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Clothies are *hard* July 13, 2009

Posted by rusquel in General, Warlock.
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Respect to all those out there who have leveled clothies. You know who you are, and you can go right ahead and pat yourself on the back now. You have my permission. Having played through as the three plate-wearing melee classes, of course I knew rolling a weak, tea-sipping arcane-wielding warlock would be a change of pace from my blood-drinking, fear-inspiring experience of whirling blades, metal and spiky armour that Paladins, Death Knights or Warriors provide. But I didn’t think it would be so hard.

When the Significant Other and I rolled DK’s we had some sweet moments: riding the hell outta some mob-infested hole after killing the elite for the quest, /training and aggroing every mob possible, then one of us would get dismounted. Woops. Pop some CDs, spin through the DPS rotation, maybe slap a Rune Tap down – no worries. Even on our pallies, we have bitten off more than we could chew, but managed to bubble/heal/spam our way out of it. But oh my god if my Blue Volkswagon pulls over an extra mob or two, who then decide to wander over and starting beating the living crap out of me, I’m pretty option-less as a Warlock. Sure, I can Life Tap once (or twice, if I’m feeling risque) to grab some mana, but mobs can be kind of unforgiving if you want to break and have a drink in the middle of something.

Leveling with a Priest has its bonuses at least. The Significant Other can spam some Renew, and keep buffs up on me, but I’m just burning through her mana to fuel my Fel-crazed addiction to the blue bar. It has been oft noted that we are unique in that we are the only class that can wipe out its own health bar in a matter of seconds, in an empty room devoid of any threats whatsoever. Just don’t blame the Imp.

Leveling as Affliction seemed like a good idea from what I had read. I just missed the little bit about how it only shines for solo play. And it does. When the Significant Other would be asleep/eating/working me and Voidy would man-up and take on Azeroth on our own. Good times. Afflication has some fairly good opening talents, like Improved Life Tap and Improved Drain Soul. I basically just followed the guide: send in the VW, DoTs, Life Tap, Drain Life, Drain Soul and repeat. With those talents I could basically walk away from a corpse with almost full health, and an almost full mana bar, as long as I got the most out of the channeled drain spells. Plus I had Soul Shards coming out of my ears. Which prompted me to use a nifty addon called Necrosis LdC. You can set the limit for how many shards you want to keep, and it will destroy any extras automatically. It also has some funky on-screen buttons things which freed up some action bar space, and simplified the creation of soulstones, summons etc. It also tracks DoTs on the target, and has some audio reminders for when Nightfall or Backlash procs, or when your soulstone expires. Just remember to turn off the party chat spam if you ever want to be respected. Ever.

One problem. This sucked when we were playing together. I couldn’t finish my rotation, my DoTs were being wasted, my mana wasn’t being replenished by the Improved Drain Soul proc, and we kept pulling aggro off the Blueberry. At that point, the talent tree looked a little like this. Next point would go to Siphon Life for some extra healing, and then 5 points in Shadow Mastery for some decent DPS gains, then Dark Pact to reduce down time. By this point, a Warlock should only be Life Tapping to make sure than a Drain Life isn’t wasted damage.

Instead I respecced into Destruction, for more burst damage. It’s going ok at the moment. The spec looks like this. The lineup is much the same, although Destro spells are few and far between. I have to wait to level 64 to get Incinerate. Sigh. I switched to the Imp because as a Destro ‘Lock you have 2 chances at not pulling aggro: Buckley’s and none. So with the Imp cackling and firebolting, mobs seem to go down pretty hard and fast. The Destro tree doesn’t have much in the way of burst or instant cast spells just yet. I usually wait for the proc before firing off an instant Shadow Bolt. Mana goes down fairly quickly, and since every one is beating up on me, my health is often worse for wear, limiting the usefulness of Life Tapping for mana, and any chanelled or cast spells. I’m holding out for Soul Leech and its improved version. This should help with the health and mana woes, but little beats the solo Afflication ‘Lock version of the Perpetual Motion Machine. Take that second law of thermodynamics!

A caster without mana is basically a pinata for everything hostile in Azeroth, and a caster that has all but committed suicide to regain that mana is basically asking for it. Leveling Destro is more useful in a group situation, but honest-to-goodness, Affliction is the way to go. You become a veritable powerhouse of unstoppable energy, and if you’re careful, you shouldn’t have a problem with the ole VW tanking. There’s a really finely-balanced feel about the Affliction tree, with the DoTs buffing the damage and health from your Drain spells, and there’s something undeniably ‘Warlock’ about it all.

Writing this makes me want to spec back. QQ. I’ll keep you posted.

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