Archive for April, 2012

Hello my Prodigies of Pain,

All I can say today is that the MoP Beta has been horribly buggy lately, especially with the latest patch. I don’t know why it has been so bad, but it’s driving me batty! Don’t believe me? Then take a quick look at the picture below.

Demon wings for warlocks! I just wish it was for all three specs!

Actually, what you’re seeing is a new graphic form in the Demonolgy Tree and it’s called Dark Apotheosis. Sweet, right? I truly make those wings look hawt! OMG, can you imagine putting those on a goblin or a gnome? Bah! It would be like seeing demonic Olsen Twins. Hey, that reminds me…you might want to watch the equals three video on Youtube about the demonic Olsen Twins. Please keep in mind that Ray William Johson uses a lot of adult language, so don’t get offended because I’m warning you about his crude humor in advance. The video clip I’m talking about takes place at 2:29 mins into the video right after the singing dog. I know images of demonic Olsen Twins sounds crazy, but you have got to watch to appreciate it. You can catch it here =3 Pizza or Demonic Olsen Twins.

My Best…

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Howdy Minions of Mayhem,

As I posted last week, the great Affliction Debate continues. Actually, you can pick any of the three new MoP specs for warlocks and I’m sure you will find heated discussion concerning the changes and the play style for all of them. For now I’ll stick with Affliction otherwise it could get confusing and ugly especially if you’re not in the Beta and can’t feel or visualize what is happening with Warlocks firsthand. I’m still following the forums as much as possible but at the moment, I don’t see much change in how people feel. I have no actual numbers to go by but it appears that about 75% of the warlock players posting see dramatic and many inherent problems with Affliction. About 10% like the new changes and another 15% or so like only a few of the changes. The outliers who like the new spells seem to focus on more of the visual aspects or “coolness / newness” of using certain spells. The more vocal folks who do not like the current Affliction direction are upset more with the play style/rotation and utilities because they are looking more towards how the spec will play (based on their experiences) in end game situations such as in PvP, Heroics and Raiding.

While addons are still not a viable option in Beta for testing hard numbers there are still plenty of bugs to make it difficult and confusing because you are not really sure if the results you are seeing is a bug or if it is the intended purpose. There has been no direction from Blizzard Designers on how any type of rotation or priority list should work. To be honest, I think they just aren’t sure themselves. However, for Affliction the spells and talents that are currently available most of the community will agree there is a basic setup and the rest is just a matter of balancing your resources between damage and utilities based on your current situation.

Here is the rundown of how most see Affliction rotation as it stands. Yes, there might be a few small changes but I’ll walk you through the entire setup and execution afterwards so you can have a better understanding of what’s going on in the discussion. This is from a PvE Heroic Dungeon and Raiding point of view.

  • Cast – Curse of Elements (CoE)
  • Cast – Bane of Agony (BoA) – Now called “Agony” in MoP
  • Cast – Corruption (Corr)
  • Cast – Unstable Affliction (UA)
  • Cast – Haunt (Ha) Burns a Soulshard
  • Cast – FF – Fel Flame (1 or 2x’s)
  • Channel – Malefic Grasp (MG) 2x’s channel spamming MG stacks your BoA to a max dps strength of up to 10 stacks

It all seems simple enough until we toss in the choices for our priority list:

  • Haunt (Ha) Burning a Soulshard
  • Haunt (Ha) if Nightfall procs
  • MG spamming for filler
  • Drain Soul – DS if target is below <;;25%
  • Drain Soul – if you need to regen soulshards
  • Soulburn – Burn a shard for any Utility or Quality of Life (QoL) management
  • Fel-Flame – FF – to refresh the time duration of UA and Corruption
  • DoT refreshing CoE/UA/Corr or Haunt if they fall off the target

Please keep in mind the following discussion is a walk through for doing straight up hardcasting for each spell and theories behind it. Soulburn: Soulswap as an alternative opener from hardcasting is and can be extremely useful which I will talk about at the end of the post for further clarification. Here is the basics:

AFFLICTION ROTATION STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE (HARDCASTING)

Curse of Elements is first as an instant cast and one of our reliable “set-it and forget-it” curses. This is our flat 5 mins debuff that increases the Magic Damage taken by our target by 5%. Easy peasy right? With CoE as a good base foundation our big three will come next: BoA, Corr and UA. Currently, part of the controversy is how very weak the damage of our big three (BoA, Corr and UA) are by themselves as stand alone DoT spells. BoA and Corr are instant and UA has a cast time of 1.33 seconds. So let’s start to diagram this out like I did at the beginning of this post. So we have:

CoE

BANE OF AGONY is instant cast next and is now renamed as just a simply “Agony” in MoP but I’ll keep the BoA reference so no one gets confused. BoA is now a stacking DoT spell and our goal with it will be to reach and maintain the BoA DoT at it’s maximum amount of 10 stacks. So when BoA lands on the target it starts off as having 1 stack. The DoT icon underneath the target’s unit frame will show a small letter “1” letting you know how many stacks of BoA you currently have up. If you tossed only BoA up on a target it would slowly tick up to 10 stacks offering it’s highest power unless it drops off. However, if you reapply BoA at ANYTIME before it drops off it will remain on the target and keep it’s 10 stacks and it won’t reduce it’s damage. Not bad. DoT clipping doesn’t appear to hurt us anymore which, over the years as a DoT-timing-hound, I have to admit I like. It even makes me wonder if I’ll need Dotimer anymore.

Now, there is an important trick to getting your BoA stacked to 10 really fast so that it can achieve its highest DPS potential. Each time we use our MG channel filler it will add another stack to BoA each time the MG channel ticks. As it currently plays out, it takes about 2 MG channel casts to get a 10xBoA stack. But we won’t be using MG in the rotation yet. I just want you to be aware of that concept so when we get to discussing MG you’ll grasp it’s use and no that wasn’t an intential pun on my part either. So we’re now at:

CoE + BoA

CORRUPTION follows our BoA because it too is an instant cast and as it begins ticking damage it also has a % chance to proc our old NIGHTFALL ability. Our Nightfall proc is much different now in MoP. Instead of giving us a free Shadowbolt for higher dps as it does in Cataclysm, for MoP Affliction it just gives us a free Soulshard to use for Haunt. So the quicker we get Corr up the more chances we have for free shards and trust me when I say that in MoP Beta right now, shards are a premium.

