It's in our fel nature to want to work alone, but warlocks actually have some great party utility. We lost some of that utility in Cataclysm with the advent of a specific guild perk, but now in Mists of Pandaria we've resurfaced in lore and game mechanics. It's time to relearn our old tricks and introduce a new party toy to group content play.
Summoning: please click
Ritual of Summoning has been around since forever, I believe. However, I wasn't there when the gate opened in Silithus, so feel free to correct me on that. The "lock box" or wardrobe or warlock TV or whatever you call the summonable meeting stone has definitely been around since patch 3.0.8, in the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King.
I realize we just had an expansion of nothing but Have Group, Will Travel (replaced by Ride Like the Wind), so perhaps everyone needs a refresher on how to summon the old fashioned way.
It takes the warlock plus two others to summon a stone up. I can usually get the first person to join in, but it takes a moment or a yell in chat to get the second one to show up. Remember, while your warlock is trying to make a summoning portal, she cannot be doing anything else useful like summoning her pet or eating a food buff.
It takes two people to summon one person. This is how it works with regular summoning stones, too. The warlock can only summon you during raid break if at least one other person isn't AFK also.
Anyone can use the summoning stone at the same time. This is my big pet peeve. I summon up a stone for Sha of Anger only to find myself slowing summoning the 40-man raid one by one while others continue to AFK fly above my head. Next time you see your raid with a stone up, start or help complete summons!
Caution: moving can cancel a summoning cast. This applies to both making the summoning stone and summoning a player. The best part is when the second person making a stone moves, causing the spell to go on cooldown but no stone to appear. So stand still, please!
The summoning stone lasts for two minutes and has a cooldown of two minutes, and has no resource costs other than wasting your warlock's time and attention.
There are a few restrictions to the summoning stone, of course:
- The two people who make a stone with a warlock must be in the same phase with the warlock. This famously had issues with Icecrown Citadel's outer area.
- You cannot use it in battlegrounds; for example, you cannot use it to summon the flag carrier.
- It doesn't like to work on gunships, either the Icecrown Citadel version or when you zoned into Blackhorn's Gunship above the ocean for Dragon Soul.
- Summoning underwater, before the longer underwater breathing times, was a favorite way to kill a party member.
- Some of the best airborne summons can be achieved with a druid partner who can start a summon in flight form. Off Naxxramas's ledge was a popular favorite in Wrath.
- A summon lasts for 2 minutes and you don't have to accept right away, meaning you can reforge and then accept if you wish.
Previously, the soulwell was a ritual that require two other people, just like the warlock meeting stone. With Mists of Pandaria, however, many quality of life changes occurred for the warlock cookie jar. Possibly the biggest and best was that the soulwell no longer requires others to make! The soulwell has a cooldown of 2 minutes, but will last for 2 minutes or until 25 charges are gone.
Warlock healthstones have also changed over the years. When spell ranks were still in the game, it was possible to have many healthstones of differing sizes in your bags. Then when all the healthstones became one spell, it was based off the warlock's maximum health, which lent itself to buffing the warlock with stamina buffs before summoning a soulwell.
Now, however, healthstones restore 20% of your maximum health, regardless of how much health the warlock has. They also have 3 charges to use now, instead of being gone in one use. Each use of a charge will start a two-minute cooldown, but it is separate from the potion cooldown and you can use multiple charges in one bout of combat. You can refresh your charges with another soulwell.
Since reaching level 90, you may have noticed a new circular gate with demonic etchings appear occasionally in dungeons or even out in the open. Demonic Gateway is the new after-level-85 spell that warlocks receive at level 87. It's almost like a plural Demonic Teleport.
I pointed the spell out when we got to its level on beta, but perhaps non-'locks haven't quite paid attention to it. I've found many guildmates confused or wary of the Gateway instead of embracing what fun and use it can be. One member even thought it was a new part of Lillian Voss's encounter when on heroic, since she'd never seen it before I used it there, and it just fit so well with Lillian's decor.
What's a Gateway for? For moving party or raid members a distance away. The range of the Gateway is at least 20 yards and up to 70 yards away. The warlock starts a cast with a glowy green rune animation to summon the gateway. One portal will always be at the warlock's position and the other is chosen by the warlock with a little target circle.
The purple gate appears to always spawn at the warlock's feet, and the green one will pair with it, but the gates are identical in function otherwise. Stepping through one gate will send the player zooming across the way to the other gate. You can step through either side of a gate to initiate the teleport. When you do, you'll receive a debuff for 15 seconds that prevents you from using another Gateway pair. This is so Gateways cannot be chained together to create an endless flag carrier highway.
The other block against endless or overpowered Gateway use is a limit to the charges or number of players it can teleport at one time. Each pair of gates has a total of 5 charges. If you didn't know this, a facepalm may be incoming when I tell you that the glowing balls above each gate are the number of charges the Gateway currently has. The Gateway also does not start out with all 5 charges, but generates one charge every 15 seconds. Thus, you can annoy your warlock by proceeding to play with the Gateway and using up charges before a pull.
A final restriction against exploiting with a Gateway is that a path of travel must be available between the two gates. That is, you cannot mend broken bridges with the Gateway nor can you zoom across Elegon's hole in the floor with a Gateway. This can even interfere with hillsides, much like the mage's Blink will fizzle on a slope occasionally. As the warlock has to place the other gate at the beginning of the cast, this means you must place gates within line of sight from each other.
There are a few caveats against the Gateway, some of which will be resolved in patch 5.1.
Know where the other gate is. There is no brief aggro reprieve for porting through a Gateway and ending up near a mob. I've easily buttpulled Brother Korloff by accidentally stepping back through my own Gateway.
Gates currently can despawn on range from the warlock. In Patch 5.1, this is being fixed so warlocks can leave their Gateways behind, but oddly, they will not be allowed to use them in capital cities anymore.
Give gates some breathing room with regards to planned player movement. We warlocks have no qualms putting our teleports next to positions we need to be at, or even using Demonic Teleport to mark "our" spots. Likewise, we don't really have problems with placing our own Gateways smack on the spots we want to be.
Other players, on the other hand, don't like being unexpectedly thrown to the other side of the room for stepping too close to a gate. Even those not making the journey will not be pleased as the tank goes soaring out of taunt range on Cosmic Sparks. Thus, when placing your gateway, be wary of where other players are likely to move during the fight.
In Patch 5.1, the unexpected journeys should end when the gates require activation to teleport instead of simply stepping through. On the PTR, the gateway requires a right-click with a gear icon to use. Using Rain of Fire's radius as a guide, I could interact with the gate up to 8 yards away. The gear icon will turn grey if you have the debuff.
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.