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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.

Rogue Opportunity Changes – Build 8982

September 24, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

There’s been some pretty big changes to the rogue class during this wotlk beta, none larger than the change to mutilate and positional attacks, but blizzard just tossed out yet another curve ball…take a look at the rogue changes for beta build 8992.


  • Focused Attacks changed to : Your melee critical strikes have a 33/66% chance to give you 1 energy. (Old – 100%/100% , wasn’t implemented)
  • Find Weakness damage increased reduced to 2/4/6%. (Old – 3/6/9%)


  • Killing Spree cannot hit invisible or stealthed targets anymore.


  • Opportunity now works all the time. (Old – Only increased the damage of attacks from behind)

Not quite as major as taking the positional requirement off mutilate, but certainly close. With this change mutilate and backstab rogues will enjoy the benefit of both opportunity and dual wield spec 100% of the time. This is a pretty huge change as it firmly places mutilate at the top of all rogue specs in my opinion, certainly for PvP purposes.

Combat still may , and in all likelihood will, remain a narrow first as far as PvE DPS is concerned, but considering all the buffs mutilate is receiving it won’t be far behind. It’s great to see a virtually unused rogue talent build such as mutilate getting some love for expansion, but I can’t help but wonder if they’ve taken it to the other extreme.

What do you think about the mutilate changes? Too much too quickly or just a generally bad build getting some much needed improvements?

More WotLK Rogue Changes

September 3, 2008 by · 10 Comments 

If you’re having a hard time keeping up with the flood of changes pouring in, well I can’t blame you…there seems to be some sort of game breaking change every 12-24 hours. Make sure you check out my full WotLK News Wrap Up to get caught up on all these changes.

Take a look below at the newest changes to the rogue class.

Overall I’m very happy with these changes. One of my biggest concerns with the last round of rogue changes was changing cloak of shadows from 1 minute to 2, but they’ve split the difference at 90 seconds now (with elusiveness taking it down by 30 seconds with 2 points). I think this is a fair change to both rogues and casters alike.

Additionally the disarm trap range is awesome, and well over due. The whole disarming trap mechanic has been a joke since it was introduced, but this change should really help add a new level of hunter vs. rogue intrigue.

The rest of the changes, which are mostly talent combines and tree position movements, look pretty solid. It should give the rogue class many additional options as far as hybrid specs are concerned. Ideally I’d love to see changes like this with other classes, as it further helps to escape the endless cycle of cookie cutter perfection that WoW talent builds have been sucked into.


  • Cloak of Shadows cooldown changed to 1.5 min.
  • Disarm Trap range increased to 20 yds, cast time reduced to 1 sec, now requires stealth.
  • (NEW – Level 75) Tricks of the Trade: The current party or raid member becomes the target of your Tricks of the Trade. The threat caused by your next attack and all actions taken for 6 sec afterwards will be transferred to the target. In addition, all damage caused by the target is increased by 15% during this time. 30 sec cooldown. (Surprise! Yes, this is the new group/raid utility ability. We haven’t put any stacking protection on it yet but we’ll need one type of solution or other to prevent the need for 5 rogue Trick rotations. Note also that you cannot use this ability on yourself.)


  • Vigor moved to Tier 3.
  • Relentless Strikes moved to Subtlety Tier 1, made 5 ranks for 4/8/12/16/20% chance.
  • Murder moved to Tier 6, now increases damage by 2/4%.
  • (NEW – Tier 7) Overkill: Abilities used while stealthed and for 6 seconds after breaking stealth cost 10 less energy.
  • Focused Attacks and Turn the Tables have swapped locations.
  • Master Poisoner moved to Tier 9, no longer increases chance to hit with poison attacks, now increases the critical hit chance of all attacks made against any target you have poisoned by 1/2/3% and reduces the duration of all Poison effects applied to you by 17/34/50%. (This does not stack with the Paladin talent Heart of the Crusader.)
  • Hunger for Blood duration increased to 30 seconds.


  • Precision now also increases chance to hit with poison attacks by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Nerves of Steel will now reduce damage taken while stunned or feared by 15/30% rather than reducing duration.
  • Improved Sprint moved to Tier 4.
  • Blade Twisting now slows movement speed by 70%.
  • Mace Specialization now ignores 3/6/9/12/15% of target’s armor.
  • Throwing Specialization now also has a chance to interrupt target when Fan of Knives is used.
  • Unfair Advantage: Whenever you dodge an attack you strike back for 50/100% of your main hand weapon’s damage.
  • Stay of Execution removed, replaced with Blood Poisoning.
  • (NEW – Tier 9) Blood Poisoning: All physical damage caused to enemies you have poisoned is increased by 1/2%.
  • Prey on the Weak now increases critical strike damage of all attacks.
  • Killing Spree is the new name for Murder Spree and should be working much better very soon.


  • Shadowstep will no longer be usable while rooted.
  • Elusiveness moved to Tier 3, now reduces cooldown of Cloak of Shadows by 15/30 sec.
  • Premeditation cooldown reduced to 20 sec.
  • Preparation no longer refreshes the cooldown to Premeditation.
  • Master of Deception reduced to 3 ranks.
  • Opportunity reduces to 2 ranks for 10/20%.
  • Camouflage reduced to 3 ranks for 5/10/15% speed and 2/4/6 sec off the cooldown of Stealth.
  • Initiative moved to Tier 4, increased to 33/66/100% chance.
  • Improved Ambush moved to Tier 4, reduced to 2 ranks for 25/50%.
  • Serrated Blades moved to Tier 3.
  • Wrongfully Accused replaced with Filthy Tricks.
  • (NEW – Tier 9) Filthy Tricks: Reduces the cooldown of your Tricks of the Trade and Distract abilities by 5/10 sec.
  • Slaughter from the Shadows now also reduces the energy cost of your Hemorrhage ability by 1/2/3/4/5.
  • Shadow Dance redesigned, now allows the use of Sap, Garrote, Ambush, Cheap Shot, Premeditation, Pickpocket and Disarm Trap regardless of being stealthed. Those abilities all gain a cooldown of 2 sec. Lasts 10 sec.

