I admit it: I looked at the latest MMO-Champion datamining and rolled my eyes at all the lower numbers on affliction spells. A sigh later and some words about why fix destruction when you can just nerf the other specs. That seems to be standard warlock balance operating procedure half the time, right?
Wrong. Affliction mechanics actually changed a little bit, which required some number shuffling. I don't know if you saw that blue post about destruction embers, so we'll go over that and other small changes, too.
This isn't an amazing destruction change, but it's going to make the super long ramp-up destro has now a little better.
For example, I was not enjoying Mogu'shan Palace, where everybody now skips three of the four trash packs in the opening hall, so I Incinerate franctically on the mobs we do pull just to grab one ember before the boss, only to have it decay to 0. I felt like a bear; just hurry up and pull before my rage goes to zero, please. Who cares if you're half dead, Mr. Tank -- I've got things to burn.
But in the new build, you should be decaying to only 1 ember or regenerating up to 1 ember if you were below when you dropped out of combat. Now, you can at least Fire and Brimstone to set up some AoE, or while you're Incinerating, you can let off a Chaos Bolt earlier than before.
On the flip side, I was annoyed to find the soul shard regen gone again from Soul Harvest. But as I opened up beta, I quickly found that the new tooltip was wrong again. Out of combat, you can slowly regenerate shards by just standing there.
Everlasting Affliction's big deal
Pandemic in Mists is the passivification (can that be a word?) of the old beta build Everlasting Affliction glyph. According to the devs, it was a ridiculous chunk of DPS for affliction and was quickly turning into a must-have glyph. The new Everlasting Affliction glyph adjusts the rate of damage for the shadow DoTs by adding duration and subtracting damage.
Pandemic is an old friend for affliction now, but most of the head scratching going on is wondering why your friend doesn't come with you to the movie theater but shows up just as the credits are rolling. Pandemic is a level 90 passive, meaning it isn't available until endgame.
While I understand that leveling mobs don't see much attention from refreshing DoTs, there was a good point made on the forums: the pre-patch. When the pre-expansion patch happens, we won't be level 90 yet, nor will we have the expansion's room to level up to 90 just yet. We'll still be raiding in Dragon Soul but with no Pandemic.
So we're a bit confused as to why we'll be without this supposedly great DPS increase until level 90. On the other hand, SimC shows affliction now just even with destruction for both level 85 heroic tier 13 and level 90 pre-raid gear profiles, instead of the falling sky suckitude feelings that posters are giving off.
We also got an answer to the difference between the simulated DPS and what the developers are seeing. The developers were banking on warlocks not having the Everlasting Affliction glyph specifically when they stated that affliction shouldn't be miles ahead of destruction.
The "nerfing" of Nightfall and DoTs
While I'd rather see improvements to destruction than nerfs to "my" spec of affliction, I think we needed one. I'd do extremely well in dungeons as affliction, and I can't even cite the PvP gear I snagged early on from a vendor because it all got nerfed down to testing levels. Considering my early resistance to MoP affliction, I don't know that it's my skill with the spec either, since I'm still struggling to not cast Haunt on CD.
But what isn't in the datamined tooltips is that the DoTs were changed to tick every 2 seconds, instead of the old 3. Malefic Grasp, too, has been changed from time warping our DoT ticks to granting damage hit from all of the DoTs every time Malefic Grasp ticks.
Nightfall's chance to proc a Soul Shard was nerfed because the extra hits you get from a Corruption under Malefic Grasp apparently count for proccing Nightfall. This is should move shard regeneration away from super-20% Drain Soul or how many targets you can get Corruption on.
I haven't had any dungeons yet, since I've been doing personal research about how to literally farm vegetables for my raiding guild's feasts. But I used to pull herds of Mushan with Corruption to regenerate shards, and now I can regenerate shards well enough with Malefic Grasp on a single Mushan with just Corruption. It's a noticeable difference from before when I'd get a Nightfall about as often as Antarctica in summer.
Other tidbits of note
Blood Fear has a 10-second cooldown instead of 5 seconds. When asked by a guildmate what I tought of that, I replied that I'll likely be affliction and have an instant fear anyway, so I'm a bit indifferent on the change. In PvP, I think I would choose resource cost over health cost any day, but you never know. I might change my mind later.
Kil'jaeden's Cunning got a slight change. It still slows your movement, but instead of a flat movement speed decrease for the entire duration of moving, it will stack for every cast you make while moving, up to a total of 2 stacks.
To see how this worked on beta, I had to unlearn the talent and relearn it to get the passive to work. The stack occurs at the end of the cast if you're making a cast, but it occurs at the beginning of a channel if you're making a channel. I suppose the real trigger for the stack is whenever you make spell contact with the mob. Instant spells do not add to the talent's slow, and the debuff lasts 5 seconds per stack, so it's entirely possible to continue moving and casting by weaving instants in to drop the debuff for your long casts.
Fortunately, for those of us who channel, the stack only counts for every new channel you make, not for every channel tick. Unfortunately, if you cancel a cast or channel, the stack stays, so you can actually disadvantage yourself if you get interrupted or crowd controlled in PvP, since you'll still have a self-inflicted slow.
Finally, Wild Imps will proc off the execute filler spell Soul Fire and Metamorphosis's filler spell Touch of Chaos. Additionally, it no longer costs fury to activate, so it's essentially free demonic fury along with DPS.
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through tier 13 set bonuses.