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Blood Pact: Leveling a warlock from 60 to 85

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology and destruction warlocks. For those who disdain the watered-down arts that other cling to like a safety blanket ... For those willing to test their wills against the nether and claim the power that is their right ... Blood Pact welcomes you.

I know that it has been an extra week since the last portion of the guide was posted, but if you happened to have missed it, or just plain forgot, then here it is: leveling from 1 to 60. It's pretty sweet, so you kinda should go read it if you haven't already. I'm just sayin'.

This week, we'll be tackling Outland, Northrend, and finally, the home stretch of Cataclysm content. It may only be 25 levels, but it eats up far more time than just getting to level 60 does. No matter what spec you play, though, reaching the higher levels is always where the fun starts. At that point, you finally start getting the key spells that make life awesome.

The Burning Crusade: Levels 60 to 70

These are the Outland levels, although most people actually do Outland from 58 to 68 instead of the 60-70 range that it's technically designed for (myself being one of those people). Despite the growing length of levels at this point, I honestly find the Outland leveling to be excessively short, with and without BOA gear. With all of the changes that Blizzard has made to leveling, mostly constantly shortening the time needed to actually level, you can chew through 60 to 70 ridiculously fast. What once took around five zones can now be done in two or three. In my full BOA set up, I can do Hellfire, then skip over Zangar and head to either Blade's Edge or Nagrand and hit 68 before I'm done.

Spells are the most important part of this level range. This is when you finally get your grubby hands on Incinerate, Haunt, Chaos Bolt, and Metamorphosis -- basically, every fun spell that you've been looking forward to since rolling a warlock is found in this level range. Even though I still say that leveling as destruction is the favorable spec, at least until Cataclysm content, this is where affliction in particular starts to catch up in terms of spells.

Haunt is amazing, and after 69, you'll be able to start putting talent points into non-specialized trees, which is something that both affliction and demonology really need in order to stay on the same level as destruction.

Speccing at this point is still pretty straightforward. Again, once you hit 69, you'll get your 31st talent point, which will "finish" out your tree for the most part. In nearly every tree, you should be able to get just about every talent that you would want from your specialized tree at this point. There may still be a few things that you'll change once you reach level 85, but that's fine and can come later.

Where to go? As I had mentioned, starting out in Hellfire Peninsula is pretty much a given, no matter what side of the fence you play for. I strongly suggest doing pretty much every single quest that you can in this zone; doing this usually gets me from 58 to around 63 or so, depending on the number of random dungeons that I run.

After Hellfire, you start getting some more options. Nagrand is always a great zone, with the Nesingway quest line and the respective faction towns having a large number of quests as well. Normally, those are the only quests I do in Nagrand. There are some additional quests, predominantly from the Throne of Elements at the top of the map, but those quests are usually fairly well spread out and just not worth making the trips for.

Blade's Edge is another great location for either side to do some questing in, and it's usually where I end up going after Hellfire. Of course, there's also Zangarmarsh and Terokkar, which are the expected zones. I generally avoid these, especially in BOA gear. While you'll be in the proper level range once you start questing here, everything will turn green by the time you're less than halfway through, not really netting you the same experience that you would gain from the other zones.

Normally, Nagrand and Blade's Edge will be all you need to hit 68 in order to enter Northrend content, or at least quest in it. If you want to keep questing in Outland or you didn't quite make it, then I would suggest going to Area 52 rather than Shadowmoon Valley. SMV is just slightly higher in level range than Area 52, and a lot of the quests there are long chains with just a few objectives at each step, while Area 52 has a lot more variety in questing.

Note, though, that if you don't join either of the two Outland factions -- as I had totally skipped on one of my alts -- then you'll miss out on a huge number of quests in Area 52. You need to be at least friendly with one of the two.

Wrath of the Lich King: Levels 70 to 80

Unlike previous expansions, in which you could "skip" the last two levels of content in order to get a jump start in the next leveling zones, you won't have too much of an option in this level range. Going to Hellfire at level 58 is no big deal; heading out to Northrend at 68 isn't an issue; but you will have to hit 80 before tackling Cataclysm content. Why mention this in the Northrend section? Because you'll want to prepare for that now, not later.

Personally (and I think many others feel this way as well), I really don't like leveling in Northrend. It isn't just that it's slower than all of the other sections; it's more than that. Every time I go, I just feel that there's something a little off with all of it, like there's a break in the flow. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I really just detest Northrend leveling.

On the good news side, you'll at least get some pretty awesome spells while you're out here. Seed of Corruption has, oddly, been bumped up to this level. It isn't earth-shattering news, I know, but it's nice getting new AOE toys even if you won't always use them. There's also the much-"loved" Shadowflame, but it really isn't that bad ... really! The one to actually be excited for would be Demonic Circle, allowing for the fun times of teleporting to a preset location every 30 seconds. I smell a marketing goldmine there.

