The primary advantage rogues have is their ability to stealth. Unless the rogue is very close and in a 180 degree arc in front of them, or much lower level, players are usually unable to see them.
Rogues can only wear leather or cloth armor, are unable to use shields, and can only wield one-handed weapons (daggers, swords, maces, fist weapons, and axes). They can dual wield one-handed weapons. Rogues have moderate health, making them less durable than warriors, but still tougher than most casters.
Rogues are best suited for players who like to sneak up on enemies and dish out large amounts of burst damage.
In Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, rogue was an achievable rank.
Rogues possess a wide range of skills that allow them to accomplish feats from finding secret doors to smacking a magic item until it works. They are excellent in a fight, and if they can strike quickly or unseen — or are flanking an enemy with the help of a thoughtful ally — they can be truly deadly. Of course, they also excel at stealth.
The rogues of Azeroth are the masters of subterfuge, skilled and cunning adversaries of those who dare not look into the shadows to see what lurks there. Roguery is a profession for those who seek the adventures of stalking in silent forests, dimly lit halls, and heavily guarded strongholds. Using trickery in combat and able to vanish at the slightest distraction, the rogue is a welcome addition to any group of adventurers. Ideal spies, deadly to those they can catch unaware, rogues have no problem finding a place in the world. Deadly masters of stealth, rogues are the whispers in shadowy corners and the hooded figures crossing dark fields. Skilled with daggers and the art of silent death, these vagabonds and bandits skulk about Azeroth seeking targets and profit. A member of almost any race can learn the tricks necessary to become a skilled rogue. Still, for the tauren and draenei, such a profession is an alien concept and therefore rare among those peoples. Whether they are diplomats, spies, thieves, scoundrels, entertainers, or simply adventurers, they can be found plying just about any trade from Mount Hyjal to Ratchet.
For as long as there were dark alleys and needs for dark services, there have been rogues, and thus they are one of the oldest professions in Azeroth. Rogues are a diverse class, and they are typically made up from the dregs of society — cutthroats, pirates, robbers, and lowlifes. The only code rogues live by is the contract, and their word is only as good as the money their services are bought for. The diverse aspects of their trade requires rogues to be well versed in lockpicking, toxicology, rudimentary alchemy, and brawling. In combat, rogues rely on the element of surprise and tactics which are regarded by most as vile and cowardly. They are rarely seen entering a fight without weapons laced in poisons and ample supplies of everything from bombs to elixirs in their backpacks. Their attacks concentrate on weak points in the body in an attempt to finish fights brutally and quickly. Rogues play prominent roles in every aspect of society. They will rarely be written into history books because their involvements will be largely unknown to the common person, but they are always there, greatly affecting the flow of events from the shadows.
From the high-contract assassin hired in secret by respected noblemen to the lowly street mugger, rogues are the ones called upon when maintaining the status quo requires a questionable solution — and by fulfilling it, they are branded as outcasts by the very society that calls upon their service.
In Azeroth, rogues are largely free agents, though some prefer to join an organization for safety and ease of employment. Ravenholdt and the Syndicate are examples. Other recognized rogue organizations include the Shattered Hand, the Deathstalkers, and SI:7.
- Main article: Rogue races
The rogue class can be played by the following races:
A rogue's most fundamental abilities, such as Sinister Strike and Mutilate, are instant attacks which inflict damage based on the weapon damage of the rogue's main-hand weapon. Rogues therefore find it desirable to use a weapon with the best average damage to maximize their DPS.
The common rogue prefers a slow weapon in the main-hand and a fast weapon in the off-hand. Some rogues prefer fast weapons in both hands in order to apply more poison, but the final gain from using a fast main-hand is debated since weapon enchantments, such as rogue poisons, usually have a "fixed" system for proccing (see proc, poisons and normalization). That, plus the extra damage from the special attacks performed with a slow main-hand and the normal damage itself, implies that there is little or nothing to win with choosing a fast main-hand when attempting to produce more damage. Although having a fast main hand may increase the amount of physical damage you do in a shorter period of time, the bonus does little for DPS.
Finally, whether a rogue is using a fast main-hand or a slow main-hand, it is taken as common knowledge among rogues that the OH should always be a fast weapon. This is because the off-hand, unlike the main-hand, does not have any crucial "duty" when performing abilities, thus its role consists nearly entirely of applying poisons. The only exception where a slow off-hand is preferable is when using a few abilities which contribute more from slow weapons than from fast, like Killing Spree and Mutilate.
