Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Kissed A Raid And I Liked It ('Lock Update)

We got our first chance to raid something last night. What with many of our addons still busted, and most of us feeling like we no longer know how to play our class, we decided to aim low and hit Ulduar up last night. We figured it was a good middle ground of non-faceroll and not too hard (also not requiring us to reset our LK ID).  Thus, I got two hours of very good practice in last night.

The first thing I noticed is that I do feel a little lost in my Affliction rotation right now.  Just enough has changed that it's throwing me off.  That, and the fact that my X-perl is broken, so I'm forced to go to the backup timers in Fortex, which aren't bad, just not what I'm used to.  Necrosis is also broken.  Those were two biggies for me.  The things I miss about Necrosis is just the convenience of the wheeled, pull out menus.  With demon summoning getting a built-in pull out, this isn't such a big deal.  However, I miss the all-in-one buttons for healthstones and soulstones.  I may just write up a macro for these when I get some time.  I'll pass it along if I do.  For X-perl, I loved the bigger personal debuffs with countdown numbers, plus I don't really like how the deault UI handles buffs and debuffs. 

Does anyone have a clever addon that deals with only these things and doesn't replace the raid frames?  I'm not altogether displeased with the out-of-box solution that Blizz provided, and the free colored flares are awesome for raid leading.  Made fight explanation a lot easier (i.e. you stand on the green flare, we'll stand on the blue flare, go team!).  Also, the role check is nice too.

Otherwise, overall I'm actually rather happy.  For the first time since Wrath dropped, it feels like they've made Affliction harder to play.  Not only are you juggling one more DoT (since you can chose both a Bane and a Curse), but you have decisions to make near the end of each mob.  Do you soul swap?  Do you drain soul?  Do you blow a shard to empower your drain soul?

On a single boss, the answer is easy: Drain Soul as usual.  Apart from adding BoA to the mix, your approach should really remain unchanged.  Under 25%, swap in DS for your Sbolt spam.  Make sure to keep your Shadow's Embrace up, but otherwise it's all DS.  When you can begin to anticipate a long "spam session", (that is: when your DoT refreshes are lining up so that you can spend an extended time not worrying about them) that's when it's a good time to blow a shard, empower your DS, and go to town.  I was getting huge numbers doing this, but it was rather difficult to weave in, and you really only get one shot at it on a typical raid boss due to the empower cooldown.  Thus, it's important to choose the spot wisely.

Soul Swap adds another interesting mechanic to trash and fights with adds.  Since I'm glyphed for it, it means that when I use it, I basically make a copy/paste of my DoTs instead of the default cut/paste.  Thus, it's a good idea for me, when a trash mob is close to dying, to make sure I get a Soul Swap in there (it is even if you're unglyphed, though you want to make sure the thing is going to die or suffer the wrath of a RL).  The length of time you "hold" the DoTs is longer than you'd think, and the cooldown is shorter than you'd think (at least how it felt to me), so it really seemed effective at keeping my DPS up on fights where I used to completely suck (read: Razorscale).  It's important to note that, if you're using a typical rotation, Soul Swap will only swap three spells: Corruption, BoA, and UA.  Therefore, I usually start right away with a CotE and Haunt, then get right into S-bolts.  It might even be advantageous (if you've got the AoE CotE) to pop elements on the last target to die so that you're not having to reapply it.  It's an interesting thought I'll have to play with some to get used to the range and such. 

I'm thinking about changing my starting salvo to work better with soul swap.  I found myself trying to get DoTs up on quick dying trash because, thereafter, I could soul swap and get three spells for the GCD of one.  It's a great trade.  Also, I think I want to get used to putting CotE and Haunt first, then follow with two s-bolts to get SE up, just to get in the habit of it.  That way, when I swap, I'll already be reaching for those buttons.  Hence, my starting rotation is working towards something like:

CotE - Haunt - SB - SB - BoA - Corr - UA - Refresh - Spam - Under 25% DS, empower at a good spot

For quick dying trash, I may just try to get my DoTs up first, I don't know.  The goal is to get comfortable with something, so I can spend less time staring at my debuff timers, and more time watching the fights.  I did get a chance to throw in some DSs when the boss was above 25%, and they didn't really seem as effective as shadowbolts.  The under 25% bonus really makes them worthwhile, plus the empowerment makes you see some really huge numbers (I think I got average crits around 30k!  Plus I was critting more than normal ticks).  I just used the recount data to analyze these things, so hardly anything concrete and scientific, but still, it's something.  My most significant sources or damage were my three main DoTs (mostly Corr) and Sbolts, as one would expect.

