World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide
By easy I don’t just mean fast, I mean entertaining as well. True, grinding can never be fully entertaining, but the rogues make it just a little less annoying than it is in reality, due to their impressive single-target killing capabilities and their stealth.
As a rogue you can:
- Gank players grinding in the same spot as you, saving up a lot of your time. - Avoid being ganked while grinding, which also saves up huge amounts of time. - Pick mines and veins without needing to kill the mobs around. For some extra fun, if you see another player fighting his way through mobs to get to a vein, just sneak in and steal it from him when he’s on the last mob :) - Crowd control at some extent.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Talent Specs
Unlike other classes that have a very clear grinding and leveling build (shadow for priests, feral for druids, etc), choosing the right rogue grinding talents is a bit more complicated. Well it’s not really right to say the “right” talents, because almost all of the World of Warcraft rogue’s trees have great grinding strong points. For example, even if combat and assassination are widely considered the best leveling builds, Subtlety comes with Hemorrhage which is a great grinding talent later on. With rogues, it’s all about choice: finding out what is worth dropping in favor of a great talent. Personally, I couldn’t drop the combat tree for Hemorrhage, but I read about a lot of rogues who did.
You’ll find some rogue talent builds in this section, but again, you might probably want to experiment around with several of them before settling in. If you have the money for the respecs, try each leveling build for a couple of days, try them with different weapons where it’s possible (obviously, don’t get a backstab-based build and use it with swords..) and only then you’ll be able to say what build is best for you.
Again, a personal choice for grinding and leveling talents includes:
- Improved Sinister Strike (2/2)
- Improved Gouge (3/3)
- Precision (5/5)
- Deflection (5/5)
- Riposte (1/1)
- Dual Wield Spec (5/5)
- Sword Spec (5/5)
- Blade Mastery (1/1)
- Aggression (3/3)
- Improved Evis (3/3)
- Remorseless Attacks (2/2)
- Malice (5/5)
- Ruthlessness (3/3)
- Murder (2/2)
- Lethality (5/5)
- Cold Blood (1/1)
Try getting improved sinister strike, improved eviscerate and remorseless attacks on your first talent points, afterwards you can pretty much go any way you want. Aiming for Cold Blood and Blade Flurry is a common strategy for rogue leveling builds. Check out the Rogue Talent Section for more premade rogue talent builds.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Gear
While leveling your rogue, you will constantly have to adjust your gear to the talents that you go by. You’re very likely to go back and forth through daggers, swords and maces as you level up, because there are a couple of talents that are extremely proficient at lower levels, but only if you use their specific weapon, obviously.
One of the advantages of being a rogue in World of Warcraft, especially at lower levels is that you’ll have less of other people ninja-looting your gear. Sure, occasionally a feral druid or a fury warrior might nick your +dps leather stuff, but if you played a clothie for example, it will be a huge relief in comparison.
At higher levels, it’s important to decide what you’re going to do in World of Warcraft’s end game and adjust your gear accordingly. Are you planning on raiding or instancing a lot? Then go for 2 good swords and a combat tree. Are you planning on PVP-ing? Then daggers are definitely the way to go, together with Assasination, or Subtelty. Both swords and daggers can be useful in grinding, but I personally preferred daggers, because they allowed me to tackle more mobs at a time. It’s really up to what you’re doing and your preferred build, but remember, +dps is a rogue’s best friend. In most cases, +dps will be a better choice than +crit or Agi.
If you’re PVP-ing, look for gear with good Stamina values, it’s a must to have high HP, especially in WSG or arenas. Stamina tends to lose its importance in raids and instances, because you shouldn’t get hit often...right? Because we know how to control aggro, right? :) Riiight.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 1-20
I honestly found the start levels a lot more boring with my rogue, than with any other class I played (I haven’t played a Paladin yet though, heard that’s equally boring at start up). Even as a warrior, you have a charge early on that lets you move through mobs slightly faster. And as a rogue, you’ll have a slower pace at first, sneaking around and all that.
The starting areas of each faction aren’t particularly difficult for a rogue, nor are they very interesting. You won’t be able to do what you’ve started a rogue for anyway, because ganking in a friendly area doesn’t offer you a lot of opportunities. My advice is to go quickly through the quests, learn how to use stealth, how to maneuver around opponents and how to take multiple mobs at a time. Do this on the fly and sweep through the areas without paying too much attention to rewards and loot, you’ll find a lot more interesting stuff to do beyond level 20, where the real fun starts for a rogue. Get a couple of Ragefire Chasms or Deadmines in, to follow the story line, get some greens and blues and get some experience with working together with other players as a rogue (as well as some level experience to go with it).
