Archive for the “Warlock” Category

As I trudged over to the Timeless Yawn to do my penance for having enjoyed the game in a previous life1, I started to notice something odd.

I was blowing stuff up. I mean, 60 to 80% better than any of my other 90s that frequent the Isle, including those that far outgear me.  Wattup?

I laid awake that night pondering two things.  (1) Did somebody screw up the label on that decaf diet soda I had drank, and (2) how in the world can an undergeared Warlock outdo a less undergeared Hunter or Shadow Priest? 

In answer to (1), I was pretty certain they had, as this was the second time I had been unable to sleep easily after sampling its contents.  (2) was a bit more difficult to answer.

I’ve always held that my first best calling in this game has been in the form of a BM Hunter. I fell in love with that spec when BRK was telling us how to use Doctor Boom to gauge our DPS in a game that offered no target dummies.

Shortly after that, I became enamored with the Demonology Warlock spec; I spent almost as much time raiding as a Warlock as a Hunter during BC. Those two classes and specs have been my favorites ever since.

DPSer CollageSo few choices, so little DPS

But some drastic changes took place with the BM spec – and I’m not talking about the shift from Mana to Focus.  The whole playstyle changed. Back in the day, BM was a lot more proactive rather than reactive. You had to plan your shots out so that you got the most of each. There were flaws, yes, but that’s not the point. The point is that it changed, possibly to something other than BM.

Meanwhile, Demonology had a lot of similarity to BM at the time, which is probably why I liked it so much.  But, though great change took place (looking at YOU, mandatory demon form), Demo retained its quintessential feel, the sense of engagement.

Let’s put this another way.  You know how in a video game, pressing a button sometimes has a visceral feel to it. You feel like there are, I dunno, big-assed levers attached to that button, that go off and actuate many things that then cause green death to erupt from the ground around your adversary.

Demonology has that. It has that feeling that if you try just a little more, put a little more heart into it, you’ll do better.  Jong famously said it best for me: as a belf retadin, the best approach for  maxdps was to get up in the boss’ face, rip your shirt off, howl and the moon, and fucking flip out.

In Warlock terms, this means you let this guy do the driving.

palpatine

Not ripping his shirt off, and we’re good with that.

That blog entry of Jong’s was a long time ago2, but to this day it still rings true.  To really do well as a Warlock, channel your spite, your hate, your bad attitude at the bus driver this morning, your angst over the rising cost of Lite Soy Double Chociato Mochas at your corner beanery, your despair at the Pizza Hut online ordering system. Channel it all through your hands, into the keyboard, and into that avatar on the screen. Turn your hate into pain. Turn that pain into victory.

/wipes chin

Anyhoo.

Where this all goes for me is that while I Hunter because I still haven’t given up, and I Priest because I’m a team player, my jam is right here in the Demonology Warlock corner of the universe.  I think I do better in this class because it just works for me in a way that no other  class does.

There’s an unintended side-effect.

On the Pointless Isle, I usually have to set a goal for my toon to even get engaged in anything. But on my Warlock, I find myself reluctant to close the game client at bed time. I find myself hunting down more things to slaughter. I get giddy watching those big crits float by.

For a brief moment, even that Lightforsaken place is fun.


  1. Or something. []
  2. We miss you, Jong! []

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While we were offline, events that affect us all took place.  Our guild managed to get its first T141 boss down, without Jasra’s healing touch. The question came up, did they want her back, or a DPS?  I was told, get Flora moving.

So move I shall.

‘Undergeared’ is not exactly the most descriptive term I’d use. I still have several greens.  ‘Undergeared’ doesn’t seem to be a strong enough term!  Dutifully, I drafted a gear plan, and it was unsettling.

Part of the reason for this is the addition of several flavors of random-enchant epics for completing daily heroic scenarios; there is also a random-enchant quest reward from the Darkspear Rebellion. Both of those usually outstrip top-end T15 gear.

So, the Rebellion appears to be the place to be, but there’s a problem – the main quest is a weekly, so once you’ve gotten your 150 bits of various mats, and turned them in, all that’s left is additional collection.  It’s rather daunting, the massive and tedious grind that the next few weeks seem to have in store.  I’ve bitched about dailies, but this seems to be something designed to convince us that dailies aren’t really so bad, after all.

