Updated for Mists of Pandaria.
Warlocks are one of the greatest powerhouse classes of the game, they have high damage, high survivability, a pet that offers support (and complaints) through damage, tanking, crowd control, etc. Above all, the Warlock offers efficiency. A well played warlock past the level of 20 or 30 will likely never run out of mana and will be a leveling machine.
The Warlock is a fun class to play as well. You have the ability to solo quests that normally require groups. You have fear, death coil, and soul stones for a self resurrection should you die out in the wilderness while questing – All of these contribute to making the class a great choice for anyone.
Read on and find out how to keep your warlock on the path to maximum efficiency as one of the games fastest levelers.
Buffs and nerfs: With the release of the 4.0 patch Warlocks became devastating. Some would even say way overpowered. Then the nerfs hit.
Mists of Pandaria is pretty similar. Because of that we won’t comment here about the “flavor of the week” and instead concentrate on Warlock basics.
Warlock Leveling Guide
Other Warlock Guides
The Short Warlock Leveling Guide
This is just the brief version of how to set up your Warlock. Scroll down for more details.
Play what you like, the racial differences aren’t that great. If you really have to be efficient, though, Orcs might be the best overall Warlock race.
- Alliance: Gnome for the mana pool and escape; or Human for the rep gains and the escape.
- Horde: Orc for the pet and personal damage increases, troll for “Berserking” and extra damage to beasts.
- Pandarens cannot be Warlocks.
for most situations, while leveling, just use the Voidwalker or Felguard.
- Stack Stamina at lower levels until survival isn’t an issue
- Then stack Int. for the rest of your leveling and end-game experience.
- Secondary stats: Hit (to 6% cap, for leveling/PvP) > Mastery (Lev 80+) > Haste > Crit
- Just say no to Str, Agility, Spirit.
- More about gear, stats, demons, etc.
- Int and Stam all the way.
- If you’re Ok with PvP do some so that at 70 you can buy the epic PvP gear from the Legacy Arena Vendors. 1,500 or so honor should get you a nearly full set.
- If you have Heirlooms, lose them at 77 and buy Cataclysm gear. Keep the Guild heirlooms (Helm & Cloak) and send the others to alts.
- 81+ put the guild heirlooms back on till 85. Send them away when you enter Mists.
- At 85 buy/make the crafted PvP set (even if you don’t pvp) as it’s much better than the lev 85 green gear and a bit better than the entry level M of P gear. If you’d rather not then start looking for M of P gear on the AH.
- More about gear, stats, demons, etc.
Gems slots are very uncommon while leveling unless you’re in higher level dungeons. There are a few pieces that will pop up, though. If you want to bother gemming (it’s far from essential while leveling) then go for the “Brilliant” gems, for the Int. No others, unless you need the Stam.
Some useful enchants can often be found on the Auction House for very little gold. Grab them if you like. Every little bit makes your leveling a bit faster. Pick enchants in this order
- Stamina (if you need more,) then Int > Spellpower > Haste
- Stick to the gathering professions, pick two: Herbalism, Mining, Skinning.
- If you’re rich then Tailoring and Enchanting make a good match.
- Always log out in an Inn to get the rest XP when you come back.
- Join a level 6+ guild for the XP bonus and other perks.
- Carry the biggest bags you can afford
- Stock up on healing & mana potions
- Keep some buffing potions or scrolls.
- Always push yourself to see how much you can handle.
- Get a speed leveling guide to go even faster.
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Unless you’re going for every last drop of efficiency then the choice of race doesn’t matter much. Go for the weird (Gnomes) or pretty (Orcs) or whatever.
Pandarens cannot be warlocks.
Human or Gnome?
If you have to be efficient and Alliance, go Gnome. You’ll never go back.
- Human: Outside of PvP Humans have no abilites that would improve their being a Warlock. For PvP though, the Escape ability is very nice. Increased rep gain is nice if you will be faction grinding.
