Posts tagged “talents

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. :)


4.0.6 Affliction Spec Discussion

Specifically talent spec, glyphs, and pets.

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


Affliction Talents & Glyphs (Raiding)

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

Updated for 4.0.1.

Making a T&G Build

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

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

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

Discussable Talents for Afflic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Destruction Tree

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

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

Demonology Tree

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

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

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

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

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

Plus, what are we without demon pets?

Mages?

MAGES!!?

>.< Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…

Prime Glyphs

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

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

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

Major Glyphs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minor Glyphs

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

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

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

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


[ITLFAC] 4.0.1 Affliction by Fulguralis

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


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.


Cata’ stats a’changing

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

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

What you’ll see on gear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stats being removed from items

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

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

Stats you’ll never see again…ever

We never really cared about mp5 anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What else you should know, stats-wise

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes to existing gear

If you are a DPS caster, expect to see:

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

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

If you are a healer, expect to see:

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

If you are a Balance druid or Elemental shaman:

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

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

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

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

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

In summary

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

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

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

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

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

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


Theorycrafting Spree/Rage

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

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

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

Anyhoo.

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

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

Pissed Poneria is pissed.

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

-.- wtb explanations of equations…PWITEE PLZ.

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

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

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

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

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

dps = dmg / time

time = cast time + 2s

dmg = talents * (base + spell_coeff*spellpower)

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

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

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

Mind being blown -> o_O face.

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

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

Bwuh.  My brain hurts.  Will try again later.


Felpuppy Love

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

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

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

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

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


Nibuca pwns & other link love

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

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

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

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

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


ALEB: Talents & Glyphs

About & Resources

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

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

Talents

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

Talents - AffyLock

Important Talents:

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

Optional Talents:

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

Glyphs

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

Affliction Major Glyphs

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

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

Questions & Comments?

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


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