Affliction Warlock Feedback


(Xoja) #1
Now that we have switched over from Alpha to Beta, with new forums, it is time for fresh feedback threads.

I am first going to go over the changes to Affliction so far, followed by talents and will offer a little feedback mixed in on things I feel should be worked on or changed. This post is not going to be about numbers or tuning, but more about how Affliction feels mechanically. I may discuss numbers briefly but it is not meant to imply any tuning changes.

What has changed?

Some active abilities and talents have been removed/replaced in the Affliction kit.

Removed:

Drain Soul
Life Tap (Empowered Life Tap with it)
Howl of Terror
Summon Infernal
Summon Doomguard (Grimoire of Supremacy along with these)
Grimoire of Service (Imp, Voidwalker, Felhunter, Succubus utility)
Reap Souls (Some specs kept their artifact abilities, this would have been useless)

Added:

Deathbolt (talent)
Shadow Bolt
Drain Life
Shadowfury

Overall, we are losing more active abilities than we are gaining, as is the case for many specs in the game. With these changes comes a big loss of utility for Affliction - no more Infernal stun, Cripple, optional Howl of Terror, or bonus Spell Lock, Seduce, Imp cleanse, or clutch Voidwalker taunt from Grimoire of Service. We got Shadowfury, which has a cast time and arguably does not feel like a good enough replacement for all of that.

Also, along with most classes, all of the artifact passives for Affliction are gone. This includes things like Soul Flame, Sweet Souls, Wrath of Consumption, etc. We have gained Azerite Armor passives, but many of those have yet to be unveiled.

Shadow Bolt/Drain Life vs. Drain Soul

This is one of the big debates about Affliction so far. Drain Soul was removed and replaced by both Shadow Bolt and Drain Life. Shadow Bolt functions as the primary damage filler, while Drain Life serves as a high healing, but low damage channel.

Drain Soul was one of the strongest fillers in the game in Legion. With all the artifact passives and damage modifiers it gave along with stackable Unstable Affliction, it did an insane amount of damage and healing. It does not particularly come as a surprise to me that Blizzard wanted to tone down the strength of Affliction, but I will say this:

Shadow Bolt feels very empty. I liked having it in the past and I was sad to see it go when it did, but without having Nightfall selected (I will discuss this more in the talents section) it is very uninspired and does not feel good when combined with having to stack UA, in my humble opinion.

Talents discussion below.

(Xoja) #2
Talents Part 1

There have been several changes to existing Affliction changes, in addition to the removal or replacement of some. Below is a list of removed/replaced talents followed by a discussion of the current talents.

Removed/Replaced:

Malefic Grasp (without Drain Soul, it would have had to have been overhauled or removed)
Contagion (baked in)
Howl of Terror
Empowered Life Tap
Grimoire of Supremacy
Grimoire of Service

BFA Talents

Level 15:

Shadow's Embrace - Shadow Bolt increases damage done to the target by 3%, stacks up to 3 times for 10 seconds. This is an old talent that was brought back with the return of Shadow Bolt. Arguably a pretty boring mechanic, but it gives pure damage with very good uptime so it will likely be an important talent in BFA.

Haunt - mostly the same, except the damage and timer have been flip flopped. Instead of a 15% damage bonus for 10 sec like on live, Haunt now gives a 10% bonus for 15 seconds. The reset on death mechanic remains. While this post is not about numbers or tuning, I am not sure why this change was necessary and am also unsure if Haunt is better or worse than it was in Legion.

Deathbolt - Launches a bolt that deals 40% of remaning damage of DoTs on the target. This is a very cool addition to Affliction, but one thing about it that I will say after playing with it is that it is both a satisfying and a frustrating ability. Satisfying because it does a large chunk of damage if used right, but frustrating because it takes a good amount of setup to use properly.

Level 30:

Writhe in Agony - Exactly the same as Legion, but now competes with Absolute Corruption. These two talents worked great together for multi-dotting fights and pressure in PVP, and it is clear they wanted to take that strength away from Affliction.

Absolute Corruption - Functions the same as in Legion, but competes with WiA.

