Hello! My name is Axelito and I'm besides co-GM of the extraordinary banking Alliance guild Cookies Factory, also a Combat/Subtlety Rogue main. I came here from another server, due to it dying. Back there I never really played Rogue, so I decided to play it here since well, why not? Five months after I started playing here I killed Ragnaros Heroic (late April ish), and I wish to share my knowledge of everything I learnt on this trip and since there weren't many guides I found very useful. Therefore, this is a detailed guide over Combat and a bit lesser detailed on Subtlety and Assassination, although when school lets loose a bit I'm planning on making them equally as detailed.
Do note that this guide will mostly be for people already quite familiar with how the class works (with things such as Honor Among Thieves), and the guide itself is to make those 385 rogues that do 25k+ do a little bit more. If you're new, then I would recommend to go Assassination until you get gear, and swap to Combat. Although if you can focus on the fight and do optimal DPS as Subtlety then you can play that aswell.
I will also explain a little bit indepth about how poisons work, as they are also something people wonder about.
Table of content:
1. General information about rogues
1.1 Poisons and how they work
2.2 Stat Priority
2.3 Talents, and optional talents
2.3 Opener & Rotation
2.4 To-do's and not-to-do's
2.5. Firelands Heroic Encounters & Dragon Soul Normal
2.5.4 Lord Rhyolith
2.5.6 Majordomo Staghelm
2.5.8 The Dragon Soul ones (short)
3.2. Stat Priority
4.2. Stat Priority
4.4 Firelands Heroic encounters
4.4.5 Lord Rhyolith
4.4.6 Majordomo Staghelm
4.4.8 Dragon Soul Encounters
4.5.1. Shadow Dance
5. Useful macros
6. Known bugs
1: General information about rogues
Rogue is a DPS that revolves around combopoints and melee swings. All rogues share the same thing in common: generate combo points, to use to keep up buffs and using damaging finishing moves. They're based around the idea of 'death by a thousand needles' as they generally have a lot of different damage sources such as poisons, melee swings and such.
1.1: Poisons and how they work
Poisons is what for me, makes a rogue a rogue. They are bought from vendors and are applied to your weapons, and generally just makes your attacks stronger. Although they do have some extra interaction for Assassination.
All rogue specs uses Instant Poison mainhand and Deadly Poison, although more on exceptions below.
Instant Poison is the most basic of the poisons. It simply does damage. It does however have a connection with Deadly Poison. When your Deadly Poison is maxed to 5 stacks on a target, every had instead has a 30% chance to proc the attack on the other weapon. This makes it so that Instant is the most desireable of all the poisons since the mainhand generally is the weapon you use the most. You also want this on your mainhand as most of your combo point generators are based around your weapon damage. This in turn is why you want to have as slow as possible mainhand, due to the instant poison application rate being depending on your weapon speed. A slow weapon afflicts this poison more often per attack, but since it attacks slower, doesn't happen that often. On the other hand, a fast weapon has a low application rate and therefore you need a lot of hits to apply the poison.
Deadly Poison is your offhand poison of choice. This is because Deadly Poison doesn't care about the speed, compared to Instant Poison. Deadly has a fixed application rate, so the faster the weapon is, the more applications you can get through. This is why 1.4 speed dagger is what is required in the offhand. Your offhand by nature does less than mainhand, which again is why the fast weapon should be in the offhand.
Wound Poison is a poison that applies a healing reducing effect. Though this is not desireable for standard DPS, it could come to some use on Combat/Subtlety on fights where only burst truly matters, such as Spine of Deathwing. This is because Wound has an extremely high application rate. Double Wound Poison is only beaten by Instant/Deadly if your Deadly Poison gets time to stack up.
Crippling Poison has no use in PvE, unless you desparately need something slowed.
Mind-Numbing Poison only has use on Alysrazor as it slows the adds casting time.
Here it starts for Combat. I will list some things, not all. This is for good Combat rogues who are willing to get better, not for beginners.
The glyphs are Sinister Strike, Adrenaline Rush and Slice n' Dice. Minors are Tricks of the Trade, Blade Flurry and Kick/Feint. Kick for Alysrazor since you can basically solo the Talon's on Heroic with it. Feint on basically everything else.
