What do Melee Warlocks Actually do?

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    Warlocks actually have a fairly active "rotation" when specced for melee combat. Whether they can achieve good dps with it remains to be seen.

    For the rest of this post, I'm going to assume you know how to weave melee attacks in between instant spell casts, so if you don't then you can check out my recent post which explains the mechanic in detail.

    Also, I personally have two biases: 1, I really want Meleelock to be a thing. And 2, I don't think Meleelock is going to be a thing. I'm going to put those biases aside and just straighten out the facts of what a Warlock can do in melee instead of just spamming Shadow Bolt.

    "Melee Spells"

    The instant-cast (melee-friendly) arsenal available to Warlocks consists of your Curses, Corruption (when talented), Siphon Life, Shadowburn, Death Coil, Life Tap and Dark Pact, the Shadow Bolt cast from Nightfall procs, and Conflagrate. Curses, Corruption, and Siphon Life are all duration-based, Shadowburn and Death Coil have significant cooldowns, Life Tap and Dark Pact are only necessary sometimes, the Nightfall proc chance is only 4%, and Conflagrate has a cooldown and it requires a 1.5 second hardcast of Immolate beforehand, which blocks a melee swing. So Warlocks have nothing that can be spammed against a single target. Against multiple targets you're actually pretty good to go, as you can spam your Curses, Corruption, and Siphon Life against all your enemies while you hack away at a single opponent in melee. But in 1v1s or boss fights, there's gonna be some downtime.

    Firestone Unknowns

    Now, Ret Paladins and Enhancement Shamans rely on just sitting there and hitting things too, and they can only cast their offensive spells once every 5 or 6 seconds, so in theory that could be fine for Warlocks - depending on how that gosh darn Firestone works! Much of the Retribution and Enhancement damage comes from their on-melee-hit effects, such as the Paladin Seal of Righteousness and the passive Shaman Flametongue Weapon spell, and the Warlocks' only equivalent is the Firestone.

    And there's actually still a lot of unknowns about the Firestone, like what the Firestone proc rate actually is, whether it scales with +Spell damage (even though it wasn't scaling with +Fire damage on the beta), whether the Improved Firestone talent increases its proc rate, whether any other talents will increase its damage, whether Firestone procs will trigger the Blade of Eternal Darkness (and then whether the Blade of Eternal Darkness scales at all and what its proc rate is), whether Firestone will overwrite your weapon's other Imbues or Enchants, and beyond those there are still many other questions about other items.

    And if you're wondering why the Firestone is so important, its because without it, regular Melee Warlock is calculated to be very very weak.

    Also, for Raiding purposes, Warlocks can achieve the coveted 8% hit chance through their Cloak, Ring, Trinket, and Neck slots alone. And if you want even more for some reason, you can get up to 10% by grabbing a main-hand weapon with hit chance.

    Anyway, for now that's all I can think of, so please let me know if there's anything I missed. I'll be sure to return to this topic again in the future, whether to lift it up as the top dps spec for Warlock-kind everywhere, or to put it aside until Burning Crusade. Just remember, in all things, go crazy!

    About the Author

    I make videos about the lesser-known ways you can play the 9 classes of Classic World of Warcraft. I'm also a big fan of level 19 twinking. If you would like a video made about something, feel free to let me know!


  • Awesome article!

    I can't wait to see if Arcanite Dragonling scales with firestone, watch their dps sky rocket lol. I've been meaning to check what the highest dps possible with Shadow oil as a melee caster. so much to test... What class do you think it is?

  • @Caperfin

    To be honest I'm thinking Mage, just due to having way easier access to +spellpen and +spelldam. Not to mention, with some health manipulation as a Troll with Berserking I think they're one of the only casters that can hit .75 weapon speed when using like a 1.3 speed wep (such as Alcor's). One of the really out-there theories is that the 6-piece Frostfire bonus might proc off of things like Blazefury Medallion procs, which could be really awesome if only the debuff weren't spent on whatever tick of damage happens to hit at the time.

    But yeah Arcanite Dragonling would do so much for Firestonelocks and Flametongue Shamans and all sorts of other niche things. So many numbers to crunch!

  • I love this. The firestone is quite peculiar. Surely there wouldn't be a T4 talent to improve it if you couldn't actually capitalize on it, right? Being driven to build around it entirely just because it exists is something I respect.
    I guess the question is "what will melee warlocks actually do".
    Good luck unraveling the enigma.

  • @GideonAI wow that frostfire tooltip is vague 200 damage? if that's for sure +200 on spells it opens a few doors for mages in melee.