INFORMATION! We have some at last! Here’s my take on it all.
To this end, we’re going to once again standardize Warlocks on their most class-defining resources: Mana and Soul Shards
This means that all three Warlock specs will be using Soul Shards. Not only that, but all three specs will also be using Life Tap. Currently, Destruction has a passive ability called Chaotic Energy that replaces Life Tap, which increases mana regeneration by a huge amount (further increased by haste); presumably, this is going away so we become more mana-dependent again.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I know they want to get closer to the class fantasy of trading one’s soul for power, and I’m all for that, but… I did like how Chaotic Energy worked. You still were capable of running out of mana, which is why you used Chaos Bolt to effectively “recover” it; thanks to its long cast time, you took advantage of your 625% increased mana regen.
But yes. All specs use Soul Shards now. 5 is apparently the maximum.
We want to re-incentivize demon variety, strengthening the various utilities that each demon supplies, and causing some demons to be favored based on the Warlock’s spec.
According to a tweet from the developers, Affliction will favour the use of Felhunters, Demonology the use of Felguards, and Destruction will see best success with Imps. I like this idea! I’m sick of seeing observers all the damn time, cool as they are.
Affliction is staying mostly the same, except Haunt is apparently being relegated to a talent and is being reworked. Drain Life becomes your filler ability, which I quite like the idea of. It’s still regenerating your health, and for each DoT present on your foe, it increases the damage of Drain Life by 50% (so up to 150% increase!). I like how in keeping this is with the Warlock fantasy; curses to empower your spells, your opponent’s life to replenish yours.
Agony and Corruption are mostly the same. The Nightfall effect gets baked not into Corruption, but AGONY now, and isn’t capped at one target, so the more targets you throw Agony on, the more chance you have of generating a Soul Shard.
Your spender of shards is apparently Unstable Affliction now, so I’d imagine it will see a boost in power to compensate for the potential inability to cast it (shards being bound by the RNG of Nightfall, of course), so potentially like a Shadow Priest’s Devouring Plague spell. There’s also a talent that makes Seed of Corruption cost a Soul Shard, but makes the application of the spell an AoE (currently the only AoE part of it is the explosion, so this is a marked improvement over the current spell!).
In conclusion, Affliction is going back to being all about those DoTs, less about the filler. Single target fights will probably not be your strongest type of battle, but add a target or two more into the mix? Affliction will be the KING.
I suppose I won’t be able to use that picture to symbolise Demonology anymore, will I?
Demonology is going to be all about the demon summoning, and the empowering of those demons. I’ll go through abilities a bit more specifically here.
- Shadow Bolt: This is your main filler, and regenerates a Soul Shard. Same old, same old. Well, apart from the Soul Shard bit.
- Call Dreadstalkers: A new ability! This costs 2 shards, and summons 2 Dreadstalkers for 12 seconds, on a 15 second cooldown.
- Hand of Gul’dan: For the cost of 1 to 5 Soul Shards, a meteor full of Wild Imps smacks your target on the head. Hits everyone in 8 yards of the target, and depending on how many shards you used to cast it, you get that number of imps to bombard your foe.
- Doom: Plonks a 20 second DoT on your foe. At the end, your enemy takes massive damage, and you regen a shard.
- Demonwrath: A channeled spell that has no maximum duration! Every second, your demons crackle and inflict damage to every enemy within 10 yards of them, and each time it deals damage, you have a 15% chance to regen a shard.
- Demonic Empowerment: This empowers 3 of your your demons with 50% increased Haste and health for 12 seconds. More haste means they attack quicker, which means more DPS! It favours your stronger demons, so probably your Felguard and Dreadstalkers before your Wild Imps. Has 3 charges on a 12 second recharge time.
And for the preview talent:
- Implosion: Pulls all your summoned Wild Imps to a target. They then explode, dealing damage to every enemy nearby.
- Power Trip: Mentioned in a tweet, this talent apparently makes your Demonic Empowerment power up ALL your active demons, not just 3 of them.
So Demonology is all about summoning and empowering a demonic army to assault your foes! I’m REALLY excited about playing this, I’ve gotta say. The current Demonology is a bit clunky, this new hotness looks really fun to play. Can we have it now?
Destruction, like Affliction, is not seeing any overwhelmingly drastic changes, though as I mentioned above, Burning Embers are being replaced with Soul Shards. Immolate is the DoT you want on your enemy at all times (still), Incinerate is your filler (still), Conflagrate provides Backdraft and has 2 charges on an 8 second recharge (still) but also replenishes a Soul Shard. Chaos Bolt functions the same as now, but costs 2 shards. Havoc seems to have changed a bit; rather than affecting the next 3 spells cast (or 1 Chaos Bolt), it places an 8 second debuff on an enemy and copies ALL spells to that enemy for the duration, so you can Havoc-cleave multiple Chaos Bolts! This makes me happy.
The preview talent, Channel Demonfire, throws fireballs at all enemies with Immolate on them over 3 seconds, but this isn’t the only AoE talent. Fire and Brimstone is now also a talent, which passively makes Incinerate into an AoE, but no word on whether it reduces the damage of it, like current Fire and Brimstone does. Also, for those of us concerned at Conflagrate being our only shard generator, according to @WarcraftDevs, “there are several talents that deal with Soul Shards,” so fret not!
Shadowburn returns as a talent too, with “improved usability,” but no word on what that actually is, so wait and see I guess?
The final thing to note is our mastery. Chaotic Energies makes your spells deal up to x% additional damage randomly. So with a (for example) 50% mastery rating, if your Chaos Bolt does 100,000 damage normally, then with this new mastery, it can do anywhere between 100,000 and 150,000 damage, based on luck I suppose.
I… actually kinda like that. It fits with the Destruction fantasy of using chaotic, destructive energies to deal damage. If our very damage has to be chaotic to fulfill that, then I am more than happy to oblige.
So! In conclusion, on the face of it, Warlocks look to be going into a good place come Legion, and I definitely want to carry on playing as one. Phew! Affliction still looks rather boring, but to me it always did compared to Demonology and Destruction, and those two specs looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try them out!