Skip to the 5.4 part of the discussion in the thread: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...1#post22194794
A. What's New In 5.4?
7. Your Demon
8. Spells and Abilities - Single Target
9. Spells and Abilities - Multi Target and AoE
10. Extra Tips
11. How to DPS on specific encounters - Tier 14
12. Using Simcraft
A. What's New In 5.4?
Affliction Warlocks are primarily about dealing damage with DoTs (Damage over time spells). In Mists of Pandaria, all Warlock specs had a major overhaul, but Affliction is largely the most recognisable of the three specs after the changes. In Mists of Pandaria, Affliction can instantly apply all of their DoTs to an enemy, and use channeled spells to make their DoTs tick more frequently.
This spec uses Soul Shards as a resource, which can be generated by Corruption ticks, and by Drain Soul. Soul Shards are consumed by the Haunt ability, which buffs your damaging spells on an enemy for a short time, and by Soulburn, which enhances some of your other abilities.
Soul Leech has recently been nerfed and is not as overpowered as it was in Throne of Thunder. It's still a solid talent but not necessarily a guaranteed pick. You'll want to choose which healing talent you go for based on personal preference. Both Dark Regeneartion and Harvest Life are strong survival abilities.
The talents in this tier focus on crowd control. The new Demonic Breath ability may be very useful for encounters with slowable targets, and there are a few fights that fit this criteria in Throne of Thunder. Shadowfury is extremely useful on fights with stunnable adds and can really give you an extra utility tool to help your raid. On fights where neither ability is useful, Mortal Coil has the benefit of providing you with 15% of your maximum health which makes it useful on fights with no crowd control.
The talents in this tree are all heavy defensive abilities. Soul Link causes your pet to take 20% of all damage you take, effectively granting you a 20% damage reduction, since there's no real danger of your pet dying, and you'll also be healing yourself and your pet for 3% of all damage dealt.
Sacrificial Pact offers you a ~450k shield, but Dark Bargain could save you from a lot more depending on how it's used. All of these defensive talents are viable and will see use in a variety of situations. I tend to use Soul Link for most encounters as the default talent, but there are encounters where cooldowns are more preferable.
Burning Rush is the go to talent of choice here - an on demand sprint with no cooldown is absolutely amazing. There may be the odd fight here or there where you want Unbound Will, such as Immerseus Heroic or Sha of Pride. There likely won't be any occasions where Blood Fear will have use in PvE.
This is a DPS increasing tier. In most situations you'll want to use Grimoire of Supremacy, using the Observer pet.
This tier of talents received a complete rework for Patch 5.4, and it's impossible to give an outright answer as to which one is better. The new Archimonde's Vengeance gives you an extra charge of Dark Soul. The way this works means you gain one extra Dark Soul throughout the fight, since the second charge won't regenerate until the first has already recharged. However, this does mean you can hold off with using Dark Soul to sync it up with trinket procs, since you won't be losing any DPS by delaying it.
Kil'jaeden's cunning should be used on fights with significant movement, since Affliction is hurt a lot by not using Malefic Grasp. Don't just use this as the default talent though, you should try to use Archimonde's Vengeance whenver you don't need to move a lot in a fight.
The new Mannoroth's Fury is a very powerful AoE talent, but Affliction is still lacking in the AoE department in general compared to our other specs. Nevertheless you'll want this for fights involving AoE.
Like most things in MoP, the glyph system has been simplified. Most of the Warlock glyphs do not offer any DPS gains and are simply cosmetic or fun tweaks to the class. The below glyphs provide some utility or survival. You can use any selection of them.
Glyph of Healthstone: This is amazing when paired with Dark Regeneration. Provides a huge influx of health, but does remove the burst healing element, so it's not good for fights like Empress where you need instant healing.
Glyph of Eternal Resolve: Disables your Unending Resolve ability, but gives you a passive 10% damage reduction. This is generally a nice glyph to have on fights with constant damage where you don't need your panic cooldown button. 10% damage reduction all the time is a lot.