CoE + BoA + Corr

UNSTABLE AFFLICTION goes up next and has a quick cast time of 1.33 seconds which feels longer to me in testing but that is what the tooltip says. UA is still a decent stream of steady DoT damage for us and if we want we can use the UA glyph to enhance it. Un-glyphed it will do it’s steady DoT and if it’s dispelled it will silence the dispeller for 4 seconds as well. With the UA glyph, it loses it’s silencing ability but instead will give a guarantee CRIT against the dispeller AND the target. Yummy for PvP. My question is if you have it on another caster and they dispell it off themselves do they get a double-crit? Woot that would be nice! If that is true, I’ sure they and I would both crit-our-pants! Yes, that’s an old joke but it fits there so forgive me. This puts us at:

CoE + BoA + Corr + UA

Now, we’re getting to the good stuff because nothing so far isn’t too terribly different. I’m talking about the new shiny stuff with all the buzz and excitement and teeth gnashing that come with it. So let’s discuss one of Affliction’s key signature spells that’s getting an overhaul and get ready to hang-on because it’s a very hot topic of the forums. But first, let me give you a quick analogy. I know right now your asking yourself, “What? An analogy? WTF Amijade, I want the new shiny!” Yes, I’m going to pause a moment and move towards another subject so that I can build some tension and suspense. Plus, hopefully it will help paint a picture for you to understand why our fellow forum peeps are upset. Trust me on this one, okay?

Imagine your going to make a campfire. You gather some leaves and kindling to put at the bottom (CoE), next you add some damp wood, then you light the kindling so things start to heat up (BoA + Corr + UA). Your fire is burning softly because the wood is very damp so it needs something to give it that “oomf”, something to take it to the next level so it burns really hot. I’m sure we’ve all played Destro and like the feeling of pyromania so what if you we had a can of gasoline to use on our fire for 8 seconds? Heck, what if you had three cans of that gasoline? Well, the gas cans are our soulshards and the gasoline is…(wait for it)…(wait for it)…the gasoline is HAUNT. *Sighs* There I said it.

HAUNT launches on our target after a 1.22 second cast time doing some initial damage when it lands but more importantly, it increases all of our spell damage by a whopping 40% for 8 seconds! So, using the anology above our fire with gasoline on it burns like the flames of hell for 8 seconds after we toss our gas can on it. When the gasoline is gone the wet wood goes back to it’s smaller, low-level flame but continues to smolder. Each time we douse our small campfire (target) with a can of gasoline (Haunt) it’s a gianormous DPS increase. (giant + enormous = gianormous) And by gianormous we’re talking 40%! Yes, you would be correct in your thinking if you thought “fortyomgwtfalmosthalfmydpspercent!”

Saying HAUNT is huge for us in MoP is an understatement and the reason Haunt is so controversial and has people considering rolling a spriest or a mage is because of two things. First, we are completely dependent on Haunt to sustain any decent DPS. Secondly, Haunt’s power is tied directly into our secondary resource mechanic of managing soulshards. When your out of shards, you can’t cast Haunt and you lose 40% of your damage and to add more difficulty and complexity in this playstyle you have to remember there is only two ways to regain a soulshard and both of them require you to be in combat. Our great spell SOUL HARVEST is currently gone in MoP Beta and has become instead a very weak passive ability so don’t expect to regen Shards out of combat or to heal yourself up quickly while questing. The only way to currently regen Soul Shards is you can either get a lucky tick from Corr that might proc your Nightfall (remember Nightfall procs give us a free shard for Haunt) or you can use our old execution range spell known as Drain Soul (DS) on a target. So here is where we are now with our setup:

CoE + BoA + Corr + UA + Ha

Now this next step isn’t competely necessary but I am going to recommend it in the rotation and I’ll exlain why I like to throw it in besides the fact that it’s cool and looks like green fire. We’re warlocks and getting us all to agree is like herding cats so, feel free to let me know your opinions on it as well. Further testing or changes may make this reasoning incorrect so dont get upset if it changes…

FEL FLAME is still green, it’s still an instant cast but luckily it has been beefed up slightly in it’s damage output. Fel Flame is great to use on the move and because it also refreshes both Corr and UA by an additional 6 seconds when it lands. I didn’t mention it before because I didn’t want to confuse anyone. Corr starts off with an 18 second countdown timer and UA has 17 seconds. Hitting them with Fel Flame extends them by 6 seconds so with one cast we get Corr at 24 seconds and UA at 23 seconds. Pop Fel Flame a second time and we get Corr up to it’s max cooldown time of 30 seconds and UA easily reaches it’s max countdown timer of 24 seconds. Putting Fel Flame in the rotation is purely guesswork at this point and is another topic of heated discussion. I put it in there because it’s green and because it currently plays out as a much “smoother” rotation IMHO. You can cast it either one or two times but I’m finding that one cast does just fine for questing. So placed in the rotation we would get:

CoE + BoA + Corr + UA + Ha + FF

Looking at the what I just listed above you have to stop and think about how much time this has taken. Doing some rough napkin math we get – CoE (Instant) + BoA (Instant) + Corr (Instant) + UA (1.33 secs) + Haunt (1.22 secs) + FF (Instant) = 2.55 seconds. When you consider spell times, button presses with reaction times and lag then 3 seconds is probably a good estimate. Hrm, but something is missing…something doesn’t feel right…what could it be? Remember how I said BoA now stacks and it needs to reach it’s max level of 10 stacks to do it’s highest level of damage? Well if you looked at the timer BoA usually at 3 seconds into our setup has only reached 2 or 3 stacks at this point. Well that’s a problem because we want it to be at 10 stacks! So now let’s bring in our dps throttle MG to get BoA build up to 10 stacks quickly and to speed along our yummy dots so we can torture our victims :) Horrible sounding to use the word tortue I know, but you know you like that way that sounds, admit it!

