Category Archives: Warlock
TO: Warlock Armor Designers, Dreadscar Rift
FROM: Floramel, your Supreme Leader by Acclaim
I would like to draw your attention to the positioning of the horns on our class helm. I’m sure real demons wear them there all the time, but, unfortunately, human eyes are positioned in such a way so that the horns are functionally blinders. Now, I’m sure this could be remedied a number of ways, but it occurs to me that the easiest way would be to move the horns up just a little bit (and not, by the way, moving our eyes onto stalks which seems to be the fashion on Zazzinoth these days).
If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, something on the back to counterbalance them would be nice, as well. My neck is killing me.
Being the head of our order has taught me many things.
First of all, we like green. A lot.
But when it comes to flames, we’re not choosy. Orange is fine. Yellow is fine. Red is fine. Basically, if it’s flame, we’re copacetic.
We’re also very fond of ostentatious displays of power.
And, for whatever reason, we’re very fond of candles, clustered, in odd random places around the landscape.
Did I mention we liked candles? Oh, yeah, got that covered. Also big ugly books. Always a crowd pleaser in a room full of warlocks.
Did I mention we like green? We do! A lot!
And we’re also frugal. Never spend money on a training dummy when you can use a spare demon instead. Demons are the ultimate renewable resource. Kill one, and it’ll come back later, only angrier.
I also learned that whoever designed the Warlock Order Hall was not a warlock. Multilevel, burning, smelly, and hard to navigate. Must have been designed by demons and liberated by warlocks.
Well, at least it isn’t that multilevel maze of twisty passages that the Mages have. Guess we got that going for us.
Blizzard released a preview of what Priests will look like on 2015-11-09, which you can find here.
Jasra, my Priest, is not my main main, but has been my raiding main from time to time. Originally rolled as a Disco priest back when smiting and whacking things with a mace while keeping the shield up was the way to level. When dual spec came up, I embraced Shadow as the second spec. I’ve had a hard time reconciling the Disco healy spec with the Shadowy DPS spec from a bad RP point of view, but recently I’ve started to warm up to the concept. The Insanity aspect of Shadow merges well with the Pain-oriented motif of Discipline when I look to Morticia Addams for inspiration. It’s working marvelously in my head if not elsewhere.
At any rate, my main gig with Jas has been the healy (and later healy-smitey) aspect of Disco, though I haven’t healed in anger for two expansions now. Even as DPS, Jas rarely gets called into action, though she has seen a little more action in that respect than as a healer.
So, looking at the general concepts for the three specs — and good news, everyone, there are still three specs!, we get this.
- Holy is the spec you think of when you think Healer. There is no hybridization here at all. Holy priests come to the party to heal, and you better be ready to be healed.
- Discipline – Or, Disco, as we often call it. This is another healing spec, but one that addresses the task in an odd way. For example, it has a damage component that, while you damage your enemies, also heals your friends. In addition, there are things like damage mitigation and ways to help your party endure its trials without necessarily providing succor. While the article linked above does not specifically call out Pain Suppression, it’s pretty much part and parcel to the entire Disco idiom.
- Shadow – A DPS spec that has strong links to The Void and the Old Gods, balance on the knife’s edge of insanity at all times, with greater insanity giving greater ability.
While the concept of “hybrid” healing is so four expansions ago, Disco kind of falls into that slot.
Disco the Hybrid
A long time ago, we had the concept of the Holy Hybrid, a kind of healing spec with damage components, as played by Holy priests. Disco priests actually didn’t have a seat at that table even though today they kinda “own” the whole concept of damage-linked healing.
Which is to say, we have elements of both Holy and Shadow in our rotation now, in some cases the abilities are even named the same (looking at you, Shadow Mend).
My biggest objections at this point are twofold.
- Smite-healing never seemed to have much of a natural flow, yet this new spec refresh really seems to be revisiting the Cata mode of healing that so many of us hated. I have to say it: there are those that like to heal, and those that like to DPS, but there are few that like to do both at the same time, or do one to do the other. I won’t say it isn’t going to work until I see it, but it really feels like it’s as charming as a road accident and twice as ugly.
