Posts tagged “dps

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…)


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. :)


CC Tips

Okay, yeah, yeah, more like “CC Essay.”

I’m a warlock.  I’m going to talk about warlock CC.  But I’m pretty sure it could apply to any form of CC.

Epeen Points | I’ve gotten a whisper thanking me for my CC, that I “healed” as much just by doing my CC stuff.  I told the bear tank guildy I’ll go anywhere with him since he’s a great tank, and he said ditto back.  So, /flex, I’m good at what I do in instances.  Maybe not topping the charts in DPS (it’s a dungeon, who the flip cares about your DPS number so long as you get it done with the least pain possible), but I help out well enough.

Once, the tank mentioned he loved Fear because it never broke.  I was a bit sad to tell him I was just refreshing it before the duration expired.  Then it’s amusing when melee dps try to hit a Banished target and it just sits there immune to everything.  It’s highly annoying when I pull out my succubus to seduce something only to have someone run over and break it immediately.

So let’s talk about complete CC: the beginning casts, the refreshes, and breaking CC. By “complete CC” I mean something that prevents the mob from telling off your party members for wearing such horribly clashing outfits.

Textwall Crits for 9001 Damage | I’m going over four warlock CCs in detail (jump to: Seduction, Enslave Demon, Fear, and Banish), for either non-warlocks or warlocks who want to refamiliarize themselves with the spells.  If you want to skip to the part about executing warlock CC in party, you can.  Yeah, okay, it’s maybe two articles together, but I felt like going into the specific spell mechanics was still important.

Play on, Poneria…


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.

Whatever.

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.


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!”

/whimper

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?


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.

Anyhoo.

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

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

Pissed Poneria is pissed.

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

-.- wtb explanations of equations…PWITEE PLZ.

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

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

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

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

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

dps = dmg / time

time = cast time + 2s

dmg = talents * (base + spell_coeff*spellpower)

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

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

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

Mind being blown -> o_O face.

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

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

Bwuh.  My brain hurts.  Will try again later.


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