Ritual of Chaos - Level Guide: 10

By: Damian Lampl - 1/14/2010 11:01:46 PM

Big Blue and You
Trust me, we're not lost...

Honestly it's a miracle you've lasted this long.  No really, it's quite an achievement to ding Level 10.  They even put an achievement for it in the game.  Not kidding.

In some ways the training wheels have now been ripped off your tricycle and you're now tooling around on just three wheels!  Badass.  Pretty soon you'll graduate to a bicycle with training wheels and then who knows from there, maybe a unicycle or something awesome like that.  What?  Who doesn't like tooling around on a unicycle?

Level 10 brings about all sorts of new goodies and decisions.  Maybe not in that order but both definitely exist.  In addition to new spells, you're also going to land your next minion as well as your very first Talent Point.  There's so much going on right now your head just might explode.   ...   ......  ..........  Nope.  Damn.  Would have been cool.

Spells

We should probably start with your new spells since the bold word above this sentence is kind of alluding to them.  First up are upgrades to Immolate and Demon Skin.  The two you haven't had before are Create Healthstone and Drain Soul.  These crazy new spells introduce you to Soul Shards.  Before we go any further, it's important to note the Soul Shard game mechanic will be changing in the Cataclysm expansion.  At this point it sounds very promising but implementation might be a different story altogether.  For now we'll treat them as they've been for the past five years; in all their non-stacking non-glory.

Healthstones are like quasi-free health potions.  And you're guaranteed to forget to use them when there's 10 mobs beating you to a pulp and you just want to run away screaming, "For the love of darkness, these are Level 1 skeletons for crying out loud," while your imp is just sitting in a tree laughing his fire off and your class trainer has that look on his face like it was just a matter of time before this moment and the undead priest you were trying to impress turns her back on you in shame instead of HEALING your dying ass.  Frickin priests.

But to make a Healthstone, you're going to need a Soul Shard.  These things are to warlocks what hot is to Summer Altice: a defining characteristic (obligatory NSFW disclaimer on the link to the Summer Altice drawing; it's art, get over it).  To get them you're going to need to use Drain Soul on a mob that grants experience or honor.  That means a green, yellow, orange, red, or skull number on the portrait of the mob you're killing.  What's a "skull number," you ask?  You = Dead.

If you stop to think about it, Drain Soul is actually pretty amazing in its concept.  You're literally sucking the soul out of a living entity.  That's probably why wives make such good locks.  Top Gun Five?  Anyone?  Really doesn't get much lower than murlocs on the "Looking for Five" scale.

At any rate, you'll want to save Drain Soul for when the mob is nearly dead unless you've glyphed it; in which case, drain away.  It's a channeled spell so that means damage done to you will interrupt its effect and unless glyphed, the mob will need to die while you're channeling Drain Soul in order for you to wrap up its life force into a pinkish-purplish gem.  Don't ask.

A bit of trial and error will go a long way to you getting a feel for how and when to use Drain Soul.  Currently you can carry 32 un-stackable souls (why they don't stack has ALWAYS been a mystery and why does a bag have slots anyway?).  Some people even save their first drained soul or that of their first dungeon boss for sentimental reasons.  These people were borderline lock flunkies (otherwise known as mages) for having any feelings other than pure evil.  Regardless of how many you decide to carry around with you, Soul Shards are required (again, until Cataclysm) for important spells and abilities.

Minion

The most important new shiny you get at Level 10 is a quest chain to learn how to control a big blueberry of your own, otherwise known as a Voidwalker.  If you haven't yet, you'll meet your main class trainer either in Orgrimmar, Stormwind, Silvermoon City or Under City.  Pending on your race (why you'd choose anything other than undead is beyond me) you'll be given one of the following quests:

If you have trouble with where to go or how to finish the quests, feel free to roll a mage.  Kidding.  Use wowhead.com, wowwiki.com, thottobot.org, or goblinworkshop.com if you're having problems.  There's quest add-ons, too, but some of us have run through those first 1,000 quests so many times that Forrest Gump was asking for our autograph and we could probably level up to 63 with our eyes closed uphill in the snow both ways during a solar eclipse with a pet kangaroo punching us in the stomach and licking our hair.  Seriously.  Besides, this is a leveling guide, not a step-by-step how-to.  Wait.  Nevermind.

