Signs of the End Times

Best hunt a hole, pards, the number one sign of the impending apocalypse has occured; I’ve leveled a Warlock to completion WITHOUT killing it.

Here is the ridiculous part; within an hour of reaching level 90, I was in LFR… without ever stepping foot in a single heroic OR regular instance other than the Chemical Brothers valentines event.

Let that sink in for a moment. My first real Pandaria group was LFR.

How that happened isn’t all that interesting, but in order to save a snapshot in time of how I was able to pull that off at least once in Pandaria, here we go;

When I reached 90, I looked to see what I had available to throw together.

I leveled Engineering to max, so I had the 476 Goggles.
I did Sha of Anger at level 89, so I had the Claw drop quest starter to turn in with the Shado-Pan for boots.
My friend Lilbigears and his wife Em chain-ran the Chemical Brothers with me until I got my 480 necklace. (An easy to get alternative for alts is to wait a few days of dailies until Exalted with the Klaxxi for the 489 necklace).
I had the Inscription-crafted Bind on Account staff I’d made (and upgraded) for my Priest, so I had a non-optimal weapon ready to use. Ew, spirit.

So, four epics all ready to go.

Then, the surprise epics.

I planned on making iLevel 450 PvP Contender Tailoring items to go with them, but when I checked my Tailoring skill I had ‘discovered’ recipes for epic Chest and Glove items, and the only mats needed were Imperial Silk. Oh, and what is that in my bags? A convenient stack of Imperial Silk gathered while I was leveling my Priest slowly over a month or more. !

SIX epics ready to equip within minutes. Crazy.

Throw in the Tailoring 450 PvP items, the Ghost Iron Dragonling, two crafted rings from my Jewelcrafter all from mats I had lying around, and there I was – iLevel 459.

FOUR FIFTY NINE? One damn point away? Oh noes… I’m going to have to run a heroic after all!

Except, I had a BoE 450 cloak sitting in my bank unsold. It’s a Strength/Stam cloak, but if I just leave it in my inventory, will it still count?


Boom, LFR here I come!

And LFR there I went, after I did the reforge, gem, enchant dance.

So, yeah. Theres that. No reputation items, nothing that needed grinding or dailies in any way on this character. Just running Chemical Brothers at 89 in groups, and I could have avoided that for the 489 necklace from Klaxxi.

I’m not saying this is a ‘level a main and go to LFR’ plan, because it depended on having alts that I’d already leveled professions and farmed mats for.

Not everyone has a max level Tailor with the epic recipes and a big stackof Imperial Silk just sitting around gathering dust. but you might have enough gold on your main to buy those crafted items on the AH, so it still counts.

Also, those Jewelcrafting rings I made were crafted from mats just sitting around on my Hunter, and I was glad of it because there was only one ring on the Auction House, and it was a ridiculous 1200 gold. Ouch!

The point remains, I leveled an alt for fun while my Hunter main is coasting along fully decked out, and I was able to reap the benefits of having done the reputations and professions on my other characters.

Fact: the game is not necessarily as alt-unfriendly as has been said elsewhere.

What is still alt-unfriendly is if I wanted to pursue the Legendary questline on more than one character.

Go figure, a Legendary questline requires commitment and time investment. Oh noes!

I think I’ll keep that something special for my Hunter to do.

My next goals are to take this Warlock for a spin in old content, seeing what I can and cannot do. My son wants to get his Warlock the tier hat from Karazhan, so I’ll probably try and run that tonight with some folks to give him another shot.

Yes, Alex loves his Warlock. Truth be told, he likes his Warlock more than his Death Knight, by a lot. I think part of it is the cool pets, and the other parts are how cool Worgen Warlocks look, and how great the transmog sets look.

Warlocks have the ‘it’ factor going for them.

Death Knights suffer from not having historical tier sets added for content that was out before they existed. He loves running old content, but without Tier drops to chase, he gets bummed.

Anyway, my other goal is to continue to raid with my Warlock in LFR, and to that end, I’m thinking it’s time to buy a second spec… one to configure just for raiding.

So, help me write the next chapter for my Warlock. Experienced Warlockery types, what spec should I go with for raiding?

