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Posts with tag Demonic-Pact

Blood Pact: Meet the minions, Part 6 - the felguard

Each week Dominic Hobbs brings you Blood Pact. "You gotta be a moron... you gotta be a moron to wanna be a fighter. " ~ Rocky Balboa

Over the last few months Blood Pact has had a mini-series running to introduce the various demonic accessories. "Meet the Minions" has covered imps, voidwalkers, succubus and felhounds as well as infernals and doomguards. Along the way we have also covered such game-play lessons as pet-use, threat, crowd-control and mage-hate. So that only leaves the one minion to cover, the mighty felguard.

Unlike almost all the other minions there is no quest to gain the ability to summon the felguard -- you simply pop a point into the talent and this demonic knowledge is dropped into your brain. The talent is currently on the ninth tier of the demonology tree, so you will need to be level 50 before you can learn it. Even at level 80 you will need to invest almost 60% of your talent points into demonology just to reach it, leaving little room for anything in the other trees. Because of this the felguard is pretty much only seen with demonology-build warlocks. Hybrid builds were popular at the start of Wrath, but changes to spell mechanics have meant that they are rarely used these days.

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Filed under: Warlock, Raiding, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Patch 3.3.3 raid build roundup

Each week Dominic Hobbs brings you Blood Pact. "Ah, a most excellent recovery. The blood will suppress the Doomguard's magical defenses" ~ Daio the Decrepit

It's been a few months since we did a roundup of the raiding builds and how the current game mechanics impact their relative DPS. With the patch 3.3.3 changes becoming public there are a couple of interesting warlock changes that are worth having a closer look at. Back in November with the coming of patch 3.3 we saw destruction lose its crown as "the best by far." Before then it was simply hard to justify any other spec unless you were giving the Demonic Pact buff to the raid, and doing so came at a personal DPS cost, so wasn't very popular.

While we've been raiding Icecrown Citadel affliction and destruction have been pretty even in their competitiveness, with demonology still trailing along behind like a wheezy fat-kid -- you still want him with you cos he has all the sweeties, but he's not one of the cool-gang. Well, times are a-changin', that kid is growing up into a real power-house.

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

Patch 3.3 PTR: Warlock pets bite back


I was pretty under-whelmed by the 3.3 PTR patch notes when they first came about, even going so far as to say on the podcast that I was more interested in the hunter changes. The removal of the Imp quest and the pet avoidance change made for some pretty slim pickings. The latest version of the notes is a whole other story though -- now this is interesting.

Affliction

This is a spec that needs some love. It had some fun times early on in Wrath with some big numbers and a lot of people flocking to its door. Not all were successful however, this was a powerful build but one that took some mastering. Many decided it wasn't worth the effort and went a hybrid demo/destro route to simpler, but slightly lower DPS scores.

These days the complexity of affliction is still there, it's a fiddly build to get right -- this is both a draw for many and a turn off for others. However, the numbers just don't make it as raid viable as destruction; if you can do well with Haunt, you can probably do better with Chaos Bolt. Affliction used to be a utility build but no more, other classes and builds are either doing it better or easier. So yes, affliction needs some love and it's getting it -- puppy love.

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Filed under: Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents

Blood Pact: The hidden power of demonology


Each week Dominic Hobbs brings you Blood Pact, the sacred text of summoners, the mantra on the malicious, the effusion of evil and sometimes the diatribe of the diabolical. Sit back in your skull-carved chairs, pop your feet up on the imp, and settle in for this week's installment.
"Drawing deep on the power delivered by my demon slave, I hold it in until it fills me completely. I can feel the power wanting to sear my flesh to ash, fire like a thousand suns. More power than I could possibly wield alone, yet too sweet to let go. Before it consumes me I let it flow to those I fight with, torn as if it were my flesh. I know well it will push them further towards achieving my goals."
As a pure DPS class we warlocks have one main measure of performance; the damage meter. If we can't perform well there then our place in a group comes into question. Sure, there are times when our big health pools and bigger incoming heals earn us the job of spell-catcher but those jobs are few and far between. Generally with each patch we're looking for the build that maximises our DPS. In Karazhan it was affliction. Somewhere in tier five it became destruction. Wrath made it all a lot more even but flipped it back to affliction and tier eight flopped it to destruction once more. Poor old demonology doesn't seem to get much of a look-in for PvE... or does it?

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

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Warlocks part II

Demonology
Let's now take a look at the Demonology tree. Out of all the trees, Demonology has always been about utility. Obviously the most pet-centric spec, Patch 3.0.2 brings interesting synergies with the pet and Warlock that also brings significant gains in DPS. It's also still a great PvP spec, although Warlocks who choose to pursue SL/SL take a hit from the survivability nerfs in Demonology and miss out on some cool 51-point toys.

