Yet Another Warlock Nerf

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The Great Destro Migration

I know it’s been a while, folks, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to discuss something that’s going to ruin the game for me, so I decided to step forward and rant…and damn does it feel good.

destruction

In light of the recent PTR, Affliction has been gutted roadkill. Admittedly, I saw it coming. I have seen the DPS numbers Affliction was putting out, and with overpowered classes having been nerfed, I knew we would rise up again because of our spammable CC. There was no way Blizzard would let it sit where it was. So, they did what they always do–nerf things. Under the guise of “rotation simplification,” they turned Affliction in the the most mind-numbing playstyle ever. There’s essentially four buttons to cast now: Unstable Affliction, Haunt, and Corruption, and Curse of Agony. Part of the fun of playing Affliction was feeling like you were weighing down on your opponent over time. Now factor in resilience and the loss of Siphon Life, coupled with the Fear nerf, and you’ve got a skeleton of a playstyle. You know what, though? I’m not upset about it at all. However, I am upset that the seesaw tipped in Destruction’s favor. As a result, we’re going to experience something I’ve dubbed “The Great Destruction Migration.”


New Toys

Destruction had many issues in PvP, most of which involved survivability–and that’s what made it fun to play. It needed some new toys, but it didn’t need to shop at FAO Shwartz.

  • Aftermath - Increases the periodic damage done by your Immolate by 6%, and your Conflagrate has a 100% chance to daze the target for 5 sec.

This is what Destruction needed–a snare. The 10% chance to daze on all spells was nice, but it was unreliable. It’s nice to see that we now have a reliable snare and a more definitive control tool. Overall, this is an excellent change because Destruction Warlocks are notoriously squishy.

Okay, so this isn’t terrible. The assumption is that Destruction Warlocks will have picked up Soul Link, so another 6% reduction, and another possible 5% from the Glyph of Soul Link make Destruction feel significantly less squishy.

  • Conflagrate - Consumes an Immolate or Shadowflame effect on the enemy target to instantly deal damage equal to 15 sec of your Immolate or 8 sec of your Shadowflame.

This is absurd. I know Conflagrate and Shadowburn needed some more damage scaling, but I feel this is a somewhat ridiculous. However, I understand this is how Blizzard plans to scale Destruction in PvE, but it’s going to scale too well in PvP.

This is a great change. While most Warlocks feel it is still not enough, it is not a bad spell. I enjoy casting it, and it’s great for eating DKs who think they’re safe in their shields.

Now, this is all well and good, and I understand Blizzard made a clear effort to make Destruction better in PvP, but it put all the strength into Conflagrate. Allow me to explain: Conflagrate is hitting hard. We’re talking very hard. While Destruction needed some more power, it doesn’t need an instant cast nuke. We’ve seen what’s happened to those (read: Arcane Barrage). Granted this one is dependent on your Immolate’s bonuses, that you actually cast Immolate, and it has a 10 second cooldown, but it’s just going to cause people to get pissed off. The forums are already filling up now with “NERF CONFLAG” threads. Blizzard, we don’t need this. All you needed to do was up Conflagrate and Shadowburn’s damage somewhat. Conflagrate didn’t need to be the nuke. It’s already the playmaker because you’re not going to get a cast off in PvP without Backdraft procs.

Please, Blizzard, don’t let Conflagrate go live.


What This Means for Destruction

1). Everyone and their mother is going to spec Destruction.

Stay the hell away from my spec. I’ve been playing Destruction since Vanilla in PvP. I’ve seen it change many, many times. I played it in BC too when it was considered unplayable. I have always loved Destruction. I don’t want every Goddamn noob playing my spec. Part of the fun of Destruction was the skill required to play it effectively, but now that Conflag hits like a truck full of bowling balls, everyone’s going want to drive.

2). Nether Protection will be nerfed.

One of the best defensive spells in the game, Nether Protection gives Destruction Warlocks the edge against other casters. Note that it doesn’t shut other casters down, however. It is easily dispelled. The only caster against which this is most effective Moonkins because they can’t dispel/Spellsteal the buff. Despite how easy it is to work around, people will still complain when they see their Frostbolts, Lightning Bolts, and Starfires hit for around 1500. Spell damage reduction aside, there’s still the 6% reduction from Molten Skin, 20% from Soul Link, 5% from the glyph that will keep Warlocks from getting chunked (note that it’s not a flat reduction and that Soul Link is an absorbtion effect; in other words, the numbers are multiplicative). I feel Destruction Warlocks will be too good against other casters. Expect the 60% reduction to go to like 30%.

3). Shadowfury will be nerfed.

I’ve been feeling this one for a long time. Part of the reason Shadowfury got buffed several times throughout beta was because Destruction was lacking as a whole. Shadowfury is Destruction’s primary defensive spell. It can stop groups of attackers, giving you the breathing room to Fear a target, cast a nuke, or Conflag someone’s face. People will already be pissed that Conflagrate will hit very hard, now imagine how they’ll feel when they are hit very hard while stunned.

