The Affliction Warlocks’s job is to maintain high single and multiple target damage. You bring useful pets and abilities to the raid (or dungeon) in addition to other abilities.
This page is aimed at level 100 raiding, though the info will be useful for dungeon and for lower levels. If you’re not quite there or want different info then see just below for links to our PvP and Leveling pages.
Updating for Warlords of Draenor.
|This Affliction Warlock guide is primarily intended for generating better DPS at level 100 in PvE and Raids. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process, so if you’re looking for advice on leveling your Warlock, check out our Warlock Leveling Guide.
Our Other Warlock Guides:
If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 100 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Affliction Warlock DPS Talents
The talents shown are a best overall pick, but there are times when you will want to switch talents to better match specific fights. Keep a stack of tomes handy so that you can do this. These picks also assume that you will be moving around a fair amount and will be subject to some form of area (or occasionally targeted) damage. Otherwise they’re aimed at max DPS.
Our picks are checked:
Tier 1, Level 15
All three of these talents can be useful under varying circumstances.
- Dark Regeneration is an “on demand” heal that also increases the effectiveness of healing for a short while after, not a bad option. This should be your pick for most, if not all, situations.
- Soul Leech provides a shield effect when using Drain Soul and Haunt. It’s best use is for when you can Drain Soul reliably. If you can’t do that, for whatever reason, then its value falls way off.
- Harvest Life is a nice heal, esp. with the glyph, but it’s a DPS loss. Better used in PvP or when leveling. Glyph of Drain Life is highly recommended if you take this talent anyway.
Tier 2, Level 30
- Howl of Terror sends adds fleeing about, out of control. Not very useful 98% of the time.
- Mortal Coil sends one target fleeing in fear of your awesome self and provides an additional heal effect. Only slightly more useful than H of T. The heal does not work if the target is immune to the fear.
- Shadowfury is a range area effect stun. Nice for add groups and have the added benefit of not sending them running all over the place.
Tier 3, Level 45
All of these have their uses. Which one is “best” depends on the fight. Pick whichever your find most useful in a specific encounter.
- Soul Link allows you to transfer some of the incoming damage to your demon as well as adding a small heal (to both of you) when you do damage. Nice if you’re talking low level damage throughout the fight.
- Sacrificial Pact provides an absorption shield on a relatively short cooldown. A strong talent. Nice when you can anticipate large amounts of incoming damage.
- Dark Bargain has the longest cooldown, but stops all damage for 8 seconds after which you’ll take 50% of the stopped damage. Nice if you are looking at occasional massive damage.
Tier 4, Level 60
All of these cost Health to use.
- Blood Horror seems rather useless for most encounters. Mobs have to melee you, then they run away in an uncontrolled manner. Better for PvP.
- Burning Rush could potentially be useful on movement heavy fights, it provides extra movement when you might well need it. Keep an eye on your health when using it, though the damage is easily healed, stopped by shields, etc. Note that you also have your Draenic Swiftness Potion if you’d rather use one of the other talents.
- Unbound Will provides a sometimes useful debuff remover. It cleans you and your demon up (of all effects) for the low, low cost of 20% of your health.
Tier 5, Level 75
- Grimoire of Supremacy has very competitive DPS and is a stable, easy choice. Besides, who doesn’t want more powerful (cooler) demons? Works well with the tier 7 Soulburn: Haunt.
- Grimoire of Service summons a second demon to help you out. Works well with the tier 7 Demonic Servitude.
- Grimoire of Sacrifice is pretty useless in WoD.
Tier 6, Level 90
All three talents are viable in certain situations.
- Archimonde’s Darkness gives your Dark Soul two charges, which is pretty nice.
- Kil’jaefen’s Cunning allows you to move while casting, which has its uses. If any given fight requires a lot of movement then take this talent.
- Mannoroth’s Fury hugely increases the area of your area effect spells, such as Rain of Fire. It’s not actually all that useful for you.
Tier 7, Level 100
- Soulburn: Haunt is a solid talent, but it requires more shard management than the others. Improves as your Haste improves. If you have 10% Haste or better (which shouldn’t be hard) then start looking at this talent. For multitarget this is clearly the best pick.
- Cataclysm really isn’t that useful. It applies Agony, but that’s not a great DOT for short lived targets (as Adds tend to be) and Affliction isn’t really the A of E spec anyway.
- Demonic Servitude – Doomguards/infernal do increasing damage to low health targets (the “Execute Phase.”) This Execute makes the talent that much more useful. Might be the best single-target choice.
