Sam’s PvE F.A.Q. – Questions I get all the time

I answer some of the same questions here often, so I thought I’d compile a list of frequently asked questions and their answers for everyone.  I’ll probably end up linking on the sidebar as an essential post, and updated when called for.  If there’s anything you’d add to the list of questions, leave a comment, and if deemed appropriate, I’ll add it, along with credit to you.

Sam’s PvE F.A.Q – Last Update:  5/12/09

What Glyphs should I use?

It really depends on what you’re doing, and your spec. Here’s some solid choices for Assassination and Combat:

Depending on your gear you may choose to take Slice and Dice, which will help you maintain rotations.  If you can keep SnD up at all times without it (easier to do with better gear), go with one of the following Glyphs:  Killing Spree, Tricks of the Trade, or Adrenaline Rush.  KS is the highest DPS option, Tricks is great for buffing another player’s DPS, and Adrenaline Rush, while not as strong as the other two choices is still a DPS boost.  For your other two glyphs, I suggest Rupture, which will help you keep it on the target, and Sinister Strike which occasionally grant you a combo point.

You’ve actually have a few options for Assassination.  Slice and Dice, by extending its duration will make sure it’s always up, or you can take Glyph of Mutilate to shorten your rotation and basically accomplish the same thing. Mutilate is the stronger DPS option of the two, and the Glyph you should choose if you can keep up a solid rotation without Slice and Dice dropping.  Glyph of Hunger for Blood, and Glyph of Rupture are good solid DPS boosts for your rotation.  You can also swap Rupture for Tricks if you want to buff someone else’s DPS.

Basically, any combination of three reasonable glyphs should be used.  It really depends on if want your glpyhs to make your rotation easier, buff your DPS, or buff someone else’s.  Thanks to Chronic for some suggestions on how to make this answer better.

What Poisons should I be using?

For Combat, using Wound Poison is your best main hand option.  It will proc a ridiculous amount of times, and outperform Instant Poison.  Using Envenom or Eviscerate is up to you, but regardless, use Deadly on your off hand.

Assassination will use deadly on the off hand, just as Combat does, becuase you will be using Envenom.  However, Instant Poison is your choice for your main hand.  It gets some nice buffs from the standard Assassination spec.

 What weapon type should I use?

Two matched weapons are usually your best bet, as the changes in 3.1 pretty much stripped the ability to take multiple weapon skills.  The only notable exception would be for a Combat Rogue to use a powerful, 2.3+ speed main hand fist, along with a fast 1.5- speed off hand dagger, as fists and daggers share the same weapon specialization (Close Quarters Combat).

As far as weapons go, Assassination Rogues use daggers exclusively, and Combat Rogues generally go for Fists or Swords, although maces are also an option.  Find your best pair of like weapons and go from there.  If you happen to be using Subtlety for Honor Among Thieves, and Hemorrhage, You’ll want weapons similar to Combat.  Those weapons do not have to be matched, as you won’t be going deep enough into combat to grab a specialization.

What speed weapon should I be using?

In most cases weapon speed is best summed up by the phrase:  Slow main hand, fast off hand.  For instance, Combat Swords would optimally have a hard hitting sword with a speed around 2.6 in your main hand, and a sword closer to 1.5 in your off hand.  Regardless, the best resource for figuring your best weapon combo is  The weapons spreadsheets take into account more factors than just weapon speed, and can help you decide which two weapon combination from your personal stockpile is the best.

Which Spec should I be using?

I can’t actually answer that for you, as it depends on several factors, such as the weaponry you have access to.  I know plenty of people that make much better Assassination Rogues than Combat, and vice versa.  I would take the standard specs of both and decide which one your gear and skill allow you to perform better.  Also, if you absolutely hate one of the two, I’d stick with the other. 

Also, remember that being #1 on the DPS chart, while fun, isn’t the only point in the game.  I personally strive to be the best Rogue I can be, which drives me to experiement with spec and max out my damage as best as possible.  If your enjoyment of the game comes from some other factor, and you’re doing acceptable DPS, by all means continue what you’re doing, just don’t expect invites into high end raiding guilds.

I’m only pulling XX damage, can you tell me why?

Many people ask me this question, and they usually don’t include an armory link.  I answer every single one of these questions when sent to me, but that answer usually has to wait until I am sent an armory.  Here’s generally what the issue is:

  1. Comparing unbuffed Combat Dummy numbers to fully buffed numbers on Bosses which buff your DPS.  I get this often.  People write in and ask me what they are doing wrong when they are only pulling 1900 DPS on a combat dummy, and their friend is pulling 5k+ on Loatheb or Thaddius.  In addition to raid buffs, both of those fights give you serious buffs to your damage.  If you’re comparing numbers, make the situation as close to the same as possible.
  2. Lack of Hit Rating or Expertise – If your Hit Rating is substantially below 315 or your Expertise well below 26, it’s likely part of your problem.  Note that Expertise beyond 26 is wasted, and Hit Rating, while not wasted, isn’t as good of a stat past 315.
  3. Not attacking from behind.  Even if you’re Expertise capped at 26, you’ll still get parried, and that will lower your DPS
  4. Non Optimal Rotation.  If you’re just mashing buttons, your DPS will suffer.  There are rotations for both of my PvE Guides.  Try and learn how to use them.  That being said, even I don’t rigidly stick to them.  Sometimes the situation will require you to adapt, for example using an ability early, skip part of a rotation, or start back at the begining of a rotation.  That’s the exception though, so if you’re doing that often, it’s likely due to something awry in your rotation.
  5. Insufficient Weapon Skill.  I’m guilty of this myself.  When I switched back from Assassination to Combat in 3.1, my DPS was abysmal, and I couldn’t figure out why.  The problem was that I hadn’t used swords or Fists since level 76, so when I was testing on the combat dummy, I was basically a level 76 Rogue attacking a level 83 enemy.  This caused my DPS to drop significantly; so if you’re using new weapons, double check your skill.

