Welcome to our rogue leveling guide for WoW Classic! When it comes to deception and mastering the shadows, there simply isn’t a better class than the rogue. Through the use of energy and combo points, rogues effectively string together attacks for a fluid and rewarding gameplay experience. If you enjoy fast-paced, up-in-your-face action, then you’ll love playing a rogue!
One downside of leveling a rogue is that the class is quite squishy, wearing only leather armor to defend from attacks. To counteract this, you’ll need to effectively use your utility spells and crowd control to flip situations into your advantage. Rogues absolutely have the ability to be one of the best classes in the game, but they require dedication and effort to master. There’s no denying that playing a rogue is extremely rewarding, making all the early struggles worth the hassle.
Rogues are the ultimate skirmisher when it comes to leveling, but you’ll need to understand how you can always start fights with the upper hand. In this guide we’ll cover everything you’ll need to know about leveling a rogue! That includes your talent build path, rotation, relevant abilities to train, and useful gameplay tips. Leveling may be a little slow to start, but once you start unlocking more talents and learning the rest of your toolkit, you’ll quickly grow to love the sneaky rogue class.
- Unmatched freedom with the use of Stealth.
- Great burst damage.
- Fantastic crowd control.
- Almost impossible to kill with smart use of Vanish and Evasion.
- Excellent overall damage output.
- Can avoid any unnecessary enemies.
- If all cooldowns aren’t available, you’ll die very quickly.
- Takes time to master and play well.
- Far more effective when initiating rather than reacting.
- Can’t Backstab when fighting by yourself.
General Leveling Tips
Reaching level 60 is quite the journey, and it will definitely take you days of in-game time to finally get there. With more than 100 hours to slog through, you can take some comfort knowing that the adventure is absolutely worth it. Even better, you can definitely feel each gear or weapon upgrade you acquire. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching your dedication and effort result in an improved and more powerful character. Rush if you must, but don’t forget that the magic is in the journey itself.
Take note of these tips for leveling:
- Don’t be afraid to delve into dungeons every few levels. This will give you a nice break from the grind of questing, but it is also an excellent source of powerful gear upgrades. Plus, there just isn’t enough quests in the game to reach level 60 through questing alone.
- Even if it seems counter intuitive, try to kill monsters in between objectives you travel to. Rogues are perfect for avoiding enemies with the aid of Stealth, but you’ll need some extra experience to reach level 60 if you exclusively kill what you need to complete your quests.
- Make sure to have a healthy supply of up-to-level food at all times. You don’t have access to any heals as a rogue, so you’ll inevitably have downtime to eat. Consider picking up first aid for bandages too.
- It is true that rogues are great at skirmishing, but this goes out the window when the odds aren’t in your favor. The best way to avoid this is by fighting one enemy at a time, using Blind, Sap, or even Gouge to keep the fight fair.
- If you ever get the opportunity to join a group, go for it! Rogues are certainly capable of leveling alone, but their innate squishiness can make it challenging at times. Not only that, but you can’t even use Backstab when soloing because enemies will always be facing you. This allows you to actually make use of Backstab, drastically increasing your damage output (for dagger rogues).
- You’ll earn the most experience if you stick to fighting enemies that are your exact level. Lower and higher level enemies only give reduced experience.
- Don’t forget to update your hearthstone to the closest inn wherever you are questing. This will allow you to eliminate minutes of travel time, effectively increasing your leveling speed.
- Try to map out what zones you’ll use to quest in advance. Every zone has different leveled monsters, and you always want ones that are around your level. You’ll also want to make sure your faction has plenty of quests there. The last thing you’d want is to cross several zones to find a new place to quest, only to find that you can’t quest there.
Rogue Specific Gameplay Advice
- You have access to two important offensive cooldowns while leveling. At level 30, you’ll unlock Blade Flurry, which increases your attack speed by 20% for 15 seconds with just a 2 minute cooldown. At level 40, you’ll unlock Adrenaline Rush, which doubles your energy regeneration for 15 seconds on a 5 minute cooldown. Use both whenever they are available.
- There are four useful defensive cooldowns for a rogue, all with 5 minute cooldowns. Vanish removes you from your fight and puts you into Stealth, which is useful for an immediate reset switch. Sprint boosts your movement speed by a whopping 70% for 15 seconds, great for evading enemies or just for covering distance. Evasion gives you 50% dodge rating for 15 seconds, quite useful for managing multiple enemies. Blind disorients a target for 10 seconds, nice for allowing you to keep an extra enemy out of the fight.
