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  1. Intro Warlocks are mainly brought to raids for their high damage output and the class is arguably the most competitive dps class in late 1.12 content. On top of that they bring a ton of utility to the raid; Soulstones, Curses, Blood Pact and top AoE abilities. I raided every instance in Vanilla wow in a hardcore setting for a long time and decided to share what I learnt so far. This guide is meant for players who are new to the Warlock class and wants to understand the different playstyles and talent builds the class has to offer in PvE. The guide includes a list of pre-raid BiS gear as well as potential upgrades in raids and discussions/explanations on which stats to prioritize and why. At the end of the guide there is also information on how to tank the Twin Emperors in AQ40. Overview Race choice Talents and Playstyles Raid Consumables Warlock Stats A note on Trinkets and Cooldowns in general Preraid BiS Gear Enchants World Buffs Itemization in raids Tanking Twin Emperors 1. Race choice Before I get into talent specs and gear choice I'd like to quickly talk about Race choice. The playable Warlock Races are Human, Gnome, Undead and Orc where Gnome is the only Race with a racial that benefits Warlocks in PvE. "Expansive Mind" gives you 5% increased intellect which ends up being ~1% extra damage in a normal raid setting. The big differences between the races are mainly PvP-based; Stun resist (Orc), Wotf (Undead), Escape Artist (Gnome) and Perception (Human). Since this is a PvE guide I won't waste your time discussing them but simply state that the Race you choose to play has minimal impact on your performance in a Raid. 2. Talents and Playstyles Talent build 1: Shadow Mastery + Ruin (SM/Ruin, 30/0/21) (The Curse of Exhaustion skill is only useful on Kel'Thuzad and Curse of Agony and Amplify Curse are very situational as you start raiding so you are free to move those talents around. The rest is pretty much mandatory, though. Also note that the only reason we spec into Siphon Life is to reach the "Shadow Mastery"-talent, it's a very inefficient spell overall so don't use it just because you spent a talent point on it.) The spec above is very good for starting out when you're a newly dinged level 60 player. It uses Imp as a pet which brings extra stamina for your party, and it boosts the damage/hit chance of your damage over time abilities which are good in 5-man and 10-man instances. Immolate, Corruption and Curse of Agony are all spells that increases your damage dealt compared to just Shadow Bolting as long as the mob doesn't die long before the dot runs out. In Vanilla World of Warcraft there is a limited amount of debuff slots on bosses which means that there is a limited amount of dots you can put on a raid boss before they start to overwrite/delete each other. When you are raiding with 39 other people who all have to share a certain amount of debuff slots you'll have to prioritize the important debuffs and there are usually more important ones than the average Warlock DoT. Warlocks in TBC are usually referred to as "Shadow Bolt-bots" since spamming only Shadow Bolt can be the most effective way to do damage, but the reason Warlocks in 1.12 doesn't use many DoTs is because there just aren't enough debuff slots for them. The spec above is very useful while playing in smaller groups where there is room for Curse of Agony, Corruption and Immolate, but in larger raids there is a more effective talent build that is less focused on DoTs and more focused on Shadow Bolts: Talent build 2: Demonic Sacrifice + Ruin (DS/Ruin, 7/21/23) ("Improved Voidwalker", "Improved Succubus" and "Fel Stamina" in the Demonology tree are filler talents that aren't important for the overall build) As a DS/Ruin Warlock you sacrifice your Succubus with the spell "Demonic Sacrifice" to gain a 15% increased Shadow damage buff. 15% increased damage from "Demonic Sacrifice" beats 10% increased damage from "Shadow Mastery" making this a more effective damage output build when only using Shadow Bolt. In raids, however, there are need for both these talent specs: DS/Ruin doesn't use an Imp so you need at least one SM/Ruin specced Warlock to provide Blood Pact for the tank group. Depending on the raid (and depending on if the debuff slot limit is 8 or 16) there might still be room for Warlock debuffs. Which ones are going to be used is something you and your guild members has to discuss. Curse of Recklessness (CoR), Curse of Shadows (CoS) and Curse of Elements (CoE) are all mandatory to the point where you usually have three Warlocks individually dedicated to these spells to make sure they are always up on important targets. If there is still room for more debuffs on the boss then DoTs like Corruption and Curse of Agony could be used in moderation. In later instances like AQ40 or Naxxramas where Mages are fire-specced it's very important that there is debuff room