On the first tier, we already discussed the nerf to Demonic Embrace, which now only grants 10% total Stamina instead of 15%. The Spirit penalty was removed, however, and it actually matters because we actually get spell power gains from Spirit through Fel Armor. Five points here is mandatory. There's also Improved Imp, which we'll skip because we won't be using the Imp much as a Demonologist, anyway.

And then there's Improved Healthstone, which I highly recommend whether you raid or PvP. It's notable that when I tested it in Beta, players are no longer allowed to possess more than one Healthstone, regardless of rank. Because of this change, you might as well have the best one. Your raid or team will thank you for it.

On the second tier we'll find Improved Health Funnel, which was buffed to grant a mitigation mechanic while our pet is under the effect of Health Funnel. I'd normally say take it, but we'll have our hands full with other talents later on. If you use your pet to tank a lot, this talent helps. Otherwise, you can skip it.

On the other hand, you have to put three points in Fel Vitality, which rolls Fel Intellect and Stamina together. This one is a no-brainer. Demonic Brutality is a tougher choice. This is the buffed Improved Voidwalker which also increases the DPS of our Felguard. This is about as close as we'll get to an Improved Felguard for now, so it just might be worth investing in.

Improved Succubus in tier three has been reworked to a more usable form by making Seduction instant cast, which is awesome. It's not like we ever used her for Lash of Pain or Soothing Kiss, anyway. If you really want pure utility, pick this up as it will also situationally be handy in PvP. Despite the improvement, though, I'd much rather spend three points in Demonic Aegis on the same tier for the spell power bonus to Fel Armor.

Two key talents are also on the third tier -- the weaker but more accessible Soul Link and life-saving Fel Domination. Take them. Speaking of key talents, max out all the talents in tier four. Unholy Power opens up three different talents and Master Summoner is necessary to make Fel Domination absolutely worth it.

The good news is that Demonic Sacrifice is now completely optional. If you're a fan of demon-less raiding, which I admittedly am not, then pick this up to go along with a hybrid Destruction spec. Otherwise you can skip this talent and Master Conjuror, both on the fifth tier. It's important to note, however, that Firestones and Spellstones have been reworked to be weapon buffs like Mana Oils. They no longer need to be equipped but instead are a 5-charge consumable item that grants significant bonuses to direct damage spells or DoTs.

Mana Feed on the sixth tier is a good investment, particularly because Felguards eat through their mana extremely fast. Master Demonologist is another vital talent not only for the passive benefits but because it's required for Demonic Empowerment. That's about eight talents spent on this tier, so it's good that we can skip the underwhelming Improved Enslave Demon completely.

Tier seven is a mixed bag. If you're heavy into PvP, you should probably max out Demonic Reslience, specially with the weaker Soul Link. Otherwise, you can skip it and invest in the more DPS-oriented Demonic Knowledge, which should do wonders for you in PvE. Also on this tier is the utility spell Demonic Empowerment, which I've enthused about. I like it. I have it hotkeyed. I hope you like it, too.

Past the seventh tier we will be foregoing hybridization and should be committing to full Demonology. It's also where all these master and demon synergies start falling into place. Demonic Tactics on tier nine is a flat out DPS boost that should be maxed out. We'll also need it for another cool talent on the next tier. If we plan on sending our pet into the fray -- which we should, really -- Fel Synergy will help keep it alive. The more damage we deal, the more our demons stay up. How cool is that?

Improved Demonic Tactics is on the ninth tier and gives our demons that necessary punch for Demonic Empathy. The DPS boost is moderate at 3%, but is virtually guaranteed to be up for either the Warlock or her pet at all times. It's pretty weak for something so deep in the tree, however, so I recommend skipping it. What we're not skipping, however, is Summon Felguard. No, really.

Improved Demonic Tactics will come in handy for Demonic Pact, which grants a raidwide buff whenever our pet crits. If you're a raider, you'll want this. It won't stack with Shaman totems, though, so it's only good if you have considerable spell power. If you mostly PvP, you can skip it.

Finally, we have Metamorphosis. I wanted to do a Skill Mastery on this talent because it really needs to be discussed. First of all, I honestly don't think it's a finished spell. At its best, it's a 30 second DPS boost every three minutes and a perfect panic button for PvP. It boosts a Demonology Warlock's survivability to the stratosphere because of the 600% armor bonus and snare and stun duration reductions. It's very nearly a Warlock's version of The Beast Within.