MALEFIC GRASP – To be honest, MG is a tricky spell to understand until you get used to casting it because besides speeding up the stacking of BoA to it’s max of 10x, MG channels also speed up how fast ALL of our DoTs tick. Here is how it works. MG starts off as a 2.65 second channel. If you refresh it after it stops it resets to it’s starting timer again of 2.65 seconds. However, if you refresh MG anytime during it’s channel just before it ends it will double the time duration of the spell. So there are two ways you can play around with MG. You can do the initial cast of 2.65 seconds, recast before it ends doubling it’s channel time so it will now continue channeling for another 5.3 seconds. You can keep letting it channel and then rinse and repeat this process until it has 5x stacks of MG and gives you one helluva long channel time. The other way to play with MG is that you can cast it everytime it’s comes off it’s gcd, spamming it up quickly to 5x in a row for your max duration increase and again one helluva long channel cast. However, due to GCD’s of other spells, Nightfall procs or any utility spells you will probably never hold still for 18+ seconds of channeling. Sadly, when MG’s channel is stopped either directly by casting another spell, interrupts, stuns, shocks or movement, then MG will reset back down to the 2.65 to start the spamming build up all over again. So here is where we stand now:

CoE + BoA + Corr + UA + Ha + FF (1 or 2x) + MG until 10xBoA.

That’s it. That’s our stable point. We have all of our dots up and ramped up for max damage. This is the point where now you have to start considering all of your priorities, utilities and needs. It’s the point where you really begin to think and react. But, I digress…and I need to explain some more about Soulshards.

SOULSHARDS are a major sore point right now and no one seems to agree on their usage. Soulshards is our secondary resource mechanic that is tied to both our DPS with Haunt and to our utilities with SOULBURN. It wouldn’t be a problem if we had an unlimited supply, but we don’t. So which do we pick? Haunt to keep our dps humming along or drop the huge 40% damage increase to go for utility? Trust me, NIGHTFALL procs are a problem because they are sporadic and you can’t rely on them. There is also some other strange things happening with Nightfall as well.

Let’s say that you’re at your max Soul Shards of 3. As your spamming MG, you get lucky and NIGHTFALL procs (giving you a free soulshard for Haunt) so you decide to burn the Shard and toss Haunt out again. Common sense would lead you to believe, you started with 3 shards, you gain a free one, then you burn your free one … leaving you with your beginning three right? Nope, you would be wrong. You would only have two shards now.

The way it’s designed right now you would be penalized for being at your max shards. You lose your free soulshard. Huh?! WTF?! Yep, you got it. If you’re at your max shard count and you get a Nightfall proc then it’s wasted because Haunt is setup to replenish only. We just don’t know if that’s a bug or by design so that’s another wait and see subject. But wait, there’s more! I also forgot to mention that when Nightfall does proc it doesn’t turn Haunt into an instant cast like it did to Shadow Bolt. When Nightfall procs for Haunt you will still have the 1.22 second cast time tied to it..Bah! It would be very nice Nightfall made Haunt an instant cast as well but alas, it’s not that way right now. There is also a Soulshard glyph you can take that will give you 4 shards instead of three and I’m sure most Afflocks will use it but with all of Blizzards focus on “choice” I hate being forced to choose something in order to get a more forgiving playstyle. I think that kind of manuevering room should be built into the spec from the beginning. So getting back to our stable point:

CoE + BoA + Corr + UA + Ha + FF (1 or 2x) + MG until 10xBoA

Look at that setup again if your not sure in your understanding of our stable point then when your ready lets move on because here is where more of the Great Affliction Debate continues concerning the Drain Soul Mechanic and “Drain Twisting”, “Spell Twisting” or “Channel Twisting” as it has been come to be called.

DRAIN SOUL – is it a resource generator or execute spell? DS is a very hot topic in the Affliction testing forums right now and here is why. After casting the Drain Soul channel spell you will gain 1 soulshard per tick. There are three ticks that are spread out over the 12 seconds of channeling that spell. Each tick hits at 4 seconds. So in essence, if you need to regen 1 shard you could channel DS for just 4 seconds, stop the channel after you replenish the shard and then move on to something else. So it only makes sense that if you needed 2 shards you would cast DS for 8 seconds and if you needed all three shards you would have to stand still channeling DS for a full 12 seconds.

Luckily, we still have the DS mechanic where if you channel DS as the target dies, then all of your shards are returned. For questing, this mechanic really helps however, you can easily understand why people are angry, gnashing teeth and screaming on the forums. Can we blame them? To be in a boss fight shardless only to stop and channel Drain Soul for 4, 8 or 12 seconds while not moving, not doing anything else only to regen is painful. Really, the annoyance of of the long SF cast to get the ISF buff doesn’t hold a candle to the painful DS channeling to regen shards. It makes me wonder if they shouldnt have renamed DS to “Agony” instead of our old BoA. OMG and people thought ISF 3 second cast was horrible. Stop and think about how we’d be prone to AoE, interrupts, shocks, silences, stuns, movement and anything else that can disrupt a channel cast all the while we have no Dps and no utility.

I wish I could say that NIGHTFALL procs consistently so that we can keep a 100% uptime for HAUNT so we can have good DPS but it doesn’t. I wish I could say that NIGHTFALL procs consistently so that we have Soulshards to do anything else that might be of utility but it doesn’t. I wish I could say that NIGHTFALL procs consistently so that we could count on its use into our rotation but it doesn’t. Therein lies the problem. Affliction warlocks become shard-starved very, very quickly and the only way to regain them is to find places to weave our DS spell when we can, even if the target isnt in the execute range.

