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Blood Pact: How to be a professional Warlock


Blood Pact is a weekly column here at WoW Insider, where Nick Whelan delves into the darkest corner of the Slaughtered Lamb Inn, to take a peek at Warlocks and what they do.

I've been thinking for awhile now that I'd like to approach Blood Pact a bit differently. Thus far the bulk of my posts have focused on playing a Warlock at level 80. Granted, a casual Warlock at 80, but still, my aim has been towards max level players. Aside from the obvious problem that raises of excluding lower level 'locks, this approach pointlessly limits my available subject matter. And that's just plain silly. So, since I still haven't wriggled my way into a new raid group, I think this is a good opportunity to delve into some of the topics I've been ignoring, with the goal of writing a more balanced column in the future.

While pondering what specifically I should post this week, I perused the writings of some of my fellow class columnists, and discovered that most of them had, at some point, explored their class' profession choices. A topic which I then discovered had never been broached by Blood Pact. But then, since the topic of the post is rather evident in the title of the post, I guess there's no point in belaboring its introduction. I'll start with the secondary professions, move on to the gathering professions, and finish up with the production professions.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: What's up with everybody?


Another week, another Blood Pact! Bringing you all the wacky Warlockery that nine out of ten healers recommend for a healthy diet. And it's not because Nick paid them off or anything.

Hello again, my reprehensible cabal of spell casters I call a readership! How's it hangin?

Not a great deal has actually changed for me since last week. I was forced to disband my raiding group due to unfortunate scheduling problems, so I still haven't set foot in Ulduar. And since heroics stopped offering an interesting challenge months ago, I haven't had much of a reason to log in as of late. With Noblegarden upon us though, I suppose I'd better get to it--a proto-drake in my class color doesn't come along every day, yo!

Lacking any escapades of my own to pen for your amusement, I thought it would be nice if I did some research on how the various specs are being played these days, for the benefit of players (like me) who wish their spec' s play style would settle down longer than a handful of months. It's hard enough to be a DPS class beset by near-constant nerfs -- radically changing our play style all the time isn't helping. But enough QQ, lets talk about how Warlocks are doing their pew pew these days.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: WTB Glyph of Haunt...anybody?


Greetings fellow Warlocks! Welcome, to our wicked weekly: Blood Pact! Here, heretical happenings are heard, diabolical deeds are done, and alliteration is always awesome. So continue to sit at your computer, continue to read your monitor, and enjoy the ramblings of Old Man Sentai as much as you're able.

I've dreaded the coming of 3.1 for awhile now. I love the new features of course. Being able to switch to a spec with replenishment any time my raid needs it will certainly be handy, and Ulduar will be a nice change of pace once I get in there -- even if I really wanted to get a few more Naxx achievements done before moving on. What I don't love is the new Affliction. There's so few buttons I feel like I'm playing Burning Crusade style Destruction. (Shadow Bolt, Shadow Bolt, Shadow Bolt, Shadow Bolt...)

3.0 Affliction's rotation went something akin to Shadow Bolt > Haunt > Corruption > Siphon Life > Curse of Agony > Unstable Affliction > Immolate > Shadow Bolt Spam, followed by dot refreshments as needed, and Drain Soul once the target was below 25%. There was some variation based on whether or not the group wanted Curse of Elements, or whether you liked your short duration dots to go up first, but on average that's how it was.

Now that Siphon Life has been removed as an active spell, as well as Unstable Affliction and Immolate being altered so that they're mutually exclusive on a given target, two dots are out of the rotation. I'm sure it's a welcome change for some, but I'll be referencing the period between 3.0 and 3.1 as the golden age of Affliction from now on. Oh well, such is WoW.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Warlock tips for Naxx-10 part 2


It's time again for Blood Pact, your weekly Warlock column, detailing the dastardly deeds of Warcraft's demonologists! Nick Whelan returns once again this week, to finish what he started. And this time, it's personal!

Last week, I wrote a column filled with tips for Naxx-10. Specifically, tips for Warlocks, because that's who Blood Pact is written for. But my list ended up being so long that I was only able to write about the Spider and Plague wings of Naxx before the article started to feel a little bloated. So I chopped it in half, and now it's time to conclude our tour of the dread citadel with the more difficult sections of the instance: the Construct, Military, and Frost wings!

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

[Updated] Blood Pact: Warlock tips for Naxx-10 part 1


The time for Blood Pact has come again! This week, we delve into the dread citadel itself, the very stronghold of mighty Kel'Thuzad's power: Naxxramas! Following meekly behind the rest of the group, documenting his experiences for your entertainment, is Nick Whelan.

With Ulduar getting closer every day, I thought this would be a perfectly inappropriate time to write up some helpful hints for all the Warlocks out there who are clad primarily in pre-raiding gear, and would like to start moving forward with their progression. This post is aimed toward helping Warlocks who haven't done much raiding in the past, and would like to try it out now that Blizz has made it so much more accessible. Furthermore, since it's unlikely that such a person has a spot waiting for them in a group which full clears weekly, I also assume in this post that the rest of the people in the raid are similarly geared. By using these tips, new raiders will be doing their part to ensure that their group gets a full clear as soon as possible.