for Ignite. Ignite is a huge dps boost for Mages and any Warlock DoTs that run the risk of overwriting Ignite should not be used. In instances where Mages are frost-specced (MC/BWL) people are usually more liberal with who can use what DoTs but later on there is a very strict amount of Warlock DoTs that is allowed to be used. In my old guild we used CoR, CoS and CoE and allowed three Warlocks to use Corruption. If we added a fourth player to use Corruption we risked Ignite being overwritten. Before you start raiding the spec I'd recommend is the SM/Ruin spec. In 40-man-raids there is a limit to how many SM/Ruin Warlocks that is optimal to use, so which one to play is something you have to discuss with your Class Leader. There are no other good talent builds for Warlocks to use in PvE. A 30/21/0 talent build lacks "Improved Shadow Bolt", "Bane" and "Ruin" which are all very important talents. And since there are no spammable fire spells in 1.12 you can't spec full Destruction either. Regardless of what talents you choose, the most efficient spell rotation is always to mash Shadow Bolt (and use DoTs if you are allowed to). Even if you would spend all your talent points in the Destruction tree you would still lose dps using fire spells compared to just Shadow Bolt spamming, so there is no reason to spec into any other spells. The only possible PvE build that's not SM/Ruin or DS/Ruin would be MD/Ruin (0/30/21) with a Succubus, but that's simply a downgraded DS/Ruin build. I also want to talk about the spell "Shadowburn" which shares the same characteristics as a Shadow Bolt except for that it's shorter range, instant cast, has a cooldown and uses a Soul Shard. Normally while leveling you'd only use this spell as a finisher as you don't get the Soul Shard back unless the enemy dies from it, but in raids you can increase your overall damage by using it every cooldown despite losing a Shard every time you do so. You should make sure to fill your Shard bag while fighting trash so you have the ability to spam Shadowburn on bosses. One important thing to notice which isn't very apparent, however, is that Shadowburn doesn't benefit as much from your +Spell Power stat as Shadow Bolt does (3/7 instead of 6/7). So if you are low geared you will see Shadowburn doing about the same damage as Shadow Bolt, but the better geared you get the more effective Shadow Bolt will become while Shadowburn will lag behind. It's always a damage-increase though considering it only uses 1,5sec of your time, and it's especially useful if you need to move around as Instant-cast spells don't require you to stand still. Lastly, make sure to hand out Healthstones to people who need them and put some effort into Soulstoning healers. And as an SM/Ruin Warlock focus on positioning your Imp correctly so the tank gets the Blood Pact buff, that's (one of the) main reasons you are in the raid in the first place. 3. Raid Consumables Elixir of Shadow Power Greater Arcane Elixir Wizard Oil (Patch 1.7/ZG Patch: Brilliant Wizard Oil) Limited Invulnerability Potion (LIP) (Use if you pull aggro, very important potion) Fire/Frost/Shadow/Arcane/Nature Protection Potions (Depending on Instance) Doing it right^ 4. Warlock Stats The three important stats for Warlocks are +Hit%, +Crit% and +Spell damage (this includes +Shadow damage as we almost always use Shadow spells). Intellect increases your Maximum Mana (and to some extent increases your Crit chance) but Warlocks aren't very mana-dependent because of Lifetap so Intellect is not a very important stat overall. Warlocks usually don't have problems with their HP Pool either (like Mages do) so you can generally ignore Stamina as well. There is also a stat called "Decreases the magical resistances of your spell targets by XX", but in PvE that's mostly a useless stat. Curse of Shadows reduces the Shadow Resistances of the target by 75 and since no boss in the game has more than 75 Shadow Resistance there is no reason to get items that reduces the targets Resistances. So when you compare items for PvE you should almost exclusively look at the +Hit%, +Crit% and +Spell damage. The traditional base stats is of much less importance and should very rarely impact which item you choose over another. So how much is each of the important stats worth in comparison to each other? A Warlock starts off with an 83% chance to Hit with a spell. The maximum amount of Hit is 99% (the last percent is always going to be a miss) so the Hit Cap is 16% (99% - 83% = 16%), any more Hit than that is wasted. If you Crit you deal twice the amount of damage you normally would (assuming you talented into "Ruin"). However, according to Darkrasp in another thread you cannot Crit a missed spell. So if you are at 90% Hit chance then 10% of your Crits are going to be wasted on a missed spell. This means that an item with the stat +1% Hit Chance increases your overall damage with slightly more than 1% (depending on your current