Starting a Warlock
- A Warlock learns spells instinctively, unlike a wizard that learns by studying.
- A Warlock's spells are powered by his/her Charisma.
- A Warlock can use Eldritch Blast without spending spell points.
Warlocks are proficient with simple weapons, and can wear cloth or light armor without risking Arcane Spell Failure. Heavier armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure. Warlocks have great melee and ranged capabilities. They can transform their eldritch blasts into forms that bounce damage from enemy to enemy or do serious area of effect damage (cone-shaped, point blank area of effect over time, or point blank area of effect burst damage) Back row or not, the sheer amount of death you are dealing will cause the mobs to aggro on you fast and concentrate fire on you. To deal with this you should:
- Kill them before they can attack/significantly damage you. This is the Warlock's preferred method.
- Crowd Control them while you kill them. Focusing in enchantment spells also works wonders in keeping the mobs off of you while you fight.
- If all else fails, have resistances and immunities to live long enough to finish the fight. Spells like blur and displacement help, and careful selection of items that make you more durable.
Your Charisma fuels your spells. It dictates how strong your spells are and how many bonus Spell Points (SP) you get. A couple races are a more suitable choice for your Warlock. Human is possibly the best starting point as they get the Human Adaptability enhancement to add to their Charisma. Drow Elves, and Half-Elves are also good choices for a Warlock.
Elves get arcane spell failure reduction enhancements. Drow get a bonus to Charisma allowing them to start with a score of 20, and increase it via enhancements to 22. No other race can match that (although humans can hit it temporarily via power boosts, and take a bonus feat that powers the DC up permanently as well). The intelligence bonus helps them match humans in skill points as well. The constitution penalty is notable, but can be worked around.
Other options: Although Aasimar cannot have their warlock pact and aasimar pact active at the same time, aasimar can increase their charisma by 2 points through the aasimar racial enhancement tree. Although sun elves would need a +1 heart of wood to be a single-class warlock, the sun elf racial enhancement tree can add +30 radiance spell power, which can be useful for warlocks focusing on the Eldritch Burst and Spiritual Retribution enhancements in the Enlightened Spirit enhancement tree.
Another tip: 1 point in tumble at level 1 helps you tumble out of the way of ray spells. This has an added benefit of slightly reducing your damage from falls. Add skill points to use magic device, spellcraft, and concentration. Additionally, adding points of Perform unlocks perform bonuses to be added to sonic spellpower which is helpful if you selected the Fey Pact.
- Strength is a non-essential stat for Warlocks. The main draw of increasing strength is to offset the possibility of strength sapping effects, like Ray of Enfeeblement, Ray of Exhaustion which can leave you helpless and unable to cast spells.
- Dexterity helps a Warlock to avoid being hit in melee combat by any of the many enemies who may become enraged by your damaging spells and charge past the melee combatants to attack you. It also helps to protect you from becoming helpless from Ability Damaged to Dexterity. The Armor Class bonus from Dexterity soon becomes irrelevant as you tackle higher level monsters, but the bonus to Reflex Save is considered by some to be valuable.
- Constitution is always helpful for any character. More Constitution equates to more hit points, and a higher Fortitude save. Constitution should (nearly always) be your second highest stat and in warlocks should be no lower than 16 (except on elves and drow where 14 is the best they can do).
- Intelligence affects the number of Warlocks skill points. Warlocks should allocate skill points to spellcraft and Use Magic Device. Concentration is helpful for casting spells and scrolls. Perform is good for Warlocks with the Fey Pact. Due to a bug, the majority of Warlock spells use Intelligence for their DCs.
- Wisdom affects a Warlock's Will save. Will Save can be greatly increased by taking the Force of Personality feat.
- Charisma affects a Warlock's casting ability. Higher Charisma leads to higher spell point totals and higher DCs for the spells you cast. The great majority of Warlocks start with 18 or 20 Charisma and increase it as they level up and obtain charisma gear. (20 is only available to Drow , Tiefling and Dragonborn and 16 is the maximum available to Warforged Half-Orc and Dwarves.)
