Archive for the “Warlock” Category

Ideas, thoughts and experiences which are relevant to the Warlock class. Look for tasty tips here occasionally as well!

I’ll be honest: Destruction Locks nowadays are few and far between.  With the majority of raiding Warlocks going for the Destro/Demo hybrid build, and many of those who aren’t going Demon or Aff, well… we are a dying breed.  Unfortunately, this makes us a dying breed that seems to have very little idea of how to spec!  There is not a great deal of discussion of the spec, and as I am a total slouch at theorycrafting, this is kinda based upon what I think.  If I had endless pots of gold (note: I want a leprechaun for Christmas!), I’d respec more often and test stuff out.  Unfortunately, I am but a poor struggling Warlock with mouths to feed (damn hungry minions!)

Part A:  The Spec

Now, my spec is not the optimal raid spec.  The Hybrid Specs are the most effective for damage output, but when you are a die hard Destro spec lover like myself, you just need to deal with feeling a little gimped and move on.  If I can’t get to the last talent in the tree, well… I just don’t feel right.  Strange but true.

specI will admit, there are a couple of… interesting choices in that spec.  Don’t get me wrong, i know it is far from perfect!  However, I’ll discuss these shortcomings as we go.  I don’t want to talk about every talent – if I view it as a bit of a ‘no brainer’, I probably won’t mention it.

1.  The Destruction Tree

i) Yeses!

Improved Shadow Bolt: While I don’t throw Shadow Bolts like I used to, having ISB means that I save the mages the effort of keeping stacks of Scorch up for much less effort than what it takes them.  Sure, I lose a little bit of DPS, but utility is a wonderfully awesome thing that should never be underestimated.  DPS can be found most anywhere: utility and versatility can not.  Please note – if you regularly run with more than one Warlock, co-ordinate your Shadow Bolting.  If more than one person casts it, it cancels out the previous one.  Don’t waste raid DPS by having every lock cast it!  Also remember to let your Mages know they don’t need to Scorch (I forgot that myself today, whoops!)

Aftermath:  Ignore the daze effect – it’s not that important – and focus on the increase to your Immolate.  An additional 6% to your always up (it is always up, isn’t it??) DoT is awesome.

Demonic Power:  The faster your Imp can cast, the more likely Empowered Imp will proc.

Intensity: Utterly useless within itself, but essential for ->

Backlash: An additional 3% to your spell crit rating!  You might not get too many instant cast procs off it, since you wont often be being hit (I hope), but that 3% crit makes it all worth while

Pyroclasm: I find that Conflagrate crits a LOT.  That increase to spell damage after a crit is always nice, especially since that’s when I unleash the big guns in my rotation

Conflagrate/Backdraft: I never used to have Conflagrate and Backdraft.  I found keeping Conflag in my rotation made it feel really clunky and awkward thanks to the annoying GCD.  However, I have recently fallen in love with Backdraft, so I have learned to live with the GCD and it’s clunkiness.

Chaos Bolt: This for me tends to hit reasonably hard, especially for a short cast.  It also times well with the rest of my rotation – it comes up just as I am ready to cast Conflag, which makes me happy.


Cataclysm:  Mana Schmana… sure, it’s nice to not Life Tap as often, but I don’t think the savings work out to enough DPS to warrant it

Shadowburn:  Too annoying to work into a rotation, especially when you are throwing Soul Fires

Destructive Reach:  I currently have no real threat issues, and the range is a moot point when my CoA won’t reach anyway

Improved Searing Pain: unexciting damage, definitely unexciting threat generation… save it for the tanking, kiddies

Nether Protection:  Highly situational, I haven’t found much of a use for it personally.  Heck, I didn’t even have it in BC when a lot of Warlocks had it!

Soul Leech/Imp Soul Leech:  OK, so Imp Soul Leech has raid utility… I really ummed and ahhed over this one.  I might let you have it, I suppose, if you can find somewhere better to lose the points from.

2.  The Demonology Tree

Improved Imp: Imp Imp is a wonderful talent for a spec that is so pet dependent to work

Improved Healthstone: Not really required, but the raid appreciates nice cookies, and the points have to go somewhere to get further down.

Fel Synergy:  My Imp has a nasty habit of occasionally getting hurt a bit, and this is an attempt to balance it out.  I felt the 1/2 was more beneficial than the 2/2 personally, but really, this isn’t an essential.

