Monday, October 18, 2010

Preliminary 4.0.1 Demonology Spec

As we continue deeper into patch 4.0.1, I've found that it's time to deal with my second spec for my Warlock.  Traditionally, I've gone demo, and this shall be no different.  I love having a more utility/survival oriented off-spec for times when just killing isn't enough.  To be honest, my demo spec is the one I prefer to run around the world in, doing dodgy quests and the like.  It's just so much fun to round up stuff, pop demon form and Immolation Aura and watch the bodies hit the floor.  In any case, today is a preliminary look at my demo spec.

Eventually, I plan to rework all of my guides on the left and update them for 4.0, but our first two quick spec posts here have generated a lot of great discussion (and should lead to better guides), so I like going with a "prelim" post first.  This means I would love feedback.  My goal is to start here, and then as information becomes more readily available at theorycrafting sites and such, to compile that information into an updated guide.  So, for now, please read, consider, and respond.  Leaving links to your sources of research would help me a ton too.  In other words, I'm not claiming to "know it all" yet.  Like most of you, I'm just trying to use the information as its presented to make the best choices I can.

When reviewing this spec, recall my aim isn't necessarily to be the top DPS raid spec (demo rarely is that), but to have a solid spec that offers playability, survivability, and some fun AoE damage for when you want to pwn face.  This doesn't mean you can't tell me where you're going to put your raid points, I'd love to hear that and it might help others.  I just don't want to see the "you're an idiot" comment from someone who thinks the only thing there is to do in this game is raiding.  It is always important to understand your overall goal before you spec.  Raiding is only one goal.

Shut up, Ful! Spec already.  K, here 'tis:

I updated my spec based on feedback.  I'm not updating the above image, but a better spec can be found here.
In filling up the tree, I left out Improved Health Funnel, Mana Feed, and Master Summoner.  For IHF, I just generally don't use health funnel.  In PvE, it's usually not a big deal.  If you're an PvP person, this might be more useful for you.  For me, regular funnel works fine in a pinch, though I did end up glyping it because there isn't a whole lot to choose from for minors anyways.

I didn't take Mana Feed because I feel like I have a ton of mana right now.  I can't see taking anything to help with mana consumption, because I'm hardly even life tapping as it is.  As for Master Summoner, demon summons are now made instant by burning a soul shard.  Thus, I didn't feel like taking this talent either. 

I did fill up Bane and Improved Immolate.  I plan to use both spells a lot.  As I level, the difficult choice is going to be whether to go for Improved Corruption or Shadow and Flame next.  I like both talents, but am leaning towards S&F at this point.  Corruption just isn't as big of a deal for non-Affliction 'locks.

For Prime I picked up Immolate, Metamorphosis, and Felguard.  Immolate is a no-brainer as long as we're using the spell.  We should also be using our Felguard exclusively, so that one is pretty simple too.  I chose to go with Meta since I love the spell and it should be a nice DPS boost.  It may be better to roll with BoA here though, or something else to improve a less situational spell.

In the Major slots, I ran with Soul Link, Shadowflame, and Fear.  Soul Link is great to improve surviveability, which is why I went with that.  For Shadowflame and Fear: I tend to run around the world in my Demo spec.  That means if there is ever any random PvP, or if I choose to PvP, it will likely be in my demo spec.  Plus, I solo in demo.  I think this goal makes picking up these utility glyphs a pretty obvious choice.  It'll also give me a good chance to try out the new Fear mechanic to see if its worth it on my main spec (for Cata dungeons, if the vaunted use of CC does, indeed, return to us).

Our Minor glyphs still pretty much suck.  I nabbed Drain Soul like I did for my raid spec, then I grabbed Health Funnel as mentioned above.  I figured might as well.  Finally, I ended with the 'lock staple minor: Unending Breath.  It really is the coolest of the minor glyphs, though how often do we find ourselves in a river thinking: "Yeah, I would love to go just a small bit faster here.  Not a lot, heavens no, we're not a sealform Druid.  A little is nice though."  I think they should make Unending Breath put us on a demonic Jet-Ski, but that's just me.