Warlocks get special Warlock bonus feats at character creation and as they level, see Advancement table.
Feats many warlocks find useful include (somewhat in order of importance). Note that metamagics do NOT work on Eldritch Blasts of any shape (blast, cone, chain, aura) but can be applied for free to any of the many SLAs available, including the bursts.
- Spell Focus: Evocation - This helps overcome enemy saves to the Pact damage of Eldritch Blast.
- Greater Spell Focus: Evocation - This also helps overcome enemy saves to the Pact damage of Eldritch Blast.
- Mental Toughness - More spell points, a 1% increase in spell crits (affects Eldritch Blast), and unlocks epic mental toughness.
- Improved Mental Toughness - More spell points, a 1% increase in spell crits (affects Eldritch Blast).
- Epic Mental Toughness 200 spell points and a 1% increase in spell crits (affects Eldritch Blast).
- Quicken Spell - Increases spell point cost and allows you to cast a little more quickly, with no chance of interruption.
- Maximize Spell - Increases spellpower by 150 at a cost of 25 SP per spell. Useful for Warlocks that use either the Enlightened Spirit or Soul Eater trees to power up their Spell-Like Abilities in those trees.
- Empower Spell - Increases spellpower by 75 for 15 SP. Useful for Warlocks that use either the Enlightened Spirit or Soul Eater trees to power up their Spell-Like Abilities in those trees.
- Heighten Spell - Increases spell point cost and allows you to cast all spells at your highest spell level. So if you cast a level 1 spell like Niac's Cold Ray and you can cast level 5 spells, your spell DC will be 10 + 5(spell level) + (spell focus feats) + (charisma modifier) instead of 10 + 1(spell level) + (spell focus feats) + (charisma modifier). This is helpful for any CC casting or instant-death casting.
- Note: Heighten may REDUCE the DCs of some warlocks SLAs:
- Shield Proficiency, Shield Mastery, Improved Shield Mastery
- Spell Focus: Necromancy
- Greater Spell Focus: Necromancy
- Spell Focus: Enchantment
- Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment
- Spell Penetration - Gives you a bonus against enemies with Spell Resistance.
- Greater Spell Penetration - More of above (rarely kept after level 26).
- Past Life: Arcane Initiate, Past Life: Arcane Prodigy
- Toughness or Past Life: Berserker's Fury - More hit points.
- Extend Spell
- Enlarge Spell - Works on Soul Eater's Consume, Stricken, and Steal Life Force; very useful if you are taking these enhancements.
- Eschew Materials for convenience in inventory management only. Often preferable to simply buy spell components.
Epic feats (characters get epic feats at levels 21,24, 27, and 30).
- Epic Eldritch Blast - Max +7d6 Eldritch Blast damage
- Ruin - An epic damage spell (500 points of damage).
- Greater Ruin - requires Ruin (1K damage; also grants 140 spell points)
- Epic Toughness - 50 hit points (see above in toughness for other requirements).
- Hellball - a 10th level spell
- Epic Damage Reduction - +10 PRR
- Epic Spell Focus
- Epic Spell Penetration
- Arcane Insight - +110 spell points; +6 to spell DCs & spell penetration for 30 seconds
- Wellspring of Power - +110 spell points; +150 universal spell power & +20% spell critical for 30 seconds
- Embolden Spell - +140 spell points; Metamagic: +2 to DC of spells for +10 spell point cost
- Intensify Spell - +140 spell points; Metamagic: +75 spellpower for +15 spell point cost (stacks with Empower/Maximize)
- You can also take heroic [normal] feats if you prefer them
Epic Destiny Feats (can be taken at levels 26, 28, and 29)
- Epic Pact Dice - Max +6d4 Eldritch Blast damage
- Epic Spell Power (Force, Light, or Pact damage) - +20 Spell Power
- Arcane Pulse - DoT, 3d6+6 Force damage every 2 seconds for 16 seconds; stacks up to 5 times.
