1. #1

    questions from a player that's been gone a long time

    I haven't really played wow since I quit raiding sometime midway through the Panda expansion, and I haven't played a warlock since Burning Crusade/Sunwell.

    I have done a lot of reading online to catch me up on how to play a warlock (I boosted one to 110), but had a couple of questions about affliction (the spec I'm currently leveling with).

    I don't really understand soul shards. What is their purpose - are they used for anything other than UA? All the guides I've read said UA is low in priority unless used before a Deathbolt or summoning the tentacles pet (name escapes me right now). I've also read that before a Deathbolt (or is it when I summon the special demon) I should try to cast several UAs (which isn't practical in leveling), but I don't understand why.

    I saw an explanation that the UAs don't stack but it extends the life of the dot - but if I cast them back to back it seems like it's a wash - the amount of time it takes me cast it, is the amount of time the UA gets extended for - or am I not understanding something? Example - UA 1 goes up for 8 seconds. I cast UA 2 it takes me 1.5 seconds, so now I have UA1 up for 6.5 seconds and UA2 up for 8 - UA 1 expires eventually leaving UA2 up for just 1.5 seconds. I don't understand why it's worth the time to cast extra ones like that unless I have time for fillers. Is the idea to put 5 up extending the dot for 7.5 seconds - is it really that valuable to use up all the casting time?

    So - I guess there are a few questions there -
    1. What is the point of soul shards (other than for UA) and why should I care if I'm capped?
    2. When and in what amount would I want to stack UA - I see sometimes people say 2 others say more

    Also - I've leveled 110-114 as affliction. Seems to me that things die super fast. I haven't even come close to dying yet. I pull as many mobs as I can gather up and it seems to me they go down fast. I've seen some places where people have said demo leveling is even faster - thoughts?

    Thanks for the help

  2. #2
    Mechagnome Molvonos's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Everywhere, Nowhere, Anywhere
    Soul Shards are a warlock's special resource. They're used for 'heavy' spells, like Unstable Affliction, Seed of Corruption (our AoE), Doomgaze(or whatever it's called) as well as summoning your demons (especially in combat).

    As of now, you can have up to 5 UAs on a target, or you can spread them out as you generate more soul shards (usually through shadowbolt spam, but talents/HoA Essences will change how you generate Souls Shards). UA is, generally regarded, as our hardest hitting dot. Doomgaze also doubles(or something of the sort) the time til a dot expires, so you get more damage out of all of your dots as soon as you spawn your Doomgaze.

    So, for example, you start with three shards. Generally, you'd put Agony and Corruption on (since they last longer), then you'd put up as many UAs as possible before popping Doomgaze.

    You'd want to line any of your cooldowns with the start of your casts or combat. As a troll (my warlock), I pop Berserkering after Agony and Corruption (since they're insta-cast), unload my UAs, pop Doomgaze and then start Shadowbolt spamming, refreshing Agony when it's at 3 seconds or less.

    There are some abilities (on Azerite gear) that give you additional haste when you cast UA on a target that already has UA on it, so there's some synergy to be found, if that's the playstyle you're interested in.

    Affliction's, in my opinion, the tankiest and most forgiving of specs, because of drain tanking with a void walker. I ended up tanking two 120 elites and a 122 elite earlier today when someone ran mobs through me just as a Seed of Corruption went off. Wasn't fun sitting on the brink of 20% HP, but between Death Coil and healthy amounts of fearing, I survived.
    Just because I advocate your ability to play and enjoy WoW Classic doesn't mean I think it'll be successful.

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  3. #3
    Thanks for the response, that was helpful.

  4. #4
    To add to the - mostyl correct - things Molvonos wrote:

    UA is used in 2 ways:
    1: keep one UA up to benefit from the 10% dmg bonus it gives
    2: stack 5 UAs right before you use your major cooldown - it's called Darkglare
    DG extends the duration of all your dots on all target by 8 seconds. Since UA hits like a truck, 5*8 additional seconds of it is a LOT of damage. Also, the DG does some decent damage by itself, depending on the number of dots active on any target. So the goal is to cast Darkglare with as many dots with as long time remaining as possible.

    So in a theoretical environment, you would aim to keep up 1 UA at all times but pool shards early enough to have 5 available when DG comes off cooldown. In a raid fight, shards are almost only generated through Agony ticks - SB spam doesn't generate any shards. This means that you should stop using UA 30-45 seconds before DG comes off cooldown (depending on haste, number of targets and luck).

    For leveling/questing however, just dot up your target, leave one or two UAs on it and get to the next. Affliction's strength in solo play is the superb survivability combined with mutidot capability. Just dot up everything in sight and watch it die.

    Since you mention Deathbolt: its damage is based on the remaining duration of all your dots on the target. Testing has shown that refreshing all dots before casting DB doesn't gain relevant DPS, but casting a new UA right before DB does.
    Since you already seem to kill everything before your dots can run out, Deathbolt is likeley a poor choice. Try Nightfall for some extra mobility.

    Finally about levelling as Demo: all three specs are perfectly fine for levelling. Demo is a rather immobile spec, though. To do most damage, you have to stand and cast. As Affliction, you can just run around dotting things and rarely cast anything outside Unstable Affliction. I'm not saying that makes Affliction the better solo spec. I just like it more.
    Last edited by ChrisKoe; 2019-07-05 at 07:19 AM.

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