|This Affliction Warlock guide is primarily intended for generating better DPS at level 90 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.
Other Warlock Guides:
If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Affliction Warlock DPS Talents
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.
- Soul Leech provides a constant healing effect as your spells deal damage, ideal for fights with consistent damage.
- Harvest Life is ideal for AoE situations, but not much else.
- The optimal choice for most encounters is Mortal Coil as it provides an additional heal effect.
- Howl of Terror and Shadowfury are both viable in situations that demand Crowd Control, but otherwise inferior.
- All three survivability mechanics are viable choices with perhaps Dark Bargain being the most interesting of the three in that it provides the most powerful survivability mechanic, but on the longest cooldown.
- Soul Link allows you to tank big hits on a more consistent basis, but also puts your pet at more risk of dying.
- Sacrificial Pact provides an absorption shield on a relatively short cooldown. A strong talent.
Pick whichever your find most useful in a specific encounter.
- Unbound Will is the most useful as it provides an invaluable debuff remover while the other two provide somewhat more situational benefits.
- Burning Rush could potentially be useful on movement heavy fights, not much else.
- Blood Fear seems rather useless for most encounters, or rather all of them.
- Grimoire of Supremacy has very competitive DPS and is a stable, easy choice.
- Grimoire of Service is the least appealing of the three, but has its uses on fights that require burst damage.
- Grimoire of Sacrifice provides optimal DPS.
All three talents are viable in certain situations.
- Archimonde’s Vengeance is great for situations in which you expect to take large amounts of damage.
- Kil’Jaeden’s Cunning is ideal for movement heavy encounters.
- Mannoroth’s Fury is the optimal choice for AoE fights where you need extra range on your spells.
Affliction Warlock DPS Glyphs
- Glyph of Soul Shards
- Glyph of Soul Swap
- Glyph of Everlasting Affliction
- Glyph of Dark Soul
- Glyph of Demonic Circle
- Glyph of Healthstone
- Glyph of Siphon Life
- Glyph of Soulstone
- Glyph of Curse of Exhaustion
Minor Glyphs are just cosmetic, so pick any three.
Affliction Warlock DPS Stat Priorities
- Primary stat: Intellect
- Secondary: Hit and Expertise to 15% total Spell Hit > Mastery > Haste
- Weak: Critical
- Useless: Spell HIt over 15%, Spirit
Hit and Expertise combine to form your Spell Hit. The Gnome and Human expertise racials are included in this. 15% total Spell Hit is what you want in order to never miss a raid boss.
Reforging: Try to get your Hit from gear, then reforge to Hit or Expertise to get to 15% Spell Hit. After that you will reforge to Mastery > Haste.
In-Depth Rotation for 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 two of your abilities, Haunt and Soulburn.
- Drain Soul restores 1 Soul Shard every 2 ticks or 3 when a target dies while Drain Soul is being channeled. Corruption also has a 5% chance to restore a Soul Shard due to Nightfall.
- Soulburn burn modifies Soul Swap to instantly apply Corruption, Agony, and Unstable Affliction on your target.
- Curse of the Elements should be applied to your target assuming no one else has already done so.
- Curse of Agony has stacks which increase by 1 each time it deals damage up to a maximum of 10 stacks. Re-casting Agony before it expires refreshes the effect with all 10 stacks, meaning it’s important to always refresh Agony before it falls off a target.
- Corruption and Unstable Affliction should be maintained on your target at all times.
- Cast Haunt when you have a Soul Shard available and Haunt‘s debuff is not already active on the target.
- Malefic Grasp is your filler spell for when all DoTs and debuffs are applied on a target.
- Drain Soul replaces Malefic Grasp when the target drops below 20% health as it will deal increased damage and cause your DoTs to deal 150% of their normal periodic damage instantly.
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 Haunt and Malefic Grasp or Drain Soul when necessary to generate Soul Shards/a target is at 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 Malefic Grasp or 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.
Tier 1 Talented Abilities:
- Soul Leech makes your Malefic Grasp, Drain Soul and Haunt spells heal you for 20% of the damage dealt.
- Harvest Life drains life from all enemies within 15 yards.
- Dark Regeneration instantly restores 30% of you and your pet’s maximum health and increases all healing received by 25% for 12 seconds. This ability has a 2 minute cooldown.
