Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "Closer! Come closer... and burn!" ~ Keli'dan the Breaker
Once again Blood Pact turns its gaze towards those up-and-coming warlocks; those who are learning the craft, battling foes to hone their skills and sharpen their minds. I've said before that leveling a warlock is great fun and part of this is due to the diverse ways in which you can go about it. By the time you start getting a decent pile of talent points to spend you can shape your lock in many and varied forms. There's the unstoppable train of death that is the affliction lock, cursing and corrupting all around it as it passes smoothly through the world. The demonologist, pouring their power into their minion and pushing them into the fore while sitting back and calmly picking off their foes. And of course, the destruction warlock, blazing a trail of raw power in an explosive display of mental prowess over physical frailty.
Let's see how these locks in training are getting on.
As I said in the last leveling guide, it's not Blood Pact's job to teach you how to level. The gathering of experience through quests and the like is very important and following a guide can be very handy, but this is not that guide. This is about being a warlock for the time between level 40 and 60. If you do want some help in questing then I linked a couple of very good addons in that last article, these can help a lot, as can many others.
I'm also not going to focus too heavily on our minions or skills that are general to the class through all the levels. Regular readers of Blood Pact will know that this is being covered in the 'meet the minions' series. This has covered such important topics as imps and the control of minions, voidwalkers and threat, the succubus and crowd control and the felhunter and mage-hate (as well as a look at the infernal and doomguard).
As I said in the 10-40 guide, you can place your talents all over the place and still have a lot of fun. This is certainly true if you focus on one tree in particular. The tree we focused on in that article was affliction, the reason being that it is considered the quickest leveling build until around the 50+ mark. We left you with this build as an example of something to work to at level 40, this can be continued to level 49 with this setup:
Example level 49 affliction build.
This is very much an example and you can move a lot of the points about as you see fit to work with your play-style and preference. At level 50 you have a choice to make. Do you want to carry on with affliction or swap over to demonology and get a felguard?
If you decide to stay with affliction then you can learn Unstable Affliction which is another DoT and a really nice spell. When I say 'nice' I'm referring to how I think it's a very warlock-y spell, especially with its dispel mechanic. It also is a requirement for Pandemic, which is also a great talent.
Moving over to demonology and getting yourself another pet is the 'standard form' though some suggest waiting until you can support the build with talents from another tree (to boost your own damage). Personally I don't think that's necessary. You may be a little nerfed but since you have just swapped spec it's probably a good idea to spend some time cleaning up some green quests while you learn the new setup.
The felguard will be the subject of a meet the minions article before long but briefly, for those who have never had one before, he does more damage than any of your other minions (only exception is the doomguard but you have to wait till 60 for him), generates more threat than a voidwalker and is almost as hard to kill. This makes him a great front-man to your background machinations. I was uncertain about the guy to begin with but after a very short time I came to really enjoy having him around; both for solo and party/raid work.
If you do want to swap to demonology at 50 here's an example build that will make your new demon nice and strong.
Example level 50 demonology build.
For those of you going with destruction at this point you will have found that you can now reach Shadowfury. There are those that love this spell and while I agree that it is great fun to use and opens up a number of cool tricks, it's generally too much bother for me to worry about. If you enjoy it then go for your life, it's very cool, but I wouldn't worry if you find yourself under-whelmed by it.
What happened to all the new spells? Between levels 11 and 40 you gain 25 brand new spells to cast, but between 41 and 60 there are 5. You do get a lot of spell upgrades however, so it's still worth going back to the trainer often. I'll add the spells from talents below as well.
- Level 42 - Death Coil - Sometimes referred to as 'Skill Coil' by those who look on it as a warlock 'I WIN' button. This is pretty unfair as most classes have something that takes their opponent out of the game for a short time and many have more than us locks. That said, it's a great panic button with a 'run-away' effect that is short enough to use in tight spaces without calling down the fury of every mob in the area.
- Level 48 - Soul Fire - Without Decimation this is a spell that tends to get dusty in the back of the spell book. With Decimation, it covers the execute phase with great big fiery balls of crit.
- Level 50 - Inferno - You fight not just this warlock alone but the legions he commands! Summon forth meteors from the heavens to smite your enemy and raise up rock-demons terrify the populous. Well, that's what it's like in my head but you can read the last Blood Pact for what it's really like.
- Level 50 minimum - Unstable Affliction - An awesome extra DoT with a sting in its tail.
- Level 50 minimum - Summon Felguard - New and hugely powerful minion to play with.
- Level 50 minimum - Shadowfury - AoE, ranged and damaging stun. A lot of fun if a little novelty/situational.
- Level 60 - Ritual of Doom - Summon the most powerful demon available to players; but only if you have been on a long and arduous quest, have four other people with you and remembered to go to the shops beforehand. Great spell, sadly too much hassle for too little gain. Also a topic of last week's Blood Pact.
- Level 60 - Curse of Doom - The spell that does the highest damage in a single strike and has the best damage-per-execute-time as well. Unfortunately your enemies have time to make tea and buttered crumpets between cast and damage. So unless this fight is going to take some time you don't need this spell.
No real change in the gear during this phase in leveling as it's still almost all Old-world stuff. Check out the last piece for a bit more detail. When you reach level 58 you are eligible for the Outland quests which will start throwing massive (though somewhat ugly) upgrades at you; so don't go investing in anything expensive in the latter half of the 50s.
Scarlet Monastery is probably getting a bit old for you now so Zul'Farrak, Maraudon and Sunken Temple should do you through the 40s with Blackrock Depths, Dire maul, Blackrock Spire (lower first, then maybe upper later), Scholomance and Stratholme through the 50s. Don't feel you have to go into these places if you like to play solo but they can get some nice upgrades, complete some nice quests and also teach some important warlock skills.
PvP / Balltlegrounds
If you like. I wouldn't, but don't let that stop you. Apparently there are lots of mages there that you can kill, so can't be all bad.
While playing about on Wowhead for this article I stumbled across a poem about the felguard that seems to be written by a disgruntled DPS warrior. Worth a read if you have the time.
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DoTs, demons, and all the dastardly deeds done by Warlocks. If you're curious about what's new with Locks since the last patch, check out WoW.com's guide to patch 3.3 or find out what's upcoming in Cataclysm from the BlizzCon 2009: Class Discussion Panel.