Monday, December 18, 2006

Epic Flying Mounts..

Are extremely manueverable. Check it out.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Nether Protection Is Fair.

Honestly, it is!

I ran straight past 4 shadowpriests and easily lived. So, yeah. If you're going to spec destro, don't pass up this talent. That just saved me from about 9,000 damage easily.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

TBC Cinematic:

I like how even in the cinematic, warlocks are overpowered.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

DrakeDog 6

Drakedog has released his latest destro video and it is well worth the d/l and watch. He is a one of the finer warlocks you can see that has a fraps capable machine, and makes the most of his spec and profession in every way. His timing is great, as are his abilities to read the enemies moves before they know it.

Unfortunately, alliance warlocks will have lesser success mimicing his playstyle, as the ability to run around solo in the BGs with a succubus is limited by the fact that 40% of the horde population is undead. In nearly all those instances where he was able to use seduce as a tool vs those warriors and rogues, he would be a spot on the ground if they had been undead.

Still, I won't knock his skill as he does what he does very well.

Well worth the watch.

My Gear:

All of the epics I am wearing came from raiding. Nemesis as you know from BWL, and the other 2 from Karazhan (the ring being an honored faction freebie with the violet eye faction by killing mobs in karazhan).

Every other blue and green piece of gear I am wearing came from questing. The only exception is the Mark of Defiance, as it's a pvp reward for getting 30 Marks of Honor by killing 30 horde at the pvp points in Hellfire and Zangarmarsh. Extremely easy to get.

So if you're worried about farming your honor gear with the latest patch, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Like I said, most of this stuff is just QUEST REWARDS. This is what the new standard trash loot is. Hang in there until January. =]

Warriors are a funny breed.

Oh the irony.

Why I fell in love with shadowfury @ 67:

This is why.

It sure is awesome for keeping those damn undead rogues off of me when I catch them outdoors.

My impression of the latest talent changes from beta

Shadowfury is super great now. The mana cost is just right. The damage is a nice tradeoff vs the utility it provides. The fact that aftermath can proc off of it, and it can be used 3x more often, does make aftermath a bit more valuable, but again the benefit is not for the warlock, but the folks up on the front lines. It saves a snare or two, and it's not really something you can count on either. It's still a novelty talent more than anything. Unfortunately when I spec out my lock, it usually comes down to a choice between demonic embrace, and aftermath. That choice isn't too difficult to make (15% more stamina is just fantastic, especially with the +stamina on items now). I still think the 10% chance on aftermath is too low to rely on in any way shape or form. It's merely a fun talent, when it works, but 90% of the time, it's not even needed, especially now that shadowfury is 20s cooldown.

The other main choice currently is improved shadowbolt vs cataclysm. For raiding, and even in pvp, improved shadowbolt is just so handy, especially as fights drag on. 20% more damage is nothing to sneeze at. It's a fantastic talent, and cataclysm is.. "ok" at best. Aftermath + cataclysm rolled into one talent might be the way to go. I'd still feel compelled to get improved shadowbolt, and then I might consider sacrificing talents from other trees (demonic embrace, improved corruption) to spend those 5 more points on the combined talent. I still don't know. DE and corruption are pretty much staple talents. And Improved lifetap is just wonderful in every single situation. I spend my points based on how often the talent will be useful. If it's something I can barely count on, or rarely use, I just won't invest the points into it.

Demonology is still a very solid overall tree. It has damage. It has mobility. It has survivability. It has versatility. It doesn't have burst or range but this doesn't matter as much in prolonged arena fights. Very very solid overall tree.

