Saturday, February 28, 2009

Updated: Affliction Warlock Improvements in Patch 3.1

As a solo player of WoW I tend to favor certain classes and certain builds over others. Case in point: the affliction warlock. I like the affliction tree very much because it's different than any other classes' playstyles. Well, it does have a few things in common with shadow priests but the affliction lock remains the king of DOTs. I won't play a demonology warlock because to my mind it resembles hunters too much and destruction locks resemble fire mages.

Well, affliction has been really good to me as a casual player and I will extol it's virtues in length in a future post but for now I will talk about some of the exciting changes that patch 3.1 will bring to my spec.

For warlocks in general we have these intriguing new things:

- "Soul Shard: This item now has a maximum count of 32 in inventory." Wow... although this sentence is a bit ambiguous, I'm assuming this means warlocks finally get what they wanted for a long time: stackable soul shards. If I am right, then we can free a bag slot and at the same time have plenty of space for a crapload of shards. Neat.

- "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." Neato. I always use Drain Soul to get mana back, being talented with Improved Drain Soul. Although not a big deal for a solo player, this does mean that I can use my Soul Shards at a higher rate and I can get more of them back when draining.

Now on to the actual talents for the affliction tree. I will only highlight what I see as buffs, instead of talking about all the changes.

- "Eradication re-designed: When you deal damage with Corruption, you have a 2/4/6% chance to gain the Eradication effect. The Eradication effect increases the critical strike chance of your Shadow Bolt spell by 30%. Each critical strike reduces the critical strike bonus by 10%. Lasts 30 sec." OK this looks pretty good. While the present implementation of Eradication doesn't exactly excite me, the new effect looks to be much better and it now gives even more reason to use Shadow Bolt in my rotation. Of course, I only use the ol' bolt when Nightfall procs but an instant-cast SB with a high crit chance is very awesome.

- "Pandemic: This talent has been reduced to a 1-point talent, now grants your Corruption and Unstable Affliction the capability to critically hit." Wow, this sounds really good. The actual Pandemic is kinda luke-warm but the new one will become a must-have talent for every affliction warlock. It does look powerful for only 1 invested talent. The way I envision crits on DOTs is simple: each damage tick should have a chance equal to the caster's spell crit chance of critting. Simple. I hope this is how it will be implemented.

- "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." Hmm... this change is both good and bad. It's good because instead of casting two spells we just cast one. It's bad because we lose the damage that was done by draining life from the target. I would've been nice if they could have rolled over at least some of the damage done by Siphon Life. So in the end this is both a buff AND a nerf.

- "Suppression: Now increases spell hit for all of your spells." Well, this is so-so for affliction but it does include Shadow Bolt so it's a good thing overall.

These are the main improvements to affliction warlocks that have been revealed to this point for patch 3.1. So far it's been great, no nerfs, which puts us in a better position than other classes. Here's hoping that things will only get better.

UPDATE: It looks like I got it all wrong regarding the stacking of soul shards. This post on the official forums clarifies it. So basically they've capped the total number of shards that you can keep in your bags. Which seems like a WTF change to me since there are already addons which do the same thing, i.e. delete extra shards and furthermore are configurable. In any case, this is just an intermediary change. They WILL change the shard system at some point, which is a given.


Anonymous said...

Just found this post after noting the 'warlock' category :D

"I won't play a demonology warlock" - blasphemy, I say! I cast thee out! Begone! Improper use of exclamation marks!

Darth Solo said...

You know, I spoke too soon. I was thinking of trying a Demo spec when I get around to it. It seems people are having fun with that.