Committing to the Dark Side – Choosing Your Warlock’s Race

It’s time to get more warlocky around here, don’tcha think? With all the excitement surrounding the announcement of Cataclysm, many people have decided to roll a new character to experience Old Azeroth one last time.  Perhaps you’ve heard the call of the dark side and are thinking of rolling a warlock.  If so, let’s start with the basics.

I don’t know about you, but when I created my first warlock, I didn’t think a whole lot about the racial traits.  Most of us roll a warlock to get in touch with our inner demon, right?  I know I was more interested in melting faces than magical resistances, reduced stun effects, or profession bonuses.  Or, if we want to determine evilness based on looks, I’d say the Forsaken win hands down.  But, does that mean they are the best choice?

Let’s take a look at what the available races have to offer before we try to answer that question.

The Alliance:

Gnomes

Gnomes have a few racials that are beneficial for PvE and PvP.

Expansive Mind is good for casters due to the 5% intellect increase, which increases your mana pool.

Escape Artist allows you to escape from immobilization effects, which makes it useful for PvP.

Arcane Resistance is useful if you hang out with a lot of angry mages.

Engineering Specialization is helpful only if your warlock likes to tinker.

Humans

Other than The Human Spirit, Human racials have beneficial purposes that don’t directly impact warlock abilities.  The 3% spirit increase is nice, now that spirit applies to Fel Armor and spell damage.

Perception increases stealth detection, and Every Man for Himself removes all movement impairing and loss of control effects.  These two are useful for PvP where being able to remove impairment effects can be the difference between an honorable kill and a corpse run.

Diplomacy does not directly affect warlocks, but the 10% increase of reputation gains is something to consider if you want an edge on rep grinds.

Sword and Mace Specializations are worthless.

The Horde:

Orc

Blood Fury is very beneficial and is like an extra trinket.  It’s instant to cast with a 2 minute cooldown to boost spell power for 15 seconds.  Combine this with Command, which increases pet damage by 5%.

Command seems the most useful for Demonology, but is useful for all specs.  During TBC it would not have been considered useful for Affliction warlocks since their pets were merely mana batteries, but now we all send them out to play.

Hardiness reduces stun effects by 15%, which is useful for PvP.

Axe Specialization is worthless.

Forsaken/Undead

Who doesn’t love Cannibalize? Talk about ultimate evil… kill your humanoid enemy, Life Tap to refill mana, and then Cannibalize the corpse to regenerate health.  Cannibalize reduces downtime, especially while leveling, and lessens the need to carry a lot of food.

Will of the Forsaken is great for PvP because it removes any charm, fear, or sleep effect.

Shadow Resistance is decent to have as well.

Underwater Breathing isn’t terribly important since warlocks can cast Unending Breath on themselves (and others).

Blood Elf

Blood Elves may not look very evil (in fact, they are a bit colorful for warlocks if you ask me… even though I play one), but who better to consort with demons and dabble in dark magic than those who have a special “need” for magic?

Arcane Torrent can be useful to squeeze some extra mana out of your surroundings in a pinch, but it replaces less mana than Life Tap or Dark Pact.  It also silences enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds.  This can be good for PvP, but how often do you stand that close to an enemy caster?

Blood Elves also have Magic Resistance, which is decent since it covers all spells.

Arcane Affinity provides a boost to the enchanting skill if you choose that profession.

So, Which One is Better?

I’m afraid that is not a cut and dry answer.  While Orc and Forsaken racials appear to be recommended more frequently at The Warlock’s Den, there isn’t a consensus on which is the “best” race.  WoWWiki also seems to point toward Orcs, but advises that racial traits and attributes are less important after the starter zones.

It really comes down to knowing your playstyle and choosing your race with other things in mind, such as faction, aesthetics, voice, lore, etc.

So with all those things in mind, which race would you choose or recommend and why?

Comments

  1. Don’t forget that most of the pvp racials are very useful in pve also. Such as break fear/stun Undead and Humans have. The gnome escape artist one comes in handy too.

    If I was a hardcore raider that wanted to do the most dps I possiblity could. I would choose Orc.

    However, cannibalize + grinding on humanoids = no downtime leveling. Not to mention Will of the Forsaken always comes in handy…I rock the undead warlock. Helps that it fits the lore better too. =P

  2. Horde-side, I prefer undead. They just seem darker and more accepting of such practices.
    Alliance, it’s a hard choice. Humans work well (my warlock is human), but there’s something about pink pigtails and a felguard charging at you right behind a shadowbolt which is so unexpectedly cute-evil.

  3. Yeah I’m with Klepsacovic – Gnome Warlock is the cutest thing EVAR.

    I have finally added you guys to my blogroll by the way, my apologies on how long it took, I assumed I’d added you a looooong time ago but I was wrong =( /begs forgiveness

  4. Alliance : Human Female Warlock always intriqued me, pretty girl, evil attitude. Sorta like all my ex-girlfriends.

    Horde : Forsaken, something about a muscular caster just repulses me. Plus I am always reminded by the opening Warcraft Cinematic how cool undead warlocks are.

  5. Syrana
    Twitter: Syrana
    says:

    @thedoctor – Very true, the racials that are good for PvP can and do come in handy for PvE. It just doesn’t seem like any really make or break a choice, for me at least.

    @Klepsacovic – Gnome warlocks are definitely scary! :P

    @Pike – I’d say scary more than cute :D And again, no worries on the blogroll!

    @Rivs – Haha, so you like to date warlocks… but you are a mage! And yeah, that cinematic makes them look awesome. Too bad my Blood Elf isn’t more scary. I guess she’s kinda like your human description ;)

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

  6. I’ve played around with a lock or two, although the highest I’ve leveled with one is about 27… I tried with gnomes first, but somehow the cuteness of them just makes me grind my teeth together. Can’t do it. The one that stuck (better) is a Belf. I like the lore aspect of it… the blood elves turn up their noses at the idea that some powers shouldn’t be used because of their origins… and then they tame demons!

    Yes, I like my blood elf warlock, she has a sneery face, and I can imagine her getting a sneery smile when she curses people with agony. Which she does. A lot.

  7. For Horde-side, for complete PVE min/maxxing purposes I’d say Orc for sure. Blood Fury is a free spellpower trinket every 2 minutes while Command is good for any spec. I’m biased being Meta/Ruin because 5% Felguard damage on top of the 2T9 bonus (10% more pet damage) is hot shit. Everytime I log on to my Lock, I cry because I made an Undead over 3 years ago because he “looked cool”.

    For Alliance, I like Humans because the Spirit bonus directly impacts your damage output. The Int buff from the Gnomes are pretty useless outside of the very minimal crit you’ll gain passively.