Affliction Warlock DPS Glyphs
Like the talents your glyphs are situational. Feel free to switch them up as desired, depending on just what you’re doing. Talk to a friendly scribe (Inscription) for a package deal if you want a bunch of, or all of the, glyphs. There are no required glyphs and a lot that have some use, depending on the fight.
Note that glyphs that are exclusive with each other cannot be used together. For example, you will only be able to use one of the “Resolve” glyphs at a time.
- Glyph of Healthstone causes your Healthstone to restore 100% more health, but it changes that heal to “over time” (10 seconds) instead of instant. This makes it into a pretty serious heal. If you occasionally (or often) need that then this is a pretty important glyph.
- Glyph of Dark Soul lets you use Dark Soul: Misery twice as often for half the time (10 seconds on a 1 min cooldown, Vs 20 seconds on a 2 min cooldown.) The amount of Haste is not effected. This will let you better line up Misery with other abilities and can be an overall DPS gain if you can pull that off.
- Glyph of Drain Life increases the healing of your Drain Life by 100%. This will be especially nice if you took the tier 1 Harvest Life talent.
- Your Unending Resolve ability lets you have serious damage reduction (40%) every three minutes. These three glyphs modify that ability. Which one is best depends on your the fight and your situation.
- Glyph of Eternal Resolve makes the ability passive (always on,) but the damage reduction is reduced to 10%. Nice when you’re constantly taking a relatively small amount of damage.
- Glyph of Strengthened Resolve increases the damage reduction to 60%, but the cooldown is now 4 min. Useful if there is the occasional massive damage “You Will Die, Now” effect.
- Glyph of Unending Resolve decreases the damage reduction to 20%, but also reduces the cooldown to 2 min. Useful when the damage isn’t so brutal, but still comes in spikes, rather than being constant.
- Glyph of Demonic Circle lets you use your Demonic Circle a little more often.
- Glyph of Soulstone – rez your buddy to 100% health.
- Glyph of Life Pact reduces mana costs of all of your spells and can be a DPS increase since you are no longer using Life Tap. You can use a DPS ability instead. Since running out of mana (OOM) is a bigger DPS loss you have to weigh this against your mana use. Also note the health loss, which might be interesting in certain situations.
Minor Glyphs are pretty much just cosmetic, though there are exceptions.
- Glyph of Nightmares has some small functionality, allowing you to cross water while mounted.
- Glyph of Unending Breath causes targets affected by your Unending Breath to swim a little faster.
- Glyph of Health Funnel could be useful if you ever use Health Funnel to heal your Demon
- Glyph of Verdant Spheres is clearly essential. The change in your Soul Shards’ appearance will greatly increase your DPS (not.)
Affliction Warlock DPS Stat Priorities
Various stats (Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and PvP Power) were slain with Warlords of Draenor. So was the reforging capability. In exchange your have two new stats, Multistrike and Versatility, and several minor (tertiary) stats.
All characters now have an attuned stat which gives them more of one secondary stat. Yours is Eradication, which adds 5% Haste from all sources.
Also note that Int is no longer available on high level gems or enchants.
Just in case: DOT = Damage over Time effect, such as your Unstable Affliction.
- Priorities: Intellect > Haste = Mastery > Multistrike > Crit > Versatility
- Ideally your gear should have Haste & Mastery.
Intellect improves everything you do, as it adds directly to your Spellpower. You get Int from your gear, runes, flasks, potions, and a few effects. You no longer get it from gems or enchants.
Haste reduces cast times, reduces the Global Cooldown, and increases the speed at which your DOTs tick. For single target fights it’s your best stat.
Mastery increases the damage of your DOTs. You should try to keep it close to the value of your Haste. Note that when “multi-dotting” (DOTing 2 or more targets) mastery’s value will pull ahead of Haste as it simply affects more stuff. Also, Mastery is a good stat for all Warlock specs, so if you favor Mastery you don’t need separate gear sets.
Multistrike gives you two chances for an addition attack/heal, at 30% effect. Multistrikes can proc anything that any other strike/heal can proc, and they can also Crit. Unfortunately, you don’t do procs and multistrike does not grant nightfall procs.
Critical Strike gives you a chance for 200% effect from your attacks/heals. Crit doesn’t bring anything special other than damage (no procs, for example.)
Versatility is a direct add to all of your damage and healing and, at half value, to your damage reduction. It’s a better PvP stat than PvE. It’s not useless, but Mastery or Haste will give you a much better return for your stat budget.
There are various tertiary stats which randomly appear on PvE gear. These are Avoidance, Speed, Leech, Indestructible, and gem sockets. All are nice when you find them and none appear on gems, enchants, potions, etc.
