Omg! What are they doing on the PTR?

Posted: June 25, 2013 in Of WoW and Warlocks

Hail All,

I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the summer season (or the winter season for my Aussie friends). My summer so far has been sunburns, mosquito bites, poison-ivy, yard work and honey-do lists that never go away no matter how many chores I get done. Ah, such is life. If it’s not one thing it’s another right? I apologize for the late post once again, but sadly my RL work has taken a sudden turn for being absolutely crazy. The good news is that I can see my workload lighten up by the end of July and life should be returning back to normal for me. I’ve got one month to go and I can’t wait for it to be over.

I really do hope you’ve been enjoying reading about other warlocks in the Unleashing the Warlock Within series. I still have a lot of responses and a lot of other warlock profiles I’ll be highlighting in the weeks to come, and I’m sure you’ll see some names you might recognize like:

  • Twizz
  • Blutt
  • Nagratz
  • Sasche
  • Ashayo
  • Hydra (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, *coughs*)


…and don’t be surprised if there’s a few more I’ll be adding to the list ;) Hey, a warlock shouldn’t give away all of their secrets now should they? Now, for this week’s post I thought I’d do a little catching up by writing one of my ranting typical blog posts since it’s been almost 6 weeks since I’ve done one.  


Have you seen the PTR Changes?

Earlier last week I get a DM from a fellow warlock asking me if I was keeping current on the information coming out of the PTR. After telling him, “no” (due to my RL workload), he sent me back a response telling me that I should go check it out because as he stated, “Omg, what are they doing on the PTR?” So with my curiosity peaked I went to have a look at what he was talking about. After reading up on the newest patch notes I then headed over to the class forums and spent quite a chunk of time reading the discussions and arguments. If you don’t know what’s going on with the new changes to Warlocks on the latest PTR build then I suggest you go and read Poneria’s posts over at WoWinsider.

As you can see for 5.4 the developers are making some changes to our class once again, like they do with every patch to some degree. Although these changes aren’t a complete class overhaul like we experienced at the MoP launch, they aren’t small changes either. So you can imagine how some players were a little upset.

Taking the ping pong changes with a grain of salt

I remember the hours I spent in the beta a little over a year ago playing around with rotations, and spells, and trying to grasp all of the new stuff that I couldn’t wrap my head around at the time. Just when I thought I was getting it right, Blizzard would make a change. I wasted a lot of time writing posts about the beta that became quickly outdated and obsolete within a day, and a few times within a few hours. Now if you rinse and repeat that same scenario over and over in your mind until you can’t take it anymore then you’ll know why the news coming out of the PTR doesn’t phase me at this point. It’s way too early to let this stuff make you nutty because it’s probably going to be changed a few times. Actually, it’s probably going to be changed a lot because it is early in the PTR. Hello? Player Test Realm is what PTR stands for isn’t it?

To this day, my wife says I still suffer from nightmares where I talk in my sleep repeating the words, “They changed it again!” It gives me a headache and makes me shudder just thinking about all of those changes and trying to keep up with them when I spent so much time in the beta. It was like being stuck in a room with a record player constantly repeating the Micheal Finnegan song. Omg! Save me! If you get the Micheal Finnegan song reference then you either have kids like me, or have had to endure being with a group of people who couldn’t sing very when they were together.

I’m here to tell you today that it’s going to be okay. Really. No, I mean really, really. Let’s try to put things into perspective by looking at what has happened since the PTR news was announced. Blizzard has already re-changed the changes once, and they have already added another updated announcement concerning the Kil’Jaeden’s Cunning talent. Don’t worry, I’m sure Blizzard is going to change and tweak it all again so why waste your energy on getting upset about it. Poor Lore, I hope he knows what he got himself into and I’m sure he will earn every bit of his paycheck until all of this is over.


