Welcome to our warlock class leveling guide for WoW Classic! Warlocks are absolute masters of demons and shadow magic, using them to gradually drain the life right out of their opponents. They instill fear wherever they go, leaving almost anything they fight hopeless to combat their deadly tricks. A warlock certainly doesn’t have convenient access to the burst potential of a rogue, but their carefully calculated damage-over-time spells allow them to match their damage over a long period of time.
Warlocks are excellent late game damage dealers, as boss fights found in raids are often several minutes long. This gives warlocks plenty of time to use their entire toolkit several times over, essential for maximizing your damage output. Leveling is not necessarily the best place to showcase the damage potential of a warlock, but their use of a demon and damage-over-time spells makes them extremely potent. You’ll never have an issue leveling a warlock, plus you get a free mount at level 40!
If you’ve never played a warlock before, then you probably won’t know the best way to combine all your interesting spells. There’s a lot to learn, but this guide will detail some gameplay tips, your path for selecting talents and learning new spells, the best rotation to use, and all the class quests that make a significant difference in how fast you level. It may be difficult to love your warlock at first, but once you learn all your abilities and get the hang of fear juggling, you’ll have no problem getting into the groove of methodically eliminating anything that comes in your path.
Fantastic survivability with the help of a demon and spells.
Extremely versatile playstyle.
Reliable and consistent leveling experience.
Great damage over an extended period of time.
Free mount at level 40!
Very quick leveling speed.
Doesn’t require gear to be strong.
Rotation can feel a little repetitive.
Lack of burst damage.
Requires the use of fear juggling to maximize efficiency.
Many different things to keep track of.
Constant bag space management due to soul shards.
General Leveling Tips
Getting to level 60 is usually quite a challenge, but a warlock looks at this and has a nice evil cackle. Not only do you get a free mount at level 40, but you are exceptionally potent at killing two enemies at once. Leveling a warlock isn’t necessarily twice as fast, but it is certainly easier and faster than almost any other class available. If you enjoy a methodical approach to killing your enemies, the tricky warlock is certainly your go-to.
You definitely don’t need any help, but it never hurts to take advantage of these tips:
Consider stashing your trusty voidwalker and pulling out your imp or succubus to do some dungeons. Gear isn’t essential for warlocks to be effective, but isn’t to say that any upgrades don’t matter! This will also give you a break from the demands of fear juggling.
You’ll probably do this naturally, but try to kill enemies everywhere you go. Nothing should really scare you and your voidwalker anyway. Plus you’ll need the extra experience to reach level 60.
Don’t forget to update your food and water every 10 levels. Hopefully you won’t be taking much damage outside of inflicting it on yourself through Life Tap, but you may run into some dangerous situations that will leave you low on both health and mana.
Make sure you have a good idea of what zones you should use to quest in. Some zones won’t have any quests for your faction, and others just have quests that are too far spread out. If you want the fastest leveling experience, you’ll need to do some strategizing.
Unlike most other classes, you actually want to fight two monsters at a time. You’ll apply your damage-over-time spells to both of them, but one of them will be tanked by your voidwalker, while you “juggle” the other one with Fear. This allows you to kill two enemies in roughly the same time as it takes another class to kill one.
Try to pick out two targets that are the same level as you whenever you fight. You can certainly handle lower and higher level enemies, but they both give less experience. Don’t go out of your way for it, but definitely keep it in mind if it is convenient.
One thing many players neglect is their hearthstone. You can save hours of game time just by updating your hearthstone location to wherever you’re questing. Anytime you finish a batch of quests, just hearthstone and turn them all in.
Most other classes generally benefit from leveling in a group, but that is tougher to decide for warlocks. You will kill enemies faster in a group, but you won’t be able to reliably keep your health and mana afloat because you won’t always be last-hitting with Drain Soul. Other players will also disrupt your fear juggling and voidwalker tanking efforts. Consider rolling solo unless there’s more than one other player looking to group with you.
Warlock Specific Gameplay Advice
Warlocks have one buff, Demon Armor, which gives you armor, shadow resistance, and health regeneration for 30 minutes. Keep it applied at all times, but be aware it does cost a significant amount of mana to use.
While leveling, there is really only one demon you’ll want to ever use. The voidwalker is by far the strongest companion for leveling, offering you a powerful meat shield and enabling you to fear juggle. You will use the imp until level 10, but that’s only because you don’t have another option.
Fear juggling is the best way to level. This refers to the use of Fear and your voidwalker to effectively tank two different targets and kill them with damage-over-time spells simultaneously. You’ll have your voidwalker pull one and throw all your DoTs on them, then you’ll Fear a second target and put DoTs on that one too, effectively juggling the two targets.
