Warlocks, MoP, and the Grief Cycle

Posted: May 25, 2012 in Beta Testing Warlocks, Of WoW and Warlocks

Hail and Howdy my Pernicious Purveyors of Paroxysms,

Whew! All I can say is thank goodness for a big thesaurus otherwise, I might never have come up with that greeting. If you already knew what the word paroxysm means, then I’m proud of you. If you’re like me and didn’t, and have to look it up even better :P  because then we have both learned something today. I know being warlocks, we’re all a little standoff-ish and leery of sharing with others because we’re always vying to keep our edge and our Dark Art secrets. One of the goals of this webguide is to help our class talk about anything that’s warlock-y, and anything and everything that concerns warlockery.

Big expansion change is coming with no current ETA

Today, I’m going to ask you to join me. As a class we need to come together. No, I’m not talking about joining hands and singing, “Kumbaya” or getting all kiss-y and mush-y like mages do on vent when they discuss their vanity pets. What I’m talking about is helping each other through the Grief Cycle. Grief Cycle? Right now you’re probably thinking, “We’re warlocks, we don’t grieve! We cause grief to other players!” or simply “What in the name of Hellfire are you talking about Amijade?” As your self-proclaimed motivational speaker for the Dark Arts that’s when I would say, “My dearest dark angels, this has a lot to do with us! Now please take out a pen and blank grimoire and start taking notes. Trust me.”

What is the Grief Cycle? Well, it’s not camping your enemy at their own graveyard.  Even though that sounds like scrump-dilly-umptious fun, we tend to call that “winning” instead. No, the Grief Cycle I’m talking about is actually called: The Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle. It’s a pretty easy concept to grasp once you’ve seen and understand it. A long time ago, and this is a paraphrased true story, doctors became psychologically embarrassed by having terminally ill patients. If a person couldn’t be cured or fixed, it was like a badge of shame to the doctor. The doctors dealing with grief for their patients, often ignored or shunned those poor people and basically, they would wash their hands of them emotionally.

Luckily, a doctor named Elizabeth Kübler-Ross pushed back on her fellow physicians so they would recognize this problem. Dr. Ross (I shortened her name because it’s a lot easier to type) had a lot of experience working with people who were dying, and so she wrote a famous book called ‘On Death and Dying’. In that book she talks about the emotional states we, as people, go through in a grieving process. It’s often referred to as simply The Grief Cycle.  There are several versions of this theory, but I’m referring to Dr. Ross’ version because she was the first to write about it, and I try to always quote the original author.

My guild getting ready to mourn the loss of a real life guildy with a ceremony in-game. I got there early and about 200 people showed up. It was amazing and inspiring!

What in the heck does this real life “Grief Cycle Thingy” have to do with us warlocks? I’m glad you asked. There has been a lot of talk about Cynwise and his great piece about The Decline and Fall of Warlocks in Cataclysm and with much pondering, I see ‘locks falling along the lines of this famous Grief Cycle as explained by Dr. Ross. Hopefully, you’ll see what I mean, but this time instead of calling it The Grief Cycle, we’re going to call it The Change Cycle .

Here’s a picture of what it looks like:

The Grief Cycle

The red line in the middle represents a person going through any kind of grief or any change in life. Following that line, you can see the ebbs and flow along the twisty emotional ride a typical person experiences. Ever lose a job? Have you ever lost a loved one or a pet? Maybe a good friend moved away? Maybe a good friend left the game? All of these kinds of events are emotional powerhouses that toss us spinning right into this grief cycle.  Think about it, anything and everything can push us into following this emotional course.  Take your pick of any grief or change you have been through; the stronger the emotional attachment, the longer your Grief Cycle will continue. Here is how it works: 

  1. Shock stage: Shock and paralysis hearing, learning of bad news

  2. Denial stage: Avoiding what happened

  3. Anger stage: Anger and frustration at what occurred

  4. Bargaining stage: Looking for ways to get out of the situation

  5. Depression stage: Realizing it is happening

  6. Testing stage: You look for ways to cope, adapt, or looking for ways to make it better

  7. Acceptance stage: You move on accepting what has occurred

 Use this chart to pinpoint behavior when adapting to any new grief or change. The emotional response line that resides vertically on the left side, points out how active we are at each of these cyclic stages. How long will a person suffer through each stage? Is it always the same? The answers to those two questions are: No idea and No. The length, time and severity of a person’s emotional state will vary from person to person. It will also depend on what kind of change we face. It could be something as painful as a death in the family, or it could be something as simple as it’s now raining outside when you were planning an outdoor event.

