Warlock Leveling Part I: 1-29

01 Mar


The Warlock is one of those four classes that I’ve always wanted to level but just never could bring myself to get excited about the class enough to really take it anywhere. I spent the last two months playing on a wide variety of my characters from new toons to twinks to DK farmers on new servers and on up to my Alliance Mage who hit level 80 a few weeks ago.

Last night (last night as of about…4 weeks ago when I started writing this) I flew my Mage twink into Loch Modan to turn in a quest and as I landed at the flight master I saw a Warlock there with his Voidwalker out. I don’t know what in the world caused it, but I had a sudden desire to level the Warlock and nothing else. I turned in the quest since it was just right there and then relogged over to my Warlock who’s been sitting idle for weeks at level 23 and who hadn’t even bothered getting her Succubus yet.

In this bit of leveling bloggery I’m going to cover the first 29 levels of being a Warlock in one go, and I’ll be offering advice on both Affliction and Demonology specs. I have no experience with Destro, but considering the fact that literally every single Warlock I have grouped with in low level LFG this year have been Destro it’s apparently a viable spec as well.

As we move on into this guide let me say for the sake of doing so, that this guide expresses my own personal experience with the class. There very well could be better ways of doing things, there could be information that I’m missing because I wasn’t aware of it, or something that I have “wrong” according to another lock with more experience than I. That being said, I have soloed instances at level with the Demonology build and tactics I mention in here, and I have soloed group quests and instances slightly below my level with the Affliction build, so I know they work.

Character Creation
If you want to roll a Warlock, then you’ve got a pretty limited selection when it comes to race choices. You’re not as bad off as Paladins and Shamans right now with four each, and you’re nowhere near as restricted as Druids with two, but you are the next one on the list with only five races to choose from.

Alliance: Human, Gnome
Horde: Orc, Undead, Blood Elf

For Alliance, Gnome will provide the most benefit while leveling due to a higher Intellect, while the Human will provide the most benefit for end game with the Diplomacy increase of Reputation rewards as well as having Every Man for Himself.

For Horde, Blood Elf is your highest Intellect race and they also have a mana restoring racial which will save on your Life Taps, Orc will have the strongest demons and highest stamina (by 1 point), and Undead offers a healing mechanic to balance your Life Taps while also being the coolest race in the game.

You really can’t go wrong with any of the choices, but there’s a quick view of what each one has to offer. My personal taste is Human for Alliance and Undead for Horde, but that’s just me.

Important Spells: General
First off is the list of spells that all Warlocks are going to use. In referring to the spells below, DoT = Damage over Time, for those who aren’t already aware. Unlike so many other classes, almost every spell that the Warlock gets in his early levels will remain useful while leveling. Rather than list every spell they get in detail here, I’m going to focus on the big ones that are going to help you take down the mobs you need to for completing your quests.

Shadow Bolt: Your starting dps spell that you’ll be spamming when you start out. Its cast time gets longer as you level up, and if you’re following either of the two specs that I’m discussing in this series, then you aren’t going to get any faster than 3.0 second cast times on it.

Immolate: Your first DoT spell that also deals damage when it hits. It has a cast time where many of your other DoT’s do not, which makes it a fair choice for pulling. The higher you get in levels the less you’ll use it, but early on it’s a solid source of damage.

Summon Imp: Your first demon pet, primarily a dps caster pet that provides a Stamina buff as you level. For 95 coppers you can train this wicked little fellow at level 1. No longer requires a quest to obtain.

Corruption: One of your best DoT spells that you’ll be using for the rest of your Warlocking days.

Life Tap: A signature ability of Warlocks to convert your own health into mana.

Curse of Agony: Another DoT spell; deals greater damage the longer the spell lasts.

Drain Soul: A channeled version of a DoT that deals more damage if the target is down to 25% health or less. It also provides you with the resource for many of your other spells by generating Soul Shards each time a target dies while being drained, and having a chance to generate additional shards each time it deals damage.

Summon Voidwalker: Your second demon pet, primarily serves as a tank, though his DPS is decent at this level.

Felsteed: Summons a Felsteed which serves as a mount. Why is this listed in the Important Spells section? Because it’s one of the coolest mounts in the whole game, and only the Warlock can get it.

Ritual of Summoning: Open a summoning portal that can be used to summon raid or party members. Requires two additional party members to be present and participate. Casting and using this spell are a bit more involved, please click on the link and read the details if you wish to know the specifics.

Summon Succubus: Your third demon pet, a combination of DPS and Crowd Control that’s great for both PvP and PvE.

Embracing the Darkness: Demons
Up to level 29 you have three options to choose from. You can train your Imp at level 1, Voidwalker at level 10, and Succubus at level 20. The Imp used to require a quest but you can now train the ability at level 1. All other demon pets (for this level range) require a quest to obtain.

