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Theorycrafting Spree/Rage

Theorycrafting post.  Because Nibuca said so.  The reason I started theorycrafting was because I like puzzles and it’s one big fucking puzzle.  Fucking is an accurate term because it fucks with your mind.  Honestly, just trying to read Elitist Jerks makes my head hurt.

The resistance mechanics thread, for example.  They just go straight into graphs and mathy shit.  Meanwhile, every time I see the word resistance, my brain shouts, “resistance of WHAT, goddamnit.  SPECIFIC PLEASE,” but no…apparently using words r 4 n00bz.  It would be amazing if every EJ thread explained stuff like Dwarf Priest did.

NUMBERS MEAN SHIT WITHOUT CONTEXT.  WTF, EJ.  I mean, they do go into theorycrafting theory (meta-meta-gaming?), but most of those articles are stuck in Burning Crusade.  So I end up using some combination of WowWiki, EJ, and my own warlock with a training dummy.  Because I’m paranoid and anal that articles without obvious dates may be out of date, so I have to test it myself.

Anyhoo.

My main goal is trying to figure out how people come up with gear stat weights, because every once in a while I have two pieces of equal ilvl gear (i.e., tier vs. non-tier) and I can’t quite tell which piece is more awesomer by just looking at it.  Also running something through Rawr comes up with a different answer than LootRank which is different from in-game Pawn.  WTF which one is it?  Since I’m paranoid and anal about scores without knowing how you get that score, I wanted to see how they get to such numbers like Pawn.

There’s a crapton of sites that rank your loot.  And lots of stat weights. Like, everywhere.  But there’s apparently no article whatsoever on HOW to get those numbers.

Pissed Poneria is pissed.

I mean, yeah, you can do the whole “oh, you make it equal to dps, like this much spellpower makes this much dps, and this much haste makes this much dps.”  It’s still a number…without how you got to that…

-.- wtb explanations of equations…PWITEE PLZ.

Sooooooooo…I’m starting from the basics.  Like spell power coefficients. I used to think spell power coeffs where WHOA complex.  They are CAKE.  Well, the direct damage and damage over time spells, anyway.  EJ & WowWiki differ on how to do channeled/leech spells, and the #s didn’t match up with a patch 3.2 Drain Soul ANYWAY, so I can’t do DS, because I don’t know what the flip it is.  I could use a dummy, yes, but the heroic boss dummy has a metric fucktonne of health, for a good reason, and it was at 95.4% last I tried. X(

And then I was thinking about how much spellpower affects your dps, just on maybe a simple spell like Shadow Bolt.  Which was cool, because, assuming it’s just me & no buffs, it’s just the talent multiplier * (avg base damage + spell_coeff*spellpower).

And then I thought…damage per second…do you count a direct damage spell like SB as all that damage in one second?  How does Recount do it?  Well, Recount takes your total damage and your total time and does a simple division.  It’s how AoE skews Recount.  When does time start? When you enter combat.  Okay, if you cast a SB before your DoT rotation (the favored optimal rotation), then yeah, the second the SB hits the target, you are in combat, and you deal all that damage.  But the normal use of your SB, time is already ticking when you start your CAST.

And then there’s the travel time of the bolt.  (Haunt also has a travel time.)

So that’s what…your cast time, plus…something.  I tested it out on my lock: max range with the dummy, it took about 2 “one thousands” to hit the dummy.  Decent-ish range is 1s worth of travel time.  So the longest time it would take is your cast time + 2s.  I use the longest time because the longest time creates the lower limit of dps (because dps = damage / time).  So…math…

dps = dmg / time

time = cast time + 2s

dmg = talents * (base + spell_coeff*spellpower)

dps_SB = (897.9 + 1.04726*sp) / (cast + 2)

But your haste affects your cast time.  So if you have more haste, then your cast time is less, which makes the sp more oomph.

And my mind just got blown at how your haste affects your spellpower importance.  It might be obvious or even just wrong reasoning (but explanations are WELCOME!), but my mind exploded and I had to stop there.

Mind being blown -> o_O face.

But I thought some more about haste and rotations.  I figured haste’s importance is you do your “debuff” rotation (aka, get all the debuffs up), and then more haste just means more SBs you can fit in, right?  But then I went to go test it.  You don’t just go: LTr1 > Haunt > UA >Corr > CoA > SB > SBxn > Haunt > UA > CoA > SBxn > Haunt, etc.

