Warlock Guide for 4.3 Normal Modes
This patch 4.3 Dragon Soul Warlock guide was written to offer you guidance through the first seven bosses in normal mode Dragon Soul and should contain relevant information for both raid sizes and all three specs. If you should find incorrect information or your questions unanswered just make a post and I'll try to look into it.
Talents: Currently all Warlock specs are fairly balanced and only marginally differ in output potential in a patchwerk scenario. None of the specs can be classified as non-viable, and you should use your best judgement when choosing a spec: Consider which spec you're most comfortable with, which spec is most beneficial to your raid group and which spec might work best at the current boss.
http://www.wowhead.com/talent#IrGr0hsGsdcZI:sMRodb (32/3/6 Affliction): While only slightly behind in ideal single-target DPS, Affliction is, as always, extremely powerful in it's own areas: Multi-target DoTting, executing, self-healing and fairly simple single-target priorities. The spec itself is rather set-in-stone and there isn't much you can change without a cost.
http://www.wowhead.com/talent#I0hZIRrf0uMRdocbb:V0adb (3/31/7 Demonology): Demonology remains as a highly competitive spec even after the Doomguard nerfs in 4.3 being extremely strong in burst damage, AoE and on-demand output. Note that the ideal single-target spec has changed a bit since the Incinerate buffs in 4.3: You can now ditch Bane for 3/3 Improved Corruption and stop using Shadow Bolt completely, making the spec somewhat easier to play. You can also set the talent points between Demonic Embrace, Fel Synergy, Demonic Rebirth, Demonic Aegis, Master Summoner, Demonic Empowerment and Aura of Foreboding as you best see fit. Note that with the higher amount of Impending Doom procs you will be getting with the Incinerate filler and haste from Dragon Soul gear you can eventually ditch Moonwell Chalice. Also worth mentioning (just because some people don't seem to know it): Felhunter is the best single-target DPS pet by a huge margin. Use it.
http://www.wowhead.com/talent#I0hZf0bZIbbfRbsRdo:Vozdb (3/7/31 Destruction): With recent buffs, Destruction rises as a solid contender in single-target damage with steady output, high survivability through Nether Protection and good mobility. The spec for for Destruction is almost as inflexible as that of Affliction, but you can optionally put 1/2 or 2/2 in Fel Synergy and have one free Major Glyph slot (or maybe even two as you won't need to Life Tap much.) Note that glyph of Incinerate is still not worth it.
Glyphs: Not much flexibility in here. Use the standard Prime Glyphs for all specs in all situations. Glyphing Soul Link is often recommended. Glyph of Shadowflame is useful on maybe one boss.
Tier pieces: Both bonuses are strong for all specs and especially if you're playing Demonology you'll want to try and rush 2x T13 as soon as possible to make Doomguard available for most if not all boss attempts.
Introduction: A solid and easy fight for a Warlock, not only will you find yourself constantly at Shadowflame range but you'll also have much easier time with the incoming damage than most classes.
Spec: Demo/Your preference
Glyphs: Glyph of Soul Link recommended, Glyph of Healthstone if you have free slots.
The fight and tips: Keep yourself close enough for Shadowflame but not too close to take amplified damage from stomps. You can and should go soak Resonating Crystals. When you get pulled to the boss for the Black Blood of the Earth, run away from the boss while casting Shadowflame and refreshing you DoTs and run behind the nearest pillars. If the pillar is close, you can just stand ~10 yards behind it and cast at the boss, if there's two next to each other you can stand between them and cast and if neither is true you should be able to stand near the black slime behind the pillar and have LoS without getting hit.
Mind that the Resonating Crystal deals Shadow Damage, so a Shadow Ward might save you on a tight spot. Also switching to Demon Armor could help if your raid is struggling to stay alive as the additional armor reduces stomp damage on top of the extra healing taken, but this obviously costs you some damage output. Good execute specs (Affli, Demo) help you deal with the soft enrage faster.
Introduction: Yor'sahj is a boss of moderate movement, heavy AoE and priority targeting. This might seem confusing at first, but simply follow any instructions given to you by your raid leader and you should do fine.
The fight and tips: Stand close to the boss at Shadowflame range until the boss starts summoning his Globules, and go for the one you're being told to if you don't know how they should be prioritized. Make sure the Globule that is being focused doesn't reach the boss at any cost, then get ready to deal with the Globules that got through.
If the Cobalt Globule got through, you'll have to deal with the Mana Void, and should place it as your #1 priority. Life Tap once to get your mana back and nuke it down. If they die fast enough you don't need to DoT them up much, but if you're Affli you can Soul Swap from the boss before the Mana Void Spawns. You don't need to care about being close to the Mana Void as you always have your Mana Feed and Life Tap.
After the Mana Void has been dealt with, if there was one, you'll often find the room filled up with Forgotten ones from the Dark Globule. Use your AoE abilities, especially Shadowflame, to deal with them and make sure you've got Felstorm for them if you're playing Demo.
You'll also need to be aware of the Crimson Globule which requires you to stand near the boss to not take too much damage.
Introduction: Zon'ozz is fairly simple on normal, just mind your positioning and do as you're told. There'll be moderate damage incoming periodically through the fight, but nothing you should really be concerned of as a Warlock. Most important thing is to never stand in front of the boss when Psychic Drain is incoming and not to mess up the bounces on Void of the Unmaking.
Spec: Demo/Your preference
The fight and tips: The bouncing strategy might vary a lot, so pay attention to whatever instructions you'll be given. Make sure you get hit by the splash when the Void is being bounced.