How to Get the Job Done as Affliction, Rotations, etc.
First off, you have various buffs, defensive and utility abilities, and a few others that can assist the raid in one form or another.
For yourself and for the Raid.
- Dark Intent increases spellpower (10%) and Multistrike (5%) for the entire raid.
- Food and Flask add 125 Mastery and 250 Int. Your Rune adds another 50 Int. (See Consumables, below.)
- Runescroll of Fortitude III for +8% stamina.
- Drain Soul
- Unstable Affliction
- Soulburn burns a shard to empower other abilities.
- Dark Soul: Misery is a sweet haste boost which stacks with similar effects.
- Summon Doomguard/Summon Terrorguard – this is a 10 min cooldown that’s for single targets. Scales with your stats so will take advantage of your buffs & appropriate procs.
Things to Skip
- Drain life has little use in PvE. Use your other abilities instead.
- Soul Swap copies all of your DOTs from target A to target B. It costs a shard and will usually be a DPS loss.
- Seed of Corrution is pretty useless.
- Summon Infernal/Summon Abyssmal – too puny for words, use something else.
Affliction Rotation: Doing the Damage
Apply your DOTs and maintain them. Use Haunt and Drain Soul as appropriate. DOTs can be refreshed when 30% is remaining, which avoids any DPS loss.
- Apply Agony, Corruption, and Unstable Affliction.
As an Affliction Warlock your top priority is maintaining your DoTs on a target at all times to maximize DPS.
- Soul Shards stack up to 3 total, 4 with the Glyph, and are used to cast your ability Soulburn.
- Corruption has a 5% chance to restore a Soul Shard due to Nightfall.
- Soulburn modifies Soul Swap to instantly apply Corruption, Agony, and Unstable Affliction on your target.
- Corruption and Unstable Affliction should be maintained on your target at all times.
- Drain Soul is your filler spell for when all DoTs and debuffs are applied on a target.
When facing small groups of targets simply apply your DoTs to all targets using Soulburn and Soul Swap while otherwise maintaining your single target rotation of using Drain Soul when necessary to generate Soul Shards or when a target is at or below 20% health.
Against larger groups you should instead use Soulburn with Seed of Corruption to quickly apply Corruption to all targets. Otherwise continue as above, applying your DoTs to as many targets as possible followed by using Drain Soul.
- Dark Soul: Misery boosts your spell haste by 30% for 20 seconds and should be used on cooldown.
- Summon Infernal and Summon Doomguard share a cooldown and therefore you will have to make a choice between the two depending on the encounter. The Infernal is superior for AoE encounters while the Doomguard is best used for single target DPS. Both last for 45 seconds with a cooldown of 10 minutes meaning it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to use them more than once or maybe twice at best during a single encounter.
- Grimoire of Supremacy upgrades the Infernal into Summon Abyssal and the Doomguard into Summon Terrorguard, however the recommend talent, Grimoire of Sacrifice, prevents you from using these anyway.
- Life Tap is used to regain mana, however as it costs life both the passive effect of Grimoire of Sacrifice being active and a number of other survivability cooldowns can be used to counter the loss of health necessary to refill your mana pool.
- Unending Resolve reduces all damage taken by 40% and prevents your spells from being interrupted or silenced for 8 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown.
- Soul Shatter reduces all threat by 90% on a 2 minute cooldown.
Gems for Affliction ‘locks
Unlike previous expansions the gem sockets are not common. Gem sockets have a (small) random chance to appear on Raid gear. There are no meta gems or sockets, there are no socket bonuses, and all sockets are “prismatic,” which means that they will take any available gem.
The gem themselves are all prismatic, meaning they fit into any socket. None have Int, they all have secondary stats (Mastery, etc.) None have tertiary stats, such as Speed.
Older (Mists of Pandaria) gems work until item level 600, but the item squish cut them down a bit. What used to be 160 Int is now 10, for example. Also, the older gems (Mists of Pandaria and lower) that used to code for Hit now do Crit, gems that had Expertise are now Haste.
Affliction Warlorcks should gem for Mastery, as it’s the best overall choice.
|Gems for Warlords of Draenor|
|Prismatic||Greater Mastery Taladite: +50 Mastery
Mastery Taladite: +35 MasteryThe lesser gem is a lot cheaper. If that’s an issue then save the better gem for your best gear.
|Mists of Pandaria Gems, for gear under ilevel 600.|
|Meta||Courageous Primal Diamond: +20 Intellect and chance on beneficial spell to make your spells cost no mana for 4 sec.
