the Nether Walker
Warlocks are former arcanists, or in the case of the orcs, former shamans, who, in pursuit of ever-greater sources of power, have cast off their studies of the arcane or nature magics to delve deeper into the darker, fel-based magic of shadow.
Warlocks are renowned for their damage over time (DoT) spells and sinister Shadow magic, as well for summoning demonic minions and their ability to wreak havoc with destructive Fire spells. Warlocks can specialize in any of these areas: Affliction warlocks are the masters of damage over time, draining their targets' health with an array of powerful debuffs; Demonology warlocks summon improved Demons to do their bidding, drawing power from their minions and even transforming into Demons themselves; while Destruction warlocks call down a rain of fire upon their enemies, specializing in potent burst damage and Fire spells. According to the WoW Census, warlocks are the least represented class.
Warlocks are often maligned and mistrusted due to the nature of their powers.
Warlocks are masters of the dark arts, devoted to furthering their understanding and use of shadow and Fire based magics, along with the summoning of demons from within the Twisting Nether. They first appeared on Azeroth during the First War, when Gul'dan, the first of their kind among the invading orc clans of Draenor, led the Horde across the dimensional gulf through the Dark Portal while in servitude to the Burning Legion.
Warlocks are used as damage dealers, but can store the target´s soul to resurrect or heal himself by draining enemy's life. The warlock can summon an Imp without a Soul Shard. However, other demons require a soul shard or other reagents to be summoned.
In most societies, the warlocks now live on the fringe of civilization, tolerated but not trusted. Human warlocks meet in secret in the basement of a bar in Stormwind (The Slaughtered Lamb in the Mage Quarter). Thrall has expressed discomfort with the warlocks but understands the necessities in using them so he has allowed them the Cleft of Shadow. Conventional spell casters often see the warlock's magic as a vain attempt at increasing their own power.
Although many that consort with demons fall to darkness, the warlocks of the Horde and the Alliance advocate bending demonic forces to one's will without succumbing to complete corruption. These spell casters can summon demons to serve them, and they can also cast many painful spells that slowly eat at the life of their enemies. Warlocks are usually physically weak compared to other classes, but they compensate for this deficiency with their potent array of spells and their demonic minions. Compared to other spell casters, warlocks are among the strongest and often depend on the sacrifice of their own blood to fuel their magical powers.
On the world of Azeroth, there are many races who presently wield the dark power of the Nether. The playable races a warlock can choose from are the humans, gnomes, orcs, and undead. Each has its own history in the dark demon arts.
- File:IconSmall Archimonde.gif Archimonde
- File:IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Tichondrius
- File:IconSmall Annihilan.gif Magtheridon
- File:IconSmall Cho'gall.gif Cho'gall
- File:IconSmall Kil'jaeden.gif Kil'jaeden
- Nekros Skullcrusher
Warlocks are unique among the DPS caster classes because of their ability to convert health into mana. They can be + damage or + damage & crit players. Warlocks have the most powerful assortment of damage over time (DoT) spells when used in conjunction, and also the most variety in debuffs and summonable minions. Just like a mage, a warlock’s crowd control abilities appropriately used can stave off certain doom for the warlock and their allies, and the warlock’s sustained burst damage when suitably specced and geared can rival those of a mage. However, the warlock’s area of effect spells are not as varied as those of their mage brethren, although when used appropriately they have powerful applications in group play.
Warlocks are well versed in the "shock and awe" tactics of warfare, and their manipulation of shadow energies can send their opponents reeling in Fear. At low levels, warlocks rely primarily on minions and damage over time spells to deal damage while fearing their enemies to prevent retribution.
Endgame warlocks either choose to maximize the effects of their DoTs and curses through the Affliction tree, increase the utility of their summoned minions and stones through the Demonology tree, or lay waste the opposition with burst damage and direct damage spells in the Destruction tree. In previous versions of WoW, the 8-debuff and 16-debuff limits prevented warlocks from maximizing their damage output through affliction spells, and warlocks were relegated to chain-casting their direct damage spells to maintain DPS in PvE raids. This has changed and there is now no reachable debuff limit, and affliction DPS is now competitive in a raid environment.