Summon Imp DPS
Summon Voidwalker Tanking
Summon Succubus: DPS & CC

Each pet has its own benefits and drawbacks, and can be useful in various situations. Each of these three pets is viable in both PvE and PvP as well. They all have unique contributions to each, and you can use whichever one best serves your current needs. The Imp is the only demon you have access to that does not require Soul Shards to summon, so if you ever find yourself out of shards (Bad Warlock!) then the Imp is your only fallback if your demon happens to die.

Every Warlock should take advantage of the Imp’s additional dps as soon as they can afford to train it. At level 10 you will need to decide whether you want the faster kills that come from using the Imp or the extra safety that comes from using the Voidwalker. And at level 20 you will need to make a similar decision on safety versus the Succubus’s damage and crowd control abilities.

Personally I use the Imp until level 10 and then switch to the Voidwalker until around level 36. The Succubus never really thrilled me.

Leveling 1-10: Starting Area and Starting Zone(s)
Rotation Option 1: Shadow Bolt, Shadow Bolt, Shadow Bolt
Rotation Option 2: Immolate, Corruption, Auto-Attack or Wand
Rotation Option 3: Immolate, Corruption, Curse of Agony, Auto-Attack or Wand [Requires level 8]

Starting out you’ll pretty well be doing nothing but Shadow Bolt spam. With the reduced casting times and mana costs along with the increased health and mana regeneration rates up to level 15 you might as well just spam the crap out of this thing. Your DoTs are still a great source of damage, as is your Imp, but where spamming Shadow Bolt in previous patches would have run you out of mana every 1.5 pulls you can now cast it all you want. If you run out of mana, just stop and stand there for a few seconds (don’t even bother drinking) and you’ll be back to full mana in no time.

If you want to go with a more traditional Warlock combat style then start off with Immolate since it has a cast time, then use Corruption for a second DoT, and then finish the mob off with your pet and a combination of either weapon attacks or wand shots (if you happen to have one). Leveling early on will go a whole lot faster if you pick up a wand a level 5, because you can count on your wand’s dps to outshine your DoT spells at this stage.

When you reach level 8 you can add your DoT curse to the mix in the form of Curse of Agony. You can start doing more multi-mob pulls once you have this since you can have up to three DoTs ticking on each target now, but since you still don’t have a tanking pet you might find that pulling more than two, possibly three, is about as far as you can go. If you’re skilled at Fear Juggling, then you might be able to handle a fourth. Taking that many mobs on at once though is going to be very taxing on both your health and your mana, so don’t expect to do it all the time.

While Fear is an excellent tool in PvP, it can either make you or break you in PvE. Fear can cause social mobs (almost every Humanoid in the game, and some others) to pull other mobs to you while they are feared. So if you cast fear on one target and he runs close to another mob that you haven’t agroed yet, he just might do it for you and pull his buddy. Or, he might pull several of his buddies and suddenly you’re fighting five mobs instead of just one. If you’re going to do a large portion of your leveling solo then you need to get used to using Fear. If you’re going to be grouping a lot or running a lot of instances, then you need to be familiar with its use while also being fully aware of the fact that you might kill yourself and everyone else with you.

Fear Juggling is a tactic I use when fighting multiple mobs that involves casting Fear on a target, casting Corruption and/or Curse of Agony on them, and then casting Fear on a second target and using your DoTs on them the same way. When you Fear a second target it removes the fear effect from the first target, so you’re “juggling” the mobs by sending them away one at a time and refreshing your DoTs on them while you do it. Fear Juggling is very mana intensive and it’s dangerous if you’re fighting humanoids because of the chance of unintentional pulling. However, if you find yourself fighting more mobs than you know you can handle then you might as well take a shot at mana intensive victory rather than simply welcoming the spirit healer.

In general, people will tell you not to use Fear at all when grouping or in an instance, but if you’re familiar with how to use it and the potential dangers then it can still be a very effective tool. The good thing about Fear is that it’s effect is fairly easily broken, so casting Fear followed by a Shadow Bolt can often serve the purpose you need it for in group environments. Let me be clear that I do not encourage you to use Fear in group settings, but neither do I reject it. If a Warlock shows that he knows how to use the spell, then I have no problem with them using Fear even when I’m tanking or healing (as long as they don’t fear the tank’s target).

