Author Archive

On writing warlock news

I’m taking a break from raiding. I’m actually on a physical vacation, too — with my desktop, no less! yay driving — but I’m burnt out on wiping and attendance issues in Siege of Orgrimmar. I feel frustrated and annoyed to waste time when I could be having fun in D3 or SC2 or GW2 or even Archaeology in WoW or writing or any number of things that are not unfocused SoO raiding.

I’m actually enjoying the break so far. I’m having loads of exploratory fun in D3 with my full class set of softcore 70s, though I figure I will go back and try to get the full 70 set on hardcore again. If you see posts on D3, it’s because it’s what I’m playing and am interested in. I’m far from a theorycrafting expert in D3 (I’m not even one in WoW, c’mon, get real), so stuff might be wrong or suboptimal, but I don’t really care. It’s the exploration into how stuff works that’s the fun part for me.

Despite not raiding, I am keeping up a little with the various Warlords of Draenor news that trickles in. While I only summarize for Final Boss right now, the rest of the FBTV crew is definitely interested in WoD changes related to progression raiding, of course. I also keep an eye out for warlock information, because …I can’t really stop being a fan of warlock things.


Know Your Lore: Warlocks

The past couple of days, Matthew Rossi at WoW Insider posted a two-parter Know Your Lore on warlocks. First part covers the history of warlocks while the second part names famous canon warlocks. While I’d love perhaps more in-depth on each warlock (would Nobbel have some?), it’s still cool to remember all the warlocks in the canon game out there.

Matt told me while the first part got posted that I’d see a familiar warlock on the front page soon. In fact, both of the parts have headers that were originally mine; it’s just the second one that is more recognizably my warlock. The first header with the demo-warlock makes sense — demonology and the dominance of demons is the flavor of warlock that most canon warlocks fit. As with the whole petless controversy we have from time to time in game mechanics, generally the demons and fel magic are essential to Azeroth’s universe definition of warlocks.

The second header…I don’t know. There are plenty of other warlocks he could have used — Gul’dan, for instance, even though Gul’dan has his own posts on himself and is just mentioned and linked to in this post. Archimonde or Kil’jaeden could be there. Cho’gall gets talked about. Heck, my spoilerific Kanrethad image with the name over his head could go there. But he went with my character face-on, and then suggests in the last paragraph successors to the Council of the Black Harvest. (I figure if he meant to have simply a player-character warlock, he wouldn’t have mentioned to me specifically about which one it was. The image has been used elsewhere before, anyway.)

The new warlock might be confused — why would Matt be suggesting player characters as replacements to an otherwise lore-based group? In fact, Kanrethad is the only completely fictional warlock. Jubeka, Zinnin, Shinafel (aka Shinafae), Ritssyn (or Nisstyr), and Zelfrax are (or were, at the time of green fire development) high-calibre warlock players. You could go as far to say that only player-character references should be considered for future Council members, to keep the tribute going.

But I don’t know that I’m actually worthy enough to sit canonified on the Council. I’m not amazing at DPS, I’m not a warlock theorycrafter, and I haven’t really contributed that much to the community at large, I feel. Matt argues that I get a spot because I lasted the longest in the Defense Against With the Dark Arts chair at WoW Insider. (Though, I want to mention that Cynwise’s old tweets are now @_cynwise. The old account is now placeholdered by an anonymous someone else, apparently.) When the class columns were finished back at the end of February, Matt was also kind enough to say that I “came in and owned Blood Pact.” So thanks, Matt, I feel honored now.

But did I really do anything? Did I offer worthy criticism or guides? Did I get new players interested in warlocks (or were they already interested and going to play anyway)? Did I represent warlocks well enough? I’m not sure about that. I still have some improvement to do as far as my writing guides or my critiquing content goes.

Cynwise wrote a book on warlocks that was pretty central and significant to the following expansion, for fuck’s sake.

All I did was refuse to shut up about warlocks at WoW Insider for two years. I learned a lot — about writing, about blogging, about news-style writing, about comments/views/audiences, etc. — but I don’t think that I inspired anything worth me being made into lore.

wholebodyshrinkagolemMy Significance

I wanted to do a “famous warlocks” in a downtime Blood Pact — perhaps, if I had still been writing, it would come out around now. I don’t mean the famous warlocks of lore like Matt did for KYL; I mean, I had in my ideas or drafts folder for a while to write about the warlock community, highlighting specific theorycrafters or streamers or top-end raiders. That’s why I was rather thrilled about the one time I covered Final Boss’s early warlock episode with Shinafae & Sparkuggz, before I’d join Final Boss. Amijade did something similar already with warlock bloggers, but I wanted to open up the resources into high-end play beyond, say, the Icy Veins thread.

After covering MoP beta with all the warlock changes, I’m fairly forever burnt out on patch note excitement. Everything can and will probably change by the end. The pressure to always be “right” about information combined with the constant 24/7 nature of web content resulted in a constant stress that I don’t like and that I ultimately found I don’t want to deal with. The Blood Pacts I remember hating to write were when new patch notes arrived but were mostly numerical changes; “X ability got nerfed by Y%” is so godawfully boring to compile. People demand it anyway, even if they have already read it through a dataminer. It’s a merit badge to check off doing. So I’m done with covering the absolute up-to-date patch notes.

The posts I remember loving to write were either critical thinking — like, remember the casting while moving post? Even if I got Auto Shot wrong, it was fun — or they were the narrative pieces. Straight loot lists are boring to me because we all know we’re going to either simulate our gear anyway or a theorycrafter will have posted a Best in Slot (BiS) list elsewhere already. Loot lists that involve the history or references of items or explore the various transmogs or pets you can loot? Those are interesting to me. Narratives are also fun for obvious reasons, and I like taking things like general guides and rewriting them as stories.

I like putting flavor into things, and I like reading things with flavor in them. So I’m steering myself back in that direction and going back into writing things for pleasure rather than because I “should” be writing it (guides, the pressing Issue of the Patch, BiS loot, etc.) or feeling like I otherwise artificially “have” to write it.

On [...]

Cynwise might fit on the Council of the Black Harvest because he’s analyzed the ins and outs of warlocks, but he’s not a personal hero of mine because of warlockery. I’m a Cynwise fangirl (there, I said it) because of the same thing Psynister once said to him:

He said that I was a good, thoroughly competent Mage player, but it never seemed like quite the right class for me.

“It’s because you play Warlocks with style,” he said. “You’re a good Mage. You’re an awesome Warlock.”

It took me a while to absorb what he meant by that. What did he mean by style? Style is joie de vivre, style is letting the world know you’re having fun with what you’re doing. I had that on Cynwise.

There’s a certain freedom and honesty in Cynwise’s CBM writing that I craved & still crave a little. Specifically the “On [Topic]” posts he had. He didn’t spend time on some overarching structure with a clever title; it was just THIS TOPIC and then GO.

Blood Pact was necessarily restrictive in word count, but also, as time went on, I found it restrictive in content as well. I unfortunately tried too hard to please everyone all the time, and burnt myself out many times in the process. When I did indulge myself in a narrative or fun piece, I usually got the starkly split comments: either the piece was viewed as “useless” and “boring” because it wasn’t the latest Issue of the Patch, or I received a circle jerk positive comment that didn’t really give me anything to build on (what was good? I still don’t know). I wanted to feel accomplished and happy with my work, and it was almost always exclusively one or the other, not both.

I have a bookmark in my “Writing” folder called Titty Sprinkles, and I revisit it a lot for a reason. I have yet to take Cynwise off his writing pedestal yet (sorry!), but my inner CFN editor has been growing stronger. Perhaps not on a writing basis — I’m still as anxiously constipated as ever — but starting with the decision to take my first ever break from raiding, and extending outside of the game. I’m figuring out what my time is worth, and what I want to do with it, rather than what I feel like I, as a warlock writer, should be doing.


Possible Future Blog Topics

I’m playing D3 a lot right now. I still love it, and I love the solo player aspect of it. I like creating my own spreadsheets for how to crafting things (farm spreadsheets in WoW were fun, too!). I like playing builds that are fun to press buttons with, not necessarily to do the best damage. I play with Haunt/Spirit Barrage on my witch doctor (with a helpful horde of Zombie Dogs), and I’m working on seeing if I can build my way into a smite/ranged Crusader style. I find it hilarious to shoot at mobs from behind gates or across the way in Pandemonium despite being on a primarily melee-based class.

I’ve thought about doing a playthrough video of Starcraft II campaign, since I’ve just gotten into SC2. But I play more D3 right now than SC2, and trying to put meaningful commentary on it makes the SC2 playthrough feel like a merit badge to complete instead of something I actually enjoy doing. So that’s on the burner for now.

I am still subscribed to WoW, though I’ve barely logged in at all. I am still chasing the Scimitar of the Sirocco item (for transmog!) & Seeker of Knowledge title in Archaeology and I still enjoy soloing old raids from time to time. I thought about combining a writing challenge with raid soloing by writing a guide to the soloed instance/boss in the form of a narrative or roleplay. But that takes a lot of planning before I’m satisfied enough for publishing, so that won’t happen for a while.

