Posts tagged “affliction

Blood Pacts for MoP

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 Some of the stuff I’ve been writing since I started at WoW Insider is out of date with how the beta is working, so I’ve grabbed what I think is still relevant/useful.

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

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

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 The destro specific Grimoire use is possibly outdated (already!); Sacrifice wins in the pet sims, but the Observer (Supremacy) has been seen in the raiding sim.

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

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

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

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

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 I’ll revisit this, as some of it might be out of date.

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

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

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

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

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

All Things Soulburn

Edit: The reason I didn’t know there was a SB: UA is because there isn’t one and the Wowhead comments aren’t updated. GG.

Recently, the guild chat conversation turned to beginning a warlock.  One of my guildmates started a new warlock, and had said earlier in raid that she could never get one above 20, to which I jokingly said I’d teach her.

So now we spent the next 20 minutes or so talking warlock stuff in guild chat.

She’s only 12 or so right now, but we got into what exactly soul shards and soulburn are and do.  She had a warlock back in Wrath, but it’s different now in Cataclysm, especially the whole soulburn mechanic.  As she put it, you have to relearn it all over again.

So I hit “Save Draft” on my glyphs post, and put it aside as I pulled up a fresh blank post.  Let’s talk about soul shards and soulburn.  Hold onto your cowls! (more…)

Breakfast Topic: Why do I love Affliction?

Inspiration from WoW Insider.

First there’s the DoTs.  Lots of DoTs.  I like spreading them around.

I love multidotting.  I don’t really love multidotting for the damage — though, that’s great, too! — but for the activity you do.  It’s a common complaint of people leveling DoT specs for the first time that stuff takes too long to kill. You cast a DoT and then…you wait for it to die.

Well, if you pull one mob at a time, and you’re sitting around with a full health bar, you pulled too less.  Affliction is almost made for chain pulling.  Spread the love around town!  Affliction warlocks are like delusional, demented care bears.  Haunt Hug Everybody!

I love the fluidity of health and mana on the affliction warlock.  It’s even more so than shadow priests, who just return a tiny AoE bit for damage.  We can burn our health away and then get some back.  We can burn some mana away and then get some back.  My mana bar is my health bar is my mana bar.

It also provides a great tandem with healers for me, and I feel like I respect them a bit more than other damage specs.  Other damage specs are merely being kept alive; I’m being handed more fuel for my resource bar.

I love the Fears.  Especially in battlegrounds, oh man, I love the Fears.  I really don’t care about being an Ironman or being the lead demolisher.  I love being the chaos-bringer, the distracter, the assist in battlegrounds.  There’s nothing more satisfying than running into a horde of Horde and fear-bombing all of them off my FC.

I love the various curses, and will be sad when they all get combined into a few.  It makes sense, game-mechanic-wise, considering I have Exhaustion and Tongues in the same macro anyway, to make them into one Enfeeblement in Mists.  I love putting conditions on people and watching them squirm their way out of it.  It’s just “Not Fun” to watch a curse disappear off in a dispel.

I love using mobs to spread my DoTs.  It’s almost like Warlock Chain Heal.  Almost.  Soulburning a Seed and watching the mobs (or players) pulse in numbers as Corruption is now everywhere is supremely satisfying.  Jinxing one player and seeing the debuff elsewhere makes me smile.  Soulswapping immediately is almost like personal Pong.

I love the felhunter because I believe it fits most with the affliction warlock, roleplay-wise.  The imp shoots fire, the voidwalker protects, the succubus plays off someone’s lust and emotions, the felguard is a demonic brute, but the felhunter is a predator of magic.  They seek it out and they seek to consume it.  They use your own magics against you.

What’s the difference between a shadow priest and an affliction warlock?  Roleplay-wise?  I think shadow priests are focused on the mental self; they have so much Mind things, anyway.  Although faith for the Light (or whatever Light you have) is generally assumed from the heart, the defectors come from the mind, most often anyway.

Affliction, on the other hand, deals with corrupting your soul.  Affliction deals with fear and curses and…afflictions.  What’s an affliction?  What does it mean to afflict someone?  I think of afflictions as eating away at you.  They might start as something not very powerful, and they might not do much damage to you in a single instance, but over time, they wheedle you down until you can’t overcome them.

Afflictions eat you from the inside out.

It’s that satisfaction I get when I die in a boss fight but my DoTs are still going.  Or when I die in a battleground and get a Killing Blow notification while I’m a ghost.  Or when I’m doing Tol Barad dailies and have 5-6 mobs beating on me.  I don’t really care that I’m not dominating now.

I’ll just kill you later.

Affliction to me is playing with your food.  Oh, you’re going to die, there’s no doubt about that.  But I’m going to twist and torture you before I snuff you out with a DoT tick.

Why kill you now when I can have fun now?

You know you’re an affliction warlock at heart when there’s people (or mobs) screaming about you, but it’s an otherwise pleasant day, and you start giggling.  Not laughing — laughing is for destro.  Destruction warlocks also love chaos (it’s why we love them, too), but they end up ruining the view in the process.  Charred Forsaken is just not delectable.  (Okay, Charred Tauren is delicious.)

Your mirth is in proportion to your damage dealing.  Destro locks have great thundering laughter in spurts.  Aff locks giggle endlessly, and sooner or later end up rolling on the floor an hour later about it.  It’s good for the lock’s soul in the end.

There’s an almost childish levity to it.  Giggling, but also the playstyle of affliction.  Demonology feels bulky and RAWR SMASH.  Destruction feels fully loaded and firmly locked on the ground.  Affliction is frolicking among the fears.

I love affliction. :)

Second Warlock

I have two druids.  I’ve had two druids for quite some time.  Amadruada used to be cat with the intention of tree at endgame when she leveled, then she became bear/tree at 80, and when I moved to Elune, I rolled another druid in Cataclysm so I could have a feral druid and a caster druid without having to keep up with the drastically different gearsets.  Except, I still keep two different gearsets for each druid, though my moonkin/tree one overlaps more than my feral sets (I’m anal-retentive about my reforging).

But I’ve not had a second warlock.  I’ve tried to have a second warlock; I remember reading about Keeva’s six, seven, eight bazillion druids.  But every time I rolled another warlock, I’d get excited about things I’d be doing later at cap level, so why don’t I just go log onto my maxed out warlock?

Our guild is only a few race/class combos short of the 8th guild bank tab.  (Half of the combos are mage.  LOL)  One of the missing was a dwarf warlock.  An officer –who has five bazillion alts himself — asked me if I’d be willing & able to level up a dwarf warlock, since I’m a bit of a beast at leveling alts (relative to my guildmates, at least).

So that’s what I’m doing.  Chobole (χοβολη — “ember” / χοβολεις — “embers”) was intended to be a destro warlock.  And I kept him destruction.  Until level 32 or something.

I wanted to know if affliction leveling had changed since I last leveled an affliction warlock.  That was back in the last year of Burning Crusade.  Quite a while ago.


Same old fun. It was like finding an old friend, cliche as that is.  I don’t have all of my bar set up yet, but everything was just instantly and thoroughly familiar.

This switch happened around the time I was getting annoyed by the Blood Pact column not reading beyond the skin of sims and Cynwise exploring motivations.  It only confirmed things, really.  I love affliction.  So I play affliction and I make it work where other people say it shouldn’t or doesn’t.

I’m contemplating making an affliction warlock leveling guide when Mists comes out.  There’s not much to it now — and, probably, there won’t be much to it in Mists — but I love affliction, so it’s going to happen.  There will be talent discussion for which is better at level 15.  There will be gearing guides later on.  I also figure that instead of the pet PvP or Destro toon I originally intended Chobole to be, he’ll become my just-dinged gear project.  I might even completely delete him and then reroll him exactly the same, just to do the whole leveling process again.

As I try to gear up old alts mid-expansion — that is, after the blues of heroics become forgotten by the general populace — I keep wanting to have a quick ding-to-raid gearlist, or gear progression list, along with some expectation of what DPS to pull with what gear tier.  As a career warlock, I can eyeball stuff on my own, but it’s refreshing on my moonkin or mage or rogue to know that my seemingly low DPS is just fine for my vastly outdated gear.

But I never kept all my heroics stuff on Pon, nor do I really have space to start.

The other thing Chobole might become is a bank alt.  Maybe.  I like the leveling gear list idea better.

Anyway, he’s level 50 with a total /played of just under a day (23 hours, 25 minutes, 34 seconds, if you really want to know).  No, I’m not addicted.  I can stop anytime I want to.  (Don’t want to!)

I am somewhat “cheating” with a couple heirlooms — which is fine by me, because the end goal is getting to 85 (& Honored with the guild) ASAP.  I call it “cheating,” since I normally do no heirlooms and no guild until the 30s-50s when the time between levels starts to lengthen a bit.  I don’t mind heirlooms when I’m out for speed leveling.

A Tip for First-Time Afflocks 

DoTs are for chain-pulling.

Once had a friend level a shadow priest and said that DoT classes are boring to leveling, because you DoT the mob up and then you just sit there as it finally draws its last breath and dies.

If you’re single-pulling mobs as affliction (some elite/tricky pulls excluded), you’re doing it a tad wrong.  Or maybe not “wrong,” persay, just “unfun.”

Really, once you get you full complement of DoTs — Unstable Affliction (10), Corruption (4), Bane of Agony (12) — you’re set to pull multiple mobs at once.  If you want to be safe about it, you can wait until you’re 2/2 Siphon Life (Corruption’s damage heals you), which is level 25 to fill that out.

Actually, my rule is once your pet can comfortably tank the mob for you, you’re set, and that happens right at level one.  During leveling, even the DPS pets will overthreat you, at least for a long while, and you can easily drain-tank it via your pet using Health Funnel.  I’m level 50 and my felhunter still largely holds threat on me.  Of course, once you hit a mob with about 2 shadow bolts + a full 3 DoTs, you’ll earn threat, but the mob should be about dead by then.

Also, Agony when leveling, not Doom.  Stuff hardly lasts long enough for Doom to pop once, let alone all 4 ticks.

This has nothing to do with DoTs. I just wish there were more puzzle quests like this one.

How many mobs can you pull?  Three is my number, though it’s not a full three most of the time.  By the time you start to DoT up the third mob, the first one should be under half health if not already about dead by your pet.  Only every once in a while — due to your pet changing targets prematurely via the AI of the Assist pet function — will you actually have all three mobs trying to kill you.  And even then?  You can drain-tank with Drain Life, or you can have some fun by Fearing one (or two with Howl / Death Coil).

During your leveling, you’ll find your comfort number of pulls, and really, it can vary by mob.  There are some mobs I’ll pull five of and not care; there are some I’d be careful about pulling two.  Some you can DoT up and forget about and your pet will finish them off.  Some you go back to DoT a second time (which gets into great practice for multidotting).

If you’ve played a tank before, you can even get into that mindset again.  Your pet becomes the faithful DPS, who can be directed to attack a mentally-marked Skull, while you keep threat on (i.e. DoT up) other mobs until your pet is ready.  This is especially true with ranged mobs.

Once you get the hang of chain-pulling without dying, you become aware of pats and order of clearing, which becomes at least somewhat useful later in dungeons when dungeons are moderately difficult for you.  It also becomes gloriously useful in efficient dailies, when you can path out the most efficient kill + loot path for you.  Later on, you can apply it to multidotting in raiding, even if Blizz wants to kill multidotting in Mists.

You’re a clothy — a tad fragile when mobs get up in your grill.  You’re a DPS, though, as affliction, you have a fair bit of self-healing behind you.  Sure, you can be careful and pull mobs one by one, carefully DPSing them down by the EJ Book, and that’ll do you good.  But that’s the unfun way.

Remember, you wield the forces of Fel and Shadow.

Live a little, c’monnnnn.

Affliction Strats?

I’ve seen various blog articles of how to do X Fight as a Y Spec Class.  I’ve thought about doing my own, but there’s always that nagging “Really?  You need a guide on how to Caster DPS?  It’s like…Faceroll on the Keyboard.  And sometimes you have to move.  /boggle”

(My inner self-defeater is a jerk.  :|)

Then there’s the other side of how I convey strats to myself.  Everybody likes to do the whole read the ability/debuff/buff verbatim and then maybe the strategy of what to do with it, but mostly it’s a read & hope everyone gets it, especially when being read on Vent.

I really dislike that.  I prefer the conceptual explanations and I like them short.  I write out flash cards to myself for boss strats.  Fit all of one boss on one index card, often on one face of the index card.  (Both sides if there’s a pause between phase changes, maybe.)  It involves pictures with colored markers and descriptors like ” CRYSTAL = GG WASTE DPS.  FLAME = FFS OW.”  I’m thoroughly rude to myself on these things, but it gets the point across to myself faster.

So I’m not sure if posting my strats would end up looking very stupid or end up somewhat entertaining.  Ditto for what would happen if I included a Paint rendering of my index card along with explanation.

Anyway, it’s an idea floating around.  That might happen anyway.  (The Paint idea would be fun…)

Tier 13 for Affliction

As the wave of valor point gear hit the PTR, and now I have choices for slots, I’ve started getting together my BiS / DO WANT list.  For Firelands, my guild did a thread where we listed the drops we wanted from each boss, and I feel like it’d be a good thing if we did it again.  I make a list for myself regardless, but it’s fun sharing it anyway.

