Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cataclysm Class Changes - Warlocks

Blizzard posted the tentative Warlock changes to happen in Cataclysm. While this is only the pre-pre-beta updates, it is very exciting to see that Blizzard is getting close to finalizing.  Here is my initial take on some of the key-points that I find interesting.
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. 
 Nice, but some discussion on the forums about what tree it will be in. Not sure if it will matter. We'll learn the spell at the Warlock trainer as one more spell (like Immolate Rank 12 and Corruption Rank 11). Since it's a shadow spell, I put it in Affliction and the other specs are mentioned as bonus. As far as green fire, should I be excited? Meh, I've never been too excited about what color my spells are.. Does Immolate really cast fel-corrupted fire or 'real' fire anyway?
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.
 Interesting twist. Of course, this goes back to the dispelling changes going out last week. All those classes getting dispell magic are going to love that they can dispell our Bane of Agony now, where they couldn't dispell the curse. Since it will likely be BOA + COE on each target, I guess we can hope to keep one of them. (note mostly effective in PVP where the attackers will actively remove debuffs).
Pandemic will now cause Drain Soul to refresh Unstable Affliction and Bane of Agony on targets below 25% health.
I thought Drain Soul was going away. There's that point that we will not regain soul shards during combat.

Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards that can be used during a fight and will not be able to gain additional shards during combat.
Yeah that. So does that make Drain Soul a DPS-only spell? We have Drain Life and Drain Mana. What's the point of Drain Soul at all? It's almost going to make Drain Soul as useful as Hellfire.

Hellfire will no longer deal damage to the warlock.
OK, take that back. Hellfire will actually be useful in more situations. For example, just pulled aggro and the tank just isn't able to get them back. Settle down, and light them up! Great for PVP as this is often the case, "Hey! Get that warlock!" and my Howl of Terror is still on cooldown.


When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick.

Wow! Wow! This if fundamentally going to change Warlock game play. Who cares about dot timers? It might come to just spamming all 5 buttons at once and see which one fires off! "/mash 123451234512345"
The ability Fel Domination will be removed.
This is cool, as I spent 1 point in FD for my pvp spec. Now I'll have the same functionality of a quick replacement minion without the downtime. Might sell off my infernal stones as I can just get another felhound, instead of a short-term 1minute infernal.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Affliction
  • Spell Damage
  • Spell Crit
  • Shadow DoTs
Demonology
  • Spell Damage
  • Spell Haste
  • Demon Damage
Destruction
  • Spell Damage
  • Spell Critical Damage
  • Fire Direct Damage

So, considering my current build is heavy in Affliction, I will see an affliction mastery. I find the Spell Crit an odd buff. Comparing to my gemming, I have been stacking Haste gems wherever possible. Then Shadow DoT's being buffed (like Corruption and Bane of Agony), I'll be doing more damage with simply my instant-cast dots!
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.

This means to me, that I should keep those haste gems in place. More haste = more ticks, more ticks = more possible crit hits. All good.

Overall, I am happy with many of the proposed class changes to Warlocks. I don't see anything directly that will impact our dps output. The new shard system will be something to get used to, but I bet that I'll have macros that trigger Soul Burn (demonic circle, drain life, etc.)

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