Monday, December 1, 2008

Confetti Thoughts or DPS Status Update

Today I have just a couple scattered thoughts I wanted to share.

First, has anyone else noticed that warlock scaling has seemed better as we level? I know this is to be expected, and I'm just somewhat relieved to actually see it. Lately, just questing around the world I've seen numbers as high as 1500DPS at level 75. This was on some of the longer fights, but I've also noticed things aren't dying when my tank breathes on them. Again, I know this was to be expected, it's just nice to start noticing it.

I've heard the warlock community in general bemoan the loss of our lock (pun intended) on the top DPS spots on raid damage meters. Kara in particular was rough when viewed pre- and post-patch. I mean, one day we're respectable on trash and smoking bosses, and the next everything is dying far too fast for us to make our presence felt. It's nice to see that we appear to be scaling properly, though we may have quite a bit of competition at the raid level for the top DPS honors. This is not a bad thing. Plus, it is still nice to hear other people being excited to "beat the warlock" in their respective groups. However, we do have a reputation to uphold, so it's imperative that we stay sharp!

My second thought follows sort of along the same lines. You may have read elsewhere that Blizz intends to, at some point, implement a "dual spec" feature. While details aren't exactly hammered in felsteel (are they ever?), the goal is to allow people to carry two specs without spending gold to swap between them. On one hand, this is great news. It'll let you try out specs and, as a warlock, maybe carry one burst-damage-for-trash type spec and one killing-em-slowly-for-bosses type spec. You may or may not be able to switch on-the-fly, but at least you'll have options. The downside to this for warlocks is that we are not a hybrid class. How much better, then, is this dual speccing for a hybrid class? I mean, look at the utility they can bring to a raid. If the pure DPS classes aren't more than pulling their weight in DPS, how would one justify the utility loss?

Now, perhaps that is over dramatic, but it does kind of put a sour note on this whole "dual spec" business for me. It all depends on how they implement it. Say, if you had to pick your spec before starting a raid, then that's fine. Spots would still be chosen based on need. However, if you can swap on the fly, you might start to see some of the normal "DPS generic" spots become "DPS utility" spots. Then you'd have the same number of DPS people fighting for fewer spots (in the case of pure DPS classes). These utility spots would be hard to justify giving to a pure-DPS class, because you lose so much utility to the raid. Need another healer for just one fight? DPS utility. Need an extra tank? DPS utility.

Would this be a huge issue? No, probably not. However, I'd like to feel at least that I'm compensated for my lack of being able to tank/heal, by continuing to be the best at what I WANT to do: DPS. I wouldn't have chosen a pure-DPS class if I had been interesting in tanking and healing, but I know what I like: killing things. With prejudice.

In any case, a recent post from Ghostcrawler sort of reassured me, as this goal I believe is a good one. Depending on implementation, I think it can be a real benefit to game play:

Our goal with dual-spec though is more that you can tank heroics on weekends and raid as dps during the week, not that you tank the trash then switch to dps for the boss. Doubtless players will still do the latter, but we aren’t designing raid encounters knowing that players have access to dual spec. Don’t expect to see 12 tank fights or that sort of nonsense.

In any case, we probably won't see this in a patch for a month or two still, as they're obviously still tweaking it. I'd like to try Demon Form when it finally does show up, and then probably work out a more "burst-centric" spec without losing my Affliction roots. The goal would be to have an "off-spec" for those occasions where burst damage is really a necessity. For instance, that fight with the floating lady in ATOK. Its rough killing those sacrificial minions before they get to her circle when you're DoTting. That would be a great use of a "burst spec".

I also hope that my hard work and studying up on my class will pay off in the raid scene, justifying the fact that I will only do one thing: kill.


  1. Well, GC's already said that basically you can swap specs anytime you're not in (1) a fight or (2) an arena.

    I think the big utility for Warlocks is going to be a solo, super-survivable deep-demo spec versus a preferred spec for raids (destro or aff, your pick). I know I saw my DPS take a dive in raids as a demo spec (a couple hundred DPS or so); however, as demo, I can solo old instances or blow through mobs for leveling with blinking.

    That's why I'm looking forward to dual specs on my 'lock.

  2. Yeah, that's what I've heard too. So I wonder how that gels with the stated "vision" of the ability.

    While it will be nice to be able to have that solo and raid spec, I feel that that doesn't really compare to the utility gained by hybrid classes. My stance is, as long as the pure-DPS classes keep the "chance" to do the best damage (that is to say, if the skill of the player and gear/level of the characters were equal, a Warlock should out DPS a Druid or Shaman), then I'm okay with this.

    However, the fear is that the pure-dps classes become a "secondary" class because of their lack of utility if they aren't given something "special". For warlocks, this had always been some sweet DPS. We don't have good CC, we don't add a whole lot of group buffs (there are some nice things, but I feel on the whole we're lighter on these than other classes). We kill stuff... simple as that.

    As long as we haven't been screwed up to the point where we can't keep our identity as a class, we should be fine. I don't like to QQ about stuff and more often blame a lack of skill for lower DPS than the great and all-powerful Blizz, but this is certainly one change I greet with mixed feelings.

  3. I can completely understand how pure dps classes can complain about not really having a "utility" but...

    As a paladin, I would almost be obligated to dual spec a healer & a tank because why on earth would I want to have a lolret since it is so easy to fill that DPS position. I have a feeling that a good majority of Hybrid classes will be pigeonholed into this setup because it's far more practical to be able to fill those needed spots.

    Why can't I DPS :(

    /QQ off