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Look and Feel
Affliction Warlocks are the masters of slow kills, and agonizing drains. With spells like Siphon Life and Drain Life, they can slowly but steadily bring down an enemy, while feeding on its suffering and death. And utilizing abilities such as Fears and Drains properly allows them to take on several enemies at once, or handle single enemies extremely efficiently. And with extremely high mobility and a seemingly endless bag of tricks, they can be some of the most fun farmers in the game, and easily the most efficient.
- Efficiency: While it is possible to finish a fight quickly, you don't have to. You also don't want to, because you're thinking ahead to the next fight, and the one after that. After applying DoTs, an Affliction Warlock will alternate Life Tap and Drain Life instead of using Shadow Bolt to help speed up the impending doom of your target. With Improved Life Tap and Soul Siphon, you will net positive gains in both health and mana, all while doing around the same damage as a single Shadow Bolt. Doing this takes longer (6–7 seconds for the combo vs 3 seconds for Shadow Bolt), but you will be able to jump right into the next fight with no hesitation.
- Strong Vs. Elites: Unless something is immune to Fear, if an Affliction Warlock can't kill it, no one can. This is done through Fear kiting, in which a Warlock keeps a target Feared while their DoTs slowly but surely drain away the target's life. Bear in mind this is based on the lack of diminishing returns for Fear in PvE; you cannot effectively "chain" Fear an enemy in PvP!
- DoT-and-Kite: Even if something is immune to Fear, if an Affliction Warlock puts talent points into Curse of Exhaustion, then they can defeat any melee elite not immune to slowing effects. DoTs are applied while running the target around beyond melee range. Even some mobs immune to slowing effects can be killed through clever use of terrain and line of sight. Dot-and-run tactics are the staple for PvP affliction locks. There is nothing more humiliating than being ambushed by a warlock, getting tons of DoTs stacked upon you, and slowly die unable to do anything while the warlock runs away cackling at your demise.
- High "Fault Tolerance": For those of you non-nerds, that means lots of stuff can go wrong before you reach total failure (in the case of a Warlock, death). One of your DoTs get resisted? No big deal, cast it again. Get an add? Or two? You can handle it, or you can Death Coil or CC if you can't immediately.
- Strong Against Multiple Targets: Both in groups and solo skilled Affliction Warlocks will easily outdamage any other class short of a skilled Mage. Because multiple DoTs can be stacked onto a single target in far less time than it takes for them to actually deal their damage a Warlock can easily DoT up a second (or even third, depending on your group's composition) target and watch their DPS skyrocket. And with the use of Drain Life and instant Howl of Terror, it's easy for an Affliction Warlock to take down several enemies at once without suffering much, if any, damage.
- Vulnerable to Dispels: In PvP, if it can cure enemies of your DoTs it can usually do it far more efficiently than you can put them back on. However, individual opponents can only dispel either magic effects or curses, but Affliction Warlocks can cast both types, meaning that they can still be somewhat effective. Fortunately Unstable Affliction (and Contagion to a lesser degree) in patch 2.0.1 help with this matter.
- Vulnerable in PvP: Affliction Warlocks don't kill fast. That means that if something with good burst damage like a Mage or a Rogue gets you in their sights, there isn't much you can do about it (Drain Life and Siphon Life usually do not heal particularly fast) Howl of Terror or Death Coil followed by Fear is one ways to deal with high damage dealers like this assuming they don't have some way of mitigating the fear effect.
- Weak Against Single Targets: The long duration Affliction DoT spells - especially Curse of Agony - do not work fast enough to be effective in a group situation against non-boss targets as coordinated/well-geared groups will mow down trash mobs too quickly for DoTs to run their course.
Second Opinion: Affliction warlocks suffer from extremely poor scaling in upper end PvE when you begin to encounter gear upgrades with a lot of Haste and Crit rating on them because your DoTs (around 60% of your damage output) don't scale to any significant degree with Haste, and doesn't scale at all with Crit. While WotLK will bring some Crit scaling to Corruption and Unstable Affliction it will be minimal at best while Haste rating on gear is almost unavoidable from the moment you enter Northrend.
Some of the Affliction talents are better than others. The following is intended to be a consensus of opinion on the various talents in this tree.
