Warlock DPS Guide
- Which builds are the best for warlocks?
- What rotation should I use for this spec?
- What rotation should I use for AOE in this spec?
- What stats should I look for on gear?
- What about Hitrating?
- What are the best trinkets for the warlock class atm?
- What glyphs should I use?
- What gems should I use?
- Which enchants are the best for a lock?
- Macro’s and addons
- Specific warlock macro’s
- Addons I recommend
- What curse should I use?
- What’s the best, Spellstone or Firestone?
- How to apply your dots
This thread will be about PvE, all content is specially written for the PvE content. If you want to PvP as a warlock, I suggest that you read the thread on wowhead http://www.wowhead.com/?forums&topic=123598.
There are a lot of builds available, though there are some builds that are the ‘best’ at this moment.
- 56/0/15 – Affliction w/ Dark Pact
- 0/54/17 – Demonology
- 3/14/54 – Destruction
To make the choice of your talents a bit more difficult, there are always some talent points that you can put in an other talent tree because of better survivability or other reasons. If you check the destruction build of my Warlock you can see that I haven’t specced into Shadowfury instead I’ve put the talents into my demonology tree for better healthstones. (The build is based on 3/13/53)
Warlocks don’t use a real rotation; their spells are based on a priority order which is seen below.
The priority for each talent build is as follows:
Haunt Life tap Corruption Unstable Affliction Curse of Agony Drain Soul (if below 25%) Shadow Bolt
Life Tap Curse of Doom Immolate Corruption Soul Fire (if Decimation) Incinerate (if Molten Core) Shadow Bolt
Curse of Doom Immolate Conflagrate Chaos Bolt Incinerate
There is an optimal order for casting spells at the start of fights to ensure the best possible application and uptime of the various buffs and debuffs.
For each spec they are:
Affliction = Life Tap (rank1) --> Shadow Bolt --> Haunt --> Unstable Affliction --> Corruption --> Curse of Agony --> (Shadow Bolt filler and refresh DoTs) Demonology = Life Tap (rank1) --> Curse of Doom --> Corruption --> Immolate --> Shadow bolt (spam and refresh doTs) Destruction = Immolate --> Curse of Doom --> Conflagrate --> Chaos Bolt --> Incinerate (spam, refresh DoTs and use Conflag and CB on cooldown)
Since both Affliction and Demonology use the Glyph of Life Tap, they should always start with Life Tap (rank 1) before the fight starts so they are buffed. During the fight it’s very important to always keep this buff up and to maintain a good mana level.
Untill Cataclysm launches; Seed of Corruption is the very best AOE spell for every spec. Gear Stats
PvE, broken down by spec:
Affliction: Hit > Spellpower > Haste > Crit > Spirit Demonology: Hit > Spellpower > Haste > Crit > Spirit Destruction: Hit > Spellpower > Crit = Haste > Spirit
In case of Destruction, at higher levels of haste (above 600) it doesn’t matter anymore whether crit or haste is best. I personally always favor haste above crit because I can cast faster which means less dps loss in movement fights like Marrowgar or Lich King.
What about hit?
Casters need 26.2 hit rating for 1% of plus hit, considerably less than the ~33 hit rating needed by melee. We have a 17% chance to miss against raid bosses, therefore to achieve a 100% hit chance we need 446 hit rating. This is the hard cap. The majority of players won’t need to stack anywhere near the 446 hard cap, as spells and abilities modify how much +hit you need.
You get a 1% buff from the Drainei Racial (alliance only, and only party wide, this is NOT a raid wide buff). You get a 3% debuff on the mob from either spriest misery, or boomkin faerie fire (these do NOT stack). You get +3% from talents (although you may drop the talents as you get the hit rating on gear).
So the “soft cap” for raiding locks with all available buffs are: Only Drainei 420
Only Shadowpriest/Boomkin/Suppression 367
If you check my current spec and gear, you’ll see that I’ve got 441 hit without speccing in Suppression. This is because im not sure whether I’m going to raid with a Boomkin or a ShadowPriest and therefore I want to be as close to the hitcap as I can. Most of the time there’s a Drainei in the party, when this doesn’t happen I can always swap some gear so I’m hitcapped. When I’m raiding with either a boomkin or a shadowpriest, I got Nibelung (which is a DPS increase but only when I get Hitcapped because of a shadowpriest or a boomkin debuffing the boss).
What are the best trinkets for warlocks at the moment?
