For the last six years, I’ve been playing my Warlock. I’ve raided on her, I’ve farmed transmog on her, soloed bosses I couldn’t on other characters, devoted a lot of time and attention to her and her development. I’ve summoned, I’ve given glowy green cookies, I’ve thrown bolts of pure chaos at my foes and summoned legions of demons to do my bidding.
Sure I’m still playing as Shokei, the Warlock formerly known as Raenah. She’s still my main, ostensibly. She’s the character I raid on, with my highest /played and the best, shinest gear, but…
Recently Yopaat has taken over more of my time. For all I said I was going to just level the Warlock, Rogue and Monk, and here I am with a Warlock I don’t have fun on any more, a Warrior I barely log into, and a Shaman that’s simply enlightening to play, whether Elemental OR Enhancement.
There’s issues afoot with the Warlock class. They’ve been acknowledged as such by Ol’ Mister Hazzithingybob, but due to a lack of ideas and ways to implement changes, we’re just gonna have to suffer with them until 7.2 at the EARLIEST, and who knows when that will be? Given that it’s going to be a major patch with a raid in the Tomb of Sargeras, and I doubt they’d want to make the Nighthold a short-lived raid, then we’re looking at five to six months where there’s a class that just feels busted to play. How so?
Affliction’s problem is, on the face of it, relatively simple. It’s one of the worst specs for single target, but arguably the best for mass AoE. You can’t buff the DoTs too much or they make the AoE and cleave utterly eclipse any other spec in the game. Soul Effigy is a concept that Mages bitched about for the entirety of Warlords of Draenor (Prismatic Crystal) and almost universally approved its removal in Legion, so why not give that awful talent to Warlocks instead? And make it so that it’s the only way Affliction can do respectable single target DPS, and utterly frustrating on fights where enemies move around a lot (Cenarius, Ursoc).
Not only that, but you get the feeling that two of Ulthalesh’s golden traits are just out of place. Back in the beta, your weapon would occasionally release souls that you can kill that would end up triggering your golden traits (the first makes a powerful explosion around enemies you kill, the second increases DoT damage by 2% for 20 seconds, stacking 5 times). These two golden traits are utterly useless on fights where you have no adds to damage (Nythendra, Ursoc) or fights where adds die too quickly for you to even fire off a DoT at them (Elerethe, sometimes Dragons, depending on which ones you get and raid setup). Not only that, the Reap Souls ability on single target stacks up terribly slowly, roughly 3-4 per minute (givng you 15-20 seconds of buff time), whereas when you have adds to kill (Il’gynoth, Dragons, Cenarius, Xavius, Elerethe if your team doesn’t AoE the spiders down immediately) they stack REALLY quickly, and on certain fights (Ilgy and Cenarius), it’s possible to have the Reap Souls buff up the entire fight.
The spec I’ve been using most, the one I’m least disillusioned with.
You don’t feel like a mighty conjurer of demons when all you’re doing is throwing small amounts of imps and demon dogs at a target. Demonic Empowerment feels annoying to have to use after EVERY summon; make it a maintenance buff on YOU that makes every demon you summon/have summoned have the usual DE effect, have it give you an aura of power that empowers your demons or whatever you need to do to explain it.
Utterly crippled by movement, Demonology can pump out some ridiculous numbers but the second you have to move? You’re not generating shards, you’re not summoning demons, you’re not empowering them, you’re losing all the DPS forever and you’re not catching back up. Demonwrath tickles, especially on one target, and Doom, once applied, doesn’t need to be recast for, like, EVER. You may be generating shards with Demonwrath, but if you’re moving, you sure as shit can’t spend them.
Admittedly I’ve left Destruction twisting in the wind this expansion, so maybe I’m not best placed to comment on it, but hang on? I spent nearly 5 years as Destruction, from the last patch of Cataclysm up to the first of Legion, so what went wrong? What made me drop the spec I loved, stuck with through the Great Pandarian Revamp and loved even more?
Burning Embers were the perfect resource. It just made the spec flow properly. They generated at, seemingly, the perfect speed, and you spent them at the perfect speed too. The shift to Shards made the spec, ugh, clunky at best. Chaos Bolt, that fantastic nuke we all knew and loved, doesn’t feel like it hits very hard at all anymore, especially for the cast time it has. Another spec crippled by the slightest movement, but whereas Demonology shines in single target and has passable cleave/AoE, Destruction shines in cleave. Trouble is, if you can’t cleave, Destruction’s a waste of time, thanks to its single target numbers being so damn low.
