These are level 70 builds designed for TBC, kept here for archiving purposes.
Combat Daggers is a PvE build for high raid damage. It depends on Backstab and maintaining Slice and Dice to do most of its damage. Before the Burning Crusade expansion, it was the highest damage build available, but currently is roughly equal to Combat Swords/Fists. Due to the nature of Combat Potency, overall regen is largely determined by the quality and speed of your offhand dagger 1.3-1.5.
With the release of 3.0.2 the assassination tree got a very interesting talent for raiders called Turn the Tables, whenever anyone in your party or raid (that's the important bit) blocks,dodges or parries an attack your chance to critically hit increases by 2%/4%/6% (for 1/2/3 points spent) for all combo moves for 8 seconds. This should mean that Turn the Tables will be active often from tank blocks, dodges, or parries.
A staple of rogue raid DPS would be the use of Slice and Dice. With the Cut to the Chase talent in this build, Every Eviscerate and Envenom finishing move has a 100% chance (if all points are in it) to refresh the Slice and Dice cooldown to its maximum time. This allows the player to save the energy and spend it on more damage oriented finishing moves and it frees up the space in the rotation to implement the new ability Hunger For Blood which is a stacking buff that increased damage dealt by up to 9% if all three stacks are up. This ability has a 30 second duration so the ability will need to be refreshed to keep the increased damage buff.
The ability rotation for this build should be: 4-5s/4-5r/4-5env
Opening with Mutilate is actually the best choice for this build because of Overkill which reduces the energy cost of abilities used while stealthed and for 6 seconds after breaking stealth by 10. To maximize DPS Deadly poison should be used on the mainhand while instant poison is used in the offhand.
With T5 or better geared rogues, this spec can easily pump out up to 1800 DPS on a single target. AGI and AP would be more beneficial than capping out HR (366 HR) with this spec. Extra HR and Haste are a major plus.
Alternative build that focuses on envenom as the only finishing move and different placement of left over points: 51/5/5
Combat swords is currently recognized as, and is mathematically, the best DPS build. You can proc an extra MH attack from sword specialization with either hand. You'll want a quick off-hand, like Latro's Shifting Sword from Black Morass, for beginners. The next best upgrade is S2 Gladiators Sword for Combat Potency purposes. Aggression and Surprise Attacks boost the damage of your Sinister Strike while BF, imp SnD and Dual Wield spec increase your white damage. AR gives you a nice boost in yellow damage every 5 minutes. Surprise Attacks also makes your finishers unable to be dodged. With Precision and stacked hit rating, as long as you are behind a target, your finishers cannot miss or be dodged which means they will always connect.
You can take this build and sub in Fist Spec for combat fists. You are better off with a 1.3s dagger like Warp Splinter's Thorn than with any of the low level off-hand fists. The arena season 2 offhand fist is 1.5s, and is the next best upgrade to the dagger and should be taken. Both fist weapons from Al'ar are great as well.
Going with Mace spec and some better pvp talents also make for a great build with S2 Gladiator's weapons. The DPS in raids is not as strong as swords and fists, but still respectable. With some slight changes this can also be a decent pvp build.
WARNING: To those who spec into Killing Spree, it WILL break CC. Nice rogue version of AoE but not smart to use in a raid where CC breaks could cause a wipe. Hopefully they'll fix this soon. Also has potential to apply poisons which could make it difficult to "re-sheep".
This build was developed mid-2007 as a test spec and had some early success, but later was found to be inferior to combat. With the hemo changes of Patch 2.3 this changed. In theory, this build should have increase raid DPS more than your personal DPS lost by not speccing into combat. In reality, this never came to pass as the hemo debuff was bugged and spells were removing charges and not ticking the extra damage. This bug was not fixed until Patch 2.3.2 came out.
Another variant of this build is to move 1 point from your weapon spec to finish off Dirty Deeds to increase damage against those under 35% health. The difference in DPS vs 11/28/22 is negligible at best and because of raid conditions and variable situations you'd never be able to tell the difference. Mathematically though, the DPS is slightly higher.
Another version of the tri-spec is 11/21/29. This spec shifts the talents out of the weapon specialization and over to deadliness. Unfortunately, the DPS of this spec is slightly lower than the DPS of 11/28/22 or 11/27/23 even when you lack swords. 5% crit with fist spec and the increased crit damage of mace spec are still mathematically better than 4 in deadliness.
When 2.3.2 came out and hemo was nerfed, these builds became mathematically poor vs combat in all aspects. These builds are now obsolete vs combat and shouldn't be used if you want to achieve your full DPS potential.
This build has only been around for a very short while following the Shadowstep buffs (patch 2.3) and especially after the HARP (Hemorrhage/Adrenaline Rush/Preparation) build was altered to only allow one Adrenaline Rush at a time (Patch 2.3.2). It focuses on increased mobility and using a buffed SC/Hemo as your primary CP generator. This is a PvP build only and Maces and Fists can be used as well.
The 2 points in Improved EA are interchangeable and can be moved back to lethality, but because of resilience many people believe the benefit of Improved EA on cloth and leather targets to be more valuable than increasing damage that is decreased by resilience. This tends to be a bracket and team dependent decision though.
This build is a solid PvP build. Overall damage will be decent because of Hemo + Sinister Calling + Serrated Blades. Prep helps immensely and if you happen to get into a longer arena match, Endurance could come into play. You have the ability to Ghostly Strike/Evasion which will yield over 100% dodge and Cheat Death for some survivability. Overall, this build has been popular and used with success in sub-1900 arenas.
This was "THE" build of 2.3. Post-2.3.2 this build is less attractive because AR was removed from Prep. Maces are the key to this build with the added mace stun effect. This was also a solid build before the hemo buff of Patch 2.3, and many used it with SS. If you do choose to move some points and use SS as your primary attack instead of hemo, picking up Blade Twisting for the daze effect would be wise. Improved Kick for the silence is also a nice bonus.
This was the PvP hemo spec of old, and variants could have some decent impact after Patch 2.3.2.