Tests of Warlock Soloing

I have reached level 82 on Das Warlock, and it’s been mighty fine, mighty fine.

While leveling in Northrend, I found myself in Icecrown for the level 77-78 range.

Specifically, I was level 78 while clearing the Knights of the Ebon Blade questlines in the Shadow Vault.

I like those quests. Good sense of humor, fast pacing, lots of variety.

Fast pacing. Did I mention the fast pacing?

Once I’d completed those quests, I had some breadcrumb quests, and I started to dump them from my journal before heading out to Storm Peaks, and the inestimable Goblins of K3.

Hmmm…. one of those breadcrumbs was to go out to the ledge of Death’s Rise.

I remember going there… but I don’t remember any of the quests.

Oh, what the heck. I’ll go check it out. They probably suck if I don’t remember them.

I headed to Death’s Rise, which was a shelf with a flight point, and a bunch of Death Knights wanting to get revenge against  the Scarlet Crusade/Scarlet Onslaught.

The Scarlet Onslaught, who are located in force, at Onslaught Harbor.


The what to the who?

Onslaught Harbor?

Where the hell did THAT come from?

In all my years of playing this game, how did I never visit, or even see Onslaught Harbor?

This makes no sense. I had to have at least flown BY the damn place once at some point. WTF?

Okay, fine. Maybe I’ve truly gotten so old I can’t remember shit I’ve done anymore. Whatever.

I took all the quests, and headed out to Onslaught Harbor.

We’re all OP now, this will be some easy XP.

Wow… the skies were black with Gryphon Riders. The grounds were thick with guards. And they were all ranged caster/archers, no easy melee trash pulls.

What a pain in the butt.

Still…. new shit to do in Icecrown! Yay!

I did all the quests, and while doing a daily to open chests and steal communications I got another breadcrumb quest, the Note from the Grand Admiral, which started a new quest chain…  to find and kill Grand Admiral Westwind.

Grand Admiral Westwind… that bastard that pops bubble and hearths out after I kill High General Abbendis for the group quest in the cathedral of New Hearthglen.

Every character I’ve ever leveled through Dragonblight had killed High General Abbendis, and this was the first time I’d ever found a trace of what became of that bubblehearthing little bastard.

Now, here was a chance to finish the job?

Hallelujah, and pass the fel ammunition!

The quest chain led me to go beat information out of a couple of Captains… all good so far.

Then, I was sent to kill Archbishop Landgren in the Crimson Cathedral, and summon a death knight gate near his corpse so he could be interrogated from beyoooonnnnnd the graaaaaavveeeeee.

Oooh, spooky! Don’t look, kids. Scary.

The Archbishop was hiding INSIDE the Crimson Cathedral, but I’ve been down this road before. High General Abbendis was a group quest too, and she was inside a cathedral. That wasn’t exactly a stiff challenge. Sneeze and you’ll miss it.

So what if the quest recommends a group of five people? That was OLD Wrath of the Lich King. Back when shit was hard, yo.

So, I swooped on into the entrance and… holy shit, that’s a LOT of Scarlet Onslaught!

Okay, stay calm and HOLY SHIT!!!!


Okay, keep calm and DPS HARDER. Self heal, corruption, corruption, corruption, dot dot dot dot bubble, bubble, holy crap, that’s really a lot of…

Okay, I’m inside. Whew!

I can do this.

There are fewer on the inside, no problem. Just pull the packs, clear them out, take the boss. No sweat.

5 minutes later… I’m still working Archbishop Landgren down.

He had a not insignificant amount of health.

I killed him, no question, but this fight bore no resemblance to the fight against High General Abbendis. It was actually… a challenge, requiring the use of every ability I had to heal faster than he did DPS.

The rest of the chain was similar.

I found myself getting vaguely resentful. I mean, these were hard quests. This was taking a lot of time, and all for the sake of just one quest reward. I could be making a lot more XP.

What the hell am I saying? These were five person group quests! I’m sitting here soloing them all, in melee battle AoE tanking as a cloth-wearing Warlock, and I’m bitching because they were taking a while to finish?


The point isn’t that it’s taking me a while to kill everything, it’s that I’m able to solo a five person group quest in the first place.

