People generally don't read these, but hi! I'm a warlock. I've never written a guide before, so this may all be common sense and nothing new, but here's hoping it helps a couple people out. This guide assumes a few things:
- You, too, are a warlock, or would like to know how to play one.
- You are currently raiding Icecrown Citadel, or really, really want to.
- You can give constructive feedback if you find something outdated, incomplete, unclear, or just plain wrong.
- You're hit capped. Seriously, hit is the most important thing ever. Without it, your spells miss, and you don't do damage.
Why destruction? Destruction is a high burst DPS specialization, which provides raid utility in the way of either replenishment or a targetable AOE stun, which is useful on some encounters. All three trees are raid viable, but destruction is by far the simplest to master and in my opinion, one of the most fun.
Last updated: 6:39 am, July 21st 2010.
TALENTS & GLYPHS
There are a couple variations on the cookie-cutter destruction specs, some that pick up Shadowfury/replenishment and others that don't. In my experience, this is the most efficient way of picking up as many DPS and utility talents as possible including replenishment and Shadowfury.
As far as glyphs go, the choices are straightforward:
Glyph of Incinerate - +5% incinerate damage.
Glyph of Conflagrate - no longer consumes immolate/shadowfire debuffs when casting Conflagrate.
Glyph of Immolate - +10% immolate damage.
As a note, I used the BIS setup and SimulationCraft for the scaling numbers. I understand that they may be different between Simcraft, spreadsheets, and Rawr.
- 1. HIT - the single most important stat for any caster, especially warlocks. To have a spec that uses both Shadowfury and replenishment, you can't afford to waste points talenting for hit. For raids, you want to aim for 17%. Draenei provide their group with 1%, Shadow Priests and Moonkin Druids with Imp. FF provide a 3% hit debuff to mobs, which means ideally, you would gear for 13%.
- 2. SPELLPOWER - you want a lot of this. Generally speaking, you can assume to gain 2.06 dps per point of spellpower, making it the best stat to gear and gem for. Unless a socket bonus is +7 or +9 spellpower, you want to shove red gems in your sockets once your meta is activated.
- 3. HASTE - also, you want a lot of this. Again, generally speaking, 1 point of haste equals roughly 1.23 DPS, putting it behind spellpower but, obviously, not by much. This scaling is somewhat variable: the less haste you have, the more beneficial the stat is.
Without accounting for raid buffs (totems, bl/hero) the most haste you ever, ever, ever want to stack is 50%, or 1640 haste rating, at which point the GCD (global cooldown) and all 1.5-second cast times become 1 second. (Spells like Chaos Bolt with a longer cast time [2 seconds vs 1.5] won't be capped until you hit 100% haste) The GCD will never be less than 1 second, so any more haste is of very little value. That said, you don't want that much haste - Bloodlust/Heroism give you 30% haste for 40 seconds, while WoA totems give an extra 5%. Generally speaking, 1269 haste rating is the soft cap, at which point crit becomes a more viable stat, as evidenced by simcraft numbers.
- 4. CRIT - the unsung hero of warlock stats! Crit does become more viable the better your gear gets, and with the current BIS (or near BIS, see below) you can expect 1.34 DPS per point of crate - very, very slightly more than you'd get from haste, but the spirit of min/maxing is, well, min/maxing, even if it's in the most minor of ways. As a note, unless you're very, very low on haste (anything below 700 rating) you want to use firestones as destruction, which boost not only critical strike but direct damage by 1%.
- 5. SPIRIT - while this is an important stat considering Fel Armor gains, t10 has very, very little spirit (tier gear has literally 0) as opposed to t9, where including it as go-to stat was viable. Don't gear for it. Sadly, it isn't worth it, and now that Life Tap is based on spellpower, you won't notice any negative effects re: mana regen because of it.
Curse of Agony - 120%
Curse of Doom - 200%
Immolate - 20% per tick, 20% direct damage, 120% total (No glyph)
Incinerate - 71.43% BUT 91.43% W/ Shadow and Flame (No glyph)
Chaos Bolt - 71.42% (85.71% W/ Shadow and Flame
Conflgarate - N/A. No gains from spellpower.
http://www.wowhead.com/profile=21541384 - current BIS, assuming professions of JC/tailoring, and that LK hardmode weapons are unavailable. HM-Halion is also pretty difficult, and will be out of most guilds' reach for some time, so I'm not including his gear, either.
