Content of the article: "My issues with demonology warlock in PvE for shadowlands"
Hello, Ive mained demonology warlock for the last 4 expansions. The main reason why I put together this doc is because the shadowlands launch date got announced, and I believe demonology has some glaring issues that greatly affect the entire spec in all kinds of content.
Now Ill go over the issues I have found so far, and will provide a bit of context and maybe some solutions I would like to see implemented to adress said issues.
6 second pet summons.
In PvE 2.5s summons are already very punishing for demonology specially, because felguard (or any other pet if you need their utility) represents a bigger part of your toolkit compared to destruction or affliction, and soul link (one of your main defensives) is not active while the pet is dead.
Sure, Fel domination partially helps with this issue, but it is not nearly enough in content like Torghast. Health funnel, even when spammed, can't keep a pet alive most of the time. This change unfairly punishes the pet summoner spec over the other two ones. My suggestion is to revert this change. Maybe only for demonology, as the master summoner spec, it should be better at summoning stuff.
The spell is the culmination of a pretty long ramp time. And after getting summoned it has it's own cast time on demonfire. I believe it should be instant. Especially when playing with the talent demonic consumption, casting tyrant at the correct moment (to draw life from as many demons and possible and increase their lifespan), makes more sense as an instant spell. Having a cast time makes this process more cumbersome than it needs to be.
Probably the most discussed issue for demonology, the lack of an interrupt in a PvE setting. A recent change made the felguard axe toss interrupt stun immune targets. This theoretically solves the problem, but it introduces several unnecesary issues with it:
- Axe toss is not responsive, it has both an initial windup animation and a travel time. Interrupts by their nature have to be responsive, that is why they all are instant and off the gcd.
- It does not help against most mythic + trash. Since it will stun them instead of interrupting them, most will instantly recast the dangerous spell you disrupted in the first place, unlike with proper interrupts.
My proposed solution would be (like most have suggested already) to implement something similar to the pvp talent call felhunter. Despite the name, it is literally a copy of mage's counterspell on shadow school. If expanded on this idea, they could add some animation like a felhunter coming out of a portal for a split second before vanishing because their invocation was so hasty, or something like that. Even then, we have been playing with it for 2 expansions already in pvp (where it is a mandatory talent) so they could implement it as it is and everyone would be happy.
It is no secret that controlling pets in WoW is… not good. Controlled pets like felguard or succubus have a slight delay to some of their actions, like moving to a possition or swapping targets, but it can be managed.
My issue is with guardian type pets. They are trying to address this a little by giving dreadstalkers better sticking power, but they are all still pretty miserable to manage, especially when target swapping. Casting your tyrant only for him to chase some random mob around corners for its duration because he felt like it, and missing pretty much all of your burst for no reason is a miserable experience.
My solution: give us some way to control the target of summoned units. Of the top of my head I can come up with a few ways to achieve this:
- Make guardians be affected by the command /petattack
- Give us a new console command to do it. Something like "/guardianattack".
- Give us a new ability that essentialy puts the previous command in a skill. Something like: "Demonic focus: Forces all your summoned units to attack your current target".
- Tie it to the main pet, either by their target or some of their abilities. For example if your pet casts their spammable ability (Legion strike for felguard, firebolt for imp…)
Ritual of doom seems like… a dangerous gimmick. If it works in raids and it is actually a dps increase, it can lead to several unecessary issues like warlocks wiping the group because the doomguard got free during a close attempt, or warlocks being balanced either without this damage taken into account, in wich they just deal more damage than other dps. Or taking it into account, in wich warlocks just deal less damage overall. Don't get me wrong it is a flavourful ability and from a rp standpoint it is very cool, but it has no place in competitive environments.
My main issue is with corruption. It does not fit. If it was a very weak instant version, I could find some use for it, like tagging mobs or pulling on the run. Something like guardian druid's use of moonfire. But currently it is weak damage wise, has no sinergy with any aspect of demonology, and has a 2s cast time. Nobody has casted corruption since level 14 in vanilla wow.
My main issue is with demonic strength:
- It can only be used with your felguard active. It is efectivelly a dead talent if you need the utility other pets bring, like felguard purge, imp dispel, or succubus permaslow.
