Rogue Leveling FAQ (6.x)

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100 Human Rogue
13605
This FAQ is for new rogues. It is full of simplifications and generalizations. The focus is on optimal leveling speed and viability. This is not how things will work for end game pve/pvp.

Be sure to read though the notes, as I've tried to explain major exceptions and caveats. Bold/underline is direct question answer. But, as you will see, many choices can not be made in a vacuum. If any class is about experimentation and situational planning, the rogue class is and to fully understand the class, you will need to think this way as well.

As always, I do my best to field questions in this thread as fast as possible. But don't be afraid to pop in a say hello, and ask a question on the floating community thread which is nearly always active. Just look for the "Tricks of Our Trade" thread and I guarantee that you will get a near immediate response from a knowledgeable and friendly rogue who will gladly take the time to help you. Or you can contact me on youtube, twitter or email.

Ask me anything.
  • Email:
  • wavefunctionp on gmail
  • Twitter:
  • @wavefunctionp
  • Youtube:
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/wavefunctionp

  • Video

    • Combat Video Guide:
    • http://youtu.be/0kKKQvssrzA
    • A basic explanation rogue mechanics and combat spec rotation.
    • Assassination Video Guide:
    • http://youtu.be/TXjvLhm_x0A
    • Down and dirty assassination gameplay guide.
    • Twitch:
    • http://www.twitch.tv/wavefunctionp
    • Watch some unscripted gameplay of from past streams. Feel to free to laugh at me. :P
    • I announce a live stream on twitter. (Usually late night into the morning).
    Edited by Aeriwen on 11/13/2014 8:47 PM PST
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    What is the best spec for leveling a rogue?

    • Each spec does very well currently. Your best spec is the one you, personally, play the best.
    • Assassination has really hard hitting non-stealth burst via Mutilate. Poison heavy focus. Slower rotation speed.
    • Subtlety will kill most things in an opening combo via Ambush. Stealth heavy focus. Fairly tricky rotation. Needs really good mainhand weapon for soloing efficiently, especially at higher levels.
    • Combat is Sinister Strike spam. Choose this if you like pressing buttons really fast.


    What stats should I be looking for?

    • Agility
    • Secondary stats aren't going to have much impact for leveling.


    What weapons do I use?

    • Assassination – Daggers only. Mutilate requires it.
    • Subtlety – Anything for Hemorrhage spam. If you want to use backstab, say in group or pvp, you will need a dagger in your mainhand.
    • Combat - Slow Sword, Mace, Axe, or Fist in the mainhand. This capitalizes on Sinister Strike higher damage with slower weapons. Sinister Strike will be the vast majority of your damage while leveling. A dagger mainhand does less damage, but not as bad as it was before 6.0. However, I wouldn't recommend it.


    What heirlooms should I buy?

    Stained Shadowcraft Tunic
    Stained Shadowcraft Pants
    Stained Shadowcraft Spaulders or Exceptional Stormshroud Shoulders
    Stained Shadowcraft Cap
    Inherited Cape of the Black Baron
    Balanced Heartseeker or Sharpened Scarlet Kris
    Venerable Mass of McGowan
    Venerable Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge or Battleworn Thrash Blade
    Edited by Aeriwen on 11/29/2014 12:16 AM PST
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    What enchants should I use.

    • In general, use the highest level enchants on your looms now that they scale. They won't always be best for specific level brackets, but they won't be bad and you won't have to change them.


    What poisons do I use?

    • In VERY general terms...
    • PvE - Deadly/Leeching
    • PvP - Wound/Crippling
    • This is decision that will need to be evaluated as the situation dicates. The most obvious change is if you don’t pickup the leeching poison talent, you’ll need to use a different poison.


    Which talents should I choose?


