the Deadly Blade
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Rogues are World of Warcraft's premiere melee damage dealer and especially effective in PvP. They have access to a wide range of special abilities, which depend on their constantly refilling pool of energy. Unlike other classes, such as the hunter who has the ability to deal physical damage from a distance, rogues must be in close.
The primary rogue class advantage is their ability to stealth, preventing other players from seeing them unless the rogue is very close and in a 180 degree arc in front of them or much lower level.
The primary rogue attribute is agility. For PvP rogues, stamina is needed for staying alive. For a rogue, agility is always preferable to strength or attack power. Agility gives both attack power and crit chance to a rogue, while strength only gives attack power. A rogue uses no mana, so intellect and spirit are completely useless.
At later levels, most rogue-oriented gear will also include a lot of Attack Power. Other gear bonuses sought by rogues are Crit, Hit, and Haste. High Crit gives burst damage, High Hit increases chance to hit, mitigating dual wield penalty and enhancing dps.
Rogues can only wear leather or cloth armor, are unable to use shields, and can only wield one-handed weapons (daggers, swords, maces, fist weapons) and ranged weapons. At level 10, they gain access to poisons that can be purchased from poison vendors. It is required to complete a quest chain to gain the use of poisons.
Rogues acquire the passive ability to be able to Detect Traps , which can be very valuable in PvP situations with a hunter.
Rogues are best suited for players who like to sneak up on enemies and dish out large amounts of burst damage.
- 1 Background
- 2 Notable rogues
- 3 Races
- 4 Armor
- 5 Weapons
- 6 Abilities
- 7 Talents
- 8 Suggested professions
- 9 Useful Add-ons
- 10 End-game expectations
- 11 Videos
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Rogues are Azeroth’s legerdemains. They possess a wide range of skills that allow them to accomplish feats from disarming traps to finding secret doors to smacking a magic item until it works. They are decent in a fight, and if they can strike quickly or unseen — or are flanking an enemy with the help of a thoughtful ally — they can be truly deadly. Of course, they also excel at stealth.
The rogues of Azeroth are the masters of subterfuge, skilled and cunning adversaries of those who dare not look into the shadows to see what lurks there. Roguery is a profession for those who seek the adventures of stalking in silent forests, dimly lit halls and heavily guarded strongholds. Using trickery in combat and able to vanish at the slightest distraction, the rogue is a welcome addition to any group of adventurers. Ideal spies, deadly to those they can catch unaware, rogues have no problem finding a place in the world. Deadly masters of stealth, rogues are the whispers in shadowy corners and the hooded figures crossing dark fields. Skilled with daggers and the art of silent death, these vagabonds and bandits skulk about Azeroth seeking targets and profit. A member of almost any race can learn the tricks necessary to become a skilled rogue. Still, for the tauren, such a profession is an alien concept and therefore rare (if not non-existent) among those peoples. Rogues can be found among all races on Azeroth. Whether they are diplomats, spies, thieves, scoundrels, entertainers, or simply adventurers, you can find them plying just about any trade from Mount Hyjal to Ratchet.
For as long as there were dark alleys and needs for dark services, there have been rogues, and thus they are one of the oldest professions in Azeroth. Rogues are a diverse class, and they are typically made up from the dregs of society — cutthroats, pirates, robbers, and low-lifes. The only code rogues live by is the contract, and their word is only as good as the money their services are bought for. The diverse aspects of their trade requires rogues to be well versed in lockpicking, toxicology, rudimentary alchemy and brawling. In combat, rogues rely on the element of surprise, and tactics which are regarded by most as vile and cowardly. They are rarely seen entering a fight without weapons laced in poisons and ample supplies of everything from bombs to elixirs in their backpacks. Their attacks concentrate on weak points in the body in an attempt to finish fights brutally and quickly. Rogues play prominent roles in every aspect of society — albeit, they will rarely be written in history books because their involvements will be largely unknown to the common person, but they are always there, greatly affecting the flow of events from the shadows.
From the high-contract assassin hired in secret by respected noblemen to the lowly street mugger, rogues are the ones called upon when maintaining the status quo requires a questionable solution — and by fulfilling it, are branded as outcasts by the very society that calls upon their service.