I’ve also been gearing up alts, and it’s a relief to find a gear list, just to make sure I’m on track with how the secondary stats work for my character.  I’m especially a fan of the Vexryn’s paladin tank lists from Maintankadin, so I may copy that format a bit.  Though, warlock stat priority isn’t as dynamic as tank or healer gear, so it ought’nt be too hard for people to guess.

But first, I want to talk about the tier gear: the set bonuses, the overall feeling of the stat allocation, combination & completion of set bonuses, and the looks.

The Look

Nanoprecise Cape - 1250 VP

Since I care about looks of gear, I looked at it first before I looked at the stats.

I realize there is going to be transmogrification in 4.3, and I even have my outfit picked out for it.  I’m dressed in it on the PTR, and even just running around for a little bit on the PTR, I’ve grown a bit used to my “current gear” look, and while being Putress is awesome, it’s just not the same anymore.  I might use transmogrification to be Putress for a while, but I will probably end up going back to the current tiers if I like them.

So, the cape first, because the cape is what I stare at most as I play my character.  I’m not fond of the rounded / pointed capes (squarish ones wave in the air better), which is what the tier 13 valor one is, but the design at least uses the pointed edge to look cool.  The Avengers cloaks of this tier are not my favorite, and I think the design looked better on the squarish quest Mantle cloaks.

I think when I took this I tried to put all the non-tier VP gear on myself (+tier shoulders), so I know that’s the VP wand in my right hand and the VP gloves.  That might be the VP helm and VP chest; both look like warlock tier again.  Unfortunately, there were no VP shoulders or legs, but there are substitutes for tier; there’s a drop for shoulders & crafted for legs.

Tier 13 -- Click for bigger image.

As for the tier 13 itself, we get three recolors from the three sources: raid finder for ilvl 384, normal raids for ilvl 397, and heroic raids for ilvl 410.  (In my hands are Incineratus (w/ Power Torrent) & the Talisman of Kalecgos, which are my chosen items for my Putress mogging set.)

I like the Raid Finder recolor, though the color scheme reminds me heavily of shaman tier 10. Maybe ours is a bit more fel with the green, but I do like that scheme best of the three.  The 397-ilvl color isn’t as bad as the heroic recolor; the heroic recolor looks like they just played with the color sliders, rather than actually looking like a put-together set of colors.  While the helm on the other two seems to float on top, the heroic helm just feels…heavy and almost obtrusive.

Considering my guild is considering doing the Raid Finder as learning runs, I might grab some pieces, at least for the plain looks if not for the stats.

Tier 13 — Set Bonuses

Both set bonuses are a bit meh in terms of damage boost for affliction.  Of course, tier bonuses aren’t supposed to provide a huge jump in DPS, but something more like 5%.

2pc | The duration of your Doomguard and Infernal summons is increased by 30* sec and the cooldown of those spells is reduced by 4 min.

* 20 sec for demonology, but I’m only discussing affliction.

The Doomguard being out longer and possibly every wipe-attempt or twice a kill-attempt is definitely an up.  It’s not a spectacular increase for affliction, but it’s an increase I’ll take anyway.

4pc | Soulburn grants a 10% increase to your spell power for 10 sec, and Soul Fire cast with Soulburn active now grants a Soul Shard.

This bonus would be more interesting if affliction actually had things to do with Soulburn.  Technically, if you want to be sim-perfect in your DPS, you’re already adding in three Soulburned Soul Fires, despite SF hitting like a wet noodle even when you’re Destro.  Blizzard keeps wanting warlocks to use Soul Fire — who knows why — but so far they’ve been pretty terrible at actually fixing the spell to make it useful.

If a spell doesn’t hit for a good use of its resources, nobody will use it.  Throwing in a spell power buff just makes using the spell necessary.  It’s still a pain in the ass to use.  The pain in the ass that is Soul Fire is its cast time and it hits for crap, especially if you’re not specced into fire.

Blizzard has attempted to fix Soul Fire and make it appetizing for players to cast.  They’ve buffed the spellpower coefficient for Soul Fire (so it hits a bit harder), and they’ve added a refund of shards to the Soulburn mechanic into the 4pc bonus.  With a refund of shards, I can cast this on cooldown (45s for Soulburn) and get a decent spellpower boost out of it.

I still feel like I’m being forced into using a spell that’s neither useful for me nor flavored for me.  Affliction flavor (RP, whatever you call it) is important to me.

Tier 13 — Drops and Stats

This tier they’re going back to, I think, the Burning Crusade model of tier piece acquisition.  This time, all of the tier gear is acquired from tokens that drop from the bosses; nothing comes from Valor Points.  To turn in the token, however, you still visit the Valor Point vendor in your faction capital.  Our token is “____ of the Corrupted Conqueror,” which we share with paladins and priests.

  • Hood = Warmaster Blackhorn
  • Mantle = Hagara the Stormbinder
  • Robes  = Ultraxion
  • Gloves = Warlord Zon’ozz
  • Leggings = Yor’sahj the Unsleeping

Here’s the secondary stat pairings on each piece.  The math symbols are for which stat is bigger on the item.  I’m not putting specific numbers on the pieces since I figure we’ll all mix and match between the three source sets.  It also helps in my head to figure out reforging; if the trashier stat is higher, then I’ll get more out of it.

(t12) Balespider’s Slot (t13) Faceless Shroud
mastery > haste Head haste > crit
haste > hit Shoulders mastery > crit
haste > hit Chest haste > hit
haste > hit Hands mastery > hit
crit > mastery Legs haste > mastery

The general affliction stat priority is hit (to cap) > haste > crit > mastery.  Of course, your own specific priority will vary with each piece of gear you gain, so you can run your SimC yourself if you wish to have those very specific numbers.  

Affliction likes hit like snickerdoodle cookies: you either eat until you’re full (1742/17%) or you eat until maybe one cookie short of full (~16.90-16.99%) before you give yourself a tummy ache (>17%).

Affliction loves haste like it’s hot, homemade apple pie (moar! MOAR!), and then crit is like not-in-your-top-ten-favorite-cookies-but-still-mmmm-cookies (it’s okay), and mastery is like the raisins in raisin-oatmeal cookies when you hate raisins (ewwwww raisins).

Alright, which ones should I replace / mix first?

I think I was spoiled by the hit/haste combos from Balespider’s tier 12, honestly.  That, and I must be crazy, because I appear to be the only warlock I know of (though I don’t know many) who actually likes the aesthetic look of the Balespider set.  It’s a great set all around for me, and it’ll be hard to part with.  (Definitely a mogging keeper!)

For Faceless Shroud, the pieces by themselves are less appealing, but they aren’t horrible.  The mastery should appeal to the Demo locks, and as they’re simming as highest warlock DPS on the PTR now (!!), they’ll be plenty happy.

I love the chest piece; it’s a straight upgrade of Balespider.  The Faceless legs are better than Balespider, so I’ll trade those quickly.  The helm has thankfully flipped the higher stat to haste, and switched out mastery for crit, so I like that piece too.  The hands are usually the token Piece of Suck for affliction in the warlock tiers I’ve worn, so I’ll hold onto my Balespider’s Handwraps as long as I can, but the hands are also often the set bonus completer for me.

The shoulders, oh dear.  I think something is wrong with the itemization; else, mastery really IS that bad.

Currently, on my spreadsheet with my own SimC values and a list of all the gear since I began it at the start of Cataclysm, the Mantle of the Faceless Shroud scores oddly.  I thought the chunk of intellect from an item tier’s upgrade would offset the switch from the favored haste/hit to the unpleasant mastery/crit combo, but it’s not doing it.  Even filling all the gem slots (red & red with 20 Intellect for the bonus) with rare gems just barely gets the normal raid (397) above my current t12 (378).

And when I gem the raid drop substitute (Mosswrought Shoulderguards, 397 off Morchok), which has the same gem sockets & gem bonus but a crit/haste combo of secondary stats, it’s within 12 points of the heroic tier 13 shoulders, which are half a tier higher in item level!

o_O WTF Shoulder Slot.

My Choice

Needless to say, for now my target 4pc is head/chest/hands/legs.  My 2pc will probably be chest/legs.  I’ve re-evalutate if the shoulders get re-itemized or if SimC tells me I smell funny.

The shoulders and hands from Balespider are still delicious with their haste/hit combos, Faceless chest is haste/hit also, and Faceless legs, while less awesome than Faceless helm, will probably be easier to get as Yor’sahj is hopefully one of the earlier / easier bosses in Dragon Soul (he’s been tested first with Morchok, and he’s also listed earlier in the Dungeon Journal).

As for the other gear pieces…I’m still sorting through to do decide my priority for VP spending and EPGP rolling.  That post will be later. :)

Affliction & New Talents

Class guides will be more useful than ever. If I start a warlock it’d be nice if a veteran told me uses for my level 15 talents (1)… Before? “OK, 31 points in blah, a few points in bluh, done.” (2)

- @buglamp

I don’t know that I can say I’ll be a “veteran” when Mists rolls around with this totally new talent system.  I know a bunch about what was, but I don’t know much about what will come to pass, Frodo.

Affliction’s Flavor To Me

I’ve been playing my warlock as affliction since Feb 2008.  Almost four years, one spec the whole time.  Almost three years spent raiding, though not always on the warlock.

I can tell you I don’t play for the top theorycrafting spec.  I’ve been lucky to have affliction as top dog most of the time, but I’ve played it when it was second fiddle to destruction and demonology, too.  I’ve been frustrated with affliction in a raiding environment only twice; otherwise I’ve loved it.

The first was Valithria Dreamwalker, because I just couldn’t keep up with the burst DPS on lead-directed targets.  It took me a few evenings to find my groove as affliction — my wheedling down of big targets and spreading of DoTs everywhere.

The second time was Ragnaros, both sizes, because of the transition adds and the burst DPS I didn’t have but was required of me.  I was so frustrated and almost crying at not being able to play my favored spec on the ultimate boss of a tier.  I went destruction because I did not have the gear or the skill to pull off demonology in a raid progression environment, despite my knowledge of the three warlocks hinting that demo was possibly the favored spec for Raggy Pants.

Then I came back to Aff once I saw phase 3 of Ragnaros.  SO MUCH JOY TO COME BACK! :)

Affliction has long had a lack of burst.  Affliction, then, has long been less about the killing now and more about the killing later.  Affliction has always held a sort of sinister playfulness in my mind; we play with our food before we eat it.  Therefore, it does no good to immediately set your target on fire with a burst spell; there must be conscious suffering over a period of time before their doom is set.  I try to keep this in mind as I go through the talents, because I love affliction and would love to continue playing affliction as long as I can.

Implications for Raiding

First off, I wonder how people will keep track of the talent choosings.  Right now, with three trees of 31+ points each, there’s a #/#/# notation.  My affliction spec, for example, is 31/4/6 — 31 points in Affliction, 4 in Demonology, and 6 in Destruction.  Sometimes in theorycrafting they will talk about specific talents in a specific tree by the tier the talent is in; you need 5 points in tier 1 to proceed to tier to grab X talent.  We currently have 7 tiers of talents per tree with 41 points to spend; you need to spend at least 31 points in your spec’s tree.

The new Mists talents are 6 tiers of 3 talents each, and you can choose only one of 3.

So you end up with just six talents, but these talents are switchable like glyphs, they said (out of combat, etc.).  We’ll still have dual-spec, so you can have a set healing spec or a set tanking spec or a set pvp spec, but dual-spec may largely disappear for pure DPS classes.  If we can just switch the talents around with little cost (10s of time if you know what you want), why would you ever change whole spec sets?

For notation, I thought of chess notation at first.  Which tier followed by a letter for which talent in that tier: 1c, for example, would be Harvest of Life for warlocks.  Then I figured people would drop the tiers (we’d still refer to tiers in discussion) and just list the talent letter notations: abbaca, e.g., which would be Harvest of Life, Mortal Coil, Soul Link, Bloodstone, Grimoire of Sacrifice, Archimonde’s Vengeance.

For raiding applicants to guilds (or promotion / guidance within) and discussion of spec choice, I wonder what going away from the cookie-cutter specs will do, for better or for worse.  As of right now, as Bug said, “you put some points in blah, points in bluh, and done.”  There’s little discussion involved in where the points go, and this is especially the case for affliction.  Some other DPS specs might have actual choice in their trees, but affliction still remains largely an obviously-PvE talent versus an obviously-PvP talent.  There’s two PvP-specific (Fears) talents for Affliction’s tree — Improved Fear and Howl of Terror — and the rest you dump points into for PvE, often maxing out the talent.  Even the choosings for subspecs (the other 10 points that can go into other trees) are quite obvious which you should or should not choose.  Any Afflock who chooses Improved Immolate is either trollin’ or stupid.

Now, it will become more about tailoring to the fight.  Now, I imagine guild applications may become more interview-like.  Maybe they will be bland like a list of essay questions (“We’re standing at Baleroc.  Which talents do you choose & why?”).  Or maybe the applicant process can become more personally-involved; maybe your class officer (or fellow raid members) will be in on the Vent interview or vigorously posting on the forum app thread about the mechanics of your chosen talents and spell selection.  Will fraps’d fights become the new requirement for applications? (A WoL or two or three is pretty common nowadays.)

Blizzard appears to want to move away from “competent = correct checkboxes checked and gear worn” and closer to “competent = way you handle the fight with your given gear and spec and spell toolbox.”

