In the face of demonic power, most heroes see death. Warlocks see only opportunity. Dominance is their aim, and they have found a path to it in the dark arts. These voracious spellcasters summon demonic minions to fight beside them. At first, they command only the service of imps, but as a warlock’s knowledge grows, seductive succubi, loyal voidwalkers, and horrific felhunters join the dark sorcerer’s ranks to wreak havoc on anyone who stands in their master’s way.
Warlocks are former arcanists, or in the case of the orcs, former shaman. In pursuit of ever-greater sources of power they have cast off their studies of the arcane or nature magics to delve deeper into the darker, fel-based magic of shadow.
Warlocks are renowned for their damage over time (DoT) spells, sinister Shadow magic, summoning demonic minions, and their ability to wreak havoc with destructive fire spells. Warlocks can specialize in any of these areas: Affliction warlocks are the masters of damage over time, draining their targets' health with an array of powerful debuffs; Demonology warlocks summon improved demons to do their bidding, drawing power from their minions and even transforming into demons themselves; Destruction warlocks call down a rain of fire upon their enemies, specializing in potent burst damage and fire spells.
Warlocks are often maligned and mistrusted due to the nature of their powers.
Warlocks are unique among the DPS caster classes because of their ability to convert health into mana. They can be + damage or + damage & crit players. Warlocks have the most powerful assortment of damage over time (DoT) spells and also the most variety in debuffs and summonable minions. Just like a mage, well-used crowd control abilities can stave off certain doom for the warlock and their allies. Depending on gear and specialization, the warlock's sustained burst damage can rival that of a mage. The warlock's area of effect spells are not as varied as those of their mage brethren.
Warlocks are well versed in the "shock and awe" tactics of warfare and their manipulation of shadow energies can send their opponents reeling in Fear. At low levels warlocks rely primarily on minions and damage over time spells to deal damage while fearing their enemies to prevent retribution.
Endgame warlocks either choose to maximize the effects of their DoTs and curses through Affliction, increase the utility of their summoned minions, or lay waste the opposition with burst damage and direct damage spells with Destruction.
The warlock can learn to summon magical mounts. Most other classes must purchase their own mounts with gold or via Honor obtained through PvP.
Being a warlock demands certain things: being able to engage multiple targets simultaneously while keeping tabs on your minion, make split-second strategic decisions on cast rotations depending on the situation, and careful aggro management. Being a warlock also rewards many things: they are PvP powerhouses due to naturally high stamina values, an ability to apply debilitating crowd control abilities, and in PvE their damage output in multiple target situations can rival those of other DPS classes who focus fire on a single target.
Warlocks are masters of the dark arts, devoted to furthering their understanding and use of shadow and fire based magics along with summoning demons from the Twisting Nether. They appeared on Azeroth during the First War when Gul'dan, the first of their kind among the invading orc clans of Draenor, led the Horde across the dimensional gulf through the Dark Portal while in servitude to the Burning Legion.
The eredar of the Burning Legion are credited as the original warlocks and wielders of dark magics, corrupted from the powerful and magically attuned eredar of Argus.
In most societies warlocks live on the fringe of civilization, tolerated but not trusted. Human warlocks meet in secret in the basement of a bar in Stormwind. Within the Horde, Thrall has expressed discomfort with the warlocks, but understanding their utility, he has allowed them to work within the Cleft of Shadow. Conventional spell casters often see the warlock's magic as a vain attempt at increasing their own power.
Although many that consort with demons fall to darkness, warlocks of the Horde and Alliance advocate bending demonic forces to one's will without succumbing to complete corruption. These spell casters can summon demons to serve them and they can cast many painful spells that slowly eat at the life of their enemies. Warlocks are physically weak compared to other classes, but they compensate with their potent array of spells and their demonic minions. Compared to other spell casters, warlocks are among the strongest and often depend on the sacrifice of their own blood to fuel their magical powers.
Soul Shards are obtained by the passive Soul Harvest spell or by using Drain Soul. Instead of using up space in the inventory, soul shards are a part of the user interface, similar to runes. If a soul shard is consumed with the Soulburn spell, certain other spells get empowered or become instant casts (e.g. Summon Demon).
Another powerful ability of the warlock is to create Healthstones and Soulstones. These conjured items are used from the inventory and only one each can be created and held at one time. Healthstones and Soulstones will disappear if the player logs off from the warlock character for more than 15 minutes.
A warlock is by no means a healer. However, healthstones can be given to party members, and soulstones can be cast on party members.
To heal others (or themselves), warlocks can create a Healthstone and hand it to another friendly player via Trade. Create Soulwell creates a Soul Well from which Healthstones can be extracted by members of the party or raid group (10 or 25 depending on Ritual of Souls rank).
Warlocks may use a Soulstone on a friendly player (or themselves) before they die, allowing them to resurrect on death without having to use a Graveyard. If a warlock uses a soulstone on another member of their party and the warlock or that member leaves the party, the buff is dismissed.