Have you ever been to a funeral where some people were crying, some were laughing and some where just numb? The reason for this behavior? They were all at different points in their own Grief Cycle. Some people can sail through their grief or change quickly, some don’t. We just need to make sure we don’t get stuck in any one of the emotional states for too long because that can become a problem. Some people can suffer from depression, some can have anger issues, and some can stay in complete denial. Like controlling our demons, we have to recognize this and accept it in order to work our way through it, until finally our attitude and life return to normal.  

Here’s a famous memorial…recognize it?

 Now, let’s apply this to our wonderful warlock class. First, we began at the stable stage. We worked our little rump’s off and got our warlock to max level; we’ve probably maxed out our primary & secondary professions, and we’ve worked towards some end-game PvE, PvP, or rep grinds. At this point, we’ve invested ourselves into a large time commitment, and by now we become emotionally attached to our toons. Then wham! Something dramatic happens. Either the nerf-n-buff developers at Blizzard smack us, or a new expansion comes out and things are no longer the same anymore. Now, we’re thrust into an emotional run of the Change/Grief Cycle.

At the Shock stage we are usually paralyzed in our emotions and we do little to act on it. Do you see the red line dipping down into the Emotional Response of passive here? Usually, after being shocked by a change or event our bodies and minds are processing how this will affect us. Then we enter the Denial stage. We’re not quite passive but then we’re not quite active with our emotional responses. I call this the “blah” stage. It’s when you’re not really sure how you feel yet, but are at the point of understanding how things have changed.

From Denial we move to the Anger stage. Not anger like the trade trolls, but anger as in pushing back on the stimulus or change itself such as arguing, yelling, refusing to play or whatever. Think about what happens after a massive patch or update to the game. People go absolutely crazy. Then, we begin to settle down a bit and we begin to bargain in the Bargaining Stage. Here we look to ourselves and to others trying to find ways to avoid what’s changing. This could be posting in the forums, cancelling subscriptions etc., Then comes what they call the Depression stage. I like the term “realization stage” better because it’s here that the we truly realize what has happened. Hitting the depression/realization stage is a good thing. Trust me!

Screaming to myself since the developers won’t listen!

The depression/realization stage is when we hit rock bottom. We hit the lowest of lows, and it’s when we begin to turn it all around. Hrm, when you’re at the bottom there’s no place to go but up, right? It’s true. This stage is our wake-up call phase (btw, I’m listening to Maroon 5’s Call and Response: The Remix Album, and the Wake up Call remix version rocks!) So be glad you hit rock bottom, it’s a good thing and it should make you happy to know you’re there. Does that sound crazy or are you asking, “Why in the hell should we be happy that we hit rock bottom?” That’s a great question to ask! Once we hit rock bottom we’ve now reached the Testing stage. The Testing stage is when we work out the kinks, we begin to cope, and we take control. That is exactly what a good warlock should always do. We should size up the situation and take control of it to our advantage. Otherwise, it might just be the demons who are controlling you.

Finally, we reach the Acceptance stage, and no this doesn’t mean we should start being nice to those annoying mages or tolerate dirty-rotten-backstabbing-rogues. When we reach the Acceptance stage it’s when we can say, “Veni, Vidi, Vici!” If you haven’t heard of that line it’s Julius Ceasar’s smack talk for, “I came, I saw, I conquered”. I love the sound of that famous line, but in truth I’m more of a follower of the of the Veni, Vidi, Vino version. Trust me when I tell you the Acceptance stage rocks! It’s when we take control of the situation and move on. Sing it with me everyone, “Weeeeee are the champ-ions, Weeeee are the champ-ions, Nooooo time for looosers ’cause weeee are the champ-ions…of the world!” I’m sorry for all the song references, but I’m listening to music as I type and yes, Queen rocks. Just like we, as warlocks do. 