Pre 4.0 I was going with this:

Curse > Corr > Immo > S-bolts (Above 35%); (Below 35%) keep Corr and Immo rolling for Molten Core procs and spam Soul Fire as soon as you can get a Decimation going.

So far, I don't think a whole lot has changed.  We now can do both BoA and CotE, so I would throw both of those at the front.  (You may want to use Bane of Doom, I haven't checked the numbers yet, but make sure stuff will live long enough for it to pop).  You want to watch for procs the same way you did previously.  When molten core pops, I tend to go with an Incinerate.  It can slightly improve your DPS.  I believe they lowered the Decimate mark from 35% to 25% health, so check the tooltip for that.  Obviously, that'll just mean that we have a small window of "Decimate Phase".  Since Soul Fire can be made instant by burning a shard, I would use that combination to initiate my Decimate phase, but a Shadowbolt will always work too. So now we have this:

CotE > Bane > Immo > S-bolt (above 25%); Immo > Soul Fire (below 25%); Watch your procs, use Meta appropriately.  Use Hand of Gul'dan to refresh Immo when you can.  

(edit: modified after reading Abi's post and comments. Basically I want to drop Corruption and make sure to use HoG'd when appropriate.)

Metamorphosis still functions like a "super trinket", so pop it whenever you feel like being a hero.  Or just pop it to scare kids, your choice.  It opens up several abilities, but the most useful is the Immolation Aura.  This, along with the new Hand of Gul'dan and our normal AoE abilities can make for some great AoE numbers.  For single target, these spells aren't as useful, but on groups they're great.  Just be careful of pulling aggro, because you'll probably end up tanking if you throw all these together.  Great out in public, bad news in a raid.

For a single target boss, it's still a good idea to pop meta, charge in, pop Immo Aura, and then keep your rotation going.  I like to back load all my damage, so I tend to save meta for the end.  Finishing power is fun.  Additionally, if the fight is long, you want to pop an early meta so you can potentially use it twice.  You're going to have to gauge that for yourself, though. 

This is how I'm rolling.  I probably won't raid with it for a while (while I relearn Affliction), but I've already been using this out doing dailies and the like.  It doesn't seem like the "feel" of the spec has changed too much.  It still offers great survivability, better up-front damage than Aff'locks may be used to, and a fun, proc-based rotation.  Whereas Affliction may be more of a trance state of sustained death, demo to me feels more like a Captain Mayhem approach.  How are you demo 'locks out there doing it?  Similar?  Different?  Let me know.

(Edit: After I finished this, I headed over to Abi's site and he has a deeper look than I do.  We came to a lot of the same conclusion, which is good because he's always who I've patterned my demo playing after.)


  1. Few things I think you missed.

    Bane of Doom ticks every 15s now, not 1 min like before, so mobs are more likely to live long enough enough for it to do something, plus your Impending Doom talent buffs it.

    "When molten core pops, I tend to go with an Incinerate" - they changed Molten Core, it now works *only* for Incinerate, you have no choice.

    Hand of Guldan - use this even on single targets as it resets the duration of Immolate and does big damage too.

    Shadowflame is good to use as part of the Meta+Charge+ImmoAura sequence.

    Finally, Meta plus being able to channel Hellfire while moving is great fun in battlegrounds.

  2. Question - As Demo are you not throwing in your Infernal or your Doom Guard? Since we can keep our Felguard out and still have the Infernal come in and beat on stuff too, it just feels like an extra free pet every 10 minutes. Seems to work great on bosses. Not to mention BoD now has the chance to summon a second demon that will fight for you for awhile and it seems to proc a lot.

    Yay for 3 demons beating on stuff for you at the same time!

  3. Fulguralis said...


    Yes, I did miss those. Haven't looked at Demo as hard as Affliction, but wanted to get the spec out there anyways. In order...

