Blood Pact: Leveling a warlock, 40 to 60
Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "Closer! Come closer... and burn!" ~ Keli'dan the Breaker
Once again Blood Pact turns its gaze towards those up-and-coming warlocks; those who are learning the craft, battling foes to hone their skills and sharpen their minds. I've said before that leveling a warlock is great fun and part of this is due to the diverse ways in which you can go about it. By the time you start getting a decent pile of talent points to spend you can shape your lock in many and varied forms. There's the unstoppable train of death that is the affliction lock, cursing and corrupting all around it as it passes smoothly through the world. The demonologist, pouring their power into their minion and pushing them into the fore while sitting back and calmly picking off their foes. And of course, the destruction warlock, blazing a trail of raw power in an explosive display of mental prowess over physical frailty.
Let's see how these locks in training are getting on.
As I said in the last leveling guide, it's not Blood Pact's job to teach you how to level. The gathering of experience through quests and the like is very important and following a guide can be very handy, but this is not that guide. This is about being a warlock for the time between level 40 and 60. If you do want some help in questing then I linked a couple of very good addons in that last article, these can help a lot, as can many others.
I'm also not going to focus too heavily on our minions or skills that are general to the class through all the levels. Regular readers of Blood Pact will know that this is being covered in the 'meet the minions' series. This has covered such important topics as imps and the control of minions, voidwalkers and threat, the succubus and crowd control and the felhunter and mage-hate (as well as a look at the infernal and doomguard).
As I said in the 10-40 guide, you can place your talents all over the place and still have a lot of fun. This is certainly true if you focus on one tree in particular. The tree we focused on in that article was affliction, the reason being that it is considered the quickest leveling build until around the 50+ mark. We left you with this build as an example of something to work to at level 40, this can be continued to level 49 with this setup:
Example level 49 affliction build.
This is very much an example and you can move a lot of the points about as you see fit to work with your play-style and preference. At level 50 you have a choice to make. Do you want to carry on with affliction or swap over to demonology and get a felguard?
If you decide to stay with affliction then you can learn Unstable Affliction which is another DoT and a really nice spell. When I say 'nice' I'm referring to how I think it's a very warlock-y spell, especially with its dispel mechanic. It also is a requirement for Pandemic, which is also a great talent.
Moving over to demonology and getting yourself another pet is the 'standard form' though some suggest waiting until you can support the build with talents from another tree (to boost your own damage). Personally I don't think that's necessary. You may be a little nerfed but since you have just swapped spec it's probably a good idea to spend some time cleaning up some green quests while you learn the new setup.
The felguard will be the subject of a meet the minions article before long but briefly, for those who have never had one before, he does more damage than any of your other minions (only exception is the doomguard but you have to wait till 60 for him), generates more threat than a voidwalker and is almost as hard to kill. This makes him a great front-man to your background machinations. I was uncertain about the guy to begin with but after a very short time I came to really enjoy having him around; both for solo and party/raid work.
If you do want to swap to demonology at 50 here's an example build that will make your new demon nice and strong.
Example level 50 demonology build.
For those of you going with destruction at this point you will have found that you can now reach Shadowfury. There are those that love this spell and while I agree that it is great fun to use and opens up a number of cool tricks, it's generally too much bother for me to worry about. If you enjoy it then go for your life, it's very cool, but I wouldn't worry if you find yourself under-whelmed by it.
What happened to all the new spells? Between levels 11 and 40 you gain 25 brand new spells to cast, but between 41 and 60 there are 5. You do get a lot of spell upgrades however, so it's still worth going back to the trainer often. I'll add the spells from talents below as well.
- Level 42 - Death Coil - Sometimes referred to as 'Skill Coil' by those who look on it as a warlock 'I WIN' button. This is pretty unfair as most classes have something that takes their opponent out of the game for a short time and many have more than us locks. That said, it's a great panic button with a 'run-away' effect that is short enough to use in tight spaces without calling down the fury of every mob in the area.
- Level 48 - Soul Fire - Without Decimation this is a spell that tends to get dusty in the back of the spell book. With Decimation, it covers the execute phase with great big fiery balls of crit.
- Level 50 - Inferno - You fight not just this warlock alone but the legions he commands! Summon forth meteors from the heavens to smite your enemy and raise up rock-demons terrify the populous. Well, that's what it's like in my head but you can read the last Blood Pact for what it's really like.