Demonic Embrace: While extra stamina is always nice (especially in Ulduar I hear), I didn’t want to invest points in this personally that I could spend elsewhere.  The one point is a filler point to get me further down the tree

Fel Vitality:  Makes you and your pet’s hardier and gives you more mana.  Intellect also adds a small small SMALL bit of crit to your Imp

Demonic Aegis:  I really like having the best type of Fel Armor.  Every bit of extra damage counts!

3.  The Affliction Tree

Suppression:  I am WAY off hit capped, so I need this talent.  If I was hit capped I would consider investing these points into Improved Corruption or within the Demonology tree.

Improved Curse of Agony:  This really is a dead point that should be somewhere else – I am too cheap to replace my old Glyph of CoA, so I still cast this to make me feel a little less like I am wasting a glyph slot.

Part B.  Spell Rotation

a) Trash/Bosses when you are low on shards

Shadow Bolt – CotE– Immolate – Incinerate (until 5 seconds left on Immol) – Conflagrate – Chaos Bolt – Immolate etc etc

# Refresh ISB and CoA where necessary

# Feel free to use CoD on bosses if someone else is covering CotE – it doesn’t stack!

#Communicate with other locks to see who else has and is casting ISB – if someone else is covering it, don’t bother with it!

b) Boss Fights

Shadow Bolt – CoD– Immolate – Incinerate (until 5 seconds left on Immol) – Conflagrate – Chaos Bolt – Soul Fire – Soul Fire – Immolate etc etc

I have dropped Corruption from my rotation – I know it’s recommended to use it, but I got more DPS out of a slightly cleaner rotation.  Realistically, it isn’t a very difficult spell to keep up, I am just rather lazy.  If you have trouble with your rotation, consider dropping Corruption or CoA.  Keeping ISB up is a little tiresome, but it helps the raid in the long run.  The reason why I put my two Soul Fires there is because Backdraft reduces their cast time by 30%, making it a much more efficient spell than it usually is.

As I said – this is not the optimal raid spec.  However, unless you are in a guild which expects you to be optimal spec, I see no reason why you can’t spec Deep Destruction and still do decent damage.  Not to mention, we all know Destruction is more fun!

Comments 14 Comments »

So, since the vote was a fairly strong ‘Yes!’, I have made the first video for the new year.  It’s not the best, especially since I am fairly rusty on the whole thing, but I am sure I will eventually get back into the swing of things.  Realistically, I am getting a new computer in April hopefully (fingers crossed!), so the quality will improve dramatically.

Since 6 people did vote no/apathetic, I thought that I should include a run down of the things that I have talked about for those of you who don’t like video or are unable to view it.  That way, things are fair for everyone, and you all get to know what I said/think/hurled at people.  Oh, and once again, YouTube has frozen me on a really ridiculous looking face.  Huzzah!

  • Blogging has been all over the place due to:
    • Trying to find a bloody house since I found out I was going to Bourke!
    • Christmas and New Year being in the way
    • My trip to Melbourne
    • My Great-Grandmother’s passing the day I got back from Melbourne and the subsequent funeral
    • A family friend being put in hospital and subsequently being put in a nursing home in Melbourne
  • However, I found out today that I have a house!
  • This means I am moving in TWO days: packing tomorrow, moving the day after.  Eeeep!
  • I look weird in the video since my stuff is half packed and stored in the study, so I no longer fit in there
  • I am kinda freaking out as to where I am going to fit my 300+ books and 3 bookshelves in my new place.
  • Attention Warlocks!  Go to the Damage Dealing Forums (NOT the Warlock Forums like I said in the video, although that would make more sense to me….) and give Ghostcrawler feedback on what is wrong with specific Warlock spells!  What ones are crappy and how should they be changed?
  • One awesome suggestion has been to change the mechanics of curses.  I think it sounds interesting and promising, but since my brain has half shut down, I can’t make any valid contribution to the discussion.  I might be able to think again tomorrow.

On other news:

Huzzah!!  The last point took an HOUR.  My finger was super tired from hanging over the PrtSc button.

