Rogue Twinking

Rogues are one of my favorite classes to twink. They have incredible burst, some of the more useful CC in the bracket, and their stealthy play style lends itself very well to my PvP twinking taste.

As I have laid my own twinking blog down to rest, Cynwise has graciously offered to let me wear his goggles from time to time and share my twinking experiences and information with you here. I heard a call for 19 Rogue information, and I have come here today to answer that call. Are you ready to go stab people in the face? Alright then, let’s get started.

PLAYING A ROGUE

Before we get into the gritty details, lets first talk about the different play styles and roles that a Rogue are best suited for.

Your play style is how and where you’re going to play your Rogue. First off we have the Defender, one who guards the flag and rarely leaves the flag room except to chase down an EFC. Second is the Assassin, focusing on hunting down EFC’s and recapturing your flag. Third is the Harasser, whose sole purpose is to put as many of the opposing team’s members into fits of uncontrollable rage as possible so that they play poorly out of frustration.

The Defender will spend most of the match hiding somewhere in, or near, their own flag room waiting to ambush (literally) those who come to carry it away to the enemy base. The two most effective locations for doing this are in the tunnel near the spawn point of the speed buff, and right outside the two doors associated with the Ramp and Graveyard. The most common mistake that Rogues make on defense is defending in the flag room itself. The reason why the two locations I mentioned are the best is because it gives you time to attack would-be EFC’s before they ever get to the flag so that if they manage to either kill or CC you, you still potentially have time to catch them again before they make it out to midfield. Don’t wait for them to grab the flag, kill them before they get the chance.

That being said, if you’re the sole defender, then your best location is somewhere closer to the flag room so that you can protect either entrance. My personal preference is on the second floor (not the roof, the middle where the Ramp comes in) because it offers the clearest view of all four entrances to the flag room.

The Assassin has a pretty straight forward role, but they often play the entire map. Some Rogues prefer to stay stealthed within the enemy base, some prefer to stay near the exits of their own, and others prefer playing the role of the Harasser until it’s time to be the Assassin and play the whole map based on the situation. There isn’t really a “best” location for you to play the Assassin. My personal preference is to stay near the enemy base doing a little bit of harassment when there’s no EFC.

When the enemy has your flag, and you can’t afford to let them cap it, you have two options; either you kill them, or you grab their flag. That’s why I prefer to hang out near the enemy base. If I see the EFC break away from the rest of my team and have a clear path to cap the flag then I’m not going to bother trying to kill them, I’m going to grab their flag and run to prevent them from capping. When you’re not in the twink brackets (your experience is still turned on), you can often one-shot EFC’s because they have so few hit points. In the twink brackets though, you’re not going to one-shot anyone that has a clue how to twink. You might still be able to kill them within a matter of seconds, but you won’t one-shot a twink.

The Harasser covers multiple play styles, but their purpose remains the same. Harassers are there to make people mad so that they make stupid mistakes. You can do this a few different ways. Graveyard campers are a great example of a harasser. Rogue who prey on players with small health pools are also harassers, as are those who simply Sap you, multiple durations worth, every time they see you.

By doing things like this you end up getting a lot of players upset. It’s mean and it really screws with someone else’s “fun time”, but it’s PvP and it’s all part of the game. You know you’ve succeeded in being a quality Harasser when people ignore your flag carrier strictly to have a shot at killing you. Once you have successfully made the enemy hate you, your play style switches between harassment and bait. Luring people away from your flag carrier is just as good, and sometimes even better than killing them.

Rogues are often associated with their ability to kill people, so many players just rush out there and jump into combat every chance they get. How you play is up to you, but there is so very much more to this deadly class than that.

TALENT SPECS

Once you have your play style down, it’s time to figure out which spec you’re going to take. All three specs can fill any of the roles I mentioned above, and each of these specs has their own strengths and weaknesses. My personal preference is by far Subtlety, but if you like one of the other specs then by all means run with it.

Nightstalker 2/2: Increases your speed while stealthed by 10% and reduces the cooldown of your Stealth ability by 4 seconds.

