Friday, May 16, 2008

Leveling a Baby Lock

If you're a warlock and have yet to read TapTapPewPew, you really should. It's a nice collection of articles about the uber class that is Warlock. I found the link on BRK's blog and have been working my way through the archive...

One article I came to was a Leveling Guide for Warlocks. While the article had a lot of sound concepts and before my re-roll, I would probably have agreed with most of it, coming from the perspective of actually leveling one at the moment, I have to disagree with a few points. So, here's my take on it.

If you are completely new to WoW in general and warlocks in particular, the thing that affects your leveling speed the most is downtime. While a mage can tear apart the same mob in half the time, a mage will need to sit down to eat/drink every two to three mobs (depending on your gear), while a lock can generally go on forever without needing to stop; once you have gotten a number of key talents and spells.

First, a general tip. If for whatever reason, you rolled Horde but not a Blood Elf, then before you do anything, run. Just run over to Silvermoon City. I know that for Taurens, this might be a bit challenging, The Barrens is not exactly Level 1 friendly but if these guys can do it, so can you... The quests in the new area are much easier to follow and better designed and they reward much better, in terms of both quality and money... Compared to my broke and white/grey geared Tauren Druid who leveled in the Mulgore, my Blood Elves were nicely geared in greens and rolling in cash. Similarly, if you are Alliance, go to the space goat area. You won't regret it.

Now, the first step is Big Blue, aka Blueberry, or in official Wow-speak, your Voidwalker. It's usually maligned at being a useless tank and after level 50 or so, that's very true. Before that, as long as you keep his spells current, he is a more than credible tank. He might not always hold aggro, but usually he'll hold for long enough. He's also able to take a fair amount of damage so he should generally be able to keep pace with you. If not, I tend to use bandages on him as prior to end-game, a lock has little need for bandages but still need to have them made for training First Aid anyway.

The next piece of the puzzle is Life Tap. Trading one easily replenished resource (Health) for one that is not so easily replenished and utterly crucial (mana) is golden and a skill that every other mana using class in WoW will kill to have. However, to pair it with a spell that drains the health from the mob and replenishes your own, is to give you the tools to make your toon the killer energizer bunny.

On a side note, yes, I know there is a Drain Mana spell, which directly replenishes mana. However, this doesn't kill the mob and there are many mobs which don't use mana anyway, so the Life Tap/Drain Life combo is always better to use. In fact, you'll find that in PvE, there are very few situations where Drain Mana is required so much so that I've stopped putting it on my cast bar.

So, now that the basics are clear, how do we spec?

5/5 Improved Corruption - Level 10 to 14
Yes, I agree. It's ridiculous that three years later, we should be giving up talent points for this when spells like Innervate, and Ice Block were given as trainable skills to their respective class...

Until then, first five points into this. No question.

2/2 Improved Drain Soul - Level 15 to 16
This was such a useless talent but after TBC talent revamp, it's a beautiful soloing spell.

15% of your mana pool back when the mob dies. Think about it... Now the beauty of it? This is irregardless of your spell level. It procs just as well of Level 1 Drain Soul, which costs a staggering 55 mana. It's a spell that scales beautifully as you level (& increase your mana pool) and yet always cost 55 mana.

& to sweeten the deal, 10% less threat on your affliction spells means less likelihodd of you grabbing aggro from VeeDub. :)

Take this talent, and drain the soul (Rank 1) off every mob. You'll need to toss out the shards cramming up your bag every now and then, but you'll be peachy for mana.

2/2 Improved Life Tap - Level 17 to 18
This gives us 20% more mana from life tap. At level 16, you'll be using Level 2 Life Tap which gives 65 mana from 65 life. With 2 talent points, you immediately get 8 more mana. As your spell level increase and you start collecting +dmg gear, this gets more and more efficient.

Eventually, it'll be key to achieving the state where you can kill mobs and have a full green and blue bar.

With these in hand, usually, what I do in any encounter is the following (in sequence).
1) Send in Big Blue
2) Slap up the DOTs (Immolate, Corruption, Curse of Agony)
3) Lifetap
4) Drain Life
5) Just before the mob keels over, switch to Drain Soul.

You should end the encounter with two almost full bars.

When you are comfortable with that, stretch yourself by doing this.
1) Send in Big Blue after Target A
2) DOT up Target A
3) Lifetap
4) Send Big Blue after Target B
5) DOT up Target B
6) Lifetap
7) Drain Life on Target B (Target A will usually keel over now)
8) Just before B keels over, switch to Drain Soul

If things go bad, use your Fear to buy you some time to bandage if required. If things go really bad, remember your Big Blue will (after Level 16) have the Sacrifice spell. Use it as your oops button.

At this point, you need to make a decision. To level as Affliction, killing mobs with your DOTs and draining their life away, or to level as Demonology, to be a matched team with your demon. In my opinion, neither are really superior, it's a matter of preference but both will get you to 70 with a minimum amount of fuss (actually, you could probably not spend any talent points and get to 70 with a minimum amount of fuss). With Affliction, you'll really shine in a multi-mob grinding environment; you can literally dot up 2-3 mobs, Lifetap a couple of times for mana, Drain Life the life back, dot up another 3, lifetap, drain, rinse and repeat until the area is cleared of mobs. For Demonology, while you might not be able to keep this up as long as the Affliction lock, you'll definitely have better survivability and a more durable pet.

The talents you choose will be dictated by that decision. While this might be a decidedly Affliction-bent spec, I do believe that it's a lot more efficient as compared to spreading your points out across the three trees as recommended by TeePee.

Edit: Yes, the spell in the cast sequence should be Immolate... I don't know what I was thinking of... Thanks TeePee for the heads-up.


TeePee said...

Nice post :) Really appreciate the glowing reference <3

Your method certainly has a lot more finesse than mine hehe - i wrote mine for some friends that were very new to the class, so i go went for the extra life + bigger punch early on to help with survivability; once you get past those easy early levels then you can branch as you like. I certainly can't fault your method though, if you're planning on leveling as affliction I'd probably recommend this route.

TeePee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks for the informative posting, I am in the process of leveling a warlock as a project on my blog. this will help out loads.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately you have to be registered on blogger to leave a comment with a name attached =(

Anivyl said...

ah yes, blood elf area + ghostlands = a quick 1-20 in about, say 5-6 hours complete with lunch and dinner. :D

p.s came over from BRK, blood elves rules! <3

Cynra said...

Bah, wish I had seen this about a month or two ago! Or that the post existed...

As soon as The Burning Crusade came out, I rolled my first sin'dorei: an itty bitty warlock piece of awesomeness. Despite having more Horde characters than I do Alliance, most of my time is spent raiding with my higher leveled Alliance toons and I don't always have the chance to work on her.

However, my Aniko is almost 40 now and I'm really excited! Life Tap/Drain Life is probably the best thing ever. The only thing that saddens me is how Spirit means absolutely nothing to the class; as someone who plays primarily priests it's almost mind-boggling!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff I just started a Belf lock yesterday and leveled her to 11. Your post is exactly what I was looking for. Getting melted down in BG's on my warrior is my inspiration behind rolling a lock. Thanks.

WoW Gold Guide said...

good post

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