I am taking an indefinite break from WoW, which means I won't really be keeping current on class changes. If someone wants to PM me with stuff, though, I will happily update the OP.Patch 3.1 is here! What is new for warlocks?
The answer is, a whole shitload of things. Final patch notes and new glyphs in spoiler:
What does this mean?
- Banish: Now has a 6-second PvP duration.
- Curse of the Elements (Rank 5): Increased to 13% spell damage, up from 10%.
- Curse of Recklessness has been removed.
- Curse of Weakness: Now also reduces the armor of the target by 5%.
- Drain Soul: Each time Drain Soul deals damage to a target which can grant experience, it now has a chance to generate a Soul Shard.
- Enslave Demon: Spell haste penalty reduced by 10%. Melee haste penalty reduced by 10%.
- Doomguard: Cooldown reduced to 30 minutes, down from 60 minutes. Damage reduced approximately 30%, and health reduced approximately 30%.
- Warlocks now innately have an increased 10% spell hit chance on the Enslave Demon spell.
- Fire Shield (Imp): You can now cast this ability on raid members, rather than party members.
- Ritual of Summoning: The summoning of the initial portal is now instant cast, down from 5 seconds.
- Soul Shard: This item now has a maximum count of 32 in inventory.
- Voidwalker: The health bonus on this pet has been reduced from 60% to 10%.
- Eradication: Whenever you deal damage with Corruption, you have a 6% chance to gain the Eradication effect. The Eradication effect increases your spell casting speed by 6/12/20% for 10 seconds. Internal cooldown removed.
- Haunt: Now only increases your shadow damage-over-time spells on the target.
- Malediction: No longer increases the effect of Curse of the Elements, but now also increases the periodic critical strike chance of your Corruption and Unstable Affliction spells by 3/6/9%.
- Pandemic: This talent has been reduced to a 1-point talent. Now grants your Corruption and Unstable Affliction the capability to critically hit.
- Shadow Embrace: Now only increases the damage done by your shadow damage periodic spells.
- Siphon Life: The Siphon Life spell has been removed. Siphon Life now causes your Corruption spell to instantly heal you for 40% of the damage done. In addition, the damage done by your Corruption, Seed of Corruption and Unstable Affliction damage-over-time effects is increased by 5%.
- Soul Siphon redesigned: Increases the amount drained by your Drain Life and Drain Soul spells by an additional 3/6% for each of your Affliction effects on the target, up to a maximum of 9/18% additional effect.
- Suppression: Now increases spell hit for all of your spells.
- Unstable Affliction and Immolation are now in the same exclusive category (both damage- over- time effects cannot be present at the same time by the same caster on a target).
- Demonic Empathy has been removed.
- Demonic Empowerment: This talent now has a unique spell effect.
- Demonic Sacrifice: This talent has been removed.
- Fel Synergy has been moved to tier-1. No longer increases intellect, stamina and damage of your summoned demon.
- Improved Enslave Demon talent removed.
- Mana Feed: This talent is now a 1-point talent, down from 3 points. Now is the 21-point talent in Demonology, granting 100% mana return to your pet, up from 33/66/100%.
- Master Conjuror: Increased from 15/30% up to 150/300%.
- New Talent: Decimation: When you Shadowbolt or Incinerate a target that is at or below 35% health, your next Soulfire cast time is reduced by 30/60% and costs no shard. Lasts 10 seconds.
- New Talent: Nemesis: Reduces the cooldown of your Demonic Empowerment, Metamorphosis, Soulstone and Fel Domination spells by 10/20/30%.
- Aftermath redesigned: Increases the periodic damage done by your Immolate by 3/6%, and your Conflagrate has a 50/100% chance to daze the target for 5 seconds.
- Backlash has been moved up to tier-5, up from tier-7. Now requires Intensity (pre-requisite).
- Cataclysm: Now reduces the mana cost of Destruction spells by 4/7/10%. No longer increases the chance to hit.
