Warlocks were once arcanists - or shamans in the case of the orcs - who, in pursuit of ever-greater sources of power, abandoned their studies of the arcane or nature and delved into darker, fel-based shadow magic. Warlocks still retain their skills in the manipulation of the chaotic element of fire, although their focus is on delivering excruciating pain and drawing out the suffering of their victims. No longer do they aim to use the effective application of arcane energies to efficiently dispose of their targets from a safe distance, instead warlocks revel in their victim's pain while their fel minions engage their target.
Warlocks are masters of the dark arts, devoted to furthering their understanding and use of shadow and Fire based magics, along with the summoning of demons from within the Twisting Nether. They first appeared on Azeroth during the First War, when Gul'dan, the first of their kind among the invading orc clans of Draenor, led the Horde across the dimensional gulf through the Dark Portal while in servitude to the Burning Legion.
Warlocks are used as damage dealers, but can store the target´s soul to resurrect or heal himself by draining enemy's life. The warlock can summon an Imp without a Soul Shard. However, other demons require a soul shard or other reagents to be summoned.
In most societies, the warlocks now live on the fringe of civilization, tolerated but not trusted. Human warlocks meet in secret in the basement of a bar in Stormwind. Thrall has expressed discomfort with the warlocks but understands the necessities in using them so he has allowed them the Cleft of Shadow. Conventional spell casters often see the warlock's magic as a vain attempt at increasing their own power.
Although many that consort with demons fall to darkness, the warlocks of the Horde and the Alliance advocate bending demonic forces to one's will without succumbing to complete corruption. These spell casters can summon demons to serve them, and they can also cast many painful spells that slowly eat at the life of their enemies. Warlocks are usually physically weak compared to other classes, but they compensate for this deficiency with their potent array of spells and their demonic minions. Compared to other spell casters, warlocks are among the strongest and often depend on the sacrifice of their own blood to fuel their magical powers.
On the world of Azeroth, there are many races who presently wield the dark power of the Nether. The playable races a warlock can choose from are the humans, gnomes, orcs, undead, and blood elves. Each has its own history in the dark demon arts.
Warlocks are unique among the DPS caster classes because of their ability to convert health into mana. They can be + damage or + damage & crit players. Warlocks have the most powerful assortment of damage over time (DoT) spells when used in conjunction, and also the most variety in debuffs and summonable minions. Just like a mage, a warlock’s crowd control abilities appropriately used can stave off certain doom for the warlock and their allies, and the warlock’s sustained burst damage when suitably specced and geared can rival those of a mage. However, the warlock’s area of effect spells are not as varied as those of their mage brethren, although when used appropriately they have powerful applications in group play.
Warlocks are well versed in the "shock and horror" tactics of warfare, and their manipulation of shadow energies can send their opponents reeling in Fear. At low levels, warlocks rely primarily on minions and damage over time spells to deal damage while fearing their enemies to prevent retribution.
Endgame warlocks either choose to maximize the effects of their DoTs and curses through the affliction tree, increase the utility of their summoned minions and stones through the demonology tree, or lay waste the opposition with burst damage and direct damage spells in the destruction tree. In previous versions of WoW, the 8-debuff and 16-debuff limits prevented warlocks from maximizing their damage output through affliction spells, and warlocks were relegated to chain-casting their direct damage spells to maintain DPS in PvE raids. This has changed and there is now no reachable debuff limit, and affliction DPS is now competitive in a raid environment.
The warlock can learn to summon magical mounts. Other classes, except paladins, death knights, and druids (Flight Form), must purchase their own mounts with gold or via Honor and Battleground tokens obtained through PvP.
Being a warlock demands certain things: being able to engage multiple targets simultaneously while keeping tabs on your minion, to make split-second strategic decisions on cast rotations depending on the situation, careful shard management and even more careful aggro management. Being a warlock also rewards many things: they are PvP powerhouses due to naturally high stamina values, the ability to apply debilitating crowd control abilities, and in PvE their damage output in multiple target situations can rival those of other DPS classes who focus fire on a single target.
Their ability to drain and use souls as Soul Shards is also appealing to many.
Weapons and armor
- Main article: Warlock sets
Warlocks can wear cloth armor only, and can initially use staves (as of patch 3.3.0), daggers and unarmed combat in battle. They can also use wands for ranged combat, and equip off-hands to enhance various skills. They can train at a weapon master for 10 to gain the ability to use one-handed swords (Undercity, Silvermoon, Stormwind City).