- Suppression - In PvP versus characters the same level as you, 2 points gives your affliction spells a 99% chance to hit, making this the best filler for upper-tier talents. This talent can be swapped out if the player later on achieves additional spell hit from items. Five points provides 76 hit rating, effectively the cap for DOTs but not other spells.
- Improved Corruption - 5 points makes Corruption instant-cast. Incredibly useful, and all Warlocks with any points in the Affliction tree usually max out this talent. Like Curse of Agony, an instant-cast Corruption can be cast while moving, and without facing the opponent, and doesn't face spell pushback.
- Improved Curse of Weakness - At level 60, 2 points here will reduce a mob's damage per hit by a mere 6 extra points. On mobs that hit in the hundreds to thousands of damage, it's completely unnoticeable. This talent can be somewhat useful against enemies with very fast attack speeds such as Hunter Pets, Druids in cat form, and certain Rogue builds. There are usually much better places to spend points.
- Improved Drain Soul - With 2.0.1 you now receive 7/15% of your maximum mana, which alleviates the two problems this talent had previously: the 5-second rule and that few warlocks had any significant spirit. Also, 5/10% less threat could be useful in 5-man instances or when using the pet to tank.
- Improved Life Tap - Arguably one of the best talents for warlocks; it increases the efficiency of your health to mana conversion by a whopping 20%. At level 60, this will increase your Life Tap mana gain from 426 to 511.2. Free mana is always good.
- Soul Siphon - A 2 point talent that significantly improves the effects of Drain Life. The more Affliction spells that are on a mob, the greater the effect. This talent greatly enhances the ability of a warlock to Drain Tank. This talent received a slight nerf in patch 2.3, with the bonus reduced from 2/5% to 2/4% per effect.
- Improved Curse of Agony - This also didn't scale with gear, and used to provide a flat increase of 62 damage at level 60. In the recent patch this was changed which increased the viability of this talent considerably.
- Fel Concentration - Makes Drain Tanking viable, and can also make it easier to collect shards. Affliction Warlocks should max this talent.
- Amplify Curse - Has a very fast cooldown, and greatly increases the power of your next Curse of Agony, Curse of Exhaustion or Curse of Doom. For 1 point it's a great spend, and can be nicely worked into a macro so you don't forget about it, since it does not invoke the global cooldown. Also necessary to unlock Curse of Exhaustion.
- Grim Reach - Great for PvP (it increases Fear range as well), and arguable for group PvE. More range always has utility. In raids, the power enables you to attack from outside of AOE range of a boss. Solo, your drain spells will break on feared mobs less often. Most Warlocks that spend 20 points in Affliction pick up this talent.
- Nightfall - This is at its most useful when used in conjunction with Drain Life spam as it will proc regularly rather than infrequently (like with Corruption and Shadow Bolt spam). An all-around solid talent that provides a nice DPS boost, and a possible lifesaver in PvP.
- Empowered Corruption - Corruption normally receives 96% of your bonus (Shadow) Spell Damage, spread over the duration of the spell. With three talent points, you can make this 132%, or 136% more. This could become a staple of the Affliction Warlock.
- Shadow Embrace - A passive "Curse of Weakness" effect that appears as an additional debuff when any of the specified DoTs are cast on the target. Only one effect will appear per target, and it does not stack with Shadow Embraces from other warlocks. The 5% physical damage reduction is generally considered not to be worth the 5 points you have to spend to get it. Because it was an "affliction effect", however, this talent worked in conjunction with the Soul Siphon talent, allowing an additional 5% of life or mana to be drained. For this reason warlocks who did a lot of draining would drop 1 point here. Patch 2.3 was rumored to stop Shadow Embrace from counting as an affliction effect, however this is not the case and 1 point in this talent is still a very popular choice. It's also extremely useful for providing additional dispel protection.
- Siphon Life - This used to be a separate DoT but now instead it is a passive effect that heals the warlock for 40% of the damage causes by Corruption. For one talent point, you also get a 5% damage increase on Corruption, Seed of Corruption and Unstable Affliction, and the talent is a pre-condition for picking up Shadow Mastery in the next tier. For several reasons, this is therefore one of the best investments of a talent point in the tree.
- Curse of Exhaustion - This is the only snare available to a warlock. Sometimes situational, but very powerful when it does apply (like when that Fury warrior is barreling toward you with nothing to fear but fear itself).
