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Should you be playing a warlock?

We've said before that there's a WoW class for every type of player and if you find yourself a bit drawn to the darker side of WoW, perhaps warlock is the one for you. Warlocks have a unique playstyle in the game: they're a bit like mages, in that they're cloth-wearing casters, and a bit like hunters, in that they rely on pets. And yet they don't play very much like either class, relying on DoT (damage over time) spells and channeled spells to do damage and restore their own health and mana.

So is it time to go over to the dark side and level a warlock? Let's look at what the class has to offer.

Just what is a warlock?
As mages are master of the arcane, warlocks are masters of the dark arts, focusing on shadow and fire spells. They summon demonic minions, place curses on their enemies, and drain health from their opponents, and can even send the most fearsome of warriors running in terror. Their abilities are powered not only by their mana pool, but will sometimes cost health, which warlocks can drain from their foes as they die. They do their damage at range, using curses, banes, DoTs, drains, AoEs, and direct damage spells. Warlocks also offer a good amount of utility to a group with conjured Healthstones (which restore health on use) and Soulstones (which can bring a dead player to life) as well as their curses (which cause a variety of negative effects on a monster).

For cloth wearers, warlocks are quite durable, with their demonic pets providing a buffer between them and the bad guys and the ability to drain life from enemies helping to keep their health bar topped off. And if they really need to get an enemy off their backs, they can crowd control using Fear or their Succubus pet's Seduce ability.

Their three talent trees are affliction (focusing on banes, curses, DoTs, and shadow-based spells), demonology (both powering up the warlock's pets and letting them transform into a demon themselves), and destruction (focusing on direct damage, particularly fire-based spells). You'll find warlocks fighting for both the Alliance and Horde, and they can be played by dwarves, gnomes, humans, worsens, blood elves, goblins, orcs, trolls, and undead.

A world of pets
Without pets, warlocks aren't much more than mages who use a lot of shadow-based spells. Unlike hunters, who can tame pets all over the world, warlocks get specific pets as spells at specific levels. Because they can only have one pet out at a time (with the exception of the Eye of Kilrogg, Felguard, and Doomguard), it's important to know what each pet can do and when you bring them out to get the most benefit. So let's take a look at pets the warlock gets and what each of them has to offer:
  • Imp: Your very first pet, the Imp skulks about at your side and shoots firebolts at your enemies. At higher levels, the Imp can also escape stuns and snares as well as dispel magic effects on friendly targets.
  • Voidwalker: Obtained at level 8, the Voidwalker a sturdy companion for leveling warlocks. With abilities to taunt, avoid damage, and restore health, the Voidwalker makes a perfect tank. At level 28, you can also sacrifice your Voidwalker in exchange for a damage shield which can make for a convenient escape if you're in over your head.
  • Felsteed: At level 20, warlocks get their first mount as a class spell, entirely for free. However, if you aren't keen on burning horses, you can purchase an ordinary mount to replace it -- and you won't even have to pay for riding training.
  • Succubus: At level 20, you also receive the Succubus. She does a good amount of melee damage, but she also has access to the Seduction spell which serves as crowd control for humanoid targets, making her invaluable in PvP.
  • Eye of Kilrogg: The Eye of Kilrogg can be summoned starting at level 22 and allows the warlock to explore the terrain using this quick-moving, hard to see floating eyeball.
  • Felhunter: Available at level 29, the Felhunter is a perfect companion when you're fighting casters, since it can silence and remove beneficial magic effects from its enemies.
  • Dreadsteed: At level 40, you gain access to the epic mount Dreadsteed, though you'll still have to pay for riding training.
  • Felguard: Demonology warlocks gain access to the Felguard starting at level 42. Though he doesn't make for quite as good a tank as the Voidwalker (having no taunt spells), the Felguard does a lot more damage and thus makes for an excellent companion.
  • Infernal: At level 49, you can summon an Infernal to fight for you for one minute. Why only a minute? The Infernal's a powerful ally, and so long as you summon it at the right moment, a minute will be all you need.
  • Doomguard: At level 58, you can summon a Doomguard to fight for you. Much like the Infernal, the Doomguard will fight for a brief period of time -- a shorter 45 seconds -- and then depart.
Who should (and shouldn't) play a warlock?
We admit, the warlock isn't for everyone. But for some, it's the perfect class. So why should you play a warlock?
  • Warlocks combine the setting things on fire fun of a mage with the ordering things to kill for you fun of a hunter. Really, it's a win/win.
  • If you want to have a legion of pets at your command, but don't want to run around Azeroth (and beyond) collecting the perfect pets, warlocks are a better choice than hunters.
  • You want to play a ranged caster, but without dying the second something looks at you wrong, like mages are prone to doing.
  • You just want to be evil. Whether you RP or not, warlocks are just that kind of character.
  • You want the coolest mount in the game. Okay, it's questionable, but we like the nightmare chic of the warlock's Felsteed and Dreadsteed mounts.

And now that we've told you why warlocks are awesome, here's why you might not want to play one:
  • If you don't like dealing with a pet, a warlock probably won't suit you. Though you could play an affliction or destruction 'lock if you like their spell selection, you may find a mage or shadow priest more to your liking.
  • Though warlocks are one of the least squishy caster classes, they still wear cloth and are thus pretty squishy.
  • Though they can get by doing a bit of each with pets and skills, if you want to heal or tank, you're looking in the wrong place.

Want to learn more about warlocks?
Still not sure? Here's some information to help you learn more about the class, and hopefully come to a decision about whether it's the right one for you:
Is a warlock definitely not for you? Check out our class guide for monks, and look for more class guides coming soon!
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.

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