Tier 13 for Affliction

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

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

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

The Look

Nanoprecise Cape - 1250 VP

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

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

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

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

Tier 13 -- Click for bigger image.

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

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

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

Tier 13 — Set Bonuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tier 13 — Drops and Stats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alright, which ones should I replace / mix first?

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

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

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

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

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

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

o_O WTF Shoulder Slot.

My Choice

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

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

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

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Tier 13 for Affliction

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