- Improved Curse of Exhaustion was removed in the 2.0.1 patch and its effect was merged into the base talent.
- Shadow Mastery - Scales with gear, so it will stack with nearly every spell you'll want to cast if you are this far up the tree. More life, damage and mana for you. Several builds are built around this talent.
- Contagion - 5% damage on your Affliction spells is nice, and 30% chance to resist dispel addresses some of the problem Affliction-specced Warlocks have with dispelling in PvP.
- Dark Pact - Turns your minion into a mana battery, allowing you to tap less life and still maintain an endless mana pool. Until the introduction of the Glyph of Life Tap this was regarded as a defining feature of an Affliction Warlock, but since warlocks now will be using Life Tap to maintain the glyph buff, it is considered to be of use only in specific contexts where Life Tap might expose the warlock to the risk of death.
- Improved Howl of Terror - Reduces the cast time on Howl of Terror from 1.5s to Instant Cast. Very useful in PvP, less so in PvE. This talent means that Howl of Terror can be effectively cast while more than one enemy is smacking you around, can be cast while running and can be cast without risking Counterspell, Shield Bash or Kick shutting down your whole Shadow tree. A staple for advanced Affliction farming, and deep-Affliction PvP.
- Malediction - Increases the damage bonus of Curse of the Elements by 3%. Also, though it probably won't become an issue in 25-man instances in The Burning Crusade, the second warlock in a raid that has this talent will not be able to use it.
- Unstable Affliction - Cast one of these on someone in PvP and their healers will be need to think twice about hitting the dispel button. The extra dot adds significant damage to PvE combat, particularly on long running fights like those against bosses and on fights where the warlock can't stand in one spot spamming Shadowbolt. The extra DoT also counts towards boosting the effect of Soul Siphon.
Look and Feel
A Demonology Warlock will (obviously) function much better with his Demon minion, produce more effective Healthstone for himself and his party members, and have (in some ways) greater combat survivability due to his damage reduction and higher stamina.
An experienced player can make a Demonology Warlock very dangerous in PvP situations. They have one of the highest damage tolerances of any class when soul linked. Unlike warriors, ALL damage, including magic, is cut by 20%, as well as an additional 10% physical if you have your Voidwalker out. This doesn't limit a Warlock's offensive ability in the same way that defensive stance limits a Warrior in the same situations.
Fel Domination and Master Summoner allow for very quick summoning of Demons, especially if large quantities of Soul Shards are on hand via a Soul Bag. Demonology Warlocks will summon and sacrifice their demons quite rapidly, making it difficult for opposing players or boss mobs to focus their attention on any one threat.
In group environments, Master Demonologist provides tailored utility, and supports a variety of roles. Instances and PvE situations will be easier.
- Better Health, Fire and Spell stones.
- More effective Demons, including higher damage, more mana, more HP, quicker speeds, and shorter cooldowns.
- The Master Demonologist effect, which, based on the current summoned Demon, can reduce incoming damage, reduce threat generation, increase all spell damage, or increase resistances.
- Increases your damage, mana capacity, and health while buffing your pet's abilities.
- Improved survivability in PvP with the reduced damage of Soul Link and the life regeneration of Drain Life and Death Coil.
- Overall low burst damage, making victory in PvP fights dependant upon great skill in demon management.
- Depending on choice of summoned pet, higher HP is offset by standard DPS, meaning you will live longer but your life means less.
- Loss of your Demon can screw you pretty badly.
- Less effective against multiple low-level mobs, though the Voidwalker Torment ability helps to mitigate this.
Some of the Demonology talents are better than others. The following is intended to be a consensus of opinion on the various talents in this tree.
- Improved Healthstone - More bang for your buck, since healthstones are on a different timer than health potions, makes you even harder to kill.
- Improved Imp - This talent is normally taken for the bonus it gives to the Imp's blood pact spell; the other bonuses are generally considered negligible.
- Demonic Embrace - 15% stamina increases your health on expense of Spirit (which is usually considered as less important for Warlocks).
- Improved Health Funnel - This used to be a bit of a double-edged sword, providing a poor improvement on an already poor ability. Now it reduces the HP you lose, which increases the talents benefits considerably. Another mechanical change which makes this spell improve with +spell damage/healing has made the spell really worthwhile.