Now we come to the place where I try to wrap it up and explain what all this means. As a class, we’ve been all over the emotional map. Understand that fact. Some ‘locks are still in shock, some are still angry and some are already at the acceptance stage. We’re like a confused mage who is halfway to a FP point only to realize he can port to where he is going, and not sure if he should logout or hang on for the ride. As a class, we’ve been up, down, nerf’d, buffed, most fun, least fun, OP, and sometimes fail; you name it and we’ve been there. We should all expect that the MoP Beta and the MoP expansion will be a huge change for us and will push us right back into the cycle.

Putting Things to Rest

In order to help each other, I’m asking for you to submit anything you will miss about the “old” warlocks, things you are not sure if you would like, and anything you are looking forward to with the upcoming expansion. I’ve already put three of my own examples in each section, but I would love to hear from all of you!


  • Haunt’s self-heal and boomerang special effects; they will always be my favorite – Amijade
  • Old school drain tanking – Amijade
  • Shadow Bolt not being in Affliction (Yes, I know I’m in the minority) – Amijade
  • My weapon as a buff slot. At least in the Beta I played, you could only cary a weapon OR a wand – Elkagarosa
  • Immolate on Demo – Elkagarosa
  • Being able to tell Healers: “Nah, don’t worry about me. I’ll heal myself.” – Fulguralis
  • Things you will miss – your name here



  • Dual Resource juggling – Amijade
  • Shards above my head – Amijade
  • Long cast times – Amijade
  • Going back to Affliction because of shard rainbow – Elkagarosa
  • All the warlocks that are going to start playing again because we FINALLY got 5 new demons – Elkagarosa
  • New pets. Particularly that my felpup would have to get replaced with a floating eye – Fulguralis
  • I have mixed feelings on the floating crystals, not sure I want people’s souls orbiting my head, they might decide to seek revenge by biting my ears or something equally pathetic, yet annoying – Erinys
  • Things you’re not sure on – your name here



  • Getting new demons to hang around with – Amijade
  • Playing around with all three warlock specs – Amijade
  • New animations that will make mages drool – Amijade
  • Playing demo and having imps pop off me like I am a wet Mogwai – Elkagarosa
  • Having a telent tree that the only use is for situations, not regular game play – Elkagarosa
  • Single instance looting – Elkagarosa
  • More quick hitting spells. The good part about not relying on a cast nuke (and having a channel spell instead) is that we get some ticks right away. Might help. – Fulguralis
  • I am looking forward to Glyph of Nightmares – Erinys
  • I’m also looking forward to stopping abandoning warlocks all over the place. At the last count I have one at 62 (first ever character), one at 80, one at 21 (work in progress), one at 70 (bloodelf), one at 46 and one at 38 (gnome) – Erinys

  • Things you look forward to – your name here


Ascension into Acceptance

  1. theerivs says:

    Things I will miss –
    Warlocks use to run from me – AP> POM > PYRO = dead warlock.

    I’m not sure I like –

    I look forward to –
    More Mages cause Warlocks full of fail. :P


    • My Mage-y Friend Theerivs,

      You might have mistaken who the person was you were chasing. It sounds to me that it must have been a “mage-wanna-be-warlock” with their blink on gcd. A good ‘lock would have cast Fear, Death Coil or Howl of Terror on you, used demon portal to get distance on you, then popped a succubus to CC you as their DoTs slowly stole your poor little mage-y life away. Then they would have danced on your corpse. It’s okay though, your hatred is understandable.

      You might want to visit the mage forum I’ve heard about for warlock QQ’ing. The address is:
      http://www.myprettypony.com I’ve never been there, but I hear they also have a lot of discussions about their vanity pets.