Keep in mind that you will be doing a lot of channeling with MG only to switch to DS for another painfully long channel to regain shards. This is why people call it “Drain Twisting”, “Spell Twisting” or “Channel Twisting”. You are constantly popping back and forth between two channeling spells. IMHO, it feel very long and painful to be channeling all the time but that could because I’m still not used to the idea of being a channeling turret. For grinding, it’s not bad. 10-12 seconds on a mob and it’s over. For a straight up Tank and Spank with no movement then no worries. It can be done. But OMG doing something like Ultraxion would suck! Warmaster Blackhorn would suck! In PvP we’d be dead and it might be best just hang out at the GY in spirit form and rez just before the game ends.

To make matters more difficult we have a lot of utility built around SOULBURN which burns a shard for enhanced spells. SOULBURN is tied to: Instant Demon Summon, Drain Life, Soul Fire, Health Funnel, All 3 of our Curses, Seed of Corruption, Demonic Circle Teleport. Oh and I forgot something else to mention. Drain Soul is still our execute spell but instead of casting on a mob <;;25% they have moved it to <;;20%. I'm sure they changed it because channel twisting already feels very, very long. Some have suggested they changed the execute range of Drain Soul to match other execute spells and keep it in line such as SW:D and Kill Shot. Again all of this could change. But for now we are left with:

CoE + BoA + Corr + UA + Haunt + FF (1x or 2x) + MG spam until 10xBoA; then any of the following choices to be based on your highest need, priority or choice

  • [DoT refreshing hardcast of UA, Corr, BoA, Haunt or Curses]
  • [DS for Shards]
  • [FF for movement and Dot Refreshing of UA & Corr]
  • [Nightfall Procs – free Haunt Cast]
  • [Lifetap when low on mana]
  • [Soulburn a Shard for utility of choice – remember there are 7 Soulburn abilities]
  • [Anything else for Quality of Life]
  • [MG for Filler]
  • [DS <;;20% Execute Phase]

Keeping your DoTs up is always priority #1 and this list is simplified and doesn’t include popping trinkets, Demon Soul, GCD Demons, potions or anything else for a boost in our DPS. This is also not including any type of self-healing abilities as well. I’m sure they have a long way to go with tweaking health and mana and believe me when I say it can’t happen soon enough because right now everyone is running out of Shards, Mana and Life rather quickly.

Since Blizzard hasn’t said anything about the direction of Affliction or what their intentions for its playstyle should be, it has have left many players pondering:

  1. Should we always strive for 100% uptime of HAUNT for highest dps or just rely on Nighfall procs
  2. Why are we having 40% of our dmg tied to Haunt – when Haunt falls off so does our dps…dramatically
  3. Why are we having Haunt and our more powerful utility spells both tied to the Soulshards resource
  4. Why do we have 2 very long “drains” or “channel” spells that are twisted or mashed together in one very long channel including our Execute phase?
  5. Why is warlock self healing at a premium?
  6. Why do we not have any way to regenerate Soulshards out of combat
  7. Why isn’t Nightfall Procs a free Haunt especially when you’re at your max shard count

Right now, all of this remains debatable and a lot of things can change in Beta. But for now…The Great Affliction Debate continues… and I’ll keep you posted as to where it leads.

One last note because I’m sure someone will ask. Without proper testing, it is probably safe for me to say that you could setup your DoTs in any order and I’m sure it would have little to no effect on your dps. So essentially you could toss-up CoE, UA, Corr, BoA or Ha in any order and then your priority need. Since addons have been shut down for the time being we really don’t have anyway to measure or track the differences or nuances in their order but only by guessing going on past experiences and gut feelings.

SOULBURN: SOUL SWAP (SB:SS) – Another Opener Choice

As it stand right now if you are facting a target and cast SB:SS it will directly apply BoA, Corr and UA on your target and you will also burn a shard in the process. By default we have 3 Soulshards at the start of each fight and we can glyph for a 4th which is I’m sure what most Afflictionists will take without hesitation.

So we can change our opener around from the harcasting of individual spells listed in the discussions above to include the SB:SS effect and get your DoTs applied to the target in this order:

SB:SS applies ~ [BoA + Corr + UA]

So our next step would be to add what’s missing. We’d toss up CoE + Ha + MG to 10xBoA + FF for refresh to reach our stable point, then move to our needs and priorities from there. So if we use SB:SS for our opener here is what we get…

SB:SS [BoA+Corr+UA] + CoE + Ha + MG to 10xBoA + FF then move to on to any priorities as needed

Now your probably asking, “Is SB:SS that great as an opener and does it save time?” So, let’s have a look a what hardcasting would entail shall we?

  • 1 button – CoE – Instant
  • 1 button – UA – 1.33 second cast
  • 1 button – BoA – Instant
  • 1 button – Corr – Instant

So to get CoE + UA + Corr + BoA up hardcasting it would be 4 buttons and a 1.33 sec cast time on UA

Now let’s have a look at SB:SS as see if it fairs better

  • 1 button SB – Instant
  • 1 button SS – Instant
  • 1 button CoE – Instant

So what do we get? Casting SB:SS [BoA + UA + Corr] + CoE it would be a 3 button push and no cast time for UA saving 1.33 seconds. Is that a game changer? Is that a huge QoL? I’m assuming based on lag and reaction times it is probably shaving off 2 seconds in the opening along with 1 button push. So yes, SB:SS can be a great alternative opener if those two seconds you saved will be worth burning a shard to you. I’m sure we all suspect the true design of SB:SS is used for mutlidotting during solo questing, AoE and PvP and the real intention probably isn’t for a boss opener but it does offer a good choice.

If any other Afflocks feel differently I would love to hear about your experiences in Beta. Please feel free to leave your comments or find me on the Lost Isles Beta Server. I’m under my own name … Amijade so it should be easy to find me.

Have a great week everyone and until next time…

My Best

Hail and Howdy O’Keeper’s of the Floating Pink Shards? WTF?