But, as always, when you throw in groups of people who repeatedly test specs against a boss (colloquial: wiping on a boss), there will still be “standard” choices and “standard” spell selections.  Just like boss order in a flexible instance: no one says you have to do Shannox first but most people do it anyway because he’s the accepted “easiest”/”entrance” boss.  (UR actually does Beth’tilac first, and then we clear from there to spawn Shannox.)

So…I’m just going to give my (lengthy, rambly) thoughts on the warlock talents, as an affliction warlock raider myself.

The Warlock Talents

Pictures (MMO-Champion): Tier 1 (level 15), Tier 2 (30), Tier 3 (45), Tier 4 (60), Tier 5 (75), Tier 6 (90).

Notation-style: (a-c x6)

  1. (a) Dark Regeneration, (b) Soul Leech, (c) Harvest of Life
  2. (a) Howl of Terror, (b) Mortal Coil, (c) Shadowfury
  3. (a) Hour of Twilight, (b) Soul Link, (c) Sacrificial Pact
  4. (a) Bloodstone, (b) Soul Drain, (c) Nether Ward
  5. (a) Grimoire of Supremacy, (b) Grimoire of Service, (c) Grimoire of Sacrifice
  6. (a) Archimonde’s Vengeance, (b) Kil’jaeden’s Cunning, (c) Illidan’s Guile

Notes on Malefic Grasp: There’s an ability called Malefic Grasp (abbrev. MG) that’s mentioned in the talents.  Judging by search hits from the mere mention of it, warlocks everywhere are searching for what this new spell is exactly.  Where it’s mentioned in the talents is alongside Shadow Bolt (SB) and Incinerate (Incin), the known and current filler spells for warlocks.  Therefore, my (& others’) speculation is that MG is the third filler spell to further differentiate the three specs of warlocks.  Currently, demonology shares a filler with Aff or Destro, depending on whether shadow (SB) or fire (Incin) ends up being a better damage per execute time (DPET) spell.  With the nerfs to Drain Life in tier 12, Blizzard has already said that it intends for Shadow Bolt to be affliction’s filler, and Incinerate naturally fits destruction’s fire focus, so the concluding speculation is that Malefic Grasp will be demonology’s filler spell.

Tier Themes: After looking at all the warlock talents, I first wanted to see if I could spot the separate spec talents.  Which ones belong to affliction, which to demonology, which to destruction.  Then I realized each tier has a theme, more or less.

Tier 1 = Drain / Self-Healing

  1. Dark Regeneration | Restores 50% of your maximum health over 25 sec.  No resource / Instant-cast / 3m CD.
  2. Soul Leech | Your Shadow Bolt, Incinerate, and Malefic Grasp heal you for 25% of the damage dealt.
  3. Harvest of Life | Drains the life from the life from the target and all targets within 20 yards, causing 94 Shadow damage and restoring 2% of the caster’s total health per target every 1 sec.  Lasts 3 sec.  640 Mana + 20 per sec. / Channeled / 40yd range / GCD.
    Empowered Channel: Recasting this spell before it finishes boosts the duration by 3 sec.  Stacks 5 times.

Dark Regeneration and Soul Leech are both straight healing from ability use: DR is a CD itself, while SLeech is a rebate-like heal (you cast a spell and get some of it “back”).  The percentages make Dark Regen sound like a powerful cooldown, so I did some napkin math to put the two in perspective.

My maximum health right now, on my Armory, is about 130k.  50% ~= 65k; over 25s that means ~2.6k HPS, which is 2% max health per sec.  Without raid buffs, mind you; so with raid buffs, I’d imagine this amount would be a bit higher.  DR is a set heal over a long period of time.

Looking at a WoL log from a 25man raid, my Shadow Bolt does about 15k on an average hit (over the whole night) and 31k on a crit.  This leads to a ~3.75k heal or 7.75k heal on a crit.  SL is dependent on my firing off Shadow Bolts, which is dependent on various things like DPS assignment (multiple targets, alive-time of targets) or movement (…without KJC (t6) of course).

The difference ends up being in the healing/damage pattern, because I think the healing numbers would come out about the same.  DR is a set HoT; it will tick every so often for a fixed amount.  SLeech is a variable direct heal, which is dependent on your current DPS performance.

SLeech I imagine would be the standard raid talent; you do nothing different as your filler is what procs the effect.  It also invokes a bit of a choice; if you need a small heal NOW, you can cast your filler spell and receive one without putting strain on the healers to heal everyone up.  SLeech’s healing would also be a major factor of your self-healing, probably like how Siphon Life is now.  It’s not much, but it helps when it counts (Chimaeron as affliction is ridiculous).

DR sounds more of a heavy healer helper (it has a cooldown’s cooldown) than a regular heal.  DR sounds like something you would use when the boss fight mechanics include a large period of little to no raid damage followed by a short period of very heavy raid damage.  Typical over-time spells (HoTs & DoTs) tend to follow the rule of 3s for standard ticks, but this one might follow a rule of 5s, considering 24s would be more in line with a 3s tick.

I don’t know how well a 25s period of heavy raid damage would go over with the healers, but it would provide a bit of a buffer for healers if there’s a heavy raid damage period or blast (almost die, like Ashbury’s Stay of Execution or Chimaeron’s Massacre), and then a period of nothing for the follow-up raid healing.

Harvest of Life.  Oh boy.  This reads like an AoE Drain Life.

HoL on a single-target boss fight would even out in the healing that DR & SLeech offer: 2% per sec.  HoL on a multi-target fight, on the other hand, would have some potential awesome healing.

Except warlocks are not healers.

This might be the token PvP talent (proximity in PvP happens all the time), or, it could be a burst affliction spell, if the damage scales well enough (a good chunk of AoE dmg every second? yes please!).  Seed of Corruption has a cast time to it.  Rain of Fire tends to be both weak and takes a long time (considering raid DPS) to tick the first time, as well as being very position-dependent (targeting circle…and then the tank moves everything out of the area = sadface).  Even as a single target spell, it would be nice to get some usable burst action for affliction.

I would like to wait and see on HoL as to how worthy it can be in a raid situation.

The other interesting tidbit I found about HoL is the Empowered effect.  Naturally, I figure Empowering will come through by Soulburning, since affliction is said to still have soul shards as a resource system.  Demonology was reported with “Demonic Fury” and destruction would get “Infernal Embers.”  Demonic Fury is a powerup to a buff, while Infernal Embers sounds like combo points.  Soul Shards will remain the same mechanic, with hopefully more interesting things to do.

However, the weird part about HoL’s Empowered effect is that it encourages you to clip the ticks!  (At least, until the fifth and last stack.)  DoT clipping — that is, recasting the DoT before the last tick has ticked — has long been a big no-no in warlockery (unless a major buff proc just happened and it is worth it to recast the DoT).  In Cataclysm, the “continuation” of the last tick into the new cast somewhat fixed clipping, but you can still clip spells with variable damage on ticks, like Bane of Agony.

Tier 2 = CC (Fear, Horror, Stun)

  1. Howl of Terror | Howl, causing 5 enemies within 10 yds to flee in terror for 8 sec.  Damage caused may interrupt the effect.  1280 Mana / Instant-cast / 40s CD.
  2. Mortal Coil | Causes an enemy target to run in horror for 3 sec.  The caster restores 25% of their maximum health.  1920 Mana / Instant-cast / 30yd range / 45 sec CD.
  3. Shadowfury | Shadowfury is unleashed, stunning all enemies within 8 yds for 3 sec.  1600 Mana / Instant-cast / 30yd range / 20s CD.

All of these are existing spells; Mortal Coil is merely Death Coil renamed with some added health restoration.  The cool thing is Shadowfury, currently a Destro-only talent, will be open for Demo & Aff to use.

This tier will definitely change on your CC needs per fight; it will change up affliction PvP a bit with having a choice between either Howl or Coil, but not both (as you currently have both).  Death Coil is a good cover for a Fear (since DC is a horror effect, which does not share diminishing returns with Fear), and in PvE I sometimes use it as a clutch 2nd healthstone (Lady Blaumeux, anyone?).  Shadowfury is useful now on Ragnaros as destruction during the phase transitions, and Howl is a popular melee peel in PvP.

Tier 3 = Damage Reductions (Straight)

  1. Hour of Twilight | When a damaging attack brings you below 20% of your maximum health, all damage taken is reduced by 50% for 10 sec.  This effect cannot occur more than once every 90 seconds.
  2. Soul Link | When active, all damage and healing the Warlock takes is shared with her active demon.  That damage cannot be prevented.  Lasts as long as the demon is active and controlled.  1600 Mana / Instant-cast / 40yd range.
  3. Sacrificial Pact | Your demon sacrifices itself to prevent all damage you would take for 10 sec.  No resource / Instant-cast / 100yd range / 5min CD.

Hour of Twilight …I think this one depends on how often we should find ourselves sub-20% health.  Sounds great for PvP (except, perhaps the internal cooldown), but I don’t know how many times in raid I find myself sub-20% when it’s not a wipe situation or a specific fight mechanic (Chimaeron).  Hmmmm.

Soul Link looks the same as current for the most part, except this time it adds in the effect from a maxed-out Fel Synergy talent — the healing of your pet.  It sounds great at first, but I remember pets have a passive Avoidance for AoE spells (the Doomguard appears to ignore EVERYTHING it stands in), and even without Fel Synergy, my pet didn’t die that often.  Considering the other two read like PvP, I think this will be the de facto raid talent for this tier.

Side-track: I am of the mind that healers are not responsible for my pet in a raid setting, even if it is a large portion of my damage.  I’m one of the route where I’m responsible for my pet, even when it bugs out and stands in fire (that’s what passive is for!).  So talents for healing pets are welcome in my book.

Sacrifical Pact.  Ohhhhhhhh, I’ll be honest, this reads like old-style paladin bubble for warlocks.  All damage immunity for 10 seconds?  While that would be a great cooldown in raids, this reads for the nerf path with heavy concerns in PvP.  The 5min CD would probably prevent it from seeing action in Arenas, but in Battlegrounds, I see possible nerfing down the road in either duration or allowing some damage through or possibly exception spells like Chaos Bolt (used to be) and Heroic Throw (is).

Tier 4 = Damage Reductions (Absorb/Heal)

  1. Bloodstone | Instantly restores 44% of the Warlock’s base health and increases healing received by 50% for 10 sec.  No Resource / Instant-cast / 2min CD.
  2. Spell Drain | The next single target spell focused at you heals you for half the damage it would have dealt.  Lasts 4 sec.  640 Mana / Instant-cast / 20s CD.
  3. Nether Ward | Transforms your Twilight Ward into Nether Ward.  Absorbs 3141 damage.  Lasts 30s.  30s CD.  When you absorb damage, you gain Nether Protection, reducing all damage by that spell school by 15% for 12 sec.

Bloodstone is a straight-up heal, and then a bonus to healing receive.  Spell Drain is a half-heal ward, and Nether Ward is an absorb plus some reduced spell damage taken (what it is now, just not limited to the Destro tree anymore).

Both NW & SD are limited to spells only; any fights with physical damage will use Bloodstone better.  Spell Drain particularly sounds like a great PvP spell for when you’re getting focused down.

Personally, when I go destro on Ragnaros, I use Nether Ward (or try to!) all the time.  I figure Nether Ward will be the go-to raid talent, especially since the duration seems to line up with the cooldown.  I figure the numbers will get changed, but as is, you can add Nether Ward into your line-up as a 30s-CD spell for raid damage.

I don’t know that theorycrafting guides will advocate NW; after all, it has no DPS increase besides “you live to cast another day.”  However, I grew up a warlock who took surviving as a central part of DPS.  I approach DPS as I should take as little attention from the healers as possible; I’m responsible for any damage I can avoid.  If I can throw in a ward every 30s to reduce my damage taken, I will do it, and I’ll advocate it.

Tier 5 = Minion Enhancement

  1. Grimoire of Supremacy | You command stronger demons.  replacing your normalminions.  These demons deal 10% additional damage and have more powerful abilities.
    Summonable Demons: Fel Imp, Voidlord, Shivan, Beholder, Abyssal, Terrorguard.
  2. Grimoire of Service | Instantly summon a second demon who fights for 30 sec.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.
  3. Grimoire of Sacrifice | You sacrifice your pet to gain increased damage and health.  Lasts for 3 min.  Summoning another pet cancels the effect.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.

Ah, tier 5.

From looking at Twitter when the talents were previewed, Grimoire of Supremacy was a jizz-in-the-pants moment for warlocks everywhere, even if you weren’t Demo.  At the very least, the minions we love most have outdated models, and new, shiny things make anyone smile.

Minion choice is a thing we do in our theorycrafting; it’s why Demo uses the felhunter even though the felguard is the “demonology” flavor pet.  It’s why, for a time, affliction used the succubus, even though the felhunter is the “affliction” flavor pet.  In raid theorycrafting for a warlock’s personal DPS, you take the pet that does the best job.  Currently (as of 4.2), the felhunter is the best single-target pet for pet DPS by itself.  The felguard jumps up if you’re Demo and you have Meta and other cooldowns going, and the imp is Destro’s pet because of additional DPS benefits it provides to the warlock herself.

If there’s a talent that introduces vastly more awesome pets for all three specs, then this will be the mandatory talent to take.  Which is a problem for Blizzard, since Blizzard wants to move away from cookie-cutter specs.  The other two talents would need to boost our damage by a similar amount to compete with this one.

