Thursday, April 8, 2010

Warlock Preview Analysis

Original post by Zarhym here.

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.

I'd imagine Fel Flame wouldn't be doing much damage, but rather being used mostly for its DoT refreshing aspect. This will also give warlocks something to do while mobile other than Life Tap or put some other DoTs back up. With the way DoT clipping is being reworked in Cataclysm, we won't have to worry about the exact moment we need to cast this, just make sure it's not too late. They mention Demo and Destro, but I can also imagine this being useful for Affli locks, giving them a way to refresh UA while on the move. Also, it's green fire. It could do nothing but look pretty and I'd still probably use it in an encounter.

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.

This would probably work out like the mage's current Focus Magic. By that I mean that the greedy warlocks will give it to each other. The smart warlocks (aren't we all?) will give it to class that crits a lot and the player that does the most damage.

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.

Demon Soul seems like an all-spec, conditional use version of Metamorphosis. Depending on which demon you have out it's going to give a different buff/effect. Voidwalker and Succubus would probably be defensive effects that PvPers would use. I wouldn't mind seeing the Felhunter's effect giving us some sort of interrupt/silence component to our next cast or something fancy like that. Imp and Felguard will probably be offensive DPS buffs. That's how I see it planned out at least.

Soul Shard Overhaul

This major change regarding Soul Shards was previously announced at BlizzCon 2009. Soul Shards will no longer be inventory items, but instead a new UI resource mechanic. Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards that can be used during a fight and will not be able to gain additional shards during combat. Soul Shards will not be required outside of combat. Soul Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing you to use the secondary effects of some spells. Soul Burn has no mana or health costs and is off the global cooldown. Planned secondary effects are outlined here.

Summon Demon + Soul Burn = summon the demon instantly.
Drain Life + Soul Burn = Reduces cast speed by 60%.
Demonic Circle + Soul Burn = Increases movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds after teleporting.
Unstable Affliction + Soul Burn = Instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its effect.
Soul Fire + Soul Burn = Instant cast.
Healthstone + Soul Burn = Increases total health by 20% for 8 seconds.
Searing Pain + Soul Burn = Increases the crit chance of Searing Pain by 100%, and subsequent Searing Pain spells by 50% for 6 seconds.

This isn't something we haven't seen before, but some comments are still necessary. The Drain Life will give a really quick heal. If you add a Death Coil after that channel and I'd imagine you'd pretty much get back to full health if your healer is busy. I'm talking mostly from a PvP perspective. Outside that it will help with soloing and levelling.

The UA effect is interesting as it's something warlock have long been asking for. A sort of swiftmend for DoTs, providing a quick burst spell that affliction. What's really going to affect how useful Soul Burn is on a long term boss fight depends on the mechanic Blizzard decides to give us for refreshing the Soul Shards.

Most of these do seem PvP oriented, so hopefully we'll see more spells added to this list.

One thing to note is that they will remove our Soul Shard Bags and turn them into normal slot bags, first reducing the size of course; so don't vendor them just yet.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

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.

As mentioned above with Fel Flame, they're going to change the way refreshing DoTs works. Currently, when you recast a DoT over an existing one that has not done its full duration, it 'removes' that DoT and replaces it with the fresh one. This means that any DoT ticks that would've happened are lost, usually due to lag or other circumstances, the last tick of some of your DoTs never happens.

With this change instead of the DoT being removed, its duration will be refreshed. This way there won't be a last tick to clip, and makes me a happy warlock.

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.

Not much to say about this one. Warlocks will no longer lose DPS to keep Curse of Elements up. A welcome improvement.

Hellfire will no longer deal damage to the warlock.

Right now this might seem like a bad change, but Zarhym stated in that thread they want Hellfire to be the AoE for Demo locks, SoC for Affli and RoF for Destro.

Imps will lose Fire Shield, but will gain a new ability, Burning Ember, which is a stacking DoT.

