With the risk of offending all rogues, I will re-state the title of this post: rogues are useless. I have tried to enjoy my rogue since The Burning Crusade and I'm still trying to find something redeeming about him. I'm sorry to say this but I simply cannot. Up until recently I felt like I really had to continue leveling but now I'm having second thoughts. Let me tell you why.
Just so you don't think that I'm pulling this rogue hate out of my ass, you should know that I have a level 75 rogue that I was planning to bring to 80. This whole discussion also strictly refers to the PvE aspect of the game so don't tell me that rogues shine in PvP. I know that. They've murdered my hunter more times than I can count, every time I've had the misfortune of stepping in a battleground.
What attracted me to a rogue in the first place was the usual stuff: a stealthy, shadowy character who strikes from the shadows blazing fast with his twin daggers of death coated in lethal poison. At one point during World of Warcraft's evolution, rogues were a force to be reckoned with. Well, rogues and mages. And warlocks. From what I can remember, back in WoW Classic, these classes were the holy trinity of DPS-ing. And for good reason. Each of the 3 was a glass cannon. Powerful damage but not a lot of survivability. Hunters were below them because they had pets, of course.
I'm getting close to my issue with rogues. To a great extent, these 3 classes are still top damage dealers. The problem, however, is that out of the 3, rogues are the only melee class. From what I have experienced so far as a rogue, this is a big problem. Rogues are the weakest melee DPS class, in terms of survivability. At least that my impression so correct me if I'm wrong.
Let me run through a list of DPS classes that I am familiar with and perform a short analysis on each of them as well as a comparison to rogues.
Hunter - Pure DPS class. A hunter is my main and I've been playing him for a very long time. I'm confident in saying that I know most of the ins and outs of the Beast Master class. No one can deny that a hunter is one of the easiest classes to level and play with. Hunters have pets which tank for them while the hunter shoots at the target from range. Not only does the hunter seldom come in melee contact with his prey but he is better armored than rogues and cloth spellcasters.
Hunter 1 - Rogue 0
Retribution Paladin - Hybrid class but Ret is the DPS aspect of paladins. I have a Prot-Ret paladin so I have an idea of what I'm talking about. A Ret paladin, especially after Ret has been buffed considerably, is vastly superior in terms of survivability and damage compared to a rogue. Besides, a paladin wears plate, can heal himself, can AoE and can bubble. Beat that rogues.
Ret Pally 1 - Rogue 0
Death Knight - Hybrid class although all trees can be configured for DPS. I have a Blood-DW Frost death knight and I was ecstatic every time I played him, from 55 all the way to 80. Death knights are a plate-wearing, death-dealing class with those amazing instant hits with big weapons. Blood is also incredible for leveling and survival.
Death Knight 1 - Rogue 0
Warlock - Another pure DPS class. Warlocks were among the original "holy trinity" of DPS and as far as I'm aware, they still are. I've only ever played as Affliction although I have a second spec as Demonology, which I only played for a couple of hours. I've always loved Affliction and it has been a pleasure to level my warlock to 80. Not only does a warlock have a pet which helps to a certain extent, but he can heal himself and he never runs out of mana. I can't count the times when I pulled 5-6 mobs by accident, just to beat them all with ease. Can a rogue do that? Mine certainly couldn't. All he can do is vanish into the shadows like a coward.
Warlock 1 - Rogue 0
Shaman - Hybrid class but 2 trees are meant for DPS. I've only tried Enhancement and I loved every aspect of it. Well, after level 40 at least. I thought an enhancement shaman is like a rogue (because of dual-wielding) but much, much better. He wears mail, has totems which are amazing buffs, can heal himself, and can deal easily with several mobs at once.
Shaman 1 - Rogue 0
Mage - Pure DPS class. The archetypal glass cannon of WoW, the mage nonetheless is very powerful. I only tried a mage up to level 28 but come Cataclysm I plan to level a Worgen mage. Although a mage is more fragile than a rogue, the class can easily handle several mobs at once but most of all, it is a ranged class. In a group, a mage doesn't have to take a pounding by fighting close to the enemy.
I haven't played the other classes so I can't speak for them, but what kills me about my rogue is that he needs to heal himself after every couple of fights, while leveling and questing. A couple of days back I decided to use the new LFG tool to join a random PUG, in the hopes that I would get some good XP from a dungeon run, as well as find some better equipment. Needless to say, I almost died on the first pull and then died on the second pull. Realizing that I would go nowhere with this, I promptly left the group, swearing never to step in another dungeon with the rogue.
I'm not sure what to make of all this. Do I suck so bad at playing a rogue? It is definitely a possibility. However, it still seems to me that rogues are out of place in the PvE game. There's no purpose to them. Want lots of DPS? Choose any other class that can DPS. Want more survivability? Choose any other class that can DPS. Want both DPS and survivability? You know the drill by now: choose any other class...
Perhaps I'm too bitter about this but I find leveling my rogue very slow and annoying. The only redeeming qualities about this class are the stealth which allows you to skip some mobs and areas, and pickpocketing which is the one aspect that I really enjoy. OK, if I stretch my imagination, there's also Sap and Safe Fall. Are these enough to make a class fun to play? Not in my book.
So what is wrong with my rogue? You tell me. I believe I have a good spec. Currently I'm playing as Combat with fist weapons, slow main hand with "fast" off-hand. I have researched specs and I have studied what Elitist Jerks have to say about rogues. Here's my spec if you are curious:
My play style is a bit weird, since I'm trying to survive, more than anything. For that reason, I always open from stealth and from behind with Cheap Shot to keep the mob stunned for a few seconds, followed by Slice and Dice, a couple of Sinister Strikes followed by a Kidney Shot to put them under again, then a few more Sinister Strikes, finally ending with an Eviscerate. If this is an idiot's rotation, then just tell me, but also tell me a better way to do it and remember: I'm only trying to level; I'm not playing in a dungeon or raid. For that reason I don't use skills that add bleed effects and such. I do use poisons, of course.
And so, my dear readers, the only conclusion that I can reach, after such a long time of struggling with my rogue, is that they suck and there's no purpose for them in PvE, and I dare you to prove me wrong. The only place they shine is PvP and it seems to me that this is all there is to this class. Amirite?
Patch 1.0.5 commentary
4 years ago