Leveling 10-15: Starting and Secondary Zones
Rotation Option 1: Immolate, Corruption, Wand or Drain Soul
Rotation Option 2: Shadowbolt, Corruption, Curse of Agony, Wand or Drain Soul
Rotation Option 3: Immolate, Corruption, Curse of Agony, Fear, Drain Life or Drain Soul

This level range is where you should get a feel for whether you want to be a DoT Monkey (Affliction) or Backseat Driver (Demonolgy). Get a feel for combat and what you enjoy doing. If you like to cast several DoTs all over the field, then you’re probably more of an Affliction junkie. If you like having your pet keep most of the agro while you manipulate the field, then you may be more suited for Demonology. If you aren’t sure, then my personal suggestion is Affliction for leveling, though I’ll give props to Demonology for being able to solo instances at level.

At this point you should no longer be using Shadowbolt spam to kill things as you have more useful tools in other spells. If you’re going for Demonology then you don’t want to bother with Shadowbolt anyway because you don’t want to risk drawing agro off of your pet. If you’re Affliction, then you’ve got DoTs and Drains to worry about rather than 3 second Shadowbolt casts (at least for now).

I want to emphasize now the importance of the Drain Soul spell. It’s your only source of Soul Shards, and while you aren’t going to be using a ton of them right now, you will use them more and more as you level up. It’s especially important to Affliction locks since their spec will allow them to restore a large portion of their mana any time they kill their target with Drain Soul.

Regardless of which spec you take, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of using Drain Soul as your finishing move on every mob early on. If you don’t have anything more important to do (like heal your demon or summon a new one) then you should be using Drain Soul on every mob once it reaches the last 20% or so of it’s health. There’s a macro you’ll most likely want to make use of as well, which you can find down towards the bottom in the Suggested Macros section.

Leveling: 15-29: Quests and Instances
Rotation Option 1: Immolate, Corruption, Drain Soul
Rotation Option 2: Shadowbolt, Corruption, Curse of Agony, Drain Soul
Rotation Option 3: Immolate, Corruption, Curse of Agony, Fear, Drain Life or Drain Soul

You’re finally able to start queuing up for random dungeons at this point, though whether or not you do so is entirely up to you. I happen to enjoy PuGs for the most part, so I do randoms on all of my toons personally. If you do run random dungeons during this level range then you will probably want to disregard the rotations up there and stick to something simpler and more effective such as casting Corruption on every mob in the pull (letting the tank have a few seconds to agro them all, of course) and then if you’re level 20 already you can start using Rain of Fire to AoE the mobs down, or you can tab-target back through all of the mobs and put Curse of Agony on all of them as well.

Your Void Walker should do a decent job of maintaining threat at this point, so I suggest you stick with him for your leveling. You do get the Succubus at level 20, but in my experience she really sucks for anything other than PvP, and personally I preferred using the Voidwalker or Imp in PvP as well. It might just be my play style, or how I used them, or who knows what, but I preferred sticking with the Voidwalker.

I keep the Voidwalker out even when I’m running random dungeons, actually. The only time I make an exception is when the tank is confident in their ability to tank the instance and specifically ask me to switch the pet. In that case I generally switch out to the Imp for increased DPS, though in instances with humanoid casters I did occasionally pull out the Succubus instead so that I could CC the casters.

In solo questing you’re going to be better off just leaving the Void out there to tank mobs for you while you DoT the mobs up with Corruption and optionally Curse of Agony, Life Tap to refill your mana, Drain Life to get your health back, and then Drain Soul to finish off the mobs. If the Voidwalker is tanking multiple mobs then you may need to cast Health Funnel to keep him alive, switching over to Drain Life every other cast or so instead so that you don’t bleed yourself dry trying to plump up the blueberry. If the VW is low on health after a fight then you have three options: health funnel, bandage, summon a new one. Personally, I just summon a new one to replace him. I don’t coddle the blueberry like he’s some hunter pet, the thing’s a freaking demon forced to do my bidding and suffer pain in my place.

General Tactics: Warlocks
Warlocks are strange, beautiful little creatures. They survive by melting their opponents’ faces, capturing the souls of the weak, and striking fear into the hearts of those who would stand in their way.

Learn how to manage your threat.
This one is pretty big. It might not be as important at level 10 as it is when you get higher, but only because mobs don’t hit as hard at that level and you can take a few hits before you’re dead. I strongly suggest you go get yourself an addon to keep track of your threat. A couple of weeks ago I would have said that Omen would take care of you, but I’ve since learned of an amazing addon (or pair of addons) called TidyPlates and ThreatPlates which are absolutely brilliant.

Omen will let you know you’re pushing those threat limits with a sound and a screen flash (the flash does nothing for me, personally), and I really like the sound aspect since that’s my biggest initial alarm that I need to back off for a few or at least switch my target.