Stamina is one of the key warlock attributes, especially for warlocks specializing in demonology. The main reason for this is that warlocks can use Life Tap to convert their health to mana, thus allowing stamina to mostly fill the role for intellect as well. Many warlocks also depend on large health pools as their main source of defense. As a primarily spell caster, the warlock also has great use for all the standard caster attributes, such as intellect and spell power, but no use for strength or agility. Spirit is of moderate value due to Fel Armor which returns 30% of the warlock's spirit as spell power. Warlocks who use Glyph of Life Tap can increase their spell power by an additional 20% of their spirit value.
The value of other attributes — spell crit, spell power, spell hit, resilience and haste — depends to some degree on the warlock's talent spec and play style. Spell crit is more useful for direct damage spells, especially with Ruin. Affliction warlocks, who rely more on DoTs, will benefit more from spell power than from spell crit, at least until training Pandemic. The demonology talent Demonic Knowledge gives the warlock bonus spell damage based on their minion's stamina and intellect, which are bolstered by the warlock's own stamina and intellect.
In a raid scenario, spell hit rating takes precedence over all other stats, and it is advisable to reach the spell hit rating cap (17% as of 3.0.2), taking Suppression into account for affliction warlocks. After that point, spell hit rating is useless; spell-hit-crippling debuffs are too few and far between to be considered.
In PvP for warlocks, the focus is somewhat different as survivability takes precedence. warlocks often choose to sacrifice DPS in order to obtain higher survivability in high end arena, regardless of talent choice.
Below are some examples of the relative attribute values for a warlock (in descending order).
- Raiding: Spell hit (until capped) > Spell power > Haste rating > Spell crit
- PvP: Resilience (until 700+) > Stamina (until 20k+ hp) > Spell power > Spell crit
Personal play style and raid makeup will cause this prioritization to vary from player to player - for example, demonology warlocks with very high crit ratings can out DPS similarly built warlocks who have focused on haste or spell power, while bringing more Demonic Pact coverage to the raid.
A large number of the warlock's skills and spells rely on a Soul Shard reagent. They are obtained by using the Drain Soul spell. To create a Soul Shard, the warlock must be channeling this spell as the target dies. If the warlock is using they can sometimes receive two Soul Shards upon the target's death. Only targets that would give experience (or honor in the case of a PvP target) to the warlock will yield a Soul Shard. It also works on the Training Dummies in major cities. Soul Shards will receive a revamp in Cataclysm (see #Cataclysm changes)
Shadowburn (talent) also creates a Soul Shard if the enemy dies within five seconds of casting it if the target rewards experience, reputation or honor, but since it also costs a shard to cast, the net effect is zero shards (or less if the cast is mistimed or spell is resisted).
Soul Shards are used to summon all minions except for the Imp and enslaved demons, cast many high level spells (such as Soul Fire), and create Healthstones, Soulstones, Firestones, and Spellstones. Additionally, they are required for the Ritual of Summoning spell that allows a warlock to summon party members to the warlock's location, and Ritual of Souls which allows the warlock to summon a Soul Well that has 25 Healthstone charges or lasts for three minutes, which ever comes first.
- Main article: Warlock races
The warlock class can be played by the following races:
- Main article: Warlock abilities
A warlock's DoTs are the bread and butter of their arsenal, regardless of talent specialization. The warlock's direct damage spells are either Shadow or Fire based. While a warlock's direct damage alone does not compare to the mage, when coupled with their DoTs and a minion they can achieve strong, steady DPS to rival that of other classes. Some of a warlock's most important spells are channeled, and they can be protected from interruption by damage, using the Fel Concentration and Intensity talents. The warlock has available a variety of curses, but only one can be cast upon an enemy at a given time. This creates the need for determining an appropriate Curse in a given situation. The affliction talent Amplify Curse reduces the global cooldown of all curses by 0.5 seconds.
The warlock has several other valuable spells at their disposal, such as utility spells.
Minions and mounts
Warlocks can summon a variety of minions, each exhibiting different skill sets which are useful in different situations.
The Imp is a warlock's first minion, and provides additional damage and survivability for the warlock. At higher levels, the Imp can also provide mana. At level 10, warlocks learn to summon a Voidwalker, which makes an excellent tank for a soloing warlock. Later minions include the Succubus (a rogue-like demon with an important CC ability), the Felhunter (an anti-caster demon), the Infernal, the Doomguard (the most powerful minion), and the Felguard (with demonology talents).
In addition, warlocks can enslave demons found while adventuring, to act as their minions for a short time.