Improved Ambush 3/3: Increases the criitcal strike chance of your Ambush ability by 60% and its damage by 15%.

Waylay 1/2: Your Ambush and Backstab hits have a 50% chance to unbalance a target, increasing the time between their melee and ranged attacks by 20%, and reducing movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds.

Subtlety gets a fantastic spell called Shadowstep which allows you to teleport behind your target, that also increases your movement speed by 70% and gives you a 30% damage buff to Ambush for 3 seconds. They also get Master of Subtlety which gives you a 10% damage buff to attacks used while stealthed and for 6 seconds after breaking stealth, and Sinister Calling which grants a 30% Agility buff and a 40% damage buff to Backstab.

If you’re dead set on dealing damage above all else then you can trade Waylay for Opportunity to increase your Backstab and Ambush damage by 10%. The benefit of Waylay is that you have a chance to slow your target which is really good for hunting down EFC’s, and it also grants some amount of survivability by slowing the target’s attack speed.

Lethality 3/3: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, and Mutilate abilities by 30%.

Deadly Momentum 2/2: After killing an opponent that yields experience or honor, the critical strike chance of your next ability within 15 seconds is increased by 40% and your Slice and Dice and Recuperate abilities are refreshed to their original duration.

Quickening 1/2: All healing effects on you are increased by 10% and your movement speed is increased by 8%. This does not stack with most other movement speed increasing effects.

Assassination gets Mutilate, an instant attack with both weapons that deals 150% damage. They also receive Improved Poisons for an extra 50% chance to proc your Instant Poison damage, and Assassin’s Resolve increasing your melee damage by 15% and increasing your maximum Energy by 20 when dual wielding daggers.

The Assassination tree has a lot of really cool abilities in the second tier, but we only have one point to spend. I prefer Quickening because being able to move faster than your opponents is one of the strongest advantage you can have in PvP. Puncturing Wounds is a decent choice for extra crit chance on Backstab and Mutilate, and Blackjack really good for taking on EFC’s or high damaging opponents by reducing the damage they deal after being Sapped by 33%.

Improved Sinister Strike 3/3: Increases the damage dealt by your Sinister Strike ability by 30% and reduces its Energy cost by 6.

Improved Recuperate 2/2: Causes your Recuperate ability to restore an additional 1% of your maximum health and reduces all damage taken by 6% while your Recuperate ability is active.

Improved Sprint 1/2: Gives a 50% chance to remove all movement-impairing effects when you activate your Sprint ability.

For choosing Combat you get access to Blade Flurry which is a buff that slows your energy regeneration but causes your attacks to hit an additional nearby opponent (making it great for assaulting healers and casters). You also get Vitality which increases your energy regeneration rate by 25% and your Attack Power by 25%, and Ambidexterity which increases the damage you deal with your off hand and thrown weapons by 75%.

An alternative to Improved Sprint would be Improved Kick which causes your Kick ability to also silence the target for 1 second which is great for bringing down enemy casters, particularly healers.

PLAYING YOUR SPEC

While each spec can fit into any of the play styles that I mentioned up above, each spec has its own style as well. For example, the Assassination Spec is good from a stealth position and then deals a lot of damage right after with good burst damage from their increased chance to proc poisons. Combat deals most of its damage outside of stealth and gains extra survivability from their talent tree to make up for that. Subtlety deals the majority of its damage from stealth and relies much more on stealth than the other two specs.

Stealth is an advantage that all Rogues have and all of them should use, but where a Sub Rogue will run away from combat after killing an enemy in order to re-enter Stealth to open on another target, a Combat Rogue would simply choose another target and stab him in the face, and Assassination loves picking off the loners one at a time. Sub Rogues need stealth, Assassin Rogues want stealth, and Combat Rogues use stealth because it’s there.

Subtlety

As I mentioned before, Sub is my preferred spec for twinking, largely due to the usefulness of Shadowstep, and also their big burst damage from Stealth. Shadowstep is often used in lower brackets for its increased damage to Ambush, but the real beauty of the spell lies in its teleport and speed increasing properties. You can use Shadowstep to leap behind targets while stealthed to then Sap them rather than using Ambush, you can use it to flee from a hard hitting opponent, or to move more quickly for either catching an EFC or capturing an enemy flag yourself.