The other half of this is getting my rotation down; Demonology is just plain odd, with the Demonic Fury resource system. Still, I’ve done my homework, and I have something that’s at least passable, even if I have to look down at the keyboard from time to time.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thank the Light for WeakAuras and/or PowerAuras.

While Thunder Isle appears to be outgeared by the Rebellion, now, I still have some work there; the Green Fire quest is triggered by a book that drops over there, of all places, so I need to grind dailies there until I get that, at least.

It’s funny how much content is completely irrelevant, though. Sure, there are upgrades to be had from Shieldwall and Thunder Isle, but why waste time there when the biggest payoff is to be found in Northern Barrens?  The irony of WoW is that 95% of its content is irrelevant to a raider.

Still, it’s fun to fly the Warlock flag once again. Even if I derp it like a noob.


  1. That is not a typo, we’re not exactly pushign the envelope – or at least not THAT side of it. []

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Grimmtooth Actual’s first best love is Grimmtooth the hunter, no doubt about it, but one could argue that the Hunter is so second-nature at this point that it’s more like a Stay-cation than a true diversion. Grimmtooth’s existence at the moment is all about getting things done, from the scrupulous attention to gardening to the grueling slog of dailies.

Warlock’s what comes out when we want to play.  I’m not a raiding main, Jasra is, so I’m free to indulge myself as I see fit.  I’m not even level 90 yet.  And with Grimm and Jas sucking up all the CPU they can, I rarely get to come out and play, so I make the most of it.

I’ve got myself a good adventuring outfit, for example. Black velvet robes are good for shaking down the locals in Stormwind, displaying a decadant sense of evil that the rubes truly appreciate. But they tend to snag on everything. Denim and forest leathers are a lot more appropriate for stomping around in the wild.

Flora's Mog

Also, I have horns from time to time.  While I like the look, it was hell on hats until I figured out to punch a couple of holes in the right place.

Horns

But that does bring me to the part of this expansion that I dislike the most about the Demonology spec.  Demonform has gone from a hefty buff to DPS to being a whole second spell rotation to learn. It plays hell with my rhythm, let me tell you.

But outside of that, Big D is a blast.  I cut through mobs like a hot knife through butter. I use Hefty Voidwalker to gather them up and just beat them to the ground. Even Grimm can’t AoE that well. I don’t even use most of my rotation because the mobs die too fast.

There’s this green fire thing coming up, I’ve heard, once I hit 90.  I have some nice prezzys from Jas to wear when I hit that level, too, so it looks like I’ll end this turn at the wheel on a high note for sure, since I’m 89.25 now.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Damn, it’s good to be a Warlock.

Addenum:

Been out front of Stormwind lately?

Stormwind gates are fixed

Yep, been patched right up!

Well almost

Well, almost.  The minimap still shows the glowing embers for the gate towers, though, as you can see, they’re just fine now.

Glad to see my tax money going into something other than blowing panda bears up.

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As long as I’ve played, I’ve seen a constant flow of envy from other classes.  They look at our magnificent demonic steeds, and say "Hey, why can’t we have one?"1  They gaze longingly at our portals and whinge, "why can’t we use them?"  They even cried about healthstones so much that Blizz gave them a vending machine for healthstones. I imagine that somewhere out there, someone’s upset that they can’t summon Warlock pets, either.

The most recent outbreak has been over a new quest series in patch 5.2 in which Warlocks go to change our mundane orange fire for green fire, as it should have been all along2.  Apparently, some people are annoyed that we get to have all the fun here, and want something like it for themselves. Ignore the fact for a moment that there’s nothing about (for example) mages3 that gives them that "cool factor" like Warlocks, and thus no real REASON to have a special epic quest series.  They just want it, because, reasons.

As always, Auntie Flora has worked long and hard to bring a solution to you.

You want all the warlock goodies?  Here’s what you do.

  1. Log out.
  2. Select CREATE NEW CHARACTER4
  3. Select class = WARLOCK
  4. Log in.
  5. Get your neat Warlock stuff.

You’re welcome.


