It's finally here, the 5.0.4 version of my affliction guide. I want to first start by saying that there are still a few known bugs with Affliction right now and I will address them throughout the guide. This is meant to be a PvE only guide. I will only go over relevant information for PvE focused players.
5.0.4 introduced a lot of changes to Warlocks and the Affliction spec. I will going over everything in a brief way that will hopefully give new warlocks a good starting point and maybe shed some light on some stuff for veterans who haven't been paying attention to the beta and class changes.
For specing into Affliction you will unlock the following abilities and I will give a summary of each of them. Numbers for each spell were taken from the tooltips with a naked toon so bare in mind that I will not be giving any SP scaling information. You can go to EJ for number crunching tips.
Affliction only spells
Corruption - Dot causing 2,538 Shadow dmg over 18 seconds.
Agony - Dot that deals increasing Shadow dmg on the target over 24 seconds. Dmg ranges from 2,652 to 4,244. Every tick of agony will cause it to stack up to 10, and with each stack Agony will tick for more dmg up to the 10 stack dmg cap. Once you reach a 10 stack it will always tick for the capped amount and in this case of being naked it will tick for 4,244. Refreshing before Agony falls off will keep a 10 stack.
Unstable Affliction - Dot that deals 2,373 Shadow dmg over 14 seconds. If UA is dispelled it deals 2,373 Shadow dmg to the dispeller and silences them for 4 seconds.
Haunt - Single target nuke that deals 1,978 Shadow dmg to the target and increases all spell damage you deal to the target by 25% for 8 seconds. Costs 1 Soul Shard
Malefic Grasp - Channeled filler spell that deals 904 Shadow dmg over 4 seconds. Every 1 second when MG deals dmg it causes your 3 dots (Corruption, Agony, UA) to instantly deal 50% of their normal periodic damage. This is the most confusing spell and mechanic for new players and I will do my best to explain. Basically when you channel MG you have your 3 dots and an additional 3 "Ghost Dots" all doing dmg along with MG of course. If you swap targets or stop channeling MG only your "true dots" will continue to deal dmg. For example lets say your corruption normally ticks for 500 dmg, when channeling MG you will have a "ghost" corruption ticking every second for 250 dmg.
Drain Soul - Execute style channeled filler spell that deals 438 Shadow dmg every 2 seconds and refunds 1 soul shard after it deals dmg twice (or you could think of it as 1 shard back every 4 seconds). If the target dies while DS is being channeled you will be refunded all your soul shards even if you use the soul shard glyph. If the target is at or below 20% health Drain Soul will deal 100% additional dmg and will add 3 Ghost Dots (same mechanic as MG) that tick for 100% of your True Dots periodic dmg. For example, True corruption ticks for 500, Ghost corruption ticks for 500.
Nightfall (passive) - Whenever your Corruption deals dmg it has a 5% chance to regain a Soul Shard. Your MG Ghost Corruption can trigger NF so you sort of have a 10% chance to gain a Shard back, however this is RNG based so pray to the wow gods if you have poor shard management. Fight knowledge will allow you to be more free with using your shards however.
Non spec talents
Curse of the Elements - Curse that cause the target to take 5% increased magic damage from all sources for 5 mins. Soulburn effect causes Elements to affect all targets within 15 yards.
Fel Flame - Instant low dmg nuke that deals 848 Shadowflame dmg and increases the duration of UA and Corruption on the target by 6 seconds.
Soul Burn - Consumes a Soul Shard to empower a specific ability.
Seed of Corruption - Plants a seed in the target that deals 2,306 Shadow dmg over 18 seconds. If the target takes 2,034 dmg from the caster or dies the Seed will detonate and deal 1,496 Shadow dmg to all enemies within 15 yards. Soulburn effect causes detonation of the seed to put Corruption on all targets hit by the detonation.
