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WoW Classic WotLK: Warlock Leveling Guide (1-80)

Warlocks are wielders of shadow and flame, commanders of demons, and casters of curses. They are one of the strongest damage dealers in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic. But what’s the best way to level one of these goth lords and ladies to 80? What talents, gear, and spells should you use to get it done efficiently? Don’t worry, we’ll cover everything you need to know in this warlock leveling guide for WotLK Classic.

Warlock Races WoW Classic
Races available for warlocks for Alliance and Horde. (Images: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Best Warlock Leveling Spec

We’ll be using the affliction talent specialization for this warlock leveling guide. Affliction is a powerful solo build that can chain pull enemies with little to no downtime. Demonology is also a fine option for leveling, but it’s not as efficient as affliction. Destruction comes in a distant third and is not recommended for leveling.

Unlike in retail World of Warcraft, you will need to visit your class trainer in order to learn new spells as you level up. Trainers are located in every major faction city as well as each of the starting zones. You should train at least every few levels, because new ranks and new spells can make a huge difference to your damage and efficiency.

Best Talents and Spec for leveling a warlock in WotLK Classic.
The affliction talent build we’ll use for this guide. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Gear and Stats

As an affliction warlock, here are the stats you should look for on gear, in order of importance:

  1. Spell Power increases the damage done by your spells and is your most important stat.
  2. Haste speeds up your spell casts, increasing the amount of damage you can do over any given window of time.
  3. Critical Strike increases your damage by causing more of your spells to critically hit.
  4. Spirit is made useful by Glyph of Lifetap and Fel Armor, which cause Spirit to convert directly to Spell Power.
  5. Intellect increases your mana pool and also boosts your critical strike. You should get lots of it naturally on gear without having to focus on it.
  6. Stamina is important for your survivability, and thanks to Lifetap, it effectively increases your mana pool as well. It should come naturally on your gear without needing to look for it.
  7. Hit will be much more important at level 80 (it moves to the very top of this list). You won’t see much of it as you level, but when you do, it’s good to grab.

Warlocks can only use cloth armor. For weapons, the options are daggers, one-handed swords, staves, and wands. Wands have their own equipment slot and you will always want to have one in addition to your primary weapon. If you are using a weapon other than a staff, you’ll want to use an off-hand with it. For your wand, look for a high DPS number. Your primary weapon is not used for damage, only for stats.

Warlock Imp WoW Classic
Warlocks can only wear cloth armor, but their minions can take the brunt of the damage. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Best Heirlooms for Affliction Warlock

Heirloom gear is well worth getting if you have a level 80 character and are able to purchase it. They scale with your level, so you don’t have to keep replacing your gear as you go. Chest and shoulder pieces also provide a buff to your experience gained, increasing your leveling speed significantly.

These are the heirloom pieces you should look for if you are leveling a warlock:

  • Shoulder: Tattered Dreadmist Mantle
  • Chest: Tattered Dreadmist Robe
  • Trinket: Discerning Eye of the Beast
  • Trinket: Swift Hand of Justice
  • Weapon: Dignified Headmaster’s Charge
Best Heirlooms for Warlock Leveling
The best heirlooms for a warlock. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Guide to Leveling a Warlock in WotLK

Now we’ll walk you through the leveling process step by step!

Level 1-9

Rotation: Starting out, you’ll only have one damaging spell: Shadow Bolt. As you learn new spells, here is the rotation you’ll use:

  1. Corruption
  2. Curse of Agony
  3. Shadow Bolt or Shoot with your wand until it’s dead

Make sure you maintain your Demon Skin buff at all times for defense. At level 6, you will learn Life Tap, which if used properly will mean that you almost never have to stop to recover mana. And at level 8 you get the Fear spell, an important crowd control ability. Use it when things are looking bad and you need to prevent something from attacking you.

Demon: You can learn the Summon Imp spell as soon as you visit your trainer, your first minion! Managing your pet is an important part of playing a warlock. Make sure you have a demon summoned at all times and keep an eye on its health as well as your own. You also want to make sure it’s attacking as soon as you are. The best way to do this is by macroing it to your opener.

#showtooltip Corruption
/cast Corruption

Wands: You can get your first wand as early as level 5. Lesser Magic Wand can be crafted with Enchanting or purchased from the auction house. At your first opportunity, grab yourself a wand and start using Shoot to finish off enemies that are close to death.

Warlock Imp Casting WoW Classic
The imp is the first demon you’ll be able to summon. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 10-19

Talents: You get your first talent point at level 10. Here are the recommended talents for this level range:

  • Level 10-11: Improved Curse of Agony (2/2)
  • Level 12-14: Suppression (3/3)
  • Level 15-19: Improved Corruption (5/5)

Glyphs: At level 15 you will be able to use your first glyphs. Glyph of Quick Decay and Glyph of Drain Soul are excellent choices.

Rotation: Continue killing things with Corruption, Curse of Agony, and Shadow Bolt. At level 10 you can start using Drain Soul on enemies that are almost dead to obtain a Soul Shard. You’ll use those Soul Shards for your Create Healthstone and Create Soulstone spells. At level 12 you’ll learn Health Funnel for keeping your pet alive, and at level 14 you’ll learn Drain Life for keeping yourself alive. Your survivability should skyrocket!

Demon: You learn Summon Voidwalker at level 10, and should start using this guy in place of your imp. Having a sturdier tank is more important than a bit of extra damage.

Warlock Trainer WoW Classic
Visit your trainer often for new spells. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 20-29

Mount: You can get your first mount at level 20. Even better: as a warlock, you get it from your class trainer at a very low cost. The basic ground mount has a speed of 60%. You should pick it up as soon as you can – it makes everything a lot faster and easier.


