Soloing the Rogue 1-40

So, you’ve decided on being a Rogue, a member of the shadowy brotherhood. How do you go about attaining wealth, power, and prestige? It’s a harsh world, and you’re all alone. Armed...

So, you’ve decided on being a Rogue, a member of the shadowy brotherhood. How do you go about attaining wealth, power, and prestige? It’s a harsh world, and you’re all alone. Armed at the beginning with only a dagger and some meager scraps of armor, where do you go from there? Fear not! This guide, along with some handy wisdom from the legendary rogue, Adrian “Seven Fingers” Slotsky, will give you the knowledge necessary to survive solo for the first 40 levels of your character. Let’s begin!


You’re going to be doing a lot of killing to get to level 40. The good thing is that you’re great at it. As soon as you’re able, learn to use swords from a weapon trainer (Stormwind for Alliance, Undercity for Horde). Your primary attack ability, Sinister Strike, adds to your base weapon damage, and swords have a higher base damage than daggers. Overall, your attack cycle will remain constant throughout this time, with a few minor wrinkles. First, you should always try to attack from stealth and from behind your foe. As Seven Fingers noted, “the best place to stick a blade is in the back. Even better if they’re sleeping.” Begin with Backstab (if using a dagger) or Garrote. Then use your Slice and Dice ability. The faster attack rate really amps up your DPS. After that, use you Sinister Strike ability to build up your combo points. Finally, use a finishing move like Eviscerate or Rupture. You don’t have to build up to 5 combo points before you use your finishing move. If you think that you’ll finish your opponent off with it, then use it. For a normal fight against a single opponent, you should finish them off with this sequence without having to begin again.

Basic Attack Sequence
Open with Step 2 Step 3 Finishing Move

Slice and Dice
Sinister Strike (1-5x)


What if there’s more than one opponent grouped in an area? There are several options available to a savvy rogue. The first option is to try to lure one opponent away by using a ranged attack such as a throwing knife or bow. As long as there is some distance between your target and the other enemies, you should be able to draw him out so you can fight him solo. The downside to this is that you can’t attack from stealth. In this case, open with a Sinister Strike followed by Slice and Dice.

If there are two or more enemies close together, then you can attempt to use Sap on them. Stealth up to them, from behind, and sap one of the enemies. If there are only two of them, then you can attack the second foe. If there are more than two enemies, you can attempt to sap multiple targets (remember to watch your energy) before attacking the last enemy. Use your Distract ability to get them to face away from you. At most, it’s probably best not to attack more than 3 targets at a time. As Seven Fingers said, “as skilled as I am, I still bleed when stabbed.”

Spellcasters are a special nuisance and deserve your attention (and all the pain you can inflict upon them!) It’s always best to take out spellcasters first as they can do many different things to you, such as damage, slowing your attack speed, or just plain forcing you to run away. For these troublemakers (and future corpses), use your Kick ability to disrupt their spellcasting. If they start casting again and your Kick hasn’t cooldowned yet, then use Gouge. Chances are that your Gouge will only last a second or two since you’ll probably have infected them with poison (more on poison later), but it will disrupt their spell and give your Kick time to cooldown.

If you’re forced to fight multiple opponents at the same time, through an accidental pull or a wandering patrol, there are several things you can do. First, use your Evasion. This gives you a 50% chance to dodge for 15 seconds. Next, keep your Slice and Dice going at all times. It greatly enhances your damage, so keep it up. Use your Dismantle ability to disarm your first foe, then switch your focus to the second enemy. While the first one is just hitting you with his fists, you can kill the one that is hitting you with something sharp! If you have Blade Flurry (the earliest level to get it is level 30), then use it. This ability increases your attack speed (and it stacks with Slice and Dice), plus inflicts damage upon an adjacent enemy. After you kill the first foe, the second one should almost be dead by the time he gets your loving attention. If there’s a spellcaster in the group attacking you, kill him first. If you’re level 40, you can activate Adrenaline Rush (if you’re combat specced) at the beginning of the fight. This ability gives you a 100% energy regeneration rate for 15 seconds.

Despite being a killing machine, you can still be overwhelmed. What to do if this happens? “Get the hell out of there!” says Seven Fingers. Vanish will become your best friend at this time. This ability allows you to, well, Vanish and go back into stealth. You can also use Sprint to haul ass out of there and keep running. If there is just one foe left, you can use Gouge or Kidney Shot to give you time to run away. At level 34, you can use Blind on your opponent to give you time to slap a quick bandage on yourself (if there’s only one enemy on you).

Remember, the goal is to fight smart. Let the brain-challenged warriors flex their muscles and grunt as they flail away. By contrast, you are a precision instrument. Use your multitude of abilities to their best advantage. Pick your fights carefully, pick off the loners first, use your stealth, and be the death dealing harbinger of doom that you can be.


Once you hit level 16, you can learn the Pick Lock ability from your trainer. Lockpicking is used to pick doors, chests, and lockboxes. Chests and lockboxes can contain money and items (sometimes extremely valuable items). You can gain a maximum of 5 points per level in lockpicking (thus, at level 40, you’ll have a max of 200 lockpicking). There are several areas to practice your lockpicking, plus you can also use the Pick Pocket ability to gain junkboxes off of foes for you to open. Junkboxes are a great way to level up your lockpicking, plus you’ll get some extra loot! Listed below are the several areas in which you can increase your lockpicking.

