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World of Warcraft: Legion: Warlock guide

Our overview of the three Warlock specialisations and their strengths and weaknesses in WOW Legion.

The Warlock is one of World of Warcraft’s major DPS classes, one which excels at dealing damage through a variety of ranged playstyles. In this Warlock guide, you’ll find the an overview of the class’s three specialisations, which collectively offer a very flexible approach to damage dealing that will appeal to players looking for a nuanced casting system that combines resource management and multiple targeting priorities.

One of the most complex classes of the vanilla World of Warcraft, the Warlock always felt more akin to a “hero” class like the Death Knight or the Demon Hunter - while balanced as an overall class, an expert player can pull off some amazing tricks with a Warlock.

These dark casters are the most resilient of all cloth users, and their ability to sacrifice health to recover mana means they are rarely in need of downtime. They are also the game’s other pet-based class, although Warlock pets - enslaved demons - tend to be much more passive than the Hunters', boosting their owner’s stats or abilities for the most part.

The first Warlock to be properly introduced into the Warcraft mythos was, of course, arch-villain Gul’dan back in the original Warcraft RTS, and most Warlock storylines still present them as having somewhat of a mean, power-hungry streak. Still, Azeroth seems to have generally accepted that all the player-controlled Warlocks couldn’t care less about the promises of power of their former Legion masters, or at least aren’t an immediate threat.

We’ll use this guide to compare the three Warlock specialisations - Affliction, Destruction, and Demonology - giving you an idea of the kind of playstyle you should expect from each of them, and explaining in which situations they shine or flounder. Keep watching this space for everything Warlock-related throughout the course of the current WOW Legion expansion.

Editor's note: Update #1 - With the new year arrives our freshly written Demonology Warlock guide. With it, you'll learn how to effectivly master the demonic powers at your Warlock's disposal, summoning and enslaving the Burning Legion's impressive rooster of demons to do your bidding. In this Demonology Warlock guide - which you can find linked below - we will, as usual, offer you an optimal talent build and show you the rotations that work best with it. And in the future, we'll showcase an optimal progression path for your artifact weapon too

Affliction

The Affliction Warlock is one of the most unique caster classes in the game, as it focusses on dealing damage on the long-term through damage-over-time “DoT” spells on enemies. This affords considerable mobility to the specialisation, as once set in motion these spells will do their work passively until their timer expires. On the flipside, this also means that it takes a while for the Affliction damage to ramp up, leaving the spec at a disadvantage when a target needs to be killed fast.

Their ability to apply such spells to multiple targets make Affliction Warlocks a great choice for leveling and questing.

- Affliction Warlock guide

Strengths
  • Strong damage output across the board.
  • Excellent mobility.
Weaknesses
  • Dealing with priority targets.
  • For optimal performance, needs to relocate talents between multiple target and single target fights.

Demonology

The Demonology Warlock received a big overhaul in WOW Legion, transitioning from the capability to turn into a demon form (a trait now reserved to the Demon Hunter) to becoming a master at summoning and controlling demons. While every Warlock can be considered a “pet” class, Demonology Warlocks make the most out of their pets and can summon several extra ones to help them out for brief periods of time.

This is a fantastic specialisation for players that want to deal a high amount of damage in style, and aim to do high-end content such as raids and Mythic dungeons. Summoning several demons to unleash on enemies is incredibly satisfying, and while Affliction performs better overall in Mythic + dungeons, the difference is not so big as to be a deal-breaker.

Demonology Warlock guide

Strengths
  • Strong single-target damage.
  • Great survivability.
Weaknesses
  • Dealing with priority targets.
  • Long multiple-target fights.

More WOW class guides:

Death Knight guideDemon Hunter guideDruid guide
Hunter guideMage guideMonk guide
Paladin guidePriest guideRogue guide
Shaman guideWarlock guideWarrior guide

Other WOW guides:

Destruction

This specialisation is faithful to its name, and playing a Destruction Warlock feels suitably powerful and chaotic. While not as specialised as its Affliction or Demonology counterparts, Destruction provides a pretty decent damage output, and is a bit better at eliminating targets quickly - plus it's a good starting choice for end-game dungeon and raid content, as it tends to be a less gear-dependant specialisation that the others.

Strengths
  • Strong single-target and dual-target damage.
  • Dealing with priority targets.
Weaknesses
  • Very low mobility. Needs to be mostly rooted in place.
  • Low multiple-target (3+) damage.

Destruction Warlock guide

That’s it for our overview of the Warlock’s specialisations! Which one will you be playing? Let us know in the comments below, and keep checking in for updates and other Warlock-related news!

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