You do something more like: LTr1 > Haunt > UA > Corr > CoA > SB > SB > Haunt > SB > UA > SB > SB > Haunt > SB > LT > CoA > SB > UA…you weave in SBs with your DoTs and Life Tapping.  So it’s more complicated than just more SBs.

Bwuh.  My brain hurts.  Will try again later.

Felpuppy Love

So…since Blizz buffed the felpuppy, I’ve been using him more instead of the imp.  Except in certain cases like Keristrazsa where he dies in the first few seconds because the AI doesn’t jump.

Seriously, Blizz needs to fix that. Or at least let all pet-owning classes get an instant-cast summon pet spell like the DK’s.  It’s really retarded when I get chewed out for not dpsing trash due to having to summon my idiot felhound for the billionth time.

So, I finally decided to give up Dark Pact and go for Improved Felhound.  I’m trying this spec out in my 1st random (UK) and it’s cool, but my stupid Life Tap buff Power Aura wouldn’t show up.  I was about to ask for a sec to /reloadui but then I realized…I forgot the glyphs.

>.< /facepalm And go figure, there were no Glyphs of Life Tap anywhere to be found on the AH.  Luckily, a guildy did a mats to glyph trade via the gbank for me.  So now my armory’s stuck with two 56/0/15 affliction specs.  I swear they’re different!

What I miss from my old spec (which I’ve had since the beginning of 80, practically)?  Dark Pact. I press (-) too much and then realize I should stop Health Funneling to a 100% health pet.  Yayyyyy keybinds.  Also, I feel like I have to LT more.  It annoys me. Every other rotation or something, life tapping, even when I have 20s left on the glyph buff.  With the 2/2 Imp. Life Tap…you could basically go the whole 40s and be okay mana-wise.

Nibuca pwns & other link love

Forget whatever I was about to do with my Affliction Lock Endgame Basics thing.  Nibuca at Mystic Chicanery just completely owns affliction warlocking and said everything better in just one post.

Though I might post a “raiding etiquette” or something, concerning warlocks.  I’ve been told I’m a good warlock by guild healers as opposed to other warlocks who life tap at odd times or whatever “not so cool” things they do.  Unless Nibuca just completely pwns that category too.

There’s been a string of awesome WoW blogposts I’m read recently.  Before I spam the trackbacks field, here’s my favorite of late:

  • Brajana’s perfect post about GS.  Honestly, THIS is how GS should be used.  Don’t blame the addon for idiots, please.
  • Miss Medicina’s right again: standing up when you did bad.
  • Ironically, I think Miss Medicina and some others got trolled by a goblin when the Spitfire post came out on World of Matticus.  But she posted this just before the fire sparked.
  • A friendly reminder from Lissana about account security after a guild hacking.  My guild got hacked several times in a row, all with officer who had access to a fair chunk of the guild bank.  We’ve even watched hacks-in-progress online.  Fortunately, it was before the care package requirement and people managed to get their stuff and the guild’s stuff back.  But go get a keyfob or app if you can.
  • Tam explains against WoW “addiction.” This really struck me since I had to essentially do the same thing and completely give up on a friendship because she degraded my WoW friends/guildies over my “real” friends.  Friends are friends, to me.
  • The Guildwatch column, now called “The Classifieds,” at WoW.com is now dramaless! Honestly, with all the group hate and distrust that 3.3 suddenly brought out of the shadows, I’m ecstatic about this.  Yeah, the drama column was kind of cathartic in a way, but I’m glad it’s gone.  Especially loving the shout-outs for awesome pugs at the end!
  • Raiding is band class all over again!  Angelya plays the cello, I play the clarinet, but we both agree.  I particularly learned from band class that you may not hear the clarinet’s particular voice, but without it, the trumpets sound all brassy and rough (and half of them didn’t know the part without us, anyway).  You don’t need to stand out to help the group succeed or fail, raiding or orchestra.
  • If Cass ever finishes all the not-in-game instance maps this way, I might just ditch Atlas once and for all.

