With patch 3.2 here, it looks like Warlocks can officially start celebrating. It seems like its been far too long since we've seen a patch which has more pros than cons in it. Of course, it's also true that Warlocks aren't going to see quite as many changes as most other classes will. Not even enough to warrant any real changes in the popular talent builds. However, among the changes we are getting are several which can only be described as buffs, and for that we can be thankful. Since we do have so few changes which really affect us in a meaningful way, we may as well go over them one by one.
Most of our changes come in the form of minor tweaks to our talents. As I mentioned above, none of the changes are worth changing our specs over, but they're certainly worth taking a look at.
Pandemic's new increase to the crit damage of Haunt is a no-strings-attached buff to Affliction's DPS, though, not a very big one. It's gonna boost our damage for sure, but not by a margin which will be readily apparent on the DPS meters after patch day.
Fel Domination having its cooldown reduced so significantly may not cause Demonology Warlocks to develop awesome new strategies which incorporate frequent demon-swapping (cool as that idea might be.) But at the very least, it'll reduce the headache when your felguard manages to get himself killed again.
Fire & Brimstone is getting the only real nerf this time around, and it's actually a rather bad one. Destruction Warlocks, such as myself, are losing a massive amount of damage here. Pulling numbers off the top of my head, I'd say that 80% of the damage a Destro 'lock puts out is affected by that 5% loss. The buff to Empowered Imp is going to help alleviate some of the loss to our damage output, but not all. Still, a single nerf is better than what Warlocks usually experience, and for that I'm thankful.
Empowered Imp jumping from causing a 20% chance to crit, to a 100% chance is the kind of buff we only get to see rarely in this game. And it seems like forever since Warlocks specifically have gotten one. I look forward to seeing just how often this translates into big, pretty numbers popping up on my screen, announcing their titanic damage. They make me feel like a big man.
The Improved Shadowbolt 'bug fix' is puzzling to me. This is a change to a talent, which is listed as a fix to a talent. True, putting 5 points into the talent causes the exact same end result. But the fact that the chance to apply the debuff is the variable now, rather than the strength of the debuff, means that Warlocks with sufficiently high crit may be able to get away with putting fewer points into this talent. I haven't done any testing to see what my uptime on the debuff would be at 1-4 points in the talent, but I'm eager to give it a try.
Only one non-talent based spell is getting altered this time around. Soulshatter's cooldown being reduced from five minutes, to three minutes has been one of the more lauded changes. While 120 seconds may not seem like all that much on the surface of things, shorter bossfights tend to concentrate damage--and therefore threat--in smaller time periods. So in fights where threat is an issue, Warlocks won't have to spend quite so much time warily eying the Soulshatter cooldown, and hoping it becomes available before our rapidly amounting threat causes us to get "whackified," as my tank buddy would say. Reducing this cooldown isn't an ideal solution to the current Warlock threat issues, but it's better than nothing.
The only change to our glyphs is Glyph of Life Tap's bonus spell damage effect being doubled in length. This is going to be a massive buff to a glyph which is already nigh-essential to most Affliction Warlocks. Maybe the additional time will even allow for 100% buff uptime without unnecessarily spamming Life Tap--a 'lock can hope, anyway.
Pet Scaling is something which was talked about in the Warlock Q & A, and it was said then that implementing pet scaling for every stat would take a long while--which I understand. I did enough fiddling with programming in my youth to know that these things aren't the quick simple changes players sometimes imagine. I'm sure, though, that my PVPing compatriots will appreciate that at least Blizzard put a rush on getting resilience and spell penetration ready for pets. Maybe we can start getting a few more Warlocks in the above-2k bracket!
When it comes time for the first log-in after patch day, Warlocks will have a bit less to get used to than most other folks will. But almost everything we've got to look forward to will be an improvement. And I'll take a hand full of buffs over a mountain of ambiguous balancing changes any day.
| WoW's Patch 3.2 ushers in the Crusaders' Coliseum, the Isle of Conquest, flying mounts at 60, and much more. WoW.com has all the patch information your Worgen obsessed mind can handle in WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2!