Updated for patch 4.3.
The guide is not the end all, be all of Warlock information – but hopefully can work as a small guide to let you know what to look for when you want to raid with your Warlock.
So, what are we specing then?
As with most talent trees these days the choices are pretty straight forward, with a few points that you can move about as you want.
Some people like to take one point out of Fel Synergy and putting it in Demonic Embrace, but it’s up to you what you feel work better. The idea behind Fel Synergy is that you want to keep your pet alive throughout the entire fight because he improves your dps, so if you move a point out and notice that your imp is suddenly dying a lot, I’d suggest moving the point right back in there.
And which pet do you use? Well, there is only one answer, and it’s the Imp (even if he’s always annoying you with snarky little comments I suggest not putting him in the fire to kill him) because he does increase your dps substantially thanks to the Empowered Imp talent.
There may be times when you’re asked to use another pet for a specific ability that the raid needs, like an extra CC from the Succubus or an extra Spell Lock from the Felhunter. However, do note that this is a personal dps loss and if there are people who can do it without having to lose dps it’s better that they do it. (Quite honestly, with the amount of classes who can now silence and cc I really don’t see that we should have to bring that ability to raids.)
Hit Rating & Percentages
First and foremost we need 17% Hit. There is no easy way to get this now after they removed the possibility to talent for 3% Hit, and no class provide it any longer either. This means that you have to get it from gear alone.
Here’s the thing about Hit. It’s a very important stat, but with the little Hit we gain from talents (ie. none) or buffs (ie. none) and gear not providing all that much reaching it is a lot harder than it was before.
It’s an important stat, and you should reforge your gear for it, however – we no longer gem or enchant to reach Hit cap. It’s just not worth it. Yes, you will miss a few spells here and there, but gimping ourselves by not using Intellect gems and Haste gems will gimp us even more.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t go for Hit. You do. But do so by picking gear that has it and reforging stats into it. Not gems or enchants.
The only time you should gem for Hit is if you have a Blue socket with a socket bonus of +20 Int or higher.
1742 rating is 17% hit. (Also note that for Heroics – if you’re not raiding – you only need 615 rating.)
Another important stat for us is of course Intellect which provides that yummy Spell Power we want and need to melt faces.
There really is no need to gear specifically for Intellect, it’s just one of those stats that kind of come with everything. However, Intellect is your best friend and you want to Enchant and Gem for Intellect. (You can’t reforge for Intellect since it’s a primary stat.)
Haste & Crit
Then there’s the issue of Haste and Crit. Now, this is a bit advanced and I’m definitely not a theorycrafter, but from what I’m reading around the web haste is now the better stat at all gear levels. Earlier it fluctuated a bit depending on your gear, but as it currently stands, Haste>Crit.
The basic idea behind it is that Haste makes you cast things quicker, and your dots tick faster. This is good and we always want more haste. There are times when you will notice a definite increase though, and that’s when you hit the plateaus where your DoTs gain another tick.
To gain an extra tick of Immolate you need to hit the following thresholds; 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, 90%.
For those who want to read more about the exact percentages, and also see the percentages for other DoTs, you can check out this thread.
Quick Recap for Stats
Once you’re Hit capped (and always get Hit capped first if you can);
Intellect > Haste > Crit > Mastery
This, is however most likely going to change at higher gear levels. Always do a SimCraft to check which stats are best for you specifically. But it does look like eventually if you hit a haste cap of 2681 rating, Mastery will be the next stat after that, followed by Crit. However, this won’t be achievable until gear levels of 400+.
Spirit is now absolutely useless. If you have it on your gear (and you only should if you have no better piece without it) reforge it to hit, haste or crit accordingly.
When it comes to glyphs, the only ones that really matter for your dps are the Prime ones. Anything else is just for show and you can choose what you find suits your own needs and play style.
As before, Warlocks work on a priority system rather than a rotation. You will use which ever ability is currently not on cooldown/ticking according to a list of priority. When a DoT is about to expire you should renew it around the last tick for the most effective up time. That means that you should renew your dots before they fall off. Preferably between the second to last and last tick.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should try to always keep the Improved Soul Fire buff up. Either by hard casting Soul Fire or using the instant cast proc from your Imp. The buff provides you with a yummy 8% extra damage for 20 seconds. You really want to keep this buff up at all times.
I admittedly often use Soulburn: Soul Fire to not have to hard cast it so much, but you can also use Soulburn to get your Imp back up if it dies. Note that once you get T13 2pc bonus you will be able to get your shards back in the fight, so you can Soulburn more.
Demon Soul should be used every cooldown, however note that it does not stack with Heroism/Bloodlust.
Shadowflame is a proven dps gain, but you have to be in melee range to use it. Don’t waste time running around to get to use it, because then you lose the dps by moving and not casting, so only use it if it’s a fight where you’re in melee range anyway.
Fel Flame is for the most part useless since the dps is pitiful. You’re better off refreshing Immolate yourself. However, if you’re running from something and your DoTs are all already ticking you can always fire off a few instant Fel Flames if you have nothing better to do.
Please note that Curse of the Elements is still a curse whereas Agony and Doom are banes. This means that you can have CoE up and still use Agony or Doom. So if no one else in your raid is putting it up, you should.
Other Notes & Tips
For AoE Rain of Fire has finally been buffed and is worthwhile casting. For large packs, use Rain of Fire and Shadowflame. You can also pop Infernal if you won’t need the cooldown for something else. If it’s only a few mobs, just use Immolate and Corruption on every target and then continue with a single target rotation.
Dark Intent should be put on someone who can benefit from it and uses HoTs or DoTs. My own preferred targets are Shadow Priest, Boomkin, Resto Druid. Note that you should not put it on another Warlock after 4.1 because the 1% buff gained by being buffed by it from a Warlock would overwrite the 3% buff you do to yourself.
Bane of Havoc actually can be rather useful on some fights if you have more than one target to dps. For example putting it on Magmaw as you’re dpsing down the adds. Or putting it up on the flying dragon in the Valiona & Theralion fight. It’s a nice little boost to your dps without you having waste more than a global cooldown to put it up. You can read some Bane of Havoc tips here!