Affliction, the imaginary spec

e_to_the_pi_times_iThe scene: Onyxia 25 PUG.
I’m one of 4 warlocks in the run. A quick inspect of the others show that they’re all cookie-cutter destruction.

Out of the blue, during the standard PUG discussion** where every shaman demands 4 different pally buffs and someone randomly whines that they’re missing buffs but they don’t know which one.. and repeated requests for vent info (there was none)… out of the blue one of the warlocks typed the following in Raid:

/raid Fantacyx: Lilac, you don’t exist.
After a stunned moment I replied /raid Lilac: I beg your pardon.

I mean I’d always thought I existed.. but it’s really more of a metaphysical conversation than I expected to have in a PUG raid.

/raid Fantacyx: Since 3.1 Affliction warlocks no longer exist.

OH.. I get it.. I dared to be different and spec Affliction instead of Destruction. Meh.. I don’t want to fight. I’ll show neck and move on.

/raid Lilac: Oh.. OK, yes, yes your spec is superior to mine.. I am dirt, I bow to your uber awesomeness yadda yadda yadda

I didn’t want to fight about it.. whatever. Now.. honestly this other person had gotten my goat. I mean really. What is the big idea. Wait until -after- I do LOLDPS before you insult my spec. So.. at this point I’m a smidge pissed.. and challenged.

We pulled the trash down to Ony. At the end of the trash I was #2 DPS after a hunter. Number two.. and a LONG way ahead of the other warlocks.

/raid Fantacyx: Lilac why do you use the succy instead of the felpuppy?
/raid Lilac: Succy scales better with raid buffs.

Oh.. so now he’s curious.. I’m whipping his shiny backside and suddenly I exist. Faugh.

I’d love to be able to complete the tale and say I throughly trounced him and his cookie-cutter buddies in dps.. but unfortunately after 3 wipes the PUG fell apart (one of the tanks wasn’t picking up the adds and the adds where running rampant and wiping out the DPS). I came in at #6 DPS overall. There were other Warlocks above me.. but I don’t know if that’s because they were actually beating me.. or because they didn’t die as quickly as I did to adds. Hard to say.

So, it begs the question.. why do I do it? Why play affliction when everybody and their brother (read Elitist Jerks/Simulationcraft) had done the math and proved that “Affliction is dead, LOL, real warlocks play Destruction”?

1: Because I think that is a bunch of hooey. When push comes to shove the math proves that given a perfect stand-and-delivery raid, Affliction with Doomguard comes in first, followed closely by Destruction, followed closely by Affliction with Succubus. The differences between these is TINY.. minuscule.. infinitesimal. Seriously.. when you go back and remember we’re doing these fights in less-than-perfect stand-and-delivery scenarios the differences nearly disapper.

2: I -like- Affliction’s play style. I like the dot juggling. It can be very zen.

3: I SUCK at playing Destruction. I’m consistently 100-400 dps LOWER in my Destruction spec than in my Affliction spec. Granted, it’s probably because my fingers are more familiar with Affliction.. or because my Destruction spec includes Replenishment.. but srsly.. why should I force my fingers to learn Destruction when I like Affliction more?

4: I’m not playing in a cutting-edge guild. I’m not getting server firsts. The smidge of additional DPS I’d eek out by changing over to Destruction is not the make or break the encounter for my guild. Honestly I’m somewhat glad for it.. even in my “inferior” spec I’m usually in the top 3-4 DPSers. I’m ok with that.

** Added bonus.. the whiniest of them all was a hunter named “Khalitorah” (or something v. close to that.. I can’t remember the exact spelling). Sound it out. Innat special.

18 thoughts on “Affliction, the imaginary spec

  1. Grats on sticking affliction. I played affliction from vanilla all the way up to 80. Then gotten turned down for a few too many instances, so I converted over to destruction. Most of my problems at that time were lack of +hit on my gear, and really low DPS. Yes, probably my greens and blue gear at the time didn’t help.

    The other night, I tried to run Heroic Nexxus as affliction spec’d, but as you say, my fingers didn’t know the rotation. I died on the first meta-boss and then respecced back to destro.

    I miss having the zero net-loss mana/health of affliction, but loving the simpler ‘watching my cool-downs’ rotation. The 2 second death of mobs using immolate + conflagerate is nice for the dailies too.
    .-= Elkagorasa´s last blog ..Daily Grind =-.

  2. Dunno, Afflic lost one or two dots and destro kinda sorta gained one in there (well it was already there but actually got useful) the two are closer in mindset than they used to be. Heck, even Demon got a little more dot-ty. Buuuut I take your meaning.

    Honestly, on a level playing field between three locks of equal skill, the spread doesn’t seem to be that huge from what I’ve been reading here and there, so Mr Cookie Cutter can just pack it.

