Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Did you hear? Apparently there are, like, changes for classes happening in Cataclysm. No. Way. And, like, Blizz is totally announcing them. Get. Out.

Okay, you got me. I'm being sarcastic. And a little bit valley-girl or something. Whatev. It's just that apparently we're in the grips of a slow news... month? As soon as something - anything - hit the interwebz, everyone decided to write about it. Far be it from me to stop the dead horse beatings. As Sar put it: "Unfortunately, the problem with big announcements is every bloody damned blogger out there writes about them." It sounds really angry if you put it in an Australian accent and pout a bit.  I'm with you, Sar.  Yet here I am, writing about it anyways, because wtf else am I going to write about. 

So, at least I'm going to try to just keep it to my personal musings rantings.  Here's the things that popped out at me.  If you want the full report, I'm sure you can find it around

Here are my Warlocky Thoughts:
  •  The almost had me on this whole Fel Fire thing.  That is, until they said "this is similar to the Mage ability..."  and anything after that was lost in a blind rage.  Blizz, I appreciate the nod towards green fire and even maybe getting a true instant cast spell that could be useful, but for Light's sake stop treating us like Mages.  It's bad enough you gave them pets and us... nothing.  Probably give them "Super Mage Form" next where they become a huge fire elemental and deal extra damage for a set period of time.  
  • There was some shit about buffs.  Yeah, we don't do that.  Next.
  • They waved around some feeble ideas for soul shard revamps.  I hope it's not like the carrots in Ocarina of Time when you're riding Epona.  If you're a Legend of Zelda fan, you know what I'm talking about.  I can just picture three little soulshards and an annoying "boowip" sounds as they regen automatically out of combat.  I hope they don't go that route.  I still want to be evil and trap people's souls. 
  • Along those lines, I'm not sure about the special "combo" abilities they were suggesting.  Like consuming a UA for some instant damage?  I don't know how that would play out.  If it takes us two casts to do it (put on UA, then like consume a soul and something happens?), it could be useful, but it could also just be too slow.  I'm hoping for something to help Affliction Warlocks on quick dying stuff, but I'm not sure this is the answer.  The soul fire thing looked interesting though.  I love that spell on my Demo 'lock.  Instant cast would be awesome.
  • I like what they're doing with haste adding on to the end of DoTs.  It was sort of annoying when you'd get to higher levels of haste and have the darned things dropping off so fast.  I'm hoping this means they scale everything correctly so you don't just get super long DoTs either, but that it's just more ticks in the same amount of time.  This would make fiddling with a rotation a lot more precise.
  • I guess splitting up the Curses and making some Banes is a good thing.  I don't know though.  I mean what do I do when not on CotE duty?  CoW?  No way. It would be nice to have CotE and CoA (BoA) up though.  I wouldn't have to feel like I'm sacrificing DPS to help others, and we all know Warlocks are all about being selfish.  (See above buff statement).
  • It looks like pets might get more interesting.  As long as I get to keep using my Felpup and he synergizes well, I think I'm okay with this.  I really don't want to have to micro-manage though.  Still, set-it-and-forget-it is kind of boring too.  Maybe we can get a healthy medium?
  • They mentioned something about Drain Soul refreshing some stuff.  Looks like they're really trying to make this out finishing move.  Quite frankly, I love it.  I wish all the 'locks pulled out DS at the end.  It looks like we're Ghost Buster's and someone's just throw out that trap thingy of theirs.  Don't cross the streams.
  • As for the mastery stuff... what the hell is up with Blizz trying to force crit down our throats?  The stat is totally devalued with Affliction 'locks.  Haste is up near SP in terms of damage per point.  Crit is like half that.  Why would Demo's mastery involved haste but not Affliction?  Ugh.  That's so critty of them.
If you are a DK, I really have only two questions:
  1. WTF are they going to do about DW tanking?  I have my guess (it might go away), but I don't have to like it.  
  2. Why would we tank in Frost presence and spec in the Blood tree?  I really don't understand their choice of Blood as the "tank tree" here.  I can only hope it'll change or however they implement it will make more damn sense than what I'm seeing in the preview.  Sounds like a huge overhaul though.
All in all, it may sound like I'm sort of pissed about a lot of these changes.  I'm not.  I generally don't like change, but I understand what they're trying to do here.  This is also the reason I generally shy away from PTR crap.  Blizz has this annoying habit of giving us half formed ideas and vague summaries until they're actually ready for release.  It makes sense, because they don't want to get burned later, but if you try to take the changes at face value, I think they usually sound like crap.  We'll see how they end up implementing them, and I have some faith that they'll get most of it right.  They usually do.  For now, we can just pick out the general direction in which Blizz seems to want to head.

