This is a rogue PvE Guide. I won't take on PvP aspects, apart if they have a direct repercussion on PvE enviroment.
I write this guide with the purpose to have a simple and reliable list of tips, easy to understand for both beginners and seasoned players.
Be aware: the guide needs to stay in a "guideline" format - so i often use the comments to deeper talk about updated/buffs/nerfs and new mechanics. Be sure to check them down below if you're interested in additional discussion!
Latest news: this is a transition between pre-exp and and WoD; there's a lot still being discussed and many things can change - it's possible i have missed class changes, and if you point them out, i'll be more than happy to correct them asap.
A special thanks to Ryme, Nalira andd shadowboy which gave me precious pointers to update the guide.
Rogues wear leather armor and focus on agility as primary stat. With the advent of 6.0 Hit and Expertise are a memory from the past, changed with different secondary stats like Multistike and Versatility - please go check the deidcated section for details on how they work for our class. remeber that different specs (and likley tier sets) will favor different stats.
Rogues are a pure damage class: we cannot cover other roles, and all our three talent trees are about damage dealing. So our purpose in endgame raiding is to maximize this damage.
Mechanics are based on energy as resource: we have 100 maximum (120 with Glyph of Energy), and spend it to use our abilities. Energy regens by itself at a standard rate of 1 per 0.1 seconds; haste modifies this rate, so the more haste you have, the faster energy regens. Combat passive ability Vitality boosts energy regen even more.
Abilities are divided into 2 categories: combo moves and finishers. Combo moves generate combo points on our target that can be used later for performing finishers - combo points are now automatically redirected on any target you have, so switching targets is less penalizing than before. The very core of our rotations is:
determined # of combo points -> finisher
In the specs breakdown section there are detailed priority lists on which builders and finishers you should use.
We also have the ability to put poisons on our weapons, dealing additional damage. Passing through the new poison system created in MoP and the ability pruning for WoD, the only option we have in PvE is to use Deadly Poison as our lethal one (changes into Istant Poison for Combat) and either Crippling or Leeching as non-lethal. Anyway, bosses are immune to the slow and there are better talents to take than Leeching in a raid environment.
Rogues specs are: Assassination, focused on poison damage; Combat, focused on weapon damage and being toe-to-toe with enemies; Subtlety, focused on stealth and mobility. All three specs are capable of doing pretty much the same damage, differences are very little - on paper. When you choose a spec you'll get everything you need by leveling, talents are things you can get for enhancing various aspects non depending on the spec you play.
Do you like one spec? Take it and learn it through experience.
I feel that the leveling part needs a standalone section.
Leveling a Rogue
When you're leveling a rogue, you can choose pretty much the spec you prefer. With the 5.0.4 changes, every spec gets all the tools needed by leveling, so you don't have to worry much about mandatory glyphs/talents. Anyway, there are some overall good things to have like Leeching Poison and Glyph of Deadly Momentum, which both increase your survivability and makes easier to kill subsequent mobs, also given the fact the SnD now lasts a baseline of 36 seconds.
Some details and personal opinions about the specs for leveling:
- Assassination: probably the most solid right now due to Dispatch which doesn't have positional requirements and the very fast CP generation. Anyway plays slow at lower levels due to very low energy regen compared to other specs.
- Combat: same as it has always been, very solid, with the strongest cleave in game and the more "tanky" one. But it can be boring, since it will be a SS spam journey till 90; its cooldowns are really strong when they are up and they are often table-turning. Stealth isn't so useful, it will be faster to just run at mobs.
- Sublety: due to the semplification of the dps cycle, it has become more performing in terms of leveling and it has the best burst due to the reliance on openings and ambush, with a great synergy with Subterfuge. The reliance on Backstab is even greater than before due to the new Multistrike mechanic which simply doesn't work with Hemorrage. HaT now also procs from the rogue autoattack crits, so it gives a smoother CP generation even in solo.