ThreatPlates is your big visual notifier and I love it. Threat levels are color coded for green/yellow/red, and the border around targets who you have agro on will let you know who’s hungry for your flesh and who’s focused on your Voidwalker like they should be. Rather than duplicate an already great explanation, I’m going to direct you to a post that gives you just that at Tank Like A Girl.

Managing your threat is important for all three of the Warlock’s talent specs. Whether it’s the Voidwalker doing the tanking, or another player, you need to know your boundaries and stay within them. Warlocks are very well known for their ability to draw agro, so be prepared from the earlier stages of your playing to know when it’s time to back off and when it’s time to pull out all the stops.

General Tactics: Affliction
Low level Affliction is handled in one of two ways. Either you try to keep yourself safe by letting your pet take agro while you carefully dps them down, or you use your pet as just another tool in your belt and slay them all yourself.

Personally I like to play low level Affliction is a twisted form of AoE grinding, which I call Chain Pulling. The “definition” of Chain Pulling will change as you level and get new spells, but for right now it means using your Voidwalker to grab threat on multiple mobs while you cycle through them all with tab targeting to load up your DoTs and burn through them all. This is a somewhat involved method of leveling because it includes manually switching your pet’s target so that he maintains threat while you work your dark magic.

The explanation is fairly simple, while the execution can be a lot harder. In essence you want to send your VW after the first target and go ahead and let him hit the mob once or twice, then cast Corruption on it. Target a second mob and send the VW after it now, allow him to hit once, cast Corruption, target a third, let him him, cast Corruption, and so on.

That’s the simple part. The hard part is managing your threat throughout the process. You can either switch the VW’s target throughout the fight so that he can maintain consistent agro (hard), you can use a more aggressive offense and start focusing your damage on the earlier targets to burn them down individually (not as hard, but a bit more mana intensive), or you can combine Chain Pulling with Fear Juggling and /insanelaugh at all the chaos you’re causing.

If you decide you like Chain Pulling then you can improve on it once you’ve gotten used to threat management to include Curse of Agony and/or Immolation into the mix for extra damage as well. I prefer to use CoA over Immo because of the ramping damage of CoA, which makes it easier for VW to hold threat. Immolate causes damage when it hits as well as when it ticks (not to mention it has a cast time), so it’s not the best for how I like to play.

1. You are the collector of souls.
Almost every Warlock build should make use of the Drain Soul spell for finishing off a mob’s hit point once they’re low since we all need shards and the damage of DS increases when mobs are low on health. Affliction has a special reason for it though, because of their Improved Drain Soul talent which restores 15% of your maximum mana if the target dies while you are using Drain Soul on them.

2. You don’t have “Life” and “Mana”, you have only Power.
This is going to come into play much more in later levels than it is right now, but never forget that with the Life Tap spell both your life and mana can be used to fuel your spells. All the Lock builds have Life Tap, but Affliction gets the Improved version that grants an additional 20% mana when it’s used. Affliction is also the master of Drain spells (such as Drain Life, Drain Soul, and Drain Mana), which can be used to fuel either of your Power sources (Life and Mana).

You have the ability, with Affliction especially, to end every single fight with 100% of both your health and mana if you learn to Life Tap when you need mana, Drain Life when you need hit points, and Drain Soul when you need them to die (and get shards, and restore mana).

General Tactics: Demonology
Low level demonology is all about keeping your pet alive and maximizing your potential without negating the usefulness of your pet. You start getting talent points at the same time you get your most beneficial leveling pet, the Voidwalker.

So here’s a list of things you need to know for leveling up as Demo:

1. Your Pet’s life matters more than your own. (sort of)
If you’re only pulling single targets then this isn’t necessarily the case, but generally speaking if your pet dies then you’re screwed and will soon join him in the twisted nether. All of your talent points are going into improving the demon which makes you less powerful than other specs. During this level range there’s not a huge difference between your effectiveness and another spec’s, but chaos is something you sow, not something you want to deal with yourself. The best way to keep yourself alive, is to keep your pet alive, which means sacrificing your own hit points in order to restore his.

Your first tool for this is Health Funnel which you get at level 12 and deals damage to you in exchange for healing your demon. The spell is channeled, so while you’re healing your pet you can’t do anything else.

To counter the damage that you deal to yourself with Health Funnel you need to use either Drain Life which you get at level 16, your Health Stones, or you can use items like health potions and bandages.

2. Your pet isn’t dead, he just died.
When your pet is going down faster than you can keep him up, and you know it, get yourself another one. You can cast your Summon Voidwalker spell even while you have one sitting right there in front of you. So when things start to look ugly, it’s not a bad idea to just start summoning a new one to take his place. The default casting time to summon a pet is 10 seconds, but that can be reduced to 0.5 seconds and almost no mana cost with three talent points.