OMG before I jump into the fuss over affliction let me apologize for this small rant in advance. For some odd reason, this next topic has gotten me pretty fired up. I can’t believe something as simple as a new graphic in WoW can get me so angry.  Yes, I know it’s dumb of me to feel this way but just let me rant and rage one post about Floating Pink Shards then I’ll get over it.  Or I’ll at least try to get over it. Ever since I’ve seen the Floating Pink Shards on my warlock I’ve had this poem running in my mind whenever I login to Beta:

 I do not like the floating pink shards on my head. I do not like them in a box, with a fox or on other locks.  I do not like floating pink shards above my head. I do not like them on my undead. I do not like them with a glyph, green or pink they have me pissed! I do not like them with green eggs or ham, I do not like them Mister-Blizzard-Developer-Man!  Really, I don’t. 

Some love them...I passionately do not!

If you haven’t heard, Affliction warlocks are getting a new character graphic.  Our soul shards now float above our head and there is now even a new a glyph where you can change the look into green floating balls / circles / ugliness / tacky / horrendous.  Pick your word of choice.  Over at Fel Concentration, Poneria had a quick write-up on it when the new glyph hit. 

Well if you looked at Poneria’s website or at my sad, sad panda pic next to this paragraph and are still wondering what-in-the-heck their purpose is, then here is the lowdown on our new floating pink shards.  The floating soul shards represent how many shards you have available.  Let me say that again for great effect. The floating soul shards represent how many shards you have available.  When you burn a shard for such spells as Haunt or to empower a utility spell one of the pink fluffy balls disappears.  So burn three shards in a row and the graphic disappears. If you cast DRAIN SOUL to get your shards back with each shard regen tick they will reappear above your head one by one.  Let me say that again for greater effect. If you cast DRAIN SOUL to get your shards back with each shard regen tick they will reappear above your head one by one. If my repeating of a couple of those sentences were obnoxious I’m sorry.  I’ll explain in just a sec why I think it’s important.

Now the reasons for this change isn’t completely well know other than theories.  One theory is that Blizzard is removing the three shard graphic from our character portraits making it easier to see our shard availability.  I’m not sure if this is true but I can tell you that currently in Beta the shards in our character portraits are no longer there. They are gone.  Whether their removal is the design or a possible programming bug we still don’t know.  Another theory is that since Afflocks may be doing some spell twisting and that this may be an easy way for a player to recognize that they have gained or lost a shard.  My personal opion is that the designers over at Blizz received too much hate mail from mages that Warlocks always look better, cooler, more menacing or as having a better “memorable presence” and that this is to bring us down to their level.  

Now, I know some ‘locks love this look and are fighting to keep it when MoP goes live but personally, I would like to see removed or at least give us the option to turn it off.  Yes, I’ve read the forums about the Blood Mages in the WoW lore and how there were descriptions of these things being used for more power spells and for channeling and harvesting demonic energies.  Omg, people were even arguing if a Blood Mage was a mage or a warlock. So here is my simple request and take on the whole matter. If some players would like either the pink cotton candy or the green balls to appear floating around then please let people glyph for it.  Let the pro-floaty-pink-cotton-ball players take that choice and leave the majority who do not like them alone and please do not force players who do not like it to give up a minor glyph just to get rid of it.  It’s the people who want them that should waste a minor glyph for it and if they like they can call themselves a Blood Mage all they want just leave my warlock alone! Some have called them our new Spriest Shadow Orbs, some have compared them to a Shaman’s shield graphic. Au contraire, mon’ frere – I call them just plain ugly and detracting. At least IMHO Spriest orbs and Shaman shield graphics seem to enhance their appearance but these pink floating shards don’t.  

 Let me explain why I do not like them. 

1. I spent a huge amount of time searching, grinding and purchasing cool Tmog gear and they completely interfere and detract from it. That’s IMHO.

2. It’s annoying because different helmets, shoulders and weapons look horrible with them. Sometimes the Tmog clothes leave them partial, covering only 1/4 to 1/2 of them.  Some poke out from underneath items when you move. Longer weapons such as swords and staves can cover or obstruct your view of them so once again it looks all Fubar.

3. If you take the glyph to have 4 shards, you still only get three on the graphic.

4. Some say they are purple but they sure as heck look pink to me and how can you strike fear in others with pink things above your head.  It’s bad enough that our Shavarra Demon casts a giant rainbow when she CC’s a mob for us. Whenever I have her cast the rainbow CC graphic I keep looking for either a leprechaun to appear, thousands of candy Skittles to start raining down or for the My Pretty Pony song to play. We’re Warlocks!  Dark, demonic, scary, threatening.  Not PINK and POOFY! That is for mages!

5. I do not PvP as much as I used to but if we ran any BG could we think of a better way to alert our enemies that we’re out of our most primary and most powerful resource? This is why I repeated the lines, “The floating soul shards represent how many shards you have available and if you cast DRAIN SOUL to get your shards back with each shard regen tick they will reappear above your head one by one. 

6. We can’t get green fire added even though we have a green Fel Flame spell, which looks a heck of a lot like green flame to me (So did the Chaos Bolt spell) but instead we get these pink frosting cotton ball looking things?  Puuuuhhhhlllleeeease!

Whew, okay I’m done with the rant but I would like to close you with these final thoughts on the Floating Pink Shards…

I do not like the floating pink shards on my head, I do not like them in a box, with a fox or on other locks.  I do not like floating pink shards above my head. I do not like them on my undead. I do not like them with a glyph, green or pink they have me pissed! I do not like them with green eggs or ham, I do not like them Mister-Blizzard-Developer-Man!  Really, I don’t.

Thanks for letting me rant and love me or hate me, thanks for reading!

My Best…

Hail My Wonderful Warlocks,

I have been working on three very long Posts concerning warlocks in the MoP Beta.  OMG and now I have to scrap them.  The changes once again are starting to happen quickly and as I stopped to go over my writings I realized that everything I wrote would look extremely outdated already.  So, I’ve come to the conclusion not to waste my time anymore to just give highlights as to what’s cool and what’s not, things that I like and things that I don’t.  So, expect more smaller post but more frequently.

