World of Warcraft Warlock Raiding Guide
Raiding Warlocks could be considered "multi-functional DPS" since they're not as pure damage dealers as mages, hunters or rogues, who aside from a few situations, are asked to do nothing but DPS.
Warlocks on the other hand, have to worry about keeping a specific curse on top of a mob or boss, banishing and re-banishing an add, soulstoning a priest/paladin/shaman for quick wipe recoveries, or another class if it's essential to a specific fight (an off-tank, or the single tranq hunter available).
At raidstart, you'll also have your hands full while other classes run around, chat or duel, you'll be busy summoning slackers or late joiners and making healthstones for everyone.
You will also contribute to the raid by increasing your party's Stamina with the help of your Imp. Other pets are rarely used in raids, such as the voidwalker tanking one of Garr's adds in Molten Core. The succubus might be use to Seduce a humanoid add, but it's rarely the case as other classes have better forms of taking humanoids out of the fight.
The following guide will let you in on some build-specific tips and tricks as well as some general ones. I also made up a list of useful raid consumables for warlocks, regardless of spec. Let's get started then.
Warlock Raiding Guide - Affliction Warlocks
Affliction warlocks are great raiders and the Unstable Affliction (41 Affliction tree) and Destructive reach (18 Destruction tree) combination is one of the most common for raiding warlocks nowadays. Actually, most raiding builds based on Affliction will take Destruction as a secondary tree, for the Improved Shadowbolt, Bane, Shadowburn and Destructive Reach talents.
Affliction warlocks will be extremely versatile in a raid as they will be able to output high damage through their DoTs without fear of gaining aggro (since Damage over Time spells generate aggro harder and slower) and it's also quite mana efficient, with improved drain mana and improved Life Tap for fights where you run out or low on mana. Dark Pact can also be used as a mana source from your "imp battery".
Another good mana regeneration technique for Affliction warlocks during raids is using Improved Life Tap to get the required amount of mana up, then immediately Draining Life on the target to get your HP back to a safe number. With the Soul Siphon talent and a couple of affliction warlocks in the raid, your Drain Life will get a huge bonus from Soul Siphon and you'll be right back up to full strenght in no time.
Raiding Affliction locks shine out when the raid needs to DPS more than one target, since they can just "fire and forget" their DoTs and start nuking on one target, then rinse and repeat when the DoTs are going out.
Besides high damage output, you will be able to crowd control better if you have the Improved Howl of Terror and Curse of Exhaustion talents (although they're mostly PVP spells, but can be useful in some PVE situations).
Last but not least, you will help out your fellow raid members by placing the Shadow Embrace effect on your targets, which reduces phyiscal damage taken from the mob or boss.
Warlock Raiding Guide - Demonology Warlocks
Raiding Demonology warlocks are extremely versatile and they can mold on to the situation like no other spec. You can combine Demonology with some nuke ability from Destruction (up to Ruin) or to get some DoT power from Affliction (Improved and Empowered Corruption, Improved Curse of Agony and Siphon Life). Note that if you want Siphon Life as a secondary Affliction spell or Ruin as a secondary Destruction spell, you won't be able to put 41 points in Demonology, so no Felguard. Unless you want to PVP or grind in your non-raiding time, your Felguard isn't really needed.
If you go for a Ruin combination, you will aim for Demonic Tactics in Demonology for increased critical chance. This would be a good shadowbolt spam spec and if you combine it with a Succubus Demonic Sacrifice, you'll get 15% extra Shadow damage which is quite a boost in a raid's DPS.
One of the problems with this Demonology spec that requires you to sacrifice your demon is that you lose the party-wide Stamina buff from the Int. So you'll have to balance the benefit of a single target's DPS boost with the downside of 5 raid members getting lower HP.
It's a bit weird that although spending 40ish points in the Demonology tree, you'll be relying on your Affliction and Destruction spells for damage mostly. Shadow Bolt becomes your main spam spell and the 15% shadow damage from Sacrificing your Succubus is awesome when combined with good +shadow gear. However, you'll have to lose the Stamina from your Imp's blood pact again, so only do it if your raid gives you the green light (something tells me they won't).
