WoW Classic Rogue Guide - The Best Rogue builds for Vanilla

WoW Classic Rogue Guide
p3ter 05.06.2019 0

On August 27 2019 we’ll have much-desired legacy WoW server launched. Huge success of Nostalrius (is it only me, who associates this word with ‘nostalgy’?), was followed by even bigger shutdown. It was so popular, that right after the shutdown another private server - Elysium - was opened. Fans gathered almost 300k signs petition, and thus Blizzard decided to create its own WoW Classic server, by many called ‘Vanilla’. So many things have changed over 13 years since patch 1.2, so it’s worth it to remind some of you how did it look back then and how - more or less - is it going to look now. 

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Why play Rogue class

Have you ever played Assassin’s Creed? Or Hitman: Silent Assassin? Or any other stealth game? Lurking in the shadow beyond enemies sight, striking quickly and eliminating key targets in a fraction of second to vanish in the mist right after. Sudden death, which no one ever saw to tell the tales. Does this sound appealing? If you answered ‘yes’, then Rogue class is probably for you as it offers an ability to remove the missing links in a blink of an eye.


Rogue class shines in PvP as the deadliest pure dps class. This physical damage melee monsters dps thrives in certain scenarios.Their main mechanic turns Rogues invisible they are quite annoying to deal with. By using Sap ability they can lock their targets for very long time giving them even more opportunities to gain an advantage in open field combat.

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On the other hand Rogues have very high base damage which scales very well with their equipment. They have wide variety of tools which they can use during leveling like lockpicking which lets them get additional loot. This makes them playing Rogue class very engaging and challenging which is the real beauty of this class. As mentioned before Rogues are kings of open world PvP, they also do well in battlegrounds and 1v1 duels. They have high skill ceiling and because of that very good player can be extremely dangerous while playing them and less skilled ones can be an easy target. 


Best races for Rogue

Most Rogue players choose this class to outshine others in world PvP. Because of that choosing best race for a Rogue means choosing a best PvP race.


The class is available for Gnome, Human, Dwarf, Night Elf, Orc, Undead and Troll. However some races are better for this class due to their racials.


Orc - Choosing an Orc greatly improves Rogue offensive abilities. By using Blood Fury they can gain 25% Attack Power for 15 seconds. Additionally Hardiness increases your chance to resist stuns by 25%. This is extremely useful passive which comes in handy not only in PvP.


Dwarf - Definitely one of the best choices for every Rogue. As assassins struggle with health and defence issues picking a Dwarf which has Stone Form ability fixes this problem partially. 10% Damage Reduction for 8 seconds is another very handy tool which is useful at all times.


Undead - Immunity to charm, fear and sleep effects for 5 seconds might save your life more than once - even when you are undead already. It is also worth mentioning that they probably look best in leathers.


Gnome - Escape Artist racial lets them leave immobilizing effects. This is very useful for Rogues as they are vulnerable to these effects.


Surprisingly enough, other races like Human, Goblin or Troll are not good Rogues, since their racials aren’t synergizing with items, specs or playstyle.


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Pros and cons. Why is it worth to max Rogue

Rogues as mentioned before are known mostly for their PvP combat performance. They were clearly build to be dangerous and deadly killers just as class fantasy might suggest. It isn’t always a truth as Rogue may be hard class to pick up at first. Most players will struggle during leveling stages and pvp fights as they are not as obvious as some may think. PvP dominance is not their only strength as they also perform quite well in raids. Due to their utility they are also welcome in dungeons and other parties.



-Stealth mechanic lets them pick fights. They can come out of nowhere and disappear right away.

-Has a reputation of World PvP beast, very strong class for skirmishes.

-Utility is extremely useful to them and to players they play with. They are always nice addition to party and to the raid.

-High skill ceiling. They can be challenging to play at all times which makes playing a Rogue engaging and fun.

-High crowd control. They can control the course of the battle with Sap ability and other CC.

-They have very good single target damage which makes them excellent at killing bosses.


Cons :

-Painful to lvl up with when played solo.

-Low mobility. Sprint every 5 minutes is usually not enough.

-Gear dependent. Although they scale well with gear, they are weak without it. 

-No self-healing ability. Has to rely on food and First Aid.

-Low sustained damage. They perform better in short burst situations. 

-Not much multi-target abilities. They are much more of a 1v1 brawlers than group killers

-No real way of mitigating damage. Rogues have to facetank everything that comes at them


As mentioned before Rogues are great in PvP when played well, good in raids and dungeons and not so great at leveling. When you choose to play Rogue make sure that this class fits your playstyle. Leveling in Vanilla is a very long and painful process so you definitely don’t want to switch between classes too many times. Take this into account also when deciding on which race you want.


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Rogue Abilities

Rupture - finishing DoT (damage over time) ability, scaling with Attack Power. Each combo point increases damage and duration.


