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Blood Pact: Patch 4.2 Warlock Q&A

Tyler Caraway

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology and destruction warlocks. For those who disdain the watered-down arts that other cling to like a safety blanket ... For those willing to test their wills against the nether and claim the power that is their right ... Blood Pact welcomes you.

If any of you are readers of Shifting Perspectives, then you may have noticed that two weeks ago, I did a little number asking people to tweet in some questions about balance druids that they would like to have answered. From that, I got a good deal of feedback from Blood Pact readers that they would like to see their own version done for warlocks. Not one to disappoint, I am pleased to present the first article straight from the warlock mailbag (or Twitter feed, as it were). I have to say, you warlocks are certainly a tougher bunch than the druids are when it comes to asking questions; a number of them were tough! I'll be doing my best to answer as many as I can as well as I can, but I won't be able to hit them all.

Don't get discouraged, though! If you don't see your answer this week, I've certainly kept all of them in mind for future articles that can address some of the hard-hitting ones I got. Remember as well that you can always ask any question you'd like in the comments, via email, or through Twitter, and I'll do my best to get back to you as quickly as I can! Let's get this party started.

@BradyShiers so tyler im a big fan of your work on the blood pact, but i have to ask do you prefer droods over locks?
Prefer is a strong word; I'm not sure I'm at a point in my WoW life where I can say that I prefer any one class vastly over the others. A balance druid was certainly my first raiding character, and it has been my main ever since then, yet I've played nearly every single class and spec out there to date. After having played them for so long, balance druids are certainly second nature to me, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing them.

That being said, I do love to hop onto my warlock whenever I can. It offers every that I could ask for -- a lovely change of pace that's still familiar enough that I don't feel totally out of my element. My main might be a balance druid, but it doesn't mean I don't love any of my other characters any less (except maybe the mage; he's only there for herbing and mining).

@archlord I want to level a lock via LFD only, what spec do you reccomend for that? And yes I know that is a horrible way to level.
So long as you know that it's a pretty horrible way to level, then everything is peachy, in my book! Although, teamed up with a healer or a tank, it wouldn't be bad at all. Spec-wise, destruction is probably your best bet at the early stages, at least until you hit Cataclysm content. Mobs in dungeons tend to die exceptionally fast, which really weakens early affliction's performance. Once you get Soul Swap, it might go a little better, but it's still a major pain. Demonology would be the second-best option.

@wowcynwise Is Drain Life spec viable in Firelands, or have the repeated nerfs finally ended its popularity?
Cynwise actually asked two really fantastic questions, but the answer to the second ended up running a little bit too long and took a bit more depth to it than I could fit in. What it might be? Well, you'll just have to look forward to that at a later date! Ohhh, teaser.

As for this question, the answer is no. The hotfix (which was actually applied during 4.1, despite Blizzard's listing it on the 4.2 patch notes and not even admitting to changing it until weeks after the fact) destroyed using Drain Life as a filler. While unlikely, it is still theoretically possible for DL to make a comeback, so we'll see if we ever reach that point. I wouldn't be holding my breath, though, and if we do, Blizzard will just nerf it again.

@sarahxgilbert Which two specs would you pick if you were a FL raiding warlock who primarily did 10s and why?
When it comes to spec, most people are looking for the best performance. Personally, I feel that a player is always going to get the best showing out of the spec that he feels most comfortable playing, unless the balancing is just way off. If you really just loathe affliction, then your ability to execute the rotation properly is going to suffer -- thus, your DPS is going to suffer. Barring that, there is a "best" answer here.

10-mans are a little bit different than 25-mans due to the limit in the number of players. Fewer players means fewer buffs, so which specs you bring matters a heck of a lot more in the long run. For 10-man Firelands, I would highly suggest running as demonology as your primary spec. The 10% spellpower bonus is a huge buff. If you don't have a shaman who can drop Flametongue or a mage who can bring Arcane Intellect, then you're looking at a solid 800 spellpower increase for a majority of your casters out there -- healers, too. This is also an increase in power to dual-damage characters such as paladins and enhancement shaman. Even if you do have the weaker version of this buff, then you're still adding around 350 spellpower to every caster in the raid. It's a big deal. Not to mention, demonology currently has really solid damage.

