Thursday, July 24, 2008


So I was given a beta key last night (yay!) Big thanks to the guy who got it for me!

I only got a chance to play around for a couple of hours but things are looking great so far, both for Warlocks and Deathknights.

I did throw up some initial feedback on the beta forum, however. Check it out here.

Let me know if you guys have any questions in particular about Warlocks or Deathknights and I'll try to answer them if I can!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beta Thoughts

All Warlock specs look pretty strong in their own right. I have gripes about individual talents or mechanics, but on the whole I think they've taken everything in an appropriate direction.

1) Soulshatter needs to be unresistable. With Cataclysm now adding spellhit in addition to Suppression Blizzard is steering us towards running 13% hit instead of 16%. The problem lies in that Soulshatter is neither Affliction nor Destruction- requiring we run 16% hit anyway... For an aggro wiping ability with a significant cooldown of 5 minutes I don't think Soulshatter being unresistable is at all unreasonable.

2) Felguard/Ruin looks to be THE premier raiding spec. They really went all out to make Demo viable. Fel Synergy will be great for keeping the FG alive without having to waste time with Health Funnel. Demonic Empowerment looks quite nice as well- though the duration for the effect remains to be seen. My guess is ~10 seconds. Need I even mention how nice Demonic Pact looks to be. Definitely going to want one Demo lock per raid.

3) Destruction got kicked in the junk with the Demonic Sacrifice nerf...but in the long run I think the old DS being gone is good for the development for the class. It remains to be seen how well Destro will stack up in the raid game but I'm betting that it will be the #1 DPS spec so long as the imp can stay alive. That being said Phase Shift needs to be changed from a total damage immunity to a 100% AoE avoidance. This will allow him to DPS in raids and act as a mana battery for Affliction, but keep him from being able to attack with impunity in PvP as he will be vulnerable to single target attacks.

4) Affliction looks pretty strong overall. I would have done a few things differently but on the whole I'm satisfied with the changes.

a) Fel Concentration is still a very bloated talent that either needs to be brought down to 2-3 ranks, or affect all Affliction spells.

b) The new Amplify Curse is in a word...interesting, although I can't really hop on board with the implementation simply because CoA/Doom really don't get a whole lot of use in the arena/raid game what with us using CoT/CoX in PvP and CoE/CoR in raids. I'd scrap this implementation and bump the cooldown back up to 3 minutes and have it allow your next CoA not count towards the one curse-per-target limit. (sure it's an old rehashed idea of mine but a sound one if I do say so myself)

c) I'm still not the biggest fan of Death's Embrace as thematics go...but I can live with this one I suppose =P

d) Haunt. I love the new implementation. It's viable for both PvE and PvP and fits with Affliction quite well. However, to address the issue of DoTs not scaling with stats other than spellpower I would tweak it. Currently it increases DoT damage by 15%. I would instead make it increase DoT damage by 10% *plus* 50% of your crit chance. This would effectively allow crit to effect DoT damage. So at 10% spellcrit you would break even at 15%, at 20% spellcrit you would hit 20%. It would be an easy way to work crit into some usefulness. Still, Haunt seems to be very strongly implemented. Thumbs up.

5) Pet Scaling. Maybe we'll see more of it. Rumors are floating around that Hunter pets are getting seriously looked at as far as scaling off stats is concerned Maybe our pets will inherit our spellhit, penetration and more of our stam/int/spirit. If we're really lucky, Resilience, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

6) Finally, the Fel Armor/Demon Armor changes. I'm all for them, actually. I like the fact that they're creating a distinct PvE/PvP armor type. Fel Armor in particular, giving a base amount of spellpower, 30% of spirit to spellpower, and 30% spirit regen while casting makes a great deal of sense. Homogenizing gear will be a great thing- if any only if Blizzard does a good job at making everyone want the stats that are on said gear. This will do that for Spirit. They just need to work on Crit...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Undispellable Fel Armor

So I get home, patch up and immediately go into an AV. Fel Armor didn't get dispelled every time I encountered a Hunter. It was a wonderful feeling and I'm sure Mages feel the same way. I'll admit it will royally suck when Mages have an undispellable Mage Armor that reduces the duration of all magical effects by 50%...but it is what it is and I think it's a change for the better.

On that note I truly believe the undispellable nature of self buffs needs to be extended to other classes. Any long term (which I would consider 5 minutes or longer) self-only buff should be undispellable. Why? Well, as I see it if a buff is of a long enough duration and is only able to be cast on oneself then it is an aspect of that class that should be considered permanent. These types of abilities are intended to cover up glaring class weaknesses or buff up a class strength in order to effectively compete. To simply be able to remove one of these abilities is just silly.