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 21-30
The tougher parts of the barrens for Horde players, or Redridge Mountains and the Wetlands for Alliance are good transition areas for a rogue. At level 23ish, you can move to Ashenvale, or the western part of the Stonetalon Mountains, if you’re on Kalimdor. For undead rogues and dorfs and whatnot in the Eastern Kingdoms, Wetlands can still be a hub for quests in the mid 20s, as is Duskwood and the Hillsbrad Foothills. These are areas that are swarming with players usually and especially in Hillsbrad, PVP battles rage on continuously on most PVP enabled servers. If you’re into ganking, Hillsbrad won’t be your best choice though, as players usually travel in groups there and you’ll also encounter higher levels. Ashenvale is a great place to gank, because most players solo the early and mid parts of this zone and being bigger and more complex than other areas, it’s also harder for players from the same faction to help each other.
As for instancing, the Wailing Caverns can be a good source for green and blue leather, but for Alliance player’s it’s harder to get there, since it’s deep in the Barrens, which is controlled by the Horde and swarming with players usually. If you’re a night elf, you might be able to get a party going, but despite the fact that you won’t have trouble with passing the Asheville-Barrens border as a rogue, your fellow unstealthy players will. On the other hand, Hordes will have to travel a lot to get to the Deadmines, but let’s face it, ti’s easier for a Horde rogue to get to the Deadmines than an Alliance rogue getting to the Wailing Caverns. In the late 20s, you can go to Blackfathom Depths (Ashenvale), Shadowfang Keep (Hillsbrad Foothills) or the Stockades (Stormwind, Alliance only). I’d suggest grinding Blackfathom and the Stockades if you’re Alliance, because Shadowfang is mostly a clothie’s instance and there are less quests there anyway.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 31-40
Assuming you went straight up one tree or another, you should have the Tier 5 talent by now, which adds a new dimension for the rogue. I’d go with Combat for Blade Flurry and a pair of nice swords at this point, even if you need to respec. Blade Flurry has a relatively short Cooldown (2 minutes) and can be used to kill multiple mobs faster, which always comes in handy when powerleveling or grinding. If you went for Cold Blood in Assasination, +crit gear is your best friend. In this level range, gear starts to get some stats on, so you’ll have to make your first serious gear choices as a rogue.
As for the zones you can go to now, your beach has just expanded quite a lot. Desolace is a good place to go to if you’re a leatherworker, while Alterac Mountains or Arathi ar better for miners. These levels are best for working on your professions while leveling, so go for a gathering/production combo. One happy grind spot for rogues at this level is in the Alterac area, where you can get a lot of easy xp from the yetis. Gnomeregan also has some nice leather rewards, but it’s obviously more hospitable for Alliance players, being at the feet of Ironforge. However, I wouldn’t worry with Gnomeregan too much as a rogue, it’s an annoying instance to be honest and at this level range, you have RFK (32ish) and RFD (38ish) and Scarlet Monastery (all the way from 35 to 40). All three are easier to get to if you’re Horde, so it’s a bit of tough luck for Alliance at this level range and since you don’t have a mount yet...happy running and stealthing through the Hordies.
And at around level 34, you can finally hold your head up in the centerpiece of a rogue’s existance, the gank festival, the place where many a mouse was smashed in anger: Stranglethorn Vale. If you’re on a PVP server and played a different class before, STV probably gives you the creeps: patrolling mobs, lush vegetation that makes it harder to see and pesky rogues hidden and ready for a gank kill at ever spot. Well, now you can finally be one of those lurking rogues :). Just don’t spend too much time ganking, it’s time consuming and it will hinder your powerleveling. The Rebel Camp and Nesingwary’s Expedition are excellent grinding spots that you should exploit up to around level 36. The Venture Co Base Camp near Lake Nazferiti is also worth checking out, because it’s a place where other classes have a harder time grinding, but as a rogue it should be peanuts and you’ll probably be alone with no one else bothering your leveling.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 41-50
For starters, at level 40, go to the Hinterlands to Hiri Watha. This is a relatively quiet area with mobs ranging from level 40 to 43 that you can tackle. Hinterlands, although being a contested area, is usually not very populated, so if you’re the type that simply wants to powerlevel as a rogue without ganking and with no one bothering you, then this is the place to be at, for around 1 or 2 levels. The Scarlet Monastery Cathedral can be tackled now and so is Uldaman. I’d wait until level 44 for Uldaman though and get through levels 42 and 43 by either grinding the Naga Explorers in Southern STV, or the Waterspring Humanoids in Tanaris (they’re level 43-45, easy to kill and have good drops).
