Two weeks ago, I discussed how enchanters can make your shiny new level 70 rogue gear sparkle even more. But post-BC, enchanters aren't the only gear-enhancers in the game.
Leatherworkers can make armor kits and leg armor that can "enchant" gear that could previously only be enhanced by those stupid ZG enchants that drove everyone nuts. The Aldors and the Scryers are engaged in a constant war over what you put on your shoulders, and many places are offering relatively inexpensive head glyphs. And, of course, the jewelcrafters have a multitude of lovely gems to socket your stuff.
So rogues, if you're ready to squeeze the most out of your gear, head onward to glory! Edited to make it clearer that these are rogue suggestions as part of the class column.
- Heavy Knothide Armor Kit: This 10 stam "enchant" is new in patch 2.3, and can also go on heads, shoulders, chests, legs and feet. If you need to stack stamina for PVP, give it a whirl -- it shouldn't cost you too much. 5/10 PVE, 7/10 PVP.
- Glyph of Ferocity: This 100g, Cenarion Expedition-revered head enhancement is really your only choice here, unless you have a burning desire to shepherd a group through Zul'Gurub a bunch of times. Luckily, at 34 AP and 16 hit, it's totally worth it. 10/10 PVE, 8/10 PVP.
- Greater Inscription of the Blade: Whether you get the Blade or Vengeance inscriptions depends on if you picked Aldor or Scryer. This one, which requires exalted with Scryers, gives you 15 crit and 20 AP, which is excellent for just about anything you want to do. 8/10 PVE, 9/10 PVP.
- Greater Inscription of Vengeance: With 30 AP and 10 crit, this Aldor inscription tends more toward the PVE side of things. 9/10 PVE, 8/10 PVP.
- Inscription of the Blade: Same as above, but the lazy version -- only 13 crit and honored with Scryers. 5/10 PVE, 7/10 PVP.
- Inscription of Endurance: This can be purchased at honored with Violet Eye, and is the option for people who for some reason want 7 to all resistances. The others are better, though. 3/10 PVE, 5/10 PVP.
- Inscription of Vengeance: This cheap version of the Aldor scrip gives you 26 AP, which seems a heck of a lot more useful than the Scryers' 13 crit. Stupid Scryers and their PVP. 7/10 PVE, 6/10 PVP.
- Clefthide Leg Armor: One of four leatherworking enhancements for the leg slot, this armor -- which requires quantities Heavy Knothide Leather, Thick Clefthoof Leather and Primal Earth -- comes for the bargain average of 67g on the AH. However, it's also stamina heavy, giving you 30 stam and only 10 agi. Great for the PVPer on a budget. 5/10 PVE, 8/10 PVP.
- Cobrahide Leg Armor: Now, this is the real rogue PVE leg armor. Its 40 AP and 10 crit rating come at a substantial cost, though -- four Primal Air is going to run you quite a bit unless you can transmute. 8/10 PVE, 7/10 PVP.
- Nethercleft Leg Armor: This upgraded Clefthide set requires a lot of leather, eight Primal Earths, and a Primal Nether, so you'll have to find a friendly leatherworker if you want these -- or pay out the nose in the AH. 40 stam and 12 agi is worth it for PVP, though. 6/10 PVE, 10/10 PVP.
- Nethercobra Leg Armor: 50 AP! 12 crit rating! And, unfortunately, a ridiculous cost if you don't have a lot of Primal Air and a leatherworker willing to help you out with the Nether. 500g average on the AH, so save it for gear that you know is going to last a long, long time. 10/10 PVE, 8/10 PVP.
Now, on to gems. I'm going to be ranking the rare blue quality gems here, because odds are, if you're able to get the purple Black Temple gems, you probably don't need this guide. Once you get nice gear, rare gems are what you should shoot for -- enchanting epic or end-game dungeon gear with green gems is like putting ketchup on steak. Also, certain gems are better for sockets than others -- a purple gem might be great to fill one of the mediocre blue slots but meh for a red slot. Shadowpanther's Gem Guide was helpful here, and contains a lot of green, epic and jewelcrafter-only gems that I don't cover. Check it out!
- Bright Living Ruby: 16 AP might seem like the logical choice for a red gem, and indeed it might be -- if you're all capped out on hit and aren't interested in the extra bonuses offered by agi. 9/10 PVE, 9/10 PVP.
- Delicate Living Ruby: Shadowpanther ranks this 8 agi gem as the top "pure red" jewel. I'm not sure if I agree, since some specs are more suited to pure AP, but agi never hurt anyone. 9/10 PVE, 9/10 PVP.