Being a warlock demands certain things: being able to engage multiple targets simultaneously while keeping tabs on your minion, to make split-second strategic decisions on cast rotations depending on the situation, careful shard management and even more careful aggro management. Being a warlock also rewards many things: they are PvP powerhouses due to naturally high stamina values, the ability to apply debilitating crowd control abilities, and in PvE their damage output in multiple target situations can rival those of other DPS classes who focus fire on a single target.
Their ability to drain and use souls as Soul Shards is also appealing to many.
Weapons and armor
- Main article: Warlock sets
Warlocks can wear cloth armor only, and can equip staves, daggers, wands , and one-handed swords. Warlocks in particular benefit from off-hand items with increased stats equipped with a dagger or one-handed sword that confers increased spell power or other stats that otherwise complements the off-hand item. Staves also offer many warlock-friendly stats, but almost all of them come with stats that offer little benefit, such as Agility, Spirit, Frost damage, etc. Equipping one-hand items allows for finer control of these stats.
Stamina is one of the key warlock attributes, especially for warlocks specializing in demonology. The main reason for this is that warlocks can use Life Tap to convert their health to mana, thus allowing stamina to mostly fill the role for intellect as well. Many warlocks also depend on large health pools as their main source of defense. As a primarily spell caster, the warlock also has great use for all the standard caster attributes, such as intellect and spell power, but no use for strength or agility.
The value of other attributes — spell crit, spell power and spell hit — depends to some degree on the warlock's talent spec and play style. Spell crit is more useful for direct damage spells, especially with Ruin. Affliction warlocks, who rely more on DoTs, will benefit more from spell power than from spell crit.
In a raid scenario, spell hit rating takes precedence over all other stats, and it is advisable to reach the spell hit rating cap (17% as of 3.0.2, )taking Suppression into account for affliction warlocks. After that point, spell hit rating is useless; spell-hit-crippling debuffs are too few and far between to be considered.
In PvP for warlocks, the focus is somewhat different as survivability takes precedence. warlocks often choose to sacrifice DPS in order to obtain higher survivability in high end arena, regardless of talent choice.
Some of the warlock's skills and spells rely on the Soul Shard reagent. They are obtained by killing an enemy that yields experience or honor with the Drain Soul spell. Since soul shards did not stack, they use up a lot of space in the inventory. Special bags exist that could only contain soul shards, e.g. Core Felcloth Bag. The maximum amount of soul shards a warlock can carry is 28.
- Main article: Warlock races
The warlock class can be played by the following races:
- Main article: Warlock abilities
A warlock's DoTs are the bread and butter of their arsenal, regardless of talent specialization. The warlock's direct damage spells are either Shadow or Fire based. While a warlock's direct damage alone does not compare to the mage until Patch 1.12.1 with the release of Naxxramas, when coupled with their DoTs and a minion they can achieve strong, steady DPS to rival that of other classes. Some of a warlock's spells are channeled, and they can be protected from interruption by damage. The warlock has available a variety of curses, but only one type can be cast upon an enemy at a given time. This creates the need for determining an appropriate Curse in a given situation. The affliction talent Amplify Curse increases the damage of Curse of Agony by 50%.
The warlock has several other valuable spells at their disposal, such as utility spells.
Minions and mounts
Warlocks can summon a variety of minions, each exhibiting different skill sets which are useful in different situations.
- Imp is a warlock's first minion, providing ranged damage initially and useful passive abilities and procs at higher levels.
- Voidwalker, available at level 10, makes an excellent tank for a soloing warlock.
- Succubus is a female demon that offers arguably the highest damage output. She also has two useful crowd-control abilities, and , and is very good for PvP.
- Felhunter is a demon pet that increases the warlock's stealth detection and is able to remove harmful magical effects from the warlock or remove beneficial magical effects from an enemy. A useful PvP pet against caster classes.
- Infernal (warlock minion) is a temporary summoned demon that does a tremendous amount of AoE damage.
- Doomguard (warlock minion) is a temporary summoned demon that does a tremendous amount of direct damage to one or two targeted enemies.
In addition, warlocks can enslave demons found while adventuring, to act as their minions for a short time. The warlock will lose her existing minion while the enslaved demon is active.