Death's Embrace - This talent was originally added in Legion as an honor talent, but made its way to the regular talents. It ended up being a very nice fit for Affliction, and will likely still be a good choice in some situations, but of course competes with AC and WiA.

Level 45:

Demon Skin - Functionally the same, but the numbers have been tuned. Is now 0.5% of health every 1 sec, with a maximum of 15%.

Burning Rush - Functions the same as in Legion, no changes. 4% health every second for 50% movement speed and not being able to be slowed below 100% speed.

Dark Pact - This has been changed to 20% and now removes your own health regardless of whether you have a demon active (tested to be sure) and shields for 250% for the same 20 sec. Not really sure about this change, it seems a little strange.

Level 60:

Sow the Seeds - Now plants a seed into one additional target instead of two. There is a clear intent to lower the AoE potential of Affliction here. Without Soul Flame, and this change, AoE does not feel nearly as satisfying as it did in Legion, I'll leave it at that.

Phantom Singularity - Functions mostly the same, but now heals for 25% instead of 20%. Still a 40 second cooldown.

Soul Harvest - Remains a 20% damage bonus, but now lasts a minimum of 4 seconds (down from 12), with a 6 second (up from 4) bonus per target afflicted with Agony. The maximum is 36 seconds, same as in Legion. Mostly a nerf to single target damage potential, but will affect fights with only a few targets to throw Agony on too.

(Xoja) #3
Talents Part 2

Level 75:

Darkfury - 15 second reduction of the cooldown of Shadowfury, making it 45 seconds instead of one minute. This is likely going to be the Mythic+ choice. With the loss in utility of Affliction, I feel this talent could have been nicer and made Shadowfury instant cast, but it is clear that Blizzard is wanting to tone down crowd control in this expansion, so we'll have to see how it plays out I guess.

Mortal Coil - Unchanged. 3 second duration, 20% heal, 45 second cooldown, 20 yard range.

Demonic Circle - Once again has two buttons instead of one. YAY, this is a nice QoL change, but this ability never should have been combined into one button in the first place... However, placing a Demonic Circle now has a 10 second cooldown.

Level 90:

Nightfall - With the return of Shadow Bolt comes one of the most iconic Affliction passives ever - Nightfall. Corruption ticks have a small chance to make your next Shadow Bolt instant cast and deal 25% more damage. Let me be blunt here, this talent should be a baseline spellbook passive. Similar effects are baseline for other specs, and this should be no different. No Warlock is going to want to live without Nightfall, and making it baseline would make sense and also free up a talent slot for something else.

Coming Soon - Placeholder for a coming talent. Not sure if I'm excited because whatever it is will compete with Nightfall.

Grimoire of Sacrifice - Sacrifices your active demon for a buff that grants you a chance to deal damage, and gives you access to your pet's active ability. This is a very nice change over the Legion rendition of this talent, which did not give you the pet's ability. Also, this talent now gives you Seduce if you sacrifice a Succubus and Shadow Bulwark if you sacrifice a Voidwalker. That is a fantastic change! However, this talent will conflict with Nightfall, which is one of the more tragic aspects of BFA Affliction if you ask me.

Level 100:

Soul Conduit - Functionally the same as in Legion, however is a 15% chance instead of a 20% chance to refund a Soul Shard. Not much to say here. Basically a chance to give you a free UA cast, just like in Legion.

Creeping Death - Agony, Corruption and UA now deal their full damage 15% faster. This is a nice mechanic, honestly, because it reduces the ramp up time of Affliction's damage.

Siphon Life - Still lasts 15 seconds, but the healing is reduced from 60% to 30%.

Overall, I feel like Affliction is the worst of the 3 Warlock specs in Alpha/Beta. Mechanically, it is boring. If we are going to have Shadow Bolt, Nightfall should be a baseline passive and should be replaced as a talent, otherwise it is just going to be the obvious choice in most situations. I don't understand why we still have UA stacking as our primary Soul Shard spender, and I also don't understand why Haunt is continually tossed in the gutter and why Curses haven't made a return in regular talents. There's a lot of room for utility and damage modifiers with Curses. Quite frankly, there's also a lot of room for more talents in general. In fact, there's already room for another row in the talents menu without having to make it bigger.