Some of the comments on these posts are also excellent in advice or pure opinion.  I try to read all the comments on posts, especially since other WoW bloggers I like read each others’ blogs.  Yeah, sometimes, like on the WoM Spitfire post, it takes about 2 hrs to read them all, but it’s worth it most of the time.  Happy reading! :)

Dear Group

Still musing and putting all the thought down for the Spitfire thingy pondering.  Honestly, like  Blessing of Kings said, there’s many issues in the one post, so … maybe many posts…

This is a draft / sketch, if you will.  Unfinished.  Only 30 max of you read this anyway, so who cares. :-P

I was thinking about the roles and stresses each role has and what I, as a DPS, do for others and want back from them.  It’s similar to WowWiki’s PvE class articles, but here’s what I’ve picked up as a lock in dungeons & raids.  Purple means your warlock can do this for you; green is what you can do for your warlock; half-n-half is win-win for both. :)

Tanks

Vigilance | AoE threat for trash mobs | Healthstones | Banish | Fear | Summoning | Felpuppy Spell Lock on caster mobs | Drain-tanking | Marking targets | Not dancing if I cast Rain of Fire | Watching my threat | Watching for patrols you might not see | Letting me know when you need another HS | Running to you when I aggro something |

SPECIAL NOTES: If adds come from a certain direction, put the tank between me & the adds.  E.g. hug the tank in BK-P2 or stand across from the doorway, not on the table, at Prince K in UK. // Put CoE on a boss when the tank pulls to get Omen to register, but don’t start DPSing. // Thank for good tanking at the end.

Healers

Healthstones | Soulstones | HoTs when I’m nearing OoM | Not Life Tapping to Death | Life Tapping during the HoT, not after | Staying out of abnormal air or floor distributions | Healing my pet | Using the SS when I cast it on you | Not dying next to a mob when you have an SS on you | Using my felpuppy to dispel that spell-reflected Corruption off myself |

SPECIAL NOTES: Thank healers for healing my minion.  I know I appreciate it on my druid when hunters thank me.  // Thank everybody who buffs my minion. // Offer a refill for anybody on HS after wipes. // Drain-tank or direct my damage to a mob gnawing on a healer. // If I have mage biscuits from another group, offer some.

Other DPS

CoE for casters | Not MD/ToT to me | Not having the same demon as me | Offering to trade off HS or Summoning |

SPECIAL NOTES: Offer extra mage biscuits to other mana classes.  // If a destro warlock is in group, switch to felpuppy.  // If another afflic lock in group, offer to switch to imp.

Buff Specials (since classes cross roles)

Buffing my pet | Wisdom on the Imp / Felpuppy | Might on the Felguard | Fortitude | Blood Pact | Divine Spirit | Fel Intelligence | Intellect | Gift/Mark of the Wild | Kings > Wis > Sanc | Wrath / Flametongue Totems | Demonic Pact (if demo) | Moonkin Aura | Replenishment (if destro)

Why Your Warlock Is Cursing You (/groan)

Unfortunately, all of these are true stories.  Please don’t be the story I have to add to the list.

Generally, don’t…

  • Sheep/shackle the mob I have 3 DoTs on already and then yell at ME about it.  L2SeeTargetDebuffs.
  • Continue to pull trash before Patchwerk in Naxx when all the casters (including the healers) just jumped through the health & mana-draining slime.  Yeah, it drains mana, too. It sucks.
  • Tell me to SS someone when it’s on CD.  Especially after someone used it last wipe.  Especially especially when I told you it’s on CD when you asked 30s ago.  I give you a blank stare of disbelief irl if you ask me this while I’m dead.  (my druid says replace ‘SS’ with ‘B-Rez’)
  • Ask me for a mage table.  Seriously, it’s happened.
  • Ask me to sheep something.  Yep, this one, too.
  • Tanks: say you got it, then force me to Soulshatter after I pull off you before my second round of DoTs expires on a boss without a phase change/threat-reset ability.
  • Yell at the healer for not being healed enough, but then say you still have your HS when I offer more.

Regarding soulstones:  Be intelligent with your SS usage.  You will never be soulstoned by me again if any of the following facepalming acts is committed.

