Monday, July 11, 2011

What Happened to Demo?

This may be a knee-jerk reaction from me, but I thought it a good place to perhaps start some conversation.  I've not had much of a chance to make use of my Demonology off-spec since Cataclysm dropped, and only recently have I begun running with it more regularly.  I used to use it all of the time for dailies, and now that dailies have become a, well, daily occurrence again, it makes sense to revive my favorite solo-spec.

That being said, I have some initial misgivings.  I've been wracking my brain all morning, trying to wedge my thoughts into something that vaguely resembles a well-formed thought.  However, I cannot.  There is no single idea or collection of ideas that I can point to and say: "Here, this is what is bothering me."

Yet, bothered I am.  Demo feels clunky.  In the past, one of the draws was the simplicity with which you could do moderate DPS.  That is to say, where my Affliction spec failed was with short-lived things.  The kind of things you might find while doing dailies.  Demo shined in these cases.  It combined good up-front damage with survivability to make knocking out repeatable quests enjoyable.  I felt powerful as Demo where I felt weak as Affliction.

Somewhere along the line, I feel like that's changed.  I feel like Demo was pushed a little too far into Affliction territory.  But I can't really put my finger on why.

Perhaps it is the rotation.  Before I would fire off a curse, an Immolate, and then some bolts.  It wasn't a "raid" rotation, but it was great for short lived things.  Now, I have a bane and a curse, plus Immolate, and bolting just doesn't feel as powerful as it once was.  I'm not sure why.  I don't recall any specific nerfs to Demo bolts.  Also, the addition of a bane means one more thing to try to throw up.  Daily trash just doesn't live that long when you're raid geared.

Perhaps it is the demon.  For a while, Demo locks were supposed to use the felling Succubus.  I believe now we've been pushed back to the Felguard, but the big guy just doesn't feel as potent as he once was.  Maybe it's all perception.  I mean, the numbers back him, right?  Maybe it's just the fact that that skinny skank is so close in DPS.  Also, he seems to die a lot more easily.  I miss the old school Chuck Norris Felguard.   

Perhaps it's just me.  It's been a while and I'm not as fluid with the buttons.  My fingers are trained for Affliction, and Demo is just different enough for me to feel like a fish out of water.  Before, the two specs played so dissimilar that I just kept it simple and fun.  Now, they've added enough complexity to Demo that I feel like I'm doing it wrong.  Maybe given time and practice, I'll feel better.  After all, popping into epic purple form is still fun as fel.

Still, I just can't shake the feeling that the spec has fundamentally changed for me.  This isn't to say it's "for the worse."  It may very well be better.  I guess I just feel like it's not as easy to flip-flop and feel badass.  I wonder what some of you other Warlocks have to say...


  1. The current demo pet believe it or not, is the felpup. It's so massively out of whack, that with everything up i saw it get 88k crits! in some places ( not my own a geared guildie.

    Demo was envisioned as an amalgamation of fire/shadow and using the elements of both. It started out well enough in the onset of cata, with it's unreachable AOE nos, powerful buffs and satisfactory single target.

    However it has not scaled well. Also the pet's purpose has changed. For optimum DPS you are required to 'demon twist'. FOr single target u want the felpup. For AOE felstorm wins the day. On the boss. you want the felpup. You are also demon twisting during the soulburn time. The felguard does have the superior soulburn effect.

    I hope they fix this. The felpup is fine for affliction. However when unsupported by talents he is pulling bigger nos, than the premier defining demon of the warlock class? Yea things are off.

  2. Good, then it's not just me :-D.

    I don't really use my demo spec in raids or dungeons, so I haven't experience the twist (except for at family weddings, of course... then there's ALWAYS the twist).

  3. Xayíde@GurubashiJuly 12, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Don't use your bane or even Corruption on short lived stuff, they tick too slowly to be worth it. Because of that, don't use the Felhunter for dailies. One thing that makes it top damage is its Shadowbite, which depends on shadow DoTs being on the target.
    Are you also using Hand of Gul'dan? That's your hardest hitting nuke, it should take a good chunk off daily mobs' healths, plus it buffs your demon.