Hit chance) while an item with the stat +1% Crit chance increases your overall damage with slightly less than 1% (also depending on your Hit chance). So +Hit% is always better than the same amount of +Crit% then? No. Crit is actually a better stat for Warlocks than Hit because of the "Improved Shadow Bolt" talent in the Destruction talent tree. If your Shadow Bolt Crits a target it doesn't only do extra damage, it also increases the damage done by the next four direct Shadow damage spells made against it by 20% each. So while you feel good about Critting a spell you are only about halfways through the real value of that Crit. For example, if the next four Shadow Bolts done to the target are hits, that means that you didn't only do your Shadow Bolt damage times 2, but 2,8 (2 + 0,20 + 0,20 + 0,20 + 0,20) which is a lot of extra damage. The Improved Shadow Bolt debuff is dependant on not getting a Crit right after another (the new Improved Shadow Bolt debuff overwrites the old one) and since there are other debuffs that might overwrite it you can't calculate the exact value of Crit. In a Raid setting I'd say that +1% Crit is 1.5 times as good as +1% Hit, but it could be anywhere from ~0.75 to 2 times as good. And note that the other Warlocks in the raid shares the same Improved Shadow Bolt debuff, so if you Crit the boss you probably won't benefit from the debuff because the other Warlocks already used up the charges. But you will obviously benefit from their Crits, so it evens out. For personal DPS in raid you could argue that +Hit% is slightly better than +Crit% but for the overall raid +Crit% is a much more important stat. But how much Spell Power is 1% Hit worth? It all depends on your stats. Shadow Bolt gains damage from 6/7 of your existing Spell Power, meaning that if you have an item giving you 7 Spell Power your non-crit Shadow Bolts will do 6 damage more. So if you for example have 90% Hit Chance and enough Spell Power to do on average 1000 damage per non-crit Shadow Bolt your average Shadow Bolt cast does 1000 x 0,90 = 900 damage (excluding Crit as it's not relevant for the comparison). Improving your Hit Chance by 1% will bring you to 91% Hit Chance which would lead to the average Shadow Bolt cast doing 910 damage, a 10 damage difference. To reach that amount of damage from Spell Power you'd need 10/0,90 divided by 6/7 which equals ~13 Spell Power. In this situation 13 Spell Power increases your damage as much as +1% Hit Chance. When you start out playing your Shadow Bolts won't do 1000 damage meaning that it's more reasonable to value +1% Hit less than at 13 Spell Power. Maybe it's worth 8 Spell power, or 10. When you are Raiding Naxxramas in Tier 3 it might be worth as much as 25 Spell power. An easy way to calculate this is to look at your average non-crit Shadow Bolt damage and divide that number by 100 and add ~25%, and that's how much Spell Power any +1% Hit is worth. And if you use Corruption or Curse of Agony in raids (which are DoTs that doesn't benefit from +Hit% [at least as SM/Ruin] or +Crit%) then you might only add ~15% instead. Use your own judgement. It's also important to note that when you miss a spell it says "Resist". If your target would have resisted your spell with actual Shadow Resistance it also says "Resist". So you can't know for sure if they resisted because you lacked Hit% or Resistance Penetration, but in most PvE situations it's most likely just a "miss". I'd also like to mention that there is no "needed" Hit Chance for raiding. You shouldn't value "having a certain amount of Hit", you should simply go for the highest average damage stat. If that means that you won't have any +Hit% from gear at all then so be it. Be smart. 5. A note on Trinkets and Cooldowns in general On-use-Trinkets are often times very underrated compared to the ones passively giving stats. The reason for this is that it's very comfortable to calculate Trinket damage in a vacuum. For example: The MC Trinket "Talisman of Ephemeral Power" gives you an extra 175 Spell power for 15 seconds, and has a 1,5 minute cooldown. One way to calculate the overall worth of this item is to see that this trinket is active 1/6th of the time and gives 175 Spell Power so all you have to do to understand the usefulness of this Trinket is to divide 175 by 6. 175/6 = 29 Spell Power. So it's as good as the Trinket "Briarwood Reed" then, as it also gives 29 Spell Power? That's not a realistic way to calculate the value of an On-Use Trinket. There are two main reasons for this: 1. The trinket will most likely be on cooldown even after the fight ends. If we take the MC Trinket I mentioned above as an example again, any time the fight is not exactly (N * 90s) you will get more DPS out of the trinket than you "should". For example, if the fight is 2 minutes long you get to use the trinket twice over a 120 second period. 120/(2*15) = 1/4. 