For a secondary spec, I would probably roll with affliction, but then I think affliction will always be my secondary spec, since it's my favorite spec. Affliction currently has the best single-target DPS, fight depending, coupled with really strong multiple-target damage. Destruction shines well on Alysrazor and Beth'tilac, but on the former it shouldn't make a difference at all, while the latter has larger concerns. Alysrazor is more about killing the hatchlings, controlling the druids, and managing to not die than it is about boss DPS. Beth'tilac is much the same; add control and add death is paramount.

Honestly, though, much of this carries over to 25-man raiding, just for different reasons. Demonology shines really well on a number of encounters due to mechanics, while affliction is merely strong overall. Right now, those are definitely my two specs of choice.

@Orkchop How can I convince the Warlock in my raid to give me, an Unholy DK, his Dark Intent? Healers don't really need it, do they?
I'm not sure if you can! Healers really don't need Dark Intent. We've had this debate here before, but the simple matter is that the additional healing is rather insignificant, save for on a restoration druid. Even then, it just doesn't offer enough of a boost to really mean the difference of life or death for a player. Added DPS is always a better solution.

@MikeJSchiffer why did the world first Tarecgosa's go to a mage? Is it because they're vastly superior?
I don't pay much attention to the going-ons of the raiding elite, as it were, so I don't really know why the first one went to a mage. I can safely say that the reason is not because they are vastly superior, by any means. Certainly there's not been any theorycrafting that I know of that shows mages getting some significant bonus over other classes with the staff, so I would venture to guess that it went to a mage because that's just the player they wanted it to go to.

@WTSHeals Who's the priority for Dark Intent?
I went more into detail with this one in a column a while ago, but most of that information still holds true today. Shadow priests, balance druids, feral druids, fire mages, assassination rogues, pretty much any other DPS beyond that point. Your priorities can also change depending on the fight mechanics as well. For example, if your shadow priest is assigned some form of add control duty that doesn't really require their DPS, then you are probably better off giving DI to someone else instead.

@hoang519 Q for bloodpact, warlock CC, what abilities might you use for cc other than fear? And when? Situational stuff!
The obvious choice here is Banish, which is useful beyond words in far more situations than I could count. Elementals are some of the nastiest mobs that you will come across, and being able to CC both them and a humanoid target is super-awesome.

Other than that, there's Seduce, which can be alright in some situations. It really all depends on what it is that you are up against. The ability to lock down two or even three targets is one of the unique advantages that makes warlocks one of the best classes to have in a PUG right now. Be that as it may, however, there just aren't too many situations that you'll come across where you need that much CC. I'd really only consider using Seduce if I ended up in a group that totally lacked any other form of CC, such as a group with a DK and warrior.

@xvkarbear What makes playing a warlock fun for you?
I sort of answered this question for balance druids as well, but much of the same logic that drew me to that class similarly drew me to playing a warlock for the first time. I love being a caster, but more than that, I love being in a support type role. Despite warlocks' always being a pure damage class, a lot of their early function hinged upon supporting their fellow players via debuffs on their enemies. The feeling that I am helping my group to succeed in combat but utterly crippling the opposition was a thrill to me and is certainly the role that I loved to play.

For me, one of the largest draws of warlocks came about during their golden age of PVP. The original warlock was downright terrible as a PVP class -- then again, if you weren't a rogue, warrior, or 3-minute mage back then, you weren't worth anything -- but that quickly changed. While the first arena games focused heavily on 2v2, where restoration druids and warriors dominated, warlocks always excelled at the 3v3 style of play, and they still do to this day. I'm not the biggest of PVP fans, but my warlock is one of two classes that I can actually PVP on and consider it fun (the other being a protection paladin, but there, I don't get to kill things).

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 encounters such as Blackwing Descent and The Bastion of Twilight.

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