My damage output appeared pretty decent.  When comparing my normal position on the charts (running with roughly the same group of folks), I was pretty much in the same place: fighting for the top spot.  Mages, S-priests, even Hunters still looked pretty solid.  Ret Pallies got sucker punched it seems, though one of our resident ret pallies seemed to kick it into high gear near the end of the raid.  I think, perhaps, the class has just been made a bit more complicated.  He said he really had to work on being more precise with a rotation/priority systems.  I think I feel like my overall DPS might have been lower than normal, but also, we're hardly running at 100% efficiency at this stage of the game.  Learning is still an issue, so is getting my setup back to where I want it, so I'm not sure where that leaves me in the grand scheme of things.

I think Affliction is in good shape overall.  I worry that across the board we might all have gotten a slight nerf at 80, which may negatively effect raiding.  I'm hoping that the all the new spells and utilities help out.  I'm certainly enjoying mine.  Even on trash/add fights, my DPS is far more consistent, which is pure win.  Not having to worry about shards for things like summoning (both demonic and human), health stones, and soul stones is win as well.  I didn't get a chance to try out the addition of a Doomguard or Infernal yet, but they're on my bar (just had other things on the mind).

I plan to update my Affliction guides within the next week to reflect 4.0 changes.  I've already done some of the preliminary research that I need to do, and I wanted to pass along those links for those of you chomping at the bit.  For the 4.0.1 EJ Simulationcraft data, go here.  I will pull my new pawn values from here, and use that to figure out what the new stats mean to me.  Affliction is coming in a close second to Destro, so it looks like a good balance.  I'm more of the "affliction_drain" spec they have on there, if you look, but we've touched on the fact that I'm picking up things like S&F first because of the group utility it provides.  In my typical ten man group, it's useful.  You may decide otherwise.  Finally,  I've read that the pet comparison really hasn't changed all that much, though I haven't really seen the numbers to back it.  I need to read more of this thread here at EJ.  For now, I'm using my Felpup because he's my fave.  I think the Succubus is a few (like 50) DPS higher.  You should probably be using one of the two as Affliction. 

That's all for now!  I'm going to have to save up to 5k gold so I can buy 310% flight speed.  I'll probably just do a bunch of Argent dailies.  Especially the kill quest.  That'll help me get used to the new-ish rotation.  I also need to give my demo spec a run.  I'll be giving a look at that early next week as well.  I haven't even specced my DK yet.  Oh, and also, I'm missing all of my non-80 toons from my login screen.  The server still thinks I have 5 toons, but they don't show up.  Anyone else having this problem?  I'm thinking a ticket is in order...


  1. The glyph of soul swap is awesome. I found that the cooldown it imposes is nothing at all. 10 seconds goes by fast when you pop off a few SB's and refresh Corr, it's a definate win of a glyph.

    On a side note, it looks like just about all spellcasters benefit from this patch, including Frost Mages. I'm glad they made Ret Pali more complicated. I'm sorry to all those Rets out there, but their rotations at the end of Wrath weren't that difficult in order to put up good numbers. But if I recall correctly, GC basically said that they wanted to separate the good Rets from the bad ones with these new mechanics. They appear to have succeeded.

  2. Yep, total must have. And I'm not tore up about the ret pallies either :-).

  3. I'm leveling a new Warlock as Demonology so I specced my old Warlock Affliction to check out Soul Swap. So far, I think I like it but it's still so new (Affliction in general) that I keep forgetting I even have it. I was curious about which pet to use for Aff as well and went with the Felhunter, but I didn't put any points in Demo for more Shadow Bite damage. I prefer him/her/it over the Succy even though the Succy seemed to put out a little more damage.

    My Forte addon is only working for my Lock, which is good and all, but it's killing me not having it on my Priest >.>

  4. @Abi - You hit it on the head: Succy seems to be top DPS but I still use my Felpup. Recall the Felpup has the Fel Intellect buff, and my group uses that most of the time. Depends on the week. I'll be looking into the harder theorycraft numbers soon.