommon these days, but go for: Agility and your best secondary stat.
  • Stam is nice when leveling and you’re dying too much. It’ll help. Stamina scrolls are also pretty cheap on the Auction House or from someone with Inscription.
  • Note that you can put the highest level enchants on your level 1 gear, but that is only worthwhile if they are heirlooms. Crafted enchants need a high level character to apply them, but then you level 1 can then use the item.



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All of the WoW Rogue Races

Most races can become Rogues, but not the horned races. So if you’re Draenei or Tauren or Lightforged Draenei or High Mountain Tauren you are out of luck.

One nice change in Shadowlands is in acquiring the Allied Races, such as Mechagnomes. You no longer have to earn exalted rep. with that race, just earn an achievement. Then hop over to the embassy in Orgrimmar or Stormwind.

Allied Races:


  • Nightborne requires the Legion expansion
  • Mag’har Orc, Zandalari Troll, and Vulpera, Requires Battle for Azeroth expansion.


  • Void Elf requires the Legion expansion
  • Dark Iron Dwarf, Kul Tiran, and Mechagnome, Requires Battle for Azeroth expansion.

All will start at level 20. Each will also come with Heritage Armor and other goodies, in addition to various racial traits. If you have the latest WoW expansion you will have potential access to all races.

Best Rogue races for PvP?

  • Alliance: Humans (for the escape and a little extra damage) and Night Elves (Shadowmeld)
  • Horde: Orcs for the Blood Fury and stun resistance, Blood Elf for Arcane Torrent (removes buffs) and Energy restoration.

The Pandarian Rogue

The only Neutral race, at least at the start. You get to choose whether your will join the Horde or the Alliance, once you leave the starting area.

  • Pandarens can, with a quick strike of their Quaking Palm , stun an opponent for 4 seconds. Stuns are always useful. Damage will break the stun effect.
  • Your Inner Peace gives you improved Rest XP, making for faster leveling. Obviously of no value once you hit max level.
  • Being Bouncy you take less falling damage, which can be useful. Cliff jumping anyone?
  • Pandarens get 100% better buffs from food with their Epicurean ability
  • Naturally you’re good with cooking, so you have an enhanced (+15) cooking ability.

Alliance Racials

The Human Rogue

  • Your Every Man for Himself ability removes all stun effects (no other effects are removed,) so is something like a partial PvP trinket. This effect shares a 90 sec cooldown with other similar effects.
  • The Human Spirit : You gain 2% more of all secondary stats (Haste, Critical Strike, Mastery, Versatility) from all sources. A small damage increase and improvement to energy regeneration.
  • And since you are skilled at Diplomacy you have a 10% faster rep gain with everyone than does any other race. Useful at times, especially if you want the perks that come from “Exalted,” such as access to the various allied races.

The Dwarf Rogue

  • You can become one with the stone via your Stoneform . This removes all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects and reduces all physical damage taken by 10% for 8 sec. Very nice for a variety of situations.  Cooldown is 2 minutes.
  • Your Might of the Mountain ability increases the damage and healing from your critical strikes by 2% (note that his increases the effect, but not the crit chance.)
  • You are also an Explorer and Archeology research finds more fragments faster than others.
  • Being naturally cool, you have a bit (1%) of Frost Resistance .

The Dark Iron Dwarf Rogue

  • Your Fireblood removes all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects, just like your Dwarven “brethren,” but your ability increases your primary stat (Strength, Agility, Intelligence) by 600(!) (scales with level) +200 for for each additional effect removed. Lasts 8 sec. with a 2 min cooldown. Pretty sweet.
  • You’re a tunnel dweller and Dungeon Delver and you’ve learned how to move 4% faster while indoors,  plus your people have the  Mole Machine : While out or doors you can summon a Mole Machine that tunnels through the earth and can pop you up in a variety of places.
  • Being tough you have your Forged in Flames ability, and take a bit less (1%) physical damage.
  • Having spent your life working in the forges you have a Mass Production skill , giving you +5 to your blacksmithing skill and letting you work 25% faster.
  • This is the achievement to earn Dark Iron Dwarf: Ready for War

The Gnome Rogue

  • Your Escape Artist ability allows you to break the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect, but not stuns. Nice for PvP, occasionally useful elsewhere. Every one minute.
  • Your Expansive Mind increases your “resource:” (such as Energy, Rage, etc.)  by 5%.
  • Plus your Nimble Fingers give you a +1% Haste boost.
  • And your Engineering Specialization gives you +15% to that skill.
  • You also have a bit of Arcane Resistance , and so take 1% less damage from the stuff.
  • Your small size also has certain advantages in PvP.

