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WotLK Rogue Talents Q and A with Devs

September 29, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Before we get into all the rogue Q and A below, I think it’s worth giving an e-high five to the best damn blue poster there’s ever been, Ghostcrawler. GC has gone well beyond the call of duty to help answer questions and concerns for every class. She’s meticulously explained the reasoning behind changes, received feedback, and truly listened to player concerns regarding WotLK balance.

Without his fine work and dedication I don’t think we’d have a WotLK looking nearly as good as it is. That said, let’s get into these rogue changes!

Rogue Raid Utility

In terms of the big raid buffs, the ones we consider rogues bringing are Expose Armor, Wound Poison and Mind Numbing Poison. There are plenty of others more along the lines of Kick and Sap that are harder to quantify.

It’s really great to see blizzard is taking a serious look at improving raid utility for rogues. I could definitely see expose armor stacking with sunder armor in WotLK, and potentially being changed to a percentage armor reduction…a change which nearly made it into TBC.

There are lots of ways Blizzard can add raid utility to the class and I’m very excited to see how they work poisons, EA, and other rogue abilities into future lich king encounters.

With that in mind can you tell us any plans that you have to better close this PvE to PvP gap that we’re seeing with certain trees? How do you plan to make all three trees viable across the board?

Yes, this is definitely a priority. It is a lot harder with classes in which all specs are still focused mostly on dps. We understand that some specs are just going to be better for 5-mans, for PvP or for raiding. We’re trying to equalize as much as possible, but we’re also trying to be realistic about our chances.

How do you plan to deal with talents which were still considered all too needed by rogues, particularly in the case of Relentless Strikes? Is there any possibility of making Relentless Strikes a core class ability we can all train?

Mandatory talents are tricky. There are certainly plenty of them in every tree. Every warrior spec without Cruelty is pretty experimental, as is every druid spec without Omen of Clarity. Part of the problem is we keep offering new character levels along with new talents, so each expansion ends up constraining you more and more to one tree. The real red flag, for me at least, is when a spec has so many truly mandatory talents (which is a funny thing to say, since it’s still a little subjective) that they don’t have any optional talents. Instead of a cookie-cutter build being something like 20 plus your choice, they become you must get these 24 talents. If that makes sense.

I wish GC would have just answered the question here instead of beating around the bush. To me this sounds more like a cop out for…no, we aren’t making them core abilities, deal with it until we figure out what to do later in the expansion. Either way, all 3 talent trees are looking pretty damn good.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to create anything but carbon copies of abilities in each of the 3 trees and not have SOME variance. If you want the highest DPS there will ALWAYS be a max DPS…even if by 1 or 2% one spec will ALWAYS be better.

I think it is very likely there will be a theoretical max dps build. However:

  • It will probably vary from boss to boss.
  • It might depend a lot on the skill of the player.
  • Because there are so many variables (by design) it may be really hard to “solve the equation” for which actually is the highest dps build.
  • For 90% of players (maybe more) that kind of damage difference is in the noise. Very few players can do 2500 dps one night and then 2525 dps another night (a 1% difference). Usually the delta is much larger than that because of random elements including things as non-gamey as Internet lag, how tired you are and just bad luck. If taking the most optimal build can’t guarantee you dps higher than the random element in the equation, it may very well not be worth taking. Now if the dps gain is significant by taking the best build, then I agree with you.

Rogue Talent Tree Conclusions

Rogue talents are hard because the class is ultimately very mathy. Without a finite resource like mana, it’s easy to analyze every possible move for its cost efficiency and ultimate damage delivery. This is coupled with the fact that it’s really easy for a rogue to move among trees. By contrast, before the advent of Frostfire Bolt a fire mage could mostly ignore frost. A shadow priest wants almost nothing in Holy. But having an emphais on poisons or stealth in a rogue tree doesn’t make a tree unattractive to a Combat rogue. I’m not trying to make excuses, but perhaps more than any other class, I find that rogues can evaluate a talent’s utility pretty easily. It’s a cool thing about the class, but it makes talent design challenging.

I think I mentioned this in another thread, but our team has a really amazing rogue theorycrafter who stays really in touch with the community (anonymously). We have a surprising number of really good players on the team in general, but I always feel really safe about his conclusions on rogues. But that has also meant fewer blue posts than you deserve, so I’m trying to make up for that.