- Improved Voidwalker - Improves the Voidwalker's tanking ability significantly. In PvP situations vs. enemies who can't dispel, getting through the improved sacrifice damage shield is a truly grueling prospect. At high levels this can be as much as 2k, and of course you can always resummon...
- Fel Intellect - A good talent in combination with Dark Pact, but also with Demonic Knowledge.
- Improved Succubus - This talent comes good in combination with Improved Lash of Pain, if the Succubus is used regularly.
- Fel Domination - Generally taken with master summoner, (see below). Demonology warlocks use this combination to switch demons in the heat of battle, which is all but impossible for warlocks without these two talents.
- Fel Stamina - Good for Warlocks using summoned demons, and also good in combination with Demonic Knowledge.
- Demonic Aegis - While the benefit you get from this talent is relatively minor (+30 spell damage and +6% healing received at all times), it is unusual for a talent in the Demonology tree because it neither relies on you having a specific demon active, nor any demon at all.
- Master Summoner - This can be considered to be more useful than Fel Domination, since it provides a flat bonus to every summon, and not just an ability on a 15 minute cooldown that does the same. However, there is a strong synergy between these two talents, allowing players to switch pets or replace a lost pet almost instantly. For example, a player in a defensive posture might sacrifice his Voidwalker, then immediately summon another.
- Unholy Power - This is considered a staple talent. DPS pets like the Succubus and Felguard benefit directly, while tanking pets have a noticeable improvement in their aggro-holding power. It also increases the damage of the imp's firebolt.
- Improved Enslave Demon - Unless you plan on making enslaving demons the point of your Warlock's existence, points are better spent elsewhere. It should be noted that enslaved demons are generally considered to be extremely unreliable, even with this talent. Another sad fact (about the enslave demon spell, more than the talent itself), is that you lose so many of the benefits of the demonology tree (most talents specify "the warlocks Summoned Demons")
- Demonic Sacrifice - A Warlock with demonology depends on the summoned demon. However, if the situation doesn't allow the demon to be used effectively, then this talent with provide a buff that depends on what demon was sacrificed. For example, some boss fights in 40 man raids will be much easier for the Warlock using this talent.
- Master Conjuror - With Firestones and Spellstones going into your wand slot now, and taking their new, improved functionality into account this talent can be effective if you often use a firestone or spellstone. Many wands are better than a firestone or spellstone, however, so think carefully about taking this talent if you have a good wand already.
- Mana Feed - This talent is usually only effective when you solo since your pet will use very little mana while in groups/PvP. You should also only apply 1 or 2 points into this instead of the full 3.
- Master Demonologist - This talent allows a demonologist warlock extreme versatility. It allows him to drop aggro somewhat consistently, increase damage output, or reduce damage taken by either spellcasters or warrior/rogue type enemies. It should be noted that the damage reduction one gains against spells is widely considered to be significant, although it's difficult to get any concrete numbers on the matter. Regardless, an absolute staple of the Demonology tree.
- Demonic Resilience - The main effect is to decrease the damage on the pet, which improves the utility of pets in instances and raids. This talent is very useful for PvE combat. If you plan to raid with a damage pet rather than a phased imp you need 3/3 Demonic Resilience.
- Soul Link - This talent really allows warlocks to take a beating. With this talent, the voidwalker master demonologist bonus and demon armor, warlocks get a damage reduction from physical attacks of upwards of 60%, a statistic normally reserved for wearers of plate. And, with the felhunter master demonologist bonus, warlocks have been known to take less than 800 damage from a PvP encounter with full-health mages. It should be stated, however, that this spell is almost worthless in conjunction with the imp; that demon dies from taking the damage from soul link. This talent also improves all damage output by 5%, which in itself would be enough to motivate it's use.
- Demonic Knowledge - Increases spell damage depending on the sum of the pet stamina and intellect. Notice that increased spell damage will increase the attack power of the pet, giving the talent a double effect. The stats of your summoned Demons scale with gear, so this talent also increases your damage from equipped stamina and intellect. The boost to your spell damage with a summoned minion at level 70 is roughly 100 with no gear. However, it does not scale to the extent that you can simply wear stamina and intellect gear and expect high amounts of spell damage. Average increases in spell damage at level 70 are about 110-150.
