Self-healing is a weird and intricate balance for warlocks because we tend to use our health as a semi-resource bar often enough for healing to matter. There’s the obvious Life Tap that we’ve had for many years, but more recently, Mists of Pandaria brought abilities that cost health, like Unbound Will or Burning Rush.
I feel like this is a subject that the devs still don’t know how to balance correctly yet. The changes tend to swing from not enough to far too much/overpowered, as we know well enough with Drain Life’s evolution, or even with how Harvest Life evolved in MoP beta. We had the Life Tap fiasco in MoP beta where our self-healing was so nerfed so far such that we couldn’t recover from Life Tap, so we eventually either went OOM or dead. So we warlocks have this weird balance where we need enough self-healing to make up for the health-costing abilities, but not so much self-healing that we can basically ignore boss mechanics when we feel like it or an otherwise lack of outside healing.
The major change for Healthstones is that it’s going to be a 1-use per fight (down from 3-5 use) and that it’s tied to the same CD as a healing potion (in Warlords, Healing Tonic). Additionally, the amount a Healthstone heals for also got nerfed.
When the newest build came out, Zinnin () asked Celestalon if Healthstones needed to be nerfed further, because they were already below the potion’s heal. Celestalon replied that the Tonic-Healthstone relationship was supposed to be more like the 300-275 stat food relationship, where one is technically better but the other isn’t absolutely terrible.
The difference between 275 & 300 stat foods is 25 stat,. If you represent this in a ratio, 300:275, then we get 1.09:1. It was further of a minor difference because in Mists, 25 Intellect (e.g.) was almost nothing of a boost compared to what you’d get from a gem or an enchant.
Let’s see how healthstones & tonics compare.
Healthstones: Build 18738
I got to thinking about the influence of Versatility and Blood Pact’s healing increase component, so I asked around on Twitter for a body to eat a handful of cookies for me and Dayani (@healiocentric /Healiocentric blog ) volunteered. After doing some gear switches to play with Versatility a bit, with both of us eating cookies and sharing numbers in party chat, we figured out that the tooltip takes into account the Versatility the user has, but not the Blood Pact passive. The total heal takes into account both.
I’ve unfortunately lost all the exact numbers because I didn’t record our party chat until half of it was cut off by the chat log’s limit. But the important thing is that I can replicate them!
The flat Healthstone heal is 15%. My maximum health will always be 289,740. (Unless I exchange some gear or drink a stamina flask, but warlocks always have the 10% raid buff due to the Blood Pact passive.)
Then you take into account your Versatility. On my premade orc in 660 PvP gear, I have 1.63% Versatility. 15*1.0163 = 15.2445%. The tooltip still says 15%.
Then we need to factor in how I’m a warlock who is at least level 80, which means I have the Blood Pact passive. Blood Pact is a complex passive in Warlords that has 3 parts, but the important part here is that line about “increases all healing you receive by 10%.”
So we take our 15.2445 and multiply it by 1.10, which gives us 16.76895% of max health, which is 48,586.35573 health. When I take a health dip (by using the equipment sets feature to go full nude then fully geared again in one click), then use a healthstone, I receive a heal for 48587. It’s off by 1, so I know from Theck’s lessons that there’s some rounding going on in there. But I don’t care enough about 1 health point to go find out where.
When I put raid buffs on with a cauldron in Shattrath, my theory holds.
Base heal (15%) * Versatility (1.0463) * Blood Pact healing passive (1.10) = 17.2% heal. I should get something around a 50020 heal and I got 50021.
Dayani’s cookie-eating corresponded — on a shaman, her Versatility affected her cookie heal. (Also A’dal’s pesky Shatt buff affected it!)
At level 95, I’m still in my raid gear when I got copied over, which gives me a max health of 148,980 and some Versatility of 1.22% (because I’m human, so I get free Versatility). I also unglyphed Healthstone and didn’t have Grimoire of Sacrifice buffed when I logged in. I was buffed with Dark Intent, but that’s spellpower and multistrike, so who cares.
My crafted Healing Tonic says it restores 56,681 health. When I actually drank the Healing Tonic, it healed me for 62350.