Be warned, however, that the associated abilities in demon form are situational and even downright silly. Shadow Cleave gives you a low-damage melee strike... that also hits allies. I mean, if you have 30 seconds in this godly, er, demonic form, why would you waste your GCD on a silly melee strike? Then there's Challenging Howl, an AoE taunt for those Warlocks who've always dreamed of being Tankadins. Of course, the only thing vaguely tank-ish about a Warlock in demon form is the armor, and it's not even that high. Oh, and once 30 seconds are up, you're quite certain to die.

Immolation Aura is great, though. It scales very well with spell damage and is there to teach those big, bad Warriors a lesson for picking on us. It lasts 15 seconds, so if you can't get out of melee range within that span of time, at least you're dealing some hurt. It's pretty much the best demon form ability, although you'll rarely use it while raiding. There's also Demon Charge, which is like a Warrior's Intercept. The trouble is, it works from a minimum of 8 yards, meaning you'll actually have to get close to someone you're already far away from to begin with. [CLARIFICATION: That statement was supposed to mean "you're already 8 yards away, why the hell would I charge to my opponent?"]

I don't know about you, but I was fairly certain that our strategy was to kite things, not to tank things. Pretty much everything about Metamorphosis is counter-intuitive. That said, the ability does have its uses, and can be considered a boost to DPS when raiding. Hopefully it'll still get fixed at some point and, for the love of demons, it should get a female form. Even if you go deep into Demonology, you're completely excused if you skip Metamorphosis.

Zach helps guide you through the changes in 3.0.2, so you can be enthralled in all the demonic love Blizzard's thrown together. Check out other 3.0.2 Talent Guides, too, as well as everything about the so-called Echoes of Doom.

Filed under: Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

So much for Chaos and other Warlock stories in build 9014

You might have heard that Chaos Bolt now deals Fire damage instead of the nebulous "Chaos" damage, which was actually an amalgamation of all schools of magic. On one hand, this is good news because getting Kicked or Counterspelled while casting it won't lock Warlocks out of every spell. On the other hand, this means Fire immunities will stop it cold. This makes the spell easier to implement or work with, and further enforces the use of Fire spells for Destruction. It's not even a Shadow and Fire version of Frostfire Bolt. It's just... a bolt Fire that looks like Alien larvae.

Now, the coolest thing about Chaos Bolt was how it conceptually penetrated through immunities. Ghostcrawler explained that making immunities have vulnerabilities would only create a vicious cycle. Now, the spell only goes through absorption effects -- which is fine, really, but makes Chaos Bolt merely another direct damage Fire spell. Is it a great 51-point talent? I don't know. It deals pretty good damage, I'll give it that. But I'm not sure it's worth 51 points.

Curse of Doom can now only produce Doomguards from targets that yield experience or honor, which was a necessary change considering it's now a 100% chance if CoD delivers the killing blow. It still can't be cast on players, though, which is a bummer. Haunt was retuned to heal for 100% of the damage it deals, which isn't so bad considering the 200% I raved about last time was bugged to hell, anyway. Oh, and Everlasting Affliction affects Haunt instead of Shadow Bolt, which is excellent because it relaxes Affliction's already complex rotation.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Blood Pact: Demonology in Wrath Beta


A Demonology Warlock is very easy to spot. Prior to Wrath or Patch 3.0, she'll more often than not have the Soul Link buff. But since Soul Link was moved to Tier 3 of the Demonology tree, it will no longer be as exclusive to Demonologists. But the Felguard is another tell-tale sign of a die-hard Demonologist and is a favored pet for damage and the Warrior-like Intercept. In Wrath of the Lich King, that trend of being easily identifiable continues with the 51-point talent Metamorphosis, which transforms the Warlock into a demon herself. Demonologists are not exactly known for their subtlety.

The most notable thing about Demonologists is their high survivability. Many of the talents in the tree is centered around a synergistic relationship between the Warlock and the demon that keeps both alive and makes them more powerful. In fact, the most hardy of all Warlock specs -- the SL/SL -- relies on Soul Link and Demonic Resilience, deep in Demonology, along with Affliction's Siphon Life. In Wrath, survivability continues with the added bonus of getting pets to scale up the Warlock's DPS. And we all love DPS.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Wrath of the Lich King

Blood Pact: The Warlock's way ahead, part 2

In my last article, we looked at the Warlock in alpha: Atrocity, Metamorphosis (yay, demon form!), Decimate, and new synergies between our spells. All three top tier talents seem to have more utility in PvP and the Arenas, with Atrocity possibly having some amazing utility in some PvE situations. The synergy between DoTs and nukes is something to watch, particularly Eradication and Everlasting Affliction. New additions to the Destruction tree that seem to encourage cross-school casting turn out to be just minor improvements to the tree's PvP viability in their current form.

We turn our attention now to the other talents, and Blizzard definitely plans to make Spirit matter to warlocks.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Talents, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Wrath of the Lich King

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