So, you're thinking of playing a Warlock? This page is intended to give a short overview of what to do over the first 10 levels or so, just to get you started on the right path. If you're looking for more of an overview of the class's abilities, see the main Warlock page. For more advanced topics, see the Warlock Tactics.
For even more info on Warlocks, see Category:Warlocks.
For an in-depth guide on leveling a Warlock, see Leveling a Warlock.
For a more general overview on starting out playing WoW, see the Newbie Guide
The warlock will be expected to fill many different roles, depending on the situation and sometimes depending on individual fights within an instance. Warlocks are considered by many players to be one of the easier classes to play because of the minions available and crowd control abilities. A player may not necessarily need to master all aspects of the Warlock in order to succeed in the game, especially in PvE. However, a warlock played well can attain elite status and is a welcome addition to any party.
- Crowd Control
- Damage over Time (DoT)
- A warlock specializing in DoT spells (Affliction) is normally also blessed with additional self-healing abilities because of the length of time needed for the spells to kill. In parties or PvP, DoTs can be used to great effect on enemies who either are engaged but can't immediately be battled by melee players (such as tanks) or who are trying to escape.
- Damage per second (DPS)
- Healing & Resurrection
- The warlock is never used as a Healer. However, the warlock can create Healthstones and pass them around to party members, which can be used like healing potions. Warlocks can also create soulstones, which can be cast on a player (or on themselves) prior to their death, and used as a resurrection spell. The warlock, via the soulstone, is one of the only classes who can cause other party members to self-resurrect, which comes in handy in PvE. But, especially with five-man instances, this will be most beneficial to cast on the Healer in the party, because then they can resurrect everyone else.
The following races can play as a warlock:
Be sure to check each of the racial traits. Some are very useful to warlocks, and others less so. However, each race does have something useful for you, so don't fret too much about it.
- Main article: Leveling a warlock
The easiest way to progress through the early levels is to simply do any and all quests you can find. Not only will you breeze through the first 5 to 10 levels, but you'll get useful gear and precious money.
Make sure you get all the spells you can from your trainer. It's important to keep up with your spell training, as quests become more and more situational in nature.
It's a good idea befriend a Leatherworker to obtain armor kits at the earliest opportunity (or get them at an AH) in order to upgrade your weak armor as you level.
In general, for PvE attacks, you want to start with your slowest cast first. Before the mob attacks, you will have all the time in the world to cast, but after it starts charging, most may reach you before you get the first shot off. Then you can follow with your instant cast spells. In most cases, should be used sparingly. When a mob runs around randomly while feared, it can pull other mobs to attack you as if it were asking for help. There is a glyph that will make the Feared target shiver in place instead of running around, but you can't activate that one until level 25. (Fear should almost never be used in Dungeon instances.)
By contrast, in PvP, you should generally want to open with either Fear or your instant casts, because you can never be sure if you'll have enough casting time to haul off a bolt or another fire spell.
- The Sim Attack
- Some of your spells produce balls of energy which take time to reach the enemy. Others will instantly produce an effect upon casting. If you time the casts correctly, the ball attack and the instant attack will reach the target simultaneously, sometimes causing the target to lose over half its damage before it even has a chance to react.
- Start casting , then when it's on its way immediately start casting . As the bolt reaches the target, the Immolate cast should finish. Then your Imp can get involved and you're set. Many of your spells acquired at later levels will mimic this behavior, with balls or waves of energy taking their time to reach the target and others that instantly attack. Combine them appropriately.
- The Wipe Attack
- From a group of mobs, pick out one and set your imp to attack it. Then cast on it. While the Imp is attacking, Immolate another mob. When the first mob dies, your Imp will start attacking the second one, and you can then cast Immolate on the third one, etc. You can continue this way almost indefinitely at the lower levels to quickly wipe out a crowd.
- The Tank Attack
- The warlock's signature first move in a battleground is Fear. This helps your party by causing the enemy target to refrain from casting healing spells in addition to stopping an attack. However, if you're running around you can't cast Fear, so the best options while moving are your instant spells.
- Other Considerations
- vs. is choice between pure damage and sort of half-damage, half-healing. Drain Soul deals out much more damage over a longer period of time, whereas Drain Life deals some damage and heals you a little bit for a short period of time. Drain Life was a much more effective spell before Patch 4.0.1, but now it's a last ditch move to try and keep yourself alive.
The best way to solo is to send in your voidwalker pet (often abbreviated as VW) to tank and give it a couple of seconds to build aggro then DoT (damage over time, these include Immolate, Corruption, and Bane of Agony). Wait for mob to die then repeat. If you get aggro simply cast shadow bolt until it dies.
If you find yourself without a minion, summon one immediately using Soulburn. You have a soul shard ready, don't you?
Each pet has its own special benefits to you, your party, and those around you. Some may be good for PvP, while some may be useful for PvE. You may need to complete a quest to obtain the creature. Warlock soloing is equally about pet management as it is spell management.