Gear while leveling: the best stats are hands down AGI and STAM. AGI has an impact on every source of damage we have, STAM lets us live longer and thus stop less times to eat/bandage, other than sustain more blows from mobs. Also Recuperate works based on our max HP, so STAM is even more useful.
This doesn't mean anyway that you can roll on a leather helm with INT and call it an upgrade just because it has more STAM - get only proper gear.
As for secondary stats, all of them provide advantages in terms of additional damage. Ideally, Assassination favors Mastery, Combat favors Haste and Subtlety favors Multistrike - this is also due to new spec passives that increase the above mentioned secondary stat by 5%.
Blizzard has put in game some handy items, which are Bind on Account, called Heirlooms; they are well itemized for the class they are meant to be used, and they grow with the player's level, becoming more and mroe powerful. For rogues, we have an entire set of armor plus weapons.
Heirlooms are good not only for the stats, but also for the bonus experience they provide, making the leveling process much faster. These bonuses stack with guild perks. Keep in mind that WotLK heirlooms (chest, spaulders and weapons) work only till level 80 - but you can upgrade the with justice points up to level 85. After you reach that, they simply won't grow anymore and don't give exp bonus, becoming quickly obsolete.
If you haven't done it yet, run a SoO to kill Garrosh - it will net you a guaranteed Heirloom weapon drop suited for your spec the first time you kill him, which will work from level 90 up to 100.
A personal advice: pick a spec you find fun. You can level slower but you need to be entertained. Otherwise you'll be bored at half the run.
A very important part of the game, is the transition from leveling to endgame. You don't level up anymore, and if you plan to PvE, you want to maximize certain aspects of your rogue. This section will give you the right tips to start gearing your rogue for raids.
I have leveled to cap, WAT DO?
- If you followed previous suggestions about gear, you should have a decent gear set to start with - since hit and exp have been removed, you won't have to worry about stat caps anymore and you can focus on secondary stats immediately.
- Run dungeons! Pretty obvious one, you'll get better gear through them, but more important, you'll learn better how to play on real ground instead of hitting a log in your capital city. Training dummies don't do anything you need to pay attention to, and that's the more important thing about PvE.
- Run Scenarios! New addition that made its way in MoP - it's like a dungeon apart you don't get loot from bosses but only some gold and a box at the end. While you'll get less loot, it's much faster to joun a scenario run due to no roles limitations for creating a 3 man group.
- Do dailies/grind reps! While it can be annoying, dailies and reputations are a great source of starter gear especially at the start of the expansion; also you can buy bonus roll tokens weekly with gold and when you kill a boss, you'll be prompted to use one of these, getting an additional loot roll! A great way (if you're lucky) to get good gear faster.
- Plan your buyings. Okay, you have chosen a spec and know pretty much how to play it. It's time to use a spreadsheet of some sort (link at the end of guide) and look at what are substantial gear upgrades. Don't waste points (and so time) in buying everything just because it costs less. Many times it is worse than other pieces you can drop; other times they give you a so little increase in dps that could be more smart to just wait and farm for better pieces.
- STAM becomes useless, apart from your solo time. Every boss ability can one-shot you, and you're not meant to take hits from elite mobs. Having 2k more hp could be useful to resist unavoidable damage, but the HP you gain while leveling and with quest gear is more than enough to start, really.
- PvE gear is definitely better than PvP gear. Invest time in gathering proper PvE gear if you plan to do PvE - assuming an equal item level, the PvP pieces may look good but the stats are not well tailored for a raid environment, especially if you plan to do a fast progression and Mythic raids. A single PvP piece won't hurt if you have no access to anything better, but running with a full PvP setup will just net you a worse performance.
After some suggestions i've got, here's a quick semi-advanced list of tips which have been proven to be uselful in any raiding enviroment. Basically i'm going to examine what you should generally pay attention to and what abilities that aren't directly related with nuking bosses are still useful to us.