I’ve written this paragraph because I see a lot of warlocks struggling with trinkets at the moment. This is probably because of the AddOn GearScore though, but there are a lot of trinkets which just aren’t as useful for warlocks. Following is a list of trinkets which you can either get from emblems, ICC10(HC)/25 or from 5-mans (HC). The trinkets are sorted from best to worst:
Dislodged Foreign Object (ICC25)
Muradin's Spyglass (ICC10 HC)
Muradin's Spyglass (ICC10)
Phylactery of the Nameless Lich (ICC25)
Nevermelting Ice Crystal (not for Affliction!) (PoS 5 – HC)
Abyssal Rune (Toc 5 – normal!)
Sundial of the Exiled (40 emblems of Heroism)
Mithril Pocketwatch (Coren Direbrew – Brewfest!)
Given the above list, there are a few trinkets you can use to either boost your GS (not recommended because they are a dps loss!) or because you’re not hitcapped (always make sure you are hitcapped, if not then +hit trinket is the best!)
Maghia's Misguided Quill (Only use when not hitcapped) – 60 Emblems of Frost
Shard of the Crystal Heart (Only use when not hitcapped) – 50 Emblems of Triumph
Talisman of Resurgence (Pretty good if you need it for GS, Abyssal Rune is better then this one though!) – 50 Emblems of Triumph
Purified Lunar Dust – OMG never take this! Are you a healer? Is MP5 a good stat for locks?
So, for all the GS lovers. A itemlevel 200 drop from Toc-5 normal or for 40 emblems of heroism is better than a itemlevel 264 item for 60 emblems of frost.
What glyphs should I use?
Affliction Demonology Destruction
Life Tap Life Tap Immolate Major
Haunt Felguard Conflagrate Major
Glyph of Quick Decay Glyph of Quick Decay Incinerate Major
Glyph of Drain Soul Glyph of Drain Soul Glyph of Drain Soul Minor
Glyph of Souls Glyph of Souls Glyph of Souls Minor
Pick one Pick one Pick one Minor
Edit: for destro conflag and incinedrate (and if you're full t10 then it's better to go immolate instead of lifetap JUST FOR DESTRO THOUGH!!)
End game spec. this is THE spec for topping the dps charts, and as the name says you need end game gear to do damage or else it won't be as amazing.
For this spec it's pretty simple, corrup, CoE or CoA then immolate, conflag whenever off cd, shadow bolt as filler and when the boss is below 30% use decimation
Thanks to Ps25 with this setups, I have never tried this so please go ahead and try this.
As of Tier10, Destruction doesn’t use glyph of Life Tap anymore. Glyph of Immolate does more dps.
If you are a real good timer with Demonology and Metamorphosis, you could swith glyph of Felguard with glyph of Metamorphosis. I would not recommend it though; you need to time your Metamorphosis real good and you’ve got to be lucky.
What gems should I use?
Chaotic Skyflare Diamonds are the best meta gem for warlocks.
While Crit is not a stat Warlocks should gem for, the 3% extra crit damage is multiplied by the Destruction talent Ruin to actually give a 9% increased damage when you crit. This is incredibly powerful and makes this meta-gem much stronger than any of the other options.
Reds should always be filled with Runed(spellpower) gems.
Yellow sockets should actually be filled with orange gems. If you are not hit-capped then use Veiled(spellpower/hit) gems. If you are hit-capped then use Reckless(spellpower/haste) gems.
Blues should actually be filled with purple gems. The temptation is to use spellpower/stamina gems but a much greater DPS increase is gained by using Purified(spellpower/spirit) gems.
Some socket bonuses are good enough that it is worth gemming for the socket colour. This would typically be a bonus like "+7 spellpower" or maybe hit rating when you are under-capped. If you are in any doubt about which gem to use just follow the general rule of reds in all sockets except for meta requirements and you will do very well. The potential benefits, when trying to choose the correct socket bonus to gem for, are so small that they will only matter to the most ardent min/maxer. When fulfilling a meta-gem requirement always look for a matching socket to place the non-red gems. Even if the bonus is only something like "+4 crit rating" (usually an almost worthless bonus), it's better to get something than nothing if you're using those gems anyway. (Source: Wowhead)
What enchants are best for a warlock?
Head: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Storm or Master‘s Inscription of the Storm if you are a Scribe
Back: Enchant Cloak - Greater Speed or Lightweave Embroidery if you are a Tailor or Springy Arachnoweave if you're an engineer.
