Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hell Froze Over...

...because finally, after what seems like endless discussion and countless, fruitless patches, Blizzard has finally relented.

As of the next Beta build, people, Corruption is going to be instant-cast as a base ability.

Oh, and Ruin is going to be accessible for 20 talent points (!!!), switching places with Devastation and going from 1 to 5 talent points. This means that talent specs will be able to revel in Ruinous glee without giving up their 51pt talents.

This is huge. This is more than huge, this is amazing. Sure we give up 5% crit, but every talent tree will have access to Ruin!!

Oh, and Metamorphosis is getting seriously buffed. The warlock love is layered on thick with this patch. Continue reading 'Hell Froze Over...'

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What Fel Dealings This?

So unless you've been living under the proverbial rock, or simply have more sense than 99.99% of the WoW population, you have probably been salivating over the promises of the new expansion. Wrath of the Lich King is like a frightening, undead pinata - vaguely threatening, but loaded with delicious candy. Talent candy! Skill candy! Candy that helps you remember how many murlocs you've killed!

But no self-respecting gamer would be satisfied with the 'Official' list of changes, and this warlock is certainly no exception! While I'm very excited at the prospects of Haunting things and transforming into a Demon, I've got my own little list of 'lock-related changes that I'd love to see in-game.

In no particular order:

Firestone:Physical Effects as Spellstone:Magic Effects

So hear me out, this one takes a bit of logic. Spellstone works by periodically purging all magic effects from your person. It's a great way of dispelling multiple DoTs from rival warlocks, shadow priests, or even Ignite procs from Mages. Now that Fel Armor is a physical buff, warlocks can self-purge with impunity. The added buff to spell crit is always a plus, and helps this otherwise mediocre conjured item get some more traction. But what of Spellstone's neglected step-brother, Firestone?

Oh what a maligned spell that is! All other budding warlocks who were thoroughly confused by Firestone when they first trained it, raise your hand.

::raises hand::

There are two benefits to Firestone presently. First, it boosts your fire spell damage, which is a cute bonus that is somewhat useful as you level because its not till much later that you can find a wand with comparable +spell damage. The melee proc is supposed to make daggers, a staple warlock weapon, a useful means of finishing something off as you level.

But lets be honest, most of the time you'd be much better off with a wand that you could use to blast something mana-free as it's running in Fear-induced hysteria than going toe-to-toe with a mob while wearing CLOTH. Anyone else see the problem?

Firestone is mediocre, but here's a way to buff it that seems to make sense: give it the ability, on use, to purge all physical maladies on the warlock, just like how Spellstone purges magic effects.

Imagine the warlock using the captured flame to cauterize and cleanse his wounds, and you'll get a flavor for the logic behind the change.

This would give locks choice of conjured item for use in pvp, one for use versus magic users, and one that would give us a little more breathing room vs. Mortal Strike, Rogue stuns, Bleed effects, and the like. With a cooldown similar to Spellstone it wouldn't be overpowered, since most melee can re-apply their effects within the next few swings. It would however provide a tactical power that, if used correctly, could give us a better chance against our worst matchups without being a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Oh, and give it the ability to shoot, like a wand. That would be awesome.

EDIT: lol I didn't even notice, they are relics now. Whee!

Health Funnel Friendly Targets

This one is going to be a little more controversial, but what if you could channel Health Funnel onto any friendly unit, not just your demons? I know that lore-wise, warlocks can heal their pets because they are bound to them, so to preserve that, give us a spell that costs a soul shard to mark a friendly target for 30 minutes, making them a viable target for Health Funnel.

ZOMG Feren warlocks can't heal, they is DPS!

I know, I know, which is why, as a heal, this is about as terrible as you can get. It's a channeled spell, meaning it is hugely open to interruption. There's a big laser beam that tips people off to our location. But most importantly, while we're channeling WE CANNOT CAST ANYTHING ELSE. Sure our DoTs are going to be working hard, but no nuke spam is a huge hit to our DPS. What this does do is allow warlocks to do some last-ditch tactical healing, at the cost of their own HP bar and damage potential. Seems like a fair trade to me.