There was going to be a moan about the current talent setup where you have to choose between doing passable single target or passable AoE and nothing in-between when other classes/specs don’t HAVE to make that decision and can do both and MORE! with just a cookie cutter build, but thanks to a rejiggling of the talents, that’s not as much of a problem in 7.1.5 anymore. Huzzah.
I think my main issue though was that it just doesn’t feel FUN any more, but I can’t put my finger on specifically WHY and that really annoys me. It’s not purely the numbers, as I was still using it when it was the worst Warlock spec (pre-SoO days!) and enjoying myself. There’s just something missing from it and my inability to specify what is a frustration.
General Warlock Stuff
- Healthstones feel junky compared to potions
- While having specific demons be better for specific specs is great for class fantasy!!! it makes for a boring time. I don’t do PvP so my Succubus sees absolutely no sunlight any more, and while I could just summon her regardless, I feel bad that I am gimping my numbers just to satisfy her wanting to see some scenery.
- Make Mortal Coil trigger the healing again, even if the target isn’t affected by the horror. It’d make for a nice “oh shit!” cooldown and provide an actual CHOICE on that talent tier, otherwise everyone’s just gonna take Circle forever.
- Speaking of that talent row, Shadowfury having a cast time kinda sucks. Things move!
- I want my Wrathguard back.
- That’s probably it.
It was light outside when I started writing this and now I’m sitting in the dark. Here’s Yopaat. Bye.
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.
We are many; you are but one.
I’ve decided to say “fuck the alphabet” and make the first spec overview not Affliction, but Demonology! It’s the most changed, and therefore the most interesting. Let’s begin, kids.
(disclaimer: this is all information obtained from the beta, and is thus not set in stone. Things can and will change, and I will update this post as and when in order to reflect them)
- Demonic Fury is gone, replaced by Soul Shards, of which you can have a maximum of 5. Some abilities will generate shards, some will cost them.
- Spec focus is changed! No longer is it about becoming a demon, but about summoning them.
- Has probably the most unique artifact weapon: Skull of the Man’ari!
Unless it ends up changing in future, this is our artifact; a big ol’ demon skull! Currently it’s a main hand/off-hand weapon, with the skull floating around as the off-hand, and his spine being the main hand weapon, a dagger.
Here is the artifact talent screen, and it’s also shaped like a skull! Gonna have to make myself a skull-themed transmog set to go with this weapon, huh?
- Thal’kiel’s Consumption: Thal’kiel drains 10% of the life from your demon servants and unleashes a blast of Shadow damage at your current target equal to the life he stole. (2 sec cast, 45 sec cooldown)
- Stolen Power: When your Wild Imps cast Firebolt, you gain an application of Stolen Power. After you reach 100 applications, your next Shadowbolt deals 100% increased damage.
- Thal’kiel’s Discord: Shadowbolt/Demonbolt sometimes enrages Thal’kiel, causing him to teleport to an enemy and scream for (4*(100% of Spell Power)) Shadow damage to all nearby enemies over 6 sec, and fear lesser undead and demons.
- The Expendables: When your Wild Imps expire or die, your other demons are inspired and gain 1% additional damage, stacking up to 15 times.
One active ability and 3 passives, and I can’t wait to see Thal’kiel running around screaming at enemies, I gotta be honest.
- Breath of Thal’kiel: Increases Fire and Shadow damage dealt by 5%.
- Summoner’s Prowess: Increases the haste and health provided by Demonic Empowerment by 2%/4%/6%.
- Sharpened Dreadfangs: Increases the critical strike chance of Dreadstalkers by 5%/10%/15%.
- Imp-erator: Increases the critical strike chance of your imp’s Fel Firebolt by 35%.
- The Doom of Azeroth: Increases damage dealt by Doom by 10%/20%/30%
- Fel Skin: When your health drops below 35%, Soul Link increases to split 40% of all damage you take with your demon pet.
- Open Link: Increases healing done by Soul Link by 10%/20%/30%.
- Firm Resolve: Reduces the cooldown of Unending Resolve by 10/20/30 seconds.