Glyph of Curse of Elements: Your Curse of Elements will hit two additional targets.
Glyph of Curse of Exhaustion: This is great for any fights with adds that need to be slowed. This is the best slow in the game. Great for fights like Tortos and Protectors.
Glyph of Life Tap: Useful only really on fights such as Malkorok or Tortos, where Life Tapping can cause you to lose health that healers are unable to replenish due to shielding mechanics.
Glyph of Soulstone: Stronger combat res is always useful.
Glyph of Siphon Life: Passive healing, always useful.
Glyph of Soul Consumption: More chance of extra healing.
I tend to use Healthstone + Siphon Life, and the third is available for whatever utility I need.
This is your primary stat. Each point of Intellect increases your Spell Power by 1. However, when looking at your gear, each point of Intellect is actually worth 1.05 Intellect due to the passive ability Nethermancy. Therefore, if an item has 20 Intellect, you will gain 21 Intellect when you equip it. Intellect also increases your crit chance by a very small amount; 2548 Intellect gives you 1% chance to crit.
Increases your chance to hit with spells. You need a total of 15% hit to reach cap, and 340 hit rating is equal to 1% hit. Once you reach the hit cap (5100 hit rating), your spells are all guaranteed to hit, so any additional hit is pointless.
Makes your spells cast faster and reduces your global cooldown. 1% Haste makes your spells cast 1% faster, and you need 425 haste rating to gain 1%.
Increases your chance to critically hit with spells. You need 600 crit rating to gain 1% chance to crit.
Each percent of Mastery increases the damage you do with Agony, Corruption and Unstable Affliction by 1%. Each percent of Mastery is equal to 302 Mastery rating
Expertise grants Spell Hit at exactly the same rate as Hit Rating does. You can combine a mixture of Hit and Expertise to each hit cap.
As a general rule of thumb, you should consider stats in the following order of importance:
Intellect --> Spell Power --> Hit --> Mastery-> Haste--> Crit.
Intellect is your best stat, and will almost always be the deciding factor in your upgrades.
You should be hit capped, or close to the hit cap. Avoid being over the hit cap.
With the buff to our DoTs and the nerf to RPPM in 5.4, Haste dropped in value quite significantly. It's still a very strong stat overall, but there's no point stacking it heavily. You're likely better off pursuing the 9778 Haste breakpoint and then going full Mastery after that.
To optimise your reforging, use the scale factors generated by SimCraft and plug them into the addon ReforgeLite. If you don't know how to use SimCraft, I explain it here.
SOCKET COLOUR GEM EFFECT Meta [Sinister Primal Diamond] 324 Crit and 30% Spell Haste Proc Red [Artful Vermilion Onyx] 80 Intellect and 160 Mastery Yellow [Fractured Sun's Radiance] 320 Mastery Blue [Sensei's Wild Jade] 160 Hit and 160 Mastery
SLOT ENCHANT EFFECT Shoulder Greater Crane Wing Inscription 200 Intellect and 100 Crit Stike Rating Back Superior Intellect 180 Intellect Chest Glorious Stats 80 All Stats Wrist Super Intellect 170 Intellect Gloves Superior Mastery 170 Mastery Belt Living Steel Belt Buckle Extra socket Legs Greater Cerulean Spellthread 285 Intellect and 165 Crit Strike Rating Boots Pandaren's Step 140 Mastery Rating and run speed. Weapon Jade Spirit 1650 Intellect on a proc chance. Off-Hand Major Intellect 165 Intellect
Black Blood of Yor'sahj (Heroic)
*Purified Bindings of Immerseus (Heroic)
Kardris' Toxic Totem (Heroic)
Black Blood of Yor'sahj (Normal)
Kardris' Toxic Totem (Normal)
Wushoolay's Final Choice (Heroic)
Unerring Vision of Lei Shen (Heroic) = Breath of the Hydra (Heroic) = Purified Bindings of Immerseus (Normal)
Cha-Ye's Essence of Brilliance
First of all, Purified Bindings of Immerseus are technically BiS on Heroic, but only in close to full BiS tier. This is because the trinket scales with your stats, so you need more stats on your gear for it to be worth having. It will not be worth picking up on normal mode if you intend to play Affliction only, and it won't be super amazing on Heroic until your gear gets better.
