Monday, September 29, 2008

Latest Lock Beta Thoughts

I can't say a whole bunch has changed lately. Seems kinda like all three of the cloth classes are getting a lack of blue attention...maybe they're saving us for last? /shrug Here's my most pressing 5 issues:

Dark Pact
This ability simply doesn't offer enough to warrant being a 31-point talent. We briefly had the opportunity to test it at 200% and while that may or may not have been too strong I can safely say that 100% is most certainly not enough. Maybe 150% is a more appropriate amount, but I can tell you from experience that in PvE, and *especially* in PvP that we either use Dark Pact and get some mana or our pet gets to use its abilities- not both.

150%. Do it.

Everlasting Afflictions
Good talent but one minor gripe...Corruption often falls off due to not being able to even get a Shadowbolt in simply due to rotational variances that makes a bunch of DoTs needing refreshed in sequence- it can get pretty bad even just when I'm wailing on a dummy, I won't even get into how terrible it can be in an actual encounter with movement requirements... Could we see an ever so slight buff to this talent by letting Haunt refresh Corruption as well?


Overall pretty good, but could we get a slight increase in the spread between the cooldown and the duration of the effect? A lot of the time, again due to rotational variances, we can't even begin casting Haunt until after it has already expired. Give us a few more seconds in the spread by either lowering the cooldown or increasing the duration of the debuff- preferably increase the debuff duration from 12 to 15 seconds. Or Maybe give us a Glyph for Haunt to increase the duration by 3 seconds?

Demonic Circle
Good idea but it doesn't work quite so well in practice. It suffers from the "I'm not psychic" problem where we don't necessarily even know where we're going to be fighting. Often enough when doing Strand of the Ancients I'll get jumped not but a few yards away from the circle because I had no idea the enemy was even coming.


-Increase the range from 40 to 50 yards so we can stray a little father and recast the circle less.
-Don't let our enemies see the circle.

Fairly minor tweaks but they would help quite a bit.

Incredibly weak. I just don't know what to say here. We've been harping on it for quite some time. What's up with this ability? Weak damage. No interesting secondary effect. Nothing. Needs a stun/knockback/knockdown/disarm/something!

Alternately bring back Atrocity in place of Shadowflame but make work on curses instead. "Your next curse also effects enemies within 20 yards of your target" 3 minute cooldown.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Prot Warrior = OMG

So I randomly decided earlier today to try and spec my (level 65 in greens) Warrior to Prot just to test it out with the beta changes. All I can say is- amazing! It's not the fastest killing thing in the world, but it's so very interactive and I really enjoy it quite a bit. I feel like I'm back in Vanguard playing my Monk with all of the reactive abilities and cooldowns and whatnot. The new Shockwave talent combined with Concussive Blow and the improved Revenge talent give you a lot of stuns. Sword & Board procs are a lot of fun as well, adding further to the reactive element.

In a way it's a lot like Affliction in PvE- kills slowly but has some survivability as well. It's refreshing after getting mowed over on the premade server on a Warlock. (Warlocks are all kinds of squishy on the beta)

Anyway, I would go so far as to state that I enjoy Prot more than I do my Deathknight. Deathknights kill in PvE way too quickly (although Leiah has been saying they're pretty low DPS in the arena) Even specced Unholy the burst is pretty high, though no more than any other standard DPS class, which I really don't enjoy. I suppose I enjoy the thrill of combat more than I do the thrill of the kill- which is why I never really cared all that much for Rogues/Mages/Destruction etc.

If you have a Warrior make sure to copy em over to the PTR server and give prot a spin!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Affliction Damage Dissected

I was curious to see how much less important Shadowbolt would become with UA having to be recast every 15 seconds, CoA working into our rotation, and Haunt having to be cast every 10-12 seconds. That being said I did two different tests on a dummy in Stormwind. Each were around 6-7 minutes in duration, the results of both came out very close to one another so I'll simply post one.

To be fair I'm just pounding on a dummy, I'm not in endgame gear, and I don't have any mana support (thus causing me to have to Lifetap a lot more which cuts into Shadowbolting thus lowering its % of overall DPS) so my Shadowbolt numbers should be lower because of those factors.

