So in my infinite luck I managed to win a beta key from Icy Veins, and I’ve been messing around with the new Demonology!
Here’s Ikralla the Demonology Warlock, I’m Panda Steve, and these are my first impressions!
The Skull of the Man’ari is a really cool little weapon. The floating skull is actually an offhand weapon, whereas the main hand weapon is a dagger called the Spine of Thal’kiel.
Kinda wished it looked like an ACTUAL spine, y’know? But then again who am I to say what a Man’ari spine looks like?
The artifact quest is a fun lark that sees you join up with some familiar Warlocky faces, try to summon a demon, hijinks ensue, and you end up conquering a planet. All in a day’s work. You have chained-up demons as training dummies, huge infernals and demonic jailers wandering around, and the order hall is just generally pretty damn awesome.
The spec has seen a gigantic change from what it was in Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor, going from turning into a demon into summoning an army to besiege your foes, and it fits really well. Masters of demonic magics, it feels right that Demonology is capable of peerless summoning prowess. Going back to using Soul Shards doesn’t take much getting used to, and you never really feel starved of them.
DISCLAIMER: My level is 100, my gear level is 689, I have 1 artifact ability that boosts Shadow and Fire damage by 5%. All of this is still in beta, so things are subject to change. Abilities may differ in numbers, or be changed in functionality, even removed completely, so with that, let’s start with…
- Shadow Bolt‘s the same old, same old. It’s your filler, it does Shadow damage, and you’ll be casting it quite a lot as it’s your primary Soul Shard generator. At my gear level, it’s hitting for roughly 6,000 damage.
- Doom has a relatively uninteresting animation, but does a very large amount of damage (roughly 45k in the above mentioned gear). It also benefits from Pandemic, which means you can cast it with around 4-5 seconds remaining on the debuff without losing any damage (it’ll tick twice over the duration of Doom). If you were to doublecast Doom, then let it run out, the debuff would be 19 seconds, after 15 it would deal the full 45k, then after the remaining time runs out, it will deal a partial tick of around 17k.
- Hand of Gul’dan now has no cooldown, but has a short cast time and hits an 8 yard area around your target. It costs a number of shards to cast (from 1 to 4), deals more damage the more shards you use to cast it (1 shard around 2.7k, 2 shards around 5.4k, 3 shards around 8.1k, 4 shards around 11k), and for every shard consumed, it summons a Wild Imp which throws roughly 7 fireballs dealing around 1k damage. It’s pretty cool to drop a meteor on your opponent.
- Call Dreadstalkers is one of the new abilities for Demonology. It summons 2 of the aforementioned demons to attack your opponents for 12 seconds, on a 15 second cooldown. They hit for roughly 2.3k per hit, with an initial hit of around 10k each. They do about 9 attacks before they vanish, including that initial hit. They get some pretty nifty upgrades too when you pick the appropriate talents, but we’ll go over those soon!
- Demonic Empowerment boosts the health and haste of your demons by 50% for 12 seconds, as well as increasing their attack power based on your Mastery rating, so they hit harder and faster! The health boost directly buffs another ability, Thal’kiel’s Consumption. They also make your demons grow in size, so have fun with that, melee classes.
- Demonwrath is your baseline AoE spell. It causes all of your demons to pulse energy waves around them that damage anything within 10 yards for roughly 2.2k damage. It’s a channeled spell and hits 3 times, each time giving you a 15% chance to regenerate a Soul Shard! It’s also a form of movement DPS; if you need to move and you haven’t taken Shadowflame, or it’s on cooldown, you can channel this as you run! One thing to note is that each tick only hits an enemy ONCE; even if your foe is in range of 2 or more demons, they’re only hit by one pulse.
- Drain Life has mostly the same function as it does now. Channeled attack, hits 6 times, each hit doing around 1.9k damage, and healing you for 6x the amount (so roughly 11.3k per tick). Nothing overwhelmingly new here, though it seems to restore a lot more health than on live. That could just be my perception being off though!
- Thal’kiel’s Consumption is an ability you get from equipping your artifact weapon. It causes Thal’kiel to drain 10% of the life from all your active demons, then he fires a blast of Shadow damage at your target equal to the life he stole. The more total health your demons have, the more damage Thal’kiel’s attack will do, which means you should cast Demonic Empowerment before casting this spell! Currently has no discernible animation, but in the gif below, the second twitch from the Warlock cues a 66.5k hit; this is the hit from Thal’kiel. Has a 2 second cast time and a 45 second cooldown.
So these are your basic combat abilities. You throw out some Dreadstalkers on cooldown, build up shards to get a max damage Hand of Gul’dan, empower your demons so your pet skull can eat their health, build up shards with your filler, and make sure to replenish Doom at around 4 seconds remaining on the debuff. Overall, the spec has a nice ebb and flow to it; it doesn’t feel (DREAD PHRASE!) clunky like current Demonology.
But of course, this isn’t the full picture. We have other things to consider!
I’m only going to highlight certain talents here; ones that are majorly cool, or change things dramatically. This is primarily because PRETTY GIFS, but also because a lot of talents, while moved around, are functionally the same.
- Shadowflame acts as another form of movement DPS, albeit on a cooldown. It has 2 charges on a 14 second recharge time, is instant cast, deals an instant 7.5k damage, and puts on a DoT for 10.5k damage over 8 seconds, which can stack up to 3 times for triple the damage! It also generates a Soul Shard on each hit.
- Impending Doom summons a Wild Imp whenever Doom deals damage. It ties in really nicely with a talent two tiers down called Hand of Doom, which makes Hand of Gul’dan apply Doom to anything it hits. Great for adds that are both clumped together, and will live at least 15 seconds. Lots of imps!
- Improved Dreadstalkers is on the same tier as the aforementioned Impending Doom, and is infinitely cooler in terms of aesthetics, because it changes Summon Dreadstalkers to also summon 2 Wild Imps. That’s not the cool thing though:
- Trouble is, that talent tier has a THIRD awesome talent, Implosion. It makes all your Wild Imps fly towards a target and explode for about 26k damage to everything within 8 yards. It also looks awesome.
- Summon Darkglare is in the final talent tier, and is another talent that synergises well with Hand of Doom. It summons a giant eyeball thing that fires 7 eye lasers (each dealing around 7.2k damage) over the course of 12 seconds. Why does it work well with Hand of Doom? Because it only fires the lasers at targets you have inflicted with Doom! Drop a Hand of Gul’Doom on a clump of enemies and watch the Darkglare make short work of them all!
- The last talent I’ll focus on is Demonbolt, which is in the same tier as Summon Darkglare. It replaces Shadow Bolt, deals the same base damage and still restores a Soul Shard when cast, so what’s the big deal? Well, for every demon you have summoned, it deals an extra 20% (roughly 1,200) damage! It also looks a lot prettier than Shadow Bolt.
So yeah, new Demonology has a nice flow, it has the BEST artifact, but most importantly? It’s HELLA FUN, and surely that’s what matters most? Any bugs so far?
- As mentioned, Thal’kiel’s Consumption doesn’t have any animation attached to it.
- He doesn’t yell nearly as much as I’d like 😛
He DOES yell occasionally though! I think he did this one when I used Summon Dreadstalkers! I like a little bit of flavour.