You want to get very, very familiar with using Shadowstep, and I suggest you try some of the macros I use for it as well. Once you’re familiar with how to use it, then it’s time to start thinking about creative ways you can use it. Just because it has that damage buff to Ambush doesn’t mean you have to attack after using it, it doesn’t even mean you have to Sap them. Sometimes the best use of Shadowstep is simply taking advantage of the teleport and increased speed to get to where you’re going. I’ve used it to jump from the bottom floor of the base to the roof, I’ve used it to get from my graveyard to the ledge above it (after the recent map change in WSG), and I’ve used it to score a winning flag cap seconds before they grabbed our flag.

Being able to move more, better, or faster than your opponent is even more important that dealing more damage of having a larger health pool. Sub Rogues will use mostly daggers for the extra damage for Ambush, but when you can’t utilize stealth you generally get more benefit from swapping to swords until you can regain stealth and switch back to your Daggers.

Assassination

I like Assassination for its damage output, it seems to have more frequent burst damage to me than the other two specs even if Sub’s Ambush puts the other two to shame. Assassination is really good at bursting through a target quickly. Your talent points also include an increase to your movement speed which again proves to be a really big help in PvP.

Another benefit you get from your talent points is survivability by resetting the duration of Recuperate when you kill a target, so you’re not quite so vulnerable outside of stealth as Subtlety is, though you’re not quite so comfortable as Combat. Assassination likes to kill things and kill them quick, then get back into stealth and surprise the next person. It’s a very solid spec for 19 Twinking.

Assassination is good at dealing burst damage, especially with their signature Mutilate attack. Attacking with both weapons at once allows you to deal more damage in a shorter time not just because you hit with two weapons instead of one, but also because you have a chance to proc any on-hit effects from both weapons at the same time. So both weapons deal damage, both poisons have a chance to deal damage, and proc based enchants can fire from both weapons as well. That doesn’t mean that you have to use proc based enchants like Fiery Weapon, Crusader, or Lifestealing, but it does give you the option for more burst damage or healing that way. You definitely want to make use of your poisons, though.

The biggest drawback to Assassination is that you have to dual wield daggers or else you can’t make use of Mutilate. The benefits typically outweigh the drawbacks, but if you don’t have access to heirloom weapons then you could probably perform better as another spec.

Combat

Combat does really well outside of Stealth, and they’re the best option for facing multiple opponents at once. You don’t have any super special abilities that make stealth a requirement for you, it’s simply another tool in your belt. Stealth is how you’ll move around and open on your opponents, but it’s not key to your damage. Combat isn’t bad, but it’s not my favorite option. Its main benefit is that it has some of the only AoE in the bracket which can be an asset if you’re trying to bring down an EFC who is surrounded by defenders, forcing healers to either keep up multiple targets or allow someone to die.

Combat is also the only spec that really wants to make use of weapons other than daggers, making their average damage per hit higher in general than the other specs. You won’t deal as high burst damage, but you will have bigger hits in general.

CHOOSING YOUR GEAR

As with everything else in Azeroth, you’ve got options. There are three main methods of gearing a Rogue twink.

  • Glass Cannon – stacking Agility and Attack Power
  • Survival – stacking Stamina, Dodge, and Parry
  • Balanced – a combination of the two above

Glass Cannon Rogues typically fill the roles of Harasser or Assassin. When you’re actually twinking and in the experience-off twink bracket, being a Glass Cannon is typically a poor choice. Sure, you’ll get some kills and you can do some really great damage, but if you don’t have a healer then you’re likely going to die – a lot. Glass Cannons are all about damage output, following the belief that the best defense is a strong offense.

Survival Rogues are willing to trade damage output (some, not all) for extra survivability. Survival Rogues typically fill either Assassin or Harassment roles, and often choose to run the flag themselves as well, making use of abilities such as Sprint for faster flag captures and defensive abilities such as Evasion for extra survivability.