Soul Swap- Dot swapping spell that causes 565 dmg and removes any dots on the target. For 20 seconds Soul Swap may be cast on another target. Casting Soul Swap in this 20 second time frame will deal 565 dmg and apply any dots consumed by the first use of Soul Shard. The actual names are Soul Swap:Inhale and Soul Swap:Exhale. When you "Inhale" dots you then may "Exhale" them onto another target. Soulburn effect causes Soul Swap to turn into Soul Swap:Exhale which will immediately apply Corruption, UA, and Agony to the target you Exhale to.
Dark Soul:Misery - Increases your spell haste by 30% for 20 seconds. (Personal Bloodlust/Heroism)
Summon Doomguard - Summons a big ass Demon to attack the target for 1 min. The Doomguard casts Doom Bolt (3 second shadow bolt basically) that causes 1,017 Shadow dmg. Doom Bolt deals 20% additional dmg to targets at or below 20% health.
Summon Infernal - Placeable aoe that causes a meteor to crash down and stun targets in the area for 2 seconds and causes 1,130 fire dmg. An Infernal Demon rises from the impact point and deals strong aoe dmg to enemies near the impact point.
Talents and Glyphs
With the redesigned talent system I will only go over what I have chosen for my talents. Since almost every talent is situational I will leave it up to you to decide when a given talent might be useful for a given fight.
Tier 1 - I personally choose Harvest Life, which replaces Drain Life and is essentially an aoe Drain Life. It does good aoe dmg and should be taken for any aoe heavy encounter.
Tier 2 - Toss up between Mortal Coil for the 15% max health gain every 45 seconds and Shadowfury for the stun utility. Personally I like Shadowfury because I love not having to be destro or demo to carry a stun into a fight.
Tier 3 - Toss up between Burning Rush and Unbound Will - I like burning rush because most fights require movement, and as a Lock we do get a teleport but having a toggled run speed boost is nice to have as well. Depending on the fight Unbound Will should be taken to dispel yourself and save healers mana. I haven't tested it but you should be able to get out of mechanics like Cho Gals worship. I will try and do a BoT this weekend and confirm/deny this.
Tier 4- If you plan on playing Affliction get used to the idea of not having a pet. Grimoire of Sacrifice is the only mandatory talent in the tree for Affliction and I will actually give a detailed explanation because of how vital it is for Affliction.
Grimoire of Sacrifice - You sacrifice your demon to increase the power of MG, Haunt, FF, DS by 50%, and you regenerate 2% of your maximum health every 5 seconds. The tooltip does not show this but in addition to all those spells getting buffed the Ghost Dots from MG and DS will also get buffed. MG Ghost Dots will tick for 75% as opposed to 50% and DS Ghost Dots will tick for 125% as opposed to 100%. Basically you summon a demon, hit Sacrifice and you will gain a 60min buff. Then when you resummon a pet the buff will go away until you Sac again. Also you gain an ability from whatever pet you Sacrifice, since you don't need to worry about what pet you Sac because the buff is the same you need to make a situational choice about what ability you want. I personally think the silence from the Felhunter and the Cleanse from the imp are the most useful.
Major - there is a major bug with the Soul Swap glyph that is causing Soulburn Soul Swap to get put on cooldown and its not supposed to. For right now until they fix this Soul Swap is not used.
Soul Shard - mandatory, increases your max soul shards to 4, no explanation should be necessary.
Siphon Life- free healing for keeping Corruption rolling, and on aoe fights with Soulburned Seed spreading corruption, you heal a lot.
Soulstone- 100% battle rez, kinda meh but since Soul Swap glyph is bugged this is the only useful glyph.
Minor - minor glyphs are all about customization of your character and random cosmetic tweaks. I personally think soul well is mandatory only because it lets people know to take a healthstone with the huge green aura placed around the well, and since Healthstones have 3 charges now and can crit heal, you want everyone to always have a healthstone.
Single Target Rotation/Priority
Essentially as an Affliction Warlock your main goal is to keep 100% uptime on your 3 dots, keep as much uptime on the Haunt debuff as you feel comfortable with or the fight will allow, and keep as much uptime on MG and DS as you can. Managing Soul Shards for a given situation or fight will make or break you.
