So I hit level 78 last night, and I can report that my rogue's leveling spec (previously mentioned here and here) has been a resounding success. Most of my guild is in the 72-75 range, with a few people keeping pace with me. I'm not ahead just because I play a lot (there are a number of people who play as much as or more than me who are levels behind me), or because I'm some super-genius at questing efficiently.
It's because: 1) I kill things instantly, and 2) I never have to get into any fight I don't want to, and 3) I never die.
1) Killing instantly:
- My opener on every target while solo is Premeditation -> Shadowstep -> Cheap Shot -> Eviscerate -> Hemorrhage -> Hemo -> Hemo -> Eviscerate. Usually I only get to the first or second Hemo before the target is dead. Premed only has a 20 second cooldown, but I'm killing so fast I can only use it every other fight. For those other fights, I just do a Cheap Shot for 3 CPs (combo points), Hemo x2, then Evis, and those fights take a bit longer.
- I start with 110 Energy, lose 10 to Shadowstep and 40 to Cheap Shot (thanks to Dirty Deeds), only 10 energy for the Evis (due to Relentless Strikes), leaving me with 50 energy. In the time it takes me to do all this and a Hemo, I'll regen enough energy to be able to spam 2 more 30-energy (Slaughter from the Shadows) Hemos without pausing to wait for energy. This is all burst damage.
- This is enough burst to kill almost any mob, especially with the bonus damage from Shadowstep stacking with the 10% crit from the Glyph of Eviscerate on the initial Evis, then Remorseless Attacks boosting the first Hemo.
- Shadowstep is up almost every other fight, and my run speed while stealthed is almost full (Camouflage and 8% boot enchant) so I move from mob to mob very quickly
- Sustained damage in an instance group can be very high, but is totally dependent on who I group with due to Honor Among Thieves. With a warrior or feral druid tank and/or dps, shaman or paladin healer, and a mage or hunter, all of them with high crit, I will be bathing in combo points and spamming finishers with barely any reason to even use Hemo. In a group with a pally tank, resto druid, affliction warlock or generally low crit or poor gear, my sustained DPS will take a nosedive from lack of combo points.
- I have very low sustained DPS solo. I need to kill the target during or immediately after the Cheap Shot. Luckily, I can do this on pretty much any non-elite mob. Basically, think of Eviscerate as your real attack (a la Sinister Strike or Heroic Strike) and Hemo as primarily a debuff move and secondary attack. Even a 3-point Evis will outperform a Hemo if the debuff is already up, especially with the Evis Glyph.
- I can solo elites. Last night I solo'd the last two quests in the Troll Gods questline in Zul'Drak. Any stunnable elite is easy, especially with double Evasion available in tandem with Ghostly Strike. Elites who do magic damage are much harder, as Cloak of Shadows has a longish cooldown that is not reset by Preparation, so they may require a potion or - gasp! - help.
- Aggroed 3 monsters on my way to the quest target or ore node? Vanish when I get there.
- Quest mob or item surrounded by monsters that you don't need to kill to complete a quest? Sneak past them! Stealth level and speed are maxed with this build.
- Shadowstep can be used to teleport you to places you'd otherwise have to detour to reach.
- Again, if the situation gets out of control, Vanish. The cooldown is short, and can be reset with Prep if needed.
- Double Evasion stacked with Ghostly Strike (over 100% avoidance when both are up).
- Adds can be sapped/blinded
- Need a heal mid-fight? Blind your target, then bandage!
- Run away with Sprint or even a tricky Shadowstep manuever
- If all else fails, or I wasn't paying attention to my health and an enemy actually lands a killing blow, odds are Cheat Death will kick in, saving my life and alerting me with a big, glowy skull over my head. Now would be a good time to Vanish.
Note: Please ignore the telltale rotational arrows in the screenshot above that show it was taken from the dressing room.