In the Season of Discovery, Warlock DPS receives a refreshing array of runes, offering diverse options beyond the traditional Shadow Bolt spam. Two main paths emerge: a Fire-focused build and a damage-over-time (DoT) approach.
1. Incinerate: Deals Fire damage and applies a Fire damage buff.
2. Chaos Bolt: Unmissable spell, causing Fire spells to pierce through absorptions.
3. Lake of Fire: Enhances Rain of Fire, applying a debuff for additional damage.
4. Demonic Tactics: Grants a straightforward 10% additional crit chance for both the Warlock and their pet.
1. Soul Siphon: Includes Drain Life in the rotation, either as a DoT or main filler.
2. Master Channeler: Enables Drain Life as a DoT ability or main filler.
3. Everlasting Affliction: Helps maintain Corruption in longer encounters.
4. Haunt: Adds another DoT and boosts damage through the Soul Siphon rune.
5. Demonic Pact: A support-oriented rune, providing extra spell power to the group.
Warlocks now have numerous possibilities, each with distinct benefits and drawbacks, allowing for a more diversified playstyle.
Affliction: At level 25, the limited talent points available make choices in the Affliction talent tree especially impactful. Improved Corruption stands out as a must-have for those focused on Damage over Time abilities, investing 5 points causes Corruption to be instant cast. While some may argue that 1/2 points suffice to make the cast faster or roughly equal to the global cooldown, the true benefit lies in the spell's instant cast nature, enabling casting on the move—an invaluable benefit.
Another great talent in the Affliction tree is Improved Life Tap, enhancing the mana-for-health trade-off. Resulting in fewer Life Taps and more time spent casting damage-dealing abilities.
Suppression is another good optional talent, considering the limited amount of low-level items with spell hit chance. While more such items are expected, having extra hit chance from talents ensures that abilities like Corruption, Curses, Haunt, and Drain Life are more likely to apply. This can be particularly good for Drain Life if used in conjunction with Master Channeler, transforming it into an instant-cast damage-over-time ability with a 15-second cooldown.
Improved Drain Life, Curse of Agony, and Amplify Curse all do not scale with spell power and only modify the base damage of the spells making the talents not as good as they initially sound. However, at lower levels, there is not as much spell power gear to be gained, partially offsetting this con.
Demonology: The Demonology Talent Tree doesn't offer significant value for Warlock DPS at the current level bracket. Access to the modifiers that increase damage are out of reach. As a result, investing talent points in the Demonology Tree might not be the most efficient use of resources for a Warlock DPS at this point.
Destruction: Within the Destruction tree, key talents include Improved Shadow Bolt, which synergizes great with Shadow Bolt Volley in AoE encounters. Bane is essential for Warlocks who prefer using Shadow Bolt over Incinerate or Drain Life. Shadowburn is also an option if chosen. However, Devastation doesn't offer significant value on a per-point basis without the ability to reach Ruin in this level bracket.
Warlock DPS maintains its prominence in raids, offering not only formidable damage but also invaluable support. Healthstones, Minor Soulstones, Summoning Ritual, curses, and the Demonic Pact rune contribute to the raid's overall success. Warlocks prove their versatility by bringing extra spell power to the group through Demonic Pact. With the introduction of new spells and runes, Warlocks can explore varied playstyles, enhancing their adaptability in different encounters.
1. Robust single-target and cleave throughput.
2. Outstanding utility for the raid.
1. Vulnerable to incoming damage, especially due to cloth armor and Life Tap mechanics.
2. Susceptible to pushback and interruptions, risking lockouts from a spell school.
As Warlocks, our primary objectives are dealing damage and providing utility through curses, Minor Soulstone, and Healthstone. Damage is generated using various forms of damage-over-time abilities, such as Corruption and Immolate. Direct damage heavily depends on the choice of runes and talents, with options including Incinerate (often combined with Chaos Bolt on cooldown), Shadow Bolt, and Drain Life. Further details on the specific rotation and decision-making processes can be found in the section below.