  1. Mind you, they didn’t look at the massive cost of our mats and go, "Hey, why can’t we be taxed as much for our mounts?" []
  2. Don’t get me started on THAT, []
  3. You know that fire mages have GOT to be at the center of this. []
  4. If you have no free slots, delete a mage. []

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You may recall recently, a "blue" from "Blizzard" posted that he or she "had hopes" that "we" (warlocks) would be able to "run a quest" to "get green fire". And there was much rejoicing.  Still, when someone that officially represents "Blizzard" uses words like "we hope to", it usually means that expectations should be set low.

After all, one must reason, an organization that can’t deliver on an ADVERTISED feature is very unlikely to deliver something that is described with such weasel-wording.

No doubt you see what comes next.

So we’ve obtained some additional insight about what exactly lies behind the use of the word “hope” in regard to our efforts to achieve green fire for warlocks.

"We’ve had our asses handed to us by Management for blurting out something that was totally unfounded, had no commitments, no timelines, no actual design in place, and no resources assigned to it – at all."

It’s fun to see the CM crowd portraying the Blizzard communications array as some sort of quest-like construct that they have to go through hoops to get anything out of, and occasionally getting the exactly wrong thing out.

Essentially, we want this updated information out so that we can better manage expectations, especially as the announcement created such a flurry of excitement.

"Please put the torches and pitchforks away.  Also please stop talking about this."

Unfortunately, dear warlocks, those of you who retained a modicum of skepticism were right to, as it would seem that the chance of green fire for warlocks is even less as likely as the wording of the original information indicated.

"How many times does this have to happen until you just don’t believe us anymore?"

Since spell effects are not as simple to change around as — for example — druid forms are, we need some additional technology implemented in order to allow the use of red or green fire to be a player choice and not a permanent change that is put in place for all warlocks.

"Based on conversations overheard in the break room, we figured this was just an artwork change, and thought, ‘how hard could it be?‘ Turns out, there’s actual work to be done." 

Also, technology aside, we want to do the introduction of something like green fire in the right way. Implementing it in “a quest” doesn’t really explain our stance here. We want something as substantial as this change to be an epic accomplishment for you.

"Nobody actually talked to the designers before blurting this out. And the designers had something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in mind."

So though we have definitely heard your thoughts on the matter, and we’ve explained what we want to do from our side, green fire will not be available with the launch of Mists of Pandaria. And we haven’t a timeframe to commit to, or communicate about, at this stage.

"Nobody’s even working on this."

It is with regret that we were unable to clarify these details more when we first mentioned our intent — “our hope” — and we wish we hadn’t caused such excitement and raised expectations for those that didn’t instantly take the news with an “I’ll believe it when I see it” pinch of salt.

"Seriously, if you saw how pissed the boss was, you’d understand: we REALLY wish we’d kept it to ourselves."

It seems, as many of us said at the time here and on Twitter and fansites, the proof of the (green fire) pudding really was in the eating.

"We will not be deterred from abusing every metaphor we can get our hands on."

-=-=-=-=-=-

Had this been handled properly on Day One, when the whole "Fel energy is actually green" thing started up (late Vanilla or early BC?), it would have been a simple artwork change and a few minor mea culpas. Instead, a series of flimsy excuses were used until it’s now blown up into a sort of Kabuki theatre dance between the CMs and the designers and the coders. Now, it’s got quests, options, and complications. And that’s before its implementation has even been formally designed.

It was actually easier, turns out, to add a new spell or two (Chaos Bold, Fel Flame) that used green fire than it was to suck it up and take responsibility for a lore inconsistency.

Pride goeth before the fail1.

A simple suggestion: being straight about this sort of thing from the start will always work out the best. Blaming lore for one’s mistakes is going to come back and bite you in the ass. Trying to make the Warlock fire color a lore issue has just complicated matters so badly that at this point, three different departments within the WoW live team can’t figure out what the hell to say.  Now you have some CMs that have been reprimanded by management for attempting to give someone else something to look forward to.  We have the nugget of a design for a programming project to change something that could have been fixed with artwork.

And we have a forum full of confused and angry warlocks. I won’t mince words, here – that’s never pretty.

Not that it’s likely, but before hinting at giving Paladins anything they’ve been asking for, Blizz might consider the lesson of the Fel fire in future.