  • Level 20-21: Improved Life Tap (2/2)
  • Level 22-23: Soul Siphon (2/2)
  • Level 24- 26: Fel Concentration (3/3)
  • Level 27: Amplify Curse (1/1)
  • Level 28-29: Grim Reach (2/2)

Glyphs: You won’t unlock any new glyphs until level 30.

Rotation: At level 20, you learn Demon Armor and should start using it instead of Demon Skin. At level 28 you can start using Create Firestone to buff your damage.

Demon: You’ll learn Summon Succubus and Summon Incubus at level 20, but you should continue using the Voidwalker for leveling. The Succubus and Incubus have identical abilities and are most useful for PVP.

Warlock Summon Felsteed Mount WoW Classic
Warlocks get cheap summonable mounts. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 30-39


  • Level 30-32: Empowered Corruption (3/3)
  • Level 33: Siphon Life (1/1)
  • Level 34-38: Shadow Embrace (5/5)
  • Level 39: Shadow Mastery (1/5)

Glyphs: At level 30, you can use a second major glyph. Glyph of Life Tap is the best option.

Rotation: You’ll get Shadow Ward at level 32, which can be useful for defense. At level 36, you can start using Create Spellstone instead of Create Firestone. The Siphon Life talent at level 33 makes you an unstoppable dotting machine.

Demon: You’ll learn Summon Felhunter at level 30. This little guy will be your main pet from here on out.

Felhunter is the best pet while leveling your warlock. - WotLK Guide
Keep your Felhunter healthy and you won’t have to resummon him. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 40-49

Mount: At level 40, you can upgrade your summoned mount to an epic ground mount with a speed of 100%. It only costs you two gold, while most classes must pay 60.


  • Level 40-43: Shadow Mastery (5/5)
  • Level 44-45: Improved Felhunter (2/2)
  • Level 46-48: Eradication (3/3)
  • Level 49: Contagion (1/5)

Glyphs: You won’t unlock any new glyph slots in this level range.

Rotation: With Howl of Terror at level 40, you can pull bigger packs knowing you have an emergency button you can use if you get into trouble. Death Coil at level 42 further adds to your already incredible crowd control capabilities.

Warlock Summoning WoW Classic
123 for summons! (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 50-57


  • Level 50-53: Contagion (5/5)
  • Level 54-55: Improved Howl of Terror (2/2)
  • Level 56-57: Malediction (2/3)

Glyphs: At level 50 you can use a second minor glyph. Glyph of Unending Breath is at least marginally useful.

Rotation: There’s nothing new at this level. Keep throwing your Corruption and Curse of Agony on as many enemies as you can handle.

Warlock First Aid Trainer WoW Classic
First Aid is especially useful for warlocks. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 58-67

Zones: Head to Outland as soon as you reach level 58. The items you can get there are much better than those in the lower level zones.

Mount: You can purchase your first flying mount at level 60. A basic flying mount has a flying speed of 150% and a ground speed of 60%. Unlike your ground mounts, you will need to buy your flying mounts like any other class. The Flying trainers are located in Hellfire Peninsula and Shadowmoon Valley and the training and mount will cost 300 gold total.


  • Level 58: Malediction (3/3)
  • Level 59: Unstable Affliction (1/1)
  • Level 60-62: Death’s Embrace (3/3)
  • Level 63: Pandemic (1/1)
  • Level 64-67: Everlasting Affliction (4/5)

Glyphs: You won’t get any new glyph slots until level 70.

Rotation: You can unlock Unstable Affliction at level 59. This will give you a third damage-over-time spell that you can put on tougher enemies if your other two DoTs aren’t cutting it. At level 62, you get Fel Armor, which takes the place of your Demon Armor buff.

Warlock Hellfire Peninsula WoW Classic
Hellfire Peninsula is the perfect place to use your Sense Demons and Subjugate Demon spells. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 68-80

Zones: Head to Northrend as soon as you reach level 68. The quest rewards are much better and you can start working on the reputations you will need at level 80.

Mount: You can upgrade your flying mount at level 70 if you choose. An epic flying mount has a flying speed of 280% and a ground speed of 100%, and costs 5100 gold. But you will not be able to use it in Northrend until you train Cold Weather Flying. This can be done at level 77 for 1000 gold, or if you already have a level 80 character, you can purchase a Tome of Cold Weather Flight to use on an alternate character as early as level 68. Northrend flying trainers are located in Dalaran, Storm Peaks, and Sholazar Basin.


  • Level 68: Everlasting Affliction (5/5)
  • Level 69: Haunt (1/1)
  • Level 70-71: Nightfall (2/2)
  • Level 72-73: Fel Synergy (2/2)
  • Level 74-76: Demonic Embrace (3/3)
  • Level 77-78: Fel Vitality (2/2)
  • Level 79-80: Improved Healthstone (2/2)

Glyphs: At level 70, you can use a third minor glyph. There aren’t many options and none of them stand out, so choose whatever appeals to you. You won’t get the third major glyph slot until level 80.

Rotation: You can learn Haunt at level 69, giving you a fourth DoT for dealing with even tougher enemies. At level 70, you learn Seed of Corruption, which is an extremely powerful AOE spell. Use it when you are fighting more than four enemies at once. Keep throwing your DoTs on everything in sight and the levels will fly by!

Congratulations on level 80!

Warlock Leveling Guide WotLK Classic
Welcome to the end game! (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Join the High Ground

Thanks for reading! Hopefully, this guide has helped you with leveling and learning how to play your warlock in WotLK Classic. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!

Happy gaming!

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