- Level 50 minimum - Unstable Affliction - An awesome extra DoT with a sting in its tail.
- Level 50 minimum - Summon Felguard - New and hugely powerful minion to play with.
- Level 50 minimum - Shadowfury - AoE, ranged and damaging stun. A lot of fun if a little novelty/situational.
- Level 60 - Ritual of Doom - Summon the most powerful demon available to players; but only if you have been on a long and arduous quest, have four other people with you and remembered to go to the shops beforehand. Great spell, sadly too much hassle for too little gain. Also a topic of last week's Blood Pact.
- Level 60 - Curse of Doom - The spell that does the highest damage in a single strike and has the best damage-per-execute-time as well. Unfortunately your enemies have time to make tea and buttered crumpets between cast and damage. So unless this fight is going to take some time you don't need this spell.
No real change in the gear during this phase in leveling as it's still almost all Old-world stuff. Check out the last piece for a bit more detail. When you reach level 58 you are eligible for the Outland quests which will start throwing massive (though somewhat ugly) upgrades at you; so don't go investing in anything expensive in the latter half of the 50s.
Scarlet Monastery is probably getting a bit old for you now so Zul'Farrak, Maraudon and Sunken Temple should do you through the 40s with Blackrock Depths, Dire maul, Blackrock Spire (lower first, then maybe upper later), Scholomance and Stratholme through the 50s. Don't feel you have to go into these places if you like to play solo but they can get some nice upgrades, complete some nice quests and also teach some important warlock skills.
PvP / Balltlegrounds
If you like. I wouldn't, but don't let that stop you. Apparently there are lots of mages there that you can kill, so can't be all bad.
While playing about on Wowhead for this article I stumbled across a poem about the felguard that seems to be written by a disgruntled DPS warrior. Worth a read if you have the time.
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DoTs, demons, and all the dastardly deeds done by Warlocks. If you're curious about what's new with Locks since the last patch, check out WoW.com's guide to patch 3.3 or find out what's upcoming in Cataclysm from the BlizzCon 2009: Class Discussion Panel.
Filed under: Warlock, How-tos, Guilds, Instances, Leveling, Guides, Classes, (Warlock) Blood Pact
Reader Comments (Page 1 of 2)
Saltypoison Jan 11th 2010 3:10PM
I recently did this level range with my lock, trying both demo and affliction. Personally, I found affliction to be more fun. As demo, I felt like I spent way too much time standing there healing the felguard, whereas playing affliction, I had less downtime with my imp (mana battery/lil dps) and strategically using life tap and haunt.
To each their own, but demo was just horribly boring imo.
Aedilhild Jan 11th 2010 4:17PM
My affliction warlock is pushing 55 — even though the tree was inferior to destruction at the time that I rolled, its reliance on DoTs seems more in keeping with the spirit of the class, while the playstyle is enjoyably mobile.
Generally, I find the connection between mana, damage, and health much more interesting than other casters'.
macster Jan 11th 2010 5:06PM
I know what you mean, Aedilhild. The link between life, mana and damage in the warlock is one of the more beautiful mechanics in WoW, and I've not found anything else like it in the game.
Whatever happened to "drain-tanking" - has the style of play completely died out as players all switch to demo at 50, or is it just the term that's gone? I draintanked most of the way to 70 in TBC, and it was marvelous fun.
And is it still worth a young 'lock's while to do the Dreadsteed chain?
Andrew R. Jan 11th 2010 3:14PM
First. Where was that picture taken?
Second. That poem was awesome! "Half naked" xD
duffry Jan 11th 2010 6:13PM
That was taken beside Sharpbeak's cage. Kinda appropriate for the level range I thought.
As is the robe, if anyone can identify it. I wore that thing for so long.
Dominika Jan 11th 2010 11:41PM
Robes of the Lich, from Razorfen Downs. Back in the day, those were THE leveling robes to get for a warlock.
Rhabella Jan 11th 2010 3:22PM
I was curious if gemming was any differnent in 3.3 with all the changes locks experienced.
Rubella Jan 11th 2010 11:48PM
Nope. There were no warlock changes that suggest a different approach to gemming. Of course, now that Simulationcraft has a snazzy GUI, every warlock can get their own scale values. Individual scale values may differ from the 'standard' recommendations.
ozreece77 Jan 11th 2010 3:31PM
yeh, i concur with salty. I think 40-60 is where Affliction really starts to shine with all the talents starting to synchronise together well and it is fantastic fun.
