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Posts with tag Soul-link

Blood Pact: Speccing for old world raids

Blood Pact Speccing for old world raids MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill harvests all the songbells ever in the search for more Imperial Silk, but slaughtering masses of Horde NPCs for reputation also works.

Patch 5.1 introduced pets to the vanilla-era raids. Patch 4.3 introduced transmogrification, which brought old raids back. Before that, some players would solo or duo old raids just for the challenge giggles. Every new expansion has raised the level cap and opened another expansion to soloing.

Whether you're soloing for a look, for improved familiarity with your spell toolbox, or for bragging rights, warlock is definitely a great class to jump into soloing old raids. At level 90, even before you're decked out in tier 14, most of the Wrath of the Lich King raids are fairly easy. But let's start with the basics -- speccing and playstyle.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Blood Pact: Staying slightly alive as a warlock

Blood Pact How to stay slightly alive as a warlock MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill completely devours a real-life box of cookies while listing out all the ways a warlock can heal herself. Om nom nom.

Dead DPS does zero DPS. We all know that saying. I introduce to you my Princess Bride collorary to the Dead DPS rule:

Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

Inigo Montoya: What's that?

Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

The perfect description of what happens when a mob dies in an RPG aside, Miracle Max is right: mostly dead is slightly alive, and slightly alive means you can still do more damage. Naturally -- since we are magnificent, resilient bastards instead of glass cannons -- warlocks are quite excellent at staying slightly alive.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Blood Pact: Playing an 85 warlock with MoP mechanics

Blood Pact Playing an 85 warlock with MoP mechanics MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill recovers from a near-death experience on beta in Vortex Pinnacle involving Falling Meteor.

Tomorrow, we can summon a wrathguard or an observer or a shivarra. Tomorrow, we can have AoE Drain Life. Tomorrow, we can ride felsteeds on water. Tomorrow, we can enter Metamorphosis whenever we wish. Tomorrow, players everywhere will be begging the superior class for summons. (I take bribes).

I've got your back with a summary of what to do as an 85 warlock with Mists of Pandaria mechanics in the final month of Cataclysm. Later, I'll flesh out the differences between levels 85 and 90. We'll visit tier 6 talents again, look at consumables and enchants, and get your gear ready for tier 14 raiding.

But for now, you just need to survive patch 5.0.4.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Blood Pact: Tanking the Blood Prince Council

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "Did they look like psychos? Is that what they looked like? They were vampires. Psychos do not explode when sunlight hits them, I don't give a damn how crazy they are!" ~ Seth Gecko

So there you are, raiding your way through Icecrown Citadel, merrily destroying everything in your path with shadow and flame, when all of a sudden your raid leader tells you that you're tanking the next boss. "That can't be right - surely" you think to yourself, "I'm still wearing this dress, I don't have a sword or shield, I don't feel any more stupid than before - why would I suddenly want to tank anything?". Well, Blood Prince Council is one of those special fights where a clothie can do the job of a meat-shield. When this is called for, there's simply no better clothie than a warlock to get the job done. So, step up and lets look at how to do it.

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

[UPDATED] Warlock changes in patch 3.0.3


Patch 3.0.3 isn't a hefty patch by any means, but it did bring some pretty nice changes for Warlocks. Some were simple bug fixes but others were outright improvements. As we reported, the Dreadsteed spell will become trainable to all Warlocks at Level 61. Players no longer need to do the quest line, which opens up at Level 60. The character must have Journeyman riding skill and the Felsteed spell learned.

Despite this welcome change, I implore all Warlocks to do the quest. It is one of the best and most flavor-rich quest lines in the game, and any Warlock worth her salt will have fun keeping up the Bell, the Wheel, and the Candle. The cost of materials are trivial in the new economy, so there really shouldn't be any excuse not to do the quest now. High level friends can and should (we're Warlocks, after all) be bribed to chaperone Level 60 Warlocks with the Dire Maul Achievement.

[UPDATE: Thanks to our industrious readers, I needed to change my shorts (I'm sending you my dry cleaning bill, Augustus) when I read about this change... the coefficients to Corruption and Immolate were significantly buffed to 20%. That's just... wait, let me change my shorts again (blast you, Augustus!). Oh, and apparently Ritual of Doom is actually cool now. It no longer kills a party member, the Doom Guard lasts for 15 minutes and just disappears afterwards like a zit to Oxy afterwards. How polite. So wow, yeah. Bdew, you can split my dry cleaning bill with Augustus.]

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

Blood Pact: Affliction and Demonology in Patch 3.0.2


It's easy to be disappointed with Warlocks, really. The best tree we have right now is Affliction, and is just really fun to play while dealing incredible damage. This is sad news for a lot of players who enjoyed playing Demonology or liked pressing their Shadow Bolt button with a dead Succubus. For one thing, going deep Demonology nets us a half-baked 51-point talent (more on that later) and killing off your Succubus for 10% more Shadow damage doesn't seem as compelling anymore.

To top it all off, we're simply squishier than ever in PvP. We've lost Stamina, lowered survivability, and need to make major sacrifices in PvP if we're to pursue deep Affliction or Destruction. Thankfully, Blizzard recognized this and -- according to Ghostcrawler -- will be making an important change to Soul Link by increasing the damage absorbed to 20%. It will still be inacessible if we take 51-point talents at Level 70, but it should be alright by Level 80. Unfortunately, when we finally get there, we'll be sharing gear with lowlife Mages and Priests. I mean that literally -- those guys simply used to have lower life totals.

