- Author: Jamielolx
- Date: August 6, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
In Wrath of the Lich King, Rogues can only be played by Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, and Gnomes for the Alliance, or by Orcs, Undead, Trolls, and Blood Elves for the Horde.
Unfortunately, unlike for casters, race matters a lot for a Rogue’s DPS. Only 1-2 races per faction are considered viable.
Trolls have the strongest racials for Assassination Rogues among Horde races. This is almost exclusively thanks to Berserking temporarily giving you a +20% attack speed bonus, which is enormous when stacked with your trinkets and other cooldowns. However, Orcs come very close in power.
Trolls may not look the part, but they are the strongest race for Horde Assassination Rogues. Their on-use racial Berserking is the biggest and bursty out of all of Horde racials — despite the Orc racial having a shorter cooldown, Berserking, will usually be stronger.
- Berserking is an on-use spell that offers +20% increased attack speed for 10 seconds on a 3-minute cooldown. The fact that this is an on-use ability has big implications for burst phases / stacking your cooldowns. However, the 3-minute cooldown is a bit awkward for us, as it does not sync with any of our other cooldowns. Still, Haste is a pretty powerful stat for us, making this racial very solid anyway.
- Beast Slaying increases your damage dealt to Beast-type enemies by 5%, which is very powerful. Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of Beasts in Wrath of the Lich King, especially inside raids, making this racial not too impressive in practice.
- Da Voodoo Shuffle passively reduces the duration of movement slowing & immobilizing effects on you by 15%. Generally mostly a PvP racial, but it can occasionally come in handy in PvE as well.
- Bow Specialization and Throwing Specialization increase your critical strike chance with bows & throwing weapons by 1%. A neat little bonus, but unlike Hunters, you only use your bow or thrown weapon occasionally, thus mostly negligible.
- Regeneration increases health regeneration by 10% and allows you to regenerate health during combat at 10% of your normal regeneration rate. Rogues don’t have any active health regeneration abilities (it does not apply to healing effects, like potions, just health regeneration) thus this talent is only relevant while leveling or questing.
Orcs have several powerful racial effects that make them extremely strong overall — which is no coincidence, as the strongest Rogue assassin in Warcraft lore, Garona Halforcen, is an Orc. They are specially powerful in fights where they can use their Blood Fury racial more often than Trolls can use their Berserking, thanks to its lower cooldown.
- Blood Fury is an on-use spell that increases your Attack Power and scales with your level. At level 80 it will provide +322 Attack Power for 15 seconds on a 2-minute cooldown.
- Axe Specialization increases your expertise by 5. This is unimportant for assassination as we use daggers and daggers only.
- Hardiness is an incredible PvP racial, as Rogues can get killed fairly easily if they get stunned. Sadly, it’s not as relevant in PvE, as there aren’t many stuns this passive can help you with.
- Command is a very powerful racial that unfortunately does not apply to Rogues because they don’t have a pet (that we’re aware of).
Female Blood Elf Rogues are cute as hell, indisputably. However, cuteness doesn’t help you DPS, which is why Blood Elves are sadly a pretty weak race for Rogues. Their only helpful racial is Arcane Torrent, which is pretty weak overall, but it makes them a tiny bit stronger than Undead, the weakest race.
- Arcane Torrent is an on-use spell on a 2-minute cooldown that silences all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds, while also restoring 15 of your Energy. The silence effect can be useful in dungeons and PvP, but most bosses are unfortunately immune to silence. The Energy restoration component is handy, though it isn’t much.
- Magic Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Magic spells by 2%. This essentially combines all of the various Resistance-type racials out there, making it surprisingly flexible. Still, its benefit is mostly neglectable in PvE, while being alright in PvP.
- Arcane Affinity increases your initial and maximum Enchanting skill by 15. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.
Undead Rogues are feared in PvP thanks to their incredibly powerful Fear-breaking racial, Will of the Forsaken. Unfortunately, that racial isn’t as useful in PvE, nor are any of their other racial traits, making them indisputably the weakest race for a PvE Horde Rogue.
- Will of the Forsaken removes charm, fear, and sleep effects. This can help you avoid some raid mechanics, but it’s incredibly situational.
- Cannibalize allows you to feast on the corpses of your slain enemies to restore your health. This does not have big implications for PvE content but does come in handy whilst doing solo content.
- Shadow Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
- Underwater Breathing helps you survive for a very long time underwater. If only there was an underwater raid!
Human is arguably the strongest Alliance race for Assassination Rogues, as none of the races really give a direct damage gain, but the Human racial Every Man For Himself at least gets you out of CC, which can occasionally be useful. Realistically, however, you can pick any race you want without giving up too much — just play what looks coolest to you. If you plan to switch to Combat, or do PvP however, you’re strongly encouraged to go Human.
