In the World of Warlocks, there has always been one unequivocal truth: Shadow beats Fire. Even with the introduction of the fire-based Incinerate spell, the Improved Shadow Bolt talent and the Bolt's great scaling has kept Shadow-'locks seeing their fire counterparts fall behind them in DPS meters very regularly. It's a sad reality for pyro-fanatics for sure, and no matter how hard they try and much damage a Fire-'lock is able to put out at any given moment, a Shadow-'lock can always do better. And oh how Fire-'locks have cried.
Well, Blizzard is apparently (some would say "finally") looking to give Warlock fire DPS a bit of a boost, and as soon as Patch 2.4, even!
In what is listed as an "Undocumented Change" over at MMO Champion, PTR Fire Warlocks have received a slight buff in the form of a tweak to the Emberstorm Talent. Instead of just increasing damage done by fire spells, the first rank of this five point talent will also increase the casting speed of Incinerate by a whole 2%!
If that number seems small and relatively insignificant, it's because it is. A 2% increase in the base casting speed of Incinerate amounts to only a 0.05 second decrease in cast time. So instead of firing off Incinerates every 2.5 secs, Fire-'locks will be able to cast them every 2.45 secs instead. To put that into perspective, it would take 50 Incinerate casts at 2.45 secs to gain enough time to fit in one extra Incinerate, compared to the current 2.5 sec standard. Not very impressive.
When considering Spell Haste and how it will affect the Incinerate "buff," I don't see the changes being relevant, especially since you would need a great deal of Spell Haste to have a profound impact in the first place. And in most cases, stacking Spell Haste is usually at the expense of Spell Hit and Spell Crit, which Destruction Warlocks currently live by in end-game (and which Bliz seems to be leaning back towards in Sunwell). Quite a disappointing and frustrating mechanism to say the least!
But all is not totally unsubstantial. At least Blizzard is finally listening to the Fire-'lock's complaints and moving to make their situation a little better (even if it's painfully obvious they have no idea what they are doing atm). Hopefully they'll tweak things a bit more on the PTR to make the changes more significant. I'm thinking that taking this relatively minor change a few steps further and offering a 10% increase in casting speed of Incinerate with 5/5 points in Emberstorm is where this change will end up going. Given the weak performance of the current status of things, I can't see how Bliz could justify NOT making such a change.
But until that happens, whenever that day may be, my Shadow Bolt-spamming self is just going to sit here and snicker a little. ;)