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Correspondent - Rogue Guide

James Wood Posted:
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World of Warcraft Correspondent - Rogue Guide

MMORPG.com World of Warcraft Correspondent James Wood writes this guide for would-be Rogues in Blizzard`s World of Warcraft.    

Rogues: Quiet, sneaky, and painful when it counts. Even with the numerous patches that have been released that have reduced the Rogues’ combat abilities, this class is still not to be underestimated. Even if Blizzard constantly nerfs Rogues, doesn’t that mean that they were overpowered to begin with?

Rogues are all about stealth and thought. They plan their motions ahead of the target, wait for the right opportunity, then strike. Their fights are meant to be quick, with strikes that immobilize their opponent. Rogues are like spiders, immobilizing their prey until they’re ready to devour them.

Rogue Races: Because Roguery Isn’t for Everyone

World of Warcraft offers ten races, but only eight of them support Rogues. Draenei would be Rogues but being sneaky just doesn’t work when they hang around living light bulbs. Tauren Rogues? Yes, they can sneak. You will just never find out about them. Just ignore that loud clop-clopping. It’s just the wind about to put a hoofprint in your rear.

Some of the Rogue-compatible races are actually compatible, but there are some that only look good until you start fighting people.



Dwarves seem more likely to drink themselves under the table and fool everyone by being drunk. But being slightly larger than gnomes, Dwarves are still fairly formidable at sneaking around as compared to the taller races.

Their racial trait, Stoneform, clears out Bleed, Poison, and Disease effects and increases their armor by 10%. 8 seconds means a lot in PvP, and with Cloak of Shadows, that means two chances to remove three of the effects Stoneform handles. That’s two chances to escape or two cleansing effects to reduce damage-over-time effects.


Gnomes have two things going for them as Rogues: They’re tiny and they can resist speed-altering effects. Gnomes are perfect for hiding in tiny places while they’re stealthed, reducing their chances of detection, but once the fighting starts, that gnome had better be well-equipped to survive the fight. At least gnomes are tough to track, but in WoW, hitting a midget is the same as hitting a dragon once you’re in melee or casting range.

Using a Gnome Rogue isn’t an effective way to use the race. They have slight resistance to Arcane damage and a boost to their Engineering skill, but Gnomes are more effective in spellcasting, where their intelligence boosts are really put to the test.


Human Rogues benefit from all their races’ traits. They have a higher skill with swords and maces, giving Rogues that specialize in those two weapons a higher chance to hit and crit. And with Perception, a Human Rogue properly specialized in their trees can detect other stealthed classes before they’re revealed. For Rogues, information is important, but a first strike is vital.

Night Elves

Passively, Night Elves make for some of the better Rogues. Their dodge rate is increased and Shadowmeld becomes more effective for them than any other Night Elf class. While Shadowmeld for a Night Elf that isn’t a Rogue forces them to remain still during the skill’s use, that skill boosts the stealth level of the Night Elf Rogue. Like the Humans’ Perception, that means information and a better chance at getting your first strike.


Blood Elves

Mana Tap? Don’t think that’s just mana that it can steal. After 3 charges, activate Arcane Torrent and not only get 10 energy per charge, but silence every enemy near you for 2 seconds.

The downside? Mana Tap takes 30 seconds to cool down. And you have to cast it two more times before getting Arcane Torrent’s full effect. Sure, the counters last for 10 minutes, but this needs a fair amount of preparation. Pre-PvP, you’ll have to Mana Tap every mob you meet to keep it fresh. In battlegrounds, you don’t have the luxury of extended preparation and if you die, those counters are gone. Realistically, that’s 10 energy and 2 seconds of silence. It’s a life-saver, but don’t count on it for every fight. Learn the stunlock.


To Rogues, getting stunned or disabled for longer than 3 seconds is death. To Rogues, hitting hard is just as important as hitting fast and precisely. Orcs have stun resistance, and while you can simply drink a potion to give yourself immunity to stuns for 30 seconds, any stun resistance after that period until you can drink another one of those potions is welcome. Blood Fury gives Orc Rogues more attack power in their hits. Combined with a stunlock, that’s tons of damage with little effort.