Sinister Strike - immediate hit, that deals 3 damage in addition to weapon damage. Gives 1 combo point.


Gouge - deals 10 damage, incapacitates the foe for 4 seconds and turns off your attack. Requires target to face you. Damage will revive target. Gives 1 combo point.


Kick - injures a single target for 15 damage, interrupts casting spells and prevents any spell from that school from being cast for 5 seconds.


Feint - deals no damage, but lowers your Threat making the enemies less willing to focus you.


Sprint - gives you 50% movement speed boost for 15 seconds, without breaking stealth. Your main pre-mount mobility tool on relatively high  (5 min.) cooldown. This is what makes leveling on Rogue really hard.


Slice and Dice - finisher that is increasing melee attack speed. Last longer per combo point.


Garrote - dealing damage over time t o an enemy, scaling of Attack Power. You must be stealthed and behind target. Gives 1 combo point.


Backstab - one of the main dps abilities for Rogues. Deals damage based on weapon damage. Requires dagger in main hand and positioning behind the foe. Gives 1 combo point.


Stealth - bread and butter for Rogues. Allows you to vanish and sneak around, reducing movement speed by 50%. Last until player cancells it.


Eviscerate - combo point dumping ability. Scales of combo points and Attack Power.


Vanish - lets you disappear from sight and enter an improved stealth mode. Breaks movement impairing effects.


Ambush - dealing great damage to the target. Requires stealth, dagger in main hand and positioning behind the target. Gives 1 combo point.


Expose armor - finisher that reduces target's armor stat by amount depending on combo points.


Kidney Shot - finisher, stuns the target consuming combo points. The more combo points it uses, the longer the stun duration.


Sap - incapacitates target for maximum of 25 seconds. Works only on Humanoids that are out of combat. Damage dealt to them will revive the sapped target. Only one enemy can be sapped at the time.

Abilities scale off of Specialization, Weapon Damage, Attack Power and so on. Depending on the path you chose, you may want to max different talents.


Best profession for Rogue

Profession for each class and race means something different. Before creating a character you should already know its purpose. Is it going to be a farmer? Go for farming race and farming professions. Damage dealer? Quester or PvPer? Raid healer or main tank? Days, where you stepped into the game and casually tried everything without having a slight idea if it makes sense, are long gone. Now after a few (more than a few actually) years since the introduction of WoW you need to be specialized.



In theory most of professions guides do not point out the one and only profession for Rogue, but guides have no idea what are you going to do. Your upcoming focus should determine your choice, as professions will be your main gold generating tool.


Leatherworking and skinning

Rogues are using cloth and leather armor. It’s self-explanatory, that killing mobs, collecting skins and making equipment from it will benefit the class. Also it can be a decent source of income. Remember that Master of Anatomy scales off your Skinning level. It’s not much, but still more than nothing.


Herbalism and Alchemy

By many players still believed to be the best profession for making money. Period. Although Rogues are not actually destined to be farmers or alchemists. They generally want to collect valuables from corpses of their enemies, rather than from nodes. Very popular among players going for raids. However if you are aiming for farming and gold making, according to profession guides Druid is the best class for it. Especially Tauren, who has Herbalism racial buff.


Engineering and Mining

One of the most beneficial professions for Rogue. It allows you to craft traps and cool stuff that can be either useful or sold. However engineers in general spend more money than they get from their profession, as their crafts are more useful than valuable. Choosing Gnome automatically gives you a racial bonus + 15 to engineering.



Some people claim it’s a viable option for Rogue, although other professions overshadow it pretty badly.



From our point of view it’s the most iconic skill for Rogues, as it fits their character and playstyle the most.  Dark Leather Gloves (crafted with Leatherworking) increase lockpicking by 5, also allowing you to approach targets slightly out of your skill range and reducing the overall risk of failure.


Other professions like tailoring or enchanting are not really worth mentioning in this WoW Classic Rogue guide. Yes, they can be useful or profitable in a certain situation, but their real utility for the class is lower than Blacksmithing.


Rogue leveling guide

In WoW classic levels have a cap of 60, so you may want to reach that point as fast as reasonably possible. Rogue class isn’t the best in terms of fast leveling or PvE, but shines in other aspects, so many players are willing to pay for boosting or power leveling just to get there.


Rogues are generally considered one of the slowest leveling classes passing this inglorious title to Warriors and maybe Paladins. They lack mobility which for them comes only in form of sprint which has 5 minutes cooldown. This is extremely important during leveling stages as most of the time you will find yourself travelling from one place to another. They are also quite vulnerable to taking damage. Their armor is made from leather which means that it doesn’t provide as much defense as Protection Warriors plates.


