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Wisdom of Crowds - Rogue Guide

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On The Wisdom of Crowds

It is a commonly-held belief that the consensus of a large enough group of people is often nearly as good as the knowledge of an expert. With this in mind, I have decided to collect information found on the forums in hopes of creating a source of useful information. If nothing else, it should be more up to date than Zerk's Rogue Guide. ~Mentathiel

Disclaimer

This is based on personal experience and 'what some guy said on the forums' rather than scientific investigations. As such, it might be wrong.

Character Creation

Much has been said about stats and races, but the basic message is this; low strength is bad. Rogues use strength for their damage and a full set of banded armour (an example of low-level armour with 91AC) is heavy, about 47lbs. If your weight allowance is only 60 (starting strength for a dark elf or gnome) then that leaves just 13lbs for a weapon and anything you loot from corpses.

Other than this, feel free to read the Rogue class-page.

Gaining Experience

As soon as you can, look at joining a group. A rogue is not a tank, has no crowd-control ability and can't use tricks like roots or snares to escape until level 20. In a group though, you can stab away to your heart's content without the risk of death which comes with a solo career. Zones like Befallen and Crushbone offer accelerated experience and collecting Crushbone Belts can be very profitable if you sell them or give a fair amount of experience if you complete the associated quest yourself. The same is true of Crushbone Shoulderpads and the related quest.

It's worth noting that quests which gain you experience or money are a much better idea than those which gain you items. There are almost no quest rewards after the first few levels which can compare to the items you can buy from other players with the platinum you have collected.

Weapons

At level 1, you want something with a good DPS. High damage or low delay will be ideal, but try to focus on piercing, since you'll need to be handy with piercing weapons once you hit level 10 and learn to back-stab. There is a damage-cap in place at these low-levels, so the highest-damage weapons are actually not as useful for a newbie rogue as a fast weapon. Despite the fact that you will probably keep getting given daggers by your guild, a rapier or a spear is often a better choice.

Level 10 brings backstab, a fairly useful skill which does high damage from behind and is at least one more attack from in front. A higher-damage weapon means better backstab damage, but it has to be piercing. At this level, a good balance between damage and delay is the most important trait, but damage should win out if two weapons ever seem close.

Some rogues will swap weapons in combat, switching to a high-damage weapon for backstabs, then back to a good ratio for normal combat. Some other rogues suggest that this is a bad idea as it harms your DPS enough to negate any advantage you might get.


The following progression of weapons has been suggested:

  • Serrated Bone Dirk
    Serrated Bone Dirk
    Item 574.png

    MAGIC ITEM
    Slot: PRIMARY SECONDARY
    Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 27
    DMG: 8
    Effect: Engulfing Darkness (Combat, Casting Time: Instant) at Level 27
    WT: 2.0 Size: SMALL
    Class: ROG
    Race: ALL

    (until level 27)
  • Jagged Chokidai Spine
    Jagged Chokidai Spine
    Item 575.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM
    Slot: PRIMARY SECONDARY
    Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 25
    DMG: 9
    DEX: +4
    WT: 1.0 Size: MEDIUM
    Class: WAR RNG SHD BRD ROG
    Race: ALL

  • Slime Coated Harpoon
    Slime Coated Harpoon
    Item 776.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM
    Slot: RANGE PRIMARY
    Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 25
    DMG: 10
    WIS: +5 MANA: +10
    WT: 4.7 Size: MEDIUM
    Class: WAR ROG SHM
    Race: ALL

  • Bone Razor
    Bone Razor
    Item 575.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM
    Slot: PRIMARY SECONDARY
    Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 22
    DMG: 10
    WT: 1.5 Size: MEDIUM
    Class: ROG
    Race: ALL except ERU HIE TRL OGR IKS

  • Ragebringer
    Ragebringer
    Item 1183.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM NODROP
    Slot: PRIMARY SECONDARY
    Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 25
    DMG: 15
    STR: +20 DEX: +10 STA: +10 AGI: +10 HP: +100
    SV DISEASE: +10 SV MAGIC: +20 SV POISON: +20
    Effect: Seething Fury (Worn)
    WT: 2.5 Size: SMALL
    Class: ROG
    Race: ALL except ERU HIE TRL OGR IKS

    (From the Rogue Epic Quest)

It is worth noting that weapons which proc (have a magical effect which triggers in combat, such as the Serrated Bone Dirk) can earn you a lot of hate from your target. In fact, the snare effect is one of the most dangerous for a rogue, as it encourages a large amount of hate. This is why most guides suggest that you stop using a Serrated Bone Dirk once you hit level 27; snare is useful, but not useful enough to justify drawing the mob's attention.