Balanced Rogues shoot for the common ground, looking for gear that has a combination of both Stamina (or avoidance) and Agility. Rogue twinks who only want to farm a single set of gear are suggested to go with this route as it provides the best overall set of stats for a twink, and it allows you to fulfill any of the three primary roles.

When gearing up your Rogue, start off gearing for one of the roles that you think best suits your style. If you’re not sure, go with a balanced gear set. Of course, the best twinks like to follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”, collecting multiple sets of gear to adapt to any situation.

Finding Gear
If you want to know what your best options are for heirlooms, then you can see my post, 4.1 Heirloom Guide, which also includes a list of enchants for them. You can also take a look at my post on Hand-Me-Downs to see which enchants I would suggest for your other pieces of gear. You won’t use the gear I have listed there (the point of that post is enchanting white gear that doesn’t bind), but the best enchants for those are also the best enchants for twinking since they cover the same level brackets.

The best way to find gear that fits the style of gearing that you want to go with is to utilize Wowhead’s database. Rather than building a single gear list for you and telling you to go get “this gear”, I’m going to give you links to several queries in the Wowhead database, covering each slot.

Main Hand DaggersOff Hand DaggersMain Hand Non-DaggerOff Hand Non-DaggersRanged WeaponsHelmShoulderCloakChestLegsFeetWaistBracerGlovesNeckRingsTrinkets

With the exception of the Trinkets link, you won’t see heirlooms listed in those links for a bit of a glitch in Wowhead’s database that makes their minimum level 80-85 depending on which ones they are. However, for slots where heirlooms do exist you can pretty well rest assured that the heirloom is best in slot. It might not be BiS for every situation, but generally speaking it’s either the best option or so close that it doesn’t really matter unless you’re going for hardcore twinking. For the heirlooms of choice, go check out that link I have up above to my post on 4.1 Heirlooms. [Edit: The trinket link only pulls up the heirloom trinkets because they’re the best of the “easy” trinkets to get and most others don’t really compare to them. The one exception to that of course is the Arena Grand Master which is the twink trinket. Cyn has already covered the AGM trinket in his post, The Arena Grand Master.]

You’ll see in my 4.1 Heirlooms post that I mention Thrown weapons being a better choice for Rogues than the heirlooms because of the Rogue’s unique ability to “enchant” their ranged weapons with their poisons. In the 19 bracket the only poison you have access to is Instant which only adds extra damage and only has a 20% (base) chance to add that additional damage. If you want stats then I suggest you go with an heirloom (Bow > Gun). If you want the ability to potentially deal some solid burst damage with your ranged weapon then your best option is going to be the Venomstrike bow found in Wailing Caverns. You won’t find it in those links I posted above because it gives no attribute bonuses at all which all of those links include (which is why you really need to learn how to do your own queries on Wowhead to find exactly what you’re looking for).

You can get bows that are better, stats-wise, than the heirlooms from quests if you’re Horde, and some that can come pretty close to matching it from Alliance quests as well.

CONSUMABLES

First off, you’re going to need some level 15 food. There are plenty of options for you to choose from, just grab something simple from a vendor like Snapvine Watermelon or Dwarven Mild. Don’t bother with buff foods that you need the cooking skill for, because every twink worth his gear will be using another consumable I’ll mention in just a second that counts as your food buff.

Next up, you have your most necessary consumables:

These bandages are the bomb. Unless you’re a freak like Cyn who has a level 19 twink that’s pushing 3,000 health then this bandage is basically a full heal in a matter of seconds. A single tick from this bandage can restore enough to turn the tide of battle. Black Label is far better than any buff food for a level 19 twink. It doesn’t restore any health when you use it, but it gives you 150 more health instantly when you use it and counts as a food buff.

Instant Poison is a new addition to the 19 bracket that came with 4.0. Every extra bit of damage helps, and you definitely don’t want to pass on using poisons.

