My head is still filled with little starbursts of amazement from last night.
I played my ‘Lock, and the experience was completely different. AGAIN!
The Warlock is proving to be the class that is teaching me how many different ways you can do the same thing.
It’s one class, and the foundation is a Warlock channeling fel powers and communing/summoning demons.
Just how different can it be?
Completely different, one Warlock is three different character playstyles all sharing one overall theme.
It’s tripping me out. I mean, Hunters, we got three DPS specs, but still a pet, bang bang, same core shots and shared Focus mechanic, just a little variation in some spells between ‘em.
Not Warlocks though, oh no. No, Warlocks have three different DPS specs, each are viable, and each are way different from the others, right down to the core mechanic.
The resources each uses, Burning Embers versus Demonic Fury versus Soul Shards, it’s as different as Mana versus Rage.
But they all do DPS, damnit!
It’s freaking cool. Still blows my mind.
Here’s where I’m at.
I leveled and loved Demonology. The spec uses Demonic Fury, it’s very much like having a Rage mechanic, except unlike the screwed over tanks, Demonology Warlocks have a base minimum Demonic Fury that they get to start with, it refills when they’re out of combat. It would be similar to if Bear Druids always started a fight with 30 Rage in the bar, ready to go.
I know. I KNOW! How bullshit is that? How many years did we ask for something to let Bear tanks get some burst aggro off the bounce on groups, begging for maybe a minimum Rage when out of combat or get some Rage generated by our Feral Charge. Oh, hell no, but Warlocks? Nothing is too good for Warlocks. Troubled by a lack of burst out of the gate? Awww, poor little guy, let’s give you a minimum Demonic Fury level so you don’t get Fury starved. All better? And here’s a lollipop for being such a good boy! Oh yes you were! ‘rubs spiky jaws’.
Still, lovin’ Demonology. Tons of fun, great for questing, lots of toys and survivability and easy to use AoE. At level 90 with the Mannoroth talent that extends the range of your AoE abilities by 500%, it’s ridiculous for blowing through old raids.
I had that talent on for last weeks run through Karazhan, and the ball room right before Moroes was hilarious! Shit, the AoE of my Hellfire, channeled while running around, was damn near as big as the room.
Note to self from questing in the cave for Operation: Shieldwall the next day – bring Tomes of the Clear Mind and take that shit off of there before going into cramped places filled with level 90 mobs next time, dumbass. That goes double for the upgraded Life Drain talent from Tier 1. Holy crap. Talk about a mistake that’ll wake your ass up, light off Hellfire and watch as the entire cave complex fills with flames. SHIT! Try to get a Life Drain going to top off and watch as two different groups of slaves come from both sides.
At which point, your only recourse is to bear down and Deeps Harder. Oh, and wonder why you’re given a Soulstone ability you never freaking use. Is it so you can die and feel like an idiot, both at the same time?
Okay, that’s great. But I did some instance and scenario work, and while I like the Demonology for Scenarios, the DPS output is a little low when in tanking form the whole time, and in instances or raiding I didn’t really LIKE having the Metamorphosis form and Demonic Fury as my resource.
Demonology was doable certainly, and had good points, but at the heart of it it felt like I was playing a Cat Form Druid style that only let me use my cool form in between bouts of normal form casting.
It’s not bad, it’s a feel thing. When I’m kitty Druid DPS, I’m a kitty. Switching in and out of forms is something I stopped liking to do as a kitty a long time ago. I wouldn’t want to have to stand in Night Elf caster form to cast spells to build up Energy, then switch to the fun Kitty part and tear up the boss until I ran out of Energy, and then flip back to caster to build up some more. Not when you’re in caster form more than kitty. And that’s what you do as a Demonology/Metamorphosis Warlock.
So, I asked you folks for suggestions, and was told to try Affliction. “It’s got the best DPS of the three in raids right now.”
A word about that.
I play a Beastmaster Hunter as my main… and it’s supposed to be the best single target Hunter DPS right now.
But I was BM before Pandaria. And before Cataclysm. And before Wrath.
I haven’t changed specs to go with the higher numbers because that’s not why I play a spec or class. I play what I feel to be fun. Right now my chosen playstyle happens to be in phase with the moon, and shining amongst the stars ascendant. Supposedly. The times will change, things will swing, and I’ll still be BM regardless.
Now, I know that there will always be specs that theorycrafting show to have the potential to have higher output than the others.
The question I think we should ask ourselves if we’re going for DPS isn’t “which spec has the highest theorycrafted DPS”, the question should be, “Which spec do *I* perform the best on?”
The answer to that comes not from theorycrafting number-crunching spreadsheets but from actual testing, you on your character on training dummies and on actual bosses, trying to do your best.
