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Encrypted Text: One last look at the rogue of Azeroth past


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Today, we look back on the great kills of the past.
With The Shattering's complete ruination of the planet, Azeroth has been transformed forever. Entire zones have been uprooted, flooded, and even broken in half. Deathwing's ascent to the mortal realm has left our world with several battle scars. Thrall and the shaman are doing trying their hardest to contain the damage, but the elemental planes are bleeding through. Insert some bad pun using the word Cataclysm here.

Rogues have been sneaking through Azeroth for eons. Mages weren't around until a race discovered magic, and priests couldn't heal anyone until they discovered the Light. The art of stealth has been around for as long as there have been shadows to hide in. We've walked a million miles without ever leaving a footprint and killed a million foes whose bodies were never found. As we watch the Azeroth we've known and loved disintegrate around us, I can't help but remember our history.

The infamous poison quests

Azeroth's a pretty big place. When Blizzard designed the game, its developers knew that many players were going to have problems coping with the sheer size of the world. New characters start in an isolated zone, and the environment is gradually opened up to them, like petals on a flower unfurling. Quest givers begin to hand out missions that lead us to distant lands, and players learn to travel the land to seek out their goals. Many classes' trainers give them specific assignments to help them improve their skills.

The rogue trainers of both the Alliance and the Horde had a tried-and-true method for figuring out which rogues were worthy to yield our powerful poisons. We were given an assignment to retrieve potent poison samples from the enemy, and we were instructed to find the hidden rogue agent who was monitoring the shipment. Our rogue mentors even made it a point to specifically stress the importance and sensitivity of this stealth mission. This was our first chance to prove exactly how sneaky we could be.

Alliance rogues sneak, Horde rogues stab

Regardless of your faction, you were tasked with meeting the stealth operative in the field. Whether you found the agent stealthed near a tree or used a signal to bring him out of hiding, they both gave you the same task: Obtain a key held by an important guard, sneak into the tower undetected, and retrieve the secret poison mixture at any cost. As a member of the Horde, you didn't shy at the thought of shedding blood and simply assassinated the guards and ultimately broke into the locked chest.

As an Alliance rogue, you had the option of using subterfuge to obtain the poison shipment. With a few quick Saps and a bit of quick thinking, you simply pickpocketed the key and absconded from the tower with the poison in tow. Or, you brutally slaughtered all of the Defias mercs in the tower. Either way, you succeeded in your mission and headed out with the prized poison sample. Sure, you got yourself poisoned as well by opening the chest, but that's for the healers to worry about. What's important was the opportunity to strut your stuff in front of the rogue leaders. You had to use stealth, trickery, and a bit of brute force to produce results. It was one of the few times in WoW that we've been rewarded for actually playing like a rogue.

Our favorite ganking spots

Let's be honest here, you've killed before. No rogue can reach level 80 without assassinating a few enemies along the way. It's our duty to execute the weak, leaning the pack of the members that lag behind. We've spilled blood on every single continent and every single zone; we have coated the ground with scarlet and littered bodies in our wake. Now, as Azeroth herself swallows up entire patches of earth and water, will we even be able to recognize our old killing grounds?

My favorite gank spot has to be the doors of Scarlet Monastery. It's a closed, indoor environment, which prevents my opponents from simply getting on their mounts and riding away. With a single point of entry, I can easily watch a single door and be certain that my opponents can't sneak in or out. Finally, SM has always been a popular grinding hotspot for farmers and a place to grind out gear and experience as new characters are leveling up. Lastly, it's far enough away from flight points and cities to make massive numbers of reinforcements very unlikely. When the perfect ganking conditions and a popular zone collide, you can be sure to find a rogue's blades hiding in the shadows nearby.

Stranglethorn Vale is another zone that has seen its fair share of carnage. When Zul'Gurub had just been released, guilds were clamoring over the idea of a smaller raid in a brand new environment. Unfortunately for them, rogues are the masters of guerilla jungle combat. As one raider would get separated from his friends while riding through the lush valleys, we would be there to assassinate him before his friends could even react. Scouts who were sent to the summon at the gates of Zul'Gurub would often find themselves murdered -- a warning for those who dared to travel unprotected.

We'll find new shadows

While we could sob quietly to ourselves and reminisce about forgotten memories of the past, we're not priests; we have better things to do. The world is in chaos, and there are confused people trying to cope with a rapidly changing environment. Where there's chaos, there's uncertainty. Where there's uncertainty, there's fear. Where there's fear, there are rogues in the shadows, embodying the fear itself. It's our job to capitalize on this rare opportunity to catch our enemies off guard. They're weak right now, and we wouldn't be rogues if we weren't out there doing our due diligence.
Check back every Wednesday for the latest strategies in Encrypted Text! Read up on the most popular pre-expansion questions, deep-dives into current class mechanics, and crucial spec and glyph choices for patch 4.0.1! Not sure what your rotation is going to look like at level 85? Read the rotation guide for Cataclysm!

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