A skill that every warlock worth her Deeprock Salt should master, minion-control is in large part a matter of knowing when to micro-manage, and when to click that handy little auto-cast button on the minion's ability bar. This is in addition to knowing whether your minion should be on Aggressive (shudder), Defensive, or Passive.
- Aggressive - Just don't. The only PvE argument for a minion on Aggressive concerns farming lower-level mobs for mats. Even then, there is a real danger that your minion will kill mobs without your landing any damage yourself. This makes the mob unlootable, which negates your reason for killing it in the first place.
- Defensive - While soloing and questing, setting your minion on Defensive status makes sense. It keeps you from having to send your minion on to the next mob if you're taking on multiples. When in a dungeon or other party with a tanking character, however, having a Defensive pet can make the tank's job more difficult.
- Passive - Set your minion to Passive status if you want the most control over which mobs your minion will attack. Get familiar with the Shift-T keystroke; that is the default keybind for Pet Attack. It's helpful to change the keybind the Passive ability button as well, so that you can always pull your minion back to you if he's causing trouble. The default Ctrl-0 is almost impossible to pull off in a hurry.
In this first installment, we'll begin with the Imp. By the time you reach level 14, your Imp will have access to all of the abilities he'll ever get.
- Blood Pact - a buff to you and all of your party members of extra stamina, this ability should never be turned off. Leave it on auto-cast.
- Firebolt - situational. This is your Imp's only form of damage, and it's not inconsiderable. Sadly, it does seem to draw aggro very easily. In the first few levels, however, before you get access to your Voidwalker, this Warlock's opinion is "better him than you." If you're using your Imp to quest early on, go ahead and set his Firebolt to auto while the Imp himself is on Passive.
- Fire Shield - In a dungeon or while partied with a tank, leave this ability off. Otherwise, your Imp could cast it on the healer or other clothy, and make the tank's job of pulling the mob off of that player more difficult. While soloing, however, it does add just a tiny little bit of extra damage.
- Phase Shift - available at level 12, this ability is your Imp's salvation. Affliction Warlocks who spec into Dark Pact will want to always have Firebolt turned off and Phase Shift active; the Imp's high Int and Spirit make him an awesome choice for a mana battery. Caveat: make sure to turn this ability off at the beginning of a dungeon or whenever buffs are being handed out. Your phased imp will not receive the Arcane Brilliance, Power Word: Fortitude, or Divine Spirit buffs while shifted.