Anyway, that concludes my feedback on Affliction, for now.

(Sefirosuwar) #4
@xogas thanks for the feedback since we lost so much during the swap over to beta forums -

This round I got access so I will be joining you in testing afflc once this download works out.
But from all the videos and feedback I have seen it does seem like what you are saying seems to ring true across the board so far.

Hopefully we can see some action happen here
at least get nightfall as a baseline talent
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More coming soon.

(RockfĂ´rd) #5
The Drain Soul mechanic which incorporated self healing into base rotation really needed to go.

It feels off having both builder/spender with so little impact to resources. As Shadow Bolt has replaced this as a filler, it would be suitable for this to act on Soul Shard generation. Would also consider Unstable Affliction acting in a similar way as a combo point finisher (Rip/Rupture), where a shard pool can be spent in one scaled cast.

(Sceress) #6
I think the MoP version of MG/DS combo was a better solution as it gave us input on our resource generation as well as separating our self healing filler from our damage filler. The current beta iteration puts us back in a place where none of our abilities feel impactful. Weak multidotting, weak UA, and slow ramp up SB spam.

(Nixxea) #7
04/24/2018 07:09 PMPosted by Rockford
The Drain Soul mechanic which incorporated self healing into base rotation really needed to go.


I agree with that, but that's purely a product of Blizzard over consolidating abilities. Dot specs should absolutely have a channeled filler. It just makes the entire thing play much smoother. If Blizzard wants to bring Shadowbolt back, they should do so through adding baseline Nightfall procs, not trying to jam a casted filler into a dot spec, which always ends up feeling somewhat clunky.

(Xoja) #8
04/24/2018 07:09 PMPosted by Rockford
It feels off having both builder/spender with so little impact to resources. As Shadow Bolt has replaced this as a filler, it would be suitable for this to act on Soul Shard generation. Would also consider Unstable Affliction acting in a similar way as a combo point finisher (Rip/Rupture), where a shard pool can be spent in one scaled cast.


I considered that UA would feel much better if all shards were spent in a single cast. It would have a very positive impact on the spec and it would alleviate some of the clunkiness.

There were times I liked deciding how many UAs and on how many targets I cast it but without Contagion that doesn’t feel as important. (Correction, Contagion is still a thing but baked in)

Either way, I believe something has got to give. If Affliction goes live as is, it will be a very boring spec with tedious gameplay.

I still strongly believe Nightfall should be baked into our spellbook as it is far too compelling of a talent, at the very least.

(Erigoras) #9
Give me back my drain soul and doomguard blizzard. I need those spells for my warlock.

(Erigoras) #10
They made Backdraft baseline for destro, they need to make nightfall baseline for affy.

(Fairyland) #11
All my feedback post on alpha forum is gone, so i having a hard time recalling all the details i posted and such :(

But apparently one of my earliest, and biggest issue which i provided feedback still remains untouched in beta.

Grimoire of Sacrifice and Seduction combination is still putting us in a 30 sec channeling window in which we are doing absolutely zero dps, and we can't do anything or even move, or else the CC breaks. I don't see any situation where this can even be remotely useful. That channeling component needs to be removed, even on the pet itself.

Just limit Seduction to affect only 1 target at a time if they worry about 'multiple cc'. Seduction is already on the same DR as Fear a long time ago, so no such thing as chain-fear-seduction.

And i still think that Whiplash should be a stun effect or remain a knockback, while give the slow/snare to Felhunter and make Spell Lock baseline.

That's my opinion, and i'm sticking to it.

(RockfĂ´rd) #12
04/25/2018 12:03 AMPosted by Fairyland
Grimoire of Sacrifice and Seduction combination is still putting us in a 30 sec channeling window in which we are doing absolutely zero dps, and we can't do anything or even move, or else the CC breaks
That sounds like an incredibly frustrating scenario. Reported as a bug?

(Xon) #13
Affliction was "boring" throughout Legion, so I'm not sure what warrants that particular complaint. If anything, I think Shadow Bolt and Nightfall procs make Affliction more interesting and engaging to play.