Basic Raiding Survival Tips
- A dead rogue does zero DPS. Don't think to be too smart, pay attention at the enviroment. It's better to kill the boss and be #3 on Recount then die mid-fight and be the last one on damage done.
- Bring your consumables.Flask, food and potions are an easy way to increase your dp While flask and food are no-brainers, the correct use of potions (and pre-pot) can make really a difference.
- Despite Blizzard talk about giving us more utility poisons, we're left with Crippling (good for when you absolutely need a slow) and Leeching which still is very lackluster unfortunately. As for damage poisons, we have only Deadly poison which changes into Istant for Combat but you have zero choice about that.
- Talking about Elusiveness, this is one of the best survivability talent we can get. Feint is already an incredible way to mitigate damage, halving the aoe dmg we take and having no cooldown it can be kept up as much as needed - with Elusiveness we can use it to make the aoe damage trivial (30% dmg reduction on top of a 50% less aoe) and it can even be used to reduce direct incoming damage. In phases like the Lightning Storm of Jin'Rohk, where there is a lot of aoe raid damage and everyone needs to move around, making your healer's job more difficult, rolling Feint maybe coupled with a Recuperate will make that phase a lot easier both for you and your healers. Last tip, Elusiveness can make the difference in situations like the need to move away from a boss to a void a huge aoe - everyone remembers Emalon, where everyone needed to run away while rogues could just hit Feint and stay on the boss dpsing.
- With 5.2, Smoke Bomb isn't anymore a PvP-only tool but it has become a raid cooldown. Even with the recent nerf it's still additional utility which should not be passed over - making your raid survive makes the difference between a boss kill and a wipe.
- Evasion is another good survivability tool, if it happens that you need to tank something for some time (like initial adds on Dark animus). Useless against casters but the most remembered ability when you are the last guy alive and tank the last 1% of the boss grating a kill for your guild.
- Cloak of Shadows is another very very important tool. It grants a 5 seconds immunity to spells and can dispell most of the magic/disease/curse debuffs we can be affected. First good use of it is obviously to avoid direct damage - a dot is cast on you, cloak it away to negate completely its damage. Anyway, there are a lot of spells in raids which are made different specifically to avoid Cloak dispell; in these cases, it's a good thing that you learn for every fight what you can you Cloak-dispell and Cloak-immune, or you cannot Cloak at all, since they change from fight to fight and even between difficulties in some cases. Entering in more details, Cloak-dispell means that you can remove the debuff AFTER it has been casted on you, Cloak-immune means that you need to use Cloak BEFORE to avoid the debuff completely at the moment it's cast (think at Jin'Rokh Ionization). Other than negating damage, Cloak can potentially you trivialize some fight mechanics: always about Ionization, if you manage to cloak-immune all of them, this means that you don't need to move out of the water pool, don't lose uptime and damage buff thus you end doing more damage. Study well the various boss abilities, and try to understand when it's better for you to use it.
Last thing: Cloak doesn't avoid/negate additional effect tied to specific debuffs. Example are the Burning Cinders in Megara fight - you can cloak the debuff but doing so will make the fire patch appear directly under your foot. So, you cannot simply cloak and ignore it, you still need to move away from melee so the fire patch spawns in a safe place (anyway dispelling yourself with cloak is still good, since it saves some of your healers mana).
As said before, we want to maximize our damage. This means that there isn't a "best spec". There is a proper spec for every fight, and there is the spec you can play best. Pick the one that suits you best.
Talents have a dedicated section (just after the specs one) where their effectiveness is explained and which situations favor one compared to another.
Every spec has its strengths and flaws, but we have also lots of abilities that lets us do things that other classes cannot do, think about HM V&T.
- General tips
- We are one of the best sustained damage classes. If we get enough time on the boss, we can dish out impressive numbers.
- Most of our damage comes from passive sources (autoattacks and poisons). Anyway this doesn't means we don't have control; all of this damage comes form correct buff/debuff management, so it's recommended to use a buff/debuff addon to keep track of them.
