Baby Rogue: Cataclysm Edition
January 20, 2011 1 Comment
The Cataclsym happened, and for one reason or another, you’ve decided to level a Rogue. If you’re unfamiliar with the class, and you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come (I hope) to the right place. In this post, I’ll be discussing the basic mechanics behind the class, the abilities you’ll get in the first 10 levels, and strategy for surviving those levels as well.
- Rogue 101: Basic Mechanics -
Rogues are a dual-wielding melee class that excels at damaging single targets. They can be deadly assassins that strike stealthily, or they can stand toe to toe with their opponents. Rogues rely heavily on the Agility stat to improve their damage output. They prefer to attack targets from behind, if possible; however, this generally requires that the Rogue is in a group of two or more. Rogues use two resources, Energy and Combo Points. Energy is required for almost every Rogue ability and it will constantly replenish on its own. Combo Points are a slightly more complicated and are part of a bigger system, the Combo Point System.
Almost every Rogue ability is tied to the Combo Point System. In this system, there are three types of abilities:
- Openers – Abilities you use to begin a fight
- Combo Point Generators – Abilities you use to gain combo points
- Finishers – Abilities that use all combo points
Basically, the idea is to use an Opener on a target (when possible) and build some Combo Points with a Combo Point Generator. After that, you follow with a Finisher to use those Combo Points. That said, Rogues don’t have access to all three types of abilities until level 8.
- Leveling from 1-10 -
Leveling a Rogue can be frustrating experience if you’re not sure what abilities to use and how to avoid getting yourself in situations that you don’t have the tools to handle. I’m not ashamed to admit that when I leveled Sam years ago, I died many times and got pretty frustrated. The following is a level-by-level guide to keep you alive and successful for your first 10 levels. Please note that some abilities get more powerful as you level and for those I’ve indicated a range of damage from the level you get an ability to max level (85) with an asterisk (*).
Levels 1 & 2
Rogues start with two abilities (other than racial bonuses), Sinister Strike and Throw (Shoot also, but essentially the same thing). Let’s first take a look at Sinister Strike:
Sinister Strike – An Instant Strike that causes 7-200* damage in addition to 100% of your normal weapon damage. Awards 1 combo point.
This is a Combo Point Generator, though it won’t gain the ability to generate them until level 3. When you use this attack at level 1, you will deal 7 damage plus your main hand damage instantly to a target. Using this 2-4 times will usually kill whatever it is you are asked to kill for the first few levels quite easily. We’ll revisit Sinister Strike again at level 3 when it begins to generate Combo Points. Please note, that no matter how fast or often you press the button, Sinister Strike can only be used once a second.
The other ability that you begin with is Throw. It’s probably hidden in your spellbook (accessed by pressing “P” or by clicking a small book icon near the bottom of your screen, if you’re unfamiliar with it). You should drag this ability to an action button on your screen for easy access right now, because throw is an under-utilized ability at lower levels that can keep you from biting off more than you can chew. You won’t need to use it for the first few levels, but its worth practicing on the easy stuff that can’t really hurt you.
Throw does exactly what it says; that is, it throws your thrown weapon at a target. It can’t be used in melee combat, nor can it be used in excess of 40 yards away. Using Throw, you can Pull (engage) mobs one at a time and fight them away from any others that might want to join in on your fight, and potentially ruin your day. This becomes very useful in areas that have a high concentration of mobs that have red colored names, as these mobs will automatically attack you if you get to close.
Rogues are creatures of control, and if you find yourself dying a lot, it’s usually due to putting yourself in situations that you shouldn’t. Using Throw to Pull targets away from areas with hostile mobs is an example of using your abilities to control where and how your fights happen. Practicing this now may seem silly, but it can save you the hassle of realizing how much easier it is to use Throw than to run back to your corpse.
Eventually, you’ll run into enemies that can attack you from range, either by casting spells or shooting you. Use throw to get their attention, and then either run a moderate distance away before running back to attack them, or if possible, use a building or terrain to move out of the enemy’s line of sight, forcing them to come to you.
Levels 3 & 4
At level 3, You’ll be able to learn Eviscerate, your first finisher. In addition, Sinister Strike will now generate Combo Points, which you will need to be able to use Eviscerate. Let’s take a look at it first:
Eviscerate – Finishing move that causes damage per combo point.
I’ve left off the rest of the tooltip, which shows you the actual damage that the ability will do, but it changes based on multiple factors, including your weapon, level and attack power. If you look in your spellbook, you can see the amount of damage that it will do based on the number of combo points you have when you use it. Basically speaking though, the difference is that each combo point multiplies the amount of damage that Eviscerate deals.
Now that you have a Finisher, you should start paying attention to combo points. If you’re not using any addons to change the appearance of your game, they will show up as little circles around your character pane. The ones that are filled in indicate how many points you have. The general idea is to Sinister Strike a few times, and when your target is nearing defeat, use Eviscerate. The number of times you should use Sinister Strike depends on how much health the mob has, but at this level two or three should be more than enough. If Eviscerate doesn’t finish the mob off, another Sinister Strike should.