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

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

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

Demonology 101: the Succubus


Today on Demonology 101, we'll take a quick look at the Succubus, which won't really change much in Wrath of the Lich King. It's good to note that Succubi have had their health and armor increased by 20% and 22% respectively. It probably won't stop them from getting rinsed in PvP, but a buff is a buff. Unlike the Felhunter, which is the best pet for an Affliction Warlock, the Succubus isn't specialized for any particular tree. However, there are talents in Demonology that make her more useful.

The first one, obviously, is Improved Succubus, which has been modified in the Wrath Beta to confer up to a 100% resistance to interruption caused by damage while channeling Seduction. Succubi have four basic abilities, although they are famous this one alone. If a Succubus is ever brought out for PvP, it is purely for Seduction. They are the easiest demon to kill next to an Imp out of Phase Shift and thus almost never see Arena or even Battleground play. However, Succubi provide invaluable crowd control for humanoid-heavy instances. It helps to use an AddOn like FocusFrame to keep an eye on the Succubus' target because learning to reapply Seduction -- try to key bind it -- is crucial to keeping her alive.

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

Demonology 101: the Felhunter


I thought I'd do a Blood Pact on a Warlock's demons and how they'll be changing somewhat in Wrath of the Lich King, but considering there are two other trees to worry about, I've got the next two weeks loaded. Instead, we'll take a short look at one demon each day and see how the new talents and inherent demon abilities change the way you'll be playing with your pet.

For today, we'll take a look at my personal favorite, the Felhunter. I love the Felhunter because its cute, scaly, and eats my opponent's buffs and locks them out of magical schools. Out of all the demons -- with the exception of the Succubus -- Warlocks get the most benefit from micromanaging a Felhunter. This demon changes the most significantly in Wrath owing to a few things. The bad news first: currently in Beta, Felhunters no longer confer Paranoia, so in Wrath you'll actually get stun-locked by surprise instead of seeing it coming and not being able to do anything about it anyway. It also loses Tainted Blood, which won't be missed because a Felhunter with a Rogue or Warrior on it is going to die, -475 attack power notwithstanding.

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

Ask a Beta Tester: PvP questions and random things


Let's get right into the meat of things. Meethan asked...

Does Bone Shield stack with Earth Shield? If so can I see a screenshot?
Yes and yes.

There's been an idea going around about using a large group of Death Knights to continuously use "Death Grip" to lock players and keep them from running. Does this work?
I'm not able to convince enough Death Knights to try out this silly little trick, but it could work in theory. Death Grip is currently of the Physical school and does not suffer diminishing returns. It's like having several Warriors alternating Hamstring for a permanent snare, except more evil.

What's with the presences and auras? Do they count separately? Stack? Passive?
As of the current build, presences and auras are no longer connected (e.g., you no longer have to have Blood Presence up to have Blood Aura) and thus count separately. However, neither presences nor auras currently display as buffs (unlike Paladin or Hunter auras) which can be a little confusing, although Blood Aura has the Death Knight emanate an inappropriate green gassy mist [EDIT: Discograndpa correctly points out that this is a bug from the Bloodworms talent, and not Blood Aura. Thanks for the correction!]. Presences and auras stack and are passive effects.

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Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King

Blood Pact: The Warlock wishlist revisited

Many moons back, I looked at some wishes that warlocks had to improve our lot (but didn't break the game). We're now here in this pre-expansion funk, where players are generally more interested in things to come than things that are. So let us see if any of our wishes will be granted with the Wrath beta changes.

Michael did an excellent analysis of the first beta patch notes for warlocks, and he'll be following that up with a look at the new talent trees and spells. At this stage of development, it's still too early to characterize the changes as an overall class buff or nerf, but one thing's for certain: Blizzard is shaking up our game.

The changes will break some cookie-cutter specs, namely those that relied on Demonic Sacrifice and Soul Link. Shaking up the so-called "best" builds that players have become dependent on, is always a good thing to keep things fresh and interesting.

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

Build Shop: Warlock 24/37/0


Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

Ah, warlocks. Before the Burning Crusade, there was no class I hated more. Of course, my opinion of the class did a 180 once I got my own Warlock to 70. This build (and variants of it) is often called SL/SL, because it picks up both Siphon Life and Soul Link (talents in the Affliction and Demonology trees, respectively). Unlike most other Warlock builds that focus on damage output, this build is meant to help you outlast your opponents by mitigating some of the damage you take, while using Siphon Life and Drain Life to get your health back. Warlocks with this build can be annoyingly difficult to kill, and is still a popular spec in 2v2 Arena.

The downside (and there's almost always a downside, folks) is that you won't top any DPS charts when it comes to PvE -- it's just the nature of the build. If you think you can live with that, I strongly encourage you to try this build out for yourself. I'm a big fan. And if you're looking for even more info on it, Zach covered this build in-depth last week.

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Filed under: Warlock, Build Shop

Blood Pact: Tough lock... the SL/SL build


V'Ming, a lock who spends his time between Arenas laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman, is away on a hellish vacation. He won't be able to brag about 8k Shadow Bolts this week because, as Amanda noted, he's acting as a practice piñata for the WoW Insider weekend interns.

Vims is away this week, so I took the opportunity to sneak into his Warlock's sanctum and play with his toys. For this week's Blood Pact, we're going to take a look at the notorious SL/SL spec that's so popular in PvP. SL/SL stands for Soul Link / Siphon Life, the two talents which are the cornerstones of this build and define its playing style.

Let's get one thing out of the way: SL/SL is not a damage build. It has no burst and it doesn't capitalize on damage talents. It is designed for high survivability, utility, and low healer maintenance; to outlast instead of outdamage. In Level 70 Resilience-centric PvP where instagibs are virtually a thing of the past, SL/SL's endurance is a force to reckon with in Arenas and wreaks complete Havoc in Battlegrounds.

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

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