  1. Speaking of abusing metaphors. []

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(200 quatloos to the person that completes the quote and names the source)

Yesterday was an explosion of beta madness.

Sadly, there was angst and drama as some that "paid for beta access" (via the Annual Pass program) were incensed that SOME people that DID NOT PAY got in AHEAD of them.  To them: Listen very carefully. The terms were "guaranteed" access, not "exclusive" or "preferential". I’m willing to bet there are many people out there that were outstanding beta testers for Cata that they want to get back into the process before the tourists come mucking about. So, chill the fel out and go kill some womp rats for a bit. I have faith that you’ll get a turn.  Love ya, buh-bye.

Okay, done being judgmental and vindictive for now.

Let’s talk fun stuff.

With there being no NDA for the beta, and thus having access to the full-on list of glyphs1 at this point has future glyph mongers like Illume polishing their pestles with glee. To others of less mercantile intent, the list provides insights into what Blizzard means by "moar fun" in this expansion. Druids are absolutely thrilled at many minor shape-enhancing glyphs specific to various forms, such as Stag, Orca, and Chameleon.

What really floats my barge are likewise superficial.

Glyph of Nightmares – Your Felsteed and Dreadsteed can cross water while running and leave a trail of flames.

Throw in a flying demon steed, and I’ll call it even with Death Knights.

Glyph of Felguard – Your Felguard will equip a random two-handed axe, sword or polearm from your backpack.

What this seems to imply is that every warlock out there will have the option to personalize his or her Felguard in a fairly unique way.  Of all the glyphs I’ve read about so far, this one seems to have the greatest chance of being dropped – because how many weapons will they have to deal with, right?

A big fear I have right now is related to something said by a Blue a while back, that being that eventually we’ll be seeing both male and female succubii.  Or succubii and incubii, more properly. I can see it coming out like this.

Glyph of Succubus - Your Succubus will take on a male form.

Why can’t it be

Glyph of Incubus - Your Incubus will take on a female form.

Even better would be this.

Glyph of Demonform - Your Demon form will be male.

Why? Because this game defaults to a male-dominated mindset entirely too much.  Shake up the dudes. Or, at least split the difference between the demon form and succubus defaults. I’m not saying it would undo close to a decade of we-are-the-patriarchy-bitch buffoonery, but it would be a step in the right direction.

On the other hand, how about an even more brilliant step, and making it a game option and not pissing off anyone? Yeah, that’d be cool, too. A couple of little flags is all it would take, guys!

Enough with the negativity on my part2. I’m looking forward to learning more about how all the new stuff will work out.  This is some good stuff!


  1. WoW Insider has a good list. []
  2. You are of course welcome to continue on your own. []

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Since our home (aka Grimm Actual’s computer) lost its hard drive, we’ve been existing on a six or seven-year old laptop with, well, “adequate” furnishings.   In realtor terms, it’s a nice little fixer-upper.

There’s no way Grimm’s going to burden his team with a laggy system that may or may NOT let him know in time that it’s the GREEN slime this time around when he does Skittle Balls. T13 raiding does require a little bit more precision to succeed, or even survive, and he’s just a bit doubtful that the old thing will handle Vent plus WoW while soaking on Ultraxion (aka Purple Dragon Balls).

The Bunnies, however, are desperate for bodies, being lucky to bring nine to the show, and often having to do with just eight. Big puppy dog eyes (well, big bunny rabbit eyes) were used to get me to just show up and do whatever it is that I could do.

Naturally, I’m tail-end Charlie on the DPS meters, but after a quick scramble to get some boss mods on I was facing Magmaw in 12 FPS glory. Fortunately, I’m getting cozy with the spell rotation, and action bar layouts are saved to the server, so I was able to do what Warlocks do best.

shadowbolts

NOOOOOOO.

Faceroll lol

That’s better.

Anyway.

I’m told that plenty of people raid under these conditions. I have no idea how they do it on the progression stuff. All I know is that there are a bunch of us rooting for that hard drive to make a speedy re-appearance.

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Giving the Affliction spec a drive around the block gave me much delight, but also confounded me. You see, I’ve long been of the opinion that Demonology is the quintessential Warlock spec, expressing best what makes warlocks awesome.