Warlock news from the alpha will be flying around. I do mean to highlight those who are blogging, theorycrafting, streaming, or whatever else content creation is going on. I myself won’t be creating too much guide content on warlocks — I prefer to wait until it’s all settled and almost released. But as part of Final Boss and by extension Sentry Totem, I’m still going to be around a ton of community that will be producing content. Though some reach larger audiences than I ever will, I still like to pass the word on when I see something cool.

For example, I had a lot of fun trying to write up the enhancement shaman episode summary as the old ShamWOW commercial, so you should go read it to get a laugh for the day.

I will probably tag non-WoW content as what it is. There will likely be a Diablo III or D3 tag and/or category soon.

So, uh, yeah, that’s it. I’m going to start writing other things now.

Find me at FinalBoss and Wowhead

While there hasn’t been much news on the class information front for Warlords of Draenor, I’ve been writing elsewhere about WoW.

Attn: Boosted Warlocks

wowhead-guide-warlock-iconYou already know I wrote a series of warlock guides before leaving Blood Pact, but Wowhead came to me after the class column cuts and asked if I’d like to write a warlock guide for the freshly boosted 90s.

Wowhead has revealed its new class guides, and yep, I helped make the warlock one.

So go forth, use it, comment on it, etc.

Do keep in mind that it’s intended for the freshly made warlocks, and therefore it assumes one isn’t going to jump hardcore into the class on the first day. If you’re wondering why I forgot about min/maxing gear or a BiS list or why isn’t demo stance-dancing on there, it’s because new people just simply don’t need to be overwhelmed with that info. There are plenty of boosted 90s who are still trying to get the hang of which pet to use, nevermind spellplay tricks.

A guildmate boosted a warlock with the intent to raid immediately in heroic Siege with us. While he has the company of myself and two other guilded warlocks (plus a former warlock turned healer) to ask questions, other fresh warlocks might not. The biggest change he’s noticed that helped him a lot was some UI changes to help play affliction. Good thing I’ve written a warlock guide on those elements as well:

Penultimately, if you are planning on jumping into Siege with your new warlock, I’ve already written the loot guide for that as well.

Finally, it is a PvE-focused guide with a few snippets of PvP information, but I’d like to help out on the introducing warlocks to PvP front as well. I need help on that, and unfortunately it’s hard to find PvP information that isn’t outdated by a couple of seasons or is just straight gearing advice. I’d like to help introduce warlocks to tips and tricks on how to PvP as a warlock, whether that’s the use of pets or various talent use or how specific arena compositions with warlocks work.

So if you’re a PvP warlock and you would like to help spread the PvP love, you can email me here at my blog with tips and tricks or links to your own guides, whether it’s a blog or a Youtube/Twitch channel. (I already subscribe to a few PvP warlocks on Youtube; Twitch depends because I can’t always catch the streams live.)

Quipping for FinalBoss

firelord-finalbossYou should catch up on episodes of FinalBoss if you’re not already watching the show.

FinalBoss is a videocast about high-end raiding. They bring in the best of the best in the PvE world to come talk down to earth about their class and spec. If you can’t make it to the live Twitch stream every Sunday at 1pm Pacific (4pm Eastern, 10pm CET), the show uploads on Mondays to Youtube and Stitcher or iTunes for the audio-only version.

It really shows how well Bay organizes it all. The questions are direct and specific, the interviewees have answers prepared, but the show’s not so rigid it can’t have fun at the same time. I’m behind the scenes a little bit now, and I can see the level of work and organization that goes into making the show; these guys & gals work hard to make a quality show every week. It’s been a great crew to work with so far.

Previously, former Inconspicuous Bear Reesi was writing the intro blurbs for each episode. Now I’ve stepped into her shoes to quip and recap for the show before the episode uploads each Monday. From Episode #32 onward I’ve written the episode intro, and I’m quietly lurking in the chatroom each Sunday taking notes. Summarizing a 60-90 minute show in under 300 words is a little bit of a challenge for me as a writer, so I find the work entertaining.

Whenever you read an episode intro by me, I hope you like puns.

So come by and say hello, and stay a while to watch a pretty awesome online show about PvE in WoW.

My guild is recruiting!

We’ve got some spots opening up for the rest of Siege of Orgrimmar until Warlords of Draenor.

We’re specifically looking for:

a tank of any class
a paladin (or two) of any spec
ranged DPS

urbannerGuild progression: We’re a 25-man guild on Alliance-side US-Elune (PvE). Our focus is to complete the content when it’s current and heroic modes are gravy to us. That said, we’re also 10/14 25H right now, and Thok is our current brick wall.

Atmosphere: We have a lot of written rules, but don’t let that bog you down. We run with EPGP as our loot system, and if we’re gearing you up, you’ll tank your PR plenty. We have lots of in-guild jokes you can pick up on during trash in raids. If you don’t see us in WoW, a good half of us are playing Diablo III in the UR clan.

Raid Hours: We raid Wed/Thurs/Sun, typically starting at 8pm Eastern/server and ending at 11pm, with one 10-15min break somewhere in the middle. We may or may not trim our raiding hours or days down as we go into summertime, so let us know if you’re interested even if the hours aren’t quite right!

Gear/Experience We’re Looking For: While we can bring applicants up to speed in experience and gear, we’d prefer an experience minimum of 14/14N Siege in either 10 or 25man. We’d love you more if you have heroic experience and gear.

Sounds great! How do I apply? Just make an account on our forums with your intended main’s name and put up an application for our officers and members to look at.

Yo, I got questions about your guild!

  • Our coGMs: Mindalen + Ranico
  • Our other officers: Lissanda + Trusker + Zweibella.
  • If you want BattleTag contact: Lissanna#1777 or Mindalen#1769.

You can also talk to me on Elune at Ponerya or on BattleTag as Poneria#1125. Just give a friendly message about your class/spec LF guild in the BattleTag request so I know what’s going on with a random person on my Battletag requests.


Racials for warlocks in Warlords of Draenor

Out of the recent Developer Watercooler and the resulting Twitter hour of clarification by senior game designers Celestalon and Holinka, there was one of a few major topics: the reworking of all the racials. With hit and expertise going away in Warlords of Draenor (WoD), a lot of racials needed to be redesigned, which made a perfect opportunity to create new ones for some races to bring them in line with others.

While some of the proposed racials like the night elf’s day-and-night one are interesting, I’m going to focus on the races and racial properties that are warlock-applicable. While I could list out all the racials possible for each category, I feel I’ll list out the racials I feel either win the category or are most important to discuss.

New or changed racials are highlighted in fel green. The factions are also represented in colors: Alliance and Horde.

Removed racials

  • Gnomes had a 1% expertise racial to daggers or 1H swords in the main hand.
  • Humans had a 1% expertise racial to 1H swords in the main hand.
  • Orcs had a 1% expertise racial to fist weapons, which affected a wand in the main hand, oddly enough.
  • All the other expertise racials dealt with weapon types not usable by warlocks.

Expertise as a stat is gone in Warlords, so these racials are gone as well.

Perks: Spell & CC resistances

We’ll get to CC-breaks later. There’s a category of racials that provide some resistance to a certain spell school, and then there’s a couple races that provide a duration reduction for certain crowd control types.

  • Orc: 10% Stun reduced duration (Hardiness)
  • Troll: 15% movement-impaired reduced duration (Da Voodoo Shuffle)
  • No resistances: human, goblin
  • Spell resistances: Frost (dwarf), Arcane (gnome, blood elf), Nature (worgen), Shadow (worgen, undead)

With spell resistance as a stat gone from gear and flasks, etc., there’s nothing for a player to control spell resistance, so encounters aren’t designed around spell resistance being a deal-maker. But we can discuss it anyway.

Warlocks have Twilight Ward which provides a big absorb against shadow or holy damage. The current PvP 2-piece for warlocks also allows Twilight Ward to absorb from any magic school, so having a spell resistance perk is really just that, a perk. The “tanky warlock” stance changes Twilight Ward into Fury Ward, which absorbs all magic schools plus physical damage. When Twilight Ward doesn’t apply, we will use Unending Resolve or our health and self-healing in response.

The crowd control duration reductions don’t draw a lot of attention either, as everyone usually focused on the active ability CC-breaks which provide a complete escape from crowd control. But the usual PvP counter to a warlock is a burst, CC-crazy melee like a warrior. Reduced duration against tools a melee uses to lock a warlock down is a plus in PvP.

Perks: Profession bonuses

Races offer some kind of bonus to a profession, whether primary or secondary. Humans and trolls don’t have a profession bonus, but what they have falls under the category of “this is useful when you’re in the progress of doing something.”

  • None: Orc, Undead
  • Secondary profs: Archaeology (dwarf)
  • Primary gathering profs: Skinning (worgen)
  • Primary production profs: Alchemy (goblin), enchanting (blood elf), engineering (gnome)
  • Reputation gains (human)
  • 20% XP from killing beasts (troll)

The troll racial makes me wonder how they came up with that one. It replaces Beast Slaying’s extra damage done to beasts, so I see the theme of killing beasts, but, really? An XP bonus? I guess if you’re desperate, you can race-change to troll for leveling and then race-change back when you’re done.

The professional bonuses are obvious when leveling a profession, and perhaps are actual advantages for twinks, but at endgame once everything is leveled, there’s no real difference. If it matters to you, goblin, blood elf, or gnome are the winners, as warlocks in both PvP and PvE endgames tend to run double production professions. (If there were such a thing as a Tauren warlock, we could have an Herbalism bonus, whose haste through the active Lifeblood ability we might like.)