Burning Primal Diamond: +14 Int & 3% Increased Crit Effect
|Red||Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 10 Int|
|Yellow||Quick Sun’s Radiance: +20 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +20 Mastery
|Blue||Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit|
|Orange||Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 5 Int, 10 Haste
Artful Vermilion Onyx: +5 Int & +10 Mastery
|Green||Sensei’s Wild Jade: +10 Crit and +10 Mastery|
|Purple||Veiled Imperial Amethyst: 5 Int and 10 Crit|
|Cogwheel||Requires an engie helm, such as this.
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 38 Haste
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 38 Mastery
Short on gold? If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.
Warlords Notes: There are no head enchants, all shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession and are only for items under item level 600. There are new enchants for Neck, Cloak, Weapons, and your Rings. Not for any other pieces. (Not yet, anyway.)
As with earlier enchants, all of the Warlords enchants can be placed on lower level gear and will scale appropriately. So yeah, you can put them on your level 1 items.
|Warlords of Draenor Enchantments|
Main & Off-Hand
|Enchants for item levels below 600.|
|Shoulders||Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +15 Int and 5 Crit|
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +9 to all Stats|
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +15 Int|
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: +25 Mastery|
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem|
|Leggings||Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +19 Int and +11 Crit|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +10 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
Enchant Boots – Greater Haste: +12 Haste
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour.
Haste and Mastery consumable are both shown, but default to Mastery if you’re undecided.
- Buttered Sturgeon: +125 Haste
- Sleeper Sushi: +125 Mastery
- Savage Feast: feeds 30, 100 in Highest secondary stat, this is produced by your barn’s work orders, not Cooking.
- Frosty Stew or Sleeper Surprise: 100 Mastery
- Braised Riverbeast or Fat Sleeper Cakes: 75 Mastery
- Pan-Seared Talbuk or Sturgeon Stew: 75 Haste
- From the Mists: Mogu Fish Stew: 34 Int
Elixirs: In Warlords there are no elixirs that give stats.
- Greater Draenic Intellect Flask: 250 Int for one hour
- Draenic Intellect Flask: 200 Int for one hour.
- Flask of the Warm Sun: 114 Int for an hour.
Potions: If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
- Draenic Intellect Potion: 1,000 Int for 25 seconds
- Potion of the Jade Serpent: 456 Int for 25 seconds.
- Draenic Rejuvenation Potion or Healing Tonic (from First Aid:) Heals ~68k HP – note that these share a cooldown with your Healthstone. You will be able to use one or the other in a fight, not both.
- Draenic Swiftness Potion: +70% movement or +200% swim speed for 8 seconds.
- Focus Augment Rune: +50 Int for one hour. Occasionally drops from WoD bosses (in Raid Finder mode) and is also rarely found as mission rewards from your Garrison. If you have some gold you can buy these off the Auction House. Stacks with flasks and other buffs. Expires when you die. Don’t die.
- Runescroll of Fortitude III: 8% increased Stamina to your entire group.
- Oralius’ Whispering Crystal: +200 to all stats. Does not stack with Flasks and other similar buffs.
- Tents: (not usable in raids or arenas) These account bound items are available through your leatherworking hut, from the follower that you assigned to that hut. All the tents do the same thing, which is to add 10% to all stats for an hour. Very nice if you’re doing anything outside of the raid.
Professions for Affliction Warlocks
In Warlords there are no professions bonuses. No special stat boosts that characters without the profession cannot get. The only profession that provides a stat buff, to yourself or anyone else, is cooking (feasts will feed the raid for +100, foods +125, to their best secondary stat.)
That said, some of the professions have useful crafted items.
|Tailoring||Cloth armor, flying carpet, murlock chew toy and allows you to make nets (Embersilk Net, might be occasionally useful) and battle standards (such as: Fearsome Battle Standard, for that add group. )|
|Leatherworking||Nothing to see here, unless you like the tents (+10% to all stats) for non-raid use.|
|Jewelcrafting||Now who doesn’t like shiny things? Make your own jewelry, mounts, and other stuff.|
|Enchanting||Among the obvious things you can also cast illusionary enchants. These are basically transmogs for your current enchant. Want your current enchant to look like an older one? Then this is for you.|
|Inscription||Glyphs, caster weapons, darkmoon cards, trinkets, and misc other stuff.|
|Alchemy||Chemistry!! Blow things up! Acids! Well… maybe not. You can make all those nice potions and flasks, though. You can also transmute things from this to that.|
|Engineering||Rockets, shields, and other useful items (not usable in raids or rated PvP.) Mounts, portable bank and repair device, and various other goodies.|
|Blacksmithing||Nothing to see here, move along (unless you want a nice dagger or sword.)|
|Skinning||Nice for gold gathering or fueling a profession.|
|Herbalism||Nice for gold gathering or fueling a profession. You can gather herbs in your garrison without having the herbalism skill.|
|Mining||Nice for gold gathering or fueling a profession. You can gather ores in your garrison without having the mining skill.|
Affliction Warlock Races
Ok, there aren’t any race choices that are specifically good for Affliction, as opposed to any other Warlock spec, so go Undead. If nothing else they look the part.
