The shared topic for the week (“Well, now what?”) deals with how you’re adjusting to your new spec in the Brave New World of 3.0.2 (soon to be 3.0.3). And in line with that, I have a little confession to make:
I’m one of these now.
I’m sure a lot of Warlocks are curious about how Metamorphosis functions, as well as how deep Demonology (the black sheep of end-game specs) works out - and so I’m here to answer your questions, but first, the general answer: I am enjoying playing my warlock (a lot), but I am unsure about the direction in which Blizzard is taking Demonology. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?
Taking Metamorphosis is a lot like having a very powerful trinket on a 3-minute cooldown. While it’s up, you can definitely watch those numbers jump up - so much so in fact, that I created a Power Aura to notify anytime I can use it. It is definitely a boost to my personal DPS; while it remains a touch lower than my affliction DPS, my demonology DPS - almost completely unbuffed (only Fel Armor and passive Demonology buffs), I’m hitting 1000-1100 dps. Quaffing a Flask of Pure Death and getting a good food buff (which is so amusing now - spellpower gives me spellpower, and spirit gives me spellpower, and since I’m demonology stamina gives me spellpower, so pretty much all food is +spellpower food) can make that go even higher.
As a Demonologist, I’ve got some huge stat boosts I don’t get from any other tree. My spellpower jumps up about 200-300 points with a demon out (again, all numbers taken assuming all I have is a felguard out and Fel Armor applied). I also gained a fairly high amount of crit from what amounted to just a simple respec - something like 9%. It shows, too!
I get to use the Felguard again, who has always been my favorite pet (if you refresh and look at the random headers long enough, you’ll even see he was the one to accompany me into the Dark Portal). Skelli, one of our guild’s other ‘locks, respecced the same as me and has said the same thing - he loves having the Felguard out again. And, maybe it’s just me, but the Felguard seems to have taken a big boost in survivability and damage as well. Demonic Empowerment helps, as do all the +damage and +crit talents in deep demonology builds.
I definitely solo a lot faster than I can as an Affliction lock. I imagine this is what it feels like to be a full-time destruction warlock, only in miniature.
Immolation Aura is crazy powerful - it really is a lot like having a boss ability. I’ve also found Demon Charge to be super-useful for getting into range to use the aforementioned aura. It’s possible that my DPS appears slightly low to me because as I discovered, Recount does not count Immolation Aura in determining dps or damage dealt, it seems.
And, perhaps the most important point, turning into a demon is completely badass.
There’s no nice way to say it, so I’m just gonna come out and say it plainly: Shadow Cleave is fairly stupid, and Challenging Howl is only slightly less stupid. Neither one even made it onto my Metamorphosis bar. Anytime that I could use Shadow Cleave, I could instead pop an Immolation Aura and spam Incinerates and actually do some damage - Shadow Cleave does not appear, in my tests, to be scaling with spellpower but instead with attack power. (I’ll go hit a dummy and find out, just for you.) Challenging Howl turns out to be useful for peeling things off healers, but it’s extremely situational - I’ve used it once and only once, to do just that. In previous builds we at least had Shadow Bolt Volley; I’d love to see this return. I’d also heard a rumor that Cripple was being considered at one time. That seems far more useful to me than an AOE time-limited taunt.
As a Demonology spec warlock, I may have more health and mana, but I am a lot less mana-efficient. With Destruction - well, I don’t ever recall running out of mana, but when I did Life Tap, I was able to get it back pretty often by spamming Shadow Bolts (Soul Leech and Improved Soul Leech). With Affliction, there’s any number of ways to get back mana (Improved Life Tap, Dark Pact [a talent I’d love to have in Demonology just so I can rob my Felguard of his oft-untouched mana pool], and Improved Drain Soul, just to name a few). With Demonology? Life Tapping is it. And since doing damage is now spamming a direct damage instead of monitoring a rotation of dots, I end up Life Tapping fairly often. Solo it’s not a big deal - I life tap after a fight, during the time I go to kill something Fel Armor heals me back up; if it doesn’t, I throw in a Drain Life or two.
My spell rotation completely and utterly changed. I’ve been playing affliction, to some degree, for most of my warlockin’ career. I was a warlock from 1-50, when I switched to a combination aff/demo build to get the Felguard, who took me to 70. I was destruction for a while until I realized I had neither the crit, nor the spellpower, nor the hit to support it, so I went affliction. Affliction is what I’ve been soloing as, raiding as, grouping as, you name it, probably for the last 5 or 6 months. But changing to demonology - well, most of my affliction spells just went away. Poof! No UA, no SL. Just Corruption and Curses, to be honest. I actually (again, personal experience; it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on paper unless coefficients have changed) have settled on a rotation of Curse of the Elements, Corruption, Immolate, spam Incinerates until Immolate is gone (again, thank you Power Auras for letting me know), repeat till dead, Life Tap if necessary, Drain Life if low. I was pushing 600-800 dps using my old method of Shadow Bolt Spam, but I’m hitting 1000-1100 dps with just this simple rotation and popping Metamorphosis when necessary. I know it’s viable, and honestly I’m only coming in behind hunters on our dps meters, but it feels low. This may just be a perception issue.
I wish Metamorphosis didn’t feel quite so much like an OP trinket. As I was saying to Skelli last night, I’d even take a nerf to any aspect of Metamorphosis if I could stay in it. Words cannot express how much I wish Demon Form was permanent.
So there you have it. A couple of personal issues aside, Demonology seems like a perfectly viable spec for low-end raiding. It helps that we now have a talent that duplicates the effects of two pieces of T5, making it viable for those of us who will probably never see anything farther than Mags and Gruul. I’ve changed how I do damage, but I’m still doing damage, and at the end of the day, I have the most badass pet, and the most badass alternate form. I guess you could say I’m settling in pretty well in my new spec. :)