      I’m on the fence about Pandas as well, but the animations are great. I’ sure we’ll see a grand rush of them on our servers after MoP hits, and then it will die down some. Kind of like when they introduced Belfs and Draeni or DKs.

      No worries on there being more mages in the game. Since they are considered LCD for playstyle, most people level one for a bank-alt or simple to use as a tailor for bags. And we all know there is always a demand for more bags…

      Thanks for the banter :P and my best…

  2. Fulguralis says:

    Things I will miss –
    Being able to tell healers: “Nah, don’t worry about me. I’ll heal myself.”

    I’m not sure I like –
    New pets. Particularly that my felpup would have to get replaced with a floating eye.

    I look forward to –
    More quick-hitting spells. The good part about not relying on a cast nuke (and having a channeled spell instead) is that we get some ticks right away. Might help with trash, who knows.

    • Heya Fulguralis,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comments. I would agree on almost all of them. I’d change the comment to the tell the healers to, “No thanks, but I’ll just take more life as I need it and I’ve soulstoned myself” :P I’m enjoying the new pets on Beta, but I wish the Grimoire of Supremacy would allow you to choose from ANY of our pets, both the old and the new ones. The one where I differ is my concern with the MG channel cast. I’m not sure if you were on Beta when you could stack MG up to five times to extend its cast time. I really like it once I got used to it. It gave you a little more flexibility if you needed it. Currently Afflocking is feeling better, but it seems very spammy. More so than on live…but we shall see. Have a great Holiday weekend! My best…

  3. Elkagorasa says:

    Things I will Miss:
    – My weapon as a buff slot. At least in the beta I played, you could only carry a weapon OR a wand.
    – Immolate on Demo.

    I’m not sure I’ll like:
    – going back to Affliction because of the shard rainbow.
    – All the warlocks that are going start playing again because we FINALLY got 5 new minions.

    Things I look forward to:
    – Playing Demo and having imps pop off me like I am a wet Mogwai.
    – Having a talent tree that only use is for situations, not regular game play.
    – Single instance looting.

    • Heya Elk,

      I agree on the weapon/wand slot. I don’t mind the wands like some, I just wish they actually made them worth using. Maybe somewhere along the lines of Fel-Flame; an instant cast with a little bit of punch. Yeah, the shard rainbow thing? Ugh, please don’t get me started…and they made them pink! OMG! They have done so many cool new animations and someone actually thought those looked good? Really, really? I loved the comment about the imps and a wet Mogwai. Hrm, if only my imps could sing like one too during down time? Mass looting does rock and it’s hard to go from Beta to live not having it.

      Great comments and thanks for stopping over :P My Best…

  4. Erinys says:

    I have mixed feelings about the floating crystals. Not sure I want people’s souls orbiting my head, they might decide to seek revenge by biting my ears or something equally pathetic yet annoying.

    I am however looking forward to the glyph of nightmares. (http://mop.wowhead.com/item=42457).

    I’m also looking forward to stopping abandoning warlocks all over the place. At the last count I have one at 62 (first ever character), one at 80, one at 21 (work in progress), one at 70 (bloodelf), one at 46 and one at 38 (gnome).

    • Hey Erinys,
      Thanks for stopping by and I totally agree on the floating shards/orbs above my head. On my Forsaken they look just horrible! Back in the day when our bags could be filled with Shards there was actually an addon (I can’t remember the name) but it actually added the name of the mob, the time and date when you drained their soul into a shard. So you could effectively hover your mouse over the shard in your bag and it would show that information. It was great! *sighs* The Glyph of Nightmares is a great addition in Beta and when the special effects work correctly it’s a great animation giving you a sense of empowerment. Sadly, it’s quite buggy right now and sometimes it doesn’t work. You just have to remember that you can’t jump from great heights with it glyphed otherwise you go “Smash” on the watertop and die (I’ve done that already). As far as abandoning your warlocks, that’s just wrong and you need to correct that and get at least one to cap! It will make it easier to level to the new 90 since the task won’t seem as daunting. Thanks for your thoughts and stop by anytime! My best…

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