Thursday, June 18, 2009

Patch 3.2: Resilience No Longer Only Applies to DoT Damage

Fellow Warlocks, wannabes (Mages), Shadow Priests, and anyone else with a close relationship to the DoT'ing kind. Go grab yourself some food and a drink, a towel, and then return to your seat, where you will more than likely spend the next few hours frozen in awe and excitement at the glorious news I am about to relay to you. Seriously. It made my wife pee a little.

Hidden deep within the PTR 3.2 Patch notes is a little bit of Warlock love in the form of a major change to Resilience -- the stat that has been the bane of DoT damage for almost 2 years running.

Here's the little nugget in all of it's DoT-loving glory:
Resilience: No longer reduces the amount of damage done by damage-over-time spells, but instead reduces the amount of all damage done by players by the same proportion. The other effects of resilience (reducing critical chance, critical damage and mana drain effects) have not changed.
What does this mean, exactly? It means that DoT damage is getting an indirect BUFF via the direct application that Resilience will equally have against ALL forms of damage. In other words, DoTS will do relatively more damage than they do now, compared to other forms of offensive attacks.

Within the current state of World of Burst-craft, this is a VERY big deal! It not only means that Resilience-heavy Affliction Warlocks will see more survivability, but it also means they will be dishing out a higher percentage of overall damage done!


Together with all of the other pro-Affliction changes that 3.2 is slated to bring (the Pandemic Buff to Haunt that we will discuss in an upcoming post, for example), this should be a big help to a long-ailing tree in PvP. Only time will tell if it will be a large-enough step in the right direction to make a difference.

Now, go clean up a bit, and be sure to check back for an update on Affliction's performance on the PTR very soon.

See you then. ;)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Warlock 101: "Drain Some Dummies"

Warlock 101 looks to shed some light on the basic truths of Warlocking, for those that are new to the class, or just may have missed them while QQ'ing about the constant nerfs to Fear.

Ask a Warlock, any Warlock, what changes they would like to see implemented in a future patch, and amongst the calls for "green fire" and a new Megan Fox succubus skin, you are more than likely to find a few that will wish for stack-able Soul Shards.

We 'locks have often complained that our shard reagents are an inconvenience, taking up too much space and taking far too long to farm before a night of raiding or PvP. Even after the recent lifestyle tweak to Drain Soul, we still complained that the shard mechanism was too costly, taking up too much of the the time we could be spending doing something else equally as unimportant as shard-farming.

Well, my friends, the reality is that the Soul Shard mechanism isn't that big a deal, and it is far less time consuming than you think. Check out the video below for a hot tip on how to make Soul Shard farming super efficient, no matter your level or experience.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Best Questions a Warlock Can Ask

Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again. The great (and sometimes sexy) Dr. Eyonix has made his Summer rounds on the official forums, summoning the "questions you may have concerning your class." Playing a Warlock, I know we got a whole bunch of them. But before you go off running to ask why we haven't seen green fire applied to all of our spells just yet, hear me out. There are far more important matters at hand.

Here are 10 of the best questions we Warlocks can ask in the current state of the game. And please feel free to bombard Eyonix's thread with them. Maybe we'll get some much-needed attention!

Will incoming pet/spell-pathing and redirection after a Demonic Teleport ever be tweaked to result in a miss?

While defending the Farm in AB the other day, I was approached by three mouth-breathing Death Knights. After being LOL-Gripped by two of them back-to-back (that's where the "lol" comes in), I Teleported into the shed to escape the ridiculously high damage they were doing... and that's when it happened! A Deathcoil that one of the DK's had fired off came through the wall and hit me square in the face!

If a Rogue Vanishes, a spell headed towards them will miss (unless it's still bugged), and a pet will run back towards it's master. If a Warlock Teleports, a spell will redirect and shoot straight for them, and a pet will hunt them down and continue to attack. Sure, Vanish and Teleport are different spells, but shouldn't their effect on spell/pet-pathing be treated the same? If not, why not? At best, it's an awkward mechanic difference as is, and is in desperate need of a change.

Will our pets ever be allowed to Teleport with us if they are set to Passive?

Our pets. Sometimes I love them. Sometimes I hate them. And I ESPECIALLY hate them when they lead opponents straight to me after I break off a Teleport. They're like the worst little back-stabbing snitches ever, and I often find myself having them attack an opponent and get killed just to keep myself alive. Broken, imho.

Will melee always be able to cut-off spells when "running through" the caster?

At range, Destruction Warlocks are where it's at. They have some of the best combos and burst in WoW (which we'll talk about in an upcoming post), and are game-makers as a result.