The only racial that really stands out for PvE endgame is the human reputation racial, because it makes grinding for rep a little bit easier, whether through killing things or doing quests.

Advantages: Passive stat boosts

Generally the passive stat increase is the main reason a race is picked as best in PvE. With an extra 1% of a favored stat, players can use different gear to further maximize another stat without losing effectiveness. To make up for missing passive expertise racials, many of the races got new passive stat boost racials.

Several tweets and blue posts — over especially the new night elf racial that switches its secondary stat bonus depending on the time of day — have said that stats will be a lot closer together in value for Warlords. All I can say is that we’ll see about that. I have to wonder how not having haste breakpoints for DoTs will go for haste’s priority. DK theorycrafter Magdalena brought up the point of possible readiness “breakpoints” where you can get some cooldowns to line up with other cooldowns or possibly cooldowns lining up with specific boss phases.

Haste, crit (aff/demo), and readiness fall into the category of stats you want to have “enough” of; mastery, crit (destro), and multistrike tend to be “stack ‘em high” stats. Usually the best passive stat bonus racial goes to helping out the “enough of” stats, so that players can go for the gear that has more of the “stack ‘em high” stats on.

  • 1% real haste: gnome, goblin
  • 1% crit: worgen
  • 2% crit damage: dwarf
  • 2 secondary stats: human
  • 2% pet damage: orc
  • Health regen: troll
  • Drain attack: undead

The goblin racial was clarified to be 1% real haste, as opposed to only cast speed; I assume the addition of the gnome haste racial would be the same. Real haste can affect other things like RPPM mechanics, so this is a subtle change with big DPS impacts.

There’s another subtle different between worgen and dwarves. Worgen give +1% crit chance, which lets you crit more often. Dwarves give +2% crit damage/healing, which lets you crit harder. The default meta gem for warlocks has been Burning [Whatever] Diamond, which had some intellect like numerous meta gems did, but the second effect was 3% increased crit damage, and that’s why we took that meta gem over others. Since haste can be a crappy stat for single-target destruction warlocks, they still even debate whether to use the old Burning meta gem or the legendary meta gem (LMG). Dwarves have a pretty good racial here.

Orc’s 2% pet damage is a boost to demonology, and troll and undead see limited benefits in PvP. Generally, if it was down to passive stat bonuses, goblin wins out for the Horde.

The new Human Spirit (no longer 3% Spirit) is going to be interesting. The biggest question I have is something Celestalon tweeted about; whether the racial will offer enough of each stat to make a competitive difference. If human doesn’t provide enough stat to make a difference, dwarf may win out as the default go-to race. The biggest benefit to human racial is a ridiculous amount of min/maxing such that you can effectively change your passive throughout a tier or maybe even fight to fight without needing to spend money on an entire race change.

If haste or crit is valued a lot, gnomes and worgen will beat out humans for desirability in the passive stat field. If mastery, multistrike, or readiness take control of stat priorities, human will be the go-to passive stat bonus racial. If priority is balanced between one of each bunch, then human may be competitive depending on how much it offers for each stat. “Pure-stat” races will probably be the “best” in the beginning of an expansion, but as gear gains more secondary stats, we see priorities shift more toward the stack-em-high stats, which include multistrike and mastery, neither of which is in a racial beyond human.

Advantages: Active abilities

The active abilities are often what makes or breaks a race beyond the passive stat boosts in PvP activities. Alliance active racials are usually defensive or reactive racials (though you can argue using Darkflight’s movement speed boost offensively like in flag carrying). Horde active racials are usually offensive or proactive racials.

Instead of going by faction, I put similar active abilities near each other.I realize there are other racials like undead’s Cannibalize, the worgen self-mount, or the goblin personal bank option, but those aren’t the racials that get brought up for endgame balance. Similarly, goblins have a jump-forward ability; if you really need a jump ability, you’re going to be a demonology warlock and Demonic Leap everywhere.

  • Dwarf: Self-dispel (poison, disease, bleed, magic, curse) + damage reduction + non-CC break (Stoneform, 2min CD)
  • Undead: Self-dispel (Charm, Fear, Sleep) + shares 30 sec CD with similar effects (Will of the Forsaken, 3min CD)
  • Gnome: CC-break for snares/roots (Escape Artist, 1min CD)
  • Human: CC-break for just about anything + shares CD with PvP trinkets (Every Man For Himself, 2min CD)
  • Orc: Spellpower increase for 15 sec (Blood Fury, 2min CD)
  • Troll: 15% haste for 10 sec (Berserking, 3min CD)
  • Worgen: 40% movement speed boost for 10 sec (Darkflight, 2min CD),
  • Blood Elf: Restore 3% mana + silences NPCs for 3sec (Arcane Torrent)
  • Goblin: Fire damage ability (Rocket Barrage, 2min CD)

The “miscellaneous” is pretty obvious: worgen (speed boost), blood elf (silence + resoure restore), and goblin (extra damage). Blood elf might be useful in PvP, but usually the worgen would be the best miscellaneous racial. In Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, worgen was typically the “best” Alliance race, and PvE/PvP sometimes showed that having an extra movement speed boost really helps.

Dwarf got an upgrade to Stoneform to remove just about any type of debuff, plus its usual damage reduction. However, the ability is not going to be a CC-break and will be unusable while CC-ed. The dwarf racial will be best for reacting to a damaging debuff in PvE raids or as a defensive proactive ability in general.

The CC-break abilities — undead, gnome, and human — all have a variety of three characteristics:

  • What CC it breaks: movement speed impairments, loss of control, or both
  • Whether it shares CD with any similar break abilities: No sharing, partial sharing, or complete CD sharing
  • Its own CD: short, medium, long
Undead Human Gnome
Breaks loss of control CC Breaks both movement & loss of control CC Breaks movement CC
Partial shared CD Completely shared CD No shared CD
Longest self CD (3min) Medium self CD (2min) Shortest self CD (1min)

Gnome will break only snares and roots, which leaves the warlock still able to cast both defensive and offensive spells. Roots are only dangerous to us when we try to peel from a melee, and we can use our CC to help us in that regard. Thus, the really short CD on a not amazing CC-break.

The human EMFH ability is still being looked at; primarily, its fate rests on how the PvP trinkets that share its CD get designed. I presume that the undead racial gets the larger CD because it only partially shares a CD with other effects, rather than completely locking out both options.

Finally, when it comes to straight-up throughput, the orc Blood Fury (spellpower) and troll Berserking (15% haste) are the winners, and not just for warlocks. Berserking might not be as big a deal with haste breakpoints gone, but it’s still a powerful haste boost. The biggest deal from these racials is that their cooldowns line up with many of our cooldowns so we can stack them for bigger spikes of damage. Typically, orc wins out in the beginning of the expansion where spellpower is a massive boost while we played the secondary stat breakpoint game, and troll wins out in the late expansion as we have enough secondary stat on our gear to support going balls-to-wall on stacking a particular stat.


Of course, the “winner” is completely subjective based on what a player cares about when picking a race. A player with pure performance in mind may choose a different race than someone who picks using the casting animations.

They took out the expertise racials and put in new passive stat racials, but the active abilities that are thrown about as OP didn’t get touched too much beyond Berserking getting nerfed a little. We’ll need to discuss passive stat racials when we get closer to simulating gearsets, but that’s quite a long ways off.

However, we shouldn’t get too excited about the passive stat bonuses, since supposedly the stat priorities will be a lot closer to each other than the ridiculous “hit X haste breakpoint and then just stack mastery” that we have right now. The passive stat racial is likely to affect your warlock to a minimal degree.

Dwarf maybe got improved with Stoneform, but as warlocks are a hale and hearty class anyway, I’m not sure it compares to EMFH’s get out of jail free card. Orc and troll are still very strong for PvE damage throughput. I’m not sure they’re done looking at the active abilities, but they’re still keeping to the factional theme: Alliance gets strong defensive abilities (Stoneform and EMFH) while the Horde gets strong offensive abilities (Blood Fury and Berserking).

The conclusion is that we’ll likely see the higher raiding warlocks stay Horde for the DPS output racials, but the Alliance warlocks won’t be completely SOL because of their newly reworked passive stats. In PvP, we might see more dwarf warlocks, but I imagine the same old trinket replacement argument will live on for human/undead.

Long live Blood Pact

So, I lasted two years and am still standing. That’s a pretty good run as Defense against with the Dark Arts columnist. Some speculate that the column’s curse backfired so hard against my tenure that it took all the other class columns with it since I was about to start my third year.

Whoops! MY BAD, Y’ALL.

Blood Pact for me

I’ve written 88 posts for Blood Pact alone and over 130,000 words for WoW Insider overall. I hope I did the column justice. WoW Insider certainly taught me a lot, whether it was how to fit a complex topic into 1500 words (or maybe a little over!) or that comments don’t reflect views at all. I now understand the power of tags and categories as well as linking to other pieces and how to choose topics (though I don’t quite get timing yet).

We got a review of our page views just before getting the super bad news, actually, and while the top post of mine (~28k views) for the past year was a patch 5.4 recap for warlocks, the 2nd highest views — only a mere 650 views behind #1 — was that old post on how to kill dragons for dragon mounts. The 4th highest was the Karazhan solo post.