The succubus melee range will be increased. The succubus will no longer have Soothing Kiss, but will instead have Whiplash, which knocks back all enemies within 8 yards.

Voidwalker Torment will do increased damage and generate a lot of area-of-effect (AoE) threat. Suffering will become a single-target taunt.

The changes they're doing to update warlock demons are interesting so far, and I hope they do more than this. Whiplash seems like we could have some fun with it, but again it's more of a PvP oriented ability. The Voidwalker change would make AoE Levelling/Grinding easier and help make our blueberry a better tank. Burning Ember will simply replace a useless spell on the Imp's bar with a more useful one. I'm all for making Belfip more powerful.

New Talents and Talent Changes

Pandemic will now cause Drain Soul to refresh Unstable Affliction and Bane of Agony on targets below 25% health.

The ability Fel Domination will be removed (because Soul Burn accomplishes the same effect).

Demonology will gain a new direct-damage spell, Demon Bolt. Demon Bolt will add a debuff that improves the damage done by the demon to the target.

We plan to add a new talent, Impending Doom, which will give certain spells a chance to reduce the cooldown on Metamorphosis and Curse of Doom.

Metamorphosis will no longer be subject to demonic crowd control. Furthermore, abilities available only while under the effects of Metamorphosis will be altered to put more emphasis on the warlock's own spells.

Shadowburn will now do additional damage to targets below 25% health.

Seeing as the DoT clipping change made Pandemic less useful, this helps it get back up to the awesome talent status. Affli locks don't seem to need to weave DS and DoTs anymore.

While Fel Domination being removes seems justified by Soul Burn, keep in mind that Soul Burn is meant to be one of those awesometime cooldowns to use in a fight. Using it just to re-summon a dead minion seems like a waste. I'd rather instead of remove it, revert it to its 15 minute cooldown.

Demon Bolt sounds like a good enough idea. I just hope that Demo doesn't get to the point where the minion accounts for too much of our damage. This could potentially gimp us on boss fights where the warlock specifically is buffed.

I'm curious as to how Bane of Doom will work with the way DoT clipping will change and the Impending Doom talent. Will it just add to the duration so that you have a tick and then that added time where the curse does nothing? I guess we'll have to wait for further details.

I'm not really entirely sure what they mean by the Metamorphosis comment. Don't they want us to use the Metamorphosis spells as much as we are? Or do they want the opposite?

The Shadowburn change mostly seems like a PvP burst buff, but we don't know anything on the rest of the Destro tree, so it might find itself in our PvE rotation.

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.

I'm disappointed with the mastery system. I understand what it's there for, but I was expecting something slightly funner. Right now for warlocks it just seems that they took out the boring talents and put them into mastery instead. Shadow priests, for example, have a visual affect to accompany their shadow mastery. Something fun like that might go a long way. But these are only previews, and the game is still being developed, so I can't complain just yet.

Apart from the original posts we were also given some more preview snippets. One of the more interesting bits of information is that they haven't ruled out giving us a new pet yet. They just need to decide what niche it would fill. However if they do it, it will be similar to the Infernal and Doomguard. They're also going to change these so they work like shaman elementals, in the sense that they won't dismiss our current pet when used.

They also like the idea of letting us reskin our minions like the druid forms, but not solid word on that just yet.

That's all we've gotten so far. It's gonna be interesting seeing any new changes develop from these and I'll definitely try to keep giving my opinion on these changes. It's been a while.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cataclysm Changes

Regarding the Cataclysm changes, I plan on slowly reviving the blog with coverage on warlock changes, along with my opinions and thoughts on the subjects at hand.

When starting this blog I had planned on talking about guilds and the issues that come with one, as well as the issues that plague being an officer and raidleader. Although our guild has long stopped raiding and such issues are no longer a daily occurrence for me, I still plan on making the occasional posts about guilds and any related changes.

Hopefully with Cataclysm Class Information blue posts, I'll have something interesting to talk about!