In Azeroth several rogues are free agents, though most prefer to join a guild for safety and ease of employment. Ravenholdt and the Syndicate are examples of said guilds. Other recognized rogue organizations include the Shattered Hand, the Deathstalkers and SI:7.
|Illidan Stormrage||Lord of Outland, Demon Hunter||Deceased (Lore) Killable (Retail) Alive (Vanilla)||Black Temple, Outland (TBC)|
|Maiev Shadowsong||Warden||Alive||Warden's Cage, Shadowmoon Valley (TBC)|
|Garona Halforcen||Gul'dan's personal spy and assassin||Alive||Bloodgulch,Twilight Highlands (Cata)|
|Valeera Sanguinar||Companion of Varian Wrynn||Alive|
|Mathias Shaw||Leader of SI:7||Alive||SI:7, Stormwind City|
|Edwin VanCleef||Leader of the Defias Brotherhood||Deceased (lore/Retail), Killable (Vanilla)||Ironclad Cove, The Deadmines|
- Main article: Rogue races
The rogue class can be played by the following races:
Tauren are the only race that do not have rogues because they believe that the methods of the rogues are "dishonorable," and it is difficult to be stealthy when you have hooves (though this does not appear to be an issue for satyrs). However in the game files, tauren have stealthing animations, and as such, some people believe the reason of this is only because of the item and/or GM command testing.
Although rogues excel at melee combat, they may only learn to use four types of melee weapons: daggers, fist weapons, one-handed maces, one-handed swords . For ranged weapons, rogues may learn to use bows, crossbows, guns and throwing weapons.
As with warriors, a rogue's choice of weapon typically affects distribution of talent points, and vice versa. For example: historically rogues could specialize in any of the five melee weapons available to them, a rogue who primarily or exclusively uses daggers/fist weapons would be likely to spend talent points in Close Quarters Combat. Similarly, a rogue who relies on one-handed maces, swords, and axes would probably not spend points on Improved Ambush, since the Ambush ability required use of a dagger in the rogue's main hand.
The choice of what ranged weapon is usually easier to figure out than that of the melee ones. Often, a Rogue will pick any ranged weapon which gives the better stats, whether it be a bow or a gun. Still, some Rogues prefer to use throwing weapons as the ability Deadly Throw requires it. This is so far the only Rogue-ability requesting a specific ranged weapon. Note, The ability Fan of Knives now requires a thrown weapon as well, also thrown can now be poisoned.
A rogue's most fundamental abilities, such as Sinister Strike and Mutilate and are instant attacks which inflict damage based on the weapon damage of the rogue's main-hand weapon. Rogues therefore find it desirable to use a weapon with the best average damage to maximize their DPS.
Weapon speed does not affect the damage bonus provided by a rogue's attack power. Instead, damage is calculated according to the following formula:
- Normalized Damage = Base Weapon Damage + (Base Multiplier × Attack Power ÷ 14)
The "base multiplier" depends on weapon type: 1.7 for daggers, and 2.4 for fist weapons, swords and maces. Although weapon speed for normalized attacks does not contribute to the bonus damage from attack power, if you have 2 weapons of equal DPS, the slower weapon will have a higher base damage (average damage) and thus cause more damage overall. The exception to this rule involves Riposte and Ghostly Strike. Neither ability is normalized, meaning that slow weapons with high damage ranges will inflict greater overall damage than fast weapons with low damage ranges.
Weapons held in the off hand have only two instant attacks: Shiv and the off-hand component of Mutilate. Otherwise their damage contribution is reasonably straightforward. Off-hand attacks suffer a standard damage penalty. Fast off-hand weapons increase the application rate of poisons, since they will hit more frequently than a slow weapon and therefore increase the chances of applying poison to a target. Most players choose to use the same type of off-hand as the main hand (or vice versa) in order to benefit from weapon specialization (if they are combat specced), but some prefer to use the fastest weapon available in order to quickly apply poisons and interrupt spellcasters. Faster weapons are also sometimes favored for by those rogues who rely heavily on Combat Potency, since that talent affords the opportunity to regain up to 15 energy on a successful off-hand hit.
To summarize, the common rogue prefers a slow weapon in the main-hand and a fast weapon in the off-hand. This goal is easiest to reach as a combat rogue, as assassination and subtlety rogues usually need a dagger in their main-hand to perform their abilities (daggers usable by rogues with a speed slower than 2.0 are rather unusual). Some rogues prefer fast weapons in both hands in order to apply more poison, but the final gain from using a fast main-hand is debated since weapon enchantments, such as rogue poisons, usually have a "fixed" system for proccing (see proc, poisons and normalization). That, plus the extra damage from the special attacks performed with a slow main-hand and the normal damage itself, implies that there is little or nothing to win with choosing a fast main-hand when attempting to produce more damage. Although having a fast main hand may increase the amount of physical damage you do in a shorter period of time, the bonus does little for DPS.
