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Warlock Leveling Guide: 1-20

Congratulations! You’ve rolled a warlock – one of the most fun and interesting classes to play. Warlocks get the best of both worlds: some amazing  ranged DPS and nukes, plus a pet, and some sick DoTs. They suit people who like to play casters (obviously) but who like a bit of intrigue in their rotations, and mixing the synergy of CDs, procs, pets and talents to get the most out of their DPS. It isn’t too complicated, and will keep you interested long-after you’ve gotten bored with the traditional ‘faceroll’ classes.

Warlocks traditionally excel at PvP, although Blizzard feels that they have become under-represented in Battlegrounds of late. Do your bit to change that assumption! Warlocks have some excellent crowd-control that is probably more suitable for PvP than PvE or instances, and are probably the most resilient and hardy of the cl0th-wearing classes (from having traditionally higher health pools).

Warlocks have some unique elements. First, they get a couple of free pets courtesy of some cimple quests. Second, they rely on their heath pool to fuel their mana. Third, many of their spells utilise a reagent known as Soul Shards, which Warlocks receive from killing mobs using a certain spell. They can also steal health and mana from opponents.

Most of this should be familiar to anyone who’s played a different class before.

Levels 1-10

You’re in the starting zone. Pick up a couple of quests, and get some cash together to visit your nearby Warlock Trainer. They will give you your first Warlock quest, the reward will be the ability to summon an Imp – your first minion. Do this quest ASAP. Note though, in the Gnome and Human starting zones, you’ll need to get past some level 4 mobs to complete this quest. You may want to wait, but then again, the sooner you get your Imp the better – he’ll improve your DPS immensely.

Keep up Demon Skin – it’s your best friend, and it’s free bonus armor and healing. Use Shadowbolt to open a fight. The 1.7 second cast time doesn’t matter if you haven’t aggroed something yet, plus the time it takes to reach a mob, plus the time it takes for it to reach you should be enough to fire off another. If all else fails use your trusty dagger and hope for the best. At level 2 you get Immolate which will be a better opener, as it puts a DoT debuff on the mob, plus a bit of upfront damage. At level 4 you get Corruption and your first curse, Curse of Weakness. It’s pretty rubbish so don’t worry about it right now. If you can pick up a wand do so ASAP – the Lesser Magic Wand can often be found on the AH, or can be crafted by Enchanters. Do it yourself: you only need level 10 enchanting, and it’s not a bad skill for your warlock to have.

At level 6 you get Life Tap – this is the main way for Warlocks to generate mana from health. Just be careful to not commit suicide, or use it while fighting. At level 8 you get Fear and Curse of Agony. You should also be careful when Fearing mobs, because if they run past any other mobs, those will all aggro too. Only use it when the are is relatively empty, and never use it in a dungeon.

By now you should have finished the starting zone, and been sent on your way your faction’s capital city. Be sure to pick up Cooking, Fishing and especially First Aid. They will all minimise downtime for your Warlock, and replace all the health that you keep life tapping into mana. Your Imp will periodically learn new spells as you level up – you don’t need to train it. Just set it to defensive and follow, and let it rip!

Your rotation should be something like:

  1. Immolate
  2. Send in Imp while casting
  3. Curse of Agony
  4. Corruption
  5. Wand until dead, or Shadowbolt

Wanding is preferable to SB just because it’s free, and it allows your mana to regenerate faster. There is a 5 second ‘downtime’ after casting where your mana doesn’t regen. If you spend the last 5 seconds of fighting wanding, then you’ll start to regen as soon as you finish combat. If a mob starts to flee, a combination of wand, your DoTs and the Imp should finish them off quickly, really removing the need for that extra SB.

For those of you who like to macro:

/petattack [nocombat]

/castsequence reset=target/combat Immolate, Curse of Agony, Corruption

This will ensure that anything will die off before they’ve had a chance to hit you too much. If at all possible, try and stick to green quests. The experience reward will be slightly lower, but they will be significantly easier to accomplish, resulting in less downtime and a quicker leveling experience – not to mention more fun (with less trips from the graveyard).

Once you hit level 10, seek out the warlock trainers in your main faction city – Stormwind or Orgrimmar. They will set you on a simple quest to sudbue a Voidwalker (VW) before they will let you have one as a pet. Simple quest, go downstairs in the Slaughtered Lamb Tavern and kill it. Back upstairs and you have a new minion! You’ll find the VW to be much more hardy than you or your Imp. He will now be your giant blueberry personal tank. Send him off to collect mobs and aggro, while you kills things from afar. Keep in mind, he has plenty of stamina and armor, but he won’t be able to hurt things very much. You’ll also learn how to Create Healthstone and Drain Soul. Healthstones and summoning your VW both cost Soul Shards. Which is where Drain Soul comes in. If you use DS to kill a mob, you’ll receive a Soul Shard. There is a also a small chance that each time DS damages a foe, you’ll create a soulshard. These will be used as reagents for conjuring healthstones and the like, and summoning all your minions except the Imp.

Before you get carried away, be careful, as your bags can quickly become filled with Soul Shards (since they don’t stack) which you’ll rarely use. Either buy yourself a specific Soul Shard bag (or craft one if you’re a tailor) or get a nifty little AddOn called Necrosis LdC. It will track your CDs, your DoTs and automatically delete excess Soul Shards. Turn off the chat announcements in the options. No one want to be told that you’ve summoned your Imp, or Felsteed. That is one reason why so many people hate warlocks. There are lighter AddOns out there that do the same thing, pretty much. Hunt around and see what suits your UI style.