Kardris Toxic Totem and Black Blood of Yor'sahj are very strong trinkets for Affliction and should be what you go for initially.
As far as ToT trinkets are concerned, you'll technically get slightly better results with UVLS + Breath, but due to the nature of RNG this is not a desirable combination. For strong, reliable results go with Wushoolay's + Breath. If your trinkets have different ilvls, use any combination of UVLS / Breath / Wushoolay's that gives the highest ilvl.
7. Your Demon
Affliction uses the Observer pet in most situations. This provides the highest dps gain. However, in situations where there is heavy target swapping, the Fel Imp can swap targets more efficiently, and only does slightly less dps.
Don't forget your Doomguard. This is a powerful demon that you can summon only once every 10 minutes, and he stays with you for 60 seconds, attacking the target that you cast him on. He deals 20% bonus damage to enemies under 20% health, and also benefits from bloodlust. The best time to use him depends heavily on the fight that you're on and when your raid uses bloodlust, but it will almost always be just before bloodlust is cast.
The Infernal is the Doomguard's equivalent for AoE situations. He shares the cooldown with the Doomguard, so you must decide which one is most appropriate to use. You'll usually use the Infernal when there are 7 or more targets.
8. Spells and Abilities - Single Target
Caster Form Spells:
CORRUPTION: This deals Shadow damage every 2 seconds for 18 seconds, and each tick of damage has a chance to generate a Soul Shard.
AGONY: This deals damage every 2 seconds for 24 seconds. It starts at 1 stack, and every time it deals damage, it gains an extra stack, increasing the damage done with each tick. Once it reaches 10 stacks, it won't gain any more. In addition, if you recast Agony once it is at 10 stacks, the duration will be extended and it will stay at 10 stacks.
UNSTABLE AFFLICTION: This deals Shadow damage every 2 seconds for 14 seconds. If dispelled, it deals damage to the dispeller and silences them.
Haunt: This deals high damage to an enemy, and applies a debuff that causes all of your spells to do 30% more damage to that enemy for 8 seconds. This consumes one Soul Shard.
SOULBURN: This grants extra effects to some of your spells. This costs one Soul Shard.
SOUL SWAP: This allows you to copy the DoTs you have on one enemy to another target. The copied DoTs have the same duration and strength of the original target. The DoTs will remain on both targets. When used with Soulburn, it instantly applies Agony, Corruption and Unstable Affliction to an enemy, without the need for a target to steal the DoTs from. This has no cooldown.
MALEFIC GRASP: This is a channelled spell that deals Shadow damage every second for 4 seconds. Every time it deals damage, it causes all of your periodic effects on the target to instantly deal 50% of their tick damage.
DRAIN SOUL: This is a channelled spell that deals Shadow damage every 2 seconds for 12 seconds, and generates a Soul Shard every second tick of damage. If the enemy is below 20% health, it deals 100% additional damage, and every time it deals damage, it causes all of your Affliction periodic effects on the target to instantly deal 100% of their tick damage.
1 - Haunt - Keep this up when you have Soul Shards.
2 - Agony - Keep this up at 10 stacks.
3 - Corruption - Keep this up.
4 - Unstable Affliction - Keep this up.
5 - Drain Soul - Use this as your filler below 20%.
6 - Malefic Grasp - Use this as your filler above 20%.
7 - Fel Flame - Use this when moving.