Warlock Raiding Guide - Destruction Warlocks
Destruction warlocks are nukers deluxe and your biggest problem while raiding with this kind of spec is aggro control and mana inefficiency. Depending on your specific spec, you could go for a combination of Shadowbolt spamming with Affliction bonuses, or climbing up the Demonology tree to get Demonic Sacrifice and kill your Imp for that extra 15% fire damage. In this case you'll be using Immolate and Incinerate or Searing Pain mostly and you might also want to get some +fire damage gear on for max results.
You'll be getting a lot of crits as a destruction warlock, especially if you have +crit on your gear, so mind that aggro. You'll be in almost the same danger of pulling aggro as mages and you know how clumsy they are...
Unfortunately, like I said earlier, mana will be a major problem. Since you don't have Improved Life Tap, it will be difficult trade your HP this way. Another disadvantage of a deep destruction lock is that in order to be efficient, you'll have to climb up in the Demonology tree to get Demonic Sacrifice and kill your Imp for the 15% fire damage. However, your raid leader might not approve to you losing your imp and the party losing the Blood Pact Stamina, so make sure you get your raid's approval before speccing full destruction for a raid, so that you don't cause upset amongst the others.
By the way, just because you're destruction and focus on crit and burst damage, this doesn't mean that you can't DoT. Curse of Agony is still instant, so get it up in between the casts. You'll have to live without the Improved Corruption, but you might want to get it up when you can spare a second from your nuking (when you're high on the threat list and need to settle down on the Incinerates for a bit).
Warlock Raiding Guide - Raid Consumables
If you're ever to top that DPS chart, make sure you bring as many raid consumables as your pockets can hold. I'm not saying they're cheap, they can actually cost quite a large bag of World of Warcraft gold at the end of the day, but the boost you will get in a raid from consumables as a warlock is impressive. Here's some stuff you could buy or craft if you have the required professions:
• [Super Mana Potion]
• [Destruction Potion]
• [Brilliant Wizard Oil]
• [Superior Wizard Oil]
• [Elixir of Draenic Wisdom]
• [Elixir of Major Shadow Power]
• [Elixir of Major Firepower]
• [Adept's Elixir]
• [Crunchy Serpent]
• [Poached Bluefish]
• [Blackened Basilisk]
• [Chipped Power Core]
• [Flask of Mighty Restoration]
• [Flask of Distilled Wisdom]
• [Flask of Supreme Power]
Warlock Raiding Guide - General Tips and Tricks
• Ruin does not increase your +spell crit CHANCE by 100%, it increases your critical hit DAMAGE.
• Shadowbolts can crit with Improved Shadowbolt talent, but the Shadow Vulnerability debuff might still be resisted separately. So don't go bothering a GM that your warlock is "broken"
• Cataclysm is not worth it, even for a raiding warlock that will spam shadowbolts, incinerates or whatnot. 5% mana on destruction spells is nothing really, and spending 5 points there is a waste.
• Life Tap does not generate aggro, so feel free to use it even when you're close to the aggro steal limit.
• If you're fighting a boss that has no instant huge damage melee ability, you can use Curse of Recklessness to improve the entire raid's DPS.
• Make sure you talk with the other warlocks before the raid to know who does what Curse. Since only one curse can be applied per priest, you should make the most of this and have as many different Curses as warlocks (the one that has highest +spell damage should put Curse of Agony)
• Use an addon that tells you how much of your Banish is left and that alerts you when the Banish breaks. Nothing is more risky for you and the raid than a broken Banish that you don't control immediately.
• Try using Soul Shatter when you're at a boss that's around 45% life, for the extra damage.
• The soulstone doesn't always belong to a healer in a raid! Instead of saving running time from a wipe by soulstoning a Paladin, you can save the wipe entirely if your offtank can get back up from your Soulstone for example.
• Don't be lazy with the summons before the raid. I know it's annoying to get the shards, I know it's annoying that you made it in time while some slacker didn't and I know it's annoying that you get whisper-spammed with "Summonplx" messages. But the sooner you get those people to the raid entrance or your meet-up point, the faster you can start working for your shiny purplz.
• Curse of Weakness is useless at any boss and it's a waste Curse so don't use it.
• You're entitled to +Fire gear as a full destruction warlock, but remember that shadow priests are entitled to +Shadow gear in equal measure as a lock. Play nice and by your guild's rules and you'll get your chance at the loot sooner or later.