- Maw of Shadows: Increases the critical strike chance of Shadow Bolt by 5%/10%/15%.
- Legionwrath: Increases damage dealth by Demonwrath by 10%/20%/30%.
- Infernal Furnace: Increases damage dealth by your Wild Imp’s Firebolt by 10%/20%/30%.
- Doom, Doubled: Doom has a chance to deal double damage.
- Dirty Hands: Increases damage dealt by Hand of Gul’dan by 5%/10%/15%.
- Thal’kiel’s Lingering Power: Thal’kiel succumbs to your will, further increasing your power. Increases all damage dealt by 0.5%. (20 ranks!)
All these are basic “do more damage” abilities, and are not as interesting as the major traits.
- Shadowy Inspiration: Demonic Empowerment also causes your next Shadow Bolt to be instant.
- Shadowflame: Lob a ball of Shadowflame at the target, dealing (100% of Spell Power) Shadowflame damage immediately, and another (140% of Spell Power) Shadowflame damage over 8 seconds, stacking up to 3 times. (2 charges, 14 second recharge)
- Demonic Calling: Shadow Bolt has a 20% chance to make your next Call Dreadstalkers cost no Soul Shards.
Shadowflame, being the instant cast spell Destro has always wanted and isn’t apparently getting, will probably be useful in fights with movement, whereas the other two may well be more useful when you can turret. Until numbers are more concrete though, we just don’t know!
- Impending Doom: Doom also summons 1 Wild Imp when it deals damage.
- Improved Dreadstalkers: Call Dreadstalkers now also summons 2 Wild Imps.
- Implosion: Demonic forces suck all your Wild Imps towards the target, and then cause them to violently explode, dealing (350% of Spell Power) Shadowflame damage to all enemies within 8 yards.
Lots of short-lived adds? Implosion. Impending Doom looks best when you have more than one target that lives a long time (council fights, for instance). Improved Dreadstalkers then may well be best for single target, and yes, the imps are riding the dogs. AWESOME.
- Demon Skin: Your Soul Leech absorption now passively recharges at a rate of 1% maximum health every 1 second, and may now absorb up to 20% of maximum health.
- Mortal Coil: Horrifies an enemy target into fleeing, incapacitating for 3 seconds and healing you for 11% of maximum health. (45 second cooldown)
- Shadowfury: Stuns all enemies within 8 yards for 3 seconds. (1.5 second cast, 30 second cooldown)
If the healing of Mortal Coil still only procs when it actually horrifies the target, it’ll be useless on bosses and therefore can be skipped. Might be useful for regular questing though. Demon Skin improves the (now baseline) Soul Leech, and makes it a passive constantly regenerating shield, instead of a temporary shield from damage dealt, and may well prove to be the default talent for this tier. Shadowfury controversially has a cast time now, and is not useful in fights with no adds, for obvious reasons.
- Hand of Doom: Hand of Gul’dan now applies Doom to all enemies it hits.
- Power Trip: Demonic Empowerment has a 50% chance to generate a Soul Shard when used in combat.
- Soul Harvest: Immediately generate 5 Soul Shards. (2 second cast, 2 minute cooldown)
Hand of Doom will be good for those add-heavy fights, though if that Doom doesn’t get a chance to tick? May therefore be useful for council fights… unless the bosses aren’t stacked. Maybe just stick with Power Trip? Soul Harvest seems underwhelming, really.
- Demonic Circle: Summons a Demonic Circle for 6 minutes, allowing you to cast it again to teleport to its location and remove all movement slowing effects. Limit 1. (0.5 second cast)
- Burning Rush: Increases your movement speed by 50%, but also damages you for 4% of your maximum health every 1 second. Movement-impairing effects may not reduce you below 100% of normal movement speed. Lasts until cancelled.
- Dark Pact: Sacrifices 20% of your demon’s current health to shield you for 400% of the sacrificed health for 20 seconds. If you have no demon, your health is sacrificed instead. Usable while suffering from control-impairing effects. (1 minute cooldown)
Need massive damage reduction to survive a particular fight mechanic? Need speed boosts? Need to move to a particular, predictable spot every so often? This tier has it all!
But you can only choose one.
- Grimoire of Supremacy: You are able to maintain control over even greater demons indefintely, allowing you to summon a Doomguard or Infernal as a permanent pet.