Patch news is fleeting; flavor activities are forever fun.

I think I’ve found myself a little more in writing for Blood Pact, and I hope it’s reflected in my last posts – I want to inspire old and new warlocks to love their warlocks, not merely reiterate the latest BiS patch notes. That’s not to say accuracy can go out the window, but I’m not going to sacrifice the flavor and beginner guides just to score points with the elite.

Narrative-style guides like the loot posts and the Kanrethad stuff were my favorite posts to write. It was fun trying to get all the details in without ruining the story.

So I passed on the chance to talk about the latest information on the level 100 talents from Warlords of Draenor and decided to leave my mark as a 101 guide (albeit still PvE-heavy):

It was a little bittersweet writing guides about the “end of Mists” for each spec as it was the end of writing at WoW Insider for me and, well, writing spec guides for how to basically be a warlock at max level (compare, 85 to 90) was a few weeks into how I started the column as well.

My personal favorite columns were:

Feel free to share your favorites or the ones you found most useful in the comments!

What now? Will I continue to write about warlocks?



I’ll write opinion pieces here, for sure, and maybe even getting around to doing full-length guides. I’ve already started to fiddle around with doing guides at Wowhead.

For now, though, the content I made at WoW Insider belongs to WoW Insider/AOL, so you won’t see me duplicate any of it here. In a few days, I’ll put together a post of all the essential Blood Pact reading for those who are catching up or rerolling to the Best Class for Warlords of Draenor.

How affected am I?

Right now I’m in a bit of a financially crap situation. As summer approaches, my main income also goes down, so already not having what I got from WoW Insider is going to make everything feel worse. I do have support in other sources, so I’m not completely SOL, but I’m not in a great spot at the moment. I need to find another second job, basically, which might mean less WoW.

Donations box! Can I help you pay your rent/food/books/game time?

…I’ll think about it, but I’m not likely to do it at this time.

I appreciate any offers like this, but I’m still too proud to really accept them properly.

Even if I did put up a donations box, I feel like there’d be a one-time rush, which doesn’t make for a sustainable income. I’m looking for a long-term income, not a temporary bandaid.

TL;DR if I could find another writing job, particularly one about WoW, that would be super swell! But I’m not expecting one.

I was also planning on returning to school (college), but that might be trickier now with less income. I’m 100% less single now than when I started playing WoW, which takes its own time out of the game. I’m also starting to get “old” in WoW terms. I’ve been playing my warlock for six years without a single break, which is more than most people do.

It’s all up in the air at this point. I’d like to continue playing my warlock in Warlords — it’s not the game that’s the problem. I still love my warlock. I’d also like to continue writing concerning warlocks in Warlords, because I learned quite a lot from even doing research for Blood Pact. I still want to highlight warlock PvP more, for instance.

It sucks, but I’ll get through it.

Where would I write about warlocks?

Well, I still have this old place. Perhaps nobody anymore would know where the flip I got the name for the blog, but it’s mine, it’s already established, and it’d be easy to move back here. Even if I cringe at my lack of organization and online writerly immaturity that still lies here.

Maybe I’ll redo the site a little. Who knows. I do have the advantage of being able to do things over 1500 words now, though I’ll probably still swear using “fel” and “Gul’dan” instead of real swear words.

If you enjoyed my time at Blood Pact, you’re welcome to stick around here for more if more appears. Thanks for reading this far in the first place.

Thank you to all my colleagues and bosses at WI; y’all taught me a lot, whether you edited my post directly or wrote a column or post that I sometimes stole ideas from. I’ll just go back to being a plain ole reader of the site, and I hope my readers join me in my continued support of WoW Insider.

- Megan O’Neill, aka “Poneria”

Spell spreads and quest mob learning

Yeah, it’s been a while, but I have ideas floating around.

After discussion with Catulla & Cynwise on how to destro, I was describing how I think the various warlock specs play across their spell toolkits.

In short: Affliction tends to divide based on how long the target takes to die (aka, health pool). Demonology depends on the number of targets available. Destruction plays across not only how many targets are available but how they are spread in the field of play.

I described destro as having a unique toolkit across all the number-differentiations of mobs: single target, dual (2 targets), multitarget (3+ not necessarily clumped), cleave (tight clump around central target), and area of effect (loose clump within a target circle). As contrast, affliction and demonology both have single target toolkits and AoE/cleave toolkits, with the middling “multitarget but not AoE/cleave” being simply the single target toolkits on multiple mobs (aka multidotting).

Destro is unique because it ports its single target spells to nearly all of the target number situations, and it also differentiates between cleave and area of effect (though destro’s cleave methods and AoE methods do overlap in use quite often). Cynwise pointed out that you can almost think of Fire and Brimstone (FnB) as a stance, a la Metamorphosis. I agree, especially now that FnB is a toggle rather than an outright spender.

Cat then asked if I could provide an example for each type for destro. So I sketched out destro’s spells according to how you differentiate multitarget and single target toolkits. Someone else asked for affliction after I posted the destro spread, so I did affliction and demonology as well. I’m probably rusty on the demo one, though; it’s based off what I remember using in Throne of Thunder, particularly on Lei Shen.

I was Frapsing myself trying to solo things on the Timeless Isle, just talking randomly through stuff with the examples I find on the Isle (mainly Kilnmasters as being good Havoc examples and Chanters being good RoF-as-aggro examples). I thought about making these spread notes into a video with examples of mobs in-game in soloable places (read: Isle of Giants, Isle of Thunder, Timeless Isle — the Isles are really good for practice), so maybe newer warlocks can see how to practice on their own.

(It’s also pretty general knowledge on how to approach world mobs and instance trash packs, which leads to figuring out which spec might perform best on an encounter without having pulled much on a boss. It’s only warlock-specific in using the warlock spells.)

I’ve ground out exalted Emperor Shaohao rep relearning (& re-enjoying) destruction, and I previously ground out my Bone White Raptor on the Isle of Giants when I learned demonology for tier 15. I do believe there are plenty of practice examples for players out there in dailies or general max-level world content for the various specs and minor tricks. Video editing allows for me to put a static slide of a spell toolkit (or major chunk of spell chunks), and then demonstrate it with footage of a quest mob or elite.

I’m not sure if that idea is too ambitious or if it’s even useful at all for players.

World of Logs series in Blood Pact


Originally, I envisioned this long series going step by step through a warlock parse — well, three of them, since there’s the three specs — and it would make everything super-clear. Then I realized that would soon be outdated if major mechanics were changed in patches. Although warlocks were totally reworked for Mists of Pandaria’s launch and we haven’t seen anything spec-breakingly change yet, it could happen later down the expansion road.

So instead I started to write a How To Read World of Logs series, with both veteran warlocks and raid leaders in mind, just with a warlock/caster DPS’s focus and examples. It is still the warlock class column, after all, but you might have noticed there aren’t many class columns still regularly active on WoW Insider. Blood Pact is really the only ranged DPS one left at the moment (sometimes there’s a hunter column every once in a bit). So I’m not bothered if something I write turns out to apply to most DPS in general — what helps people, helps people. Plus, not only are warlocks reading my columns, but warlock alts who might not know everything yet (especially with the MoP revamp).

Hopefully, these posts will help you decipher a log parse for a warlock in future patches, not just this one. There might be a few details to change, but I would prefer to teach method and a little common sense rather than to have you all come back patch after patch. The latter might be better for business, but I don’t think it would be better in the long run for your game play. Yeah, I do get paid to write a column, but I would prefer to help other warlocks learn and love the class.

So here’s the series, just five posts, though they total 7742 words, and only the Introduction is actually under the 1500-word limit! They’re all summed up in the last post anyway, but here it is again:

  • Introduction: types of warlocks, pets, and rankings 101
  • Graphs & Tables: Analyze Damage Done, Player details, Damage done by spell
  • Buffs & Debuffs: what is says + favorable stats from procs
  • Combat log kung fu: digging into the expression editor/combat log with two warlock examples
  • CompareBot: using CompareBot (part of RaidBots) to compare WoL tables for 2-3 warlocks

Unfortunately, as @snack_road pointed out to me, it’s possible what I’m trying to do isn’t going to work in the 1500-wd per week column format. Five posts is bordering on too long; on a regular blog that would be something like a week or two (a post every day? every other day?), but on WI it’s over a month of the same flipping topic. So before I try to do a SimulationCraft series, I want to write it out first (at least, most of it), and then try to present it in less than a month. It might be insane to try, but you never know, it might work.

I realized one problem with my quality too late in the writing of the series — I was writing it one post at a time. I think if I had written it all out ahead of time, maybe I could have grouped it together a little better. Did I really need the rankings in the 101 post? Probably not. Should I have instead gone over what specs tend to crop up on what fights? Maybe.

The last post for WoL was going to be a DPSBot/Rankings population comparison, because ranking can really be misleading sometimes. If you play demonology on Horridon, you’ll likely rank because hardly anyone plays it on Horridon, but if you play destruction, you’ll need to be actually good to rank. I also hadn’t done much of the spreadsheeting to compare the RaidBots to WoL ranking DPS limits, and then Cynwise posted his Class Distribution Data for Patch 5.3. So I realized, I ought to look at this over an entire tier (sayyyyyy Throne of Thunder), and then I could show things like how a class changes over a tier, since as we get more in stat budget, the order of top DPS naturally shifts a bit.


