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Blood Pact: Why people hate warlocks


Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

This progressive patch is a roller coaster ride; is Blizzard toying with our emotions? I can imagine the folks at Irvine playing WoW as a grand social experiment: "Let's put in this class-changing nerf and see how they respond, muahahahaha!" The Warlock community certainly responded, and the mood is somewhat settled, now that the Life Tap change has been rolled back and Kalgan has confirmed that "No other Warlock nerfs are planned for 2.4."

I do not see this as a "victory" for warlocks, as the change was uncalled for to start off with. A PvP-driven change to a class-defining mechanic that affects PvE more than PvP simply defies logic - although some insisted that it was a storm in a teacup. Without arguing (again) how BIG this Life Tap change was really going to be, this episode brought one aspect of the WoW community into clear relief for me.

We are very passionate about the classes we play, and react strongly to all changes - good AND bad. While many non-warlock players saw the implications of the Life Tap change, others simply gloated and cheered that their most hated PvP opponents were nerfed. Understandably, players engage in different aspects of the game, and even PvE players have varying degrees of experience playing with warlocks. However, there's been a plethora of rational discussion, from warlocks and non-warlocks alike, on why the LT nerf was uncalled for. There shouldn't really any grounds for hating (the class, hopefully not the players) out of sheer ignorance.

So why does the class trigger such a negative emotional response with some players?

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Arena

Blood Sport: 2.4, Arena patch

V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.

This progressive patch is turning out to be quite an event in itself. We are seeing some pretty important changes in every PTR build and the community is watching every change with bated breath. One thing's for certain though: many of the changes are Arena-driven, as Blizzard tries to get the PvP aspect of the game in gear for the 3v3 tournament.

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Filed under: Druid, Mage, Shaman, Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

Blood Pact: Locks tapped out

Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

This has been a sad week for warlocks, ironic given that I was just celebrating the summoning changes two weeks ago. Life Tap - a class-defining spell for locks - has been overhauled on the PTR to return 15% mana for 15% health a few days ago. The Warlock community was incredulous at first - "No way, this will be rolled back like the drain mana change" - that quickly turned to dismay when Eyonix clarified how Improved Life Tap will work with respect to this change.

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Filed under: Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Arena

Blood Sport: Is WoW turning into a PvP game?


V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.

Looking at some of the upcoming class changes in patch 2.4, I can't help but feel that many of them are driven by PvP - particularly Arena - issues. Blizzard is undoubtedly trying to level the playing field for the classes before the 3v3 Arena Tournament, tentatively set to begin in April. That's a very short time to iron out problems and further imbalances that the patch will bring.

A design philosophy that Blizzard has insisted on from the beginning is that each class should play similarly in both PvP and PvP. Tom Chilton (Lead Designer, or Kalgan) said at last year's Blizzcon that the game "shouldn't have significantly different rules for spells in PvP vs PvE."

"Slower" water in Arenas is the latest change that depart from this philosophy, in addition to PvP-only diminishing returns, and PvP-oriented stats like Resilience and Spell Penetration. However, since many class changes apply to both PvP and PvE, PvE players seem to be "dragged" along by changes meant to tune their classes' PvP performance. Shamans and druids seem to be most affected this patch with changes to Nature's Swiftness, Elemental Mastery, Call of Thunder for shamans, and Lifebloom for druids.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

Blood Pact: Why we Lock

Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

I've been playing my Warlock main since forever. While some guildies have kept themselves busy by bring their fifth or sixth toon through Karazhan attunement, I've been content pottering around with my warlock, dipping into alts only when there aren't any groups or raids going on.

I've talked about leveling a Warlock, but haven't really looked at why people would pick this class in the first place. Or why some don't. So all the WoW rookies out there still sitting on the fence of class choices, or seasoned players considering yet another alt, consider this an expansion of the Warlock section in Elizabeth's excellent "Choose your class!" article.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Rookie, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Warlocks buffed in 2.4

Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

With the current furore over patch 2.4, one may be hard-pressed to keep up with the latest news and developments, especially if you've got raid/ work/ school schedules to keep to and tax forms to struggle with. Ultimately, few of us really read through the patch notes line-by-line, often just skimming for parts that matter to us. As warlocks, we'd naturally be concerned with how patch 2.4 affects us - are we nerfed or buffed? Can warlocks ever not cause the world to end?

