When it comes to leveling a rogue, or farming as one, combat spec is best. You can find a number of combat specs easily with a quick Google search, but I'll present my personal favorite in my next article. Still, just because you are specced right doesn't mean you are playing right, so in this article I'll explain how to play a combat rogue effectively for leveling or farming.
First, a few ground rules.
1. ALWAYS KEEP SLICE AND DICE UP. Seriously, WAY too many Rogues ignore this. Slice and Dice is worth more DPS than anything else you could be doing 99% of the time. Not using it is SEVERELY gimping you.
2. Your main hand weapon should be the highest average min/max damage weapon you can find, NOT the highest DPS. For your offhand, you want the highest DPS weapon you can get under 1.6ish speed. Generally, while leveling, this means you will be mainhanding a Mace and offhanding a dagger. You will get more options as you get into Burning Crusade content, but this is pretty much the rule until then. So make sure to grab your mace training as soon as possible.
3. Keep your poisons up! Also, for leveling or farming, unlike raiding, you will usually kill the enemy too soon for the effect of Deadly Poison to reach its potential. So I recommend Double Wounding (Instant if you can't use Wounding yet) for normal enemies.
4. Keep your gear updated! Seriously, even if this is your first character, you should be able to keep geared up in greens and the occasional blue and still get your mounts as long as you sell every non-food white or better item you find. I recommend creating a level 1 alt to sit at the mailbox in a major city, and just mailing all your crap too him any time you are near a box. Use him to post all the crap. As for WHAT gear to get...I'd make sure you have just enough Stam that the best food item will mostly fill your bar, otherwise go for pure AP while leveling: Agi and Str are worth 1 AP each as a Rogue, so "Of the Tiger" and "Of Power" items are your best bet. Use "Of the Monkey" greens if you need the extra health.
Ok, now, on to how to actually fight enemies. Most of your Rogue career will play the same.
1. Stealth up and open with Garrote. Only use Cheap Shot if you need the extra SnD time the 2 points give compared to the 1 point, or you are taking too much damage.
2. Slice and Dice.
3. Spam Sinister Strike. Most enemies will die before the next step.
4 a. If they are at or above 65% health, wait until you have 5 CP then use Rupture.
b. If they are below 65% health, wait until you have 3 CP then use Eviscerate.
c. Use Slice and Dice if the damage from Eviscerate/Rupture won't kill it and Slice and Dice is about to drop.
Now, as you gain levels, you will gain several new abilities from Talent points. Use these abilities as often as their cool downs allow. Don't do something stupid like use Adrenaline Rush on an enemy that's halfway dead, but otherwise use them as often as possible. When possible, pull an extra mob when you are about to use Blade Flurry to get optimum efficiency. And if your Killing Spree is doing more damage than one mob can survive, grab another.
This doesn't just apply to Talent abilities, by the way. Use your trinkets and defensive abilities too. Evasion will reduce the damage you take, leading to less downtime. And it will even increase your DPS once you get Unfair Advantage! Even Sprint can be useful, allowing you to get to the next mob quicker, maybe while AR or BF is still active.
If you liked this article, and are looking for a Warcraft questing guide to go with this, be sure to check out my Leveling Guide Review.