But when I started playing Affliction, something odd happened. I had this feeling of, I dunno, rightness as I went along, as if I had found my happy place.  Was it me, or had I found the spec that "clicks" best for the class?

That got me thinking.  Every class, I believe, has its essential spec, the spec that best illustrates what makes that class awesome. 

Hunters, for example; Grimm would say, and I agree, that Beast Mastery, more than any other, illustrates the core awesomeness of that class. It’s all about the pets.  Sure, a raid leader might tell you MM because s/he’s more interested in DPS on the charts, but I think most people, once they thought of it, would agree that BM is the signature Hunter build. 

You can do this for other classes, too. Holy Priest?  Feral Druid? Elemental Shaman?  Sub Rogue?  I’m not sure about some of those, but off the top of my head, that’s what I think about in relation to those classes.

So, for warlocks, I’m suddenly torn. Demonology has long been my favorite for this role. All about the demons. You even get to be a demon from time to time.

But long have I eyed Affliction. It’s inherent emphasis on the suffering of my foes has always been attractive to me. I’ve never played it for long because it’s never really held up to its promise for me – oh, how excited I was when Wrath came out, and oh, how disappointed I was when I tried it! – but I always had my eyes on it, secretly desiring its subtleties.

So the question comes down to how much of this is my desire for Affliction and my current enjoyment of it – and how much the Affliction playstyle reflects the true heart of Warlockery.

When you think of warlocks, do you think of demons, or do you think of DoTs?  I guess that’s what it comes down to.

One last – unrelated – thing. A unforeseen delight of Affliction is the sight of my Felpup hopping into battle like the happy little psychopath that it is. If warlocks had hearts, that would warm them.  If nothing else, I have that.

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I’ve been running with the old guild as we take our tentative steps into BRD.  We cleared Magmaw a few weeks back, and a couple weeks after that, downed Omnomnomnitron. We may be lagging behind the curve, but the team sure does know how to pick up a fight after a couple of tries. The GM has a good approach to this, and it’s effective, no doubts.

Not unexpectedly, I was tail-end Charlie in DPS, so I brought a Destro build to spice things up on Omni. It was a total failure, and I really can’t claim not to know that build, because I do. So, I did a little research.

To my chagrin, I found that Affliction was the new hawtness. Demo was at least in the running (and supreme on AoE fights), but Destro was yesterday’s news.

This may be a surprise, but I actually like Affliction, a lot, and was quite excited about the changes in 3.0 for Afflic – though they didn’t pan out as awesome as I posited at the time. My love for Afflic is however in conflict with my love of Demo. Both are such signature specs for the Warlock class, and both got some great new toys to play with in 4.0.

So, I’ve set up a shiny new Afflock build, poked around on all the usual sites for advicements, Reforged a bit (not as much as I expected), regemmed, and spent a while on the target dummy getting my Power Auras put together.

Initial results look promising, more or less same as Demo without raid buffs and on a target dummy. The next step is to get buffed and beat on a real boss or three.

I *am* concerned that I won’t have my trusty Felguard, Hubert, around to keep me out of trouble should I nab aggro, but am comforted that we’ll have at least one mage handy to take up the slack. ("I wonder if he’ll remember to iceblock… ow, guess not.")

Why, yes, I did bring my inner Palpatine along. Afflocks do that sort of thing. That’s what they say on Elitist Bastiges, anyway.

palpatine6

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Grimm’s taken the high road of Hyjal. I’ve taken the low road of the Kelp’thar Forest. Both are stunning, but I’ll have to give the undersea kingdom the edge.  Grimm’s replaced every bit of his purples with greens and blues at this point. I’m getting there.

Three things.

Thing the First: I wanna picture of my own, like Grimm got.

Thing the Second: Destro is crazy large. My heart is Demon, but the sick sick numbers I’ve seen thus far are sufficient to keep any objections my Demon soul might have, quiet. This is worth pursuing, is all I’m saying.

Thing the Third: Squid. On a stick. This … has quickly become my second favorite thing in the whole universe. If I was retired this very moment, I would be content.

Squid on a Stick

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