- Author: Zephan
- Date: November 27, 2021
- Expansion: WoW Classic
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 drain tanking, 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.
- 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.
- Minimal downtime.
- Rotation can feel a little repetitive.
- Lack of burst damage.
- Many different things to keep track of.
- Constant bag space management due to soul shards (easily offset with SoulSort).
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 or more 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:
- You’ll probably do this naturally, but try to kill enemies everywhere you go. Nothing should really scare you and your demon anyway. Plus you’ll need the extra experience to reach level 60.
- Don’t forget to update your food and water every 10 levels, especially during the early 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 or more monsters at a time. You’ll apply your damage-over-time spells to both of them, but one of them you will tank with Drain Life, 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 as mana efficient if your DoTs always end early. Other players will also disrupt your fear juggling. 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.
- The succubus is by far the best companion for leveling, offering you a good chunk of your DPS and a fast restoring pool of mana to Dark Pact. You will use the imp until level 10 or 20 – at level 10 you could opt to use the voidwalker if you really like him, but he will be doing significant less damage. The voidwalker does come in handy form some of the harder quests where you want your pet to be offtanking for a bit.
- Drain tanking is the best way to level. This refers to the use of life-leeching spells such as Drain Life and Siphon Life in combination with mana restoring abilities such as Life Tap and Dark Pact. This effectively allows you to manage both your health and mana whilst killing different targets with damage-over-time spells simultaneously.
- You can use Drain Soul in combination with Improved Drain Soul to kill your targets. Should you do so, use the Drain Soul macro explained later in the guide to make your demon return to you in order to ensure you get the last hit on your target. This allows you to double your mana regeneration for 10 seconds after every kill. This sounds like a lot, but it isn’t, especially as you will not be stacking Spirit.
- 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 are 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 demon.
- 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 emergency, as this will give you more flexibility to use Life Tap and cast spells.
- Once you reach level 18, 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.
- Wand DPS – Until around level 38 you will be using wands to do a big portion of your DPS. At level 38 your new rank of Drain Life should be doing more DPS than all the wands you can find.
- Shadow/Spell Power – After level 38 this becomes your top priority. Not only does it improve the overall damage done of your spells, it also increases your self-healing and the amount of mana regained from Life Tap.
- 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.
- Intellect – Intellect increases our mana pool. Life Tap essentially makes our health pool part of our mana pool. This ends up meaning intellect isn’t as significant as you would initially think. It can still help to offset the amount of Life Taps you need to do and as such save some global cooldowns.
- Spirit – Spirit helps a bit. This restores both your health and mana, which allows you more time to manage your two resources against each other. This mostly matters when you are still using your wand for a good chunk of your DPS. During wanding your mana/ health regeneration will start ticking. Improved Drain Soul also makes spirit a tad bit better.
The rotation is as follows depending on what level you are:
- Before Level 20: Immolate and/or Curse of Agony > Imp spamming Firebolt > Corruption > Wand (> Drain Soul at sub 10% HP)
- Level 20-30: Send in Succubus > Immolate and/or Curse of Agony > Corruption > Wand (> Drain Soul at sub 10% HP)
- Level 30-38: Send in Succubus > Immolate / Siphon Life / Curse of Agony > Corruption > Wand (> Drain Soul at sub 10% HP)
- Level 38+: Send in Succubus > Immolate / Siphon Life / Curse of Agony > Corruption > Drain Life (> Drain Soul at sub 10% HP)
Always Life Tap when near full health. Always Dark Pact before your pet is full Mana. Always be fighting, you never want to be full health, mana, or pet mana.