Water Shield
Lightning Shield
Inner Fire
Omen of Clarity

Wouldn't that negate the ability to dispel for other classes? I don't think so, really. Dispelling will still continue to be a valid tactic for short-term and non-class specific buffs. PWS, PWF, Paladin Blessings (on that note Paladins would do well to get a self only version of BoW since they really *do* need it) Earth Shield, MotW, BoP, Innervate, Eradication, etc.

Again, I simply feel that the long-term self buffs are far too vital to a class' performance be so easily removed. I would not, however, be opposed to Mass Dispel effecting them as it does require significantly more effort than spamming Purge, Devour Magic, Arcane Shot, etc.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Fall Of Affliction? (Alternate Title: Die Shadowbolt, Please, Please, Die)

Okay folks, it looks like Blizzard cleared several websites to release alpha based talent/ability information so I'd like to take the time to post what I've wanted to for several weeks now. If you haven't had seen already go check out WoWhead and get a look at the new talents- but make sure to come back!

For a few weeks now I've been discussing with various people (covertly of course!) the inadequacies of the Wrath of the Lich King (alpha) Affliction talents. I've talked with several big names in the Warlock community, guildies, and even random locks on my server. Most have agreed with my points- if not fully then at least partially. Some might say I'm a tough sort to satisfy but it seems in this case these thoughts reflect those of at least a handful of players.

The current dilemma is that Affliction Warlocks are dumped as guilds go into Sunwell due to very poor damage output as DoTs gain no DPS from Haste or Crit- both stats that are very prevalent on endgame gear and necessary to multiple off spellpower and one another to create increasing levels of DPS like you see from most classes/specs. Even considering the added raid utility Affliction brings with Malediction and Shadow Embrace Affliction is deemed not worth the raid slot. Let's see how Blizzard has fared in the alpha and if they've fixed the problem...

Eradication: Admittedly not a bad idea in concept. DoTs proccing a Haste buff is pretty cool. But what is that Haste going to be used on in raiding? Shadowbolt. Last time I checked Shadowbolt wasn't the focus of Affliction- DoTs, Debuffs and Drains were. Shadowbolt is filler. Poorly scaling filler at that. This talent alone wouldn't be too bad if it were accompanied by several other strong and purposeful talents- but that's unfortunately not the case.

Death's Embrace: This talent needs the axe. Yet more Shadowbolt. +15% crit chance on targets below 20% health. It may look potent, but keep in mind this only affects Shadowbolt/Shadowburn- not UA, not Siphon Life, not Corruption. Plus add into the fact that other classes/specs have similar "sub 20%" effects and so that 20% starts to go by really quickly since raid DPS rises so much when the 20% mark is breached.

Everlasting Afflictions: Okay, this is what I'm talking about! Boosted DoT coefficients is just the type of thing Affliction needs. It fits the theme and it fits the function. A perfect addition! Too bad all this does is counteract Improved Shadowbolt no longer effecting DoTs...That's right! ISB only effects nukes now. Let's not forget the secondary portion of the talent: Corruption refreshing itself when Shadowbolt hits. Aside from the fact that this could be a very dangerous effect on encounters with aggro drops(Corruption tick = aggro) it's another blow to the gut by further divorcing us from our DoT rotations.

Cripple: I've read that this talent is being removed in favor of something else yet to be announced. This is certainly very Affliction worthy theme-wise, however it would appear to offer very little in the raid game. Hopefully when Blizzard thinks up it's replacement they will consider something more like Unstable Affliction- useful in both the PvE and PvP game.

My thoughts in a nutshell? Blizzard is attempting to shove Shadowbolt down our throats- maybe they're encouraging a 50/0/21 raid build but I can't help but sneer at the thought. It just doesn't fit with the style of Affliction. I realize this is veering further from math and towards opinion but c'mon Blizzard! If we wanted 70-80% of our DPS to consist of Shadowbolt wouldn't it make sense to spec Destruction, not Affliction? You're taking the lazy way out- rather than fixing DoT scaling you're diluting the differences between the two talent trees. More Shadowbolt spam. Less casting DoTs. Less overall DoT DPS. It all feels oh so poorly inspired. I could sit here for hours and spout off ideas that would work better but the fact remains: Blizzard is ruining the identity of the Affliction tree and we can do nothing but sit here and hope that someone at Blizzard reads this and takes note.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tweakified WotLK Talent Affliction Tree

Just did Affliction, Kyth. I don't wanna suggest anything that wouldn't vibe well with Destro again =P