Encrypted Text: Best Rogue talents for questing and leveling in Legion
Demon Hunters be damned, Paladins be purged and Hunters be haunted: There is no character better engineered for leveling in WoW than the solitary Rogue. Our combination of stealth, speed, and power allows us to play connect-the-dots with our unsuspecting prey, flitting from NPC to NPC at our whim, executing a controlled dance of silent destruction.
In Legion, our overhauled specs will couple with our revamped talent tiers to give us a new palate of enhanced death-dealing options to choose from. But which talents are the best to use as we stab and slice our way through the Broken Isles, leaving the earth behind us littered with corpses as we gleefully level from 100 to 110?
Read on for my picks. In many cases, the talents that are best for leveling/questing in Legion will be very different from the ones we’ll want to use when fighting raid bosses and other high-health enemies. Also keep in mind that, because we’re still in beta, it’s possible we’ll see further changes that alter which talent I’d consider “best” in a given tier.
Assassination: Tick, tick, tick, tick
Level 15: Master Poisoner. This not only amplifies our poison damage (which comprises a huge chunk of the Assassination Rogue’s overall damage output); it will also enhance self-healing from Leeching Poison (my level 60 talent pick), increasing our survivability.
Level 30: Nightstalker. I prefer this by a smidge over Shadow Focus because of the enhanced movement speed, which will help us cover ground more quickly while questing or moving through towns (especially given that Burst of Speed is no longer part of our spellbook in Legion).
Level 45: Anticipation. Given that Mutilate grants two combo points — sometimes three, thanks to Seal Fate — we’ll dish out more damage if we can reliably use five-point finishers without wasting any combo points. However, I very nearly went with Vigor in this talent tier because I like the slightly faster pace of play and greater initial burst that it provides, especially given that our energy regen rates will be low until we start to accumulate gear at max level.
Level 60: Leeching Poison. Though Crippling Poison will have niche value and we’ll have Crimson Vial at our disposal, I like the constant undercurrent of incoming health that Leeching Poison delivers. It gives us more survivability during extended mob battles and reduces wait time between our assaults on NPCs.
Level 75: Prey on the Weak. The value of this talent is based on my assumption that you like to quest the way I do: by repeatedly stunning mobs (Cheap Shot from stealth, Kidney Shot afterward) and beating on them until they are both incapacitated AND dead. Honorable mention goes to Thuggee, however, if you’d prefer to take the bleed approach — that is, open with Garrote, benefit from Venemous Wounds procs, kill and quickly move on to your next target.
Level 90: Agonizing Poison. Against the low-health mobs that we tend to face when leveling, my preference is to go with whatever talent is most likely to give me the most bang for my buck within the brief window of time that each mob is likely to remain alive. While Exsanguinate is great for on-demand burst damage if we have a bleed active on our target, its long-ish cooldown leads me to give the more reliable (yet still somewhat fast-acting) Agonizing Poison the nod.
Level 100: Marked for Death. Although any talent in this tier can be useful (Venom Rush for longer battles against elites; Death from Above when fighting multiple enemies), I think Marked for Death works best considering how quickly quest mobs die; we should be able to use it to set up an instant, nearly-free five-point finisher against pretty much every enemy we face.
Here’s a quick link to my Assassination talent leveling build on Wowhead.
Outlaw: Assault and battery
Level 15: Swordmaster. It’s unclear at this stage in the Legion beta which of the talents in this tier will deal the most damage. That is, if any of them will — I think it’s likely that the designers’ intent is for them all to be similarly deadly over a 15-second span. Hopefully, though, it’ll take us less than 15 seconds to dispatch most of our enemies while leveling, which is why I’m going with Swordmaster over Ghostly Strike. I also prefer it very slightly over Quick Draw because the extra combo point Quick Draw grants might be wasted, given that I’m not choosing Anticipation in the level 45 tier.
Level 30: Grappling Hook. I just can’t resist something that’s so much fun as a world exploration tool. It’s also great for questing in areas with uneven terrain.
Level 45: Vigor. It’s simpler and more reliably valuable while questing against low-health mobs than either of the other options in this tier.
Level 60: Iron Stomach. Though I think Elusiveness is also a great choice here (especially if you find yourself frequently fighting multiple mobs at the same time and occasionally need to alleviate the pressure of all that incoming damage), I give Iron Stomach the slight edge because Crimson Vial is Outlaw’s only self-heal, and few things grind my gears more than needing to sit and eat between murders.
Level 90: Killing Spree. After all these years, it’s still one of the most awesome-feeling DPS cooldowns in the game. I love stealthing up to a closely packed set of NPCs, flicking on Blade Flurry, punching that Killing Spree button and watching all the bad guys’ health meters take a nose dive before those artificially intelligent suckers have even begun to hit back.
Level 100: Marked for Death. Similar to my feelings on this talent for Assassination, I think Marked for Death will remain our go-to for questing as long as the cooldown continues to reset when our target dies promptly.
Here’s a quick link to my Outlaw talent leveling build on Wowhead.
Subtlety: Striking from the shadows
Level 30: Subterfuge. The stealth-only ability Shadowstrike is such a big part of both our mobility and our destructiveness that this talent is virtually irresistible in any situation where we want to deal a lot of damage in the span of just a few seconds, as is the case against low-health mobs.
Level 45: Vigor. This gets my pick for similar reasons to those I gave for Assassination and Outlaw, particularly given that we’re less likely to find ourselves with more combo points than we know what to do with while we’re outside of a raid or party.
Level 60: Soothing Darkness. The same argument I gave in support of Iron Stomach over Elusiveness for Outlaw applies here: I want to reduce my downtime between obliteration of my enemies as much as possible. Sure, we already have Crimson Vial as a periodic self-heal, but this talent helps ensure we’ll never need to wait more than a few seconds between mob pulls.
Level 75: Strike from the Shadows. A dash of this, a dollop of Subterfuge and a liberal sprinkling of on-demand Shadow Dance: together, they give us the perfect recipe for a truly deadly Shadowstrike. Given how often we’ll be using Shadowstrike with this talent build, mobs will often have precious little opportunity to fight back before they’re riddled with knife holes. (That said, I can see some niche value to Tangled Shadow when we want to kite an enemy.)
Level 90: Premeditation. Yet another talent with great Shadowstrike synergy. The other two options in this tier, Alacrity and Enveloping Shadows, require too much ramp-up time to be fully useful in most questing/leveling situations.
Level 100: Marked for Death. Different spec, same preference, for the same reasons as those I gave earlier for Assassination and Outlaw.
Here’s a quick link to my Subtlety talent leveling build on Wowhead.
What are your leveling picks?
Alright, you’ve seen my talent preferences for the journey from level 100 to 110 (and for open-world questing in general, at any level). Based on what you’ve seen of the Rogue class in the Legion beta so far, what are your picks likely to be? What special situations or case uses can you see in some of our talent options that I missed? What’s your preferred method of efficiently dispatching low-health quest mobs and open-world enemies? How would you tweak these list for leveling on contentious PVP realms? Let’s talk it out in the comments!
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