Make sure you’re only using Drain Soul to kill your targets. You should use the Drain Soul macro explained later in the guide to make your voidwalker return to you so you can ensure you get the last hit on your targets. This allows you to double your mana regeneration for 10 seconds after every kill.
What makes the warlock class so unique is the use of Life Tap. This converts health into mana, which is extremely useful when you consider how much healing a warlock has. You should never be at max health when leveling, because this could effectively be used for casting more spells. Balance your health and mana against each other, but never let yourself get so low that you get in danger of dying.
If you are ever in fear for your life, you can use Howl of Terror (past level 40) to send multiple enemies scurrying. This does have a 40 second cooldown, but should give you a great window to get to safety and revive your voidwalker.
Never be in combat without a Healthstone. You should always have the strongest Healthstone spell available to give you the strongest heal. Use your Healthstone whenever it is available and your missing enough health to justify it rather than saving it for an emegency, as this will give you more flexibility to use Life Tap and cast spells.
Once you reach level 40, you should also learn how to use your soulstone. The Create Soulstone spell creates an item in your inventory that can be used on yourself (or an ally) to instantly revive from death. Try to keep this effect on yourself at all times so you always have an easy way to return to life.
Intellect – Prioritize intellect above anything else. You’re very unlikely to find spell/shadow damage while leveling, but intellect is also quite useful and is very easy to acquire in comparison. This will give you more mana to play with, while also increasing your spell critical strike chance.
Stamina – You also want lots of stamina, much more so than other classes. The reason for this is simple: Life Tap. Warlocks are fantastic at using their health to restore their mana, and vice versa. This works better when you have more health to work with, therefore making stamina very useful.
Spirit – Spirit is also excellent for warlocks. This restores both your health and mana, which allows you more time to manage your two resources against each other. With enough spirit you can almost eliminate downtime, but this does make you deal less damage.
Your rotation will vary depending on what level you are. Prior to level 10, you’ll only have access to an imp. Your rotation is very simple at this point. You will have your imp begin combat by casting Firebolt. Run a fair distance away from you imp and after your target starts running towards it, you’ll want to start casting Shadow Bolt. Wait for your imp to pull aggro again before casting Shadow Bolt again.
After level 10, you’ll have access to your voidwalker. The key difference between levels 10-27 and levels 27-31 is when you use Corruption, but otherwise the two rotations are identical. Regardless of where you fall, you’ll want to send your voidwalker in to generate aggro to start every fight. You’ll then follow that up with an Immolate to get your damage-over-time effects rolling.
At this point, you’ll initiate Fear juggling by casting Fear on your second target and following it up with Corruption. After this, switch to wanding your initial target (the one your voidwalker is tanking) until they have less than 10% health. Always use Drain Soul to finish your enemies.
After level 27 you should have 5 points in Improved Corruption so that your Corruption spell is an instant cast. Begin using it before casting Curse of Agony in your rotation. Above level 31, your rotation only changes to include Siphon Life after using Curse of Agony. You won’t need to start your fights by sending your voidwalker in anymore either. Consider making a macro with your Immolate spell like shown below to automatically send your voidwalker in to attack when you cast Immolate.
Before Level 10: Imp Firebolt > Run away > Shadow Bolt
Level 10-31: Send in voidwalker > Immolate > Curse of Agony > Corruption > Wand > Drain Soul at sub 10% HP
Level 31+: Immolate > Corruption > Curse of Agony > Siphon Life > Wand > Drain Soul at sub 10% HP
Progression: 2 points Improved Corruption > 3 points Suppression > 2 points Improved Drain Soul > 2 points Improved Healthstone > 3 points Demonic Embrace > 3 points Improved Voidwalker > 3 points Improved Corruption > 3 points Improved Curse of Agony > 2 points Improved Life Tap > 2 points Nightfall > 2 points Grim Reach > 1 point Amplify Curse > 1 point Siphon Life > 4 points Fel Concentration > 5 points Shadow Mastery > 2 points Demonic Embrace > 1 point Fel Domination > 4 points Fel Stamina > 5 points Unholy Power > 1 point Demonic Sacrifice
Of all the warlock specializations, a mixture of both affliction and demonology is through and through the best choice for leveling. You’ll mainly level as affliction, but unfortunately the final talent of affliction is fairly useless. Because of this, you’ll go affliction until you have two points in Improved Drain Soul. After this you’ll take a detour into the demonology tree so you can beef up your voidwalker with 3 points into Improved Voidwalker (and the preceding talents). You’ll then switch back to affliction until you have 5 points in Shadow Mastery, after which you’ll finish up with the demonology tree. With this unique and interesting combination, you have excellent offensive and defensive capabilities.