This guide isn't meant as a substitute to an overall Naxx guide. For something like that, be sure to take a look at Ready Check. Rather, this guide is intended to cover the information specific to Warlocks which won't be included in the raid leader's pre-boss explanations. As such, some of this information might be difficult to decipher if you've never participated in the fight before. I would recommend reading Ready Check's Naxx guides first, or even just referencing this page right before the start of a boss fight.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Overview of project respec

Another week has gone by already? Well, I guess that means it's time for Blood Pact! Nick Whelan's platform to wonder about things such as: what's up with there being female Warlocks in the game? Warlock is a gender specific title, indicative of masculinity. The feminine alternative is witch. So is Blizzard just made of fail or are all female members of the class actually men in disguise?

Over the past three weeks, Blood Pact has been running an experiment I dubbed Project Respec. The intent was to take a look at some of the major endgame specs for Warlocks, try them out, test them, and report back my impressions. Now, having covered all the major specs I intend to cover with the project at this time, I'm happy with the level of success the project has had. A lot of readers have expressed enjoying the series, and I've learned a lot about the class, and a lot about what I'd like to do with this column. I also made a fair amount of mistakes along the way, but the WoW Insider community was always quick to point me in the right direction, and I'm confident that when I pick up Project Respec again after 3.1, I'll be much better prepared.

This week, I'd like to sum up the Warlock specs I tested, and how they play. I won't bother saying much about their exact DPS output, because not only did my gear change between each test, but a few days of trials is hardly enough to get an absolutely comprehensive understanding of a play style. Instead, I'll be focusing on what it's like to play each of them, since they're all at least viable DPS specs. I'd also like to throw in my analysis of what will happen with them once patch 3.1 rolls around. Though, on the note of analysis, I should point out that computer issues continue to keep me off of the test realms, so my analysis is purely speculative.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Look at me! I'm Illidan!



The wily Warlock, Will, wantonly waves his wand; working a witchery upon the writings of a whimsical wretch named Whelan. Watching warily, Will awaits the wicked words which he willed. Thus this week's Blood Pact was born.

Last week I covered a deep Destruction build, the week prior to that I covered a Demonology / Destruction hybrid build, and two weeks before I took over this column Zach said most of the things I would say about deep Affliction builds. So, unless there are any Affliction heavy hybrids I haven't heard of yet (which I'd love to hear about it if there is,) all that really leaves for Project: Respec is deep Demonology! So this week, that's what's on the table.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Deep in the third tree


Staring at you from the darkest corner of the dank tavern is a shadowy figure, garbed in deep purples with scarlet trim. As you step closer, you realize that before you stands the dreaded Blood Pact. Behind it, drowning in his own cliches, sits Nick Whelan.

For my second foray into non-Affliction specs, I decided it was time to go deep Destruction with 7 / 7 / 57. There aren't a lot of people who champion this spec, or any spec that includes Chaos Bolt really. But I tried the more popular 0 / 31 / 40 earlier in the week and found it far too similar to the spec I covered last week to justify posting about it so soon. So I did some research into what deep Destruction Warlocks are doing these days, and this is what I came up with.

I was somewhat surprised that this spec decides to put points in Affliction rather than spend the full 13 points in Demonology required to get Demonic Aegis, but part of the experiment is that I don't tweak the specs in any way that might affect DPS. Still, I'm tempted to switch some points into Demonic Aegis over the weekend to see if there's any improvement -- but I digress. Lets get down to business.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Educating myself on fel / emberstorm


The editors of WoW Insider have spoken the dark words, and another edition of Blood Pact has appeared to wreak havoc on the readership. This week, the first installment of Operation: Respec. And yes, columnist Nick Whelan is well aware that other classes have it way worse when dealing with respec costs. Please don't hate him.

I'd like to begin a new project for Blood Pact, which should prove both entertaining to play with, and interesting to write about, if this week is any indication. In an attempt to expand my perspective on the Warlock class -- thus expanding the perspective of this column -- I will test out a variety of different 'cookie cutter' specs, and detail my experiences playing with them. I've ever-so-inventively dubbed this project 'Operation: Respec.'

These won't be perfect tests of course. My contract with WoW Insider doesn't allow me to bill them my expenses, in or out of game. So any money spent on these tests will come straight out of my own digital pocket. I say this not to complain, but rather to explain why I won't be buying new gems, enchants, and gear for every test. Fortunately the stat requirements of the different Warlock specs are relatively similar. Mostly it's just crit rating and haste rating that get switched around, and for those I can at least switch between Spellstone and Firestone, as well as by using different statfood. Glyphs, unfortunately for my bankroll, have become rather essential to different play styles, so I will of course be switching between those within reason.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

[Updated] Blood Pact: They're not pets, they're minions


The week has rolled around, the planets have aligned, and it's time again for Blood Pact! Here to keep you up to date with all the unspeakable horrors perpetrated by Warlocks. Presiding over this week's dark ritual is Nick Deathcaller -- I mean Whelan.

I was perusing the Blood Pact archives this week, trying to think of a topic which would be a little less dry than my last topic, and I noticed that an in-depth look at a Warlock's minions is rather over-due!

I've long been of the opinion that Warlock minions are far more similar to a Warrior's stances than they are to a Hunter's pets. Hunter pets are very much a separate entity from the hunter them self. They have their own talent trees, different abilities they can train, and regardless of spec can account for 25% or more of the Hunter's total DPS in any given encounter -- closer to 50% if the Hunter is speced beast mastery! Warlock minions, on the other hand, have no customisability whatsoever, save the various talents which can be used to improve them. Often times a minion is used for no other reason than for the buff it provides -- or in the case of affliction Warlocks -- as a mana battery for Dark Pact.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact