As of Rift 1.5 I have switched to this spec
Slight tweak to my Rift 1.5 build
Why not 51 Warlock you might ask?
This guide will cover 5 main topics:
I have been playing a Warlock Mage since the launch of Rift. Initially my goal was to play a highly mobile mage utilizing my kiting and positioning skills learned from previous games. After hitting level 10, I began to PVP via warfronts constantly fine tweaking my build to match my style of play. By the time I hit 50 and acquired adequate PVP gear, I realized I could become a dominant force not only in the backline but up front too.
The first thing I noticed and loved about this particular build was its simplicity. Learning new spells, keybindings, and different souls can be very overwhelming to any gamer. This is a great build for the person new to Mages all the way to the more experienced Mage. It is a great class for duels, solo pugging or running premades in warfronts. I have been playing this build for almost 6 months, and I am still learning how to improve my game play.
- Simple to Play, there are a lot of passive abilities in this particular build.
- Easy to Kite, All DOTS do not require you to face your target.
- All damage is Death Based, other than Valor, Death Resist is their only defense.
- No Mana Issues – Sacrifice Life: Mana.
- Ability to Heal – Warlock Armor, Life Leech, Draining Bolt, Mortality and Reconstruct.
- Great Crowd Control – Snare, Silence, Stun and Fears.
- Excellent Area of Effect Spells – Devouring Shadows and Radiate Death.
- Opportunity Procs – Ability to Instantly Cast any spell.
- Unable to Flee or Teleport Away From Danger.
- Lack of Burst Damage.
- Lack of Heal Debuff.
- All Abilities are Purgeable.
- Dark Fury – Instant Cast 2.5 Stun which does good damage, used as a finishing spell in conjunction with Draining Bolt.
- Dark Touch – 2nd Hardest Hitting DOT.
- Defile – Powerful DOT that consumes charge, if I am at full charge I will often lead with this spell.
- Degeneration – Channeled Spell, our only way to purge buffs. Best time to use is when detaunted.
- Devouring Shadows – This spammable AOE spell has several effective uses. Assuming there are multiple targets, I like to chain cast this spell after every 2 ticks opposed to full duration cast. This is done by casting your 1st Devouring Shadows, hit your keybind for Devouring Shadows and reposition your next cast anticipating where the enemy will be, wait for the 2nd tick, move forward by clicking on both mouse buttons and left click on the placement of your Devouring Shadows to recast. Great finisher if the target is under 10% health.
- Draining Bolt – Powerful Instant Cast Bolt that hits hard and heals for half of the damage dealt. This has a slow travel time and is your most reliable finisher.
- Life Leech – Other than being low on health, I rarely use this spell unless I get an opportunity proc and my target is still above 50% health.
- Mortality – Great Spell if you can get the full duration off, often you will get CC’d. Best used after Break Free granting 5 seconds of immunity to crowd control effects.
- Necrosis – Often lead with this DOT because its duration is a few seconds longer.
- Neddra’s Grasp – A lot of people do not like this spell. I like it because it is another Instant Cast Ability that has the potential to do damage, and is also used for Radiate Death.
- Radiate Death – The key to this spell is setting your target up by positioning yourself in a manner where your target will move toward their group, thus resulting in a well placed Radiate Death.
- Void Bolt – Single Target spell, best used after an opportunity proc.
Unless used for defensive purposes or to setup for a killing blow, I am actually not a fan of using crowd control abilities because I do not like to trigger immunities.
- Choke – Rarely use, same immunity timer as Dark Fury which does decent damage.
- Dark Fury – Instant Cast 2.5 Second Stun, used to dismount or stop a fleeing enemy.
- Fear – Never use except when retreating and a teammate needs help peeling an opponent.
- Mass Fear – Only reason to have 44 trainings in Warlock.
- Wither – Same as Fear. Great to help kite Elites in Scion.
Utility, Survivability and Buffs
- Break Free – Our only way to get out CC. I tend to use it whenever it is up but should really only be used when in dire need.
- Detaunt – I rarely use this ability because I tend to damage everything in sight. Best used for fights when outnumbered. If fighting 2on1, always detaunt the DPS and focus on the Healer.
- Neddra’s Essence – The ultimate life saver against multiple targets focusing on you. Knowing whether this spell is on cooldown often dictates my style of play, backline or leading the push up front. Also having this ability available is a great way to lure and extend enemies.
- Neddra’s Might – Purgeable Buff which equates to roughly 400 Health. If your Warlock Armor is gone, this is probably too. For the benefit of the team, make it a habit to cast this after every fight. You never know who had their buffs purged or came to the battle late.
- Reconstruct – Luckily this channeled ability can be used during combat. If you are engaged in a fight and are at really low health, break LOS and try and get a few ticks off.
- Rune Shield – I don’t use this that often because if I know I am going to engage the enemy, I like to save the charge and lead off with Defile. I will use it after a battle if no enemies are in sight, helps against stealthed rogues.
- Sacrifice Life: Damage – Activate this before applying your DOTS.
- Sacrifice Life: Mana – One of Warlock’s Strengths, never ending Mana. Use this ability if you are full on health and blood thirsty procs.
- Shadow Life – Another Life Saver that lasts 20 seconds. If Blood Thirsty procs, the health you receive is based off your new hitpoints.
- Warlock Armor – This ability has 3 built in mechanics to it, reflective shield which heals you and increases the damage you deal by 10%. I said it once and I will keep saying it again, it is absolutely imperative you always check your buff bar to see if it got purged.
Opportunity at Rank 5 – Your spells have a 10% chance to reduce the cast time of your next spell by 100%.
