I've been out in something of an adventure this past week. You know, the tired, old digging-through-musty-caves-and-dark-forests-type deal. So it might have actually been closer to walking down concrete sidewalks in a bright city, possibly some singing munchkins were involved as well, but I swear that I wasn't wearing ruby slippers. I stumbled on some killer bookstores which had loads of occult books -- none of which I bought, sadly -- and it got me thinking that warlocks should have a book. Well, perhaps not a book because I think that our editors would flay me alive should I write that much, so we'll just settle for a solid leaflet.
Let's be real here, not all warlocks are true warlocks. Sure they may walk like a warlock, talk like a warlock, and summon up demons and hellfire like a warlock, but they're just imposters. Some of them are even wicked mage spies undoubtedly sent by the no good Pants. In an effort to educate the faithless and to root out the fakes, I've created a guide of sorts to warlockery. Let's share and do some of that learning thing.
And bears, we also teach how to avoid bears. Bears are mean, they'll eat your face. I like my face.
There's no in team, but there is a me
The first key ideal to remember about being a warlock is that you are vastly more important than anything else. Your pet does not matter, it's just there to do your dirty work like laundry and possibly getting smacked in the face a couple of times. If the choice comes down to it where you have to sacrifice your minion or throw it under the proverbial bus, do so without hesitation. There are countless demons just begging to be enslaved, but there's only one of you to do that enslaving. It's just a matter of priorities, and in this case the priority is that you live and everything else dies. Remember, you're the one with the pretty face, and pretty people deserve to live. It's one of the basic laws of nature.
This totally counts for groups, too. If something is running at your face and you can cause it lose interest, then I'd highly suggest that you do so. They haven't yet given us Misdirect, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. Soulshatter, our current tool, does work rather nice for shifting threat over to pesky mages, but I feel that it takes far more work to pull off properly than it is worth sometimes. While it's always worth the risk to kill a mage, you may want to hold off in this instance; primarily because majestic healers tend to get annoyed and you could end up putting a fellow shadow user in danger which just isn't cool. Once we do get Misdirect, though, send mobs flying to mages on every pull; you simply aren't a warlock if you don't.
Make love, not war -- sometimes
You may be told by outside forces that warlocks don't have any friends; sometimes it might even be another warlock that says this to you. They are frauds! Warlocks absolutely have friends. We aren't monstrous beasts bent on world destruction after all -- world domination is a totally different plan. Those that like to take hits in the face are absolutely our friends. If you are personally willing to take physical pain for my cause, then I can respect that and I'll keep you around for so long as you're useful. Warlocks are also quite endeared to those that love patching our wounds. Mishaps happen, and sometimes we'll have to resort to using blood magic in order to fuel our spells, so it's nice to have someone along that can quickly soothe those minor injuries over. Further, they tend to get along rather well with our friend that likes to have their bones broken, which makes for a fun group.
It isn't all rainbows and sunshine for the friends we choose either, oh no! Our fellow shadow users are worth hanging out with. I mean, don't go thinking that they're nearly as good as we are, because they aren't in the least, but they can make good servants. Despite the odd match that they seem to provide, the large, fat, feathery druids aren't bad traveling companions either. Their penchant for lighting things on fire and torturing their victims with swarms of stinging insects is rather a marvel to behold. I often question whether they really are druids most days. The furry brothers to the fat ones aren't terrible either, but in recent days I've grown less fond of them. They've started shedding and drooling everywhere, and then there's the bleeding thing! Do you know how expensive it is to clean these robes? Plus they always seem to have this odd odor about them that just isn't pleasant. Maybe we should suggest to them that they bathe.
Another great companion that I've generally liked having around is a trustworthy assassin. It may be true that they don't hurl magical afflictions like the rest of us, but their poisons are exceptionally deadly -- I kid you not, I once saw a rogue lay flat Hogger using their brews. Despite that I would rather see them dead than walking by my side, without any other choice a pyromancer can make for a rather decent traveling associate. If mages needed to be in a tiered list, then the fire variety would at least be slightly more acceptable than the other two; although all three are listed under the "MUST DIE" category.
The proper art of using a soul
Soul collecting is a rather important job as well. They make such wonderful gifts, and the way that they shine and shimmer is perfect for any decor. While I'm off wandering the world on my own, I always ensure that my own soul is kept safe and sound should the worst ever occur. You simply wouldn't believe that number of times that I've had a pack of mages descend upon me in a frantic rage. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but even I can have some difficulty with an entire flock of the creatures at times. Should I ever find myself in good company, though, I make a habit of trying to talk any of them that I can into letting me "borrow" their soul. The healers and bruisers in particular are the best souls to take, but they aren't the only choice.
Shadowy priests, those aforementioned nature freaks, the so far unmentioned nature freaks, and those wretched men of the Light can all make fantastic target for soul stealing ... err ... storage. Essentially, any of your followers that are capable of restoring life to a dead body makes for a precious soul to store. They're quite valuable you know, on the right markets. Further note to self: Learn how they do this reanimation trick, it could end up being handy.
On top of soul stealing, condensing blood into a pendant for later use at restoring one's vitality is another essential trick that every warlock should master. For your own personal use, it can be a massive life saver in a variety of situations that you may find yourself in. Plus, truly practiced warlocks should be able to create a veritable well of life for any of their companions that would want to marvel at our spectacular abilities. Trust me, it's a huge hit in parties, especially the larger bashes; just remember to smack any mage's hand that attempts to reach into the proverbial cookie jar. Better yet, burn the hand off (although you then lose a new chew toy for your Felpuppy).
You aren't mean, you're just born that way
Remember that you are a warlock, you aren't here to make friends, see sights, or cuddle with the adorable wildlife. Ever seen the movie Bambi? Yeah, you're the guy at the end that shoots the mother. Bad guy? Perhaps, but who cares. It is your job to inflict as much damage as possible to as many monsters as possible. Job is such a horrible description for it though, because that implies it isn't highly enjoyable and exciting. Frankly, I'd do it even if I wasn't getting paid -- although I am rather confused as to why these things pay me to kill them, it's all rather strange. Know your limitations though, there's no need to rush the inevitable. Eventually, you'll get around to killing everything, so there isn't a need for you to go around all gung-ho on more than you can chew.
Corollary to that, allow for your buddy that wants to be smacked around to get exactly what he desires. Who said warlocks aren't a caring bunch? If your friend, or minion, wants to take a facial beating, then by all means allow for him to do that job; getting in the way of it is highly questionable behavior by any warlock. We're sadists, not masochists; there's a difference. Plus, when your followers don't get what they want, they have this tendency to abandon you. We like having followers, they do the stuff we don't want to, so try not to piss them off too much.
Finally, learn to master the fear that you inspire in others. Warlocks are a force to be reckoned with; we are death itself on the battle field. Our enemies know this, and that makes us susceptible to causing uncontrollable panic amongst our foes. Be that as it may, it is far better to leave a challenger trembling in a catatonic state than it is to send them running off in a state of panic. Curb the fear that you posses, control it, and thereby control them. Often times delaying the oncoming storm is far more effective than unleashing it all at once.
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.