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Blood Pact: Warlock tips and tricks

V'Ming Chew

Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

The internet is a beautiful thing. It gives everybody a voice and an easily accessible goldmine of human ingenuity and intelligence. (It is also a repository of human scum and stupidity, but we're not going there today.) As a warlock player, there are TONS of resources out there that you can use to improve your game. Unfortunately many of these resources are scattered far and wide - and it takes a certain deftness with search engines to separate the wheat from the chaff, or simply to find what fits your playstyle.

So, for the benefit of the newly initiated and the time-challenged, I'll start and maintain this list of tried and tested Warlock tips, from the frivolous to the essential. I will not claim credit for these tips, but humbly serve as the chronicler of community content in this case, and will give due credit wherever possible. If you have pet tips that you swear by as a Warlock, please feel free to share them - and I'll add it to this list after the jump.

Macro: Seduction and other CC

This tip is so OP that it needs to be nerfed. Kidding! I've listed this macro in the first installment of my leveling guide of sorts, but it is so essential for CCing warlocks that it bears repeating here:

/clearfocus [modifier:alt]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]; [target=focus,dead]
/clearfocus [target=focus,help]
/cast [pet:succubus,target=focus,exists,harm] Seduction; Seduction

The macro uses the /focus funtionality to "seek" your succubus onto a designated seduction target, regardless of your current target (which you are presumably spamming DoTs and shadow bolts at).

This macro can be also used to similar effect with Banish, Spell Lock and Fear. Be careful when you're CCing multiple targets though - you might be trying to banish a seduction target.

I'll list the three other macros here for completeness:

/clearfocus [modifier:alt]
/focus [target=focus,dead]; [target=focus,noexists]
/clearfocus [target=focus,help]
/cast [target=focus,harm] Banish; Banish

/clearfocus [modifier:alt]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]; [target=focus,dead]
/clearfocus [target=focus,help]
/cast [pet:Felhunter,target=focus,harm] Spell Lock; Spell Lock

/clearfocus [modifier:alt]
/focus [target=focus,dead]; [target=focus,noexists]
/clearfocus [target=focus,help]
/cast [target=focus,harm] Fear; Fear

Use the Alt key for these macros to change the focus and for best results, use ClassTimer to monitor the spell durations - which brings me conveniently to the next tip.

Addon: ClassTimer

This addon gives you a visual indication of the duration of everything, from seduction, banish and enslave demon to your DoTs. ClassTimer times pretty much all Warlock abilities by default, so you might probably want to turn off some of them. I generally leave the timer on for effects that last more than 10 seconds.

The best thing about this mod is that it's not class-specific, so you can use this for all your other toons!

Macro: Amplify Curse

This macro is for Affliction locks and it's an easy way to avoid forgetting to amplify your curses of Agony, Exhaustion and Doom, given the longish cooldown of three minutes:

/cast Amplify Curse
/cast Curse of Exhaustion

The first line of the macro allows the macro button to show Amplify Curse's tooltip and visually indicate its cooldown. If you prefer to show the cooldown of the second spell, (in the case of Curse of Doom, for example), use this:

#showtooltip Curse of Doom
/cast Amplify Curse
/cast Curse of Doom

Macro: Single-button Dark Pact/ Life Tap

Yet another macro for Affliction locks, who have two ways of regaining mana. This macro essentially combines both spells into a single button:

/cast [nomodifier] Dark Pact; Life Tap

To Life Tap, use any modifier key (Alt, Ctrl, shift) together with the macro button. Hitting the macro button alone casts Dark Pact.

Macro: DoT sequencing

These macros will probably send Warlock-haters into a fit. Instead of pressing three different buttons for three different DoTs, /castsequence the DoTs onto a single button! For example, this was my anti-caster macro as an affliction lock to quickly lay three insta-cast DoTs on the poor sod:

/castsequence reset=Target/Combat Curse of Tongues, Siphon Life, Corruption

An anti-melee sequence, with Amplify Curse:

/cast Amplify Curse
/castsequence reset=Target/Combat Curse of Exhaustion, Siphon Life, Corruption

A farming sequence to quickly lay DoTs on multiple targets:

/cast Amplify Curse
/castsequence reset=Target/Combat Siphon Life, Curse of Agony, Corruption

You get the idea. For added evilness, add a /petattack to the beginning of each macro to send your pet into battle with the same button.