- Grimoire of Service: Summons a second demon to fight for you for 25 seconds and deals 100% increased damage. The demon will immediately use one of its special abilities when summoned (Imp cleanses 1 harmful Magic effect from you, Voidwalker taunts. Succubus seduces, Felhunter interrupts, Felguard stuns). (2 minute cooldown)
- Grimoire of Synergy: Damage done by you or your demon has a 100% chance to grant the other one 30% increased damage for 30 seconds. (approx 2 procs per minute)
Demonic Servitude is now Grimoire of Supremacy, but FRET NOT, the current Grimoire of Supremacy demon models are still available to you via glyphs. Again, not much can be said at the moment until numbers are tuned properly, but I’d wager Supremacy will be good if you need to move a lot, as the Doomguard does NOT need to move, and deals rather heavy damage.
- Summon Darkglare: Summons a Darkglare for 12 seconds that launches Eye Lasers at all targets afflicted by your Doom. (1 Soul Shard, 24 second cooldown)
- Demonbolt: Draws energy from your demons and launches a ball of demonic energy at the target, dealing (80% of Spell Power) Chaos damage. Damage increased 20% for each demon you have active. (2 second cast time, generates 1 Soul Shard)
- Soul Conduit: Every Soul Shard you spend has a 20% chance to be refunded.
A Darkglare? What the frig is that?!
OH MY GOD AWESOME. Anyway, Summon Darkglare will be VERY nice when you can inflict lots of targets with Doom, which the above talent Hand of Doom can help nicely with. Otherwise, Demonbolt looks to be best in single target, and the more demons you can spit out, the more damage it does!
Here’s the basic rotational abilities for our shiny new Demonology spec. Remember that you use the above talents to add in complexity, either through modifying the existing abilities, or adding new ones!
- Doom is your DoT, and you want to maintain as high an uptime as possible on it. Doom’s duration is 20 seconds, and it deals a large hit of damage (600% of SP!) ONCE, at the end of its duration. I’m not fully sure of what it does if you cast it a second time before this expires, whether it resets this timer or just applies a second Doom on the target, with a maximum of two of these applications.
- Hand of Gul’dan no longer applies a DoT, nor does it have charges or a cooldown. It costs up to 4 of your Soul Shards to cast, deals damage to a target and anything 8 yards around it, and summons a number imps based on how many shards you spent to cast it. 4 shards? 4 imps.
- Shadow Bolt is your filler, and generates a Soul Shard on hit.
- Call Dreadstalkers costs 2 Soul Shards, and summons 2 Dreadstalkers, which attack your foes. They last 12 seconds, and the ability has a 15 second cooldown.
- Demonic Empowerment strengthens all of your currently active demons, granting 50% increased health and haste, and boosting their damage based on your Mastery, thanks to Mastery: Master Demonologist. This effect lasts 12 seconds.
- Demonwrath is your baseline AoE ability. It requires you to channel for 3 seconds, and deals damage every 1 second if an enemy is within 10 yards of any of your demons. The more demons you have? The fewer safe areas! I assume, based on the wording of the tooltip, that it only deals damage to an enemy once per tick (i.e. if an enemy is near 3 demons, it doesn’t take 3 lots of damage per tick, but just the 1). Each time it deals damage, you have a 15% chance of generating a Soul Shard, and you can move around while casting it.
- Summon Felguard is pretty self-explanatory. It summons a Felguard, the Demonology-specific demon. He has an axe, and likes to hit enemies with it.
- Soul Link is not a talent any more, but a Demonology-specific baseline ability! 20% of all damage you take is split with your demon, and you both get healed for 3% of damage you deal. So, as it works on live then.
Glyphs are working differently in Legion. Major glyphs are apparently gone, and now you apply the glyph directly to the spell, meaning you can have one per (eligible) ability, I guess?
- Glyph of Crimson Banish: Your Banish spell is now red.
- Glyph of Soulwell: Your Soulwell glows with an eerie light.
- Glyph of the Abyssal: Transforms your Infernal into an Abyssal.
- Glyph of the Demon Eye: Transforms your eye of Kilrogg into a demonic floating eye.
- Glyph of the Fel Imp: Transforms your Imp into a Flame Imp.