Shadow Bolt is certainly "clunkier" than Drain Soul, but overall that's just an aesthetic difference that doesn't have that much bearing on how the class is played (and it's a purely subjective argument that a DoT-based class needs a channeled filler—traditionally Drain Soul was only used as an "execute" and Warlocks haven't had a channeled filler for most of their history; that's always been a Shadow Priest thing with Mind Flay). A non-channeled filler is more difficult to play, but that's probably a good thing as it raises the skill cap of the class somewhat, since it requires players to be more careful with how they time their casts of SB and their DoT refreshes. I also think the interplay between Shadow Bolt, Nightfall, and Shadow's Embrace has been fun so far.

I do think the switch from Drain Soul to Shadow Bolt has changed the "feel" of play from Legion's Affliction Warlock significantly, but I'm not yet sure that's a bad thing.

(Fairyland) #14
04/25/2018 12:17 AMPosted by Rockford
That sounds like an incredibly frustrating scenario. Reported as a bug?
Did, and put a thread on alpha as well when i got the invite much later.

I was hoping that someone else would have test it before i did, but it 'seems' i was the only one went out and did the test - way too many post and threads, even vids on Deathbolt/Nightfall, but nothing on other talents.

@Xon the fact Shadow Bolt is not generating Soul Shard already makes it functionally inferior to Drain Soul.

I'm not going to comment on Nightfall because i did it way too many times, and apparently people still making their own assumptions how things will work, instead how things actually work.

2 simple facts which i tested, and feel free to test yourself once, or if you get beta invite:
1, Nightfall proc change is fixed. You don't get more procs with more targets.
2, Absolute Corruption, Creeping Death does not increase the proc chance on Nightfall.

Shadow Embrace is just another assortment of old problems that we'll run into.

I can already foresee the massive flood of complaints on how 'SE + Nightfall is mandatory' 'ramp timer is too long' 'can't target swap' 'starving on shards' - the same old complaints that i heard way too much.

(Qean) #15
/begin random thoughts

This is going to be a two part post because it just got way too long and I don't want to remove anything, sorry.

Where's drain soul? How could this possibly be removed? Being able to drain our enemy and gain a shard is a staple of the affliction toolkit. Rename drain life to drain soul and let us get some shards back please.

Talents - Half of these should be and used to be baseline.
Haunt - Demon Skin - Burning Rush - Dark Pact - Soul Harvest - Mortal Coil - Demonic Circle - Nightfall - Siphon Life...... all of these used to be baseline at some point. The BFA (Battle For Abilities) is really pushing it too far.

Howl of Terror - Gone..... what? How can this be? It breaks with a sneeze of damage but is so very useful when 4 melee decide to turn on you. Please don't take this away.

Shadowfury - with a cast time? Are you for serious? Instant cast please, the global cool down is already more than enough, no need for a cast time.

Soul Harvest - Our one and only dps cool down. This is it, it is the only dps cool down we have. On a single target fight it now lasts 10 seconds compared to the massive 16 seconds on live. Come on man, give it 20 seconds baseline single target and up to the 36 seconds for each target with agony.

Grimoire of Sacrifice - Thank you for returning the pet use ability to us. There are so many times when I just don't want to deal with a pet for what ever reason but still need an interrupt. Thank you thank you.

Demonic circle back to two buttons - Thank you. Because we all kept using two buttons anyway on live, unless you were a new warlock and had no clue how to make a cancel aura macro. Still can't figure out how that ever went live and I felt so bad for all the new locks that didn't understand how they could move there port from one place to another.

Doomguard and Infernal - Gone. What? Seriously? It was bad enough that through all of legion the only real option was to run with Supremecy (unless you were in instanced pvp and hello Service) so we had to give up a dps cool down for anything pve related. Please give us back our infernal cool down. And take away the shard cost while you're at it. The three minute cool down is more than enough for a cost besides the fact of actually using a shard to call the infernal is a dps loss since you would get more out a UA.

Seriously, damage cooldowns, give us something baseline.