- Felsteed (Level Obtained: 40, from Warlock Trainers)
- The Felsteed is the 'free mount' that warlocks receive at level 40. Other than paladins, all other classes must pay 10 gold for a mount and 90 gold for training to ride it. You also gain riding skill 75.
- Dreadsteed (Level Obtained: 60 from a lengthy quest chain originating from Burning Steppes)
Healing and conjured items
Another powerful ability of the warlock is to create Healthstones and Soulstones. These conjured items are used from the inventory, and only one each can be created and held at one time. Healthstones and Soulstones will disappear if the player logs off from the warlock character for more than 15 minutes.
A warlock is by no means a healer. However, healthstones can be given to party members, and soulstones can be cast on party members.
To heal others (or himself), a warlock can create a Healthstone and hand it to another friendly player via Trade. These can be improved through talents. Burning Crusade introduced the Ritual of Souls which creates a Soul Well from which Healthstones can be extracted by members of the party or raid group (10 or 25 depending on Ritual of Souls rank).
A warlock may use a Soulstone on a friendly player (or herself) before they die (15 minutes Buff duration and Cooldown), allowing them to resurrect on death without having to use a Graveyard. If a warlock uses a soulstone on another member of their party and the warlock or that member leaves the party, the buff is dismissed.
While the warlock can wield and attack with melee weapons, this is generally not recommended as the warlock's melee abilities do little damage in comparison to their array of offensive spells (exception: a warlock under the effects of Metamorphosis Metamorphosis, a demonology talent). Generally when an opponent gets within melee range the warlock's best bet is to use disabling spells such as Death Coil, Fear, Howl of Terror or Curse of Exhaustion to get away from the enemy.
If acquiring range is not possible a warlock is by no means helpless. Defensively, a warlock can share his damage with his pet via Soul Link, and reduce damage received with Demon Armor. Unlike a Hunter a warlock's ranged abilities have no minimum range and their powerful offensive spells can still be used to deal damage to opponents that are very close, though the spells will be more difficult to cast due to spell pushback caused by taking damage.
- Affliction - Affliction talents are largely based on increasing the effectiveness of DoTs, Drains, and Curses. Affliction's strengths are the ability to remain mobile in PvP, self-healing spells, and mana efficiency. In PvE, it's great for farming. Key talents include Shadow Mastery, Siphon Life, Fel Concentration, Curse of Exhaustion, Dark Pact, Unstable Affliction, Everlasting Affliction and Haunt. Its large DPS output as well as its mana efficiency makes it very good for raiding. However, it is mainly a boss killing spec, as most of the damage takes time and trash mobs usually do not live long enough for the warlock's DoTs to do their full damage. As of patch 4.2, Affliction warlocks now rely on Shadow Bolt as their main filler spell due to a downgrade in the damage of Drain Life.
- Demonology - Demonology talents are largely based on improving the effectiveness of your minions, conjure spells, and bestowing other passive bonuses. Demonology's strengths are its versatility and survivability. Key talents include Soul Link, Master Demonologist, Demonic Embrace, Demonic Knowledge, Demonic Empowerment, Demonic Pact, Summon Felguard, and Metamorphosis. Many use the demonology tree to overcome the scarcity of spell damage gear at early levels.
- Destruction - Destruction talents are largely based on increasing the effect of a warlock's Direct Damage spells, making them (and their dps pets) cast faster, crit more often, and ultimately deal more Burst Damage. Destruction's strength is its ability to quickly kill the enemy. Key talents include Improved Shadow Bolt, Conflagrate, Ruin, Shadowburn, Bane, Backlash, Shadow and Flame Empowered Imp, Shadowfury, and Chaos Bolt. Destruction is the only spec with high damage instant cast spells to quickly finish a fight, and the least mana efficient among the trees as well (however, all warlocks are still the most mana efficient class in the game due to their ability to steal health and use it to regain mana). The damage potential of the destruction Tree rivals a mage when properly specialized, as well the added benefit of pets. Specced with Destruction, , is the most damaging AoE ability in the game.
Talent builders can be found at Official Blizzard site, Wowhead, WorldofWar.se, WoW Vault (Limited to lvl 60), Thottbot, Merciless Talent Calculator (Limited to lvl 70). Talent builds are also documented from contributors. See the Warlock talents page for detailed information and talent trees.