The Mechagnome Rogue

  • Hyper Organic Light Originator summons a couple of images of you to distract your foes. Added damage or use it to give yourself a moment to set something up. See it in action here .
  • And you get some Racial Passives:
    • Combat Analysis : You gather and analyze combat data every 5 sec, increasing your Strength by 25, stacking up to 10 times. The data decays while out of combat.
    • Mastercraft : You function as a personal Blacksmithing Anvil, Cooking Fire, and Mining Forge. In addition, your limbs include every profession tool.
    • Emergency Failsafe : When you fall below 20% health, heal for 15% of your maximum health. This effect cannot occur more than once every 2.5 min.
    • Skeleton Pinkie : Allows opening of locked chests and doors at your current level x 5, so at level 100 you can unlock chests that require 500 skill.
  • As with Gnomes, your small size also has certain advantages in PvP.

The Kul Tiran Rogue

  • Wind up, then unleash your mighty Haymaker upon your foe. Doesn’t hurt much, but does stun then for 3 sec and knocks them back substantially.  2.5 minute cooldown.
  • Brush It Off – Increases Versatility by 1%. When you take damage you sometimes heal for 2% of that damage over 4 sec.
  • Your Child of the Sea ability lets you swim a bit faster and hold your breath longer than anyone who is not Undead.
  • You are a Jack of All Trades  which increases all of your Tradeskills by 5. Unfortunately it does not give you free tradeskills, just a boost to the ones you actually learn
  • Many generations of seafaring experience have earned you the Rime of the Ancient Mariner ability, and so you take 1% less from Frost and Nature damage.
  • There are the achievements to earn Kul Tiran: A Nation United and Tides of Vengeance

The Night Elf Rogue

  • Shadowmeld : Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threat is restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect. Against certain spells, if you have really good timing, you can S’meld after it’s cast and thus dodge it. ANd, of course, you can also Shadowmeld and then Stealth/Vanish, allowing an escape from the area.
  • A bit more Dodge and movement speed (2% of each,) via your Quickness .
  • Touch of Elune gives you a bit more (1%) Crit by day and Haste by night.
  • Transform into a  Wisp Spirit  upon death, increasing speed by 75%. Hopefully you will only rarely have any use for this trait.

The Void Elf Rogue

  • Your abilities have a chance to empower you with the essence of the Void, Entropic Embrace , which increases your damage by 5% for 12 sec. It has a 33% proc chance with 60 seconds internal cooldown. Nothing like a bit of Void energy added to your attacks, right?
  • Spatial Rift : Tear a rift in space. Reactivate this ability to teleport through the rift. 30 yd range. 3 min cooldown. You can activate this, then change direction, hit it again, and be back to the original spot. Practice this to get a good idea of how it works.
  • You take 1% less Shadow Damage from your Chill of Night racial and your Ethereal Connection gives you cheap Void Storage and Transmogrification.
  • This is the achievement to earn Void Elf: You Are Now Prepared!

The Worgen Rogue

  • Your Altered Form allows you to switch between your human and Worgen forms and your Two Forms lets you turn into your currently inactive form.
  • Then your Darkflight activates your true form, increasing current movement speed by an additional 40% for 10 sec. Always nice to have an extra Sprint.
  • You also have your Running Wild ability, where you drop to all fours to run as fast as a wild animal.
  • Flayer increases your Skinning skill by 15 and allows you to skin faster.
  • And your innate Viciousness increases critical strike  chance  by 1%.
  • And being an Aberration, you take 1% less Shadow and Nature damage.

The Horde Racials:

The Orc Rogue

  • Enrage ( Blood Fury ) to increase your Attack Power every 2 min. Lasts 15 seconds. A very useful cooldown for those times when you need a little extra.
  • Your Hardiness makes you resistant to stuns (20% shorter duration, about 1 second off a 5 second stun) – Useful in PvP, but also nice at times while leveling/raiding.
  • If your had a pet then your Command ability gives that pet 1% more damage. But you do not. Oh well.