Macro: Fear yoyo

The "yoyo" effect of fear coupled with Curse of Recklessness can be more easily managed with another /castsequence macro:

/castsequence Curse of Recklessness(Rank 1), Curse of Shadow

This binds the two curses onto a single button: click it to stop fear and click it again to send the feared mob running again. Affliction locks can replace Curse of Shadow with Curse of Exhaustion in the macro for even more control.

Macro: Single-button drain

A space-saving macro that combines all three drains (Drain Life, Soul and Mana) into a single button (notice a theme here?):

/cast [nochanneling:Drain Mana, modifier:ctrl] Drain Mana; [nochanneling:Drain Soul, modifier:alt] Drain Soul; [nochanneling:Drain Life, nomodifier] Drain Life;

Use the Ctrl modifier for Drain Mana, and Alt for Drain Soul. Drain Life is the default drain without any modifiers.

These are probably the most useful Warlock macros in my opinion, and with a little tinkering, I'm sure you can find other useful applications. For more macro goodness, check out

PvE: Soul Shard refund

If you need to switch pets but low on shards, set your pet to "stay" (Ctrl-3) and fly or run away. At a certain distance, the pet will despawn and the game will graciously "refund" you with a soul shard.

PvE: Backlash cheat

For Destruction locks, Backlash procs to give you an instant shadow bolt. Critters, the underappreciated low-level creatures intended for "ambience" and are often victims of collateral damage, can be put to good use, increasing your DPS.

Cast Curse of Recklessness on a critter so that it'll beat on you harmlessly and proc Backlash. Unfortunately, this only works on some critters - frogs and crabs, in my experience - most others will just run away. You'll probably also need to explain to your teammates why you have a crab chewing on your butt, as most players are trigger-happy when it comes to critters. Also note that you can't eat or drink while a frog is sucking your face.

PvE: Hellfire suicide

Besides being a great RP tool, death by Hellfire can save you some repairs if a wipe is imminent AND unavoidable (be careful not to be accused of "throwing" encounters when doing this).

In some cases, Karazhan for example, a trip to the graveyard may also be a shortcut to save some running time. The Hellfire suicide trick can also be used to open some doors without a key, by running through the door in ghost form and rezzing on the other side.

Talents: One-point healthstone

A single point in the Improved Healthstone talent will generally give you the least common healthstone in the game, giving your teammates the chance to carry a second, or even third, healthstone. Most warlocks will spec nothing or max out this talent. Work it out with other warlocks that you regularly run with.

PvP: Detect Invisibility and Unending Breath

These situational buffs may seem useless in PvP, but when you fully buff yourself and your Arena teammates, it forces opposing shamans, priests, mages and hunters to work that much harder to remove or steal your more important buffs. Detect Invisibility is also a direct counter to mages using Invisibility, but does not help with stealthed rogues and druids obviously.

Besides its PvP application, Detect Invisibility allows you to see things that other classes don't ... (restraining myself from overused "deceased individuals" quote)

Unending breath is also a important component of the "underwater summon" prank, which unfortunately doesn't help with Warlock PR at all.

PvE: Rank 1 Drain Soul and Curse of Recklessness

You'll probably want to use Drain Soul and Curse of Recklessness at their lowest ranks for different reasons. With Drain Soul, you'll save some mana while still getting a soul shard. With Curse of Recklessness, the mob will stop running in fear, without adding too much to their attack power with higher ranks of the curse. It's important to note that the higher ranks of CoR can be useful for its armor reducing effect in some raid encounters.

Addon: Necrosis

There are a host of warlock-specific addons out there, but I've had the best experience with Necrosis. Characterized by its neat circular interface, it keeps a count of soul shards, handy buttons for almost all Warlock spells, as well as timers for DoTs and cooldowns. It also informs you in a warlocky voice when your abilities proc (like Nightfall and Backlash). A rather annoying feature is its ability to spout random lines when you're summoning a pet or soulstoning someone: funny at first but it starts to grate like a screaming kid.

PvP: Banish that tree!

A factoid that bears repeating here: you CAN banish druids in tree form!


Remember, this list is ongoing - so if you've got a particular good (or evil) one to share, comment below and I'll include it after, some testing myself of course.

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