With 4.0 literally on top of us, I thought it was high time I got off my rotund rear and wrote a guide to what I think is the best spec for Destro Warlocks. This, of course, comes with the previously mentioned caveat that I haven’t played in the beta or the PTR, and so I could make a mistake.
Click me to go to the talent calculator page
We are forced to put 31 talents into Destruction, which really makes those choices a bit of a no brainer. However, for those who might be curious, I have highlighted my choices below. To be fair, it’s more a matter of ‘what don’t I need’ than ‘what do I need’ with these trees. But hey… let’s see anyway.
Bane (3/3): A reduction of cast speed wasn’t the first thing I reached for, simply because I wasn’t sure how Haste works out in 4.0. However, it is a handy talent to have, and you are forced to choose it to progress further down the tree.
Shadow and Flame (3/3): I think Shadow and Flame is worth having solely for the 12% increase to Incinerate. However, the Improved Shadow Bolt is always nice for those looking for utility, and if you are lacking an equivalent buff in your raid, it could be very handy.
Improved Immolate (2/2): Again, kinda a no brainer. 20% to your Immolate is pretty shiny.
Improved Soul Fire (2/2): Improved Soul Fire changes up the Warlock rotation, giving us a hard hitting opener. Improved Soul Fire causes you to receive a 15% increase to spell haste for 15 seconds if you hit a target at 80% or greater health. Think of it as a reverse execute. I’m not sure yet how this pans out mathematically, but you’ve got to spend the points somewhere regardless.
Emberstorm (2/2): Another boring, make you cast faster talent (this time affecting Soul Fire and Immolate).
Improved Searing Pain (2/2): This talent confuses me, as it would confuse anyone who hasn’t played PTR or beta. I’ve heard talk that Blizzard have buffed the holy hell out of Searing Pain, although this spell still scares me. An increase in damage is fine, but is it accompanied by an increase in threat generation? Because, really? More threat? I’ll test Searing Pain out when the patch hits and see what happens. It is also worth noting that it only increases the crit chance of Searing Pain when the target has less than 50% health. Searing Pain is probably not worth casting before that point.
Aftermath (0/2): PvE stuns are a snore. Especially when half the crap in an instance is immune to your stun effects anyway. If you are lacking in stun effects in your raid, I guess you consider it, but I am not seeing any PvE raiding worth in this talent. Probably a fight specific talent.
Backdraft (3/3): Pretty similar to the old Backdraft (as in, y’know… not new). Just as worthwhile as before.
Shadowburn (1/1): Shadow damage, but it will be interesting to play with, considering the new Soul Shard mechanic. I imagine it will kick absolute arse on long boss fights with more than one target (something in the style of High King Maulgar).
Burning Embers (2/2): Finally, getting to the new stuff in the tree! Burning Embers puts a DoT on the target, caused by your Imp’s Firebolt or your Soul Fire, equal to 30% of the damage dealt by said spell. The DoT lasts for 7 seconds. Again, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Things I would like to know: do you and your Imp have separate Burning Embers DoTs? I am guessing that it can not proc while it is up, although it may be that it refreshes if it procs while it is going. Lots of question marks here, but it’s nice to see something new and interesting.
Soul Leech (2/2): Same ‘blah, play nice with the others’ raid utility as Soul Leech and Improved Soul Leech, condensed down into two talent points. No reason not to take it, really, and I’d make a comment about utility here if every other bastard didn’t have some form of Replenishment as well.
Backlash (0/3): It’s PvE. Stop getting hit, foo’.
Nether Ward (1/1): Eh. It might be useful, and I had to throw a point somewhere. Basically takes Shadow Ward, and makes it better by turning into a damage absorption bubble of every magical flavour. No, it won’t stop that Rogue from hurting you when he stabs you in the kidney.
Fire and Brimstone (3/3): Increases damage, increases this, Increases that. You know the drill: it makes you hit harder, it makes you crit more, you want it. Because, really, Destruction Warlocks are like diamond connoisseurs – the small ones are pretty, but the big ones are so much better. And yeah, I had to use diamond there, because the other things that are better big, just aren’t pretty when they are small. No one likes a small yacht. Just ask Ghostcrawler.
Shadowfury (1/1): I’m not enthused at all about Shadowfury. I know a lot of people who think it’s an exciting PvE spell, and it does give us a little more mobility, but I have just plain never liked it. I put a point into it because I had to, more than anything else. I’m totally not all about the Shadow either: while I have always thought it would be nice to have to use a mix of shadow and fire in our rotation, the buffs we receive to fire through specialising in Destruction make me disinclined to use Shadow spells.
Nether Protection (0/2): PvE raiding. Stop pulling aggro, foo’. Or, you know, only spec into this when the situation requires it. Which won’t be too often, except for if you are Lock Tanking.
Empowered Imp (2/2): Imps handing out Instant Soul Fires, hopefully like candy. Which leads to (hopefully) more Burning Embers uptime. Nommy. … OK, so maybe not like candy. 4% seems pretty low. I’m hoping this gets increased or something.
Bane of Havoc (1/1): The other new hotness in the Destro tree. To be honest, my first thought was ‘This is REALLY going to screw some people over in PvP’, but it will also be pretty damn awesome in PvE as well. Add fights? Whoo hoo! For those who can’t click through to wowhead, bane of havoc causes 15% of the damage dealt to other targets to also hit the baned target.
Chaos Bolt (1/1): Do you have to ask? It’s shiny, it’s fun, and we hopefully get to use it quite a bit.
Crap in the other trees
This was actually a more difficult decision process than the Destruction tree. I decided to go with the following:
Improved Corruption (2/3): I’ve heard that Corruption is working its way into the Destro rotation. However, if it is not, then of course you do not want this.
Dark Arts (3/3): More Firebolts = More chances for Empowered Imp and Burning Embers to proc. Just makes sense, really.
Thoughts, queries, notions, theories? Fire away in the comments!