- What the HELL? Why is Prayer of Mending a Holy only spell now? Is it just me, or is Disco kinda synonymous with the Healy Frisby?
Shadow the Dual Spec
We knew that the motif of Shadow was going to be insanity, which I dig. And most of the way through reading about Shadow, I was pretty happy. And then we got to this.
Reaching maximum Insanity will transform Shadowform into Voidform, giving the Shadow Priest access to stronger Void magic […]
When you reach 100 Insanity, you enter Voidform, transforming your Mind spells into Void spells, and increasing your Shadow damage by 30%.
Voidform causes your Insanity to constantly drain, faster and faster, until completely drained, and Voidform ends
Looking this over, I was reminded very strongly that someone at Blizz stated that they wanted very much for Shadow to no longer appear as a poor cousin to Afflocks. And then they turned right around and turned Shadow into a poor cousin to Demonology Warlocks. I mean, the different forms is there (Voidform versus Demonform). The different abilities for each form is there (Mind Flay vs Void Flay, etc).
This, in my opinion, is not a great idea. In an era where they are trying to simplify things a bit, to reduce the button bloat, this is an extraordinarily bad idea. I mean, I’ve been campaigning vigorously for Demon Warlock to get rid of those alternate abilities completely, so in what universe am I going to be cool with doing the same thing to Shadow priests?
(Spoiler alert: NONE).
If asked, I would suggest that instead of adding new alternate abilities, they simply empower the base abilities during maximum insanity. And call it something other than Voidform. Call it, I dunno … “Maximum fun”.
Howls of Despair
While I am 80% happy with Shadow and 60% happy with Disco, there is a huge contingent of unhappy Shadow priests out there, and that’s surprising to me since until these changes were related, I didn’t know there were a lot of dedicated Shadow priests out there. But they’re out there, and they’re pissed. I’ve seen two or three of them announce that they’ll be using their boost to roll a fresh new Afflock and abandon their Shadow priests altogether.
A new look
The last change that surprised me wasn’t mentioned in that article, but instead at the panel that discussed the Artifact weapons. Turns out, Shadow priests will no longer be using a staff. Instead, they’ll be using a dagger (and offhand, presumably) as their main stat stick.
And of course, this is the weekend that Terestrian’s Stranglestaff dropped for Jas in Kara, completing her Insanity/Old God themed transmog. The irony is inches thick and made of marzipan, it appears.
Welp, Gamescon is a week gone and we have the name and quite a few details about the next expansion of WoW. Missing the most vital answer, of course – when’s it releasing? – but I sure didn’t expect to hear that quite yet.
A lot of people are unhappy with the subject of this expansion, and I suppose they have some cause. But from a lore perspective, the Legion IS IT. I mean, that’s our Big Bad. Sargeras may be the final boss, but his army is The Burning Legion. This entire franchise has been about The Burning Legion. Even Wrath (The Lich King was a construct of The Legion). Even Cataclysm (Deathwing was created as a byproduct of the Legion’s first invasion). The only part of this franchise that was not about The Legion was the parts about the Old Gods and Pandaria, and I’m not entirely sure we can’t pin at least a couple of those on Demons in some way.
Point being, the Legion is a loose end that hasn’t been tied off yet, and we’ll need to tie it off or we’ll keep coming back to it. Just like people are complaining about. Though in this case, we never finished it.
The (Iron) Horde
Part of the original storyline was how the Horde got sent our way thanks to the demonic influences of Mannaroth, who we’ve now seen killed three times canonically (and many more times on WoWLogs.com and their ilk). Warlords was a revisit of that, and, when it comes down to it, appeared more of a conspicuously gratuitous effort to placate the metalheads in the artists shop than a real story. It had no place in he canon, and introduced more questions than it answered. Legion, at least, connects that crazy train and the jumble of moments that pass for canon before and during Warlords. How we get to the third Legion invasion is now revealed.
Learning to Stop Worrying and Loving the Plot
(or at least put up with it, because ye cats, these guys are pretty ham-fisted and, as my company commander used to say, as obvious as a five-dollar hooker.)
