Pet Philosophies

Side-tangent | If you’re anybody who deals in overtime (DoTs, HoTs, Pots, Lots, Bots — aww, wait, those last three don’t count? boo), and you haven’t seen Cynwise’s genius on how haste affects DoTs…?

You’re totally missing out, bud.

Of course, now I’m curious as to numerically what those plateaus are and how it affects reforging.

Onward to the stuff revelant to titling!

Man, I wish there was a way I could post a Twitter conversation without resorting to a can of links or a fuzzy jay-peg.  I’ll use (…) to string multiple tweets together.  This slowpoker person is me, just fyi.

Nibuca: Afflocks: Why -shouldn’t- I keep Soul Link up all the time?

slowpoker: like Sindy or LK I don’t because the damage done to me will easily kill my pet before the fight’s halftime. (LK, succy dies in 1.5) … if the point of the pet was to soak up damage, wouldn’t we all be using our blueberries?

Nibuca: Good point. But ideally I won’t ever be taking dmg & when I do.. if shunting 20% of that to the pet saves me.. bye bye pet.

slowpoker: but you *will* be taking unavoidable raid damage. Normally, it’s not so bad and I keep SL up … but in certain fights — like LK & Sindy — I noticed my pet dying early on, so I turned SL off, & she lived.

Of course, the other half of my pet dying on LK, I should add, was due to leaving my pet on the Lich King in 1.5 rather than putting her with me on the Raging Spirits.  Thus, she was probably nuked by the Remorseless Winter waaaaaaaayyyy over there away from any Wild Growths and Chain Heals.  I solved that issue with a /petattack added to my Shadow Bolt macro. If I have a fishing pole equipped, ‘2’ makes me cast my fishing pole rather than shoot out a Shadow Bolt.  Handy reminder purposes, mostly.

But yeah, now that all locks can use that Demo candy called Soul Link, should we ever not use it?

The Point of Soul Link?

Hey, I had to actually look this one up.  I was Wowheading it for the link (*shakes fist at free WP Javascriptless sites*), and I wanted to make sure I had the correct one.  That is, the spell, rather than a page full of posts about the old Demo talent.  At the bottom, there was a comment that the other casters get shields.  I thought about it.

Well, the other clothy casters can use shields (mages have that Armor stuff), whereas moonkin and elemental shamans just get a higher armor specialization.

But yah, isn’t that the point of Soul Link?  To dump a little of our damage taken somewhere else? And before y’all speculate, no, Life Tap doesn’t appear to count for SL transfer.  Helping healers out and all that jazz, why shouldn’t we keep SL active all the time?

Afflocks are squishier, in my opinion, than the other two lock specs.  Granted, I’ve not played Destro seriously yet, but my Affy health tends to fluctuate more than when I’m in Demo.  Life tapping and everything.  I think Destro’s reason is Soul Leech, while Demo has traditionally been the brawny spec (Metamorphosis FFS).

Perhaps at 85, once I’ve picked up 2/2 Fel Synergy, then Soul Link will become active all the time, but for now, I can’t heal my pet outside of smart heals and Health Funnel.  Health Funnel! Really, who uses Health Funnel in PvE raiding?

Can Unavoidable Raid Damage Kill You?  (or Just Your Pet?)

I would assume so.  I mean, you bring raid healers, right?  Oh, are those heals reserved for special boss abilities?  Nahhhhh…can’t be.

Of course, since my guild is working on LK25 — hey, last night we saw 40% — I keep thinking of Defile.  Or Remorseless Winter.  Or Infest.   Yeah, okay, technically, these are special boss abilities, but they are raid-wide.  It’s not Token Ranged Person taking damage all by their lonesome because the Volatile Ooze has a superstrong crush on them.  You will be taking damage unless your healers have superkitteh reflexes.

Your pet has less health than you do.  Granted, last time I looked at my felpup’s health in PvP talents / gear, it was something like 15k, but I have 30-35k raid buffed.  Your pet has significantly less health than you do.  Soul Link sort of resizes it to your pet by only applying 20% o the damage you take.