- Demonic Tactics - For 5 points you get a 5% increased crit chance for you and your pet, both melee and spells. Given that this mainly benefits those who favour direct damage over DoTs, this talent is likely to be relegated to 0/40/21 raid builds (using Ruin to make effective use of critical hits). Contrary to popular beliefs, these 5 points are not a requirement for the Summon Felguard talent.
- Summon Felguard - The Felguard can only be summoned if this talent has been taken. This is arguably the most destructive pet in the game. As of patch 1.9, 2.0, etc. the felguard has been nerfed significantly. Nevertheless, it is still very useful in PvP, PvE, and the occasional instances.
Look and Feel
The two words you must remember when thinking of Destruction Warlocks are: "Burst" and "Damage". That's what Destruction Warlocks are good at. Actually, it's really all they're good at. Where an Affliction Warlock couldn't kill a Rat quickly if he needed to, high level Destruction Warlocks can take out non-elite enemies three levels above them in very short order.
Because most of a destruction warlock's damage lies within huge crits, gearing a destruction lock is very different from affliction or demonology and thus playing one feels more like a mage, yet they retain the basic feel of a lock with fears and the ability to heal themselves.
- Burst Damage: The Damage numbers near the end of the Destruction tree are somewhat misleading. While the damage on Conflagrate might look a little low, and you might think that sacrificing a couple of DoT ticks on an Immolate might be a waste with it not doing much damage anyway, you have to remember that the initial damage on both spells get significantly enhanced by talents before hand (Immolate gets increased by 35%!), and with Ruin when they crit, they crit hard.
- Shadowburn and Conflagrate are all exclusive to the Destruction tree and are the warlock equivalents of Fire Blast, a foe that is low on health is guaranteed a very quick death through the use of either or both of these spells, something that cannot be more important in a pvp scenario.
- Destruction locks work well with other casters; by casting Curse of Elements they enhance a mage's damage output and their own at the same time, combine with a Moonkin or an Elemental Shaman for some really scary damage.
- At the End of the Day, You're Still a Warlock: If you take away a Rogue's weapons, there isn't much left of him besides Sap and some second rate DoTs. Take away a Destruction Warlock's fire damage, and he still has quite a bit to work with. Take him into Molten Core, and he can still throw around Shadow Bolts. Take away the Destruction tree, and they can still contribute to the raid with the single most versatile selection of Curses in the game.
- With new raid friendly talents such as Soul Leech and Destructive Reach in the 2.0.1 patch, destruction locks are now the top contender on the raid damage charts while keeping mana usage and threat generation in check.
- Although your imp and succubus will burn through their mana very quickly, their increased attack speed adds a large amount of DPS in pvp, most players train themselves to ignore pets so this damage will almost always be effective.
- Lack of mana regeneration: While affliction locks can tap their pets for mana and demonology locks are quite mana efficient, destruction locks have no way to regenerate mana other than by drinking, and you will be drinking A LOT. The only way to get around this is to take the improved drain (soul and life/mana) and life tap talents from the affliction tree to be able to regen mana reliably. This is especially true when drain tanking is not an option for destruction warlocks. You will never be able to get more than a few ticks off before the melee dmg disrupts the channeling. Just grab alot of food and water before you head out to grind. *Note: If you take Demonic Sacrifice you can sacrifice your Fel Hound and regen mana quite fast.
- They LOVE Fire!: Fire immunity is a terrible thing. Considering a great deal of the damage you deal will be coming from your enhanced Immolate and Conflagrate spells (we're talking about Destruction Warlocks here, not SM/Ruin Warlocks), fire immunity will cut a large chunk out of the damage you deal.
- Second Opinion: If you are talking about fire immunity during solo PVE, usually destruction warlocks wouldn't be spamming them either. COA, Corruption are pretty mana efficient spells. And you still can use shadowbolts. Usually you don't go around blasting Soulfires, immolates, incinerates and searing pains in PVE solo. For PVE raids, even with fire immunity, you still have your DOTS and trusty shadowbolt. SB has the best scaling in game anyway, you wouldn't miss your fire spells one bit. On the other hand, I would be worried about shadow immunity. Thank god there is incinerate now because you wouldn't want to spam immolate since letting the dot tick down gives your mana more efficiency, consuming it for conflag doesn't make sense either. You definitely wouldn't want to spam searing pains in a PVE Raid setting (if you are not the tank). While fire immunity played a large part in the Molten Core raid instance, it does not show up nearly as often elsewhere, making fire immunity less of an issue.