He might not be able to grab threat back right away, but his taunts will kick in soon enough. How fast your pet is dying determines how early you need to start summoning a new one, and much threat you generated in the mean time determines how hard it’s going to be for the demon to draw that threat off of you.

Macro Suggestions

/petattack [nocombat]
/petattack [mod:alt]
/cast Immolate

This macro is bound to my 1 key and is how I start every fight when solo questing or soloing instances. You’ll notice that the “/petattack” line appears twice, first with the “[nocombat]” modifier and then with the “[mod:alt]” modifier. The first line means that my pet will attack the target only if I’m not in combat right now. The second means that the pet will attack the target as long as I am holding the Alt key when I activate the macro. The “/startattack” line causes you to auto-attack the target, and we end it by casting Immolate.

If I’m not in combat when I use this then my pet will begin attacking the enemy I have selected, I will begin to auto-attack the target, and I will begin to cast Immolate. If I am already in combat then my pet continues with whatever action he is already taking (even if that’s no action at all), I will begin to auto-attack, and I will begin to cast Immolate.

If I am in combat but my pet is not doing anything (and he’s not set to Passive) then I will auto-attack and cast Immolate, and then my pet will move in to attack after Immolate is cast. If I’m in combat and my pet is already attacking his target and I am not holding Alt when I activate the macro, then my pet will continue to attack his current target, while I auto-attack and cast Immolate on my current target. If I’m in combat and my pet already attacking his target and I am holding Alt when I activate the macro, then my pet will switch his target to my target and begin attacking it, and I will auto-attack the current target as well as casting Immolate.

Basically this macro sends both you and your demon into combat with a single button, and it allows you to continue casting Immolate on various targets without forcing your demon to constantly change its target unless you are holding the Alt key to force a target change.

/cast Sacrifice

This is a simple macro that causes your Voidwalker to cast his Sacrifice spell which will give your Warlock a bubble to absorb incoming damage. You can access the ability in the default interface by either clicking on the ability in your pet’s action bar, or by holding the Control key and pushing the corresponding number on your action bar. Rather than rely on either of those actions I prefer to simply make a macro for it instead.

/run i=”Soul Shard”d=GetItemCount(i)-12 for x=0,4 do for y=1,GetContainerNumSlots(x) do if (d>0) then l=GetContainerItemLink(x,y) if l and GetItemInfo(l)==i then PickupContainerItem(x,y) DeleteCursorItem() d=d-1 end end end end
/cast Corruption

SPECIAL NOTE: If you copy this macro, you will need to replace all of the quotes (“) with your own because they will not copy over correctly into the macro interface and you will get error messages when trying to use it. You may also need to replace the parenthesis, but I think the quotes are the only things that will cause an error. If all else fails, just write it down and then type it out yourself.

This macro is used for controlling the number of Soul Shards that you are carrying around. You can get addons to manage your shards for you, or you can save yourself the memory usage and just use this macro.

Notice that unlike most of my other macros this one doesn’t start with the “#show” or “#showtooltip” line. That’s because it takes up too much room to fit that in there because macros have a character limit. As such you will need to choose an appropriate icon for the macro rather than the default “?” icon that will change its appearance to match the contents of the macro.

Also notice the red number 12 up there. That’s how many shards I’ve designated to keep in my bags. When you activate this macro it checks your bags to find out how many shards you are carrying, subtracts the designated number (12 in this case) from that, and then deletes any extras. So if you have fifteen shards it will delete three of them. If you have twelve or fewer shards then it will not delete anything. You can change 12 to any number you want.

After deleting the shards it will cast Corruption on my target, if I have a target. If I don’t have a target, then the extra shards still get deleted but nothing is cast. This is how I apply Corruption to a target, which I do to literally every mob that I face, so I constantly have my shards monitored by this macro to always delete any extras.

Talent Points and Glyphs: Affliction

Improved Corruption 5/5: Increases the damage done by your Corruption by 10%, and increases the critical strike chance of your Seed of Corruption by 5%.

Improved Drain Soul 2/2: Returns 15% of your maximum mana if the target is killed by you while you drain its soul. In addition, your Affliction spells generate 20% less threat.

Improved Life Tap 2/2: Increases the amount of Mana awarded by your Life Tap spell by 20%.

Soul Siphon 2/2: Increases the amount drained by your Drain Life and Drain Soul spells by an additional 6% for each of your Affliction effects on the target, up to a maximum of 18% additional effect.

Fel Concentration 3/3: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Drain Life, Drain Mana, Drain Soul, Unstable Affliction, and Haunt spells by 70%.

Improved Curse of Agony 1/2: Increases the damage done by your Curse of Agony by 5%.