They have no self healing abilities like Holy Paladins, no pets to tank for them like Hunters or Warlocks and barely any AoE abilities to clear white trash mobs in a second. Those disadvantages forces you into predefined, measured gameplay as you will need to pick favorable fights and avoid anything you consider tough. 


Rogue Leveling builds

For leveling with swords you want to start by taking Improved Sinister Strike and maxing i. After that do same with Improved Gouge. Take 5 points into Deflection and get Riposte after that. Next stop is Precision and Dual Wield get 5 points in first one and 4 in second. Now you can move to Blade Flurry. Take it and make sure to always use it off cooldown. Finish Dual Wield Specialization and take 3 points in Sword Spec as well. Follow it by Weapon Expertise and finish Sword Specialization after that. Next is 1 in Aggression and 1 in Adrenaline Rush.


This finishes your Combat Tree and now you can start putting points into Assassination. Start by adding two points in Remorseless Attacks and three into Malice. Take two into Murder and finish Malice. Now take Slice and Dice on 1st level and put 5 points into Lethality and 5 into Improved Poisons. And remember to Eviscerate at the exact moment when it will finish your enemy, 3 combo points, or 4, even one combo point - doesn’t matter - learn the amount of damage and better your grinding. 


Combat Tree :

2/2 Improved Sinister Strike + 3/3 Improved Gouge + 5/5 Deflection + 1/1 Riposte + 5/5 Precision + 4/5 Dual Wield Specialization + 1/1 Blade Flurry + 5/5 Dual Wield Specialization + 4/5 Sword Spec + 2/2 Weapon Expertise + 5/5 Sword Spec + 1/3 Aggression + 1/1 Adrenaline Rush


Assassination Tree (After finishing Combat Tree) :

2/2 Remorseless Attacks + 3/5 Malice + 2/2 Murder + 1/3 Improved Slice and Dice + 5/5 Lethality + 5/5 Improved Poisons


Swords vs Daggers

During leveling stages of the game Rogues often find themselves thinking if they should choose Daggers or Swords as their main weapon. This is actually quite important decision as it will determine how fast will you attack and how much will be your clicking. In general, most people use swords for leveling. They are more practical as they can be bought from Warriors and if you are in same dungeon group with them sometimes they can give you sword if they don’t need it. These weapons are also much less click-demanding and easier to manage.


On the other hand, Daggers are more unique and better fitting to a class fantasy. They also have better damage per seconds ratio but as they are harder to find and more click-intensive, they are not worth looking for before 60.

Rogue Leveling Build

This is how your finished build looks like.

Frontstab Crit build

This build relies around attacking your targets with backstab. Don’t worry you don’t have to be right behind monster at all times to do this. It is possible to trick a mob that you are standing behind him by getting very close in front of him. Basically your enemy thinks that you are behind and starts to wobble to the left and to the right. This gives you opportunity to use Backstab as sometimes it will light as available. Make sure to spam it when fighting so you will be able to attack when it is ready.


Combat Tree : 

2/2 Improved Sinister Strike + 3/3 Improved Gouge + 3/3 Improved Backstab

Assassination Tree : 

2/2 Remorseless Attacks

Subtlety Tree :

5/5 Opportunity

Combat Tree : 5/5 Precision + 2/2 Endurance + 5/5 Dual Wield Specialization + 1/1 Blade Flurry

Assassination Tree :

5/5 Malice + 2/2 Murder + 1/3 Improved Slice and Dice + 5/5 Lethality

Combat Tree :

4/5 Dagger Specialization + 2/2 Weapon Expertise + 5/5 Dagger Specialization + 2/3 Aggression + 1/1 Adrenaline Rush.


wow classic frontstab crit build

Finished Frontstab Crit Build


Of course you are free to search through Internet sites forums and seek some Talent Calculator, but believe me - someone has been there before and found the best possible solution. No need for you to waste time doing things, someone already did. You can spend this time farming or leveling.


General Tips for Rogues

Just like with every class in World of Warcraft Classic with Rogues it is extremely important to be efficient. You don’t want to waste resources and you don’t want to waste currency. You will need all of this through your journey so keep your expenses to a minimum. Additionally, you always want to spend your health and cooldowns efficiently. If your cooldowns are available to make sure to use them to gain maximum damage potential. If your health is at full it means that you are not fighting often enough - pull more mobs.


Make good use of everything that you get and you will be successful. On top of that make sure to kill mobs which are the same as your level. By doing this you will receive more experience than you would get for killing a mob with different level. Creatures who are stronger or weaker than your character award only a portion of their experience so keep that in mind while leveling. When you are killing mobs make also sure to use the most efficient rotation at your level. Rogue’s rotation changes with points added in talent tree so always be aware of new additions.



