Warlocks aren’t broken …
… we just need to l2play.
Now, where have we heard that before? >.>
After raiding with the superhuman (superforsaken?) Azargoth for a few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that warlocks aren’t broken after all. They’re just ridiculously hard to play — not because the Affliction rotation is overly complicated, as Ghostcrawler claims, but because it’s very, very unforgiving.
If you clip a DoT, fail to refresh a DoT, switch from Shadowbolt to Drain Soul at 26% or 24%, or (nether forbid!) allow Haunt to fall off for even a second or two, then your DPS absolutely tanks.
I might be exaggerating.
But not by much.
For obvious reasons, things completely beyond our control — like lag or high latency — can make a cookie-cutter UA/Ruin build nearly unplayable. (So does sucking, but I’m going to give my fellow locks the benefit of the doubt and blame the elephant in the other room. /wink) If you have chronically high latency, then it doesn’t matter how tight your rotation is: the server isn’t going to recognize it, and you will lose Recount to everyone and everything — from the /afk hunter to the enhancement shaman’s Searing Totem to your raid leader’s noncombat moth.
Needless to say, this was a huge shock to most raiding warlocks, who were accustomed to topping the meters with one-button spam. The old Demonic Sacrifice build that T6 warlocks took almost as a matter of course was (1) ridiculously easy, and (2) supremely forgiving, especially if you happened to stack haste.
When I specced out of UA/Ruin and into Felguard/Emberstorm, my post-Wrath DPS improved by almost 1,000! On paper, this shouldn’t happen. On paper, UA/Ruin is the superior spec.
But between paperless factors such as latency, lag (if I turn spell details all the way down, I can count on 20-25 fps in the middle of nowhere, half that in 10-man raids and half that again in 25’s) and my own chronic inability to multitask (“Oh, someone’s asking if we’re recruiting! Let’s just ignore the DoTimers for a second here and click-spam Shadowbolt while I type out a quick response…”), I was failing spectacularly at UA/Ruin.
Then I switched to Felguard/Emberstorm.
Anyway, this is just a quick, ranty post with absolutely no math to back it up. It’s just that watching Azargoth has been enlightening (not to mention ever-so-slightly — okay, more than slightly! — jealousy-inducing). The man is a beast. When warlock DPS gets buffed in 3.1, he won’t just top the damage meters (he does that already). He’ll own them.
* * *
Nibuca of Mystic Chicanery has an excellent post on using WWS to troubleshoot an Affliction rotation, based on Canadian Pimp’s guide at the Warlock’s Den. I’m not raiding on my warlock these days, but if I was, I’d be using it. It’s awesome.