4). Conflagrate will be nerfed along with Nether Protection and Shadowfury.

This one is obvious. But if it isn’t nerfed before it goes live, then we’ll get a bunch more nerfs. Because of Conflag’s strength, people will begin to scrutinize the spec as a whole. Right now it’s not taken seriously, but with Conflagrate people rise up with their torches and pitchforks.

5). Oh yeah, everyone and their mother is going to spec Destruction.

Seriously folks, stop it. My spec. Leave it alone. I don’t want Destruction to go the ways of Affliction. I don’t want the migration to happen.


Alternate Solutions

Don’t buff Conflagrate. Instead, give a damage bonus multiplier to spells cast while under the Backdraft buff. It makes more sense. The strength of Destruction should not be in its instant casts (that’s why Affliction was nerfed), it should be in the nukes. A Backdrafted Chaos Bolt should be something to be afraid of–it requires the Immolate setup as well as the Conflagrate. It makes way too much sense.

Seriously Blizzard, all we needed was the snare on Conflagrate. Now leave the spec alone.

You too, reader. Leave my spec alone. I don’t need your flavor of the month antics screwing up what I love most about my class.


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Smatter
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23 responses to “The Great Destro Migration”


  1. Longasc says:

    I have not been playing WoW since early 2009, but IIRC Siphon Life is now “auto-cast” together with Corruption, if you have the talent for Siphon Life. I have no idea if Affliction is viable or not nowadays, but speaking of a “loss” of Siphon Life is rather misleading.

    Regarding Destruction: Right now a 0/28/43 build seems to be popular for raiding. This build does not have Aftermath, which is a pity. It also does not have Chaos Bolt, does not fit in the rotation. I think many people will use Dual Speccing to the max and just switch back to something else, but I always felt that having some snares and survivability and not just extremely pimped DPS over everything to be more fun. And I am also sceptical of dual speccing in general. But OK, I do not want to deviate from the topic too much. :)

    Are you sure they are going to touch Nether Protection? :( And Shadowfury…? Oh no, it is not as if Warlocks would be on top of the food chain again, actually.

    Also stop talking about “my spec”. It is our spec or mine, I loved pure or heavy destruction since the patch before WOTLK where Conflagrate and Backdraft were introduced! :)

  2. Grimmtooth says:

    Good rant, had to be said, but if I likes Destro I’m taking it, precious. :) I can HOPE it’s as good as all that.

    @Longasc - IIRC, yes, Siphon Life “the spell” will go away, but “the talent” will remain, and it will tick on Corruption. At least that was the case last time I looked. And, Smatter, when playing Afflock, that sounds pretty darned attractive. I’m no snobby elitist that will sniff at one *less* thing to track out of, oh, what, SEVEN possible DoTs? :-P

  3. WLambrros says:

    I only have one question to ask blizzard; Whats your problem with warlocks? And i dont mean class mechanics here, I am talking about bitter lead devs (GC, Kalgan placeholder) who hate to lose to a warlock

  4. Syrana says:

    No worries, I will not change to your spec. So, no, not everyone and their mother are going to respec destro. I love Affliction and always have, just as you’ve enjoyed Destro.. so Affliction I will stay. I don’t mind 1 less DoT to keep track of as long as there isn’t a noticeable decrease in DPS from the Corruption/Siphon Life merge.

  5. Merton says:

    Nice post, but have to say, get over it lol. Plenty of us have played destruction at one point or another. I enjoyed playing a seduce/nuke build very much so, but had to switch out because of the arena team’s I was part of.

    But all in all, save the ranting, good post. Looking at a real good stunlock combo now

  6. Yinxie says:

    I was just using the talent calculator for 3.1 at MMO-Champion
    (http://talent.mmo-champion.com/)
    and tbh, I just put 71 points in destro :P

    Anyway, there is too much ranting in this post.
    besides, Affliction has always been the arena spec due to casting.
    I wanted to spec demo/destro or destro, (and I got comments (also including you:)
    you dont have time for casting.
    and tbh, I dont think 3.1 is going to change that.
    Because shadowfury has a 20 sec cd, and conflag a 10 sec cd,
    you will see that ppl will TRY destro, but will live because of the avoidance,
    but eventually will DIE due to lacking of casting.

    oh btw: ive played destro vanilla wow and BC, and I liked it too.
    Wotlk showed me the more Afflock side of Warlocks, and I like that too.
    Warlocks have the right to swap, and have the time to swap,
    now with the dualspecs, ill try both affliction and destruction I think.

    Yinx

  7. Baalzy says:

    The demolock shall rise again!

  8. Voose says:

    Well, I agree that conflag is going to get too buffed.. Myself i was glad with a snare and the improvements to immolate and the conflag buffs (6% more damage and ofc backdraft)

    I always raided as destro ( with Shadowfury in BC “noone liked that i was after the other locks) and I loved the destro pvp.. sure you were easy to take down but with SL futher up it’s easier. However , for pvp purpose i’m going to Duel-specc affliction to play in arenas. It’s better I take HP from evryone at the same time with an healer then mashing on them.