Soul Leech I have mixed feelings about. It's doing its job just fine in karazhan. It's a good raiding talent. Nice to see chunks of 600 health regained via incinerate crits here and there. It will be a boon for locks who wish to spec destruction while a guild learns encounters and mana conservation is at the upmost importance. Otherwise, Siphon life and drain life as affliction spec is just phenominal for self-reliance when it comes to long boss fights in raids. I never need a single heal, ever, as long as everything is going smoothly and folks are doing their job. The only problem with this talent is that it's often wasted. A lot of healers are anal about anyones hp bar (or they are just bored and wanting something to do), and will heal me as soon as I lifetap even once, negating the whole point of taking soul leech. It also seems rather underwhelming once a holy priest with decent gear casts a simply renew (which costs next to no mana) on me and heals me for 700 a tick for several ticks. I understand this talents job is to be a warlocks version of clearcasting, but this talent goes too much waste, too often. I'll put points in here ONLY if i plan on raiding, and ONLY if I can't use them better elsewhere. To REALLY make this talent attractive, include seed of corruption procs and shadowfury. Then I would be impressed and would love to invest points into it. That would be very very fun to use, and add to a dest warlocks survival a bit more in group pvp, since they don't have the mobility that affliction locks have, or mitigation that demo warlocks do.

Affliction.. just seems quite solid still. Dot's are nasty now, and I can see these builds (that used to be looked down on in group pvp and raiding) as being much more viable, even preferred.
Part of me wishes that improved lifetap was tier1, and that's because I use lifetap more heavily as a destruction build than anything. I guess you'd need a total of 10 talent points for tier1 if that happened? I guess make imp corruption 3/3 with .7 seconds shaved off per rank. I know a lot of warlocks want corruption to be a base instant cast spell, but I'm not sure about that.. Maybe a slight burdening of the talent would be better.

Absolutely love the changes so far, as well as the rogue changes that went through. Once subtlety builds get a little bit more damage going for them (the imp backstab in assassination tree is one of the best changes for this particular case), a shadowstep build might be a lot of fun (assuming it gets buffed). I really hope the stealth requirement is removed from it. And yes, this is coming from (primarily) a warlock, soon to be fodder for rogues. =]

So we are supposed to test 5v5 matches in the beta now..

2v2 and 3v3 matches have been disabled in the beta to focus on testing 5v5 matches instead.

I have sort of a problem with forced "testing" of 5v5 matches at the moment. It usually ends up as this: Organized group (read: guild who was lucky enough to get 5+ guild members in the beta long enough ago to get 70 and gear out) meets pug. Organized smashes pug. Puggers get frustrated and quit.

I offered people access to my TS server and allow for some more organized play, but noone cared enough to do so. Although even if we did manage to get organized over voice comm, it's still hard to be AS organized as a guild group. Noone knows each others voices, playstyles, habbits, tactics etc, as guild groups do.

More than any other aspect in the entire game, including raids, 5v5 PvP requires the absolute best organization, timing, and teamwork. It is only when you have 2 teams playing their best against each other that individual class flaws, be it overpowered or underpowered, can become more easily apparent.

Joining a pug 5v5 team against, say, DnT (assholes!) and getting smashed over and over, no matter my spec, because my groups teamwork just isn't there, is not accomplishing anything.
Meanwhile, I'm still waiting on guildies to hit 70, and Cham will still be afk for another week or 2 as he is selling his house and moving.

Sadness. WRU Cham?

Live: New Patch Woes.

So I logged into live last night to check out all the latest changes, and it looks like it's anything but. I feel sorry for the folks that don't have access to the beta right now. There are a LOT of great changes that are in the beta and not in live right now. Oh well. It looks like warlocks will still be able to run around with 30% absorption from soul link + felguard for now. :) I'd recommend not speccing into shadowfury until it becomes the 20s cooldown that it is on the beta, currently. I think demo or affliction will be the best way to go for now until the latest destro changes make it in, and even then it's a tossup. All the warlock trees are very, very attractive and balanced against each other. It's very difficult to choose a "best" spec now (especially on beta). With as much complaining as I see on the forums, I really hope there are 5x more people that just don't bother to post that realize how good of a deal we are getting in this expansion overall.

The Burning Question: What to expect?