  • You have the SS and are alive when it becomes obvious this is a wipe, yet you decide the boss wants a hug in his pull radius rather than running away to a safe rez spot.
  • You have the SS, can use it without pulling anything, and you release.  Bonus /headdesk: you say you were saving it for later.
  • You are the shaman with the SS and you use reincarnate instead.  Bonus /headdesk: you bitch about the expense of Ankhs afterwards.  L2Glyph.
  • You ask me to soulstone you because you can’t find / aren’t going to bother trying to find Icecrown Citadel from the graveyard.  For the 3D navigation impaired: Find ICC, look up & to the right, find the Argent Crusade banners, fly up to the level of the top of the banners, on that level, go in the door on the left (WG is to your right).  Corollary: I understand if it’s Gundrak, but I still probably won’t comply.
  • You die within 5 seconds of using the SS (on my druid, replace ‘SS’ with ‘B-Rez’).
  • You stand in The Bad and you/the raid/the RL tell me to SS you because you keep dying but your damage/tanking/healing is just so fucking awesome.  L2NotPissOffYourHealerCorollary: Lag used as a reason for dying will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Regarding portals that need clicking: Please fucking click it.  It’s always TWO other people.  Unless it’s a Doomguard, then it’s FOUR.  I click yours, you click mine, mkay?  Don’t move until the Warlock TV comes out of the floor or the Soulwell falls from the sky.  Moving cancels the casting and it’s just annoying to have to cast it again because you can’t be bothered to sit still for five seconds.  As a rule, I’ve found that placing the healthstone portal in the face  of a tank and/or rogue results in a faster click+click+summon.  Also, I will find a crowd of toons to sit the summoning portal on.  Granted, the LFG teleporter makes most of the summoning stories obsolete now.  But if you would like to piss off your warlock, feel free to

  • Invite me to a dungeon party, then ask me to summon you to an instance when you are originating from the same spot as me or closer.
  • Be in Dalaran, ask me to summon you to an instance, and when I agree, you port to Ironforge and say your hearthstone is down (whether it is or not, that’s just rude).
  • Leave the raid without telling anyone or asking for a summon back and then expecting me to do it anyway.
  • Not be in my dungeon party/raid but ask me to grab two buddies and summon you & your friends to [place].  Not even tipping me will make me a mage.  You get automatically ignored if you ask me to summon you to a place which is closer to you than it is to me.  Yeah, I /who random people whispering me.
  • Repeatedly ask for a HS but don’t click the portal.
  • Repeatedly ask for a HS but keep canceling the trade window by moving.
  • Refuse to click my portal after I clicked your mage table one.
  • Ask for a summon and then go AFK for 2min as we try to summon you.
  • Go outside to the instance portal and summon people whom I’ve already summoned inside the dungeon/raid.
  • Be silent when the call for summons goes out, but everybody then decides to ask for their personal summon in intervals of 2min 1s.  FFS PEOPLE.
  • You fall off Gluth’s pipe but whine that I’ve put the stone on the pipe and not on Grobbulus’s platform.  L2Walk or shut up and take the summon.

The Spitfire Controversy

It exploded in the WoW blogosphere, I think.  It seems to have subsided a little, so probably after compiling all my thoughts and ponderings on the subject, I’ll be too late and too repetitive.  I still feel like it would be a good exercise: for thinking, for writing, for perspective, for blogging, for whatever.

My core perspective is my two mains: an affliction warlock and a beartree druid.  My absolute “main” is my warlock — a DPS.  Moreover, a class whose three talent trees are all designed for the DPS role, so I play a pure DPS class, to be specific.  But I also have devoted a great deal of time and effort into being a great bear TANK and tree HEALER.  My tree is currently decked out in 4pc t9, bear is after warlock, and warlock is in progress through the Triumph handouts.  At first I was outraged by the post — because I swear, I’m a warlock at heart, a pure DPS.  Then I got to thinking…

And I’m still thinking.  Mostly reading other people’s perspectives and opinions and blog posts on the subject and then thinking some more through my own opinions and perspectives.

Would posting my thoughts be too late and/or too repetitive of others’ before?

PvE Dmg & Caster Movement

I feel especially lazy to cobble together images for my Minions & Spells post.  So I’m posting about this instead.   Stuff I got perusing MMO-Champion:

As Ghostcrawler mentioned in the “Balance Adjustments” thread for 3.3, we would like to buff warlock PvE damage for all three talent trees. We have a few changes in mind we can share with you and welcome your feedback. That being said, of course these changes are not yet implemented and are subject to revision or reversal before the next minor patch.