Maybe you’re figured this out already, but I’m usually experimenting with format or topic in one way or another when I post a Blood Pact to pending. So far, the more I experiment, the better I get and also the more fun I have, so I’m going to keep doing it. Some people might not agree with how I’ve been doing the column compared to past writers. But after a year I finally realized it’s better in the long run to go do my thing the way I want to rather than trying to please all the critics all the time. It’s exhausting trying to be “correct” about everything all the time, and it’s much more relaxing and really exciting to just be in a discussion with other people. So I’m trying to provide discussion jumping-off points for topics rather than trying to list out what you should be doing this patch.

I’m still working on how to get lots of specific details on “heavy” topics like SimC or WoL into that 1500-wd space, but even the “lighter” topics like stories or soloing are meant to inspire rather than dictate. Hopefully it all works in the end. As always, if you have any ideas or topics you want me to explore (or any screenshots to show!), you can always send them to me: megan at wowinsider dot com.

Because Waypoint


Look. I’m not on Medivh primarily. Sure, I have an alt in Waypoint because they are awesome, but my established characters are over on Elune. And I like raiding over there on Elune.

My problem is I also like to write. Or, at least I did. I haven’t in a while. I keep telling myself that I don’t have enough time, that when I move to a solo apartment I’ll have my creative space, that I’ll just finish this one thing and leave this note here and then I’ll get back into it (but I never do).

So I’m jealous of the Waypoint crew. They have fun RP stuff that goes on (even though they only joke about being an RP guild) that I would love to get in on.

But I’m not on their server, and cross-realm parties only go so far. (For one, we’d have to be online at the same time, and usually that time I’m raiding or otherwise working. Sadface.)

But then their Tumblr account posted this and Cynwise posted this in response. I said something on Twitter about wanting to write a little something, and Snack said “do iiiiiiit, it’s a lot of fun.” I don’t want to butt in unexpectedly or godmode or whatever, so here’s just a little fic for the Waypoint folks featuring Poneria the warlock (and also a little of Machairi the nelf rogue).


Back in business? Maybe


Sorry for the … uh what shall we call this. I don’t want want to say this blog is dead, though it rather was for a while. When your warlock blog becomes a series of writing rants or posts about how your guild is recruiting, it might fit the bill of mostly dead. It’s not all-dead, because there’s only one thing you can do with all-dead.

Speaking of recruiting, my guild is 5/12 N on 25-man as of last night. We finished off T14 as 4/16 25H. We’re a bit full at the moment, though being full never lasts for long. At this point I think we’re looking for an awesome mage or warlock to fill it out. We’re trying to add a third night to our 25man schedule, so being able to raid at least 2 of 3 nights — Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday — is something you need to be able to do. Preferably a Sunday night since that’s the added day and our raiders are already used to showing up for W & Th.

I should update our kill pictures and other things on my guild page, but I have other things I’m doing. Have a screenshot.


Back to the blog.

Writing Blood Pact basically just meant that everything I wanted to talk about warlock-wise went there. For one, it’s paid over there and not over here, but for two, I also felt a little guilty if I wanted to take a topic over here, even if I thought it was too long/big to discuss over there. I just kept telling myself that it was writing practice, to work on my tendency to filling space with needless words.

But, writing for Blood Pact is highly public, and since I am The Warlock Columnist with all the capital letters of importance, any misstep I make is blown out of (or just into bigger) proportion instead of what happens when a random blogger missteps in her own corner of the internet. There’s not much room to learn, unless I try to do it with the creative side instead of with the actual facts.

Also, hi, I’ve been the warlock columnist at WoW Insider for a year now and I haven’t died yet. Go me. Insert joke about knocking on a tree druid without somehow sounding perverse.

Moving on, I’m trying to learn from my lessons there. I’m going to explore doing fun projects or topics, researching before I write this time, and then trying to not sound/read like a school paper summary on the topic. But to support that, I need space to muse and go in the wrong directions of the maze despite all the hate the internet gives you when you dare to do something suboptimally. Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Well, OK, you can read textbooks all you want and do experiments by yourself, but I think you get more out of learning when you do it with someone else, conversing about it.

Doing my own little projects is a thing I having really done since high school. Oddly enough, my depression and anxiety issues really started get in my way around then, too. Maybe coincidence — I’m sure I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I should now that I’m on my own and have no parents to schedule things for me. But I have found myself less angry and less agitated in general when I create outside of pure research writing, which is what most of Blood Pact and boss guides for the guild have been. When I creatively write, whether fiction or poetry, or when I draw or when I try to organize gear or strategies or transmogs together, then I seem to find my inner peace more often.

So I’m going to go in that direction and hope it takes me closer to my mountain. I feel like I don’t know where my mountain is. Some days I’m surrounded by trees, so it’s a nice view, but I can’t see my mountain. Sometimes, much like last week and rather most of 2013 so far, those trees are thorns and I’m all out of swords.

So here’s to CFN and  some theorycrafting pursuits that are hopefully not as incorrect or misled as I think they probably will be. (Maybe some toon roleplay? Maybe.) FC is going to stop trying to be fancy pants warlock who is always perfect and just go back to being my personal space, where often warlock things will happen.

Progression and Recruitment

My guild has reached a milestone where we’ve done heroic content before any nerf and actually been the first 25man guild on our server to hit up heroic content. Of course, there’s plenty of 10man guilds who have beaten the pants off us, but  if you prefer the 25man size, we’re actually pretty good for our schedule now.

We are recruiting! Now that we’re better than when we started out, we’re going to be a bit pickier than before, so here’s some things you might want to know.

What class/specs we want:

  • Ranged DPS: We’re looking for caster deeps, particularly warlocks (!) and (unfortunately) mages.

We are heavy on melee right now, full on our healer complement, and are working on a third/swing tank, but if you think you are awesome, feel free to apply. We’ll take a great player over a specific class.

Some info bits about us:

  • 25-man focus. We have a progression/gearing 10man, but the focus is on the 25man.
  • We’re 2/16 25H, with heroic Stone Guard and heroic Feng kills under our belts.
  • Required raid nights are Wednesday & Thursday, 8-11:00pm server/Eastern.
  • We use an out-of-game raid calendar, from which raid leads will approve 25 to go that week/day.
  • We start raid invites around 7:55pm server, and we usually invite by you whispering a codeword to the raid leader (who invites automatically via an addon). So be online and ready to go.
  • We end raids before or at 11:00pm server most days; it depends on pulls when exactly. Around 9:30pm is our halfway break (10-15min).
  • The guild provides food, pots, and flasks, but as a trial/applicant, bringing your own stuff helps out your app.
  • We use EPGP for loot. We’ve rarely had actual problems with it, and people are actually really generous with passing to help gear others.
  • A few guildmates PvP, but most of us don’t. Our server is heavily Alliance PvE.`

Regarding guild disposition:

  • As I put it: we derp a lot, and still kill things. So be prepared for derping, because it happens. Derpful kills are termed “UR-style kills.” We have had kills where the last member standing was the Greater Earth Elemental and/or our Blood DK.
  • As my GM put it: “we are a rule guild.” We have a lot of rules, but it’s mostly so we’re clear on our expectations and demands.
  • As my raid leader put it: “There’s really only two rules. One, don’t be a dick, both online in raid and offline on Twitter/elsewhere. Two: tell us if you have to leave or whatever.” (I may or may not violate One in offline mode occasionally, but I’m way better than I was.)

I have some tips on applying, particularly to my guild, from watching various applicants come and go.

Have some raid experience:

  • Bring a raid log: chances are, someone will ask for a World of Logs from you. If you have one to show off, bring it! Otherwise, we’ll likely pull you from raidbots.
  • Experience > gear: Even if you’ve taken a break from raiding, if you have past raid logs from Cataclysm or even Wrath, bring them.
  • Name your raiding alts: If you’ve raided on a different character for a while, even with the account-wide achievs active, name which alts you’ve played before & what roles (tanking/DPS/heals). We like to double-check backgrounds on raid progression.
  • Be prepared to explain your stuff. Guildmates are allowed to look at your app and comment on any oddities or differences they see in your app.

But gear is not unimportant:

  • Log out in your intended raiding spec and gear, please, so we can see you properly on the Armory. Even if you mess around with odd talents, please let your Armory reflect how you’re going to approach a general boss fight.
  • We’re moving into heroic modes starting with Mogu’shan Vaults, so while we admire dedication, being dressed in all LFR gear won’t get you very far. Some of the lower geared raiders we have are approximately 490 ilvl, so aim for that.
  • Professions! Be using your bonuses. Cooking is a great bonus, if you can make your own food.
  • I know my GM in particular likes to look at how well you’ve kept up with reputations; it’s a dedication thing but also if there’s good gear to be bought still.

Remember, it’s a 25-man environment:

  • Make sure your computer can handle all the graphical/combat log requirements. Anyone remember shamans + green healy thing on Ultraxion?! You don’t need top-of-the-line, but be able to raid on what you’ve got.
  • There’s more people. Be willing to work with more people, especially if you’re applying for healing. As far as DPS goes, feel free to talk to other raid members or your class or role. When it looked like we were going to get a third warlock, the other warlock and I made a warlock channel so we could all talk to each other during the fight (we whisper each other enough now).