When the Void is taken into the boss you'll have a good time to pop your cooldowns and focus on doing damage, but don't completely ignore your health: Pop your Healthstone if you go low or use Shadow Ward. If you're Destruction Nether Protection cuts incoming damage a lot in this phase, make use of it if your healers are having hard time.
Introduction: Hagara is a bit of an all-around boss with heavy movement, some AoE and multi-targeting and from moderate to heavy incoming damage.
Spec: Demo is a good spec to default to, but if you're not too confident you probably should play whichever spec you're most comfortable with in here.
The fight and tips: As your mitigation as a warlock is good, you should move to soak Ice Lances immediately if you see them streaming into melee. When the Ice Tombs are coming make sure you're not one of them and then deploy your AoE arsenal to the tombs. Shadowflame is exceptionally good, you can even hit the boss as well as the shards if you land it carefully.
During Frozen Tempest, you can simply run around the platform (as close to center as possible without running into the wall) while dodging falling things and DoTting up the Binding Crystals. Just assign your pet on one crystal, throw Corruption and Banes while running and stop briefly to drop UA/Immolate and keep running while deploying instant casts like Soulburn: Soul Fire and Shadowflame on the crystals. You can skip one wave of Ice by having your Demonic Circle down somewhere and teleporting over a wave. Just remember that being alive is preferable to being dead so don't risk a death just for getting a little bit of damage on a crystal.
During Lightning Storm you'll just need to be wary of the incoming damage. If you have an assigned spot in forming of your Lightning Conduit, you can easily mark it with your teleport and get into your spot quickly.
And obviously try to have your cooldowns and potion ready when Hagara goes into increased damage state after a Lightning Storm.
Introduction: The mandatory patchwerk-with-a-twist of this patch, Ultraxion is a boss where you'll only need to do your best complete standstill DPS and damage mitigation. Also you'll conveniently spend the entire fight at Shadowflame range.
Spec: Demo/Your preference. 6 Minute enrage makes having more than one Doomguard impossible even with the set bonus, so this boss should be fairly balanced between different specs.
The fight and tips: Fiddle with your addons to make sure you never miss Hour of Twilight casts and Fading Light and you'll never have be the source of you raid leader's hair loss. You don't need to take one step during the entire boss fight and the only way you can screw up as DPS is by failing at those two abilities which are both dealt with the magical Heroic Will button.
You'll get pushed out of the Heroic Will realm as soon as the damage instance is meant to occur on Hour of Twilight, so as a confident DPS player you could take minor risks to improve your output by spending less time in Heroic Will, but don't overextend or you'll end up as your guilds laughing stock.
If your guild needs players to soak up the Hour of Twilight, you can do this fairly easily if you spec Destruction and pop Nether Ward well before the cast starts so it'll proc Nether Protection: Shadow and you'll have 30% + 25% mitigations on top of 2/3 Demonic Embrace and hopefully some damage absorption provided by your healers. You can also pop Soulburn: Healthstone for a Last Stand effect but it'll be a DPS loss and you'll have to remember that you can't use that if you're full on health as you can't Healthstone then.
When the damage gets hard remember to pop your Healthstone and tell your guild to do the same. Afterwards you can browse combat logs or Recount and find out who didn't use any and frown upon them.
Introduction: Lots of targets, bursty damage. Mind your positioning and target priorities and you'll get along just fine.
Spec: Affliction/Your preference
The fight and tips: Strategy might vary a bit between guilds. DoT up the Twilight Elites and switch to the Twilight Assault Drakes as soon as they get pulled in, and be sure to re-apply DoTs when they fly back up if they don't seem to die. Remember to keep your pet on the ground targets unless you play Destruction. Soak up the Twilight Barrages, but even as a Warlock you shouldn't try to tackle them alone, you'll die if you don't get a lucky resist. Be ready to move out for the Twilight Onslaught and deal with the Twilight Sappers.
Key to maximum output is keeping your DoTs rolling on as many targets as possible, but you still need to focus the Assault Drakes and Sappers and soak the Twilight Onslaught or you'll end up wiping. When P2 begins simply deal with Goriona, and then DPS the boss while traditionally avoiding any fire on the ground.
Glyphs: On top of Glyph of Soul Link, you might want to use Glyph of Shadowflame on this one as it works on the Twilight Sappers. Best part is it works even while the Sapper is invisible so you can just estimate their path and land a Shadowflame and they'll be snared hard before they reappear.
Introduction: A literal roller coaster with a lot of damage, target-switching and repetition. Not paying attention can lead to a huge mistake, but you should do well with a warlock of any spec.
Spec: Demo/Your preference
The fight and tips: Make sure you're hitting the right targets at right times and you're holding tight onto your ticket when the conductor comes. When you DPS the Hideous Amalgamations make sure you've got the lonely Corruption tentacles in your focus so you can switch to them as soon as they cast Fiery Grip. Don't hit Corrupted Bloods until you're told to or you'll cause some trouble. Don't burn your cooldowns on the Amalgamations but save them for the Burning Tendons, and be sure to Soul Swap off the Amalgamations before they die if you're Affliction.
Obviously use all your cooldowns on the Burning Tendons and any defensive abilities on Nuclear Blasts. Use Shadowflame a lot, it does massive damage on this boss. Make sure your pet isn't idle but hitting the right targets at all times.
The Warlock is a strong class in every boss of Dragon Soul with solid output and awesome survivability. Don't set too much store for patchwerk simulations but use your own sense when choosing the spec to raid with, technically they're all at least situationally viable on all bosses.
Again, if you'd like to know more about something please leave a comment or make a forum post rather than contacting me in a PM.