Affliction: While some warlocks will no doubt disagree, we think the damage output of Affliction in PvP is pretty good. Therefore, we want a buff that will increase sustained damage after a ramp-up period. The specific change we have in mind is to allow Shadow Embrace to stack up to 3 times for a total of a 15% damage bonus. The current healing debuff would change to 10% per stack.

Demonology: We want to double the damage bonus of Demonic Pact granted the warlock. To avoid making this an all-around buff to raid damage, however, the damage bonus provided to other players would remain unchanged.

Destruction: We want to double the damage bonus provided by Empowered Imp.

As a further buff to both Demonology and Affliction, we’re testing out the effects of doubling the damage bonus of Improved Shadow Bolt in the Destruction tree.

Again, these are preliminary ideas. These changes might be revised or reverted before going live. Just the same, these are not necessarily the only changes we are willing to make and your feedback is appreciated. :) (Source)

Woohoo! Actually, I’m pretty satisfied where my damage is at. I know I’m not giving it my all nor am I in the top raid tier, but I like it where I am.

The sustained damage increase sounds exciting, but I’m wary. Couple this with less gimmick fights where DoTs can be ticking away and yet the tank’s threat is stalled because we’re dancing, then I’ll be happy. I remember our tank cheering if he could get the taunt off before Heigan one-shotted me as we ran back to the platform. >.<  It’s not fun to make my dps take a backseat because two DoTs out of four overthreats the tank.

Zarhym later states that this would probably be coming in a minor patch, i.e., 3.3.something or 3.3.something-a, and it might be tweaked by spell coefficients or whatever.  Which I’m interested in, because if the spell coeffs get tweaked, maybe EJ might actually update the spell coeff page. (Doubt it.)  An invisible number mechanic like a spell coefficient is probably easier to change on the dev side than a talent (noooooes!  not the tooltips!  ANYTHING but tooltips!).

Farther down the thread, Destro locks should be happy to note that Conflagrate might get buffed, not just Empowered Imp.  Even I, the destro noob, was like “Imp…I mean, yeah they use the imp, but really?  Just the imp?”

**/—————————-\**

On another note, I noticed Lissana talking on Twitter about how moving fights really mess up the moonkin DPS rhythm.  Luckily, as an affliction lock, my DPS isn’t too dependent on standing still.  Yes, only Corruption and the curses are instant-cast–everything else has a casttime or is channeled.  But the only casttime worth major attention is Shadow Bolt.  Haunt & Unstable Affliction both have short base casttimes anyway.  But yeah, I get rather…uh…ticked…when Drain Soul gets interrupted because I need to move.  So I end up doing a little “moonfare spam” of my own when that happens.

So taking her post and the comments that ensue, what would “shot-on-the-run” changes mean for warlocks?  I mean, Lissana used moonkin as her specific example (and casters as the general), since she knows moonkin best.  Personally, I think I can only talk for affliction warlocks (if my opinion is even valid); I have no experience with either Demo or Destro in a raid situation.  I’ve solo’d some BC group quests and normal dungeons as a SL/SL lock, but that’s about all my experience in the demo tree.  I’ve yet to touch destro beyond the mandatory 15 points I spend for a full Ruin.  So I’m going to talk from purely affliction. All locks in the crowd are welcome to comment, of course. :)

“Shot on the Run” spell? Well, we already have that.  DoTs.  Plenty of them.  Though, I do still miss having 6.  (Immolate! I still love you! But only when I get the shadow spells locked out. <.< >.>)  Typically we take that one more half-second to finish the DoT cast and then we run like hell.  Once the DoT is up on the target, we really don’t care until we have to reapply them.  The only time I really hate moving is the Drain Soul execute phase, but like I said above, you also just spam DS as you move.

Pushback while running: I really like Hiddencamper’s comment.  Honestly, I read it and thought, “Now, there’s an idea.”  Not to mention you’d maybe see more life in the Fel Concentration talent (reduces pushback to Haunt, UA, and the drain spells).  Pushback with an arbitrary limit makes a lot of sense–you make the casttime longer, but you can still cast.