A note:

While some of the newbie quests will give you weapons (daggers, picks, rapiers) and some of these will be superior to the loot dropped by mobs in the area, none of these will compare to the weapons you should be able to pick up at the East Commonlands. Save up your platinum (there are guides to help) and go find the sellers in the tunnel. A
Jagged Chokidai Spine
Jagged Chokidai Spine
Item 575.png

MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM
Slot: PRIMARY SECONDARY
Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 25
DMG: 9
DEX: +4
WT: 1.0 Size: MEDIUM
Class: WAR RNG SHD BRD ROG
Race: ALL

runs to 50pp right now, if you don't just head to Chardok and loot one yourself (like I did at lvl 10) from one of the many Chokidai corpses rotting near the zone-in; hide and sneak are an amazing combination and you can often find a wizard or druid happy to port you out for a donation. Much of the time,
Serrated Bone Dirk
Serrated Bone Dirk
Item 574.png

MAGIC ITEM
Slot: PRIMARY SECONDARY
Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 27
DMG: 8
Effect: Engulfing Darkness (Combat, Casting Time: Instant) at Level 27
WT: 2.0 Size: SMALL
Class: ROG
Race: ALL

is actually more expensive, 150pp last time I checked, but it has a snare effect which some rogues swear by (while others consider it a liability) and drops in a lower-level zone.

Armour

The first priority of any rogue is to get the best weapon they can afford, so armour is usually a secondary priority. If you find yourself dying a lot, you (for some reason) primarily solo, if you find some rogue armour going cheap or if you see strength gear for sale, feel free to upgrade. If you're saving up your cash for the next weapon in the progression though, feel free to skimp on armour. You are not a tank, you are DPS; as long as the tank knows what they are doing and you are evading, you are much more use to a group doing high damage with a
Serrated Bone Dirk
Serrated Bone Dirk
Item 574.png

MAGIC ITEM
Slot: PRIMARY SECONDARY
Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 27
DMG: 8
Effect: Engulfing Darkness (Combat, Casting Time: Instant) at Level 27
WT: 2.0 Size: SMALL
Class: ROG
Race: ALL

and needing the odd heal than standing there in full banded mail with a
Tarnished Dagger
Tarnished Dagger
Item 592.png

Slot: PRIMARY SECONDARY
Skill: Piercing Atk Delay: 22
DMG: 3
WT: 2.5 Size: SMALL
Class: ALL except CLR PAL DRU MNK SHM
Race: ALL

.

The best low-level armour for a rogue is banded armour, for 91AC. It will cost you about 85pp for the full set, so you should be able to afford it by the time you're level 10, but is player-crafted and so you may find blacksmiths levelling up their skill who will sell it cheaper or just give it away to newbies. It's heavy at 47lbs, but you should have the strength to carry it if you put enough points into the stat at character-creation and have picked up some strength gear along the way.

Skills

I was advised to spend training points for levels 1-9 only on unlocking important new skills, saving them up for a huge investment in Backstab once you hit level 10. Having failed to take this advice, I can vouch for the huge difference between 10 skill and 55 skill when it comes to damage; this is a defining skill for rogues, so getting it up as fast as you can really pays off. Luckily, backstab will skill up pretty fast once you have it, so you should never have to invest training points in it again. Hide and sneak should also be kept high, which means using them as often as possible.

As to the less useful skills; there are apparently two schools of thought...

Opinion 1 - Save your points

While skills like Hide, Sneak and Dodge are useful and should be unlocked as soon as you can manage it, not all skills should be unlocked straight away. Pick Lock, Pick Pocket and Sense Traps all unlock much earlier than you will need them. While you can pick locks in Befallen from level 6, it is a much better idea to wait until you are ready to use these skills. Unlocking Pick Locks at level 6 gives you 6 skill, unlocking it at level 50 will give you 50 skill. The same goes for Disarm Traps; why unlock it at 21 when you might not even see a trap until 50?

