|Mazar, a gnome Warlock.|
Warlocks are magical practitioners who seek to understand darker magics, among other fel-based and destructive spells. Warlocks use their magic to inflict terrible suffering upon their enemies, corrupting and draining the very life from their victims, calling down a to immolate and incinerate attackers, and summoning great and terrible demons to serve them in battle. In times of great darkness, when Azeroth finds itself besieged by demonic legions, armies of undead, or the very face of terror itself, many seek the solace and protection of the Light. Warlocks are those who choose to fight fire with fire.
Warlocks are a cloth-wearing DPS caster class, known for their wide range of debuffs and damage over time effects. Warlocks are also recognisable by their demonic minions, used to deal damage to foes, as well as to provide both offensive and defensive utility. Warlocks have a number of crowd control options, and a wide range of utility spells, which can be used to benefit the entire group. Warlocks also have an interesting relationship with health, capable of converting their health into mana, sacrificing their minions to save themselves, and even trading their own blood in exchange for powerful effects, and possess numerous dark methods for restoring their health, including draining the life from their enemies, and bringing themselves or their allies back from the dead through Soulstones. Warlocks expend mana to cast their spells, but can also draw upon other, darker resources to empower and transform their abilities, harvesting the souls of their enemies, fuelling their powers with demonic fury and even allowing the fel fire they command to engulf them entirely.
Warlocks are renowned for their damage over time (DoT) spells and sinister Shadow magic, as well for summoning demonic minions and their ability to wreak havoc with destructive Fire spells. Warlocks can specialize in any of these areas: Affliction warlocks are the masters of damage over time, draining their targets' health with an array of powerful debuffs; Demonology warlocks summon improved demons to do their bidding, drawing power from their minions and even transforming into demons themselves; while Destruction warlocks call down a rain of fire upon their enemies, specializing in potent burst damage and Fire spells.
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, and careful resource and cooldown management. Being a warlock also offers many rewards: they are PvP powerhouses due to their powerful crowd-control and sustained damage abilities, and in PvE their damage output is among the highest in both single and multiple target situations.
Warlocks are those not afraid to look into the Void, into the darkest place of all, to face the horror and madness that dwells there and turn it to their own use. Warlocks command the obedience of mighty demons, summoning and dismissing them at will, using them as they see fit and sacrificing them the moment it serves the warlock's interests. Even the mighty infernals bow before the will of the warlock, powerless but to obey their master's commands.
In these times of great peril, as the races of Azeroth rush to defend themselves against ancient enemies almost beyond comprehension, many powerful warlocks have risen to stand side by side with the sworn champions of their kingdoms, to protect and defend Azeroth from the forces of darkness that threaten their world. Masters of fear, warlocks stare into the face of death and see a way to turn that power to their own use. Undaunted by the dark source of their powers, warlocks do not flinch from the grim task at hand, nor from what they must themselves endure in order to ensure that their goals are accomplished. Dark-minded and distrusted at every turn, warlocks are those who dare to do what to others would be unthinkable. Wreathing themselves in the very energies of the Burning Legion, these unfathomable souls are willing to do whatever they must in order to ensure the survival of their world.
In the face of demonic power, most heroes see death. Warlocks see only opportunity. Dominance is their aim, and they have found a path to it in the dark arts. These voracious spellcasters summon demonic minions to fight beside them. At first, they command only the service of imps, but as a warlock’s knowledge grows, seductive succubi, loyal voidwalkers, and horrific felhunters join the dark sorcerer’s ranks to wreak havoc on anyone who stands in their master’s way. Warlocks can ignite distant enemies in searing flame, send them fleeing in terror and pain, or afflict them with corrupting diseases and curses that steal the victim’s vitality.
These practitioners of the profane are feared across Azeroth, and many who have felt their wrath now prefer to fight alongside a warlock than against one.
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.
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 or other dark powerful forces to one's will without succumbing to complete corruption. These spellcasters 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, dwarves, gnomes, worgen, orcs, trolls, undead, blood elves and goblins. Each has its own history in the dark demon arts.
- Nekros Skullcrusher
- Meryl Felstorm
- Council of the Black Harvest
- Main article: Warlock abilities
Warlocks deal damage through a combination of damage over time, direct damage and minion attacks, with Affliction, Destruction and Demonology warlocks specializing in these areas, respectively. While a warlock's direct damage alone does not compare to that of a mage, when coupled with their DoTs and a minion they can achieve strong, steady DPS to rival that of other classes.
Warlocks have the most powerful assortment of damage over time spells, and also the greatest variety in debuffs and summonable minions. Combined with a number of utility options, this can make the warlock a very diverse and complex class to play. The warlock also has available a variety of curses, but only one can be cast upon an enemy at a given time, creating the need for determining an appropriate curse in a given situation.
