"Warlocking 101" is a series that attempts to answer newbie questions about the Warlock class. Articles will include information ranging from the creatiion of your Warlock to basic leveling strategies, etc. For more advanced information, keep an eye out for high-level articles to come. =)
The Burning Question
So, you've decided to roll a Warlock. Congratulations on making a fantastic decision! The class is incredibly fun to play, solo or in a group setting, so your choice is a very smart and understandable one. If this is your first Warlock, you undoubtedly have questions about how to maximize your performance as you fulfill your role. I am happy to help out if I can, and the Warlocking 101 series will aim to do just that.
This session, we'll start by looking at one of the most basic and common questions I am asked by new Warlocks:
"Which race's racials are better for Warlocking? The Undead or Blood Elves?"
Short answer: Undeads make better Warlocks than Blood Elves. No question about it.
The Blood Elf racials are nice, and can be useful in certain situations, but the Undead racials are much more complimentary to the Warlock class. To understand why that's the case, treat each combination of racial traits as if they were a trinket, and consider how useful that trinket would be to Warlocks.
First, lets consider the Undead and their Cannibalize and Will of the Forsaken abilities. Cannibalize is a health regenerating ability that is useful in-combat or out. It is effective on humanoids (all playable characters) and undead targets, and regens 7% of your total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds, with a reasonably short two minute cooldown. Will of the Forsaken breaks Fear, Sleep, and Charm effects, can be used preemptively, and provides a buff that makes you immune to such effects for 5 seconds.
These abilities would make an incredible Warlock trinket that any Warlock in their right mind would pursue. Cannibalize compliments the Warlock-defining Life Tap spell VERY well, and minimizes downtime and increases efficiency in many different situations. It's also on a separate cooldown timer than potions and Healthstones, offering a 3rd option for in-combat healing!
As for Will of the Forsaken, any trinket effect that restores control to your character and prevents loss of control for a period of time is an immeasurably great ability, for obvious reasons. =)
Now lets take a look at the Blood Elves and their Mana Tap and Arcane Torrent abilities.
Mana Tap is a "free" no-mana-cost spell that reduces your target's mana by a set amount that scales with level. It applies a buff that charges you with arcane energy, stackable up to 3 times between the spell's 30 second cooldown. Arcane Torrent silences enemies within 8 yards for 2 secs, and increases your mana by a set amount based on the number of Mana Taps you have stacked.
Warlocks can pretty much ignore the mana-regenerating abilities of these spells, since the class is built around converting stamina to mana and need not concern themselves with other methods. The silence and mana-draining abilities, however, are definitely a draw.
But are they worthwhile enough to trump the very Warlock-strong Undead racials?
In my opinion, the answer is a definitive no.
The distance-limitation of Arcane Torrent is a significant hurdle one must jump in making the spell useful in a variety of situations. And Mana Tap just doesn't drain enough mana to make it as effective as it should be.
Sorry, Blood Elves. At least you look good though. ;)
Orc Warlocks Need Love Too
Now, lets take the question a bit further and introduce another, very important variable. Orcs can roll Warlocks too, and make incredibly effective ones at that. Some even say that their racials are the best for Warlocks, arguing that they directly compliment our strengths and weaknesses very well.
They definitely are complimentary, but the best? Lets take a closer look:
Orcs have Blood Fury, which increases spell damage by an amount that scales with level (up to +150 @ Lvl 60, for example) for 15 seconds, and with a short 2 minute cooldown. Hardiness increases resistance to stun effects by 15%, and Command increases pet melee damage by 5%. All are fantastic abilities/qualities for a Warlock to have in any situation!
The Hard Part: Orc vs. Undead
So which set of abilities would make for a better trinket? Would it be one that increases spell damage, helps resist stuns, and increases pet damage, or one that restores control to your character and offers quick in-combat health regen? Which would you pick up as a Warlock?
Obviously, this is a very subjective question, and to answer it would be situationally or focus-dependent. PvEers may find the Orc racials better for raiding while PvPers may find the Undead racials better for Arena matches, or even the other way around, for example.
Personally, I consider the extra pet damage of the Orc racials to just be okay. The real strength within the Orc lies in the extra spell damage and stun resists, which would be very nice against the Warlock counter-classes -- Rogues and Warriors.
But when it comes down to it, in my honest opinion, both of those abilities are not as dependable as the Forsaken racial abilities. Both are limited by either a "% chance to proc" or an "up to x amount of spell damage" variable, which require a bit of luck to get the most out of. Neither Will of the Forsaken or Cannibalize function in that manner, and will always perform at a specific level, no matter the situation.
That being said, Orcs make very good Warlocks. Better 'locks than Blood Elves for sure, and sometimes, even better than Undead 'locks, based on the situation.
Personal Preference FTW
Racial abilities aside, another question you should ask yourself is this: how important is all of that information to your own perception of your character? If your answer is "very important," than you should probably choose an Undead or Orc Warlock to level. If your answered "not very important," than choose whatever you will be most happy with (read: "looking at"), period.
I wonder which race that will be...
*The bulk of this post is a re-post from an August 17, 2007 topic.