I've received a lot of questions regarding the gear situation with post 60 content, and how it compares to what you have now. Keep in mind that this expansion is designed from the start (hellfire peninsula) for your average level 60 green geared player in falcon gear. In other words, do not worry for a second if you don't have the latest and greatest gear from naxx, bwl, or whatever. You won't need it at all to get to 70. Naxx geared players will just be "twinked" level 60s. To put things into context:

  1. 60-62: The gear you will get in this level range is comparable to MC gear, minus the set bonuses. This includes quest rewards and instance drops. (And an awesome trinket from the Zangarmarsh field scout NPC who has pvp rewards. I believe its 33 magic dmg, and chance on spell hit to restore 150ish mana).
  2. 63-67: At this level range, the gear that everyone will be getting starts to match closer to BWL status or better, again, minus the set bonuses.
  3. 68-70: This is really where you can start picking up some of the nice initial expansion gear. There is some really nice gear to be had from Karazhan if you can muster a very organized 10 man force and tackle the challenges that this instance provides. (And yes, some of the boss fights are very, very hard. It's great 8)

The instances are very very well done. In nearly each of the new zones, there is a winged dungeon (think Dire Maul). There are generally three 5-man wings with different difficulties, and one raid wing per dungeon. My favorite of them all up to this point would either have to be Auchindoun in Terokkar Forest, or Tempest Keep in The Netherstorm. Why is this design so great? Each instance is relatively short in comparison to the instances we "grew up" with. No more 5 hour scholomance or stratholme clearings. Each 5-man wing takes anywhere from 25 minutes to 1 hour to do, depending on how good or bad your group is. Also, each instance generally has 2-3 bosses per wing. This way you can go straight to the instance you need that has the loot you are after. No more clearing through 8 bosses to get to the only 1 that you need.

In addition, there is a "heroic" difficulty mode that the group leader can set for each of these instances. This raises the mobs levels to 70, increases their damage, hp, and armor a lot. During these runs, the bosses drop better, higher level loot, in addition to tokens that you can collect and turn in at an NPC in Shattrath city for level 70 casual epic rewards. Some of the rewards are decent, and some of them are pretty damn nice. To clarify, everyone in the group can pick up the tokens, so you don't have to worry about ninja looters for those. This way, everyone gets something out of the instance. Some bosses drop more tokens than other, I'm guessing based on overall difficulty. All-in-all, it will take roughly 8-10 heroic instance runs to get a nice level 70 epic trinket/shield/offhand item/etc with the current token drop rate. Not bad at all, considering each instance also drops pretty nice level 70 blues along the way.

Also, the exp gain in a good 5 man instance is by far the best exp/hr you can gain. I was getting roughly 1.1k exp per mob in a 5 man party @ around level 61. Keep in mind it takes about 500k exp to go from 60-61, and you can tack on about 80k exp for every level after that. Solo outdoor mobs give about 500 exp per kill solo, and quest turn ins generally give about 7-8k. It takes over 1 million xp to go from 69-70. You are looking at 6-7 weeks to go from 60-70 for the super casual, a little over a month for your average wow junkie, and 2 weeks for the hardcore. (But you're all hardcore, right? :P)

All being said and done, when I transfered to the alpha, I was using mostly BWL gear (I quit raiding on this toon as of January of this year, 11 months ago), with my exalted AV rewards, ZHC from ZG, and now that I'm 70, I think I only kept 3/8 nemesis (belt, legs, bracer) on mostly because of the ZG enchant I have on the nem pants, and the 23 dmg set bonus. This is also because I was an idiot and vendored the quest reward pants I got for doing the Blood Furnace (the 2nd instance you will run in hellfire peninsula), because they buffed them to be better sometime during the alpha. :( Oopse. Oh well. They were better than nemesis pants. I think something like 30 stam/20int/33 dmg/22 crit rating (1.5% @ 60). Damnit. The rest of the loot, including trinkets and jewelry, was an upgrade.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

If you have any questions about TBC warlocks:

Please send me an email: and I will answer them as best and quickly as I can.