Comments 4 Comments »

Since I am on holidays, and I am also incredibly lazy, I got someone to do a guest post for me.  Saves me a day of writing, keeps you all entertained – it’s a winwin situation, right?  So, Kalf has written an interesting post about Warlock/Resto Druid Synergy, and how to keep the trees happy.  Personally, I think it would be more fun to set them on fire, but hey, I guess I like my heals!

So, here it is… I think some of it especially is going to spark some discussion, which will be awesome for me to come home to.  So, enjoy!  <3 Sar

Greetings to all of Sar’s readers!  I’m sure you know of me by now, since I’ve been mentioned in

some of her posts and if you’re on Twitter, I’d reply to her every now and then.  Otherwise I am

her Resto Druid friend.  While she’s away I have been given a mission to entertain you guys with

my ramblings.  I thought the most appropriate thing I could do was post something that directly

links a Druid with a Warlock, in the healing sense.

So here are my three mini-topics about the connection between Resto Druids and any kind of

Warlock.  Enjoy!

The Felhunter
I love the Felhunter, he is my friend and despite what everyone else says, it’s a zergling and I

love Starcraft.  Therefore, it’s a zergling in my eyes.  Anyway, whenever a mage isn’t available

for a raid and we have a few locks, I message them and kindly ask for this bad boy to be

summoned.  Not only does it help my mana pool and regen but when I’m in tree form the extra

spirit gives me more healing!  How awesome is that.  But lately, I have been using spirit scrolls

because we usually have a mage around, and the buff from the scrolls is equal to the Fel Hunter

buff so my scroll is waste.  Oh well.  When I’m feeling stingy and don’t want to waste the oh so

cheap scrolls, the little zergling is one of my best friends.

Fel Armor
I only put this here because of me having an ego and wanting to crit high with healing touch on a

Warlock, aka, Saresa.  But NOW, since the stupid spell was changed, I can’t do that, I have to

resort to testing my heals on Rogues.  It was helpful in raid situation though, when a certain

Warlock would lifetap and have stupidly low health, a heal would crit and help them out heaps. 

(Ed: Please note, this certain Warlock was not me! <3 Sar)

Life Tapping
Now this is just a pet peeve.  I really dislike it when a lock goes ahead and lifetaps in a 5 man

or a raid, ESPECIALLY when it’s at a critical point in a fight.  And it makes it even worse when

there’s a load of AoE damage going around the groups.  I’m glad I have quick reflexes, otherwise

90% of the time it would be a wipe or either the tank or lock would go squish.

Maybe these few tips may help, not that I would really call them a tip, more of a perspective

from a healer when a Warlock uses a certain spell or pet.  Well, except for Fel Armor since it

got nerfed in that way but oh well.  Keep in mind the life tapping thing! /shakesfist

…Fist?  Wouldn’t be a branch?  /cast Life Tap Life Tap Life Tap!!!  <3 Sar

Comments 5 Comments »

I am not a believer in gear lists.  There, I said it.  I know that ‘Gearing for Heroics’, ‘Gearing for ‘Insert Raid Here’ lists and the like are very popular with people, but quite frankly, I find them to be very irritating to read.  I will admit I have looked at one before (specifically for my druid, since I know diddly squat about tanking), but I have never felt the need to use one for my Warlock.  We only have one cap that we really NEED to worry about, and then gearing is (relatively) simple if we keep in mind a couple of basic principles.  Of course, these rules aren’t necessarily set in stone, and sometimes breaking them a little bit will give you better results.  Not to mention people always disagree on what should be aimed for!

1.  Hit -> Haste <-> Damage -> Crit.

Hit will always be the most important stat.  Point for point hit is more valuable than any other stat, and all the damage or crit in the world wont help you when your spells resist.  The hit cap at level 80 is as follows:

Untalented Hit Cap: 446

Talented (Suppression and/or Cataclysm): 368

Talented and Grouped with Draenei: 342

For the purposes of being hit capped, I would aim for the 368 mark rather than banking on the Heroic Presence buff.  This is of course assuming you have put talents in Cataclysm!

Haste is highly beneficial for Fire Destruction as it maximises the already slightly shorter cast times of fire spells, and allows you to cast more Incinerates during the duration of an Immolate.  This allows you to take advantage of the ‘deals more damage while the target has Immolate’ mechanic.  Keep in mind the GCD on instant casts (Curses, Corruption, Conflagrate and Shadowflame) can only be reduced to one second.