  4. I'm running Demo, but I know I'm probably doing stuff wrong anyway. I'd like to actually use her in heroics to get better gear, but I still feel impotent. My other spec is Destro and I know even less about that. I know she's never going to be a current raider, but I really would like to feel like I'm doing "proper" DPS one of these days...

  5. @Xayide - I've been omitting Corr and using my Felguard. The issue I have with HoG is that you're "supposed" to use it to refresh immolate. Thus, I'm used to trying to first use it later in a rotation. I've been bumping it up and it does do great damage, but you cannot spam it due to the long cooldown. It's great when it's up, but it seems hard to squeeze in sometimes... hence feels clunky.

    @Cyg - I've been sticking pretty close to my primer linked over there on the left, but yeah I feel like there's something left to be desired too. I don't know much about Destro, but for raiding I'm affliction all the way. Still, warlocks are only going to do "proper" (read: good) DPS on longer living stuff. We're just not designed to do otherwise.

  6. Xayíde@GurubashiJuly 12, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    Yes, it does refresh Immolate, but that doesn't mean you should use it only when Immolate is about to fall off and certainly not only to refresh it. =) Look at the Immolate refresh feature as a very good bonus and nothing else, HoG's damage is more important than its refresh feature in things that die quickly. Anyway, I think you are doing that already since you said you are bumping it up in the rotation...
    Yeah, 12s is a bit high, but you should have it up at least once every two mobs. But, like all our spells, the ones that do high damage can't be spammed. All our fillers, be it Shadow Bolts or Incinerates, do little damage in all specs. We currently don't have any single spell that does amazing burst damage by itself, we aren't even good candidates to do a guaranteed 30k damage on Rageface in the Shannox encounter when needed. But, alas, that is how our class works... We focus on DoTs, which do high damage, only slowly (love the blog's name btw XD), and that's true even for Destruction right now, although it does have better nukes than the other two.

    And as I said before, omit not only Corruption but your Bane too. If you think about it, Corruption ramps up more quickly than any of the two Banes so if you must use another DoT, use Corruption instead of a Bane.

    And you know what? I currently like Destruction better for quests. You don't really need much of the survivability of Demo, and Destruction gets the job done quicker on average. You only mentioned Affliction and Demo, so I'm not sure how comfortable you feel with Destro, but I'd suggest you give it a try. =)

  7. Yeah, I may go to Destro. For the longest time I've resisted because... um... fire mage much? But from what I've read they've ramped up the fun/warlockery of the Destro spec, making it less mage-like.

    At the end of the day... I think I just really liked the pre-Cat Demo. I think maybe, when Demo was only sort of a "fun" spec that wasn't really competitive in raids and such, it wasn't as constrained. What it lacked in top-end oomf, it made up for in small-potatoes oomf. If that makes sense. Perhaps now they've just smoothed it out, and that's probably best for the tree, but not for me.

  8. I went demo per the request of my raid group. We were just not getting those darn worms down on Magmaw quick enough and we needed the massive aoe dps provided by the felguard aoe attack, plus the demo-form hellfire. Last night on BoT trash, I saw numbers in the 33k dps. I am typically in the #1 or #2 slot on the DPS meters across the board.

    For the dailies, I've started running Demo + felguard, simply because of the insta-tank he provides. By the time I aggro, they're within 10% of dead.

    I run a slightly different config than Xayide. I keep all my pets (in these cc heavy days) on Passive. So, I have macro'd my pet-attack with CoD. This means I am typically spamming that spell on multi-target trash mobs. (tab)(cod)(tab)(cod)(tab)(cod) then Legion Strike + hellfire or rain of fire and get them all down quickly.

  9. Ah, good old AoE blasting... Maybe I'm just trying to hard to make the single target stuff play.