1/4 multiplied by 175 is 43,75. That makes the Trinket a clear upgrade from the Briarwood Reed 29 Spell Power Trinket. And if the fight is only 15 seconds long the Trinket gave you 175 Spell Power flat over the entire fight. Any cooldown left on your Trinket when the fight is over is a DPS increase. 2. When you fight a boss you don't cast Shadow Bolt the entire time. You move around, you hide, you Life Tap or alt tab to check out some girl on Instagram. Assuming you are a decent player you only use the Trinket when you know the next 15 or 20 seconds will be spent Shadowbolting the boss so when you later have to run to the other side of the room your Trinket is ticking down. If you play an encounter like the Four Horsemen where you dps a boss maybe half of the time then your on-use Trinkets becomes twice as effective since you use them twice as much per second that you are actually dpsing. This way, your trinket becomes more effective the smarter you use it. Don't treat Active Trinket-effects as if they were in a vacuum. There are very few times you shouldn't have an on-use-Trinket equipped assuming you looted Talisman of Ephemeral Power or the Zul'Gurub trinket Zandalarian Hero Charm. 6. Patch 1.12 Preraid BiS Gear Preraid BiS stands for the "Best in Slot" items available pre-Raid (from quests or non-raid-instances). Some items like the Bloodvine Set isn't available until Zul'Gurub is out which makes it tricky to make a definitive list of items to farm before entering your first raid. I'll try to give you alternatives but otherwise this list assumes you are playing on patch 1.12. Head: Spellweaver's Turban (General Drakkisath, UBRS) Alternatives: Crimson Felt Hat (Magistrate Barthilas, Stratholme) or Deathmist Mask (T0,5, Dungeon set quest chain) Neck: Diana's Pearl Necklace (Cannon Master Willey, Stratholme Living) Alternatives: Dark Advisor's Pendant (Vectus, Scholomance) or Arcane Crystal Pendant (Winterspring Quest) Shoulders: Felcloth Shoulders (Tailoring BoE, Recipe is too random to farm) Alternative: Burial Shawl (Several bosses in Scholomance) Back: Amplifying Cloak (Magister Kalendris, Dire Maul West) Alternatives: Stormpike Sage's Cloak/Frostwolf Advisor's Cloak (Alterac Valley Reward) or Spritecaster Cape (Houndmaster Grebmar, BRD) Chest: Bloodvine Vest (Tailoring BoE, Pattern is Zul'Gurub Reputation Reward) assuming Zul'Gurub is out, otherwise Robe of the Void (Tailoring BoP, Pattern drops from Darkmaster Gandling, Scholomance) or Robe of Winter Night (Tailoring BoE, Pattern drops from Winterspring Elites). Wrist: Rockfury Bracers (Extremely long quest in Silithus which also requires Revered reputation with Cenarion Circle, also requires Patch 1.8, not recommended) Alternatives: Any version of Dryad's Wrist Bindings depending on your Warsong Gulch Reputation, Sublime Wristguards (Guard Slip'kik, Guard Mol'dar, Dire Maul North) or in worst case scenario Deathmist Bracers (T0,5, Dungeon set quest chain) Hands: Felcloth Gloves (Tailoring BoE, Recipe is too rare to farm) Alternative: Deathmist Wraps (T0,5, Dungeon set quest chain) Waist: Ban'thok Sash (Blackrock Depths Arena drop) Alternatives: Frostwolf Cloth Belt/Stormpike Cloth Girdle (Alterac Valley Reputation Reward), Tier 0,5 Belt (T0 Belt + Dungeon Set Quest), Thuzadin Sash (Nerub'Enkan, Stratholme) or Dustfeather Sash (Solakar Flamewreath, UBRS) Legs: Bloodvine Leggings (Tailoring BoE, Pattern is Zul'Gurub Reputation Reward) assuming Zul'Gurub is out, otherwise Flarecore Leggings (Tailoring BoE, Recipe requires Revered Reputation with Thorium Brotherhood), Leggings of Torment (Lord Valthalak, UBRS, part of T0,5 quest chain) or Skyshroud Leggings (Highlord Omokk, LBRS) Feet: Bloodvine Boots (Tailoring BoE, Pattern is Zul'Gurub Reputation Reward) assuming Zul'Gurub is out, otherwise Maleki's Footwraps (Maleki the Pallid, Stratholme) or Omnicast Boots (Golem Lord Argelmach, BRD) Rings: Rune Band of Wizardry (Lord Valthalak, UBRS, part of T0,5 quest chain) and Don Mauricio's Band of Dominion (Darkmaster Gandling, Scholomance) Alternatives: Underworld Band (BoE world drop), Maiden's Circle (Non-unique BoE world drop) or Songstone of Ironforge/Eye of Orgrimmar (BRD Quest) Trinkets: Briarwood Reed (Jed Runewatcher, Rare spawn in UBRS), Eye of the Beast (UBRS quest), Royal Seal of Eldre'Thalas (Dire Maul "drop") and/or Draconic Infused Emblem (General Drakkisath, UBRS) Wand: Skul's Ghastly Touch (Skul, Stratholme, if you can catch him), Bonecreeper Stylus (Darkmaster Gandling, Scholomance), Ritssyn's Wand of Bad Mojo (Baron Rivendare, Stratholme) or any green random attribute wand with a lot of +Shadow damage 2h Weapons: Lord Valthalak's Staff of Command (Lord Valthalak, UBRS, Part of T0,5 quest chain) or Soul Harvester (Warlock quest in Felwood) Main hand weapons: The Lost Kris of Zedd (Random drop in Silithus/AQ20) assuming AQ is out, otherwise Sageblade (Blacksmithing BoE, Recipe drops in raid instances) Offhand weapons: Scepter of Interminable Focus (Sothos and Jarien, Stratholme Living, part of T0,5 quest chain) or Tome of Shadow Force/Therazane's Touch (Alterac Valley Exalted Reward) Some of the R7/R8/R10 and R12/R13 PvP pieces are better than the gear mentioned above, in case you feel like ranking. And if you find another alternative then go for it, just look for +Spell Power or +Shadow Damage items and you'll probably find something that works well. The Bloodvine set is good and it's even better if you have 300 Tailoring which unlocks the +2% Crit set bonus. It scales well with gear and you might use one, two or all three set-pieces as late as in Naxxramas. 