The great KJC debate

Putting the changes to Mannoroth’s Fury, Fel fame, and everything else that isn’t Kil’Jaeden’s Cunning aside, the heart of the debate truly centers around the freedom to cast while moving. Within the span of six days the KJC forum posts shot to over 160 pages! Omg 160+ pages! Tbh, I’m actually shocked that this one single talent has become such a controversy. It seems that if you’re a warlock who enjoys KJC and the mobility it offers then you get scorned because some believe that casting and moving is unfair and OP. I’ve even read on a few posts and comment sections where warlocks who chose KJC were called lazy and bad players. Hahaha! Really?

On the opposite side of this argument it turns out that if you’re a warlock who doesn’t find the nerf to KJC as being absolutely horrible, or if you’re a player who doesn’t mind KJC being changed then you’re an idiot who doesn’t understand anything! Because everyone knows that if you’re not against KJC getting nerfed then you’re a fanboy of Blizzard. Hahaha! Really? Oh, how the forums can be so entertaining at times!

Where is all of this going to lead? I’m sure it will lead to more arguing and /flexing by folks on both sides. I’m sure there might some name calling and I’m sure there’ll be some flaring tempers. It might even be a fair guess that whatever Blizzard eventually decides to implement neither won’t be completely happy at the outcome. If there’s one thing this new PTR KJC proposals have done is demonstrate how difficult it must be when trying to design some semblance of balance between all of the different specs and all the different classes. The designers have my sympathy for that painful fact.


Movement and the fun factor

If I had to go back the old ways of being a casting turrent, I’m satisfied in knowing that I can live with it. When I rolled my first warlock I learned to stand and cast. There was nothing wrong with it. When I moved over to Affliction and learned to shoot-and-move since some of my spells were instant I learned how to do that too. Neither one of those styles of play were horrible and I know that after a week or so of going back to either of them it would feel like slipping into a pair of good blue jeans. It would just feel right. Now, would I be happy with going back to the shoot-n-scoot style of play now that I’ve been given the freedom to move and cast? No, I wouldn’t be totally happy, but I’m sure I’d get used to it again. You see, the one glaring trait that stands out on the forums for the warlocks who are pro-KJC is that they find the talent fun and I agree with them 100%.

Is fun important? You bet. The fun factor is the reason why I’ve kept logging into WoW for 8 years now. Heck, I’d even argue that the fun factor (other than responsibility stuff) is the motivation behind why we do anything both inside and outside the game. Think about it. For example: I don’t play a melee character because I tried melee and I don’t find it fun or appealing for me. Does that mean melee players suck and have no brains, or are too stupid to understand that what they are doing isn’t fun. No, because that style of play is fun for them and who am I to tell them what they’re doing isn’t fun? In fact, I’ll be the first to stand behind my tanks and melee players for their support! Ha! I kid…but I do mean it. And god bless those melee players because what they do adds to all of us supporting one another when it comes all of the different encounters.

As I began to write this post I was trying to understand why I find the ability to cast and move so appealing. What I found is that I can’t really describe or come up with reasons as to why I find KJC so much fun. Is it because both Archimond’s Vengeance and Mannoroth’s Fury are both yawners when it comes to opposing level 90 talent choices which makes KJC stand out as a clear and distinct winner? Is it because my main spec is Affliction and the idea to go back to standing still while channeling the painfully long spells of Malefic Grasp and Drain Soul is like the sound of someone scratching fingernails down a chalkboard while my skin breaks out in poison ivy and I can’t reach or itch it? Is it because I like running and jumping around like a madman every bit as much as a Druid Healer? I’m sure KJC is popular because of all of those reasons and everything I haven’t thought about.

Despite my love of KJC I have to admit that being able to completely pull off an entire dps rotation while moving (even with the debuff) feels a little unfair to some degree. Well, it felt a little unfair until I played my alts.

The how come we can’t do it too argument is not class homogenization

I’ve read a few comments when warlocks compared freedom of KJC’s movement and casting to both hunters and Elemental shaman only to have responses thrown back at them with comments about how these warlock players are what’s destroying the game because of class homogenization. I guess the class homogenization arguments sounds silly to me because at some point most of what we do in game really boils down to small set of skills. Every class shares ways to slow or CC, every class shares ways to self heal or to help aid in healing, just as every class has both defensive and offensive abilities. With this many classes, and this many talents and specializations isn’t there going to be a point where there is some kind of overlap? Isn’t there going to be some kind of familiarity with a particular style or ability?