Abilities to Train
Level 1-20 – You can train every spell available to you up to this point.
Summon Voidwalker: The second demon you can summon is your voidwalker, obtainable after a quest starting at level 10. The quest is fairly simple, but will take some time. It is more than worth it because you’ll use your voidwalker exclusively once you learn how to summon him.
Summon Succubus: At level 20 you can learn how to summon another demon, your succubus. Your succubus is primarily good for crowd control, but this isn’t actually very useful to you while leveling. The end of the quest chain will give you a Small Soul Pouch though, which do make the quests a good choice here.
Summon Felhunter: Your final traditional demon is the felhunter, unlockable starting at level 30. Your felhunter is good for dealing damage and weakening your opponent, but the voidwalker is still better in every scenario. The quest chain is fairly lengthy, but it will give you a Box of Souls in the end.
Summon Felsteed: At level 40, you are rewarded with a free mount! This quest is ridiculously simple, only requiring you to visit Strahad Farsan in Ratchet, The Barrens. This costs you absolutely nothing and you’ll receive a 60% speed mount to speed up the leveling process!
Inferno (Infernal Demon): Once you’ve reached level 50, you can learn how to summon an Inferno after completing a questline, which you can use to enslave an infernal. Unless you really want access to an infernal, consider skipping this quest altogether.
Ritual of Doom (Doomguard Demon): At level 60 you can start the questline to learn Ritual of Doom. The doomguard is quite strong, but the questline is fairly difficult and requires multiple people to complete. Considering you need to be level 60 for this and the demon has limited use, you’ll want to skip this one too.
Try to make use of crafted gear as much as possible, especially after level 40. One of the easiest ways to speed up leveling after 40, besides using your fancy new felsteed, is donning some crafted cloth equipment. There are several pieces of armor that can be crafted between level 40 and 50, all of which can help you deal more damage and have more health and mana to work with.
After level 30, make an effort to find a new wand from questing or a dungeon every few levels. In addition to damage from your voidwalker, damage-over-time spells, and Shadow Bolt, you’ll also use your wand quite frequently. To increase the damage you deal when wanding, you’ll need to find upgrades every so often. Most of these are found in dungeons, so try and find an upgrade every 5 or so levels so you don’t dread the periods when you switch to a wand.
Try to use a one-hander and an off-hand held-item for a better combination of stats. You do have access to staves as a warlock, but it is actually more beneficial to use a one-handed sword or dagger and off-hand held-item instead. Weapon damage and speed are irrelevant, but the stats you receive definitely do matter. Staves will naturally offer less stats than the two items combined.
Even though you’ll be quite busy with the fast-paced nature of fear juggling, you should absolutely take some time to pause and level up professions. Tailoring is particularly useful because crafted gear is extremely potent, but there are others that can make your character stronger too. They’re also great for making gold, but this isn’t as important for a warlock considering that you get a free mount. Consider what matters more to you, gold or power?
These professions will serve you best as a warlock:
Tailoring – By far, tailoring is the best choice for a warlock. Not only will you naturally collect plenty of cloth through leveling, but the crafted armor you can make is very powerful. This makes it a very natural choice, considering it translates to a direct DPS increase.
Enchanting – You can also select enchanting for some extra power to back up tailoring. You’ll find plenty of green items while questing and grinding, all of which will help you level up your enchanting skill.
Herbalism – Another alternative here is herbalism. Considering any tailoring armor you want is purchasable (aside from a few max level recipes), you can just earn gold by selling herbs and buy it.
Mining – If you want to go with double professions, consider picking up mining too. Herbalism won’t be enough to buy your precious crafted armor, so mining will help supplement your income.
100% Drain Soul – This essential macro will make sure that you benefit from the Improved Drain Soul talent effect on every kill. It will cast Drain Soul while also returning you pet to your side.
#showtooltip Drain Soul
/cast Drain Soul
Assisted Immolate – After level 31, your voidwalker has strong enough threat generation to not need time to build it first. This makes Immolate a great candidate to pair with sending your pet into attack, as you’ll use it to start every fight. With this macro you’ll cast Immolate and send your pet into battle.
Voidwalker Attack – Sometimes clicking a button for your pet to attack is too much work, so here’s a macro you can press with a key to make it much easier!
Voidwalker Return – Making your pet come back to you is also annoying when you need to click, so use this macro to make it usable with a key.