Speaking of your UI, now is probably a good time to check out Curse and grab some basics like an action bar AddOn. You’ll need it – Warlocks get plenty of spells and abilities and hunting through a spellbook while something is whaling on you is never fun.

At level 10 you also get your first talent point. Exciting! See here for a detailed review of whihc tree you should specialise in, but basically Afflicition is the leveling spec. The three trees all have very different flavours: Affliction is all about DoT and draining life/power from you opponents to replenish yourself; Demonology is all about buffing your minion and expanding the power and abilities of your pets; Destruction is the big nuke fire damage tree. With Afflicition you won’t need to worry (as much) about pulling aggro off your VW, and the Affliciton tree really buffs a lot of your early spells and shadow damage (early on the Destruction spells are few and far between). Put your first point into Improved Corruption – this will eventually boost your Corruption spell by 10%.

Levels 11-20

Continue to put points into Improved Corruption until level 14. At this point you’ll have also learnt Health Funnel to heal your minion, Curse of Recklessness to reduce mobs’ armor but buffing their attack power, and Drain Life. The first two should only be used on fairly specific occasions. Your VW has it’s own personal heal called Consume Shadows (which it gets at level 18) so don’t bother damaging yourself just to heal your pet – remember your health pool is really just spare mana. If you’ve learnt First Aid you can bandage it and yourself when neccessary. Drain Life is your new friend. Use it often and wisely. It’s a channeled spell, so try not to use it if you’re being attacked. It basically serves to replace all the health that your Life Tap to replace the mana that you use to Drain Life. Just make sure you don’t overheal with Drain Life, or else it costs more mana that it returns, and it doesn’t do that much damage.

By level 18 you should have put 2 points into Soul Siphon, which will increase the effectiveness of your Drain Soul and Drain Life by 6% for every Affliction DoT on a mob. Since you should still be opening with Curse of Agony and Corruption (Immolate is a Destruction DoT) that’s an extra 12% health and damage. You should also put 2 points into Improved Drain Soul. This will return to you 15% of your total mana if you kill a mob while Drain Soul is active. Not so good in groups, but when you solo this will rock. By this point you’ll have also picked up Unending Breath (handy if you like to swim), Searing Pain (a high threat Destro spell) and the ability to Create Soulstones. This uses one Soul Shard, to creat the soulstone, which you then ‘use’ on yourself (I always forget to do that part) and it will resurrect you if/when you die. You should always do it. Never be without your soulstone. If you don’t die it expires after 30 mins, so create a new one and reapply. Sometime you’ll die in a crappy spot near mobs that will instantly aggro and kill you again, but 9/10 times it will save you from having to run back from the graveyard. In groups Soulstone the healer in case everyone wipes they can come back to life and rez the rest of you.

By level 20 you’ll have a slew of new spells to pick up from your trainer, as well as another minion quest. This time for the weirdly sexy succubus. Admittedly the whips and noises she makes get really annoying after a while, and you’ll want to stick with your VW since the succubus is more of a rogue-like DPS minion. She won’t hold aggro off you, and she’s pretty fragile. But in groups from this point onwards (Deadmines etc) you’ll want to use her since you’ll have a ‘proper’ tank around and she’ll increase your overall damage. The quest is just like the VW quest – head to the Slaughtereed Lamb Inn and follow the directions. Try not to get lost in the catacombs. We Warlocks are a snooty bunch, and frown on that sort of tomfoolery.

You’ll also pick up Demon Armor which is the improved version of Demon Skin. Never ever use Demon Skin again. Ever. And you’ll get Rain of Fire. This nifty spell will use up practically all your mana, pour meteors from the sky onto your enemies and look really cool. This is a last resort OH SH!T spell. Use it if you’re being overwhelmed and it’s not looking pretty. This is a channeled spell and will generate enough threat to pull any mobs still alive over to you. Which means every hit you take will reduce its time and effectiveness. However, it is very fun to pull this while standing in the AH, or waiting for a Wintergrasp raid to start; when people start asking for buffs give them METEORS!

You should also throw 2 talent points into Improved Curse of Agony. This will give your basic curse an extra 10% damage. Always handy. Your talent tree should little something like this. At this point you’ll also have one major and one minor glyph slot open up for you. Grab a Glyph of Corruption from your local AH or a friendly Inscriptosaur. This will occasionally (4% of the time) make your Corruption spell give you an instance Shadowbolt. Handy! If you are using Necrosis LdC it will say something like ‘Shadow trance’ and purple circle will appear in the middle of the screen. Annoying, but at least you won’t miss it. Also consider grabbing a Glyph of Drain Soul, which will occassionally give you another Soul Shard when you Drain Soul. Not very exciting to be honest.

Finally, at level 20 your rotation should look a bit like:

  1. Send in Voidwalker
  2. Curse of Agony
  3. Corruption
  4. Immolate
  5. Life Tap (if you can spare the HP)
  6. Drain Life
  7. Drain Soul

Use SB whenever Shadow trance procs. Try and make sure that you always finish up with Drain Soul. That way you’ll always get the extra 15% mana and Drain Soul does 4 times the damage if the target is under 25% health.



1. Warlock leveling guide « Rested Bonus - July 23, 2009

[…] rusquel in Uncategorized. trackback Just briefly, added the start of a new warlock leveling guide here. There will be more to come, plus one (eventually) for Druids and […]

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