Is expertise useful?
With the normalization of the hit rating system, expertise rating now applies to spell hit 1:1 with actual hit rating. Expertise racials are even applying bonuses to their races depending on the main-hand weapon equipped.
So yes, technically, warlocks can find expertise useful. I would still prefer not to use expertise items. Expertise has historically been a melee stat and therefore tends to come with melee-preferred items that have otherwise useless-to-warlocks stats like agility.
But ... I can't deny that sometimes it might help in a pinch.
Use expertise with caution: you can gem expertise, for example, but it's a red-based gem, which would deprive you of a possible intellect gain.
The best stat increase for you in raids will be intellect. The only time you might choose a secondary stat food would be if you are just shy of the hit cap.
Food If you can cook up or buy some Mogu Fish Stew (600 Way of the Pot skill), you'll have the best food available at a 300 intellect buff. However, a Banquet will give you 275 intellect if you have a high cooking skill in the Zen Master range, else you'll get only 250 intellect.
Spicy Salmon (300 hit rating) requires exalted with the Tillers to buy the recipe, so go with Wildfowl Ginseng Soup (275 hit) if you need a hit rating food. You can learn the soup from Sungshin Ironpaw at 510 cooking.
Warlocks don't need to worry about the pandaren racial applying to the food buffs since pandaren cannot be warlocks.
Flask Warlocks will love the Flask of the Warm Sun, which gives 1000 intellect for 1 hour.
If you'd rather go for a combination of elixirs, remember you can only have one Battle elixir and one Guardian elixir active at the same time. The only guardian elixirs are dodge or armor, which we won't want normally in PvE. So choose your favorite secondary stat if you wish to pop a battle elixir:
Warlocks will use the intellect pot, Potion of the Jade Serpent
.Shine up with gems
The base PvE gem for warlocks has always been the red gem, for intellect. From there, to fill in yellow or blue sockets, warlocks reach for orange or purple gems unless they absolutely need a whole primary color's worth of a non-intellect stat.
After intellect, gems can be used to get closer to certain caps or breakpoints in addition with reforging (hit/expertise, haste), or simply to add more of a stat (crit, mastery). I'll let you decide what you need.Meta gem: Burning Primal Diamond
.Reds (Primordial Ruby)
(320 intellect), Precise
(320 expertise).Oranges (Vermillion Onyx): Potent
(80 intellect + 160 crit), Reckless
(80 intellect + 160 haste), Artful
(80 intellect + 160 mastery)Yellows (Sun's Radiance): Smooth
(320 crit), Quick
(320 haste), Fractured
(320 mastery)Greens (Wild Jade):
Green is the mix of secondary stats, both PvE and PvP, so there are many combinations. Here's the PvE combos:Blues (River's Heart): Rigid
(320 Hit)Purples (Imperial Amethyst): Veiled
(80 intellect + 160 hit), Timeless
(80 intellect + 160 stamina)Cogwheels
are the special engineering gem, which can be put in BoE items like the Ghost Iron Dragonling
trinket and used by non-engineer warlocks. I know because an engineering guildmate made me one. Each cogwheel grants 600 of a secondary stat, and you cannot stack them because each cogwheel is unique-equipped.
For the trinket, I chose hit, haste, and mastery cogwheels as an affliction warlock. I suspect demonology will pick up the same combination, and destruction may switch out mastery for crit. You could possibly have the ultimate hit trinket with a hit/expertise/something setup, and I envy spirit-using DPS casters who could possibly use all three spell hit sources: hit, expertise, spirit.The socket bonus question
: Blizzard has said already that they want to make gemming more interesting than red gems in everything this time. The socket bonus reasoning remains the same, however. Weigh the importance of the intellect-laden gem setup with the appropriate color scheme and socket bonus.Enhance your gear
I haven't yet figured out what's the cheap enchants and what are the expensive enchants yet. I'm rolling in cloth as a tailor who does 25+ dailies every day, and the newest enchanting allows me to combine or shatter enchanting materials up and down the rarity line.
If you're out to raid as soon as possible, you'll likely want the best you can get, no matter what it costs.
Let us ignore profession perks for a moment.
Deviation from the above in PvE usually happens with the hit enchants. Here's the slots you can enchant for hit and how much hit you'll get:Profession perks
Let's reconsider those professions now. Required skill points in said profession are listed in parentheses. "??" skill points were unlisted on Wowhead; perhaps commenters can help me out!
Additionally, I've found that 575 Cooking is where the "may benefit some more than others" line on feasts
kicks in, granting me 275 of a stat instead of the advertised 250.The PvP exception
In PvE, it's preferred to kill things before you die, but I've had many satisfactory killings blows while under a res timer in PvP. Outsurviving your enemy is heavily preferred in PvP, but not entirely necessary.
In the high-stakes PvE setting of raiding, you are guaranteed certain buffs as well as a tank to take your hits and a healer to get you out of trouble. But in PvP, you might be out there all on your own, so it's on you to balance your survivability with your ability to kill the red name tags. The stat priorities can shift from the PvE core, making the enchants or gemming different.
As Season 12 starts soon, I'll take a look at warlocks in PvP. I may not be as spectacular in the arena as I am in the raid zone, but that doesn't mean I'll leave you PvP'locks hanging in Blood Pact.
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.