Nibuca’s counterargument is that if passing off 20% of the damage will save me, then do it.  Of course, I could just Soulburn and resummon, but that’s a couple of GCDs I’m not doing anything.  I suppose my countercounterargument is that a word? is that at the rate raid damage appears to come, I’d probably die anyway if 100% would kill me, but 80% wouldn’t.  If 100% would kill me, 80% would leave me close to death. Probably even enough that a minor UARD spell will wash me over into floor-hugging.  Maybe I could pot/drain life back up, but if it happens again? Since most raid damage is cyclical like that… I’d need healer attention soon.

And given this whole triage theme in Cataclysm, I’m not sure that my pure DPS butt will be far up there on the healers’ priority list.  Maybe, if I’m a good little warlock and drain suck up to them.

But the Point of My Pet?

My biggest counter to Nibuca’s original question is that I think the point of my pet, as affliction, is to increase my DPS. I can already heal myself for what I take from Life Tap, and I’m pretty mobile compared to the other two when it comes to DPS’ing on the run.  Sure, it’s an increase that’s magnificently in the thousands, but it is an increase nonetheless.  Due to the habit of starting the encounter with my pet on defensive and thinking more DPS on the boss is better, I’ve seen forgotten pets left on the boss tip a phase over when we didn’t want the phase quite yet.

Heck, we used to take the Felhunter talents and glyph for his DPS specifically, and now we take the Succubus for the same reason.  The point of the pet as I see it is for a few more hundred points of DPS, not for soaking up damage.

So if it’s a particularly nasty encounter in which you would die without your Soul Link being up 100% of the time, why are you using something that’s not the Voidwalker?

The Future of Pets: Static or Dynamic in Encounters

Of course, this will probably get into whether we should be using one pet for the entire encounter or if we will end up switching out pets per phase.  So long as there are adds to kill (thus, adds to die while I drain their souls), I don’t mind Soulburning and instant-summoning the Blueberry with a Soul Link up for a particularly nasty raid damage phase and then putting him away when it’s time to ramp up the pew pews.

Are we supposed to have an iconic pet per talent tree, who stays with us regardless of phase or encounter?  Or does Blizzard truly want them to become utility-based, whipped out when needed?

I’m voting for utility-based. As easy as having to summon your pet only after you wipe is, it’s so boring.  Having to swap pets in medio bello would be interesting and exciting, I think.

What do you think? Do you want one pet all the time? Or do you like swapping out pets as if they were curses?

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2 responses

  1. The biggest change for me is having Soul Link active while Fel Synergy is *not*. That’s a huge change from how the old 54-17 PvP specs worked, so my demons die a lot more than I’m used to. Of course, in general I find that I’m more resilient in PvE encounters now, so perhaps my perspective is skewed.

    The feeling of “squishiness” varies, I think, from player to player and how they use their spec. I feel toughest as Affliction, and most fragile as Destruction. But that’s because I’ve played Affliction almost exclusively as a PvP spec, and Destro I’ve done both – and at the time, Affliction’s self-heals well outpaced those of Destro. This is, perhaps, a PvP vs PvE thing – I struggle a lot in PvE to accurately gauge incoming damage, because I’m used to a certain amount of mitigation.

    And as for pets, while it might be nice to have iconic demons for some builds, I’ll just turn to the words of the immortal Montgomery Scott: pick the right tool for the right job, laddie! I flip pets 2-5 times every BG, not including the companion demon.

    05 Nov 2010 at 19:11

  2. I’m with Cyn in that I feel pretty hardy as an aff’lock. I feel hardier as Demo probably, but the healing from Affliction makes me feel invincible sometimes. The only times I find my pet dying are when I goof and let it get special boss attacked like you mentioned. I haven’t noticed it dying because of shared damage, but it could be because I’m a “set it and forget it” minion guy.

    As such, you can guess where I stand on the multiple minion thing. I wouldn’t mind having a tree where pet choice varies like that (Demo?), but as Affliction I don’t want to have to worry about rotating a pet into my DoT juggling. An iconic pet is right up my alley.

    08 Nov 2010 at 09:34

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