In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, warlocks will receive changes to their class talents and abilities. Outlined below are some of these changes. Keep in mind that this is an early preview and that these modifications are still under development, so you may see further adjustments to the listed changes as we get closer to launch. That said, here is a first look at these new warlock spells and abilities!
New Warlock Spells
Fel Flame (level 81): Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability Frostfire Bolt, in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that's good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.
Dark Intent (level 83): Increases the target's chance for a critical effect with periodic damage or healing spells by 3%. When the target lands a crit, you get a buff to your damage for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to three times.
Demon Soul (level 85): Fuses the warlock's soul with his or her demon. This provides warlocks with a self-burst cooldown to use. The specific effects granted by Demon Soul depend on the demon chosen. Demon Soul lasts for a certain number of charges or until it expires (around 20 seconds), depending on the demon used. 2-minute cooldown.
Soul Shard Overhaul
This major change regarding Soul Shards was previously announced at BlizzCon 2009. Soul Shards will no longer be inventory items, but instead a new UI resource mechanic. Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards that can be used during a fight and will not be able to gain additional shards during combat. Soul Shards will not be required outside of combat. Soul Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing you to use the secondary effects of some spells. Soul Burn has no mana or health costs and is off the global cooldown. Planned secondary effects are outlined here.
- Summon Demon + Soul Burn = summon the demon instantly.
- Drain Life + Soul Burn = Reduces cast speed by 60%.
- Demonic Circle + Soul Burn = Increases movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds after teleporting.
- Unstable Affliction + Soul Burn = Instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its effect.
- Soul Fire + Soul Burn = Instant cast.
- Healthstone + Soul Burn = Increases total health by 20% for 8 seconds.
- Searing Pain + Soul Burn = Increases the crit chance of Searing Pain by 100%, and subsequent Searing Pain spells by 50% for 6 seconds.
Next you will find a list of some of the warlock spell and talent changes for the release of Cataclysm. There will be further changes, but those revealed below should offer some insight into our goals.
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
- All warlock damage-over-time (DoT) spells will benefit from crit and haste innately. Haste will no longer act to reduce the DoT's duration, but rather to add additional ticks. When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell, similar to how Everlasting Affliction currently works.
- Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom will be converted into Bane of Agony and Bane of Doom. Bane spells are considered magic instead of curses. This means you will be able to cast one Bane (e.g. Bane of Agony) and one Curse (e.g. Curse of Elements) on a single target.
- Hellfire will no longer deal damage to the warlock.
- Imps will lose Fire Shield, but will gain a new ability, Burning Ember, which is a stacking DoT.
- The succubus melee range will be increased. The succubus will no longer have Soothing Kiss, but will instead have Whiplash, which knocks back all enemies within 8 yards.
- Voidwalker Torment will do increased damage and generate a lot of area-of-effect (AoE) threat. Suffering will become a single-target taunt.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- Pandemic will now cause Drain Soul to refresh Unstable Affliction and Bane of Agony on targets below 25% health.
- The ability Fel Domination will be removed (because Soul Burn accomplishes the same effect).
- Demonology will gain a new direct-damage spell, Demon Bolt. Demon Bolt will add a debuff that improves the damage done by the demon to the target.
- We plan to add a new talent, Impending Doom, which will give certain spells a chance to reduce the cooldown on Metamorphosis and Curse of Doom.
- Metamorphosis will no longer be subject to demonic crowd control. Furthermore, abilities available only while under the effects of Metamorphosis will be altered to put more emphasis on the warlock's own spells.
- Shadowburn will now do additional damage to targets below 25% health.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Spell Critical Damage
Fire Direct Damage
Shadow DoTs: The damage caused by Shadow damage-over-time spells is increased.
Demon Damage: The damage caused by pets and Metamorphosis is increased.
Fire Direct Damage: The damage caused by Fire direct damage spells is increased.
Well that concludes this Cataclysm preview for the warlock class. The development of these changes will continue to evolve in the coming months. Please be sure to provide any feedback and thoughts you might have on what was covered here.
Major changes in store for Warlocks. I am personally a big fan of the changes to Soul Shard mechanics. Making Soul Shards a more powerful resource, but also something that is limited and requires a decision allows them to add some very strong tools to the Warlock class without making it too overpowered.
I am interested to see what they mean when they say that Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards 'in combat'. If that means that every time they drop combat in Arenas they are going to gain 3 fresh shards then that ability may turn out to be very overpowered.
The ability to stack duration onto the end of damage over time spells by reapplying them is also interesting. This isn't a new phenomenon, but the implementation will determine exactly how potent this ability is. I'm going to go ahead and assume that this doesn't mean that you can cast corruption five times in a row and have a 2 minute corruption on a target.
The mastery bonuses are about what you'd expect. Enhanced demon damage in demonology, better DoTs in affliction, and nuking power in destruction. All in all the major changes come in the Soul Shard changes and the new abilities (none of which seem particularly game breaking on the surface). We'll have to see how players like them and how they play on the beta servers!
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