- Chaos Bolt: Damage increased approximately 15%.
- Conflagrate: Spell now works similar to Swiftmend, consuming an Immolate or Shadowflame effect on the target and dealing damage based on the strength of that effect. Reduced to a single rank.
- Improved Immolate: Now increases the damage done by your Immolate by 10/20/30%, rather than just the direct damage.
- Improved Shadow Bolt: Now increases the damage done by your Shadow Bolt spell by 1/2/3/4/5%, and causes your target to be vulnerable to spell damage, increasing spell critical strike chance against that target by 1/2/3/4/5%. Effect lasts 30 seconds.
- Improved Soul Leech: Now has a 50/100% chance to proc Replenishment.
- Molten Core: This talent has been moved to Demonology (tier-8).
- New Talent: Molten Skin: Reduces all damage taken by 2/4/6%.
- Pyroclasm redesigned: Now increases your Shadow and Fire spell power by 2/4/6% when you critically hit with Searing Pain or Conflagrate. Lasts 10 seconds. Also moved down to tier-7 from tier-5.
- Glyph of Banish: This glyph has been replaced with Glyph of Incinerate, which increases the damage of Incinerate by 5%.
- Glyph of Chaos Bolt: Reduces the cooldown on Chaos Bolt by 2 seconds.
- Glyph of Demonic Circle: Reduces the cooldown on Demonic Circle by 4 seconds.
- Glyph of Haunt: The bonus damage granted by your Haunt spell is increased by an additional 3%.
- Glyph of Immolate: The bonus damage provided by this glyph to Immolate’s periodic damage has been reduced to 10%, down from 20%. The 10% reduction to Immolate’s initial damage has been removed.
- Glyph of Imp: Increases your Imp’s Firebolt damage by 20%.
- Glyph of Life Tap: When you use Life Tap, you gain 20% of your spirit as spell power for 20 seconds.
- Glyph of Metamorphosis: Increases the duration of your Metamorphosis by 6 seconds.
- Glyph of Shadowflame: Your Shadowflame also applies a 70% movement speed slow on its victims.
- Glyph of Siphon Life: Redesigned to increase the healing received from the Siphon Life talent.
- Glyph of Soul Link: Increases the percentage of damage shared via your Soul Link by an additional 5%.
- Glyph of Succubus: Redesigned to remove all damage-over-time effects from the target of Seduction.
Here is the 10 seconds summary: affliction's cycle will be easier and will feature more nuking, destruction will do exclusively fire damage (no more shadow dots) and demonology will weave shadow and fire spells together. In general, warlocks will provide more raid utility.Oh god what gear should I get
This comes up periodically, so might as well address it. I'm not going to go through the rigamarole of listing every piece of caster gear ever; gearing up, and making decisions between one piece of gear and another, is pretty easy if you keep three things in mind:
1) Up to the cap, hit rating is king
. The spell hit cap on raid bosses is 17%, and until you arrive at that by some combination of gear, debuffs and talents, hit rating will give you the most DPS per item budget. Up to the cap, hit rating is equal to roughly 1.25 spellpower, in terms of DPS added.
2) Other ratings aren't very good
. Because of rating decay and various class mechanics, haste and crit are less useful for you than they are for other classes. The exact values depend on your spec and the amount of spellpower/crit/haste you already have, but in general, a point of crit or haste rating is equivalent to .6 or so spellpower.
3) Make informed choices
: download Ratingbuster. Ratingbuster is a very lightweight addon that converts the stats and ratings on gear into derived values, shows those values on the tooltip, and shows the difference in specific stats when you compare two pieces of gear. It will completely change your perspective on gear. There is no reason not to have this addon.
What this means is, you should cap your hit out as soon as you can, and then you should stack spellpower. Crit and haste will come on gear, and you don't need to worry about it, but don't seek out haste and crit and certainly don't gem for it.
