Musings, Warlocks

Affliction Warlocks and Patch 3.3

math (1)I need some serious face-time with SimulationCraft. Right now I’m just taking my best stab at Affliction and running on gut feeling but I’m starting to feel the need for some firm hard mathification.

Open questions:
– My rule of thumb for CotEl has always been “if 3+ people benefit from it in the raid and it wasn’t covered by other buffs”, then I’d cast it. Rarely do we have both happen so normally I’m casting CoA. I’ve always believed that CotEl was a DPS loss for me.. but a potential DPS gain for the raid. Kring, on a comment on the last post, said that if the other buffs aren’t present (Earth&Moon or Ebon Plaguebringer) then CotEl is a buff to -my- personal DPS over CoA. This is news to me. Must investigate. If that -is- the case then I need to setup a couple of new PowerAuras to make sure I have it up when it’s needed. Does CoD ever factor in (aside from casting it on Razorscale as she flies up)?
– Need to re-calculate my pawn scales based on 3.3 algorithms and Glyph of Quick Decay.
– I -think- Felpuppy is the best pet.. but is he better than Doomguard? Should I use Doug when not on cooldown or stick with Fzygwhateverhisnameis? Is it worthwhile to throw down Infernal for last 30% of the fight and replace the felpuppy.. or should I only summon infernal if the felpuppy dies?
– With Shadow bolt refreshing Corruption.. should I be waiting until Haunt is nearly ended before re-casting it? I think so as that means I will have less casts/fight and free up a GCD for other spells.
– When RL calls out for everyone to “burn cooldowns” WTH am I supposed to do? Usually I just sit up straighter and think mean thoughts. Srsly.. I guess I could pop a Haste Pot.. but should I stack that with anything else? Both trinkets and my back enchant are proc based, not trigger based.. so I’m at a loss.

Talent musings:
– if I’m going to be casting CotEl then it seems silly to keep that point in Amplify Curse to lower the GCD on a curse I cast every 5 minutes. Then again.. it sounds like I may be bouncing between CotEl and CoA depending on raid composition.
– I have the gear to drop points out of suppression.. should I? is there a better place to put them? I could drop suppression and fill up Improved DS and Improved LT and Fel Concentration.. but I don’t see anywhere else reasonable at the top of the tree to put points.
– I’m tempted by CoEx/Improved Howl of Terror for the Faction Champions fight.. but not -that- tempted.

Nib’s current spec: 56/00/15

Nib’s Major Glyphs:
Life Tap, Haunt, Quick Decay

Nib’s Spell Priority:
Initial Cast: If on CotEl duty cast CotEl first. Follow up with Shadow Bolt and Haunt to stack your Shadow Embrace buff. Then Corruption, (CoA, if no CotEl), Unstable Affliction, then Shadow Bolt until Haunt is off cooldown. At this point, all DoTs and debuffs are up…refresh via the following priority list:
1. (CotEl)
2. Haunt (re-cast just before it expires)
3. Lifetap (to keep lifetap buff up or for mana)(be sparing)
3. Corruption (if it drops for whatever reason)
4. Unstable Affliction (re-cast just before it expires)
5. (CoA)
6. If nothing else, Shadowbolt

During the last 25% of the boss:
Change #6 to Drain Soul. Note that the channeling of Drain Soul should interrupted to refresh any of the above.

Determining CotEl duty: use CotEl only if you’re in a group where 3 or more casters will benefit from the +13% spell damage and the group does not have a boomkin to provide “Earth and Moon” or an Unholy Deathknights to provide “Ebon Plagebringer” otherwise use CoA.

39 thoughts on “Affliction Warlocks and Patch 3.3

  1. Pet-wise, highest dps is now Doomguard>Infernal (summoned 60 seconds before fight ends)>Felhunter>The rest.

    There’s really no burst that warlocks can suddenly ‘put out’. Even as Destro.

    As affliction, you rarely ever want to cast CoD, unless you have long phases where you can’t do anything to the boss (i.e., Razorscale) – CoE if no buff, then CoA.

    Curse of Exhaustion actually is fairly useful on the last boss of ICC-10, if you have a free talent point. The adds that spawn need to be kited by a ranged, and last time it was a hunter and I on that duty.

  2. By “burn cooldowns, pop trinkets, etc” I just see it as a reminder. Sit up straight, focus, maximize your dps, and give it everything you have.

