Leveling a Rogue: Rogue 101 – Basic Mechanics



Initially this was the beginning of my “Baby Rogue” post, but it became so lengthy I made it its own post.

So, you’ve asked yourself this question, and you’ve decided that the Rogue class is for you.  Now what?

It’s time to roll your character.  What race will you choose?  Will you be a short Gnome like Samuel, or do you prefer the bulk of an Orc?  Male or Female?  Cosmetics and aesthetics aside, here’s a quick breakdown on what each race has to offer for the Rogue:



  • Dwarf – Stoneform, Mace Specialization, and Find Treasure
  • Gnome – Escape Artist, Engineering Specialization
  • Human – Diplomacy, Sword and Mace Specialization, Every man for Himself
  • Night Elf – Shadowmeld


  • Blood Elf – Arcane Torrent, Magic Resistance 
  • Orc – Blood Fury, Hardiness
  • Troll – Berserking, Da Voodoo Shuffle, Regeneration, Beast Slaying
  • Undead – Will of the Forsaken, Cannibalize

No race is bad to chose for a Rogue, but as you can see some offer more to the class than others.  I chose a Gnome for Escape Artist, as it seemed to be something I might need as a Rogue.  I could have chosen another race, and made more use of my racials, but I’ve never felt that I’ve missed out on something because I’m a Gnome.

Now you’ve created a character and are watching your intro movie (or skipping it).  Finally, you’re in control of your brand new level 1 toon, and it’s time to start the grind from 1-80.  But before you embark on your journey, let’s take a look at the basic Mechanics of the Rogue class…

–  Rogue 101:  Basic Mechanics  –

Basic means basic.  Everything in this section is rudimentary knowledge that applies to Rogues, but the advanced concepts build on that knowledge, so it’s important that anyone playing a rogue is familiar with it.

Energy – Every class has a resource system.  Examples include Mana, Rage and Runic Power.  The resource that Rogues, Druids (cat form), and Death Knight Ghouls use is Energy.  Untalented and unglyphed, rogues have an energy pool of 100.  This may not seem like a lot, but Energy is constantly refreshed at a rate of 1 energy ever .1 sec.  This rate can later be increased in a variety of ways using talents.

Combo Point System – Rogues use a combo point system as their main mechanic for dealing damage.  In this system there are three types of moves:


  • Used from Stealth
  • Damages and can Stun / Silence targets
  • Awards 1 or 2 combo points, depending on ability

Combo Moves

  • Damage your opponent
  • Some abilities can also stun or silence
  • Awards 1 or 2 combo points, depending on ability


  • Use all stored combo points
  • Abilities to damage, stun, buff and debuff
  • Effects increase in power or length per combo point

 In this system, the most basic rotations look like this:

Opener (1 combo point) -> Combo Move (1 combo point) -> Combo Move (1 combo point) -> Finisher (uses up all 3 combo points)

Again, this is a basic example.  Sometimes you won’t use an Opener, and even though you can gain up to 5 combo points, before using a Finisher, it isn’t always the most efficient use of your abilities.  We’ll cover more of that in the actual leveling parts of this guide.

Useful Stats

When you start replacing grey and white items with green items, it’s good to know what stats you should be looking for, and more importantly why.  If this isn’t your first character you probably know what most of these stats do already, but just in case:

  • Agility –  This is arguably the most important stat for a Rogue’s damage, as it directly increases both Attack Power and Critical Strike chance.
  • Attack Power – This stat increases how much damage your weapons can deal, and are also a factor in how much damage your abilities do
  • Critical Strike Rating– This stat directly increases your chance to strike critically with attacks and abilities.
  • Hit Rating – This decreases the chance that your attacks and abilities will miss.  It’s not very common to find this stat until you get close to level 60.
  • Haste Rating – This increases your attack speed, but like Hit Rating, it isn’t very common until later levels.
  • Stamina – This stat increases your total health, and therefore, overall survivability.
  • Strength – This stat increases attack power, but does not add to critical strike chance, so it’s not as useful as Agility

Agility and Stamina are the two most important stats while leveling, though Critical Strike Rating and Attack Power are good as well.  Eventually you’ll want a good amount of Hit Rating, and a touch of Haste, but again, those stats won’t be very plentiful until you reach level 60+

That’s pretty much the gist of all the basic information anyone would need to start playing a Rogue.  This discussion will continue in Leveling a Rogue: Baby Rogue – Levels 1-10.

– Sam

2 Responses to Leveling a Rogue: Rogue 101 – Basic Mechanics

  1. Pingback: To Know The Enemy … « Reputation Grind

  2. Pingback: Musing « The Noisy Rogue

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