Empowered Corruption 3/3: Increases the damage of your Corruption spell by an amount equal to 36% of your spell power.

Nightfall 2/2: Gives your Corruption and Drain Life spells a 4% chance to cause you to enter a Shadow Trance state after damaging the opponent. The Shadow Trance state reduces the casting time of your next Shadow Bolt spell by 100%.

Corruption is the bread and butter of the Affliction tree, so you want to buff it up as much as possible. Improved Corruption does that with a flat 10% damage increase while Empowered Corruption increases it by a percentage of your spell power. Drain Soul is your “execution spell”, the one you should use to kill off every mob you can, and if you happen to be the one that delivers the final blow while using Drain Soul then Improved Drain Soul will reward you with 15% of your maximum mana which will save you time as well as Life Tap casts.

Soul Siphon is going to shine mostly in the increased damage it gives to Drain Soul, but it will also give you more health per damage tic when using Drain Life. Fel Concentration will help us get the most effective use out of our draining spells by reducing pushback which is always going to cause us problems otherwise. Improved Curse of Agony is a bit of a filler at this point, providing a minor damage boost to CoA since it is the primary curse that we will use during this level range.

Nightfall gives us a nice boost to our damage by allowing Shadow Bolt to become an instant cast spell when it procs. Nothing says “DPS Boost” like having our hardest hitting spell, which is also our longest cast time spell, become an instant cast. I don’t personally use regular SB casts a whole lot while I’m leveling because of my playstyle and preferences, but most experienced Locks use it during their downtime while DoTs are ticking and do not need to be refreshed to increase their damage output.


Glyph of Corruption: Your Corruption spell has a 4% chance to cause you to enter a Shadow Trance state after damaging the opponent. The Shadow Trance state reduces the casting time of your next Shadow Bolt spell by 100%.

Glyph of Life Tap: When you use Life Tap or Dark Pact, you gain 20% of your Spirit as spell power for 40 seconds.

Glyph of Corruption – does that effect sound familiar? If you take another look up at the talent tree you’ll see almost the exact same effect from the Nightfall talent. The difference here is that the glyph only procs off of Corruption where the talent works off of both Corruption and Drain Soul.

The GoLT may or may not be useful depending on how much Spirit you have. Most likely you aren’t going to have all that much, so it will not shine as much now as it will later. When you look at it 20% isn’t all that large a number, giving you only 5 SP per 100 Spirit. Still though, 5 SP is 5 SP no matter how you slice it, so ifyou want a flat, sure increase to your damage output rather than relying on a proc then this is the glyph for you.

Glyph of Unending Breath: Increases the swim speed of targets affected by your Unending Breath spell by 20%.

Glyph of Drain Soul: Your Drain Soul ability occasionally creates and additional soul shard.

If you find yourself frequently using up your Soul Shards, then GoDS is going to be your best bet in this case, otherwise GoUB takes the top slot. Personally I find myself having way more shards than I will ever need so I prefer GoUB for the increased speed while swimming. It’s only useful during the few moments that you’ll be swimming, but honestly our minor glyph selection sucks and I get more use out of the situation buff of GoUB than I do the near-useless (to me) gain of additional shards when I never even use up the ones I already have.

Talent Points and Glyphs: Demonology

Fel Synergy 2/2: You have a 100% chance to heal your pet for 15% of the amount of spell damage done by you.

Demonic Embrace 3/3: Increases your total Stamina by 10%.

Improved Health Funnel 2/2: Increases the amount of Health transferred by your Health Funnel spell by 20% and reduces the health cost by 20%. In addition, your summoned Demon takes 30% less damage while under the effect of your Health Funnel.

Demonic Brutality 3/3: Increases the effectiveness of your Voidwalker’s Torment, Consume Shadows, Sacrifice and Suffering spells by 30%, and increases the attack power bonus of your Felguard’s Demonic Frenzy effect by 3%.

Fel Domination 1/1: [Instant cast, 3 minute cooldown] Your next Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter, or Felguard Summon spell has its casting time reduced by 5.5 seconds and its Mana cost reduced by 50%.

Soul Link 1/1 [Instant cast] When active, 20% of all damage taken by the caster is taken by your Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter, Felguard, or enslaved demon instead. That damage cannot be prevented. Lasts as long as the demon is active and controlled.

Fel Vitality 3/3: Increases the Stmina and Intellect of your Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter and Felguard by 15% and increases your maximum health and mana by 3%.

Master Summoner 2/2: Reduces the casting time of your Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter and Felguard Summoning spells by 4 seconds and the Mana cost by 40%.

Unholy Power 3/5: Increases the damage done by your Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter and Felguard’s melee attacks and your Imp’s Firebolt by 12%.