1% increase in cast speed: 32.78998947 Haste.

The reasoning behind having Haste and Damage being somewhat equal is that they both need to be balanced.  Clearly having a heap of haste but little damage isn’t going to help you, and vice versa.  My usual tactic where possible here is to aim for small chunks of both stats at a time.  In BC, I would aim to increase my Crit in 5% increments, then my damage by 100-200.  Might not be the best approach, but I found that I felt less ‘gimped’ on a stat working that way.  I will probably adopt a similar approach with Haste and Damage in Wrath.

2.  Spi <-> Sta -> Int.

To be honest, I am still really umming and ahhing over this.  Stamina has always been a primary stat for Warlocks, but with Spirit now having an impact on Spell Damage (thanks to Fel Armor) and directly affecting Life Tap, I would say they are equally important.  Intellect is overrated (in my opinion), providing a minor increase in spell crit rating and increasing your mana pool.  While a large mana pool is nice, it is not essential.  One overlooked benefit of Intellect is that it will also increase your Imp’s critical strike rating, which gives you those shiny Empowered Imp buffs!

166.6666709 Intellect = 1% Crit

30% of your Spirit = Spell Power WHILE Fel Armor is active

Life Tap (Rank 8): Converts (1490+Spi*3) Health into (1490+Spi*3) Mana.

So, my basic rule when looking at upgrades?  Don’t focus on too high above your current content level, look at what is to be had and compare it to your current gear.  If it drops and you think it is better (keeping these things in mind), go for it.  Remember you will be competing with ALL cloth wearers for drops, and try to remember that what is good for you may be good for someone else as well! 

Credit must be given where due!  Now, we all know I am horrible at maths.  Most numbers stolen from Whitetooth’s post on the EJ forums (Thanks!!)

Comments 3 Comments »

  • I have given up on levelling fast.  Completely.  While I am still at 72, friends have raced ahead of me to 75 and higher.  Other people’s DK’s are gaining on me fast.  It’s a bit sad, but hey, I am lazy.
  • Struggling to come to terms with DK not meaning Donkey Kong.  Although that would be an interesting addition to WoW.
  • Absolutely LOVING the changes to Warlock Summons.  Oh my God yes!  Instead of summoning people, we summon the equivalent of a summoning stone.  This stone can then be used by other people in the group to summon party members.  The old rules still apply (so no summoning in BG’s or in combat), but it makes the process a lot more streamlined and saves us shards.  Huzzah!  Also means I can  be lazy and throw a stone up and AFK.  That definitely appeals to my sloth like nature.  Apparently being implemented in the next patch
  • Counting down the days ’til the end of the school term.  Four weeks to go (and the last week doesn’t count!)
  • Haste haste everywhere!  Everything in Wrath seems to have haste!  With no effort at all I have almost 250 Haste rating.  That’s without sacrificing much in the way of damage.  I have to say it is a different feeling, but the only real thing I have noticed is that it makes me run out of mana a lot faster.

Now, back to my icy cold coke and frosty fruit!  Everyone have a fantastic weekend!

Comments 5 Comments »

A major aspect of any expansion release is the wave of people changing guilds.  The gear reset provides the perfect opportunity to move to a guild which is more in line with your current goals and ideas.  This is both a blessing and a burden for those who wish to change guilds – more guilds are recruiting, but there is an awful lot more competition for those raid spots.  This means you need to be impressive on all counts, and a major part of this is presenting a good application.  You could be the best player in the world – if your application sucks, no one is going to give you the chance to even test your skills.

There is a plethora of application guides out there.  By and large, my favourite is written by Auzara, GM Extraordinaire. However, sometimes you want a little more than a generic guide into how to answer it.  Think of this as your Destruction Lock Application Crib Sheet!

Each of these questions have been selected from a variety of guild applications.  I am not going to put links to the guild sites where I pinched them from, simply because they are fairly standard style questions that you will find most anywhere.  Likewise, I am not going to put answers to questions that are Warlock-irrelevant, since that would just be rehashing old ground!  My main advice for applications is to read the instructions carefully, read the questions carefully, read your answers carefully – that’s right, read the whole damn thing carefully!  I don’t know how many times I have seen people mess up the most basic instructions, and it makes me so frustrated.

OK, so here goes!

