This is a WotLK 3.3 raiding guide meant to help those not sure of what specs work best and what glyphs they should be using- and the spells consumables or gems. This thread is not meant to be an extensive raiding guide for every imaginable talent spec, more of a side by side comparison and otherwise useful information.
01] Training dummys
02] A raider’s mindset
03] Don’t do rotations
04] Talent specs
06] Glyph of Life Tap
08] Hit rating
09] Crit rating
10] Frequently Asked Questions
11] General tips
You will often see people asking “what is your DPS on a training dummy with this spec?”, or “how much dps did you just do?” when DPSing a training dummy. What this section is here to tell you is to entirely disregard what DPS you do on training dummys. Put simple, it will never be important.
The reason you can’t take a training dummy as a dps benchmark is because each different talent spec will scale differently with the various buffs and debuffs that will be present in a raid. Not only that, but even more so when your talent spec provides a raid buff, it will draw a very skewed picture when you compare that talent spec to another spec that doesn’t have that raid buff. Why? Because in the end, both specs would get that raid buff when in a raid.
A raider’s mindset:
This has been a strong belief of mine for a long time. There’s nothing at all- anywhere, that will have a bigger effect on a raider’s performance than the raider’s mindset, their mentality. It’s not gear that’s going to put you ahead of everyone else, it’s walking that extra mile that will give you an edge.
Using consumables- all of them- the best of them. Paying good money to get the best glyphs available, and educating yourself about how you should be playing your spec.
If you do not really really want to do what it takes to do a lot of damage, odds are you’re not going to.
Don’t do rotations:
I am a regular poster on these forums and the Elitist Jerks forums, this guide has been around for a bit, and in general I tend to be vocal on how things should be done. As a result, people will often ask me questions about Warlock related issues, from spec/talent choices, to gear or gems, and things alike. In general there’s only 1 question that annoys me; “What rotation should I use?”.
There is no rotation, if you’re following a rotation you’re doing it wrong. If you want to do high dps, you’re going to have to go by a priority list. What this means is that you prioritize your spells based on how much damage they’ll do in total relative to the cast time spent on them. This might sound complex, but in practice it’s not too hard to accomplish.
Some general tips are to not refresh your dots before they’ve expired, and that if the fight is likely to end before the end of the dot you’re about to place- it’s likely not worth casting it.
There’s a hand full of different and viable talent specs- and depending on the particular fight some specs are going to perform better than others. More over you won’t really be able to say what is best, since it ultimately depends on what your raid needs from you- and the encounter you’re currently trying to clear.
Deep affliction - http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#IfxMbzMAoiA0Ikt0zZE00V:TnI
- Pro’s:Stable sustainable DPS, 3% hit from talents, Provides the 5% spell crit debuff, Provides (A weak) int/spirit buff, Devour Magic, Spell lock.
- Con’s: Very poor burst.
- Pet to use: The pet to use has definitely become the Fel Hunter in 3.3, with all the buffs that have been given his DPS is very respectable now. Additionally this gives you the utility of your Fel hunter and it’s good survivability. This pet is now actually so good that the Doomguard is only a very minor DPS increase, still it is a minor DPS increase to use the DOomguard so if you really need the DPS and have no use for the Fel Hunter’s utility, then go pop the Doomguard.
- Stone to use: Spellstone. Dot’s are a major part of your damage output, the spellstone enhances this and gives you haste instead of crit.
- Priority: In this spec its important to always make sure you have Shadow Embrace stacked- This is procced with shadow bolt and haunt, so start a fight by popping one of each spell. After that, make it a priority to keep haunt up, if both of those are up, get your dots up (Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Curse of Agony). Fill the gaps with Shadow Bolts, or drain soul below 25%. It’s good to interrupt drain soul mid-cast to refresh your dots, but when you do this try to do it right after it ticks.
- Stats: Hit > Spellpower >> Haste > crit = spirit >>> intellect
All of these stats have some value, so don’t disregard an enourmous amount of crit for a small amount of spellpower.
Note: It is definitely viable to pick up dark pact instead of Fel Synergy, in some gear sets (ie: low spirit or very high spellpower) it will even result in a DPS increase.
