In every game I've played, I've always ended up falling into ranged classes. I'm never one to run into combat, but to stay back as far as possible - safely pelting my targets with arrows or magical spells. I've done the same in World of Warcraft - playing warlocks, mages, hunters, priests, and the occasional druid with caster tendencies. So after a year of play, I've finally decided to make a serious attempt at playing a character type completely alien to me - a rogue.
So now, when I grow tired of the constant messages my priest receives to please run this or that instance, I can hop over to my rogue, where I have to worry about killing things and nothing else. And my initial impressions show that it's not as easy as it looks...
I started out, like every rogue, with a dagger, but soon found the difficulty of regularly getting behind my target for those big backstab numbers. I've since taken to wielding a higher damage sword to get better sinister strike damage (usable from any angle), though doing so removes backstab as an option. At the advice of a rogue friend, I'm working on a combat-centric talent spec, though I've been warned not to even attempt PvP with it.
My first instance run as a rogue was Ragefire Chasm, and throughout the entire run I felt bumbling and awkward. I remember all the good rogues I've grouped with as my priest - the ones who competently sap before every pull, who use feint to avoid pulling aggro, who will gouge something that's hitting me (or heading towards me) to give me some breathing room, or even pull aggro off me and evasion-tank something if the tank isn't paying attention. While I try to emulate their actions, everything seems to move so quickly - faster than i was responding, at any rate.
However, out of all of my confused, newbie-ish moments as a rogue, I remain most baffled by my immense tendency to die. Certainly, my priest dies a lot. She's fragile and can't take many hits - but at the same time can defend herself with inner fire (increased armor), psychic scream (AOE fear), fade (when in a group), and a number of different healing abilities. However, when my rogue is in a sticky situation - well, I just die. Sometimes evasion saves me (and sometimes it's not enough to save me), sometimes sprint lets me quickly escape an onslaught of enemies, and sometimes sapping one monster before combat begins allows me to take out more targets than I'd usually be able to - but most of the time when I've gotten in over my head there's nothing to be done.
I think I may be getting better - gradually learning the best times to use different abilities, and always attempting to keep a stack of health potions handy - but so far life as a rogue, while a refreshing change of pace, is difficult and slow-going. And while I may never be the ideal rogue, I'll certainly keep trying. I do know I don't get spammed with group invites while playing the rogue - and I do consider that a plus.
[Fan art by Astrid Hansen]