Warlock Leveling Guide : Warlock Spec, Talent Build, Gear & DPS

As a warlock, you possess some of the most interesting and spellbinding abilities in WoW. In a group, your presence is much appreciated. This is because not only can you do damage and dps with casting spells and curses, the way you cast spells to inflict damage, and drain health and mana are spectacular to watch. Not only this you also provide some excellent healing and resurrection abilities for others too.

There are 3 types of warlocks:

Destruction – for high threat, fast damage

Affliction – for curses, drains and damage over time

Demonology – able to summon demons and to use them as off tanks to distract and damage, when soloing a character or as a part of a team

The tips to leveling a warlock are:

1. Level your warlock by doing quests in the most efficient manner.

This means doing quests that are rewarding giving good experience points in an efficient way. The most efficient way is to use an in game guide which will lead you to the quests that are appropriate level and that give good xp. Doing quests in an efficient order without repeated running and rekilling of mobs means that you concentrate on using and improving your use of abilities as you get them.

For all levels of players, from beginners, to intermediate to a level 80 player who want to level a second character, an in game guide will help you level. You are guided to the good value quests, and you save a lot of time by not needing to look up where to go, who to talk to, what to kill and what to do next. You do the quests that are rewarding and in an efficient order.

2. Do your class training at every 2nd level.

When you level, do warlock training at every even level to gain new abilities. Find a class trainer when you level to even levels, at a main city or town. Do the quests that  offer good rewards, loot the mobs and you should have enough gold to get training. Find them with the minimap or by asking a sentinel where one is. After doing training, ensure that you get to know your new skills and update your task bar so that you can effect your dps efficiently.

3. Wear the gear that improves your dps as a warlock.

As a warlock, you will want to focus on these attributes of any gear you’ve got and deciding if you want to wear them or use the weapon to improve your warlock dps:

Spell power

Hit Rating – except at level 80 with the most recent gear released (above tier 7), for raiding, where it is first and spell power is second priority

Intellect

Stamina

Why these particular attributes important for warlock spec?

Spell power is obvious, as this improves the power of your spell or cast damage.

Hit rating is important for level 80 and using the latest gear, for fighting mobs higher level than you, that is, raid bosses. It reduces the chances of a miss when attacking. If not raiding with the latest gear, spell power is the most important and this is second most important as it provides slightly higher dps than hit rating.

Intellect give you an increased spell critical strike rate (when a spell has an increased effect) and mana.

Stamina gives you increased health (1 health per stamina for the first 20 points, and 10 health per stamina after that).

So always check against what you’re already wearing after you have looted, and during the looting if in a party and deciding to need or greed the item. Remember to update what you’re wearing after quests and instances to keep your dps and health to the max.

4. Place talent points to enhance you as a warlock.

You have 3 trees to place talent points in:

Affliction tree: for specialising in spells for damage over time, with curses, drains and improves your conversion of health to mana, to be able to cast more spells.

Destruction tree: for specialising in direct damage done by spells, with talents that improve your attack abilities, your pet’s attack rate and amount of damage done for critical strikes.

Demonology tree: for giving you more powerful demons (Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter), ability to summon the Felguard, and effects of stones you conjure (health, fire and spell stones) and more stamina.

If you’re soloing a warlock, the most effective warlock talent build is the Affliction talent tree.

With powerful damage over time spells, drains to recover health, and life tap to recover mana, you have an advantage when it comes to killing mobs and recovering health and mana during combat to have you ready to move on immediately after fighting mobs instead of needing to mana up.

For more about warlock talents and which to choose, see this page on warlock talent builds.

5. Use your abilities for best dps effect when in combat.

Using your abilities best means getting to know your spells and getting them organised on your action bar so that you know the sequence of spells to use on a mob.

For example for affliction warlocks at level 80, you can use this sequence of attack:

Haunt – deals shadow damage and increases all damage done by your damage over time effects on the target by 20% for 12 sec. When spell ends or is dispelled, you are healed for 100% of the damage done to the target.

Corruption – deals damage over time

Unstable Affliction – causes damage over 15 sec. Also, if dispelled, will cause damage to the dispeller and silence them for 5 sec.

Curse of Agony – causes damage over 24 sec, starting gradually and building up to wards the end.

