Rogue Leveling FAQ (7.x)

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First, thanks for all the work you did on this. It's helped me get back into playing, but there are still some things I don't understand. For some reason rogues seem to be a very confusing class for me.

12/22/2010 02:29 PMPosted by Aeriwen
If he is combat, he should be using a slow mainhand weapon. Sinister strike hits harder that way. Combat with daggers is a no-no, unfortunately.

Not even in the off hand? Why are daggers a no-no for combat? Is there more to it than them normally being fast?

12/22/2010 02:29 PMPosted by Aeriwen
Glyphs are that big of a deal until you start min/maxing at level cap. When he get to 85, he should look up elitistjerks forum and read the rogue guides there.

Did you mean "are not"?

11/20/2010 12:29 PMPosted by Aeriwen
A typical fight usually involves spamming a combo point builder until it dies. Use the leftover points to buff up SnD or Recuperate and move on.

Wait! What? Are you saying you can use unused points on something you killed to buff up SnD? Once something dies, it can't be targeted anymore, and the description for S&D says that the points have to be on a nearby target, so I thought that means that you loose any that you didn't manage to utilize before your target died. Was I wrong? I noticed (only recently) that I have Recuperate (is that new?) which somehow uses the lost points, but isn't that all you can do with them?

Another thing that is confusing is that the description says "...on any nearby target" as if I can have multiple targets and more than one of them might have combo points on them. As far as I know, I can only target one thing at a time, so how can I have multiple targets? Even when I use multishot as a hunter, I only have one actual target. Aren't rogues the same way? And I thought that if I switched targets, the combo points were gone (or maybe it is when I start generating combo points on the new target), but in any case they are on only one enemy at a time, right?

How do we even know what generates combo points? I've been practicing with a target dummy trying to figure out how these things work and what's happening doesn't match the descriptions. Just using Ambush as an example, it's description makes it sound like it's only for trying to one-shot things ("...using Ambush will make quick work of most foes") and it says nothing at all about building combo points. Yet, for some reason, it seems to generate combo points (on target dummies, at least). (If something else is generating the combo points, I can't figure out what is doing it.) But there is no point in generating combo points unless you are going to try to follow up with a finisher, and if you needed to build up points and use a finisher, then it's not true that Ambush made short work of anything, so the description seems to be very wrong. (Testing wasn't helped by the fact that I didn't know at first that it's possible to somehow miss a stationary target dummy!)

While trying to figure out what Ambush actually does, I found out that the description for Ambush over at wowhead ( is completely different than the one in the game:
Ambush the target, causing 190% weapon damage plus (367 * 190 / 100) to the target ((190 * 1.447)% plus (367 * 190 / 100 * 1.447) if a dagger is equipped). Must be stealthed and behind the target. Awards 2 combo point.
OK, I don't know about the numbers, but that sounds much closer to what was happening with the target dummy, so is that description correct, instead? In that case, I would be better off equipping a dagger, at least at that moment, right?

Do you know what keeps turning on auto attack and how to prevent that? I'm trying to simply things as much as possible to see what things do, but I keep autoattacking, and some things don't trigger it, but most seem to. I thought I vaguely remember a setting in the combat options or somewhere but I can't find it. (It's not autoattack on assist.) My other toons don't do act like that, so I don't think it's a general setting.
The reason you can't see what the abilities do is because you have beginner tooltips enabled. They are pretty much useless.

Rogues have 2 types of "attacks". Combo point builders and finishers. Sinister strike, Mutilate, Ambush, etc. Some builders like ambush or cheap shot can only be used from stealth. On the tooltip it will say how many combo points the attack will add to the target. Finishers are used to spend combo points, which you've already figured out. The tooltip will tell you how much benefit you will gain per combo point.

If you are using my macros, then the macro is starting autoattack, otherwise you are right clicking the mob most likely. All offensive attacks that don't break on damage will start autoattack after you've used the ability. Gouge and blind will both stop your autoattack, since they break on damage and Slice and Dice and Recuperate won't since they are just buffs. You want to be autoattacking during combat in addition using combo points.

Combo points can only be built on one target at a time. Adding a combo point to new target will clear all existing combo points. After a target dies, the combo points remain on the corpse for about 20 seconds or so, which allows you to use them to buff SnD or Recuperate. This is a new functionality added in Cata.