That’s accurate, because 56681*1.10 (to account for Blood Pact) = 62349.1.
The tooltip for the Healing Point takes into account Versatility, as it turns out. The Wowhead tooltip scaled down to level 95 for Healing Tonic is 56000. 56000*1.0122 = 56683, which is close enough for government work. Same thing when you apply it to the level 100 version — 68000 — though the Versatility % tooltip must do some rounding. Eventually you do it the long way through rating and Dayani is amazing again with math and figuring out the rounding spot, and you get basically the correct answer where the 68000 Tonic heals a warlock for 68000*1.0163 = 69109 on the tooltip, but effectively 76019 when we include Blood Pact.
Comparison: Tonics & Stones
So here’s the deal. Give or take some rounding errors, Healthstones work like this:
% max health heal =15% max health * (1+Vers) * Blood Pact
And Tonics work like this:
# heal = 68000 * (1+Vers) * Blood Pact
Assuming a warlock standing around, you get Blood Pact; if you’re some other class or situation, you can get some other healing done/taken effect going on (like A’dal’s Swiggity Swattrath Buff).
It comes down to whether a 68k heal is better than 15% max health. If 68k was 15% of your maximum health, you’d have 453,333.3333 repeating health. So maybe when we get to the end of the expansion and you’re sitting at 453,334 health, your Healthstone will finally match Healing Tonic.
Right now, in 660 PvP gear, we have 289,740 max health (15% = 43461). Even if I use Shadow Bulwark off a voidwalker sacrifice, I can only get up to 376,662 health (15% = 56499.3).
68k right now is about 23.5% max health. That’s almost 1.5 times a Healthstone’s heal. That’s not a better-good competition, that’s a good-crap competition.
At 1.09, Healthstone heals 62385 health, or 21.5% max health.
At 1.10, Healthstone heals 61818 health, or 21% max.
At 1.15, Healthstone heals 59130 health, or 20% max.
At 1.20, Healthstone heals 56667 health, or 19.5% max.
At 1.25, Healthstone heals 54400 health, or 18.8% max.
If I take a look at the Shadow Bulwark situation, where I increased my maximum health without touching my Versatility, where I increased my healthstone’s heal without increasing the tonic’s heal — the tonic is still better, 68000 to 56499 being 1.20 ratio. You’re only going to get to a stamina-only increase like that through a temporary raid CD. Stamina flasks don’t even begin to compare to that (30% max health is in the realm of 85k; a stamina flask is 18k health).
I don’t feel like or think that’s balanced. 15% is way too low.
If 68k is the accepted base heal for a potion, the Healthstone should be brought back up to a 20% max health heal, to at least give a little choice. To go to the 1.09 ratio of the stat foods, Healthstone would have to be buffed from live realms to 21.5% max health.
Otherwise, if we’re tuning to Healthstone’s 15%, the Tonic needs to be nerfed to something like 48k to get to a ratio of 1.09. The compromise 1.20 ratio would be a 52k heal.
Buff Healthstones and/or nerf Healing Tonics.
Edit: Already Changed
I @’d my post to Celestalon, and he replied that Healthstone has already been changed in the next build to be a flat base heal of 50k instead of based on max health percent. So now both warlock formulas for Tonics and ‘Stones are: # heal = [68000 (Tonic) / 50000 (Healthstone)] * (1+Versatility) * Blood Pact.
I’d reasoned out a 1.20:1 ratio as fair, which left me at thinking buffing Healthstone to heal 52k. Not too shabby for speculation!
I’ll revisit how to calculate Intellect when I get around to analyzing Spellpower, but for now, I can do more of the simple things like rating conversions.
Multistrike and Versatility are the easiest of the five secondaries to discuss because they have a rather uncomplicated and passive effect on our damage done. Critical strike chance, haste, and mastery all have particular spec implications of what they do for damage, even if you don’t consider the specialization attunements.
Multistrike is pretty simple to figure out.
The full 660 PvP premade gear on the PvP level 100 character has 590 Multistrike rating in total. By removing pieces of gear and comparing the percents, I figured the appropriate rating conversion.