Like a mage, a warlock’s crowd control abilities can be used to avoid certain doom for the warlock and their allies, and the warlock’s sustained area of effect damage when suitably specced can rival those of a mage. Warlocks are well versed in the "shock and horror" tactics of warfare, and their manipulation of shadow energies can send their opponents reeling in or horror. When fighting powerful foes, warlocks may choose to rely on minions and damage over time spells to deal damage while fearing their enemies to prevent retribution.
Minions and mounts
Warlocks can summon a variety of minions, each exhibiting different skill sets which are useful in different situations. However, only one minion at a time can accompany the warlock.
- - A warlock's first minion, and provides additional damage and survivability for the warlock
- - Makes an excellent tank for a soloing warlock
- - A demon specialized in crowd control
- - A demon used for scouting
- - An anti caster minion
- - A powerful minion available only to Demonology warlocks
- In addition to these normal minions the warlocks can summon two greater demons to defend them for a short time:
- The warlock can also summon Nightmare steeds into their service as mounts:
Minions are an excellent source of additional damage output, especially for Demonology warlocks. However, they also offer a substantial amount of utility. Warlocks may sacrifice their minions to save themselves, or use their special abilities to dispel debuffs from allies, silence enemies or even heal the warlock.
Healing and conjured items
While warlocks are by no means healers, they do have a limited ability to heal themselves and their minions while in combat. Health regeneration is a notable feature of the warlock, as is the sacrifice of health to restore mana or allow for powerful special abilities.
Warlocks also have two particularly useful ways of restoring allies' health. allows warlocks to create items used to heal themselves or their allies, while can be used to summon a Soulwell from which Healthstones can be extracted by members of the party or raid. is similar but far more powerful, allowing the target to resurrect upon death.
Like other spellcasters, warlocks are most effective at range due to spell pushback. However, Demonology spells often promote being in melee in order to use close-range abilities like and . In addition, warlocks have always possessed an potent arsenal of defensives, from an increased health pool to on-use spells such as and .
Throughout the expansions, many warlocks have stepped into tanking roles because of the existence of and the ability to self-heal. With the advent of Mists of Pandaria and the introduction of , warlock tanks have become increasingly common.
Weapons and armor
- Main article: Warlock sets
As a caster class, the warlock's primary attributes are intellect and spell power. Useful secondary attributes are spell hit, spell crit, haste, mastery, PvP Power and PvP Resilience, with the value of each depending on the warlock's spec and play style. Warlocks have no use for strength, spirit or agility.
As with all DPS casters, spell hit rating is generally considered to take precedence over all other secondary stats (sometimes even intellect), and it is advisable to get as close as possible to the spell hit cap. After that point, hit rating is useless; spell hit reduction debuffs are too few and far between to be worth considering.
- Main article: Warlock races
The warlock class can be played by the following races:
The only races unable (or unwilling) to be warlocks are the night elves, the tauren, the draenei and the pandaren.
Each race comes with its own racial traits. Below is a brief list of the abilities that interact directly with the warlock's abilities, playstyle and needs in specific situations; other racials are not listed. For a complete list, see Racial trait.
- is a useful defence and debuff-dispelling cooldown which can be useful in PvP and PvE.
- can be useful in reducing damage taken, especially versus frost mages.
- is one of the most important mage beneficial racial abilities as it increases mana by 5%. Note that it increases mana pool but not Intellect, spell power or spell critical.
- removes snares and speed reduction effects. Usable to PvP and certain PvE encounters. (Note: does not remove stun effects).
- is another beneficial trait enabling players to remove all incapacitating effects on the character (Slow, stun, fear, immobilize effects)
- is another of the most warlock beneficial racial abilities as it increases spell critical strike by 1%
- enables the player to move faster. Usable in both PvP and PvE encounters.
- Provides a similar mana increase too life tap without the loss in health. Due to its limit in AoE range, it has limited use in Boss PvE encounters and is half effective on PvP.
- as small damage ability.
- similar to for use in PvE and PvP. Can be used to stay out of the fire.
- is a slight reduction in casting time.
- gives an increase in spell power whenever activated.
- a 15% reduction in the total time of stun effects.
- increases damage dealt by all minions by 5%, especially useful for Demonology warlocks.
- Provies a buff that increases casting speed which will also provide the warlock with one of it's few cool downs besides trinkets, 3 minutes cooldown but the most important is that unlike does not place a 10 minutes debuff thus making it an extremely beneficial racial ability.
- is useful as an additional health regeneration effect, especially beneficial on long encounters, useful with .
- has use in both PvE and PvP.
- increases damage dealt versus Beasts by 5%, which can be helpful for PvE.
- is usable in all cases in PvP and PvE when losing control of character (does not include slow or immobilize effects)
- adds a chance to deal Shadow damage and heal oneself when attacking. This is a significant DPS increase.
A master of Shadow magic who specializes in drains and damage-over-time spells.