Opinion 2 - Practice to stay skilled

Rogues have a selection of skills which nobody else can really match. At the same time, they have limited use. Some rogues suggest heading to Befallen every ten levels to keep your Pick Locks up to date (though make sure you have 11 points in the skill and a set of lockpicks before you go) so that you don't end up sitting in Befallen at level 50 trying to skill up to max level all in one go. On the plus-side, locks never go trivial; the first door in Befallen, which requires 11 skill, can be used to skill you up to the cap whether you are level 6 or level 60.

Tools of the Trade

As a rogue, your tactics in a group don't need to be too complex most of the time. You usually want to stay behind mobs where possible, do lots of damage and avoid catching too much hate. Sounds simple? It's not, but there are a couple of tricks which can help you do this...

Evade

Rogues have a useful combat trick called evasion; it is achieved by dropping out of combat and hiding. If it works, you shed a lot of hate and hopefully lose the attention of the mob if it has anything else to attack. Obviously, this is a great trick when you are in a party and can set it back on the tank, but it can be used in solo play to improve your hide skill and allow you to Pick Pockets. Most rogues use a simple combat macro for evasion:

/attack off
/doability 1 (where '1' is the slot used for hide)
/attack on

If you want, you can also add other skills to this macro before turning attack back on. Pick Pocket is common, a skill you cannot normally use in combat, as are Disarm and either Sense Traps or Sense Heading.

When to evade is a common question and the three most common answers I have heard are:

  • Every time the hide skill is up, as it helps shed hate and skill-up hide; if you are using a complex macro (with pick pockets, disarm, etc.) then this is a good option
  • Wait until the warrior loses aggro, then use evasion to drop down the hate list
  • Every time you get a powerful hit or proc, to help offset the sudden rise in hate

Since evasion turns off your attack, it does lower your DPS. If you are in a group and the tank is holding aggro, use evade sparingly to keep up your DPS. If the mob is turning to attack you though, you will be doing less damage and cannot backstab for full damage. Ideally, you want to evade often enough that the mob keeps its back to you but not so much that you are losing out on the chance to hit them...

Backstab

When you think of rogues, you tend to think of backstab. When you get it at level 10, you should throw lots of skill-points at it. If you can, get it as close to 55 as you can and then finish the skill-up in the field; it is a major source of damage-potential for a rogue. After that, feel free to go crazy using it in combat.

Used from behind a foe, it is a big chunk of damage. It is better than normal damage, unresisted by defensive skills which affect frontal attacks and acts as an extra attack anyway. Used from in front of your foe, it is a simple bonus swing that turn; not quite so devastating, but still quite useful. If the foe is facing you and is not going to turn around (fighting solo or the tank is down) then spam backstab just for the slight increase in DPS, but it can be worth delaying your backstab if the mob is nearing 20% (and is about to run) or if you have only just got aggro and think you can evade to get it back onto the tank.

Backstab is the reason why rogues use piercing weapons, by the way; this skill only works with piercing, though it is your choice whether to use a dagger or a spear. As I mentioned earlier, backstab ignores weapon speed, so high damage weapons are best for backstabbing. Trading weapons is a personal choice, but I wouldn't bother; choose a good weapon with high damage/good DPS for your main hand and you will be fine.

Stealth

Unique among classes, rogues are able to combine Hide and Sneak to allow them to move while hidden. While other characters may receive both skills, such as Wood Elf Rangers, they cannot move while hidden. A rogue is also the only class to be given an explicit warning when the skill fails; other classes have to /con enemies to check.

To move unseen, a rogue should first stop moving completely and then activate both Hide and Sneak. If the Hide fails, you might still be sneaking (so mobs who are not facing you will often ignore you) and can try to hide again as long as they are standing still. If Sneak fails, you might still be hidden, but moving will turn off your Hide skill.

Once you have Hide and Sneak working at the same time, you are effectively invisible to most mobs. To give you an idea of just how effective this combination is, I have personally walked to Chardok (filled with 45+ mobs) past creatures of anything up to level 55 without being attacked. Sneak may suffer from the odd tweak, so you should still make sure you /con mobs before getting too close, but it is generally considered better stealth than having invisibility and invisibility versus undead both cast on you at once, since it does not suffer from the random durations of those spells.

The downside of this technique is that you will move painfully slowly, but trust me when I say it is worth it. Some rogues will drop stealth when the area is clear and re-stealth as soon as they see a foe; this is dangerous, especially if you fail to hide on your first attempt, but it does help mitigate the pseudo-snare effect.