Your rotation will vary depending on what level you are at and the targets you are facing. Prior to level 10, you’ll only have access to an imp. Your rotation is very simple at this point. You will start off by using an Immolate (you can get this as soon as level 1 for 10 copper from vendoring starter items). Followed by using Shadow Bolts and have your imp casting Firebolts. Don’t be afraid to use your fists/dagger to kill mobs in the starter area when you are out of mana. At level four you will get Corruption. This combined with Immolate and your imps Firebolts should be enough to kill off most mobs, lower-level mobs might even just need the single DoT. Whilst the DoTs and your pet are taking care of the mob you can start moving to your next target/objective. Once you get out of the starter zone, you might need to start throwing in a Shadowbolt here and there again. At level six you will finally get your Life Tap. This is a decrease in your downtime. At level eight you get your last DoT for a while, Curse of Agony. The rotation is now as follows Immolate -> Curse of Agony -> Corruption. On lower health targets you can forgo Immolate and start off with Corruption.
After level 10, you’ll have access to your voidwalker. The voidwalker is not at all a good pet as you would expect. His DPS and in turn threat is fairly weak. Making it so you cannot effectively DoT up the target without pulling aggro. Most often, you will keep him aside for harder quests where you require him to off-tank a mob. What does change is when you get access to your first wand. At that point you will use either Immolate and or Curse of Agony, this is based on how long the target will stay alive. After which you use Corruption and start wanding.
Around level 20 you will get access to your succubus depending on when you end up doing the quest. At this point, you will say farewell to your imp or voidwalker. You can keep your succubus on auto-casting Lash of Pain for now.
After level 30 you should have access to Siphon Life from your talents. This spell will increase your mana efficiency. This is due to how it heals for the amount of damage it does, making it essentially mana-free damage. Use this along with your Immolate and Curse of Agony based on how long/strong the enemy is. Here is an in-depth analysis of what makes Siphon Life so great.
The new rank of Drain Life you get at level 38 is more DPS than the wands available at that level. And this continues for the rest of the game. At this point, you might also have gotten your hands on the first few pieces of gear with spell power on them. Making this even more so. And at level 40 you will get access to Dark Pact. This is where the Drain Tank spec starts to shine. You should toggle of your succubus auto casts. After all your Succubus mana is now your mana.
If you opt to use your imp til you get your succubus it makes sense to make him as strong as possible. For this you can do the following, you can go 2 points Improved Corruption > 3 points Improved Imp > continue as below. This will allow you to cruise with a buffed Imp which does a significant amount of your DPS. You get the 2 points into corruption first to push the cast time below your global cooldown. When you get your succubus you respec to the below spec, as the talent points into the buffed imp no longer matter. If you dislike a machine gun firebolt spitting imp, you can still level with your voidwalker from level 10 till you got your succubus. Just follow the progression as listed right under here.
You can also get Improved Drain Soul and delay when you get Suppression.
These are all the essential talents that make Drain Tanking what it is. You should note that these talents only take you up to level 40. There is a lot of flexibility for personal preference after 40, whether you prefer utility or more defensive talents.
Improved Corruption: Reduces your time casting significantly and allows for greater movement and more time spent draining life/wanding.
Improved Life Tap: Life Tap is used for the conversion of Life to Mana. Increasing this is directly linked to increased efficiency. See it this way: instead of your Siphon Life being mana neutral it is now mana positive, as you gain more mana from the health drained than spent on casting it.
Suppression ⅗: The majority of all the spells you’ll use whilst leveling are affliction spells. If you are fighting mobs up to two levels higher than you, you’re required to have 5% Spell Hit in order to reach the hit cap (leaves a 1% miss chance that can’t be overcome). 3/5 Suppression takes care of that by giving 6% Affliction Hit. Most often you should not be fighting mobs much higher than you so the remaining 2 points are of lower value.
Improved Drain Life: This will not only increase the amount of healing you receive, but also increase your DPS. This means the benefit is double: you’ll have more health to convert to mana, and the target dies quicker, which results in you taking less damage. Note that this talent mostly comes in effect once you switch to using Drain Life instead of wanding, which for most players will be at level 38.
