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I'm kindof new in World of Warcraft, so I asked several people about a Destro Warlock's optimal build. Most of them agreed that my main "Nuke" should be Soul Fire (on my level, at least) but all of them disagreed on how.

How can I optimize Soul Fire? I have heard about differing Talent builds, specific Items, etc.. anything that can maximize it to its fullest.

What do you guys think?

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What level are you? What do you want to use the build for? Levelling, raiding etc? – Purplegoth May 20 '11 at 9:23
Levelling & some PvP mostly~ I'm current approaching Level 60. – GaiusSensei May 21 '11 at 15:48
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think those people misled you.

Soul Fire is not going to be your "main nuke", no matter what. So, unless you want to use it anyway because you want to play an odd game (a fine thing to do if you really want to), you'd better stick with the correct spells to cast to achieve best results.

Since in WoW what really matters to most people in only the raid boss fights during the endgame, I doubt you'll find any serious EJ-backed study about spell priorities while leveling.

You have two ways to decide what is best to do.

Way A: do, as much as you can, what you will have to do once you reach the endgame (link). It will not be the best you can do to maximise killing speed, but you will get used to some patterns you'll have to follow when the things get tough (i.e.: raids).

Way B: do it yourself, i.e. read carefully the spell and talent descriptions, study the comments you can find around the net, try both on dummy targets and on real mobs what works best.

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This is sort of a weird question, because Soul Fire isn't really a bread and butter ability in the end-game warlock (it's cast time is simply too long to garner adequate DPS). There are a few situations when it becomes useful to cast however.

Destruction (Destro) Warlocks have a talent called, appropriately enough, "Improved Soul Fire" which provides a damage buff once soul fire is cast. This buff makes Soul Fire an acceptable spell to work into a destro rotation (once every 15 seconds, whenever possible)

They also have the "Emberstorm" talent, which simply reduces the cast time from 4 to 3 seconds.

Demonology (Demo) Warlocks have a talent called Decimation, which triggers when you hit a weak enemy with one of your primary nukes, reducing the cast time of soul fire by 40%!

Improved Soul Fire and Decimation are mutually exclusive, (they're too far up their respective trees for off-specs to reach... at least until the next expansion), but Emberstorm is not.

Because you want to maximize Soul Fire, I think you should go at it from the Demonology angle because, unlike Destro, once mobs dip below 25%, you can start chain-casting fast soul fires (destro's buff doesn't stack with itself, so there's no way to get use out of more than one soul fire / 15 seconds).

When questing, you may be able to simply soul fire mobs to death, the longer cast-time allowing your Fel Guard to build a better aggro buffer, and, if you're in a particularly thick area, you may be able to keep the Decimation buff up indefinitely, meaning you can just cast soul fires willy-nilly.

Specifically, for Questing, I would suggest this build (you said you were approaching 60, so add more to the tree as needed):

And for PvP, I would caution you that lower level PvP isn't representative of end-game PvP, and then suggest you use your dual-talent spec for something along these lines:

Hope that helps!

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Not a great idea IMO. Decimation is useful against bosses, which you can hit a lot of times in their last 25% of health. Once a normal mob is below 25%, it'll likely just die on next hit, and you can't expect to be able to chain-kill mobs with Soul Fire, it just won't work (if you want to chain-kill mobs, go Affliction). – o0'. May 22 '11 at 8:42
@Lo'oris - right. Hence why I mention 'densely packed mobs'. If you kill 1 mob with soulfire, you have 10 seconds of the buff to kill another (or at least damage down to 25%) and reset the duration. The demo spec also allows soul fire to be maximized in instances. – Raven Dreamer May 22 '11 at 15:25
I suspect you'd run out of mana (or life) quite quickly doing so. That's why I said Affliction is the way to go if you want to do chain-killings. – o0'. May 23 '11 at 7:26

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