    Some people save them for the “right moment” because they don’t understand the best situation to use them in. I think its just the RL reminding people who are otherwise hesitant, that there isn’t a better time coming, burn it now!

  3. @figworth
    Yeah.. that’s where I figure it will fall.. but I have a feeling I need to poke SimulationCraft and turn the crank a few times before I totally believe it. WRT CoEx I’m still mulling it over. It would be nice to have that option esp if kiting/running away is necessary.

    Yeah.. that’s been my plan so far. Just keep feeling left out since I’ve never had anything to “pop”… and I suspect the haste pot may be wasted if Heroism is up and Eradication procs. So it’s still on my Open Questions list.

  4. @figworth All the simcraft numbers I’ve seen on EJ’s forums have indicated that Felhunter > Doomguard > Infernal is the new priority for Affliction pets. Have you run simcraft numbers that say otherwise?

    Good point about being more conservative about clipping Haunt. Now there is a bit more leeway such that you don’t have to worry about the random Eradication proc causing corruption to fall off.

    One thing that I’m still unsure about are boss encounters with multiple targets (Worms in ToC for instance). Since the DPCT of Haunt, Corruption, Unstable Affliction, and Curse of Agony (if you’re casting it) is higher than Shadowbolt, should you ideally be keeping up Corruption, Curse of Agony, and Unstable Affliction up on the other worm? Seems like it would if you could get the target switching inside a GCD.
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..Bring Out Your Dead! =-.

  5. Patch 3.3 certainly brought a lot of interesting changes to the affliction spec and a nice boost up the meters. Apart from switching in the new Glyph of Quick Decay not a great deal really changed for me as far as playing the spec goes. However, I did in the last two days switch my weapon enchant from Mighty Spellpower (+63 sp) to Black Magic. The Haste proc is quite nice and quite regular.

    Draztik of Terror Australis on Proudmoore (US)
    .-= Draztik´s last blog ..The Lower Spire Cleared =-.

  6. Were the FH bugs fixed? Did they even exist? I heard rumor that the pup wasn’t hitting properly or something.

    @Sean – have you seen anything on EJ about how much each point invested into improved felhunter would add in theoretical DPS? Right now I’m only putting one point in it, since the other point is going into Destructive Reach for me (for grins mostly, and threat reduction). Not that I’m making a “good” decision, but I wonder how much DPS I’m missing out on.
    .-= Fulguralis´s last blog ..3.3 DK Frost DPS Methodology =-.

  7. @Draztik

    I wonder if the Black Magic enchant is still worth it after the hotfix to stop rolling Corruption’s initial haste calculation. The only reason I saw people switching to Black Magic was to get ridiculous initial haste (Black Magic + trinkets + Eradication proc + haste potion + bloodlust?) and then just refresh corruption with haunt.

    Looking at Wowhead, Black Magic increases haste by 250 for 10 seconds and has an internal cooldown of 35 seconds. So back of the envelope math for a 70 second period for which you have Black Magic proc twice would yield an “average” haste increase of 66.67. I believe the stat weighting for Affliction post 3.3 now favors haste slightly over spellpower, but even if they’re equal the might spell power enchant is only +63 versus +66.67 (averaged) to haste. I’d like to see some simcraft numbers for this though, particularly for a range of fight durations. The longer the better for Black Magic as it would mitigate against the randomness of the proc.
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..Bring Out Your Dead! =-.

  8. I think it was on a BRK blog post from the past where he said “if all your trinkets and longer CDs and such are on cooldown when you get the call to Pop trinkets!, then you can smile and know that you are doing your job”. 🙂

    Apologies if it was not BRK – good advice either way!
    .-= BlueTiger´s last blog ..*cough cough* =-.

  9. Hmm, I had stuck 2 talent points over in Destro for Demonic Power (54/0/17). Perhaps not surprisingly, my succy outdps’s my felhunter. If I switch those two points over to Improved felhunter, will I see my buffed puppy doing better damage than my buffed succy?

  10. @jeffo
    Before 3.3 launched the talented Succy was the best regular dps pet (the Doomguard/infernal had better dps but are on timers). In 3.3 Blizz went to a lot of effort to buff the Felhunter. At this point EJ and SimulationCraft indicate talented Felhunter is the best dps pet for Affliction (I still need to mathify that to be certain).

  11. Thanks!

    Guess I’ll shuffle a couple of points around and get used to using the hound. I was tired of all that butt-slapping and squealing anyway.

