Before I get into the meat of this entry, I wanted to address a few things game-plan related to my rogue leveling project. First thing you’re going to notice is that I’ve decided to ditch the one-word titles for my entries and this will extend to any blog entry I decide to write in the future, or at least until I change my mind again. It was getting difficult to come up with unique one-word titles and in some ways, it was getting a little pretentious. So yah, the titles of my entries will be slightly more descriptive now.
Secondly, my current plan is to take both rogues to the end of vanilla content and share my experiences along the way. I’m not going to attempt to create the be-all, end-all rogue leveling guide, I just want to share and encapsulate the experience. Sure there will be tips scattered along the way, (PROtip style … okay I kid) which should hopefully be beneficial to both WoW noobs and perhaps even grizzled veterans like myself.
Now without further adieu, let’s get on with it …
But first, a brief introductory paragraph …
Leveling as a rogue in the old world content is something that I haven’t done since World of Warcraft first came out. My very first character in WoW was a rogue, and I pretty much identify myself as a rogue player. In vanilla I leveled as a combat rogue. In TBC I tried leveling as an assassination rogue with the introduction of mutilate, but quickly went back to combat because at the time mutilate still had positional requirements. I also dabbled quite a bit in rogue PVP with a subtlety spec near the end of TBC. Then came WotLK and my attention turned back to PVE and once again I tried leveling as an assassination rogue but abandoned it for combat.
As you can see my leveling experiences as a rogue have almost exclusively been with the combat tree. Leveling as combat is very straight-forward and provides plenty of abilities to make the leveling process easy. There are no worries about positional requirements and you’ll have a larger selection of weapons to utilize along the way. So for most players I would heartily suggest going with the combat tree, especially if you’re still relatively new to WoW.
There’s only one down-side to leveling as a combat rogue, you don’t feel very roguish. That’s why I have decided to try out both assassination and subtlety for leveling. I really want to get that last taste of leveling through the old world content not as a brigand, but as a rogue.
Over the past couple of days I’ve created my two project toons: Nevïk the dwarf rogue on Winterhoof, and Nevik the troll rogue on Jubei’thos. As of today, both toons are approaching level 10 and their very first talent point. In the absence of talent points to spend, my experiences on both toons have been nearly identical so there is little need to differentiate between the two.
There is, however, one big difference with my experiences as a rogue from my vanilla days: you start off with two daggers, a throwing weapon, and the ability to stealth. While stealth is pretty much useless in these early levels, having a throwing weapon has allowed me to engage at range instead of blindly running up to a mob and slapping them to death. Well you could use backstab as an opener from stealth once you reach level 4, but once you start encountering red/aggressive mobs your stealth is far too weak to get into position.
You’ll get gouge at level 6 and that makes things a little more interesting for the rogue: engage the mob at range and then use gouge when it is melee range to setup an easy backstab. Sliding behind a mob to backstab screams rogue and it is a lot of fun to do when your gouge does connect. Just remember that if you’re attempting to set this up after engaging at melee range you’re going to want to wait to gouge until you have at least 65 energy, otherwise you will not regenerate enough energy to execute a backstab before the gouge wears off.
Another thing to keep in mind is that unless you get really lucky with weapon drops (or have heirloom daggers) or have plenty of gold to waste on “throw away” weapons you’re going to want to be fairly careful about the battles you engage in. Rogues are not great at handling multiple mobs at once in these early levels (well … most classes aren’t for that matter) and you will die if you don’t pay attention to the environment around you.
It is also highly advisable that you avoid caves if you’re not twinking your rogue with heirlooms or gear from the auction house. Caves present too many possibilities for pulling extra mobs and you will spend a lot of time admiring the ground, and there is nothing fun about that, nor multiple corpse runs.
If you are dead-set on spelunking, head over to WoWhead and look into ways to outfit your rogue with better weapons. Weapons are the cornerstone of your rogue’s leveling ability, so the sooner you improve your weaponry, the better your experiences will be. Don’t be afraid to buy a white-quality dagger from the vendors either. Making incredible amounts of money (at least comparatively to the old days) is as easy as picking up mining and/or skinning at the second town/outpost you reach. You will, however, have to make a trip into a capital city to put the bars/ores/skins up on the auction house, but the amount of gold you’ll get from selling just ONE stack will cover all of your training expenses for a very long time.
And finally I have one more little piece of advice to share: make sure to pick up first aid and go fight some humanoid npcs for linen cloth. Even though your health will regenerate exceptionally fast out-of-combat in these early levels, you will occasionally run into situations where your survival can hinge on landing a gouge and getting two ticks of healing from a bandage.
That’s all I have for now; there isn’t much to rogue leveling at these pre-talented levels. Even then, I wouldn’t expect a big impact from my talent choices until I get closer to level 20 when I’ll finally get a few more tools in my rogue kit. My next RLP entry will likely cover both my assassination and subtlety rogue, but if my experiences with leveling differ enough, I may split them into two separate entries.
For the stabby stab!