I still remember the first time I saw a Frost Mage AoE grind. It was in northern Dragonblight, up at the Scarlet Crusade base. This little gnome would round up the Crusaders into a tight herd on his mechanostrider, slow them, freeze them, blink to a safe distance, and then annihilate them with a Blizzard. This crazy little man would pull entire camps, kill them all, and ride away without a scratch.
I was stunned by not just the carnage, but the sytle and élan by which it was achieved. I admit: I was really quite jealous of Mages in that moment.
What I didn’t know at the time is that Warlocks are equally capable at AoE grinding, but with a fundamentally different style. The Warlock Way isn’t to avoid the enemy, it’s to frustrate their attempts to stop us, to turn their own life force against them, and when all else fails — to nuke them down while we laugh at their feeble attempts to stop us.
There are at least four styles that I know the different specs can use to kill many mobs in a single blow.
- Destro Locks are uniquely suited to AoE grinding because of both the buffs we have on Rain of Fire and Shadowfury.
- Affliction Locks excel at a completely different style of taking out lots of mobs, a style I’ve dubbed the Kali style, which involves casting instant DoTs on the run and then spamming Seeds of Corruption and Drain Life. This style leaves a trail of dead as Affliction locks NEVER need to stop.
- Demo Locks can use their Felguard, Metamorphosis’s Immolation Aura, and Hellfire to gather mobs and turn the mob’s aggro against them.
- And all warlocks can send a pet to gather up mobs and return them to the master, killing them however the warlock chooses.
Today I’m just going to talk about Destro’s AoE grinding. The core idea is to gather up the mobs with you (and your pet), hit them with Shadowfury, Shadowflame (especially Glyphed Shadowflame), and Rain of Fire, all while absorbing damage with your Voidwalker’s Sacrifice, Soul Link, and your own high Stamina. The more defensive talents you have, the better you will fare.
The process is relatively straightforward:
- Round up the mobs while mounted into a tight area. If you get knocked off, don’t panic, just move on to step 2. Try to get just to one side of the pack.
- Shadowfury the mobs to stun them in place. You’ll dismount at this point and your Voidwalker will spawn.
- Turn and face the mobs and hit them with Shadowflame. This will put a DoT on them and do great damage for little mana; however, you have to practice to make sure you can aim your cone well.
- Trigger your Voidwalker’s Sacrifice spell as you get a little distance on the pack of mobs. If you’re facing Shadow spells, you can also toss Shadow Ward on for good measure.
- Rain of Fire the pack until they die. This usually takes 1-2 RoFs for most PvE mobs.
Sometimes it helps to actually see a technique in action. So, I made a little video to show how this works in practice. (Go easy on me, this is my first video post.)
So there you have it. Obviously Warlock AoE grinding takes some practice and a good health pool. Soul Link will really help you out here, but it’s by no means essential. What is essential is keeping a good tab on your cooldowns, health, and mana, and the willingness to adapt when things go wrong.