At the start of the fight, Pre-Cast a Haunt and use Dark Soul, and then Soulburn with Soul Swap, to instantly apply your DoT effects to the enemy. Make sure Haunt stays up for the entire duration of Dark Soul. Once your Intellect procs are active, update your DoTs with another Soulburn: Soul Swap. You may also reapply them again before Dark Soul expires, depending on the timing of your other procs. For the rest of the fight, keep your DoTs up and use Malefic Grasp as your filler spell, and keep Haunt uptime as high as possible. Once the enemy falls below 20% health, use Drain Soul instead of Malefic grasp.
Remember that if nobody else in your raid is providing the magic damage taken debuff, you should apply Curse of the Elements on every enemy you attack. Remember to use Flask of the Warm Sun at all times, and use Potion of the Jade Serpent immediately before you enter combat, and again at critical stages of the fight.
Advanced Soul Shard Management
Knowing when to use your Soul Shards is what will separate a poor Warlock from a great one.
At the start of the fight you will use a Soul Shard to get Soulburn into a Soul Swap and get your DoTs up. You will use this any time a big cooldown such as Dark Soul is about to expire.
The first rule is never let yourself waste a Nightfall proc. For this reason, you should never sit on 4 Soul Shards. If you get four Shards, throw out a Haunt.
During Dark Soul, try to keep Haunt up with 100% uptime.
The next rule is never to use Haunt when you don't have any Intellect procs active. The video at the top of this thread explains this in more detail.
During the execute, you have unlimited shards. Keep Haunt up with 100% uptime and only use Soulburn: Soul Swap to refresh your DoTs.
9. Spells and Abilities - Multi Target and AoE
SEED OF CORRUPTION: This deals Shadow damage to an enemy over time. Once the target takes enough damage from the Caster, it explodes and deals Shadow damage to all enemies within 15 yards. When used with Soulburn, the explosion applies Corruption to afflicted targets.
SOUL SWAP: Allows you to copy your DoTs from one target to another. The DoTs will remain on the original target, and will retain the same power and duration on the second target. This has no cooldown or shard cost.
Spell Priority: Multi Target
1 - Use Soulburn: Soul Swap to apply DoTs to one target, and again to extend them to their full duration and hopefully buff them with Procs. After that, use Soul Swap without Soulburn to Inhale and Exhale the DoTs onto the other targets. Always cast the DoTs on one primary target and then duplicate them via Soul Swap.
2 If more than 6 targets, use Soulburn: Seed of Corruption to keep Corruption up on every enemy, as needed. Use Soul Shard procs for Soulburn: Soul Swaps, and spam Seed of Corruption on targets with all dots to trigger them instantly.
10. Extra Tips
This section should clarify some of the major mechanic changes between Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.
At level 90, DoTs are refreshed in a different way. If you cast Corruption on an enemy that already has Corruption on it, the remaining duration of the previous effect will be added to the new effect, up to a maximum of 50% of its base duration. So, if you recast Corruption when it has 6 seconds remaining, it will now have 24 seconds remaining. The maximum duration it will increase to is 27 seconds, since its base duration is 18. This means that you can refresh it any time when it has less than 9 seconds remaining and you won't waste any time. (9+ 18= 27).
Before you reach level 90, this extension doesn't happen, which means you should refresh your DoT just after it expires.
DoTs do not update automatically with procs such as Intellect procs or buffs such as Dark Soul. You have to recast them in order for them to take effect, which means you can directly improve your DPS by refreshing your DoTs at opportune moments.
Your Doomguard now benefits from Bloodlust and deals bonus damage when under 20%. He also updates dynamically with your stats - there is no need to wait for Int or Haste procs before you summon him - although summoning him when their internal cooldown is soon to expire will be beneficial, to ensure they proc whilst he is out.
11. How to DPS on Specific Encounters
This second will be updated for Siege of Orgrimmar soon. For Tier 14 guides, click here.
12. Using Simcraft