PVP As A Rogue
Out there in the World of Warcraft universe, you will find a multitude of guides on specific concepts, with relative ease (How to Hemo, how to stunlock, etc). With these, you can explore individual aspects in great detail, and learn more in depth pieces of knowledge. What I am going to offer you in this guide is more of an umbrella walkthrough of the basics. If this were college, I’d be taking you through a 101 course. Over the next little while I will present to you and describe the usage of:
- The Element of Surprise
- Tick Tactics
- Mind Games
- Advantages of Engineering
- Other Professions
- Varying Talent Builds
- And whatever I feel like adding in
Alright, lets dive in.
The Element of Surprise
So you’ve decided to roll a rogue, among all the classes open to you. Maybe you’re a n00b and you want to be an ultra skilled ninja, or maybe you’re a cloth-wearer who’s tired of getting two-shotted by an enemy you never saw. Or, maybe you just liked the sound of the class. Either way, you’ve made a good choice, and don’t let the whiners on the community forum get to you.
Every class has one or two big aspects that they have going for them in PvP. Druids have versatility, warriors have high armor, and warlocks have, well, a lot. What you and I have, however, is far more interactive than these, in that it requires more input from the player. The aspect I am referring to is Stealth. It allows you to become invisible, and thus get the drop on your enemy, attacking them before they know the battle has begun. For many players, this can mean the end of the battle right away, especially outside of the Battlegrounds, where most people do not expect a fight. When people are suddenly attacked, they have a moment of brief shock or panic, before they get into a “PvP mindset”. This is one of your greatest advantages.
The rogue class has several openers, all with differing purposes. If you are specced for daggers, Ambush can take a large chunk out of the enemy’s health bar quickly. Cheap shot is also useful, as it sets the enemy up for a number of options to continue. Garrote is used much less often, but it too has its purpose. Perhaps against an enemy who can also stealth, the ticking Damage over Time (DoT) will break them out of it. Or, if you want to keep an enemy damaged while you might be running away, being kited, or rooted in place.
A fairly basic principle, with little to cover on the subject, I won’t spend more time than is necessary to explain here. Rogues have a static energy bar; it does not change with your level. The only way it can be altered is with the 31 assassination talent Vigor, or a bonus from the Nightslayer set (these add 10 energy each). As time progresses, you will regain 20 energy every two seconds. This chronological gain is referred to as a tick. There are many add-ons out there that will let you monitor exactly when this tick is, so that you can time your energy usage for maximized efficency.
Ahh, the fun part. Psychologically harassing your prey can be not only entertaining, but profitable! Mind games are the techniques involving non-damage dealing interactions with the enemy. Lets take an example situation. You are in a situation that could end in PvP, such as running along a road/through battlegrounds, and suddenly, an enemy mage comes into view. They’ve seen you, so they stop, considering what to do next. I’d continue running forward, stealth, then back off and away to the side, once I am invisible to the mage. The mage will then run around in circles spamming Arcane Explosion looking for me, while I apply poisons and have a good chuckle. The mage will eventually cease, and drink to regain the mana he has lost. This is the time to kill.
Another fun trick can be used with Distract. This ability is usually used to get the enemy’s back to you, that you could backstab or ambush or whatever. It can be used for this in PvP, but so much more is available. For example, if you are chasing an enemy down who has somehow escaped your crippling poison, toss a Distract just behind them, so that they are forced to stop, and turn around (Use this in warsong Gulch on flag carriers, they like that). Sap, is another frustrating ability. Especially if you have Improved Sap, they’ll never know if you just sapped for no reason and left, or if you stuck around to do it again once it wore off.
Mechanics is just a general term I used to throw in some extra items. First, poisons. If possible, choose your poisons based on your brand of enemy. Crippling poison is the all-around useful one, keeping an enemy in melee range is very important. However, if you are facing certain hard-to-beat classes, than others might be applicable. For Paladins/Shamans, mind numbing or wound poisons are both quite effective, as it prevents those nasty self-heals from getting used before your kick cooldowns. Deadly Poison can be handy against other rogues, but I wouldn’t use this if I were a dagger rogue, as the tick will break the enemy out of gouge.
Blind is an amazing ability, if you can afford the reagent. In essence, it can allow you to survive any battle. Simply blind the enemy, bandage up, and restealth. From here, you can attack again, or just leave, if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
Cooldowns. Use them. So many rogues end up dead due to saving a cooldown for a rainy day that never came.
Advantages of Engineering
As a Rogue, this is the closest you will ever come to magic, or AoE, or pets. Take this skill, take mining with it, and cultivate it along the way. Eventually, you will be forced to choose between Gnomish and Goblin schools of engineering. Go Goblin. I am not saying this because I think it superior to Gnomish; on the contrary, I prefer the craft able items in Gnomish. However, you only have to be gnomish to create the gadgets. Any engineer can use them. And since they only have to be made once, you can simply supply a Gnomish engineer with the mats, and have the best of both worlds. Goblin engineering allows you to make consumable explosives, mainly. These can also be used by any engineer, but they need to be remade often.
Explosives alone can be an amazing benefit, specifically the ones that have a stun in addition to damage. Explosives have a short casting time, long range, and will act as effectively as Gouge does, if not lasting as long. Still, this can help break a battle-ending kite.
A gnome’s gadgets go in the trinket slot, and can be immensely useful in many applications. To name a few:
- Gnomish Shrink Ray – Reduces enemy attack power heavily
- Net Gun – Roots enemy in place at a distance
- Harm Prevention Belt – Generates a force field, that absorbs a good chunk of damage
- Battle Chicken – Summons a robot chicken pet to fight for you, and buff you/party
- Mechanical Dragonling – Summons a robot dragon to fight for you, separate cooldown from chicken
- Cloaking Device – Turns you invisible for 10 seconds, very handy
- Gnomish Death Ray – Damages you for a small amount, enemy for a large amount. (Around 1200-1600)
(In order of usefulness)
First Aid. First Aid. First Aid. Learn this, and get the skill high as quickly as you can. The ability to quickly heal yourself in combat is very valuable, especially considering all the rogue’s stuns. Blind, and even gouge can buy you time, and health.
Alchemy/herbalism, handy for collecting Fadeleaf, of course. Health, Agility, Strength, Regeneration potions. All of these are good in PvP as well as PvE.
Leatherworking/skinning, handy for making yourself armor, or improving what you already have. Not a favorite of mine.
Varying Talent Builds
It’s important to know that although Daggers is the default choice, it is far from the only one. Many choose to dual-wield Swords for greater sustained damage, and I myself am specced for Maces, which can proc for a 3-second stun. Talent builds are a complex science, and generally the “best” build differs from player to player. Popular “raid” and “hemo” builds are available on the Rogue forums at all times, or you can simply build your own based on what you like. Some are more for overall skills, whereas others focus on a specific ability or talent (Seal Fate builds, or even more so, Hemo.) All-in-all, this is very much dependant on yourself. But for PvP purposes, Assassination and Subtlety are generally used. I would recommend Improved Gouge myself.
Restealthing. It’s a very powerful thing, especially in 1v1s. In order to stealth, you have to either use Vanish, or be out of combat. In order to get out of combat, you have to not be hit, or hit an enemy for 5 seconds (easy way, hit F1 to target yourself, and thus turn off auto-attack.) So, if you can stay out of the enemy’s reach for 5 seconds, you can restealth. Or, with Blind. Or a 5 point kidney shot. Or improved gouge (Gotta be quick with your fingers on that one!).
Thistle Tea, also handy. Expensive, but it can save the day and get you that extra backstab/SS/CB Evisc/whatever