Finally, whether a rogue is using a fast main-hand or a slow main-hand, it is taken as common knowledge among rogues that the OH should always be a fast weapon. This is because the off-hand, unlike the main-hand, does not have any crucial "duty" when performing abilities, thus its role consists nearly entirely of applying poisons. The only exception where a slow off-hand is preferable is when using a few spells which contribute more from slow weapons than from fast, like Killing Spree and Mutilate.
See Rogue equipment
This section provides a brief overview of the abilities of the rogue. For more a detailed assessment of rogue abilities, see the "Rogue abilities" article.
- Main article: Stealth
Stealth is the first major class ability a rogue can get. They have the ability to stealth and become essentially invisible to their level and lower, while moving at slower speed. Stealthed rogues are detectable at close range, though will remain stealthed and appear translucent. Be aware that higher level characters and mobs can more easily see through your stealth, and it does not take many levels to make your stealth worthless.
Many rogue abilities require stealth, and others require being behind the target, which is often achievable (while solo) only in stealth. Other rogue abilities, notably Sprint and Distract, interact well with stealth, although some actions, like lockpicking, will break stealth.
Stealth opens up a range of tactics and roles for rogues. Groups often rely on a rogue's stealth ability to scout dungeons, and to use Sap for added crowd control. In PvP, stealth combined with burst damage gives an element of surprise that can be especially effective against cloth-wearers.
Stealth can be improved through talents, items, and enchantments, both to decrease the chance of being detected, and to increase movement speed.
- Main article: Dual wield
A rogue starts off with the dual wielding skill upon creation since patch 3.3.0. Dual wielding is a trade-off with an increased chance to miss with each weapon and reduced damage on the off-hand, but it is a good ability for a rogue. A rogue cannot use a two-handed weapon (which have bigger stat buffs), cannot carry a shield, and has few good offhand choices (offhand items tend to all have caster stats). A second wielded weapon is the only way to reliably get two hands worth of rogue stat buffs. Any weapon held in the offhand slot only deals 50% damage untalented. Also, dual wielding weapons incurs an additional 19% miss chance to balance the extra damage; so alongside a base miss chance of 5%, dual wielding results in a base miss chance of 24%.
Roughly, with no tweaking, dual wield grants .76 + (.5 x .76) = 1.14 damage.
The first tier rogue talent, Dual Wield Specialization removes the off-hand damage penalty in increments of 10%. Note that this is multiplicative, not additive, so at maximum rank (5/5) it grants 50% increased damage. So, 50% increased by 50% = 75% damage for offhand weapons.
So, with Dual Wield Specialization maxed, dual wield grants .76 + (.75 x .76) = 1.33 damage.
Real results, with a weapon chosen for good benefits, will be better.
Bottom line is, in spite of the to-hit penalty, as a rogue you will want to dual wield.
- Main article: Poisons
The Alliance's poison quest can be obtained at level 20 in Westfall from Agent Kearnen called  ; if you drop by S1:7 in Stormwind, Master Mathias will send you to Kearnen when the time is right by giving you the  quest.
The Horde's version is in Orgrimmar from Shenthul called  ; which sends you to The Barrens to talk to Taskmaster Fizzule for a quest called  .
The poisons skills allows the rogue to use poisons, which can then be applied to their weapons. Poisons generally either cause damage to the target (either instantly or as damage over time) or cause other effects (slowing the target, removing the effectiveness of healing on the target, etc.). The ability to use each type of poison and level of the type of poison is a separate rogue skill. Different weapons can have different poisons applied, and faster weapons cause the poison to proc more often.
All poisons have a timer, which formerly lasted 30 minutes but as of patch 2.3.0 was raised to 60 minutes. As of patch 2.1.0 a rogue's poisons no longer have multiple charges; each now has one charge and stacks up to 20 units. The poison timer is displayed on the weapons properties when you mouse over the weapon. As of patch 1.10.0 applying poison will not break stealth or shadowmeld; previously to this, applying poisons would break these states. As of Patch 2.0.1, poisons remain on weapons through zoning between continents or into instances.
A variety of talents in the assassination tree enhance the use of poisons. Wearing three or more pieces of the Bloodfang Armor set increases the chance to apply poisons by 5%.
Prior to patch 3.0.2 and Wrath of the Lich King, the Poisons skill, the ability to brew poisons from ingredients, was a secondary skill, similar to Cooking or First Aid, but available only to rogues. As of the 3.0.2 patch and Wrath of the Lich King, the Poisons skill is no longer available in the game. Poisons may still be used by rogues, but are no longer brewed. Poisons can now be purchased from any Poison Vendor or Shady Dealer. Different ranks of Mind-numbing Poison have also been removed as of this patch.