- 590 = 8.94% –> 590/8.94 = 65.9955 rating
- 513 = 7.77% –> 513/7.77 = 66.02 rating
- 411 = 6.23% –> 411/6.23 = 65.97 rating
I guessed that the actual rating conversion is 66 rating = 1.00% Multistrike, that the percentage was determined by gear_total/conversion, and that the final percentage was rounded.
- 590/66 = 8.939393…rounds to 8.94%
- 513/66 = 7.77272727…rounds to 7.77%
- 411/66 = 6.2272727…rounds to 6.23%
And I think I’m right.
When it comes to enhancements, there are static enchants, a weapon enchant proc, a food buff, a flask, and a raid buff. These all appear to be additive by rating or flat percentage.
Remember, my base gear had 590 = 8.94% Multistrike.
Enchant Cloak – Breath of Multistrike
- +200 MS
- 590 + 200 = 790
- 790/66 = 11.969696…
I had actually forgotten to test the static enchants, so that screenshot is on my undead warlock. The rest I was testing on the blood elf warlock. Racial pick doesn’t matter for Multistrike, anyway.
Draenor Multi-Strike Flask
- Blizzard hasn’t copyedited how it wants to spell Multistrike, I guess.
- +400 MS
- 590 + 400 = 990
- 990/66 = 15
Food – Rylak Crepes
- +125 MS
- 590 + 125 = 715
- 715/66 = 10.8333333…
Flask + Food
- + 400 + 125 MS
- 590 + 400 + 125 = 1115
- 1115/66 = 16.89393939…
Flask + Food + Buff
The buff is just a flat percent addition on top of whatever rating total you have.
- 1115 rating + 5%
- 1115/66 = 16.89393939…
- 16.89% + 5% = 21.89%
Weapon enchant proc — Mark of the Frostwolf
Temporary enchants also just add rating. The weapon enchant proc gives 500 Multistrike for 6 seconds.
- Started with flask, food, buff = total 21.89%, 1115 rating
- 1115 + 500 = 1615
- 1615/66 = 24.469
- 24.47% + 5% = 29.47%
So, in summary, Multistrike chance = round(total_rating/66 + raid_buff_percent), where total_rating includes gear, enchants, flask, and food.
Versatility has two effects to it: damage or healing done and damage taken. I started referring to these as DD/DT, so I’ll often write “V” numbers as x% / y%. The DT number is always half the DD number. Thus, depending on what you want out of Versatility, you can find it by:
- %DD = round(total_rating/130)
- %DT = round(total_rating/260)
If you add anything to the DD percentage, you can only add half to the DT percentage to get the correct number. It’s easier to make that mistake of blindly applying a whole percentage (like the raid buff) to the DT number, so I think it’s better to think of them as two different rating conversions, depending on which one you’re aiming for. This way, the raid buff adds 390 rating, instead of trying to remember to halve the percent.
Versatility is also a good (current) example of when tooltips are lying out their textual asses.
If you equip or unequip gear, the rating number changes as it should. If you enchant gear, the number changes.
But if you eat, flask, buff up, or switch to a human (with the racial affecting Versatility) the rating doesn’t move, despite showing an increase in percentages. So when I write “212” (#), I mean that the tooltip currently says it’s 212 rating, but I know it’s actually the (#) rating applying.
If you take off all your gear on a non-human, you get 0 rating with 0% DD or DT. On a human, you get +100 Versatility rating as a passive racial, but the tooltip will say 0 rating. To find the conversion, we consulted some numbers.
- Dwarf 660 premade: 212 = 1.63%/0.82%
- 212/1.63 = 130.0613
- Human 660 premade: “212” (312) = 2.40% / 1.20%
- 312/2.40 = 130
- Human premade, naked: “0” (100) = 0.77% / 0.38%
- 100/0.77 = 129.870
I estimated that the rating was 130, so the DT rating would be 260. The percentages are obviously rounded at the end.
