Rogue Leveling FAQ (7.x)

Rogue
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Updated: 12/17/16 for 7.x.

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.

If you'd like, you can join the Ravenholdt discord server to chat with other rogues here:

https://discord.gg/gPv7ag2

Or you can contact me on twitter or email.

Twitter/Gmail: wavefunctionp
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 a poison and bleed heavy focus. Slower rotation speed, but high apm to cp ratio. (Less busy work.) Not very dependent on weapon damage.
  • Subtlety will kill most things in an opening combo via Shadowstrike. Stealth heavy focus. Somewhat technical rotation.
  • Outlaw is Saber Slash spam and heavy hitting Run Throughs. It is furious and hectic spec with unpredictable highs and lows through Roll the Bones. Also, PIRATE!


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 – Daggers only. Backstab and Shadowstrike requires them.
  • Outlaw - Non-daggers. This capitalizes on Saber Slash's higher damage with slower weapons. Saber Slash and Run Through will be the vast majority of your damage while leveling and while Run Through doesn't care what weapon you use, Saber Slash does. 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?

Note: The forums broke item links. Use the heirloom window ingame and filter by rogue for a list of heirlooms and sources. Just pick the right weapon type for your spec and pick the items with the highest agility and secondary stats, and ignore stamina for each slot. It's not rocket science.

<a href="/wow/en/item/48689" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_chest_leather_07.jpg" alt=""/></span>Stained Shadowcraft Tunic</a>
<a href="/wow/en/item/62026" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_pants_02.jpg" alt=""/></span>Stained Shadowcraft Pants</a>
<a href="/wow/en/item/42952" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_shoulder_07.jpg" alt=""/></span>Stained Shadowcraft Spaulders</a> or <a href="/wow/en/item/44103" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_shoulder_05.jpg" alt=""/></span>Exceptional Stormshroud Shoulders</a>
<a href="/wow/en/item/61937" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_helmet_41.jpg" alt=""/></span>Stained Shadowcraft Cap</a>
<a href="/wow/en/item/62039" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_misc_cape_20.jpg" alt=""/></span>Inherited Cape of the Black Baron</a>
<a href="/wow/en/item/42944" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_sword_17.jpg" alt=""/></span>Balanced Heartseeker</a> or <a href="/wow/en/item/44091" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_weapon_shortblade_03.jpg" alt=""/></span>Sharpened Scarlet Kris</a>
<a href="/wow/en/item/48716" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_hammer_17.jpg" alt=""/></span>Venerable Mass of McGowan</a>
<a href="/wow/en/item/42945" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_sword_43.jpg" alt=""/></span>Venerable Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge</a> or <a href="/wow/en/item/44096" class="bml-link-item color-q7"><span class="icon-frame frame-10"><img height="10" width="10" src="http://media.blizzard.com/wow/icons/18/inv_sword_36.jpg" alt=""/></span>Battleworn Thrash Blade</a>
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?
  • Only Assassination uses poison now.
  • For PvE: Deadly/Crippling
  • For PvP: Wound/Crippling
  • You talented poison choices will obviously override this selection if you choose to take them.


Which talents should I choose?
  • Most talent choices come down to preference. However, I will give some general guiding principles...
  • Quest mobs don't live long, so you just need to focus on killing quickly, moving quickly and healing up what little damage they can do to you.
  • Favor high availability like Exsanguinate.
  • Favor front loading your damage sources like Vigor
  • Favor trickling survivability like Soothing Darkness.
  • There are no terrible choices, and leveling really the time to experiment anyway. So have fun with it.
  • You will probably want Gloomblade while soloing with Subltety.
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 because most of the damage will be wasted. And now because it is easy to use those points to start your next salvo on the next hapless victim, you can just hold on to them a bit between mobs.

    Outlaw

  • Use Saber Slash until 4 or 5 combo points and then use Run Through.
  • Use Pistol Shot when you get the proc from Saber Slash.
  • Keep Roll the Bones up if the duration won't be mostly wasted.
  • Use your cooldowns freely.
  • Toggle Blade Flurry on when you want to aoe. (Don't forget to turn it off.)


    Assassination

  • You must keep your poisons buffs applied.
  • Open with Garrote.
  • Keep Rupture and Garrote (you can use it out of stealth now) going as a priority, since it gives you extra energy.
  • Use Mutilate to add 4 or 5 combo points on your target and then use Envenom.


    Subtlety

  • Open with Shadowstrike.
  • Use backstab, probably gloomblade if you are solo, until 5 combo points and then use Eviscerate.
  • Keep Nightblade up.
  • Use Shadow Dance often and keep Symbols of Death active.
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.

Leveling 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.

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!
Thanks!
this rocks...thank you for doing this!
#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.
#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.
#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?
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.
#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.
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.
Yes, it will light up as normal.
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?
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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