Honestly, nothing you get at this point will have all that much of an impact on your spell selection; you pretty much have all of your core abilities. That isn't to say that these spells are bad or that they don't have their uses -- they certainly do -- but if you "forget" to train for all of Northrend, you honestly won't even notice.

Glyphs! You do get your third and final glyph at this point in time. At this point, you pretty much should already know what your third glyph is going to be based on those those that you've already chosen at this point.

Destruction warlocks should use Conflag, Immolate, and Imp as their three glyphs. I usually suggest getting them in that exact order, too, but whichever of those three that you don't have should be the one that you pick up. If you happen to be able to make your own glyphs and can get hold of the Chaos Bolt glyph, then it honestly isn't that bad for leveling. Considering that Chaos Bolt procs Soul Leech and is pretty much the only spell that does that you'll use solo, having the glyph is pretty good for leveling. Also, even in Northrend, things tend to die pretty quickly, so outside of dungeons, your pet probably won't get too many casts off.

Affliction warlocks generally favor Unstable Affliction, Haunt, and Corruption as their three glyphs. It's strange leveling as affliction because you'll get access to your second glyph long before you even get Haunt, and the Corruption glyph really just isn't that fantastic. However, you choose to go while leveling is up to you, but by the time you unlock your third slot, those should be the three that you use.

Demonologists choose Incinerate, Immolate, and Metamorphosis. Just like affliction, demonology warlocks face the problem that they get their second glyph slot before they get access to the spells that would benefit from either of the two remaining glyphs that they would use. Normally, for my second glyph, I choose to go with Felguard and just keep it that way all the way until level 85 once you start doing dungeons and raids. It's a personal thing, but I'm just not big on using long-ish cooldowns while off soloing; I just forget because nothing seems "worth it" to me. Due to that, Metamorphosis doesn't help me much while leveling -- and in general, it really doesn't.

As far as major glyphs go, it doesn't really matter which it is that you take. Soul Link and Life Tap are the standard, while both affliction and demonology take Shadow Bolt. If you are affliction and you want to use Soul Swap -- and let's be honest, who doesn't? -- then Soul Link is what you should drop. For destruction, there really isn't any important third major glyph that they'll care about, so take whatever makes you happy.

Where to go? Anywhere you want! I really, really loathe leveling here. Personally, I'm not a fan of Borean Tundra because I always end up starting there -- it is the better choice -- but there's a reason I always start there.

Normally, I start Northrend at 68 and go to Howling Fjord, but I only stick around for the first little entry town on either side. Doing this should get you to or at least close to 70, but it will also get you all of the quests for Utgarde. After that, I switch over to Borean Tundra, which feels much more centralized and will end up netting you all the quests for Nexus.

After that ... As Horde, I only stick around in Dragonblight until they send me away to Grizzly Hills. The Horde quests in that zone just seem to involve far too much running around aimlessly. Alliance-side, I usually stick around in Dragonblight until I've finished it.

After that section, I normally end up favoring going to Zul'drak over Sholazar, again due to spacing (although I've really grown to hate the Drakuru quest line in that region and often skip it now; I'm not sure why, as it used to be my favorite thing in the world, but now I simply cannot stand to bother with the running back and forth and the disguise).

Finally, I take to Icecrown over Storm Peaks. There's no real reason for it -- and honestly, Storm Peaks is probably a far better choice than Icecrown -- but I just prefer the quests I find there.

Cataclysm: Levels 80 to 85

Here it is: the end, the final stretch, the last little mountain to climb. Honestly, I've yet to find any problems with Cataclysm leveling. Yes, the small five levels take more experience than the prior 10 levels did, but it really just doesn't feel as grindy or as tedious. Perhaps it is merely because the content is new?

Spell-wise, you will finally get your hands on the marvelous Dark Intent; do remember that you can cast it on your pet when you are soloing. At least you gain 3% haste that way. There's also Fel Flame and Demon Soul, both of which are fantastic spells for what they are.

In terms of your talent spec, getting to 85 doesn't really hold much of an impact over where you put your talents; however, you'll probably end up switching some things around once you finally do reach the end level. Here is how the average affliction, demonology, and destruction specs should look at the end level.

Where to go? Do you really have to ask? Start in either Hyjal or Vashj'ir -- hint, choose Hyjal -- and then go off to Deepholm. From Deepholm you go to Uldum, and from Uldum you go to Twilight Highlands. There really just isn't much in terms of choice when it comes to zone progression in the new content, which is perfectly fine honestly. I like it just the way it is.

Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DoTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through encounters such as Blackwing Descent and The Bastion of Twilight.

Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

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