- 212/130 = 1.6307
- 212/260 = 0.8153
- 312/130 = 2.4
- 312/260 = 1.2
- 100/130 = 0.7692
- 100/260 = 0.3846
This is my undead warlock with the premade gear, but with some changes. She has Crit/Versatility boots on (+102 V) instead of Crit/Mastery boots, and I’ve enchanted her cloak with 200 Versatility.
- 212 starting V + 102 (boots) + 200 (static enchant) = 514 rating
- 514/130 = 3.95384% DD
- 514/260 = 1.97692% DT
Flask + Food + Buffs — Additive
Same thing with flask and food that happens with gear, except the rating tooltip is bugged. The flask adds 400 rating while the food adds 125 rating.
The raid buff adds 3% Versatility, which adds 3% to the DD and 1.5% to the DT. Rating-wise, it’s as if you had added 390 rating.
- +food = “212” (337) = 2.59% / 1.30%
- +flask = “212” (612) = 4.71% / 2.35%
- +buff = “212” (602) = 4.63% / 2.32%
Let’s do math:
- 337/130 = 2.5923
- 337/260 = 1.2961
- 612/130 = 4.70769
- 612/260 = 2.35384
- 602/130 = 4.6307
- 602/260 = 2.3153
Fully Buffed Human
If we get a fully buffed human, I expect:
- 212 (premade gear) + 100 (human racial) + 125 (food) + 400 (flask) + 390 (raid buff) = 1227 rating
- 1227/130 = 9.4384
- 1227/260 = 4.7192
And what do we get? Remember, it’s “212” rating.
We all see the finished guides and models from theorycrafters, but despite theorycrafters and guidewriters alike swearing they’re not actually gods who get everything right on the first try, we don’t really see the trial-and-error experiments or calculations behind theorycrafting.
I’ve done plenty of following along with theorycrafting over the years, but I’ve not actually tried to derive the equations myself until now. Theck’s done some teaching; I figure now it’s time to show off some learning. This post will probably be full of mistakes, but that’s OK, because learning. I hope someone out there enjoys this sample of my theorycrafting “homework.”
- I do write out on my notes to myself like “let’s do X” “OK that didn’t work, why” “here’s why” when doing math/science things because I got used to doing that when explaining math to myself in school. Y’know, the whole “let X equal 5, let Y equal 6, *do funky equations*” stuff. So it’s not just my guidewriting slipping in — I really do write to myself like that!
- If I slip between singular and plural, that’s my bad — Theck’s using the first person plural because he’s walking us through it, and I was reading along with Theck while doing these calculations, but I typically write in first person singular, so um, yeah, confusion.
Determining Base Intellect
Pulling the base stats for warlocks, we get this:
And pulling the racial modifiers for warlock-able races, we get this:
My blog theme can cut off the table, so I split it into Alliance (above) and Horde (below).
While I have created a level 100 premade of every warlock race on the PvP beta server, I decided I’d go with troll. I normally play a human, but troll is the race that SimulationCraft uses (particularly the affliction warlock model).
Variables: (Sorry, I’m not a LaTeX wizard like Theck is)
- B = class_base + race_base = 1042 + (-4) = 1038
- G = 2378
- CS_Base = B = 1038
- CS_Bonus = G = 2378
- CS_Total = B + G = 3416
Basic math, woot! We can do this!
…1089 + 2496 = 3585.
I double-checked to make sure I was in no-selected spec. I switched to my human premade, and same thing — the numbers didn’t match.
The First Difference Between Warlocks and Paladins
Paladins can wear any of the 4 armor class items, even though they eventually prefer wearing plate. Warlocks, on the other hand, can only ever wear cloth. Paladins, like other higher armor class wearers, get a passive at level 50 that gives them 5% extra preferred primary stat if they stick to wearing all plate. Warlocks do not need this incentive to pick a particular type of gear, but to balance everything, we get a “congrats, you can only wear one thing!” 5% primary stat bonus at 50.
Another difference I noticed is that the theorycrafters I look to for learning theorycrafting — Theck, Arielle, Hamlet, etc. — are all players of hybrid classes. Theck’s first screenshot in the 101: Character Stats post where he’s determining the base stats clearly has his plate gear on — he just hasn’t chosen a specialization yet. The preferred primary stat for paladins can depend on spec — protection prefers Stamina, retribution prefers Strength, and holy prefers Intellect. So the passive doesn’t activate for paladins until you choose a spec.