For some reason, CC abilities come to my mind when I think about class homogenization. Does it really matter if it’s roots, frozen feet, nightmarish visions, or whatever else that works to help trap your numerous opponents from reaching you or your team? Maybe the real question about KJC to consider should be how much movement should be allowed to all players when you consider a full dps rotation? And what about the healing classes? Or what about the tanks? Shouldn’t their roles be included in this discussion? Yes, I’m sure the developers are considering all of this very carefully.

If you’ve played a hunter or an Elemental shaman during this last patch you’ll understand why some players have argued since they can move and dps with a full rotation then why can’t warlocks do it too?Over the past few weeks when I’ve been lucky to find the time to login to WoW I’ve been working wasting time piddling on my shaman and hunter alts. If you have never played either of these classes then I’ll be the first to admit to you that shooting or casting while moving with either of these two classes feels like you’re running on a warlock with KJC. I know some could argue that hunters shouldn’t be considered in that comparison because they dish up direct damage as compared to spell damage. No offense to those people and to that argument, but I’d like to quote the singer Billy Joel when he sings, “Everybody’s talking about the new sound funny, but it’s still rock-n-roll to me.”

With my Elemental shaman, outside of a few niche spells, I can kite and kill with ease with almost my entire single target dps rotation when using the Lightning Bolt Glyph. The only single target ability that has any cast time at all is my Lava Burst spell which procs like Nightfall making it an instant cast spell too. I can pull off an entire single dps target rotation on my Elemental shaman. I can even CC, heal and AoE instantly with my totems too. Believe me, standard level 90 questing mobs die with ease, and taking down elites and rare mobs becomes a breeze if you continue moving while casting.

OMG, I even forgot to mention Frost Shock. Elementalists (I love that word) also have an instant spell called Frost Shock. Frost Shock slows your targets movement temporarily like a warlock’s Curse of Exhaustion. When I’m using Frost Shock and one of my CC totems in combination then there’s very few mobs can ever catch me. The only time standing still and casting even becomes an issue with my Elemental shaman is when when dealing with multiple adds when standstill casting Chain Lighting and Earthquake help bring on additional AoE dps, or if I need to toss out some pocket heals to help take the strain off a healer. I can move and shoot (or cast) just as easily on my hunters as well. If you consider traps, pet abilities, concussive and scatter shot abilities then there isn’t much left that requires hunters to be stationary.

The only constant is change

I’ve often joked that I’m an old warlock and I am, but I like to think of it more along the lines of as being “experienced”. And with experience often comes perspective. So trust me when I say that at my age I’ve gained a lot of perspective on many things. I remember a long time ago back in the beginning when warlocks were a wee bit OP and Blizzard nerfed us. I even remember when the developers went back after the changes to tweak a little bit here and a little bit there, and brought us back up to where they thought was better aligned and fair with the lower other classes.

I remember when clever warlocks began using Drain Life as a filler until that got nerfed changed because that wasn’t what the developers had originally envisioned for that spell. I remember when I had to carrying tons of Soul Shards so that my bags appeared breaking at the seams and when Blizzard took them away I remember thinking, “OMG! What am I going to do without all those shards?” I remember having Bane spells, and I remember how Doom could proc a Doomguard if timed right. I remember in WotLK haste reigned supreme and almost every warlock went Destro because of it. I remember when we didn’t have Pandemic and you had to be spot-on with your DoTs or otherwise it was a horribad dps loss. And when I mean spot-on I mean all you did was stare at a spell timer bar which accounted for your latency so you could make your spell land exactly when it fell off. When you added in Haunt (which had a travel time to account for) it was maddening.

