Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Affliction Warlock Spec

I finally hit 80 on my warlock a couple of days ago. I could have probably done it a lot sooner but I reached a point where I'm tired of leveling yet another character through Northrend. Still, thanks to two heirloom items, flying and fully rested XP, it wasn't a hard journey.

Apart from a short stint with Demonology, I have leveled my warlock 1-80 almost exclusively with Affliction. I have always loved Affliction because it makes the warlock class unique. I felt Destruction played too much like a mage and Demonology too much like a hunter. One big benefit to leveling as Affliction is that, if your rotation is right, you should always be topped off in terms of mana and health. Zero downtime is an Affliction warlocks' trademark. A leveling and/or solo-ing Affliction warlock is versed in the art of drain tanking as I will explain further on for those who aren't familiar with the concept.

What follows is an explanation of my spec at level 80. Once again, since I'm the archetypal solo player, I've picked talents which seemed solid from a single-player perspective. This spec, therefore, might not be ideal for raiding but I wouldn't be ashamed to use it in a 5-man instance. I've also included the glyphs that I prefer but in the case of the Major ones, there are several other appealing ones that you might consider.


What follows is an explanation for each talent that I've picked.


Tier 1
Improved Curse of Agony 2/2 - CoA is your main curse so you need this.
Suppression 3/3 - Extra chance to hit and reduces the cost of all your affliction spells. Vital talent.
Improved Corruption 5/5 - Corruption is one of your main DoTs and this talent improves it nicely.

Tier 2
Improved Drain Soul 2/2 -You will be draining plenty of souls in order to get Soul Shards so this talent is very nice in helping you recover a fair amount of your mana. Some people skip this but I have always found it useful. As an added bonus it also lowers your threat, which comes in handy in a group.
Improved Life Tap 2/2 -Life Tap is part of your rotation as a warlock and this talent makes it more efficient by giving you more mana in return for the same amount of life.
Soul Siphon 2/2 - This talent has been beefed up nicely in recent patches and it improves your survivability as well as your ability to recuperate mana and health.

Tier 3
Fel Concentration 3/3 - Even as an Affliction warlock, some of your spells are not instant. This talent ensures that you will still be able to cast while you're getting pummeled. This talent is vital for a drain-tanking warlock.

Tier 4
Grim Reach 2/2 - This one only improves the range of your Affliction spells but these are your main spells anyway and I consider it a fairly useful talent because it allows me to run through my entire rotation before a mob reaches me.
Nightfall 1/2 - Now here's a more interesting talent. This one gives you a small chance for an instant Shadow Bolt each time your Corruption and Drain Life tick. It is customary to pick only 1 rank here because the second rank isn't as useful as the first. Besides, the same result can be augmented by the Glyph of Corruption.
Empowered Corruption 3/3 - Another increase in power to your Corruption except this one looks at your total spell power.

Tier 5
Shadow Embrace 5/5 - I only use Shadow Bolt when the instant cast from Nightfall procs but I usually open with Haunt so this spell basically increases all DoT damage by 5% which is nifty.
Siphon Life 1/1 - I would consider this talent a vital one, as it heals you when your Corruption deals damage. It's a small amount but if you throw corruption on several enemies at once, it makes a big difference. This comes especially useful in PvP.

Tier 6
Improved Felhunter 2/2 - Some people prefer to use an Imp but I prefer the Felhunter because this guy is not as fragile as the Imp and deals pretty good damage. If you also prefer a Felhunter, then this talent is a must because it allows your pet to quickly recover mana that you will then drain with Dark Pact.
Shadow Mastery 5/5 - Flat increase to shadow damage and also life drain. Essential talent.

Tier 7
Contagion 5/5 - Essentially, in a PvE setting, this talent provides a 5% increase to your CoA and Corruption. Solid DPS talent.
Dark Pact 1/1 -Another Affliction warlock signature spell. This drains your pet's mana and gives it to you.