  12. I was hoping to see you on last night as I was just thinking about the benefits of the haste potion vs Potion of Wild Magic. With the new glyph I was thinking the haste would be the greatest advantage but I have not really thought hard about it.

    I have been collecting some of the new Sp trinkets that have the Use function on them to increase our SP. It has been so long since I used an item like that, I am trying to figure out if a slight DPS increase would merit the change compared to the convenience of just letting items proc SP. With the proc I don;t have to worry about cooldowns and maybe using the item at a poor time but adding another 100+SP all the time is not something to ignore.

  13. @Roose
    At the moment all of my trinkets for my main gear set are proc trinkets.. but when they -are- on use trinkets I still kind of treat them like proc trinkets.

    My Corruption (and possibly a few other spells) is setup to automatically try and /use each of my trinkets if they’re available.

    My feeling is that much like your good china, if you save it for the perfect moment that moment may never come. Instead I’d rather use them practically all the time (even at potentially the wrong time) than get to the end of the fight and find out that I forgot to trigger my trinkets.

  14. I have sat back for years reading forums and such, just soaking up the information. I am not claiming to know everything about the warlock class, and my toon is still relatively weak in the grand scheme of things. BUT, I have spent countless hours trying to find the perfect balance in spec and rotation, so I feel I need to throw my input out there, and I hope it may help someone along the way..
    First off, COE will absolutely outperform COA at some point. COA hasn’t made up 13% of my dps in a long time, so COE is the obvious choice. IF there are no other like debuffs present in the raid, then it should always be used. Second, (and this is just my opinion btw) in an affliction spec, I always cast a cast timed spell directly followed by an instant, so u dont get hit with a gcd. If you cast corr then UA, u get hit with a gcd before u can cast UA, if you cast UA first, u dont get hit with the gcd. And in my opinion, the on use trinkets are a bit lacking in comparison to the procced ones, since they seem to proc all the time, and sometimes at the same time, which is awesome. Well, I would love to hear anything contrary to what I have said here. I would rather be informed than right..

  15. @damien
    wrt CoA vs CotEl, yeah, it turns out if no one else is covering it, CotEl is a DPS increase over CoA.

    wrt cast time vs GCD.
    On initial cast I have 4 spells to put up:
    Corruption (instant but triggers GCD)
    CotEl/CoA (instant but triggers GCD)
    Unstable Affliction (1.5 second cast. it does trigger GCD but that’s hidden in the cast)
    Haunt (1.5 second cast. Again, has GCD but hidden in the cast)

    No matter which order I cast them in, these spells are going to take a minimum of 4 GCD to get them all up. There’s no casttime benefit to re-ordering them.

    The only potential benefit is that if I can get Shadow’s Embrace up early it will effect the first ticks of the other spells. Also, Haunt enhances the other dots.. so getting it up early also effects those first ticks.

    This is why common knowledge says that on bosses you should cast a Shadow Bolt and then Haunt for 2stack of Shadow’s Embrace.. and then the other 3 spells. After the first two the order doesn’t really matter and after they’re all up it’s a priority based cast.. and you just put up whichever spell has gone down.

    wrt trinkets.
    I don’t have a firm stance. I’m of the belief that procs and “on use” are only useful if you use them.. and 9/10 times I’ll forgot to use and “on use”. So when I -do- have an “on use” I add that to my macro for my spell casting. I’d rather have the trinket used at the “wrong” time than have it never used. So for me there’s no real difference between the trinkets.

    That said, I have started using potions during boss fights. If we have a shaman then I’ll pop a Wild Magic potion during heroism/bloodlust. If we don’t have a shaman then I’ll pop a Speed potion at the point in the fight where we’d normally call for heroism/bloodlust.

    On the Saurfang fight we’re calling for heroism/bloodlust at the very beginning of the fight. So I’ve been pre-potting (taking a wild magic potion) just as the boss comes into the fight.. if I time it right then the “taking of a potion” doesn’t count.. and I’m able to take speed potion later on in the fight.

  16. On the topic of use trinkets, the Never Melting Ice Crystal from PoS ( is of particular interest because, although Blizzard fixed haste/spellpower rolling on Corruption, you can still roll your Critical strike value. This means that if you use this trinket (once I get one, I will macro it to Shadowbolt so as to make sure I always proc it before my other dots when I’m getting my first stack of Shadow’s Embrace up) with your first cast of corruption, and refresh it continually throughout the fight, Corruption will retain that heightened value for the entire fight. Even better would be to do as Nibuca suggested and pop a Wild Magic potion too as this adds even more to your initial critical strike. I’m not sure if this will be “fixed” too but seeing as how Blizzard looked at just this mechanic with haste and removed it, it would be hard to imagine them missing the implications of letting Corruption refresh with your initial Critical Strike rating.