Lockpicking Areas
Area Lockpicking Level Faction Notes
Barrens – ship south of Ratchet 1-100 Horde The only ship that isn't sunken
Ghostlands - Amani Catacombs 1-100 Horde Blood Elf quest
Redridge Mountains - Alther's Mill 1-100 Alliance
Barrens - Tower NW of Sludge Fen 85-170 Horde Poison Quest
Westfall - Tower in NE of zone 85-170 Alliance Poison Quest
Badlands - Anger Fortress 150+ Both Battered Footlockers (min 150 skill) and Dented Footlockers (min 175 skill)
Desolace - in ocean off of NW shore (37, 21) 150+ Both Waterlogged lockboxes - underwater


Now, we get to poisons, or as Seven Fingers calls them, “one of the most beautiful things ever created. A blade, glistening with a fresh coat of poison, is truly a work of art.” At level 20, you’ll get a quest chain from your trainer which will result in allowing you to use poisons. If you’re going solo, it’s best to wait a couple of levels to do these quests. Once completed, you’ll be able to slap one of four different poisons upon your blades.  Once applied, each poison lasts for one hour. Alliance players begin the quest chain by talking to Master Mathias Shaw at SI:7 headquarters located in Old Town in Stormwind. Horde players begin by talking to Shenthul in the Cleft of Shadow in Orgrimmar.

To begin, I would recommend using Instant Poison on both your blades. You’ll be surprised how often a 20% chance to inflict poison damage will occur. Don’t worry about Mind-numbing poisons to use against spellcasters. The best way to slow their spellcasting is to make them stop breathing which is done by inflicting huge amounts of damage upon them as quickly as you can. Once you hit level 32, you can switch to Wound poisons. While it looks like the damage is less, the chance to inflict the poison damage is 50%. Crippling poison can be extremely useful as well. If you’re having problems with enemies running away, then slap a crippling poison on your slower (main hand) blade. This should allow you to run them down and keep them from getting away and bringing back a friend or two to ruin your day.

Make sure that your blades are poisoned at all times. If you’re not using poison, then you’re just not trying hard enough. Remember, you’re not some bone-headed do-goody Paladin, you’re a Rogue! A down and dirty, backstabbing, poisoning, pick pocketing, throat slitting bastard! Fight dirty!

Dual Wield

At level 10, you’ll get the ability to Dual Wield, which allows you to carry one-handed and off-handed weapons in your off hand. Should you dual wield? The simple answer is…hell, yes! While your chance to hit is reduced somewhat, your damage output increases to roughly the equivalent of a two-handed weapon. Besides, rogues are not able to use a shield, so what good is an empty hand? Put a blade in that there hand! Two poisoned blades are far superior to one poisoned blade. Just listen to ol’ Seven Fingers. “It just doesn’t feel the same with a single blade. It feels like……like part of you is missing. A good part.”


Try to keep your gear up to date as you level. Since you’re playing solo, you won’t be able to get your hands on the superior gear found in the various instances such as the Deadmines in Westfall or Shadowfang Keep in Silverpine Forest. Not to worry though. You should be able to get decent gear from vendors (at the lower levels), then from drops and the auction house later on. Look for gear that adds to Agility (your most important stat), Stamina (adds hit points), and attack power (increases your damage). Make sure that you loot everything that isn’t nailed down. Quality gear on the auction house can get a little pricey. Happiness is finding loose change in a dead foe’s pockets.


Now that you have the basics covered, where to go to forge your future legend? Listed below are the various zones that you will explore (or cut a bloody swathe through) as you solo your way up to 40th level.

Eastern Kingdoms
Zone Level Faction Notes
Elwynn Forest 1-10 Alliance Human starting area
Eversong Woods 1-10 Horde Blood Elf starting area
Dun Morogh 1-12 Alliance Dwarf and Gnome starting area
Tirisfal Glades 1-10 Horde Undead starting area
Ghostlands 10-20 Horde Geared towards Blood Elf
Loch Modan 10-20 Alliance Geared towards Dwarf and Gnome
Silverpine Forest 10-20 Horde Geared towards Undead
Westfall 10-20 Alliance Geared towards Human
Redridge Mountains 15-25 Contested Geared towards Alliance
Duskwood 18-30 Contested Geared towards Alliance
Hillsbrad Foothills 20-30 Contested
Wetlands 20-30 Contested Geared towards Alliance
Alterac Mountains 30-40 Contested
Arathi Highlands 30-40 Contested
Stranglethorn Vale 31-45 Contested
Badlands 35-45 Contested
Swamp of Sorrows 35-45 Contested Geared towards Horde

Zone Level Faction Notes
Azuremyst Isle 1-10 Alliance Dranei starting area
Durotar 1-10 Horde Orc and Troll starting area
Mulgore 1-10 Horde Tauren starting area
Teldrassil 1-10 Alliance Night Elf starting area
Bloodmyst Isle 10-20 Alliance Geared towards Daenei
Darkshore 10-20 Alliance Geared towards Night Elf
The Barrens 10-25 Horde
Stonetalon Mountains 15-27 Contested Geared towards Horde
Ashenvale 18-30 Contested Geared towards Alliance
Thousand Needles 25-35 Contested Geared towards Horde
Desolace 30-40 Contested Geared towards Horde
Dustwallow Marsh 35-45 Contested

These little nuggets of information should help safely see you through to level 40. By using your wits and fighting smart (and dirty!), you should prove that your rogue is a force to be reckoned with. Keep your blades sharp (and poisoned), your wits about you, and your pockets full of gold!

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