STAMINA/HP - 1527/22.9k
INTELLECT/MP - 1578/28k
SPELLPOWER - 3387 (unbuffed)
CRIT - 36%/1107 rating
HASTE - 37%/1216 rating
HIT - 13%/429 rating
A note on trinkets
For destruction, Phylactery of the Nameless Lich (264) looks appealing, but if you're fortunate enough to have either of Anub's trinkets (Reign, heroic or normal), you'd be better off using it over the normal-mode Phylactery until you can upgrade to the heroic version. Not only does it provide a flat spellpower bonus, it's proc is increased by destruction fire talents. There's a greater discussion on this in the comments, which I'll move here to prevent endless scrolling and skimming.
Until 1200+ haste, I believe Reign is a superior trinket to PNL not only because of the proc, but the spellpower as well. Without having most of ICC on farm, it's actually not that easy to get up to that level of haste. The 251 tier set, if you were to wear all five pieces of it, provides 223 haste rating and 422 critical strike rating while the crafted legs (108 rating) and badge belt (80 rating) provide a total of 421 haste rating in total. (There is no haste on the legs or gloves, so they're a good choice for offset.) That's roughly a third of the haste rating required to hit soft cap, at which point crit becomes a more desirable stat and the PNL definitely pulls ahead.
I'm assuming that anyone who skims this guide is likely new to the class or spec, or perhaps new to Icecrown in general, meaning that they don't have access to heroic versions of the best gear out there. I understand that Anub'arak and Sindragosa are both challenging bosses in their own right, someone who has killed Sindragosa likely has access to better gear, and so on. Choosing the best trinket can be difficult because weighing flat stat gains (crit/haste/spellpower) AND procs should be done against someone's current gear and not randomly picked from a list, at least not until BIS is achieved.
I took a character with the following stats, and ran it through SimCraft with both Reign and PNL. The character was pulled from WoWhead's profiler, where I did a search for characters wearing at least 4 pieces of tier gear with at least the lower spire completed in ICC 25 - namely, average, not amazing, but not terrible either with room for growth and progression. Other than the trinkets, the only change I made was to fix the meta gem to a chaotic, instead of 25SP 2% int, and to change the profile name.
http://www.wowhead.com/profile=21545154 - profile, low latency, 300 seconds, 1000 iterations.
NMIC/MMQ: 9154 dps
Reign(245)/MMQ: 9470 dps
PNL(264)/MMQ: 9463 dps
Obviously, it's a small difference, but in lesser gear Reign pulls ahead, even just slightly. I ran these sims a few times to confirm, and out of the three other times I ran them with the exact same settings, PNL did come out on top, once, by a gain of 4 dps. Again, it likely depends more on what your stats/gear are like than a hard and fast this is better than that, and I apologize for making it sound otherwise. Characters at the 1200 haste mark will certainly want PNL over Reign. I did some more digging and found this post on EJ, which details the DPS gains one player found while running his own character (who is much closer to the haste soft cap) which I also found insightful: http://elitistjerks.com/f80/t38030-t...6/#post1578332
The best combination for a warlock is tailoring/JC. Aside from gathering professions, you can get something good out of all of them, though.
- Tailoring - by far the best profession for a warlock. Not only does it provide really cheap leg enchants, Lightweave Embroidery is one of the strongest profession enchants in game. It gives you 295 spellpower for 15 seconds, with a 45 second ICD, which translates into a passive 74 spellpower bonus.
- JC - Runed dragon's eyes, while no longer prismatic, give 48 more spellpower total than 3 runed cardinal rubies. (23 spellpower each)
- Leatherworking - Profession-specific fur lining provides a bracer enchant that is a 46 spellpower gain. (76 spellpower to bracers)
- Enchanting - Ring enchants provide an extra 46 spellpower.
- Blacksmithing - Adds extra sockets to bracers and gloves, which when socketed with epic gems (runed cardinal rubies) provides a 46 spellpower gain.
- Inscription - Improved shoulder enchant provides a 46 spellpower gain over the exalted Hodir enchant. (24 spellpower from Hodir exalted)
- Alchemy - Increases the effectiveness of Flask of the Frost Wyrm by 47 sp, and doubles the duration.
- Engineering - 27 spellpower to cloak, which is pretty good provided you're not a tailor, as well as Hyperspeed Accelerators, which provide 340 haste for 12 second every minute. This works out to a passive haste bonus of 68 haste, and with the changes to the profession come cataclysm, it could very well be the new must have profession.
