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Blood Pact: Leveling up through the Dungeon Finder tool

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "You want him? ... Oh, go ahead. I was gonna kill him anyway." -- Grand Warlock Nethekurse

Over the months, we have looked at the leveling process from a warlock's point of view. Mostly we looked at new talents and abilities, with a few glimpses at key quests. Today, Blood Pact has a look at one of the ways of getting your hands on the XP: the Dungeon Finder.

A lot of attention gets paid to using the Dungeon Finder (DF) at 80 to collect and farm emblems. For sure, this is a great way to get your fresh level 80 character some gear that will enable you to raid. But you can use DF right from level 15 (by which time you should have learned how to curse properly and figured out which end of a Shadow Bolt does the damage). It's a powerful tool for covering the rest of the distance to 80. You can even use it to get into RFC and Stocks, which previously tended to be out of bounds for one faction or the other.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Breakfast Topic: Romantic entanglements have a Mass Effect

Note from Editor: Due to recent restructuring at Aol, the focus of has been deemed not niche enough. Thus, as of today, we shall now and forever more been known as Mass Effect Insider! Get your latest Shepard fix with our guides, analysis and breaking news from Bioware's best-selling game!

When Commander Shepard isn't stripping planets of all their resources or being a general galactic bad-ass, how better to whittle away the hours than getting to know the crew. Sure, most of them are only there because you pushed them into it, and they're not going to be happy about things until they sort out that "unfinished business" -- but hell, they can't all love you, right?

Well that may be true but you can certainly find yourself loving one of them. The romantic involvements available to Shepard provides some of the most hotly debated flavor choices in the game. So who's your fave squeeze? Who would you pursue if your choice weren't limited? Why do they make your heart pound?

Given the choice, who would you romance?
Doctor Chakwas584 (13.1%)
Mess Sergeant Gardner127 (2.8%)
Barla Von175 (3.9%)
Avina659 (14.8%)
The Illusive Man321 (7.2%)
Joker's mom1611 (36.1%)
Someone else984 (22.1%)

Blood Pact: Destruction 101

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning... The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory" ~ Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore

Destruction is often considered to be the 'mage-like' warlock spec; this is based on its more dwarven style of play (fight, drink, fight, drink...). It is true that destruction relies more on direct damage than DoTs or the damage done by minions, but don't be fooled, destro locks are not just emo-mages.

Where the other lock specs focus on shadow magic, destruction primarily makes use of fire spells. Incinerate takes the place of Shadow Bolt as a filler, and Conflagrate and Chaos Bolt are added to the spell book making a dazzling array of... well, destruction.

Destruction benefits

Destruction locks have the greatest 'burst' potential. This means that they can deliver a high level of DPS very quickly. This makes them ideal for short fights and swapping between multiple targets.

Destro locks are also very mana efficient -- not because they don't get through their mana (they certainly do!) but because they have so much mana restored through Improved Soul Leech.

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Filed under: Warlock, Raiding, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Leveling a warlock, 60 to 80

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven? Behold, now, the terrible vengeance of the Forsaken! Death to the Scourge! And death to the living!" ~ Grand Apothecary Putress

Whether you're racing towards the endgame or pootling along enjoying the ride, everyone likes to make that leveling experience a little smoother. Blood Pact caps off this series of guides with a look at the final (for now) twenty levels. We'll look at the talents you can play with, the spells you can learn and some of the quests you don't want to miss. We'll be covering the Outland and Northrend experience from the warlock's point of view.

Maybe you have been leveling for a while and are looking for some insight into this final push or have had a lock 'parked' at 60 or 70 for some time; hopefully this guide will help you push that demon-loving toon to the final malefic leveling milestone.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Demonology 101

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "The time has come! Gul'dan, order your Warlocks to double their efforts! Moments from now, the gateway will open and your Horde will be unleashed on this ripe, unsuspecting world." ~ Medivh

You might think that you could always tell a demonology warlock on sight, its minions being bigger and more powerful, to reflect his greater dominion of demons. This isn't really the case though, every warlock's minions look the same irrespective of build. If they are over level 50 then they become easier to spot as you'll find that they'll have a felguard following them about. To be fair, he is bigger and more powerful than all the other minions.

If you're drawn to demonology so that you can summon a greater variety of demons, or maybe more exotic ones like those beastmastery hunters, then you're going to be somewhat disappointed. You'll have and use the same demons until you learn to summon the felguard then you'll have him. That said, the demonologist has an array of talents that really amplify your minion's power and also boosts your own by drawing on the power of your demon. If it is synergy with an embodiment of evil ripped from the nether that you are looking for, then this is the place for you.

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Filed under: Warlock, Raiding, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Be a raider not a robot

Each week Dominic Hobbs brings you Blood Pact. "Alert! You are marked for extermination! Calculating force parameters... Alternative measure commencing..." ~ Void Reaver

Having been a raid leader for a long time now, I'm very keen for everyone in my raids to be aware of the strategy we plan to execute. I get pretty frustrated when people deviate from it. I'm also interested in the theory and maths involved in maximizing gear choices and spell selections. When changes to warlock spell mechanics come along I always try and calculate the impact this would have on my gameplay -- and then do some research to find out what I missed or miscalculated. I believe that entering a boss fight with these things prepared is the foundation of good raiding.

You can't live on foundations though, you need a house. Being able to execute a perfect, DPS-maximizing spell rotation on a target dummy doesn't fully prepare you for dealing with a more chaotic situation. Knowing the strategy for a fight can still leave you floundering when something forces a change to your expectations. Today I want to have a look at how to prepare for the unscripted, how to be a raider and not just a robot.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Cataclysm: Stat and system changes for warlocks

No doubt you've seen various articles about the changes to stats in Cataclysm. I'm sure everyone has been wondering what this will mean for warlocks. It doesn't matter whether you play a warlock right now or not, you know full well that you're going to level a worgen warlock sooner or later.

With that in mind you will want to know what gear to aim for, what stats give the best for each talent build and who else is going to try to deny you the items you know to rightfully be yours -- "The name is in purple - everybody knows that means the warlock gets first choice!". Well, I'm certainly not about to tell you, I have no idea. Frankly Cataclysm is still too far off to know. That said, we are starting to get some real good clues, so we'd better start investigating.

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Filed under: Warlock, Cataclysm

Blood Pact: Meet the minions, Part 6 - the felguard

Each week Dominic Hobbs brings you Blood Pact. "You gotta be a moron... you gotta be a moron to wanna be a fighter. " ~ Rocky Balboa

Over the last few months Blood Pact has had a mini-series running to introduce the various demonic accessories. "Meet the Minions" has covered imps, voidwalkers, succubus and felhounds as well as infernals and doomguards. Along the way we have also covered such game-play lessons as pet-use, threat, crowd-control and mage-hate. So that only leaves the one minion to cover, the mighty felguard.

Unlike almost all the other minions there is no quest to gain the ability to summon the felguard -- you simply pop a point into the talent and this demonic knowledge is dropped into your brain. The talent is currently on the ninth tier of the demonology tree, so you will need to be level 50 before you can learn it. Even at level 80 you will need to invest almost 60% of your talent points into demonology just to reach it, leaving little room for anything in the other trees. Because of this the felguard is pretty much only seen with demonology-build warlocks. Hybrid builds were popular at the start of Wrath, but changes to spell mechanics have meant that they are rarely used these days.

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Filed under: Warlock, Raiding, (Warlock) Blood Pact