- Deific Warding - +10 MRR & PRR, plus up to 10 stacks of +2 MRR/PRR upon taking damage
- Arcane Warrior - especially if you plan on using your aura while meleeing/ranging
- Scion of the Plane of Earth - +4 Conjuration DCs/+2 other DCs; +20 PRR; +10 Acid/+30 Universal Spellpower; +2d20 acid damage to weapons (scales with spellpower). Especially good for Great Old One pacts & aura/weapon users.
- Scion of the Plane of Air - +4 Evocation DCs/+2 other DCs; +4% Dodge & Dodge Cap; +10 Electric/+30 Universal Spellpower; +2d20 electric damage to weapons (scales with spellpower). Evocation affects Eldritch Blasts & Tentacles.
- Scion of the Plane of Fire - +25% Spell Criticals; +10 PRR & MRR; +10 Fire/+30 Universal Spellpower; +2d20 fire damage to weapons (scales with spellpower). Spell crits affect Eldritch Blasts & Bursts, as well as SLAs such as Consume, Stricken, & Steal Life Force.
- Scion of the Plane of Water - +200 spell points; +20 MRR; +2d20 cold damage to weapons (scales with spellpower). Possibly the least useful of the elemental Planes, though MRR is nice.
- Scion of the Feywild - +4 Enchantment DCs/+2 other DCs; +10 Sonic/+30 Universal Spellpower; +2d20 sonic damage to weapons (scales with spellpower). Best for Fey pacts, but even they could probably do better.
- Scion of Celestia - +20 Positive, Light & Alignment Spellpower; +20 Universal Spellpower; +30% crit damage for Positive, Light, & Alignment spells; +150 HP; +4 Will saves. Positive affects Steal Life Force & Cocoon; Light affects bursts (and potentially all attacks, with Enlightened Spirit's Spiritual Retribution); Alignment affects Consume & Stricken, as well as your Eldritch Blasts & bursts with Tainted Scholar's Utterdark Blast.
- Scion of Elysium - various bonuses to summoned creatures. Especially useful combined with Enlightened Spirit's boosts to summoned creatures.
- Scion of Arborea - +20 Melee/Ranged Power; +20 Force/+20 Universal Spell Power; +2 weapon Enhancement bonus; +4 Fortitude saves. Good for aura/weapon users as it affects all aspects, particularly if you are using the base Eldritch Blast or Tainted Scholar's Piercing Blast.
- Scion of Limbo - +2 saves; various random effects. Most effects will have at least some usefulness, either offensively or defensively.
Many skills can be useful to a Warlock, under the right circumstances. Plan ahead, before you make the character, as far as which skills you'd like to be able to use.
- Spellcraft increases the damage of the eldritch blast and spells. Maximize it. Increases spellpower by one point per point of spellcraft on most spells.
- Concentration is highly useful. When you take damage while casting, you roll a Concentration check. If you succeed, the spell is cast. Failure means you used the spell points but the spell did not come into effect. The metamagic feat Quicken Spell can be used to supplement a poor concentration skill at the cost of extra spell points.
- Use Magic Device allows the warlock to use scrolls and wands made for Divine casters such as Paladins and Clerics. This is almost must-have for fleshy races in order to heal via Divine wands and scrolls.
- Heal is useful once a warlock reaches 20+ levels and manage to unlock/twist Cocoon. Also good for Soul Eater's Steal Life Force.
- Tumble is good to spend 1 point on as it will allow you to tumble, which can improve your saves.
- Perform lets you add charisma and any perform bonus to sonic spellpower, which improves Fey Pact damage.
Situationally useful skills (depends on playstyle):
- Diplomacy is highly useful. It can allow you to convince enemies to leave you alone. If the party runs into a large group of enemies and one or more of them targets your warlock, you can activate the Diplomacy skill to convince them that some other member of the party is a bigger threat, and they will leave you alone.
- Balance allows a character to get up faster after he's been knocked down in combat. Since preventing the knockdown requires either high Strength, high Dexterity, or the divine spell Freedom of Movement, investing in this skill can help you to stand back up sooner after some creature does knock you down. (Less useful if you plan on taking Enlightened Spirit's Celestial Spirit stance.)
