Warlockery: what was, what is, and what will be

Dan left a comment on my “Singing the praises of Raider101” post that reminded me that warlockery is evolving very quickly and a lot of the web-side documentation isn’t keeping up. So I want to address a few possibly misconceptions. I’m going to look ahead a little bit to the changes coming in 3.1 and include that under the “what will be” part of each note.

Best PVE DPS Raid Spec

What was: In BC, hands down, Succy-sacrifice Destruction was the highest dps with the easiest rotation(sacrifice succy, Curse of the Elements, Shadow Bolt until dead). You -could- do Affliction (I did) .. but it wasn’t easy.. and it wasn’t the best.

What is: Wrath neutered the Succy-sacrifice spec. Before patch 3.1, deep Affliction is acknowledged as the highest dps. Problem is, it’s very complex to maintain and has sucky dps on trash. Felguard/Ember Chaos/Conflag deep Destruction has also shown very good number but is also similarly complex.

What will be: Early PTR testing of patch 3.1 indicate that Deep Affliction, Deep Destruction and Deep Demonology can all put up fairly equal numbers. It doesn’t look like there is ONE-TRUE-RAID-SPEC. Also 3.1 will vastly simplify Affliction’s rotation (more on that in a later post). I’m not sure about Destruction’s rotation. I may investigate that after the patch.. but right now it’s not really on my radar.


Fact: there are two ways to summon a doom guard. If you kill a mob with Curse of Doom OR Ritual of Doom.

What was: It -used- to be that Ritual of Doom would sacrifice one of the people participating in the Ritual (ie, it killed one of the party.. could possibly kill the summoning warlock). Whether you used the ritual or a curse of doom proc, it would summon an untamed Doomguard that the warlock then had to Enslave. The Enslave lasted a very short time..and was on diminishing returns. All-in-all getting a Doomguard was a Pain In The ASS!! and to boot, it was a pitiful pet and wasn’t worth the time/effort spent to summon it.

What is: I -believe- that right now, if you proc a doomguard from a curse of doom he still needs to be enslaved. I think this is unchanged from before (I’ve never proc’s a doomguard.. so idaknow). Blizz did change the Ritual of Doom so that it only injures one of the party members (about 7k damage). Also, the summoned Doomguard is automatically tamed and sticks around for 15 minutes. At the end of those 15 minutes he just fades away.

What will be: Patch 3.1 will change Ritual of Doom from a 1 hour cooldown to a 30 minute cooldown. Also, the doomguard summoned will be 30% less powerful then he was before 3.1. This is -kind of- a nerf.. except that you can summon the doomguard twice as often.. so over the course of an hours you get 120% of the Doomguard after the patch that you would have gotten before the patch. Also, I -think- they’re changing the proc’d doomguard to act the same way as the summoned one.

Best Pet

What was: Used to be, all our pets sucked. Seriously. I used a phase shifted imp for the mana battery (I was affliction) but other than that.. meh.. Destruction sacrificed their succy.. and Demonology.. I suppose they used Felguard. Still.. all kinda sucky.

What is: We’ve had our ups and downs with warlock pets. Right now (as of testing last night)(I’m not spec’d into any of the “pet enhancing” talents) of our “normal” pets (felpuppy, imp, succy, voidy) the succy has the best dps at ~190 (for me). Followed by the felpuppy at ~187. Followed by the imp at ~180. The difference is so slim it hardly matters. In fact I was very annoyed while testing.. because before patch 3.0.8 my Felpuppy was seeing about 330 dps. In our “non-normal” pets (doomguard, infernal), Doomguard is clearly the winner at ~1k dps. The Infernal comes in at about 670dps. (I haven’t spec’d demonogy for a while so I don’t know what kind of DPS you can expect from Felguard.)

If we’re attempting a “stand and fight” boss (Patchwerk, Grobbulus) then if it’s available I’ll summon my doomguard. If the doomguard isn’t available then I’ll summon a “normal” pet (usually the felpuppy because I love him more)(and because he seems to be less fragile and regen mana faster than the succy or the imp)(yes, I spec into Dark Pact.. I -like- it.. to hell with what other theorycrafters say). If I’m using a “normal” pet, and it’s available, then I’ll throw an Infernal at the boss at about 30%. Since the Doomguard has better dps than the Infernal I’ll stick with the doomguard until he disappears.

What will be: Unfortunately it doesn’t really look like they’re doing much to fix the sucktastic dps of our “normal” pets. They are making Doomguards more available.. so I’m going to try it keep Doug** by my side as often as possible.

Spell Hit Rating

What was: In BC we were 70 and only needed 202 spell hit rating. *sigh* those were the days.

What is: In Wrath we moved to level 80 and the new spell hit cap is 446***. No really -that- is the cap. You have to make up 17% hit in order to never miss a level 83 boss.

There are several things that can lower the cap.. but they depend on external forces. For example: if you have a Draenei in your raid and she is standing near you then you get 1% hit from the tasty Draenei aura. That would lower your needed hit rating to 420 (446 – 26). IF the draenei moves too far away from you or (God forbid) dies.. then you would be left 1% short of being hit capped.

You can also get 3% hit from either a Shadow Priest (Misery) or a Boomkin (Improved Faerie Fire). In this case you are counting on FIRST having either a Spriest or Boomkin in the raid.. and THEN you’re counting on them keeping the spell (Misery or IFF) up. I’ve been told Misery is easy/passive. So I suppose you can count on a Shadow Priest.. but if they die.. then you are left 3% under hit cap.

Lastly, you can spec into Suppression (+3% hit for affliction spells) and Cataclysm (+3% for destruction spells) to change your miss rate for each of those classes. If you are spec’d into both of these then your hit cap is 368 for Affliction and Destruction and 446 for Demonology. KEEP IN MIND: even if you have 3/3 suppression and 3/3 cataclysm, you’re still at 3% miss for demonology spells (most notably: soul shatter).