Destruction warlocks don't have a rotation. They have a spell priority, which varies very little and is more of a "if this, do this" rather than a static rotation. Keybinding (vs) clicking helps quite a bit, and you may want to take a look at the next section about add-ons to help you keep track of cooldowns and debuff timers. Also, summon your imp. I hope that'd be obvious, with talents like Empowered Imp, but hey, you never know.
- Curse of Doom
- Chaos Bolt
- Incinerate (filler)
Let's assume a Patchwerk-style encounter, which involves little movement and no adds. On the pull, before you engage the boss in combat, you can use a Potion of Speed for that extra boost and the ability to potion a second time while in combat. When you're trying to maximize your DPS output, I highly recommend it.
While moving into position, or while the tank is turning the boss, throw up your Curse of Doom, and follow it up with an Immolate, which will allow you to use Conflag once the GCD expires. Instead of waiting around for that second and a half, cast Chaos Bolt, and then follow it up with Conflag. Incinerate is your filler spell - spam this until one of the following happens: a) Immolate expires, b) Chaos Bolt is no longer on cooldown, or c) Conflag is no longer on cooldown.
DoTs are your first priority: confirm that CoD is active*, and that Immolate is ticking away. Immolate allows you to use Conflag, and it also increases the damage of your Incinerate spell. Don't clip them (casting before the spell has reached it's full duration), for maximum DPS. For more information on DoT clipping, take a look at Quinafoi's post here: http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.p...064#post419064
After that, use Conflag and Chaos Bolt on cooldown, use Incinerate as filler, and when appropriate, use Soul Shatter. Try to time your Life Taps with how long the boss will be alive: if he's at 10% and you're at 30% mana, it probably isn't worth the cooldown to gain that mana back when the boss will be dead shortly.
* CoD is more DPM than CoA, (200% spell coefficient vs a 120% coefficient) but when the boss won't be long enough for the duration to do the damage, don't hesitate to throw up CoA.
-- WIP --
Ranged Tanking - Not all guilds bother with ranged tanking Prince Keleseth anymore, but it's a fun task. While many other ranged classes can do it and do it well, warlocks have an advantage in that they have Demon Armor available to them as well as Soul Link and other talents that are too deep in demonology to be considered relevant to a destruction guide. Generally, you want to throw on whatever HP gear you have (ie: pvp gear) and downrank a spell like Corruption or COA to snag the nuclei without breaking them too quickly. Try and keep an eye out for kinetic orbs, and throw your pet on them whenever available. Keep your pet on passive to ensure that they won't move from the orb when the boss starts nuking you, and don't forget to use Shadow Ward, at least on normal mode if you out-range your healers initially.
(Hardmode) Don't jump. This isn't warlock-specific, but I love jumping and apparently that's the fastest way ever to build stacks. Don't do it!
The Lich King
Demonic Circle - placed at the edge of the platform after the outer layer drops away, this allows a warlock to stay at max range and DPS despite boss movement. If/when you find yourself picked up by the val'kyr, portal as soon as they drop you - you'll appear at your portal on the edge of the platform, allowing the rest of the raid to focus on two adds instead of three.
RUBY SANCTUM - HALION
Demonic Circle - Placed outside Halion's ring of fire it's useful on learning the encounter to save yourself a repair bill. Other than that, try and place it somewhere convenient for placement of combustion rings, or to avoid twilight cutters in the shadow realm.
Add-ons, for the most part, are a matter of taste. I believe in keeping a very minimal interface, but some prefer graphical compilations - as long as you can run your UI smoothly and gather data about what's going on around you efficiently, there's no right or wrong way to set things up. As far as basics go, these are some of my favorites. (This is a major WIP)
In my opinion, this is THE best DoT timer out there - it not only shows you what DoTs you have up and when the expire, but it shows you what you're currently casting, what DoTs you've clipped, and gaps between your spells as well. It can be difficult to get used to, and takes some practice to set up and to master, but it's an amazing add-on just the same.
Another great DoTtimer, but it also has modules to track summons, shards, and soulstones as well. The timers not only allow you to view debuffs on your target, but debuffs on yourself, buffs on yourself, and cooldowns. It's incredibly customizable, and also includes a great cooldown bar for visual cooldown assessment.
A casting bar replacement that shows latency in the bar, as well as support for interrupts. This is one of those basic add-ons that I think everyone has, and for good reason.