Deep Demonology - http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#IZ0GchkAbihsgdAoE00V:Ton
One of the big reasons to use this spec is Demonic pact, with current raid gear Warlocks can easily get upwards of 4k spellpower raid buffed, and thus provide a 400 spellpower buff to the whole raid. In addition this allows your elemental shaman to use his fire totems, which will increase his DPS by a lot. Beyond that, this spec can now do fairly competitive DPS, it’s not quite up there, but it’s close enough to make an excellent player not trail behind on the meters.
- Pro’s: Superiour raid utility, high burst, good survivability, incredible AoE DPS (Cooldown)
- Con’s: Extremely pet dependent, slow casts, positional dependency, decimation dependency.
- Pet to use: With very rare exception, the anwser is simply the Felguard. The felguard simply does more DPS than any other pet by a large margin, the imp or alike are not worth it — unless the pet can not dps otherwise (IE: Mob is flying). This however is extremely rare, and when it happens youcan often use Fel Domination to swap pet quickly.
- Stone to use: Due to having the talent “Master Conjurer”, the most significant part of the stones is the Haste/Crit part. As such, since haste is the superiour stat (and you get more of it) the spellstone is the stone to use.
- Priority: Curse of Doom, Immolate, Corruption. **Shadow Bolt. During Decimation you swap out Shadow Bolt for Soul Fire, the rest stays the same.
Note: If you are the only one providing the 5% crit debuff then you will still need to throw one shadow Bolt every so often below 35% to keep this debuff up.
** When Molten Core has procced (and you do not yet have decimation) cast 3 incinerates. Immolate and corruption still do have higher priority, but replace Shadow Bolt with Incinerate until Molten Core has worn off.
- Metamorphosis: When you pop metamorphosis has a big impact on your overal DPS. There’s a few basic rules that you should follow when it comes to metamorphosis:
1] Pop it as often as you can
2] Pop it when burst is required
3] Pop it during “vulnerable” phases or other damage boosts
4] If the boss will probably die within 2 minutes, and you’re not yet decimating. Wait for decimation.
- Stats: Hit = Spellpower >> Spirit >> Haste > Crit >>> Intellect
Note that for personal DPS haste is actually nearly as valueable as spellpower, however due to demonic pact both spellpower and spirit have an unrivaled value in this spec.
Buffed Imp: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#IZfM0hkNZVbGVdMuVoAcct:0Tz
The specs are all very close to eachother on DPS, and which is better for personal DPS will heavily depend on how much hit there is on your ‘best’ gear set. Also, it should definitely be noted that these talent specs are guide lines, and depending on the content you’re raiding you may want to consider picking up talents like Shadowfury or Soul Link- or maxing out destructive reach. You won’t lose a lot of DPS if you drop some points from Backlash, and the survivability/utility that you would gain might be the difference between you staying alive the entire fight vs you staying alive half the fight but doing 50 more dps during that time.
- Pro’s: Great single target burst, Replenishment, Flexibility
- Con’s: Some pet dependency
- Pet to use: The imp. Simply too many buffs in this talent tree that make this pet the must have pet in this spec. Using the Doomguard or Infernal used to sort of be worth it for this spec, however since the change to empowered Imp in 3.2, neither the Doomguard or Infernal is worth it anymore. Simply stick to your imp.
- Stone to use: This is the only talent spec that benefits more from the Firestone than the Spellstone. The reason hehind this is that, since you don’t have master conjurer- the more significant part of the stones is wether it enhances direct damage or damage over time. Since this spec provides far more direct damage, the fire stone wins.
- Priority: If Glyphed: Lifetap, Immolate, Conflagrate, Curse of Doom, Chaos Bolt, Incinerate
** Although this is the order of priority, client/server lag will prevent you from casting conflagrate immediatly after immolate. It’s usually a good idea to throw a filler spell in between (IE: Immolate > CoD > Conflagrate). Also while corruption isn’t in the rotation, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it when you’re moving and can’t cast other spells anyway.
- Stats: Hit > Spellpower >> Haste >> Spirit > Crit >> Intellect
Note, Felguard/Emberstone hybrid spec is no longer really worth using since in current gear it trails behind all others on DPS and provides no utility at all. With that said though, this spec has respectable entry level DPS, and if you’ve only just dinged level 80 this spec might work well for you.
- Pro’s: Good entry level DPS, Simple rotation.
- Con’s: No raid utility, very pet dependant, poor scaling.
- Pet to use: The Felguard, it blows all others out of the water.