Shadow Bolt – 1.7-3 second cast, and causes instant damage. Repeat the shadow bolt to keep inflicting more damage.

Drain Soul – causes damage over 15 sec. If the target is at or below 25% health, it gives 4 times the normal damage. You also get soul shard if target dies while being drained. Use this spell when target is below 25% health to get these magnified effects.

Important tip:

Keep dots (damage over times) up so that each spell is affecting the mob all the time. So watch your dots carefully and immediately reapply as needed.

But, avoid clipping your dots. Clipping means repeating the spell before it is finished. The reason is you will lose the remaining effect of the damage over time if you restart the spell before it is finished, wasting mana. Not only this, you will lower your dps significantly. Say your damage over time spell has a 3 second cast and does x damage every 3 seconds. If you clip them, you may end up with 6 seconds between damage instead of 3.

For more on how to improve warlock dps, including with your pet as tank, see this page on warlock dps and tanking.

6. Know the unique tricks that warlocks can do, and do them well.

Some examples of my favourite warlock tricks are these, that you should get to use well:

Soulstones: You can create soulstones or yourself or others in a team to resurrect, and has a 15 minute cooldown and duration, so check that one is present before critical parts of an instance for yourself or the healer in the group. Most importantly, check that you or the other person uses this strategically. When your team is being wiped, you have to make a decision about when to use the soulstone. Often, it is better to use it after the team wipes, and waiting for the mobs to clear, but if you feel that the situation can be turned around by using it earlier, then do so. You have to make this call.

Voidwalker’s sacrifice: In tight situations, you can use this manoeuvre to direct some of the pet’s health and direct it to a protective bubble for yourself. It is a powerful shield and uses up 25% of your pet’s base health. It is a good defence manoeuvre to remember and as you progress up levels, it will confer greater protection.

Fear: You can use this effect on a mob (one at a time) when needed n order to reduce the damage it’s doing you or another, or for you to run away in a dire situation. However a feared mob can run and draw other mobs. So this should be used ideally in situations where nearby mobs have been cleared already.

Soulshatter: You can use this spell which reduces on all targets within 50 yards by 50%, with a 3 minute cooldown. This is a handy spell during raids, and is useful on conjunction with Threatmeter to tell if you’re pulling too much agro on yourself. It is still less threat reduction that other classes can do such as mages, hunters and rogues with more agro wipe and less cooldown, but used wisely, it is very helpful.

7. Get glyphs that will improve your warlock abilities.

The best way to choose among glyphs is to choose them according to which will help your current roles and favourite spells. Whether you play in solo, PVE or PVP, as well as whether you are specialising in affliction, destruction or demonology, will influence which glyphs are most helpful for you.

There are major and minor glyphs, and you start with 1 major and 1 minor at level  15, and up to 3 major and 3 minor at level 80.

See this warlock glyph guide on how to choose glyphs.

Some glyphs will affect your spells, some will affect your pets. Look at the glyphs that are available at your level and choose the ones that will affect your spells that you use the most.

8. Use warlock buffs for yourself and your team.

As a warlock you have some handy buffs that can be used to help in quests, instances or raiding.

Get used to what they do and give them to your team as needed.

Unending Breathing – this will allow targets to have underwater breathing for 10 minutes. For classes or forms that can’t do this naturally, it can save them a lot of hassle and the need to go to the surface to breathe, especially when traveling through water where there are mobs.

Detect Invisibility – When cast, you or the target can detect characters with an invisibility level up to 1000 (not stealthed). This is helpful in instances where there are invisible mobs and in PVP where there are invisible mages.

Demonic pact – This is a buff that gives the warlock spell damage and Spell Power of your team when your pet scores a critical hit.

Blood Pact (cast by Imp) – Increases the health of your party. This is helpful for the survival during instances and raids, and can be improved further by the Improved Imp demonology talent, which can increase the effect by up to 30%.

Fire Shield (cast by Imp) – This gives a shield against damage for party members from fire for those in a 30 yard range, for 3 minutes.

Fel Intelligence (cast by Felhunter) – This gives increased spirit and intellect to party members within a 20 yard range.  Spirit is for mana regeneration and intellect helps with spell power, so is useful for the entire team in many ways.

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