7. Enchants Head and Legs: +8 Spell Power until you can get the ZG Idol (+18 Spell Power / +10 Stamina) Shoulders: The only two Shoulder enchants that exists are the Zul'Gurub Exalted Enchant (+18 Spell Power) and the Sapphiron Enchant (+15 Spell Power and +1% Crit). Cloak: Subtlety as soon as AQ is out Chest: +100 Mana / +4 Stats (+Mana is better in low gear, +Stats is better in high gear) Bracers: +7 Intellect or +9 Stamina Gloves: +20 Shadow Power as soon as AQ is out Boots: Minor Speed (8% speed increase) Weapon Enchant: +30 Spell Power 8. World Buffs World Buffs are a big part of Vanilla WoW and one of the reasons the game world feels so alive. Pre-TBC there are several long-duration buffs you can (and should!) gather prior to a raid in order to maximize your raid performance. These buffs are usually gotten far out in the world but their long duration (1 or 2 hours) gives you enough time to travel to the raid instance. World Buffs give you increased survivability, movement speed or increased damage. Unfortunately they don't last past death so you will have to avoid world PvP as much as possible after getting them, which can be a challenge on highly populated servers. World Buffs also forces you to play very safe in raids, I'd for example highly recommend saving your potion cooldown for Limited Invulnerability Potion or Protection/HP Potions instead of spending it on a Mana Potion as the safety of keeping your World Buffs is worth a lot. Dieing early on in a raid doesn't only lose you damage on that fight, but it also lowers your damage on future bossfights as you're now without World Buffs. I'll list the different World Buffs and explain how to get them and what they are good for: The Head-buff: Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer is an AoE-buff that's gained from turning in the Onyxia or Nefarian head in Stormwind or Orgrimmar. This World Buff is usually planned by the guild beforehand ("We are popping head at 19:30") and buffs everybody in a large area (SW/OG Gates) for two hours. It's one of the buffs that's leechable and infinite so if another guild is using it you can just show up and get it for no effort. This is one of the more powerful World Buffs and benefits Warlocks a lot. The Heart-buff: Spirit of Zandalar is another AoE-buff that's gained from turning in the Heart of Hakkar at Yojamba Isle in STV. It's also a leechable AoE-buff that's usually planned by the guild beforehand ("We are popping heart at 19:20"). Since Yojamba Isle is far from civilization in contested territory as opposed to the Onyxia/Nefarian buff it's more risky to use. Usually this is the first guild buff to be used before a mage opens a portal to SW/OG for the head-buff. Warlocks benefits from this buff the least of all classes as our dps isn't very dependant on stats but 10% movement speed and 15% extra Intellect and Stamina is still a big deal. At Yojamba Isle you also have the chance to gain the Spirit of Zanza potion from Rin'wosho the Trader. Bring some ZG Coins or Bijous to exchange for Zandalar Honor Token, it's the currency used by the Zandalar trolls. Buy one Zanza, use it, then buy another one (They are unique so you can only have one in your inventory at a time). There are three Zanzas to choose from but the +50 stamina/spirit one is superior by far. The DMF-buff: (The damage increase from this buff in vanilla is always 10%) The Darkmoon Faire buff is not always available but very good if you can get hold of it. Talk to Sayge who is part of the Darkmoon Caravan outside Stormwind or Mulgore and choose the first option twice for a 2 hour +10% damage buff. You can also choose +10% Stamina or other stat increases (see here). The DM-buffs: The Dire Maul buffs are different than the ones above as it requires you to do a Dire Maul North Tribute run before you can gather them. By avoiding to kill some of the bosses in the instance you not only gain better loot at the end but you also get the opportunity to talk to the unkilled bosses for buffs. Usually you have five people from the guild clear the instance so everybody else can run in afterwards to get the buffs. Note that you can only be 5 people inside the instance at a time, if someone tries to be the 6th person to enter they will get teleported to stonetalon mountains so always make sure you are next in line before entering. You have to be very coordinated