Halaani Whiskey is better than the Rumsey Rum and works the same way. The difference is that the Whiskey is BoP and can only be purchased from a vendor in Halaa while your faction controls it. So if you want to get it then you’ll have to take your twink there to purchase it and you have to control Halaa in the first place. You can use a Warlock summon or Have Group, Will Travel to get there easily, or the Recruit a Friend summon if you have an active referral link. I’ve never bothered getting this because I just don’t care enough to put that much effort/hassel into it.

Potions

Potions share a cooldown, so you’ll have to decide which of these is more important to you. If you’re carrying the flag or chasing down the EFC, then you might want to consider Swiftness unless you’re already under fire in which case the situation could demand either one. If you are in stealth then using a Swiftness Potion will pop you out, so make sure you use it prior to stealth if you’re trying to get the jump on someone.

Elixirs

Here are two options for each type of Elixir. Remember that you can only have one of each type (Battle and Guardian) active at any given time. My preference for Battle Elixir is Lesser Agility because I usually try to get enough Hit from my gear. That’s not always possible though, so keep some Minor Accuracy on hand.

For Guardian Elixirs I decide based on the enemy team. If there are a lot of casters then I use Troll’s Blood, if there are a lot of physical DPS classes then I go Defense. A lot of people don’t care for Troll’s Blood because the healing seems really weak, but over time those heals really add up, especially if you’re playing defensively and making frequent use of stealth and repositioning. Now that we have Recuperate we can do some pretty serious healing over time.

The Scrolls aren’t quite as good as the potions, but they can be pretty cheap to make and you can usually get them incredibly cheap on the AH from people who are leveling Inscription.

Explosives

Explosives are open only to those with the Engineering profession, with the exception of EZ-Thro which anybody can use. If you’re using Engineering then Big Bronze Bomb is your ranged AoE stun. It doesn’t last long, but they’re great for stopping heals or slowing a runner when you time them right. You have to remain stationary to use a bomb, moving will cancel the effect, so they can be dangerous at times as well. Heavy Dynamite on the other hand can be used while moving which is why I prefer it as my primary explosive. I use the dynamite either to break people out of stealth by anticipating their movement, revealing flag defenders who like to stealth right on top of their flag, or for dealing extra damage to an opponent that I’m kiting by throwing it ahead of me and then running into it.

Explosive Sheep are a lot of fun, but I generally don’t use them. I don’t really have a reason, they just aren’t my personal preference in most cases. If you’re not an engineer at all, then go ahead and grab the EZ-Thro anyway. It has a chance to blow you up instead of your target, but if it does then you don’t trigger the 1 minute explosives cooldown and can just throw another. I have had three of this explode on me in a row before, but it does usually work on your enemies…usually.

Situational

There are also a few other potions that you may or may not consider worth your time to carry around. I’ll go ahead and list them since I do occasionally use them if I’ve recently leveled an Alchemist and have extra mats to make these.

Holy Protection Potions are decent against Paladins, especially Holy, and pretty good against non-Shadow Priests as well. Shadow Protection Potions are fantastic against both Warlocks and Shadow Priests. Minor Magic Resistance Potions are decent against all casters in general, and it’s the only defense you’ll have against Arcane and Frost Mages which are two of your toughest opponents.

Potion of Curing is pretty situational, basically only useful against Hunters in this bracket. However, a Hunter’s Serpent Sting will keep you from getting into stealth because of it’s DoT effect, and stealth is your safe place, so if he didn’t bother to mark you then line of sight him, remove his poisons, and hope you can drop combat soon enough to re-enter stealth before you go stab him in the face. Swim Speed is only useful if you like to do Arathi Basin, which I do. I don’t have to bother crafting these anymore since you get one for basically every Fishing Daily you do. They’re good for assaulting the Blacksmith or for moving from BS to another node. Since we don’t get glyphs until 25 now we can no longer just run over the top of the water, so the next best thing is to fly right through it.

The Minor Fortitude Elixir is kinda crappy, but the mats are cheap and another 27 health never hurt anybody. I like to use these before I know for sure how good the other team is so I have a little bit of a buff and don’t mind “wasting” it if I happen to be facing opponents who are really good and constantly killing me.