- Felsteed (Level Obtained: 20, from trainers
- The Felsteed is the 'free mount' that warlocks receive at level 20. Other than paladins, all other classes must pay 1 for a mount and 4 for training to ride it. You also gain riding skill 75.
- Dreadsteed (Level Obtained: 40, from trainers)
Healing and conjured items
Another powerful ability of the warlock is to create beneficial items from Soul Shards. All conjured items are used from the inventory. Healthstones and Soulstones will disappear 15 minutes after logging off.
A warlock is by no means a healer, however, they do have some limited abilities to heal themselves and their minions while in combat. In addition, they can also resurrect by giving a player a soulstone prior to their death.
To heal others (or himself), a warlock can create a Healthstone and hand it to another friendly player. These can be improved through talents. Burning Crusade introduced the Ritual of Souls which creates a Soul Well from which Healthstones can be extracted by members of the party or raid group (10 or 25 depending on Ritual of Souls rank).
To resurrect a target a warlock may use a Soulstone on a friendly player before they die (15 minutes Buff duration and Cooldown), allowing them to resurrect on death. If a warlock uses a soulstone on another member of their party and the warlock or that member leaves the party, the buff is dismissed.
While the warlock can wield and attack with melee weapons, this is generally not recommended as the warlock's melee abilities do little damage in comparison to their array of offensive spells (exception: a warlock under the effects of Metamorphosis, a demonology talent). Generally when an opponent gets within melee range the warlock's best bet is to use disabling spells such as Death Coil, Fear, Howl of Terror or Curse of Exhaustion to get away from the enemy.
If acquiring range is not possible a warlock is by no means helpless. Defensively, a warlock can share his damage with his pet via Soul Link, punish melee attackers with Fire Shield, and reduce damage received with Demon Armor. Unlike a Hunter a warlock's ranged abilities have no minimum range and their powerful offensive spells can still be used to deal damage to opponents that are very close, though the spells will be more difficult to cast due to spell pushback caused by taking damage.
- Affliction - Affliction talents are largely based on increasing the effectiveness of DoTs, Drains, and Curses. Affliction's strengths are its ability to remain mobile in PvP, allow the warlock to heal himself, and is very mana efficient, great for farming. Key talents include Shadow Mastery, Siphon Life, Fel Concentration, Curse of Exhaustion, Improved Corruption, Dark Pact, Unstable Affliction, Everlasting Affliction and Haunt. Its large DPS output as well as its mana efficiency makes it very good for raiding. However it is mainly a boss killing spec, as most of the damage takes time and trash mobs usually do not live long enough for the warlock's DoTs to do their full damage.
- Demonology - Demonology talents are largely based on improving the effectiveness of your minions, conjure spells, and bestowing other passive bonuses. Demonology's strengths are its versatility and survivability. Key talents include Soul Link, Master Demonologist, Demonic Embrace, Demonic Knowledge, Demonic Empowerment, Demonic Pact, Summon Felguard, and Metamorphosis. Many use the demonology tree to overcome the scarcity of spell damage gear at early levels.
- Destruction - Destruction talents are largely based on increasing the effect of a warlock's Direct Damage spells, making them (and their dps pets) cast faster, crit more often, and ultimately deal more Burst Damage. Destruction's strength is its ability to quickly kill a single foe. Key talents include Improved Shadow Bolt, Conflagrate, Ruin, Shadowburn, Bane, Backlash, Shadow and Flame Empowered Imp, Shadowfury, and Chaos Bolt. Destruction is the only spec with high damage instant cast spells to quickly finish a fight, and the least mana efficient among the trees as well (however, warlocks still make the most mana efficient classes in the game due to their ability to steal health and use it to regain mana). The damage potential of the destruction Tree rivals a mage when properly specialized, as well the added benefit of pets and greater mana efficiency than most classes due to a Life Tap and various other health regaining skills.
Talent builders can be found at Official Blizzard site, Wowhead, WorldofWar.se, WoW Vault (Limited to lvl 60), Thottbot, Merciless Talent Calculator (Limited to lvl 70). Talent builds are also documented from contributors. See the Warlock talents page for detailed information and talent trees.
The most popular combination of professions for warlocks is Tailoring and Enchanting. Both professions have consistently provided BoP type functionality (like and ) that benefit spell casters and are otherwise unavailable.
PvP centric warlocks may look to the gathering style professions - specifically Mining for Toughness and Herbalism for the self-heal Lifeblood. Affliction warlocks are the least likely to benefit from the additional crit provided by leveling Skinning for Master of Anatomy, but crit gains in importance for increasing overall DPS both in PvP and while raiding.