Our problem above with the character sheet and Theck’s very first calculations example is that all warlocks like Intellect. That’s just how it is when you’re a pure DPS caster class. And the game knows this — that we only wear cloth and we only like Intellect. So it doesn’t need to take those considerations out when we’re not in a particular spec.
So let’s skip ahead to when Theck calculates that passive for paladins and see if it matches my numbers for warlock.
The Armor Skill Formerly Known as Nethermancy
Theck’s picking retribution; I’m picking affliction.
If I was right — that the base intellect really was supposed to be 1038 + 2378 from gear = 3416 total, what happens if we repeat Theck’s first error and just multiply by 1.05?
- 3416 x 1.05 = 3586.8
The character sheet had displayed 3585 — which is close, much like Theck’s simple error is. So I’m probably right — the cloth armor bonus is already factored in for warlocks where it’s not for paladins. Let’s continue with the calculation.
- CS_Base = floor( B x 1.05 ) = floor( 1038 x 1.05 ) = floor(1089.9) = 1089
- CS_Bonus = floor( G x 1.05) = floor( 2378 x 1.05 ) = floor(2496.9) = 2496
- CS_Total = CS_Base + CS_Bonus = 1089 + 2496 = 3585
Yay! The numbers match!
So, before we go to the next step, let’s reiterate all our variables:
- AC_multiplier = 1.05
- B = class_base + race_base = 1042 + (-4) = 1038
- G = gear_stat = 2378
And all our formulas:
- CS_Base = floor( B x match )
- CS_Bonus = floor( G x match )
- CS_Total = CS_Base + CS_Bonus
Buffed: 5% Intellect
I’m not a paladin, so I can’t buff myself with Kings, but I can stand in Shattrath with the beta cauldrons. I clicked a beta cauldron to get the raid buffs and clicked off everything except the 5% Strength, Agility, Intellect stats buff.
Like Theck’s ret paladin, the base for my affliction warlock hasn’t changed: it’s 1089.
If I apply the Kings buff like Theck has, where I multiply my total unbuffed Intellect by 1.05, I actually get a different comparative number than Theck does.
- Theck multiplied his unbuffed 4023 Strength by 1.05 and got 4224.2, which would be correct according to his character sheet if he floored that.
- I multiply 3585 Intellect by 1.05 to get 3764.25 — which still wouldn’t be the 3765 Intellect on my character sheet if I floored it!
OK. Well. Skipping ahead worked last time.
Theck’s all like “so the formula for the bonus is”:
- CS_Bonus = G x match x multiplier + B x match x (multiplier – 1)
And I’m like, whoa whoa whoa, hold up, where’d you get that, Theck. So let’s try it out.
We got closest to the answer when multiplying the total unbuffed stat by 1.05. (We’re going to write this a little backwards so we can match Theck’s formula visually.)
- CS_Total = multiplier x ([ G x match ] + [ B x match ])
Expand it out:
- CS_Total = multiplier x G x match + multiplier x B x match
The problem is that it’s attributing all of that to the stat bonus, CS_Bonus. CS_Bonus = CS_Total – CS_Base. So subtract a CS_Base equivalent from each side.
- CS_Total – CS_Base = multiplier x G x match + multiplier x B x match – B x match
We can clean this up a bit.
- CS_Bonus = multiplier x G x match + (multiplier – 1) x B x match
Which looks like Theck’s. Cool beans. Math!
- CS_Bonus = multiplier x G x match + (multiplier – 1) x B x match
- CS_Bonus = 1.05 x 2378 x 1.05 + (1.05 – 1) x 1038 x 1.05
- CS_Bonus = 2676.24
- Character Sheet bonus = 2676
Theck got a one-off; we got what we’d get if we floored it.
We’ll still do it Theck’s way for the sake of learning.
