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Blood Pact: Styling your warlock in the next patch

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.

It really didn't come of much of a surprise to most people that I am totally not impressed by the introduction of transmogrification on my balance druid. First, let's be real and say that most of the druid sets just aren't that spectacular. Second, I'm stuck in the shape of a giant, fat space chicken. Thankfully, I have a warlock to fall back on. My warlock is the reason that I'm not a complete Debbie Downer about the next patch.

Warlocks have some phenomenal tier sets; to be fair, they also have quite a number of horrible sets, but that's true for everyone. This week, we'll take a quick stroll through the development of warlock tier sets, picking out the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Let's get our dress-up on!

The classical era

We begin our fashion quest where it all started. The original warlock tier sets rather fall into a pattern (or at least the first few do). That being that, warlocks are demonic. You get demon horns, lots of reds, lots of purples, and an overall demonic feeling, although sometimes it borders on an almost comical look. Going with this look has a certain classical appeal to it, but it also is a very basic form of warlock dress.

Tier 1 holds the very classical demon look to it, but overall, I really just don't feel the set the same as others. I think it's the helm, being far more comical than actually evil. Hailing out of Molten Core, tier 1 holds to the old pattern of tier drops in that there are no tokens but instead, you get the item itself. This can make farming for it highly tedious. It's an attractive set but really not the best that vanilla gear has to offer.

Tier 2 is perhaps the signature set of the old country. The helm doesn't have the same silliness to it that you get out of tier 1. If you are looking to go old school style in this patch, then I would say that this is the one to go with. When you think of vanilla warlocks, you generally think of tier 2. Similar to tier 2, it can be a bit of a pain to get your hands on, but there is good news in that you can score a second shot at the helm every week with the updated Ony's Lair.

Tier 3 is a disappointment, in my opinion. It breaks from the demonic feel of the other tier sets and just does so in such an absurd way that it's just not attractive. The look is supposed to be that of a plague bearer, but that's not what warlocks are. You can't get it now anymore, anyway.

There's also the random 2.5 set that came out of Ahn'Qiraj. I'm sure there was once a reason why the AQ sets were only given a half numeral and not considered a full set -- I believe it's because it only had five pieces -- but all the same, it's a relatively decent-looking set. It has a very plain feel to it, certainly not as gaundy or flashy as many of the others, but quaint if you are looking for something low-key.

If you are looking to go warlock retro, then you'll definitely want to focus on tier 1 or 2 (not that you could really get the true tier 3 unless you already have it). Speaking of that, tier 3 might become something of a status symbol, but the domain of vanilla tier sets definitely goes to the first two tiers. Of 1 and 2, the latter easily outshines the former.

Tier 1 is a good look, but it just doesn't have the same effect that tier 2 does. When it comes to classic WoW gear, I'd rank them as such:

  1. Tier 2
  2. Tier 1
  3. Tier 2.5
  4. Tier 3

If you still have it, the dungeon set is another status symbol set, but the look really just isn't there.

The age of enlightenment

The Burning Crusade was the demon expansion of WoW, yet it was here that we saw warlock Tier take a drastic shift from having a demonic look toward an overtly evil look. TBC was certainly the era of dark, gothic warlock gear and holds some of the absolutely best sets we've seen thus far.

First, we start with tier 4. While more lighthearted than the rest of the tier from this expansion, is actually one of my favorites. Based off the Voidwalker, the look is somewhat comical, somewhat dark, yet entirely warlock. Coming from Karazhan and Gruul's Lair, this is the first of the token-based sets and is very easy to get.

Tier 5 -- oh, tier 5. This is perhaps the signature warlock tier set for many players. It offers everything that you could ever want out of a set: It's excessively dark, it shows that warlocks will do whatever it takes to defeat their enemies, and just overall is the core of what makes a warlock a warlock and not a weak-willed mage. Tier 5 is the warlock look, but getting your hands on it could be a bit tricky. SSC and TK are pretty tough to solo; best to bring a group.

Tier 6, on the other hand, is only so-so as far as tier sets go. The real shining star of T6 was the wings. Overall, the set itself really just looks too whimsical in my opinion, but those wings certainly are pretty. Again, this isn't one of the sets that you're likely able to get on your own. Hyjal and Black Temple, where this set is found, can be pretty brutal on your own (plus somewhat impossible, due to some mechanics).

Personally, I prefer T4, but there is something to T5. If you're looking for the despicable, diabolical caster outfit, then really go with the T5.

The gold old days

Last, we come to Wrath -- not quite as dated as the other tier sets, so I feel that not enough people give these sets their due that they are owed. Still, they have some really good sets for warlocks that shouldn't be undervalued. Just to get it out of the way quickly, tier 7 is a washed-out letdown. It's tier 3 in a different color, which is like taking an ugly set and making it uglier. Maybe that's me, but I doubt it.

Tier 8 -- now, that is a tier set. To once again go with my own choice, I will be going with tier 8 when the time comes. The medieval physician during the time of the Black Death; it is pure classic. It's the history buff in me, but I cannot get enough of tier 8; it's as perfect as perfect can get. Since it comes from Ulduar, you'll definitely need help picking this up. The cost is certainly worth it, plus you can snag achievements while you're there and get a wicked-awesome drake.

Tier 9 really shouldn't be mentioned, for any of the classes. In fact, let's just not even mention ToC ever, ever again. I still have nightmares about that dreadful place, and a vast fear of circular rooms. Tier 10 is a good set but one that I take issue with. It's a great set looks-wise, but it's really a mage look. I mean, the whole thing is just so run-of-the-mill fantasy mage that I just can't see the reason why you'd willingly force yourself into it. I know, I know, it's supposed to be modled after a Lich or a Skeletal something or other -- but come on, it has the stereotypical pointy hat thing going on. I'm all for that look, I even got the the white mage set for my druid, but on a warlock? That's just treason.

Come next patch, I know that I'll be snapping it up in my T8. What about you? What's your tier choice? Or is it something else entirely?

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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