Soul Shards
Inv misc gem amethyst 02.png
  • Soul Shards
  • Level 3 warlock ability
  • Passive
  • Affliction Affliction
    Soul Shards are generated by your Agony's damage over time.

    Demonology Demonology
    Soul Shards are generated by your Shadow Bolt.

    Destruction Destruction
    Soul Shard Fragments are generated by many of your spells.

    Soul Shards are consumed to cast your most powerful spells and summon demons to serve you.

    While out of combat you regenerate up to 3 Soul Shards.
Usable by
Class Warlock
Other information
Level learned 3
It does not reflect the face of the viewer, but rather the face of the soul trapped within.[1]

Soul Shards system interface as of Legion

Soul Shards are a unique secondary resource available to warlocks, displayed in the user interface beneath the player's health and mana bars. Warlocks can have a maximum of five Soul Shards, which slowly regenerate out of combat and regenerate in combat through certain spells. Soul Shards have been around in some form since early WoW and have a long history as a secondary resource for warlocks in general.

Generated by

Consumed by

Regeneration BfA (8.1.0)

Out of combat, Soul Shards regenerate over time up to a maximum of three. In combat, up to a maximum of five Soul Shards can be generated through [Agony] and Unstable Affliction.. Each tick of Agony has a chance to generate a shard, and Unstable Affliction will generate a shard if active at the time of a mob's death.


Soul Shards have been a warlock resource since early WoW, and their use has been revamped many times to make them more streamlined with the warlock playstyle and improve quality of life.


Soul Shards were originally items held in the player's inventory and were required to cast many important spells, including summoning any demon besides an imp, summoning other players, and creating Healthstones. They were generated by using [Drain Soul] on an appropriately-leveled mob.

Raiding warlocks tended to carry large quantities of them to prepare for nights of progression as resummoning their minions and creating Healthstones would deplete their stores rapidly. Blizzard introduced soul bags, larger than average bags (similar to ammo bags), to help warlocks with the increased load. However, the inconvenience of having to carry dozens of Shards and the difficulty of replenishing them when already fighting a boss had the warlock community clamoring for changes to their design though they would remain largely unchanged for many expansions.


The Soul Shard resource mechanic as it appeared in Cataclysm

Soul Shards were removed as items and changed into a secondary resource for all warlocks, up to a maximum of three. Their usage was similar to the current [Soulburn] system, empowering the following spells:

  • [Drain Life] - Reduces cast time by 50%.
  • Summon Demon - Instantly summons minion.
  • [Demonic Circle] - Increases movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds.
  • [Soul Fire] - Instant cast.
  •  [Healthstone] - Increases total health by 20% for 8 seconds.
  • [Searing Pain] - Increases the crit chance of Searing Pain by 100%, and subsequent Searing Pain spells by 50% for 6 seconds.
  • [Seed of Corruption] (Affliction only) - Applies [Corruption] to all enemy targets upon detonation. The Soul Shard is refunded if the detonation is successful.

Regeneration of Soul Shards was very limited. Out of combat, the warlock could use the spell [Soul Harvest], which restored 1 Soul Shard per 3 seconds for 9 seconds on a 45-second cooldown. In combat, the only way to replenish shards was through [Drain Soul] and [Shadowburn], a Destruction-only talent that restored three Soul Shards if the target died within 5 seconds. Both spells required appropriately-leveled mobs.

Since shard replenishment depended on the existence of adds, it meant that for single-target fights, a warlock would have only three shards to spend, no matter how long the encounter. Using Soulburn in conjunction with any spell that was not Soul Fire meant a decrease in DPS, punishing its use as utility especially after the release of Tier 13 granted 10% spell power upon using the two spells together. (The 4 piece set bonus has since been changed due to the revamp of the Soul Shard system for Mists of Pandaria.)

Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria gave each warlock specialization its own secondary resource system, with Soul Shards made into an Affliction-only mechanic. Soul Shards were changed to regenerate automatically outside of combat, although abilities such as [Drain Soul] were still useful for replenishing stores mid-fight. Mid-expansion patches saw an increase in the maximum number of shards from three to four.


Gul'dan needed soul shards containing draenei souls to properly command the smaller demons he summoned[2] and to summon lesser demons Gul'dan's lesser warlocks must use a soul shard.[3] The Lich King trapped Alexandros Mograine's soul in a soul shard,[4] tormenting him in an attempt to break his will.[5]

Fel energy consumes souls,[6] hence, warlocks use soul shards. The foul crystal creates a link to the Twisting Nether.[7]


While learned at level 3, the Soul Shards are not displayed in the user interface until a specialization is chosen.

Patch changes

  • Legion Hotfix (2017-06-13): Soul Shards should now be set to 3 during [Arena Preparation].
  • Legion Patch 7.2.5 (2017-06-13): Soul Shards are now divided into 10 Soul Shard Fragments for Destruction Warlocks, in order to provide more reliable, granular Soul Shard generation, prevent random overcapping of resources, rein in Soul Shard generation slightly, and reduce the number of Chaos Bolts being cast.
  • Legion Hotfix (2016-09-13): Soul Shards now regenerate to 3, while out of combat (up from 1).
Developers' Notes: As discussed in last week's Developer Q&A, warlocks (and Demonology especially) needed to go through several spellcasts in order to generate the Soul Shards required to cast the spells needed for them to operate at peak efficiency. In outdoor gameplay and against packs of enemies in dungeons, this often meant that combat was ending just as the warlock was getting warmed up. Allowing warlocks to begin combat with 3 Soul Shards instead of 1 should let them bring more of their arsenal to bear in shorter encounters.
  • Legion Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Soul Shards are now used by all specializations.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.2.0 (2013-03-05): Baseline maximum number of Souls Shards encreased to 4, up from 3.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Revamped. Changed to Affliction-specific secondary resource.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12): Soul Shards have been removed from the game as items. Instead, they now exist as a resource system necessary for using or altering the mechanics of certain spells.

See also


  1. ^ Fires of Outland, Jar Soul
  2. ^ Rise of the Horde pg. 490
  3. ^ A [10-40] Soul Shards of Summoning
  4. ^  [Alexandros' Soul Shard]
  5. ^ N [30] Mograine's Reunion
  6. ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter (2015-07-10). Retrieved on 2015-08-02.​ “This is one of the few things I think I know. Real Fel energy consumes souls, yes. Hence, soul shards.”
  7. ^ A [10-40] Soul Shards of Summoning

External links