- Lack of defense: Actually, destruction warlocks have zero forms of defense in PVP situations. Fear is very unrealiable. Trinkets, WoTF, berserker rage, etc breaks it so easily. And it breaks on damage and requires a 1.5 sec cast time. Lack of Soul Link made it really easy for warlocks to die. No blink, no ice block, no stealth, no way to shield / bubble.
- Difficult to Effectively Use Pet: With the Destruction style of play, it is difficult to use your pet to manage aggro or really do anything other than add more damage. Learn to love the Voidwalker, because it is the only pet that will be able to hold aggro (if you don't crit).
Second Opinion: A succubus can hold aggro as well as a voidwalker. If you are playing a dest warlock, it doesnt matter. Both of them will never hold enough aggro for you to land your shadowbolts. Learn to use your non dest spells when grinding. Like... COA, Corr and maybe immolate. Quick note: Succ with 2/2 lash of pain can hold aggro pretty well if you used only the 3 DOT spells you have. And those 3 spells is enough to kill most mobs your level (with a bit of wanding, kiting)
- Although the destruction talents reduce your cast time for spells, most of the high damage destruction spells have a cast time and can be counterspelled, this can leave you with half of your damage out of action when you might need it most.
- Anything You Can Do...: If all you want to do is burst damage, a Mage is superior in every way. They have much higher damage output, longer range, better mana management (warlocks recover mana...mages manage it), and much better escape abilities.
Second Opinion: He is correct to a certain extent, but at level 70, with DS/SnF build, you can just spam your shadowbolt the entire fight in PVE raids without casting another spell and easily top the Damage meters in raids for spell casters. Althought a mage can burst really well, warlocks can position themselves with seduce before they open their barrage of spells in pvp. (In arenas, that's a different story)
- Second Opinion 2: While a Mage's spells hit and crit for larger numbers, Warlocks can do it faster and still have the privelege of DoT's. Even if enemies counterspell/silence/force you to stay moving, they still have your demon and your DoT's damaging them, and Warlock spells tend to be much quicker to cast. This is really noticable when you compare how long it takes a Warlock to land 7 or 8 spells vs how long it takes a Mage to do the same. This means that a Warlock, unlike a Mage, is still a deadly threat even when forced to stay moving, and can be a lethal threat when he finds time to get a spell or three off.
Some of the destruction talents are better than others. The following is intended to be a consensus of opinion on the various talents in this tree.
- Improved Shadow Bolt - Whenever you spam shadow bolts, you must have this talent. Even with a low crit rate, this talent shines as a big additional damage bonus. Consider this a must have for any raiding warlock who puts any points in this tree. This benefits affliction warlocks and shadow priests as well.
- Cataclysm - Not worth it except for pure raiding warlocks, in which case the 5% mana reduction can reduce the amount of time spent lifetapping, and indirectly boost DPS a small mount. Even for pure raiding locks, this benefit is minimal. There is no good reason to waste so many talent points on such a sub par talent. You might as well put the pointed into improved lifetap. And it only requires 2 points.
- Bane - Mages buy Imp Fireball at same talent point cost. You get the same benefit to Shadow Bolt AND this cuts Immolate down to the global cool down time AND cuts Soul Fire down from 6 to 4 seconds! Quite possibly the best Tier 2 talent points you'll ever spend!
- Aftermath - A small chance of a snare effect. Points probably better spent on Bane. Possibly useful with a Searing Pain combat kiting build, since the idea is to keep the mobs running around. Unlike Bane, the Mage equivalent is far better (it stuns and is at Tier 1!)
Second Opinion: Contrary to common belief and sentiments that this skill is absolutely crappy (you can read the blizzard forums), it is actually very decent snare when it does proc. Highly useful in PVP when it procs. Since as a dest lock, you basically have no forms of defense other than fear, death coil, Seduce (if you have your succ out), or VW shield (no much reason why you would be using him anyway). Though unrealiable, doing a Seduce -> COE -> Soulfire -> Shadowbolt -> Immolate -> Conflag greatly increases the chance of it proccing.
- Improved Firebolt - This provides a small improvement to the Imp's DPS, but doesn't make him any more mana efficient. So, he'll do the same damage as before, just faster. If you rely on the Imp to bring down targets, or use his increased rate of fire to control disruption-based opponents (Rogues) in PvP, this might be worth it. Otherwise, spend points elsewhere.