    • Most talent choices come down to preference. However, I will give some recommendations...
    • 15 - Shadow Focus. The free opener can help with energy regen issues from lack of haste while leveling.
    • 30 - Combat Readiness. The extra survivability can help maintain your quest flow if you start to get low on health and Evasion is on cooldown. Save you from vanishing and resetting.
    • 45 - Leeching Poison. You don't really need any other utility poison while leveling and this one can keep you topped up.
    • 60 - Burst of Speed. No cooldown sprint with a bonus effect that removes snares and roots. Since unless you are human, you likely won't have a trinket equipped while leveling. It also speeds up movement between quest mobs to help keep Deadly Momentum rolling.
    • 75 - Dirty Tricks. Lets you Gouge and Blind with impunity to bandage or deal with another immediate threat even with deadly poison or rupture on your target.
    • 75 - Anticipation. Marked for death works best for short duration fights like leveling, but you'll likely want to get some practice with anticipation since it is a general go to talent for your 90 tier.


    What Glyphs should I use?

    Edited by Aeriwen on 11/13/2014 8:45 PM PST
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    What is my rotation?

    Rogues are built around the concept of building combo points up and then spending those points. Combo points now stack on the rogue and slowly decay, one at a time, out of combat. Try not to waste points on finishers when a mob is near death and most of the damage will be wastes since it is now easy to use those points to start your next salvo on the next hapless victim.


    • Combat

    • Keep up Revealing Strike for bonus combo points.
    • Use Sinister Strike until 4 or 5 combo points and then use Eviscerate.
    • Keep Slice and Dice up. Preferably with Deadly Momentum.
    • Keep up Recuperate when needed. Preferably with Deadly Momentum.
    • Use your cooldowns freely.
    • Toggle Blade Flurry on when you want to aoe. (Don't forget to turn it off.)



    • Assassination

    • Use Mutilate to add 4 or 5 combo points on your target and then use Envenom.
    • Use Dispatch below 35% when you get it. (40)
    • Use Blindside procs when you get them. (40).
    • Keep Rupture going as a priority finisher, since it gives you extra energy.
    • You can keep SnD running with Envenom after you get Cut to the Chase. (20)
    • Keep Slice and Dice up. Preferably with Deadly Momentum.
    • Keep up Recuperate when needed. Preferably with Deadly Momentum.


    • Subtlety

    • Use Hemorrhage (with glyph @ lvl 20 for Sanguinary Vein) to add 5 combo points on your target and then use Eviscerate.
    • Use Backstab when you can get behind the target.
    • Keep Slice and Dice up. This will give you more energy regen. Preferably with Deadly Momentum.
    • Keep up Recuperate when needed. Preferably with Deadly Momentum.
    Edited by Aeriwen on 11/13/2014 8:29 PM PST
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    General Stategies

    There are five general rules for playing a rogue well.

    Always be attacking.
    Don't cap energy.
    Don't cap combo points. (This is partially wasted energy.)
    Use your cooldowns.
    Know and execute your optimal rotation.

    This applies whether you are leveling or trying to get the most of out of your rogue. Highly skilled players do this stuff first and then worry about finicky bits. If you find yourself having large issues, you are probably breaking one of those rules. Just like most things in life, the basics tend to take care of most problems. Professional musicians still do scales, professional basketball players still practice free throws and layups, every skill based endeavour has basic elements that must be mastered to built upon. Don't worry about fancy macros or cool tricks, all that stuff will come naturally when you've mastered the basics.

    These specs aren't designed exactly the same as end game specs, as I've noted here and there. At cap, and soloing for 80-100, mobs live much longer and you often finish multiple times during a fight including buffs. At lower levels, building and finishing on a single mob is a rarity. A typical fight usually involves spamming a combo point builder until it dies. Don't forget to use your points to buff up SnD or Recuperate and move on. Don't underestimate Slice and Dice it is a very strong buff, every spec does large amounts of damage that depends on attack speed.

    It is not as hard to level now as it once was, but try and practice your CC abilities. It possible to take on 3-4 opponents at once with most having been CC'd at least once. I also encourage every rogue to try PvP. It really teaches you how to play your class more than any PvE encounter ever could. And you can bring that experience back to PvE and be a better player.