Some things to bear in mind though:

  • Sneaking slows you down, so make sure you don't activate sneak while running from a train
  • Looting corpses (even your own) or handing in quests will cancel your Hide skill, but will leave sneak working, so you can get away with it if nobody is looking in your direction
  • Getting hit by an enemy will end sneak and probably indicates that you are no longer hidden
  • Some enemies can see through Hide, just as some enemies can see through Invisibility; they are rare, but they do exist

Poison

While this is another archetypal rogue skill, many rogues actually suggest ignoring Make Poison and Apply Poison until a much higher level simply because it is an expensive/awkward skill to raise and does not provide as much of an advantage as most people think until you hit higher levels. Yes, it's nice to have, but only if you have got a higher-level main financing your adventures.

Poison is basically a handful of effects which you can add to a foe. Whether it's a snare or a DoT, you probably have casters in your group who can do the same thing better and more reliably, so save your money and buy a better dagger if you are that worried.

Instill Doubt

Instill Doubt is a fear effect, so what's not to love? In a good group, it can be used for fear-kiting and it does expose their back, but running down a fleeing mob in a busy zone is a good way to get yourself a train.

For the solo rogue, this might be more useful. A fleeing mob is exposed to backstabs and a good snare poison might make it possible to fear-kite, but rogues were not really designed for this technique, so a lot of guides I have seen suggest leaving this technique to the rangers and druids.

Spell Interruption

Unless you are a barbarian, who will get the slam skill, there's a good chance that you never even thought about interrupting casters. Abilities like Bash will stun your opponent and disrupt casting, but rogues don't get it. Even barbarians will only get a very basic level of Slam which can never improve or do more than a single point of damage.

Thankfully, there is another way to interrupt casters; you can move them. Each time you hit a mob, it moves slightly. Since rogues can dual-wield and double-attack, not to mention the fact that piercing weapons tend to be quite fast, we hit the mob quite often and can push them around. There are unfortunately two factors which make this harder; 1) everyone else is also pushing and can cancel out your movement since you'll often want to be on the opposite side of the mob to your tank, and 3) they need to move a fair distance before their spells get disrupted and you will not be able to move a mob far enough on your own.

To disrupt spell-casting, you need a group and then you need to do something you have been training yourself to avoid for most of your in-game life; you need to stand in front of the mob and you need to get close. You, the monk, the ranger and the tank all need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the mob and hit them with everything you have. You will lose your backstab damage, you will open yourself up to parries and ripostes and all of the other defensive skills they might have, but you will move that caster around. If the are casting, they are less likely to have many defensive abilities, plus they will have wasted the casting time of the spell for no reward.

Picking Pockets

Perhaps the most controversial of the rogue skills, picking pockets is the art of looting a mob while they are still alive. Done well, you can even loot a mob without it noticing you; done badly, you aggro the mob and half the players in the zone. The reason other players hate it is that you steal items that they would otherwise have been able to loot and it is not unheard of for players to curse every rogue in the zone if the drop rate is low for the mobs they are killing, even if they had nothing to do with it.

Because picking pockets deprives other players of loot when they kill the mob, many rogues consider it good etiquette to kill a mob after stripping it of loot. With low-level mobs, this can be easy enough, but some mobs will need to be dragged to a guard and others just need to be left alone because to attract their attention is to invite death. Some players will avoid picking pockets for this reason, other (more sociopathic) players will just say it's not their problem. Most rogues will not pick pockets in a group, especially one where the mobs drop expensive items, though some will pick pockets when it is their turn to loot.

The simple truth is that picking pockets is an essential skill. It will not keep you alive directly, it will not help you kill mobs any faster by itself, but it's often assumed in quests that you will have a good grasp of picking pockets, hiding and sneaking. In fact, the rogue epic quest asks you to pick a pair of level-45 GM rogues, so either get good at picking pockets or get used to aggroing mobs. Some quests will work if you kill your target and loot items from their corpse, others will not.

The good news? If you can pick its pocket, you can skill up on any mob. That means that a rogue who neglected their pick pocket skill until level 60 can still pick the pockets of a first-level mob with zero risk. They will not gain much more than pocket change and rations, but they will at least gain skill.

