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Blood Pact: A brief primer for the Cataclysm warlock


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 and invites you to take a seat.

Since Cataclysm falls on our heads next week, I thought it'd be a perfect time to give some leveling ideas to folks who want to roll a new warlock in the expansion. Why would anyone roll a new warlock, you ask? Well, four good reasons: trolls, dwarves, goblins, and worgen. If you aren't inclined to spring for the $25 character recustomization that includes a racial change, you might want to consider rolling a new warlock from scratch. For some people who have never played a warlock before, the new races might be push they need to finally dabble in the demonic arts (with the succubus around, I honestly don't know why you'd need the extra push ... but hey, whatever works!).

As of Patch 4.0.3, you can now choose to play a troll or dwarf warlock. If you activate Cataclysm next week, you'll be able to play either a worgen or a goblin, too. If you haven't rolled a new warlock but plan to, it only makes sense to try out the new races. There isn't a lot of lore to explain why dwarves can suddenly become warlocks, but with the Dark Iron matriarch Moira Thaurissan née Bronzebeard sitting in Ironforge, it isn't too much of a stretch to imagine the dwarves trying out all sort of dark and devious things. Trolls, on the other hand, aren't hard to imagine getting involved in the fel arts. Besides, a whole bunch of warlock-like troll NPCs have been running around Azeroth under the guise of witch doctors, anyway.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, (Warlock) Blood Pact

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for rogues in 4.0.3


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

Rogues are a class that lends itself extremely well to PvP, and even six years in, rogues pouncing on unsuspecting prey is one of the enduring visions (and fears) of the game. Rogues play entirely differently from most other classes because of their ability -- and need -- to utilize stealth. The only other spec that has a similar playstyle are feral cat druids.

Rogues always get a lot of goodies for PvP, and the new world isn't any different. It's a new game, though, and the stunlock as we know it is gone. It's been comatose for a long time, but shared diminishing returns put a final nail stunlock's coffin. There are abilities that steer the rogue to do more fanciful things, though. I mentioned before how Recuperate is such a game-changer, allowing rogues to keep up with other classes in a higher-stamina world. Longer combat also means more opportunities to use all those cooldowns rogues are known for -- but it also means they'll need to time it even better now, because blowing all available cooldowns for one big burst does not necessarily translate to killing an opponent.

Anyway, with about a week left to go before Cataclysm goes live, we'd better get this whole thing sorted out, so let's get right into what rogues should pick up for PvP.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Blood Pact: Demonology and the art of closing the gap


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 and invites you to take a seat.

Demonology is a curious spec. When Metamorphosis first came out, I panned the talent for having abilities that clearly push the warlock to engage in melee. It didn't make any sense to have a squishy caster have abilities like Shadow Cleave, Demon Charge, or even -- gasp -- Challenging Howl. The latter spell has thankfully been expunged from the data repositories of Wowhead, but some of you may remember it as a spell that taunts nearby enemies for 6 seconds. An AoE taunt. For a clothie. Never mind that Metamorphosis pumped up warlock armor to tank-like levels or that it reduced damage ... I always questioned the wisdom of having an AoE taunt followed by high-damage (and consequently high-threat) abilities while in a form that would shortly, inevitably expire.

Two years later, the developers finally scrapped all the seriously dumb (but strangely cool) abilities and replaced them with Demon Leap. It serves pretty much the same purpose as Demon Charge, but it looks a lot more awesome and it can save your butt from falling to your death. The stun component has a shorter duration but is now an AoE effect, which is great because it works even better in PvE situations. Metamorphosis retained Immolation Aura, which was probably the best spell among the bunch, so the form wasn't totally stripped of special abilities. The idea is the same -- demonology is a warlock spec that deals its best damage up close. That makes it play completely differently from the other two specs, and there's a whole lot of required mobility.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, (Warlock) Blood Pact

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for priests in 4.0.1


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

Never mind that it's actually going to be 4.0.3 pretty soon, we'll wrap up this series as quick as we can before the whole world crashes down all around us. Today we'll take a look at another hybrid class, the only one with two healing specs. It's going to be interesting to discuss the priest because even though many players consider healing in PvP to be less demanding as far as PvP-specific talents are concerned, it's the selection of key PvP talents that set great healers from the pack. In the battlegrounds, where healers have an easier time screening themselves from focus fire, there isn't a great need to dedicate to a PvP spec or even gear. Still, a good understanding of key abilities will help you perform better on the field, especially under the new paradigm.

One great improvement for Patch 4.0.1 geared towards leveling in Cataclysm is the ability of each healing spec to hold their own offensively. While obviously not as powerful as DPS specs, there are clear offensive abilities in each healing tree that's intended to make the leveling experience easier. Consequently, this gives healers better ways to strike back at opponents in PvP. For some players, this can make healing specs more fun and inviting, giving healers an even more active role and opening up some options between healing.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Blood Pact: The warlock study guide for Cataclysm

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology and destruction warlocks. In a dark and hidden place, the true masters of the arcane arts share secrets and swap stories. 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 and invites you to take a seat.

Didn't we mention that the position of the warlock writer here at WoW Insider is something akin to the Defense of the Dark Arts teacher position at Hogwarts? Well, our current warlock Adam has taken a brief leave to attend to dark, sinister forces, which means that in the meantime, you guys are left with me to deliver your weekly dose of felfire and brimstone. That's like leaving the sorcerer's apprentice to clean the workshop all by himself, and well, you all know how that one turns out. Anyway, let's see what we can get away with this week.

Let's face it, playing a DPS class is a bit of a chore. It's challenging, certainly, and there's an unspoken need to be competitive, always measured by your performance on the meters. For some players, this is a motivation for playing their class -- diving into loads of data, crunching numbers, and testing against target dummies. It's a lot of hard work. For some players who pick up the warlock class mostly because they like the flavor -- it's still a roleplaying game, after all -- all that can be a little daunting. In fact, there are still many players who aren't hardcore enough to troll forums, read blogs, or pore through spreadsheets to squeeze the most DPS out of their class.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, (Warlock) Blood Pact

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