- G = 2378
- B = 1038
- match = 1.05
- multiplier = 1.05
And, with the help of some spreadsheets to make the calculations easier, we get for the first batch of flooring:
- F1 = 2675.295
- F2 = 2675.495
- F3 = 2676.195
- F4 = 2675.745
We actually get F3 for our answer — which doesn’t match Theck’s ret spec strength problem, but it matches his prot spec stamina problem. We find out that none of these formulas work. So it’s not our math that’s the problem. Reading on, Theck has walked us through an entirely incorrect hypothesis for the purpose of learning. Yay learning!
Hypothesis, Take Two
So, we’re at “A Change of Approach” in Theck’s post, and I don’t feel like retyping out that set of six formulas in nonLaTeX text. So go look.
Let’s bring up the picture of our total intellect with a stats buff on to refresh the numbers.
Our variables: B = 1038, G = 2378, match = 1.05, multiplier = 1.05.
- T1 = 3765.195
- T2 = 3765.395
- T3 = 3765.195
- T4 = 3765.745
- T5 = 3764.25
- T6 = 3765.00
In contrast to Theck, the warlock numbers can only rule out 1 formula — T5, which hilariously enough is the SimC formula for MoP, according to Theck. Theck’s retribution paladin strength problem rules out T2, T3, T4, and T6, so he decides to test T1 & T5.
To entertain Theck’s thought process, I looked at how he demonstrates that T5 can be off by 1 in Warlords stats. Our B times the match — 1038 x 1.05 — gives us 1089.9, which is similar to Theck’s made-up example of 919 x 1.05 = 964.95. Both numbers are super close to the next integer, which gives the one-off difference between flooring and not flooring.
Our T1 = 3765.195 and our T5 is one-off at 3764.25, so we already know that the more correct formula is T1:
- CS_Total = multiplier * ( floor( G *match) + B*match )
Theck cleans up the formulas:
- C = floor(G*match) + B*match
- CS_Base = floor(B*match)
- CS_Total = floor(C*multiplier)
- CS_Bonus = CS_Total – CS_Base
A Case of Stamina
Just out of curiosity, though, how would a warlock test the T formulas if she didn’t have Theck’s post? Remember, we only ruled out 1 of the 6 formulas with the warlock numbers. You can’t just sit there and guess with that.
I figured I’d go back to stamina, like Theck did.
Let’s start at the beginning. Remember that we’re trolls.
- B = 890 + o = 890
- G = 3250
Theck still uses match = 1.05, because Stamina is what protection paladins get for their armor class match (retribution gets Strength). So he can use the same number for Stamina because it’s the same passive, just different spec & stats.
Warlocks can only get Intellect and thus can’t get a Stamina bonus through armor class, so our match can’t be 1.05. But we clearly have a modifier of some kind going on in our base stamina, because 979 definitely isn’t 890.
The 10% that goes with nearby party and raid members is the raid buff equivalent that warlocks bring. In Mists of Pandaria, our Dark Intent buff provides this along with the 10% spellpower buff, but in Warlords, Dark Intent is providing 10% spellpower with 5% Multistrike. Our old DI’s stamina portion is being rolled into our Blood Pact passive, which acts like an aura (like when a shaman provides mastery just by being a shaman). The other portion is our old Fel Armor passive.
This could go one of two ways. The base stamina could be counting both the Fel Armor portion and the raid buff portion together, since we will always have both parts simply for being warlocks. Or, the base stamina could just be counting the Fel Armor portion, and the raid buff is treated like a total stat modifier, much like the Kings/Mark of the Wild stats buff was treated.
Since I’ve already spent time on beta looking at warlock buffs, I have a strong feeling that it’s the latter case. If you click a beta cauldron in Shattrath, your scrolling combat text says “<Blood Pact> fades, <Stamina Buff>.” Similarly, if you click off the Stamina buff you get from the cauldron, you get text that says ” <Stamina Buff> fades, <Blood Pact>.” My stamina also does not change in either total, base, or bonus when I do these clicking on/off shenanigans. The buffs clearly share with & overwrite each other instead of stacking.
So let’s try this.