    Most of all, have fun and chime in if you are having problems or questions.

    Happy Stabbing!
    Edited by Aeriwen on 11/13/2014 8:44 PM PST
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    23 Gnome Rogue
    290
    Thanks!
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    85 Blood Elf Rogue
    1690
    this rocks...thank you for doing this!
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    75 Goblin Rogue
    1420
    #showtooltip
    /startattack
    /cast {ability}



    Am i missing something? A macro is necessary to use an ability? Not trying to be rude, just honestly don't understand the point of them.
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    #showtooltip
    /startattack
    /cast {ability}



    Am i missing something? A macro is necessary to use an ability? Not trying to be rude, just honestly don't understand the point of them.


    It is to start attacking even when you don't have enough energy to activate the special ability.
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    75 Goblin Rogue
    1420
    #showtooltip
    /startattack
    /cast {ability}



    Am i missing something? A macro is necessary to use an ability? Not trying to be rude, just honestly don't understand the point of them.


    It is to start attacking even when you don't have enough energy to activate the special ability.



    So it's to replace right click or attack nearest/next target keybinds?
    Edited by Oppressor on 11/20/2010 2:22 PM PST
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    Yeah, if you use those keybinds. I personally only click if I need to switch targets. Otherwise I run up to whatever I'm attacking and press my main attack, it'll automaticly start autoattacking my nearest target even if I don't have enough energy. I have it on my fan of knives ability as well for those aoe situation, though it is less of a dps less now that we don't get energy returns from auto attacking. Combat does though.
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    75 Goblin Rogue
    1420
    #showtooltip
    /startattack
    /cast {ability}



    Am i missing something? A macro is necessary to use an ability? Not trying to be rude, just honestly don't understand the point of them.


    It is to start attacking even when you don't have enough energy to activate the special ability.



    So it's to replace right click or attack nearest/next target keybinds?


    A macro is something you can create to do multiple actions with the same button. For instance this marco shown here will do two things. #1 it will auto target the closest enemy mob and begin auto attack and #2 IF you have enough energy it will execute the ability sinister strike. People create lots of macros for every type of class to combine actions like this for faster reaction and better gameplay.


    I know what a macro is, i have/use them, i just didn't understand the purpose of those macros when you can just as easily right click or use your attack next/nearest enemy keybinds and mash the ability you would like to use, untill it is used was all.

    Also, i do know that simply selecting the ability to begin with will put you in combat with your target, so again, i just don't understand the point when you factor in the keybind/right click.

    I thought those things were just givens (right click or keybind).

    I apologize if i'm coming off as either snooty or inept, i should probably not be doing this on my phone at work as i believe i'm simply making things worse.
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    Whoa, hello wall of quotes! :P

    If you don't have enough energy or you are out of range of your target, using the ability button will not start attack until you are in range or have enough energy. Those macros solve that problem.
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    Yes, it will light up as normal.
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    85 Blood Elf Hunter
    5510
    I'm curious why it's recommended that you use Envenom over Eviscerate starting at level 54 for Assassination. From personal experience it seems that non-boss mobs die too fast for Deadly Poison to stack to enough for Envenom to out damage Eviscerate. Eviscerate has many of the talent-based benefits of Envenom (namely SnD refresh to 5pt max), but Envenom does allow for faster Deadly and Instant poison application. Generally speaking, though, I tend to find that after an Eviscerate my primary target is dead or will die after a Deadly Poison tick or auto attack. However, using Envenom, it feels that the same mob dies much slower.

    Am I missing something?
    Edited by Amielle on 11/20/2010 8:38 PM PST
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    100 Human Rogue
    13605
    Its debatable. However, after the coming damage nerfs you should be finishing more and eviscerate is going to mitigated by armor. Make sure you are using a fast offhand to stack deadly poison as well. This isn't an end all be all guide. Some amount of intelligence will be needed. Like blinding and sapping multiple targets and whatnot. That was a good question though.
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