Since a big part of Demonology is keeping your pet alive and active, you need to help him stay alive. Fel Synergy does this by allowing us to heal our demon by dealing damage, Improved Health Funnel does so by reducing the damage the demon takes while also allowing us to heal larger amounts while sacrificing less of our own health at the same time, and Fel Vitality helps by increasing the demon’s Stamina and Intellect and it does the same for us (though a lesser percentage for us than our demons). Soul Link seems a bit like a step backwards by redirecting some of our damage to our pet instead, but if you’re dead then your demon is dead anyway, and thus you’re screwed.

We also need to make our demons stronger and we do that by making use of Demonic Brutality for an increase in damage as well as taunt effectiveness, and Unholy Power boosts the demons’ raw damage output.

Fel Domination and Master Summoner provide us with a way to get around the long (10 second) cast time for summoning our demons by reducing the cast time to 0.5 seconds when activating Master Summoner and also reducing the casting cost drastically.


Glyph of Voidwalker: Increases your Voidwalker’s total Stamina by 20%.

Glyph of Health Funnel: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while channeling your Health Funnel spell by 100%.

I prefer using my Voidwalker as Demo during these levels, so the GoV grants a very solid boost to his health which makes him last even longer in fights. It’s a bit stronger for solo play that it is if you plan on doing a lot of dungeon runs and such, but it’s a solid glyph.

The other option I would suggest for this level is going to be Health Funnel which will make you immune to damage based pushback, which will give you time to redirect your pet to any mobs that are attacking you while you cast your HF without having to worry about losing the cast and wasting the mana you spent on it.

Glyph of Unending Breath: Increases the swim speed of targets affected by your Unending Breath spell by 20%.

Glyph of Drain Soul: Your Drain Soul ability occasionally creates and additional soul shard.

These are the same as for Affliction – If you find yourself frequently using up your Soul Shards, then GoDS is going to be your best bet in this case, otherwise GoUB takes the top slot. Personally I find myself having way more shards than I will ever need so I prefer GoUB for the increased speed while swimming. It’s only useful during the few moments that you’ll be swimming, but honestly our minor glyph selection sucks and I get more use out of the situation buff of GoUB than I do the near-useless (to me) gain of additional shards when I never even use up the ones I already have.

Gearing Up: Connecting the DoTs

Specific Items
The one thing I’m going to point out here above all others is Wands. It’s fast, free, ranged damage that is both cheap and easy to find.

The best source for these levels is going to come from the Enchanting profession. The first wand you want is the Lesser Magic Wand which can be used at level 5 for 11.3 dps, followed by the Greater Magic Wand at level 13 for 17.5 dps.

There are a number of other wands in the game, but for their level and how easy they are to obtain those two wands are at the top of the list. You can also find wands that provide you with bonuses to specific stats if you would rather have stats instead of dps, and there are wands that you can get in your upper teens such as the Gravestone Scepter that you can get from the Blackfathom Villainy quest at level 18 which gives +1 Spirit, +5 Shadow Resistance, and 29.0 dps.

Just remember, the wand is a great tool for some free dps, but Warlocks have the tools to potentially never experience downtime where a wand is literally needed.

Stacking Attributes
Gear for Warlocks during these levels doesn’t change much from one spec to another, so use the following guide regardless of your spec.

Spell Power > Intellect >= Stamina >= Hit Rating > Spirit > everything else

Spell Power is the driving force behind all of your damage, so make sure it’s high. Intellect and Stamina are sort of one and the same for you as both of them essentially provide you with more mana. Hit Rating doesn’t need to be capped while leveling, but you want to take it when you find it if you’re not having to sacrifice other stats to get it.

As you increase in level you will find shifts in your stat priorities. Most notably will be an increase in the importance of Spirit as well as a shift in Stamina becoming more important than Intellect. During these levels though, what I have listed up above should be your guide.


Posted by on March 1, 2010 in Caster, Guide, Leveling, Play Styles, Warlock



16 responses to “Warlock Leveling Part I: 1-29

  1. Warren Henning

    March 1, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    Note that warlock mods like Necrosis will manage the number of soul shards for you if you don’t want to manage a macro. You can do things like designate specific bags and so forth. It also wraps up rarely used utility spells in a way that’s more elegant than going to your spellbook or dragging each spell to your actionbars. Just turn off the stupid chat messages it sends by default.

    • Psynister

      March 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM

      Thanks for the reply, Warren. My many days of playing on a horrible computer often cause me to rely on macros when I can and addons when I can’t. I have had a lot of warlock players suggest Necrosis in the past and I have an addon-specific post in mind for the future as well which will likely cover it and ForteX (probably others as well) in the future.