Now that you have your very own blue puff of goo, you'll be able to take on even more powerful mobs than you previously thought possible.  The key to remember here is that the Voidwalker is your tank.  That means you'll want to throw him into the middle of all the bad guys to be a punching bag while you sit back and sip a glass of Kungaloosh, throwing a DOT on the mobs every once in a while between backrubs from your Succubus.  Wait, you don't have a Succubus yet.  Pfft!  Ha ha!  Loser.

This is probably a good time to revisit your spell rotation as well.  The benefit of a tank is the taunt mechanic.  Your Void's taunt is called Torment and you need to watch your threat percentage so the mobs are focused on tiring themselves out by shadow boxing the blue nothingness instead of pounding your exposed undead skeletal system into powder more quickly than you can mutter, "Holy crap these things take out half my health in one..."  See?  Can't even finish it before you're dead... again.

With your Voidwalker taking the brunt of the mobs' blows, you can probably switch up your rotation to start out with a Shadow Bolt and then slip back into your regularly scheduled rotation of Immolate, Corruption, backpedal, Curse of Agony, backpedal, Shadow Bolt as your void should pull threat after that first hit.  But if you consistently find yourself looking at a portrait with 100% threat, you might want to just send your void in before you start casting to make sure he can build a little cushion before you start your rotation.  If you still notice your threat increasing too much, dial down the nukes and just DOT the mob and save Shadow Bolt for closer to when the mob is ready to keel over.  Since people really like bullet points and numbered lists:

  1. Shadow Bolt
  2. Immolate
  3. Corruption, backpedal
  4. Curse of Agony, backpedal
  5. Shadow Bolt until mob is dead

Or if you're generating too much threat for the blueberry to keep up:

  1. Sick Voidwalker on mob
  2. Immolate
  3. Corruption
  4. Curse of Agony
  5. Shadow Bolt until mob is dead

Talents

With Level 10 comes great responsibility.  Well, not really but it sounds good, right?  This will be your first foray into the world of talents.  Don't be intimidated by them.  There are three "trees" of abilities and they'll all benefit you in some way so there aren't many "bad" talents to choose.

Your preferred play style will be a good barometer for what tree you want to focus on.  For the most part you'll be wanting to drill down at least into the 40-point talent of one tree before allocating to another.  The three main trees are Affliction, Demonology, and Destruction.  There some good hybrid builds as well as deep-tree builds so there are plenty of options for whatever kind of build you want to build.  Build (seemed like there needed to be one more build there).

Affliction

This is usually regarded as the most complex of the talent trees.  So if you enjoy a little more variety or like to keep track of a bunch of spells and DOTS, Affliction is right up your alley.  When played well, this tree can provide some of the best overall DPS numbers when given enough time for the full rotation to take effect.

Affliction builds are popular for both raiding as well as PVP and can be decent for leveling although you'll probably get better results from Demonology for the latter.

If you start down this tree it's pretty tough to pass up the quick 5% increase to Curse of Agony with your first talent point.

Demonology

The main draws of this tree are the Felguard and Metamorphosis.  A Felguard is sort of like a DPS warrior or in lock terms, a love-child of your Voidwalker and Succubus.  Why does it look like a rhinoceros on roids?  Don't ask.

Metamorphosis is nothing short of awesome.  Sure you look like a purple and black one-horned bat, but you're a frickin DEMON for crying out loud.  All that inner rage built up from 10,000 stunlocks is channeled into a rogue-killing machine.  Pop Immolation Aura and watch the bastards piss THEIR pants for a change, as fire engulfs their face while you Shadow Cleave their heads off and then rip out their spine from the gaping hole in their neck so there's room to uncoil that festering snake of a turd you've been saving for five days to be used in just such a shining moment of warlock glory.

What?  Who HASN'T thought of that?

Destruction

Ah, destruction: the very purpose of every warlock.  We maintain our existence for this singular reason.  It is our rite; the only place two rites can make a wrong, right?  Whatever.

Chaos Bolts are your friend here.  And what green dragon-headed fireball ISN'T your friend?  Hmmm?  This tree currently delivers some of the best burst damage and is great for raiding or PVP.

Hybrids

There are hybrid builds that split their trees about as equally as possible, usually drilling into the 40-point talent of one tree and spending the remaining points in another.

It's important to  remember (especially at this stage) there are no "wrong" talent specs.  You can play however you want to play.  If you're planning on doing end-game content you'll likely be expected to use a particular spec for raiding but until that point you can simply play around with your talents and see what you like or what you think will benefit you for your play style.  And if you don't like where your talents are at, simply respec.  It's not free but you'll be making plenty of coin once you hit the level cap.

Recap

Read everything again.


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