- Death Knight - Being the new class on the block, there's certainly been a lot to talk about in the recent months. Daniel Whitcomb points you toward much of it, including leveling builds, in-depth looks at their core abilities and mechanics, as well as some sage advice from Allison Robert.
- Druid - Speaking of Allison Robert, she'll be your guide today if you're looking for more on the Druid class. Talent builds, a glimpse at raid healing as Restoration, the rise of the Moonkin and much more can be found within.
Posts with tag destruction
STATE OF THE CLASS
- If you're only checking in now, you might be a bit surprised to see how much of the game has changed from The Burning Crusade. Our coverage of Patch 3.0.3 and the associated Warlock changes should get you up to speed.
- You can learn the Dreadsteed spell without doing the quest now. Cheater.
- Did you know that DoTs can now crit?
- You might need to set your demon to Passive, by the way. The new Defensive for pets works somewhat differently now... kind of a passive-aggressive that gets us into trouble.
- Speaking of pets, did you hear about that time when a big blueberry actually tanked Illidan? True story. Too bad the threat component has been nerfed somewhat.
- Blizzard definitely shook things up when they unleashed Patch 3.0.2 upon Azeroth and I really took a liking to Affliction (I lie, I've always liked Affliction) and didn't quite get the hang of Demonology. My thoughts on the two trees can be found in an old Blood Pact.
- I surprised myself by actually enjoying Destruction. Give it a shot. You might surprise yourself, too.
- We ran through some talent choices for Affliction when 3.0.2 came out.
- We also took a look at, ugh, Demonology.
- And then there's Destruction.
- Have a look at our Demonology 101 series, which gives an overview of the different Warlock pets such as the popular Voidwalker, the sexy Succubus, and even the conditional-but-now-usable-indoors Infernal.
- Learn how to unleash the full potential of a skill with our Skill Mastery. We took a look at Haunt, one of Affliction's staple spells.
But let's get this out of the way before I get (Shadow)flamed. I understand that some of you enjoy Destruction. I know that some of you like playing with Fire and Shadow. That's cool. I want to play with it, too. So I did. This whole week, all I did was muck around with a full Destruction build that went all the way up to Chaos Bolt, casting alien-like nukes, jets of fire, and burning things up. So how did it go? I surprised myself... because I actually had fun.
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.]
I really enjoy the Epic quest in Nagrand to bring Thrall to meet his grandmother. Is there anything like that in Wrath where you have to complete all the quests in one zone before you get an epic quest to complete?
Well, there are a lot of quest chains. Maybe not that long, but certainly not less epic. That doesn't mean the chains are short, either. They just don't necessarily require completing every other quest in the zone. Some of the stories start the moment you step into a zone and last straight through until you're ready to leave it again, but there are plenty of other quests you do on the way. They're less of a prize for 'beating the zone' and more an everpresent story.
Long considered the most efficient raiding spec throughout the Burning Crusade, Destruction will get a run for its money with the new and improved Affliction. It also remains to be seen if Blizzard's efforts at steering the spec clear of mindless Shadow Bolt spamming will prove successful. Certainly, there's more emphasis on Fire spells this time around, which we'll see deeper into the tree. If you do spec deep Destruction, do tell me how it goes. Send me a postcard from Naxxramas.
Change is felt right off on the first tier as the popular Bane is moved up here. It's exactly the same, so getting it a tier earlier is a definite buff. Improved Shadow Bolt is unchanged, but I'd hold off on putting points here. Unless you're determined to pursue a Shadow Bolt spam spec, there're a good bunch of talents deeper in the tree to spend your points on.
Cataclysm swapped places with Bane but was buffed in a sense because it now just costs 3 points for a 3% cost reduction but now grants crucial +Hit. We'll need it as we level up and re-gear in Northrend. Three points here is mandatory. In more point-saving generosity, Aftermath was reduced to a 2-point talent for the same effect. Does it make the talent any better? No, it still sucks. But now it sucks for three points less.
On tier two we also see Molten Core, a new talent introduced to mix things up a little for Destruction. Molten Core encourages the use of DoTs, which are likely to proc it more than Shadow Bolts. This is great talent for Destruction Warlocks looking to specialize in Fire spells, as well as low enough in the tree for other specs such as Demonology, to pick up. If we want to diversify our play style, we should put three points here.
If you're only branching out to Destruction from another tree, you might be faced with the decision of choosing between tier three's Shadowburn and a 51-point talent. I'll say it right off that you should skip Shadowburn. On the other hand, if you're moving deeper into Destruction, pick it up because you'll be sure to find a use for it. Five points in the more accessible Ruin is mandatory, as well. We can skip Demonic Power, which is essentially Improved Lash of Pain and Improved Firebolt rolled together. [EDIT: Sephirah correctly reminds me that Demonic Power ups DPS directly because we're going to have our Imp attack, anyway. So, score some points for Demonic Power!]
The unchanged Destructive Reach on tier four is mandatory while the other talents are completely optional. If we're looking to PvP as Destruction -- why not? -- we should pick up Intensity not just for the pushback protection but because it's a prerequisite for a stun effect. We'll save points by skipping Improved Searing Pain. No, really. We're going to skip it.
Devastation was moved to tier five, swapping places with Ruin. Now it's one talent point for a 5% crit, which is one of the best single point investments we can make in any tree. We'll also want to get Improved Immolate because aside from the fact that it's been buffed from 25% to 30% for two talent points less, we'll need it to get something really cool deeper in the tree. Besides, Blizzard really wants us to use Immolate. Pyroclasm is entirely optional, even for PvP considering the only spell we'll really use that can proc it is Conflagrate.
We want Emberstorm. It's that simple. 10% more damage from Fire spells and a faster Incinerate is sweet. Also on tier six is the reworked Nether Protection, which now procs off any spell. It no longer grants immunity, but a damage reduction from any school. In some ways it's a buff since it can protect against Frost or Holy, for example, but it also no longer confers immunities to Silence or other Shadow spells (which probably wasn't intended to begin with). Unless we want more mitigation in PvP, we can skip that.
Tier seven is where it begins to get a bit tight. We want Conflagrate, since it's an excellent one point investment. If we're raiding, we can actually skip Soul Leech since we really should be healed, anyway. If we solo or PvP, it's a great talent to have. It also opens up opportunities for our pet on the next tier. Backlash is another PvP talent for those time when Rogues or Warriors are being mean to us, but because there's a 3% crit bonus, I'd say we pick it up.
Up next is Shadow and Flame in tier eight, which we'll max out because it scales Shadow Bolt insanely and tempt us to just spam the thing. Fortunately it also affects Chaos Bolt and Incinerate, so we may steer clear of the evil path of mindless Shadow Bolt spam. Since we skipped Soul Leech, we're obviously locked out from Improved Soul Leech. But feel free to pick it up for pet loving if you have points to spare.
On tier nine, I'm skipping Shadowfury only because we've been moving away from PvP-centric talents in this post. I know, I know, some of you insist that Shadowfury is awesome for PvE, so you can very well spend that talent point there. It's just one point, anyway. What I'm really interested in is Backdraft. Didn't I say Improved Immolate would lead to something cool? Well this is it. It's a mini-Bloodlust or Heroism for three spells. Because Destruction is all about cast times, 30% haste is gold.
Then we get Empowered Imp on the same tier. Check out that icon. That's one badass Imp. If little Rupjub crits, I crit. Well, almost. I get 20% more crit on my next spell, which is pretty darned good. The idea is to get the Imp into the action by spending talents to make it hit hard enough. He'll crit eventually. Here's where we can revisit Improved Soul Leech to keep the little guy topped up. See, I told you to hold off on getting Improved Shadow Bolt.
If you find spamming direct damage spells a little mind numbing, you can invest some points into Fire and Brimstone. Didn't I tell you that Blizzard wants us to use Immolate? Well, here you go. Immolate will hit hard with this talent. The cool -- or uncool, depending on how you look at it -- is having to watch Immolate's duration hit the 5 second mark before throwing out a Conflagrate. Yes, I know this screws our timing up, but someone's bound to make an AddOn to tell us when to cast Conflagrate. Right? Anyone? Bueller?
And then there's Chaos Bolt. It's a 51-point spell on a 12 second timer. Sure, it pierces through absorption effects and all that stuff... but 12 seconds? I mean, I can't kill a Pally with it anymore and I can only cast it every 12 seconds. Well, we're getting it anyway. We've gotten this deep, right? Besides, it deals whopper damage and it's great for teaching those Shadow Cloaked Rogues a lesson. It's a pretty decent one point investment and can do wonders once we figure out how to work it into our newly confusing and complex (but fun!) rotations.
Well, that's the last of our Warlock talents primer for 3.0.2. I hope that helped you decide which direction you want to take your Warlock when the realms go up. I'm leaning towards a hybrid myself, but Haunt is so deliciously sexy...
Things are going to be somewhat different in Wrath of the Lich King, although Destruction is still pretty much the tree for blowing up things into oblivion. A lot of the talents incentivize mixing up spells and steer away from chain casting Shadow Bolt. A talent deep in the tree also rewards keeping a pet out. The tree is essentially a crit tree, the tree to make things go boom, although Blizzard clearly wants Destruction Warlocks to throw other things into the mix.
Some basic stuff first... imps don't need a Soul Shard to summon, so it's great for lazy Warlocks. It also has a basic Firebolt that you'll need to set to auto-cast because that's pretty much all it can do once you've toggled it to attack. Firebolt was nerfed to a 2.5 second cast -- up from 2 -- but there are a lot of talents that pump up the imp's DPS (including the silly Demonic Power which brings back Firebolt's casting time to the original 2). It also provides a couple of group buffs -- the Fire Shield, which is kind of like a Druid's Thorns but with a Fire Resistance bonus; and Blood Pact, a Stamina buff that used to get a Warlock grouped with the tank. Blood Pact has been changed to grant a health bonus, rather than Stamina, so it will no longer stack with Commanding Shout.
Finally, an imp can Phase Shift, a sort of self-Banish that only breaks when the imp attacks. A Phase Shifted imp used to be standard for Affliction Warlocks with Dark Pact, because of the imp's high mana pool and monstrous regeneration rate. That's all set to change in Wrath, however, with the improvements to the Felhunter. The imp blows things up, that's kind of its nature, so in Wrath of the Lich King, if you're a Warlock that likes to blow things up, the imp is the demon that blows things up right with you.
Without further ado: they nerfed Death's Embrace to grant 9% crit to all Shadow Spells when an opponent is at 20% or below health, down from 15% crit. Eradication can no longer be a permanent buff now as it now notes that, "This effect cannot occur more often than once every 30 sec". On the other hand, Death's Embrace and Eradication got cool new icons. Dark Pact, which I raved about when I talked about the Felhunter, has been nerfed back to its current form of granting 100% of the mana drained from pet (down from 200% in previous builds).
Curse of Exhaustion was nerfed to a 30% movement speed reduction, down from 50%. It's now back to the live realm's value but without the benefit of Amplify Curse, which was reworked in Beta. Fel Armor's mana regeneration was removed and replaced with a health regeneration rate of 2% per 5 seconds. I'm not too sure how to feel about that, but since Warlocks treat health as mana, anyway, it's not such a substantial nerf but merely a mechanical change. More nerfs and a few pleasant surprises after the jump.
First of all, Metamorphosis will no longer replace a summoned demon -- a no-brainer feature that should have been there from the start considering that most talents in the tree buff up the Warlock's demon! It will also now increase armor by 600%, up from 360%, a coefficient that scales better with a Warlock's base armor of... cloth. Significantly, the demon form will now also increases all damage by 40%, after players realized that turning into a demon with many melee abilities and being cut off from normal spells actually reduced their DPS. Speaking of normal spells, Warlocks in demon form can now cast those, too. These changes come in addition to a few others that Blizzard is working on such as a few demon form-exclusive abilities -- and it seems like Demonology will finally be truly, diabolically fun. [EDIT: In my excitement I forgot to mention that the spell was reverted to a 5-minute cooldown and the form lasts 45 seconds. Still awesome!]
I griped about this on the last Blood Pact along with a throng of other Warlocks, and it seems like Blizzard has heard us -- Corruption will now be baseline instant cast! It's a change that has been a long time coming, and it's finally turning real. Improved Corruption will instead increase the damage of Corruption by up to 20%, effectively negating Empowered Corruption and hopefully freeing up space for a new, exciting talent or at least more points to use in an already bloated tree.
For every major class mechanic overhaul in the Wrath Beta, there's also a few minor tweaks for other classes as Blizzard works on perfecting the new talents and class balance for release. Today, it's the Warlocks' turn. MMO-Champion has discovered a few changes to the official talent calculator for the Warlock. Check it out after the jump.
A lot of the changes are a little hard to noggin out -- are they meant to be buffs? Nerfs? Inexplicably different, but not really better or worse? Demonology is certainly getting a thorough shuffle, but it's hard to say whether it's good or bad. We'll chat more about it after the cut. Let's start with what the first beta patch notes obviously say, and consider what each item means. Then, in Part II, we'll start looking at each tree individually, with each of its new spells.
The Brutal Gladiator armor piece for the hands are the cheapest and easiest Season 4 Arena gear to obtain. With no personal rating requirements, most players will be able to purchase this piece and is the Arena gear likely to be most widespread as soon as the season begins. The bonus is the same for both Warlock-specific sets, giving a bonus against spell interruption when casting Fear. The handguards have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
+56 Stamina (+6)
+23 Intellect (+5)
+26 Spell Critical (+4)
+23 Resilience (+0)
+44 Spell Damage / Healing (+4)
Gives 50% chance to avoid interruption caused by damage while casting Fear.
Brutal Gladiator's Felweave Trousers
The leg armor possesses a personal rating requirement of 1550, which isn't too difficult to obtain, and Destruction Warlocks should find it an achievable target. While not as accessible as the gloves, the leg armor is highly visible on a character and is also likely to be a popular purchase, even at 1875 Arena points. The trousers have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
442 Armor (+18)
+74 Stamina (+7)
+30 Intellect (+6)
+39 Spell Critical (+6)
+30 Resilience (+0)
+60 Spell Damage / Healing (+7)
WoW Insider says: The lack of sockets mean that the only customization that can be done will be through Tailoring or Leatherworking enchants. Although it doesn't have as much +Stamina as the Dreadweave Leggings, Destruction Warlocks will find the +39 Spell Crit Rating (1.49% at Level 70) to more than make up for it.
Brutal Gladiator's Felweave Raiment
With three sockets, the chestpiece is the most customizable Arena armor piece, and is the next best purchase after the gloves. 1600 is a modest target considering the reward. In PvE, the chest armor is traditionally a drop from the final boss in a series (Magtheridon drops Tier 4 chest token, Kael'thas drops Tier 5 chest token, Illidan drops Tier 6 chest token, etc.). Arenas are different in this regard, but the item level of the chest is identical to PvE chest pieces. Sunwell Plateau breaks from tradition in that the final boss, Kil'jaeden, does not drop chest tokens or armor. However, the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is equivalent to the drops from Entropius and is the best combination of cost and restriction among all the armor pieces. The raiment has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
476 Armor (+22)
+68 Stamina (+7)
+21 Intellect (+6)
+39 Spell Critical (+6)
+26 Resilience (+0)
+46 Spell Damage / Healing (+7)
Socket Bonus: +4 Spell Critical
WoW Insider says: Two Yellow Sockets mean more spell crit, including the offense-oriented socket bonus. The chest takes a -16 Stamina hit compared to the Dreadweave version, but this is the best burst Arena armor piece for Warlocks in Season 4. Because of its PvE equivalent, obtaining the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is almost like killing Entropius in Sunwell Plateau. Well, ok not really, but if you don't raid, that's about as close to a raid drop as you're going to get.
Brutal Gladiator's Felweave Cowl
The helm is very likely the last Brutal Gladiator armor piece that many players will obtain. With the shoulders at an extremely prohibitive 2200, most players will only manage 4/5 of Season 4. Destruction Warlocks should find a 1700 personal rating a manageable goal to get this cowl, which costs the same as the chest and leg armor pieces. With a personal rating attached to it, the Brutal Gladiator helm might be one helm graphic that players would like to leave on. It is also identical in model to the pieces that drop off Kil'jaeden in Sunwell Plateau. The cowl has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
426 Armor (+17)
+74 Stamina (+7)
+21 Intellect (+6)
+28 Spell Critical (+6)
+33 Resilience (+0)
+54 Spell Damage / Healing (+7)
Socket Bonus: +4 Resilience Rating
WoW Insider says: One of the few pieces where Felweave has a little more raw +Spell Damage than its Dreadweave counterpart, the cowl is a perfect complement to a crit-happy Destro lock. It also has substantial upgrades from the previous season's fancily animated helm.
Brutal Gladiator's Felweave Amice
The 2200 personal ratings requirement for the shoulders are almost Gladiator-level for most Battlegroups, and will likely be a very rare sight in most realms. Although it is the cheapest item after the gloves, it is also the most difficult to get. Blizzard's reasoning for this is that the shoulders are the most "visually impacting" armor piece, confirming Blizzard's opinion that PvP achievements should be on display. The amice has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
339 Armor (+16)
+56 Stamina (+6)
+18 Intellect (+5)
+21 Spell Critical (+4)
+23 Resilience (+0)
+44 Spell Damage / Healing (+4)
Socket Bonus: +3 Resilience Rating
WoW Insider says: Brutal Gladiator Shoulders are peacock gear. The Felweave Amice has 1 point more Stamina than its Dreadweave counterpart, and has almost identical stats elsewhere except for +Spell Hit, which was forewent for +Spell Crit. Blue sockets are uncommon for PvP gear, and helps activate the Chaotic Skyfire Diamond.
Gallery: Season 4 Arms & Equipment
Raiding warlocks have a very specific role - dealing damage. As we progress further in the high end-raiding game, one thing becomes more and more apparent. Our much-envied range of playstyles diminishes and we seem to be shoehorned, like other classes, into pretty much a single cookie-cutter spec.
The spec in question is destruction or 0/21/40 specifically. This spec capitalizes on the wonderful scalability of shadow bolt and consistently outperforms affliction when good spell hit and crit gear becomes available. For a detailed look at the 0/21/40 build, check out my "A Warlock's descent into Destruction" article.
I've recently respecced back to an affliction spec (40/0/21) just to revisit the good ol' days of mobility (instant DoTs) and an "unending" mana pool (Dark Pact). I know we tend to look back on the past with rose-colored glasses, and true enough, my experience with affliction again was ... less than satisfying. Why the difference?
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.