Amplify Curse: This is a significant boost to Curse of Agony on a 3-minute cooldown. This can be really useful to down harder mobs faster, or when you are taking on more than a single mob at once. You’ll ideally be using this as much as possible.
Fel Concentration: Just like Improved Drain Life, this mostly comes into play once you start using Drain Life instead of wanding. This will prevent the majority of the knockbacks from melee attacks. You should not be drain tanking without this talent.
Grim Reach: The more distance between you and the target the more DoTs you can get off before they reach you. This added range also allows for some more control about what mobs you are going to pull in tricky situations.
Siphon Life: This is one of those talents that you will feel make a significant impact on your efficiency. Although the DPS isn’t as high and the duration is long (most fights won’t last 30 seconds) you should always use this spell. The reason is that all the healing it gives makes the spell mana neutral or even positive based on your spell power and duration.
Shadow Mastery: 10% increase in damage for everything in your toolkit. What isn’t there to love?
Dark Pact: This new spell allows you to convert your pet’s mana to your mana. This is the reason we want to use a pet that has good mana gain and does decent DPS without having to use mana. The succubus is ideal for this, and once you have Dark Pact you should have your pet’s abilities off auto-cast.
Abilities to Train
Warlocks have an abundance of abilities, more so than most classes – especially if you count pet Grimoires as well. Luckily, we don’t need most of these spells for leveling. I will list the most essential spells you do need to level efficiently below.
Must Have (78g):
As you can see there are a couple of spells you only need the first rank of. All others are essential to increase your leveling efficiency.
Here’s why we only take rank 1 on some spells:
Drain Soul: The Damage only marginally increases per rank, but the mana cost goes up significantly, plus you don’t gain more soul shards.
Curse of Recklessness: The use of this spell during leveling is mainly to break Fears. The first rank does this as well as the max rank.
Howl of Terror: The next rank adds 5 seconds to the Horror effect, this often doesn’t matter that much for leveling.
Banish: Just like Howl of Terror, a higher rank of Banish increases the duration of the banish. A banish also makes a mob immune to all incoming damage. The last thing you want is to be waiting around until you can finish your target.
Maybe Learn (60g):
Spells listed as maybe learn mostly come in handy for world PvP, but they are not necessary for leveling.
These spells can safely be skipped until you reach level 60.
- 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 can be skipped for now if you intend to use your imp until level 20.
- Summon Succubus: At level 20 you can learn how to summon another demon, your succubus. Your succubus is your primary pet for levelling. This thanks to the high DPS and mana gain of the pet. The end of the quest chain will also give you a Small Soul Pouch.
- 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 succubus is still better in every scenario. The quest chain is fairly lengthy, but it will give you a Box of Souls in the end.
- Knowledge of the Orb of Orahil. There are four possible weapon rewards from this quest. Orb of Ordahill is the one we are after. His offhand offers 14 shadow damage, a bit of intellect and an on use heal which in certain niche situations comes in handy. Here is a guide on how to complete this quest.
- 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, completeing this quest allows you to learn how to summon an Inferno, which you can then 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 use a one-hander and an off-hand 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 two items combined.
- Warlock do well without major upgrades, but spell power is doubly rewarding. It increases the amount of DPS done as well, as health (which means more mana). Most often it isn’t worth it to go out of your way for specific pieces. However, there are a few easy to get pieces. The Shadoweave set has Warlock written all over it. This set conveniently is levelled around the time you will start using Drain Life and have a bit of spare gold due to not needing to get a mount at level 40. This set can be bought at the Auction House.
- Wands are a major part of your DPS until you’re level 30-38. Having a high DPS wand will make a significant difference, especially in the first few levels. If you can get a Lesser or Greater Magic Wand from someone with Enchanting, you should (as long as it doesn’t take up to much time). Here is a list with all wands available.
Which professions you want to take is going to depend on your goals whilst leveling. Do you want to level as fast as possible, endgame, gold, etc. Whatever your goals are, you will always want to learn First Aid as a warlock.
