I have only 7268 Honorable Kills on my warlock. I scored a few during a cross-realm Sha of Anger raid hosted by a PvP realm, but I've only played casually in random battlegrounds in past tiers. My experience includes memories of an SL/SL demonoloy lock in Isle of Conquest during Wrath of the Lich King and dealing with the, shall we say, "vicious" turnover of the Season 9/10 gear transition.
Everything's a bit fuzzy for PvP in between those memories. Recently, I'm sure my DoT dominance of battlegrounds was due more to my company of guildmates, my Dragonwrath, and my heroic Cunning of the Cruel than any skill I had, but I'm not entirely new to flinging my enemies around in fear.
But this is the warlock column, not the Warlocks-Who-Only-Raid column. While I reach out to warlocks around the world for warlock-centric PvP advice, how about we peruse the gearing options for dipping our toes into level 90 PvP?
Favorable stats in PvP
Intellect is still awesome. After that, PvP Power is often listed in priority, and I'd assume resilience would resume its place after intellect as well. There's debate about whether PvP Power will usurp intellect for first priority, but we might need more resilience in the enemy pool before it tips over into definitely first.
Hit cap is now 6% (2040 rating) for PvP in Mists of Pandaria. Hit may be listed after intellect and PvP Power in priority (or not at all), but missing spells sucks for anyone, so cap your hit as soon as or as close as you can.
Previously, the choice between a staff or a main-hand weapon and an offhand was cosmetic, but now the difference may be a save to your hit rating via the expertise racials. Remember, in terms of weapons warlocks can use:
- Orcs gain 1% expertise with wands (currently counting as fist/unarmed, not ranged).
- Gnomes have 1% expertise with daggers.
- Humans have 1% expertise with swords.
- Sadly, dwarves, worgen, trolls, forsaken, goblins, and blood elves must get the full hit rating from their gear.
For affliction, mastery increases the damage of all three main DoTs. In raiding simulations, haste looks good until you get into tier 14 gear, when the favor switches to mastery.
For demonology, mastery increases damage done in Metamorphosis, but also presents a strong argument for a Dark Apotheosis build, where mastery helps mitigate damage. Haste might be useful to plain Metamorphosis demo 'locks, but looks fruitless in Dark Apotheosis builds, as it will only affect Soul Fire and Sleep.
For destruction, mastery increases the damage of major fire spells and the effectiveness of burning embers. There's arguments for crit for the big pow from ember finishers and there's arguments for haste for the increased mana regeneration and faster casts.
When it comes to enchants, in the past I've looked at resilience. Currently, there's only one common resilience enchant that's craftable: Enchant Chest - Super Resilience. In Cataclysm, there were PvP enchants for head and shoulder sold along with the PvP gear, but there are no more head enchants at all and I haven't seen hide nor hair of the resilience-related shoulder enchants. They may be gone as well.
Gemming can differ depending on what you think you need best. I've seen the PvE route and I've seen the resilience route. With the addition of PvP Power's potence, there's possibly three gemming schemes you can run across.
Red/Intellect-based: This is the PvE gemming scheme, which uses orange gems (intellect + haste/crit/mastery) to fill yellow sockets and purple gems (intellect + hit/stamina) to fill blue sockets. In the past, I saw more red-based gemming in the end of a season or once someone compiled a full PvP kit and thus could shift from resilience to a power-based setup.
Yellow/Resilience-based: This I saw most in the beginning of seasons or when players were still gathering substantial pieces for their PvP kits. Resilience-based gemming uses orange gems with intellect to fill red sockets and either hit or stamina in green gems to fill blues.
Blue/PvP-Power-based: This I'm betting we'll see pull ahead in MoP PvP. Intellect will increase the oomph of your spells, sure, but PvP Power is what will increase the oomph of your spells on targets who are wearing resilience. PvP Power will pair with intellect in purple gems and with your favorite of haste, crit, or mastery in green gems.
Unlike Cataclysm's rule of learning the patterns from the trainer, Mists is starting out with the patterns available in your faction shrines in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Raishen the Needle will sell the patterns to the Alliance in the Shrine of Seven Stars and Esha the Loommaiden will sell the patterns to the Horde in the Shrine of Two Moons. Both vendors are located near other professional vendors.
The crafted Contender's cloth gear comes in two flavors: Satin for spirit and Silk for the non-spirit pieces. Each pattern costs one Spirit of Harmony, making a total of 8 for a set or 16 for both sets.
The entire Contender's Silk set can be crafted for 34 Bolts of Windwool Cloth, no special materials required. Considering how my tailor is absolutely drowning in cloth, the hardest part by far will be obtaining the patterns, not the actual crafting.
There are no level 90 crafted jewelry, cloaks, or weapons specifically for PvP currently.
Looking at the Contender's Silk set, here's the starting stats:
- All pieces are ilvl 450.
- 5,203 intellect
- 2,475 resilience and PvP Power. 400 Resilience comes from the 2-piece set bonus, and 400 PvP Power comes from the 4-piece set bonus.
- 1,465 hit rating (~4.31% hit)
- 3,574 mastery rating (~18.47% mastery)
- 1,780 crit rating (~2.96% crit)
Once you knock a few of the opposite faction around and earn some Honor Points, you can buy a full kit of PvP gear. The PvP version of Valor Points is Conquest Points, and with those you can buy the better gearset, including weapons.
Mists of Pandaria starts out with Arena Season 12 (abbreviated S12), which is titled Dreadful for the Honor set and Malevolent for the Conquest set. Malevolent gear with the subtitle "Season 12 Elite" is a recolor specifically for those with 2200 Arena rating.
We warlocks used to also have Dreadweave sets, but now all warlock PvP tier is the Felshroud set composed of Felweave pieces. The hands always have an equip effect, this time reducing the cooldown on our Demonic Circle: Teleport spell by 5 sec. Additionally, it's tier gear, so it has 2-piece and 4-piece set bonuses:
- 2-piece: +500 PvP Power and Reduces the cooldown of Unending Resolve by 20 seconds.
- 4-piece: +1000 PvP Resilience and Twilight Ward now absorbs damage from all magical schools.
As a general rule:
- Cruelty has critical strike.
- Prowess has mastery.
- Alacrity has haste.
- Accuracy has hit.
- Badges (trinkets) have resilience and an on-use effect, usually spell power or attack power.
- Emblems (trinkets) are Battlemaster trinkets which on-use effect augments your health.
- Insignias (trinkets) have on-equip procs, usually spell power or attack power.
- Medallions (trinkets) are the "PvP trinkets" that pop you out of movement impairments and loss of control.
It will cost approximately 23,500 Honor Points for a full kit of Dreadful gear; add in a staff or a main-hand and off-hand combo for Malevolent for a total of 27,000 Conquest Points. Remember that having a higher rating in rated PvP results in a higher Conquest cap each week!
When I asked for PvP warlocks on Twitter, the first name that came up was, of course, Cynwise. Cyn certainly is wise regarding warlocks and PvP, so I'll repeat to you his PvP gearing strategy, because it's worked for me since he wrote it back in the waning hours of 2010.
- Get crafted pieces.
- Supplement with pieces you have from PvE.
- PvP in regular BGs to grind Honor Points, focusing on offset pieces to replace your PvE pieces, then your crafted gear.
- Do as many rated PvP matches (Arena/rated battlegrounds) as you can to cap your Conquest Points each week. Focus on your tier set pieces and weapons first. Note: weapons require 7250 Conquest Points to have been earned before you buy them.
- Once your tier is complete, replace the Dreadful/Honor gear with Malevolent/Conquest.
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through tier 13 set bonuses