For 'locks - I think they're finally going to help some of our "up front" damage.  They're looking at ways to give us more instant stuff and ways to cut DoTs short so they damage all at once.  To me this screams "we want you to be better on add fights".  They also want to make pets more integral, more than just set-it-forget-it.  They want to give us more utility in raid situations.  That's probably a good thing.  It also looks like they want to give Demonology some much needed love.  They want to strengthen our finishing power, and, last but not least, they want to fix the shard system using what they've learned from DKs (you know that's their baseline).  Expect all these things to reflect themselves in the final solution.  The bad news is that they're also going to be looking a lot at what works for Mages and try to apply it a bit for us.  Since I guess we are pretty much Mages that decided to be evil (and badass), it makes sense from a lore point of view I suppose.  I just hope we don't lose the "evil" part.

For DKs - They're going to cut down the trees and plant new ones.  Not totally new, but not the smorgasbord they are today.  It's going to be a lot clearer what tree does what.  There will be a "tank" tree.  It will most likely be Blood.  DW tanking will probably go away.  Sad day.  More on DKs still to come, though.

Now that I've got one spell of Green Fire in the works, I think I want Black Ice for my DK too.  I mean, blue ice is so passe.  Just one spell though, Blizz, don't overdo it.  :-)


  1. I'd like to see Soul shards have "charges" or stacks rather than the changes they're intending. That would certainly save the hassle of inventory issues.

    But that's just me.

    The rest of the changes are a bit of "meh" to me. Seem to pale in comparison to the ele/resto shaman stuff.

  2. Listen here, mister. The only thing I read about that new Fel Fire thing that's similar to a mage is that it's a mixed breed of damage. It being INSTANT pwns any type of bolt I've gotta cast...but you're probably right about the other stuff -- I assume I'll have an ability that allows me to morph into Anomalus and conjure my own rifts of death.

  3. I'm similarly underwhelmed.

    Couple of corrections: UA+Soul Burn doesn't consume, it turns it into Immolate. It's a buff, but it's not a very interesting one. Crit is increasingly significant, once it factors into all shadow DoTs (the fine print of the changes). It's already a big deal on rolling corruption.

    The biggest problem with the new soul shard system is going to be balancing the desire to make it feel like a useful and significant resource in PvE, while not making it a win button in PvP.

    I'm also gutted that we don't actually drain souls any more.

    I did a line-by-line of my own.

    Cheers, Ralimenua

  4. You don't sound "sort of pissed", you sound (kind of irrationally) indignant. I'm a bit thrown by this, because I've enjoyed your blog very much for a while now. Are the people who play warlocks required to be surly IRL too? Fel Flame is only related to Frostfire in involving two schools of magic. But if you're going to go off about mage-comparisons, why not address that Dark Intent is a full-scale Focus Magic knockoff? Yes, they should up the immersion factor by making it sound more menacing, that you're symbiotically leeching off your teammates, but it's absolutely a self-buff in the end. And complaining about an entirely-broken (plus uncommon to boot) mage spec getting fixed via an elemental, when you have freaking demons from level one? Guess you wanted something in return for them getting a bit of your pet flavor, but since you don't want anything remotely related to magedom, how exactly could Blizz have satisfied you there?

    I guess pre-expansion is an eye-opening time, because otherwise-compatible people can have very different perspectives on pre-release information. (I.e. I have faith that if they're forcing crit down my throat, other changes in the expansion will make it useful to me even if it isn't now. And yes, they get that balance/coefficient stuff wrong a lot, but I have no proof whatsoever that it can't/won't happen here. ...Cos if you want to talk put-upon, I've raided as a shadow priest! And I loved my class even as they struggled to get it balanced.) These aren't "vague summaries", they are specific spell examples across a range of mechanics (buffs, spell classes, spell types, stats, casting times, movement, etc.) that indicate where they are headed with class design and how the class will play in the future! They've done some vague shit in the past (those stupid Q&As last year), and these previews are a huge step up IMO.