The Flame Deflector and Discombobulator Ray are both Engineering items, and you have to be a Gnome to use the Ray as only their racial bonus to Engineering will allow you to use it in the 19 bracket.

MACROS

I use a lot of macros in my day to day play, and I do so on every class and spec that I play as well. It is rare for me to have a character that doesn’t have at least 15 macros by level 30, and at 85 it’s rare that there are any macro slots available at all.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast Sinister Strike
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This is the most basic of macros, the one that I use for basically every attack spell that I use on any character. The /startattack line is like turning on auto-attack, it will target an enemy in front of you if you do not already have one and begin your auto-attack and if you have a hostile target already then it will keep that target but turn on auto-attack. The next of course casts your Sinister Strike, and for a 19 Rogue twink that is your spam button when in combat and out of stealth. And that final line simply clears off error message from your screen. You could turn off the sound with a macro as well so you don’t get those annoying “I can’t cast that yet” type of messages in your audio, but I find 80% of my stealthed opponents through sound so I never allow my audio to turn off for any amount of time.

#showtooltip
/cast Sinister Strike
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This one is exactly like the one above, except that it doesn’t include the /startattack. Why? Because this is the version of that macro that I use while I’m in Stealth. I don’t want to ever accidentally trigger auto-attack in stealth or else I’ll auto-attack my way out of stealth and lose the ability to use an attack that requires it.

#showtooltip
/stopcasting
/cast Kick
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Now, Rogues don’t really have anything that they channel which would require the use of the “/stopcasting” line, but on the off chance that you are doing something similar (like using a bandage), this will stop you from doing whatever it is that you’re doing and cast Kick on your target instead. You don’t want to miss a critical spell interrupt just because you’re in the middle of doing something else, do you?

You could also modify this to make it Kick your Focus target if you had one and all that fancy jazz, but I don’t like switching Focus mid combat and chances are if there’s a caster that I’m so worried about that I’m watching for Kicks then I’m most likely going to focus my attacks on that target as well which would make a focus macro pointless.

#showtooltip Ambush
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Ambush
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Pick Pocket doesn’t do anything against players, but even twinks do things outside of PvP now and then so I have it in there. Shadowstep isn’t always going to be off cooldown when you need it, nor are you always going to want to use Shadowstep right away, so this is your option for using Ambush without burning Shadowstep.

#showtooltip Sap
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Sap
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This one is the same as the one above, except that we’re using Sap. You don’t want to burn Shadowstep on a Sap if you don’t have to, so here’s your option for doing that.

#Showtooltip
/castsequence reset=combat/target,10 Shadowstep, Ambush
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

I’ll often tie my racial ability to this as well if it has an offensive benefit, such as Orcs and Trolls. When doing that I usually change the first line to “#showtooltip Shadowstep” just so that I know when it’s off cooldown as I’ll use this macro regardless of whether or not I have a racial and regardless of it being on or off cooldown. If you want to add your racial ability, put it in as line two, “/cast Blood Fury”.

It’s important to note that these /castsequence macros don’t just fire off all of the spells at once, the global cooldown still applies where applicable. Most racial abilities and some others (too many to list) don’t trigger the cooldown. What this means is that you’ll need to press this macro multiple times to get all of the spells cast. IN this example, racials such as Blood Fury don’t trigger the GCD so they’ll cast essentially the same time as Shadowstep. So Ambush will not be cast until it is pressed second time. Personally, I just spam the crap out of it to make sure I get the spell off. Since Shadowstep increases your speed when it’s cast as well it’s easy if you and your target are both moving for you to run past your target and if they suddenly stop or change directions it’s even more likely, so I like to spam it to increase my chance of hitting it at the right time.

#Showtooltip
/castsequence reset=combat/target,10 Shadowstep, Sap
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This one is the same as the one above, though I wouldn’t bother attaching a racial ability to it since the spell we’re actually casting at the end of it is Sap rather than Ambush, so a racial will most likely be wasted.