- Dwarf: Stone Form washes away bleeds and such and also reduces damage by 10% for a few seconds. Just the thing for when that Rogue Garrotes you. The Ranged Expertise is quite nice as ranged attacks can now be dodge. This ability adds into youir Spell Hit rating. Dwarves are also good with Archeology.
- Gnome: Gnomes have an increased mana pool. Their Escape ability is useful in PvP and occasionally elsewhere. Gnomes are good with Engineering.
- Worgen: Their Sprint-like ability is generally useful and their 1% increased chance to crit is a nice, overall DPS increase. Worgen are good with Skinning.
- Nogo: Draenei – Squids can’t be warlocks.
- Nogo: Night Elves – The shadowy forces behind the Warlocks have conspired to keep Nelves out of their ranks.
Orc, Undead, or Blood Elf?
If you have to be efficient and Horde? Orc. Arguably Undead for PvP.
- Orc: Damage by your pets is increased. You have some resistance to stuns. Blood Fury increases your spell damage and is great for those times when you need some extra burst damage. Stick it in a macro with your opening attack.
- Undead: No special Walock abilities, though their corpse consumption has situational use and frees up a bag slot. The ability to remove far, sleep, and charm has some PvP use and situational use otherwise. In Mists of Pandara the Undead will be able to drain some life.
- Blood Elves: the Belves don’t have any special Warlock abilities either, though Arcane Torrent can restore some mana. Being a ‘lock you will probably never need to use it. B’elves are good with Enchanting.
- Trolls: Berserk increases casting speed. Your damage Vs beasts is nice while leveling. Reduced duration of movement impairing effects is good in PvP and has its uses elsewhere. Ranged expertise is a nice stat and adds into your spell hit rating.
- Goblins: Rocket jump is a nice escape from those pesky melee types, vendor discounts will help your gold supply, their 1% Haste bonus is nice, and Goblins are good with Alchemy.
- Nogo: Tauren: apparently being fuzzy disqualifies one from being a Warlock. Or maybe it’s the horns, since the Draenei can’t be ‘locks either and Nelf ears certainly qualify as horns.
Warlock Talents for Mists of Pandaria
The world changed with WoW 4.0 (and it has again in Mists of Pandaria) and all previous builds were wiped out in a instant. Warlock mechanics didn’t change much, unlike Hunters and Paladins, but all the spells and talents got quite the overhaul. In Mists of Pandaria the wipe happened with a totally revised talent system, but at least the world and mechanics didn’t change.
At level 10 you pick your Specialization (spec.) As you level you will gain a set of abilities unique to your spec, as well as the other Warlock abilities and talents.
Mastery is a trainable ability you learn at level 80. It adds a bonus to whichever tree you are specializing in at the time.
Mists of Pandaria is totally revising the talent system. You will pick your spec normally and each spec will give you ten or so specific abilities, in addition to all the class abilities. For talents, you get six tiers of three talents each. Any Warlock can pick one from each tier, for six talents total at level 90.
To sum up:
- You will have your Warlock class abilities
- You will have ten or so abilities specific to whichever specialization you pick
- You will, eventually, pick six talents out of 18 possibilities.
- Talents are abilities no longer have ranks, in the same way that spells no longer have ranks. You pick a talent and you have the whole thing, rather than having to spend up to three points in the thing.
Demonology Leveling Spec
Demonology is the spec that we recommend as your leveling spec. Not that Affliction or Destruction are by any means bad, it’s just that Demonology is faster and easier than the others.
Your basic abilities for having the Wisdom to pick Demonology are (hover over the links for ability info:)
Demonology Warlock Leveling Build
This build assumes that you’re questing, mostly. Description and glyphs are below the image.
||Glyphs, Major - This is a generally useful set, though you might want to swap in others for particular situations. Glyphs are easy enough to swap, so there’s no reason not to do so as the situation requires.
Glyphs, Minor - in general these are pretty much cosmetic, though some so have some small utility.
You’re a master of shadowmagic and have an assortment of Fears, Drains, and DoTs (Damage over Time spells.) Traditionally Drain Tanking has been a feature of this specialization. You and your pet work in close synergy to bring down the opposition. You pet hold the opponent’s attention and you suck the life out of it while burning it down with your DoT’s.