However, I prefer the felpuppy for the extra dps and debuffs, rather than the imp. Glyph of Life Tap makes leveling a lot faster too with the extra dps.
Once you get Pandemic, it gets even better, and with lifetap/darkpact its zero downtime and zero healing on pet. The challenge is seeing how many mobs you can take on at once.
Places like the Pirate Cove in Tanaris are right up Afflictions alley. So many mobs all together that you can have a ton of fun with. The only downside is it takes you 5minutes to go back and loot everything you killed.
Felguards are great if you want to handle elites on your own but they are few and far between while questing.
Ormula Jan 11th 2010 3:44PM
I recently experienced these levels with my warlock, and I tried both. Affliction seemed about three times faster, and I survived way longer due to drain life. Haunt --> UA --> CoA -- > Corruption --> Drain Life, and by the time Drain Life ended, I just drain soul'd to get my mana back. If I was fighting a single mob, I'd have full mana and health at the end, and if I was fighting two, I'd probably be a bit down in mana. Uh oh, life tap!
Either way, leveling my warlock was the most fun since my ret paladin.
Tim Jan 11th 2010 3:44PM
Here is a fun little tip. If you like being a lock then you will like carrying a cool stat stick, preferable one that is a scythe. http://www.wowhead.com/?quest=8422 Trolls of a feather! It gives you a BA scythe to run around with! You will replace all sorts gear,but its a SCYTHE!!!
wutsconflag Jan 11th 2010 3:49PM
Sad what they did to the Abyss Shard from that quest. One of the most unique trinkets in the game, and never got replaced, unlike the chest or weapon (especially with BOA items, now).
Ozmodius Jan 11th 2010 3:53PM
As someone who leveled their Warlock to 60 well before the Burning Crusade (and the talents that came with it) was released I can honestly say I WISH I'd had the Felguard to help me level up.
Joerendous Jan 11th 2010 5:44PM
Clever link on images! LOL
duffry Jan 11th 2010 6:15PM
Valt Jan 11th 2010 5:52PM
I really suggest doing pvp at 49. http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#IfxrbhbhomZbG0ho:wj is really good spec. Spam corruption, get healed a lot (change grim reach to nightfall if you prefer machine gun shadowbolts). That is if you want to invest little money on enchants, most people will run tons of "mongooses" and "crusaders" and all fancy stuff like that and engineering. (specially at 65+ where you can use OP http://www.wowhead.com/?item=41112 but thats for later and not ontopic of this.. :p )
Shakerag Jan 11th 2010 6:04PM
Well, you do get a feat of strength out of the quest. Going from memory here, I know it *used* to be overall cheaper than buying the riding skill and training the mount from the trainer, but I think with the recent riding changes that may no longer be the case. Like a lot of the older epic quests, it will send you every which way to collect old mats that no one has anymore (or is charging an arm and a leg for).
*** SPOILERS ***
Okay, here's the quick and dirty (not a guide, but just an idea of what you're getting in to):
Way the hell out in nowhere, Burning Steppes (seriously, not close to a FP at least for horde) is the start. Guy there sends you to Winterspring (for 30 crap-drop-rate items), then over to Felwood (after you buy potions from the other guy standing there for 6g, and now you get to run through that satyr cave unmolested, which is pretty cool. And you're purple. Oh, and bring 150g because it's a PITA if you forget it). Then off to the lab in Scholomance (where Laz is). Oh, I think I'm missing steps. Well, this isn't a guide anyway. You also need at some point in this whole mess 2 elixir of shadow power (3 ghost mushroom each), 3 black dragonscales (skinned or bought off AH), 6 large brilliant shards, 25 dark iron ore.
Then, if you don't have a warlock friend that's done all of this before, you pony up 250g for the lodestone, jar, and glyphs (which you can use to help another warlock do this and spare them the 250g). And then off to Dire Maul West where that big dog-thing is imprisoned to fight your horse.
And that last fight is crazy fun (bring friends if you're 60). Oh, and soulshards. Lots of them.
Shakerag Jan 11th 2010 6:06PM
Bah, supposed to be a reply to macster.
Joerendous Jan 11th 2010 6:23PM
Ergh cursed T9 keyboard.
I meant to type: Clever link on 'mages'.
zweitblom Jan 12th 2010 1:11AM
Nice article, but - humans with belf haircuts, ew...