The Rogue is a unique example within World of Warcraft’s roster of damage-dealing classes, as it is the only one that is exclusively based around melee damage. Where other melee attackers can also specialize in ranged combat, healing, or even tanking, all of the Rogue’s three specialisations are about upfront fighting, and this Rogue guide will help you decide what which one suits you best and explain how to perform it well.
A Rogue is an excellent pick for anyone who enjoys fast, combo-based combat. Regardless of the type of Rogue you choose to play, your focus is going to be on managing your ever-replenishing Energy levels to generate combo points through attacks and abilities, before spending those combo points on high-value, often fatal Finisher attacks.
In WOW Legion, Blizzard completely overhauled the Rogue specialisations, in a bid to make each one feel distinctive and unique, and as such your choice of specialisation allows you to customize your combat approach approach in three different fashions: swordplay, stealth or bleeding / poison effects. Each approach has its own set of pros and cons depending on the type of encounter the Rogue faces.
In this Rogue guide, we’ll go through these pros and cons on a specialisation by specialisation basis, as well as lay out the general feel and playstyle of each of the three kinds of Rogue you can play as - Outlaw (known as Combat in previous expansions), Assassination, and Subtlety.
We will regularly update this guide with any new Rogue information that pops up as World of Warcraft Legion matures across patches, so keep checking in to this guide as your starting point to everything concerning the Rogue class.
Editor's Note: Update #1 - We've just debuted our Assassination Rogue guide. This is a beginner-friendly guide that will nonetheless help you be very effective at the endgame, usnig what is quickly becoming the favorite alternative to the Outlaw specialisation due to its very consistent performance. You'll find our recommended talent build, a rotation to go along with it, and other tips through the link on the section below.
The generic-sounding Combat Rogue was totally revamped in WOW Legion to become the Outlaw, a versatile damage-dealer with more than a little of the pirate behind it.
The Outlaw Rogue is fun to play and a good starting point for someone new to the class, as its optimal rotations are not overly complex and you don’t have to work quite as hard as the other specs when it comes to managing spell cooldowns.
Due to its ability to consistently deal damage to multiple targets at once, Outlaw is also perfectly positioned for dungeon content, and works well in raids too.
The Assassination Rogue is a much more measured character than the boisterous brawler incarnated by the Outlaw. Assassination does not rely on chance, taking instead the slow and steady road of crippling poisons and bleeding effects.
This leads to a slightly less twitchy playstyle in comparison, but one that requires more player attention so as to combine the correct abilities and effects at just the right moment.
The overall damage output is more consistent and predictable than that of the Outlaw, especially on single-target fights, but the reliance on damage-over-time effects also means that the player needs to spend considerable time on a target before the damage ramps up to competitive levels. As such, it can be a top performer on raids or PvP, but will be comparatively lackluster in 5-man dungeons.
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Subtlety is the ninja to the Outlaw’s pirate. This specialisation focuses on stealth and has several capabilities and talents that apply stealth during combat. It also features powerful attacks that are either exclusive to the stealth stance, or are empowered by it. This is your classic backstabbing Rogue.
The core of the Subtlety playstyle lies in timing your stealth activators with the cooldowns of the abilities empowered by that stance, as well as syncing them up with enemy vulnerability windows. This makes it perhaps the most challenging Rogue specialisation to play as, but is also extremely satisfying to master.
Of all Rogue specialisations, this is the one that scales better with gear, surpassing Outlaw in all situations at high gear levels (ilvl 870 and up), but lagging a bit behind at lower levels.
And so we conclude our overview of the Rogue specialisations. We’ll update this guide regularly, so keep visiting us often for the latest developments in World of Warcraft’s specialised melee damage-dealer!
In the meantime, please head down into the comments and let us know how you're getting on with your Rogue in the new expansion.