If you've been following along with the recent news in the WoW stratosphere, you know that patch 3.3.5 is currently being tested on the PTR. Included in this patch is the new Ruby Sanctum raid dungeon, which is very likely to be the last raid that we'll see this side of the Cataclysm. While I think it will be more of a Sartharion-like raid and less of an actual progression instance, the fact is that after Halion and company go down, Deathwing's emergence will be soon to follow.
I talked last week about how the various trade skills can enhance your rogue in a multitude of ways. While these are certainly some of the more tangible benefits you can receive by working on your character's progression, there are several other ways to make your rogue all it can be. With Icecrown Citadel on farm status for many guilds, you might have some free time to start rounding out your rogue for Cataclysm's imminent release. Read on for a few pointers on how to get yourself into top shape for the upcoming expansion.
My first suggestion is something very close to my heart: every rogue should have his lockpicking capped out. Right now, that means your LP should be level 400. Blizzard realized how hard it was to level lockpicking back in vanilla WoW, and they've now started itemizing zones with tons of training chests for an easier leveling experience. They also increased the value of the items inside a junkbox, including gems and even a few epic items! Even with these improvements, there are still many rogues out there who simply have never bothered to level up LP. You should work on getting your LP to 400 during the leveling process, as this will allow you to unlock the hundreds of junkboxes that you'll be pickpocketing on your way to the next level cap. The doors to Violet Hold are also a great spot to level your LP, as you can do it every time you're in Dalaran, without having to waste any travel time.
I've been able to make a ton of money by simply advertising my lockpicking services in Orgrimmar and Dalaran, as there is nearly always someone who fished up a Titanium Lockbox and needs some assistance in opening it. I typically ask for a couple gold to open the boxes, and people are more than willing to pay the price, because they know they're guaranteed to get a valuable item inside of their lockbox. A friendly rogue with 400 LP is a valuable commodity; don't be surprised if you make your way onto the friends list of your customers and they come back for repeat business. Even putting the monetary value of LP aside, the ability to open nearly any door in the game is reward enough for leveling up to 400. You'll never have to worry about a key again!
A gank for every zone
I take too many screenshots. Seriously. I love being able to go back and fondly remember the younger years of my rogues, and I often browse through them when I'm feeling nostalgic. One project that I work on in every expansion is to monitor my character's growth and to document my progression through the zones as I'm leveling up. One thing that I like to do is start off every new zone I enter with a clean gank. Upon entering a new area, like Sholazar Basin, I'll immediately begin scouting for a member of the opposite faction to kill. It serves three purposes: It ensures that the Alliance knows that I'm here so that they have fair warning to run and hide, it removes one more of my enemies from the battlefield, and it makes for a great opening screenshot for my folder of that zone. I can go back and look at my characters, in their goofy-looking leveling gear, standing over the corpses of Alliance players from level 1 to 80. With many zones being completely revamped in Cataclysm, this may be your last opportunity to say, "I ganked this Alliance scum in the Barrens before it was split in two."
That's not just something you can enjoy, but you can turn it into a scrapbook to share with the next generation of WoW players to come. Try to document your growth and progress, because it makes your character more interesting than simply an avatar with which you use to cast Mutilate a lot. Even if you haven't been documenting your history up to this point, it's a great time to get in the habit. I'm not sure if you've seen the images from the Cataclysm alpha (Bibi was asked to pull them down), but the art department has been working overtime; there are going to be a lot of screenshot-able moments from level 80 to 85.
Wrap up any lore quest lines
If you've been reading any of Anne and Rossi's work on Know Your Lore, you know that Cataclysm is shaping up to have more lore happening per square inch than any expansion to date. While toppling the Lich King was a Big Deal, the fact is that Deathwing is older, meaner and isn't content with hanging around in Northrend while his minions do his bidding. Deathwing is going to break the world, and I'm pretty sure the Old Gods are involved as well. Nothing this big has ever occurred, and that means that what's happening up north now will be a footnote in the extended history of Azeroth compared to this.
If you're looking to close this chapter in the history of WoW when Cataclysm is released, I suggest going through every zone in Northrend and completing any lore-based questlines you can find. They're all relatively easy as a rogue, since we can sneak in, kill any necessary targets and sneak right back out. While we may not be as powerful as a warlock or mage at dispatching a huge group of enemies, we simply use our Stealth to bypass the mobs instead. We work smarter, not harder. You'd figure it would be the other way around, with casters having intellect on their gear and all, but obviously they're not putting it to much use.
Clearly, there are a lot of preparations you can make when getting ready for Deathwing's arrival. What have you been working on to put the finishing touches on Wrath, and what are you looking forward to the most in Cataclysm? Personally, I can't wait to see how they redesign the talent trees around utility instead necessity, and figuring out how to get every last ounce out of Smoke Bomb.