PvE Affliction Warlock DPS Guide

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Known as dark sorcerers and mistresses of shadowy magic, Warlocks are both feared and respected throughout the communities of Azeroth. Among such dark arts practitioners, some are even more cruel and fearsome than the rest, proudly calling themselves masters of curses and horrifying afflictions. Such individuals are known as Affliction Warlocks, dark sorcerers who prefer watching their foes writhe in despair and agony, observing with pleasure how the very living flesh of their victims is engulfed in shadowy maledictions.

This guide will teach you how to play an Affliction Warlock in PvE encounters, no matter if they are difficult dungeons or terrifying raids. We will be covering everything from enchants and consumables, to talents, rotations, macros, and addons.

Affliction Warlock in Cataclysm

Warlocks are among the classes that have changed considerably in Cataclysm! Their entire Soul Shard system has been revamped, with Warlocks no longer having to clutter their bags or endlessly farm mobs before any serious PvE encounter. They now have a new system that allows them to store up to 3 Soul Shards. Soul Shards are no longer required for most of their abilities, instead, Warlocks will now use their Soul Shards to empower their abilities through a mechanic named Soulburn.

Additionally, Warlocks gain revamped versions of the two powerful Guardian spells, Summon Doomguard and Summon Infernal, which act as major cooldowns. Those two spells play a vital role in addition to the new abilities they gain access to, specifically Demon Soul and Dark Intent, with the former being a powerful offensive cooldown while the latter works as a Haste-increasing buff.

Furthermore, the traditional Warlock curses have been broken down into two separate categories, Curse and Bane. This allows them to debuff their targets with even more effects at the same time such as Curse of the Elements and Bane of Agony, further improving both their damage output and the utility they provide.

As for Affliction Warlocks specifically, their playstyle is somewhat similar to the way their gameplay functions in WotLK Classic, however, some things have been revamped, severely empowering their overall performance. While their rotation is almost the same as it was back in WotLK Classic, their DoTS can now innately deal critical strikes, making them much stronger. Their Corruption will now only be refreshed by Haunt while their targets are above 25% HP and by Drain Soul when their targets are below it. Unstable Affliction received a huge buff, now being able to be refreshed as well by Drain Soul during the Execution Phase, making the Affliction Warlock rotation much simpler in the last critical moments of an encounter.

Additionally, Affliction Warlocks now also have an empowered AoE performance, having access to Soulburn: Seed of Corruption which allows them to Multi-Dot all nearby targets that are close to their primary target.

Affliction Warlock Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Great Utility
    Warlocks have many utility-oriented spells and effects that can be used to aid their allies. They can provide Healthstones, and Soulstones which act as both a preventive measure against death and now also as a “Battle Ressurection” spell, summoning through Ritual of Summoning for their allies, and curses that weaken their enemies. Affliction Warlocks have a special effect, Jinx, which allows them to place Curse of the Elements on up to 15 targets as long as they are in proximity to one another.
  • Amazing Single-Target Damage
    Affliction Warlocks maintain their former fame, performing as one of the strongest Single-Target specializations, dealing an impressive amount of damage once properly geared. With their Execution Phase being improved in Cataclysm, their damage output skyrockets, especially as an encounter nears its end.
  • Amazing AoE/Cleave Damage
    Affliction Warlocks are great in both AoE and Cleave encounters! Through an act called Multi-Dotting, they can effectively generate a huge damage output. Additionally, Affliction Warlocks gain access to Soulburn: Seed of Corruption which allows them to multi-dot much easier.
  • Fun and Engaging Playstyle
    Since Affliction Warlocks have a lot of spells in their arsenal, there is close to no downtime between spells, effectively providing a fun and engaging playstyle for all who favor a DoT-heavy playstyle.


  • Gear Dependent
    Just like with most specializations in the game, Affliction Warlock requires a considerable amount of gear until its true potential can be experienced. As such, the specialization feels underwhelming until acquiring a considerable amount of Haste Rating.
  • Micro-Intensive Gameplay
    While Affliction Warlocks are simple in theory, their rotation is heavily micro-intensive for top-tier raiding, requiring precise cast sequences and a lot of attention regarding their DoT uptime. As such, while Affliction Warlocks are easy to learn, they are very hard to master.

Best Races

Wow Horde CrestHorde

The horde has the better races from a PvE point of view, with most of their racial abilities providing direct damage-enhancing effects. The strongest available race for Affliction Warlock is Goblin with Time is Money and Rocket Barrage, followed by Troll as it has access to Berserking, and by Orc with Blood Fury and Command. Lastly, Blood Elves and Undead are both purely aesthetic choices as they have a similar overall performance in PvE.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance

The Alliance has stronger PvP racial effects than PvE racials, with most PvE racial effects being represented by passive effects. Gnome is the strongest option due to Expansive Mind, followed by Worgen thanks to Viciousness. Both Humans and Dwarves are similar in terms of performance for PvE, being pure aesthetic options.


We hope this guide has been able to help you decide if PvE Affliction Warlock is the class/spec for you. Make sure to check out our other sections, such as talents, gear, gems, etc, to get more information on how to improve your performance as an Affliction Warlock in Cataclysm!


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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