- Main article: Lockpicking
Rogues have the ability to obtain the important skill Lockpicking. This ability allows them to open locked chests, lockboxes, and doors, depending on the rogue's skill in lockpicking and the level of the locked object (note that blacksmiths can create keys to open locked chests and engineers can manufacture explosive charges that can open locked doors, in the case that a skilled rogue is unavailable.) Lockboxes can be pickpocketed from mobs or found as loot and are essential to rogues trying to level their lockpicking skill — their color (grey - red) represents the skill necessary to open them (red means the rogue's lockpicking skill is too low to open the object and must increase his/her skill level before attempting again.)
Early training in lockpicking for Alliance rogues can be obtained at level 16 by completing the Alther's Mill quest, obtained from Lucius, who skulks around the docks of Lakeshore in the Redridge Mountains; Keryn Silvius in the Goldshire Inn will send you to see Renzik at SI:7 in Stormwind who will send you to see Lucius (however, you can probably go direct to Lucius...) *No longer necessary*
Some high-level dungeons (like the Arcatraz in Tempest Keep or the Shattered Halls in Hellfire Citadel) can be opened by a rogue with a skill level of 350 in lockpicking. This can be a real time-saver for a group since the alternative to picking the locks to these dungeons is to complete several long quest chains resulting in a key reward.
Stuns, incapacitates, and/or disorients
Stuns a target for 4 seconds and awards 2 combo points for use on a finishing move. This is a very useful opener that requires Stealth and usually allows the rogue to get 1 or 2 instant attacks off in addition to auto-attacks before an opponent can recover. Cheap Shot has its own diminishing returns category, and can therefore be used with Kidney Shot to stunlock a foe.
Kidney shot is an excellent finishing move which stuns for up to 6 seconds depending on skill rank and number of combo points. It can keep an opponent stunned long enough for you to kill them (especially if you master stunlocking). This skill is most useful in PvP. In PvE it's also a great ability to help keep your group mates alive or to interrupt a spell being cast. Damage will not remove this effect, making it even better in PvE and PvP.
Gouge is not a stun, but is a very important skill that incapacitates your target. This is used frequently to stall an opponent allowing you time to regenerate energy and get behind your opponent to allow a Backstab. Since it is considered an incapacitating effect, any damage caused afterward breaks the Gouge. This ability turns off auto-attack when used. Also, speccing in Improved Gouge will add .5 seconds per point up to a maximum of 1.5 seconds to your Gouge. This adds just enough time for you to gouge someone and get out of combat to re-Stealth. Gouge can also be used to interrupt a spell being cast. It is possible also if you are combat to use this ability to be able to get behind your target and Backstab or Ambush .
Disorients an opponent for 10 seconds, causing them to wander around in a very small area while they are unable to act. More than enough time to bandage and re-Stealth in PvP. Any damage will remove the disorient effect. Blind can also be used to interrupt a spell being cast. This may also help to escape in a tough situation.
This move must be performed while Stealthed and your opponent cannot be in combat. However sapping will allow you 1 minute (or 10 seconds on a PvP target) of freedom. Feel free to use this to bandage AND return back to Stealth. Sap and Gouge share the same diminishing return timer. Some NPC's and bosses are immune to Sap so it is not recommended on boss fights. Sap is a great tool for PvE also as it can be used as a long lasting form of crowd control in places where there may be many mobs to pull.
Please note that diminishing returns apply to all effects that cause players to lose control of their character (stun, incapacitate, fear, etc.). The abilities of a rogue end up in five different categories of diminishing returns. Cheap Shot is in a separate category from Kidney Shot and therefore both can be used to stun an opponent for full ten seconds. Sap and Gouge are on the same diminishing returns, while Blind and Dismantle are each on their own.
Passive threat reduction
All rogues generate reduced threat, compared to most classes. While attacks from most classes generate 1.0x threat per damage, rogues generate 0.71x threat per damage.
Prior to patch 1.12, the rogues' threat reduction was 0.8x, but was additive with other threat modifiers. The reduction was increased because threat modifiers are now multiplicative.
Unlike a caster's magic attacks, a rogue's melee attacks are reduced by the target's armor. The rogue has a few tricks to mitigate the armor.
Poisons, Rupture, and Garrote bypass armor. Expose Armor is a finishing move that reduces the target's armor for a short period which can be extended with the talent Improved Expose Armor. Maces ignore up to 15% of an enemy's armor when specced for Mace Specialization. The subtlety talent Serrated Blades ignore 3% armor per point, up to 9% at third rank.
