Hello WoW-Community, hello WoW-Developers,

my name is Buttergolem and i have played demolock exclusivley over the course of shadowlands, and also back in legion. I recently had a long time break from the game due to real life stuff and when i came back i have decided to share my point of view derived from the experience i have gathered over the course of time. This will be a long post with in-depth analysis of the problems, i will add a TL;DR at the end tho if you cant bother with reading through my thought process.

while i am by far not the best player, i have started playing the expansion with a focus on m+ due to a busy reallife schedule, and had moderate success, ranking in the top 25 demo locks worldwide on raider.io. in mythic and heroic raid encounters i have also achieved multiple high rankings. in order to maximize my performance i have tested demos performance in all form and shapes in all of the dungeons and various mythic raid encouners. I have completed over 200 keys the first season and i know all the tricks and shortcuts.

Reading into the 9.1 changelog it has been obvious to me that blizzard devs focus mainly on changing the most played warlock spec: affliction. With the covid situation that is totally understandable as they probably have to focus on their priority issues, and balancing takes a lot of work to do properly.
Therefore i want to give my in-depth understandings out, in a hope to take some weight off of blizzards shoulders when it comes to giving demolocks exactly what they need. all of my suggestions will be so simple that they are quickly implementable fixes, that could enter the game via a hotfix and without having to go through a long balancing and finetuning phase.

It is not rare to find people in the game that think demo is currently not a viable spec. That is not true at all, however it is indeed in a wierd spot. in order to make it work out better, it will not require a flat % dmg buff, like the one previously added. I will start by giving a statement on where demo stands right now.
In mythic plus demo can choose between two builds: vilefiend/grimoire felguard/demonic consumption used together with the 15% extra imps legendary (yes, better than wilfreds here)in order to get off huge tyrants every 2 mins. This build offers a great burst phase for both aoe and singletarget and high singletarget / boss dps. It should most commonly be played on tyrannical weeks or in singletarget dungeons like theater of pain.

The other option you have at hand is the „dog build“ - Dreadlash/FTS/soul conduit which takes away alot of burstphase throughput but adds a constant, high, sustained aoe dps. Topping this off with implosive potential lets demo reach competetive numbers on fortified week in dungeons like mists, sanguine or halls of atonement.

Starting with the basics : Blizzard added a 40 second timeframe for imps to last outside of combat. This is extremley important in order to play efficiently, and utilizing this mechanic can often mean the difference between an average and an outstanding performance.
Mentioning the various dungeons, there is something noteworthy that really should get fixed: in theater of pain and spires of ascension we are using alot of clickable portals to get through the dungeon. As a demo, whenever you do that, all your active summoned demons are lost. This destroys the snowballing nature of the spec. I dont think there is any reason for that mechanic. The first change i suggest is:
Whenever you transition via a portal or similar effects all of your demons are brought with you

When looking at the old version of demo in legion and demo‘s version now there is one elephant in the room: demo no longer has an aoe ressource generation tool. You basically can not profit from having 2,3 or 10 targets, besides being able to do better dps via aoe abilities hitting all of them with implosion or demonic strenght. this feels very lackluster. Implosive potential fills in that gap with the insane amount of constant haste it generates as soon as you have 3 or more targets stacked up to implode upon. that however can make the spec feel very frustrating sometimes because for one, you only use your legendary in order to have an effect that other specs have naturally (like aff multidotting with agony, destro with havoc) – generate ressources faster because of more targets. also, because it is too common to miss implosion and the full 5% per haste implosive buff.

To understand this better we must first understand how implosion (and implosive potential) functions exactly. Implosion is a button you press after spending between 5 to 20 seconds preparing a pile of imps for you to throw at mobs. This preparation often costs you your ressource of precious demon bolt procs. If you select a target and press implosion, all of your active imps will, over the course of a timeframe be thrown at the target and implode. this takes longer and longer the more imps you have active. ALL of your imps must hit atleast 3 targets, in order for implosive potential to grant you 5% haste per imp. Only getting 1% per imp instead cripples your ability to work yourself back up to high imp counts, resulting in a huge dps and fun loss. This also feels frustrating because, if you previously had 45% additional haste, and suddenly only end up with 9% you really feel like playing in slow motion.