These are the abilities you will eventually gain by choosing Affliction.
Affliction Warlock Leveling Spec for Mists of Pandaria
This is pretty much the same build as above, since these are the talents most effective for solo leveling. For PvP leveling or dungeons you might want to make a different choice, for example: Howl of Terror (row 2) is great in PvP and a bad idea while leveling and a really bad idea in dungeons.
Even though you don’t quite have the synergy with your pet that Demonology does, it’s still an important part of what you do and these picks reflect that.
||Glyphs, Major- these handle all of the significant modifications and enhancements to your powers. There are other glyphs that will be useful in particular situations, but this set will be generally useful.
Glyphs, Minor – Mostly just cosmetic or small functional changes. These three are interesting, but there are others to play around with.
Demons, Gear, Buffs, Etc.
At level 1 all Warlocks will get an Imp as their pet. At level 42 the Demonology spec will get the Felguard. At level 10 you also get the ability to actually control your pets.
|Throws fireballs, complains.|
|Tank, but not a dungeon tank.|
|DPS, and crowd control|
|Group mana buff, eats spells, casts silence|
|Lasts 45 sec., attacks target of your Bane of Agony/Doom spells|
|Same as Infernal|
Gear wise you should find things quite simple, the stat that Warlocks need is: stamina, in massive amounts. Stamina is far more important than any other stat as it increases survivability as well as providing mana due to lifetap.
Secondly, having achieved massive amounts of stamina, +Int becomes important.
Mastery doesn’t appear on gear until level 77. Don’t worry about it until the end-game, at which time it may or may not be useful, depending on your spec.
At level 77 drop all of your old gear and buy yourself the Cataclysm gear. It’s much better. When you hit level 80 Dugi’s guide will help you blast through the Cataclysm zones.
- Intellect – 1st in importance. With 4.0 Int become your spellpower now, in addition to mana pool and a tiny bit of crit. In 5.0 (Mists of Pandaria) it now longeer effects your manapool, but still effects spellpower and crit and is still your best stat.
- Stamina – get all that you can. Always.
- Resilience is only useful if you’re PvPing. If you are, then it’s right up there with the first two stats.
- PvP Power is new with Mists of Pandaria and replaces the Spell Penetration stat. It’s a straight up damage add that only applies to PvP.
- Hit rating - Essential for raiding (15% needed) and useful for leveling and PvP. 6% is all you will need for leveling.
- 6% for same level mobs/players
- 15% for raid bosses
- Expertise now applies to ranged attacks (new with M of P.) It adds to your spell hit rating. In the end-game it might be worth it to take this stat to the 7.5% cap.
- Haste is an important stat for any Walock. It doesn’t appear until higher end gear, though.
- Crit rating is nice, but Haste is probably better overall.
- Spirit – useless with 4.0.
- Agility is useless.
- Strength is of absolutely no use to a Warlock.
Get a wand, especially at low levels. It’s much less useful in raids or PvP, but for leveling it’s fast and easy damage with no mana cost and no ammo cost. Great for all those times when the mobs will be running away from you. Some find it less useful at higher levels, but still nice every now and then. Decent wands also have Int and Stam.
In Mists of Pandaria the wand slot is gone, though you can still use them. Wands have been buffed to the point where they might be worth using as your main-hand weapon.
Heirloom and other Gear for Warlocks
Have a high level character? Buy Heirlooms from your guild and/or the Honor and Justice Point vendors.
- At level 70: do some PvP before 70 and get a800 or some honor. Then get a full set of the Level 70 Epic PvP gear from the lagacy PvP vendors in the Dalaran sewers or in Gadgetzon. This will keep you will geared until level 77…
- At level 77 buy your Cataclysm green gear and send most of your heirlooms to the next alt. Keep the level 85 pieces, that you bought from your guild, for when you hit 81.
- At 81 put the guild heilooms back on.
- At 85 lose all heirlooms and buy or make the crafted PvP gear set or check out whatever M of P gear is available on the Auction House and use that.