WotLK Rogue Talent Changes – Build 8970 Changes

September 21, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

A lot of pretty interesting changes here. The deadly brew change is very nice and will allow you to seamlessly apply 3 poisons, though I’m still not sure how the single stack wounds are gong to be. I really like the idea of main handing wound poison / off handing deadly with an extra off hand for shiv macro wound for casters.

The combat tree was pretty “meh” this time around. Blizzard allowing gouge to award a combo point again is justified, the change previously was completly ridiculous and it’s good to see this changed back. The change to aggression is pretty stupid, at least for PvP rogues. It was never worth it to put 3 points into aggression anyway and changing it to 5 doesn’t help at all.

If blizzard really wants to help aggression they should change it to 10% for 3 points. On one final note, filthy tricks is frankly pretty crazy. Prep on 5 minute cool down on top of the other talents that reduce your main cool down abilities will truly bring meaning to the phrase “cool down spam”.


  • Deadly Brew revamped – Now when you apply Instant, Wound or Mind-Numbing poison to a target, you have a 50% chance to apply Crippling poison.
  • Improved Poisons – Now increases the chance to apply Instant and Deadly Poison to your target by 2/4/6/8/10% (down from 3/6/9/12/15%).
  • Hunger for Blood – now only attempt to remove a Bleed effect. (Old – any harmful physical effect)


  • Gouge – Now awards one combo point.
  • Aggression – Moved from Tier 6 to Tier 5. Increased from 3 points to 5. Now increases the damage of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, and Eviscerate abilities by 2/4/6/8/10%.
  • Endurance – Now also increases your total stamina by 2/4%.
  • Blood Poisoning renamed Savage Combat – Now also increases your total attack power by 2/4%.
  • Vitality – has been changed now increases your Energy renegeration rate by 3/6/10%.


  • Tricks of the Trade – Now has a cost of 15 energy.
  • Filthy Tricks – Now also reduces the cooldown of Preparation by 2.5/5 min

WotLK Rogue Buffs – Insane Class Defining Changes

August 29, 2008 by · 7 Comments 

Wow, that’s all I can really say at this point, just wow. For years..literally years the rogue class has basically settled for the status quo of being, well for lack of a better word, shitty. Never really being the “best” of anything…always just a solid DPS class, a 2nd best to Warriors in arena, and a total lack of any group / raid utility.

So if you haven’t read the full list of rogue changes about to hit the beta check them out here, wotlk rogue changes.

Let’s just go down the list.

A new level 75 ability has been designed. This is going to be one of the bigger teases as we’re not quite ready to talk about this one yet. I will say that will add some much needed group utility.

While we don’t know a whole lot about this mysterious ability yet, it’s definitely got my interest peaked. For years this has been the biggest complaint across the the rogue community due to virtually zero raid utility and only minimal 5 man utility. This change has the potential to revolutionize the rogue class in respect to raiding content, though we won’t know this until we get the full word on what this “group utility” truly is.

Mutilate: No longer requires you be behind the target.

What…the…hell!?! With as good as the assassination tree is going to be in the expansion I don’t know how anyone can justify not being mut spec. It’s got great damage, burst, utility and so long as you can get used to the 60 energy mechanic it will be a fantastic spec.

Quick Points

Wounding Poison: No longer stacks. The first application now reduces healing by 50%.

This is actually a double edged sword. The pro here is you get the instant 50 in one proc, the con is you don’t have a full 6 poison procs up in an arena match (5 wound / 1 crip), which will allow your poisons to be cleansed much quicker. This point may be irrelevant due to the change to poison improvements in the assassination tree.

Cloak of Shadows: Cooldown increased to 2 minutes. (Elusiveness now reduces this cooldown to 1 minute.)

This will make the rogue community bitch to no end and casters rejoice, but in reality it really doesn’t matter. Many rogues will still opt for elusiveness, giving it a 1 minute cooldown.

Relentless Strikes: Talent is too “required” and will be made more accessible. Vigor will replace its spot in the tree and a new talent will be created to fill Vigor’s spot.

I don’t really know how you can make this more accessible than a tier 3 tree, unless you just make it a class skill. But more importantly vigor is replacing it’s position, which will make for some pretty interesting hybrid specs.

Mace Specialization: This will grant armor penetration when using a mace.