Okay, so from within the framework of the appropriateness of the setting, how it connects with the past, how it connects with the present (we’re told that this is ‘present day’ Azeroth), harmony with the lore (Pandas didn’t), and so forth; I’m personally pretty good with this theme.
(By the way, I have one prediction, and it isn’t about this expansion: when, inevitably, we revisit the Scourge, I suspect that those complaining about retreaded content will be extremely welcoming to the concept. See if they don’t.)
It’s obvious from early information that Blizz is looking to shake up the classes to a great extent. The most amazing news so far is the change to the Hunter class. We’re headed for:
- Beast Mastery – Ranged DPS with pet (Artifact = Gun)
- Marksman – Ranged DPS without pet (Artifact = Bow)
- Survival – Melee DPS with Pet (Artifact = Spear)
Did you catch that? This is exciting! BM is basically becoming the One True Hunter Class by virtue of serving the original concept, but I have to say that Marks without a Pet is basically the fulfillment of many a Forum Poster wet dream. And the return of the Melee Hunter is unexpected. Unbelievably, I have been granted a win in the ultimate discussion of the destiny of the Hunter class, and I am for once not appalled at my victory. This is amazing!
Aside from the Demon Hunter specs (Two specs only! Wuuuuut?!), we’ve heard precious little about other class changes. Well, we’ve heard that they plan to make Warlock’s Demonology spec more Demoney and less Metaphorphos-ey. If it follows the same pattern as the Hunter class, I approve. Well, actually, anything that diminishes the role of Meta is good in my book.
I’m not sure what I mean by that, but I promise to take full credit for whatever it ends up being. Unless it sucks. In which case, Ghostcrawler did it. Ooo look, is that a baby wolf!? /scurry
The other really big thing, for many, was the announcement that there will be no weapon drops in this expansion. Instead, each spec picks up a unique artifact weapon that they continuously upgrade during the expansion. For hunters it’s bow for MM, Gun for BM, and Spear for SV (which was our first clue about the melee spec). I am constantly amused at my joke predictions for character weaponry in comparison. What I said in jest, is almost exactly what they’re doing for real.
There are many unanswered questions about this, most pointedly, what happens when switching specs? And where do current Survival Hunters get starter weapons to bridge the gap? This is gonna make the gear grind kinda weird.
They have said diddly about professions, but we can infer a few things from peripheral facts.
First peripheral fact: well, rumor, really. Word is that the professions team has swole hugely, with one source claiming more than 2x increase in seats. This implies that there are major changes inbound, but we’re not yet informed what they are.
Second peripheral fact: the Garrison concept is not coming forward with Legion. Praise Mammon for that! I cannot go into how many ways that Garrisons failed us without violating some secret blogger’s creed restricting article size to one gigabyte per page, so I’ll just say it’s a pretty sad story and leave it at that. Most people I know will be happy to see it go.
But there’s a problem with that for professions, since professions got tied to garrisons so tightly. All professions are going to have to progress without Garrisons to support them. Some, such as the lumberyard, are probably not going to make it into Legion at all. Well, at least, I hope not.
Ultimately we’re either headed back to pre-Warlord crafting (hardly something we need a huge Professions team for) or something new is coming down the pike. Honestly, as far as professions go, going back to the Vanilla / BC style of crafting is just fine with me.
The only thing I will say that I like in WoD’s crafting is how crafted armor / weapons fit in. You can basically meet or exceed the quality level of normal Hellfire Citadel with crafted items. This is, as far as I can remember, something we haven’t seen since Vanilla, and maybe not even then. Sure, Heroic and Mythic raiders will get better stuff, and I’m extremely good with that. They’ve earned it. But the fact that you can make crafted gear that is actually relevant is pretty unusual, and I’m hoping we keep that in some way in Legion.
Final peripheral fact: PvP is being totally revamped, which will shake up the talent trees for everyone, and this will likely revamp the spec tiers completely, as well as glyphing. As a result, expect to see Inscription getting a lot of changes, at the very least, to support these changes.