- Despite wearing leather, we are the most survivable class in raid enviroment. We have lots of abilities to mitigate incoming damage (Feint, Cloak of Shadows), aggro dump and reset (Vanish) and some self heal if needed with Recuperate.
- Rogues' damage depends a lot from cooldowns. Learn to manage them well and don't just spam them on CD.
- If a fight requeres a lot of target switching, it's suggested to take Marked for Death as lvl 90 talent, since every kill will reset his CD and will grant you 5 free CP to make the ramp-up time much shorter. Even in single target it's a tie with Anticipation.
- In current raiding enviroment, we are often chosen to do some different tasks apart doing dps. It's your responsibility to take the correct spec and do the things that are needed. Being #1 on Recount doesn't count much when you wipe.
- Glyphs are items that lets us enhance some of our abilites and they are divided in 2 categories, Major and Minor. There are nearly no mandatory ones anymore, apart some rare cases - they will be mentioned in the relative spec part.
- Stats breakdown
- Agility (AGI): the best stat for rogues for every spec. It gives 2 attack power per point, crit% and dodge%. With leather specialization we get a passive 5% boost to it.
- Crit rating: simple as that, all our attacks have a chance to deal more damage, this chance is the crit%. Crit rating increases this chance, but it's a weak stat overall due to rogue mechanics not favoring attack crits.
- Haste: increases attack speed, aswell as energy regeneration.
- Mastery: its effect changes depending on the spec, and can be very powerful in some cases, while very lackluster in some others. You can learn it at level 80 from class trainers.
- Multistrike: new stat introduced with WoD - it gives a chance to our spells to attack up to 2 more times for 30% of the damage dealt. It's a no-brainer proc for additional damage, but Subtlety makes of it the main stat because of the new Blade Twisting mechanic.
- Versatility: the second new stat introduced with WoD; it increases damage, healing, absorptions and reduces damage taken by a flat amount. Overall a nice stat to have but any of the specs focuses on it.
Focused on poisons damage. Need to use double daggers due to Mutilate / Dispatch used as primary CP generating moves.
Stat priority: AGI > Mastery > Crit > Multistrike > Versatility > Haste
- open from Stealth, cast Mutilate (cheap because of Shadow Focus, can proc Dispatch)
- use Mutilate as CP builder, when the boss gets to 35% HP switch to Dispatch instead
- when a free Dispatch procs, try to use it asap when Evenom buff is up
- put up Slice and Dice at whatever CP you get (if you're not level 100, WoD perk makes it passive)
- keep up 5CP Rupture
- use 5CP Envenom
Venomous Wounds has been removed, and now Rupture (not Garrote) has it baked with a buffed 100% proc chance; this means that maximizin Rupture uptime is now even more mandatory than it was before.
Envenom buff has been buffed from a 15% to a 30% increased poison proc chance, making it stronger; avoid buf clipping as much as possible pooling energy and delaying Envenom the most you can. Cut to the Chase has been removed from the game, but its effect is now baked into Envenom itself.
A great role in the spec is covered by Dispatch: it is out execute-type move, triggering at 35% and should be used instead of Mutilate. Also Blindside proc is now baked into Mutilate itself, and it will grant you a free Dispatch use regardless of target HP - you should aim to use it asap, and without wasting CP (which can be difficult sometimes due to Seal Fate).
Finishers are listed as 5CP because you'll want to take Anticipation as lvl 90 talent - MfD may be better in an heavy-switching fight, but keep in mind that you're bringing your combo points with you from target to target no losing anything, devaluing the MfD role.
Mastery: Assassination spec has Potent Poisons. It's a very strong mastery, it affects a great part of the spec damage. That's the reason mastery stat is so valuable for assassination rogues.
This spec has a very good sustained damage, aswell as being the less penalized in target switching because of the reliance on only Rupture to be on the mob.