Also, since you’re using Combo Points now, it’s important to know that you can only have Combo Points active on one enemy at a time. If you don’t use them on the target before it dies, they go to waste, with only a few exceptions. Those exceptions won’t become available until after the first ten levels, so for now it’s a good idea to not let your Combo Points go to waste if you can avoid it.
Levels 5 & 6
New at level 5 is Stealth which is class defining ability:
Stealth – Allows you to sneak around, but reduces your speed by 30%. Lasts until cancelled.
Stealth is not invisibility. It makes you harder for an enemy to detect, especially from behind. If you run right in front of something hostile that you do not significantly out level, it will see you and it will attack you. If you are trying to sneak around in an area with hostiles, move cautiously. If you are sneaking around in Stealth and something turns and looks your direction, freeze. If you stop soon enough, it will turn back around and you can continue your sneakiness. Also, pay attention for mobs with a blue symbol floating above their head. You won’t run into them for a while, but they can see you in Stealth as easily as they can without it.
All of that said, Stealth isn’t terribly useful yet. You don’t have any abilities that require it, and sneaking around to pick up any quest items you need probably won’t work all that well. Most things that you are required to pick up are either guarded by hostile mobs, and even if you get there without being seen, clicking on items will take you out of stealth. This will likely lead to several mobs headed in your direction and perhaps even your death. Later on, when you have the tools to use it properly, Stealth can make quests like these much easier. Just remember you’re trading the experience you get killing the enemies in the way for the speed of completing the quest.
Nothing terribly exciting happening in level 7, but we do gain a new ability:
Pick Pocket - Pick the Target’s Pocket
The ability does exactly what it says, that is, if you pick something that has pockets. Anything other than a humanoid will give you one of those annoying red messages. So if you want to feel like a clothie that’s stunned (You can’t do that while stunned), by all means try to pick the non-pockets of all the Boars, Nightsabers, Dragonhawks, etc. that you see. Besides, I hear its good to empathise with others.
Level 8 is the first level where you can use a Opener, and therefore the first level that stealth begins to be more useful. A quick visit to your local Rogue trainer, and…
Ambush – Ambush the target, causing 190% weapon damage plus 29 – 299* to the target (274.93% plus 41-1,012* if a dagger is equipped). Must be stealthed and behind the target. Awards 2 combo points.
Ambush scales with level, so I’ve included the range of damage from level 8 to 85. This ability used to only work with Daggers, but now has been retooled to work with any weapon. The extra damage dealt with a Dagger brings it in line with other weapons type, which hit as harder than daggers do.
Using Ambush might take a little practice, but essentially, you approach a target from behind in stealth and when you get close enough, use it. In addition to taking a decent chunk of your opponent’s health, you’ll also get 2 combo points. When you combine this with Sinister Strike, you can quickly get 3-5 combo points on your target before pressing Eviscerate to finish them off.
Once you reach Level 9, you can train evasion, which is the first defensive ability Rogues have access to:
Evasion – Increases the Rogue’s dodge chance by 50% and reduces the chance that ranged attacks hit the Rogue by 25%. Lasts 15 sec.
This ability can save you a ghostly trip back to your body. If you were to find yourself in a bad situation, which hopefully won’t happen often (as you’re using Throw, right?), this might allow you to escape that situation. Evasion can help you live long enough to kill the things that are attacking you, or make a run for it. Two words of caution though:
- You can’t dodge attacks from behind. If you run, it’s best to backpedal, or you’re defeating the purpose of using Evasion.
- Evasion won’t protect you from spells.
Once you’ve reached level 10, you gain the ability to use Poisons. The first Poison you’ll have access to is Instant Poison, which gives your weapons a chance to inflict Nature damage when they hit. You’ll have to seek out a poison vendor (and I highly recommend that you do) to purchase Poisons. Each application coats one weapon and lasts one hour.
Also new to level 10 is the ability Sap:
Sap – Incapacitates the target for up to 1 min. Must be stealthed. only works on Humanoids, Beasts, Demons and Dragonkin that are not in combat. Any damage caused will revive the target. Only 1 target can be sapped at a time
First, yes, you can sap hostile players, but it only lasts 10 sec. If you continue to sap the same player, it will suffer diminishing returns, until it doesn’t work at all. When you use Sap on a mob, it will last the full duration.
Sap is useful when leveling for many reasons. If you are faced with a multiple enemies in a tight grouping, Sapping one of them will reduce the number of mobs you will be fighting at the same time. Also, you can use Sap to sneak around and pick up quest items without pulling as many mobs. One important thing to consider is that if you Sap an enemy and engage another near enough, the Sapped enemy will engage to you, and when the sap breaks, come after you. You will be in combat until you kill the Sap target or run far enough away that upon breaking Sap the target gives up after a short chase.
- Growing Up -
Once you reach level 10, it’s time to start your journey to 85. The basics from the first 10 levels will apply to a large majority of situations you’ll find yourself in, but you will get tools along the way to help with any exceptions you find. Another consideration is the use of talent points, and as with Wrath, there will be a full write-up on leveling for each of the three Rogue talent trees. Once those are written, they will be referenced a linked here. Good Luck with your Rogue, and as always, leave any questions in the comment box and I’ll get back to you soon.