Trust me I’ll be writing more soon.

Hail and Howdy My Fellow Fearcasters,

On my last post, I gave a quick recap of our new Curse spells.  Basic yes.  Simple yes. Still a good starting point for basic warlocking? Definately yes.  Still the first spell we toss on a boss, enemy or mob.  Again the answer is…yes.  Watch for my next posting where I will be discussing the changes to Corruption, Unstable Affliction and Haunt. But for now I have to make a confession.  Affliction has been one of my favorite specs.

I have to admit it. I’m an Affliction Warlock through and through.  Yes, I’ve played all three specs and they are all unique and different and I enjoy them all but Affliction will always make giddy.  I think back to the days when I could take on four to six mobs and drain tank away with my DoTs, Fear spell, Drain Life, Life Taps and Drain Soul spells. Muahahaha! It was so much fun to walk away from enough dead mobs that could fill a small graveyard and still have full health and mana.  Just to steal the life from your enemy and use it against them was…amazing!  /em wrings hands in an evil glee.  Yes I know, Demo is sweet for Meta, good AOE and a tricky rotation and yes, I whole-heartedly agree that Destro is some face-melting fun…but Affliction was what hooked me on the Warlock Class.    

However, my beloved Affliction is in for some big changes I’ll be blogging about soon.  I’ve been playing a lot of it on Beta and I still have many mixed feelings.  Grinding, grinding and more grinding.  Exploring and grinding are some of my main focus currently in beta due to bugged quests, server crashes and general beta woes.  The two different times I was able to group up with some Beta Guildies to try to run a dungeon to test out the new Afflock spells and talents the server crashed both times.  So I can’t completely give you a full run down of what it’s like to go up against a boss with the new changes.  However, when I’m not out and about in the new Pandarian world I have been spending many hours playing with all of the Warlock spells, talents and rotations on target dummies.  *Sighs* If only there were a mage target dummy that spammed arcane missles at you…bah, but I digress.

In Beta, you still cant change your original specs you setup so for right now I’m stuck with Affliction and Demonology. I could delete and start over but the thought of resetting up my keybinds to the old “horrible” default UI gives me a migraine headache so I’ll wait for the fix.  Addons still don’t work in Beta but people are using World of Logs (WoL) to check damage and rotations.  This sounds great and if you like spreadsheets have at it but, we all know this is Beta and very early Beta so who knows how things will end up when they start making more changes and do more tweaking.

The ability to take screen shots still isn’t working so I can’t post any good pictures still which saddens me because using the spell, Dark Apotheosis in Demonology is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time but that’s IMHO.  The Dark Apotheosis (DA) spell currently shows that the appearance is just a place holder but I pray they keep it in and I can’t wait to take a Screenshot.  Take our Meta Demo form’s wings and stick them on your toon but make them about 50% translucent.  That’s the look.  Very simple but sinister, elegant and smexy. A great look for a warlock! Bat wings on my toon ftw! /claps hands in evil glee while giggling

Right now Affliction is having a large debate with testers on the forums as I’m sure when the other specs start to pan more discussion will include them too. It’s plain to see that Demo and Destro will be getting a lot more tweaking and changes but Affliction is still the hotest debate I see in regards to people posting and discussing.  I think the Affliction focus is due to the fact that it appears to be the most finished of the three to some degree but Destro is picking up fast.  Please don’t confuse what I’m saying :)   I’m not saying the Affliction spec is finished I’m just saying between the three specs currently in Beta it appears to have the most work put into it.  To see what I am talking about with the great Affliction Debate I’m going to refer you to a couple of places.  Some of them are long reads but well worth it if you have the time.

Affliction Warlock Feedback (WoW Forums)

Warlocks – The Scale of Choice Thread (WoW Forums)

Warlock Feedback: Affliction (WoW Forums)

Another good place I’ve found some good discussion as well is at MMO Champion.  Here is their link as well.

MMO Champion >> Forum >> Class Discussions >> Warlock >> State of Affliction in MoP

Until next time, enjoy reading the discussions above and by all means if your in the Beta, please get on the forums and let your voice be heard!  Your a Warlock so start imposing your will on others! All I ask is that you just do it respectfully because we don’t want flame wars sprouting like they have over on the my pretty pony mage forums.

Have fun and cya soon…

My Best

Hail and Howdy All,

I still can’t take screenshots in the MoP Beta for some reason but when I do I’ll be posting them as soon as I can. 

Today, rather than jump in headfirst rambling and ranting for hours about what I am seeing unfolding for Affliction Warlocks in the MoP Beta so far, I thought it would better to not feed you the whole elephant at once and instead just pass it a long a few morsels at a time.  So for now, I want to talk about one of our set-it-and-forget group of go-to spells and that’s CURSES.  Who doesn’t love a good curse? Especially, when they are versatile enough to where you feel like you have some choice but at the same time it’s not a completely repetitive routine. No, I’m not talking about what we do when some rogue stun-locks us down and commences wailing on us, I’m talking about our wonderful curse spells that may not feel important because they have been around a long time in various forms and some ‘locks might /yawn that I’m even discussing them because they are definately not new and shiny.  However, lest not forget that all of them lay a solid foundation from which to build our DoTs. Casting curses can make a big difference and gosh darn-it whether we show our appreciation or not, our Curses help make us look good!

I’ll explain each one as they now appear in the tool tips of the MoP Beta and I will update if there are any changes.