The Troll Rogue

  • Berserking increases your Haste by 15% for 12 seconds, one a 3 minute cooldown.  Generally useful for Rogues, since it reduces cooldowns and gives you faster resource regeneration.
  • Da Voodoo Shuffle gives you a nice 20% reduced duration of movement impairing effects, such as snares, slows, etc. Not stuns or anything else.
  • You get a 20% XP increase when Beast Slaying . This only applies to beasts, not humanoids or other non-beasts. You’ll be chopping up lots of beasts while leveling, so this is a nice bonus. Not useful once at max level.
  • Regeneration, Mon! Trolls regenerate 10% faster than others and can even regenerate a bit while in combat, not that you are likely to notice.

The Zandalari Troll Rogue

  • Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown. Each embrace also lasts through death.  Rogues should pick one from the first two Loa:
    • Embrace of Bwonsamdi  – Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Shadow damage and heal  you for 100% of the damage done. Pretty good ability for damage dealers like you.
    • Embrace of Kimbul  – Your damaging abilities have a chance to cause the target to bleed over 6s. This effect stacks up to 3 times. More damage is always good.
    • Embrace of Akunda – Your healing abilities have a chance to heal their target for some extra points. Good for anyone with a ranged heal.
    • Embrace of Gonk  – Increase movement speed by 5%.
    • Embrace of Krag’wa  – Taking damage has a chance to grant you additional Health and 66 Armor. Good tanking ability.
    • Embrace of Pa’ku – Your abilities have a chance to grant you +4% critical strike for 12 seconds. Live by the crit? This is for you. This is your default Loa.
  • Regeneratin’ – Regenerate 100% of your maximum health over 6 sec. This is interrupted by damage, so be careful. 2.5 min cooldown.
  • Pterrordax Swoop – Slows your fall for two minutes. Time for some serious cliff jumpin’.
  • Your also have your City of Gold ability, making you the envy of Goblins, since it lets you loot an extra 2% gold from your targets.
  • These are achievements to earn Zandalari Troll: Zandalar Forever! and Tides of Vengeance

The Blood Elf Rogue

  • Your Arcane Torrent removes one beneficial effect from any nearby enemies (8 yards) and restores some of your Energy.
  • And your Arcane Acuity gives you a bit more crit (1%.)
  • Naturally your Arcane Affinity gives you +10% to the Enchanting skill.
  • And your Arcane Resistance allows you to take 1% less Arcane damage.

The Undead Rogue

  • Your Will of the Forsaken removes fear, sleep, and charms. Definitely useful in PvP and of occasional use elsewhere. It also allows indefinite underwater breathing.
  • Your Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that will add a small amount to your overall damage and self-healing.
  • Cannibalize is a nice “in your face” ability for PvP. Just go full zombie mode and eat the brains of what you kill. Humanoids only. Restores 35% of total health over 10 seconds.
  • You also have a bit of Shadow Resistance, taking 1% less damage from those shadows.

The Goblin Rogue

  • Can Rocket Jump forward and away from, on into, stuff. so is a bit like the hunter ability disengage . Note that any effects that slow falling will be suppressed for 10 seconds. So no Rocket Jumping off cliffs. The fall is fine, the impact at the end hurts.
  • Speaking of rockets… Rocket Barrage !!! The perfect Goblin ability. Can launch rockets at enemies. Damage is trivial, but you can probably find a use for it.
  • A bit more Haste, Time is Money ya know.
  • Being an expert negotiator, of course, you receive the Best Deals Anywhere . You pay whatever the minimum price is for stuff, regardless of faction.
  • Your relentless urge to try “Crazy New Things” gives you the Better Living Through Chemistry ability, which adds +15 to your Alchemy skills.
  • Check your bank stash from anywhere, every 30 min, with your pack Hobgoblin . A truly deadly ability.

The Nightbourne Rogue

  • You can do an Arcane Pulse , which damages all nearby enemies and reduces their speed for 12 seconds. Note that this will break most “crowd control” effects you might have on those enemies. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Can read your mail from anywhere, with your Cantrips ability. Get a note while you’re in the middle of nowhere? No problem.
  • Your love of lore and Ancient History give you +15 to your Inscription skill.
  • Your Arcane Resistance   allows you to take 1% less damage from Arcane energy and you also have a Magical Affinity which allows you to do 1% more magical damage.
  • This is the achievement to earn Nightborne: Insurrection