My other concern with Supremacy is the Blizzard Killed My Dog effect.  I love fighting with Bheezhem by my side.  Or Ormmon.  Or Bizmir.  I remember when Blizzard temporarily killed all our dogs.  I cried and canceled my raid spot because it just was not the same raiding without my felpuppy.  I felt stupid for being so upset over just a name change, but…it’s my Bheezhem.  He goes everywhere with me.

So with Supremacy will my Bheezhem just evolve or transform into something more powerful?  Or will I need to meet new minions?  Will I have to stay with these new minions? Or will Blizzard be able to balance and diversify the fights such that I can take another tier 5 talent (& my default minions) on other fights?

Service at first sounds like a mini Mirror Image for minions.  (Type “Mini Minion Mirror Image” five times fast.)  Will I get the true mirror image copy, and then have two Bheezhems running around?

Or does this mean I can summon a completely different pet and have both out simultaneously?  For Demo, currently alternating between two pets, this would be amazing.  Thirty seconds is just long enough for ability and trinket cooldowns to finish their course (and then some).

Sacrifice is the last one, and after reading the other two, it sounds a bit meh (at first).  Perhaps with some actual numbers for the increased damage done, we’ll be able to discuss it better.  Right now it is just a straight DPS increase, with the possible side-effect of a mini max-health boost, but without your minion by your side (as summoning another minion cancels the effect).

I think Sacrifice will be the choice for affliction, actually.  Saccing your demon just before you launch into cooldowns or into a multidotting situation would benefit the affliction lock more than just a second demon or a stronger demon.  None of Aff’s secondary stats significantly boost our demons’ performance; rather, we often use our demons to boost ours (Demon Soul, CC, etc.).  Versus: the tandem that destruction locks have with the casting imp macros & procs, and the almost complete dependency demonology locks have with their demons.  A straight damage increase would be more appealing to the affliction warlock as we do the heavy-lifting on our combined master-and-minion DPS.

Tier 6 = Special Ability

  1. Archimonde’s Vengeance | Curse an enemy, inflicting 25% of all damage you take to also harm them.  Lasts 15 sec.  Instant-cast / 1min CD.
  2. Kil’jaeden’s Cunning | You can cast and channel while moving, but doing so doubles the cast time or period of a spell.
  3. Illidan’s Guile | Shadow Bolt, Incinerate, and Malefic Grasp deal splash damage to enemies within 10 yards of their target.  Lasts 30 sec.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.

First off, I was sad there was no Gul’dan or Cho’gall reference in there.  Three demons just do not offer too much variety in my warlock role models.  (Also, Medivh, though I’m not sharp enough on lore to argue he’s a warlock versus a mage.)  Besides, demon warlocks are just plain boring.  I mean, they’re demons — of course they will be full of fel.  Zzzzzzzzz.

At first I thought that Archimonde’s Vengeance was Bane of Havoc redone.  Then I reread it, and, well, it sort of is.  Instead of transferring damage you deal to another target to also the cursed target (Bane of Havoc), it transfers damage you took from the cursed target.  Sounds great for a major boss-nuke phase, especially if you’re not in a position to be actively dealing damage (moving, out of range, etc.).

For PvP, it also sounds pretty cool, especially since it does not specify caster of spell damage on you.  It doesn’t say if you poke me, I reflect some back to you.  It says if you poke me or if Tom pokes me, I reflect some damage back to you.  The anti-focus-fire for warlocks, I suppose.  For PvE, this means it will work like a Bane of Havoc if we have more multi-“room” fights, like Beth’tilac’s up & down areas.  Makes me wonder if we will still retain Bane of Havoc in Mists.

It also tickles my “Demo likes melee” thought.  Demo likes melee because of Immolation Aura and Shadowflame, but Aff and Destro also like melee range for Shadowflame if they can get there.  There are other times when we need to stand in melee with others — “share the love” mechanics (Argaloth, Scorpion Majordomo, etc.).  While you almost never die to these mechanics due to the majority of the raid in the same spot splitting all the damage, it’s pretty cool to have a damage-increase incentive to share the love with my raid members.

I’m specifically looking ahead to Morchok‘s Resonating Crystal mechanic, where you need 3 people minimum to share the love, and I figure raids will often stick to just 3 people sharing.  While life isn’t so bad when you’re a clothy sharing with 12-24 other people, life might get a tad hairy if you’re a clothy sharing with only 2 others (who, if the crystal spawns in range, might also be clothies!).  With AV, on the other hand, the more damage you take, the more damage AV deals.  I think it’s an interesting concept of almost-dying-to-deal-more-DPS.

Kil’jaeden’s Cunning is Spiritwalker’s Grace for warlocks.  With a time penalty.  That makes sense since KJC would be the de facto talent everywhere if it did not have such a penalty.

I don’t think it would be terribly attractive for affliction at all.  Affliction loves haste, specifically for more DoT ticks rather than just a shorter Shadow Bolt cast time.  Affliction especially loves haste for more DoT ticks once everyone else in the raid has geared up.

You’ll notice this in the beginning of tiers and comparing them to later in the tiers.  When everyone is struggling to perform, affliction starts to shine because our DPS is more dependent on how long the target is alive / how much health there is to destroy.  The longer the fight goes, the more DoT ticks we can fit in, so the higher our DPS seems at the beginning of a tier.  As everyone gears up around us, even though we ourselves have also improved with gear, our DPS actually starts to go down on trivial fights like trash in instances, since the available health pools aren’t up as long for us to get our DoTs up and ticking.

Introducing a longer period between ticks wouldn’t be attractive to an affliction warlock.  As we are, now, affliction is actually better on movement than destruction or demonology is.  We don’t lose as much DPS from moving, and we lose even less if we’ve learned to stagger-step our Shadow Bolts in.  (Stagger-step = cast, move, cast, move, cast, move, cast, move, etc.)

Illidan’s Guile sounds a bit meh to me, possibly because I already paw at Seed of Corruption like candy on Halloween.  The difference between which AoE a warlock (or any DPSer) uses depends largely on the pattern of mob position.

If mobs are in a fixed position, more or less, then a warlock is more likely to use a target-circle (Rain of Fire) or cone effect (Shadowflame) type of AoE.  Target circles are often channeled, too, and often the only time you have to stand still for AoE is a stack-up point.  If the mobs are stacked on top of raiders (Ragnaros phase 2), then the radial AoEs will be used if they are stronger (and usually are) than the target-circle or cone-effect AoEs.

Rain of Fire just doesn’t really work out for warlocks.  Shadowflame is awesome on bosses for a bit of single-target DPS, but it’s not a typical AoE.

Radial AoEs — Seed of Corruption, Hellfire, e.g. — do not have a specific target-circle on the ground placement.  Instead, they radiate outward a set distance from a specific point; Seed radiates from the current target, and Hellfire radiates from the warlock herself.  Hellfire is currently only utilized by Demo locks, who can move while Hellfiring, and Seed is a short enough cast that Aff and Destro locks can stagger-step it at the worst.  The advantage of radial AoEs is that if the mobs move, your AoE is still very effective.  Either you move with Hellfire, or you learn with Seed to place it on the most-central mob.  (Another thing with Seed if you try to pick the target which will live longest, so you can spam it longer, which leads to sometimes switching Seed target mid-fight.)

Splash damage works like a radial AoE.  It hits things nearby.

I don’t know why specifically IG was introduced when we already have Seed of Corruption.  I think perhaps if you are Demo or Destro you may like IG, since you can deal normal damage without switching to a weaker AoE (Seed is outside of Destro’s main spell school, but Rain of Fire is a much weaker AoE).

As for affliction?  My Seed casts are faster than Shadow Bolt, reaches farther than IG (15yds versus 10yds), and if Soulburned Seed doesn’t go away, it’s actually more beneficial for me to switch to Seed to spread my DoTs than it is to use some filler splash damage (which is most likely NOT a DoT).  I suppose it could be a way to get some burst damage in; Shadow Bolt definitely hits harder as a single hit than Seed, but that would depend on how much of the original hit splashes.

My Affliction Raiding Spec?

Of course, as Blizzard intends this to be switchable on a per-fight basis, I don’t think I can say anymore that any one spec is the way to go.  But, what are the talents I will pick first?  Which talents would I wear if I was walking into a Mists raid tomorrow?

I think I will go BCBCCA: Soul Leech, Shadowfury, Soul Link, Nether Ward, Grimoire of Sacrifice, and Archimonde’s Vengeance.  (Wowhead has a Mists calculator now!  Here’s my build.)

I also find it a tad funny to see the specs flip talent screen sides.  Traditionally, the specs go in alphabetical order, so you’ll see today affliction, demonology, destruction, left to right.  The Mists talents, on the other hand, appear to have right-side affliction and left-side destruction talents.

Soul Leech is a do-what-you-do healing effect for me.  Shadowfury is a CC I enjoy when I go destro, and sometimes wish I had as affliction, since affliction’s utility is either curse application or pet-dependent.  Soul Link is because it works well enough now, and I also think it would be awesome and hilarious to have an SL/SL build* again.  Nether Ward is a great reduction for spell damage, and most raid damage, even in melee stack-ups, is spell-based.  Grimoire of Sacrifice, I gave my reasons above; in short, I think it would provide the most benefit as affliction spec.  Archimonde’s Vengeance because as an affliction warlock, I really do feel that my health, mana, and damage are fluid and connected concepts that are swapped and transformed between each other often enough.  One of affliction’s strengths is self-healing, so I’m not too afraid to take a few hits for more damage.  It also feels exciting when you’re at that point of your health pool where you could very well die in the next hit, but by definition you’re not dead yet, so you keep casting.

*SL/SL (short for Siphon Life / Soul Link) was an old Wrath build where the warlock went down the affliction tree just enough to get Siphon Life (about halfway down), and then went down the demonology tree the rest of the way.  This resulted in a high-survivability/damage build that was pretty awesome for soloing old dungeons and for PvP.

What will you pick first?  Whys are most welcome. :)

Project 5×2: Brainstorm

Begin the Brainstorm | The Challenge is ON!

Cynwise suggested a macroless setup.  It got my creative juices flowing a bit — reminded me of certain spells I took for granted.

I started to write out macros, using my favorite macros resource, Fitzcairn’s Macro Explain-o-matic.  I looked up using conditionals on /castsequence, I made sure I put aside some pet control, I looked up how to incorporate Soul Swap into a macro.

At first I thought it would be simply writing a handful of castsequence or modifier macros.

Hoo boy.

No matter how confusedly difficult it gets, I plan to see it as a challenge to demonstrate what I know about affliction PvE play (I’m not quite ready to tackle this for PvP), but also to learn more about affliction PvE play.  The things I take for granted, like spell usage.

Spell Usage | Difference Between Group and Solo

The more I wrote some snippets and thought about things, the more I realized that solo often has a laxer and Drain-Life-esque rotation than in group.

Group is typically the raid rotation, or close to it.  You use Haunt, you use Curse of the Elements, you use Shadow Bolt, you end with Drain Soul.  Solo, I typically toss out Corruption, maybe UA and a BoA, then pop a Shadowflame if I want to, and move on to the next mob, draining as necessary.  I even slap up Curse of Weakness more often than not in solo because I’m drain-tanking mobs, and it always helps that the melee mobs don’t smack off chunks of my health.

Can I add a Soul Swap macro in?  Do I even need Soul Swap, or can I still multidot old-school fairly effectively?

When I’m in raid, I of course need access to my Life Tap.  When I’m solo, or in a 5man (presuming the fight isn’t too terribly long), I Life Tap out of combat.

I need Fear and Banish at the ready in 5mans (focus macros are amazing), but not so much in raid or solo.  Can I fit both in one focus macro?  What if I need to control two targets?  (Multi-CC in Grim Batol comes to mind.)

I use my Doomguard in raids; I hardly ever use a guardian outside of raids.  (Maybe just for Infernally stunning fun.)

Dark Intent can be placed out of combat, but I still want the ability to place it on someone when I’m not grouped.  Doing dailies around Tol Barad & the Peninsula, I tend to trade buffs since it appears I can’t soulstone non-group members anymore.

The AoEs — Seed and Rain — have their places and times, so I’ll need to work up something for those as well.

Then there’s Soulburn, there’s Soul Harvest, there’s healthstones and soulstones and summoning.  If I’m expected to utilize the soulstone as a brez (combat!), can I fit it in somewhere?

Can I get a pet bar or a macro of pet control in there somewhere?

Possibly Using Addons | The One Ring

Originally, upon learning addons were okay, I thought of Dominos‘s advanced use.  You can add macro conditions to Dominos’s bars (the default is [combat]show;hide), and there’s a few dropdowns where you can use Bar 2 if you’re targeting a friend or Bar 3 if you’re targeting an enemy.  I thought of using those, to lighten up the macros.

Then, I used my hearthstone, which is in a ring I made in OPie, and it hit me.  The One OPie Ring.

Of course, if OPie is ever discontinued or breaks beyond fixing, you’re totally screwed out the ass, but as long as it works, it appears to be a wonderful idea.  You can embed rings inside rings, so it would make the perfect out-of-combat keybind.

You could make a Pet Bar inside one keybind.  You can make a pet bar, a stone bar, a CC bar, a consumables bar …all inside one keybind.

As long as you can macro it, you can fit it in an OPie ring slice.

Keybind Arrangement | The Nuke Center

The 2 key is my nuke button, since my 1 key broke its top off a long time ago, and the 2 key is still fairly close to my navigation keys (W, AD strafing, S).  I still use the number row (1-0,-, =) as my main bar, and then I have a Dominos bar for clicking set just above that one.