Rogues are adept at running away. Sprint allows a rogue a temporary running speed boost, and Glyph of Blurred Speed allows a Sprinting rogue to run across water. Glyph of Sprint increases Sprint's speed boost by 30%. Vanish allows a rogue to disappear from combat and enter an improved Stealth mode. With Glyph of Vanish, a rogue gains 30% movement speed while under the Vanish effect.
Rogue talents are split into 3 categories:
Some builds to consider are :
Mutilate/Preparation (AKA 41/5/25)
Cold Blood/Prep/Seal Fate (AKA CB/Prep)
Shadowstep with assassination
See the rogue talents page for further details.
Leatherworking and Skinning
Leatherworking and Skinning are always a good choice. The items crafted tend to be better than other items you can loot at the same level. This is a very balanced profession choice for performance and money. It is recommended that you go Elemental Specialization because the gear is more suited for rogues and feral druids as it provides Agility and Stamina.
Herbalism and Alchemy
- Herbalism is also a very good way to obtain Swiftthistle and Fadeleaf. which are needed for Thistle Tea and the Blind ability respectively.
Engineering and Mining
Engineering is arguably the best (and most fun) profession for a rogue (with Mining being the most beneficial complementary profession). It allows for a very distinct edge in combat. It can, however, be expensive, for while you usually only have to craft items once in engineering, the items tend to be a bit expensive at times. There are a few engineering items that require components crafted by other professions, from blacksmiths to tailors to alchemists. Picking up mining with Engineering will save you a lot of money indeed, however, still be prepared to spend a solid amount of gold. Also, don't expect to be able to compensate your money with this profession, as Engineers make little to no money from their profession and still spend large amounts of money on items they still use at end game.
Some very notable items would be:
- can allow for an easy long range stun or just to stop someone from fleeing.
- - Knock-down power at the cost of some of your own health.
- - To ease sneaking from above and save your life once in a while.
- - These give you a very distinct advantage against other rogues.
- and provide 50% and 70% run speed increase respectively.
Enchanting is a very profitable profession if you know how to use it. As a rogue it's possible to solo run some lower level dungeons and head straight for the boss of each then disenchant their loot. Enchanting provides no utility or combat usage for PvP or PvE whatsoever other than the self-only invaluable ring enchants.
In short, each profession has different benefits. You have to decide what you want. Would you prefer making some decent cash over combat and survivability utilities in PvP and PvE that is offered by Engineering and Alchemy? Or would you prefer to have some profits coming out of your profession with less personal combat benefits such as Enchanting, Inscription, and possibly blacksmithing? (Note: not recommended for rogues as they cannot use ANY of the gear made, and there are no WotLK weapons out there for any of the specializations.)
While some people personally like engineering, be prepared to drop a lot of money on the profession, as it's not a strong money-making profession.
None of this makes any one profession the "right answer." Experiment with the different professions to find the one you enjoy, it's a compromise between what you want (profit or utility) and your budget. Play around with your choices and try to find where that line is and how fine it is.
This section lists some of the more helpful mods specifically for the rogue class.
- EnergyWatch v2
- Displays a progress bar that fills, empties, and refills in time with your energy recharge tick. This can be extremely useful for timing that Cheap Shot or Ambush so you tick immediately and have extra energy for a Gouge, etc. This may be considered obsolete now that a rogue's energy is now constantly refilling, as opposed to ticking up.
- An all in one addon that keeps track of energy ticks, combo points, AND total energy. As much as I loved EnergyWatch, this is a much better addon.
- This mod allows for extremely easy application of poisons. It creates a small minimap icon that can be hovered over to display all the poisons you currently have. Just left click the desired poison to apply to the main hand weapon, or right click to apply to the offhand.
- Natur Enemy Cast Bars (NECB)
- Notifies the player when someone begins to cast a spell. This is great since it lets you know when to kick, blind or stun the opponent; quite handy if you prefer not to be polymorphed.
Your main priority in raiding is maximizing melee DPS, while staying alive. Put your threat reducing abilities (namely, Feint, Vanish and Tricks of the Trade) to good use, use them before you gain aggro. As with all melee DPS classes, rogues are expected to come to raids with ample supplies of Flasks, Potion of Speeds, food, poisons and bandages. Depending on particular situation, rogues may not get many heals. If that's the case, rogues should use potions or health stones or bandages.
- Lockpicking - Guide to getting that lockpicking skill up.
- Rogue sets - Discussion of set items for rogues.
- Rogue gear guide - Information about choice of rogue equipment.
- Stealth run - Solo or duo-able dungeons.
- Stealth chests - Soloable chests in instances.
- List of rogues - List of important NPC rogues and rogues from lore.
- barrens.chat Comprehensive level 19 rogue twink guide + BiS
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