-Be efficient with your cooldowns and spend your health when you are maxed on it

-Kill monsters of same lvl for maximum experience

-Change your rotation when you get new talents - always use as much as you can

-Save your currency and spend only on necessary things

-Open every chest and door that you can get to, make use of your lockpicking and pickpocketing abilities.


Tips for early stages of the game (before 10)

-It’s recommended to take every skill you can and upgrade ranks

-Pickpocket as often as possible

-Get Dual Wield and use it from level 10

-Use Throwing Weapon to pull

-Get First Aid quick and use it often

-Start with two of Skinning, Herblore, Mining. If you went with Skinning sell skins to vendor

-Upgrade weapons at vendors if you can afford to.


One more interesting thing is that Rogues use Dual Wield from lvl 10. Warriors are heavily discouraged from using one-handed weapons but it is not exactly the same for Rogues. This class does not base on generating Fury with attacks and don’t have to be careful about the amount of misses and that is why Rogues can Dual Wield weapons. Energy generates on its own and you don’t have to land hits for it. Dual Wielding gives you faster attacks and more DPS overall so make sure to equip two melee weapons.



By finishing a quest at lvl 20 Rogues gain access to a special class profession which is Poisons. It allows them coat their weapons with special substances that can apply and proc negative effects on their enemies. 


Instant Poison: Most basic and most often used one - Gives an additional bonus of nature damage to your weapon. The damage is applied instantly.

Deadly Poison: Adds a damage over time debuff on the enemy.

Mind-Numbing Poison: Slows the cast time of enemy spells

Crippling Poison: Slows target movement speed

Wound Poison: Deals damage and reduces enemy healing

It is also worth noting that poison not always rely on attack speed of weapons so getting faster daggers won’t result in more poison damage.

Rogue Class specific addons

There are a couple of add-ons that can make Rogue life easier, so you should definitely download those.


The first one and almost necessary is Swing Timer. Every melee class should use this one in Vanilla since it allows the user to time abilities between attacks. This addon shows on two bars time to your next hit and time to next enemy hit so you can use your abilities accordingly without interrupting attacks. Xr /Hr Tracker lets you see exact leveling speed so you can always know which spot works for you better. Energy Tracker shows you ticks of your energy regeneration so you can plan better when to use which skills. Outfitter lets you swap gear easily which is very convenient for replacing your regular combat gear with regenerative spirit gear. KLHThreatMeter might also come in handy to control the amount of Threat you generate. On top of that you should always have addon which tracks your DPS like Skada.


By using Swing timer you are able to track your auto attacks and use skills correctly. This lets you maximize your min. damage output by not stopping animations when they are made. After getting to lvl 31 you will get your first rank in Sword Specialization. From that point you have a chance to make a double auto attack. Because of that you want to wait after your attack ends to use Sinister Strike. As the Sword Speci might reset your swing timer you want to know if it procs to don’t interfere with it by using Sinister Strike.


Stat priority 

When you are gearing your character in items the most important part about it is to check for stats. There are few different of those and you need to know which ones are most important for your class to maximize character damage. Here is a list of which stat does what : 


Strength : 

-Increases melee attack power by 1 for every point


Agility :

-Improves armor ratings by 2 for every point

-Increases melee and ranged attack power by 1 for every point

-Around 20 points in Agility increase Critical and Dodge chances by 1%.


Intellect :

-Increases rate of learning weapon skill


Spirit :

-Increases speed of health regeneration out of combat


Because Rogue have no self healing abilities you want to get every health regen that you can get your hands on. It doesn’t mean that you will be fighting in items with high spirit. Ideally you want addon which lets you easily switch between gear like Outfitter. By using this simple addition you will be able to switch between fighting gear and spirit set after you are done fighting. This will give you nice boost to regeneration and will let you level more efficiently.

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Below you have basic stat priority listed. This is not always your go-to stat tier list as there are more stats than basic ones. You can get attack power, critical chance and others and those are much more important than Strength or Agility. Here is a basic stats tier list :


Agility > Strength = Stamina > Spirit > Intellect 


You want to prioritize finding pieces with the highest Agility bonuses. After that try to look at Strength and Stamina on equipment. Make sure to also take Spirit items to make your regenerative set. Intellect items are not important for Rogues. 


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This is the end of this guide. We hope that you have liked it and if you did please leave a comment below. You can also check out our blog, forum, Facebook, and Twitter pages for MMO and gaming news posted daily. 


You should also know that this guide is a part of our huge database of other class guides: 

- Shaman

- Warlock

- Warrior

- Paladin

- Priest

- Druid

- Hunter

- Mage.


If you don’t know which faction - Alliance or Horde - you should take, you can find everything here. More guides are definitely on the way, you should expect a rogue leveling guide in a few days or so, as work is in progress. Rogue guides should be an evergreen content, since the general premise of their gameplay, farm tactics, lvl run or pre raid preparations shouldn’t change.


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