And now, have some pretty progression pictures that I just posted of past kills. You can see other kills on my guild’s page here.

Reforging by hand

I installed Reforgelite to try it out, and found it pretty good for a while. Then I tried to play with not-quite-hit-cap while still meeting my haste threshold, and Reforgelite proceeded to disappoint me on taking 4-5 attempts per new piece of gear to find a set of stats I was pleased with. That’s easily 500-800 gold of reforging, and I just didn’t want to waste more on it. I tried my old by hand method with pen, paper, and basic arithmetic, and netted myself a better simulated DPS with that reforging than anything Reforgelite had ever given me with that gearset.

So I’m back to my old method of reforging, which is doing the math by hand. It’s not even difficult math. It’s mostly a logic problem. I referred to it on Twitter as being like the old logic problem where you have a two-seater boat and you must get a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage across a river. The wolf will eat the goat and the goat will eat the cabbage, so you have to pick which you leave alone wisely.

So let me show you how I do it. You might think it’s just a bunch of work, but what works for you works for you and what works for me works for me.


Since I do this a lot, it doesn’t take me very long. 5 minutes? It’s not the seconds an addon might take, but I don’t mind it.

Stat weights, gear upgrades, and reforging

One stat weight priority does not, in fact, rule them all.

The stat weights that come out of SimulationCraft are meant for additions to the gear that has already been simmed. You may judge enchants, gems, and upgrades in ilevel with these, since you are doing nothing to the original gear. Reforging, however, is not an addition, but a transfer. Different reforges will yield slightly different simulated DPS and stat weights.

Different gemming schemes will also simulate differently, since you are replacing gems not adding gems. Upgrades in ilevel will generally increase your DPS, as they’ll have more of a stat (primarily, more intellect) on them than before, but a change in secondary stats may put a minor ilevel upgrade a little below your current piece, reforging depending. With a good understanding of how a gear change will affect the simulation, you can guess without re-simming.

But it is safest to re-simulate for every gear change you make, no matter how small.

However, you can use the stat weights as a general guideline for what reforging strategy is the best. Ideally, your secondary stats — mastery, haste, and crit — will align to the same value when you’ve found the perfect reforge. That is, you have the Goldilocks amount of each stat on your gear.

On hit: Similarly, because the stat weights address additions to your gear, the weight for hit will drop significantly when simulated with a hit-capped gearset, as any additional hit will be useless. This is not evidence that the hit cap is insignificant. Meeting the hit cap helps you deal with your personal lag at realizing when your spells have missed a target. If you don’t want to worry about missing, then cap your hit as close as possible to cap.

I don’t like missing. It’s just fucking annoying. Thus I try to cap my hit within a certain margin.

My personal margin for hit used to be within a hybrid gem’s worth of hit. As my current gear will reforge for more than that, but not quite double on some pieces, I’ve now accepted 4900 (14.41%) as the lowest I’ll go, though I prefer 5000-5100 (14.70-15.00%).

I used my most recent simulation stat weights for the gem calculations. My stat weights have changed only a little (a margin of 0.10 points, maybe) over about 4 gear piece changes, so I feel confident using recent stat weights on a 1-piece change. In this case, especially so, since the stats on that piece were the same (mastery & crit –> mastery & crit). My most recent simulation yielded these stat weights:

  • 3.81 intellect
  • 3.13 spellpower
  • 1.94 mastery
  • 2.05 haste
  • 1.64 hit
  • 1.35 crit
  • 0.06 error margin

In the past, I’ve found that mastery rises significantly after I’ve reached a haste threshold of 11-12% (4677-5102 rating) on my gear. This is not surprising considering the major T14N haste DoT breakpoint is 4717 (Corruption +2).

Previously, mastery had been greater than haste, but this simulation, my gear was severely lacking in haste pieces. Even with reforging mostly to haste, I barely hit the 4717 breakpoint I wanted.

This time I was only a few reforges off the haste breakpoint, so I felt confident going for the “haste (4717) > mastery > haste” gearing/reforging strategy.


You can’t reforge to another stat already present on that piece of gear. The exception is that expertise counts like hit for spellcasters, so reforging to expertise on a piece of gear that already has hit is effectively adding hit without breaking the rule.

Other than that rule, reforging is about knowing when to stop (caps and breakpoints). The more you know about specific amounts of a stat affecting your gear, the better you can reforge without an optimizer.

I’ve enchanted and gemmed each piece separately. I’m trying out pure hit gems in blue sockets, so I can push as much reforging towards favorable stats. Once I reached about 11-12% haste, my mastery stat weight grew so that hybrid gems (orange for mastery/intellect) started to overtake my pure intellect gems (red), so I gem on a yellow-based scheme:

  • Prismatic or yellow sockets = +320 mastery / Fractured Amberjewel
  • Red sockets = +80 intellect & +160 mastery / Artful Vermillion Onyx
  • Blue sockets (way below hit cap) = +320 hit / Rigid River’s Heart
  • Blue sockets (close to cap) = +160 hit & +160 mastery / Sensei’s Wild Jade

I start with all my gear unreforged. It doesn’t cost gold to unreforge, and at worst, I might spend 150-200g reforging a bunch of pieces. But this starts with me what I need to achieve and all my options.

I already have a shorthand I write with; most are obvious, except hit is T since H is already haste. My stat priority is I > SP > T (to cap) > M >= H (4717) > C. I also have reduced the slots to two-letter combinations in my shorthand. I used to have a “wd” for the ranged slot, and a mh/2h designation, but not anymore!

I write down the slots, their secondary stats in priority order, and how much the lesser stat will reforge into. Parentheses indicate I’d rather leave that piece alone, but here’s how much it will reforge to, just in case. Writing down both stats helps me lay out which stats I can or can’t reforge into. The second column is for knowing what pieces I’ve set aside for reforging.

hd = TC –> 257 ? –> ?
nk = T(M –> 145) ? –> ?
sh = HC –> 205 ? –> ?
bk = MC –> 166 ? –> ?
ch = MC –> 299 ? –> ?
wr = T(H –> 184) ? –> ?
ha = T(H –> 260) ? –> ?
wa = M(H –> 220) ? –> ?
lg = TC –> 303 ? –> ?
ft = M(H –> 220) ? –> ?
f1 = T(M –> 129) ? –> ?
f2 = T(H –> 166) ? –> ?
t1 = n/a ? –> ?
t2 = (H –> 382) ? –> ?
mh = MC –> 92 ? –> ?
oh = T(M –> 150) ? –> ?

I want to meet a specific cap (5100 hit but no more) and a specific breakpoint (at least 4717 haste). So I write down at the unreforged totals:

  • 4965 hit
  • 4177 haste

I want a tiny bit more hit (135 rating to cap) and a handful of haste (540 rating).

Immediately, I see from my list that reforging the main hand dagger to hit will net me pretty close to cap. I’ll have 5057 hit rating (14.87%), which is close enough for me.

It’s time to work on haste. I need more haste, so I don’t want to reforge any of it off just yet, so I strike out all the “H –> #” reforges. I also would prefer not to reforge off any mastery, so I temporarily strike out my “M –> #” reforges. I also strike out my shoulders as reforging to mastery, since I obviously cannot reforge the crit on there to haste. Here’s what’s left:

  • hd = TC –> 257
  • bk = MC –> 166
  • ch = MC –> 299
  • lg = TC –> 303

I won’t be reforging my back and chest pieces to mastery, since they already have mastery on them. Leaving them alone would be leaving all that unwanted crit on there, so that makes them prime pieces for haste reforging.

166 + 299 = 465, which is 75 off from the desired 540+. I do have some haste pieces without mastery on my reforge list, however, and I could always reforge those off into mastery to hit the correct haste breakpoint. Let’s look at those:

  • wr = TH –> 184
  • ha = TH –> 260
  • f2 = TH –> 166
  • t2 = H –> 382

The lowest +haste reforge is the head slot at 257, and the matching -haste reforge that I chose was the second finger slot at 166.

Here’s the math again: 4177 + 166 + 299 + 257 – 166 = 4733. That’s only 16 rating off the haste breakpoint. Pretty tight, eh!

I then let all the remaining mastery-able reforges be mastery, since affliction loves that stat right now. Here’s the end result with 5057 hit (14.87%), 4733 haste (11.14%), and 6204 mastery (55.02%):

hd = TC –> 257 C –> H
nk = T(M –> 145)
sh = HC –> 205 C –> M
bk = MC –> 166 C –> H
ch = MC –> 299 C –> H
wr = T(H –> 184)
ha = T(H –> 260)
wa = M(H –> 220)
lg = TC –> 303 C –> M
ft = M(H –> 220)
f1 = T(M –> 129)
f2 = T(H –> 166) H –> M
t1 = n/a
t2 = (H –> 382)
mh = MC –> 92 C –> T
oh = T(M –> 150)

And really…that’s it. That’s all there is to reforging by hand. No complicated math; just adding and subtracting goats and cabbages.

Just disappointed that he dropped cloth


Just an 87 shockadin, y’know, killing turtles for shells, and this mogu gets all up in my grill about personal space.


I’m not mad. Swear.

Warlock soloing


I thought that I’d get back into dungeon/raid soloing when my bear got gear and level 90, but I’ve started up again on the warlock this time, now that the Wrath raids are actually really doable at 90.