While the warlock can wield and attack with melee weapons, this is not recommended except for demonology warlocks under the effects of Metamorphosis. Generally when an opponent gets within melee range the warlock's best bet is to use disabling spells to get away.
If acquiring range is not possible a warlock is by no means helpless. Defensively, warlocks can share damage taken with their minions via Soul Link (talent).
The remaining professions do not offer anything particularly warlock-specific, but depending on server economy, may provide significantly more income.
It is highly recommended that warlocks learn the secondary profession, [First Aid]. When running randoms, it is better to able to heal yourself after using Life Tap than to rely on the healer since you are effectively draining their mana which is needed to heal party damage taken. This will help reduce healer down time and allow them to focus on healing the tank.
Warlocks are taken to raids for their incredible dps and their raid utility. A warlock's abilities can bring a lot of support to parties and they are usually the biggest source of ranged DPS. Seed of Corruption, when properly used, makes a warlock extremely effective AOE DPS without putting the raid at risk. Using summon in order to teleport latecomers, conjure Soulstones for raid recovery, and distribute Healthstones is extremely beneficial. Warlocks are also well-known for their unique CC abilities such as Fear, Banish, Enslave Demon, Shadowfury, and Howl of Terror.
When doing raids, warlocks normally assign the responsibility of casting curses between each other. Effective use of curses is expected. It's a warlock's responsibility to know what curse to use in a given situation unless the raid leader requests otherwise.
The Burning Crusade has brought more utility to warlocks than before. The addition of the soul well has made distributing healthstones a much simpler and convenient process. With Patch 2.4, warlocks finally are able to summon through instance barriers. This makes replacing players in a mid-raid scenario significantly more convenient.
Power Auras Classic is an addon for managing buffs, debuffs, auras, activated spell and ability timers and cooldowns, and a LOT more. It allows the user to track these specific things and create an images or icon on the screen for notification purposes. It also supports playing sound files and custom user graphics (targa format). Example screenshot: Screenshot The spell icons not on the cast bar are being monitored by what is on the dummy and for how long (when applicable) and also if either Shadowfury or Chaos Bolt are on cooldown.
Bartender 4 is a cast bar enhancer. It allows up to 10 cast bars, a totem, pet, stance, and a vehicle bar. Some of the options include changing the alpha (visibility) of the cast bar, how many rows and columns per each bar, the location, size, and orientation of the bar, and under what conditions the bars appear under. It also supports modifying "special" cast bars such as vehicle weapons and the bite spell during the Queen Lana'thel fight in ICC.
Necrosis LdC is based on Necrosis 1 by infernal. It is described by its author as "a mod to help warlocks managing their stones, shards and summoning of demons". It provides sound notifications for various events, for example when Nightfall or Backlash combat states occur. It also has the ability to send party/raid notifications when casting SoulStone, Ritual of Souls, Ritual of Summoning — and many other messages, which can all be customized. As such, this is a very useful addon and perhaps the most widely used of all the warlock specific addons.
DoTimer is an addon that times DoTs that you cast on other people. It supports all classes. There are four functions performed by DoTimer: the base DoT timer, a cooldown timer, a communications addon that lets you communicate your timers to others in your party, and a customizable notifications addon that can be set to notify you or others of specific events.
Natur EnemyCastBar shows all buffs and debuffs on your character making it exceptional for raiding.
ForteXorcist (also here) shows spell timers, cooldown timers and messages that you can set for yourself or the raid. On top of that, it also offers support for tracking Soulstones, shards and healthstones as well as a summoning assistant. Also, although the addon is primarily targeted at Warlocks, ForteXorcist can also be used with the other classes. In essence, ForteXorcist provides what Necrosis and DoTimer does with a few added extras.
Wrath of the Lich King changes
Warlocks deal impressive damage through the careful combination of damage spells, dots, and pets, and their new talents and abilities reflect this role. In many cases abilities have had their damage increased or their mana cost reduced, making them more efficient for the warlock to use. Talents have been consolidated and moved in the tree to give you access to some important talents earlier on. In addition, summoning your dreadsteed or felsteed no longer costs any mana and does not affect your global cooldown so that your mounts work just like everyone else's.
The most significant change to the warlock is the way your pets are handled. All of the demon master trainers have vanished! Instead, all demon abilities and spells are automatically learned as pets gain levels. Gone are the days where you have to spend coin to not only train yourself but your pesky demonic friends as well.
There have been some changes to the demon abilities. For example, they automatically learn avoidance at level 10. Blood pact now works for the entire raid, making it unnecessary to stick a warlock in a particular group. Consume shadows now also greatly increases nearby allies' stealth detection. Some abilities have been removed completely and new ones put in their place, like fel intelligence and shadow bite have replaced paranoia and tainted blood on your felhunter. Overall, your pets have received the same love given to the other classes in the game, making them better, stronger and more fearsome.