#showtooltip Recuperate
/cast Lifeblood
/cast Berserking
/cast Recuperate
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This is your emergency button. Lifeblood is an Herbalism spell, so you have to be an Herbalist to use it, but it provides both a heal and a Haste buff. Berserking is the Troll racial, so of course you have to be a troll in order to use it, but it also provides you with a Haste buff. Recuperate is a healing ability that turns your existing combo points (even on a dead target) into a heal over time effect. The haste buffs from the first two spells in the list will make your Recuperate tick faster so that you get more healing in less time.

This one is best used when you’re in stealth and needing to get away to heal for a second before going back into combat. If you don’t need to get back into combat then you’re probably better of just running/stealthing away and then either using a bandage or eating.

You could also modify this one to include “/cast Evasion” before the Recuperate line if you’re going to use it in combat. You could also do “/cast [incombat] Evasion” if you want to have that functionality but only cast it if you are in combat as the spell is useless while in stealth.

#showtooltip Heavy Runecloth Bandage
/cast Lifeblood
/cast Berserking
/use Heavy Runecloth Bandage
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This macro works just the same as the one above, except that it uses a bandage to heal you instead of Recuperate. You want to use this macro only if you have either the troll racial or the herbalism spell as otherwise it’s a waste of a macro slot, but if you do have them then this macro is best used when you’re in a combat situation and need whatever healing you can possibly get. You could use a Healing Potion instead of the bandage if you’d like, though I would remove Berserking from the macro in that instance.

ACTION BARS
Everyone has a personal preference for the action bars, so I’m not about to tell you what to place where as it’s not my place to do so and I’m sure we have different preferences. However, I am going to make some suggestions to that effect and give you the reasoning behind it. I’m also going to give you some tips on how to use your attacks and when.

There are two action bars in particular that you need to be familiar with; the normal action bar, and the stealth action bar. I like to synchronize these bars, but that’s my personal preference. I don’t keep them so in sync that the same spells are on the same exact button (though that is the case for some of them), but I like the spells to be somewhat related. For example, I use my Shadowstep>Ambush castsequence macro on the 3 button on my stealth bar which is Eviscerate on my main bar. Why? Because I almost always follow up my Ambushes with an Eviscerate, so spamming the 3 key will Shadowstep > Ambush > Eviscerate which is the most damage I can do in the shortest amount of time.

ENERGY
Another pairing that I do is the Shadowstep>Sap macro (stealth bar) on the same button as Gouge (normal bar). The reason for this one is that both of them are crowd control (CC) effects and require specific circumstances to be used. Sap can only be used while in stealth while Gouge can only be used when your target is facing you. Again, that’s just my preference and my reasoning behind it.

What I want to talk about in relation to attacking though, is Energy. Energy is the Rogue’s resource. Where casters have Mana, Warriors have Rage and Hunters have Focus, Rogues have Energy. Most Rogue are button-spamming fiends, burning their Energy as fast as possible and spamming attacks even when they don’t have enough Energy to use it yet. When you talk to long term Rogue players who have experience in both raiding and PvP, you’ll find that they see increases in their DPS by intentionally not spamming their buttons and instead following a steady pace to always keep Energy below a certain amount while also leaving a small pool untouched.

Energy restores itself at the rate of 10 Energy per second. If you’ve ever been a musician then you can likely keep a 1 second beat going in your head or with your foot and keep up on your Energy level subconsciously. A general rule of thumb is to always stay below 80 Energy when you’re in combat, and trying to keep a reserve of about 20. What that does is it leaves you with a much better opportunity to have the energy you need when you need it to use your interrupts (Kick and Gouge) instead of being Energy starved, and you’re not accidentally missing an opportune moment to cast because your energy is too low. You can get by with spamming, but if you really want to play the Rogue well then managing your Energy is pretty key.

PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
Alright, so I’ve thrown a lot of different topics at you here. Twinking any class and spec can be either as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. You don’t have to be super sophisticated and detail oriented to be good as a PvP twink, but like anything else you’ll typically get back what you put into it. A lot of people look at Rogues and say, “Now that’s a cheap, easy class to play that can dominate PvP.” The reality of the situation is that Rogues can be extremely tough to play and extremely complicated to master.