I hate pugs.

With a passion, I might add. Time for a rant. Is it really so difficult to know how to get to the instance you started a group for? Is it really asking too much to repair your stuff, and buy your damn arrows, and get your food and water, or (in the case of the beta) figure out your spec BEFORE you show up? Honestly. Hey I've got one: Is it really asking too much to learn how to play your class correctly in a group setting when you're pushing 63 and have at least 5/8 tier2?

Is it really necessary for you to feel the need, Mr. paladin, to run up and smack every mob I try to seduce because you want to LOLDPS it down with your 1h hammer and shield? Is it? Do I really have to remind rogues to use crippling poison to help control loose mobs? I don't care what your DPS meters look like. Is it also necessary to stand around for 5 years between packs of mobs until everyone has full hp/mana, walked the dog, taken a piss, called their girlfriend, picked up their drunk brother from the bar, and finished watching that awesome ytmnd?


I hate you. I hate you with a passion, pugs. The single biggest obstacle I've run into when it has come to testing new instances or pvp is grouping with morons. Then again, the invites Blizzard sends out ARE random, for the most part. I guess that's why I see one more person asking everyday where the dark portal is in stormwind, or how do I get to the outlands in ironforge. Ugh. And if one more 61+ rogue asks me (a warlock) to make food for them, I'm going to scream.

Edit: And one more thing: Why is it that noone will freaking duel on the hellfire realm? You realize that we are there to TEST things in the BETA, right? This isn't an ego contest. I don't care how awesome of a player you are. I'm not going to run to the forums and scream LOL I PWNED U NUB with screenshots and videos of emo music about wanting to cut myself as I edit in soulfire crit after soulfire crit with vegeta screaming OVER NINE THOUSAND!!!!!. Is it really going to hurt your super sensitive girl feelings that much if you lose a duel to a warlock? You don't care about trying out how effective new talents or spells are?

No. But it SURE WOULD BE NICE if the people playing the beta test... uhm.. actually wanted to help, test? I guess everyone just wants to log in and pick up their phat beta lewtz that will be wiped in a month. Excuse me.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Warlocks, you will love TBC.

With all Blizzard expansions comes big change, and their next little gem, The Burning Crusade, is no exception. This expansion will change the way everyone plays, both in PVE and PVP. I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about my play experiences as a warlock:

So I played 2v2 arena fights with my partner, Cronuz, last night, and I decided to test out destruction again for tonight.

Up until this point, destruction has been pretty terrible for arena fights because of a destruction warlocks very limited mobility, in addition to how easy it is to break LoS (Line of Sight) with the many obstacles in the arena. Once you figure out you're up against a dest lock, a fire mage, etc, all you really have to do is dance around one of the pillars and assist on the other target. Arena fights are all about positioning. A lot of the fights, especially at the beginning, start wih both teams jockying around each other for the most advantageous position.

So how does destruction stack up now? Actually with a warrior partner, very well! I don't want to get into too much theory craft, but I will say that the new shadowfury on a 20s cooldown helps immensly, and provides a very viable alternative to the felguard (which is still quite nuts to fight sometimes) for arena fights. With me cc'ing one target, and Cronuz and I burning down the other, shadowfury can often seal the deal, using it as a ranged kidney shot, persay, and locking the target down at the critical moment I need to. I can't get over how incredibly useful this spell is. Does it take a little planning and foresight to use properly? Yep. But it's amazing once you get it down. If I can catch an opponent in just the right situation, I can pretty much ranged stunlock them 100>0. Between Seduce, fear, deathcoil, and shadowfury, It's pretty sickening what this spell can do, in the right situation.

