Thursday, April 8, 2010

Warlock Preview Review

Fel Flame (level 81): Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability Frostfire Bolt, in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that's good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.

Definitely my favorite of the new skills. Warlocks have always lacked a simple untalented instant damage spell. I'll appreciate it to finish off mobs while soloing/leveing. Refreshing UA/Immo is a definite plus as well. I actually hope this skill gets a short cooldown, 10s or so, otherwise the damage will be so poor nobody would spam it anyway. Might as well give it a short cooldown and make the damage decent.

Dark Intent (level 83): Increases the target's chance for a critical effect with periodic damage or healing spells by 3%. When the target lands a crit, you get a buff to your damage for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to three times.

Can you say uninspired? It's a direct ripoff of Focus Magic. To be honest I hope this ability doesn’t make the cut. I’d rather see a self-oriented defensive cooldown. Too many of our defenses are based around doing something to our enemies, enemies who often enough aren’t capable of being affected by said defenses (See CloS, AMS, Zerker Rage, etc.), but NOT something like Iceblock. Maybe “Demonic Inversion” 3m cooldown. For 8 seconds all damage dealt to you instead heals you for that amount. I like the idea of something like this because it doesn’t render us invulnerable, it doesn’t CC our opponents, they’re still able to CC us and apply any debuffs they like to us, or even switch targets, but it simply keeps us from dying, and if they don’t pay attention and stop attacking it puts us in an advantageous situation health-wise, potentially topping us off.

Demon Soul (level 85): Fuses the warlock's soul with his or her demon. This provides warlocks with a self-burst cooldown to use. The specific effects granted by Demon Soul depend on the demon chosen. Demon Soul lasts for a certain number of charges or until it expires (around 20 seconds), depending on the demon used. 2-minute cooldown.

Not enough information to truly tell at this point. I’ll hold my judgment for later, but it definitely has potential.

• Summon Demon + Soul Burn = summon the demon instantly.
• The ability Fel Domination will be removed (because Soul Burn accomplishes the same effect).

No, no, no. These two make me a very sad panda. It will simply result in even more pets getting gibbed, and the Warlock being unable to use Shards for anything but getting the pet back out. Other classes know this and will pursue this strategy even more fervently. IMO either keep Fel Domination in game, or drastically reduce the base summoning time on demons. I’m talking 5 seconds, with Master Summoner bringing it down to 3 seconds. If this were done Fel Domination could be removed, and the Warlock class could actually be balanced around switching pets to suit the situation. Soul Burning a pet could be more of a clutch move "I need to seduce something NOW" etc.

• All warlock damage-over-time (DoT) spells will benefit from crit and haste innately. Haste will no longer act to reduce the DoT's duration, but rather to add additional ticks. When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell, similar to how Everlasting Affliction currently works.

Nice. Good to see innate DoT scaling. I’m not a huge fan of the concept of no-clip DoTs as it does lower the skill cap, but I can look the other way on this one.

• Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom will be converted into Bane of Agony and Bane of Doom. Bane spells are considered magic instead of curses. This means you will be able to cast one Bane (e.g. Bane of Agony) and one Curse (e.g. Curse of Elements) on a single target.

Great change, though the “Bane” spell classification sounds silly. Just call them “Agony” and “Doom” and simply apply the same mutual exclusivity that UA/Immolate have.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Spell Damage
Spell Crit
Shadow DoTs

Spell Damage
Spell Haste
Demon Damage

Spell Damage
Spell Critical Damage
Fire Direct Damage

Shadow DoTs: The damage caused by Shadow damage-over-time spells is increased.

Demon Damage: The damage caused by pets and Metamorphosis is increased.

Fire Direct Damage: The damage caused by Fire direct damage spells is increased.

Roughly what I expected to see. It would be nice to have more interesting mastery bonuses, but they’re appropriate enough so I won’t complain. I would say I’d like to see Affliction & Demonology’s Crit and Haste bonuses swapped. I’ve seen Demo Locks ask for the Crit, and I can say as Affliction I’d prefer the Haste.

Not a bad set of changes. I’m disappointed somewhat, mostly regarding the Dark Intent & Fel Domination issues I previously spoke of, but overall a good preview.


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