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WoW: Getting Ready to Raid as a Warlock

Updated Mon, May 11, 2009 by Novah



Congrats, you made it to 80! For many, this seems like the end. For others it’s only the beginning. Welcome to end game. From here you can begin to fine turn your character and focus on many more objectives. Some will further explore the lore and experience new tales and battles, other will focus on perfecting the art of PvP, while others yet will explore raiding. This guide is going to give some basic about how to prepare your warlock for raiding.

BUFF FOOD

I go into every raid with 4 stacks of buff food. I like to have at least one stack of group buff food, usually a stack of Great Feast or Fish Feast to share with the group every now and then or before a boss. I also have two stacks of personal buff food. The first is a spell power modifying food such as Firecraker Salmon which provides a nice +46 spell power. The second is a +hit food, this is useful for times when I have to swap out trinkets, or equip resist gear etc. Snapper Extreme will provide +40 Hit and Stamina for 1 hour. If you are not hit capped this is a nice way to get the hit you may need.

The last stack of food is pet buff food. Yes I said it, pet food. I was surprised at how many warlocks do not use pet buff food. Typically used by hunters. There is food available that will increase your pets strength and stamina by 30. The biggest benefit will be to the demonology specced warlock but will even if in a small way will benefit any spec. Demonology talents buff your spell power based on your pets stats. So increasing your pet, you are buffing yourself. Non demonology warlocks may use the buff to provide a little more health to their pet if they risk taking damage. I recently tested the buff on a summoned doomguard and yes, it does buff it. That pet along is useable by any spec and will increase its damage when buffed.

POTIONS

Just because we have health stones, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have heath pots. It’s a good idea to enter every raid with ten of each mana and health potions. Health stones are on a different cooldown then the pots meaning we can use them consecutively. The healers love that.

FLASKS/ELIXIRS/SCROLLS

Flask of the Frost Wyrm without a doubt is the best flask to have with you. I always have a stack and don’t raid without one. The DPS granted is huge and because it persists through death makes this a no brainer. If you are going to raid, get used to carrying these.

REAGENTS

Luckily as warlocks we do not need many. We do however need demonic figurines and infernal stones. The mechanics of acquiring these pets have been drastically changed and these pets are quite useful in raids now. No longer a risk of lost control, these pets can contribute substantial dps for certain fights. While timing when to use the infernal can be tricky, knowing that you no longer need to enslave it makes it very desirable. The tricky part is, once summoned it is automatically under your control but will only last for one minute. For the non-demonology warlock, summoning a new one will actually cause a DPS decrease so it is most useful for the last minute of a boss fight. The Doomguard no longer kills someone when summoned, also now scales with your level and is automatically under your control. After 15 minutes it just disappears and no longer attacks the raid. It will also out DPS any other pet. The only limitation now is how often you can use it. More on that another time. Just be sure to have a stack or two with you at all times.

REPUTATION

Your Reputations will play a big factor in preparing you for raiding. A good example is your Kirin’Tor reputation. If you can reach revered with the Kirin ‘Tor, you will have access to one of the best one-hand weapons and the best head enchant that can be reapplied whenever needed and will provide a nice boost to your desired stats. Take a look at the reputation guide and know that most of your preparation for raiding can be done with reputation and smart purchases.

GOAL STATS

One of the most important statistics that you must focus on before you begin raiding is Spell Hit rating. While spell power, health and mana are important stats, they never become more important than spell hit. Some may argue that spell hit is less important for some specializations than others. While each specialization may value their spell hit differently, there is no reason to not obtain the hit cap for any of the specilazations. As of patch 3.0.2 spell hit became capped at 100%, meaning that it is possible to reach a point where you will never miss.

Raid Bosses in Wrath of the Lich King have a mob level of 83, and the highest level a player can reach is level 80. So without any modifying talents or any hit gear to hit a raid boss you will need a hit rating of 446 to never miss a boss. Warlocks can reduce the spell hit needed by up to 3% with talents. The talents that modify the spell hit modify it for spell schools. Each warlock has three spell schools: Affliction, demonology, and destruction. The offensive schools that you will be casting against your enemy are only the affliction and destruction schools. The demonology school is used for conjured items and other abilities that are not offensive or cast against mobs and do not need to be modified with spell hit. The talents to look for are Suppression for affliction spells, and Cataclysm for destruction spells. By adding points to each of these talents you can reduce the overall spell hit you need by 3% to make our spell hit rating needed 368 to be hit capped for raid bosses. Basically every 27 points of spell hit rating increases your chance to hit a level 83 mob by 1%.