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.

Rogue Guide

July 19, 2008 by · 3 Comments 

In this rogue guide you will find all current strategy guides related to the rogue class on Zug Gaming. This rogue guide will be continually updated to reflect patch changes, new content, updated strategies, etc. If there’s is an area you think this guide need improvement on please drop us a note on the Zug Gaming forums.

Rogue Arena Strategies

Rogue PvP Talent Specs

Rogue Leveling Guide

Rogue Macros

Rogue Arena Videos

General Rogue Guides

Rogue Leveling Guide

July 14, 2008 by · 9 Comments 

rogue leveling guideThis rogue leveling guide is designed for one reason, to help you cruise your way to 70. For those of you just starting World of Warcraft or finally deciding to level a rogue alt let me congradulate you. Leveling a rogue is one of the most fulfilling and exciting elements of the game, take it from me…I’ve leveled a total of 7 rogues to 60 and 2 to 70, clocking more days on the game than I’d game to remember.

The rogue class is a dynamic and engaging experience, simply put…it’s a blast to level. But enough talk, let’s get right down to what tools you’re going to need to level the most effectively, and more importantly, the fastest.

Now, I don’t recommend other player’s guides often…because quite frankly 99% of “expert guides” are 100% bull shit. But when it comes to leveling guides I haven’t found a more effective resource than Team I-Demise’s leveling guide package. The guide details the step by step process of leveling 1-70, and walks you through the whole process with an in-game map mod. Awesome guide that has my 100% recommendation.

Rogue Leveling Specs
First things first, let’s talk rogue leveling talent specs. This is probably the most important factor of any in determining the speed at which you can power grind quests and mobs. The best talent spec for leveling is almost always going to be a deep combat build, rogue leveling build – 18/53/0. The link to the left is my prefered build for leveling.

It offers the greatest long duration damage output, while not leaving you completely screwed if you get into a PvP situation. You will want to fill out the combat tree first and foremost, getting adrenaline rush, combat potency, and surprise attacks will help you greatly. Most of the assassination talents help, but aren’t as clutch. So 42 into combat first, 19 into assassination second.

Now, if you’ve ever visited my site before then you know I’m a huge fan of combat for all realms of this game. That said, a solid mutilate build can work just as effectively for leveling purposes. Mutilate rogue leveling spec – 44/15/10.

Keep in mind, the build above takes advantage of only those talents that will provide the greatest benefit to you in a leveling environment. It’s not designed for PvP, but due to the strong openers and energy management will offer you better protection against ganking (and the ability to gank) than the combat build.

Either of the above two builds will work great for you, as will any slight point variations. The only builds you should stay 100% away from are those which use position attacks, in essence, mutilate, backstab, and ambush. Since you’ll be solo grinding large portions of your experience and quest you can’t afford to deal with positional attacks.

rogue leveling specBest Rogue Race
Now this is a very difficult question, especially for someone who plays a troll rogue. I’ve built two lists below to hopefully give you some guidance. These lists are based off of the overall effectiveness / usefulness of the racials, considering both PvE and PvP elements.


  1. Undead
  2. Blood Elf
  3. Orc
  4. Troll


  1. Human
  2. Gnome, Dwarf
  3. Night Elf

Rogue Leveling Weapons
For weapons we are going to be using a hierarchy of big hitting swords. If you have another character with a bit of gold (and you should since you’ve already read my Gold Secrets Guide!) you can certainly assist your rogue’s leveling ability by purchasing swords off the auction house. However, for the purpose of this guide let’s go over all the swords easily at our disposal.

  1. Wingblade – complete quest “Leaders of the Fang” in Wailing Caverns, min. level 10 (horde only)
  2. Outlaw Sabre – complete quest “Baron Aquanis” in Ashenvale, min. level 21 (horde only)
  3. Sword of Serenity – complete quest “In the name of the Light” in Scarlet Monastery, min. level 34 (alliance only)
  4. Sword of Omen – complete quest “Into the Scarlet Monastery” in Scarlet Monastery, min. level 34 (horde only)
  5. Vanquisher’s Sword – complete quest “Bring the End” (horde only) or “Bring the Light” (alliance only) both in Razer Fend Down, min. level 37
  6. Thrash Blade – complete quest “Corruption of Earth and Seed“, in Maraudon min. level 45 (alliance & horde)
  7. Foe Reaver – complete quest “Felspark Ravine” (horde only) or “The Path of Anguish” (alliance only) in Hellfire Peninsula, min. level 58
  8. Blade of the Unyielding – complete quest “Honor the Fallen” in Hellfire Peninsula, min. level 58 (horde only)
  9. Keen Marshfang Slicer – complete quest “The Sharpest Blades” (horde only) or “Lines of Communication” (alliance only) in Zangarmarsh, min. level 62

Now, obviously I haven’t listed out every single sword from every quest out there. But, this is the list I’ve used to level all of my rogues and found it works quite well. When you have gaps in the list simply get the best green sword available.

For swords you think should be on this list, but I left out, check this custom wowhead chart I’ve created. It details every uncommon, rare, or epic sword from levels 1-70 so you can always find what you need.