I have a somewhat private soloing blog that might be resurrected later. Maybe.

Anyway. This was my first pull in a long time of AQ40.

(But I already know the mounts from previous AQ runs with friends.)

Making Things

This isn’t a warlock post, but it’s highly relevant to me.

The Oatmeal made it.

I typed a bunch about my thoughts relating to it and how this is how it works with me on Blood Pact and yada yada yada…

You don’t need to hear that. Go read the comic.

Here’s some things I wanted to mention anyway.

I love this quote:

Inspiration is more like food poisoning: it sprays out uncontrollably when you need it the least.

which is why writers tend to carry a pen and some paper or some other means of writing absolutely everywhere. Shower tip: Go get those washable crayons for bathtime for kids that work on bathroom tiles. Regular crayons if you’re a cheapo like me.

The notebook looks a lot like my notebooks, than I have everywhere. Lots of arrows. Lots of random remarks and even “LOL” on things. Underlining. Writing in different directions because I ran out of room on the page but it’s relevant so I can’t just turn the page over. Yep.

This quote:

If you have done all of these things and you still don’t have anything to write about, then you shouldn’t be a writer.

reminds me of this scene from Sister Act 2 (up to 1:32):

Writing is usually the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, so I figure. (Sometimes I think of WoW first. Welp.)

And the comments thing. I have yet to learn that I need to not really read/consider the comments on Blood Pact. But I’m almost out of the funk from the hit post shitstorm.

But I’ll work that one while I work on other self-goals for my writing.

UR goes 4/6 in 25man


Tonight we knocked over Gara’jal AND Spirit Kings. Gara’jal went down in 2 attempts to add to our 2 attempts last night, and Spirit Kings we saw for the first time plus 4 wipes. Pretty good progress I think!

Undying Resolution is LFM Warlocks


We have 2 — myself and another fantastic warlock who will cream me on the meters if I don’t bring my A-game. The officers are looking for a third to fill out our 25man raiding since warlocks appear to be hot right now.

We’re also looking for a feral druid, a windwalker monk, and a shadow priest.

You can read more about our guild at our portal page or you can look through my page for the guild here on Fel Concentration. I try to keep that one updated with all the kills I’m there for, at least. We one-shot Stone Guard on our first time in there as 25man and we’re currently working on Feng, though I hope he topples over soon. Some raiders have been probing the Vaults on 10man and have gotten so far as 4/6 in the few weeks we’ve been in there.


We let our raiders comment on apps, particularly apps of their class. (Be prepared for my brutal honesty on warlock apps.)

We are raiding already in Mogu’shan Vaults, so officers will be looking for that caliber of gear & spec. Some tips based on past apps we’ve had:

  • Gear: Be at least raid-ready at the very least. This means heroic 5man gear, world boss pieces if you’re lucky, crafted gear if you can get it, and LFR gear.
  • Reps: Since we’re in the first tier of the new expansion, officers are looking at reputations to be done. We’re not expecting Exalted with everything, but be doing your part to reach the required Honored/Revered states.
  • Spec: Know it. We’re typically flexible about which spec you’d like to play so long as you can carry your weight or exceed typical expectations.
  • Raid experience: It’s great if you have some past experience, but not totally required. If you have it on other toons than the one you’re apping on, please link those & tell us what for.
  • Logs: Someone will ask you for one, since it’s easy to spout off the latest theorycraft but less so to actually perform it. So log an LFR if you can or give us current logs if you have those.

Raiding details

Days | Wednesday and Thursday nights are the main & required raids, being our 25man nights. We have 10man nights on Sunday and Monday; in early tier it’s likely a progression group, in late tier it’s likely an alt group.

The rest of the week is subjective to guild members doing various activities, but in the past we have done Old World raids on Tuesdays and casual PvP on Fridays or Saturdays.

Time | We’re on the Elune server which operates at Eastern US time and we have many members on the east coast, so we operate on Eastern US time. Raids start at 8pm server, with invites around 7:50-7:55, and end at approximately 11:00pm server, boss pulls cooperating. Scheduled activities can be whenever but they generally follow the pattern of raids, 8-11p.

Loot & Signups | We sign up for raids using an out-of-game calendar, and the officers/raid leads approve members for the raid. We use EPGP as our loot system.

Style of progression | We’re not looking to be server-first or even “hardcore.” I think the general consensus is to see all the content, and heroics if we can, while it is current, but we are always looking to push ourselves further. We finished 8/8 25H in Dragon Soul, and I think we’d like to see that repeated in T14.

As I tend to sum it up: we derp about as much as you can derp during the boss fight but we end up killing it anyway. There are “traditions” of UR to be killing things past the enrage or killing a progression boss with 20-23 people in raid or doing an achievement by accident. If you’re not so forgiving of us not doing it the Correct Way, then maybe we’re not a good fit for you, because we often have to adapt the Everybody Does It This Way strat to our own quirks.

UR shatters Stone Guard 25


Yeah, we kinda one-shot them last night, which was our first 25man raid in normals. Spent the rest of the night trying to get the p2-p3 transition to work on Feng.

click for embiggen.

Proto Drakes and NPCs

Click for embiggen.

Click for embiggen.

It’s entirely possible to be on a Proto Drake mount and not be a gigantic dick about blocking the NPC.

Just sayin’.

My unit frames

Click for embiggen.

I’ve gotten a few requests for an export of how I do my unit frames. In the past, I’ve used highly customizable frames like Pitbull, but currently I use Shadowed Unit Frames. The ability to snap some frames to others appeals to my OCD about spaces between my frames.

Here’s the export at Pastebin. You can import it into Shadowed Unit Frames by clicking on the Layout Manager tab of “General” and pasting the code into the box. The code is quite large, so don’t be alarmed if it takes a minute to load.

About my setup

My warlock’s setup has changed since Cataclysm; I now have my frames much like I had my bear’s frames in Cataclysm. They are centered just below my toon (so I can see fire). My UI is currently set for my monitor which is 1920×1080, so you may have to adjust my settings to fit your screen. The frames also all disappear when out of combat and not targeting anything, so I can enjoy the view.

In case you don’t have it, the font is Myriad Condensed Web and the bar texture is Minimalist.

Frame descriptions:

  • Player frame is to the left. I like my mana bars on top. I prefer to see my health percent as well as my current/total health, as it can depend on the encounter which I need to see.
  • Pet frame is anchored to the left of my player frame. It’s the portrait plus a health bar; I rarely if ever need to see my pet’s mana/energy. The portrait does just fine for seeing which pet it is.
  • Pet target frame is above the pet frame and overlapping with my player frame. It’s got the name of the mob and is just a health bar, so I can double-check easily enough to see that my pet is hitting the correct target.
  • Focus frame is anchored to bottom left of my player frame. I usually use this for bosses or escort NPCs.
  • Focus target frame is anchored to bottom left of my focus frame.
  • The space in between player and target frames is where my Weak Auras, cast bar, and my debuffs on my target go.
  • Target frame is set up similarly to my player frame. I’m often targeting a mob, being a DPS class, so the health text is closest to the center since it’s most important for me. Again, it has both percent and current health, since the encounter can vary on which I need specifically.
  • Target of target and target of target of target frames are set up similarly if diagonally mirrored to focus & focus target frames. These help me tell if a tank is switching targets or sticking to the same one (re: threat).
  • Omen Threat Meter sits directly to the right of my target frame and expands upward.
  • Main tank frame is small with just a name and health bar, since as DPS I really only care if my tank is about to die. It has the raid icon in case an icon is called out rather than a tank’s name.
  • Main tank target frame is much larger, for fast clicking to switch to a called target. As a DPS, health percentage (for rough estimate) and raid icon are most important to me, so they are closer to my field of vision and larger.
  • Boss frames sit to the right of main tank frames. The mana bar is visible in case it is important (I imagine I’ll use it for Stone Guard), but this frame usually doesn’t show on many encounters.
  • I use Grid for raid & party frames, and they sit as small boxes off to the left side of my screen. I typically use my raid frames as a DPS to see who is dead, as in should I go die in a fire to help the wipe end faster.

Have a picture while out of combat with the configuration up.

Click for embiggen.

I will probably get a screenshot later in raid with Stone Guard to see if the boss frames show correctly.

In need of a PvP goal


I don’t like being globalled via a stunlock situation. I don’t like sitting at “defend farm” all battleground long, even though I know if I attempt to leave it, the dumb paladin will follow me instead of staying. I’ve found it’s much better with friends, but it also has to be the right friends. I don’t want to play through a battleground listening to you bitch about this mechanic is too OP because you had no defenses left or obviously this better geared team is better geared. I don’t like it when friends who came with me give up on the first flag capture and either sit in the BG complaining or literally AFK out and then make the rest of us wait for your timer to finish before we queue again.

That’s just all the not-fun I’ve had in BGs.

But the highs when I pull a decent match, even if I did poorly or we lost — I like those. I want more of those.

I also still think PvP is a battle against the self, though I hit that wall in PvE finally on heroic Spine. Learning to trust that I do actually know how to do things and that I need to just go with it instead of flipping a shit all the time. You’ve probably noticed that, the flipping a shit, right?