if you want to have an entire raid grab these buffs from a single cleared Dire Maul. These buffs aren't as gamechanging as the Head/Heart buffs mentioned above, at least not for casters, but worth the time if you have it or were going to play DM anyway. After gaining the (de)buff from the end of the instance which makes the ogres friendly you also have the ability to speak to Stomper Kreeg near the start of the instance, he sells Gordok Green Grog if you can't afford the better but more expensive Rumsey Rum Black Label. The Songflower-buff: The Songflower buff is gained from Corrupted Songflowers in Felwood. By turning in Corrupted Soul Shards or certain profession materials (Enchanting, Herbalism, Mining or Skinning) you gain Cenarion Plant Salves that are used to cleanse Songflowers for the Songflower Serenade buff. The buff only lasts an hour and you have to go to Felwood for it, but 5% Crit chance is a pretty decent damage increase. Stack up on plant salves beforehand and make sure to stay logged out until raidstart in order to save the buff for as long as possible. The Blasted Lands-buffs: Lastly, the Blasted Lands buffs, which are gained by turning in various animal body parts to the Blood Elves in the Blasted Lands. Farm or buy the materials beforehand and turn them in before the raid starts for a stat consumable of your choice. They are unique which means that you can only bring one of each, so pop one and bring one in your bags just like you do with the Zanza potions. They only last for 1 hour and has a 1 hour cooldown so you can only have one active at a time. Small stat increases like these are fairly useless for Warlocks so you can safely ignore these buffs, even if you are raiding with a hardcore guild. 25 Str/25 Agi for a Fury/Rogue is decently useful and 25 Stamina for a tank can make a difference, but it's absolutely not necessary for Warlocks to bring the +25 Int version to a raid. These quests are great to do while leveling but aren't worth it for the buffs alone. I think it's important to know about all of these buffs but which ones to actually care about is up to you. As mentioned, some of these buffs are more important for melee classes than casters, so as a Warlock you don't have to gather up every single one of them before a raid. Sure, you'll impress your guildies but the damage difference of some of these are very slight. Make sure to be part of the Onyxia/Nefarian Head and Hakkar Heart buffs if your guild gets them, and grab the DMF buff if the caravan is close to one of your cities. If you want to churn out that extra dps and got some extra time before raidstart then the Dire Maul/Songflower buffs are decent damage boosts. But remember: if you die on the way to the instance or to some trash pack early on all your work was for nothing. 9. Itemization in raids Which items to look for in Molten Core and Onyxia is partially dependant on what 5-man dungeons you farmed and partially dependant on what patch you play on. The Tier 1 and Tier 2 sets goes through a massive change in Patch 1.4/1.5 which makes a world of difference. For example, the Warlock Tier 2 pants only had +Fire Damage stats Pre-patch which makes them almost useless in PvE but post-patch they are the best ones around. This makes it hard to say which items that are important and hard to make a definive list of the items to look for. There are, however, a few specific items from Molten Core that stands out and lasts over several patches without needing to be replaced. The Choker of the Fire Lord dropping from Ragnaros won't be replaced until Twin Emperors in AQ40 and Mana Igniting Cord is the best Warlock belt until it's replaced in AQ40/Naxxramas. Azuresong Mageblade dropping from Golemagg won't last past BWL but it's one of those items that's a big upgrade compared to everything else. And Talisman of Ephemeral Power, the most important item of them all, drops from several MC bosses and is a great trinket which won't be replaced until the end of Naxxramas. Blackwing Lair comes with Patch 1.6 and opens up many gear combos. The Tier 2 setpieces are not bad but rarely the best items around, though they can be decent pickups and the set bonuses can justify a few weak pieces. The 3/8 bonus is almost an item in itself, and if you have crap tanks and like to collect sets why not go full 8/8 for 20% threat reduction. Bracers of Arcane Accuracy from Broodlord Lashlayer are on par with Rockfury Bracers (less +sp but more Int) and will be used for a long time. Also, Nefarian drops Neltharion's Tear which is the best trinket in the game meaning you will use it forever. The Nefarian Staff and Headpiece are also very good items, and the Ebony Flame Gloves from Ebonroc is a big upgrade. None of the off-set BWL belts (neither Firemaw's Clutch nor Angelista's Grasp) are as good as Mana Igniting Cord from MC or the T2 Belt. Zul'Gurub (20-man) is a great instance for catching up if you are late to the party. The