Then I have a plethora of OPie bars bound to nearby keys (alt-Q, alt-R, shift-F, shift-X).  Then I have even more macros bound to more keys via BindPad (Soulshatter is shift-Q, mounts are alt-E, boss macros are shift-E, etc.).

I wonder sometimes what would happen to my current setup if I used a Razer Naga or similar multi-button mouse.  (I currently use a simple USB Logitech two-button mouse with a scrollwheel.)  Or even if I had an actual gaming keyboard versus my compact laptop one.

I mouse-turn while casting spells, sometimes (Shadowflame is a cone, you can sweep it).  I have to move while casting my instants — that is the whole point of Fel Flame, isn’t it?  Do the navigational keys count in the 5 key count?  Do disabled players mouse-turn (alternating with movement keys?) or keyboard-turn?  Do they use that special clickable movement interface addon instead?  (Can’t remember the link ARGH)

Should I arrange my 5 keys in the 1-5 row or use multiple rows in a cluster?  Should I position them more like a PvP setup, curling around the WASD keys?  Should I position them on the right side of the keyboard, for better keyboard-to-mouse movement, if the player plays with a right-handed mouse?  Should I design the keybinds to operate separately — that is, there’s no “order” to press them in?

Does It Work? | Testing Needed

At the end, once I’ve got a setup I think with work, I’d like to try it out myself.  The big difficulty will be breaking my habits and trying as faithfully as possible to play in a disabled fashion.

I can’t remember the movement pad addon, but I’ll try using that.  I’d have to make a special profile for Dominos and OPie and BindPad, so I’m not tempted to use my many many keys.

I’m not sure whether I should just go pug something on Live with it, or whether those who are also working on this project can get a 5man together once on the PTR (for max-level testing), where we can test multiple classes and specs and ping ideas off each other.


This is an initial brainstorm of a post.  I plan to continue thinking and scribbling on this.  I encourage others to try it out for your class and spec, even if just for kicks.

If you’ve got other brainstorms going on, feel free to comment, whether it’s aff-locking or not.  I find my best brainstorming happens when I can think for a bit and then talk to others.

If you don’t feel like putting it in a comment, feel free to leave a link to a post in a comment or talk about it on Twitter (I’m @slowpoker).

Update: I’ve started a page to compile things.  Feel free to comment there to add references & links.

My Gearsheet

Inspired by the Blueberry Totem post about how much BS is in “BiS lists.”  I agree, so I’m going to show you my own Excel spreadsheet of items for my own PvE gearset.  It’s not really a BiS list; in my view, it’s more of a source list than anything.  I encourage you to make your own; I’m just showing you mine (& possibly how I make mine).

I double-checked with people (via Twitter) whether uploading my own Excel sheet would be useful or not.  General consensus was people will use it just to tweak their own sets, so it’s meh if not useful.  I then commented the crap out of my Excel sheet, so putting a minimal FAQ (by worksheet) here.

If you have questions or comments, just comment on this post. More-tag time.

4.0.6 Affliction Spec Discussion

Specifically talent spec, glyphs, and pets.

I was going to do a fishing reprise, now that my guild has the feast.  Because since we have the feast, that doesn’t mean “stop fishing.”  Actually that means “keep fishing more.”  But our guild bank is going through supplies quickly, so I figured less writing, more fishing.  I’ll finish it later. I keep forgetting the more tag.

[gear] 85 But Not Yet Raiding

My guild has tasked myself and my guildmates to plan out gear in order to get ready to raid.  Of course, we have a week or two on our raid calendar already for Five-Man-Festivals, and it’d be great to know what blues I ought to look out for.

Normally, I’d just go by my usual stat priority.

This is a gear list which means it’s super long, so I’m going to try to break up this post with a more! tag.  As far as I can figure out, my settings should still keep a full post in the feed reader, but let me know if it doesn’t. Go on, go on!

Damage Dealing Is What I Love

“Yes, we know that you’re a warlock,” you might be thinking.

But do you know that I’m a clarinet player?

I’ve been playing my clarinet for almost a decade now.

It feels weird that I’m old enough to say things about myself involving a decade of pursuit.

Xylophone Spec

I think it was fifth grade I learned to play the recorder.  I remember loving playing Hot Cross Buns over and over on that probably really badly tuned plastic stick with holes on it with twenty-some other really bad recorder players in the carpeted trailer that served as our music classroom.

In fifth grade, the last grade before middle school, the middle school band teachers came over with a whole bunch of instruments.  Everything you’d see in a sixth grade band — clarinets, flutes, trumpets, drums, saxes, trombones, french horns.

I wanted badly to play the drums. Specifically the xylophone.

Unfortunately, they required piano practice for some unknown reason to play the drums.  I still don’t know why.

People, this is why I endured two years of piano.  I quit piano after I realized that the advanced pieces required huge handspans (Screw you, Chopin, for making music I love but CAN’T play) and I’m a person with small hands.  Example?  A DVD case’s height is thumb to pinky stretching.  The Logitech USB mouse with only two buttons and scroll wheel is my perfect mouse size.  I have small hands.

Anyway, I banged on the drumpad as best in rhythm as I could.  I even got to try the trumpet, but I didn’t like it because I fail at buzzing my lips.  Years later a trombone friend (who happened to play a cat druid in a guild with some dashingly crimson vestments) told me that was weird because typically people start out on the trombone which has a bigger mouthpiece.


After you try all the instruments, they tell you which one they think you’d be good for playing for the next three to seven years.

I got the clarinet as my result.

Dime a Dozen

The clarinet, in my opinion at the time, was like the violin of bands.  Violins are to orchestras like clarinets are to bands. There are a LOT of clarinets.  The clarinet section takes up an entire side on high school band seating.  There’s easily 20-30 clarinets in a section.  In District Band tryouts — that is, the school district and all the band players in it — 70 was on the low side for a tryout listing.

Because of the clarinet’s abundance in school bands, it’s considered an honor if you make Symphonic Band instead of the lower Concert Band.  Same thing for flutes and maybe trumpets.

For something like the oboe or the bassoon or the percussionists, you weren’t even remotely bad-ass until you were in the first parts’ (parts are split into first, second, and third, sometimes fourth in old pieces) seating.  Maybe not even until you WERE number one chair.

Why?  If six oboists show up to audition, grats, you made it. Number-wise, nearly 100% of the oboists who auditioned got into one of the bands.  Maybe one person didn’t make it because they only needed five across the two bands.  You have to beat four maybe five other people to get an audition spot for States.  It wasn’t that rare to have the first chair bassoonist be a godly good senior, and the second chair was just pretty good sophomore.

Seventy clarinets show up to audition and about thirty-five to forty made it. Number-wise, 50-60% of the clarinets made it.   You have to beat sixty to sixty-four people to get an audition for States.  Basically, not only did you have to be playing first part in Symphonic Band, you had to be in the top half of those playing first part to be even guaranteed an audition for States.  The two clarinets on either side of me were maybe a point or two off from my score.  You had to compare the first chairs of the two bands (#1 of auditions and #21 of auditions) to get any real jump in score.

Once, I made it to 12th chair Symphonic.  That’s end of the second row (three rows usually).  13th chair was the beginning of third row.  I was the last possible second part clarinet. I was ECSTATIC.  I still have my nametag from that that says my name, my school, and my chair.  I wasn’t even playing first part and I was SUPER HAPPY.

Sure, as an oboist, you’ve got pressure because no one has your part.  But clarinets?  To be a good clarinetist, to separate yourself from the merely average clarinetist, you’ve got to be godly good.

Which is a ridiculous amount of pressure for anybody to bear.

But I’m Special

I wanted to be a percussionist when I was littler because I wanted to stand out.

Clarinets and flutes are largely composed of girls.  There’s always talk of that One Guy Flute or that One Guy Clarinet and whether he’s going to still be there by sophomore year.  Percussionists and brass players, on the other hand, are largely guys.  Though, I admit, I would have been a stereotypical percussion girl if I did happen to play the xylophone.  Girls played the bells, y’know.

My friend, who happened to play tuba in marching band, said tubas measure marching bands by exclaiming that OH MY GOD THEY HAVE A GIRL TUBA! OH OH OH MY GOD THEY HAVE TWO GIRL TUBAS!!!!  THEY HAVE TWO GIRL TUBAS WHAT IS THIS I DON’T /faint.

Girl tubas are rare like panda babies, yo.

I wanted to play an awesome instrument purely because I was awesome naturally.

I didn’t take band class when I entered into sixth grade.  I was FURIOUS that I was chosen for the lowly clarinet. You can’t even hear the clarinet during pieces.  Oh, it looks like they’re playing, but are they really?  I don’t hear them.

I’m special, I deserve to play something special and unique.

So I took the option that wasn’t band class.  A rotation of keyboarding (l2type class), art class, and choir.

Keyboarding was fun because it was computers, but really boring considering I aced most of the speed typing contests.

Art class could have been fun except I don’t like being told how or what I’m supposed to paint.  Art is subjective, right?  It’s feeling, right?  It’s totally not concrete “Draw this”, right?  I was known among my classmates for having a knack at drawing.  Well, not like Ginny awesome drawing.  But better than your average stick figure.

Choir.  HAH.  Oh, choir, I don’t miss you at ALL.  First off, I was shy and unsure of my singing abilities.  That whole singing in front of your peers alone thing?  Do you know how nasty peers are?

I had this joke:  I can sing, but you don’t want to hear it.

LFM Concert Auditorium, need Clarinets

Late in the semester, the band teacher pulled me and some other people out of art/choir.  Just to talk.

Apparently, they needed more clarinets. We three had scored as clarinets back in fifth grade tryouts, so they pleaded with us.

I reluctantly said yes.  At least it wasn’t artchoirputer, right?

To epeen a bit, I was first chair clarinetist in my school bands a lot, and when I was wasn’t, I was the highest chair clarinetist in my grade.  The one time in District Band I did not make Symphonic Band, I was first chair Concert band.  I was in marching band during high school, and I tried out for marching band in college, but kept getting cut below #30 out of the freshies and the returners.

I’m good at clarinet.  Not godly good — no, that was a girl in the year below me; she was the James Galway (aka flute GOD) of clarinets that I’ve seen so far.   But I think I can say that I’m a good clarinet player.

And to think, I didn’t want to play clarinet in the beginning because the clarinet is the common instrument.

A Clarinet’s Part

Clarinets tune the band — did you know that?  Yeah, no shit, they do.  Sometimes a flute or an oboe gets picked, sometimes they choose the tuba so you can tune down, but those quickie tunes before the conductor gets on stage are typically done by a clarinet.  Mainly because it’s super easy to tune a clarinet. You just pull out if it’s sharp or push in if it’s flat.  Nothing with the reed, not much with your embouchure (mouth shape & position), just pull out or push in.  Takes half a second.

Our reeds are really cheap, too. I can get a box of 10 for five bucks.  An oboe or a bassoon?  They can get one of their reeds for 20 bucks on the cheap side.  You can also snap an oboe’s reed pretty easily since they have no mouthpiece.  Their reed is the mouthpiece.

You can chip a clarinet reed pretty easily too, though you gotta be a real dumbass to do it.  If you ever see a bunch of clarinetists carrying around their mouthpiece cover and putting the cover on after every pause … this is why.  To prevent ourselves from being dumbasses on a regular basis.

Clarinets play in the same key as trumpets.  Trumpets are loud.  Trumpets are also stereotypically full of themselves.  A standard band joke is “How many trumpets does it take to screw in a light bulb?” “Seven; one to screw it in, and six to tell him they can do it better.”  You hear trumpets more often than your hear clarinets, but we often play the same parts.

Or we’ll be playing with the flutes. That’s what first part clarinets do a lot, because we’re in the upper register all the time.  The second part clarinets might end up playing with the french horns, harmonizing with everyone.  The third part clarinets often end up playing with the bassoons and bass clarinets.  Not solid rules, but generalities.

Sometimes there was a clarinet solo.  It was upper register nigh on all of the time.  Then you’d have clarinet sectionals — it’s like a solo, except the entire section plays.  My favorite sectionals were marches.  You might think marches are kinda boring.  They are foot-tapping, but rather predictable.   The trio was almost ALWAYS the clarinet sectional.   I love march trios. The first time through the trio, it was just the clarinets on top of everybody’s piano (I mean soft volume this time).  The second time, everybody joined in, but it was still the clarinet’s party.

I also love Celtic songs.  Not because I happen to have Irish heritage and like Celtic music anyway, but I love playing the clarinet on Celtic-sounding pieces.  Very mellow sounding, and you get long notes that bring out the clarinet’s natural woody sound. (Wood clarinet >> plastic clarinet)

College Band Class

I still play my clarinet from time to time.  Not as much as I used to.  I did play for a bit in the college band class, but I kept feeling bad about not practicing so I stopped.  It was relaxing, though, and quite fun, so I probably ought to try it again.

There was one time when the trombones (GEEZ TROMBONES) couldn’t get this funky rhythm to work.  The conductor / band director asked rhetorically if they could count to four.  One…eeeee….piiiiii…FOUR! …right?  Am I right?  You know I’m totally right… right? Then he stopped himself and started a poll of our majors to prove we should be ashamed of ourselves for not being able to count properly.

About half the band was comprised of engineering majors.  I mean, I go to a university known for engineering.  That was expected.

The majority after engineering was math & science majors — almost the rest of the band.  Science being a broad term ranging from biology to animal sciences (we also have a pretty good veterinary grad school).

There were no music majors present. Not a single one.