Armory Link: Not especially Warlock related, but something that I haven’t noticed anyone mention.  When you put in your Armory link, I always appreciate it if you link your talent build in WoWHead or something similar.  Why the repetition?  The Armory is not always online, and anything that speeds up the ability of the guild to assess your character is going to move things along a lot faster.

Why did you allocate your talent points where you did? 

As a Destruction lock, this is going to be a difficult one to manage.  With Destruction providing little raid utility, and less damage than Affliction, justifying your choice in sticking with Destro is going to be hard to do.  My reasoning for the spec I will be running with at 80 (initially at least, testing is not yet complete obviously) will be this:

‘My talents are chosen specifically to increase the damage I deal in a raid situation.  Specifically, I have chosen to forego Shadow based talents in recognition of Fire being the stronger school in the Destruction tree.  However, I have strengthened my Corruption and Curse of Agony in the Affliction tree as I will be using these spells constantly to try and proc Molten Core.  I have also chosen to take some talents which improve my survivability in raid situations, with Improved Soul Leech allowing me the occasional self heal, and also relieving pressure on healers when I Life Tap’.

While this may not be a perfect grade-A answer, there are a couple of things about this structure which work well.  Firstly, I talked about the tree in general, and why I overall made the selection that I did.  I then chose to highlight a couple of specific talents, and I discussed the ones which would appear to be a less obvious choice to anyone not intimately familiar with the tree.  This shows a knowledge of Warlock talents and what they are useful for, and also a knowledge of the three things we need to be successful in raiding – damage output, survivability, and utility (to a much lesser extent).

In your opinion, what do skilled players of your class and spec contribute to 25-man raiding?

This is a chance to show how well you know and love your class.  One thing which always makes me sad is when I see people answer ‘Damage!’.  There is much more to the Warlock class, and an answer that brief shows that you either don’t know your class well, or that you just can not think outside of the square.

‘Skilled Warlocks are able to contribute many things to a 25 man group.  Destruction Warlocks are able to offer a group buff (generally the ‘Blood Pact’ buff, but ‘Fel Intellect’ is also an option if required), excellent situational Crowd Control abilities through the use of Banish and Enslave, a wide variety of powerful debuffs in the form of curses, and high ranged DPS.  Destruction Warlocks are also moderately mobile with our ability to DoT targets, and need not rely on one school of damage where bosses have resistances or immunities.  Warlocks have the ability to buff their own weapons, which increases our damage output.  We also provide summons, healthstones and soulstones where necessary.

Skilled Warlocks can take advantage of these characteristics of the class and keep damage output at a respectable level, while ensuring that they do whatever a fight requires for them to survive.’

The biggest issue that I am having at the moment is that I can not think of a reason why a Destro lock would be valuable to a raid.  Quite honestly, I think that Affliction is going to be a much more viable raiding tree, with increased damage, mobility and survivability.  I expect that Destro warlocks will have to play very well in trial runs to prove their worth.  Hopefully we get some form of damage increase or more utility in the future.

You are preparing for a raid.  What do you pack?

This one is a bit of a toughy at the moment, and would require some research to discover what is best for you.  Unfortunately, I could not find a good list of Wrath Flasks and Elixirs.  Since the question is generic (that is, doesn’t name particular raids), you would probably be forgiven for not naming any particular resist or tanking gear. I would list: at least 40 shards; 2 flasks; 10 guardian and 10 battle elixirs; 2 stacks of bandages; and 2 stacks of your preferred raid food.  As a rough guide, this is what I packed for BC raiding:

- 2 Flasks (our raids ran 4 hours, and I preferred Flasks to an Elixir combo)

- 1 stack of Spell Damage Food (Blackened Basilisk/Crunchy Serpent)

- I stack of Spell Crit Food (Skullfish Soup)

- 50 Shards

- 2 Wizard Oil (Brilliant if I had the gold, Superior otherwise) (no longer relevant!)

- 10 – 20 Health Potions

I didn’t pack bandages because my First Aid sucks.  This is really not acceptable for applying to a raid guild.  I also didn’t run with a trash set/boss set of gear, I didn’t think it was necessary and my trash DPS was still significant.

Successful raiding is as much about preparation as it is about execution.  When you’re not raiding, what are you doing to prepare for challenging raids?

