A couple of weeks ago I made a rather aggressive post in the stickied Affliction guide thread started by Evrelia (link to post). This is a follow-up to again bring up some concerns I have and this time hopefully get a good discussion out of it. The post ended up longer than I had planned so I decided to make a separate thread for the discussion.
Updated at 2013/01/13
This first post has now been updated to reflect the general opinions and results of the discussion done in the thread. I've done this since the main intention of this thread was to provide the community with guidelines backed up by actual theorycrafting done by the users here and just not my own thoughts.
To make the post clean I haven't quoted everyone contributing to this so I'm just going to state that I don't take credit for all information provided in this post. There might also be misunderstandings from my side since the statements are written by me.
I'm also not using statistics to back up everything up because I don't feel comfortable providing you with it. If you want it added someone else will have to do the job, sorry. Just keep seeing this as general guidelines and read the whole thread if you want to find original sources for all the statmenets made below. This thread won't either get updated constantly so it's recommended that you keep reading through the discussion as this is mainly a summary of it.
Hit cap: The theoretical gain of not going for full hit is probably not worth it
It's been previously suggested as well as heavily defended by many users on this forum (including me) that it's not necessary to go for 15% hit. This suggestion should from now on not be used as a guideline for the general Warlock player.
The argument behind not being hit capped is that we will in theory not need it, mainly because of how Pandemic makes us most of the time not refresh dots before they expire so they would rarely drop completely if we missed them. SimCraft suggests that we'll gain quite a lot by ignoring hit, however this doesn't work as well in practice.
If we don't hit cap we will sometimes not be able refresh the dots with procs when we want to. Not only will we waste globals on misses but also will we get a lower uptime on the said buffed dots and have to start channeling Malefic Grasp with these procs up later. It just puts us behind a lot.
Another argument is that reacting to misses might take focus away from performing the mechanics of the encounter. We're only human after all.
The best argument for getting full hit cap might come from checking what the top Warlocks have done since the release of MoP. Even back in MSV most of the Warlocks in the hardcore progression guilds went for full hit cap. I think we can assume they are all at the skill level of being able to react to misses. Still they didn't think it was worth it and even if it might not be backed up theoretically we should probably assume they have good reasons for sticking to the hit cap.
Finally, it's been pointed out that as we get closer to full T14 BiS gear we are not losing more DPS from aquiring the hit cap. In other words it's likely that the value of hit gets higher with better gear and it's safe to assume that the gain of not reaching the cap will be very low in future tiers.
Secondary stats scaling: Mastery = Haste > Crit
Backed up by SimCraft we are able to tell that Crit isn't that great for us and should be avoided as much as possible. After that SimCraft also tells us that if we get Mastery or Haste too far from eachother we will start losing DPS. This is because these two stats scale synergistically. More mastery gives us more damage and more haste lets us deal this damage more often. We are not seeing this because haste plateaus only but also because Malefic Grasp and Drain Soul gives us extra ticks/damge from our dots and if these abilities channel faster we simply do more damage. Because of this we will always aim for keeping both values at a similar level. SimCraft seems to usually suggest mastery should be slightly higher, so we pick that stat when we can't keep them both completely even.
It should be noted that SimCraft will sometimes suggest that you go for more Mastery than Haste or the other way around. I personally won't support this for now since noone has been able to show the reasons for these suggestions. The gain you'll get from this according to SimCraft is usually pretty low as well. Another explanation by SirFlipper can be found here.
Pandemic is not a reason to ignore haste plateaus
I previously suggested that Pandemic lets us ignore haste plateaus. This should be seen as a misconception. SirFlipper pointed it out why in this post.
Basically, what Pandemic does is allowing us to refresh our dots as early as at 50% of the duration left of them. This does however not mean that we won't benefit from extra ticks. If we reapply the dots with some duration left, we will get all ticks from the new duration added if we let them tick. Let's say we always reapply our dots with the same duration in average, then we will always get use of the full duration of a dot application. What's left from the previous duration might not get used right away, but maybe later.
We don't know if we will always get the extra tick but in the long run we should. The argument to ignore haste plateaus because of Pandemic is because of this considered false.
Reforging differently for multiple target fights has not been backed up in theory
It's been suggested before that on fights where we spam Seed of Corruption a lot over using Malefic Grasp we should stack haste over mastery. This is because SoC itself doesn't benefit from mastery at all while it has a cast time so haste will still benefit us.
Another suggestion is that on fights where our Malefic Grasp uptime is low because of heavy multi target dotting we want to stack mastery. While this might be true it's also something that hasn't been proven in theory yet. Especially not when we would want to do this.
Until we have been able to shed some lights on this topic it's suggested that you stick to the same reforging as you would use on a single target fight. We simply don't know how big the benefit would be or even if we would benefit from it at all.
Gemming: Start gemming out of Intellect when your secondary stat weights pull ahead
At some gear point (around 480-490 item level) the value of 2x Haste/Mastery will start pull ahead of 1x Intellect. At this point you should even see 2x Hit being close to 1x Intellect.
How to exactly deal with this is hard to say. The suggestion I personally would make is to start dropping Intellect gems when 2.1x~2.2x Haste and Mastery is worth more than 1x Intellect (according to your stat weights taken from SimCraft).
To find out how to choose from Haste and Mastery my personal suggestion would be to add how much you have of each stat without any reforging or gems at all on your gear. Then try achieve even levels of both stats through your gems.
Regarding socket bonuses it will be recommended that you grab all of them. Some might suggest that we can skip some of the bonuses but it still hasn't been pointed out or even proven when exactly this should be done.
List of pure secondary stat gems:
Red socket – 160 Expertise/160 Mastery and 160 Expertise/ 160 Haste
Blue socket – 160 Hit/160 Mastery and 160 Hit/160 Haste
Yellow socket – 320 Haste and 320 Mastery
More topics will be added to the first post when they've been dealt with. Please read through the thread to see what's currently being discussed.