2.2: Stat Priority:
The stat priority is Agility > Hit 8% (will be reached without any problems due to Precision) = 26 Expertise > Haste > Mastery > Critical Strike
You can also go Agility > SpellHit 17% = 26 Expertise > Haste > Mastery > Critical Strike
I have not tested which one is the best, but the difference is minimal. The following information comes from Elitist Jerks. This is NOT confirmed by me, but I do think they're a valuable source. Do your own testing incase you don't find this trustworthy, as I cannot confirm it to be.
2.3: Talents and talent options
This is the Eviscerate build for Combat. This is one that is ONLY focused on Eviscerate, and no rupture.
This on the other hand, is the rupture setup (more information about rupture down below in the 'to-do' section).
You ditch % damage on your Eviscerate, for increased crit damage on your Sinister Strike, since the damage of your Eviscerate matters less now that you have another finisher weaved into the 'rotation'.
Another quite not so severe option of talents is the Improved Sprint one. I personally like it, since it breaks CC and what not. You can also go for the Blade Twisting, which makes your melees have a % chance to daze the target, reducing the movement speed. This one does not work in most PvE situations but eh, if you wanna PvP on the way to Baradin Hold go ahead. 🙂
2.3: Opener & Rotation:
The opener as Combat is near useless, unlike a Retribution Paladin who likes critting during burst. It has nearly no impact on your overall damage at the end, although the bigger burst the better nonetheless. Something I've seen people ask is why their burst is basically the same as their stable, which is mostly because of poor cooldown usage.
Contrary to what other rogues would say, I highly suggest your opener to be this: Prepot -> Sinister x4 (to get Green Insight) -> Killing Spree -> SND -> Adrenaline Rush
2.4: To-do's and not-to-do's:
The reasoning behind this opener is that you want your cooldowns to be down as much as possible, as long as the time they're up you're maximizing damage. As you know, classes like Fire Mage can have an explosive burst which can do upwards to 110k bursts on Recount. Sadly we got no explosive burst, but we can make the best of it. Killing Spree at the start reduces that disgusting ramp-up time that occurs as Combat, and mitigating it a tad. With this you use it with all your enchant procs, pots etc and best of all, your second Killing Spree should be up by the time you're in your Red Insight on the second Insight rotation.
One thing that some Combat rogues do is that they instantly Adrenaline Rush once it's off CD. You may do this, although I would advise to do it at the start of an Insight rotation, so you won't pop it during downtime, where you have no damage bonus. Other than this, the rotation resembles an Arcane mage with 1.5 buttons. Sinister x4 -> Revealing Strike -> Eviscerate. I have also changed my mind on Rupture. I spent the Baleroc Heroic kill this week to try to keep uptime on Rupture, somewhat. The end result was that an Eviscerate does more damage than a Rupture, but is a lot less energy efficient. Therefore you can if you want, use Rupture during no haste procs or Adrenaline Rush. This seemed to increase my DPS by quite a bit, as I was ending P3 on Ragnaros with stable 36-37k on every pull and I finished Baleroc at 38.6k. We're not so good at single target DPS, but it works. NEVER use Rupture on cleave as it does not benefit from Blade Flurry, only use it on pure single target.
You should also NEVER use Revealing at any point apart from at 4 CP's. Both using it early or when you have 5 CP's, will cause slower cooldown regeneration, due to wasting a combo point. One example of this could be (3 CP's -> Sinister Strike -> 5 CP's -> (here you should Eviscerate, not Revealing Strike).
2.5: Firelands Heroic encounters
There isn't much to know about the fights in Firelands as a Combat Rogue, but some things are to keep in mind.
Here there is basically nothing to do, just make sure you won't get trapped. You are on no duty here as you can't crit for very high. You're basically just sitting on Shannox.
Here you will most likely go up on the roof. Sad but true, we just simply don't offer anything down apart from pretty insane cleave with Blade Flurry. Therefore, if you have enough taunts down you should stay down. The cleave with Blade Flurry can make it so that you end the fight with some pretty ridiculous numbers (40k+). Simply follow the rotation mentioned above, for the drone.