The most popular combination of professions for warlocks is Tailoring and Enchanting. Both professions have consistently provided BoP type functionality (like and ) that benefit spell casters and are otherwise unavailable.
PvP centric warlocks may look to the gathering style professions - specifically Mining for Toughness and Herbalism for the self-heal Lifeblood. The additional crit chance provided by Skinning, Master of Anatomy, applies only to melee and ranged damage, and does nothing for spellcasting.
The remaining professions do not offer anything particularly warlock-specific, but, depending on server economy, may provide significantly more income.
Note: It is HIGHLY recommended that warlocks learn the secondary profession, First Aid. When running randoms, it is better to able to heal yourself after using Life Tap than to rely on the healer since you are effectively draining their mana which is needed to heal party damage taken. This will help reduce healer down time and allow them to focus on healing the tank.
Warlocks are taken to raids for their incredible dps and their raid utility. A warlock's abilities can bring a lot of support to parties, and they are usually biggest source of ranged DPS. Seed of Corruption, when properly used, makes a warlock extremely effective AOE DPS without putting the raid at risk. Using summon in order to teleport late comers, conjure Soulstones for raid recovery, and distribute Healthstones. Warlocks are also well known for their unique CC abilities such as Fear, Banish, Enslave Demon, Shadowfury, and Howl of Terror.
When doing raids, the warlocks normally assign the responsibility of casting curses between each other. Effective use of curses is expected. It's a warlock's responsibility to know what curse to use in a given situation unless the raid leader requests otherwise.
Due to a demonology warlock's great endurance and survivability, warlocks are also great for tanking Leotheras the Blind in Serpentshrine Cavern - repeatedly using Searing Pain makes the boss attack the warlock from a distance, allowing the melee DPS to stay close to the boss and avoid his Chaos Blast ability. Warlocks also play an important part in the Illidan fight as they must "Tank" Illidan during one of his phases.
Macros and addons
- Main article: Useful macros for warlocks
- Power Auras Classic is an addon for managing buffs, debuffs, auras, activated spell and ability timers and cooldowns, and a LOT more. It allows the user to track these specific things and create an images or icon on the screen for notification purposes. It also supports playing sound files and custom user graphics (targa format). Example screenshot: Screenshot The spell icons not on the cast bar are being monitored by what is on the dummy and for how long (when applicable) and also if either Shadowfury or Chaos Bolt are on cooldown.
- Bartender 4 is a cast bar enhancer. It allows up to 10 cast bars, a totem, pet, stance, and a vehicle bar. Some of the options include changing the alpha (visibility) of the cast bar, how many rows and columns per each bar, the location, size, and orientation of the bar, and under what conditions the bars appear under. It also supports modifying "special" cast bars such as vehicle weapons and the bite spell during the Queen Lana'thel fight in ICC.
- Necrosis LdC is based on Necrosis 1 by infernal. It is described by its author as "a mod to help warlocks managing their stones, shards and summoning of demons". It provides sound notifications for various events, for example when Nightfall or Backlash combat states occur. It also has the ability to send party/raid notifications when casting SoulStone, Ritual of Souls, Ritual of Summoning — and many other messages, which can all be customized. As such, this is a very useful addon and perhaps the most widely used of all the warlock specific addons.
- DoTimer is an addon that times DoTs that you cast on other people. It supports all classes. There are four functions performed by DoTimer: the base DoT timer, a cooldown timer, a communications addon that lets you communicate your timers to others in your party, and a customizable notifications addon that can be set to notify you or others of specific events.
- Natur EnemyCastBar shows all buffs and debuffs on your character making it exceptional for raiding.
- ForteXorcist (also here) shows spell timers, cooldown timers and messages that you can set for yourself or the raid. On top of that, it also offers support for tracking Soulstones, shards and healthstones as well as a summoning assistant. Also, although the addon is primarily targeted at Warlocks, ForteXorcist can also be used with the other classes. In essence, ForteXorcist provides what Necrosis and DoTimer does with a few added extras.
- List of warlocks
- Warlock instance grouping guide
- Warlock quests
- Leveling a warlock
- Warlock patch history
- Spell power coefficient