Combat uses sinister stike and revealing strike to build combo points. They both depend solely on mainhand weapon damage, so the higher average damage range (not dps) on slow weapons is highly preferred. The difference is quite significant. Other attacks like Hemorrhage or ambush are "normalized" in a sense. You still want the slowest of each weapon type, but either weapons types (dagger vs non-dagger) are about the same damage.
Personly people shouldn't be Complaining.
Im leveling a rogue and this is helping me by a big shot, Thanks Bro
Do i have all the right heirlooms?

(meaning are my heirlooms right, and if there are any others i'm missing, where do i get them :P)-sorry if this is listed somewhere
Your heirlooms are fine.
Thanks for your earlier reply.

11/19/2011 08:10 PMPosted by Aeriwen
The reason you can't see what the abilities do is because you have beginner tooltips enabled. They are pretty much useless.

I don't know how you figured that out, but thank you very much for that. I thought it would provide additional information that I had forgotten, but it dumbed things down.

A major problem that I was having was that I was trying to play my combat rogue as if it were a subtlety rogue. If someone was willing to write a guide on choosing a spec, that would really help. It would be great if it explained what does not apply to each spec, as well as what does. My perception is that rogues tend to make statements that apply specifically to their specialization or situation as if they applied to all rogues, so learning what sorts of things you should ignore would be very helpful. (As an example, there was an earlier bug that made it appear as if rogues needed to go to their trainer to learn Mutilate. Many assassination rogues kept insisting that rogues already learned Mutilate at a low level from their trainers and it still worked.)

A lot of stuff makes it seem as if the opener is very important, but is it? I'm thinking that only subtlety should normally bother with one. Other rogues could probably build up as much damage and combo points quicker than it takes to move into position while stealthed. It's possible to switch weapons using macros, but main-hand only and off-hand only weapons make the macros tricky. If you get knocked out of stealth unintentionally, you tend to be left with a dagger in your main hand, which probably isn't what a combat rogue should have. I'm not certain about this, though.
I have some plans to provide the information with more narrative, which is one of the problems with lists and faq as far as teaching goes.

And please pardon me if I'm reading too much in to your post, but I think the problems you are having are conceptual.

Rogues are a very unique lot. The vast majority of the abilities that a rogue will use are not spec abilities, they are class abilities. Talents can add additional functions or tweaks abilities for different specs, but they abilities remain the same in function.

Spec specific abilities are usually a main combo points build, and a situational combo point builder. Each spec is also going to have one primary finisher, but each uses all of the finishers to some degree. There are exceptions, but they are not important. I'm painting with broad strokes right now.

Openers are important, but you may be mistaking high level play, with the monty haul that is leveling right now. You can level a rogue like a warrior if you want and never even enter stealth. Leveling just easy, and that's not a critique.

So, the reason why you hear things and they seem like they apply to all rogues, which is a really vague statement so I'm making assumptions, could be because a great many things change at level cap. Just getting above level 80 and into the new cataclysm zone, you'll end up finishing a couple of times on a non-elite, and popping dps and survivability cooldowns regularly. You may actually want to open with a stun because you can get up a 2pt recuperate or snd quickly. Running through packs of mobs with blade flurry up will not be a viable tactic.

What is important is that you are having fun along the way. And if you like stealthing around, you'll probably want to go sub, if you like playing like a leather warrior then combat is probably right for you, or if you like poisons maybe assassination. Leveling is a good time to experiment pretty risk free, and you might want to try the different spec to see which one is for you and help teach you if you decided to switch spec when you are 85.
02/12/2012 04:49 PMPosted by Aeriwen
I have some plans to provide the information with more narrative, which is one of the problems with lists and faq as far as teaching goes.

Do you mean that addon you were working on or did it morph into something else? Just curious.

02/12/2012 04:49 PMPosted by Aeriwen
And please pardon me if I'm reading too much in to your post, but I think the problems you are having are conceptual.

No problem. You were right. Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

I almost mentioned that I was strongly considering dual specing into sub earlier. I think I will go ahead and do that. By the way, I don't don't how many people would react the way I do, but for me how I think of the role is important. You said, "And if you like stealthing around..." and WoWpedia said, "The subtlety tree complements rogues who like to stay in the shadows." ( That sounds bad to me - I don't want to limit my ability to move. Instead, the reason I would want to do it (I think) is because I'd rather fight when I had the advantage rather than charging straight in and hoping for the best. (It would be about trying to control the terms of the fight from the start.) The enjoying stealthing and staying in the shadows part might have more to do with PVP or perhaps it's the way other people look at it; I don't know. And yes, I know it's just a game and I probably won't actually do any better than the other specs, but it seems to me that it's they way I should be trying to go about things.
02/16/2012 11:59 PMPosted by Erimir
I have some plans to provide the information with more narrative, which is one of the problems with lists and faq as far as teaching goes.