Recommended professions by goal:
- Speedleveling: Only get First Aid. All the other professions will cut into your time, even something as simple as skinning adds up to a couple hours until you reach level 60.
- Fast leveling but not speedleveling: Here you can take Skinning. It will add some time but also a nice flow of cash.
- If you want two max professions: Taking Skinning combined with either Herbalism or Mining is a good strat if you want to get some extra cash. Note that this will add in time and that you most often out level Herbs and Ores when leveling. This will induce some backtracking.
- With endgame in mind: These professions will set you back the furthest in levelling speed. However they do come in use for endgame content. You can go engineering plus mining or Tailoring plus another gathering profession. Note that for tailoring in the first phase of the game you won’t really need it to have access to the best gear.
- Spammable Wand – If you are like me you might find yourself spam clicking the wand button, and instead of starting to shoot inadvertently canceingl your action before even starting it. If so, this macro is for you! It will prevent you from cancelling wanding.
- Pet 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!
- Pet Return – Making your pet come back to you is also annoying when you need to click, so use this macro to make it possible with a key.
- Drain Soul / Delete Shard with SoulSort– When you use Drain Soul as a finisher in order to gain the mana return from Improved Drain Soul you’ll rack up a lot of Soul Shards real fast. This can become a pain for inventory management, but luckily we can automate most of this. There are a couple of different methods we can use:
The first would be via the use of an addon. SoulSort is an addon made by a warlock for warlocks. It allows you to set up a max amount of Soul Shards you want to carry around, and with the help of a macro you can delete the rest. This can easily be used in combination with a spell you use often, in this example Drain Soul.
#showtooltip Drain Soul(Rank 1)
/use [nochanneling:drain soul]Drain Soul(Rank 1)
- The classic “Drain Soul” macro – Casts Rank 1 Drain Soul and deletes a Soul Shard from the last slot of your shard bag, as long as the shard bag is in the left-most slot (furthest from the Backpack). This macro does not recall the pet, since Improved Drain Soul procs from pet killing blows in. Does not work with the high-level shard bags, to save characters in the macro – but that shouldn’t be an issue as long as you aren’t trying to get the Improved Drain Soul buff at level 60! 😛 Note: this version is easily modifiable to include non soulbags: simply replace the bag names with the bag you will be using for shards.
#showtooltip Drain Soul(Rank 1)
/cast Drain Soul(Rank 1)
/run local bN = GetBagName(4) if bN==”Small Soul Pouch” or bN==”Soul Pouch” or bN==”Box of Souls” then local nS=GetContainerNumSlots(4) PickupContainerItem(4,nS) DeleteCursorItem() end
- Smarter Option – The same as the previous, but you don’t have to have a shard bag in the left-most slot. This will find your shard bag for you! Again, does nothing for non-soul bags.
/use [nochanneling:drain soul]Drain Soul(Rank 1)
/run for i=1,4 do n=GetBagName(i)if n then if n:find(‘[Sl][oca][ulk]’) then if GetContainerNumFreeSlots(i)==0 then PickupContainerItem(i,GetContainerNumSlots(i))DeleteCursorItem()break end end end end
- 1 Button Grind – 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.
/castsequence reset=target Immolate, Curse of Agony, Corruption, Shoot
- 1 Spammable Drain Life – We all have done it, we are trigger happy to start draining life. Before you know it you double tap your key and you cancel your freshly channeling Drain Life, wasting precious mana. Well no longer with this macro! This will prevent you from cancelling Drain Life.
#showtooltip Drain Life
/cast [nochanneling:Drain Life] Drain Life
For more Warlock Specific Macros and guide on how to make your own macros please see this guide from Dive.
We hope this guide on Warlock leveling was helpful! Please leave any questions or suggestions you have in the comments below, and best of luck in Azeroth!