  17. Im new to affliction and was hearing that our dots do and cannot crit, is that correct and if so the better meta choice for an affliction lock would be an Ember Skyflare Diamond?

    or, go with the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond for the extra 3% increased crit dmg, but would only apply to SB.

    Basically, what would be the better option regarding a Meta gem for an affliction warlock?

    Also, has anyone figured out if the Black Magic enchant, for an affliction lock, is the better enchant over +63 sp and if so by how much?

  18. Our DoTs CAN crit and that is partially why the Nevermelting Ice Crystal out of Pit of Saron is so desirable for Affliction locks. If you proc the trinket and then cast Corruption, the critical strike rating of your initial cast will persist so long as corruption is refreshed by Haunt/SB/Drain Soul.

    To answer your question, Chaotic > Ember or at least that has been my experience as well as the result I’ve consistently gotten from Simcraft.

    As for Black Magic, what I’ve read on EJ puts the straight SP enchant over black magic. I haven’t run the numbers myself but on the face of it, Black Magic doesn’t give enough of a consistent haste boost to be the better option.
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..Bring Out Your Dead! =-.

  19. I thought the Crit/Haste not refreshing was in a HoT fix? Or what that just the haste being fixed?

  20. The hotfix fixed the haste part of that. The rolling corruption still uses the initial crit value (or at least that’s what I’ve read).

  21. Ok, since I heard that it fixed it for both haste and Crit. I will slot the Ice Crystal for Boss fights and see how it goes.

  22. awsome thank you.

    I do however have another question. As an affliction lock, exactly how should we recast a dot?

    Re-cast right after it falls off (they say to do that because the last tick of our dots do the most dmg, what ive heard at least, ture?)?

    This is a very important subject being that the re-casting of our dots affects our dps greatly. Many sites state many different ways of replenishing dots, what is the most efficient way as to not lose dps, or to gain dps?

  23. @Rúin
    The answer depends on which spell you’re refreshing.

    Corruption: if you’re doing it right it will never fall off because of Everlasting Affliction. If it accidentally -does- fall off then just recast it as soon as you can.

    Unstable Affliction has a 1.5 second cast time(effected by haste). This means that you should start casting UA when there’s <1.5 seconds left in the dot. You don’t want to start early as you’ll overwrite the last tick and lose dps. You’ll get the most dps if you can get the cast off as early as possible without overwriting the dot.

    Haunt is kind of special. It’s not really a dot as it’s not doing damage. You have ~4 seconds in which to refresh it(after it comes off cooldown but before it drops). Anytime within those 4 seconds is fine. For highest DPS you should hold off until it’s 1.5 seconds away from dropping. That way in a full boss fights you have it up the most but spend the least time refreshing it.

    If you’re using Curse of Agony, it’s instant and its last tick is really powerful so you do not want to overwrite it. So do not cast CoA until it has fallen off the mob but cast it as soon after it falls off as possible.

  24. One other thing to note about Haunt is that it does have a travel time. Depending on your range to the boss, you can afford to wait longer on refreshing Haunt to squeeze in another Shadow Bolt or refresh Unstable Affliction. The farther away you are from the boss, the longer the gap between your character casting Haunt and the “DoT” actually appearing on the targeted enemy.

    In general you will increase your DPS if you don’t “clip” DoTs. Clipping means refreshing the DoT before the last tick of the DoT goes off. It doesn’t matter if the DoT actually does more damage the longer it ticks (ie Curse of Agony) or not (Corruption/Unstable Affliction/etc); in both cases it is a DPS loss to clip DoTs (save in very special circumstances but you needn’t concern yourself about those now). If you’re just starting out, err on the side of caution and let the DoT visibly fall off then start recasting. As you get better managing DoTs, then you can try optimizing the DoT uptimes (what Nibuca was talking about with respect to casting Unstable Affliction).
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..Bring Out Your Dead! =-.

  25. Ok, thats what I thought, I just wanted to be sure. You guys are very helpful and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

    Aside from those subjects, what addons are you folks using? Is there an addon that will physically show the ticks of each dot?

    Im currently using Forte (fx) and DOT timers (having trouble figuring how to operate this one lol, its enabled but I do not see it on my screen). Those are my only lock-specific addons.

