World of Warcraft: Warlock and load

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Astute readers may remember that the original Syp was a 2006-era Warlock from World of Warcraft, made in preparation for The Burning Crusade. She had a good run, lasting me up through the opening months of Wrath of the Lich King, when I meandered off to Warhammer Online and other titles.

While Syp wasn’t my very first character, it was the one that I became the most acquainted with and fond of in those years. Warlocks were really rough at launch (but what class wasn’t, really), but by TBC they had started to shine. The Felguard was a beast and I loved it, and when I came back last year, I was quite enjoying upgrading that Felguard to a Terrorguard. I’ve always run a Warlock in a demonology spec, because pets are awesome, and it was nice to play a pet class that wasn’t the overpopulated Hunter.

If I had to point a finger at two major failings of Legion, they would be the general flop of the order halls and the sweeping class changes in the name of “class fantasy.” So many classes that I was enjoying in Draenor — Hunter, Shaman, Warlock in particular — were changed drastically overnight, and mostly for the worse. My DK came out improved, but the other three did not, and that has left me feeling a little sour. I miss my Enhancement Shammy with totems and pets. The BM Hunter had a smooth and fun rotation before 7.0, but now it’s cooldown city with very little emphasis on using your weapon. And the Demo Warlock went from having a few fun DoTs and a strong pet to this bizarre rotation that required, fight after fight, to constantly resummon a slew of pets.

Demo simply isn’t fun any more, and after giving it one last big try this past week, I came to the conclusion that for Legion, at least, it’s not going to be my spec. But I did want to reconnect with the Warlock and make it my alt, so I painfully leveled to 102 and then went back through the artifact quests to get the Affliction weapon.

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It’s generally been a good move. Affliction has a lot of what I’ve been missing with Demo, namely instant-cast DoTs and a rotation that isn’t as heavily dependent on soul shards. There’s even a really nice insta-AoE DoT that works well for large groups, albeit with a one minute cooldown.

The only major downside of all of this is the loss of my precious Felguard. I’m down to the base group of pets (plus the occasional Doomguard summon and any enslavements), and Affliction clearly wants you to run Felhunter for the bonus damage to DoTted up targets. I’ve been going back and forth between the Felhunter (for damage) and the Voidwalker (for a tank), but there’s so much healing with this spec that I’m generally not concerned about dying in most encounters.

As I ease myself into the questing experience of Legion, it’s an adjustment period from the Death Knight to the Warlock. Off the bat, it’s always hard to go from a fully fleshed-out and powered-up character to one still growing. Add to that all of the little things that I find I miss from the DK — not being able to walk on water, the AoE DoT for every fight — and it’s slow going at least initially. Have to push through all of that to see how the ‘lock shines on her own. I do appreciate having a speed boost on command rather than a cooldown, and it’s fun getting back to juggling DoTs in a large group. The rotation is so much less stressful and erratic than Demo, and the visuals are cleaner too (sometimes it’s fun to watch pets mob a guy, but sometimes it’s a little too chaotic, you know?).

We’ll see how it goes. She’s got a very long way to go to catch up with the DK, even in getting into world quests and whatnot. I have no illusions about being able to get my Warlock all of the way there before 7.2 drops, at which time I’ll have to prioritize gaming my DK to work through the new content.

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3 thoughts on “World of Warcraft: Warlock and load

  1. Rowan March 6, 2017 / 9:36 am

    Sending this to Scooter. She’s a Demonologist (currently 70); but with my Sledge-Shammer along, she hardly needs a robust pet. Helps with the water-walking, too, considering we were just in the Kaluak area of Howling Fjord.

    I agree regarding Enhancement. It’s weird only having maybe one totem that I hardly ever drop, and only one go-to hit (Rockbiter) with a bunch of proc-y cooldowns.

  2. Tyler F.M. Edwards March 6, 2017 / 10:18 am

    I think you made a good choice. I recently got around to finally trying the new demo, and while it’s not quite as awful as I expected… it’s still pretty awful. Clunky, and not a single spell in the rotation feels satisfying to cast.

    Aff is what I’ve been focusing on, and it feels pretty good. My only complaint is the lack of cool visuals, but mechanically it’s in a good place, and it’s fairly strong, at least from the perspective of a mainly solo player. The artifact trait that makes enemies explode on death can create some pretty hilarious chain reactions in AoE situations.

    As for the class revamp as a whole, it’s very mixed. Some specs are much better now (outlaw), some are about the same (ret pally), and some are much worse (non-aff warlocks). Sometimes it’s even mixed within the same class. New brewmasters are pretty underwhelming, but windwalker is great. Overall I think the revamp did more good than harm, but there’s definitely plenty of both.

  3. repgrind March 6, 2017 / 11:22 am

    Hmm I may have to switch as well. My lock just made 103 and I have the same complaints about demo that you do. I liked the idea of having the floating skull, it seemed very appropriate for my undead girl, but I am always in need of soul shards.

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