Why is this problematic? If you implode on 1 target with 9 imps, and 2 targets are very close nearby, but 1 of the 3 DIES before the entire implosion is finished, you will recieve a haste buff of 9% instead of 45%. That will deny you the ability to quickly start building up imps again. The same is true if 1 of the 3 mobs becomes immune, walks/charges/blinks out of the aoe. The negative effect these missed implosions have when used with 20 or more imps is even more catastrophic basically letting your tyrant go to waste. Due to the short duration on imps and the hectic nature of mythic + it is very easy to have something go wrong. This feels unrewarding and does not improve how fun the spec is to play !

Further, whenever you cast hand of guldan you need to follow up with a filler spell like shadowbolt before you can use implosion. That is because, if you immediately press implosion after hand of guldan, your recently spawned imps are still on the way to be spawned, thus they will not be used by implosion. This feels clunky and should under no means be required to balance demo.

the first real changes i therefore suggest are: revamping implosion and implosive potential mechanics.

- Add implosion AoE. A simple change, granting 0 direct dps increase, but making it much more easy to properly hit your very much needed 3 target implosions in multitarget situations. I would atleast buff its aoe by 50%, because it is currently tiny.

- Have implosive potential give you 5% haste per imp whenever ONE of the imps used in implosion hits 3 or more targets. This will prevent you from missing out on your hastebuff just because your implosion killed 1 of the 3 targets you imploded upon.

- Decrease the time it takes for a large number of imps to be thrown at the target. ALL of your imps should fly to your target over the course of a fixed, short, timeframe like 0.3 seconds. This will make 20 imp implosions just as easy to hit as 6 imp implosions.

- Implosion will always utilize ALL of your imps, also the ones spawned by hand of guldan right before pressing implosion. This will make the spec feel less clunky and more fun to play.

Implementing all of these changes will not directly buff the singletarget performance of demo on raidbosses, but it will make the spec feel alot smoother and fun to play, especially in mythic plus.

Demo already has to jump through alot of hoops: no aoe ressource generation, no reliable instant casts besides demonbolt procs and implosion, no immunity, no flexible blink. No special utility besides a 20% heal reduction from felguard. All of that is just another arguement to give demo a few much required quality of life changes.

Coming back to the baseline of where demo stands right now, i dont really see a problem in the way the standard, „huge tyrant“ build works and the dps it outputs – vilefiend and grimoire felguard are flavorful additions and add to the concept of being a master summoner. It does however feel unfair that other specs like moonkin druid or elemental shaman, get summons that are so impactful they re known to be able to save the day. have you ever heard someone say: „oh, im glad that vilefiend is out !“ ?

- in order to have demo warlocks really feel like the master summoner, i would suggest adding some utility to his summons, like grimoire felguards emitting a fear aura (reducing enemys deal by 5-10%) vilefiend to emmit a 30% partywide movementspeed aura, or bilescourge bombers also taunting and taking hits for when the tank needs to recover (much like druid trees).

While a buff here would feel nice, these changes are much less important than the implosion revamp!

TL ;DR :

- Stop demons from despawning whenever you are taking a teleport in an instance like ToP or SoA.

Implosion and implosive potential are too clunky and failing to hit 3 targets with an implosion is just too devastating. so add a few quality of life changes like :
- buff implosion Area of Effect by atleast 50%
- have implosion be castable after hand of guldan, utilitzing all of your imps. (no more filler shadowbolt required after hand of guldan)
- all imps will get used by implosion in a SHORT timeframe : 0.3 sec approximately
- Buff implosive potential to always grant 5% haste per imp as long as ONE of the imps hits 3 targets (currently ALL imps must hit 3 targets to work properly, ruined by movement, immunities, death of enemys).

ALSO : have the „master summoners“ summons be more impactful utilitywise; suggestions :
- bilescourge bats taunt enemys, similar to druid trees
- vilefiend now emits a 30% movementspeed aura
- grimoire: felguard now causes dread and anguish in the enemys soul, causing non-boss enemys nearby to deal 10% less damage

Please note that all of the NUMBERS can be changed, this thread should just discuss the design concept
This concludes the small hotfixes i think should be applied to demo warlocks. In order to gain a relevant place in the meta, making the spec more fun overall and fulfilling its core idea, these changes can be applied easily without having to worry about changing the balance by too much.
THANK YOU!!! for reading all of this . I have put alot of effort into it, and my only goal lies in making demo more fun and competetive to play. Please upvote if you consider my ideas rational and reasonable, so they have a chance to be seen by everyone.
Note that english is not my native language, so please forgive me for all the mistakes i have made!

Please check out the threads i have opened at reddit and the battle net forums - would appreciate upvotes there too as it would increase the chances of being heard.