Offensively, like the Orcs, Trolls offer a supreme racial trait that boosts their attack speed reversely proportional to how much health you have remaining. Berserking. That’s 10-30% increase in attack speed and again, like Blood Fury, putting your opponent in a stunlock before using it leads to considerable damage. Any Rogue geared for speed will learn to appreciate even a 10% raise in attack speed. Geared properly, a Troll Rogue could reach speeds of one hit every half-second, depending on their selected weapon.


Undead are the only race with two active racial skills: Will of the Forsaken and Cannibalize.

The first skill grants immunity to Charm, Fear, and Sleep even while the Undead Rogue is under those effects. Though Dwarves have Stoneform to deal with damage effects, their racial skill is useless if they’re disabled by a spell. For Undead Rogues, the earlier Will of the Forsaken is used after they’ve been hit by those statuses, the less distance they have to run to the target and the less time that target has to do anything.

And what are zombies without the ability to eat flesh? Cannibalize gives back 35% of the Undead Rogue’s health if there’s another undead or humanoid nearby that’s ripe for eating. Solo or in group combat, that’s a fast way to recover lost HP, though the second situation will need someone to cover you, of course.

Rogue Skills: Countdown to the Big One

For those new to Roguery, remember this: Your most powerful skills come from skills that use the combo points generated. I’ll detail more on these skills later, but if Rogues want to win, they’ve got to remember that complete usage should come in at least 6-button presses per combo. That’s five to generate the maximum combo points and one to use all those combo points. Use less than 5 combo points in EMERGENCY SITUATIONS ONLY. Rogues shouldn’t have to finish until they’re ready.

Rogues are also the only class to have no cast time on all their skills. Is that mage casting Pyroblast? Gouge, Kick, or any of your many stuns will put a stop to that. Healers? Same deal: Kick to the face or any available stun.

Non-Stealth Skills with Combo Points


  • Energy Required: 60
  • Combo Points Provided: 1
  • Cooldown Duration: .5 seconds (Global Cooldown)
  • Skill Effect: 150% weapon damage + (15/30/48/69/90/135/165/210/225/255).
  • Skill Duration: None.
  • Requirement(s): You must be behind the target. Daggers-only.


  • Energy Required: 45
  • Combo Points Provided: 1
  • Cooldown Duration: 10 seconds
  • Skill Effect: Damage-breakable stun on target
  • Skill Duration: 4.0 seconds, 5.5 seconds with talents
  • Requirement(s): You must be in front of target.


  • Energy Required: 10
  • Combo Points Provided: 1
  • Cooldown Duration: .5 seconds (Global Cooldown)
  • Skill Effect: 110% weapon damage and increases physical damage against the target by (13/21/29/42)
  • Skill Duration: Debuff – 10 hits or 15 seconds per use of Hemorrhage.
  • Requirement(s): None


  • Energy Required: 60
  • Combo Points Provided: 2
  • Cooldown Duration: .5 seconds (Global Cooldown)
  • Skill Effect: Both weapons attack + (44/63/88/101). Damage is +50% against poisoned targets.
  • Skill Duration: None.
  • Requirements: 1 point in Vigor, 40 points in Assassination talents, 1 point in Mutilate. You must be behind the target.


  • Energy Required: 35+
  • Combo Points Provided: 1
  • Cooldown Duration: .5 seconds (Global Cooldown)
  • Skill Effect: Uses poison on off-hand weapon.
  • Skill Duration: None
  • Requirement(s): None

Sinister Strike

  • Energy Required: 45 / 40 with full Improved Sinister Strike
  • Combo Points Provided: 1
  • Cooldown Duration: .5 seconds (Global Cooldown)
  • Skill Effect: +(3/6/10/15/22/33/52/68/80/98) damage
  • Skill Duration: None
  • Requirement(s): None


James Wood