    What can I say … my hunter’s still BM, my lock’s Demon, and my mage is Frost. I may not top the charts but I’ll have fun not doing it.
    .-= Grimmtooth´s last blog ..This makes my (bloggy) day =-.

  3. HA. Go Nibs. <3 Affliction.

    I love it when you get the chance to prove that spec isn't the be-all end-all of raiding. 90% of us raid at a level where, you're right, it doesn't even matter. We (or at least I) lose more than the DPS difference because of lack of perfect play than we do from any sort of spec differential. I applaud Blizz for giving us three viable trees. Would I like to see them more equal? Sure, but we're pretty damned good compared with other classes and what we used to be.

    That being said, I love making fun of my destro brethren, "lol go play fire mage". It's not quite true any more, but usually we jest in fun because they know if they don't play well, I'll show them up. Same back at me too. A little competition, when done with maturity and intelligence, isn't a bad thing.
    .-= Fulguralis´s last blog ..About Real Money Trading =-.

  4. Werd for staying Affliction.

    I’ve played a warlock since vanilla and I’ve always favored Affliction, towards the end of the burning crusade there was clearly a gear scaling issue with Affliction and in order to stay competative in my guild through Black Temple I had to switch to the overly boring BC Destruction spec a.k.a SB spam.

    And then came WOTLK, rejoice apparently gear scaling issues for affliction have been fixed this expansion and I gladly respec’d for the level grind. Oh look and now DOT’s can crit! Affliction is far more in line with destruction specs than it was in the previous expansions.

    I am one of three raiding warlocks in my guild pushing through TOC Heroic, and the only Affliction warlock, Improved Shadowbolt debuff to stop mage tears but mainly because I simply prefer the play style, If i wanted to play destruction I would have rolled a mage.

    However, I am part of a 3 night a week 25 man and 2 night a week 10 man raid. And what I have noticed is that Affliction “seems” to be more viable in 10 man’s as far as competative DPS goes. 25 man, it seems that destruction benefits more from the plethora of buffs. That’s just my experience. I’d be interested to hear other peoples points of view.

    Draztik –

  5. While we all know I am not a huge raider by any means and certainly don’t claim to be the top ‘lock on the block… yay for staying affliction!

    I, too, have always been affliction because I just like the playstyle. I want to play what’s fun for me – not worry about whether or not I might be missing out on a teeny bit more DPS… especially since for the runs I go on, that lil extra isn’t going to be missed tbh.

    Too bad the run didn’t complete so you could give him a better look at what you are capable of, but yay for being so high on the trash! (That’s usually where I seem to be lower… low on trash, high on bosses)
    .-= Syrana´s last blog ..Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Penalty Systems and Entitlement in WoW =-.

  6. @Elkagorasa
    In BC, SB spammers whipped me totally.. but I held my own against other DPSers. I was tempted to spec SB spam near the end of BC.. but I didn’t.. just never really got to it.

    @grimmtooth & Draztik
    I totally need a “I was Affliction before Affliction was sexy” T-shirt.

    The trash is also usually my weak suit.. but to be fair, the trash leading up to Onyxia are almost like little mini-bosses.. They last alot longer than the normal trash so I could get a good rotation doing and even get some ticks from Drain Soul.

  7. In other news:

    Patch 3.3

    * Improved Felhunter: This talent now also reduces the cooldown on the felhunter’s Shadow Bite ability by 2/4 seconds.

    * Shadow Bite: This pet ability now provides 15% increased damage for each of the warlock’s damage-over-time effects on the target.


  8. @draztik
    Now that’s very interesting.. I’ve known that they seem to want Affliction to use the Felpuppy.. but unfortunately, as I said in raid last night, atm succy scales better. Maybe just maybe these changes will catapult felpuppy into the lead. (I hope so.. I like my puppy Secret Love for my felpuppy)

  9. “2: I -like- Affliction’s play style.”

    Nib, that in and of itself, is the ONLY reason you need for being Affliction. Everything else is just fluff. Bottom line, you should be playing what you like.

    I leveled Suda, my priest, from 1 – 80 as Holy. I liked it. I sucked at quickly killing, but who cares. I’d wait a level or 2 and try the quest again. So then I get into raiding, and get hit with this:

    Person: “Suda, why aren’t you popping heal X instead of heal Y? It’s better you know.”

    Me: “Because I don’t want to. I like Y.”

    Person: “But it’s better for the raid.”

    Me: “Well, send me a check to cover the cost of my game, plus the cost of my monthly subscription. When you’re paying for my game, you can tell me how to play. While *I’M* paying for my game, I will play how *I* want to play.”

    …and that would be my mantra. I’m stubborn. I’ll play the game how I feel like playing it, and no other way.
    .-= EvilElleon´s last blog ..What the Heck Did I Do?! =-.