This question is basically there to ensure that you know the basics of preparing for a raid.  I stole this question from one of the ‘uber-guild’ forums on Cenarius.  In my mind, this means that they are expecting more than ‘I do dailies for gold and watch the videos’.  Most of the things you do in your non raiding time can be used to answer this question – you just need to put a raid related spin on it.

PvP – ‘I regularly engage in arena based PvP as it allows me to learn how to use the different abilities of my class in a wide variety of situations.  Often the creative use of abilities can translate well into PvE content, and also ensures that I do not fall into the ‘stand and pewpew’ mentality.

Dailies – ‘I spend a small amount of my play time completing dailies to ensure that I can always afford the best quality consumables and gear enhancements’

Instances – ‘I run instances to test possible specs and spell rotations.’  A big added plus in my opinion if you test regularly on test dummies.  Testing new rotations on dummies shows an element of foresight which many people forget about, and also gives you a vague idea of which rotations are most successful (but remember – often you will not have full raid buffs in testing, and you are able to stand and nuke)

Research – ‘I regularly research boss encounters on a variety of forums, and watch relevant videos of these encounters.  However, I do understand that reading a strat does not mean that strat is the only possible way to down a boss.  I also regularly read my class forums on Elitist Jerks, and other useful websites such as …(think the Warlock’s Den, etc)’ Note – please don’t put down my blog!  I really don’t think this place would be seen as an adequate research tool!  If you do link blogs, link to informative and useful posts, which are referenced very well.


I am sure that there are many different variations of these questions on guild applications, and possibly questions which I haven’t thought of.  However, these are the generic sorts of questions which most GOOD guild applications will ask you (at least regarding playing your class, there are also many more non class related questions).  Obviously take the points I have raised into consideration, but make the answers your own.  No one wants to see a bunch of copied material, and you ultimately are selling yourself, not someone else.

SHAMELESS PLUG:  Conquest (Ner’zhul, Alliance) is a progression guild that is currently recruiting for Wrath of the Lich King 25 mans.  They are currently seeking skilled Warlocks to fill their roster.  I imagine successful applicants would have similar goals to the guild, be progression focused and have a deep knowledge of their class.  For more information, I would suggest looking at their website.

Comments 9 Comments »

halloween2 So, I didn’t get the pet for Hallowe’en.  However, I was lucky enough to score the sword, which resulted in some very evil looking flame throwing!  We all know that it is all about the appearances, right?

So, it’s the third day of NaBloPoMo.  I was going to make a video, since I haven’t work my glasses all day and now can barely see, but I could see myself well enough to be assured that I look hideous.  Funny how video days invariably fall on ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ days.  Yes, they do exist.  On the plus side, it also means ‘Thin’ and ‘attractive’ days also exist – sometimes at the same time. 

Since the video idea failed, I am going to take a stab (with my new sword) at a BA Shared Topic!  Coming to you from Sydera@WoM:

What Kind of Warlock are You?

1.  You see a bunny hopping down the road.  You

a) Hug it!

b) DoT it, just to be disappointed when the first tick kills it

c) Blast it with the biggest nuke you have


2.  What is the most appealing aspect about being a Warlock?

a) Cloth is just so pretty!

b)  The ability to slowly and painfully kill someone is what being a Warlock is all about

c) Massive Pew Pew Powers!…. itty bitty escape ability!


3.  Which word best defines a Warlock?

a) Misunderstood

b) Evil

c) Monstrous


4.  Which is your favourite pet?

a) Imp: he’s so cute!

b) Felguard: Ugly, huge, and deadly

c) Pet?  Huh?  Oh, that annoying thing that follows me?  I just kill it!


5.  (Courtesy of Lassirra!) Would you rather:

a) flay someone alive and feed it to your demon (only if he was hungry!)

b) burn someone to a cinder, and feed the remains to your demon

c) all of the above



Mostly ‘A’s:  You are a kind hearted lock!

Shouldn’t you really be playing a priest or something?

Mostly ‘B’s: The Richard

You enjoy being utterly evil, and delight in making people feel pain for a looooong time.  You probably prefer the Affliction playstyle, and delight in scurrying around throwing DoTs everywhere

Mostly ‘C’s: The Nuke

You love seeing large numbers light up the screen, but still ensure that your enemies don’t have a completely painless death.  You probably invest lots of your points in Destruction, and pew pew with the best of them!