So yes, it’s entirely possible to assemble a band of a hundred or so people who play an instrument outside their major just for shits and giggles.  Even more amazing, you can come back the next semester and the same people are there.  Crazy, right?

I am a Warlock

I have this joke: I can sing, but it sounds reedy.  (I “sing” through playing my clarinet.)

It’s not too hard to tell people I love the clarinet and have them believe that I play my clarinet because I love playing the clarinet.  They don’t believe I play it because I want any sort of fame or it’s a hard instrument to pick up or I play like freaking Benny Goodman good or anything superficial reason like that.

So why is it so hard for other WoW players of different roles to believe I play my warlock, a pure DPS class, not because it’s hard or it has less pressure than a healing or tanking spec or because I can be a hardcore raider with hardcore recognition of my hardcore DPS numbers?

I believe tuba players play the tuba because it’s fun.  Not because it happens to be the most important instrument in the room when the band has to crescendo (or decrescendo).

Can you believe my fellow clarinets that they play their clarinets, their warlocks and hunters and mages and rogues and cat druids and moonkin and fury warriors and arms warriors and frost DKs and unholy DKs and enhancement shamans and elemental shamans and shadow priests and ret pallies … because they like to play their DPS spec for shits and giggles?

Can you believe that I play my affliction warlock purely because I love being an affliction warlock?

Believe me, I know I’m a dime a dozen, I’ve been a dime a dozen for half my life now, and it’s not an insult to me.  I relish it, actually.  After years of playing the upper register, I’ve come to the conclusion that second part is where it’s at!  I know I’m not the soloist, and it’s not an insult to me.  I know I’m not the best in my class, and it’s not an insult to me.  I actually like being Not The Best.

What is an insult to me, is you telling me I couldn’t possibly choose a class for what it is.  That I have to have some stupid reason like less pressure to boost my self-esteem in order to love what I’m doing.

That…is what I, as a player of a pure DPS class, find insulting about this whole DPS-Healer-Tank trinity discussion that pops up every once in while.

Affliction Talents & Glyphs (Raiding)

Since only a radical expansion-changing change would change talents around beyond minor edits for this post, I’m going to leave it a vague title and update as needed.  Raiding is in parentheses since that’s my main focus, even though this discussion could apply to various spec foci.

Updated for 4.0.1.

Making a T&G Build

I’m all for making your own build.  Even as you level.  I find it a bit of a fun game to see if I can guess the raiding talent & glyph build as I level and then check it only when I hit 80.  I usually get pretty close, too.  I may have chosen leveling talents, but I can tell almost the exact raiding build upon hitting cap level.

For a caster DPS, anything that increases your damage means you should obviously take this.  Beneficial procs like haste or crit are also, dur-hur, taken.  In the Cataclysm trees, those heavily-bordered talents are actually spells that get added to your spellbook in your specific specialization’s tab.

In Cataclysm, you must spend 31 points in one tree before you can branch out to the other ones, and then you have 10 points to put wherever you wish.  I will run a 32/3/6 build when I hit 85, so you don’t have to leave the Affliction tree once you’ve got your 31 points.  Beyond about 33 for PvE is getting a bit ridiculous, however.

Discussable Talents for Afflic

You wouldn’t discuss whether maxing out Improved Corruption or Everlasting Affliction is a big deal or not.  Taking both of those is a no-brainer in the land of PvE DPS.  (Even PvP DPS, dare I say.)

Improved Life Tap | I’m going to run with ILT 2/2 because I’m all for more mana back during a Life Tap.  I would have to Life Tap less often, which would certainly please my healers who, I’m told, will be seriously confined by mana in Cataclysm.

Jinx | Taking Jinx means that you can cast Curse of the Elements and have the spell effect extend to any-enemy-body within 20 or 40 yds.  Which is cool if you’re raiding and don’t have an Unholy DK (Ebon Plaguebringer talent) or a Moonkin (Earth & Moon talent) to help spread the love.  You can get by with a 20 yds increase if you’re a smart warlock and don’t Seed on the outside of mob packs.  (It’s the same deal with CoE; put it on the middle mob for max effect.)

It also does something to manaless powers regeneration, but I guess that extends to PvP.  I don’t see how it does in Battlegrounds since players tend to die in a matter of seconds.  Plus, usually when I die to a rogue it’s because I’m stun-locked, not because OH NOES his energy is regenning like CRAZY YO.  However, I’m a relative PvP beginner, so maybe I’m just talking a load of crap here.

Curse of Exhaustion (abbrev. CoEx) | I consider this a definite take, mainly because I’m excited to CC. I’d say “CC again,” but as a Wrath raider, I didn’t have much CC’ing going on in the first place.  I already have it in my 80 raiding build in 4.0.1, and it serves some use on Val’Kyrs in the Lich King fight.  Or the various mobs in Dreamwalker.  I don’t consider this a discussable talent, but some min/maxers may if they have other classes with slows covering them.

Improved Fear / Improved Howl of Terror | These are PvP talents, for the most part. Generally Fear isn’t used in dungeons because the warlock has no control of where the Feared mob will run.  Often it will run into the next mob pack and pull everything.  With the Glyph of Fear, however, we may be able to use Fear again, since the glyph keeps the mob in place with the Horror effect rather than running around.  Regardless, the mob moving slower after the Fear falls off is rather useless in PvE.  Also, slapping a CoEx on the mob would slow it more for longer than the maxed-out Nightmare effect would.

Howl of Terror is an AoE fear; i.e. you’d use it when the melee specs close in on you in battlegrounds.  There is no glyph to hold mobs in place, so using this in a dungeon practically guarantees you’d pull the entire place (unless, it’s the last mob pack).

Destruction Tree

In the days of the 51-point talent tree, Affliction warlocks would branch out into the Destruction tree, mainly for improvements to Shadow Bolt (which is a Destruction-school spell).  Bane and Shadow and Flame are the two talents most appealing to Affliction warlocks.  Bane shortens your Shadow Bolt’s cast time.  Shadow and Flame increases the damage of your Shadow Bolt, but it also puts an effect on the mob that increases spell critical strike against that target.

With a Soulburn, Soul Fire becomes instant-cast, regardless of your warlock spec.  With Improved Soul Fire, the min/maxers may prove that burning a SF at the beginning of fights is an increase in DPS (since you’ll have 15% haste).  I personally don’t want to take this talent; Affliction is shadow and drains to me, not fire.  It’s not in the personality of the rotation for me. So maybe the min/maxers will flame me *chortle* for that.

Demonology Tree

In the days of the 51-point talent tree, Affliction warlocks would branch out into the Demonology tree for survivability use.  There was a build called SL/SL (Siphon Life / Soul Link) that was particularly fun to solo old dungeons with.  You could even almost solo world elites (I remember doing the last parts of the Hemingway Nagrand quests as SL/SL).  You were almost invincible.  Except for, you know, being a clothie.  Bah, cloth.

Typically, as a raiding lock, only the first tier is available, and not even all of it unless you want out of the Destruction tree entirely.

Demonic Embrace will increase your stamina by 4/7/10%; this is helpful considering most of the healer Cataclysm discussion reveals we will endure boss fights at around 70% health on average.  More stamina means more health means more 70% health to knock down than a talentless 70% health.  More health also means more Life Tap before you annoy your healer and kill yourself.

Dark Arts might be useful if Affliction ever gets back the Felhunter as a pet.  Currently, the Succubus with her Glyph is the best DPS I’ve gotten out of a pet.  Before 4.0.1, the felpup was awesome since he had both a talent in the Affliction tree and a glyph.  Now he just has this Demo talent (same effect from his old talent).

I’m probably going to opt for Fel Synergy 2/2, which heals my pet for a portion of my damage.  Pets already have a 90% avoidance to AoE effects, but with healers having trouble keeping up players, there’ll be even less of a chance for your pet to be kept up.

Plus, what are we without demon pets?



>.< Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…

Prime Glyphs

Here’s the possible Affliction glyphs you can obtain: Bane of Agony, Corruption, Unstable Affliction, and Haunt.  The pet glyphs are Lash of Pain and Imp (and Felguard, but you have to be Demo to have a FG).

We use the succubus as a pet, so Lash of Pain is in.  In fact, her glyph is what makes her better than the felhunter.  I fly with Haunt and Bane of Agony.

Unstable Affliction I don’t find very useful, especially with the amount of haste I raid with.  Corruption will give you double the change you had to get a Nightfall proc (instant SBolt).  That’d be helpful in heavy-movement encounters, but it’ll remain my backup choice for now.

Major Glyphs

Major glyphs are that middle ground between prime and minor glyphs.  Minor glyphs are complete utility; prime glyphs visibly affect your DPS.  Major glyphs, then, are utilities that can also help out your DPS.

Soul Swap, as an Affliction lock, is a must-take. Once you get the hang of using Soul Swap, you’ll know why.  Soul Swap originally takes your DoTs off the first target before putting them on the second.  The glyph lets your DoTs stay on while you copy them over to the second target.  So you’re multidoting without the ramp-up time. How COOL is that?

Most min/maxing advice will tell you the Life Tap glyph is next.  I don’t agree. The min/maxers use simulations and theoretical math to determine the best of everything — talents, rotations, gear, glyphs.  I have a feeling that these simulations just Life Tap whenever a certain mana threshold has been reached, regardless of what you’re doing at the time.

Furthermore, I believe Life Tapping is a bit more of an Art; there is a right and a wrong time to Life Tap, but it’s so variable, it’s really hard to put about set rules for when you should Life Tap.  You get a feeling for when you’ll be able to survive without 15% of your health for the next few seconds.  You might need the mana now, but maybe a big raid-wide damage effect is supposed to happen and you know your healers will be grinding their teeth just trying to keep you guys up.  Minus fifteen percent isn’t going to help them out.

And really, half a second is going to help you out?  I’d rather be Life Tapping while I can’t DPS; maybe I’m out of range (Sindy’s air phase) or I’m moving (spore running on Festergut).  At least then I’ll be doing something futurely beneficial.

Glyph of Healthstone might be useful — I’d rather see if I really do need the extra oomph from a fel cookie to survive an encounter.  As Affliction, I’ve got Drain Life and burning DL SOOPAFAST DOWNLOAD! and then whatever health pot I have, then my Healthstone, plus whatever I’m getting from Siphon Life off my Corruption.  As Affliction, I’ve got a variety of options to keep myself alive, compared to other classes and specs.

Glyph of Fear will help you bring back your main warlockery Crowd Control ability.  C’mon!  What’s a warlock without Fear?  I discussed this earlier when talking about the Fear talents.

The last glyph I picked was Shadow Bolt; it reduces the mana cost of SBolt by 15%.  Shadow Bolt easily takes the most out of my mana pool without using AoE abilities.  Less mana cost means more casts per mana, but it also means I need less mana to do the same DPS.  In healer-speak, I won’t need to Life Tap as much.

Minor Glyphs

As far as minor glyphs go, warlocks got shafted.  Of course, a lot of classes are rather PFFT about their minor glyphs, but it’s really hard to tell you that even ONE of these six possibilities is needed.  We used to have Drain Soul as a definite, since it had a bonus effect of possibly generating a second shard.  Back when we could have like 32 or more shards.

But now we only have 3.  And Glyph of DS doesn’t have that shard bonus anymore.  Whoop-de-damn-doo.

I opted for Souls, Unending Breath (I hear dere’s dem water zones now), and Kilrogg (FLYING EoK YESSSSSSSSSSS).  It’s really more what floats your boat than what’s useful.

And that should be it for talents & glyphs.  I’m not on beta, so I can’t really do a rotations thing at 85.  You’ll have to wait for me to get to 85 to tell you all about that one.

Pet Philosophies

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

You’re totally missing out, bud.

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

Onward to the stuff revelant to titling!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Point of Soul Link?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the Point of My Pet?

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

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

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

The Future of Pets: Static or Dynamic in Encounters

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

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

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

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

[ITLFAC] 4.0.1 Affliction by Fulguralis

It’s Too Long For A Comment. In this case?  WAY too long.  Ridiculously long.  Therefore, I shall provide anchor links & a “Read more” link for your readerly benefit.

For Your Fel Intel

After reading Beru’s post on multiple sources and the comments that followed, I’ve decided to take a bit of a plunge.  It feels largely like a plunge because I’m going to label it like a guide, and then I’ll cross my fingers until my knuckles grow white that I’m not guiding new locks in the wrong direction.

No Nose Snubbing Here

I don’t like untentionally annoying or pissing off people.  Pffft, okay, nobody does, but I seem to have a particular knack for it in the eye-arr-ell.  (Yes, I’m aware saying “in IRL” is like saying “PIN number.”  Sssssh!) Today’s culture also seems, to me at least, to take things very personally without or with very little context, and there’s always a contest of some sort, and people won’t drop things until they “win.”

However “win” is defined.

I’m tired of competing to “win.”  So I’m trying to convince myself to do this for myself, which usually ends up being my scratchbook for figuring things out.  Because that’s what I do in my free time, I fiddle with things and do puzzles without the box.

I really don’t mean to sound like an ass by saying, “I solve puzzles without the box,” or “I level without heirlooms.”  There’s no mental or hypothetical “/flex” at the end of those statements. It’s just what I do, and I feel like I have to add on “without the box” or “without heirlooms,” because otherwise people just go on about heirlooms or how those murder-solve puzzles where the box picture isn’t the puzzle picture are so annoying, which I really really don’t care about.