  10. I too leveled my Warlock and raided through Naxx as Affliction. I built up the story and disposition of my character around the idea of casting crippling spells and sucking souls. Affliction feels like the characteristic warlock spec, at least the one most fitting for us undead. The fact that I topped the DPS charts for all of my guild runs didn’t hurt either.

    As my guild moved into Ulduar, I became more and more tempted to try Destruction. I don\’t really care about DPS meters but when my guild was wiping on Razorscale and Deconstructor, the potential burst DPS increase I might gain for the first phase of the former and heart phase of the latter was too great to pass up.

    Now that I’ve made the switch to the standard detro spec (/w ISL for replenishment), I\’m surprised how much it feels like Affliction post 3.08. With the release of Wrath, Affliction was an incredible rush in a raid environment trying to keep DoTs up with maximum uptime and without clipping. After the removal of Immolate and merging of Siphon Life, Affliction and Destruction play pretty similarly, at least for me.

    However, the latest patch notes seem to indicate some buffs for Affliction that might tempt me back. In addition to what Draztik said, Ghostcrawler posted on the forums about potentially changing the glyph for corruption to allow it tick faster (or let haste affect it). I’ll always think of my warlock as Affliction, and it would be nice to get back to it.
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..Bring Out Your Dead! =-.

  11. Affi will always have a special place in my heart. I LOVED 3.0 Affi…all the dots lined up just right, the Doomguard was ridiculously awesome (this was back when you had to, you know, put some effort into getting it), etc. Sadly, 3.1 killed it for me, so I ended up rerolling druid (wanted to have more role flexibility anyway). I think affi needs better raid buffs, tbh…Demo gets Demonic Pact (which destroys the ele shammy totem at T8-9 gear levels…not that you see a lot of ele shammies these days), Destro gets Replenishment, Affi gets ISB. Bleh.
    .-= Alaron´s last blog ..Onyxia’s Lair strategy updated =-.

  12. On the plus side.. I think Blizz’s goal is to make all dps spec’s roughly equivalent so -eventually- they’ll all work.. but the question is, can you tough it out.. or make it “good enough” to make it through until your favorite spec is back in favor?

  13. Seriously, <3 for this post. I've been affliction for four years because I love it but recently I've been toying with the idea of respeccing destro simply because of some peer pressure playground crap from the other warlocks in the guild. So instead of doing some research at lunch about destro specs, let me see what I can tweak in my trees to eek out some more DPS and compete with those cocky jerks.

  14. I too am a big proponent of playing what you like to play. I leveled Affliction and loved it. Once I hit 80, I experimented a bit, and found that I was a better player with Destruction than Affliction — in part because I enjoyed it more. Perhaps I needed a change after 79 levels, but I found that dual-speccing both let me really compare and contrast how happy each one made me. Eventually I dropped Affliction and became dual-specced Destro, not because I didn’t like Affliction, but because I enjoyed Destro more.

    The important part remains to play what you enjoy, and to play that well. Nearly all of the major builds offer competitive DPS in PvE now. People who say one is better than the other are repeating what they’ve read instead of watching individual players.
    .-= Cynwise of Stormwind´s last blog ..Why I Love Fishing In Wintergrasp =-.

  15. A separate comment on your Ony 25 PuG: I find that knowing how to play your class is more important than just about any talent build you choose. Your knowledge of why to use your Succy instead of the Felpup (and I miss my Felpup too) is a small thing, but playing a class well is made up of small things.

    I was in an AQ40 run and was asked to tank the Twin Emperors. I switched to my PvP spec, which between Soul Link and Sacrifice, gives me an effective pool of ~38k HP. Shadow Bolts from the boss were reflexively met with Shadow Ward, and between Searing Pain, Teleport, and my normal attack rotation I managed okay once I figured out the mechanics of the fight. The other Destro Warlock in the raid switched to different build too, but kept his Imp out for the Blood Pact buff, and just tried to Drain Tank the boss. He didn’t fare so well.

    After the first wipe, the raid leader asked me what the black bubble was around me. I told him about the Sacrifice and Shadow Ward. After that, there was a quiet discussion on /o — and then the other warlock switched to his Voidwalker, too.

    When you love to play your spec, you learn ALL the ins and outs of it. You learn the little things that matter, like when to stack Stamina and when to stack Spellpower. You learn when all those oddball spells like Hellfire and Searing Pain are useful. You know which pets to use in what situations, and why they work better.

    Players who love their spec will always outperform players who are playing something because EJ or AJ says it’s the highest DPS. Always always always.

    So don’t listen to anyone who tells you Affliction’s days are over. As long as you love playing it, stick with it.
    .-= Cynwise of Stormwind´s last blog ..Why I Love Fishing In Wintergrasp =-.

  16. That poor guy would’ve had an apoplexy if a frost mage or something showed up. Probably for the best you didn’t astoundingly destroy him on the meters, his brain would have exploded from sheer shame.

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