- B = 890
- G = 3250
- Fel_Armor = 1.10
- multiplier = 1.10
CS_Base = floor(B * Fel_Armor) = floor(890 * 1.10) = floor(979.00). And what was our base tooltip again?
OK, time to test the multiplier effect. I don’t know if we have a high enough multiplier to prove the T functions like Theck did with the protection paladin, but we can try.
- T1 = 5009.4
- T2 = 5008.9
- T3 = 5009.4
- T4 = 5008.5
- T5 = 5009.4
- T6 = 5008
Ooof, not quite. For Stamina, T1, T3, and T5 could work. (They’re also all the same answer!) We already know that T5 doesn’t, since our Intellect didn’t work well with T5. So we’re down to T1 and T3.
The difference is whether you floor the G*match or whether you floor the B*match.
- G*match = 3250*1.10 = 3575
- B*match = 890*1.10 = 979
I think it has to do with how it’s a bit harder for me to get a non-integer number with the 1.10 multipliers. Both my B & G numbers are divisible by 10, so when you multiply them by 1.10, you’re going to get an integer again. So there’s no difference between flooring it or not flooring it.
We can’t change the B number, since it’s based on race and class, but we can change the G number, which is based on gear. I unequipped my helm (+331 stamina), which leaves me with 2919 stamina from gear.
- B*match = 890*1.10 = 979
- G*match = 2919*1.10 = 3210.9
This should be a good number to test, because it’s so close to the next integer that flooring G*match should make a difference versus not flooring.
- T1 = 4607.9
- T3 = 4608.69
Aaaand it does make a difference of, ding ding ding, one. Let’s check with the in-game tooltip when I have my helm removed:
Woot! T1 is confirmed to be the correct formula for warlocks, backing up Theck’s theory.
Until Next Time
While Theck goes on to deal with racial bonuses, food, and flasks, I think I’ll stop this “homework” post for now.
Besides, all of the racial cases he’s testing — tauren’s Endurance, draenei’s Heroic Presence, and pandaren’s Epicurean — are not applicable to warlocks because warlocks can’t be any of those races. I feel good enough reading through Theck’s post to broaden my knowledge of it, but I don’t think many (if any) of the warlock races have flat permanent bonuses like that until we get into secondary stats.
I suppose that’s my next “homework” — finding all the base values for all the warlock races as well as the warlock specs and branching out into theorycrafting the secondary stats. Then I can get into flasks and food, since most of the flasks and food in Warlords involve the secondaries, not Intellect.
I enjoyed my “homework,” so I hope you did, too, and maybe I’ll see you next time with more shemathigans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
You 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:
- How to arrange your unit frames as a DPS — particularly, boss & focus frames help for affliction multidot spamming.
- The differences between single target, multitarget, and AoE
- Tracking DoTs & cooldowns, featuring Weak Auras & TellMeWhen
- Keybinds, featuring my own layout of spells to keyboard & mouse
- Everyone raves about my green destro fire auras, but I have other warlock Weak Auras to share
- Macros for your warlock, featuring mine.
- An intro into boss mod arrangement as a DPS
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
You 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
Guild 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.
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.
- 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
|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.
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):
- General warlock 101 at 90, including stats, etc.
- Affliction 101 at 90 (current for patch 5.4.7)
- Demonology 101 at 90 (current for patch 5.4.7)*
- Destruction 101 at 90 (current for patch 5.4.7)
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:
- Those who are not afraid to wield power (7 May 2012)
- The importance of heroic Spine (10 Sept 2012)
- Raid loot posts that don’t read like gear lists: tier 15 (4 Mar 2013) and tier 16 (9 Sept 2012)
- Kanrethad’s defeat at mortal hands (1 Apr 2013)
- Karazhan and its abyssal depths of fun (10 Jun 2013)
- Flow like a shaman, sting like a hunter (1 Jul 2013) — even if I did eff up the hunter mechanics
- FinalBoss interviews Sparkuggz and Shinafae (26 Aug 2013)
- How to fly a fighter jet, part 1 (14 Oct 2013)
- Multitarget DPS and situational awareness (9 Dec 2013)
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”
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.
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.
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).