1. Life Tap: When mana is running low and health is not an issue.
1. Rain of Fire: As Fire Lock cast, at the place where the mobs will be DPSed and immediately canceled for the 40% damage debuff of Lake of Fire. Cast again when the debuff falls off. Note using Rain of Fire this way will be very mana-intensive.
2. Haunt: Maintain
3. Curse of Agony: Maintain, depending on the assigned curse.
4. Corruption: Maintain
5. Immolate: Maintain
6. Drain Life: Maintain as a DoT when you have Master Channeler Rune.
1. Incinerate: Casted as Fire Lock.
2. Chaos Bolt: Casted as Fire lock whenever off cooldown.
3. Shadow Bolt: Casted as Shadow Lock not utilizing Drain Life as a filler spell.
4. Drain Life: Casted as a Shadow Lock when utilizing the Soul Siphon Rune.
A Warlock's DPS rotation involves three key components: maintaining debuffs and curses, dealing direct damage with filler spells during downtime, and managing mana efficiently while utilizing other utility spells. The spells marked with an asterisk (*) are dependent on specific runes. In a typical fight, the approach is to start by applying damage over time abilities to allow the tank to build threat and for the Warlock to ramp up overall damage. It's crucial not to clip DoTs, letting them run their full course before reapplication.
After setting up damage over time abilities and curses, the next step is to fill the remaining cast time with filler spells. The choice of filler spell depends on the rune selection. Fire Warlocks typically use Incinerate as the filler spell and incorporate Chaos Bolt whenever it's off cooldown. Shadow-focused Warlocks can opt for either Shadow Bolt or Drain Life (if using Soul Siphon).
Mana management is essential, and Life Tap is a key tool for replenishing mana. While Life Tap is often considered "free" mana, it does consume time (1.5 seconds global cooldown), during which damage-dealing spells are not cast. The goal is to minimize the need for Life Taps, ideally ending a fight with as little mana left as possible without experiencing downtime. Demonic Runes, Mana Potions, and efficient use of Life Tap contribute to effective mana management.
1. Hit Chance
2. Spell Damage
3. Crit Chance
In terms of throughput, ensuring that spells reliably hit the target is crucial. When facing bosses or mobs three levels higher and above, achieving a 16% hit chance is necessary to reach the spell hit cap (3% against same-level targets). While Affliction spells benefit from Suppression for hit chance, other spells need to source it from gear. Typically, low-level gear may need more hit chance, but the introduction of new items might offer solutions at lower levels.
Spell Damage items, although rare at lower levels, play a pivotal role in enhancing the base damage of our spells, which is essential for dealing damage. A similar rationale applies to Crit Chance, but its impact diminishes without the Ruin talent in this level bracket.
Intellect increases our overall mana pool, although, on longer encounters, we will eventually have to resort to Life Tap. The benefit of Intellect also includes a slight increase in spell crit chance, though this effect is relatively minor. It's important to balance these considerations to optimize overall performance.
1. Dread Mage Hat: This Sorting Hat look alike is rewarded from You Have Served Us Well an Alliance Warlock only quest.
2. Magician's Mantle: This Bind on Equip rare is one of the best shoulder pieces available for casters, having both a solid amount of spell power and intellect.
3. Hands of Darkness / Phoenix Gloves: Both of these gloves are Bind on Equipped tailoring gloves that provide either 9 shadow damage or 9 fire damage. The patterns required to make these are world drops, seeing as how they are BoE you should be able to get someone else to craft them for you if need be.
4. Item of Shadow / Fire Wrath: Plenty of uncommon items with the Fire or Shadow Wrath suffix will end up being the best option for diverse slots. Or at the least solid contenders, seeing as spell power all around is fairly rare to get around this level bracket.
Gnomes are the most advantageous choice for DPSing in the level 25 bracket due to their racial abilities. Escape Artist proves invaluable for breaking free from immobilization or movement speed reduction effects, allowing for quick reentry into the fray. Additionally, Expansive Mind enhances the overall mana pool and slightly boosts crit chance, contributing to improved damage generation.