“Swiftfire”: Swiftbough adds maybe moonkin could get a Swiftmend for damage: the spell deals the full damage from the total DoT and consumes the DoT.  For affliction…nah, we like our DoTs unconsumed.  Though the Cataclysm shard rehaul sounds like it’s adding something similar, except instead of consuming the DoT buff, it consumes a shard.

Droodboy suggests upping the hit cap while moving.  I’m not terribly in favor of this.  For locks, it’s hard enough to find gear with both spirit and hit on it (gawsh, healy priests, GG).  Fel Armor works off the spirit stat.  So does the Life Tap glyph buff, I might add.  Fel Armor (30%) + Life Tap (20%) equates to 50% of your spirit gets added to your spellpower.  Not a total amazing jump, but that’s still +250 at the least, for me.  So less spirit for locks (because of more hit needed) means a less +spellpower to damage, which means unhappy locks.  It’s either a loss of spirit on our gear, or the loss of spellpower through gemming for hit.

  • Let’s see, math for gemming for hit over spellpower.  1% is 33 hit rating, rounded up.  JC’s can just barely cap this with one gem (Rigid Dragon’s Eye = +34 hit); the rest of us will have to do with two Rigid King’s Amber, a total of 40 +hit rating.  Two Runed Cardinal Rubies give you +46 spellpower.  Would you trade 46 spellpower for 1% of hit that is needed only when you move while casting?

Even for a measly +46 spellpower, I don’t move that much, honestly.  Maybe it’s a different situation for moonkin, but I don’t terribly like this idea.

Readers?  Thoughts on any of the above?

ALEB: Talents & Glyphs

About & Resources

This post is part of my Affliction Lock Endgame Basics (ALEB) series.  These are my choices on talents & glyphs for affliction warlocking at level 80.  I’ve seen variations, but I’ve tried to pick out what I believe are the core talents every affliction warlock should have, and then I’ll explain some of the optional ones I’ve taken or others have taken.  The major glyphs are practically unanimous in the affylock community, and the minor glyphs are unanimously a joke for the most part.

If you’d like to see other warlocks’ perspectives and advice on talents & glyphs, check out these: Killing Them Slowly (Fulgaris), Mystic Chicanery (Nibuca).

Talents

I rock deep affliction with shadow bolt support from destruction.  I’ve rocked this spec since I was leveling, and I have barely changed it since I broke 80.  Click the picture to see it bigger.  The green boxes signify what I think are the important or core talents of affliction raiding.  The purple boxes show talents I’ve taken or have seen taken, because they’re useful but you had a couple of points left to throw around.  There’s also glyphs in the picture (since I screenshotted the WowHead Talent Calculator), but I’ll discuss those later.  For those who can’t see the picture for whatever reason, here’s a link to the WHTC I used.

Talents - AffyLock

Important Talents:

  • Aff Tier 1 — All: Improved Curse of Agony buffs the “damage” curse affliction locks use; the other curse we like to use is Curse of the Elements, which helps all spellcasters on the target.  Suppression is important because it decreases the amount of hit rating you need on your gear to reach the hit cap.  Improved Corruption is just one buff of many to the staple spell of affliction.
  • Aff Tier 2 — Imp DS & SS: This tier tricks out Drain Soul for you.  Improved Drain Soul helps your mana if you use it as a finishing move on even trash and it reduces our ridiculously generated threat by a chunk.  Soul Siphon ups Drain Soul from a mere utility spell (shard generation) to a real damaging spell by buffing it according to however many Affliction buffs you have on the target.
  • Aff Tier 3 — Amplify Curse: This is the only useful spell in this tier for PvE action.  It means you can cast other things faster because your GCD for your curse is smaller.
  • Aff Tier 4 — Nightfall & Emp. Corr: Nightfall is the warlock version of the shammy Elemental Mastery.  Your Corruption ticks can proc an instant Shadow Bolt, which is awesome.  Empowered Corruption increases the spellpower coefficient of your Corruption: aka, more oomph per point of spellpower.
  • Aff Tier 5 — Sh. Emb. & SL: Shadow Embrace is a twice-stacking debuff applied by Haunt & Shadow Bolt that buffs all your shadow DoT damage on the target.  Siphon Life used to be a spell by itself, but is now a passive part of Corruption.  It drains health back to you as Corruption damages the target.  This is an excellent tool for soloing, but also gives warlocks a unique edge in helping out healers.
  • Aff Tier 6 — Shadow Mastery: This is a straight buff to your shadow spells and a bit of a buff to the Felhunter minion.  Rumor has it Blizzard is trying to bring back the felpuppy as the token affliction pet.
  • Aff Tier 7 — Erad. & Contg.: Eradication is amazing when it procs; when it does, this is a cue for you to spam Shadow Bolts, since even with moderate haste, you can see cast times under 2s.  Contagion is a buff to Corruption, Seed of Corruption, and Curse of Agony, and also provides the PvP dispell resist.
  • Aff Tier 8 — Malediction: This used to be a buff to others on only the Curse of Elements spell, but it’s now a straight buff to your spell damage and spell crit.
  • Aff Tier 9 — All: Death’s Embrace helps you out when your health is low, but it’s taken more because of the execute phase it defines.  At 35% target health, all your shadow spells do more damage.  Unstable Affliction is a staple DoT in the affliction rotation, as well as a powerful PvP spell if dispelled.  Pandemic is crit-ical (/groan): it allows Corr and UA ticks to crit, and it lets Haunt crit for twice the damage.
  • Aff Tier 10 — Everlasting Affliction: EA gives your Corruption infinite life while you work your rotation.  This is especially important if your take the Quick Decay glyph, since moderate haste could allow Corr to fall off if you didn’t have the arsenal of refreshing spells.
  • Aff Tier 11 — Haunt: This is the other talent-gained spell in the affliction rotation.  It buffs your shadow damage on the target as long as its debuff is applied and in tandem with Siphon Life, its heal offsets your Life Tap health drops.
  • Destro Tier 1 — All: Improved Shadow Bolt buffs the SB spell, since it’s one of the only non-Affliction tree spells you will use.  Bane makes casting SB less time-consuming.
  • Destro Tier 3 — Ruin: This is Destro’s Pandemic: it allows your SB (and the imp’s FB) to crit for twice the normal damage.

Optional Talents:

  • Aff Tier 2 — Improved Life Tap: I’ve taken this because it buffs the mana I get from Life Tap.  Less LTing means more SBing for me.
  • Aff Tier 3 — Fel Concentration: Despite being my blog’s name, this talent is useless in PvE.  However, I’ve seen PvP warlocks take it.
  • Aff Tier 6 — Improved Felhunter: Blizzard is trying to bring back the felpuppy as the affliction token pet; this talent buffs your Felhunter a bit.  If you use the FH a lot, it’s a good talent; however, I find the FH dies too much to party/raid damage for these 2 points to be useful to me.
  • Aff Tier 7 — Dark Pact: This lets you steal your pet’s mana instead of your own.  Prime use is with a phase imp buffed with Blessing of Wisdom, so you have your own regenerative, reusable mana pot.  Dark Pact will also proc the Life Tap glyph buff, which I find handy when healers have their hands full or a big party/raid-wide damage is incoming.
  • Demo Tier 1 — Imp. HS & Dem. Emb. & Fel Syn: Improved Healthstone buffs the amount of health returned by using a healthstone; this is a utility talent that other classes like.  Demonic Embrace increases your Stamina, which is important for survivability, but it’s also a buff to your mana pool through Life Tap.  Fel Synergy makes more sense since, as suggested by KoalaBear21, heals your pet for a portion of the damage you do.  Good stuff for those felpuppies who stubbornly stand in whatever AoE is behind the boss.  I’m too lazy to redo the picture right now–it’s the far-right one on tier 1.
  • Destro Tier 2 — Cataclysm: I took this once as throwaway talent points; it takes off a tiny bit of mana for using Shadow Bolt or Rain of Fire.  It’s a negligible difference for Shadow Bolt, but Rain of Fire, as typical AoE spells do, uses a massive chunk of mana.
  • Destro Tier 4 — Destructive Reach: Some warlocks take this in tandem with affliction’s Grim Reach to increase the range of all spells to 40 yds.  I think it’s mostly taken for the threat reduction on Destro spells, however.

Glyphs

The WowHead Talent Calculator also lets you pick glyphs, and it awesomely lists the description of the glyph along with what main talent tree the glyph affects.  Here’s a screenshot of the affliction major glyphs (QD hasn’t yet been classified as affliction, but it is). Click for the bigger picture.