Crucial fight to use the opener that I mentioned. This is not your favorite fight tho, as it may surprise you. Combat single target is meh at best (beaten by both Assassination and Subtlety). Here it's just about maximizing your DPS output.
If you wanna do stupid shit, you can go into Subtlety spec and let your healers give you 5 combo points and then swap back to Combat, for a Slice n' Dice from the start.
IMPORTANT: Vanishing when a Shard is up will make you Immune to it. You shouldn't use Vanish as Combat for a DPS increase, but it's important to keep in mind nonetheless. This may cause a wipe.
2.5.4: Lord Rhyolith:
Here you got some really nice leg damage with Blade Flurry, but you're just like any other MDPS, apart from your Feint which might be my favorite ability in the game. If you don't end the fight with the least damage taken, you're doing something horribly wrong. Also good stable damage, which might help the driver.
Oh boy, you're a great DPS here. You got some good burst with Adrenaline Rush and Killing Spree. If you take Mind-Numbing Poison and the Kick glyph you can solo Talon's with no problem. Cloak can also save you if you slack on the way to the meteor.
2.5.6: Majordomo Staghelm:
Same story here, DPS as much as you can, swap to kitties and use Feint regularly (scythes). Nothing out of the ordinary.
Here is the fun part. You're very useful here because of your extremely stable DPS. Due to Atlantiss stuff, you cannot use Killing Spree on Ragnaros in P1-3, which sucks although we try to make the best of it. Cooldown usage depends on the group DPS. My cooldown usages for Adrenaline are the following: 5 seconds after pull (approx.), at 75%, after first transition, then save one for the Lava Scions at second transition. Go ham on them, do atleast 1.5 milion damage. Then use one whenever you have it in P3. You simply have zero burst at this point, so killing Lava Scions faster will help your group a lot more than you sitting on boss. You'd rather have a fire mage without debuff bursting 100k, than you sitting there with 40k burst while your mage is running around like a headless chicken.
When you pop the Adrenaline Rush during the second transition, you NEED to keep in mind that you can Cloak the debuff, so you'll always sit on em no matter what. Cloak can also be used as a lifesaver if you're gonna get hit by Engulfing (which your shouldn't). This is a great addition to your group as it allows for instant and reliable cleave.
Killing Spree should IMO be used on Son of Flames, the faster you kill em the more you can help your teammates. DPS ALWAYS AND WHENEVER YOU CAN. Due to your poison and Insight it's essential to keep as much uptime as possible on the boss
At P4 you should use Feint to mitigate the Superheated damage, when you're waiting for a frostpatch to spawn. Don't use Killing Spree during the 3-3-3 formation as it may cause issues if the tank moves to the Entrapping Roots. Otherwise just do your regular DPS rotation. The DPS should not be an issue, just focus on not messing up.
2.5.8: Dragon Soul Encounters
The Dragon Soul encounters are pretty straight forward. None have fancy mechanics, although there are some things to keep in mind.
You can stay a little bit in the Black Blood here due to Feint + Cloak of Shadows, although I do not recommend it. You won't need the DPS in normal. Also remember you can help soak stomps if the kitty is behind the boss.
Nothing special here either, use the same opener as I mentioned for single target. Do keep in mind that you need to use Cloak of Shadows to remove the debuff. This is just to ease the healers job.
Yor'sahj the Unsleeping
Remember to Redirect to Yor'sahj right when the globule is about to die. This is because the corpse of the globule despawns when killed, and you therefore lose any combo points you had on it. Also remember to Blade Flurry here when Mana Void/Forgotten Ones spawn. Helps a lot.
Hagara the Stormbinder
Use KS before AR when she's stunned to apply your poisons faster. You're honestly pretty bad here, as a Combat Rogue your burst is long but decent, rather than short and amazing as Subtlety.
Here it starts for our poison loving, fresh lvl 85 spec. In all seriousness, this spec isn't very good at higher itemlevels. It's decent and can pull around 39k DPS on Baleroc, but that's it. It's very bad at swapping, and doesn't have any cleave.