Assassination has also a good "cleave mechanic": you can switch targets and keep rupture up on 2+ targets. The damage gain is sensible and the rotation is faster due top multiple Rupture proccing more Venomous Wounds and thus granting us more energy regen. Managing the cycle and Rupture on multiple targets can be difficult sometimes, but it definitely pays off.
When you need sustained AoE (4+ targets), just use FoK as combo builder, and throw up Rupture on target, then switch. Crimson Tempest starts to be valuable only with 5+ targets, and you start to weave it into rotation only when all of your targets have already Rupture on - anyway there's still research to do and find if there is an actual breakpoint on which multi-Rupture falls behind Crimson Tempest.
The only Assassination-only glyph is Glyph of Vendetta, which trades some damage bonus for more duration. It is a dps increase, but be aware that you will need a longer time window to not waste the cooldown. The Glyph of Energy is a good choice since the rotation is all about pooling to avoid Envenom clipping.
- Vendetta: major dps CD, but requires to have a 20 second window to focus on boss; ideally to use it on CD and aligned wth bloodlust/heroism and/or procs.
As a side note, if you choose to take Shadow Apparition as lvl100 talent, keep in mind that vendetta isn't off the GCD; macroing them together will make lose you a GCD worth an additional strike from your shadow clone.
Focused on weapon damage. We use Sinister Strike as combo move and it's one of the biggest sources of damage of the spec, thus a slow MH is required (sword/axe/fist/mace). With the normalization of Combat Potency, a slow OH now is completely viable.
Stat priority: AGI > Multistrike > Haste > Crit = Versatility > Mastery
The spec is built around managing correctly teh Bandit's guile transition through the alternation of Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike to get the maximum advantage from Red state, in conjunction with Ruthlessness that makes our CDs to come back faster.
There is no fixed rotation, more of a priority system. Keep SnD up 100% of the time, then dish 5 point Eviscerates.
- put up Slice and Dice with whatever CP#
- put and keep up Revealing Strike buff
- use 5CP Eviscerates
Bandit's Guile has become from a more or less passive damage increase fighting against Restless Blades (now removed and baked into Ruthlessness) to a core mechanic and something you need to learn to manage well.
Ideally, Revealing Strike is a debuff that lasts 24 seconds on the target - while you want it always active for your SS spam, it's not good to refresh it as soon as it expires. It's better to pool energy so as soon you use RvS you can dish out a subsequent SS, to use the less energy possible on it and the most possible on Sinister Strikes due to the chance of generating an additional combo point.
Anyway, using RvS doesn't advance Bandit's Guile state: this means you can use it to keep it at green/yellow until AR/KS are nearly off cooldown, so you can throw them during Red and take full advantage to it. How much is convenient to wait is still being discussed, especially with WoD that makes the Red state a 50% damage increase and we don't want to lose too much uptime of it.
About Slice and Dice, at the moment it's a gain to refresh it just before entering every Red State if it's going not to last the entire time; this should become even more prominent and valuable when WoD hits and you get the perk making Red state a 50% damage increase - you want to fill that time with as much offensive abilities as possible.
Worth noting that Deadly Poison is no more available to Combat - it changes into Istant poison which is a simple proc of nature damage omn your target; for this reason, Venom Rush (lvl 100 talent) works a little different becoming a self-buff that lasts 15 seconds and is refreshed every time you poison an enemy.
About cleave/AoE: Blade Flurry has been nerfed to 30% damage, but now it procs poisons on all targets hit. We have no more FoK in our toolkit, so you're going to build up CP with SS/RvS as per your single target rotation.
Crimson Tempest is worth already with 2 target if you keep the dot rolling on both, and replaces completely Eviscerate at 3+.
Mastery: combat has Main Gauche, which is a remnant of the old sword specialization (the strongest weapon spec we had in past days). It procs additional free attacks, and represents a quite good part f our total damage. Anyway, Combat mechanics still favor Haste as secondary stat.