If you're just hitting 80, instance drops, quests, rep vendors and crafting are all good places to get gear. You can make a very capable set of entry level heroic/10man gear out of boe craftables, rep items and quest rewards.Old Information
(current as of 3.0.8)Oh god what is going on with warlocks in WotLK?
There is good news and bad news. The good news is that each of the trees has been taken in interesting new directions, and that warlock are among the best damage dealers in Wrath PVE. The bad news is that playing a warlock in PVE has gotten significantly more difficult since level 70, with every tree requiring pet micromanagement and/or a complicated, dynamic dot/nuke rotation. Let's have a quick looksee at the three trees.Affliction:
Affliction got a solid look by a balance team tired of warlocks that didn't use their damage over time spells. The most interesting change is the new 51 point talent, Haunt. Haunt's a direct damage spell that temporarily buffs your DoT damage and provides a small self-heal. In addition, affliction's picked up a bunch of new talents that will help it scale along with the other trees. The reasoning behind this is complicated and mathematical, but it's enough to say that affliction should be a viable pve spec for a long time. Played well, affliction will easily top the meters in T7 raiding, and still affords decent survivability and mobility in that environment.This
is the build I run. There is a certain amount of dispute among people who study these things about the opportunity cost of the two +hit talents (suppression and cataclysm.) Molten core and demonic power are decent places to put points instead, as is imp. CoA (if CoE isn't needed in your raid.) You should only put one point in eradication; again, the math is complicated, but the way the internal cooldown and the proc rate work make the second and third points almost worthless.Destruction:
Destruction also got some lovin', and is now pretty much exclusively "the fire tree." For the first time since seducenuking at 60, conflagrate is useful, providing a nifty haste buff. Chaos bolt also provides the green fire you've always wanted. Unfortunately destro's damage lags a bit behind affliction, but patch 3.1 will add some nice utility (including replenishment!) to the tree.Here's a pve build
. Because of how topheavy the destro tree is, most of those points are non-negotiable. Yes, it doesn't have shadowfury. Sorry. Builds that go a little farther down the demo tree to unholy power do comparable damage, but increase your reliance on a potentially fragile imp.Demonology:
Finally, demonology. Demo's basically what it always was: survivability and pet buffs. Still, there are some nice new toys high in the tree, and a lot of the silly things low in the tree can be used productively now (improved voidwalker, I'm looking at you.) The easiest pve builds to play currently are also demonology/destruction hybrids that take advantage of the scaling talents in the middle of the demo tree.31/40
is the most popular, although some people also like 41/30
.Oh god how do I play this?
Basically, warlock dps revolves around refreshing your DoTs on time, and firing off as many nukes (shadowbolt or incinerate) as you can when you aren't doing that. The demonology hybrid builds have this the easiest; they keep immolate, CoA and corruption up, and spam incinerate. Deeper destro builds put up the same dots and also spam incinerate, but must weave in conflag and chaosbolt. Affliction has to watch a menagerie of timers, squeeze in enough shadow bolts to keep shadow embrace up, then switch to the even more cumbersome drain soul as a primary nuke once a mob is below 25% health.PeeVeePee
Basically, warlock PvP is fucked until at least patch 3.1. Prepare to get bent over by melee, ranged, and casters (even mages! Ever think you'd hear that?) Your survivability will be low, and the only added mobility is the questionably useful demonic circle. If you're determined to step into the arena, the dominant build right now seems to be deep demonology; metamorphisis is a decent panic button that will keep melee off you for at least a little while. If you want to pvp as affliction or destruction, you're still putting 11ish points into demonology to get soul link, and dumping the rest into your tree of choice. Good luck, you're going to need it.Further Reading
If you're interested in the reasoning behind most of the braindump I've just tossed up here, the warlock class forum at ElitistJerks
is a good place to start. This page
has a broad breakout of how various specs stack up, as well as some fun destruction-related graphs. MMO-Champion
is the best place to keep up on the most recent changes to warlocks, and everything else.