Mutilate, Rupture and Backstab/Vendetta. Use Backstab if you know you can actually sit behind the target for the remaining 35% of the fight, otherwise go with Vendetta.
3.2 Stat Priority
Agility > 17% hit > Mastery > Haste > Crit
I would suggest getting SOME Expertise for the sake of your Mutilate, but to be honest, it's a pretty awful stat. The reasoning for this is because dodged Envenom's still gives the poison application buff, which is really good. Free damage.
This is pretty straight forward for Assassination, nothing too annoying like the Insight mechanic for Combat. The general opener is this:
Prepot -> Stealth -> Garrote -> Mutilate -> Rupture -> Slice n Dice if the Rupture gave a free Combo Point, otherwise Mutilate -> Slice and Dice -> Mutilate 2x -> Vendetta -> Cold Blood -> Envenom
You wanna keep 100% uptime on both Slice n' Dice and Rupture. Also you wanna have a lot of uptime on the Envenom buff. I suggest using your finishers at either 4-5 Combo Points, due to your Relentless Strikes, which refunds energy, higher chance per combo point used. Swapping should be with Redirect, and Rupture should be your highest priority then.
Vanish should be used in conjunction with your Vendetta, as the Garrote procs a lot of extra Venomous Wounds (more damage, and more energy!) and also because Overkill, gives 30% energy regeneration aswell.
Below 35% you should use Backstab, since because of your Murderous Intent talent, which gives you a lot of energy back when you use Backstab. If you have any sort of haste trinkets and Bloodlust is up, you might have to weave in Mutilates to not completely energy cap.
CP builders: Garrote > Backstab (if <35%) > Mutilate
The so called "hardest DPS spec in the game" is in essence very easy. The hard part is getting used to the whole keeping up buffs deal, but it comes with time.
You should have Backstab, Slice n Dice and Hemorrhage. First two are self explanatory, but the third one is just there to make swapping (and the opener) be easier and do a bit more damage. The Hemorrhage glyph makes it so that your Hemorrhage does 40% of the damage over 24 seconds on the boss. This is counted as a bleed and therefore applies Sanguinary Veins, which increases your damage to bleeding targets.
4.2 Stat Priority
Agility > 8% hit = 26 expertise > Haste > Crit > Mastery
I prefer to get expertise cap, due to how annoying it can become if your Eviscerate gets dodged and you drop your Rupture, it's just a lot more convenient. This is why I recommend everyone to go for Expertise, as a dodged Eviscerate is a massive loss to your DPS.
4.4 Firelands Heroic
Dummy boss, you can soak traps with Cloak but that's all, really. No problems here.
You can use pot every time you're up (cd resets when you jump down), also here as Subtlety you should be up as you provide nothing to the group down.
Use the 'rotation' below. Otherwise, take charge here and call out shards. You have a lot of downtime so it's good that you call out stuff instead of people with more active DPSing.
Dance on the Talons, bla bla bla. Also get the Blind major glyph, so that you can CC a side for the whole duration (Blind actually CC's for a minute here).
4.4.5 Lord Rhyolith
Feint for Stomps, easy stuff.
4.4.6 Majordomo Staghelm
If you're not outside, you can position yourself near his claw in order to backstab from the front.
Seriously, don't play Subtlety on this fight unless you like Hemo spam, which you shouldn't.
4.4.8 Dragon Soul Encounter
Same as Combat here.
Use first Vanish at first Black Phase, although don't use your Preparation after this. Save that for the BL that comes at the 3rd Black Phase, so you can chain 2x Vanishes and a Shadow Dance.
Yor'sahj the Unsleeping
Same with the globule. Do note that since you have to be behind the target, tell people to move away if you get green+x.
Hagara the Stormbinder
Use Dance in the opener here. Don't bother with Rupture during the increased damage phase, since you want damage there and then. Do note that because of this you need to apply a Hemo quickly before Dancing, for the Sanguinary Veins talent.
I will update this section as it's own one once all the bosses come out on heroic. Guess I will also update on normal aswell.