instance itself doesn't have the best boss drops ever, however, the rep rewards from the Zandalar Tribe faction are godlike. Not far from when ZG is released you will see Bloodvine Vest, Bloodvine Boots and Bloodvine Leggings on the auction house, get them ASAP. If you are exalted with Zandalar Tribe you also get the Spell Power shoulder enchant which is BiS until Sapphiron. And the Idol Enchants, which drops from Jin'do the Hexxer and Bloodlord Mandokir are superb. If you haven't looted Talisman of Ephemeral Power yet then make sure you get the Spell Power Trinket from Heart of Hakkar (it drops every time from the last boss). Turning the heart in buffs every nearby player with a +15% all stats buff for 2 hours so tell your guild to show up before you do so. Hakkar also drops the third best cloak in the game: Cloak of Consumption. The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (20-man) is also a great comeback instance with a few important drops. The last boss drops Staff of the Ruins as well as the second best pants in-game Leggings of the Black Blizzard which aren't replaced until Naxxramas. The set pieces of AQ20 are good but since it takes so long to farm the rep it's arguably not worth it unless you were going to grind Rockfury Bracers anyway. The Set Ring, however, only requires Honored reputation and scales extremely well with gear. The Class books Grimoire of Shadow Bolt X, Grimoire of Immolate VIII, and Grimoire of Corruption VII are key pickups but will most likely also appear on the AH. And of course, make sure to enchant your gloves with +20 Shadow Power as soon as AQ is out. The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj brings a lot of new gear to the table, however the Tier 2.5 set isn't better than the pieces you have from earlier with exception of the Shoulderpads. Sharpened Silithid Femur and Royal Scepter of Vek'lor dropping from Fankriss/Vek'lor is a strong combo or if you prefer staffs then look for the Blessed Qiraji Acolyte Staff (dropping from multiple bosses in the form of Imperial Qiraji Regalia). BiS Gloves and BiS Belt in the game drops from C'Thun. Beware though, if you are going for the (very good) threat-reduction set bonus from Naxxramas you will replace both the gloves and the belt for Tier 3 items. Ring of the Fallen God (Eye of C'Thun) is the 2nd best ring in-game and will be used forever. With the exception of a Finger and Trinket slot you will eventually fill the rest of your Character Pane with only Naxxramas items. My recommendation is to get Leggings of Polarity and one of the three good bracers that exists (Rockfury Bracers, Bracers of Arcane Accuracy or the best ones The Soul Harvester's Bindings), skip Tier 3 Bracers, Legs and Ring (which are only good for PvP) and go for the Tier 3 6/9 set bonus which is extremely useful. Or if you looted the C'Thun Gloves and Belt I mentioned earlier then 4/9 T3 (Only Tier 3 Head, Shoulders, Chest and Boots) is an alternative (and then you might find Eye of Diminution useful). And if you don't get to collect Splinters of Atiesh then aim for Wraith Blade and Sapphiron's Left Eye or another great staff Brimstone Staff. Best Ring in the game drops from the Four Horsemen. Sapphiron provides the Sapphiron enchant (replacing your ZG shoulder enchant), he also drops the best cloak, best offhand and the best on-use-Trinket in the game: The Restrained Essence of Sapphiron. Kel'Thuzad loot consists of the best Wand, the best Neck and a great passive anti-Undead Trinket to use on basically all Naxxramas-bosses. 10. Tanking Twin Emperors There is a specific encounter in The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj called the Twin Emperors. The bossfight consists of two bosses; Emperor Vek'lor and Emperor Vek'nilash. Vek'Nilash is immune to all spell damage and Vek'lor is immune to all melee damage which means that a "normal" tank cannot tank Vek'lor, you have to have a spellcaster doing it. Vek'lor casts Shadow Bolts on its target so a lot of Shadow Resistance is needed for the caster tank, and since Warlocks has an easy time resisting Shadow damage and causing threat it's the best class choice for that role. The one tricky part with this encounter is that the two bosses cannot be close to each other during the fight since they heal very quickly if they are within a certain distance of each other. The second tricky part is that they switch positions every 30 seconds. Vek'lor teleports to Vek'nilash's position and the other way around. This means that you need to have a Warrior tank and a Warlock tank on each side (so 4 tanks in total, two of them Warlocks). Before I explain the fight in detail I'll go through the gear needed for it. The Shadow resistance cap is 315 and it's highly recommended to reach it for this boss as all the damage done by the spellcasting boss is by Shadow Bolts. With the help of Mark of the Wild, Prayer of Shadow Protection and Demon armor you already have ~100 Shadow