Curse of Exhaustion (or CoExh for simplicity’s sake)An Instant cast that reduces a targets movement speed by 30% for 30 seconds. As Affliction Warlocks we can also SOULBURN a shard to use with CoExh (SB+CoExh).  If we Soulburn and then cast CoExh it will empower this spell to also affect all enemies within 10 yards of the target with the same debuff.  Testing on regular enemies or mobs I am finding that this is a great pull spell.  With the nerfs to our Voidwalker in Cata we all know how easy it was to pull a mob off our tanking-blueberry. Pretty easy.  It was so easy to pull a mob from our tank pet that I got in the habit of sending in the pet and just sitting there waiting to make sure it got good aggro on the target before I could finally let loose my damage.  It was that or just simply opening up full throttle on our spells while sending in the pet and planning to kite the mob because we all know we’d steal aggro quickly.  In Cata, I for one didn’t want to switch to Destruction just to solo quest so I could nuke stuff before it reached me but, I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit that I often did. However, with the newly strengthened taunts of our Voidwalker and Voidlord demons and with the use of CoExh spell this is no longer the case. 

Now, with your demon out and placed on ASSIST you can be at max range and cast CoExh.  The debuff will apply to your target while your pet goes in to attack the mob.  I’m finding that on average, after casting CoExh my demon usually meets the enemy at the halfway mark.  By halfway mark I mean the halfway point from where I was to where the target was standing. So if the mob was about 20 yards away my demon would stop the mob at about the 1o yard mark.  With CoExh the mob gets tanked by our demon while we can stand at a safe distance lighting up their character portraits with our yummy afflictions.  It used to be that way for affliction, then it went away and now it’s back and I’m happy to see it working that way. Yes Mr. Blizzard-Game Designer, I like to solo quest in Affliction so thanks for finally bringing it back. (I can only assume they finally found an employee who tried playing a warlock – *coughs…about time!*)

I’ve seen people complain already that it’s got a 30 second duration.  From a questing and grinding perspective most mobs are dying within about 10-12 seconds, plenty of time to do the work.  No doubt the 30 duration is due to balancing with PvP in mind.  I can’t wait to Soulburn CoExh on a small group attacking my flag carrier! Run my little druid, run!  Muhahahaha!  So, I’m sure there will be lots of situations where it will be nice to pop an enemy with CoExh.  Have a mob or enemy player add-on you but your FEAR or HOWL is on gcd?  Hit them with CoExh.  In a dungeon and some hunter MULTISHOTS too close to an enemy patrol?  Fear one and smack the other two with CoExh or you could simply SOUL BURN a shard and smack them all with a movement speed debuff. It’s a good spell and like good warlocks we’ll get creative with it.  So have fun and have a good spammable place on your action bar to use it.

Curse of Enfeeblement (CoEnf) – Instant cast spell that reduces a targets physical damage by 20% and reduces cast time by 30% for 30 seconds.  SOUL BURN a shard to empower CoEnf and the debuff will afflict all enemies within 10 yards of the target. *Less Effective in dungeons and raid bosses*. When I first read this tooltip I was thinking, “Yes, I’ll take me some of that please” but then I read the smaller lettering at the bottom explaining it’s not as effective in dungeons and against raid bosses. While it’s not the end of the world it is something that when you think about it makes perfect sense.  Just like CoExh this will be a nice spell to have for both questing and PvP.  Like you I’m thinking in particular about rogues.  I would love to have a macro that went something like this:  #showtooltip Rogue Payback; /Target Any Rogue /Cast CoEnf / Cast Burn-In-Hell / Cast Drain Soul / em cackles madly.  If you have two or more warlocks in any situation it’s another option to toss out there to help destroy things…something we all know is what warlocking is all about. A good debuff against melee and casters combined into one Curse.  I’m glad they combined Curse of Weakness and Curse of Tongues into Curse of Enfeeblement.  Makes sense to me especially when your a keybinder!

Curse of Elements (CoElem) – Instant cast spell that increases spell damage by 5% for 5 mins. SOUL BURN a shard to empower this curse so that it applies to all enemies within 10 yards of the target.  Another great set-it and forget-it curse.  Of course the 5 min duration easily points out that it’s good for any dungeon or raids but don’t be fooled into thinking those are the only places you should use it.  Hello! Flag carriers?  Fighting for control of a node? PvP servers? Raiding capital cities? In battleground when your enemies think it’s safe to be in a group?

For the veteran warlocks (and I’m talking of anyone who knows what “drain-tanking” is…) there is really nothing surprisingly new here with our curses in the MoP Beta. For all you newer casters of the fel-flame just remember this… When cast, each curse instantly puts it’s debuff on your target.  Burning a SOUL SHARD and casting your curse will debuff your target and any other enemies within 10 yards of the target. Simple, easy and nice to have in our arsenal. So if you are a newer ‘lock use them everywhere and on everything.  Please do not let me see a warlock just running around in circles casting Hellfire. If you see any Warlocks who only spams Hellfire please open a ticket and report them and then make sure /laugh at the hacker mage.

MoP Beta – Day 1

Posted: April 8, 2012 in Of WoW and Warlocks

Hail and Howdy All,

Well the MoP Beta finally completed its download, I copied over my lock and I was able to get logged in.  From here I will try to give you a rough estimate of what happened.  After being on less than 1 minute I got hit with 2 or three different spammy guild invites which kept up their relentlessness until I turned on the blocking feature. It’s very nice to have that option on Beta!  The first thing I noticed was that all my talents were reset so I was able to choose two specs.  For fun I went with Affliction and Destro because I have played them the most. After that, for each spec I chose my talents making sure that I took Grimoire of Service (the talent that offers the newest Burning Crusade looking and “improved” pets) just to see how they look and get a feel for them.