So, now to how to play this crap. For starters, keep in mind that you always wanna have the Hemorrhage DoT and Rupture on the target, together with Slice n Dice and Recuperate on yourself.
The whole idea of how to DPS is basically to keep up as much Find Weakness on your target as possible while not dropping your buffs or debuffs. Find Weakness is a 70% armor debuff that you apply with either Ambush, Cheap Shot or Garrote. For PvE sake you only use Ambush as Cheap Shot doesn't do any damage, and Garrote does very little. It also bases itself around energy 'pooling', basically the way you save energy for a later scenario. This is done because of your talent Honor Among Thieves, which reads "When any player in your party or raid critically hits with a spell or ability, you have a 33/66/100% chance to gain a combo point on your current target. This effect cannot occur more than once every 2 seconds." Because of this you kinda base yourself around not wanting to waste combo points, for quite obvious reasons.
The opener should be something like this: 5 CP from your healers -> Prepot -> Stealth -> Slice n Dice -> Premeditation -> Recuperate -> Shadowstep -> Ambush -> Hemorrhage (now you should have 5 CP's) -> Rupture -> Backstab to 4ish -> Recuperate -> Shadow Dance once you pooled energy -> Ambush 2x -> Eviscerate -> Shadowstep, Premeditation, Ambush (if off cooldown, shouldn't be though, just Ambush 2x otherwise) -> Eviscerate
Once your Find Weakness reaches 1s duration, Vanish and Shadowstep, Premeditation, Ambush and Eviscerate. Try to chain Find Weaknesses, especially during Time Warp.
Alternative to this opener, which I have started using lately, is this: 5 CP -> Prepot -> Stealth -> Slice n Dice -> Premeditation -> Shadowstep -> Ambush -> Rupture -> Hemorrhage -> Backstab to 5 CP's -> Recuperate -> Energy pooled Shadow Dance, at this point just continue the rotation from above.
When it comes to combo points, try to make it so every 5th combo point is given your Honor Among Thieves talent. This is to make sure you don't lose a CP while you're waiting for GCD so you can use a finisher at 5cp. Although you can if you want, get the fourth one and Backstab -> finisher really fast. This is what I do because I can't help myself from spamming Backstab.
ALWAYS do as much damage as you possibly can during Find Weakness, don't waste these CD's to reapply your buffs, it's a huge loss of damage. Although if you need to, do it.
CP builders: Ambush > Hemorrhage for the DoT > Backstab > Hemorrhage
Small few tips:
Don't be afraid to take chances, that's what makes a spec fun to play. Ever felt like the satisfaction of putting in another Eviscerate despite SND about to drop, and you end up having enough time to get both? Truly satisfying, and again, makes it a lot more fun.
Always apply Rupture with the 10% damage buff you get from exiting Stealth.
Use mouseover macros for Tricks of the Trade, not focus. You probably want to Tricks the tank at pull, and a dps later. /cast [target=mouseover] Tricks of the Trade should do the trick. (get it?)
4.3.1 Shadow Dance
Your general Shadow Dance rotation should be Ambush 2x -> Eviscerate -> Premeditation,, Shadowstep, Ambush macro -> Eviscerate -> Ambush 2x -> Eviscerate
This is to make your Shadowstep Ambush buff the most efficient as posssible. Thefore you should also time your Tricks of the Trade (with T13 2p) with this.
If this simplifies it in any way, I simply mash it in this order: 1 1 3 2 3 1 1 3. This will come with muscle memory, and it will be really fun once it does.
This is only a guideline. This is the path you wanna go when you Dance, altohugh you will NOT reach the end of it. Just try to get along the path as much as you can.
5. Useful macros
For Tricking on mouseover:
#showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
/cast [target=mouseover] Tricks of the Trade
The Ambush macro
1. Burning Wounds does not stack properly, and loses about half it's value (give or take 1k dps loss), with fights like Alysrazor the bonus recieves even more of beating. https://github.com/Atlantiss/BugTracker/issues/9827
2. Redirect does not transfer your Insight progress. You have to start over. https://github.com/Atlantiss/BugTracker/issues/2147 (polish doe)
Ana is an epic rogue