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…)
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…)
37 Essences to go. The minimum 25man drop # is 7. That’s 5.28 bosses.
For a 25man, killing the 6 bosses from whom you can siphon off essences,plus the Rag kill on 10 or 25, will guarantee Dragonwrath for me.
Go figure it’s US Thanksgiving next week.
Now…the question is, what to wear? (It’s important.) Here’s your choices.
Classy or Goofy?
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
Notation-style: (a-c x6)
- (a) Dark Regeneration, (b) Soul Leech, (c) Harvest of Life
- (a) Howl of Terror, (b) Mortal Coil, (c) Shadowfury
- (a) Hour of Twilight, (b) Soul Link, (c) Sacrificial Pact
- (a) Bloodstone, (b) Soul Drain, (c) Nether Ward
- (a) Grimoire of Supremacy, (b) Grimoire of Service, (c) Grimoire of Sacrifice
- (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
- Dark Regeneration | Restores 50% of your maximum health over 25 sec. No resource / Instant-cast / 3m CD.
- Soul Leech | Your Shadow Bolt, Incinerate, and Malefic Grasp heal you for 25% of the damage dealt.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Grimoire of Service | Instantly summon a second demon who fights for 30 sec. Instant-cast / 2min CD.
- 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
- Archimonde’s Vengeance | Curse an enemy, inflicting 25% of all damage you take to also harm them. Lasts 15 sec. Instant-cast / 1min CD.
- Kil’jaeden’s Cunning | You can cast and channel while moving, but doing so doubles the cast time or period of a spell.
- 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. :)
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.
My guild doesn’t really like to fish. It’s boring, they say.
But we gotta do it for that awesome cool fish feast you get from the guild achievement That’s a Lot of Bait. We have 4.3k! Almost halfway, guys! And in the meantime, our raid leadership has decided that 60 stat foods are not enough for raiding and we need to bring our own 90 stat foods.
Most of which come from fishing.
Even worse, some of the important ones — Deepsea Sagefish, e.g. — don’t actually have pools.
Cue the QQ. Here’s my RR response…
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!
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).
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
- a +dmg/heal/surv bonus: obviously depending on whether you are dps/heals/tank.
- 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.
- 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
- 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?