Levels 46 and 47 can be filled with a couple of Uldaman runs, a trip to Azshara if you like the seaside (Haldarr Encampment), or the Feral Scar Vale in Feralas, which is especially useful for a skinner/leatherworker. Tanaris, Azshara and Feralas are my favorite picks as a rogue for this level range, each having its advantages. Tanaris has a lot of nice quests and is quite compact, plus it has humanoid mobs with good loot. Azshara is quiet with little player activity, plus the mobs there drop like flies. Feralas was a bit tougher for me, but the amount of herbs and the skinnable mobs make it a worthwile grinding area (not that many quests here though).
Lastly, for levels 47 to 50, Zul Farak is an important source of gear and experience and you can also grind the Searing Gorge (very compact, humanoids, good quests). The Southmoon Ruins in Tanaris are grindable, with mobs ranging from 47 to 49 and you will also want to go through Maraudon a couple of times for the leather stuff and the quests (I didn’t focus on it too much though, I found it better and faster to grind Tanaris or Searing Gorge.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 51-58
Three areas work great for rogues in the 51-53 range: the furbolg villages in Felwood, Sorrow Hill in Western Plaguelands and the Frostfire Hotsprings in Winterspring. Felwood and Winterspring are a good combination and you’ll also get some nice drops there, plus the rep if you’re aiming for the rewards. Ungoro Crater is my favorite area for 53-55, not just with a rogue, although rogues have a great advantage here, as they’ll be able to avoid the patrolling mobs better than any other class. Ungoro is compact, it offers a lot of leather to work with has a great number of quests and generally feels nice :) Sunken Temple should be grinded a couple of times if you’re aiming for some specific gear, but don’t overdo it, there are several places where you can get a better experience/hour ratio. Such as the Blackrock Stronghold in the Burning Steppes, or the Ice Thistle Hills in Winterspring for the leather (the mobs here have higher HP but can be tackled one by one, which gives an Assassination rogue an advantage). Blackrock Stronghold was loosely considered the best rogue grinding spot pre-TBC, but now you should just use it as an experience well to get to 58 and step through the Dark Portal.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Outland
Stepping to Outland doesn’t really change much in terms of how you should collect and use gear. Stick to the AEP system (1 agility = 2 strenght = 1 stamina) for stats, but tweak the gear according to your specific talent build. You may ask why Stamina is so important in grinding, as you could easily avoid confrontations with mobs that threaten to kill you or severely reduce your hp. Well, in TBC, there are a lot of juicy grinding opportunities for rogues that have mobs close together, so being able to pass on from mob to mob without the eating/bandaging downtime really speeds up your powerleveling. Sometimes it’s faster to jump from mob to mob if you have the Stamina for it, than killing mobs faster due to the higher AP, but having to downtime a lot.
If you’ve quit World of Warcraft before The Burning Crusade and just came back, remember that your gear value perception will be a little bit off, if you’ve been playing at 60 for a long time. Most greens and early blues in Outland will kick level 60 Epics’ ass, so don’t be too shy in replacing them.
One last thing that’s worth noting is that it might be useful to get Master of Deception to help you stealth around the first zones, because if you entered the Dark Portal at level 58 you probably will get busted out of stealth a lot. Not a definite req, just something that might be helpful.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 58 and 59
One thing that Outland has in abundance is quests and despite the fact that you could find grinding spots that offered you better experience than questing so far, in Outland it’s an absolute must to combine grinding with questing if you’re to level quickly. Most quests in the Hellfire Peninsula are clustered in specific regions, so do a sweep of both camps there and collect all possible quests, to save you some time (note that the western part of the Peninsula is higher level, but you can still get to the camps if you make a run for it).