- It can't be used if your felguard is using it's default felstorm. This is annoying but can be played around. It was worse at the beginning of bfa where you could not use axe toss while your pet was spinning.
My solution would be to switch the ability with another that essentially does the same damage with the same cd, but can be used on any pet. They could bring back the demonwrath visual from legion.
My issue comes with doom. I feel it just does not fit in the current game. It is an iconic ability but it is way too binary in most aspects of the game. When it deals damage and gives you a shard is amazing but when it doesn't it is just a wasted global and a dead talent. My solution would be to make it automatically deal it's damage whenever the target dips below a certain hp treshold. While giving it some restriction, like a cd. It gives the ability it's own niche as an execute, while making it more flavourful. To me an ability called doom should be something that looms over your head, and hurts you when you are at your weakest.
I have a problem with burning rush. It is a mobility spell in a defensive talent row. It doesn't fit. Also it is pretty much mandatory for most PvE scenarios (that I know of). I would make it baseline and introduce another active defensive ability. Something in the middle of the other two options:
For example, they could bring back Dark regeneration: Restores 20% of maximum health over 12 sec to you and your pet, and increases all healing received by 25% for the duration. 2Min cd.
Similar to my issue with demonic strengh, I like soul strike but I would love if it could be used with any pet. This doesn't seem too difficult to implement for most of them, since they are melee, but I could see an issue with the imp. Maybe make him fire a recolored bolt and generate a shard, skipping the charge portion of the spell.
Vilefiend is a summon that I love, since it is in my opinion a step on the right direction to try and solve pet ai issues. It has frontloaded damage with it's dot, separate from the pet itself. It has a charge move that casts as soon as it is summoned, so it connects instantly despite being a melee summon. I think it would be much more enjoyable if we could control it better and point it in the right direction manually, as I mentioned previously. Also I think, since its charge move has a windup animation already, having a cast time makes it more unresponsive and clunky than it needs to be.
This is mostly personal preference, but I would like to see the return of Imp Swarm. It could fit the place that inner demons currently occupies as a way to kickstart your rotation.
Grimoire: felguard, I would like to see it's cd back to 90s, same as tyrant. Nerf the damage amp if necessary. But currently it just feels awful using one without the other. It got changed just before bfa launch with no reasoning why after being the entire alpha and beta as a 90s cd.
Nether portal. In my opinion one of the coolest abilities in the game, but with several issues that ruin it.
- Long cast time. This is unique out of all the 3min cds in the game. It also has no immediate payoff when you finish the cast.
- The soul shard cost I believe it has no place either. This is also an exception out of all the big cds in the game, except for dk's army of the dead I believe.
- It summons demons on soulshard spending, ignoring how many you are actually spending per cast. So it forces you to cast 1shard hand of gul dan to get the most out of it. Leading to an unintuitive rotation.
The obvious solution would be to make it free, instant, and summon demons based of the number of shards you spend. This would make it similar to pretty much any other 3min cd in the game and make it flow better in a burst scenario.
I have an issue with the class abilities. They all look tailor made to work with affliction while they have low to no sinergy with demonology.
Scouring tithe: It is a long dot with high uptime, this plays into affliction's strengths directly while having no sinergy with demonology. The on death effect is also weaker on demonology than on the other two specs, since demonology's builder, spender cycles are faster, and that means that 5 shards have less value than for example on affliction.
Impending catastrophe: Again it has no sinergy with destro or demo while applying a 12s dot in aoe for affliction. Despite this, it is currently my favourite for demonology.
Soul rot: Demonology and destruction have no sinergy with this ability, while affliction can get massively more value with the talent Inevitable demise. Also it becomes much more powerful with the legendary effect claw of endereth, possibly removing any kind of choice of legendary.
Decimating bolt: Once again afflicion can get the most of this spell with the talent drain soul. It turns an already decent execute into something absurd. Also in no way are three full drain soul channels anywhere near close three incinerates or shadowbolts in terms of damage. All specs can kind of get some sinergy here. Destruction can cleave the buffed incinerates with fire and brimstone while demonology can buff shadowbolts with sacrificed souls. But the value affliction can get out of this spell is leagues above both destruction and demonology, and out of these two, demonology is clearly weaker unless sacrificed souls gets some massive buff.
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