resistance so you need up to 215 Shadow Resistance from gear. Optional: You can also respec into MD/Ruin (0/30/21) and summon a Felhunter which passively gives you +60 to all resistances. Below I listed the best Twin tanking gear. If you get them all you will probably end up with more SR than 315 which isn't needed, so prioritize the ones you can get and use your best damage gear for the other slots as damage is obviously also important for keeping threat. Head: Nemesis Skullcap, Neck: Eidolon Talisman, Shoulderpads: Tier 1 or Argent Shoulders, Back: Juno's Shadow or preferably Cloak of Untold Secrets dropping from Fankriss. Chest: Garb of Royal Ascension (AQ40 trash drop), Bracers: Funeral Cuffs, Gloves: Rank 7 or Rank 12 PvP gloves are extremely useful and highly recommended to use. Belt: Runed Stygian Belt or Tier 2, Legs: Runed Stygian Leggings, Boots: Runed Stygian Boots, Rings: Anything with +Shadow Resistance, search the AH as good as you can. Jasper Link rings are usually useful. Trinkets: Any on-use Spell Power Trinket will be very effective this fight so the Zul'Gurub or the MC on-use Trinkets are recommended. On the other Trinket slot you should fit Ultra-Flash Shadow Reflector (Engineer only) or Ward of the Elements (from the Onyxia attunement quest). Wand: Serpentine Skuller Weapons: The best weapon(s) you have. Bring any +Stamina consumables you can and pre-pop a Greater Frost Protection Potion (against the blizzards). If you are the one pulling the boss then just run up to Vek'lor, pop Shadow Ward, cast Corruption and spam Searing Pain until the bosses switch positions. Avoid Blizzards as well as you can, they do a lot of damage so if you get targeted by one don't just keep casting. After that keep track of the timers. Every 30 seconds the caster and the melee boss switches sides, so you have to be ready to pick up the caster boss (if he'll be on your side) as soon as the teleport happens. Right before the switch stand as close to the melee boss as you can (right below him). Instantly after the switch you Shadowburn the boss and start to run away from him while dotting him with Corruption and/or Curse of Agony. When you are ~25 yards away from the boss you start spamming Searing Pain on the boss to create as much threat as possible. Keep spamming and make sure you avoid any blizzards. Do this until your 30 seconds of fame is over and the melee boss appears on your side instead. Now take your time to Life Tap to full mana and use Shadow Ward until the next teleport, and then do the same thing again. Repeat until the boss is dead. Remember that if the bosses are awkwardly positioned it is not your job to move them. Since the caster boss has a long range spellcast it's very hard to move the boss to where you want it and it's usually much better to just keep aggro until the switch happens and let the Warrior tank move the boss to where it should be standing. Practice makes perfect, this is a boss fight that's hard to explain on paper so you have to do it yourself a couple times to actually understand what's going on. But I hope I gave you enough information about the encounter to make you ready to try it. If you are still unsure on some aspects of the fight just ask me in the thread and I'll explain it better for you.
  2. Yeah, so there's only three classes in World of Warcraft. Everyone has a different viewpoint so here is mine. So everything starts with the Tank. The whole rhythm of an instance or a raid revolves firstly around your tank. If the drummer is average or bad, you'll know soon enough as mobs split off and head to the other band members. Best bit about the drummer is their ability to hide the occasional mistake by using their awesome talents of recovery. Most importantly, it's about stamina. Drummers don't tend to be flashy, they tend to do their job and just get on with it. So now we move into that other vital component of the band, the healer AKA the bass player. People will say 'Hey! I hear you play bass cause it's easier than guitar and drums' Fuck em. You know, down in the deepest dungeon or trying to nail that boss once again, it's you and the drummer that keeps the whole show on the road because you guys are the entire rhythm section. Why do the drummer and bass player always just *look* at each other? I'll tell you why........... This is why. It's the DPS crew AKA the lead guitar player. No wonder this band is screwed, if we had one lead guitar player we could probably make a decent band but for some reason we seem to have settled on three lead guitar players. All of them off doing their own riffs and gyrating around the stage like some sort of cheap pole dancer. Look at me, look how awesome I am. I can do ~1% less threat than the tank does, consistently, oops sorry, bum note <wipe> And then finally we have the specials, those of you that think just because you play a very special instrument like a retribution paladin you'll fit in the band just fine....