Illusions

As a way of complementing their stealth abilities, rogues can use a number of illusion masks to disguise themselves as members of other races. This could let a dark elf rogue walk into Felwithe or allow a wood elf to visit Cabilis and Neriak with impunity. They tend to be a combination of NO DROP and high-level items, often with a boost to charisma.

  • Guise of the Coercer
    Guise of the Coercer
    Item 771.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM NO DROP
    Slot: FACE
    AC: 4
    CHA: +13
    SV MAGIC: +7
    Effect: Illusion: High Elf (Any Slot/Can Equip, Casting Time: 6.0) at Level 15
    WT: 0.4 Size: SMALL
    Class: BRD ROG
    Race: ALL except ERU HIE TRL OGR IKS

    (acquired during the Rogue Epic Quest)
  • Iksar Hide Mask
    Iksar Hide Mask
    Item 771.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM
    Slot: FACE
    AC: 4
    CHA: +13
    SV MAGIC: +7
    Effect: Illusion: Iksar (Any Slot/Can Equip, Casting Time: 6.0) at Level 38
    WT: 0.4 Size: SMALL
    Class: BRD ROG
    Race: ALL

    (drops from Harbinger Dronik)
  • Mask of Deception
    Mask of Deception
    Item 771.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM NO DROP
    Slot: FACE
    AC: 4
    CHA: +13
    SV MAGIC: +7
    Effect: Illusion Dark Elf (Any Slot/Can Equip, Casting Time: 6.0) at Level 15
    WT: 0.4 Size: SMALL
    Class: BRD ROG
    Race: ALL except ERU HIE TRL OGR IKS

    (drops from a ghoul assassin, making it the easiest to acquire)
  • Mask of Obtenebration
    Mask of Obtenebration
    Item 771.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM
    Slot: FACE
    AC: 6
    CHA: +8 AGI: +6
    Effect: Illusion: Erudite (Any Slot/Can Equip, Casting Time: 6.0) at Level 15
    WT: 0.4 Size: SMALL
    Class: BRD ROG
    Race: ALL

    (drops from Skeletal Procurator)
  • Amulet of Necropotence
    Amulet of Necropotence
    Item 510.png

    MAGIC ITEM
    Slot: NECK
    INT: +13 HP: -100
    SV MAGIC: +10
    Effect: Illusion: Skeleton (Any Slot, Casting Time: Instant)
    WT: 0.1 Size: SMALL
    Class: ENC MAG NEC WIZ
    Race: ALL

    (drops from Cazic Thule; cannot be worn by a rogue, but can still be used by one)


Velious will also add some other illusion items:

  • Flayed Barbarian Hide Mask
    Flayed Barbarian Hide Mask
    Item 771.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM
    Slot: FACE
    AC: 35
    Effect: Illusion: Barbarian
    STR: +15 DEX: +15 STA: +10 HP: +100
    SV FIRE: +7 SV DISEASE: +7 SV COLD: +7 SV MAGIC: +7 SV POISON: +7
    WT: 0.0 Size: TINY
    Class: BRD ROG
    Race: ALL

    (drops from The Avatar of War)
  • Desiccated Halfling Mask
    Desiccated Halfling Mask
    Item 771.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM NO DROP
    Slot: FACE
    AC: 4
    CHA: +7 AGI: +7
    Effect: Illusion: Halfling (Any Slot/Can Equip, Casting Time: 8.0) at Level 49
    WT: 1.1 Size: SMALL
    Class: BRD ROG ENC
    Race: ALL

    (drops from Overseer Dal`guur)
  • Mask of Tinkering
    Mask of Tinkering
    Item 771.png

    MAGIC ITEM LORE ITEM
    Slot: FACE
    AC: 4
    CHA: +13
    SV MAGIC: +7
    Effect: Illusion: Gnome (Any Slot/Can Equip, Casting Time: 4.0)
    WT: 0.4 Size: SMALL
    Class: BRD ROG
    Race: ALL except ERU HIE TRL OGR IKS

    (possibly dropped by warders in the Sleeper's Tomb)

Other Tips

  • When you are sneaking, consider walking sideways; for some reason, strafing is faster than walking forward
  • Safe Fall works even on a small fall, as long as you would take damage
  • Bind Wounds is no substitute for magical healing, but it's better than natural healing
  • Picking pockets is often considered rude in a group, but make sure you practice it because you want this skill nice and high in time for the Epic Quest