I know people are loving the larger pets that are currently in Beta but TBH and are already on the forms begging blizzard to leave them that size but, I hope they shrink them.  The Felguard version is huge and was always blocking the view of both my avatar and everything else around me.  Even max camera distance didn’t help much because it would still overlap or stand on my warlock avatar and I couldn’t see what direction I was facing.  The replacement demon for the felhunter, Little Wily (like the vanity pet) is outrageously large and was blocking out the sun. I even think there was a few small planets orbiting it too.  I know I exaggerate but really, like all of them it was way too big.  Using them for less than three minutes at the target dummies and I was already nostalgic for wanting my pre-Mop minions.  The joyful glee I always got from watching my fel-pup running at my targets all excited to serve me was a true simple pleasure.  Instead we get Little Wily slowly floating his way slowly at the targets shaking his head making ogre noises and licking our targets to death. Due to its sheer size it actually covered the training dumming so it looked like it was licking the air.   The Shirva demon which replaces our succubus (yes it’s huge too) has little to no redeeming animation and looks like any of the same models that can be found at the entrance of the Dark Portal at Hellfire Peninsula.  While my Shirva was standing still it looked very cool, but in battle it seems very stiff and uninteresting.  Granted, maybe my original succubus has just seduced me too many times and to see anything else was strange.  I thought about that and watched the Shirva attack some more just to make sure it wasn’t me.  No, I was right.  The Shirva animation is very simple, stiff and to be honest…boring.  The ebony imp replacement to our fel-imp looks the same as when it procs currently in-game now only (you guessed it) a much larger version.  It was almost the same height as my toon.

Going to the target dummies was pretty useless since about 200 people were using them and no one could see anything.  For some reason, a couple of hunter pets were proccing some kind of ability that had them growing insanely large where they took up the entire target practice area.  For the Horde players, think Grommash Hold and for Alliance think Stormwind Keep. Those pets were that big so you can imagine the complaining people were giving in chat about it.

Keep in mind I was running MoP at about 2:00 am and it was still horribly crowded.  So I sat in the Valley of Honor to fix all of my action bars and spells and to try to put them into a somewhat usable order.  Addons will work with Beta so get ready to play old school style for a while.  I also kept an eye on the chat channels looking for tips and hints on the changes.  People in /trade and /general were either just trolls or people who were actually trying to be very helpful.  None of the portals to anywhere worked so you will have to go to an inscriptionist and purchase Runes of Teleportation so that you could use them.  I have no idea why blizz put that in unless it saved server space or maybe it will be the new thing?  I have yet to find a reasoning for it.

As I was nearly complete setting up my new action bars and reading for hints and tips in chat I found a couple of other warlocks asking for help. So I tossed them invites and we formed a party.  We met at the target dummies in the Valley of Honor above the warrior building.  They were both very nice but just as clueless as I was not knowing what to do or where to start.  So we decided to just hit the dummies trying different things out to see what they looked like and to get a feel for it all.

The first thing I noticed was I had three purple gems floating above my head.  Since I was running in affliction and I had three soulshards I assumed it was the in-game visual mechanic that showed you how many you had.  I hope they fix it where you can turn it off soon because it is annoying.  Look in the picture and you can see what I mean.  When you burn a shard, one will disappear until you have no shards and no purple gems floating above your head.  When you cast a Drain Soul on a mob your shards get replenished with each tick and not when it dies.  So you can literally cast Drain Soul and you get your shards back up fast but just letting DS tick the first three times.  Haunt will actually burn off a single shard when it’s cast but I’ll get to more on that in a minute.

From what little bit I could gather for the short time I was on was that it is just buggy as hell. When you switched specs your talents and spells would disappear when you respec back.  So I was specced Afflock, switched to Destro for a bit and when I switched back all my Afflock stuff was gone and I would have to redo.  Not fun but easier to test things out.  I would rather have it to where things stayed like you set them up only you could change them as needed on the fly.  That would have saved a lot of time.  Same thing for setting up my casting bars and spells.  Dragging all of them back onto my screen and lining them up to where I liked them took most of my time.  Only to have to repeat that process about three times due to system being buggy.

Here are the three things I do not like about the Warlock Affliction spec so far.  First, there is my favorite warlock spell next to FEAR and that is my wonderful HAUNT.  Gone are the days when we’d see our Haunt fly at our targets to do a nice steady amount of damage, soak up our damage from our ticks that were burning only to return and bring us back the life we’ve taken from our enemies.  This is no longer the case. While the Haunt Spell does do some initial damage whats it’s really purpose is three-fold for MoP.  First, it does some increase of spell damage to our targets and second, it speeds up our dots very fast and lastly it burns a Soul Shard for our resource mechanic.  The spell just lands on the target and does not return to us like it used to with no added heal.   This is not the Haunt I fell in love with and I hope I get used to it.

Another Affliction iconic cast was our spam of Shadowbolts.  Shadowbolt is gone for affliction.  Gone, gone, gone.  Malefic Grasp (MG) is our new channeled filler spell instead of Shadowbolt. Malefic Grasp has a 3 sec channel time and gains power if you spam it more than once.  BORING.  To make matters worst IMHO it even looks very similar in spell effects like our Drain Soul (DS) finisher.  So when your killing a mob and spam MG 2x’s in a row and the mob is <25% and you switch to DS it feels like a never-ending pink ribbon that never quite goes away.  One of the problems I’ve also noticed since I can’t see any numbers yet (Recount I miss you badly) is that DS doesn’t feel like it has any real power.  I’ve cast it when mobs are below <25% and it seems to take forever to finish off that last 10%.  When I get more time I can go over the full affliction rotation in more detail.

I plan to try out all three specs and their playstyles and to try out each of the new talents.  I have also been logged into the forums religiously reading everything I can from other players,  listening to their suggestions and watching the always constant complaining.  Folks, once again all I’m going to say is it’s BETA!  Offering posts to the Blizz Forums with “This Sucks and I hate this and that” doesn’t help.  Try to be more constructive such as, “Malefic Grasp and Drain Soul Twisting feels way too long for channel spells and does not feel fun to do.”  That is a nicer and more constructive way of saying, “I don’t like this playstyle mechanic.”  Maybe then when people are more civil and constructive in their comments the developers will take special note and not from which post seems to be the biggest debbie-downer troll.

I have also been posting on the forums myself but not under my warlock name of Amijade.  I’m using a different handle or pen name mainly because I know that if Blizzard wants to look they can see that I have several warlocks at max level and I have several warlock alts I dabble on from time to time.   For the trolls who might disagree with my opinions hopefully their annoyance will be kept on the forums and not show up as a flaming war on this or any other blogsite.