Basically, you will want to cast your DOTS at maximum distance while weaving back and forth until your opportunity procs. You must keep an eye on the scrolling combat text to see when it procs. This will allow the warlock to always be on the move. If you are being chased by someone and you can’t afford to stop, keep reapplying your DOTS while kiting until opportunity procs.
Rift 1.4 brought an interesting change to opportunity.
- Abilities that hit multiple targets will trigger procs less than abilities that hit single targets.
- Abilities with longer casting times will trigger procs more often than abilities that are quick to cast.
Initially, I thought this would impact the warlock tremendously. However, after extensive play I did not notice a huge difference. What I did notice was after an opportunity proc followed by a void bolt, opportunity would have a higher chance to proc again, thus resulting in back to back void bolts. Do not be surprised if another opportunity procs, I have casted up to 6 instant void bolts in a row. Now that is what I call true burst damage.
Damage Over Time Spells (DOTS)
The key to playing a successful Warlock is the ability to cast your spells while moving. There are 4 DOTS in this spec: Dark Touch, Necrosis, Defile, and Life Leech. There is also another ability that acts like a DOT, though not classified as one, Neddra’s Grasp.
All of these DOTS are given boosts by passive abilities trained in the talent tree:
- Neddra’s Influence +81% Death DOT Damage 15% + 66%
- Potency +5% Critical Hit Chance
- Dark Power +10% Increase in Spell Damage
- Improved Warlock Armor +10% Damage Dealt
- Death’s Ally +5% Death Damage
- Planar Attunement +15% Spell Damage vs Players
- Disastrous Consequences +10% Critical Hit Chance when Proc
- Overload +30% Damage in Critical Strikes
Primary Stat for PVP
- Intelligence – Increases Spell Power, Spell Critical Rating and Max Mana
- Wisdom – Increases Spell Power and Mana Regeneration
- Endurance – Increases Health
Many people believe Intelligence is the primary stat for Mages, now this may be true in PVE, it may not hold true in PVP. It is strictly my opinion that stacking Endurance is more beneficial to a Mage than Intelligence. You need to be able to survive otherwise you are of no use to the team.
Dead DPS = 0 DPS
Stacking Endurance also helps key abilities which are determined by your health pool: Blood Thirsty, Vitality, Reconstruct, Shadow Life
A key component to our survivability is Warlock Armor. Not only does it help with an increase in your damage by 10%, but it also acts as a very effective damage shield which heals you.
IT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE YOU ALWAYS LOOK AT YOUR BUFF BAR TO MAKE SURE THIS DOESN’T GET PURGED
Your first line of defense is against MDPS is Mass Fear. This completely stops stealth rogues popping on you, and the rushing Warrior. After casting Mass Fear, begin applying your DOTS as you create distance between you and your opponent.
Neddra’s Essence and Shadow Life
Your second line of defense is Neddra’s Essence and Shadow Life. One of the mistakes I made early on was casting this ability back to back. If you are getting focused by multiple people, you are probably better off using Neddra’s Essence. If you are getting focused by one person, and just need the extra hit points, then use Shadow Life. Be very careful as both of these abilities are purgeable.
Mortality is an unbelievable AOE ability in PVE. However, in PVP it is really difficult to chanel this spell in its full duration without getting CC’d. A good tip is to use it after casting Break Free, allowing yourself 5 seconds of immunity.
Healing and Potions
Although the Warlock is not directly a healer, the class has many different abilities that can heal. Unfortunately, the warlock does not have the ability to heal others.
Equip yourself with potions and consumables. There is absolutely nothing else in this game you will want to spend your currency on.
Overall Awareness and Pre-Kiting
Of all the items listed above, this is the most important of them all. Nothing will save yourself more than the ability to analyze, anticipate and react to what is going on. As a Mage, you should always begin by positioning yourself in the backline constantly surveying the situation. Features on your User Interface should always be monitored such as: buff bars, mini map, raid frames, combat and chat log.
Spacing and the ability to pre-kite when in possible danger is also a key component to survivability. Always make sure you are in max range of the opponent you are targeting. If they move forward, you move backward and vice versa. Be patient and wait until the right moment to move up and lead the push. Most importantly, recognize and know your limitations, this can and will only be gained through experience.
4. SPELL ROTATION
My build and aggressive play style completely revolve around Blood Thirsty. Being able to consistently deliver the killing blow to an opponent will enable you to do the impossible. I often kill enemy pets if I am low on health or about to reposition myself from the backline to the frontline. The sound of a Blood Thirsty proc is very unique, but be aware of who actually got the killing blow as it could easily be a teammate standing next to you.
I like to break up the rotation into 2 parts:
- Dot Application – Necrosis -> Dark Touch -> Defile -> Neddra’s Grasp
- Finishing Rotation – Void Bolt -> Draining Bolt -> Dark Fury
Dot Application should be done at max range, while Finishing Rotation should be done as close as possible to target.
There are plenty of variables here that could change the rotation, but for the most part it is:
Note: If at or near full charge, I will lead with Defile.
The key to your spell rotation relies on opportunity procs.
If your target is under 50% health, and your opportunity procs, you want to move in toward your target while casting void bolt, draining bolt and Dark Fury. Void Bolt and Draining Bolt have extremely slow delivery, so walking toward your target will reduce the travel distance. Ideally all 3 of these abilities will hit at the same time. If that doesn’t kill them, you can always cast Devouring Shadows as your finisher.
Note: If you notice your target is taking significantly less damage use this opportunity to cast Degenerate. Detaunt and many other Damage Reduction abilities can be purged.
Another thing worth mentioning is keep an eye on your targets buff bar to see which DOTS are active on your target. You never know what DOTS were resisted or Dispelled, so make sure all 4 DOTS are applied before your start your finishing rotation.