Outside of the twink brackets you can really see how “cheap” and “overpowered” Rogues can be, but that presents an illusion. Yes, Rogues hit hard and fast and they’re slippery little buggers that often escape your wrath only to come and gank you for an easy kill when you’re already near death from another opponent or something. That’s the way Rogues work, it’s not that the players are bad at PvP or that they don’t have the balls to stand toe to toe with you, it’s that they’ve embraced who and what their class really is and used their strengths against you.

Rogues are a force to be reckoned with in PvP from level 10 all the way through 85. When you come across a bad Rogue, you know it. When you come across a really good Rogue, you know that too. Most of the good Rogues out there are good because they’ve taken the time to learn how to utilize their abilities and maximize their performance. As I said before, you’ll get out of twinking your Rogue what you put into it. You can be the easy Rogue and gank those 400 health clothies, or you can be a friggin’ ninja and combine your damage, survival, and CC abilities to destroy healers and plate wearers pushing 3,000 health.

Fire vs Frost is the Wrong Question

So Cynwyn is in Shadowfang Keep, right? She’s spamming Frostbolts and her DPS is really sucking. I mean, say what you will about DPSers looking at Recount in the middle of a fight, but really, the tank shouldn’t be out-DPSing me here. I’m like, listen, little Frost Mage, have some Mage pride and do some damage, and she’s all, I’m casting them as fast as I can, STOP JUDGING ME. And I’m all, cast faster! And she’s all, you didn’t give me Improved Frostbolt, so unless someone pops Heroism, this is as good as it gets.

No, really. Don’t you have these conversations with your characters? No?

Hmmm. Likely story.

So I start searching around for something to make up for Frostbolt’s dismal performance. Arcane Missles are there, but they suck mana like blood elves at a mana picnic. Fire Blast has too much of a CD, but wait… didn’t I use to have something that hurled big balls of fire… I’ve got that mapped somewhere, right? On the … T key? Odd. Why is it over there? Let’s give it a try.

Woah. Boom! Heh.

Suddenly, the worgen were dying a LOT faster. Wow. Those Fireballs might have been slow, but they sure packed a wallop. Cynwyn’s DPS soared along with her renewed Mage pride, and she was gracious enough to not call me a noob.

There was an important lesson in that episode for me, and it wasn’t just that Fire burns. It was that I’d brought a concept from later in the game — talent tree specialization — and applied it waaay to early. Level 19 is too soon to have invested enough points in any tree to have picked up their defining features.

Furthermore, a leveling character is working towards a specialization and doesn’t want to respec every few levels to optimize for this set of abilities. A twink, however, has her full set of abilities right now, and will never get past the second level of talents.

In other words, a leveling character is looking down the talent tree, picking some goals and working towards them. A twink needs to look across the trees at just the first two rows and take those talents that suit their current roles. The view must be horizontal, not vertical.

So my real mistake was thinking Cynwyn was a Frost Mage. She’s not. She’s a Mage. Period. Frostbolts, Fireballs, Arcane Explosions — I have to start using all the tools available to me and not get stuck in an endgame mindset. Just as there are no Destruction or Demonology Warlocks at this level, the Frost, Fire, and Arcane labels do not apply yet.

I started experimenting on that SFK run with spells I didn’t use that often. For AoE mobs, hitting them with Arcane Explosion until my mana ran low, followed by a Frost Nova and hasty retreat, gave me huge DPS numbers on trash mobs. (It also left me /oom, but it was worth it.) Arcane Missles or Fire Blast worked well on mobs who were dying quickly, and Fireballs were the way to go on bosses. Frostbolts – especially level 1 Frostbolts – were great for stopping runners.

When I teleported out of that dungeon, my first stop was to the Mage trainer to unlearn my current talent build and look at the trees, sideways. I’m not sure if I’m happy with the build I have right now (2/2 Improved Fire Blast, 3/3 Frostbite, 2/3 Ice Floes, 3/3 Permafrost) but I’ll take her back in to the Gulch and let you know how it works out. I want to see if Permafrost is as potent as I think it is.

And as for Fireballs?

Expect to see a lot more of them in the future.