Affliction Major Glyphs

The three you want to take are Quick Decay, Haunt, and Life Tap.  The Glyph of Haunt is a straight buff to Haunt’s debuff, which itself buffs your shadow damage on the target.  The Glyph of Life Tap gives you almost a second Fel Armor buff for 40 seconds.  All ranks of Life Tap and Dark Pact can trigger this buff, so it’s not uncommon for a warlock to use Life Tap (Rank 1) at the beginning of a fight.   The Glyph of Quick Decay applies your haste to your Corruption ticks.  You get faster ticks, which is more damage per second in the long run.  For more information on how QD works, revisit my post on the glyph.

The minor glyphs available for warlocks are more or less a joke.  Only Drain Soul is moderately useful: a small proc chance of generating two shards instead of just one off a Drain Soul tick.  The rest, well…just pick two more or leave them blank.  I picked Souls & Unending Breath: the former because at least I would use it and the latter because I’m lazy and wanted a hilarious “useful” buff to cast on people as thanks for casting a buff on me.

Questions & Comments?

As always, I welcome constructive criticism, question, suggestions, and opinions from other affy locks out there–new or old. :)  This post is currently updated for Patch 3.3.0a.

ALEB: Warlock Resources

* Will be updated as my ALEB series is written.

Here’s a listing of the various resources I’ve used to compile my Affliction Lock Endgame Basics (ALEB) series, with the bonus category of useful warlock addons.  I also frequently check these sites and use them myself as an affliction warlock in the ever-changing World of Warcraft.

general infoGeneral Information
These resources hold information relevant to all classes.  Typically these are awesome for their databases and the latest news.

Blood Pact : This is the warlock column from Wow.com.  I particularly like Dominic Hobbs; the previous columnist tended to just restate the patch notes and the obvious.  Hobbs takes the latest and the basics and brings it all to life.

Elitist Jerks : EJ are the kings of theorycrafting and math.  However, their organization of information sucks and the environment is not terribly friendly to newbies in metagaming.  Tough skin recommended for visitation.

MMO Champion : MMO-C is my go-to for patch notes and blue posts.  Recently with his datamining for the Wrath patches, he’s also a pretty awesome source for upcoming loot to watch out for.  Very well organized and frequently updated.

WowHead : My choice of database of WoW items, quests, & spells.  WowHead has excellent tools to use, including a talent calculator complete with glyphs and item comparisons.  The comments are often reliable to any quick questions about quests or items.

WowPopular : I use this site more to gauge what I can probably sell with my professions, but it’s nice to use every time a major game or class mechanic gets changed.  You can see the popularity by class and spec of different enchants, gems, gear…mix & match heaven.

WowWiki : The wiki is a good starting point for many things, theorycrafting to boss strats.  I use it more to browse for things, whereas WowHead I use for specifics.

Affliction Lock Endgame Basics

Kergguz is just starting out and, by the looks of it, he has barely a clue to some of it (which is perfectly OKAY) and wants to find out more.  WowWiki does a nice job in the class pages (“Starting a Warlock,” “What Warlocks Want New Warlocks To Know,” etc.), but it doesn’t have all the min/maxing that you can get out of Elitist Jerks, if you can find it in there.  EJ is a great resource, but their organization of information honestly sucks.  You have to end up reading through pages and pages of posts to get anywhere because the top post was getting updated but stopped back in May ’08, because it was originally posted a year or two ago and they decided to just keep going.  Or it’s just one giant megathread of every subtopic possible in one spec, and you just want to know one thing about one spell or piece of gear or rotation quirk.  It’s daunting, to say the least, to wade through all of that for one answer.  When you finally find what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance the material is not current anymore.  I’m still trying to learn some of the theorycrafting mechanics, but it’s kind of hard to do when their compendium on theorycrafting is half-stuck in the BC era thinking 70 is the level cap and wtf is Haunt.

So I’ll post a series that covers some basics of playing an affliction lock in the endgame, maybe a little min/maxing, for the new affliction warlock in the current patch.  This is, of course, pulled from my experience and playing style, so it’s not the only way nor THE way to do things.  Think of it more as my personal advice to new affliction locks.  I’ll link back to this post and fill in these links as I write them:

Opinions & constructive criticism are welcome in comments or in email, from new or from old locks.

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