Come back to the Eastern part and complete the “local” quests there while grinding the level 58 mobs when possible. Remember that Outland mobs give you almost twice as much experience as mobs of the same level in Azeroth. So from now on, try to stay in Outland for the majority of time, there’s no use grinding or questing in Azeroth anymore.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 60-61
You have one of two options at this level range to speed up your experience gain. The first one is grinding and questing in Eastern and Central Hellfire, which is definitely the fastest way to get experience. However, you can also grind the two instances in the Hellfire Citadel, the Ramparts and the Blood Furnace. You may make less experience per hour, depending on the party you hang with, but it’s definitely a good way to replace your Azeroth gear, which will speed up grinding for the next 2 levels. Entirely your call really and it might also depend on whether this is your first char through Outland or not. If it is, I suggest you take it slower and get a combination of questing and instancing done, but if you’re just speeding through the levels to get your rogue to raiding capabilities, go for the questing + grinding combo.
If you skipped some of the quests in Hellfire and went on to Zangarmarsh, a great grind spot is in the Dead Mire, straight up as you enter. Admittedly, this place seems to always be crawling with players, but if you’re lucky enough to catch them resting, you can get an impressive amount of experience and money from the Bog lords there. They drop Motes of Life quite often and you’ll need loads of them if you’re a Leatherworker.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 62-63
Another two-option choice. You can either jump to Terrokaar Forest, a new great quest hub, or continue to instance in Hellfire and Zangarmarsh until you hit level 64. As a rogue, Terrokaar was pretty sweet, it reminded me of STV a bit :) I’ve also been to Zangarmarsh with my priest and had a hard time, getting owned in the naga camps and by those silly tribsemen. As a rogue, those camps were a laugh to take on. But if you don’t like the area, just finish all the quests in Hellfire and get to level 63, then skip directly to Terrokaar. Make sure you go to Shattrath and take the FP of course.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 64-65
This is the perfect level range to tackle the instances in Zangarmarsh (Slave Pens and Underbog) and the first one in Terrokaar, the Auchenai Crypts. For rogues, the Slave Pens and the Underbog have some sweet rewards. After you’ve reached 64, I would advise you to jump straight to Nagrand. It’s a cash cow out there for rogues and it’s time to start gathering some gold for that new mount. There are 2 great places to grind for money and experience in Nagrand. The first one is the Elemental Plateau in the Northeast. You’ll tackle level 65-66 mobs that aren’t too hard to kill and that drop motes of fire and air on the edges of the valley you can get motes of earth (but these are less profitable and the earth mobs are annoying). The main problem in the Plateau is not the mobs, their number or their difficulty, it’s the amount of players that see this area as a money making opportunity and constantly grind it. On a PVP server, it’s usually a gankfest and the faction that has more players banding up will claim the grind spot for the time being. As a rogue you have a small advantage here, but if you’re facing 2 or 3 opponents, the best you can do is annoy them and hinder their own grinding.
The second place to grind is the lake near the Throne of Elements, at the foot of the mountain holding the Elemental Plateau. Less player activity, but you’ll fight underwater mostly, which is always a nuisance. Motes of water drop pretty well, however the mobs are scarcer. So it’s really more of a money-making grind spot than one for leveling, but meh.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 66-67
Continue grinding in Nagrand for these two levels and maybe get a quest or two in when unloading for loot in your faction’s town. I found the quests here less interesting or profitable (money and experience wise) than the ones in Hellfire or Terrokaar, but it won’t kill you to complete one on your way to your favorite grind spot. Additionally, if you’re bored of Nagrand, you could go to Blade’s Edge Mountains for a few ogre kills. I avoided Blade’s Edge completely and as soon as I hit 67 doing quests, grinding and a few instances in Terokkar and Nagrand (just grinding and questing here, obviously, since there are no instances) I went for Netherstorm.
World of Warcraft Rogue Leveling Guide – Levels 68-70
Going to Netherstorm at level 67 might be just a tad hard, however you’ll get tons of experience from the initial mobs there. At level 68, you can tackle most areas in Netherstorm and you should focus on clearing the manaforges (doing the quests in the process). You get rep, money and good experience from those long-eared, pretty suckers. Another great spot for a rogue to grind in Netherstorm is the Ruins of Enkaat. You get to fight some mana wraiths, which drop motes of mana and rock elementals, which drop motes of earth. The experience is good, but again, you’ll get to make some serious money in the process while you’re at it. Getting around 300 gold per hour here is definitely attainable.
Shadowmoon Valley, although not necessarily considered a higher level zone, should be tackled at level 69. Mobs hit harder and it’s generally a more chaotic area where you’ll have a harder time leveling. The Hand of Gul’Dan is a good leveling spot and you’ll be getting motes of fire in the process, which can’t hurt.