In close-quarters, however, they are about as useful as a pair of scissors with no handles. This is mostly because of melee's ability to "run through" a caster and interrupt his class if timed right, and which isn't that hard to do. Melee have a huge advantage over casters as a result, and it is a shame this long-broken mechanic hasn't received the attention it deserves.

Will the Soul Shard cap ever be raised?

Let's face it: Soul Shards will never stack. So the question is, will we ever need anything beyond an Abyssal Bag? Inquiring Warlocks, especially ones that Arena regularly, want to know... because if the Soul Shard cap isn't going to see a change, it's time to get a maxed out shard bag, pronto.

Are there any plans to lower the Soul-shatter cooldown?

Of all the spells a Warlock has in his arsenal, Soul-Shatter is by far one of the most poorly maintained. As a spell, it's fine, just as any aggro-reducing ability is. As a spell that has a 5-minute cooldown and costs a Soul Shard, however, it is not. Almost every other class has an aggro drop on a much shorter cooldown... why not Warlocks?

Are there plans to introduce more consistent burst damage to the Affliction Tree?

Affliction burst is based upon RNG DoT crits that are great during long PvE boss encounters, but not so hot for PvP. In order to make Affliction a viable Arena spec again, it needs to have a controllable amount of burst that is not dependant on an automatic, uncontrollable, and untimable DoT tick. Perhaps make Shadowburn trainable? Or even better yet, give the Afflicton 'lock an ability to consume a DoT for 50% of it's overall damage on-command. That'd be a start!

Are all pets going to scale equally from their master's stats?

When I heard that Ghostcrawler and his development crew had finally decided that it was time to work on pet scaling, I called Hell to see if it had frozen over. It hasn't, so I remain cautously optomistic. We are Warlocks, afterall, and whenever we see something good come our way, there is often a catch.

So I have to ask, when the pets get these incoming buffs, are they going to receive them equally across the board, or are each of their specific weaknesses going to be addressed?

And semi-related to this question comes the next:

Will switching between pets quickly ever become an untalented option?

Warlocks are dependent on their pets, now more than ever at least since the "mushroom" era of PvP. Each has a very specific use and strength meant for a very specific environment. So when we find ourselves stuck in the mud with the wrong pet out... we're pretty boned.

Currently, the only way to summon a pet quickly is to spec at least 10 points into the Demonology Tree, where you'll find Fel Domination. Fifteen points in, you'll find Master Summoner, which will reduce the cast time of your next summon by 9.5 seconds to a mere half-second. Unfortunately, each of these talents is on a 15 minute cooldown, which doesn't do much for the Warlock enjoying World PvP or a day in the Battlegrounds.

We need more... and faster too!

Is Fear going to be tweaked to better compliment the Affliction tree?

After the recent Fear "nerf," the spell seems fairly balanced to a Destruction Warlock. Destro 'locks don't DoT, so the spell can easily be used as an off-target CC or to setup a powerful destruction spell combo.

As an Affliction 'lock, however, whose quasi-purpose and strength is to afflict damage to as many targets on the field as possible, it is quite useless. It cannot be used as an off-target CC, because Affliction Warlocks SHOULD be doing consistant, constant, dependable damage to as many enemy players as possible. And almost any damage to Fear currently breaks the CC, making it one of the worst offensive spells in the game.

And yes, you read that right. I wrote "offensive," because that is how it was originally designed. Afflicton Warlocks are SUPPOSED to DoT their targets and Fear them to death. Now, sadly, that's not the case, and they need Affliction-tree-specific buffs to Fear that will allow them to do so competitively. Add a talent, add a glyph, whatever. Just do it already.

Is Immolate going to get some much-needed dispel protection?

As is stands, Immolate is one of the most important spells in a Destro 'locks arsenal. It increases the damage of Incinerate and Chaos bolt via Fire and Brimstone, and is the opener of choice for an instant-Conflag. However, it's as easily removed as Paris Hilton's panties, yet unlike those panties, it comes with no STD penalty whatsoever.

An Afflicton Warlock's DoTS are the bread and butter of his offense, and protected by Unstable Affliction. Immolate is the core ability of a Destruction's Warlocks offense, and has no protection whatsoever. Without Immolate, we lose the burst damage of Conflagrate, and the CC of Aftermath -- both of which are very necessary to keep the spec a successful one.

So those are my questions -- ten issues that need addressing. Hopefully they won't fall upon blind eyes or deaf ears, and hopefully yours won't either.

Speaking of yours, what Warlock questions do you have for the devs? Is there anything that you see as vitally important to the class and wonder why it hasn't been addressed? Let me know in the comments section -- link to it in the official thread if you wish.

Now, lets get this done, people. Good luck to us all.