- Your first pet, the Imp, is a ranged-attack specialist. It doesn't deal nearly the damage that, for example, a Hunter's pet can, but it's great at complementing your offensive spells. Set your Imp on attack, and then blast away at the target while its attention is elsewhere. You want to cause as much damage as possible before your target gets within melee range.
- Your main goal at the early levels is just to stay alive. Dying takes precious time away from gameplay. But don't worry if your Imp dies - you can resummon it at just the cost of mana. At later levels, the Destruction Warlock can upgrade the Imp to deal even more damage.
- At level 8 you get a voidwalker, a very effective tank.
- When coming upon a group of mobs (which hopefully have not recognized your presence yet), stand at a safe distance, select one of them, and send your Voidwalker out to make contact with it. If they are out of range of your spells, then immediately set your Voidwalker on Passive. The mob will follow. Once the mob is within range of your Corruption or Shadow Bolt spells, then put him back on the offensive, keeping the enemy occupied while you drain its life away from a safe distance. You can do this one-by-one or in groups. Make sure you keep track of your Voidwalker's health at all times. You have the ability to heal him if the need arises.
- The Voidwalker comes with a very nice bonus, which is a shield you can use like a Priest's bubble that protects you from all damage for 30 secs. Many Affliction Warlocks use Voidwalkers almost exclusively throughout the game just for this feature.
The Warlock in a group must really be aware of which spell to use in any given situation. This is not always true for PvE, where it's relatively easy to get back on track if you choose the wrong spell. The transition of roles from PvE to PvP or raiding/instances can be jarring especially for the new player. Your strategy may change from straight damage-dealer, to crowd control, to kiting specialist, to supporting damage with DoT, and then back again. The sheer number and variety of spells in your arsenal can get overwhelming at times. But if you consider your warlock as the ultimate situational player, you will be able to fully grasp how to handle virtually any situation.
It's important to consider the role your party will expect you to take. Essentially, you can become a master of pets, a crowd controller, or a straight damage-dealer. It's important to apply the proper curse or bane for a given situation. If you are grouped with friends who deal Nature-type damage, for example, apply as a debuff to targets, which increases their vulnerability to most schools of damage (Except Holy and Physical).
summons another party member to your location. While many instances have Meeting Stones that allow for party summons, a summon will often be requested for raids or hard-to-reach locations or even during instances when a party member drops out. This requires two other party members to help.
Be extremely careful with Fear while with a non-battleground party. Fear can by glyphed to make the target stay in place, which is extremely valuable in raids/instances. Unglyphed Fear is useful in very limited situations. But they are there, and include the following:
- If the healer is low on health and is getting pounded on. If your tank isn't getting aggro and you can't kill the enemy in time, go ahead and fear. Try and nuke it while it's feared so you will gain aggro, as a warlock generally will have more stamina and is a lessof a group-breaking loss than a main healer. I.e., it's better that you die and the Healer should live.
- If there's no chance to aggro any more enemies. These include event situations in which the mobs are already generated or in rooms with bosses that have been wiped clean beforehand. Be aware, however, that some bosses are immune to Fear.
- It's the only chance. If death is certain without use of fear, the risk is worth it.
At later levels you'll be required to . This is a form of Crowd Control that works on demons and elementals, making them invulnerable but unable to attack.
Soul Shards are now a rune-type resource, much like the Death Knights Rune system. The soul shards no longer take up space in your bag and you may now only carry 4 of them at a time. You can, however, glyph in such a way that you can carry 5. There used to be only one spell needing a soul shard: . For affliction warlocks however, there is a second spell that uses soul shards, being: . There are 2 current ways to gain soul shards. Using Drain Soul on an enemy whilst it dies is currently the most efficient way. You can also cast which will sometimes passively grant you a soul shard; using this in conjunction with will allow you to gain Soul Shards with a bit of luck in the midst of a big fight. All Shard Bags as of patch 4.0 have been converted into normal Bags.
Remember to use Soul Harvest often. The 30 second cooldown means it can be cast after almost every fight. And don't be afraid of using Soulburn either. The 45 second cooldown means that it can be used multiple times on many instance bosses and as an emergency way of regaining your minion if it dies.
The warlock can benefit directly and indirectly from many of the professions available.
- Tailoring is directly useful to the warlock for crafting Cloth armor (the only subset of armor available to warlocks). You can equip yourself with spiffy new duds, or sell it to purchase other things you need. However, to skill up tailoring requires large amounts of cloth, which you may wish to consider if you also take first aid.
- It should be noted that unlike most other crafting primary professions, Tailoring does not require a gathering profession, so you can take Skinning, Herbalism, or Mining and sell the materials to other players.