“Lemme ‘splain.  … No, there is too much.  Lemme sum up.”

I find playing the way I do as fun.  I’m up for trying things, but if I don’t like a way, I won’t do it that way. I encourage the same.

I personally found affliction fucking awesome to play when I first tried it as I leveled.  I still find it fucking awesome to play.  I don’t dual-spec myself affliction just to snub my nose at the other two specs.  I dual-spec affliction because I love PvE affliction and affliction PvP made me not hate PvP so much.  (Well, affliction PvP and a podcast episode.  Okay, mostly the episode and some really cool BG maps.)

If you don’t like affliction, if affliction makes you scream at your computer screen in blinding rage…then…don’t…play it.  I won’t hate you for it.  There’s this demonology lock in UR who is BAD ASS in my opinion.  Ridiculously good.  AKA “Dude, I might go try demo if it’s THAT cool.”

My aspiration is set at doing that for someone else.  Maybe it’s a bit too high of a star to gaze at, but stargazing’s fun, right?

For Your Fel Intel

I was looking at Keeva’s 4.0 Druid Healing Guide, but mostly the icon, because I’ve not played my tree in so very long and I don’t know when I’ll pick her back up again. I’m not sure if I’ll make an icon or just leave it as a text link on the side. Icons are fun! But FYFI is what I’m planning on calling it.

Because I thought it was at least half-punny on FYI.

Because I figure “information” is a better way to put it than “>> HEY, DO IT THIS WAY OR YOU SUCK <<“.  Not that any guides I’ve seen on the blogosphere do that (well, except those “Keyboarders are slow” ones), but like I said earlier, I have a knack at coming off in that rude way by accident. Information can be collected and then later rejected if desired.  It’s not a do or die thing.  I’m not going to be offended if you decide to use someone else’s way of doing things or even if you make your own.

Wiki-d Setup

(Reading that as “wickeed” just ruins the pun.  Gosh.)

For Power Auras and macros, I’ve already started to experiment with a wiki-style format, since freebo WordPress doesn’t give much options for hiding humongous blocks of code (aura import sets, e.g.).  Instead you just get textwalls of non-formatted code, maybe in little code boxes, but nevertheless…blwaaahhhh.  It looks bloated whenever I try to do it just on the blog.

I found a freebo wiki (I like being a cheapo!) that I can set up, and it’s already cool because a) I can change the CSS of the whole wiki if I want, for no charge, and b) the wiki lets me use little widgets like those really cool collapsible blocks of text (+ show / – hide toggles and such).  So you can go grab the import code you want, but it doesn’t look BLWAAAHHHH on the page.

Now that I’ll be jumping into this expansion as a raider, I might even start putting up boss guides for warlocks.  Raiding, but also instancing, because with raiding you do get a certain kind of consistency going, but in 5mans, especially through LFD, sometimes you have to switch tactics depending on your groupmates, be it class or gear that’s the difference.

This Ain’t Math Class

I’ve been told in the past (specifically by a healer) that I was a “good warlock.”I think at the time it meant I didn’t life tap myself to death or pull threat just because I could or sacrifice group utility to the meter gods.

So realize that I’m not out to theorycraft my way to the best DPS numbers I can output.  Besides, judging by the last time I tried to read EJ’s Theorycrafting 101, by December they might have it updated to patch 3.0.1.  (Oh! Burn! But it’s SO TRUE!)

I’m out to present how not to drop your fel ass in the bee pit. Also how to find yourself some demonic aloe if you do happen to step on the wrong side of the Dark (Bee) Portal.

So here’s hoping I won’t be blogospherically Hellfiring myself by accident.

To Beta or Not To Beta

…actually, I think, Gazimoff already did this title.

Nope! SCORE!

Anyway, World of Raids is looking for some bloggers to take some beta keys and I was tempted.

(Well, actually, I ended up posting anyway, but I’m still not sure of myself.)

I think it was temptation.  I thought “Ooooh!” because they specifically mentioned DKs, Druids, and Warlocks, and I’m at least one of those three.  But then I thought about why I wanted the key. Just to experience new content now rather than later?  Or to actually test the material?  I think I would test anyway, and I try my best to give constructive feedback when it’s wanted, but I’m not sure of myself.


For one, I’m a small blog.  That is, I hit 50 views on a good day.  (I haven’t gotten any beta scams in my email box, either.)  It’s okay, for the most part, I’m writing more for me than for large swathes of trolls (and gnomes and draenei and…) to give me attention.  So it’s not like me making a post about warlock mechanics in beta build XYZ is going to make much of a bang.  Most likely warlocks are already following the beta-goers posting in the Warlocks’ Den or reading Jagoex in Blood Pact on

Jagoex is really good, too.

Then there’s Nibuca, whom I once dubbed the Queen of Affliction.  She updated the affliction warlock part of Raider101.  I’d write a good long draft on some 3.3 cool thing, she’d post, and I’d see that her post was both better and clearer (more succinct?) than mine ever was.

So my being in the beta would only go so far if I can’t bring the beta to the community through my blog.


Don’t know much about pyrology,

Don’t know much demonology,

Don’t know much about Molten Core,

Don’t know what a Conflagrate‘s for.

But I do know that I love you,

And I know that if you love me, too,

What a shadowy world this would be.

Now I don’t claim to be some wiz Eee Jay,

But I’m tryyyying to be.

So maybe by being an Eee Jay beta

I can win your key for me.

That is how the song goes, right?

Theorycrafting & Class Guides

I’m not EJ-technical.  I try to understand the mechanics behind my spells.  I even practice it on a dummy for hours.  But the EJ how-to’s are a) stuck in BC, and b) written for people who already understand the mechanics.

In a word, they’re useless.

I’ve wanted to write a How To Be a Good Warlock series for a while.  I’ve been told in-game I’m a “good warlock.”  Whether that means I do uber DPS (prolly not) or that I simply take my healers into consideration and don’t Life Tap myself to death, I still consider myself pretty knowledgeable about affliction warlockery.  I want to share it.


It’s late Wrath.  I got into the blogging game late, too. I do more lurking in forums than I do posting, mainly because I don’t feel as knowledgeable as those who were there since Vanilla.  Not to mention there are so many points of view I could be talking on, it’s hard to write a non textwall without generalizing and having it read wrong.  I feel like all I want to say has already been said before and I’d get laughed at for reiterating something so basic.  Even with all the PUG horror stories out there.

In Cataclysm, everything’s being changed.  I’m in the starting gates right now.  I haven’t been out on the practice track, but I’m ready for the race.

I Love To Tinker

When my dad and I played Baldur’s Gate or Myst or Might & Magic, we’d first do it blind.  Maybe we used paper and pencil to write down the puzzle codes in-game or whatever, but we wouldn’t use any walkthroughs or maps or guides that didn’t come in the box.  We’d beat the game au naturale first, and then we’d go back and God-mode the heck out of it.

I’ve been leveling my alts without heirlooms.  I find it more fun that way, having to actually struggle against appropriate-level quests and actually using quest rewards that are actually better than what I’m wearing.  I love making my own talent spec while leveling, never looking at a talenting or glyphing guide until I’m cap level.  I like reading the quest text and exploring my way there instead of immediately Wowheading it for the coordinates.

I actually like making the trip back to the quest giver instead of having a turn-in in-the-field.  *cough*  Makes for strategic hearthstone setting.

I like exploring.

I think I have the right mindset for beta testing.

But I’m not quite confident enough to say I would be great for it, to add to the beta forums or the community well.

I feel like a minnow.

Cataclysm Warlock Stuff

Here’s the whole linky post; I’ll probably end up quoting half most all of it anyway.

Unfortunately, Blizz released all this on a raid night for me.

“Raid prep!”

“Warlock stuffs!”

“Raid prep!”

“Warlock stuffs!”

“Raid prep!”

“Warlock stuffs!”


First impressions belong in a real post.  I do also want to go back and grab the old Cataclysm warlock info that’s already been released and think about it all together.  Get the big picture, y’know.  I don’t know whether I’ll break it up or just do one longgggggg post.  Breaking it up is probably better, but that means either a ridiculous influx of posting about Cataclysm warlockery or posts for a week or half a week.

But I need to get dinner, make sure my RL raid snacks are on hand, make sure my in-game raid snacks and flasks and pots are on hand, make sure my head’s in the right spot for focusing on raiding, etc.

Aka, not writing a post about the awesomeness that is Cataclysm warlockery.  So here’s a summary of what got released today:

Four new spells: one’s got a cosmetic change we warlocks have been wanting FOREVER, one’s stealing from mages, and one looks like a remake of Demonic Empowerment.

That fourth spell burns a soul shard to create an awesomer spell from our default arsenal.  Soul shards themselves are a new resource mechanic: we get only 3, each worth only one use, per fight.

Some of the spells and mechanics we already know and love (or hate) will be changed.  Most of them look good to me.

There will be new talents and some talents will be changed.

The mastery passive talent tree bonuses were revealed for each tree.  I’m obviously going to focus on the affliction ones.

Mastery Stats in Cataclysm

The full post is here.  Here’s the parts I care about:

Here’s how the system works: As you spend points in a given talent tree, you’ll receive three different passive bonuses specific to that tree. The first bonus will increase your damage, healing, or survivability, depending on the intended role of the tree. The second bonus will be related to a stat commonly found on gear desirable to you, such as Haste or Crit. The third bonus will be the most interesting, as it will provide an effect completely unique to that tree — meaning there will be 30 different bonuses of this nature in the game. This third bonus is the one that will benefit from the Mastery rating found on high-level (level 80 to 85) gear.

There will still be talents that boost damage, of course, but those talents will also affect the way you play. For example, you can still expect to see talents like Improved Frostbolt, which reduces the cast time of the Frostbolt spell; it increases DPS, but it also affects the mage’s rotation. Piercing Ice, however, is just “6% more damage” and is the kind of talent we’re trying to eliminate by implementing the Mastery system.

So in summary, mastery is a set of 3 passive bonuses specific to your tree.

  1. a +dmg/heal/surv bonus: obviously depending on whether you are dps/heals/tank.
  2. a bonus related to a stat found on your desired gear: haste, crit, stamina, intellect, & hit are our favorable stats come Cataclysm.  I’m thinking haste for the affliction tree, since we love it anyhow.
  3. an unique buff to your tree: Judging from the examples they gave holy priests (HoT to direct heals), disc priests (better bubbles), & frost dks (more rune power???), I think Corruption will be the buffed spell.  After all, it is a staple of warlockery spells, especially affliction, and Corruption gets buffed a ton through those plain +X% damage talents we have at the moment.

There will be a mastery stat on Cataclysm gear that increases the effectiveness of the third bonus.  This convinces me further that Corruption would get buffed, because it would be essentially taking Empowered Corruption out of the talent tree but still being used.

The mastery system also intends to get rid of plain X% more damage talents and implement them into these bonuses, leaving the quirky or interesting talents left in the trees. What flat X% damage talents do affliction locks have?

  • Improved Curse of Agony
  • Improved Corruption
  • Soul Siphon –> but I think this is an interesting talent because it depends on your target debuffs
  • Empowered Corruption, in a manner
  • Shadow Mastery
  • Contagion
  • Malediction
  • Death’s Embrace, but it’s like Soul Siphon, it’s an execution-phase talent
  • the first half of Everlasting Affliction
  • (destro tree) the first half of Improved Shadow Bolt

These are a core part of the affliction build.  Not all of the talents, certainly, but you see all of these on cookie-cutter builds.  So what talents will we get instead? Will these change tooltips but still be there?  I’d like to see more curses (not that you ever use CoW or CoE in PvE, but we could for encounters requiring some slowing CC).  Or maybe more felpuppy talents.  Or maybe there will be talents that change or buff what your new soul shards do.

Any warlocks reading have any opinions on what we might see in our trees come Cataclysm?

Or other classes, what do you hypothesize about your new talents?

Cata’ stats a’changing

Eyonix has posted information about the stat changes in Cataclysm on the forums.  I’m excited because it means totally revamping most or all of the theorycrafting formulae, so I finally get to see first-hand how these numbers and stat weights come about as we all try to do it again.  I plan to spend somemore lurkage on Elitist Jerks to figure out how exactly the pros will figure this out.

However, I’m pretty sure most players don’t care about the math and really wish it would go away.  That’s why they’re changing the stats, right?  Math or no math, it’s going to affect how you play in Cataclysm versus how you play now in Wrath.  So let’s go through these notes as fellow affliction warlocks.  I’ve also included some of the blue posts further down the thread that I think are relevant points.

What you’ll see on gear

Stamina – Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes.

More stamina means less dying to stupid mechanics like fall damage.  Does anyone else remember having a health minimum (with Fortitude included) in order to do Malygos as a cloth-wearer because of the Vortex and its subsequent fall damage?  Or, as everyone was just beginning to hit 80 and do the heroics, being the only clothy in an all-plate group (pally healers!) and being told to stay in on Loken’s Nova?  More importantly, more stamina means more mana via life tap, and less chance to life tap yourself to death.

Spirit – Come Cataclysm, this stat should only be found on healing gear. Non-healing casters will have other systems in place to regenerate mana, and we are designing special solutions for Elemental shaman and Balance druids who often share gear with healers (more on this below). Raid buffs that currently boost Spirit (such as Blessing of Kings) will only boost the primary stats of Stamina, Strength, Agility, and Intellect. We are also likely changing the five-second rule and other quirks of the current regen system.