  5. "Why would Demo's mastery involved haste but not Affliction?"
    ^ Exactly my first thought. Then I looked at how many "haste" talents we have in affliction... >.> <.< Oh yeah, we have more crit talents...So this is probably their version of combining all those little halves of talents that say "and increases the critical strike chance of [X] by Y%."

  6. "I can just picture three little soulshards and an annoying "boowip" sounds as they regen automatically out of combat."

    I almost choked on my Lon Lon Milk while reading that. Bravo.

  7. I am really excited about making blood the tanking tree. Right now it is really strong, and a ton of end game raiders are using it. The self-healing in the spec makes it different from other tanks. I love tanking in blood and I do have a frost spec. I am much happier that blood was chosen, so many more tanky talents. Frost tanky talents will move to the blood tree, and my guess is that you are right about DW tanking. Honestly though very few death knights know how to do it properly. Many of them have the wrong weapons and not enough expertise for it. It yields less TPS unless you have some pretty awesome gear and you have the required stats for it. I see DK tanks abusing the DW thing and not researching how it should be done. I'm not too sad if it goes away. It doesn't really add anything to the dk tank, you just look cooler wearing two weapons. In many cases though, it is an inferior way to tank.

  8. @Darth - Agreed. On both accounts.

    @Rali - Great post, I popped you on my warlock bloglist on the left too. Keep up the good work!

    @Havoca and all mages everywhere - I'll eat my hat the day I see a Mage spell described by a dev: "It's like the 'lock spell only..."

    @Geeni - Definitely irrational and indignant. I would call this working as intended then :-). There are so many "just covering the changes" posts out there right now, I wanted to make it a bit more interesting by "going off the deep end". You're totally right though: it's probably unfair, Blizz is doing better with communications, and it'll all probably be all right in the end. Then again, maybe it won't (/evilcackle)

    @Pon - I can only hope that as Geeni pointed out, the keep increasing the value we get from Crit if they're going to go this route. I mean, as long as the damage is there I guess it doesn't really matter. Who doesn't like shorter cast times though, too...

    @Abi - I'm glad someone got that Zelda ref. Man that sound used to drive me nuts, but I loved riding around on the horse!

    @Kayllnn - Blood tanking is great for ST tanking but not as strong with AoE tanking, at least that's what I've heard. If they shore up the AoE (I want my howling blast! or maybe howling blood?), then it could be totally as cool as frost (pun intended?). I will miss the DW tanking niche though, even if it's often misunderstood. I guess we'll just have to see.

  9. For the most part, the Warlock goodies seem nice. Affliction looks like it will be even more fun to play. Not sure how I feel about the Soul Shard changes. I like some of the combos, but I wanna suck out some SOULS, dammit.

    I think DW DK tanking may still be viable. They could have enough non-DPS DW talents near the top of the Frost tree. Remember, they're not adding another tier to the trees, so you'll have an extra 5 points to work with in Frost.

  10. That's true. I can always hope for the best :-)

  11. Ya blood tanking is such a great raid spec. For my heroics and trash in ICC I run frost right now. I have done blood aoe and been okay but the spec has to be built for aoe. And... ya it isn't as fun. I am sure they will work with our aoe threat, but if specd right and glyphed correctly blood's aoe is fine in heroics, never equaling a pally tho. So I agree and will hope for a new ability for aoe!

  12. I'm kind of surprised that you are a (semi?) keen on things involving more crit. Me, I have a huge hate-on for the RNG and crit's love affair with it.

    When I was playing my fire mage (which is extremely crit dependent), I really hated the inconsistencies with fights. On the same boss, I could see a 500 - 1000 change in my dps. Being that unpredictable is a little annoying, so says I. :P

    A calculated, constant value (such as haste) is a much more preferable system to me.

  13. Well if they do it right and we get a lot of benefit from crit, it wouldn't be too bad, especially with higher amounts of it. I'm not fan of RNG, but even at like 25% that's 1 in 4 attacks that should crit and there's a casino-like feel to it that's kind of fun.

    Don't get me wrong though, I would much rather have haste. If they're going do push Crit, it better be damn useful is what I'm saying. Right now, haste is almost twice as good for Affliction.