Chest: Enchant Chest - Major Spirit or Enchant Chest - Powerful Stats
Wrist: Enchant Bracers - Superior Spellpower or Fur Lining - Spell Power if you are a Leatherworker
Hands: Enchant Gloves - Exceptional Spellpower or Enchant Gloves - Precision if you need the extra hit or Hyperspeed Accelerators if you're an engineer.
Legs: Brilliant Spellthread
Feet: Enchant Boots - Tuskarr's Vitality > Enchant Boots - Icewalker > Enchant Boots - Greater Spirit
Finger: Enchant Ring - Greater Spellpower if you are an Enchanter 1 Handed Weapon: Enchant Weapon - Mighty Spellpower 2 Handed Weapon: Enchant Staff - Greater Spellpower
If you are a very well geared Affliction lock, Enchant Weapon - Black Magic will probably be better for your 1-handed weapon. 81 spellpower on your staff will always be better than Black Magic.
Macro’s and AddOns What macro’s can a warlock use?
I don’t use any macro on whatever warlocks I have so I don’t have a clue what macro would be beneficial for a warlock.
What addons do I recommend
Specific warlock addons can always be found on curse.com (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addo ... rlock.aspx). My personal favorites are:
· ForteXorcist (everything a warlock needs, it’s very complete but I always find it a bit confusing when using it for Affliction’s dot timers)
· MikScrollingBattleText (This isn’t a warlock addon, but I recommend it to everyone because it gives more information than the standard Battle text from Blizzard)
· Omen Threat Meter (If you’re doing a sick amount of dps, chances are you’ll outaggro the tank. Omen shows how much threat you have on the current target, is it to high? Use SoulShatter or ask a paladin to use Hand of Salvation).
· OmniCC (Shows a timer on your bar when a spell is on cooldown, how long it takes before it’s off cooldown)
· Quartz (The best casting bar ingame imo, it shows what spell you’re casting and also shows the delay it has in red. This means you can cast a new spell once the old one goes red-> more dps!)
· X-perl Unit frames(This is a very easy to configure alternative for the blizzard unit frames. I adjusted the scale of the debuffs I have on the boss so I can easily see when I need to cast i.e. Immolate again)
What curse should I use?
It’s different per spec you are playing and whether there’s a boomkin or deathknight in your raid that either specced in Earth and Moon( Boomkin) or Ebon Plaguebringer (Unholy DK).
The best curses are:
Affliction Curse of Agony
Demonology Curse of Doom*
Destruction Curse of Doom*
- = Curse of Doom only ticks once in a minute. If you are fighting a boss that will be down within a minute, use Curse of Agony or don’t curse (the DPS of Curse of Agony in either Demo/Destro is so low that it is a dps loss most of the time because of the use of a GCD).
If there isn’t a Unholy DK nor a Boomkin availiable in the raid which can do Earth and Moon or Ebon Plaguebringer, use Curse of Elements.
Should I use Spellstone or Firestone?
For demonology and Affliction, use Spellstone. If you got tier 10 and some other shiny gear from icc and you’re specced Destruction, use Firestone. The difference between Firestone and Spellstone isn’t much for Destruction, so if you find that Spellstone works better with your playing style, use Spellstone.
How to apply your dots?
A warlock gets most of the damage from dots, if you are Affliction, almost all your damage comes from dots. The difference between a good and an average lock is the way they apply their dots, it’s probably the hardest thing to learn as a warlock.
Don’t clip your dots!
Clipping your dots means that you case a new dot before the old one is finished. Don’t ever do that because it means that the old dot didn’t tick, which is a dps loss! For example, you are an Affliction warlock and you got all your dots on the boss. As a filler spell, you cast shadowbolt. You noticed that unstable affliction is about to wear off in 2.5 seconds. If you cast a new shadowbolt, Unstable Affliction will wear off which is a dps loss. If you cast a new Unstable Affliction, the new one will overwrite the old one and it misses a tick, which also means a dps loss. In general, the best thing to do is cast a new shadowbolt and after that cast Unstable Affliction directly. It means that Unstable Affliction will tick for its full period and therefore does maxDPS. The one second Unstable Affliction is not on the target is less of a dps loss then a missing tick of the dot.
At the time you start getting the hang of it, there’s an advanced class. Unstable Affliction has a casting time of 1.5 seconds (ex. Haste). So, if Unstable Affliction is on the target for 1.5 seconds, you should cast a new one so it takes over at exactly the right moment.
I hope you guys learned anything from this guide.