The three branches of the warlock talent tree are demonology, affliction, and destruction. Demonology boosts the warlock’s pet, affliction increases the amount of damage done by the warlock’s damage over time spells, and destruction improves the warlock’s direct damage spells. Players may choose to specialize in one branch or combine talents from different branches to build their character or achieve a certain strategy.
The Demonology Branch
This is considered to be the lowest DPS branch of the warlock talent tree, but it trades for it by being the best warlock talent tree for a player who wishes his character to solo. Demonology, like the hunter’s beast mastery talent trees, centers on building up the abilities of the warlock’s pet.
The Affliction Branch
Damage over time spells are a major feature of the warlock class in World of Warcraft. This branch of the warlock talent tree enhances the warlock’s damage over time spells and is considered to be the best tree for a warlock player’s DPS especially in a player versus player setting.
The advantage of the affliction branch over the destruction branch of the warlock talent tree to provide additional damage per second is small, and warlocks who choose to specialize in destruction will have an advantage in the speed at which they cast their direct damage spells.
The Destruction Branch
Warlocks who wish to rain fire upon innocent monsters and destroy their enemies using the force of shadow should choose the destruction branch of the warlock talent tree. This branch boosts the warlock’s direct damage and area of effect spells.
The major difference between the destruction and affliction talent tree branches are how damage is dealt. Destruction does immediate damage to a target, while the improved dots of the affliction tree improve the amount of damage done per tick of damage over time spells.
Combining the Warlock Talent Tree Branches
A player is allowed to combine abilities from all three branches to try certain strategies. Several sites, such as IGN Vault, have talent tree calculators to help players customize their Warcraft Characters. While it is possible to do this experimentation in game, it is better to use talent calculators because the cost of relearning talents increases every time a player chooses to use this option for his character.