The Mag’har Orc Rogue 

  • Your Ancestral Call will boost a random secondary stat (crit, haste, versatility) for 12 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown. The boost scales with level.
  • Your love of the open skies increases your mounted speed by 10% and your…
  • Savage Blood : Since you are extremely healthy you get reduced duration of curses, poisons, and diseases (by 10%.)
  • If you have a pet then it receives a 10% health boost through your Sympathetic Vigor .
  • This is the achievement to earn Mag’har Orc: Ready for War

The Vulpera Rogue

  • worldBag of Tricks : Cunning thing that you are you can use a trick on an enemy to damage them or on an ally to heal them. You can rummage your bag to change tricks. Your bag can eventually have a few additional Tricks :

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Rogue Specs and Their Abilities

Rogue skills and talents 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. Our Rogue Leveling Guide has a complete list of all Rogue abilities.

Or grab Zygor for the fast leveling.

A bit on the Assassination Spec

Sneak up and attack with poisons and bleeds. 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.

Assassination Damage GuideAssassination PvP Guide

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-handed weapons.

Outlaw Rogue Damage GuideOutlaw PvP

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.

Subtlety Rogue Damage GuideSubtlety PvP



Rogue Poisons, Locks, and Pockets

Poisons are, in Shadowlands, back on the weapons of any Rogue. Assassination Rogues have better poisons, though, allowing 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.

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. No more stocking them in your bags (as you used to do.)

You can have one lethal and one non-lethal poison up at any one time, and can change them on the fly.

All Rogues can use these poisons in Shadowlands: 

    1. Instant Poison: (Lev 10) Has a 30% chance to do some instant damage to the target with each strike.
    2. Wound Poison (38) does a small amount of damage and suppresses enemy healing by 8%, stacking up to 24%. At 44+ Assassination Rogues can have it stack twice more.
    3. Crippling Poison (38) slows your opponent’s movement (30% chance per hit.) Nice for mobs (or players) that run away.
    4. Numbing Poison (54) has a 50% chance, per strike, of slowing your opponent’s attack and/or casting speed by 15%.

And Assassination Rogues get Improved Poison Abilities

At level 43 your chance to apply poisons goes up to 50% with each strike. At 52+, if you are stealthed, then it is a 100% chance.

    1. Deadly Poison (13) is still only for Assassination Rogues. Poisons the target (30% chance to apply with each strike) over 12 seconds and additional applications deal instant damage.
    2. Mind-Numbing Poison (20) is a PvP talent. The caster takes poison damage every time they cast a spell. It is applied automatically along with either your Deadly or Wound poisons.
    3. Poisoned Knife (29) has a 30 yard range, does light damage, and applies both of your poisons.
    4. Leeching Poison (35) is a talent and adds a 10% leech effect to your deadly poison applications.


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. In Shadowlands you can pick locks equal to your level.


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.

In BFA you will mostly pick some coins and junk items. Same for Shadowlands, but with a bit of luck those pockets might contain items to improve your Crimson Vial potion.

Pickpocket Macro

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.)


#showtooltip Sap
/cast [stance:0] !Stealth
/targetenemy [harm][nodead]
/cast Sap
/cast Pick Pocket

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.

The second one is great for wandering through an area of NPC enemies and picking the pockets of each one.  It makes the pickpocketing much more reliabl.

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

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Stunning Moves & Interrupts

Human Rogue, Field Marshall Vestements

Of course, if your timing is off and/or the lag monster gets you then you aren’t interrupting anything.


  • 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.


  • Interrupts spells, but does not stun. Use this often against casters. 15 second cooldown.

Gouge – 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 that will break your gouge.
    • Run up to mob, gouge, hop behind, and backstab.
    • Spellcasting happens > Gouge
    • You can Gouge and bandage for a small mid-combat heal.

Undead Rogue in Field Marshall VestementsDistract

  • 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 

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


  • 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 – 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 –  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, Intellect – Useless.

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.

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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 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

Yes, you will want to enchant your items.

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’s Shoulder enchants, will require a level 85+ character to apply (to your heirloom,) but then your new level 1 can use it.

You can see a list of available enchants for leveling here. High end enchants will be on the class guides, linked at the Top of the Page

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 Zygor Gold Addon can do about about improving your situation.

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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.

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 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 from 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!

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.


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Other Rogue Guides – Where to go from here:

11 thoughts on “The Rogue Guide for the World of Warcraft”

  1. Pingback: Rogues in Warlords of Draenor -

  2. 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.) 🙂

  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.

    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.

  4. 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.)

  5. 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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