Affliction warlocks are the masters of damage over time spells, plaguing their enemies with an array of Curses and DoTs. Affliction locks can snare attackers with the , and afflict them with DoTs such as and , the latter serving to prevent other DoTs from being dispelled. Affliction warlocks' periodic effects are further improved by their mastery , and can be quickly spread or transferred between targets with and . Affliction warlocks gain as a secondary resource, which can be used to empower certain spells.
A master of demonic magic who transforms into a demon and compels demonic powers to aid him.
Not satisfied with commanding demonic minions to do their bidding, Demonology warlocks transform themselves into demons in order to crush their foes, with their dark empowering their attacks and granting them fiendish new powers. As well as improving their damage and survivability, these warlocks' demonic mastery empowers their minions ( , ) and grants them new demons to command ( , , ). Demonology warlocks wield a mixture of Shadow, Fire and Chaos damage to immolate and corrupt their enemies. Demonology warlocks use , generated through various spells, as a secondary resource to fuel their demonic .
A master of chaos who calls down fire to burn and demolish enemies.
Destruction warlocks focus on demolishing opponents with fast and powerful direct damage spells. They use the generated by their spells to fuel their most powerful attacks, deal splash damage and even restore health. With enviable abilities such as , and , Destruction warlocks can rapidly reduce unprepared opponents to a pile of cinders.
Warlocks are taken to raids for their incredible dps and their raid utility. Warlocks are usually one of the highest sources of ranged DPS and also possess an array of utilities such as using for late comers, casting for combat resurrections, and distributing . They also provide a raid buff ( s) and a variety of enemy debuffs through curses such as . Warlocks are also well known for their CC abilities such as and .
In PvP, Warlocks are incredibly useful as a support class for arenas and battlegrounds. DoT abilities such as , , and spread between multiple player targets are excellent at generating pressure for opposing teams. also provides opponents with a hefty penalty for spam- dispelling debuffs. The felhunter also provides excellent anti-caster and anti-healer abilities with and . Finally, they are infamous for their PvP CC abilities such as , , and . While burst damage is not as strong, can be used to help finish off low-health players. is also an iconic and powerful contribution to any group.
Mists of Pandaria
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
Mists of Pandaria introduced massive revamps to the Warlock class and all three of its specs. Soul Shards were removed as a non-replenishable resource for all warlocks. Each spec was given its own secondary resource, and the playstyle for all three specs was greatly changed. In addition, the overhaul of the talents system changed some formerly standard spells into optional talents and introduced new spells to be integrated into rotations.
- - a useable by the entire raid between two set points.
- - changed to a raid buff providing stamina and spell power.
- Tier 5 talents manipulating demons:
- as a secondary resource, replenished by and .
- scales with the strength of one's DoTs already on the target.
- serves as a debuff increasing personal damage on that target in addition to doing upfront damage.
- as a secondary resource.
- changed from a cooldown to a stance that can be entered and exited.
- and no longer mutually exclusive.
- Official Crash Course: Level 90 Warlock (Destruction)
- Cataclysm Talents and Abilities
- Cataclysm DPS Run Down
Macros and addons
- Main article: Useful macros for warlocks
- AffDots is an addon that tracks DoT strength. Specifically designed for Affliction locks to attain maximum DPS from , it also provides spell tracking for the other specs. Also features integration with Tidy Plates.
- 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.
Throughout the novel Tides of Darkness, Gul'dan and the remaining warlocks of the Horde were also described as necromancers. These can be explained by the Warcraft II manual, which states orc necrolytes were warlocks trained in the arcane mysteries of necromancy.
According to Justin Parker, necromancers and warlocks follow different disciplines, indicating that they are not the same despite their overlap in some abilities, such as raising the dead, harnessing shadows into bolts of incendiary energy, conjuring diseases, and chilling the living with the power of death. Tides of Darkness' author Aaron Rosenberg said that the novel referring to warlocks as necromancers was more so about their activities rather than their class.
In Warlords of Draenor, warlocks who were desecrating the dead and reanimating them by summoning demons into the corpses were referred to as in the quests s and .
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28):
- Each warlock specialization now has a unique secondary resource which allows them temporary surges in power:
- Warlocks no longer use armor spells, instead gaining additional armor and bonus health passively.
- All demons deal similar damage and are no longer linked to a specific spec.
- Doomguard, Infernal and Soulstone cooldowns reset upon wiping to a raid or dungeon boss.
- Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12):
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ World of Warcraft Game Guide: Warlock
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 95
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 62-63
- ^ "Human Campaign: Medivh", Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Blizzard Entertainment. "The evil warlock Medivh has begun draining the soul of the land itself to increase his dark powers."
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pgs. 88, 92, 110, 291, 297
- ^ Warcraft II manual#The Rise of the Shadow Council
- ^ a b Justin Parker on Twitter (2014-08-07)
- ^ Game Guide: Warlock "Warlocks can ignite distant enemies in searing flame, send them fleeing in terror and pain, or afflict them with corrupting diseases and curses that steal the victim’s vitality."
- ^ Death Coil
- ^ Aaron Rosenberg on Twitter (2014-08-23)