Any warlock worth their salt isn’t going to care really about the mp5 you get from Spirit.  Why?  Because we life tap.  And what about life tap? Oh, it has a glyph.  That scales with…spirit.  Like Fel Armor.

Yes, but what about warlocks, who get a bonus to SP based on Spirit when they have the armor buff up? Will that spell and buff be reworked as well?

Eyonix: It seems so. I would remind players who are focusing on individual talents and abilities to remember that we’re going to be doing a major redesign on all talent trees. So fear not, these changes are meant to work in conjunction with the design of each class come Cataclysm.

But Blizz has us warlocks covered. I figured they would change the spirit scaling to something like intellect scaling, since intellect will be reigning over spellpower.  But Eyonix goes further and reminds us that the talents will be majorly redone, so Life Tap and Fel Armor may not be what we currently know them as. Currently for affliction warlocks, Fel Armor is not affected through talents, and Life Tap’s only effect is whether you get 0/10/20% more mana return.

Will reforging become available when the stat changes come into effect?  Or will my gear with spirit on it become trash until it does?

Eyonix: Your gear won’t have spirit on it as a mage when Cataclysm hits.

So they *better* redo Fel Armor and Glyph of Life Tap.  Otherwise those will be worthless.

Intellect – Intellect will now grant Spell Power (more on this below). Intellect will also provide less mana than it currently does.

So we want lots of +int. Unfortunately, this means we will have to love mages for their buff.  Ewwwww, mages.  :)  Even though we have Fel Intelligence via the felhound, Arcane Intellect is more powerful.  I suspect that a lot of the enchants will be converted into the equivalent intellect, since there are a lot of spellpower enchants and few intellect ones.

Haste is changing its meaning for melee classes, but it will stay the same for us.

Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.

What makes affliction cool and unique? DoTs.  Curses.  Drains.  Self-buffing debuffs like Haunt, Shadow Embrace.  Fluid double conversion of health and mana.  I feel like the concept is still too nebulous to ponder about, so I’ll talk about it more when Blizz talks about it more.

Armor – The way Armor mitigates damage is not changing, but the Armor stat has been rebalanced to mirror changes to the armor curve in Cataclysm. As a result, bonus Armor will go down slightly overall. We are also changing the mitigation difference among armor types so that plate doesn’t offer so much more protection than mail, leather, and cloth.

Have I mentioned that I hated an all-plate group telling me to stay in on Loken’s Nova?  But, as most healing blogs have already pointed out, this just means not having to prioritize raid-healing cloth-wearers over plate-wearers.

I don’t care about resilience because I don’t PvP as a warlock.

Hit will stay the same in meaning.
Crit will stay the same in meaning.

Stats being removed from items

Spell Power – Spell Power is another stat that you’ll no longer see present on most items. Instead, as mentioned above, Intellect will grant Spell Power. One exception is that caster weapons will still have Spell Power. This allows us to make weapons proportionately more powerful for casters in the same way they are for melee classes.

I’m a little confused.  Why not just put a crapton of intellect on the weapon?  How does a stat you’re removing from gear make it easier to scale it better than the one you’re going to be using?

Stats you’ll never see again…ever

We never really cared about mp5 anyway.

Spell Ranks – Spell ranks will cease to exist. All spells will have one rank and will scale appropriately with level. The levels at which you can learn certain spells are being changed in order to fill in some of the gaps, and we will be introducing some new spells to learn along the way as well.

So, finally, all those jackasses who won’t turn off their Rankwatch, citing you should just leave the dungeon/battleground now to go train one flipping rank…Rankwatch will be dead.  However, using lower ranks is useful sometimes. I’m talking about Life Tap Rank 1 (~600 health to mana).  I don’t Life Tap Rank 8 (3.3k health to mana) when the fight starts, because I just want the glyph buff.  I also use it sometimes when I just need the glyph buff to reset but the raid is/I am taking a lot of damage, because I like to not piss off my healers by making the damage worse.

So uh, sorry healers, whenever spell ranks go away.  You might hate warlocks.  Again.  Also, it was pointed out later on about things like mage food utilize different ranks.

How will this work with summon food and water? These items have level limits. How will a mage be able to create the lower level items with ranks gone?

Ghostcrawler: There won’t be a way or need to cast the lower level spells. If you’re just worried about losing the flavor of croissants vs. strudel, we’re keeping that. At some point you’ll just start making the better breads.

Ghostcrawler, I think you’re missing the point of the question.  Like say you’re in SM:Armory, you’re level 35, so you can use Healthstone (lvl 34 min), no big deal.  But the healer is level 33.  Oops.  But with this new system, you can’t create a Lesser Healthstone (lvl 22 min).  Is it just going to scale depending on who is eating it, à la heirloom gear?  Or will level 34s get the same food as level 85s?

Weapon Skill – This stat will be removed from the game completely. Classes will start with all the weapon skills they need to know and will not need to improve them.

So Master or Arms and Did Somebody Order a Knuckle Sandwich? will become Feats of Strength?  Future warlocks won’t have excuses to go banish an elemental into a punching bag?  Awwww, come on… Way to go, Blizz, taking the cap-level toon’s only legit reason to run Stockades in the nude.  Now we’ll just have to be silly. :P

What else you should know, stats-wise

Combat ratings – All ratings will be much harder to “cap out” at maximum gear levels. Ratings will be steeper in Cataclysm, and creatures in later tiers of content will be harder to hit or crit, similar to how level-83 mobs are harder to hit or crit than level-80 mobs.

Ratings will be steeper?  So I won’t still be hit-capped in my tier-10-esque gear when I raid at 85?  I’ll need MORE? Good GAWD, Blizz, how much more could I possibly need?  On the serious side of things, this means you need more crit rating and haste rating to cap those respective combat traits.  I figure healers will be freaking out more about the haste conversion rate.  But, I for one will be having fun seeing what popping my haste trinket and/or a haste potion during Heroism will reduce me to.

Reforging – While these changes will go a long way to making a wider variety of stats more attractive, we understand that sometimes you simply don’t want more Hit Rating on your gear or you’d rather have more Haste than more Crit. In Cataclysm, we are going to give players a way to replace stats on gear as part of the existing profession system. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll be able to convert one stat to 50% of another stat. While some conversions (like converting Stamina to Strength) won’t be permitted, the goal is to let you customize your gear more.

So…that umpteen +hit you have?  Convert it to haste. Or crit. Of course, the question isn’t really how much your Pawn scale is going to freak out every time you replace a slot, it’s whether you can only convert all or none of a stat to 50% of another.  This will come up when you need X +hit to be capped, but your only gear choices are X – 13 +hit or X + 17 +hit.  So you’re still going to be either gemming/enchanting for hit or being overcapped with a useless stat. Bwuh.  But the Haste to Crit or Crit to Haste will be nice.  I think they’ll limit it to the “green” stats, though. Otherwise we’d have casters with very little health but ungodly amounts of intellect/spellpower.

Gems – We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow. We’ll have more details on this in the future.

Currently, warlocks favor reddish sockets, because spellpower is a red gem stat.  If they convert spellpower into the equivalent intellect, well…you have red gems with intellect and…yellow gems with intellect.   BWUH?  So yeah, the colors are going to change. If intellect stays yellow, then warlocks will favor yellow, green, and orange gems.  If intellect switches to red, in order to replace spellpower, then our gem choice will hardly change, with the exception of spirited gems like Purified Dreadstone, since spirit will be gone and useless.

Changes to existing gear

If you are a DPS caster, expect to see:

    • A lot more Stamina.
    • All of your Spell Power converted to Intellect and Stamina.
    • No Spirit. You won’t miss Spirit, though, because you won’t need it for DPS or mana regen.

No surprise, given the rundown of stat changes.  Though, it mentions stamina, not only intellect, as being a spellpower holder. Given this information, stamina might be the new spirit for warlocks (spellpower modifier for things like Fel Armor).  You know, kind of like for cats, strength gives +2 attack power and agility gives you +1 attack power.  So there might be a similar intellect/stamina conversion for spellpower. Which means all that food and all those gems that have +stam at the end?  Ohhhhhh yeahhhhh.  Om nom spellpower.

If you are a healer, expect to see:

    • …Spirit instead of MP5. You’ll probably be happy with Spirit, though, because mana regen is going to matter more than it does currently. Healing paladins and shaman will benefit more from Spirit than they do currently.

If you are a Balance druid or Elemental shaman:

    • Your gear will have Spirit on it. It won’t have Hit on it.You will have a talent that converts Spirit to Hit.
    • We will adjust talents accordingly so that you want about as much Spirit as, say, a warlock wants Hit.
    • Hit on rings and other such gear will still benefit you.

So, the leather-wearing boomkin or mail-wearing elly won’t be snitching any cloth caster gear from you, because they will want totally different stats, which won’t be on your armor type. However, class-indifferent items like rings and neck pieces will still have stats they want, so we will still be competing will all casters on those slots.

Is there any way that we poor poor clothy dps casters can get some kind of assurance that we won’t have to compete with boomkins/ele shamans for our cloth gear once they hit their spirit/hit gear cap?

Ghostcrawler: There is a small Mastery bonus for wearing “your” gear. So a Balance druid who takes cloth will be essentially giving up free stats. Sometimes that may be worth it to them (just as sometimes it’s worth it for a Resto druid to take that piece of +hit gear), but often times it won’t be worth it especially if it’s an upgrade for you.

Healers won’t want +hit, and we won’t want their important spirit, but there may be some crossover anyway, especially with reforging coming into play. So we will both want the same piece of gear, but likely for different reforging reasons.

In summary

No more spellpower; instead, tons of intellect will be wanted.  We will have a lot more stamina, and possibly spellpower from said stamina.  The hit cap will go up again.  We will still love haste, probably, and crit too.  Spirit and mp5 will be gone, and mana regen will be implemented in talents.  But warlocks life tap anyway.  But our talents are being majorly redone, so Life Tap may change completely.

Mastery is focused on playing with your class and spec’s unique coolness, so I expect something along the lines of conversion of stats into damage or interesting curses or buffs to DoTs or more things that happen when we drain.  We also can’t forget the revamp of soul shards, and how they will play into buffing our spells during combat.

There are a few concerns regarding the disappearance of spell ranks, but this is more for convenience than an actual issue.

We get to celebrate sharing only cloth gear with other clothies, though with reforging stats, we might still have crossover items.  So same old, same old.

In summary, not much change on the clear horizon, lots of change on the fuzz horizon.  But I don’t yet see any major QQ points.

Fellow warlocks, your thoughts on the stats changes in Cataclysm?

First Conspiracy/ICC Raid was fun

Seriously, the only boss I’d seen as an avatar before was Marrowgar. XD

My highlights:

Marrowgar always follows me during Bone Storm.  I swear, I can’t get away from him.

I must have been watching the 25man versions of Lady Deathwhisper, because it was totally not as complicated on 10man as I thought.

Gunship: I was relieved that the jetpack has a target mechanic and doesn’t just boost your own jumping.  I’ve only failed once on Thaddius (due to massive lag) and I was determined not to fail-jump ship.  Except I stayed on the boat, so it’s good.

Saurfang = I got to CC!  Yay Demonic Portal for kiting.

Blue Gas Frogger = fail walking out first and just dying.  Then I realized it was Frogger 2.0.  Oops.

Precious & Stinky weren’t as awful as I’ve heard stories.  Then again, this is “only” 10man.

Festergut was cool, I got to cuddle with Jin & Liss whenever the spore came out and I vomited a few times.

Rotface was interesting, though I got debuffed in the middle of or just after a phase transition so I had a minor “OMFG WHERE IS THE OT” heart attack.

Putricide took a few wipes, partially because I hadn’t done it before.  On one of the wipes I died due to bad luck (bouncing ooze while I was green-ooze-linked = >.< FUCK), so Liss tried to brez me, but…uh…that gas phase thingy hit, and I rezzed into a DoT that wtfpwned me before I could hit the healthstone.  Sucky part = my healthstone got counted as used.  WTF BLIZZ.  But yeah…once I got the hang of all the moving and junk, Putricide was hilarious fun.  I could seriously do that fight all day and not get bored.

Blood Princes were a little frustrating in the beginning.  I had disco ball duty, and at first I thought the orange balls were part of the deal, but it’s just the white ones.  I also had issues when both balls appeared on my side of the room and I was supposed to get them because it just took a “little more effort.”  Yeah.  Felpuppies don’t run quickly, and the balls almost always spawned on the complete opposite side from me (i.e., I was at the top running away from the blast thing, the ball spawns near the door).  I eventually got it to siccing Bheez on the *far* or higher up ball while I ran to & SB’d the near ball.

Blood Queen…well, we ran out of time and had some funny dumb wipes, but from what I did of it, it sounds cool.  I was on the list to be bitten, but I never got bitten.  Though, I do need to check if the vehicle bar will pop up in Dominos — it usually does, but apparently this is where your biting ability comes up when you go nuts.   We got to phase 2 and had a MC’d pally running around.  I wondered if I could Fear him or what, but twas a wipe anyway.

They kept telling me to roll on stuff so I can gear up for 25mans.  I got Soulcleave Pendant & Bloodstained Surgeon’s Shoulders.  They kept trying to get me to take the wand, but Pawn & eyeballing it told me mine was better.  Sadface at Gunship not dropping the Icecrown Spire Sandals…it’s either those or me saving up for Sandals of Consecration (1+5 primordial saronite) in order to replace my Naxx 25 Boots of Persuasion.

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.


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 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! :)


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