Similar to Assassination, Combat has a good sustained damage, and recent buffs brought the single target damage on par with Assassination. Has a better burst than Assassination with Killing Spree. Ruthlessness lowers our CDs, so keep an eye on them.
- Adrenaline Rush: double energy regen ratio and faster attack speed for 15 sec. Use it on CD, but never with KS; also try to dump your energy to 0 before triggering it to avoid energy capping. It's very likely you'll cap energy during AR if you need to move away from the boss, so try to use it when you're sure to get full effect from it.
- Killing Spree: a rush of 7 attacks. Use it on CD and don't delay it too much, but dump your energy to avoid capping. Try to use it when you're sure that there aren't any other mobs in range if you want to use it for burst and not aoe. Works with Blade Flurry.
Focuses on fun. Really, if you like it, there is no other spec that screams "ROGUE!" more; than this.
Stat priority: AGI > Multistrike > Crit > Versatility > Mastery > Haste
As a side note, AGI for sublety is even more powerful than standard, due to Sinister Calling.
New 6.0 Subtlety has a very distinctive new mechanioc which is based on the new Multistrike mechanic, and is called Blade Twisting (baked into Sinister Calling). Everytime you Multistrike with BS or Ambush, all dots on target istantly tick reducing their duration by 2 seconds.
- open from stealth with Premeditation/Garrote because of Sanguinary Vein
- keep up 5CP Slice and Dice
- keep up 5CP Rupture
- keep up Hemorrage
- use 5CP Eviscerates
Honor among Thieves has changed to be more valuable in solo play - it now can proc from our autoatacks and while it is arguably better in party, still bring his weight when you're questing/leveling.
Contrary to what's expected, Shadow Focus is still better than Subterfuge, very likely because of the low energy regen; if you decide to also take Prey on the Weak and the mob is stunnable, throw in the opening rotation a Cheap Shot for additional damage.
The strongest point of the spec is to maximize Find Weakness uptime through Vanish and Shadowdance. Don't delay much time waiting for cooldowns, Vanish-Ambush and just after the debuff has expired throw in Shadow Dance. Use Preparation to reset Vanish cooldown as soon as possible. Anyway, it's a very good move and a DPS increase to pool up to 75-80 energy before using Shadow Dance; same goes for Vanish, pool around 45 before using it - you don't want to use your cd and then find yourself energy starved.
The managing of HaT procs is much easier with Anticipation, since it guarantees to save every CP proc. If for some reason you don't take it, pool energy if you're low and wait for HaT procs when you are at 4CP - kee in mind that this is a generic tip, it all depends on the situation.
The damage the spec provides (both in single-target and in AoE) is at least on par, if not better, with the other specs. Anyway the spec still suffers from backstab positional requirement: while the range has been increased from a 180 degrees arch to a 270 degrees one, it can still be hectic to use the skill properly in an heavy movement fight - switching to Hemo as only CP generator is a huge DPS loss and should never be done.
Mastery: subtlety spec has Executioner, which boosts our finisher damage and SnD attack speed bonus. Due to new Multistrike mechanic implemented, mastery falls behind other secondary stats for Subtlety and should not be seeked in your gear.
Hemorrhaging Veins glyph is a dps increase and should be taken - currently hemo weaving is out, but the devs assure us they want it in and are doing something about it. Glyph of Energy is always good, helps prevent capping and increases opener offense.
- Vanish: with Master of Subtlety and Find Weakness, it becomes a good burst CD.
- Shadow Dance: iconic CD of sublety,it lets you to Ambush spam for a big burst moment and high damage due to Premeditation and Find Weakness. Use it when needed or on CD and in conjunction with Bloodlust/Heroism. it's a good choice to pool energy before Shadow Dance.
The new 5.0.4 system introduced a new Talents tree. It is completely independent from specs, so you can freely choose the build that you prefer and it eill change in some way the playstyle of any spec you play, in a a different manner.