- Subtle Living Ruby: If you want a red gem that helps with damage avoidance, stick with this dodging ruby. Still, it's not great, compared with Bright and Delicate. 2/10 PVE, 5/10 PVP.
- Glinting Noble Topaz: Honestly, I consider this the best PVE gem and would socket everything with it if I could. Four of the all-important agi and four to the crucial but underappreciated hit rating? If only there was an AP/hit gem ... 10/10 PVE, 6/10 PVP because hit isn't as important in PVP.
- Wicked Noble Topaz: Rogues with good hit ratings might consider this 8 AP, 4 crit gem an excellent use of their slots, especially if you're a crit-dependent Mutilate spec. 8/10 PVE, 7/10 PVP.
- Mystic Dawnstone: Eight resilience is nice if you're on an arena team, but even then, you might want to consider Steady Talasite instead to add some stamina. Plus resilience can be capped -- stam never can. 0/10 PVE, 8/10 PVP.
- Rigid Dawnstone: Mmm, delicious hit rating. If you're just starting out at level 70, this stat will increase your PVE damage more than anything else, but as you get better gear, you don't need as much through gems. 9/10 PVE, 5/10 PVP.
- Smooth Dawnstone: I remember how as a young rogue, I used to think crit was everything. Then I realized that you can't crit what you can't hit in PVE, and in PVP, resilience is going to smack this number down. Go for it if you have a yellow slot and enough hit, but I'd still pick Wicked Noble Topaz instead. 7/10 PVE, 6/10 PVP.
- Jagged Talasite: Talasite is the cheapest gem available, mostly because the available cuts tend to blow. This 4 crit, 6 stam one is probably the best available green for PVE, but you can do better with either a yellow or blue socket. 6/10 PVE, 6/10 PVP.
- Steady Talasite: This new 2.2 recipe provides two great PVP defensive stats: stam and resilience. If you PVP, this may be just your style, as two of them equal the much more expensive combo of Mystic Dawnstone and Solid Star of Elune. 2/10 PVE, 9/10 PVP.
- Solid Star of Elune: Blizzard saved the weirdest stats for blue gems, leaving us with stamina as the only decent rogue option. Many PVPers socket their gear entirely with these Solid Stars, although they're the most expensive cut gem on most servers. 5/10 PVE, 10/10 PVP.
- Balanced Nightseye: Since my combat rogue adores AP, I use this for all my blue sockets. Also, purple looks pretty. A commenter on Wowhead calls this the best general melee PVP gem, since everyone needs stamina and resilience takes away from crit. 7/10 PVE, 9/10 PVP.
- Shifting Nightseye: Are you tired of seeing 6 stam yet? We're almost through with the blue mixers. Shifting Nightseye spices up the stam with agi, which makes this about equivalent to Balanced Nightseye as the top PVE blue socket gem. 7/10 PVE, 8/10 PVP.
- Brutal Earthstorm Diamond: +3 melee damage is nice, I guess, but the chance to stun proc is too random to count on and the 2 of each color gem requirement is nasty. 5/10 PVE, 6/10 PVP.
- Enigmatic Skyfire Diamond: An easy requirement (more red gems than yellow), but 12 crit and 5% snare and root resist is very PVP-centric. 4/10 PVE, 7/10 PVP.
- Potent Unstable Diamond: This gem has PVP bonuses (24 AP and 5% stun resist) and a requirement (more blue than yellow gems) that will be difficult to meet if you're doing PVE. It's also hard to get, requiring 160 Apexis Shards and a tough event in Blade's Edge. 5/10 PVE, 7/10 PVP.
- Powerful Earthstorm Diamond: THE PVP gem has a ton of stam and stun resist, and an easy requirement for PVPers of 3 blue gems. Go for it! 4/10 PVE, 9/10 PVP.
- Relentless Earthstorm Diamond: This diamond blows everything else away in PVE, with an excellent base of 12 agi and a killer bonus of 3% increased damage on all your crits. Another 2-of-every-color requirement and a hefty price tag might give you cause for pause, though. 10/10 PVE, 8/10 PVP.
- Swift Skyfire/Windfire Diamond: These gems give you 24/20 AP and a run speed increase, although honestly the run speed increase doesn't make it worth it because run increases don't stack. Swift Windfire is also the "welfare" meta gem, as it's available for a nominal number of Spirit Shards in Terokkar Forest. 5/10 PVE, 6/10 PVP.
- Thundering Skyfire Diamond: This occasionally procs for 240 haste rating for 6 seconds, but the possible hidden cooldown of one minute means it's still inferior to Relentless Earthstorm. 8/10 PVE, 7/10 PVP.