I also write Blood Pact, and Blood Pact doesn’t have the subtitle of “Warlocks Who Only Raid.” I need to write more about other things in the game, like PvP. But I prefer my writing when it’s about things I’ve done or experienced. It’s most real and interesting to me, then. So I gotta PvP.

I want to set a reasonable PvP goal for the season — that is, Season 12. Who knows when it ends, but I figure that’s a good time frame. It’s what, a tier of raiding?

I have 7268 Honorable Kills on my warlock as of writing. I don’t know if 10k is a good goal or if it’s too big for one season of casual play. Remember: I’m going to be raiding, farming, alting, and challenge-moding, too. I want to do rated play, but I don’t know if I can find a partner who will match my times and skill.

@Jagoex suggested I do Battlemaster, or shoot for it at least. As you can see I’ve only just begun if I go for it.

Battlemaster entails finishing the Master of the five old battlegrounds:

Master of Alterac Valley:

  • Alterac Valley Veteran = 13 /100
  • Alterac Grave Robber = 2 / 50
  • Tower Defense = 0 / 50
  • Loyal Defender = 19 / 50
  • Everything Counts
  • The Sickly Gazelle
  • Stormpike Perfection
  • Alterac Valley All-Star
  • Stormpike Battle Charger
  • To the Looter Go the Spoils

Master of Arathi Basin:

  • Arathi Basin Veteran = 19 /100
  • Arathi Basin Perfection
  • Me and the Cappin’ Makin’ it Happen = 15 / 50
  • Disgracin’ the Basin = 3 bases in a single battle
  • Overly Defensive = 3 bases in a single battle
  • To The Rescue! = 2 / 50
  • Resilient Victory
  • Territorial Dominance = 1 / 10
  • Let’s Get This Done
  • We Had It All Along *cough*
  • Arathi Basin All-Star
  • Arathi Basin Assassin

Master of Warsong Gulch:

  • Warsong Gulch Veteran = 8 / 100
  • Capture the Flag
  • Persistent Defender = 1 / 50
  • Frenzied Defender = 5 flags in a single battle
  • Warsong Gulch Perfection
  • Warsong Expedience
  • Ironman
  • Not In My House
  • Quick Cap
  • Supreme Defender = 32 / 100
  • Save the Day

Master of Eye of the Storm:

  • Eye of the Storm Veteran = 11 / 100
  • The Perfect Storm
  • Eye of the Storm Domination = 2 / 10
  • Flurry
  • Stormtrooper = 5 in a single battle
  • Storm Capper
  • Bound for Glory
  • Bloodthirsty Berserker

Master of Strand of the Ancients:

  • Strand of the Ancients Veteran = 11 / 100
  • Storm the Beach
  • Steady Hands = 2 in a single battle
  • The Dapper Sapper = 0 / 100
  • Explosives Expert = 5 in a single battle
  • Not Even a Scratch
  • Artillery Veteran = 39 / 100
  • Artillery Expert
  • Drop It! = 33 / 100
  • Drop It Now!
  • Ancient Protector
  • Ancient Courtyard Protector
  • Defense of the Ancients

There’s also the other battleground achievements to consider. Master of Isle of Conquest, Master of Battle for Gilneas, Master of Twin Peaks, Master of the two newest battlegrounds — Silvershard Mines and Temple of Kotmogu! Don’t get me started on whether I should go back to the graveyards that are Wintergrasp and Tol Barad.

I also want to see rated play. But again, schedules, and often is the case, gear. Or just plain composition. But I want to try.

I would also like some friends to PvP with, whether BattleTag or on Elune itself, I don’t care. I prefer the non-bitching PvP friends, the ones that just want to go and blow up some Horde.

If I got persuaded into leveling a Horde warlock, I might be persuaded into leveling via PvP. Just maybe.

Happy Birthday, Undying Resolution!


These are actually from our 2nd anniversary gala we had in Dalaran on September 20th, but today is our birthday of guild raiding. /guildinfo says we started on the 26th, but we didn’t raid until that Thursday, which was the 30th. Phew!

For our guild awards that we do every year or every tier (maybe it’s every tier, actually):

  • Juvenate, Most Improved Raider, with comments on how he stepped up into our healing lead mid-T13
  • Zweibel, Best Raid Performance / MVP, with comments on his raid leading and being a superb hunter
  • Venat & Ariano, Most Helpful Members, with comments on availability to help with anything & being generally friendly and awesome
  • Amowrath, Officer’s Choice, for growing within the guild from noob to very helpful dude

We played TriviaBot and discovered that Mageurburnz (@druidleaves) is ridiculous at it, whether that’s because of his news reporter skillz or previous downtime in Orgrimmar, we don’t know. Our last trivia question was answered with Gurthalak, which was fitting since we seemed to get at least one if not multiple Gurths every raid early on in Dragon Soul. We started to hand them out to new members simply because we got so many.

We spent our last week getting meta drakes from Dragon Soul for a lot of guildies.

Our last game was Dalaran Darts, where we run off the rock trying to hit the iceberg in the lake.

The question was if your raid leader asked you to jumped off a cliff, what would you do? As Venat said, “I always follow my raid leader,” and indeed, our raid leader went first. Unfortunately, his plan of ruining us all with Path of Frost was shattered by his unforeseen death on the iceberg.

Happy 2nd Birthday, UR!

If you’re looking for more info about UR, you can look at the about page I set aside for my guild on this blog.

Bear love from mount bosses


First Kael’thas gave me the chocobo on my bear. Then Anzu pitched in with the Reins of the Raven Lord.

I suppose now it’s off to farm Baron, Slabhide, and Altairus.

C’mon, Anzu! Kael’thas likes me! You should, too


Last (25) man standing wins


Want my commentary on warlocks in 5.0.4 Dragon Soul? Check out Blood Pact soon. :)

Tonight we killed 25H Spine, the fight against whose wall we’d been beating our heads for the past month. We would have killed 25H Madness, too, were it not for the blood bug. We did the 15%-24% yo-yo with the bloods a few times before Deathwing finally enraged at the end of our night.

Since there’s word that it really is bugged on H Madness and that a hotfix is coming soon, he should be dead next week.

We like to brag that we’re the #1 25man on the server, even though that isn’t saying much. We’re #1 because we’re the last 25man guild standing at the end of Cataclysm.

Say what you want about other Elune 10man guilds who have been 8/8H for months now who are recruiting for 25s in Mists of Pandaria. We’re still 25man for all of Dragon Soul, and we beat the 25 encounters they gave up on. We’ve done it with funky composition and we’ve done it with the attendance boss critting us in back-to-back nights, so yes, “gave up” is the phrase I’m sticking with.

We’re not server-first kills, but we don’t give up. It’s actually not strange to see our progression happening with 20-24 people in raid on a 25man fight. If you like that kind of crazy where the boss dies with just the Earth Elemental standing, and two nights a week is your thing, you might want to check us out for Mists of Pandaria.

Blood Pacts for MoP

I realize I don’t really blog much solid warlock stuff over here anymore, but I write it over at Blood Pact, instead. If you’re looking for warlock information and guides for MoP and/or Patch 5.0.4, I’ve already gotten some stuff written down over there. Some of the stuff I’ve been writing since I started at WoW Insider is out of date with how the beta is working, so I’ve grabbed what I think is still relevant/useful.

Spec summary — Goes over general talent choices, damage cooldowns, healing cooldowns, curses. Then each spec gets a brief summary of major glyphs, pet use, stat priority at 85, and rotation breakdown.

Core summary — Things changed up for warlocks in general as well as in each spec. This covers Dark Intent, Symbiosis, general stat priorities, and briefly how the specs are structured so to keep the different spec flavors while retaining a unified warlock class.

Pets & Grimoires — My attempt at everything from the very basics of pet mechanics (for new locks who may or may not have played a pet class before) to the meatier Grimoire discussion. Goes over pet stances/commands, pet abilities, Command Demon’s various abilities, and brief summaries of the Grimoire uses per spec. The destro specific Grimoire use is possibly outdated (already!); Sacrifice wins in the pet sims, but the Observer (Supremacy) has been seen in the raiding sim.

Minor glyphs — A focus on showing off some of the cosmetic glyphs, but covering all the minor glyphs.

Warlock tanking — In which I tested out warlock tanking in Dark Apotheosis and found that my demon could do it better.

Leveling in MoP — I know one of the hurdles to new warlocks is the painful / confusing leveling. It got better in Mists, trust me.

Spells that are the same name but different — Like Dark Intent. It’s raid-wide now, OK?

Level 90 Talents — An overview of the level 90 talents. I’ll revisit this, as some of it might be out of date.

Demonic Gateway — A video I found on Demonic Gateway before I got my shiny new computer with Fraps. Demonic Gateway is our level 87 ability, and yes, you can go through it mounted!

Those who are not afraid to wield power — A new book showed up in Stormwind, summarizing warlocks’ efforts at gaining power after the events of Cataclysm. I went with it and tried to weave in new MoP warlock abilities with warlock flavor & personality.

Green fire questline possibility — This will always be in the back of my mind, OK?

This week, my guild is raiding in Dragon Soul under the 5.0.4 patch, so I’m tempted to do a Dragon Soul with 5.0 mechanics post. We’ll see how it goes.

I have plans for September posting, but if you have requests for MoP warlock posts, please let me know here or at WoW Insider.


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