I’ll be adding to this F.A.Q over time, and again, any suggestions as always are welcome.


13 Responses to Sam’s PvE F.A.Q. – Questions I get all the time

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  2. Chronic says:

    Slice and Dice is not that amazing a glyph for either spec. For combat, Killing Spree is generally your strongest choice after SS and Rupture. Tricks would be your next choice if the fight prevents you from using KS reliably. Adrenaline Rush is also not terrible.

    HfB and Mut are great glyphs for assassination but again slice is weak. It doesn’t really increase your cycle length because the amount of envenoms you’re doing ensure that slice would never drop anyway. Tricks is by far the best third glyph here.

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  6. Cat says:

    I agree that SnD is not that useful for Mut builds. Tricks (for raid DPS, especially if you trade tricks with another rogue) or Rupture (for individual DPS, and for fights where you’re not in constant face-to-arse contact with the boss) are much better.

  7. samueltempus says:

    I agree that using SnD as a glyph for combat isn’t as strong as Killing Spree. Putting KS on just over a minute cooldown is pretty ridiculous. My reasoning behind throwing SnD in there is that depending on your rotation, and your gear, the amount of combo points / energy you can generate in a given time fluctuates. If you’re having trouble keeping SnD up the glyph makes sense, though only temporarily. I’ll make a change to note that using SnD is the exception, not the rule.

    Tricks is a great glyph for both specs, if you can get someone to accept that they are going to be buffing someone else’s DPS. Also, there are 8 abilities with which TotT does not stack, so there’s the possibility in a 10 man, that some of the time you wouldn’t be able to use it on another DPS, although that would be a rare case. If you roll with two Rogues or more that will tricks every cooldown, this glyph might actually be better than KS.

    As far as Adrenaline Rush, I personally wouldn’t take it over KS or TotT. At first glance it looks great, but upon further inspection, we’re really talking about 50-60 energy (depending on spec) extra every 3 minutes. It is a DPS boost for sure, but certainly not comparable to the level of the other two glyphs you suggested. I do agree though, it’s not terrible, and from a DPS standpoint, better than SnD.

    As for the Assassination Glyphs, again Slice and Dice would be a good beginner glyph to use, and I did note to use it or Mutilate. Just like Combat, if you’re going to run a full rotation, your gear is going to dictate your ability to pull off the 4/5 Rup-> 4/5 Env before SnD goes down. DPS takes a hit whenever Slice drops, so it’s more of a safety net until you’re generating energy / combo points fast enough to drop it. If you do have the gear, HfB, Mut, Rup.

    Anywho, as always, thanks for the input Chron, and I’ll make some clarifications and changes later today. This, more than any post is a fluid document, and with change over time.

    – Sam

  8. Chronic says:

    “Tricks is a great glyph for both specs, if you can get someone to accept that they are going to be buffing someone else’s DPS.”

    Ha, yes, it can be a hard sell with some people. An unfortunate mentality!

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  10. Snot says:

    Can you help my Combat Rogue, im trying my hardest to obtain 2.5+ dps but im stuck at 1800-2000 in five mans.

    i pull the open with garrote, 3 cp till SnD then 4cp for rupture and repeat.

    Im on Durotan, Snot is his name.


  11. samueltempus says:


    Looking at your gear, you should be capable of obtaining much higher DPS. I’d see if I could get my hands on Greed from Heroic Culling of Strat, and replace the PvP gear with PvE equivelent in addition to farming the new 5 man for gear upgrades. Also, I just wrote a post that I think might help you called Heroic Rogue DPS 101. Check that out, and let me know if you have any other questions.

    – Sam

  12. Snot says:

    Thanks Sam!!

    Also if i ever get greed.. i run that with guild almost everyday.. mostly play and cloth drops at end never the Fist!! Anyhow back to what i was going to say, if i switch to Fist i guess i need to respec to Close Quarter Combat from sword.. I don’t mind as i have a few epic daggers in my bank.

    i just love the sword in offhand..

    Anyhow your write up Heroic DPS 101, is awesome, now to remember it and put it into practice!!

    Thanks again!

  13. samueltempus says:


    You’re right; if you get Greed, you’ll need to respec CQC in your Combat spec. I don’t know which daggers you have, but if they’re of the same iLevel, the faster one is usually the best offhand. You’ll get 5% extra crit from the change too, which outperforms the Energy Regen from Sword Spec Procs. Alternatively, if you want to try something different, use the daggers and go Assassination. It feels a tad more Roguely. I have better Swords than Daggers so Combat I stay…

    BTW, If you can get in on a Flame Leviathan 10 man group, you can pick up the Kinetic Ripper too. It’s a great Fist OH.

    – Sam

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