Those were pretty amazing, and from now on when I level a class, the yardstick I’m going to use to judge how strong they are is by how tough that quest chain is to solo.

Oh, and can I just say how satisfying it was to find out the truth about Grand Admiral Westwind?

The whole thing was intensely satisfying.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to continue questing through Deepholm.

What solo fights have you done that tested you to the very limits  and made you stretch out your class abilities?

Raising a Monster

Every time I think I’ve reached the plateau on the Warlock Project, another layer of “what the fuck?” is peeled back.

It’s funny. I’ve kept myself so ignorant about this one class for so many years that I feel like every post is something along the order of, “Guys! Guys! Did you know you can fly in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor now?

“Oh, no WAI! Really? Um, welcome to 4.0, dipshit.”

Still, exuberance and enthusiasm. It’s what I bring to the table. News, pithy posts and sharp witticisms… not so much.

Pithy. Pithy. It pays to enrich your word power, I wish I were more pithy and less pissy around this here blog.

…. I’m really not feeling well at the moment, and I wish I were on some medication to explain that last bit. Anywhooo.


TANKING as a Warlock. Hilariously awesome.

I reached level 75 a few days ago, or yesterday, or something like that.

I thought I knew the power I could reach as a melee cloth-wearing spell casting tank, and then I hit level 75.

So, here’s the deal. Level 75 unlocks your third Glyph slots… and also gives you access to a new tier of Talents.

I walked into level 75 eager to grab my Grimoire of Supremacy, and have new, sexy looking pet models. Dual-wielding upgraded Felguard? Sign me up!

I casually glanced at the other two talents in the tier… Grimoire of Service, lets me pop an extra demon once in a while… really? That’s what they came up with? Talk about phoning it in.

And the other one, Grimoire of Sacrifice. Execute my pet so I get a buff? How lame is… wait a minute. If I execute my pet, I get a buff that last how long? An hour? An hour long buff… hmmm. that might be doable. It’s long enough that I wouldn’t be forgetting all the damn time, like Horn of Winter.

Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound so stupid. And I get one of the pets abilities as my own? AND some of my other spells get supercharged? And I get a regeneration buff too?

I’m a tank, so I want everything on me anyway. Should I do without my pet, and I turn into an ever more powerful, supercharged Warlock tank? One that regenerates Health too? But I’m a pet class, damnit!

There has to be a catch here somewhere…

Let’s hold off on that for a second, and look at Glyphs.

Siphon Life seems like a gimme, I get 20% of the damage my Corruption does back to me as healing. Can’t go wrong there…

Wait, what is this Soul Consumption shit? I get back 20% of MY HEALTH every time I kill something that gives me XP or Honor, if I do it in a demon form?

Well, does it work in my Dark Apotheosis tanky form, or only in the temporary Metamorphosis form? There has to be a catch here…


So… let me get this straight, because I’m confused how the hell this happened.

I can play a Warlock, choose Demonology, equip the Glyph of Demon Training to get a permanent tanking demon form, equip the Glyph of Soul Consumption to get 20% of my health back every time I kill something that gives me XP or Honor (so long as I get the killing blow, and not my pet), take Grimoire of Sacrifice to execute my pet for a one hour buff that gives me new abilities, increases the power of some of my other abilities, and also regenerate health?

I just… *sniff*… I’m just so confused…

I’d like to know why they chose Warlocks to do this to instead of Druids, you know. I mean, if they were going to just crack open the cookie jar and shower a class with every goddamn thing in the universe, why couldn’t they do it for Druids?

Huh? What did you say? Becoming a rideable mount? Having weapons that make our butts bigger, or catch on fire? Being able to farm materials without leaving Flight Form? Shhh…… those don’t count. Those are OLD shinies. We’re trying to get NEW shinies… Blizzard, what have you done for Druids lately?

This tanking Warlock thing is for reals. They’ve got everything except a proper Vengeance buff and the ability to queue as a tank.

I’m torn, though. I can see how I’d be unstoppable while leveling if I take this Sacrifice thing, but I’m already unstoppable now, with my pet. My Felguard is a big part of my extra damage, so stuffs die fast.