On the other hand Pandemic doesn't work on dummies, and there was zero movement required so I think everything comes out pretty neutral.

Anyway, here ya go. I think 20% looks pretty reasonable, we might see it being 25% of our total DPS in better gear, but comparing that to 40-50% like we see now it really diminishes the value of Destructive Reach, Ruin, etc. I'd love to be able to test it in a raid but I've been pretty busy lately with school so haven't had much time.

Anyway, after looking at the data and running a real sustained test I've come to a few conclusions.

1) Ruin and Destructive Reach are very overrated by the general beta Warlock community. Yes, my tests were done without Ruin, but even I had Ruin and had, say, 20% crit it would only boost the overall damage of Shadowbolt from 20% to 24%, although even then the extra crit would proc ISB and buff the DoTs more as well... Not so huge a deal for 5 talent points. Compare that to some of your alternatives in Affliction that might give you more bang for your buck.

2) Haunt needs to refresh Corruption in the Everlasting Afflictions tooltip. A few times Corruption fell off due to a string of needing to recast all the DoTs in one timeframe as well as haunt, and dark pact/lifetap. Haunt being added would smooth things out a good bit.

3) Dark Pact really needs to go back to 200%, 150% at an absolute minimum...blech.

4) The Affliction rotation is most certainly is fine. I've seen people gripe on the forums about it being too complex, but even just fighting a dummy I've found Affliction to be even more fun than before.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things are looking better, but...

A bunch of nice changes have come around lately. Pandemic, Malediction buffed, Death's Embrace buffed, Fel Concentration condensed, etc. There are, however, a handful of changes I'd still like to see that would really streamline everything.

1) Contagion condensed to 3 ranks or removed as a requirement for UA. I don't like to use the word "bloat" but that's a major bloat-point in the tree. It's fine for PvP but for raiding that's a nasty 5 points to have to drop, especially after you've already likely unloaded 14 talent points in the previous two tiers alone.

2) Haunt: The damage/healing portion of the ability are really quite lackluster right now. I'd like to see the ability become more focused- Specifically? Remove the healing portion and make it instant-cast (IE a weak nuke + DoT boost)

3) Dark Pact: 200% may have been over the top a few weeks ago, but with the way Lifetap works now in conjunction with Spirit it's far superior to DP. That being said it's a little too weak now and especially in PvP I feel it's not really usable what with you using up all your pets mana so it can't even use its abilities. I'd love the chance to test Dark Pact at 150%- a nice middle ground between the current lackluster 100% and the maybe over-the-top 200%.

4) Improved Fear: Maybe this talent isn't intended for deep Affliction, because I can achieve the same effect with CoEx, but I don't like the current implementation of it. (Causes your Fear spell to inflict a Nightmare on the target when the fear effect ends. The Nightmare effect reduces the target's movement speed by 15/30% for 5 sec.) It would be nice to see the Warlock and Priest versions swapped, with the Warlock version reducing damage by 30% and the Priest one reducing movement speed. I don't know how favorably the Priest would see this, however. but I think they might like it since they lack slow effects.

5) Reach Talents: I'm agreeing with Bibdy in his post, particuarly in regard to the reach talents. In short, Grim Reach and Destructive Reach should be swapped with Soul Siphon and Aftermath respectively. Getting the reach talents on the second tier would smooth things out nicely, because as Bibdy put it: "All of these talents only affect the spells in their assigned Tree (with the exception of Elemental Precision!), but Warlocks do not use just ONE tree for PvE DPS. No matter which Tree we pick, we rely on both of the others for DPS. " And he's quite right. Frost Mages use Frost spells. Fire Mages uses Fire spells. Arcane uses other somewhat (not sure about them in Wrath) but ALL Warlock specs use Destruction spells, and to a lesser extent, Affliction spells. The reach talents really need to be within reach (pun intended) without having to lay 17 points in another talent tree.

6) Shadowflame: With the latest damage reduction on it I don't see why anyone would even put it on their action bars. It was mediocre before- only really useful for soloing and acting as a Conflag-primer. But now it's even worse! After thinking about it I believe Shadowflame should be re-tooled to be our PvP defense since it surely won't get any use raiding due to the short range, but that short range can be used to address our excessive melee weaknesses.