- Main article: Stealth
Stealth is the first major class ability a rogue can get. They have the ability to stealth and become essentially invisible to enemies their level and lower while moving at slower speed. Stealthed rogues are detectable at close range, though will remain stealthed and appear translucent. Be aware that higher level characters and mobs can more easily see through stealth.
Many rogue abilities require stealth and others require being behind the target, which is often achievable (while solo) only in stealth. Other rogue abilities, notably Sprint and Distract, interact well with stealth. Some actions, like lockpicking, will break stealth.
Stealth opens up a range of tactics and roles for rogues. Groups often rely on a rogue's stealth ability to scout dungeons, and to use Sap for added crowd control. In PvP, stealth combined with burst damage gives an element of surprise that can be especially effective against cloth-wearers.
Stealth can be improved through talents, items, and enchantments, both to decrease the chance of being detected and to increase movement speed.
- Main article: Dual wield
A rogue starts off with the dual wielding skill. Dual wielding is a trade-off with an increased chance to miss with each weapon and reduced damage on the off-hand, but it is a good ability for a rogue. A rogue cannot use a two-handed weapon (which have bigger stat buffs), cannot carry a shield, and has few good offhand choices (offhand items tend to all have caster stats). A second wielded weapon is the only way to reliably get two hands worth of rogue stat buffs.
- Main article: Poisons
Poisons generally either cause damage to the target (either instantly or as damage over time) or cause other effects (slowing the target, removing the effectiveness of healing on the target, etc.). Different weapons can have different poisons applied and faster weapons cause the poison to proc more often.
A variety of talents in the assassination specialization enhance the use of poisons.
The Alliance's poison quest could be obtained at level 20 in Westfall from Agent Kearnen called  ; if players dropped by S1:7 in Stormwind, Master Mathias would send them to Kearnen when the time was right by giving the  quest.
The Horde's version was in Orgrimmar from Shenthul called  that sent players to The Barrens to talk to Taskmaster Fizzule for a quest called  .
Prior to patch 3.0.2 and Wrath of the Lich King, the ability to brew poisons from ingredients was a secondary skill, similar to Cooking or First Aid, but available only to rogues. The skill is no longer available in the game.
- Main article: Lockpicking
Rogues have the ability to pick locks. This allows them to open locked chests, lockboxes, and doors, depending on the rogue's skill in lockpicking and the level of the locked object. Lockboxes can be pickpocketed from mobs or found as loot. Rogues no longer are required to train lockingpicking skill; it is now passive, granting higher skill as the player levels at a rate of +5 per level.
- Stat priority
- Critical Strike
|Fan of Knives||63|
|Mastery: Potent Poisons||78|
- Stat priority
- Critical Strike
|Between the Eyes||20|
|Ruthlessness (rogue ability)||28|
|Roll the Bones||40|
|Between the Eyes (2)||42|
|Mastery: Main Gauche||78|
- Stat priority
- Critical Strike
|Symbols of Death||36|
- Note: Players technically start in Assassination spec; if a player chooses another specialization at level 10, Outlaw and Subtlety rogues lose Sinister Strike; Outlaw rogues also lose Eviscerate.
|Shroud of Concealment||68|
|Tricks of the Trade||70|
|Cloak of Shadows||80|
|Level||Abilities (choose one)|
|15|| Master Poisoner
Master of Subtlety
| Elaborate Planning
Weaponmaster (rogue talent)
| Shadow Focus (rogue talent)|
Hit and Run
|45||Deeper Stratagem||Anticipation (rogue talent)||Vigor|
|60|| Leeching Poison
|Elusiveness (rogue talent)||Cheat Death (rogue talent)|
Strike from the Shadows
|Prey on the Weak|| Internal Bleeding|
|90|| Agonizing Poison
|100|| Venom Rush
Slice and Dice
Master of Shadows
|Marked for Death (rogue talent)||Death from Above|
|Glyph of Blackout||All|
|Glyph of Burnout||All|
|Glyph of Disguise||All|
|Glyph of Flash Bang||All|
|2||Hardiness (honor talent)|
|6||Turn the Tables, Shadow's Caress|
|8||Deadly Brew, Take Your Cut, Veil of Midnight|
|10||Creeping Venom, Cheap Tricks, Phantom Assassin|
|13||Adaptation (honor talent)|
|19||Intent to Kill, Boarding Party, Silhouette|
|22||Honor Among Thieves|
|25||Mind-numbing Poison, Control is King, Dagger in the Dark (honor talent)|
|28||Flying Daggers, Dismantle, Thief's Bargain|
|31||Relentless (honor talent)|
|34||Sparring (honor talent)|
|37||Cut to the Chase|
|40||Unfair Advantage, Gladiator's Medallion, Thick as Thieves|
|43||Shiv, Drink Up Me Hearties, Cold Blood|
|46||System Shock, Plunder Armor, Shadowy Duel|
- Leatherworking and Skinning
- and are always a good choice. The items crafted tend to be better than looted items at the same level. This is a very balanced profession choice for performance and money.