Maybe augment the Demonic Circle spell such that warlocks can Health Funnel any friendly target within the circle? That might be a viable alternative to a whole new spell with such narrow applications.

Danger: Summoning Zone

Demonic Circle has so much potential from a thematic perspective it isn't even funny. Magic like this isn't to be trifled with, and to reflect that, I think Demonic Circle should augment more than just summoning speed and be more than just a teleport anchor. What if, kind of like hunter traps, Demonic Circle had an offensive component as well?

Say, a 30% slow effect on enemy targets that enter the circle? Decreased hit rating due to the babble of demonic voices? Or, ideally, make any enemy target standing within demonic circle succeptible to Banish. There should be a risk in breaching a warlock's rituatlistic field, enough that it acts as a deterrent to stabby melee and pernicious pets.

Of course, if I really could have my way I'd have the circle act as a beacon to some Elder God and watch in glee as my enemies are torn assunder by unspeakable, madness-inducing horrors.
Continue reading 'What Fel Dealings This?'

Reviewing the Trailer

((First posted as a comment on a post over at Player vs Developer))

Having not yet seen the WAR trailer, I can't really do any comparisons, but I can speak to the Wrath trailer.

The biggest issue with the trailer is that you have to have played WC3 for the real gravitas of the video to make sense. If you played through Arthas' campaign, the voice-over by his father is poignant, prescient, and chilling.

Close your eyes (or bring up another window) and listen to the trailer; it's easy to imagine this older King just beaming to his promising son. The juxtaposition with the horror of Northrend makes for good cinema.

You are left wondering if that voice is in Arthas' head, like a memory even the Crown of Nerzhul can't keep away. As the Lich King Arthas exhudes silent menace. Whereas Illidan seemed brooding and smoldering with barely controlled rage, Arthas is cold, aloof, and utterly disinterested in the 'threat' posed by the players.

I loved how the trailer drew a direct parallel with Arthas as the former human king, now ruling over a vast kingdom of undead. Though the forsaken are supposed to have the market cornered when it comes to being Undead with Feelings, those Scourge we see shouting their fealty to Arthas sure mustered up some serious GAR.

All in all, I think the trailer was amazing for a three minute story. It captured the fearful potency of the Lich King, the imminent threat of his VAST army (love the shot with all the tiny blue Scourge flames ignited in the valley below), and the reminder of all the loss that led to Arthas'
present role. I've always thought that Arthas' story was the best part of Warcraft's recent history, and the trailer doesn't disappoint.

It differs from TBC's trailer in that there isn't a direct challenge to the player (no, 'You are NOT prepared!' moment). Instead, the viewer is left with this huge sinking feeling, this sense of being utterly beneath the attention of the Lich King. This seems to contradict Blizzard's voiced intent of making Arthas a bigger part of the individual player's stories.

5 stars if you played WC3. 3 stars if you didn't. The uninitiated will be unmoved by the real driver of this trailer - the tragedy of loss.
Continue reading 'Reviewing the Trailer'

Seasons Change

Well everyone, summer has come and gone, and this one in particular has been absolutely amazing. My son was born late in May, and he's been keeping my wife and I really REALLY busy, so much so that WoW got shelved for a while.

I managed to earn my epic flying mount before the little guy was born, so my last real achievement in TBC was complete (I never really bought into the whole Shattered Sun thing). I have however been keeping a very close eye on the news out of Wrath of the Lich King, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't totally stoked. I'm working on a theoretical Affliction build that has me very excited, which I should have up in the next week or so. I've got a few posts that I've jotted down that I'll be putting up before then, so bear with me.

The air is getting chillier; you can feel the seasons starting to shift. I love the fall (not just because it's marked by two of my favorite holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving!). Summer is no time to be a warlock. Sunlight isn't exactly our best friend. Nay, bring on the rolling fog, rapid dusks and whirling leaves! Continue reading 'Seasons Change'