Do I execute my pet for the buff and solo that way, or do I keep the pet with upgraded powers, and go on as I have been? I think I’m killing stuff faster now than I would be.

And if I keep my pet, should I take the Glyph of Siphon Life instead, since my pet will probably get more killing blows than me, and also I intend to run lots of lower level raids once I finish leveling, so I wouldn’t be Soul Consumption anyway?

Decisions, decisions. ARRGGGHHHH!!!!

I tell you what I’d like to do. I’d like to put together a team to take on Cataclysm ten-person raids, that will let me be one of the tanks as a Warlock. I’m curious how it would go. No Vengeance, but ridiculous AoE… adds tank? Yeah, I’m thinking adds tank, but you can’t know until you try…

We’ll see how squishy I feel once the bulk of my Heirlooms shut off at level 80, and I hit Mount Hyjal. That should put the proof in the pudding! Or get the proof out of the pudding… or what the fuck, the proof is in the pudding, but who put it in there, and how the hell would that even work?

Hey, how is your day going? We don’t talk as much as we should, I really miss our chats. Why not pull up a chair and let tell me how it’s HEY! get your hands off me! Where are you taking me? Oooh, that’s a nice coat. And so clean and white! Can I try it on? Hmm, a bit stiff, but it sure does cover! The sleeves might be a bit long, can we get this WHOA

Wicked Warlockery

The benefits of no longer giving a shit about Valor; I can play whatever poor, neglected little toon I want.

Enter the Warlock.

Here’s the deal. I’ve been playing a long time; most of you have also.

One thing that always thrills me is when there is something truly new to experience.

I’m in the middle of enjoying just such an experience right now. Err, I’m not playing right now, I mean ‘the last week or so’ right now. You know what I mean.

I’m playing my Warlock alt, and I’m doing it as a Demonology spec with the Glyph of Demon Hunting equipped.

I talked about this same thing briefly awhile ago, but I’ve had some time to really get down and dirty with it now. Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.

I gained about twenty levels over the course of the last three days, so you might say I have been enjoying the action. Just a teeny bit.

Let me wrap it all up in once sentence, then get into specifics later; I am thrilled with each and every level I play, and I can hardly wait to get the next level to see what neat new toys I’ll get to play with next.

That’s right. I am leveling an alt character through the exact same shit I have leveled through a million times before (warning: possibly a slight exaggeration there) and I’m loving every level, in every zone. Even Outlands.

I’m in Outlands right now, level 60, and let me tell you something; I killed 15 Crust Bursters last night, and I liked it.

When I first started this Warlock project with my son, we both went Demonology, and bumbled through with the same old assumption; Warlocks are cloth wearing ranged casters with pets. Like Frost Mages, but with a cooler sense of fashion, and more variety in our pets. But no ‘porting. And no sheep.

Time has passed, and that assumption has been dumped by the wayside.

If you haven’t played a Warlock as Demonology lately, it’s a brand new bag.

Demonology Warlocks, with the Glyph of Demon Hunting, are not ranged cloth wearing casters with pets. Throw that assumption right out the window.

The reality is, if you are Demonology, and at level 25 or 50 you equip the Glyph of Demon Hunting, you become a melee tank with ranged AoE attacks, and oh yeah, pets.

I’m not talking about end game level 90 queueing for instances or raids. I’m talking about how the class feels questing in the world.

As a regular Demonology Warlock, your special thing is the ability to transform through metamorphosis into a huge bat-winged demon form.

You get a normal caster form with a special energy bar that acts like Rage called Demonic Fury, and when you have enough you can transform into that demon form, with enhanced/changed abilities. The whole time you’re in that form, you’re burning through your Rage/Demonic Fury, and sooner or later you drop back out into normal caster form.

That turns demon form into an oh-shit cooldown, to me. If you use it whenever you can, it’s great fun, but if you’re like me, most oh-shit cooldowns or limited use abilities get left unused until it’s instance or raid time. So, yeah, if you ain’t using demon form, you’re still just a cloth wearing caster with a pet, and a cool cooldown.

Everything changes when you add in the Glyph of Demon Hunting.

The Glyph gives you a brand new, additional form, including a second form button just like having a second Druid form or Warrior stance.