    But for pve I’m still going to stay destro. The 15% damage increese on chaosbolt ( I didn’t know about it)+ Glyphs + the new conflag buff would be enough for me?. (Btw i don’t like to spend 3 points in affliction to get the hit ^^, lesser points for Demo (Buhu, hard time getting SL and empowerd Imp)

    Anyway, I think destro will be great for BG’s and such but not as good in arena.. and im not Migrating to your specc I already am. Good post.

    (and yeah one last time conflag is to powerful)

  9. Iseefnords says:

    Affliction isn’t losing one dot, it’s losing two. Immolate is going to share a spot with unstable affliction (the same way that corruption and SoC can’t both be on the same target). Two less DoTs to watch, and the shadowbolt portion of our DPS has been buffed to compensate. The affli changes aren’t just DPS nerfs, they’re also a return to the days of “bind shadowbolt to entire keyboard and faceroll” that were so dull. I’m not a big arena player, so I don’t know the full effects this will have for affli arena play, but having tested affli on the PTR, affli warlocks face the choice of going destro or having lobotomies.

  10. Aluraud says:

    A couple points:

    1) Yes, affliction is being gutted and will be significantly worse than it is now for PVP purposes (especially when playing with a healer)
    2) It is hard to say how viable it will be. I’m leaning towards not very, but I think we have to wait and see how everything pans out. A lot of other classes are being changed too.

    Currently, there are two major points that prevent destruction from being a premium arena spec:

    1) Immolate is dispellable
    2) Pillars

    The first is fixable, but I don’t think we’ll see anything about it in 3.1.

    Where I think destruction will shine is in 3v3. With the help of a partner, a healer may not have time to dispel immolate off.

  11. Smatter says:

    Hehe, I don’t actually consider Destruction to be “my spec.” I’m just given to hyperbole.

    The point here is that I liked being one of the few Destro locks that have always been Destro locks. I’m just worried that Conflag will give us a bad rap, which may result in nerfs to other things. THAT is my concern.

    Regarding Siphon Life, I know the healing part is still there, but I’m referring to the loss of damage from Siphon Life.

  12. Grimmtooth says:

    @Smatter

    Regarding loss of damage on SL … Oh. Oh! O.o Why didn’t I catch that before?! That’s REALLY going to get some robes in a twist, I bet.

    Ah well, the paraphrase we had in the Navy: a bitchin’ warlock is a happy warlock.

  13. Grimmtooth says:

    That should be TO paraphrase … ugh.

  14. Aluraud says:

    People pointed out the damage loss re: SL a long time ago, and blizzard said “oh, our bad… we didn’t mean for it to affect affliction pvp too. We’ll compensate somehow” and then never really did. They added a little damage back in, but it is still an overall all nerf.

  15. Grimmtooth says:

    @Aluraud - yayah, my bad. I just don’t follow those particluar noise engines that closely, so the obvious obviously (sorry) escaped me.

    Another damage loss that I’m wondering about is the fel pup. Shadow bite is buffed, what, 5% for each dot? So Afflocks lose 10% out on the felpup?

  16. Phobia says:

    I’ve been a die hard warlock fan since day 1. Now I’ve left him alone, and playing a disc priest. I really wish they would just leave us the hell alone at this point, and not damage the class any more. Even if destro was my fun spec, I kinda agree, now you will see everyone and their mother as destro locks. Thanks for gutting aff, which actually was kinda fun to pvp with now. :( I’m sticking to my disc priest, having more fun with that atm, and they actually get some love from blizz.

  17. Aluraud says:

    @Grimmtooth - good warlocks don’t use shadowbite against a lot of comps right now. Why? When your pup uses the shadowbite ability it triggers the global cooldown. This means you have to wait for the global to be ready again before you can use devour. Against comps like mage/rogue where you need to be able to devour poly instantly keeping shadowbite off does wonders. I guess my point was that it getting buffed doesn’t really matter, since it mostly isn’t used right now anyways.

  18. WLambrros says:

    OK why dont we roll fire mages and get over with it?:D then you have arcane and frost too which is way much better dps and pvp than anything we got

  19. carles says:

    So, what will the top raiding spec be? I’m talking pve not pvp. I’ve looked everywhere for information, ran simcrafts, and I’m still scratching my head.

  20. asdafrak says:

    ^ the future holds many nerfs…i mean changes

  21. thehowl says:

    Hi Guys.

    I was 54/17/0 before. I did not gear for crit before, but now it seems like we need to (even if we go affliction). Any advice?

  22. Aluraud says:

    What makes you think we need to gear for crit?

  23. Iseefnords says:

    Oh look, they let conflag get to live, let us waste our free respec, let us glyph for it, THEN they nerf it. GG blizz.