      • Kaladar

        March 1, 2010 at 1:58 PM

        I used Necrosis before for a while. I like it’s notification for enemies that cannot be feared. Keeping a LOT of your Lock-specific junk off of action bars will free up room for other things *macros* cough.

        The sounds/chat messages can get a little overbearing at times.

  2. Kaladar

    March 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    I can vouch for much of this. I am leveling a new human Lock at the moment. Now that I have my CoA, I’ve not been casting Immolate as much. The only time this changes is if I get an orange/red mob (knowingly)((see the little house in Westfall for “the forgotten Heirloom”)). Then I just keep the ugliest mob feared and dotted, letting the V-Dub hold aggro on the other(s).

    I was wondering where health funnel was! Level 12 can’t come fast enough. My V-Dub seems so squishy!

    • Psynister

      March 1, 2010 at 12:11 PM

      The VW is a bit squishy when you first get him, but he’s still a huge improvement on the Imp for keeping you alive.

      The VW quest for humans is ridiculous. Having to fight at least 3 humanoid mobs with nothing but the imp to help you, and plenty of other humans around making your Fear as much a knife in your back as anything else, it can be pretty deadly. I don’t remember much about the other race’s quests, even though I’ve gotten it on every race, but I think Human’s probably have the toughest quest for him.

  3. Cynwise

    March 2, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    Wow. This is a great guide, and one I couldn’t have written myself. My own guide is suddenly irrelevant! Nicely done!

    I could probably spend the entire day writing comments on specific elements, but let me try to keep it brief:

    1) The succubus is a great disappointment when you first get her because she represents a fundamental shift in pet philosophy, and one you might not be ready for at level 20. (I know I wasn’t!) The Voidwalker continues to have utility through the early 30s (when you start completely overwhelming its ability to hold aggro) so I see a lot of warlocks skipping her entirely and waiting for the Felhunter to change from Demon-as-Tank to Warlock-as-Tank.

    She remains really good in small-scale PvP and dungeon runs, though.

    2) Your Fear Juggling reminds me of an old technique we used to have to practice called Fear Kiting. Fear Kiting used Fear and Curse of Recklessness to send a target yoyoing while your DoTs ate at them. (CoR removed all Fear effects from the target.) With the removal of CoR in 3.1 (and thank goodness, no tears shed there) the technique you describe here became common usage.

    3) Spirit is a funny thing on warlock gear at low levels. Life Tap (and the glyph of LT use it), but they won’t once patch 3.3.3 hits. So I’m enjoying it while I have it, since spirit gear is EVERYWHERE. It’s like Starbucks in the pacific northwest.

    4) A macro suggestion — place your damage-dealing instant dots into a castsequence macro so you can place them quickly onto mobs while running, like so:

    /castsequence reset=target/combat,3 Curse of Agony, Corruption

    If you haven’t taken Amplify Curse, or have Siphon Life, then switch the order to get Corruption on the mob first.

    Bookmarked. Love it. Great job!

    • Psynister

      March 2, 2010 at 11:56 AM

      Thank you, Cyn!

      I have found some decent use out of the Succubus in PvP, but I actually prefer using the VW for his bubble instead (or the felpuppy for caster ownage). They both work, but for different things, my preference just lies in other pets.

      I wasn’t a Lock in the days of Fear Kiting, but I sort of wish we sill had CoR. Being able to remove a fear effect would have saved my cloth wearing butt more than once. If there was any way at all to control which direction a mob ran when feared it would be so much easier. A lot of times the mob will run right where I want them to and all is well, but when they suddenly take a turn right into three other mobs, it’s time to start the juggling.

      I have to say though that using Fear when I probably shouldn’t to sort of partially force myself into hard situations has really helped to force me to learn how to play the class better. Like the Sunken Temple run last night where the tank and warrior both bailed on us. Pfft, we didn’t bother to queue for more people, I just told them I’d drain-juggle the bosses, and that’s what the three of us did.

      I want to upgrade to the Life Tap glyph soon, probably dropping Drain Life for it for now since I’m gaining life from other things more frequently at this point. I’ve got almost 200 Spirit that’s just sitting there doing nothing, so I might as well turn it into damage.

      I don’t have Amplify Curse yet because I didn’t see much benefit to it (probably missing something there), but I do have Siphon Life.

  4. Moordeth

    March 2, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Great Post! I wish this would have been around when I was leveling. My first character on WoW was a lock and I love it. Thanks again for the article.

    • Psynister

      March 2, 2010 at 12:08 PM

      It was certainly my pleasure to write it. I almost have as much fun blogging about how to level as I do with the actual leveling.

      My only fear is that Cataclysm might come along and completely nullify the whole thing.


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