- Glyph of the Inquisitor’s Eye: Transforms your Eye of Kilrogg into an Inquisitor’s Eye.
- Glyph of the Observer: Transforms your Felhunter into an Observer.
- Glyph of the Shivarra: Transforms your Succubus into a Shivarra.
- Glyph of the Terrorguard: Transforms your Doomguard into a Terrorguard.
- Glyph of the Voidlord: Transforms your Voidwalker into a Voidlord.
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!
“Or the Tale of How Demon Hunters Stole Our Shit”
Before 6.2 landed, Ion Hazzikostas was quoted as saying Demonology would get a bit of an overhaul in the new expansion, and in the meantime here’s nerfs to discourage you from using it in its current state! This was going to be a post where I speculate on what Demonology would become, but what’s this?
Icy Veins did an interview with Tom Chilton and Ion Hazzikostas which you can read here. There’s a lot of details in there, but juicy juicy gossip for Demonology Warlocks among us!
Demonology Warlocks will be masters of summoning and controlling demons. Metamorphosis sort-of came to dominate the class, but the devs are refocusing the spec on demons. Affliction will continue to be about ‘decay’, and Destruction about ‘bursts of fel fire’.
This was the direction I was going to go with this. Demonology becoming a summoner of demons, rather than becoming demons themselves. What do I think we’ll see?
- Metamorphosis cut: This is the obvious one, seeing as Metamorphosis is going to be the primary ability of Demon Hunters. This means we’ll be staying in caster form forever and ever.
- Corruption cut, Doom stays, usable in caster form: Doom already ties into the whole summoner philosophy, as critical strikes summon imps. I believe this will stay, and function as normal, and replace Corruption. Possibly make it tick a bit faster.
- Hellfire/Immolation Aura cut: These are an annoying part of Demonology AoE, as to use them you have to be in melee range of your target. Unfortunately, you still count as ranged, meaning you expose the melee classes to ranged mechanics (think Garrosh’s Desecrated Weapons, or Kilrogg’s Death Throes). I foresee these being cut, OR Hellfire staying, but rather than AoE centered on you, have it set a target on fire and pulse AoE damage.
- Cut Shadow Bolt, Soul Fire becomes filler, no more Molten Core: Bake Molten Core into the ability itself. Give it a chance to summon an imp on hit. Shadow Bolt gone because frankly it has a cast time comparable to Chaos Bolt, with damage comparable to 0.2 Chaos Bolts.
- Cut Chaos Wave, have Hand of Gul’dan on a 8 second cooldown with no charge system: That’s pretty self explanatory there.
- 2 permanent demons: They want us to be the masters of controlling demons? Then give us the ability to control 2 demons at once. Have a second splash menu, make you unable to summon two of the same demons. You can run around with a Voidlord AND a Fel Imp!
- Cut Grimoire of Service: At least for Demonology. Replace it with Grimoire of Something Else, and make it a cooldown that buffs all your demon damage by x% for 20 seconds. Like Dark Soul, but for your demons!
- Add Demon Summoning abilities: Have a new 10 minute cooldown IF you take Demonic Servitude where you can summon a Pit Lord or something as powerful. Have an ability on a 30 second cooldown that summons 2 random demons for 15 seconds. Those Felstalkers we saw in 6.2 would be cool. Maybe other demon models we can’t usually control too!
- Some form of AoE demon summoning ability: Have infernals rain from the sky briefly, or allow us to summon 3 Felguards/Wrathguards that do their bladestorm-like ability, then vanish.
Do bear in mind these are rough ideas. I’m no developer or theorycrafter, I have no idea how feasible these ideas are, but food for thought, eh? It’s merely one guy’s opinion, and I’d like to hear yours!
A question I seem to be getting a lot is on the subject of the level 75 talents. Which is better, Grimoire of Supremacy or Grimoire of Synergy? Well, the simple answer is SYNERGY. I’m also curious as to why you’re discounting Grimoire of Service, as that’s better than Supremacy in most situations too!
Single Target + Demonic Servitude
For single target, Grimoire of Service coupled with Demonic Servitude is the best setup. Use the Doomguard as your pet, and every 2 minutes use the Grimoire of Service: Doomguard cooldown to summon a second one.
Grimoire of Supremacy is the second best when taken with Demonic Servitude. Terrorguard as your pet, and no cooldowns to have to play with.