    -I think I shall use BoD now, sort of makes that decision easier.
    -Before, you could always ignore your MC procs and keep on with s-bolts... the DPS gain wasn't huge. That was the choice I was referring to.
    -I suppose I missed the part where it refreshes Immolate, so that's an obvious win.
    -Yes, I use shadowflame as well like this. My biggest problem is pulling aggro though and getting squished.
    -I forgot about moving hellfire. Good times.

    @TD - Like I said, I generally am just running around doing dailies and such with my Demo spec at this point. For that, I don't usually throw out the DG or Infernal. Those are definitely good things to throw out when you're facing a boss though. I actually need to get in the habit of doing it more.

  4. Hi Fulguralis, may I suggest some changes for you to test (PvE):

    - First, I will remove Demonic Empowerment. Now, this talent only remove stuns and snares from Fel Guard.
    - I also removed one point from Aura of Foreboding. Since this only add 1 second to stuns, I can live without.
    - Those two points, I put in Mana Feed. That way I can Life Tap lesser in many fights.
    - In Destruction tree, I am using Shadow and Flame instead of Improved Immolate, but this seems just a personal choice.

    - For the rotation, I am using Hand of Gul'Dan to refresh my Immolate (remove Immolate from rotation if you can refresh with HoG).
    - I macroed Felstorm with my Shadow Bolt.
    - Bane of Doom is very nice for Demos, because of Impending Doom: this spell now summon little Imp and reduces the cooldom of Metamorphosis
    - Also, summon my Doom guard right before the Bloodlust.

  5. I had a huge comment to post to you and Blogger ate it and errored out.. blargh.

    I'll type it all out again when I get home instead of relying on the works internet lol.

    The short version is "great post and here is what I do differently" but in more words.

  6. Round 2..

    The only thing I'd do differently with your spec is drop Demonic Empowerment since it sucks now and only put 1 point in Aura of Foreboding since the extra point just extends the stun for 1 second. Then put those 2 points in Mana Feed. Like you said though, we're not having mana issues right now, but any time you Life Tap you're losing DPS to global cooldowns, especially since they changed the Life Tap glyph so it doesn't boost damage anymore.

    In Destro, I'd prefer Shadow and Flame over Improved Immolate since Shadowbolt and Incinerate are your primary fillers. Either way you look at it, you won't cast Shadowbolt, Incinerate or Immolate beyond 25% so it's personal preference, but Shadowbolt is ALWAYS my #1 damage spell on Recount.

    Major Glyph-wise, I went with Life Tap and Shadowbolt over Shadowflame and Fear, but I'm leveling on a PVP server from 80-85 so I'll be going for Shadowflame and Fear until 85. Nice choices!

    As for the rotation, Bane of Doom is far better than Bane of Agony since it ticks every 15 seconds now and has a 50% chance per tick as Demonology to spawn a demon companion to attack the target. It's nice!

    My basic rotation goes like-
    CotE, BoD, Immolate, Shadowbolt filler, HoG to refresh Immolate. Swap to Incinerate x3 for MC procs and keep Immolate rolling with HoG.

    Don't forget to blow your Infernal/Doomguard before Bloodlust/Heroism as well now that we can use 1 pet and 1 guardian at the same time.

    Great post though. I always love seeing Demonology get a spotlight ^_^. Can't wait to see how we look at 85, though!!

  7. @Sabin and Abi - Thanks for the great feedback. I'm definitely going to have to swap some things around because of it. Obviously I'd looked a Affliction a lot longer than demo (since I raid primarily aff'lock), but I have always really enjoyed my demo offspec (and used it in raids that are non-aff'lock friendly). Point being, I want to get it "right".

    You'll be able to see the modified talents by the link I fixed in the caption. I'm going to leave the picture because it's a good place to start.

    Also, I did update the rotation based on feedback as well. Eventually I'll make this all prettier in a guide form to link on the left side.

  8. Discussion is a wonderful thing, especially in WoW. I've learned a lot about alt specs and even my own spec just based on comments and player discussion. I always prefer "this is how I do things and this is why it works for me" as opposed to "this is the right way". Good stuff!