Allow this intrepid columnist to dive into the murky depths of patch 2.4, to surface with hopefully some pearls of wisdom that answer the hundred-dollar question: What does it mean for me?

For really busy warlocks, 2.4, in a nutshell, is a buff in terms of group and raid utility for warlocks.

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Filed under: Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Sport: Predictions for the Year of the Rat

Every week, V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.

The year of the Rat is upon us and while this column usually relies on cold hard numbers and shies away from wild speculation and baseless assertions, I shall indulge my Lunar New Year festive mood to venture into some strictly amateur crystal ball gazing for the classes. As with any prediction - astrology, fortune cookies or otherwise - read this with a large pinch of deeprock salt, and understand that a positive attitude is always a good way to overcome defeats and disappointments.

This year is the beginning of a new 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac and is a better year than the last. However, many changes are still afoot, especially with Wrath of the Lich King on the horizon. The Rat's resourcefulness and enterprising nature gives rise to many opportunities along the way, and you'll have to be as nimble and smart as the Rat to take full advantage of them. Mobility and haste ratings become differentiating factors in winning Arena matches, as Resilience becomes increasingly ubiquitous when more and more players get their Arena gear.

Unfortunately, the Rat's intelligence has a dark side and manipulating the system for individual gain is certainly not above the Rat. Good examples are players selling entire Arena teams and other manipulation of the ladder system. There will also be more betrayals and confrontations - also known as drama, whether at the guild or Arena team level - as people grow increasingly restless during this period leading up to the expansion.

Let's look at what the year of the Rat means for the various classes in the Arenas, in no particular order.

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Filed under: Events, Humor, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Blood Pact: The real Lunar Festival

Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

Today being the first day of the lunar new year (for the eastern hemisphere at least), I shall lay my shadow bolts down and talk about something close to my roots: the Lunar Festival. Hey, even evil warlocks come from somewhere, you know.

WoW's Lunar Festival is based pretty closely on the real life Lunar New Year that millions celebrate all around the world. It's a really nice gesture on Blizzard's part to move in-game festivities each year to match the real life celebrations, as Lunar New Year doesn't fall on the same day each year on the 'normal' or Gregorian calendar. In fact the 15-day festival is determined by the lunisolar calendar, and it begins on the first day with a new moon of the new lunar year. This is the third year we're having the Lunar Festival in WoW:
  • 2006 – The Lunar New Year was on Jan 29; WoW's Lunar Festival was held Jan 27 to Feb 14.
  • 2007 – The Lunar New Year was on Feb 18; WoW's Lunar Festival was held Feb 16 to Mar 8.
  • 2008 – The Lunar New Year is on Feb 7; WoW's Lunar Festival started yesterday and will continue till February 23rd.
What happens during WoW's Lunar Festival, besides Asian-style outfits, fireworks and funky red decor around towns?

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Filed under: Events, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Sport: Warrior-Druid overpowered?



Every Thursday, V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.


A quick look at the chart above and one thing clearly leaps out. Clue: it has to do with mortal strikes, HoTs and cyclones.

Well, every third team you meet nowadays in 2v2 will probably be a Warrior-Druid team. This comp (short for composition) seems to be running away with the 2v2 bracket currently: 20 of the top 50 US teams are Warrior-Druid comps - that's 40%. For teams with ratings greater than 2200, close to 30% are Warrior-Druid. They also make up almost a quarter of all 2v2 teams, regardless of rating. That's a lot of Warrior-Druid teams.

What makes the comp tick?

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Filed under: Druid, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

Blood Pact: A Warlock's descent into Destruction

Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

I have been an Affliction lock for much of my 70 career (45 days to be exact). I enjoyed wiping out fauna in Nagrand or Shadowmoon Valley by taking on multiple mobs with hardly any downtime. Between the Frozen Shadoweave set bonus, Essence Infused Mushroom, Siphon Life, Drain Life and the occasional skillcoil, my life hardly drops below the half-way point.

In raids, it was fun watching an amplified Curse of Doom pop for close to 9k damage and trying to keep a full set of DoTs on the boss between Ruin-powered shadow bolt carnage. I liked the instant fire-and-forget DoTs in PvP and Arenas, and Curse of Exhaustion and instant Howls of Terror gave me a chance against rogues and warriors. You could say that I'm a happy Warlock.

Until I got bored.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, (Warlock) Blood Pact