Single Target + Demonbolt
Service is again the best option here, but in second place is Grimoire of Synergy. Synergy, however, requires you to have good RNG luck and the ability to take full advantage of the proc. Service and Supremacy are easier to deal with, and Service is higher DPS anyway.
Demonbolt is slightly lower in DPS than Demonic Servitude as of 6.1 though.
Single Target + Cataclysm
Again, Service and Synergy are the top two. When Synergy pops, use Cataclysm for a superpowered nuke!
Demonbolt and Cataclysm are almost identical in DPS. They pale compared to Demonic Servitude in single target.
Cleave (2 targets) + Cataclysm
Cataclysm is the top cleave talent, and Synergy works best with it. Again, Synergy procs, blow things up.
Service is the second best talent, and operates independent of Cataclysm. Use both on cooldown whenever you can.
Cleave + Demonbolt
We’re back to Service being on top again, followed by Synergy.
Cleave + Demonic Servitude
It’s Service and Supremacy here.
4+ Targets + Cataclysm
I’ll be honest, in an AoE situation, you do NOT want to be taking anything OTHER than Cataclysm, as it completely eclipses the other talents.
Synergy comes out on top here, provided you have good RNG. Synergy does require you to be pretty good at tracking and using procs, and cooldown stack.
Grimoire of Supremacy is the second best talent here, and may provide higher DPS than Synergy if you have bad RNG with procs.
I’ve said what the best talents for each situation are, but with the exception of AoE (where you take definitely Cataclysm), you can take Grimoire of Service, Supremacy OR Synergy and do great numbers. Though each situation may well have a setup that yields higher DPS, the DPS yield between each setup is only marginally different, so it comes to that old adage of play whatever you think is the most fun, whatever you’re most comfortable with. Talents are balanced very evenly in 6.1 until you get to an AoE situation, where Cataclysm pulls ahead massively.
But if you absolutely must squeeze out every inch of DPS, here’s those “best” talent setups:
Single Target: Grimoire of Service, Archimonde’s Darkness, Demonic Servitude.
Cleave: Grimoire of Synergy, Archimonde’s Darkness, Cataclysm.
AoE: Grimoire of Synergy, Archimonde’s Darkness, Cataclysm.
Apparently they did! Let’s start with a general hotfix (*salute*) first.
Haste is now 11.1% more effective. What this means is you need 90 Haste rating to gain 1% Haste, whereas before you needed 100. This is a boost for damn near all classes and specs, as it’s pretty much FREE HASTE RATING YAY but the warlock spec it benefits most is Affliction, Haste being one of its best secondary stats along with Mastery. It only really amounts to around a 1% damage boost that everybody gets, but hey! Enjoy it.
- Mastery: Master Demonologist‘s effects have been increased by 33%
Whoa. 33% is a large number! Those that play Demonology are saying their Demonbolts hit like crazy now, and Demonology is a very very good turret spec, like Arcane Mages. Thing is, unlike Arcane, Demonology will also be very good at movement DPS, not as good as melee or hunters, but still a lot better than the other casters, so did we just see Demonology become the best spec in the game when you factor in every aspect of an encounter?
It’s safe to say that this is a pretty healthy buff. 10-15% higher DPS some people are saying. Gosh!
Ah yes, my spec of choice.
- Devastation now causes the Warlock to gain 15% (up from 5%) of the Critical Strike stat from all sources.
As an example! Raenah, my Warlock, currently has 1006 Critical Strike from her gear. 5% of this is 50.3, which is rounded to 50 and added on to her total to give her 1056 Crit. It takes 110 Crit rating to give a 1% boost, which means Raenah has a 14.6% chance of a crit, when you factor in the 5% baseline Critical Strike rating.
With the new buff, 15% of 1006 is 150.9. I assume this gets rounded up to 151, and not rounded down, making her have 1157 Crit. This converts to a 15.5% Critical Strike chance, which is a boost of 0.9, which is a 6.16% increase from the previous number!
It’s basically nothing to be too excited about at this point, but as gear gets better and stats get larger, you’ll see more and more of an effect from this buff. Obviously it will boost Chaos Bolt damage slightly too, and higher crit means more embers and better AoEing, but for now it’s still a relatively small boost. We’ll see how well this shines when the gear scales upwards!