While you’re leveling skip enchants unless you’re rolling in gold and/or have gear that you will keep for awhile. If you are going to anchant your gear then I’m sure you have already figured out your priorities: Stamina > Int > Haste > Crit
Don’t forget to enchant your Heirloom items, if you can afford it. Get the best enchants that you can put one a level 1 item. You may have to ask your pocket ‘chanter or ask in trade.
Mists of Pandaria enchants require a minimum gear level of 372, so if you’re rolling in gold then you’ll be able to enchant your M of P gear, crafted PvP set, or Cataclysm raid/PvP gear.
Every once in awhile, while leveling, you will find gear with gem sockets, especially at higher levels. If you decide to use these then the priority is the same as for enchants. Mists of Pandaria gems require a minimum gear level of 417.
- Red: Brilliant gems (+Int.) Put these into any sockets on your gear.
- Have a ton of gold? Use better gems.
- Meta: If you find a head piece with a meta socket, then stick a Burning Shadowspirit Diamond into that socket. You’ll probably be 90 before you can use the Burning Primal Diamond.
Skip all crafting professions while you’re leveling since they’re very expensive. If you do have a ton of gold then tailoring is a good skill to get. You can buy the enchants you need for a lot less gold than you’ll spend leveling that skill, so skip enchanting. That said, tailoring and enchanting can work well together. You disenchant your extra greens that you make with Tailoring and use the parts for Enchanting. All of the crafting and gathering skills have a self-only bonus that will be much larger in Mists of Pandaria than in Cataclysm.
Herbalism, mining, and skinning are all great cash earning skills.
- Herbalism is a nice gold maker and will provide mats for your Alchemy or Inscription skills. Herbalism gives you a small heal and a nice Haste boost (2880 Haste rating at skill level 600) for 20 seconds.
- Mining and Skinning are nice money makers, as well. Mining provides a Stamina bonus while skinning adds to your Crit rating.
- Cooking will allow you to make some useful buffing foods, so is highly recommended. Fishing is a nice supplement to cooking, but takes a lot of time.
- First Aid is essential, even with your health taps. Keep it maxed at all times.
- Once you get your crafting skill to the 500 range…
- Alchemy will allow you to make tons of useful potions, and you get added benefits from your own potions. For example, you get an extra houir from the one hour flasks/elixers and an extra 320 Int from your 1k Int potion.
- Tailoring 500 gets you Lightweave Embroidery for your cloak, it adds 2k Int in M of P.
- Jewelcrafting allows you to make self-only gems that add more Int than those otherwise available.
- Enchanting allows you to put a +40 Int Enchant on each of your rings (160 in M of P.)
- Engineering will allow you to make a lot of very useful gadgets, including Synapse Springs, which will add 480 Int (2940 in M of P) for 10 seconds, on demand. Nice for bursts. Put it in a macro with your opening casts.
- Inscription – You get some nice shoulder enchants: Inscription of the Earth Prince adds Stam and Dodge, while Felfire Inscription adds Int and Haste. These are better in M of P and you’ll also be able to make everyone else’s shoulder enchants.
- Leatherworking – Bracer enchant adds 130 Int, 500 in M of P.
- Blacksmithing – Can add an extra gem socket to gloves and bracers. Drop an Int gem into those sockets.
Warlock Leveling Tips
- Int, Stam, and Spellpower.
- It certainly isn’t essential to keep your gear 100% up to date, though it will help. If you have a ton of gold then go for all the upgrades that you want. Otherwise only upgrade when the new piece is a definite improvement over the old one. Check our gold guide if you need gold tips.
- Whether you’re questing, dungeoning, or PvPing you need to stay stocked:
- Have the biggest bags you can afford
- Keep stocked on healing & possibly mana potions (if you ever have mana problems.)
- Buffing potions or scrolls are nice, though they don’t stack with each other.
- Some foods buff stats. Keep a nice stack handy.
- Bandages can come in handy.
- If you’re questing then the easiest way to go is to get a guide. Barring that, grab all the quests in an area and use the map to group them. Knock of all the quests over there, then hit the next batch.