The first thing i'm pointing is if there is a dps increase, direct or indirect, for choosing that talent and how affects our gameplay (if it does). For some others there is only an explanation or why you should choose them and in which situation.
- Level 15
- Nightstalker: better speed in stealth and a more powerful opener; anyway Shadow focus is generally better.
- Subterfuge: changed from MoP, you are not actually stealthed but works a mini Shadow Dance. Still it's less performing than Shadow Focus due to low energy regen, even for Subtlety.
- Shadow Focus: reduces the cost of abilities in stealth by 75%; most useful choice for this tier.
- Level 30
- Deadly Throw: a ranged finisher with an interrupt if perfomred at 5CP - only useful in a gimmick fight coupled with Shuriken Throw if there are substantially long flying phases - still we won't be comparable with ranged dps.
- Nerve Strike: more for leveling and PvP, since stuns have a very small part in PvE enviroment.
- Combat Readiness: a "tank" CD, which requires enemies to hit you - probably best use is for soloing elites, not includin the entire PvP environment.
- Level 45
- Cheat Death: a second "free life" which can make trivial some fight mechanics - it has its niche, but you'll still be at very low hp, meaning more stress to your healers.
- Leeching Poison: a passive and sustained free hp regen, even after recent buff its healing is not smart enough to be useful, resulting too many times in useless overhealing. Would be the non-letahl poison of choice because it's free healing, but since we need to choose between this and Elusiveness, it loses every time.
- Elusiveness: great damage reduction on demand, the best option to reduce damage income when there are predictable huge raid damage phases (which means a lot of situations). You can even enhance its performance with the glyph, making it the choice for level 45 tier.
- Level 60
- Cloak and Dagger: it basically bakes with our openers a shadowstep. While it sounds cool, mobility-wise Shadowstep is still better in a generic raid enviroment; doesn't work with Shadow Dance. Still nice for solo playing and leveling.
- Shadowstep: a great mobility tool, and you can use it also over friendly targets. Can reduce a lot the downtime if used correctly in many movement situations.
- Burst of Speed:if you need to dispel a snare, this is the choice for you. Anyway the cost has been brought up to 30 energy, meaning that this is a very costly option impacting your dps. Depends a lot on the fight mechanic (for example, fixate/kiting phases).
- Level 75
- Prey on the Weak: a good buff on stunned enemies useful for leveling and PvP, but of very limited use in PvE raiding.
- Internal Bleeding: an interesting new talent (replaces old Paralytic Poison) that makes our KS apply a bleeding effect on the enemy. While it sound cool on paper, and it's definitely of use for PvP and soloing, you don't want to trade an Envenom/Eviscerate every 20 seconds for a small dot, and anyway all bosses are all stun-immune thus not triggering the bleeding effect at all.
- Dirty Tricks: if stuns aren't used much in PvE, Gouge and Blind are even less used. Completely a PvP talent.
- Level 90
- Shuriken Toss: a ranged CP builder which has a great synergy with Deadly Throw, but that is actually useful only if you cannot stay in melee range of your target for a long time. Very likely to have its niche of uses, but requires a gimmick fight. Also, the fact it doesn't provide that much of dps, it still can be behind also in that kind of fights.
- Marked for death: it grants you istant 5CP, plus debuffing your target so if it dies in a minute, the CD of MfD is reset. Extremely valuable for PvP and any kind of solo play, still worse than Anticipation in a pure sustained damage enviroment. The recent change to compo points being automatically redirected to our target devalues the power of the CD reset - it's anyway a great burst tool in an heavy-swtching environm
- Anticipation: the only siginficant dps increase we have with talents. Anticipation simply makes excess CP not wasted, hence you can roll with all 5CP finisher (and you actually need to change the dps rotation). Great for pretty much every fight, it will be THE talent choice for lvl 90 in most cases, apart form gimmick fights in which turns out that one of the other options is better (maybe for MfD, surely not for Shuriken Toss).
