Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I'm sure these posts are a dime a dozen; but, of course, I can't resist. Blizzard's Cataclysm Class Previews went live a week ago. I confess, I've only read a couple of them so far.

These are my comments and initial reactions to the Warlock Preview. I've had a few days to try and process these out and determine how I really feel about them. I'll post my initial reactions, no matter how silly, along with the better thought out responses now that the information has had time to stew.

There's a lot of information in the Class Previews, which makes this post a bit ridiculously long. If you're only interested in certain sections, here are your wall breakers:

1. New Spells
2. Soul Shard Overhaul
3. Mechanics
4. Talents
5. Really Lame Mastery Bonuses

1. New Spells

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.

First reaction: If its similar to anything a mage has, then I don't want it!

Response: Completely contradictory to my first reaction, I'm pretty excited about this. Anything that lets me avoid recasting Imm or UA has to be a good plan. That's a full 1.5 seconds I can spend casting a nuke without losing any benefits of the dots. I can see it's fully useful for both Affliction and Demonology, which makes me happy. It seems as though it would fit quite easily into the Demo's execution phase, but considerably less seamlessly into Affl. Although, that assumes the execution phases don't change too much between now and Cataclysm.

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.

First Reaction: More freaking mage nonsense. See Focus Magic.

Response: I'm still pretty unsure about this one. It's not at all interesting to me. I'm sure it will be quite excellent in practice. And I am happy that its better (in a biased, subjective sort of way) than the mage one. And it doesn't say (yet) that I can't cast it on myself. But I just can't get excited about it.

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.

First Reaction: Om nom demons? o.O

Response: I don't I have enough information about this to really get excited. The cooldowns that become available will really make or break this spell. It has high potential and I'm looking forward to seeing what Blizzard is going to do with it.

2. Soul Shard Overhaul

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 Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing you to use the secondary effects of some spells.

This will complicate my life for awhile while I get used to a new system. And I think Soul Burn is likely to seriously overcomplicate my already messy action bars. I keep a lot of things handy for situational purposes, like Death Coil, Drain Life, and Health Funnel. Now I'll need to create more buttons for situational uses of Soul Burn + Some other spell.

I'm concerned, as are a lot of other warlocks, I think, about the inability to regenerate Soul Shards in Combat. I understand the concept "using a Soul Shard should be a big deal", but I think there's going be a lengthy period of time where people try to figure out when to use them without gimping their dps. In a big fight, too many things can go wrong. I'm not saying what they have here is a bad idea. I'm just concerned about how it's really going to pan out in game.

And, honestly, where did I get these Soul Shards in the first place if not in combat? I had to Drain the Soul of someone/something while also actively managing to kill them. If I managed to do this outside of combat, then my stealth abilities put rogues to shame. I had no idea Blizzard was planning on adding a warlock stealth. Cataclysm really is making dreams come true.

3. Mechanics

When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell.

Heck freaking yes. Clipping my DoTs is something I still manage to do way more often than I should. What is this likely to do to a spell like Curse of Agony? Does the damage just keep increasing? Because that could make my life a whole lot better.

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.

More Dots, More Dots!

This will complicate things a bit, in that there will be more stuff to monitor. But with other spells automatically refreshing the duration on Imm and UA, then things should even out in the end.

It will certainly make things interesting for our particular Raid Setup. With an unholy DK to apply Ebon Plague (assuming they don't change this) we don't need Curse of the Elements. Which means I can play with things like Curse of Weakness, Curse of Exhaustion, and Curse of Tongues. Fun times.

Hellfire will no longer deal damage to the warlock.

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.

Some other stuff that I find less interesting. I used Hellfire to kill myself once. So, while it was useful in that one instance I don't think I'll miss that mechanic much.

Succubus becomes a PVP contender with the Felhunter. Voidwalker attempts to become a real tank. There are no new demons being introduced at this time. This makes a lot of warlocks really sad. Personally, I don't care too much. It would be interesting to have a new demon, sure, but what role would they play?

4. Talents

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.

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.

A largely uninteresting section in which Chaos Bolt makes a trip into the demonic realm and Metamorphosis attempts to provide unique demon spells that don't suck.

Although, I will be disappointed if they change Demonic Charge and Immolation Aura. Because that combination is very entertaining.

5. Really Lame Mastery Bonuses

Spell Damage
Spell Crit
Shadow DoTs

Spell Damage
Spell Haste
Demon Damage

Spell Damage
Spell Critical Damage
Fire Direct Damage

There's not too much to say about these. Except: Why are none of these about Shadow Damage? Ok, shadow damage over time made the list. But direct fire damage managed to beat out direct shadow damage. Demonic Damage - damage that doesn't even come from the player - beat out direct shadow damage. I am confused by this.

Read the Official Preview here.

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