Tier 5 Talented Abilities:
- Grimoire of Sacrifice is the recommended choice for this tier. While the effect is active you regain 2% of your maximum health every 5 seconds, and the damage of Conflagrate, Shadowburn, Chaos Bolt and Fel Flame is increased by 25%.
Gems and Enchants for Affliction
As with most Caster classes, unless a socket bonus offers a big Int bonus, it’s more effective to just gem for pure Intellect and ignore the bonus. In same cases you might want to use other gems to match a Haste breakpoint, but Int is generally the way to go. If you’re an Engineer then the 600 points of Haste or Mastery you’ll get from a Tinker’s Gear in your engie helm is better than 160 Int.
Gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats, so your Haste gems are 320 points and your Int gems are 160. This does give some reason to match socket bonuses, though we recommend only doing it if it’s for a nice Int bonus. You can use hybrid Int gems to match sockets if you want the socket bonus, Orange gems to yellow sockets and Purple gems to the blue sockets.
Your Warlock bonus adds to any Int gem/enchant/profession bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int. That bonus does not add to other stats.
|Meta||Burning Primal Diamond: +216 Int & 3% Increased Crit Effect|
|Red||Brilliant Serpent’s Eye: 320 Int, self-only Jewelcrafting gem
Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int
|Yellow||Quick Sun’s Radiance: +320 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +320 Mastery
|Orange||Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 80 Int, 160 Haste
Artful Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Mastery
|Purple||Veiled Imperial Amethyst: 80 Int and 160 Hit|
|Prismatic||Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int|
|Cogwheel||Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste - requires an engie helm, such as this.
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 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.
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession. As with gems, your Warlock bonus adds to any Int gem/enchant/profession bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int. That bonus does not add to other stats.
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit: Sometimes increases Int by 1650|
|Shoulders||Secret Crane Wing Inscription: 520 Int and 100 Crit rating, Requires Inscription 550.
Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +200 Int and 100 Crit
|Cloak||Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect: +180 Int
Lightweave Embroidery – attacks can give 2k Int for 15 sec, requires tailoring
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all stats|
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +170 Int
Fur Lining increases Int by 500, requires leatherworking.
Socket Bracer – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste: +170-Haste
Socket Gloves – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem|
|Leggings||Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Crit|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Greater Precison: +175 Hit rating
Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +140 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Intellect: +160 Int, Requires Enchanting 550|
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour. Alchemists get about 30% more effect and an extra hour from Flasks and Elixirs.
- Flask of the Warm Sun: 1,000 Int for an hour.
- Potion of the Jade Serpent: 4k Int for 25 seconds. If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
- Master Healing Potion: Heals 60k HP
- Master Mana Potion: About 30k Mana
Professions for Affliction Warlocks
All of the professions provide some benefit for Warlocks of any spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, see Herbalism’s Haste buff, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.
Note that Blacksmithing allows socketing of two more gems, for a total of 640 points in a secondary stat Vs 320 Int. This will give you a bit more flexibility in matching a Haste breakpoint or if you need to top off your Hit rating.
|Tailoring||Cloak enchant sometimes adds 2k Int.|
|Leatherworking||Bracer enchant adds 500 int.|
|Jewelcrafting||Make nicer gems for your own use.|
|Enchanting||Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Int gain.|
|Inscription||Shoulder enchant adds 520 Int and 100 crit.|
|Alchemy||More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Int and an extra hour to your main flask.|
|Engineering||has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Int by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.|
|Blacksmithing||gives two extra gems slots|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds|
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.
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 not 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 (on command) makes the Orc one of the better Warlock races.
- The decreased stun duration is nice for PvP and might have some occasional PvE utility.
- Their weapon expertise is useless to you.
- 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.
- 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.
- Increased casting speed, when Berserk, is very nice.
- More damage vs beasts is very nice for leveling and some PvE encounters.
- Ranged weapon Expertise is useless to you.
- 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, which might be a nice escape 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 a few PvE mechanics.
- Sword Expertise will give you a +1% to your Spell Hit if you have a sword equipped.
- 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.
- Sword Expertise will give you a +1% to your Spell Hit if you have the sword equipped.
- 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 effects and reduces some damage.
- Mace and Ranged Weapon Expertise is useless to you.
- 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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