- Level 100
- Venom Rush (aka Lemon Zest): +15 max energy and an additional 5% energy regen for every enemy poisoned, up to 3. Maybe not very interesting, but a solid option; the additional max energy is useful for builds that require energy pooling. A talent that works everytime, everywhere - and becomes stronger the more people you have to deal with. If you're not sure about a fight, Venom Rush will provide a reliable damage increase.
- Shadow Reflection: letting aside all the discussions about "we want less CD stacking on rogues", this CD is best used when stacked with others - it alignes perfectly with Vendetta, is up once every two Shadow Dances, and is worth to delay it when you have Adrenaline Rush ready (and maybe Red state). On paper, it's the best single-target talent we have, but requires correct usage to unleash its full potential; Venom Rush anyway is just behind it and if you feel a fight is too hectic it can be likley more worth to take it instead.
- Death from Above: the most controversial talent Blizzard gave us for WoD. Started really bad, got buffed to a point it became useful, and until it was fixed, we were subject to all kind of CC during travel time. Basically, with a 20sec cd, you jump high and land on your enemies dealing aoe damage plus a more powerful Envenom/Eviscerate. While it looks cool, its actual power is still under evaluation: the huge number it may provide comes at the price of losing a lot of autoattack time (which is still preminent especially for related procs) and the loss of control of our characters, which we all know what means (porting into bad stuff and so on). Actually, we're not even sure if it's a dps increase at all; maybe for AoE packs it works, but when you have the choice between this and the two previous talents, it's clear that DfA won't come out victorious.
As a general tip, aiming to match socket colors to get the bonus is something generally worth to, but still the best way to proceed is to calculate EP wights for the stat and go for the highest EP combination. Following is an example with fictional EP values.
Gemming your Gear
Example: a colorless single-socket item with no bonus
Agi 2.77 EP * 10 (gem) = 27.7
Haste 1.6345 EP * 20 (gem) = 32.69
It's clear that Haste wins over it. But what if the socket was red, and the bonus is 10 agi? Let's see:
Agi 2.77 EP * 10 (gem) + 2.77 * 10 (bonus) = 55.4
Haste 1.6345 EP * 20 (gem) = 32.69
Now an AGI gem becomes better.
There is no easy/fast solution - you can use one of the many software/sites to get the calculations done, but the optimal way is no more than this: math.
A gem list that can be useful for us rogues, sorted by colour:
- Red: Delicate Primordial Ruby and Precise Primordial Ruby
- Orange: Deft Vermilion Onyx and Adept Vermilion Onyx
- Yellow:Quick Sun's Radiance and Fractured Sun's Radiance
- Green: Lightning Wild Jade and Sensei's Wild Jade
- Blue: Rigid River's Heart
- Purple: Glinting Imperial Amethyst and Accurate Imperial Amethyst
- Meta: Agile Primal Diamond or if you've done the legendary quest, Capacitive Primal Diamond
Not much to discuss in this section, since enchants are static bonuses some enchant are just the best compared to others. Sometimes there are cheaper options for the same slot, but you can do that at the price of lower dps. Following is the list of best enchants for available slots.
Enchanting your Gear
- Shoulder: Greater Tiger Claw Inscription, crafted with Inscription
- Back: Superior Critical Strike
- Chest: Glorious Stats
- Wrist: Greater Agility
- Hands: Greater Haste
- Waist: Living Steel Belt Buckle, crafted by blacksmiths; it allows you to put another gem on your belt
- Legs: Shadowleather Leg Armor, crafted by leatherworkers; if you are a LW yourself, you can use Primal Leg Reinforcements for the same bonus but much cheaper
- Weapons: Dancing Steel is the best enchant, followed by Windsong
Shadowcraft is the best tool for rogues around - is basically manages everything about our class. A must.
Fierydemise's PvE Rogue Blog - a very valid source for more deep discussion on the rogue class, which integrates this guide with an attitude oriented to high-progression and minmaxing.