Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Quick Visit with the Warlocky Ones

My warlock looks nothing like this.
This image is here to distract you so
she can still sneak up behind you and
steal your soul.

I made a little time to slip my warlock character over to the beta this past week to get a feel for what is going on there.

No More Soulshards? Meh.
This is the big new mechanic of the warlock this expansion. No longer must one carry around tons of little pink glass shards in one's bag, soulshards now just kind of disappear into your ui. There is a cute indicator showing if you have 1-3 of them available.  Whoopee! I have more inventory room now!

My lack of enthusiasm comes from the fact that I don't see a lot of regular use for them. Soulshards now have no other purpose than to be consumed by the Soulburn spell, which augments certain other spells in the warlock's arsenal. And the effects are all pretty strictly utilitarian.  They have made two different methods to regain your three soulshards fairly easily. I just lack imagination, I guess, to see how I'm going to need three soulshards with any regularity.

Banes and Curses
Warlocks always threw up the pain on their targets which meant one thing: Curse of Agony. Now, that has been changed to Bane of Agony, and they changed the doom one to Bane of Doom, which has some other effects and (might) do additional damage (but I'm too lazy to sit there and add things up). Bane of Doom will also let you use your Doomguard as an additional entity with your regular demon, so this has potential.

Meanwhile, Curse of Elements, Curse of Tongues and Curse of Weakness are all still curses, and do pretty much what they always did. There is a cool affliction talent, Jinx, that makes Tongues an Weakness not suck to the point of utter uselessness too, the way they do in today's game.

The big change here is that the 'locks can use a bane and a curse at the same time and get more hurting done, potentially.  I'm also wondering about the dispel mechanics of a "bane." Seems to me that a bane may require a Dispel Magic rather than a Remove Curse. But that is my inner Shaman wondering, who will have both of those abilities in Cataclysm.

Ho-Hum Affliction Spec
Not very much seems to have changed with this means of fighting. I'm sure the numbers will speak for themselves as far as dps goes, but the rotation and basic premise of what you are doing to your victims remains unchanged.  The Felhunter does everything he always did, so do your spells here. It seemed to me that Shadow Trance procced more frequently, though I can't quite tell why.

The one big new mechanic happening to affliction is Soul Swap which will make switching targets considerably easier to do. Glyph it and you still leave DoTs on your first target as well. All the DoTs start a new duration as well. I think a clever warlock, when presented with a couple of different important targets could probably keep renewing all his DoTs at once by bouncing between the two targets.

Demonology Stepping Up
Demonology has one significant new ability: Hand of Gul'dan. I don't know that it is supremely awesome, but it is nice to have something that is uniquely painful from the demonology spec. My main fun from demo comes from glorying in the destruction wrought by a felguard's cleave. Which is very refreshing after the love taps displayed by the other demons.  The felguard has a couple of new moves as well: Felstorm and Axe Toss. Though, since the felguard can stun with a charge, that axe thing seems a lil redundant.

Blizzard still needs to have a new pop up action bar when you shift into Metamorphosis though. Warriors get a new action bar when they change stances. Rogues get a stealth action bar. Why can't you have something useful pop up for your demon form? I don't get that.

Destro ...
Is still the spec for players who ought to roll a mage to match their play style but think that the darkness of the warlock better expresses the darkness in their hearts. I'm not sure if anything new has been added here or not, though I think they are considering the new spell. Morrissey Punch, a weak sort of slap that is really a form of CC because it causes the victim to burst out laughing uncontrollably.

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