Which is best? The one you like to play. The racials are soooo close in overall DPS (less than 1% top to bottom) that blinking at the wrong time will override any advantage one might have over the other. But, since you insist…
- Best Horde? Undead, just for the feel of it. You want efficiency? Orc (spell and pet damage) or Troll (berserk.)
- Best Alliance? Gnome, for the Mana.
Pandarens will never be able to become Warlocks.
- Orc– Big, green, massive… Maybe they should use a big axe instead of a wand?
- Blood Fury increases melee and spell damage, the latter of which suits Warlocks just fine.
- The increased pet damage (a measly 1%, on command) makes the Orc one of the better Warlock races.
- The decreased stun duration is nice for PvP and might have some rare PvE utility.
- Undead– What’s better for Affliction then being already dead?
- Will of the Forsaken is a nice PvP skill (anything that breaks Fear, etc is a nice PvP skill) and it can break a few PvE mechanics.
- Touch of the Grave drains life and heals you for the same amount. This is a passive effect which will actually add a bit to your DPS. The heal isn’t much and won’t save your life, but every little bit helps.
- Unlimited Underwater breathing might be useful somewhere…
- Blood Elf – Can a magically addicted elf make a good Warlock? Wouldn’t they sell their souls for a taste? Perfect.
- Arcane Torrent is a nice silence, but since it’s melee range and you don’t want to be in melee range… Well ok, they look good. A truly devastating Warlock Ability. Really.
- +1% to their Crit rating.
- Increased casting speed, when Berserk, is very nice.
- More XP from beast slaying is very nice for leveling.
- Reduced duration of movement impairing effects (Da Voodoo Shuffle) might have some occasional use.
- Goblins sell everything else, why not their souls? They’d probably make you great deal on yours.
- Goblins can Rocket Launch forward or back, which is a pretty nice escape (get out of the raging inferno) ability.
- Increased Haste is nice in end-game raiding, Haste being a pretty good stat for you.
- Human – A decent Warlock race.
- The Human Diplomacy skill will allow for more rapid faction gain and
- The escape ability is nice for PvP and will break the occasional PvE mechanics.
- Bonus Versatility is nice to have, even if it isn’t your best stat.
- Gnome – Tech and Demons, together again? Why would a Gnome be a Warlock?
- Gnomes get an increased mana pool and
- their escape ability might break some mechanics and save your butt.
- Dwarf – Various Dwarf factions have put away their differences and joined forces after the Cataclysm and that’s where the Warlocks are infiltrating…er… coming from. This probably explains the things crawling around in the shadows of Ironforge.
- Stone Form is a nice PvP talent, and occasionally useful elsewhere, since it washed bleeds and various effects and reduces some damage. Very nice for those “Oh Famn!” times.
- +2% Critical effect on attacks. (you crit and get 202% effect.)
- Worgen– Fur, fleas, snuffling… But they certainly look the part.
- They can periodically move quickly, which is quite useful.
- An increased Crit chance is nice, but Crit isn’t a great stat for you.
Faster Affliction Leveling
Are you working on your Warlock to reach the end-game raids? Already there and leveling another class? With thousands of quests and a few bazillion mobs to grind the trip to top level can take a while . . . a long while, even if you’re done it before.
There’s an easy solution which will speed up your leveling, by a lot: an in-game leveling guide, Zygor’s Guide, almost automates the whole leveling path for your ‘lock, regardless of which level you start from. You still have to play the game, of course, but the “where to go and what to do” part is neatly taken care of. You’ll never wonder what to do next.
Pick your starting point and Zygor’s will show you exactly where to go, what to do, and the best order to do it in. It automatically updates and advances as you complete tasks and quests, sets a waypoint arrow automatically (always showing you where to go next,) and includes all the important quest info. You will probably never need to look at your quest log again, much less stop mid-play to browse some website.
Zygor’s is always quickly updated for all patches and expansions and includes some nifty extras, such as an in-game talent advisor. Grab your copy here and get leveled fast, or read our Zygor review first.
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