Shadowflame (Rank 2)
25% of base mana
Instant cast
30 second cooldown
Targets in a cone in front of the caster are bathed in dark flame, causing their weapons to become extremely hot to the touch, disarming them for 5 sec, and taking an additional 212 Fire damage over 8 sec.

(IE cooldown doubled, DD removed, disarm effect added)

7) Paired with the Shadowflame change I would alter Demonic Circle to act as more of a DPS timer skill. Specifically, remove the whole teleport aspect of the spell and make it something similar to the concept of the M'uru trinkets.

Demonic Circle (Rank 1)
15% of base mana
0.5 sec cast
3 minute cooldown
You summon a Demonic Circle at your feet. While standing in this circle you gain 400 additional spellpower. Lasts 30 seconds.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shadowflame Feedback

To be blunt: Shadowflame really doesn't add a whole lot to the class. I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. Sure, it's a nice spell for soloing but it doesn't have any real use in serious PvP or raiding. It's good for a quick Immolate primer for Conflag, but even that's only for deeper Destruction. It just seems to lack an overall usability.

What about attaching a stun/daze/knockback effect and increasing the cooldown as necessary? I don't think this spell can be retooled to be useful in raiding, but it would be nice if it were at least more useful for more than one spec in PvP. Even if it had a 1minute cooldown with a knockback that would be better than 15 seconds when you may not even be able to use it every 15 seconds due to LoS, range, etc. It needs some added utility or otherwise it will just take up one of two new ability slots...

A Couple of Arena Gripes (IE Nerf The Fucked Up Metagame)

Can we please look into removing some of the aspects of the arena that create a sort of twisted metagame that we experience particuarly in 2v2? I'm not talking about specific class balance here. Everyone knows the general gripes about every class but I'm talkin' bout some of the general tactics which I feel are at least somewhat against the spirit of the game.

For example:

-Healers running away non stop with nothing more in mind than getting OOC to drink. As a pet class I have a much easier job of being able to keep them in combat than most (I feel bad for non pet teams in 2s) - But even then it doesn't feel like we're even fighting one another. It's a screwed up minigame as far as I'm concerned. If healers need buffs to mana regeneration then by all means give them their buffs. It seems like solely due to being able to use water in the arena it twists the entire strategy around this one facet. Not something I feel is in the spirit on the game. You may of course disagree...

-Similarly, the "kill the pet" strategy and the "run the pet across the arena and intentionally cause it to despawn" strategies. It's fairly screwy that teams can get rid of pets so easily and yet remove such a large portion of your ability to play your character. Once the pet is dead if you can't resummon the match is pretty well over. The coin has two sides, however- If pets are deemed so powerful that they need to be focused then by all means nerf the pets. I'm lobbying neither for buffs or nerfs, but rather a removal of the twisted metagame they create.

I have other gripes of course, but I'll stick to those two. It's not a matter of winning or losing in either case- it's how certain strategies that are available ruin the sense of fun and cohesion that the arena system would otherwise possess- things that can leave me seething at the end of a match- even matches we're victorious in.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Funny Observation

You may not totally get this if you don't frequent the Warlock forum, but it seems like everyone who "should have" gotten a beta key due to high amounts of great feedback on the live forums- has gotten one. Bibdy, Skellum, Devorick, Socio, Themorrigan, Kyth (the list goes on) have all gotten in. Either they all lucked out or managed to get in contact with someone who had a key, etc. I'm sure some slipped through the cracks. Maso is one in particular that isn't in yet- but by and large somehow things have worked out like they should have and I'm glad to see the system work.

Or maybe they all got in touch with Leiah when he had extra keys like I did >_>

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Scaling Is In!

Pandemic: Each time you deal damage with Corruption or Unstable Affliction, you have a chance equal to your spell critical strike chance to deal 33/66/100% additional damage.

Not quite what I was expecting but it gets the job done!

Also, I put up a post earlier about some of the changes as well as some of the existing issues that have yet to been addressed. The list is shrinking, however, which is great.