Comments 4 Comments »

We all knew it was coming. I hinted at it the other day. Well, it’s time…

QQ Festival!

That’s right, your beloved purveyor of all that is evil, corrupter of all that is holy, is going to indulge in the largest complaint fest to ever adorn these pages. Of course, you should all have an idea what it is about:


Warlocks all over are complaining vigorously about the nerfs that we have suffered. Warlock damage appears to be down across the board, with Destruction PvE locks being hit particularly hard. Horns has written an excellent commentary on the effects the patch had on PvP locks, and I am going to take a look at locks from a PvE perspective.

1. Conflagrate and Backdraft.

I have decided to eliminate Conflag from my rotation. The GCD on Conflag was still eating up DPS, despite the increased speed of your next three casts. I also found it messes with your spell rotation, and is just all in all difficult to manage. So far with testing I have found this to be more effective, but I have not had much of a chance to test this in a raid environment unfortunately. Not casting Conflag meant no points in Backdraft.

2. Empowered Imp

Yes, Empowered Imp is lovely. Unfortunately, the imp is still very fragile, and requires a lot of monitoring. Also, either my game was being buggy (a mod screwing up, perhaps?) or you can’t phase shift your pet in combat. That makes the imp and the talent senseless on fights like High Warlord Najentus, where everyone takes damage. My imp was toast in about 5 seconds. When I rely on him so heavily for my own DPS, it’s frustrating to have him die.

3. Shadow Bolt

Is now completely useless. Shadow Bolt, you are dead to me. I refuse to waste points in a nerfed ISB, and my Incinerates hit for more than my SB’s. SB’s may only be cast when I get an instant (when I bother to Glyph for it).

I really don’t mind having a spell rotation. I have said it before, I will say it again: Shadow Bolt spam was boring. Boring as all hell. I do object to no longer being a viable choice in raid groups. ‘Sorry, we have our one token Healthstone lock. Have fun!’

I will admit, I have seen people report significant damage increases. For the most part, these people had the following pre-patch:

a) 0/21/40 spec without the crit to effectively support it.

b) An Affliction spec

c) No raid experience past Kara or Gruul’s and Mags.

d) A lower DPS spell rotation

There is nothing wrong with that, by the way (well, except for maybe point a. That is bad). However, the single target damage that I now have is not the same as what it was. Why has everyone else gone up when I have gone down? What am I doing wrong? Heck, what is the community at large doing wrong? People in T6 gear are saying they achieved 1.7k DPS, 2k on boss fights. I could hit 2k DPS on boss fights pre-patch in my much lesser gear. I would see this as a drop.

Commenting policy

This post will probably need a reminder of my commenting policy. Feel free to state your opinion of the ideas and information in this post, and in comments. However, comments which are rude, insulting or hurtful to myself or another commenter can and will be deleted. Likewise, epeen stroking is generally frowned upon. You have a spec or rotation that works? Excellent, please feel free to share! However, do not seize upon that as an opportunity to put down other people.

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We all know now that Warlocks make the best lovers. The problem is, our legendary prowess scares off so many potential partners! Well, that and some nasty accidents that have happened – Sar got a bit too enthusiastic with her last partner and, ahem, kind of set him on fire. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t had left half his plate armor on and roasted inside. On the plus side, the hunters of the guild appreciated the contribution of some roast meat to their pet food supply. On the minus side, well… it has scared people off.

Well, now Sar has gotten a bit lonely. The problem is, she doesn’t know where to start looking. What class would be best suited to a Warlock? What class can ‘take the heat’? I have seen many reasons why other classes think they are superior lovers, but do they really have what it takes to hold up to the stamina and sheer fiery energy of a Warlock? Not to mention the ability to patch themselves up if things get a little out of hand…

Think that your class has what it takes to be with a Warlock? Give Sar a hand, help her find the class that is meant for her!


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First things first – I haven’t played every possible spec that there is for Warlocks in the beta.  I have had a VERY small tinker with Demonology to look at Metamorphosis, and have spent the rest of my time levelling as Destruction.  These are comments based upon my own and other people’s research and experiences.

Affliction will be the PvE king.

