If you’ve played a certain class for a long time, you really get to know the playstyle that works for that class. It becomes ingrained in your muscle memory.
Then you pick up a new class. An inevitable problem is when you play the new class using the methods that worked for your previous class. When I first started playing a caster, for example, I repeatedly found myself standing in melee range because it was a habit from all my years as a rogue. That was eventually corrected.
If you have picked up playing a rogue after playing something else for a long time, then you have more changes to adapt to than just being in melee range or not. The rogue has a completely unique playstyle and it takes a whole different mindset.
Big Bear Butt is playing his rogue and complained that it was hard to play solo. One quote from BBB,
the longer I play my Rogue and have the opportunity to compare playstyles with the Paladin, Druid and Warrior, the more the Rogue feels like it got a rock.
In his post, one of BBB’s biggest complaints is about the lack of AoE spam ability, and the difficulty in taking on groups of mobs because rogues take too much damage. He is specifically referring to his attempts to solo old content, but the sentiment carries over to a general complaint about rogues.
It sounds to me like he’s playing his rogue too much like he played his druid.
He’s not the first person to complain about this. I’ve had people in my guild tell me that they can’t play a rogue, that they die too much, etc…
The rogue is a melee dps class. That lumps them in with warriors, death knights, paladins, and druids. All five melee dps classes have to get in close and deal damage, and so they will take damage in return. That is where the similarities end, though.
Of the five melee dps classes, three of them (warriors, DKs and paladins) wear plate. That gives them a great deal of survivability when dealing with large numbers of mobs. Druids in cat form can take rogue-like damage, but they can always switch into bear form or even throw a self-heal on themselves in order to survive. Druids and Paladins can heal themselves during combat. So can Blood spec death knights, for that matter.
The plate armor, bear form, and self healing of druids and paladins completely dictate their playstyle. As I was leveling my paladin, I remember running into a group of 6-8 mobs and just tearing them all up and finishing with 95% health left.
If you try and do that on a rogue you will die, and then die some more.
Rogues require a completely different approach to melee dps. If you try and play a rogue like you played a druid or paladin you won’t like it.
Rogues pick their battles.
As a stealth class, we don’t fight mobs that we don’t want to fight. We can use stealth, Vanish, and Distract to get around most obstacles and get to where we are going.
I have gone solo through UBRS and LBRS to farm lockboxes. I’ve gone into Molten Core solo to kill trash for a drop. If I tried to take on all the packs of mobs, I might have died, even though they are twenty levels below me.
But I don’t fight them. I stealth around them. I use Distract to get through tight spots. I save my Vanish to restealth if something spots me, and my Cloak of Shadows to remove any DoTs that might keep me from restealthing.
I remember doing quests while leveling that involved going into a cave to kill a named monster. I’d see a warrior chewing his way through the mobs 2 or 3 at a time to make his way to the back of the cave complex. Me? I’d hit stealth and walk right past him. I’d get to the back of the cave, pop out of stealth long enough to kill my target, then restealth and leave.
Rogues control their fights
Is there a group of three mobs all togteher? A paladin would run in and grab all three and let Ret Aura do the dirty work. A death knight can probably /afk while killing a group of “only” three. Druids would swipe them all down while their self-HoT keeps their health up. Warriors might whirlwind the whole group to bits.
A rogue, properly played, might stealth in, sap the first one, Cheap Shot the second, and then burn down the third. Once the Cheap Shot wears off, if our health is good we can start attacking the second one, using Evasion to minimize damage. Or we can Vanish, reapply sap to the first mob, and re-open with a stun on the second.
Playing a rogue is not about taking on waves of mobs. Its about picking them off one at a time, even in a group. This is the single hardest part to learn about the rogue playstyle, especially if you’re playing the class after being another melee class.
Some of my greatest memories on my rogue are when I found creative ways to use sap, stun, Evasion, and Vanish to down groups of mobs that I had no business killing. Its not about pure survivability. Its about creativity and care, which is exactly how an assassin should be played.
Rogues are not for the impatient
That fight sequence I just described? Yes, the rogue will take longer to kill those mobs than the other melee classes. And we might have to bandage or eat afterward.
This is the summation. For a rogue to take on group pulls or solo bosses takes planning and care. It takes guile. It takes cunning and creativity. We can’t steamroll things, even if they are well below our level.
Yes, our fights can take longer. When a paladin fights six mobs at once, they all die pretty much simultaneously in a nice semicircle. Not so for rogues.
If you have played a druid or a DK or a paladin, then it might be hard to adapt to the rogue style. It might seem slow or underpowered. Its not. Its just different.
Why play a rogue, then?
I remember someone telling me that he would rather play his Death Knight because it was easier to kill lots of mobs really quickly. He also complained that rogues had to bandage a lot.
I tried playing a Death Knight. Yes, its true that I could wade into an entire camp of opponents and leave nothing but destruction in my wake. It was fun at first, being an invincible God of Death.
But then it became boring.
Let me restate that. It was BOOOOOOOORRRRRRRIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGG. Leveling the Death Knight was without a doubt the most dull thing I have ever tried to do in WoW. Leveling my paladin was a close second.
That’s not a knock on those classes. Its that I was used to the rogue playstyle. I liked having to use my smarts to make careful pulls. I liked having to use all of my sneaky abilities to control my opponents and keep from dying. I was used to the slower pace of the game.
I think that the changes in WoW over time have made us impatient. When we log into WoW, we want to hurry up and get to where we are going. Leveling is about getting to 80 as fast as possible. We use add-ons to help us finish quests without reading the quest text. Dungeons are about blitzing to the end boss at breakneck speed. We are in a huge hurry to get places. In that mindset, the idea of moving at 70% speed while in stealth is horrifying.
BBB sums it up well, saying
Laziness. It’s my anti-Rogue.
I’m not saying that BBB is lazy (those are his words). But its true that the rogue solo playstyle takes more attention and thought to do it right. Its certainly no easy-mode or faceroll. When you’re leveling your third or fourth alt, maybe that’s not what you’re looking for. I can understand that.
But if you’re going to play a rogue, try not to play it like a paladin or a druid or a death knight. Play it like it was meant to be played. You might have fun!