By the way … a week after Gamescon, and glyphs are flying off the shelf. The inscription market is extremly brisk at the moment. The prices ain’t tremendous, but quantity is making up for it. Illume is burning through mats like there’s no tomorrow. 10,000 a day is the norm. Tell me the game is dying. Please. I need a laugh now that Jon Stewart is gone.
As I trudged over to the Timeless Yawn to do my penance for having enjoyed the game in a previous life ((Or something.)), I started to notice something odd.
I was blowing stuff up. I mean, 60 to 80% better than any of my other 90s that frequent the Isle, including those that far outgear me. Wattup?
I laid awake that night pondering two things. (1) Did somebody screw up the label on that decaf diet soda I had drank, and (2) how in the world can an undergeared Warlock outdo a less undergeared Hunter or Shadow Priest?
In answer to (1), I was pretty certain they had, as this was the second time I had been unable to sleep easily after sampling its contents. (2) was a bit more difficult to answer.
I’ve always held that my first best calling in this game has been in the form of a BM Hunter. I fell in love with that spec when BRK was telling us how to use Doctor Boom to gauge our DPS in a game that offered no target dummies.
Shortly after that, I became enamored with the Demonology Warlock spec; I spent almost as much time raiding as a Warlock as a Hunter during BC. Those two classes and specs have been my favorites ever since.
But some drastic changes took place with the BM spec – and I’m not talking about the shift from Mana to Focus. The whole playstyle changed. Back in the day, BM was a lot more proactive rather than reactive. You had to plan your shots out so that you got the most of each. There were flaws, yes, but that’s not the point. The point is that it changed, possibly to something other than BM.
Meanwhile, Demonology had a lot of similarity to BM at the time, which is probably why I liked it so much. But, though great change took place (looking at YOU, mandatory demon form), Demo retained its quintessential feel, the sense of engagement.
Let’s put this another way. You know how in a video game, pressing a button sometimes has a visceral feel to it. You feel like there are, I dunno, big-assed levers attached to that button, that go off and actuate many things that then cause green death to erupt from the ground around your adversary.
Demonology has that. It has that feeling that if you try just a little more, put a little more heart into it, you’ll do better. Jong famously said it best for me: as a belf retadin, the best approach for maxdps was to get up in the boss’ face, rip your shirt off, howl and the moon, and fucking flip out.
In Warlock terms, this means you let this guy do the driving.
Not ripping his shirt off, and we’re good with that.
That blog entry of Jong’s was a long time ago ((We miss you, Jong!)), but to this day it still rings true. To really do well as a Warlock, channel your spite, your hate, your bad attitude at the bus driver this morning, your angst over the rising cost of Lite Soy Double Chociato Mochas at your corner beanery, your despair at the Pizza Hut online ordering system. Channel it all through your hands, into the keyboard, and into that avatar on the screen. Turn your hate into pain. Turn that pain into victory.
Where this all goes for me is that while I Hunter because I still haven’t given up, and I Priest because I’m a team player, my jam is right here in the Demonology Warlock corner of the universe. I think I do better in this class because it just works for me in a way that no other class does.
There’s an unintended side-effect.
On the Pointless Isle, I usually have to set a goal for my toon to even get engaged in anything. But on my Warlock, I find myself reluctant to close the game client at bed time. I find myself hunting down more things to slaughter. I get giddy watching those big crits float by.
For a brief moment, even that Lightforsaken place is fun.
While we were offline, events that affect us all took place. Our guild managed to get its first T14 ((That is not a typo, we’re not exactly pushign the envelope – or at least not THAT side of it.)) boss down, without Jasra’s healing touch. The question came up, did they want her back, or a DPS? I was told, get Flora moving.
So move I shall.
‘Undergeared’ is not exactly the most descriptive term I’d use. I still have several greens. ‘Undergeared’ doesn’t seem to be a strong enough term! Dutifully, I drafted a gear plan, and it was unsettling.
Part of the reason for this is the addition of several flavors of random-enchant epics for completing daily heroic scenarios; there is also a random-enchant quest reward from the Darkspear Rebellion. Both of those usually outstrip top-end T15 gear.