- Stone to use: As we have master conjurer, the haste gained from the Spell stone easily outweighs the benefit from the Fire stone. So, use the spell stone.
- Priority: Curse of Doom, Immolate, Corruption, Incinerate. Below 35% replace incinerate with Soul Fire.
- Stats: Hit > Spellpower = Haste > Spirit >> Crit >>> Intellect
There’s a handful of talent specs listed above that use the decimation talent. At first glance this talent might seem fairly straight forward, and as of 3.3 it fortunately has become a lot more straightforward than it’s been in the past. However it’s not exactly all obvious quite yet.
That’s why I decided to create a separate section decicated to this subject. To get the most out of decimation, the first thing you’ll want to do is get some kind of addon to tell you when it procs. I personally set up Power Auras to display a fireball when it procs, along with a timer of the duration and a ‘ping] sound.
Once you’ve got that sorted out it’s a matter of knowing how to use it. The general idea is this: As of 3.3 the buff simply lasts for it’s duration, it’s not consumed, and throughout it’s duration you can spam Soul Fire. That means that if you proc Decimation on an add and it dies, you can continue decimation for a short while on the next DPS target.
Something to keep an eye on is that if decimation expires while you’re casting Soul Fire, the soulfire *will* consume a Soul Shard. It’s okay if this happens once, but if it happens a lot its going to cost you a lot of soulshards in a talent spec that requires 1 soulshard for every wipe already anyway.
Decimation Weaving is no longer needed.
Glyph of Life Tap:
One glyph pretty much each of the talent specs have in common is glyph of Life Tap. Put simple, this is one of the best glyphs available, esspecially if you have a good bit of spirit on your gear.
The idea is that, as a Warlock of almost any spec you’re going to need to lifetap frequently enough for this glyph to stay up- in order to just keep their mana up. This means that so long as you spread your lifetaps out, you can keep the buff procced by this glyph up almost all of the time.
Like Decimation, using this to it’s maximum potential may take some time. Depending on spec you may have to lifetap a lot more than once every 40 seconds, or you may only barely have to life tap every 40 seconds.
Don’t mix this glyph too solidly into your rotation though, if you do you risk missing out on getting lifetaps in during movement (Where it’s no damage lost). If your glyph buff expired, but you have to move 4 seconds later- lifetap can wait those 4 seconds.
The only spec for which this glyph is optional, is the Deep destruction replenishment spec. The reason for this is that they don’t quite need to lifetap every 40 seconds, so depending on the fight keeping the glyph up might cost them global cooldowns they wouldn’t otherwise need to spend on life tap. If you are deep destruction with replenishment spec, I recommend you play-test both with and without this glyph. See what you like better and go with that.
Rating rating should be on the top of the list of every beginning Warlock. It’s something to gem for if you don’t have enough of it. You might not have seen your spells miss a lot- the reason for that is most likely that you haven’t been fighting boss level mobs (level 83), and that you need significantly less hit rating against lower level mobs.
The reason you need hit rating until you’re hit capped (More on that later) is simply because no other stat will increase your DPS as much as hit rating will.
So, what is the hit cap? This depends on a number of things, as there’s a couple of outside sources that increase your chance to hit- In general though, you need 17% hit to ‘cap’ it.
- The first thing that can increase your chance to hit is Suppression, increasing your chance to hit by 3% (Talent).
- The second thing that can increase your chance to hit is being in the same group as a draenei (Draenei), this increases your chance to hit by 1%.
- The third thing that can increase your chance to hit is having a Boomkin or Shadow Priest in the raid (Raid Debuff). Be careful though, Boomkins do not always pick up this talent, so if there’s no Shadow Priest, but thereis a boomkin- have a quick look at his talents and look for improved Faerie Fire. If he doesn’t have the talent, you don’t gain the 3% hit.
So how much hit rating do you need?
17% = 446 Hit Rating.
16% = 420 Hit Rating. (Draenei)
14% = 368 Hit Rating. (Talent or Raid Debuff)
13% = 342 Hit Rating. (Draenei and Talent or Draenei and Raid Debuff)
11% = 289 Hit Rating. (Talent and Raid Debuff)
10% = 263 Hit Rating. (Talent and Raid Debuff and Draenei)
+ Crit Rating:
I still very often find people over valueing critical strike rating. This is often against the memory of TBC, where haste rating didn’t really exist through most of the expansion and you needed a certain amount of crit to provide high uptime on improved Shadow Bolt.