At the moment in beta Affliction is the most powerful Warlock spec by far.  Affliction Warlocks are currently topping the damage meters in Naxx pushing approximately 5200DPS, and are beating out the other two specs by large amounts.  Destruction is a mid range DPS spec with approximately 4500 DPS, and Demonology is down the bottom unfortunately with approximately 3900 DPS (see post on Elitist Jerks for tables).  Of course, this is also dependent on gear scaling as to whether it will hold true for later raids.  If Wrath is similar to BC, Affliction is very viable in entry level raiding and peters out further into progression.  Conversely, Destruction was rather weak at entry level raiding and grew stronger as people gathered the gear to support it. 

Destruction will swap to being a fire based tree.

This is based on the buffs that we received to our fire spells and the chance of a Molten Core proc.  Improved Shadow Bolt has been slightly nerfed, which has greatly reduced the strength of Shadow Bolt.   With Corruption becoming an instant cast spell untalented, Destruction Warlocks will keep Corruption up and running while casting Immolate, Incinerate and Conflagrate.  I am anticipating heavy theory crafting about the usefulness of keeping Curse of Agony up and running (GCD versus extra chance of Molten Core proc).  With CoA running rather than CotE, I had approximately 200 more DPS.

What spec and spell rotation will be best for Destruction PvE locks?

To be honest, I can’t guarantee that the spec which I have been using is the best possible spec.  However, I think that I have maximised the damage that I can deal through my talent choices, which aim for the highest DPS.  The points in ISB could easily be moved, as the spell rotation that I found to be most effective on test dummies did not have Shadow Bolt within it.  I merely put them there to advance further down the tree.

80statsI was practicing on a ‘Heroic Training Dummy’ (which is a level 83 dummy), so there were some misses involved.  My stats can clearly be seen in the image to the left.  My hit rating is clearly very poor, which would allow for some of the lost DPS.  I am also trying to be realistic – not everyone will be hit capped at level 80.  I was not hit capped until after I finished with Kara myself.

I experimented with 3 basic Destruction spell rotations, allowing for some basic principles:

1.  Corruption had to be up at all times to try and get Molten Core to proc

2.  Immolate also had to be up at all times

3.  Every Immolate had to be finished with a Conflagrate to proc Backdraft.

4.  My Imp was DPSing to try and proc Empowered Imp

5.  Only buff I had running was Fel Armor.

Unfortunately, Backdraft makes it difficult to have a stable ‘spell rotation’  I still have not maximised my spell rotation yet, as my two DoTs also finish ticking quite when Backdraft is up, which means that I am wasting the valuable time that I could be casting Destruction spells in.  I could have also been casting Shadow Bolts rather than constant Incinerates to try and force a Molten Core proc, but Shadow Bolt is a weaker spell now with the nerf to Improved Shadow Bolt (which had previously made it so strong).

Ultimately the strongest spell rotation I could work out was the following (please note this is not necessarily the best one, and I will keep testing):

Corruption, Curse of Agony, Immolate, Incinerate x 4, Chaos Bolt, Corruption, Conflagrate. 

After that point however, things became somewhat chaotic as I tried to maximise the value of Backdraft, keep Corruption up at all times, and keep Curse of Agony up WITHOUT cutting the end off the spell (because we all know that is bad!).  I could stick to the same basic pattern, but occasionally had to refresh my DoTs half way through the rotation.  Managing it would be much simpler if you were assigned to CotE in a raid however.  I also noticed that you suck mana like nothing else – at least some things never change!

Actual numbers for those who enjoy maths!

Please note – I have not done any calculations.  To be honest, I wouldn’t even know where to start.  These are probably the most accurate numbers from my many, many, MANY tests on the test dummy.  The image is the graph from my most successful testing, although I do have many more of the other spell rotations.  Feel free to email me if you are curious about any of the others.
























Individual Spell Stats (Boss Dummy, 5/14/52 Spec)

Spell Name Hit  (Avg) Crit (Avg) Tick (Avg)
Incinerate 2597 5536 -
Immolate 1249 2523 484
Corruption - - 474
Curse of Agony** - - 304
Chaos Bolt 3177 - -
Conflagrate 1451 2641 -
Shadow Bolt*** 2441 5092 -


**  First tick of CoA at approximately 200, final tick at approximately 400.

*** Not from above test, but the numbers may be useful.  With CoA up as well, not CotE.  Spell rotation as above, with Immolate replaced by Shadow Bolt.

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