Good, but still doesn’t make up for the fact they removed the stun. It was really the only way you can spec combat for PvP and unless there are some additional changes to combat before the expansion I think it will be hard to justify spec’n combat over sub or mutilate.

Overall Conclusions

Amazing, simply amazing. It’s great to see blizzard is finally taking a look at the rogue class from the player’s point of few and making some long needed adjustments and changes. Not only are these changes going to improve the class from both a PvP and PvE standpoint, but it will also allow from a wide variety of hybrid and mixed builds that have previously been unavailable to the class.

Wrath of the Lich King Rogue Changes

August 29, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Seeing how this is a website started by a Rogue player, I’m sure there are plenty of people waiting to see the latest wrath of the lich king rogue changes. Gamnin just dropped a bomb tonight on what some of the latest Rogue skill and ability changes will be in Wrath of the Lich King.

Source: Blizzard Forums


- Quality of life improvements: Removal of various reagents (Thieves’ Tools, Flash Powder) as well as a Poisons skill change. We’re removing the Poisons skill and making the finished poisons available on vendors for purchase. This should free up a fair amount of bag space.
- Envenom: Now also increases your chance to apply poisons by 25% for 2-6 seconds (based on combo points).
- Wounding Poison: No longer stacks. The first application now reduces healing by 50%.
- Anesthetic Poison: Now also removes one Enrage effect from the target.
- Evasion, Sprint, Vanish: Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. (Talents that reduce cooldown take this down to 2 minutes.)
- Cloak of Shadows: Cooldown increased to 2 minutes. (Elusiveness now reduces this cooldown to 1 minute.)
- A new level 75 ability has been designed. This is going to be one of the bigger teases as we’re not quite ready to talk about this one yet. I will say that will add some much needed group utility.
- Fan of Knives: Weapon normalization to equalize effectiveness regardless of weapons carried.


- Mutilate: No longer requires you be behind the target.
- Relentless Strikes: Talent is too “required” and will be made more accessible. Vigor will replace its spot in the tree and a new talent will be created to fill Vigor’s spot.
- Find Weakness: Made passive to cut down on the number of triggered effects that either don’t affect gameplay or affect it in a negative way.
- Cut to the Chase: No longer requires a critical Eviscerate or Envenom. The finisher just has to land.
- Hunger for Blood: Now removes any harmful physical effect instead of Bleed or Magic effects. Bleed effects will still be removed (as all are physical) as well as effects like Mortal Strike, Aimed Shot, Expose Armor etc…


- Riposte: Now generates a combo point.
- Mace Specialization: This will grant armor penetration when using a mace. (The warrior talent will as well.)
- Deflection: Reduced to 3 ranks for 2/4/6% parry. This should soften the prereq for Riposte.
- Fist Weapon Specialization: Merged with Dagger Specialization.
- Dagger Specialization: Renamed Close Quarters Combat, moved to tier 3.
- Dual Wield Specialization: Moved to tier 1. Lightning Reflexes swapped locations with it and still needs a little more “oomph”.
- Unfair Advantage and Stay of Execution: Change to more offensive/utility (read mobility) talents. Too much defense on this tier.
- Killing Spree: Weapon normalization to equalize effectiveness regardless of weapons carried.


- More attractive Tier 1 to draw in all types of builds.
- Fewer dagger specific talents to allow additional build options.
- Wrongfully Accused: Reviewed. This talent doesn’t fit well in this location. May be moved lower and/or redesigned.
- Shadow Dance: A bit awkward at the moment. Due for some polish and some design tweaks.

Rogue Poison Guide

July 18, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

rogue poisonsThis rogue poison guide will aim to explain the different scenarios where a particular poison should be used as a rogue. A rogues poisons are just as important as your weapons or armor. So it’s of the utmost importance we get the poison selection correct.

Rogue Poisons – PvP

First, let’s start with the PvP application for rogue poisons. Generally speaking, we want to have wound poison on the main hand and crippling poison on the off hand for pvp and arena. This will maximum the wound poison to be applied to the target, while not hindering our ability to continually snare the enemy with shiv.

In some scenarios you may choose to swap this poison combination, going crippling poison on the main hand, and wound poison on the off hand. The only situations where this is typically a valid strategy is when your opponent is going to be spam dispelling your poisons (typically, only very good druids). This will allow you to shiv 5 stacks of wound poison up, which in turn increases the chance of your crippling poison staying up, since there will be a total of 6 potential poisons that must be dispelled.