After obtaining your maximum spell hit, or as close as you can get before raiding, you should then focus on Spell power.

GEAR
 
Getting geared for raiding is challenging, fun and sometimes a daunting task. Have you ever heard the phrase “It takes money to make money”? It is kinda of like that, it takes some gear to get some gear. We cannot blindly go into our first raid and provide much assistance to the group if we haven’t taken some time to prepare an effective gear set. While this may be costly and tedious, your preparation will be well rewarded with your performance. But don’t let me scare you; there are some shortcuts that will get you up and raiding quickly. The first Challenge is to gain as much spell hit rating as possible. We can do that with a lot of crafted gear.

Let’s assume you used the 6 talent points to lower your hit rating needed, so we only have to focus obtaining 368 spell hit.

Head Item
One of the best starting items you can get before raiding is the craftable Hat of Wintry Doom. This Piece is craftable and BoE . BoE means Bind on Equip and essentially means that it can be traded, purchased, mailed etc until it is equipped onto a character. Once it has been equipped it becomes soulbound and may no longer be traded. While there are items that provide decent spell power, this item is easily purchasable, and/or craftable and will provide a huge percentage of the spell hit you will need to raid, making this an excellent starting item until better becomes available or you have access to more items with spell hit on them.

Neck Item
While there are many out there, if you need some direction or an idea for a good starting piece, there is a quest reward from a quest in Icecrown that will reward you with Emeline’s Locket. This is a decent neck piece that also has a socket for a gem and +25 hit rating. If your gold is burning a hole in your pocket, look for the Titanium Spellshock Necklace on the auction house, made by jewelcrafters, this is a nice piece to start with as well although I was too cheap to pay for it, so I went with the quest reward to start. So look for the quest “The Admiral Revealed” and grab that neck piece. You won’t be disappointed.

Shoulders Item
Another easily obtainable item, but for your shoulder slot, is the Runecaster’s Mantle. You can get this by either running Utgarde Keep repeatedly as it is a zone drop (can drop off any mob) and is BoE also. Meaning, if you are as impatient as I am, this item can be purchased from the auction house usually for a reasonable amount of gold. A good alternative is the Dark Runic Mantle which is also a BoE zone drop from Halls of Stone. In addition to being easy to acquire, these items rank as some of the best in game until raid drops are available. If your funds are low, you can try to grind for Mantle of Deceit from Mal’Ganis in Heroic Stratholme but this is not as powerful as the above mentioned items and you are subject to chance.

Back
Two easy options here. First option is to grind Knights of Ebon Blade rep until you are honored and grab the Dark Soldier Cape from the quartermaster. Great stats and easily obtainable this item was a must have for me. Your second option is to Farm Halls of Lightning boss Volkhan for the Cape of Seething Steam. Personally, I am not a fan of farming instance drops as they are too random and a lot of competition between caster DPS. It is not so bad if your guild is helping or some friends roll with you, but PUGing instances constantly for a drop is not my idea of fun. I had more to benefit from the reputation anyway as I am a caster and they offer a nice pattern for a 32 slot soul shard bag at Revered. This faction had tons of daily quests available and I was able to get revered quickly and never even worn their tabard in an instance.

Chest
Ebonweave Robe is, without a doubt, one of the best items to prepare you for raiding. With a +68 hit rating and a generous 105 spell power, there few other options. As another BoE crafted item, it may require some gold or farming some material so you can craft it, and is on par with the Water-Drenched Robe from Ichoron in Heroic Violet Hold. Once again, the randomness of Violet hold can make this a difficult grind and with my luck I went for the sure thing. Either way you have a solid piece of gear that is only improved with 10 and 25 man raiding gear and/or a few crafter upgrades should you reach the hit cap.

Wrists
Tons of options here for your wrists. The easiest option is to grab the Fleshwerk Shackles from the “Killing Two Scourge With One Skeleton” quest in Icecrown. This will give you another 26 spell hit and some modest spell damage. While out doing some instance, feel free to grab any of the other options or even the Ancestral Sinew Wristguards from the Wyrmrest Accord reputation, or there are countless drops. But at the very minimum the easy quest reward will do you just fine. I know! They are green, you’ll probably get teased, but performance isn’t always about being geared in “Purples” I have successfully outperformed many much better geared players by keeping focused and ignoring the color to recognize my requirements.