- Herbalism and Alchemy
- and are a viable option. Alchemy allows the rogue to manufacture powerful potions, elixirs, and flasks.
- Alchemy also opens up the ability to craft an , which adds a decent amount of attack power in addition to the 40% bonus to healing potions.
- As well as the above item, at Alchemy level 500 rogues can craft
- Note that this profession is not only beneficial to the rogue in performance, it can be an excellent money maker.
- doubles the duration of Elixirs and Flasks for the Alchemist who learns the skill. This is beneficial in a raid situation and also increases the length that flasks generated by a guild cauldron last.
- Herbalism is also a very good way to obtain , which is needed to make for lower level rogues.
- Engineering and Mining
- is arguably the best (and most fun) profession for a rogue, with being the most beneficial complementary profession. It allows for a very distinct edge in combat. The items tend to be a bit expensive at times, however. There are a few engineering items that require components crafted by other professions, from blacksmiths to tailors to alchemists. Picking up mining with Engineering will save a lot of money; however, be prepared to spend a solid amount of gold on vendor-only parts.
- Jewelcrafting and Mining
- is a very good profession for a rogue. With it, rogues have access to crafted rings and necklaces, stone statues (an extra self-heal that works in combat), a diverse array of BoP trinkets (some of which enhance rogue special abilities), and the ability to cut gems for sockets for high level gear.
- is a very profitable profession. As a rogue it's possible to solo run some lower level dungeons and head straight for the boss, then disenchant their loot. At level 70 Scholomance, Blackrock Depths, UBRS, Dire maul, and even Stratholme are very doable and most certainly profitable. Enchanting provides no utility or combat usage for PvP or PvE whatsoever other than the self-only invaluable ring enchants.
- is easy to learn, quick to level, and can be very profitable. It utilizes pigments from milled herbs and allows rogues to make glyphs for themselves and others. One notable benefit of Inscription is the ability to craft and apply to shoulders at level 400. complements this profession. Inscription, much like Enchanting, is mainly picked up for money by making cards and glyphs for others. It is quite appealing to the rogue who doesn't want any extra combat utility that other professions could offer.
- is a viable choice for rogues looking to min/max as much as possible. At the blacksmithing skill of 400, they can use and to add an extra socket to those items. There are a variety of rogue-friendly weapons that can be crafted including , , , and . As leveling blacksmithing to its highest is an expensive and time-consuming task, it may be better to level mining and ask someone else to make the Titansteel items. Finally, Blacksmiths can make for themselves and others.
A rogue's main priority in raiding is maximizing melee DPS while staying alive. Put threat-reducing abilities (namely, Feint, Vanish and Tricks of the Trade) to good use and use them before gaining aggro. As with all melee DPS classes, rogues are expected to come to raids with ample supplies of flasks, potions, food, and bandages. Depending on the particular situation, rogues may not get many heals. If that's the case, rogues should be prepared to heal themselves.
- Rogue sets - Discussion of set items for rogues.
- Stealth run - Solo or duo-able dungeons.
- List of rogues - List of important NPC rogues and rogues from lore.
- See Rogue/Cataclysm changes.
- Patch 3.3.0 (08-Dec-2009): Dual Wield added to level one skills, and starting kit changed to include two daggers.
- / Patch 3.0.2 (14-Oct-2008): Brought several changes to rogues: Pick Lock and Disarm Trap no longer require Thieves' Tools; Vanish no longer requires the reagent Flash Powder; Poisons are no longer created from ingredients by rogue. The vendors that sold poison ingredients now sell ready to use poisons.; Mace Specialization no longer gives a chance to stun the target, instead bypasses armor.
- Patch 2.3.0 (13-Nov-2007): Extended applied poison effects from 30 minutes to 1 hour.