Rogues are World of Warcraft's premiere melee damage dealer. They have access to a wide range of special abilities, which depend on their constantly refilling pool of energy. Unlike other classes, such as the Hunter who has the ability to deal physical damage from a distance, Rogues must be in close. This often subjects them to tank-like damage reception due to their dangerous threat level if left alone.
The primary Rogue class distinguisher is their ability to stealth, preventing other players from seeing them unless the Rogue is very close and in a 180 degree arc in front of them.
The primary Rogue attribute is agility. For PvP Rogues, stamina is needed for staying power. For a rogue, agility is always preferable to strength. A rogue uses no mana, so intelligence and spirit are nearly useless. Spirit also contributes to health restoration, but even with spirit, you won't want to rely on just normal healing. Whichever method you use, food, bandages, potions, or a healer makes having a lot of spirit unnecessary.
At later levels, most Rogue-oriented gear will also include a lot of Attack Power. Other gear bonuses sought by rogues are Crit, Hit, Dodge, Haste, and Resilience. High Crit gives bursty damage, high Dodge can make the rogue unhittable, high Hit increases chance to hit, mitigating dual wield penalty and enhancing dps, high Haste enhances an already high dps, and Resilience gives the rogue more ability to survive.
Rogues can only wear leather or cloth armor, are unable to use shields, and can only wield one-handed weapons (daggers, swords, maces, and fist weapons) and ranged weapons. At level 10, they can train dual wield, letting them equip two one-handed weapons. At level 20, they gain access to Poisons through a quest.
Rogues are best suited for players who like to sneak up on enemies and dish out large amounts of burst damage.
Although rogues excel at melee combat, they may only learn to use four types of melee weapons: daggers, fist weapons, one-handed maces and one-handed swords. For ranged weapons, rogues may learn to use bows, crossbows, guns and throwing weapons.
As with warriors, a rogue's choice of weapon typically affects distribution of talent points, and vice versa. For example: since rogues may specialize in any of the four melee weapons available to them, a rogue who primarily or exclusively uses daggers/fist weapons is likely to spend talent points in Close Quarters Combat. Similarly, a rogue who relies on one-handed maces or swords will probably not spend points on Improved Ambush, since the Ambush ability requires use of a dagger in the rogue's main hand.
A rogue's most fundamental abilities, such as Sinister Strike, Mutilate and Backstab, are instant attacks which inflict damage based on the weapon damage of the rogue's main-hand weapon. Rogues therefore find it desirable to use a weapon with the best average damage to maximize their DPS.
Weapon speed does not affect the damage bonus provided by a rogue's attack power. Instead, damage is calculated according to the following formula:
The "base multiplier" depends on weapon type: 1.7 for daggers, and 2.4 for fist weapons, swords and maces. Although weapon speed for normalized attacks does not contribute to the bonus damage from attack power, if you have 2 weapons of equal DPS, the slower weapon will have a higher base damage (average damage) and thus cause more damage overall. The exception to this rule involves Riposte and Ghostly Strike. Neither ability is normalized, meaning that slow weapons with high damage ranges will inflict greater overall damage than fast weapons with low damage ranges.
Weapons held in the off hand have only two instant attacks: Shiv and the off-hand component of Mutilate. Otherwise their damage contribution is reasonably straightforward. Off-hand attacks suffer a standard damage penalty. Fast off-hand weapons increase the application rate of poisons, since they will hit more frequently than a slow weapon and therefore increase the chances of applying poison to a target. Most players choose to use the same type of off-hand as the main hand in order to benefit from weapon specialization (if they are combat specced), but some prefer to use the fastest weapon available in order to quickly apply poisons and interrupt spellcasters. Faster weapons are also sometimes favored for by those rogues who rely heavily on Combat Potency, since that talent affords the opportunity to regain up to 15 energy on a successful off-hand hit.
This section lists some of the more helpful mods specifically for the Rogue class.