You can't spec shadowfury, and expect to mash buttons and win. You will have to learn how to constantly move around setting yourself up to be in the optimal position. You will have to learn how to dance around just outside of a warriors intercept range, but still in range to launch a few nukes off. Then you will have to weigh the option of repositioning yourself to CC his partner (usually a shaman or priest of some sort), and it is generally a good idea to walk around the long way out of range of intercept (and ultimately hamstring). Once a well geared warrior gets ahold of me, I don't have much time left, and I run out of tricks real quick. All it takes is one mistake, one careless extra nuke, which can lead to that hamstring, and my fate is generally then sealed. It lasts way too long for me to buy enough time using deathcoil and shadowfury combined to regain my safety net of 35ish yards. I really, really wish warlocks had some sort of way to break snare effects on a cooldown. Even if I could only use it one per fight. It's pretty silly that I have to run 3 miles around the edge of the arena to get to his partner (who can also run around the pillars out of my LOS, forcing me into intercept range.)

This is just a small example of the tactical decisions you will have to face. You will have to learn how each of your opposing classes play with their new TBC skills. You have to be very perceptive and plan out your sequence of attacks and CCs, and prioritize them as such, based on who you are fighting with, and against. You can't just run around and spam instacast dots on everyone with this spec. You can't just /pet attack on a target and hotkey your black book trinket, spam a couple instacast dots and win. It takes practice. It takes finesse. It will take a lot of trial and error to master. I highly suggest you setup a perfect set of keybindings to maximize your potential with this ability.

Rogues "can" be a problem, but I'm ok with this, as we need a class that will balance us out. Also, grouping with a warrior is wonderful when fighting against rogues. Generally, the rogues will try to sap me, instead of cronuz, as he can just zerker rage right out of it. The problem with that strategy for them, is that Cronuz can outlive their damage, pop his life giving gem and 2.5k healthstone, and then we're back to the start of the fight with the warrior near full, rogue without some cooldowns, and me no longer CC'd, assiting Cronuz on burning down the rogue. All it takes then is a well place seduce on the rogues partner, and a few hard hitting nukes, (incin, immo, conflag), immediately followed up by a shadowfury to lock the rogue down, and another immo > shadowburn for the win. 8)

For those of you who loved to play 7/7/37 builds, or nightfall conflag builds, you will NOT be disappointed by heavy destruction in TBC. The recent change to shadowfury has made it so that ranged stun + nuke combos can, when positioned and timed correctly, win you the fight when used in conjunction with your CC. The best part is, this isn't really much of a 2v2 spec, but it CAN be used as one now. I can only see the power of this spec growing exponentially as the scale of the fight grows larger, and I am more free to stand behind the lines and throw my nukes out while CCing. I simply cannot express how happy I am with shadowfury.

By the way.. I'm not sure how things are on the PTR, but as of last night on the beta, this is how shards work in the arena. Healthstones do not consume shards during the "warmup" period, and neither do pets. This means that cronuz and I both have a 2.5k healthstone for every match, and mine heals me for about 3147ish due to demonic aegis + fel armor. That puts me at about 12k health between commanding shout and the stone. The only time I had to replace shards was on heavy use of shadowburn/soulfire/fel domination after a few matches. It's really not so bad anymore, and the shard usage is much more manageable now.

Other than the current issue with flying mounts forcing me to land petless, I am absolutely in love with this class moreso than ever before. Affliction tree is just nasty, Felguard + soul link is extremely powerful, and destruction is all about burning peoples faces off once again. Backlash is an amazing talent and I love it when other warlocks sick their felhunter on me, only to proc 4 backlashes throughout the fight, throwing 2.6k crit incinerates back in their face left and right. I'm only hoping that blizzard won't make the same mistake again and put massive amounts of resists as a set bonus for warlock pets again, because it makes banishing an MD felhunter just impossible. I'm all for having powerful abilities in the game, but there needs to be counters for things. Luckily, it looks like the fights are all about using the proper counters in the 70 arena, as fights are drawn out longer and you actually have time to use tactics, switch targets, and change strategies on the fly.

Two thumbs up so far. TBC PvP is the best WoW PvP has ever been.