Warlock Info
November 29, 2005 11:00 AM   Subscribe

What advice do you have for a WoW player starting a warlock for the first time? What is the cookie-cutter talent build? What are the main party responsibilities? How should PvP be approached? Any advice is welcome.
posted by furiousxgeorge to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total)
There are quite a few forums devoted to extensive analysis of class builds, skills, and techniques with that class. I don't play WoW, but when I gave it a trial run I saw some pretty in-depth analysis on the various boards I checked out.

Try reading the IGN Warlock Forum. I guarantee they've discussed these questions and more.
posted by agropyron at 11:14 AM on November 29, 2005

Soo....I played a warlock through to 60 on a PvP server, so I guess I can give my take.

Cookie-cutter talent build. Nowadays it's Master Demonologist + Ruin. So something like 0/26/25. But you can vary that a little. I think you have something like 7 points to play with after getting MD and Ruin.

Party responsibilities. Depends a little on whether you're Horde or Alliance. If you're Alliance, you're the only class that can self-rez via a soulstone. So it's your job to make sure a rezzer (priest or paladin) has a soulstone on them. If you're Horde, a shaman could do that too, but you may not have one in your party. If people will take them (and you've got enough soul shards), you should distribute healthstones as well, at least for boss fights.

Other responsibilities...well traditionally we were a debuff class. But our debuffs aren't so hot, really. Basically limited to Curse of Shadow and Curse of the Elements, depending on whether you've got a mage with your or not. Curse of Recklessness is 'okay' but not great. Sunder Armor, for instance, is way, way better.

One other responsibility: crowd control. For warlocks, this means fear, banish, and (to a lesser extent) enslave demon. Banish is very nice...the enemy just sits there for a pretty long while. Fear is substantially iffier...only really usable in isolated areas or when there are no other mobs left that might be drawn in by the feared mob running around. Enslave demon is very niche...obviously only usable on demons, and using it means giving up your regular summoned demon. But there are times when it's super useful. Banish (because it works on elementals) is essential in Blackrock Spire and Molten Core.

Apart from combat you'll do a lot of summoning in order to get a party together in one place. Get used to it. One thing though...when you get asked for summons by random people, always charge for it. The going rate on my server was 10s per person involved in the summon, for a total of 30s. Remember, summoning takes a shard, which takes time to make. It's not really free.

When in a party, you almost always want the imp out for the blood pact buff. There are a few exceptions (mainly high-level fire-based instances).

PvP...hoo-boy. There are a couple basic strategies. One is to try to up your survival a bit with things like Master Demonologist + Voidwalker or Felhunter. Having the void out means that taken melee damage is reduced and you can always sacrafice the VW for a shield (using the VW's sacrafice) or for health regeneration (using demonic sacrafice). Here's one useful trick: sacrafice the VW using DS, then summon an infernal. The infernal only takes 2 seconds to summon, so it's doable in PvP. Since the last patch, you get a guaranteed 5 minutes with the infernal before it breaks the enslavement and tries to kill you. So it can be a nice way to turn the tide in PvP.

The other strategy is to go hardcore destruction and try to out DPS the enemy. This can work, but in my experience it's a harder path to follow. Mages and rogues generally have us beat in the DPS department, and we aren't quite hardy enough to survive an encounter for long.

Some warlocks do engineering so they can use various engineering devices to supplement the things we lack (snares, certain debuffs, etc). I've heard of people having success with this strategy, but it's not very common. Which could work to your advantage, who knows? One thing is for sure: engineering is the only skill that you have to have in order to use its products. That is, anyone can drink any potion or have any enchantment, but only engineers can use most engineering devices.

So, now that I've finished outing myself as an enormous nerd, I'll second agropyron's advice and say to seek out some strategy guides. Also, read the WoW forums (well, the warlock forum, anyway). Although beware, there is an -enormous- amount of bitching on that forum. Warlocks more than any other class feel that they've been utterly crapped on for the last several patch cycles. Frankly I tend to agree. I gotta tell ya, you've picked a difficult class to play. Good luck.
posted by jedicus at 11:44 AM on November 29, 2005

Thanks. For the benefit of any other replies, Undead, and on a PvP server.

Jedicus, could you go more indepth on the specifics of the 0/26/25 talent build? If you have the time, make a template from the wow site. *pretty please with cherry on top*. I'm really not good at choosing talent points and prefer not to think about it, best to just have someone to blame (you) if things go wrong down the line.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:51 AM on November 29, 2005

Also, I'm only lvl 18 right now, but I can't fathom the imp being used as often as it apparently is. health buff is nice, but a priest can do it better....and the imp dies quick...

Not doubting it is true, but would be great if someone could explain why the imp is so cool.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:55 AM on November 29, 2005

I can't add a lot to jedicus's excellent summary, since I've only played a lock to 20 or so. However, I'm thinking of making him my "main" alt and seeing if I can level to 60. It's an interesting class, and one of the more challenging ones to play effectively.