So, the Rebellion appears to be the place to be, but there’s a problem – the main quest is a weekly, so once you’ve gotten your 150 bits of various mats, and turned them in, all that’s left is additional collection. It’s rather daunting, the massive and tedious grind that the next few weeks seem to have in store. I’ve bitched about dailies, but this seems to be something designed to convince us that dailies aren’t really so bad, after all.
The other half of this is getting my rotation down; Demonology is just plain odd, with the Demonic Fury resource system. Still, I’ve done my homework, and I have something that’s at least passable, even if I have to look down at the keyboard from time to time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thank the Light for WeakAuras and/or PowerAuras.
While Thunder Isle appears to be outgeared by the Rebellion, now, I still have some work there; the Green Fire quest is triggered by a book that drops over there, of all places, so I need to grind dailies there until I get that, at least.
It’s funny how much content is completely irrelevant, though. Sure, there are upgrades to be had from Shieldwall and Thunder Isle, but why waste time there when the biggest payoff is to be found in Northern Barrens? The irony of WoW is that 95% of its content is irrelevant to a raider.
Still, it’s fun to fly the Warlock flag once again. Even if I derp it like a noob.
Grimmtooth Actual’s first best love is Grimmtooth the hunter, no doubt about it, but one could argue that the Hunter is so second-nature at this point that it’s more like a Stay-cation than a true diversion. Grimmtooth’s existence at the moment is all about getting things done, from the scrupulous attention to gardening to the grueling slog of dailies.
Warlock’s what comes out when we want to play. I’m not a raiding main, Jasra is, so I’m free to indulge myself as I see fit. I’m not even level 90 yet. And with Grimm and Jas sucking up all the CPU they can, I rarely get to come out and play, so I make the most of it.
I’ve got myself a good adventuring outfit, for example. Black velvet robes are good for shaking down the locals in Stormwind, displaying a decadant sense of evil that the rubes truly appreciate. But they tend to snag on everything. Denim and forest leathers are a lot more appropriate for stomping around in the wild.
Also, I have horns from time to time. While I like the look, it was hell on hats until I figured out to punch a couple of holes in the right place.
But that does bring me to the part of this expansion that I dislike the most about the Demonology spec. Demonform has gone from a hefty buff to DPS to being a whole second spell rotation to learn. It plays hell with my rhythm, let me tell you.
But outside of that, Big D is a blast. I cut through mobs like a hot knife through butter. I use Hefty Voidwalker to gather them up and just beat them to the ground. Even Grimm can’t AoE that well. I don’t even use most of my rotation because the mobs die too fast.
There’s this green fire thing coming up, I’ve heard, once I hit 90. I have some nice prezzys from Jas to wear when I hit that level, too, so it looks like I’ll end this turn at the wheel on a high note for sure, since I’m 89.25 now.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
Damn, it’s good to be a Warlock.
Been out front of Stormwind lately?
Yep, been patched right up!
Well, almost. The minimap still shows the glowing embers for the gate towers, though, as you can see, they’re just fine now.
Glad to see my tax money going into something other than blowing panda bears up.
As long as I’ve played, I’ve seen a constant flow of envy from other classes. They look at our magnificent demonic steeds, and say "Hey, why can’t we have one?" ((Mind you, they didn’t look at the massive cost of our mats and go, "Hey, why can’t we be taxed as much for our mounts?")) They gaze longingly at our portals and whinge, "why can’t we use them?" They even cried about healthstones so much that Blizz gave them a vending machine for healthstones. I imagine that somewhere out there, someone’s upset that they can’t summon Warlock pets, either.
The most recent outbreak has been over a new quest series in patch 5.2 in which Warlocks go to change our mundane orange fire for green fire, as it should have been all along ((Don’t get me started on THAT,)). Apparently, some people are annoyed that we get to have all the fun here, and want something like it for themselves. Ignore the fact for a moment that there’s nothing about (for example) mages ((You know that fire mages have GOT to be at the center of this.)) that gives them that "cool factor" like Warlocks, and thus no real REASON to have a special epic quest series. They just want it, because, reasons.
As always, Auntie Flora has worked long and hard to bring a solution to you.
You want all the warlock goodies? Here’s what you do.
- Log out.
- Select CREATE NEW CHARACTER ((If you have no free slots, delete a mage.))