  26. Ok, that is what I thought, I just wanted to be sure. I appreciate you two sharing your knowledge and your help.

    What lock-specific addons are you folks using? Is there an addon that will physically show each tick of our dots?

    Im having trouble configuring DOT timers, its enabled but doesn’t appear on my screen. I was wondering you could share your addons and how you have them configured.

    Also, the other day i popped my crystal trinket then cast corruption and it worked reguarding the rolling crit.

  27. @Nibuca

    Ah, finally some confirmation they won’t be changing this new “mechanic.” Still, haven’t seen the Nevermelting Ice Crystal drop though in 10+ runs of Pit of Saron.

    I use Forte, Quartz and PowerAuras primarily. Forte does have an option to show DoT ticks (it is in the configuration accessible via /fx and might be off by default). I use Forte mainly to show cooldowns (ie Haunt or Curse of Doom), Drains (ie Drain Soul which I have configured to show its ticks), and certain buffs (ie Glyph of Life Tap).

    I use Quartz to manage my DoTs like CoA, Unstable Affliction, Corruption, etc. Currently I have the DoTs appear on the top right of my casting bar with Forte bars appearing just below the casting bar.

    PowerAuras I use to remind me of certain things like entering the execute phase (boss drops to 25% health) or my glyph of life tap falling off.
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..Bring Out Your Dead! =-.

  28. Im going to have to play around with forte alot more. It’s a confusing addon to me, alot of the options I do not understand what they mean, other words, it isnt an addon thats as direct or as user-friendly as others that are in existence.

    again, thank you folks for the help. This forum has been more useful to me than many of the forums on EJ.

  29. I was looking at [Nevermelting Ice Crystal]. in the desc.

    Equip: Increases spell power by 111.
    Use: Increases your critical strike rating by [184 * 71564u] for 20 sec. Every time one of your non-periodic spells deals a critical strike, the bonus is reduced by 184 critical strike rating. (3 Min Cooldown)

    the Crit is dropped every time a non-tick Crits. So am correct in saying that after 5 Shadow Bolt Crits, the rolling Corruption Crit boost is gone?

  30. @Roose
    After 5 shadowbolts the crit bonus -on you- will be gone until the next time you “use” it. BUT because of a (afaik unfixed) bug, if you cast corruption when the crit bonus is up and if you keep it rolling via Neverending Affliction(refreshed via Haunt/Shadow Bolt or Drain Soul) then the corruption will continue to tick at the inflated crit rating, regardless of your current actual crit rating.

  31. @Roose

    You bring up a good point though, one discussed on Elitist Jerks, about the best time to use the Nevermelting Ice Crystal trinket. If you were to start of a fight by using the trinket, you risk having your opening Shadowbolt consume 1/5 of the trinket’s crit bonus. The best opening rotation to maximize your Critical Strike Rating on a target when you do your first (and hopefully only) hard cast of Corruption is:
    Life Tap (rank 1)
    Potion of Wild Magic
    Shadowbolt (shadow’s embracex1 and Improved Shadow Bolt on the target which adds 5% Crit)
    Haunt (shadow’s embracex2)
    Pop Nevermelting Ice Crystal trinket
    Corruption (the point of both the trinket and the potion is getting your critical strike value on the target as high as possible since if Corruption is refreshed by haunt/shadowbolt/drain soul/etc, it doesn’t update with your current critical strike rating but retain the initial one)
    Unstable Affliction/CoA
    CoA/Unstable Affliction
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..Bring Out Your Dead! =-.

  32. Next thought… My trinket is on cooldown for the start of the fight.. if I pop the trinket in the middle somewhere, how does that affect my rolling Curruption spell? Will I get the same benefit as if I popped it right before I started the fight or will it only give me the 20 sec buff?


  33. @Roose
    I assume that unless you let the corruption drop and re-cast it, it will continue to roll with your initial crit value. So if your trinket is on cooldown when the fight starts then the only way to roll it with the higher crit would be to drop it and recast it.

  34. okie… if i make a macro then for Nevermelting Ice Crystal. Would it be like this?

    /Cast Nevermelting Ice Crystal
    /Cast Corruption

    I normally do my rotation like this cuz Haunt have to travel to the target plus I’m on CoE duty. So to start off would be…

    CoE > LT > SB > Haunt > UA > “Nevermelting Ice Crystal/Corruption Macro” > SB (fillers)

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