My best friend has played a lock to 60, though, and I've partied with many. So: seconded on the soulstone duties, and the summoning. I know the summoning can be a pain, but it can be a lot easier to gather the final spots for a pick-up group if you can offer instant summoning to anyone that joins. People can be dicks about it, and you generally shouldn't have to summon anyone that's in-zone or who should have been able to run to the instance more quickly than you, but it really can speed up that last pre-instance bit where you're waiting for the tank or one more healer.

You're generally a debuff/DPS class, only slightly less squishy than a mage or a priest. Warlock AoE spells are handy, but you need to make sure that a healer is watching you closely since your AoE hurts you as much as it hurts the bad guys.

My low-level lock is an engineer, as is my high-level friend. Engineering is (arguably) the most powerful profession, but it is a money-sink like almost no other. The high-level recipes like the transporter, the jumper cables, and the repair bot have no equal in the game.

On preview: I think the imp stamina buff stacks with the priest's, but I'm not sure. As well, the benefit of the imp as a pet is that it's phased and not going to draw any aggro and wipe the party like hunter pets love to do when the hunter forgets to dismiss them.
posted by flipper at 12:10 PM on November 29, 2005

yeah the imp stacks and hides, but he doesn't equal power word fort as far as i can tell...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:19 PM on November 29, 2005

....priest was the last class i played..
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:19 PM on November 29, 2005

So...the imp is cool because if you have improved imp and improved firebolt, he becomes a 1s firebolt gatling gun for about 20 seconds (when his mana runs out). Also, he doesn't take a shard to summon, and between the health buff and the fact that you'll be pulling most of the aggro in the later levels, he doesn't die all that often unless the enemy has an AoE attack. He almost never pulls the aggro in a party situation.

So, combine all that with the fact that PvP fights are generally very short (so running out of mana isn't a big worry), and you have the imp as the most all-round useful pet. More health is always a good thing, and more DPS is always good. The other three pets are much more situational. Well, four if you count the infernal. Frankly, the doomguard is almost never used. Most warlocks don't even bother getting the spell.

Good choice picking undead, by the way. Between WotF and scavenging they've got the best racial abilities for a warlock, in my opinion.

Oh, despite what the warlock items will suggest, stamina and intellect beat spirit any day of the week. Seriously.

Here's a template.

That one is 0/30/21. The 0/26/25 was wrong because I forgot that Master Demonologist takes 5 points to max out. You basically gotta do 0/30/21 to get both MD and Ruin, but you can play around with some of the lower tiers a little.

Here's a level 18 template. In the near term I'd finish improved healthstone, then start putting points in the destruction tree.

flipper: Yes, the stamina buffs stack. And when you've got both plus Mark of the Wild plus Blessing of Kings it's truly awesome. Generally, all the class buffs stack. The only thing that doesn't stack is if you, for instance, have two warlocks in a party. The two blood pacts don't stack. So one of them should use a different pet unless you have a good reason to have two imps.

furiousxgeorge: Not being as good as PW:Fort is not a big deal because you'll almost always have a priest in your party. Also, if it's a shadow priest (without any talents for PFF), and you've got improved imp, I think blood pact might actually beat PW:Fort. Last but not least, I dunno if it's fixed, but for the longest time there was a bug whereby mousing over the BP icon showed only the base stamina increase without the bonus conferred by improved imp. So there's that, too.

Anyway, in a group situation the other pets have limited utility. The VW is nowhere near as good a tank as a warrior, for instance. The felhunter is also pretty iffy as it only does good things for you, not the group. The succubus can be useful for snaring humanoids, but that's why god invented mages (for sheeping). Anywho, personal preference and strategy obviously comes into it, but most people use the imp in groups. Many still use it when soloing until they've got Master Demonologist. But find out what works for you.
posted by jedicus at 12:24 PM on November 29, 2005

I've only got a level 35 warlock and I mainly do a lot of PvE soloing, but I really like the Affliction talent tree. I toss on some DoT's and then keep the aggro on me while I Drain Life/Siphon Life and my succubus provides some extra damage. It's been working pretty well so far. I definitely recommend putting at least the 5 points in Affliction needed to make Corruption instant cast. I plan to go up to at least 31 in the Affliction tree and then use my imp as a walking mana battery with Dark Pact. I'll probably end up putting the rest of my points in Demonology.
posted by shinji_ikari at 12:59 PM on November 29, 2005

shinji_ikari: Oh, affliction is great for PvE grinding. It can be used in battlegrounds (i.e., non-1 on 1 PvP) via spamming Siphon Life and other DoTs. But for 1on1 PvP it's not very effective. You just can't heal yourself faster than a rogue can demolish you, especially if they get the drop (and they usually do).

Normally I'd say that instant-cast corruption was good except that the MD/Ruin combo doesn't allow for any points in the affliction tree.