The start of a fight should look like this or a variation of this.
Elements, Soul Burn, Dark Soul:Misery, Haunt, Soul Swap, MG as your filler. I like to throw out one Fel Flame right after Soul Swapping to get an extra 6 seconds on UA and Corruption but that is personal preference. Pandemic will make that irrelevant once you hit 90 but for now that's what I do. It is in no way shape or form mandatory but I have noticed being able to get one more MG channel off per dot refresh.
After the start there really is no set rotation other than dot upkeep and filling with MG above 20%/filling with DS at or below 20%. It is solely up to you to use your soul shards on Haunt whenever you feel comfortable with your shard count, however you never want to over ride a Haunt debuff on the target unless you are using Haunt as a nuke. If there is a need for big burst/nuke on an ad like for example the corrupted parasite on heroic madness you can and should use a Shard to Soulburn/Soul Swap your 3 dots to the target and then spend the rest of your shards on Haunt and then go back to MG filling. You shouldn't worry about not having any soul shards while the add is up because you should be switching to DS once it reaches 20% and after it dies you will get all your shard backs. Affliction used to suck for quick burst/ad nukes but now we have some of the best burst in the game.
As I said earlier in the guide fight knowledge will allow you to be more liberal with your shard usage. Some fights have ads that will not refund shards like corrupted blood on spine. These fights are annoying lol and you should try to just put corruption on as many adds as possible and hope the RNG gods favor you.
I'm sure there are numbers that someone crunched to find out how many targets there must be to make multi-dotting or seed spamming/detonating better. For most fights in the game now with everyone being so powerful you won't really get a chance to set up a full Seed rotation anyway, so what I have been doing is if there are 4 or more targets I will put seed on 3 targets, and then choose a main target for seed detonation. After I have chosen my main target I will seed, then soulburn seed that same target (seed and soulburn seed no longer override each other) and haunt after if I have 2 shards left. This should detonate both seeds and then that should cause all your other seeds to detonate in a nice cluster of dmg. From here I will seed the main target one more time and Harvest Life until a detonation, then rinse repeat with seeding the main target, harvest life to detonate. If you see corruption falling off on the other adds go ahead and soul burn seed and then normal seed so you can blow up 2 seeds and spread corruption again. Our aoe is in big bursts, we dont sustain aoe like spriests because we don't get to channel one spell for aoe. With corruption spreading it does add some sustained aoe but seed hits pretty hard so it is worth it to stop channeling HL to re seed some stuff. Once mop hits and we see how long ads last then you can determine if you want to UA and Agony as well for even more dmg. For now with DS being nerfed so dam hard it doesn't seem worth the gcds and in any other raid everything else is a joke to aoe.
I know the giant wall of text might be hard to follow, but I will put a link to my twitch account below and I will be happy to show all this in action. I stream rarely because I don't have a following to warrant paying for a full xsplit account but I don't mind showing the stuff in the guide.
Since mop is right around the corner gearing should not be a huge deal for anyone right now but basically the stat priority right now is Hit to 15%,Int, Mastery, Haste, Crit. Mastery and Haste are pretty close but Mastery pulls slightly ahead because of the interaction with True and Ghost dots. Haste affects dots the same as it did pre-patch with certain haste threshold giving more dot ticks per duration but no one is sure what the actual thresholds are. Also haste causes MG's duration to shorten which means you do dmg with the spell quicker. I am not 100% sure if haste affects the Ghost dot tick rate while channeling but I assume it does. I'm not certain as to how it could be tested in the first place so I Won't even try.
So that's the starters addition for 5.0.4, this should get people up to speed with the changes and a general look at the rotation/priority system for single target and aoe. Affliction is my favorite spec of the 3 and unless Blizzard drastically nerfs it we should be very solid going into the first raid tier of mop. As with my beta guide feel free to leave a comment and let me know if there is anything I forgot to touch on or if there is something confusing that you want clarity on. Here's my twitch for anyone who wants me to do a sit down and give lessons on anything in the guide.