- If engaging a target up close simply isn’t an option, you can always use your thrown weapon to pull an enemy away to safer grounds.
- Make sure to interrupt important spell casts with Kick, but you can also use Gouge in a pinch, or even Kidney Shot if you have combo points built up.
- One benefit of receiving damage is that you have the ability to parry it, which will enable the use of Riposte. This useful ability instantly deals 150% weapon damage at the cost of just 10 energy, and it also disarms the target for 6 seconds. Make sure to use this whenever it is available.
- You shouldn’t use Slice and Dice until level 42 because the attack speed increases from 20% to 30% at this point. You’ll only really be using it right after exiting stealth with an opener and whenever you get a free combo point from the Ruthlessness talent.
- Save all your built up combo points to finish with Eviscerate. Only use Eviscerate when you have 5 combo points to do the most damage.
- The only poisons you should ever use are Deadly Poison and Instant Poison. These two do the most damage, but neither of them stacks. This means you should have Deadly Poison on your main-hand, and Instant Poison on your off-hand.
- Learn how to use Distract to put yourself in position for an effective Sap. This will allow you to even the odds and fight one enemy rather than two.
- Another great use for Gouge is so you can bandage yourself. You’ll almost have enough time to use a full bandage, serving as a decent healing option every minute.
- Agility – Your best stat is definitely going to be agility. This will directly increase your attack power and critical strike chance, but it also boosts your chance to dodge. This makes it effective for attacking and defending.
- Strength – Just below agility is strength. Strength gives twice as much attack power as agility, but nothing else. Strength is extremely powerful, but pick agility if it comes between the two.
- Stamina – You’re also going to want some stamina for extra health. With careful execution you shouldn’t take extreme amounts of damage, but this will allow you to duel enemies for longer before needing to eat.
- Spirit – Spirit is also quite useful for leveling as it increases your health regeneration. This means less downtime, which means more killing and experience for you!
Playing as a rogue is fairly simple, but your rotation might slightly change depending on if you’re using daggers or swords. To start off with, you’ll want to have Deadly Poison on your main-hand weapon and Instant Poison on your off-hand weapon. Every fight should be initiated via Stealth, so you can launch with a powerful opener. Use Riposte anytime it is available.
Sword rogues will open with Garrote, while dagger rogues will definitely want to use Ambush. At this point, you should have just one combo point, which you’ll use to cast Slice and Dice. Until level 42, you’ll skip this step because it isn’t worth it until Slice and Dice is rank 2. The rest of the fight is simple combo point generation and finishing with Eviscerate.
If you’re a sword rogue, you’ll default to using Sinister Strike to generate combo points, while dagger rogues will do the same unless they have the opportunity to be behind a target so they can use Backstab. Once you have 5 combo points, spend them on Eviscerate.
- Sword Rogues:
- Dagger Rogues:
Progression: 2 points Improved Sinister Strike > 3 points Lightning Reflexes > 5 points Precision > 5 points Deflection > 1 point Riposte > 2 points Endurance > 2 points Dual Wield Specialization > 1 point Blade Flurry > 4 points Dagger/Sword Specialization > 2 points Weapon Expertise > 3 points Aggression > 1 point Adrenaline Rush > 5 points Malice > 3 points Ruthlessness > 2 points Murder > 1 point Relentless Strikes > 5 points Lethality > 1 point Dagger/Sword Specialization > 3 points Dual Wield Specialization
This build gives you a nice mixture of offensive talents, defensive talents, and talents that help you generate combo points. All specializations are viable for leveling, but combat provides the most consistent damage output. Up until level 30, it doesn’t really matter that you use a specific weapon type, but this is when you’ll need to put points into either Dagger Specialization or Sword Specialization. After level 50, you’ll have no issue generating combo points and your rotation should feel much more fluid.
Abilities to Train
- Level 1-20 – Train every ability offered to you.