Do you mean that addon you were working on or did it morph into something else? Just curious.

Something else entirely. :)
@ Aeriwen I am enjoying leveling this toon, have only played her as combat, I seen some others state that maybe Sub from 30 to 80? I would like to know what i should use for SUB glyphs?

03/13/2012 12:01 PMPosted by Tiarina
@ Aeriwen I am enjoying leveling this toon, have only played her as combat, I seen some others state that maybe Sub from 30 to 80? I would like to know what i should use for SUB glyphs?

Hemorrhage, Slice and Dice, Backstab (assuming you use a dagger mainhand) and Eviscerate are about the only choices. You "could" go with sinister strike as you main attack using the sword, and glyph it for better combo point generation before you get Slaughter from the Shadows. But most things should die in a few button presses with subtlety's burst from a quick Ambush > Eviscerate.

Let me know how it goes. I haven't leveled subtlety since the buff to hemo.
Great read, but still some questions. My main is a pally tank who never ran dungeons. Just a super bad experience. Rolling this one I went the questing/dungeon route.

I know one of the bigger problems is the fact that I'm still learning the dynamics of group play and I am working on that. However when someone posts a dmg log I'm almost always 3rd or 4th in dps. Does the problem lie with me not having more heirloom gear? Or that I have neither gems/enchants on my gear.

With the rate of leveling and gear upgrades I don't see the need to, but should it be something I look at?

As for my playstyle, the build is combat. I'll stealth, wait for the pull, Ambush, SnD, SS and trash is usually dead. I don't see how I can do much more considering it does seem like I get one or two attacks in and the mob is dead.
You are probably fine. As combat you'll need to keep bladeflurry up to hit two mobs at once. Beating tank dps, and other classes with strong aoe is pretty much not going to happen. You should find that if the target lives long enough to actually blow some cds and get your poisons running that you will be near the top of the dps. We just don't have strong AoE especially if the targets are always dying.

I wouldn't worry about gems/enchants or boes from the ah. I personally don't bother with any of that except on my tanks before 378 ilvl now.

You probably need not ambush, just start with sinister strike as combat. Outside of some weird low level scaling, the energy cost isn't worth the damage that it does for combat.

The low level stuff just dies so fast, which is why my builds prioritize builder/openers over finishers.

A lot will change when you reach the cata zones and level cap. Good luck.
Hey to be that guy but i just excepted a res scroll. I decided to bump my rouge to 80. No idea what I am doing though. Cool way to get people to come back but jumping from 15 to 80 i missed a lot of learning. I speced as assassination. What should I be looking to do as far as rotations and cycles of attacks? My place in runs?
I am leveling a new (level 10) rogue as Sub. He is currently running the BoA dagger Main hand and the BoA Sword Off Hand. Not worried about the HP cost, would it be beneficial to go double BoA daggers?
A dagger offhand is optimal for all specs. However, that applies due to mechanics that are most significant in end game content. It wouldn't hurt, but the difference would be marginal and likely imperceptible while leveling.
Hi I am pretty new to this game and decided to level a rouge and got really into it and been enjoying it. I was wondering if someone could look me up and see if I am doing it right and give me any tips for gear in the future,that be awesome thanks.

The guide did help some still trying to understand it all first lol. I think I got the basic idea as you see its is still a low level.

So far this is my favorite class so want to make it pretty good once I get it up to the higher levels. Thanks an advance for the tips
So i'm currently Sub and I was wondering about the glyphs. What is so good about the Backstab glyph when really hemo does about the same damage. I think glyph of Slice and Dice would be a better option in my opinion. I rarely ever use a gouge backstab combo while leveling. It really throws out the point of the Gouge and Backstab Gylphs. Garrote is hardly ever used during leveling as well. I find there could be many replacements for the two like Cloak of Shadows. I'm not trying to be an !@#, I know that it isn't set in stone that you have to use those I'm just saying I think it would be more viable.

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