Tier 8
Malediction 3/3 - Big increase to your spell damage and also increases the damage from your most important DoTs. Very important talent.

Tier 9
Death's Embrace 3/3 - What this talent does is subtle but important in my opinion. When you are very low on health it helps you by increasing your life drain. Also, when your target is low on health it ups the damage caused by your DoTs. This one is even more important in a raid setting where bosses have lots of HP but I like it for solo-ing because mobs die even faster once they get below 35%.
Unstable Affliction 1/1 - One of your main DoTs. Get it.
Pandemic 1/1 - Makes your Corruption and Unstable Affliction ticks crit. Very important talent. This was introduced in a recent patch and it added crit to a warlock's DoTs for the first time in history.

Tier 10
Everlasting Affliction 5/5 - Good all-around talent. The description should be self-explanatory so I won't say more.

Tier 11
Haunt 1/1 - The pinnacle of your Affliction training. I really love this spell because not only does it do initial damage but it also ticks as a DoT and at the end (either of the spell or of the mob) it heals you for 100% of the damage it has caused! Awesome spell for an Affliction warlock. Never leave home without it!

Luckily, the above Affliction spec can be completed as early as level 67 which means you are left with a whole lot of talents that you can spend at your discretion. I have always chosen Demonology because it has some nice utility talents. I'm not interested in Destruction at all since I don't want to spam Shadow Bolts or whatnot. So here's what I chose from Demo.


Tier 1
Improved Healthstone 2/2 - I tend to use my Healthstone often whenever I'm in a tight spot and this talent improves the health received from it nicely.
Demonic Embrace 3/3 - This one increases your stamina and warlocks like stamina because they can trade it for mana.
Fel Synergy 2/2 - Some may find it not as useful but I'm ok with this talent because it trickle-heals my pet as I do damage, although normally my Felhound doesn't really get damaged a lot.

Tier 2
Fel Vitality 3/3 - More health increase but also ups your mana, as well as those of your pet. Good all-around talent.

Tier 3
Demonic Aegis 3/3 - This is the talent I wanted to get at so the previous ones could be viewed as fillers even though they are useful too. What this talent does is improve your Armor spell of choice, in my case Fel Armor. That means better health regeneration and more spellpower, which are both staples of a warlock's arsenal.

And that's it for talents. In a future post I will detail and explain my choice of glyphs. Once again, I'm not playing at a competitive level so I may not have the "best" spec but I enjoy it and all the talents that I've picked work together nicely.

Affliction Warlock Glyphs


Anonymous said...

"Once again, I'm not playing at a competitive level so I may not have the "best" spec but I enjoy it and all the talents that I've picked work together nicely."

On the contrary, this spec looks perfect for leveling with, and indeed is very similar to the one I use in my blog's leveling guides - see the link at if you're interested.

The only point I disagree on is with using the Felhunter over the Imp, but if you do prefer it as a pet then you're right to take the Improved Felhunter talent, especially due to Dark Pact and its drain on pet mana.

Your choice in taking Demonology talents over Destruction ones for the last set of points is also valid - it really depends on your survivability versus your need to kill things quickly. I advocate Destruction since Affliction kills relatively slowly otherwise due to reliance on DoTs. If I was to take Demonology talents I'd probably take them earlier on when they're more relevant (more likely to die and/or go OOM at low levels); you didn't specify particular levels for each talent but I got the impression that you finish Affliction first and then move over.

I look forward to looking at your choice of glyphs, etc!


Darth Solo said...

Of course, I concentrate on Affliction first. My main goal is to get Haunt as soon as possible, with the minimum investment. If I'm not mistaken, that happens around 60.

Initially I started with an Imp but then they improved the Felhound. To me it brings greater utility than the Imp, what with the Int and Spi buff, plus the regenerating mana. Oh and the enemy spell devouring.

I find that Affliction kills very quickly as long as you itemize for spellpower. It kills almost as quickly as any other DPS class. What I like a lot about it is that I can DoT multiple mobs at the same time and they all die at once or in quick succession :)