Second Opinion: Useless skill unless you have some way to reliably recover mana for your pet. It shoots firebolts too fast for its mana to recover and unlike succ, imp cant attack if it doesnt have any mana. If the imp is for blood pact duty, it is even worse since it is usually placed with the tanks and basically in phase shift mode it which it is doing 0 damage.
- Improved Lash of Pain - A very specific talent. It's great if it fits your playing style, but completely useless otherwise. Since it doubles the succubus' damage output she will be able to hold aggro a bit better, usually long enough to kill a target with a barrage of direct damage spells.
Second Opinion: I used to use this alot, and I liked it because it actually can hold some aggro which I kill the mob. The decent damage output is also good for pvp after you have done your 3 x seduce ritual. Just watch out for your pet's mana as it makes their mana run out fast.
- Devastation - You need it for Ruin, and if you want to even start thinking about matching a Mage for DPS.
- Shadowburn - Instant damage, more powerful than Shadow Bolt, and with 1.9 out, even more likely to return the shard. Worth the point without question. Excellent finisher.
- Intensity - As of Patch 2.0.1, this talent applies to ALL destruction type spells, not just AOE. This makes nuking more viable when being beaten down by melee.
- Destructive Reach - As of Patch 2.0.1, this talent increases range by 20% AND decreases the threat generated by your destruction spells. This talent is very important for PvP and PvE rading.
- Improved Searing Pain - Use Searing Pain when you want to draw hate, so these points can work for you if you want to get the most out of the spell, since crits draw tremendous hate. Also good in PvP.
- Pyroclasm - While a popular talent, some think it doesn't proc often enough to be worth the points. Note that the 26% is over the entire duration of the spell.
Second Opinion: This talent together with aftermath is one those talents in which others constantly rate them 1 star out of 5 stars. Although 26% stun over the entire duration of your hellfire and rain of fire is really low. But, 26% chance to stun on your soulfire is not. If you are deep into destruction. You would usually open your pvp with a COE + Soulfire on a seduced target. The 1/4 chance to stun is basically an instant win most of the cases if it does procs.
- Improved Immolate - Ups Immolate's already impressive damage, but not by enough to really make it worth it. This is the primary reason many Warlocks stop at Ruin, since you must take this to gain Conflagrate. This high up a tree, you expect better.
- Ruin - The primary reason to delve into the destruction tree.
- Nether Protection - In PvP, it is a great defensive proc if you are up against fire mages, shadow priests, and other warlocks. This is also pretty useful for certain raid encounters, such as Vael,Terestian Illhoof, and Firemaw. Note that on encounters where the warlock is tanking a raid boss that does shadow or fire damage, such as Illidan in his demon phase, the warlock will LOSE aggro if this talent procs. Do not take this if you plan on tanking raid bosses!
- Emberstorm - Again very poor unless you use a lot of fire... but if you are this far up the tree you will be! Be sure to discover the most effective use of all of your fire spells if you have this. Once you get Incinerate at 64 this talent becomes the Destruction Warlocks' daddy. In 2.4 this talent now also makes Incinerate cast 10% faster, making it a much more attractive option
- Conflagrate - A very under-rated talent. Efficient and instant cast. Its crits are very scary in PvP, and completes the Warlock's Unholy Trinity of Instant Cast Death. A slight problem has arisen as of 2.1 in that a slight delay has been added to this spell, meaning the old pvp favorite of immolate+conflag for massive burst damage has temporarily been, if you wanted to be dramatic, broken.
- Backlash - Think nightfall, with some free +crit thrown in. Yes, if you are this deep into this tree you will very likely want and love this one.
- Soul Leech - Useful for raiding when Lifetapping. The proc usually isn't too impressive, but when spamming Shadowbolts, it can add up.
- Shadow and Flame - This is a large boost to the damage of Shadow Bolt and Incinerate, and when combined with Demonic Sacrifice this will deal some of the highest damage from a single nuke in the game. Good as a standalone talent, but also a prerequisite for Shadowfury.
- Shadowfury - This talent gives warlocks a unique new CC spell. It deals damage with a chance to crit AND it AoE stuns for 2 seconds. With a short cast time and 20 second cooldown, this talent completes the destruction tree with an ability equal to the warlock's other 41 point talents.