Vanilla Rogue guide

Disclaimer: My guide is not perfect, but i am trying to make it as accurate as possible taking from my experience and research. If you disagree with something in this guide i would love to hear your counterargument and discuss it with you, i might learn something new and the guide would be better for it.
Feel free to contact me on

When dicussing efficient and optimal play in vanilla world of warcraft, you have to split the game into two.
1. Level 1-59
2. Level 60

The first part of the game is levelling. When levelling you want to maximize your speed, this might seem obvious, but what is not always obvious is how you do it. One might quickly jump to the conclusion that damage is key, it means you are killing mobs quicker right? It is however not this simple, Leveling has many aspects that all have to be balanced and weighted against each other, here are the major ones.
1. Damage / TTK (time to kill)
2.Recovery time (how long you have to wait before you can engage another mob)
3.Movement speed
4.PvP (if you are on a PvP server)

Having all of these aspects in mind when choosing abilities/gear/talents etc. is key to fast leveling.

Second part of the game starts at 60. Here you stop thinking about leveling (obviously), and start doing PvE and PvP content.

Rogue Guide


< Alliance >
Humans has the highest PvE potential, they deal more damage because of their +sword skill racial that improves glancing blows and reduces the chance the boss will dodge.

Dwarfs and gnomes are nicer in PvP situations because of Stone form and escape artist. Stone form is nice for removing DoTs before stealthing and escape artist is really usefull against mages, warriors and hunters.

Night Elfs are pretty inferior as rogues. Shadowmeld is a worse stealth and is never used and the +1% dodge is way worse than any of the other racials. Some people raise the point that NEs have the highest base agi+str sitting at 42, dwarfs and gnomes have the lowest combined agi+str at 38, a stat difference of 4 is negligible especially at high levels.

And adding to that i think the argument of base stats in any comparison, should almost never be raised, since the differences are so small.
Racials are the only important thing, when choosing a race.

I have less experience with horde, but here are my choices.
Orcs and Trolls seem like the best for PvE because of their racial actives.

For PvP the discussion lies between Undead and Orc and the comparison is betwen Will of the forsaken (WoTF) and Hardiness. In my opinion Hardiness comes out on top due to the fact that the rank 2 PvP trinket is almost identical to WoTF and since rogues have no other way to deal with stuns.

Taurens are even worse of than Night elves, since they are too fat to even become rogues :'(

Most important abilities
Before going into the talents i’d like to explain the most important abilities for leveling.
OpenersĀ  (needs testing)
Cheap shot:

CP generators
Sinister Strike (SS): This will be your most used ability while leveling, and also one of your main damage sources.

Eviserate: Really weak at low levels IMO dealing as much damage as sinister strike even at high combo points, but later it becomes a very efficient finisher.
Slice and Dice (SnD): Good to use in combination with Blade Flurry, or if your target is low but has a lot of CPs on it. (& you can continue attacking another target afterwards)
Rupture: Needs more testing
Expose armor: needs more testing
Kidney shot: Very important in PvP situations, usually not used fighting mobs unless you are losing a fight. (can be used to interupt if lick is down)

Blade Flurry:
Pick Pocket:

Useless abilities
Heres a list of useless abilities for leveling, don’t learn these to have more money for mount at level 40.
Feint: never used before raids.
Backstab: Backstab requires so much to be used, first you need to be in a group so you can stand behind the target & secondly you need a dagger that is better than whatever swords you find.

PvP server

Remorseless attacks (2/2) Speeds up leveling nicely and only cost 2 points
Imp SS (2/2) Sinister strike is your bread and butter
Imp Gouge(3/3) very nice in PvP and can allow you to reenter stealth for another cheap shot or garrote.
Deflection(5/5) I take this before precision to get riposte faster, even though precision is better.
Dual wield specialization(4/5)
Blade flurry(1/1)
Dual wield specialization(5/5)
Sword Specilisation(3/5)
Weapon expertize(2/2)
Adrenaline rush(1/1)

Rest depends on if Rupture/SnD>evis

Leveling guide
Clear Northshire abbey.
Get Dirk after wolf quest.
Die and HS to return to the chapel faster.

Before arriving at goldshire make sure you are level 6 and have 10s

After getting to goldshire run south and do all the quests by the farms, after that die and return to goldshire.
do murloc quest then fargoddep quest then go to Thomas and do his quests.

Learn skills at lvl 8 to be able to kill murlocs.
Do murlocs first and get the weapon.
Remember to kill guy in logging camp lvl 12
Do the rest of the area and then return to goldshire by dying or HSing
You should be level 10 now, get the rogue quest and head to stormwind.
Learn sword skill and buy cutlass same place.
Get rogue quest
Get to goldshire by hearthstone (or drown?)
Complete rest of quests at south farms and do the rogue quest at the same place.
Go to west elwynn and complete gnolls + hogger if enough people are there.
Skip hogger for now if there are no other people.
(hogger can be soloed,)

Westfall 10+
Go to westfall
Take quests on the way to sentinell hill, but don’t complete them yet.
If you are not 12 yet start farming the beasts for the recipe quests until 12.
Get quests at sentinel hill and do the flight to stormwind quest.
While here complete the rogue quest and get parry.
Return to sentinel hill and start questing.
take HS in sentinell

elmores task is not worth it.
Buy bag at some point

Weapon progression
(human) dirk vendor in northshire
(human) ??? quest in goldshire
(human) stilleto vendor in goldshire
(human) bayonet murloc quest
(human) cutlass vendor in stormwind
(quest) blade of cunning rogue quest

When to level skills
level 10 dual wield
level 12 kick, parry
level 14 garrote, sinsister 3

Behind the scenes mechanics

Rogues are a melee class therefore they follow the combat table

1 dps= 14 ap

1str= 1ap

1 agi= 1ap

29 agi = 1 crit (lvl 60)

14-16 agi= 1 crit (lvl 40)? from limited testing

1 crit= 0.01*(current dps) dps

1 hit= 0.01*(current dps) dps

hit & crit are in principle equally as good, but hit is better until you hit the yellow hit cap (5.6% lvl 60 mobs & 8.6% lvl 63 mobs) after this crit is better since it affects bot hwhite and yellow damage & hit does not anymore.
Be carefull of your crit cap though, if you reach it you have to get more hit.

thought: if you are crit capped, it might be possible that crit is still better than hit. Lets say that you can choose between 1 hit & 1 crit. 1 hit will only affect your white damage with 1% dps increase. 1 crit will only affect your yellow attacks (since they are not critcapped) and increase their dps by 1%. if you deal more dps with your yellow attacks it should be more beneficial to just stack more crit. and ignore the fact that your white attack doesn’t get the crit.
This is all asuming that you can choose your stats very flexibly, which is usually not the case.

There is conflicting info on the hit cap.

I will asume that the miss chance is 5.6% lvl 60 mobs & 8.6% lvl 63 mobs


(lvl 25) Dread mage hat. (remember to return after poisoning wishock)

shadowweave set

Bonus dmg calculations
For instant-damage spells, the formula is: spell damage * base cast time / 3.5 seconds.

For dots, the formula is: spell damage * dot duration / 18 seconds; this cannot exceed 100%.

Spell resist is shown in the following table

[table id=2 /]
Moral of the story here is that don’t fight enemies 3 levels above you regularly and almost never higher level than 4.
Enemies spell resist can not be reduced below 1%

Wand Progression
Goblin igniter quest booty singing crystals