Gloves
I know I am starting to sound like a broken record. But how easy is this? Is it possible that we are going to prepare for raiding without the endless heroic grind? This goes against everything we ever heard! Isn’t the grind and complete randomness and drop disappointment part of the raiding rite of passage? Granted, the gloves that drop in heroic nexus are pretty sweet. The gloves of Glistening Runes have beautiful stats, a socket, and decent spell power. I wouldn’t pass on them if they dropped, but the crafted Ebonweave Gloves with the +51 Hit rating and +77 spellpower are the answer to the new raiding warlock’s prayers. Until you’re hit capped these are only matched by a few 10 and 25 man raid drops - worth every penny if you have to buy them and even better if you can craft them. Throw the precision enchant for another +20 hit or the exceptional spellpower if you don’t need the plus Hit.

Wand
The wand of Blinding Light, a quest reward for completing The Cleansing of Jintha’Kalar in Dragonblight ,is easy to get and has a small amount of hit. It is nowhere near the best available but it is easy to obtain. With wands, there are so many available and even this low level 146 item isn’t bad. The only other one I would maybe try to get is the Wand of the San’layn. Because it drops in Heroic Utguarde Keep, it isn’t a bad one that too many farm for, but not completely necessary.

Hit Rating
Hat of Wintry Doom 44
Emeline's Locket 25
Dark Soldier Cape 29
Ebonweave Robe 68
Fleshwerk Shackles 26
Ebonweave Gloves 51
Leiah's Footpads 43
Flameheart Spell Scalpel 34
Glove Enchant 20
Icewalker 12
Wand of Blinding Light 15
Total 367
GEAR OVERVIEW

As you can see, with mostly crafted, purchased and quest reward gear we have reached the spell hit need to be able to go into Naxx and never miss. We also have plenty of room in slots such as trinkets, offhand, legs etc to use more gear to boost our spell power. Any time you can replace one of the items and maintain your spell hit, your contribution to damage is only going to increase.

SHARDS

As a warlock we will be expected to drop healthstones, summon people, etc. Be sure to bring plenty of shards with you. As we expect a mage to provide water or healers to rez, we have our duties as well. Don’t get upset if you are repeatedly asked to summon people and go in expecting that you will be. I go into a raid with no less than 30 shards and sometimes more. Make sure to have that on your pre-raid checklist.

MODS

If you are able to play with user mods, there a few  that can help you as a player and a few that you may not use, but will help some of the supporting members of your raid. A threat meter for example. You should get in the habit of using one. They are very effective at providing you some feedback on where you stand on the MOBs hate chart. Even if you do not use it, having it installed will allow it to communicate with your tank’s threat meter. Raiding isn’t the time to be selfish. Be open to the idea to using one if for nothing more than your tanks sake. There are plenty of Aggro mods that can be configure to use a minimal amount of screen real estate and still provide feedback needed for the raid.

Other mods to consider are boss mods. These can provide vital feedback on how/when to react to certain situations. While they shouldn’t be depended on, some raids will require them and quite frankly early on they are a great way to get you to learn how to recognize when reactions should occur.

RESEARCH

I know it sounds obvious. But there are plenty of ways to research the raid you are going to do before you step foot in it. Most encounters go in slow motion once you are familiar with them and have done them a few times. There is no substitute for experience. But whether you are raiding in a 10 man group or a 25 man group, have the respect to spend a little time to familiarize yourself with the encounters before you go. It’s not difficult to watch a video or two and read over some strategy options. Of course there will be some discussion depending on your group, but don’t rely on others to guide you, nor should you discount anything a more experienced player offers you. The common decency of at least attempting to learn as much as you can will go a long way for the rest of the people there. You will be much more informed and might even be able to offer some strategy suggestions.

PRACTICE

I know what you’re thinking. Ha! You are 80. You’re not some noob. Practice is important and very easy to do. Major cities now have target dummies. No reason not to visit the highest level target dummy and practice a 3 minute spell rotation every now and then. Try changing it up on the dummy and see the results. World of Warcraft changes often. Our character abilities and talents are no different. A few minutes of practice and/or research every now and then wouldn’t hurt. I’ll bet you’d be surprised how useful it is.

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