For higher-level group instance runs, affliction is also not so great. Speed is of the essence because most people are running these instances over and over and over again. For mana, just use lifetap like a mad man. Any priest worth their salt will know to keep you alive.
posted by jedicus at 1:05 PM on November 29, 2005

hi. I also played a warlock to 60. undead. pve server which makes a huge difference. and I quit long before any of the (socalled) warlock improvements came out.

I was a darkpacter. this was back in the day when demonogy was useless and all the third tree(forget name) had to offer was ruin. I maxxed out affliction. there are alot of nice things along the way and on a pve server where you can grind in contested territory to your hearts content the only thing you wanna worry about is mana. with darkpact you NEVER sit down. Just pullout your imp have him phase shift and wait around til you need mana. then tap tap tap. you end up spamming this alot but it soon becomes second nature. 4 taps while running form one mob to another should give keep you up and running indefinatetly.

you can solo REALLY well as a warlock (again in pve environment) and out of all the classes I have tried I have only been able to beat higher level elites with my lock. a wide open space and fear and you will take down anything. I've laid waste to the elite giants(59 - 60) in winterspring like nobodies business starting at lvl 55. People will say it is not the best way to lvl and they are probably right but it sure is fun!

you have decent crowd control but will need to know when to use what. succi for humaoinds and seduce one while you kill another. if you know what youare doing you should be able to kill three humaoid mobs at once with fear one mob, seduce second mob, kill third, seduce former feared mob and kill second (former seduced). BUT humanoids will pull friends when they are feared and this is when fear always bites you in the butt. never freak and fear stuff. you will die.

learn what you can fear freely. there are certain types of mobs that do not communicate. that means you can fear them to your hearts content, they can run right through friends and family and not aggro them.

I shelved the imp early in my career as well. then pulled him back out at 60. imp sta buff plus a lvl 50 priests fortification buff is ALOT of extra hit points for your main tank.

each pet really is useful for specific tasks. a voidwalker is a horrible tank and will never hold aggro if anything welse is attacking the mob. but a voidwalker is an excellent off-tank. a tank that just holds a second mob while you and your buddies pound away on the first mob. you all burn one mob then all focus on the one the VW was holding. no one should ever touch the VWs mob until the first one is burnt down becuase they will surely pull aggro and then they own that mob. VW can even hold two smaller mobs like this for quite some time.

pvp. I never pvp. i quit long before there were any rewards for pvp. i have zero advice about this. when I played a warlock was the prime target of any rogue. now with the demonology build that you can share damage with your pet I think you can soak up a shitload of dam from a rogue. A BS rogue has a great opener and can stun you a bit but with demonspecced ou should outlast his intial damage and stun and then he is a gonner.

ah WoW. I could go on and on. warlock is in my opinion the most versitile and fun to play class in the game. just be ready to play alone alot becuase people might rather have another mage in thier group over you. especially if they have a shammie to res already.
posted by darkpony at 1:07 PM on November 29, 2005

Though I should point out that an Affliction build would probably not be too great for the end game raid instances since it relies a lot on Drain Life and the shorter range of that spell would probably get you killed by boss AoE in no time. That's fine with me though, since I have no real interest in running Timesink Cavern

(On preview: jedicus has already pointed this out)
posted by shinji_ikari at 1:10 PM on November 29, 2005

"For mana, just use lifetap like a mad man. Any priest worth their salt will know to keep you alive."

i would disagree with this. any 60 priest i ever met hates lifetap with a vengence. Thier mana is more important than your in an instance. you are dumping your health for more mana with the expectation that they will restore your health? not going to make many people happy there. A good group should never start a big fight low on mana so it shouldn't really be a problem. if you are ina long fight with no darkpact you can lifetap but you will want to bandage that health back yourself and not rely on the priest who is busy keeping your main tanks up and running.

outside of combat you will have plenty of 60 magewater to drink. or jump around darkpacting until everyone is fully pissed off at you.

until a wipe and your soulstone saves the day.
posted by darkpony at 1:12 PM on November 29, 2005

imp sta buff and fort stack. very nicely. BUT your war can run out of the imps range and lose his buff. this is like instantly getting critted by a baddie. whoosh couple hundred hp gone. one more reason to have someone else besides your main tank pulling.
posted by darkpony at 1:15 PM on November 29, 2005

darkpony: I had a very different experience with lifetap. I used to run out of mana then have to spend time drinking in instances. It was actually the priests who told me to start lifetapping so the group could keep moving.

Also, for a quick recharge, lifetap + bandages works pretty well, even in combat.
posted by jedicus at 1:29 PM on November 29, 2005

I suppose if the priest suggests it. but I would never start lifetapping with the expectation that the priest loses his mana for the sake of mine.

but you are right these things vary from group to group.
posted by darkpony at 1:33 PM on November 29, 2005

also regarding racial talents warlocks are are deepsea divers of WoW.
posted by darkpony at 1:35 PM on November 29, 2005

er. undead warlocks.
posted by darkpony at 1:35 PM on November 29, 2005

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