After all of these changes over the years there’s one thing I can’t recall. I don’t remember ever thinking I’d never play my warlock again because of a change. It never happened. Really. Even during Cataclysm I was still proud to be a warlock. Being a warlock was reason I started this blog. It’s the reason I started my audio segments because when you get right down to it we as warlocks, are like the Timex watches of WoW. We can take a licking and we keep on ticking ;) Okay, maybe that comparison is on the verge of a bad pun, but it’s true. Nerfs and buffs they come and go, but we’ll adapt, overcome, and survive any challenge thrown at us. We always have, and we always will. 

Focusing on what I’ve always done

I guess the main point I’ve been eluding to is that changes are going to happen. Will we be able to move and cast? Will we get nerfed and have to go back to being dps turrets again? Or maybe we’ll have to stagger cast or move the in a scoot-n-shoot type fashion? I have no clue how the KJC patch 5.4 changes will pan out, but at this point it doesn’t matter to me because I’ve always played a warlock to bring as much dps and utility to my team as I can. And I’ve always played a warlock to bring as much pain, fear and loathing to my enemies as I can. Patch or no patch, nerf or no nerf, buff or no buff, I’m going to focus on what I’ve always done – I’ll be playing my warlock.

  1. Mooftak says:

    I concur, though since I don’t have a 90 warlock (52 atm), my pov is arguably less valid and definitely less informed. I can say that casting on the move for hunters was a huge quality of life thing, but since stead/cobra shot is the only shot I cast (since I’m bm, unless I take barrage), I would be ok with losing it. I still marvel at the fact that folks used to stutter step so as not to mess up autoshot, that was the mark of a good hunter. But hey, changes will always come and go. Sweet moves get nerfed, specs get buffed and debuffed. One can only choose to roll with the punches and do whatever you find fun. I’m sticking with bm and my off spec is just bm with different talents (1 spec for lfr, 1 for barrens questing). I think most of the folks who read this blog will likely be of the same mindset. It sucks, but oh well, I’m still gonna have fun. Can’t wait to see what 90 holds on my lock, no matter the talents available. And green fire!

    • Heya Mooftak,

      That’s a good attitude to keep my friend. You know, I actually added a whole section in this post about the Kanrethad fight and discussed how much more difficult it might be for a lot of players, but I removed it because my post rambled a bit and I think people are getting burned out on hearing about that encounter. There really is only about 3 key places where you need to be standing in that fight, but moving and losing dps between them will bite. When you get there let me know if you need help. Thanks for stopping by as always!

      • Mooftak says:

        Np. I also echo Elk’s sentiments that jumping/moving to cancel not being an option has taken some getting used to on my hunter. I haven’t been burned badly enough yet to make a cancel cast macro, but have considered it from time to time. I just feel like 1) the only thing I would cancel is cobra shot so use would be limited, 2) I’m lazy. The main thing the 5.4 changes make me concerned about is the green fire fight. I’m up to 66 at the moment (14 levels this weekend), so I’m hopeful I can get that done before 5.4 drops. I can say that getting RoF as non-channeled is so ftw. I had been demo and changed back to destro to see how it had changed since I had leveled some and haven’t looked back since. Hence 14 levels this weekend.

        Keep on truckin Ami, looking forward to the next post.

  2. koalabear21 says:

    I can understand why they would make the change, but I can’t say I am happy with it.

    Like you said though, I am a warlock and I will keep playing my warlock.

    What else would I do? Play a mage?


    Sorry had to remind myself to breathe there for a minute.

    Warlocks will be fine. Even when they mess us up they fix it pretty quick. We have some pretty awesome people on our team working for us. :D

  3. Elkagorasa says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with KJC. I love being able to cast and run during the wind phase of Lei Shen. Oh yes, I keep my DOTS up even while he blows. Or I can have COE, Immolate and first Conflag out the door while running up on a boss. Love it!

    Hate that I can no longer ‘jump’ to cancel a cast. Chaos Bolt is winding up, but I need that last ember for a Fire and Brimstone… too bad.

    • Hey Elk,

      Have you thought about making a macro along the lines of a macro combining /jump and /stopcasting and keybinding to your jump key such as the space bar? Or maybe get in the habit of just using a /stopcasting macro? I use a stopcasting macro and I don’t have to use it much, but it’s nice when I need it. Nice to see you :P

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