- Bluff allows your character to convince certain Non Player Characters to do something for you, or to give you some information. It is rarely useful, but when it is useful, it can sometimes save significant amounts of time. With a Warlock's high Charisma, a few skill points at most is usually sufficient.
- Haggle will allow you to purchase supplies at slightly lower prices and will improve the price you get for items you sell to vendors.
- Spot allows you to see enemies who are hiding before they are on top of you and attacking. Some creatures are easier to see than others, but even a few points in spot can make a difference.
- Jump will allow you to bypass enemies and avoid traps. Note that increasing jump past 40 makes no difference and that 9th level warlock can get to 30 with a the Jump spell (various items and buffs can easily cover the rest). Investing points in Jump can be nice early, but often wasted by mid-levels.
- The Soul Eater tree is debuff-oriented tree with cone-shaped area of effect damage options. Use Consume and Stricken to severely weaken enemies. This tree is also used by warlocks wishing to delve into necromancy, as they gain a spell-like ability that mimics the finger of death spell as well as a powerful instant-kill ability in their capstone.
- The Tainted Scholar is a crowd-control oriented tree with ranged area of effect damage options. Use Eldritch Blast Shape: Chain to hit multiple enemies at once across surprising distances and gain increased potential to deal increased damage with your eldritch blast. The core abilities of the tree give the warlock several new spells, as well. Most enchantment-based warlocks use this as their primary tree, sowing mass confusion among the enemy ranks.
- The Enlightened Spirit is an in-your-face damage tree while also being defense-oriented. Use the two point blank area of effect abilities to bomb enemies in melee range and add light damage to your eldritch blasts. This tree is also very useful for warlocks that would rather focus on melee damage, allowing them to turn their eldritch blast into an aura that fires off every few seconds, freeing up the warlock to swing their weapons.
Warlocks have access to fairly strong basic attack (Eldritch Blast) and they don't have to rely on cheap SLAs for damage. In fact, in some cases, using the SLAs interrupts the eldritch blast attack sequence and can result in damage loss. Many SLAs are still worth it; particularly for warlocks using the aura shape.
The consensus opinion on starting Charisma seems to be that a starting score of 16 to 18 is necessary. Starting with a Charisma score of 18 (or 20 for Drow) maximizes a Warlock's starting save DCs and grants a few bonus spell points. The spell point advantage is minimal, but the higher save DC is very important. Having a higher DC for all of a warlocks offensive spells reduces the chance that enemies will succeed at full or partial saves, making the Warlock more effective overall.
Another school of thought on the subject of having a high Charisma says that in the point buy system, a score of 17 or 18 uses too many resources to be worth the benefit. Proponents of this line of thought believe that spreading stat points around more will make a more effective character overall at the cost of having a lower spell save DC.
Some warlocks ignore (dump) Charisma, accept the low DCs of their spells and Eldritch Blast, and focus on other abilities, for example Constitution or Intelligence.
As a warlock, you will know a very small number of spells, choose carefully. Pact choice and enhancements can expand your repertoire.
Arcane spells fall under one of the categories:
- Offensive damage spells like Evard's Black Tentacles.
- Buffs (spells that aid yourself and your allies) such as Jump, Haste, Stoneskin or Shield.
- Debuffs (spells that hinder enemies) such a Ray of Enfeeblement, Bestow Curse or even Break Enchantment (can be used to remove curses/magic effects from your party or buffs from your enemies).
- Crowd control spells such as Web or Mass Hold, this type of spell limits the number of attacking enemies or at least hinders their approach.
- Insta-kill spells like Power Word: Kill or Trap the Soul
- Utility spells like Dimension Door or Teleport
- Str: 8 (0 build points)You won't be winning arm-wrestling contests, but still make sure to have some sort of strength item so you will be able to continue casting after a spell-caster hits you with a Ray of Enfeeblement.This may be too low and may have to leave loot behind because you are too weak to carry it.
- Dex: 8 (0 build points) Luckily DDO won't penalize (or even show) you for tripping over your own feet. Your AC doesn't matter at all after somewhere after level 5.