Humans have no DPS-boosting racials, which is very unfortunate. However, they do have a very handy utility racial in Every Man for Himself, which in our opinion makes them the best race for Alliance overall. Furthermore, if you’re considering switching to Combat, their weapon specialization racials make them even better. Mathias Shaw would be proud of you for going Human.
- Every Man for Himself is a crowd-control removal ability just like the Undead race, but this one has universal applicability. It is useful in PvE scenarios but has much more use in a PvP encounter, where Humans are typically considered the strongest race in the game.
- Sword Specialization & Mace Specialization increase your expertise by 3 when using swords or maces. Assassination Rogues use daggers exclusively, so this racial will be useless to you most of the time. However, if you’re considering switching to Combat at some point, these racials will be very good.
- Perception passively increases your stealth detection level by a small amount. Since there aren’t a lot of stealthed mobs in PvE, this benefit is largely not too useful. However, this bonus is very neat in PvP, allowing you to see other Rogues while they cannot see you.
- Diplomacy increases the rate at which you gain reputation by 10%, a major boost for your reputation grind. Whilst a beneficial quality of life racial, it doesn’t impact actual gameplay.
- The Human Spirit increases your spirit by 3%. This is unfortunately nearly useless for Rogues.
Being the most agile and sneaky of races, Night Elves have a higher base Agility stat than other races, which makes them better than other races which simply have no useful racial traits at all. Still, we’re scraping the bottom here, if we’re being honest — this benefit is so small that you could pick any of the other races and never notice a difference. But they are technically the strongest race, from a DPS-only perspective!
- Quickness reduces the chance you’ll be hit by melee and ranged attacks by 2%. This racial is the most useful racial you get as a Night Elf Rogue, which says a lot, seeing as it’s almost useless.
- Nature Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%. This is mostly negligible when it comes to PvE.
- Shadowmeld can be used in order to escape combat and become stealthed once every 2 minutes. It will also cause you to drop all threat on every target you’re currently engaged in combat with, but all threat will be restored the moment you leave stealth — which will happen the moment you move or take any action. Rogues get extra value out of this ability, as they can enter Stealth after dropping combat, which is nice in PvP, but unfortunately almost entirely useless in PvE.
- Elusiveness reduces the chance to be detected if you are stealthed. This can certainly come in handy in solo content, but you will struggle to find a use for it in raids.
- Wisp Spirit increases your movement speed by 75% while dead. You generally don’t want to be dead, but this racial does mean you can sneak off for a bathroom break more often.
Gnomes are very similar to Humans, in that they have no DPS-boosting racials but a handy utility racial in Escape Artist — but it’s significantly weaker than a Human’s Every Man for Himself. Still, it’s inarguably extremely funny to be a tiny guy with green hair stabbing the king of the undead in the back, so if none of the other races appeal to you, we’d recommend Gnomes whole-heartedly!
- Escape Artist instantly removes all movement slowing and immobilizing effects on a 1-minute cooldown. While this can occasionally be useful in PvE, it’s generally better in PvP (where Humans are far better anyway), so this is overall not amazing.
- Engineering Specialization increases your initial and maximum Engineering skill by 15. This is slightly more useful than other profession-boosting racials, as Engineering has guardian-type summoned pets which scale with your Engineering skill. This racial makes your summoned pets level 83, which makes them a decent bit stronger, but as there aren’t many useful guardians, this racial isn’t really ground-breaking.
- Arcane Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Arcane spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
- Expansive Mind increases your total Intellect — a stat rogues do not use — by 5%.
Dwarves are least common race for Rogues in WotLK, and for good reason — our racials aren’t too useful. Unlike Humans, our weapon specialization racial isn’t as useful if you’re considering switching to Combat eventually, and our utility racial, Stoneform, has very, very limited uses. This makes Dwarf Rogues by far the weakest Alliance Rogues, unfortunately.
- Stoneform is an on-use spell that gives you +10% increased armor for 8 seconds and dispels poison, disease, and bleed effects on you, on a 2-minute cooldown. There are occasions where this racial can help out with predictable physical damage, and removing the occasional bleed.
- Gun Specialization increases your critical strike chance with guns by 1%. A neat little bonus, but unlike Hunters, you only use your gun weapon occasionally, thus this racial is mostly negligible.
- Mace Specialization increases your expertise by 5 when using maces. As we use daggers exclusively, this racial will be useless to us — and Combat Rogues prefer using swords or axes, so that racial won’t help you much if you respec, either.
- Frost Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Frost spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
- Find Treasure is a very cool racial from a roleplay point of view, allowing you to see treasure on the minimap. This is very fun to use while questing and leveling up, and as a Rogue, you can stealth around looking for chests, but it, unfortunately, has zero relevance in raids.