1. Arcane Resistance: Arcane Resistance increased.
2. Expansive Mind: Intelligence increased by 5%.
3. Engineering Specialization: Engineering skill increased by 15.
4. Escape Artist: Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect.
None of the human racials are particularly beneficial for Warlock DPSing. Diplomacy, which increases reputation gained, may be useful for obtaining certain reputation-locked items. Sword Specialization doesn’t benefit us at all seeing as we don’t rely on melee attacks for our damage. Additionally, Blizzard has hinted at the potential availability of Weapon Skill-related racials through rewards in Level-Up Raids, which would diminish the desirability of certain weapon specialization racial bonuses. Spirit doesn't significantly impact Warlocks, making The Human Spirit less advantageous for this role.
1. Diplomacy: Reputation gains increased by 10%.
2. Mace Specialization: Skill with Maces and Two-Handed Maces increased by 5.
3. Sword Specialization: Skill with Swords and Two-Handed Swords increased by 5.
4. The Human Spirit: Spirit increased by 5%.
Cannibalize provides a convenient means of self-healing after an encounter, particularly useful when healers are taking a brief mana break. Although Shadow Resistance provides a minor amount of resistance, it proves valuable in encounters where shadow damage is the source of incoming damage, contributing to overall survivability. Underwater Breathing becomes beneficial in the new 10-man raid version of Blackfathom Deeps, though it's worth noting that we already have Unending Breath, so the advantage is only realized if we forget to self-buff. However, the standout feature for Warlock DPSing is Will of the Forsaken, offering the ability to break or prevent Charm, Fear, and Sleep on Command. This adds a layer of control to encounters, ensuring a smoother time.
1. Cannibalize: When activated, regenerates 7% of total health every 2 sec for 10 sec. Only works on Humanoid or Undead corpses within 5 yds. Any movement, action, or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect.
2. Shadow Resistance: Shadow Resistance increased by 10.
3. Underwater Breathing: Underwater breath lasts 300% longer than normal.
4. Will of the Forsaken: Provides immunity to Charm, Fear, and Sleep while active. May also be used while already afflicted by Charm, Fear, or Sleep. Lasts 5 sec.
Blood Fury only applies to melee damage and as such is undesirable as caster DPS. Command does boost the damage of our pets, in classic however our pets have been fairly squishy it remains to be seen if any changes will be added such as additional avoidance for our pets, otherwise it will be hard to capitalize on this additional damage for our pets.. Hardiness proves useful in encounters featuring stun mechanics; however, the drawback is its reliance on chance rather than being a reliable on-use effect.
1. Axe Specialization: Skill with Axes and Two-Handed Axes increased by 5.
2. Blood Fury: Increases base melee attack power by 25% for 15 sec and reduces healing effects on you by 50% for 25 sec.
3.Command: Damage dealt by Hunter and Warlock pets increased by 5%.
4. Hardiness: Chance to resist Stun effects increased by an additional 25%.
Engineering enhances performance in three distinct ways: it boosts damage output, provides access to unique gear, and offers various useful gadgets.
In terms of damage output, Heavy Dynamite is the key item. These explosives have no maximum number of targets, allowing players to significantly climb threat meters during well-timed AoE encounters.
In the early stages of the game, during Phase 1 content, Warlocks with engineering can benefit from Green Tinted Goggles, providing a solid 8 Stamina. In later phases those with higher engineering can opt for Spellpower Goggles Xtreme, boasting +21 Spell Damage but lacking stamina or alternatively the Deepdive Helmet, offering an impressive 15 stamina.
Additional useful gadgets include Goblin Jumper Cables (gnomes) for reviving fallen guildies and the Minor Recombobulator, aiding in self-healing.
In Season of Discovery, Warlocks undergo a renaissance in DPS options, with diverse runes catering to Fire-focused, DoT-centric, or support-oriented playstyles. The class's unique utility and damage potential make Warlocks a vital asset in raids. As they wield new spells and runes, Warlocks can adapt their strategies, contributing to the raid's success in multiple ways.
Embrace the power of the Warlock in the Season of Discovery, where your mastery of shadow and flame brings devastation to your enemies and unparalleled support to your allies. As you traverse the challenges that lie ahead, may your spells be potent, and your summons unwavering. Best of luck in your endeavors as a Warlock in World of Warcraft!