- Enchanting is another profession which the warlock can personally benefit from. "Green" (uncommon) items are broken down into essences which you can then use to enchant your own equipment with various stat boosts. Enchanting is also a good source of early access to wands, although any enchanter can make these for you. Enchanting is a good companion profession for Tailoring. Tailoring provides abundant amounts of "green" items for disenchanting, which in turn provides the components for your own enchantments.
- The Tailoring/Enchanting combination has normally been a popular combination for Warlocks. With the pre-Cataclysm mechanics of Soul Shards this was the best combination choice because both Tailoring and Enchanting were professions that had the most inventory space savings. Soul Shards used to be a one-per-stack inventory hog, which meant that the Warlock's inventory was precious and scarce. Tailoring offered the chance to convert 20-stack cloth into stackable bolts, saving inventory space. Enchanting, with lesser essences able to combine into greater essences, along with storing enchants on stackable vellum scrolls, was also inventory friendly. But after Soul Shards were made into a rune-like resource for the Cataclysm update, inventory was no longer an issue, and the Warlock is now free to take up other professions.
- Herbalism and Alchemy are useful for the warlock, and are essentially two Primary Professions that go hand in hand. Herbalism allows the gathering of various herbs, and the Alchemy profession allows the creation of various potions for use. Herbalism and Alchemy make for useful warlock professions because it's always handy to have plenty of health, mana, and stat-boosting potions in your arsenal for fighting. Given that several useful potions require fish, the fishing secondary profession (see below) is a wise choice for alchemists.
- Inscription can be a good profession for a warlock. Not only does it offer a convenient source of glyphs and scrolls of intellect, it also offers some off-hand tomes and at high levels some shoulder enchants.
- Engineering is a fun way to complement a warlock's skillset. You can craft very quick AoE bombs, which go well with the warlocks otherwise slow spells, and the high Stamina on goggles (a cloth item) allow for more health to Life Tap. The gimmick items, most importantly, Goblin Construction Hat and Goblin Dragon Gun, are fantastic to have, as the Hat will absorb the damage normally inflicted upon you by Hellfire. Goblin Engineering's specialty in explosives is incredibly handy, allowing you time to cast Fear against especially aggressive opponents. Comparatively, Gnomish Engineering far less useful to a Warlock.
- Jewelcrafting can be a good option. At low levels, it offers some useful rings and neckpieces that can be in short supply while leveling. At the higher levels, the warlock can cut gems and make useful BoP trinkets. However, the later levels of jewelcrafting are incredibly expensive with designs having low drop rates and high prices on the AH. An enterprising warlock can sell mining bars for a considerable amount, and it's a good investment once you reach the end, but is a best choice for someone with a high level character to help fund it.
- Two Gathering Professions
- Depending on the economy of your chosen server, you can select two gathering professions and sell everything you collect to other players for hard (virtual) currency. Mining and Herbalism give you the ability to see places to gather these as yellow dots on the minimap. Skinning doesn't allow you to see beasts, however. Enchanting can also be a gathering profession to a certain extent, when chosen for the ability to harvest enchanting materials (via disenchant) from Bind on Pickup items that no one in the party has a particular use for.
Start your professions early! It's usually not too expensive, and you want to ensure that the gear you create with your skills is applicable to your warlock's level.
Any or all four of the secondary professions are good for the warlock. With cooking, you can create yourself (or party members) various tasty treats for quick healing and mana regeneration. Fishing is good for getting fish to use in your recipes, or for catching random gear you can sell to vendors. First Aid is good for making bandages for quick healing after battle to recover your HP faster. First Aid works especially well for warlocks due to the spell Life Tap. Bandages can be used in battle, which allows for fast healing that translates into health that can be life tapped; it's as effective as a mana potion in returning mana, but requires cast time for Life Tap. Life Tap can also be used to fill up your mana between fights, and then immediately bandage to restore the life you just converted to mana, reducing your downtime to a minimum.
Also, since cooking offers many more health-restoring foods than mana-restoring foods and drinks, Life Tap can be used to turn stacks of cooked fish and meats into a poor-warlock's drinks.
Important long-term goals for the warlock include deciding how best to approach the soloing aspect to the game, your desired role in a party, and preparing yourself for late-game content (PvP, dungeons and instances, Battlegrounds, etc.)
What spec should you go? There are so many choices it can be hard to describe. You can see a high detail list at Warlock Talents. But you can get an overall idea right here.
- Destruction focuses on direct damage spells (aka Nukes) what with and Conflagrate it provides the highest Burst Damage of the talent trees.
- Demonology it's based around buffing you and your pet. Overall it provides higher survivability at the cost of Burst Damage. However as the fight goes on your damage output increases; with the likes of , your Felguard's , , and you can finish off weakened opponents quickly.
- Affliction works around slowly crippling your opponent with DoTs while staying alive with the likes of , and until your target inevitably dies. This tree also enhances the signature move of a PvP warlock: Fear with .