- Do as many quests at one time as you can. Save the travel quests for a time when you are going “over there” anyway.
- Always log out at an Inn to get the rest XP when you come back.
- You can also Recruit a friend (RaF) for 3x XP.
The fastest possible leveling? Since you’re DPS (Damage) you’ll queue as that with the Random Dungeon Finder tool. Recruit a friend for 3x XP. Use Zygor’s while questing.
Alternate the question with your dungeoning and you’ll level at a pretty good pace. Do enough PvP so that you have enough honor to buy the level 70 arena set.
Questing is much more efficient than grinding for gaining XP, if you group smiliar quests together so you can do more than one at the same time. If you can, always log out in an Inn to earn the “rest XP bonus.”
It used to be that grinding (just endlessly burning down any mobs you find) was faster, and might still be in very particular situations, but questing really blows the doors off of grinding these days.
Dungeoning is great XP if you like to group and you like the dungeons. See our dungeon guide for more. You can get better gear that you will be likely to get otherwise. With most of the dungeon quest-givers now being inside the dungeon and with the Dungeon Finder tool making travel unnecessary, it can be an easy experience. It’s not a lot faster than questing, you being a DPS type, but it has its virtues.
The only downside is if the groups don’t work for you or you don’t work for them.
Dungeon groups also tend to move pretty fast, so if you’re fast and efficient and don’t mind the groups then it’s a good way to go.
PvP leveling can be awesome, if your side wins, but it’s not bad even if you lose. If your side wins then it’s even faster than dungeon leveling.
- Don’t fight in the middle of the battlefield.
- Do fight at the flag or at the flag carrier or at the tower or at the tank. For example, in Eye of the Storm or Arathi Basiin, if you look at your buff list you will see a buff that gives you more honor for fighting at the flag.
- Don’t fight in the middle of the battlefield.
- Don’t cry about how much (fill in the blank) sucks.
- Do ask for help guarding/protecting/carrying whatever. Sometimes you’ll actually get it.
- Don’t jump into or fight in the middle of groups by yourself.
- Don’t fight in the middle of the battlefield.
- Do stay with your allies and help them out. Solo fighters don’t last long.
- If you don’t know what to do then follow someone who seems to know and stick with that person.
- Don’t fight in the middle of the battlefield, even if it’s fun. It’s less honor and experience.
What to do while leveling:
- Tank and Spank: Let your pet hold the mob’s aggro while you burn it down with spells. Only useful with Voidwalker and Felguard.
- Drain Tanking: You DoT up the mob, set your pet on it (any pet) and use Drain Life while it beats on you. You’ll stay healthy and the mob drops. It’s even better if you pet can hold the aggro.
- Be careful of Fear spells. Mobs running around may cause other mobs to notice you and attack. If you’re not careful it’s easy to be overwhelmed.
- Keep an eye on your DoT timers so that you can always have your DoTs up on the things you’re killing.
- Targets that are feared tend to run and collect other mobs, which means that fear is more useful, generally, in PvP than while leveling. Glyph of Fear helps with this.
- Learn to use keybinds and macros.
1-90 Warlock Leveling Guide
Ok, you have your ‘lock all ready to go and now you’re looking at thousands of quests and a ginormous number of mobs to kill. To make it all easy you should grab an in-game Warlock leveling guide to get yourself leveled as quickly as possible. Among other things, this will let you get into all that juicy endgame stuff, raids and the rated BGs and arenas, just that much sooner.
Dugi’s is an addon that will place a small guide window on your main screen and which keeps track of your current quests and tasks and also counts your kills and tasks and so on.
Start from any level and use Dugi’s to blast to the finish. Heck, you can even grab a few levels in the dungeons and battleground PvP. Dugi’s guide will figure out your new level and the best spot to continue your questing and youi’ll be on your way.
Pick your starting point and the guide will show you where to go and what to do. 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.
Dugi’s is always quickly updated for the latest patches and expansions (Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, and onward) and it makes leveling amazingly fast and easy. Get yours here.