If you find the flow of one spec fits your abilities or interests or comfort level better than another, you WILL see a difference in the results. The thing you should look at is not potential, it’s the reality of your results.
Also, maybe when you try to play the ‘flavor’ spec, you’re not doing it quite right, and your actual results won’t match what you’ve been told to expect. You have to try it yourself.
Coming back to Affliction.
I did some reading, set up a second spec, got it all gemmed and reforged and did LFR.
Not just once, but twice.
The results weren’t bad, and I thought there was quite a bit of fun involved. It was interesting to see the effects of quickly putting a passel o’ dots on multiple targets, getting Seeds going all over and generally trying to manage DoT timers when on adds, then switching up the management on single targets.
But it didn’t gel with me. And I didn’t even know it at first. My feelings were clouded with that new class smell.
How I figured it out was when I sat in front of my monitor, knowing I needed lots of gear from Scenarios and Heroics, and I didn’t want to queue. I dreaded queuing. I didn’t want to do it.
I found myself wondering if I could just stay Demonology and get enough valor and drops from Scenarios in tank mode to make up for not queuing in Heroics.
That made me take a mental step back. Why am I dreading Heroics? If I don’t want to run in a Heroic, why run in a raid? It’s the same group thing, just with more peeps and better loots. If Heroics sound sucky and unfun, then what does that mean for raiding?
I evaluated my feelings about this. I’ve done LFR MSV twice now, both halves, and I did a few heroics, and what it comes down to is, I don’t like the management of adds. Single targets were fine, but not FUN. The DoT management isn’t something that was blowing my skirt up. So, Heroics felt like a chore as Affliction, and I didn’t want to go.
Last night, after reading some more comments left by you fine folks, I decided to try Destruction, see what the other spec looked like. Yes, it’s supposed to be less DPS potential, but how does it feel? What’s it like to play?
Turns out, Destruction lights my fire, baby.
In fact, it lit a fire under my butt so I was having way too much fun, and when Alex saw what I was doing over my shoulder, he insisted I dual spec HIS 82 Warlock and trick it out the same way, with the spells on the bars and stuff, and I left him happily blowing up Training Dummies with flaming green dragon heads from Chaos Bolt.
Last thing he was doing before going to bed, he was in Deepholm questing as Destruction, and all buzzing with glee over blowing stuffs up with fire and showing me the latest neat Destruction thing.
Me, I had a similar experience.
I ran a Scenario as Destruction while queued for a Heroic.
Then I ran a Scenario/Heroic duo again. And again.
I had trouble pulling myself away. I kept doing the same thing, queue for a Heroic then queue for a Scenario to fill the time waiting, and shit, that was the most fun I’ve had playing in months.
I didn’t want to stop running heroics in PuGs. ME. *I* am saying that I didn’t want to stop chain running in Pug Heroics.
I only stopped because it was late, my eyes were pits of burning pain, and I had to get up early to go to the gym before work, we were expecting a snow storm so I had to budget enough time to snowblow the driveway first so we could escape.
What am I looking forward to tonight?
More damn Heroics, hopefully squeezed in before I have to stop and do a boring old raid. What once I looked forward to on my Hunter, now is something standing between me and Destruction Warlock Pug goodness.
I love it. I can’t express quite why, though. Have I gone insane?
There is something about being able to use a Burning Ember to activate a ‘your next attack with be shared among all enemies within 15 yards for x% of the damage’, then drop a Rain of Fire on them, then start lighting something up with instant cast or super-fast cast attacks, and just keep on rolling, rolling on.
It feels fast right out of the gate, no waiting, no warning, I’m blowing shit up off the pull. And after I get cooking, CHAOS BOLT!
Now, sure I know it is supposed to have worse DPS than Affliction, and I’m sure that’s true.
But here are my results, based on my comfort level.
Same exact gear, reforged appropriately for the weighting for each spec, and as Affliction I was sometimes hitting 34k on a single target, more often around 24k – 28k sustained.
As Destruction, I was pulling down 41k reliably, and cackling like a witch one step from the gingerbread house and the oven with the lockable door.
The stress involved in trying to do my best as Affliction was replaced with my delight at blowing shit up, and then seeing good results afterwards.
There is the key difference.
As Affliction, I felt stressed to manage everything properly in order to do my best, but I was doing it to be rewarded with strong performance. I wasn’t doing it for the fun of it. The abilities did not naturally lend themselves to the way I flow, or some shit.
As Destruction, I felt delighted and gleeful at roasting poor fools in heroics, and then I was handed good performance just for showing up and having fun.
So, um. Yeah.
For those who love Affliction, I appreciate your skills, I acknowledge your awesomeness, but you lost me at glowing green dragon heads of doom.
I’ve said it before, and clearly I hold the lesson close to my heart.
There are few problems so large that they can’t be solved by the use of more explosive.