Put simple, crit rating isn’t that stat anymore. haste and now spirit aswell are available in good abundance, and there’s not really any talent at all that makes you “need” critical strike rating. There are some that make it a more valueable stat- however none that make it a great stat.
- Why? There’s a 3-part anwser to this question:
1] The stat is too expensive. If you want to gain 1% crit, you need to invest 46 critical strike rating into that. Compare it to the 33 you’ll need for a percent of haste, or the 27 you need for a percent of hit- and it’s just too expensive.
2] Not all spells are effected. Put simple, it doesn’t matter what spec you play, not your entire arsenal benefits. If you’re affliction, curse of agony and your pet won’t benefit. If you’re destruction, immolate and curse of Doom won’t benefit (and neither will your imp). There’s no spec in which all of your damage will benefit from the stat.
3] Relative scaling. This one is slightly more complex to understand, but what it comes down to is that as you get more of 1 stat, your other stats will become more valueable. Warlocks get a lot of critical strike chance through talents (anywhere between 8 and 18%), in addition we get 13% crit from raid buffs, and about 7 or 8% from the intellect we have on our gear. As a result, we have a high critical strike chance before we even get critical strike rating- and this decreases the value of critical strike rating relative to other stats like haste or spellpower.
Frequently asked Questions:
Q: How much crit do I need for destruction?
Q: What Meta Gem should I use?
A: Chaotic Skyflare Diamond
Q: What rotation do you use
A: Read the section about rotations
Q: I would like to use a different glyph than glyph of Life Tap in destruction ‘replenishment’ spec
A: That’s fine, the theoretical DPS difference may be small or big depending on how much spirit you have. But a case could definitely be made for simply not needing the mana, and thus losing DPS from tapping to get the buff up on a non-theoretical fight.
Q: What potion should I use?
A: If you’re an alchemist- go for crazy alchemist potions. If you’re demonic pact specced, use Wild Magic, Otherwise you should use a potion of speed.
Q: When Backdraft is up, should I still refresh immolate when it’s ran out?
A: Yes, immolate is a very high “Damage per Cast Time” spell, you want it to be up as much as possible without clipping the dot early.
Q: Should I ever wait with casting a spell because a big cooldown (ie: Conflag) is almost up again?
A: No, it’s not even worth to wait just 0.1 second for a cooldown. You should always be casting something.
Q: My Imp sometimes goes out of mana during raids, what can I do to fix this?
A: First of all, if your imp is going OOM, that probably means you have no replenishment in the raid. It’d probably be worth while to pick up improved soul leech as your entire raid would benefit a lot. Second, it’s a good idea to disable autocast on fireshield- while fireshield won’t really decrease your imp’s DPS, it can OOM him pretty fast if he doesn’t have good regen.
Q: My Felguard is going OOM, it’s your fault your spec is wrong!
A: Your felguard won’t go OOM if it’s properly raid buffed unless you have Anguish on auto cast, disable it.
More coming as questions get asked frequently.
+ General tips:
1] Flame Caps. If you’re really serious about doing DPS and you’re in a fire based DPS spec, use these. Granted, they’re really hard to come by, I wouldn’t spend them on farm raids if I were you.
2] If you’ve only just dinged 80, make getting the deathchill cloak a priority. It’s cheap and it will last you a very long time.
3] Addons can really help you perform well- just make sure you’ve got screenspace left to see what’s going on aswell.
4] If you’re affliction- it’s okay to refresh haunt slightly early. In fact below 25% it’s recommended for the sake of making sure Shadow Embrace stays up.
5] Make sure Soul Shatter is on an easy access button that you’re not likely to press on accident. For me this is the ~ button.
6] Never have your imp in Phase Shift, it will not receive buffs when he’s phase shifted- and he definitely benefits from buffs like kings, intellect, wisdom, and alike.
7] Macro your cooldowns to include a spellcast. Things like potions, metamorphosis, flame caps, or whatever- they don’t consume a global cooldown. Create a macro to use these, and add a /cast [spell] in there. For example:
#showtooltip Potion of Speed
/use Potion of Speed
/cast Shadow Bolt
This ensures that there’s no time wasted between popping your potion and casting your next spell.