SO, if you have a Draenei, and a shadowpriest who keeps up misery and you’re 3/3 Suppression and Cataclysm then your spell hit rating cap would be 263 for Affliction and Destruction spells and 342 for demonology spells.

For my money.. I’d rather just get the gear to hit 446 hit rating. I -hate- the idea of having my Soul Shatter resisted and having to re-cast dots makes me grumpy. We occationally run with a Boomkin.. but she didnt’ spec for IFF.. and a Spriest is notably absent from our raids. So I just suck it up and accept that I’m probably over hit most of the time.. and run as close to 446 as I can get.

What will be: Blizz is changing Suppression to give 3% hit to all schools of magic. They’re also making Fairie Fire last longer (higher chance that a Boomkin will keep that spell up consistently). I haven’t picked out my final spec yet.. but I’m considering taking suppression to get the hit if I have the spare points. We’ll see.

Dot Timer

Ok.. not really an is/was/will be topic.. but Dan asked about it and I want to address his question. He wrote:

I’ll definitely need to get the Dottimer add-on, I’ve read in multiple places that this is essential to the affliction lock. I’m a bit of a purist and like to play the game as designed but my guild already requires Omen and DBM so one more add-on might move me up a few spots on the damage meter.

I am definately -not- a Blizz UI purist. I joke that the only thing left on my screen from the original UI.. is the toon in the middle of the screen. Ok.. maybe that’s not a joke. Anyway. I believe you -could- maintain a good dot rotation on a target without a dot timer. It’s totally possible. To me it sound like a lot more work on an already complex dot rotation.

In BC and Wrath (before last week) I used DoTimer. I liked the way it looked and especially liked the “ghost” ability. Last week I downloaded and installed ButtonTimers. It’s a little bit different.. but still fairly simple. I’m still trying it out.

Here’s a movie I made last night about my pre 3.1 rotation which shows my UI (in all its glory) and “ButtonTimers”.

Link to Youtube Movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pzgr_zqCQk

**The first time I summoned a Doomguard in raid I was disappointed to find out he didn’t have a name. So in raid I declared “I will call you Doug.. and all will tremble at your name.” Since then, when I summon the Doomguard in raid my raid group calls out in vent “Hi Doug!” and “Be sure to buff Doug”. And yes, be sure to buff him. Might and Kings and pet food are yummy for Doug.

***If you’re running heroics the hit cap is 158. Those bosses are max level 82 so you only need to make up 6% hit to never miss them. When I run heroics I switch into a different set of gear that has the most spell power while still having 158 hit rating.

****In my movie above.. at the end Recount showed me at 2.4k dps. Go me 🙂

7 thoughts on “Warlockery: what was, what is, and what will be

  1. “I -believe- that right now, if you proc a doomguard from a curse of doom he still needs to be enslaved. I think this is unchanged from before”

    Both of these statements are true. I proc’d one on purpose in Howling Fjord to check.

    As a side note, once they changed it so that CoD only procced doomguards on enemies that would give xp… I had a horrible habit of proccing doomguards on the dragonhawk boss in Z’A. Happened pretty much every week.

  2. I’m not sure where you got the idea that the Felguard/Emberstorm rotation as “similarly complex” compared to affliction. I have found it an easy spec to get close to max possible uptime from. On long lived stuff, keep both shadow dots up plus immolate, then incinerate spam. That’s about it. It helps the timing if you do immolate before corruption so they dont expire simultaneously, but really the only other thing to watch is the 1 min pet enrage talent (cant recall the name).

    From what I can tell, both deep A and deep D have more complex rotations than that currently.

  3. @Stop
    Thanks for letting me know about that 🙂

    Oops, I said “Deep Destruction” but then I typed “Felguard/Ember” which would be a Demo spec. Rather it’s the Chaos Bolt/Conflag deep destruction built that seems fantastically complex to me. (I corrected this above)

    A Dest lock I talked to was doing the following:
    Startup rotation: doom, corr, imm, conflag
    Regular rotation: incin, incin, chaos, conflag, imm

    When I talked with him it just -sounded- very complex. He was T6 geared with ~25% crit when he was buffed.. and he was getting >3k dps and totally kicked my butt in dps about a month ago.

    It’s something that I suspect will change after the patch.. but I’m uncertain of the scope.

    But thanks for the comment!

  4. Awesome video and great post. I just wanted to throw in that even with the Ebonweave set I was having trouble with my hit rating, but using an Elixir of Accuracy or +hit food buff helped a ton. If only I could get my hands on the War Mark of the Prisoneer I could swap in some T7 stuff 🙁

  5. @Gerlin
    Thanks!! I had a lot of fun shooting the video. WRT hit gear.. it took me a while to get it all right.

    I think I was hit capped before I got to Naxx but I was still using the Scryer exalted trinket and I very carefully picked out the +hit quest rewards out of Icecrown. Really what I did was setup nightly runs of H-VH until I got that trinket 🙂 It’s fairly easy to convince people to do H-VH once you can give them good odds that it’ll be an easy 30 minute run. It’s also a nice spot to farm up shards 🙂

  6. I’ve played for a long time with DotTimer. But I found it require too much attention. I’ve found an alternate solution : PolMonitor + Omni CC.

    PolMonitor is a button bar that allows to follow (buff, debuff, CD, range).
    When correctly configured, the buttons turn to gray when the debuff is up on the boss and turn colored when refresh is needed. I use omniCC to have the time remaining in second.

    Give a try to this solution.
    Moreover I’ve made an other bar to follow the proc(trinket + set) and to know if there is an equivalent of the MoE (from a druid or a DK)

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