This new form, when activated, is always on. You don’t drop out of it, it doesn’t cost Demonic Fury to be in it. Just, new form, always on, enjoy.

When in this new form, Dark Apotheosis, you get permanent purple wings. Yes, always on. I love seeing people look at me like they’ve never seen this before when I walk by in Stormwind.

In Dark Apotheosis, you are a tank.

You get tons more armor value from your gear, physical and magic damage reduction, a huge 500% threat buff, your slow cast Shadowbolt becomes an instant cast short-range attack with three charges (on a fast cooldown), you get a special green-colored damage absorption bubble (Fury Ward) that has a ten second duration and a ten second cooldown (basically, always on if you bother to click it), your Curse of Enfeeblement that weakens enemies changes from a single target curse to an AURA effect… you get the idea.

You become a lot tougher, you get a bubble, your opponents do less damage, and your best attack is a short-ranged instant cast that does tons of threat. TANK.

But, and here is the new experience… you still have lots of different magic AoE abilities, like the meteor and your Felguards Felstorm ability, and of course HELLFIRE.

Suddenly, Hellfire is a thing. At higher levels, it’s no longer channeled and doesn’t do damage to you anymore, so heck, why not just have it up ALL THE TIME?

And you still get a pet. All this, and you still get a pet.

It’s been a completely different solo questing experience.

Sure, I’ve played lots of tanks, but having one with ranged abilities, WTF. I have a pet I can send out to start shit, just to drop a meteor on their butts and make them all come to me, and then blow them back and blow them UP.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. One of your special ‘demon form only’ abilities is a cone-effect knockback with a spell interrupt. So I send my pet out to a big group, let it Felstorm, drop a few meteors on their heads to pull aggro on the crowd, have them come running to me, and then RIGHT when they get there blow them all backwards and Hellfire.

It’s hilarious.

One thing I had to do early on was shut my Felguards’ taunt off. It’s just so much squishier than I am, and I don’t want the mobs to be stopped way out THERE, I want them to come on in toe to toe to get smashed by my insane power.

I’m not saying this is a new main. What I’m saying is, as a new alt leveling experience this thing is a trip.

I can’t explain how fun and different this is. I’m a cloth-wearing melee tank, but I keep double checking, yep, still a Warlock.

I also made sure to macro Felstorm to /cast Felstorm just so I could put the button where I wanted on my bar. My UI has my pet bar way off to the right hand side of the screen, I don’t want to reach over there to click Felstorm, I want to use it all the time.

Maybe it’s the novelty, maybe just the shiny new class/spec smell.

I see this as becoming my number three favorite character in the future.

My Hunter is my main these days when it comes to instances, raids and progressing through quest content.  Staying on the edge of gearing and the Legendary questline on my Hunter.

My Druid is my romping around fun character, my “I’ve got to get some kitty dashing, bear hopping action in.”

But I can see this Warlock becoming my new ‘solo old raids and content’ character. Or my ‘run someone else through old content’ character.

The combination of tank-level threat output, tank level damage reduction/damage absorption, ranged/melee AoE, and the talent that lets you do an AoE health drain/self-healing makes it a great choice for holding aggro off lowbies when running old stuff.

Oh, are you getting eaten by a grue? Run to the sheltering warmth of my Hellfire.

I’m just amazed how the playstyle feels. Having ranged high-threat AoE meteors is nuts, having high-threat AoE Hellfire, instant cast 10 yard direct attacks, all this and pets too.

No, you CANNOT queue for randoms as a tank.

But you do get a unique soloing tank experience when questing, and all while you’re still a cloth-wearing caster.

It’s so amazing to have this level of new sensation this late in the game. I’m loving it.

If you haven’t tried one… you cannot get the tanky aspects until you reach level 25 and your first Major Glyph slot. That can be a huge pain in the butt.

Also, I have FULL Heirlooms. The majority of my gear is always scaling, so I have solid blue-quality armor and stats as I go. Your mileage may vary. I’m indestructible and loving it, maybe if you were in all greens you’d feel a lot squishier. I don’t know.

But hey… this is what I’m doing when I ain’t pet battling or Huntering or whatever, and I’m having a blast. Just thought I’d share, in case you get bored and start looking around for something different.