Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "A succubus is a devourer of souls, destroyer of hearts, tempter of men. A creature of profound evil and of singular mind. It cannot be brought into our world without a stimulus." ~ Gan'rul Bloodeye
Previously in 'Meet the minions' we have looked at the imp and the voidwalker as well as how to manage your minions and your threat. In this installment our demon of choice is the succubus and the game mechanic is crowd control; fear, seduce, howl, banish and a svelte demon with wings. But before I delve in I need to clarify something to Blood Pact readers.
For a while now I've had a demon trying to whisper words of doubt into my ear. He's been telling me that Blood Pact readers want PvP info in the column, that they cry out for it, they yearn for it, they need it; and that I can't deliver any. It's true that my knowledge and experience of PvP pretty much extends as far as being able to smell it early enough to avoid it. Don't get me wrong, I love researching for Blood Pact but in this case I'm not going to try, and for two reasons. First, nobody who cares about warlock PvP wants to have me school them on it, and second we have some first rate PvP experts at WoW.com who can do it better.
So I've sent the demon packing (literally; don't be surprised if you find more than the normal number of broken biscuits in future packets) and have started a campaign to convince our arena and battleground columnists to get with some lock love. So enough with the preamble, lets get on with the show.
Wikipedia will tell you that the word succubus comes from the latin succuba which means strumpet -- so, how to you get your very own strumpet to do your bidding? Well, you need to be level 20 for a start (sorry, no teenagers) and you're gonna have some traveling to do so get that felsteed first -- it was all the running that made these quests tricky, so be thankful for the mount. Alliance will be heading from the Slaughtered Lamb Inn to the barrens and then North Western Ashenvale before back to Stormwind. The mobs around the tree can be troublesome but stick to the edges of the area and you don't need to fight many of them. The Horde have two quest lines, an orc based one and an undead one, both involving blind guides. The orc line is pretty straightforward though Dogran may be guarded by a rare elite. You don't need to kill him if you use your voidwalker mercilessly or CC him (see later). The hardest part about the undead chain is (used to be) getting through zones filled with mobs you are too young to kill; these days however your felsteed should get you through there unharmed (and much, much faster).
So now you have her, what are you going to do with her? At level 20 she only has one ability and that's to lash things with her whip. The damage done is okay and although she has to get into melee range it counts as shadow damage.
At 22 she learns Soothing Kiss, this basically reduces her threat level for her target (she's not much of a tank). Unless you find she's looking like she'll be taking aggro then you can switch this off. Once you get to level 70 Soothing Kiss gains a melee attack speed reduction element. This sounds much more useful than it is but can be handy if you lack the debuff from elsewhere (Icy Touch, Hurricane, Infected Wounds, Judgements of the Just, Earth Shock, Thunder Clap) and really need to reduce the melee damage done by a mob or boss. She only casts it automatically if things attack her, however so putting a macro together to cast it at the same time as another spell can help. That said, having it on a separate button means you can stop more easily when not required (saving her mana). Here's an example macro:
At 26 she will learn Seduction, this is her trademark ability and I'll talk more about it when I go through our crowd control abilities in a bit./showtooltip Shadowbolt
/cast[pet:succubus] Soothing Kiss
Her last ability is Lesser Invisibility. This can be handy for sneaking past mobs without getting into their aggro range but otherwise it smells a lot of PvP.
If you are raiding as demonology then you might consider having a succubus for the Master Demonologist bonus. However, the buff to your shadow spells does not make up for her poor DPS in comparison to the felguard and she will not proc Demonic Pact as often as he will, either.
Mainly she is good for when you like to tank mobs yourself. This might not sound like a good idea but it's quite viable. Basically the approach is to DoT the target and then kill it with Drain Life. If the amount you heal for is high enough to counter the damage that you take, then you're tanking. The succubus comes in by adding more DPS than the voidwalker and being able to keep a target busy with CC... it's probably about time I started talking about that.
Crowd control (or CC) is basically stopping an enemy from fighting, generally so you can focus on their buddies. Warlocks have quite a few of these abilities though they are often not as effective as, or are more situational than, those of other classes.
This is one of the strongest CC abilities in the game. Most CC abilities will be broken if the mob takes damage, and this happens a lot. Often you will hear mages crying about people "breaking their sheep" (typically crying so hard they forget to cast Polymorph again). Banish can't be removed by damage because they don't take any while banished; actually, until recently it couldn't be removed by anything. This is very handy as it means you don't have to move the other mobs you are fighting away for the CC'd target or stop using AoE abilities. Quite recently the game changed to allow Banish to be removed by recasting Banish on the target -- until then you might have had to wait a bit for Banish to wear off after killing everything else. This could be a bit irritating but this new system has its own issues. My guild often raid with several locks and so we need to decide who will banish a target ahead of time or several could land almost at once banishing and unbanishing it each time one lands.
The down side to Banish is that it only works on demons and elementals. These are fairly sparse in raids these days so typically other CC is called for. Mobs of note that can be banished are the golems in The Antechamber of Ulduar, the Mangrove Ents in Freya's Conservatory, the fire elementals in the room with General Vezax and the Tree in Faction Champions (the felpuppy there too).
This is what we're known for and it's a great spell. Not only do you stop the mob from fighting, you send it screaming from the fight in an apoplectic lather. Fun though this is, it does have its problems. If any other mobs were yet to notice you or your party, then having someone run past them screaming about something 'that warlock' just said makes them tend to take notice -- in other words, a feared mob can (and typically will) run off and aggro a load of other mobs.
This used to be more manageable because we had Curse of Recklessness to make a mob immune to fear. We could send them off and if they went too far the wrong way, we drop a curse and back they come. We no longer have this spell or this trick. A feared mob is staying feared until someone slaps him out of it or he forgets why he was running.
One way to make it safer to cast is to aggro the mob(s) from maximum range and run to an area that is less populated (Exodar or Silvermoon maybe -- just kidding), and then turn and fear one of them. You can also use it alternately with a big nuke -- if you DoT a hard-hitting mob while running away (Immolate, run, CoA, Corruption) and then turn, Fear and cast Shadow Bolt, the damage from the SB should snap them out of the fear so they stop running for help and start running for you. Recast Fear and Shadow Bolt, rinse and repeat. Not only is this an effective way of stopping a hard-hitting mob from hitting you hard, it is enormous fun too.
On page two you'll find more forms of warlock CC as well as some macros to help use them.