The remaining professions do not offer anything particularly warlock-specific, but, depending on server economy, may provide significantly more income.
Note: It is HIGHLY recommended that warlocks learn the secondary profession, First Aid. When running randoms, it is better to able to heal yourself after using Life Tap than to rely on the healer since you are effectively draining their mana which is needed to heal party damage taken. This will help reduce healer down time and allow them to focus on healing the tank.
Warlocks are taken to raids for their incredible dps and their raid utility. A warlock's abilities can bring a lot of support to parties, and they are usually biggest source of ranged DPS. Seed of Corruption, when properly used, makes a warlock extremely effective AOE DPS without putting the raid at risk. Soul Shards should be put to good use in order to summon late comers, conjure Soulstones for raid recovery, and distribute Healthstones. Warlocks are also well known for their unique CC abilities such as Fear, Banish, and Enslave Demon.
When doing raids, the warlocks normally assign the responsibility of casting curses between each other. Effective use of curses is expected. It's a warlock's responsibility to know what curse to use in a given situation unless the raid leader requests otherwise.
Due to a demonology warlock's great endurance and survivability, warlocks are also great for tanking Leotheras the Blind in Serpentshrine Cavern - repeatedly using Searing Pain makes the boss attack the warlock from a distance, allowing the melee DPS to stay close to the boss and avoid his Chaos Blast ability. Warlocks also play an important part in the Illidan fight as they must "Tank" Illidan during one of his phases.
The Burning Crusade has brought more utility to warlocks than before. The addition of the soul well has made distributing healthstones a much simpler and convenient process. With Patch 2.4, warlocks finally are able to summon through instance barriers. This makes replacing players in a mid-raid scenario significantly more convenient.
Warlocks deal impressive damage through the careful combination of damage spells, dots, and pets, and their new talents and abilities reflect this role. In many cases abilities have had their damage increased or their mana cost reduced, making them more efficient for the warlock to use. Talents have been consolidated and moved in the tree to give you access to some important talents earlier on. In addition, summoning your dreadsteed or felsteed no longer costs any mana and does not affect your global cooldown so that your mounts work just like everyone else's.
The most significant change to the warlock is the way your pets are handled. All of the demon master trainers have vanished! Instead, all demon abilities and spells are automatically learned as pets gain levels. Gone are the days where you have to spend coin to not only train yourself but your pesky demonic friends as well.
There have been some changes to the demon abilities. For example, they automatically learn avoidance at level 10. Blood pact now works for the entire raid, making it unnecessary to stick a warlock in a particular group. Consume shadows now also greatly increases nearby allies' stealth detection. Some abilities have been removed completely and new ones put in their place, like fel intelligence and shadow bite have replaced paranoia and tainted blood on your felhunter. Overall, your pets have received the same love given to the other classes in the game, making them better, stronger and more fearsome.
Macros and addons
- Main article: Useful macros for warlocks
- Necrosis LdC is based on Necrosis 1 by infernal. It is described by its author as "a mod to help warlocks managing their stones, shards and summoning of demons". It provides sound notifications for various events, for example when Nightfall or Backlash combat states occur. It also has the ability to send party/raid notifications when casting SoulStone, Ritual of Souls, Ritual of Summoning — and many other messages, which can all be customized. As such, this is a very useful addon and perhaps the most widely used of all the warlock specific addons.
- DoTimer is an addon that times DoTs that you cast on other people. It supports all classes. There are four functions performed by DoTimer: the base DoT timer, a cooldown timer, a communications addon that lets you communicate your timers to others in your party, and a customizable notifications addon that can be set to notify you or others of specific events.
- Natur EnemyCastBar shows all buffs and debuffs on your character making it exceptional for raiding.
- ForteXorcist (also here) shows spell timers, cooldown timers and messages that you can set for yourself or the raid. On top of that, it also offers support for tracking Soulstones, shards and healthstones as well as a summoning assistant. Also, although the addon is primarily targeted at Warlocks, ForteXorcist can also be used with the other classes. In essence, ForteXorcist provides what Necrosis and DoTimer does with a few added extras.
- List of warlocks
- Warlock instance grouping guide
- Leveling a warlock
- Warlock patch history
- Spell power coefficient
- ^ a b Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 95
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 62-63
- ^ 
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=24702205296&pageNo=1&sid=2000#8
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=24702205296&pageNo=1&sid=2000#8
- ^ World of Warcraft RPG Conversion Document, pg 1-2.
- Elitist Jerks Warlock Raiding Compendium - An in depth look at warlock raiding and the theory behind it.