- Con: 16 (10 build points) You will have enough hit points so that most creatures won't be able to kill you in one hit.
- Int: 10 (2 build points) You need enough intelligence to maximize spellcraft and use magic device. Everything else can wait for a tome.
- Wis: 8 (0 build points) Make sure to have some sort of wisdom item for your Will save.
- Cha: 18 (16 build points) You will be suave, debonaire, and confident. You will have as many spell points as it is possible to have at the start of the game, and your save DCs will be as high as they can be.
- Spellcraft increases your Spell Power, making your spells deal more damage.
- Use Magic Device - Use Magic Device will allow you to use magic items built for other races or alignments. You can use arcane scrolls and wands without this skill, but it comes in handy for self-healing and certain items later in the game.
- Perform - For Warlocks with the Fey Pact only to increase eldritch blast pact damage.
- Concentration - You need a high Concentration to cast spells or scrolls while under fire.
- At Level 1, Spell Focus: Evocation and Human bonus feat Greater Spell Focus: Evocation. These will make it harder for enemies to save against your pact damage
- At Level 3, Mental Toughness to increase the critical chance of your eldritch blast.
- At Level 6, Quicken to cast spells faster and without interruption
- At Level 9, Improved Mental Toughness to increase the critical chance of your eldritch blast.
- At Level 12, 15, 18 Take Toughness three times for more hit points. If you want to use the SLAs in Soul Eater or Enlightened Spirit Trees, take Maximize Spell and Empower Spell. Take Heighten, Spell Focus Necromancy/Enchantment and Spell Penetration feats if you want to cast crowd control or instant-death spells. This sample build focuses strictly on empowering the eldritch blasts via the Tainted Scholar (and Enlightened Spirit) lines. So it's not necessary to include Maximize and Empower for certain Warlock builds because they DON'T affect the regular Eldritch Blasts.
- Start with the Tainted Scholar line. Take Eldritch Blast Shape: Chain and Increase the Eldritch Blast Pact damage with Strong Pact. Take Feigned Health and Eldritch Focus. Also Take Tainted Lore for increased Critical Damage. Take 2 increases to Charisma.
- Slowly build up the Enlightened Spirit Line. Take Resilience of Body and Resilience of Soul. You need to work your way up to Spiritual Retribution Tier 4 for increased Eldritch Blast damage so take the prerequisites Spiritual Defense, Spiritual Bastion, and Spiritual Ward. Also take Power of Enlightenment. Take 2 increases to Charisma.
Pick a few of these, and if you find that one is less useful than you thought it might be, go back to the trainer and pay a small fee to replace the spell with another one. See also full list.
Level 1 spells:
- Resist Energy is needed if you don't have guild resists and can't afford the +20 potions in the twelve. Eventually (at 11th level or so) take it anyway to give full protection without worrying about ship buffs.
- Nightshield to nullify enemy magic missiles and provide a boost to saves.
- Jump at 9th level it will nearly max out you jump score on its own (30 points out of a maximum 40), and by that point you aren't using many first level spells for damage
- Master's Touch will surprise those unfamiliar with DDO. A greataxe is still an effective weapon in the hands of a warlock who dumped strength, as long as he has cast Master's Touch. Using the axe can save SP on longer adventures, and where monsters resist your favorite spells.
Level 2 spells:
- Invisibility If you don't want to buy sometimes expensive invisibility potions or wands from the auction house
- Protection from Energy Useful until you have access to a more powerful form of the spell or are multiclassing with fewer levels of Warlock (Use 10/10 class split to get past life feats while rolling through content with Warlock)
- Blur For defense
- Web A handy crowd control spell for Warlocks. Warning: fire spells will often burn the web away.
Level 3 spells:
- Dimension Door to return to quest entrances faster, very useful for zerging.
- Displacement for defense
- Haste for fast movement
- Stoneskin for defense
Level 4 spells:
Level 5 spells:
- Greater Teleport for fast travel
- Finger of Death instant kill
- Protection from Elements, Mass to protect a group of allies.
Level 6 spells: