It’s a wonderful world when a Warlock can tumble out of bed, plonk herself down at a computer without even bothering with any of her morning regime, and start deconstructing some Warlock changes. Faaaaaantastic! I haven’t yet cleaned out my feedreader, so if this is a bit repetitive, I apologise. Unfortunately, the problem with big announcements is every bloody damned blogger out there writes about them, which is why I kinda gave up on the whole idea. However, I think this one is big enough to warrant some special Sar input.
- I’ll say it: I think we need slightly higher DPS. I also lost that bursty feeling with my Warlock – not necessarily a bad thing, but it was an aspect of the class that I enjoyed.
- Pet micromanagement is minimal to non existent. As a result, there are many Warlocks (myself included) who are outright useless with their pets, and just whack them on auto attack.
- No green fire. You knew that one was coming.
- The perception of lolDestro. Honestly, I am not sure how this could be corrected. Blizzard have given Destruction Warlocks a rotation that I feel is comparable in difficulty to Affliction Warlocks – we use a similar amount of spells, both with priority based rotations. At the moment Destruction is a slightly more mobile spec, but hey, that is the opposite to what the roles have traditionally been (and yes, before you ask, I have played both playstyles. The only spec I have not toyed with in Wrath is Demonology). This is something that needs to be worked on player side rather than Blizzard side, in my opinion, and can mainly be put down to ignorant or elitist raid leaders and other assorted asshats, and a general misunderstanding of the Destruction Warlock.
Anyway, let’s get on to the good stuff and see what Blizzard has done to improve (we hope) Warlocks. I’m not going to paste the whole thread, but rather the snippets that I feel are important.
New Warlock Spells
Fel Flame (level 81): Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability Frostfire Bolt, in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that’s good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.
Dark Intent (level 83): Increases the target’s chance for a critical effect with periodic damage or healing spells by 3%. When the target lands a crit, you get a buff to your damage for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to three times.
Demon Soul (level 85): Fuses the warlock’s soul with his or her demon. This provides warlocks with a self-burst cooldown to use. The specific effects granted by Demon Soul depend on the demon chosen. Demon Soul lasts for a certain number of charges or until it expires (around 20 seconds), depending on the demon used. 2-minute cooldown.
a) Fel Flame: I think Fel Flame will be successful where Shadowburn wasn’t for Destruction Warlocks because it will refresh the duration of Immolate, thus serving a purpose besides being an instant cast spell that was actually a steaming pile of crap. It will be interesting to see how much damage this spell deals – I can’t imagine it will be greater than the initial burst damage of Immolate, especially on an instant cast. The Conflagrate debacle will make Blizzard very wary of giving players instant cast spells which are too powerful.
And green fire? Well, yes, you gave us ONE green spell. Not really what we were asking for, but then, not surprising to see that you aren’t interested in giving it to us either. At this point I am beginning to feel that you are messing with our heads with this one (‘The more you ask, the less likely you are to receive’ type deal). Harumph.
b) Focus Magic, Warlock Style Dark Intent: Warlocks bring all the buffs to the yard! It will be interesting to see how this turns out – if other classes get the same benefit from Haste and Crit to their DoTs/HoTs as Warlocks are getting (and I can not imagine why they would not be), this could potentially be VERY powerful on a Restoration Druid. Of course, I may just say that since my alt is a Restoration Druid, and I do like mah shiny buffs. I guess you could also throw it on an Affliction Warlock, if you were feeling generous. It’s tough to call at this point in time who this would be best for, because all the other classes could be totally different within a week or two! I just hope it doesn’t turn into a greedy ‘let’s keep this only amongst the Warlocks’ thing like the Mages have going.
c) Demon Soul: Interesting. Too vague for me to be able to say much there, really. At this point: a button to whack every 2 minutes (or when appropriate) to make me even more awesome.
Soul Shard Overhaul
This major change regarding Soul Shards was previously announced at BlizzCon 2009. Soul Shards will no longer be inventory items, but instead a new UI resource mechanic. Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards that can be used during a fight and will not be able to gain additional shards during combat. Soul Shards will not be required outside of combat. Soul Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing you to use the secondary effects of some spells. Soul Burn has no mana or health costs and is off the global cooldown. Planned secondary effects are outlined here.
- Summon Demon + Soul Burn = summon the demon instantly.
- Drain Life + Soul Burn = Reduces cast speed by 60%.
- Demonic Circle + Soul Burn = Increases movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds after teleporting.
- Unstable Affliction + Soul Burn = Instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its effect.
- Soul Fire + Soul Burn = Instant cast.
- Healthstone + Soul Burn = Increases total health by 20% for 8 seconds.
- Searing Pain + Soul Burn = Increases the crit chance of Searing Pain by 100%, and subsequent Searing Pain spells by 50% for 6 seconds.
First things first – what will happen to my shard bag, bizatches? My guess is they will delete the recipe, wipe them out of people’s Tailoring spell books, and let us kindly keep the one we have as a soulbound standard bag. Or, at least, that would be NICE.
To be honest, many of these strike me as incredibly meh for Destruction Warlocks. Whoopdie fricking doo.
- Instant demon summon makes me question what changes they are making to the Demonology tree: do I smell the demise of Fel Domination? This is what I get for not reading the notes through PROPERLY the first time around – funnily enough, it says this at the bottom! Stupid Sar is stupid.
- Drain Life sounds interesting, but as bosses are highly likely to be immune or some such thing, this will probably find its place in PvP (especially in Arena if you are trying to kill that pesky healer, although the whole ‘Channelled, sitting duck, damn you for running out of LoS will make that interesting as well).
- Demonic Circle, again more a PvP/specific boss fight thing.
- Unstable Affliction – I am sure Nib or Hydra have some thoughts on that one
- Soul Fire – intriguing. I may just end up throwing a Soul Fire every so often in a fight.
- Healthstone – shiny I guess, but I’m not going to throw my arms around and praise the Blizz gods for it
- Searing Pain – boy oh boy I hope this means more Warlock tanking in Cataclysm. Otherwise, this is going to be kinda lame. More upfront threat as a Warlock tank? Nomtastic.
As I have said in the past, I have had a lot of issues with Soul Shards (mainly that they don’t bloody stack!), however, I have never been concerned about the fact that we have to use them full stop. Sure, this might take away from the ‘pain in the ass’ factor (because really, getting shards was sooooo bloody difficult, right?), but it also takes a hell of a lot away from the aesthetics of being a Warlock. Just another small way of making us less evil and more like cuddly teddy bears, or some other equally revolting fuzzy creature (Dwarf Priests, amirite?)
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
- All warlock damage-over-time (DoT) spells will benefit from crit and haste innately. Haste will no longer act to reduce the DoT’s duration, but rather to add additional ticks. When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer “clip” the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell, similar to how Everlasting Affliction currently works.
- Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom will be converted into Bane of Agony and Bane of Doom. Bane spells are considered magic instead of curses. This means you will be able to cast one Bane (e.g. Bane of Agony) and one Curse (e.g. Curse of Elements) on a single target.
- Hellfire will no longer deal damage to the warlock.
- Imps will lose Fire Shield, but will gain a new ability, Burning Ember, which is a stacking DoT.
- The succubus melee range will be increased. The succubus will no longer have Soothing Kiss, but will instead have Whiplash, which knocks back all enemies within 8 yards.
- Voidwalker Torment will do increased damage and generate a lot of area-of-effect (AoE) threat. Suffering will become a single-target taunt.
DoT changes are pretty damn awesome. Although, while no clipping will make life easier, it will also take away from some of the fun and challenge of playing a DoT class. I am sure the Affliction Warlocks are singing the praises of this one though.
It is nice to see a distinction drawn between utility curses and damage based curses. Changing CoA and CoD to BoA and BoD will no doubt confuse people for some time (yay new acronyms!), but it will add a great deal to Warlock raid utility. Except, of course, for the fact that all our good curses are also covered by other class abilities. Damn it!
As a little aside, I am VERY interested to see what all the changes to decursing and cleansing will do to Warlock PvP. Especially the proposed changes for Druids.
DAMN IT HELLFIRE. All I can say is that it had better become a fricking awesome AoE spell, because Blizzard, you just cost me or my guild another good 100g+ a week. Thank you kindly. On a serious note, I really do feel that this takes away (again!) from the whole Warlock aesthetic. I would have much rathered a change to Hellfire which made it an immensely powerful, difficult to heal through AoE. It would be nice to force people to have to consider the implications of using the spell, and have Warlocks actually want to use it as something other than a ‘oh crap, wipe’ ability.
I have nothing but good things to say about the Imp change. Fire Shield was not powerful enough to warrant us even bothering to use it effectively. I just turned it off auto-cast to save my Imp the mana. Stacking DoTs are <3
Whiplash both intrigues and scares me. I can see a lot of PvE boo boos while Warlocks adjust to using this effectively. This will probably end up having more PvP utility.
Fixing Voidwalkers is nice. Lets see if it helps.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- Pandemic will now cause Drain Soul to refresh Unstable Affliction and Bane of Agony on targets below 25% health.
- The ability Fel Domination will be removed (because Soul Burn accomplishes the same effect).
- Demonology will gain a new direct-damage spell, Demon Bolt. Demon Bolt will add a debuff that improves the damage done by the demon to the target.
- We plan to add a new talent, Impending Doom, which will give certain spells a chance to reduce the cooldown on Metamorphosis and Curse of Doom.
- Metamorphosis will no longer be subject to demonic crowd control. Furthermore, abilities available only while under the effects of Metamorphosis will be altered to put more emphasis on the warlock’s own spells.
- Shadowburn will now do additional damage to targets below 25% health.
I’m not going to comment on all of these, because they aren’t especially exciting, and pretty much all of them seem to be targeted at Demonology. Demon Bolt will hopefully prove to be awesome for Demonology Warlocks, and I hope they aren’t let down in the same way as they were with Metamorphosis. Improvements to Shadowburn will be fantastic.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Spell Critical Damage
Fire Direct Damage
Shadow DoTs: The damage caused by Shadow damage-over-time spells is increased.
Demon Damage: The damage caused by pets and Metamorphosis is increased.
Fire Direct Damage: The damage caused by Fire direct damage spells is increased.
Well, my hopes and dreams of having Destruction not being purely a fire tree have been dashed for good. I do miss my Shadow spells, and I would have liked to be able to cast a variety of spells without being punished. One of the reasons I originally fell in love with the Warlock class was that we weren’t distinguished from one another by a school of spells, but more by a playstyle. We were able to cast spells from both schools, and yet still felt distinct from one another. Well, guess I’ll have to deal with the lame ass Mage look for yet another expansion. Apart from that, there are no surprises here (apart from a chortle at the inconsistent wording Blizzard have used).
Nothing especially surprising announced here. The new spells sound nice and shiny, although I have already heard them referred to as ‘Oh, the Warlock version of x Mage spell’ (way to promote class individuality there Blizzard, since we ALL know that is so valued right now /smirk). The changes to DoTs will be incredibly welcome for Affliction Warlocks, and I think Demonology Warlocks will be thankful to get some love (although understandably wary and dubious of proposed changes). I know that many Warlocks out there are celebrating the changes to Soul Shards, and in many ways I feel like the whiny person in the corner at a party with my attitude to that.
It does appear that Warlocks (at least, the ones who use a Succubus) will have to consider pet micromanagement a little more, which is very welcome. Or, it will mean that people ignore the Succy in favour of something easier.
I don’t see too many changes here which make me want to jump up and down with joy. The Soul Shard changes feel very disappointing to me in terms of what we get out of them, but that could also be because they were hyped up so much – I was really expecting something fantastic and out of this world. I also have a sneaking suspicion that, as always, PvP balancing means that PvE Warlocks will again be missing out in the long run, but I guess you could say that is true for all classes.Tags: Blue Announcements, Class, Class Changes, WoW