- Level 22 – Sinister Strike rank 4, Vanish rank 1, Garrote rank 3
- Level 24 – Eviscerate rank 4
- Level 30 – Sinister Strike rank 5, Kidney Shot rank 1, Deadly Poison, Instant Poison II, Garrote rank 3
- Level 34 – Eviscerate rank 5, Blind rank 1
- Level 38 – Sinister Strike rank 6, Deadly Poison II, Garrote rank 4, Instant Poison III
- Level 42 – Eviscerate rank 6, Slice and Dice rank 2
- Level 46 – Sinister Strike rank 7, Garrote rank 5, Deadly Poison III, Instant Poison IV
- Level 48 – Eviscerate rank 7
- Level 54 – Sinister Strike rank 8, Garrote rank 6, Deadly Poison IV, Instant Poison V
- Level 56 – Eviscerate rank 8
- Level 60 – Eviscerate rank 9, Deadly Poison V, Instant Poison VI
- Level 1-20 – Train every ability offered to you.
- Level 22 – Sinister Strike rank 4, Vanish rank 1
- Level 24 – Eviscerate rank 4
- Level 26 – Ambush rank 2
- Level 28 – Backstab rank 4, Instant Poison II
- Level 30 – Sinister Strike rank 5, Kidney Shot rank 1, Deadly Poison
- Level 32 – Eviscerate rank 5
- Level 36 – Backstab rank 5, Ambush rank 3, Blind
- Level 38 – Sinister Strike rank 6, Deadly Poison II, Instant Poison III
- Level 42 – Eviscerate rank 6, Slice and Dice rank 2, Ambush rank 4
- Level 46 – Sinister Strike rank 7, Deadly Poison III, Instant Poison IV, Backstab rank 6
- Level 50 – Eviscerate rank 7, Ambush rank 5
- Level 54 – Sinister Strike rank 8, Deadly Poison IV, Instant Poison V, Backstab rank 7
- Level 56 – Eviscerate rank 8
- Level 60 – Eviscerate rank 9, Deadly Poison V, Instant Poison VI, Backstab rank 8, Ambush rank 6
- Poisons: The only quest you really need to worry about is the quest that gives you poisons. Poisons are technically a profession, but you can buy all the required materials for leveling from a vendor. The quest becomes available at level 20, but is fairly hard to do until level 24. You can technically buy all your poisons after completing another quest at level 24, but what kind of rogue doesn’t take the time to make their own poisons? Poisons are definitely an essential part of your toolkit and should be applied to both weapons at all times (unless you’re grouped with an enhancement shaman).
- Always try to seek out a new weapon upgrade. Rogues are melee attackers, which means you’ll deal a good amount of auto attack damage. Some of your abilities also hit harder based on your weapon damage. Both of these mean that weapons are by far your biggest source of equipment upgrades, so don’t be afraid to go out of your way into dungeons to find new weapons.
- Commit to either swords or daggers and stick with them. After level 30, you’ll need to decide whether you want to use daggers or swords. The talents you choose will decide your fate, considering both weapon types give a unique benefit for using them. 5 points in Dagger Specialization will give you an extra 5% critical strike chance, while 5 points in Sword Specialization gives you a 5% chance to land an extra attack anytime you deal damage.
- Prioritize damage over safety. As a rogue your mindset should definitely be to stab first, ask questions later. Rogues are innately very squishy, meaning you won’t last long with enemies wailing away at you. With that in mind, you should aim to deal as much damage as you can, relying on Vanish and Evasion to keep you alive. Make sure you’re not being reckless and only fighting one enemy at a time with this mindset.
You’ll also want to spend some time leveling up professions. This will take away from you actively killing enemies and completing quests, but it fulfills your need for a way to make gold. How fast you move is crucial to determining how long it takes for you to level. The quickest way to impact this is with a mount, which is quite expensive. Professions will allow you to fund a mount, or alternatively you can use them for an extra edge in combat. Pick whichever professions suit your playstyle better.
Rogues will find the greatest use from these professions:
- Mining – You’ll definitely see plenty of convenient mineral veins across your travels; mining will let you collect them. Save this all to sell, or save it for use with engineering.
- Engineering – Engineering is one of the best professions in the game. It offers you many unique gadgets and bombs, both of which will make leveling just a little bit easier.
- Skinning – Another good choice here is skinning. You’ll kill several beasts to get to level 60, most of which will be skinnable. Every time you don’t spend a few seconds to right click and collect skin is like literally leaving gold on the ground.
- Leatherworking – With the use of leatherworking, you can turn your skins into armor and armor kits. This will give you a stronger cushion when fighting.