- Select class = WARLOCK
- Log in.
- Get your neat Warlock stuff.
You may recall recently, a "blue" from "Blizzard" posted that he or she "had hopes" that "we" (warlocks) would be able to "run a quest" to "get green fire". And there was much rejoicing. Still, when someone that officially represents "Blizzard" uses words like "we hope to", it usually means that expectations should be set low.
After all, one must reason, an organization that can’t deliver on an ADVERTISED feature is very unlikely to deliver something that is described with such weasel-wording.
No doubt you see what comes next.
So we’ve obtained some additional insight about what exactly lies behind the use of the word “hope” in regard to our efforts to achieve green fire for warlocks.
"We’ve had our asses handed to us by Management for blurting out something that was totally unfounded, had no commitments, no timelines, no actual design in place, and no resources assigned to it – at all."
It’s fun to see the CM crowd portraying the Blizzard communications array as some sort of quest-like construct that they have to go through hoops to get anything out of, and occasionally getting the exactly wrong thing out.
Essentially, we want this updated information out so that we can better manage expectations, especially as the announcement created such a flurry of excitement.
"Please put the torches and pitchforks away. Also please stop talking about this."
Unfortunately, dear warlocks, those of you who retained a modicum of skepticism were right to, as it would seem that the chance of green fire for warlocks is even less as likely as the wording of the original information indicated.
"How many times does this have to happen until you just don’t believe us anymore?"
Since spell effects are not as simple to change around as — for example — druid forms are, we need some additional technology implemented in order to allow the use of red or green fire to be a player choice and not a permanent change that is put in place for all warlocks.
"Based on conversations overheard in the break room, we figured this was just an artwork change, and thought, ‘how hard could it be?‘ Turns out, there’s actual work to be done."
Also, technology aside, we want to do the introduction of something like green fire in the right way. Implementing it in “a quest” doesn’t really explain our stance here. We want something as substantial as this change to be an epic accomplishment for you.
"Nobody actually talked to the designers before blurting this out. And the designers had something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in mind."
So though we have definitely heard your thoughts on the matter, and we’ve explained what we want to do from our side, green fire will not be available with the launch of Mists of Pandaria. And we haven’t a timeframe to commit to, or communicate about, at this stage.
"Nobody’s even working on this."
It is with regret that we were unable to clarify these details more when we first mentioned our intent — “our hope” — and we wish we hadn’t caused such excitement and raised expectations for those that didn’t instantly take the news with an “I’ll believe it when I see it” pinch of salt.
"Seriously, if you saw how pissed the boss was, you’d understand: we REALLY wish we’d kept it to ourselves."
It seems, as many of us said at the time here and on Twitter and fansites, the proof of the (green fire) pudding really was in the eating.
"We will not be deterred from abusing every metaphor we can get our hands on."
Had this been handled properly on Day One, when the whole "Fel energy is actually green" thing started up (late Vanilla or early BC?), it would have been a simple artwork change and a few minor mea culpas. Instead, a series of flimsy excuses were used until it’s now blown up into a sort of Kabuki theatre dance between the CMs and the designers and the coders. Now, it’s got quests, options, and complications. And that’s before its implementation has even been formally designed.
It was actually easier, turns out, to add a new spell or two (Chaos Bold, Fel Flame) that used green fire than it was to suck it up and take responsibility for a lore inconsistency.
Pride goeth before the fail ((Speaking of abusing metaphors.)).
A simple suggestion: being straight about this sort of thing from the start will always work out the best. Blaming lore for one’s mistakes is going to come back and bite you in the ass. Trying to make the Warlock fire color a lore issue has just complicated matters so badly that at this point, three different departments within the WoW live team can’t figure out what the hell to say. Now you have some CMs that have been reprimanded by management for attempting to give someone else something to look forward to. We have the nugget of a design for a programming project to change something that could have been fixed with artwork.
And we have a forum full of confused and angry warlocks. I won’t mince words, here – that’s never pretty.
Not that it’s likely, but before hinting at giving Paladins anything they’ve been asking for, Blizz might consider the lesson of the Fel fire in future.