The only real exception around this rule is the case of some warrrior + rogue or rogue + rogue teams. Either way, in a pvp situation someone has to take care of the healing debuff. In these cases it may be viable for you to main hand deadly poison and off hand crippling poison, allowing you to drop some envenom bombs.

Rogue Poisons Quest

The rogue poison quest is the first major step in taking your rogue to the next level. Both factions can attain this quest at level 20 from their rogue trainer, though to solo the quest you’ll typically wan to be between levels 24 and 26 (or get help from some friends).

For horde, the tower where the quest takes place is located in north central barrens, for alliance it’s located in south eastern Westfall. Both these quests are lengthy chains and will take some time to complete. If you’re level 24+ the quest is very easy. Simply follow the instructions, head to your faction’s tower.

Once there you quite literally kill your way up the tower. Loot the head off the boss at the top as well as the chest and head back to your rogue trainer.

Rogue Poisons – PvE

Rogue poisons for PvE are quite different from those in PvE. Unlike with PvP, there really is no “end all be all” poison combination. The type of encounter will determine what type of poisons you should use. As a general rule of thumb you should always carry a stack of every poison, so you are prepared should anything come up.

For DPS purposes we’re going to go with instant poison on the main hand and deadly poison on the off hand. We use instant poison on the main hand simply because of deadly poisons high proc chance. if we hav deadly on the main hand it’d quickly reach 5 stacks, at which point we are no longer gaining additional benefit with each additional proc (expect continued DoT damage).

For this reason it’s better to use instant on your main hand so you gain increases benefit as your weapon speed is increasing. In addition, having deadly poison on the off hand allows us to use a slice and dice + envenom finisher rotation.

Rogue Poison Macro

Some of you may be thinking, “what the hell” poison macro!? Well, why they certainly are not common amongst most players I still find them quite effective in the right situation. Generally speaking that situation is going to be a PvP scenario, but there is also some application for PvE as well.

To use this strategy we’ll need 2 macros, I’ve listed them both below. (for more rogue macros check out this, rogue macro guide)

Macro #1
/equipslot 17 Vengeful Gladiator’s Bonecracker
/cast shiv

Macro #2
/equipslot 17 Merciless Gladiator’s Shanker
/cast shiv

What this allows us to do is have 2 separate buttons for shiv. In this way you can have, let’s say crippling poison on your bonecracker weapon and mind numbing poison on your shanker. Using this type of dual macro shiv strategy we can easily apply 3 separate poisons to a target.

To use these macros simply exchange the name of the weapons I’ve listed above for your own off hand weapons, then you’re good to go!

Rogue / Rogue 2v2 Arena Strategy

July 1, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

rogue arena teamsDouble rogue is perhaps the most exciting and exacting 2v2 matrix you can choose to play as a rogue. While many players see the matrix as an insta-gib team, true veteran players understand the perfection required in order to attain victory. While the learning curve for this matrix is quite steep, mastering it will reward players with an exhilarating experience unlike any other in the 2v2 bracket.

Rogue Arena Talent Specs
Generally speaking you are going to be want to be shadowstep spec. A traditional 20/0/41 allows you to have maximum mobility, survivability, and solid burst on command when required. Ideally you’ll want one rogue to have improved expose armor. This will allow you to really put the pressure on priests and other low armor classes that you can bomb on.

I’d suggest dropping 2 points out of vile poisons to get the 2 points in expose armor, though lethality may also be an option if you’re not a fan of crit based RNG.

While I rarely will deviate from the tried and true shadowstep build, I believe with practice an old school AR / prep build may also be beneficial. Now, I want to preface this with a warning…this type of build is not for everyone. It never really fit my play style, and it still does not today.

That said, if you’re comfortable operating without cheat death and the quite different play style required to master the spec, I believe you could pull it off. For AR / prep I’d go with a standard 0/31/30 or a 0/33/28 (with stun resist / fear talent).

Check out rogue arena talent specs for additional information on choosing your talent build.

Rogue Arena Strategies
Coming Soon!

Rogue Arena Macros
Rogue Macro Guide
Rogue Focus Macros

Rogue Arena Enchants / Gems
Rogue Arena Enchants Guide
Rogue Arena Gem Guide

Rogue Poison Strategies
Coming Soon!