(Qean) #16
Shadow Bolt - I cringe every time I have to cast this. I like drain soul as a filler and really don't want to go back to casting this. At least with drains I could get ticks off during heavy movement fights. So now it will be - begin casting, make the choice, finish cast or move for the mechanic. Learning fights is going to get even more involved in planning out all your casts so you can get the most uptime possible. Drain Soul just feels and plays out better for getting damage out compared to something like shadow bolt.

Malefic Grasp - Gone. Do you have any idea what this means and how much trouble it is going to cause in the long run? Have you forgotten why MG was put in place to begin with?
Without something like MG if our dots do enough damage to keep us middle of the pack on a single target fight we explode on anything multi target. MG helps push our dots to actually do damage on a single target and keeps the dot damage by itself low enough that it shouldn't be completely crazy on multi target. This is and has always been a struggle we have dealt with in balancing because if dots do good single target by themselves we are crazy stupid OP on multi target. Trying to find the balance point has always been difficult, even more so without something like MG.

Soulstone - Long cast time. Fine, keep the cast time while out of combat. In combat make it instant like other battle rezzes so it can actually be used. Right now I rarely bother since there is almost always a druid or DK in the group. This silly cast time is most annoying when you actually do cast it, the cast is almost finished, but then sure enough, that silly druid didn't announce they were rezzing so your cast time was just completely wasted and it didn't go off.

Button bloat - From all the things you've taken away and/or added back as talents yet Unending Breath and Eye of Kilrogg remain. Well, you always have had a twisted sense of humor.

Over all with these changes I just feel lacking and incomplete as a warlock. For the record I have been affliction for 11 years now, even when it was bad (except for the that brief moment in time at the end of WOD when the legion changes came out in the prepatch and Demo was a 3 button god..... just press 1, 2, 3, repeat for hours do crazy stupid DPS). I love affliction, I always have. I play affliction because it is what I enjoy. I would rather sit than play another spec (and I have benched myself on a progression fight or two over the years just because the DPS wasn't there (I'm looking at you mythic Ursoc and the craptastic fest we enjoyed the first 5 months of Legion)).

And I will continue to play affliction even if nothing changes from the beta. But man, it just doesn't feel right. It's like being a shell of your former self. In general I am just tired of you changing and rearranging my class at least once every expansion. It's really tiring. There were some great things that happened in MOP, often referred to the high times of affliction. But even then it was annoying to go through all the changes going into it, and having so much removed/changed yet again coming out of it. I realize games change, classes develop....... but man, every expansion the drastic changes and swings one way or the other gets very draining.

/end random thoughts

(Xon) #17
04/25/2018 12:38 AMPosted by Fairyland
@Xon the fact Shadow Bolt is not generating Soul Shard already makes it functionally inferior to Drain Soul.


Sure—you hadn't brought this up before—but Soul Shard generation can and should be addressed on an overall-spec basis, not by individual abilities. It doesn't matter which abilities generate Soul Shards; it only matters how fast we get them overall, and how the circumstances affect that rate. Soul Shard generation is irrelevant as to the direct issue of whether or not we have a channeled filler.

(Xon) #18
04/25/2018 01:59 AMPosted by Qean
Without something like MG if our dots do enough damage to keep us middle of the pack on a single target fight we explode on anything multi target.


The change to Unstable Affliction—10% increased damage done per application—combined with Shadow's Embrace takes care of this issue.

(Xoja) #19
Grimoire of Sacrifice and Seduction combination is still putting us in a 30 sec channeling window in which we are doing absolutely zero dps, and we can't do anything or even move, or else the CC breaks. I don't see any situation where this can even be remotely useful. That channeling component needs to be removed, even on the pet itself


I actually prefer having Seduce instead of the knockback, at least for PVP purposes. The channel thing leaves a bit to be desired, yes, but having Seduce without relying on the squishy Succubus that dies after being looked at opens up some possibilities in Arena.

The idea that I can fear and seduce two different targets simultaneously if I want to is great, even if one of them has to be channeled.

If they decide to improve it, even better. It’s one of the rare niche utility things that actually exist in BfA and I’m a sucker for figuring out ways to use that kind of stuff.

(Ojoverde) #20
i love affliction but after playing affliction and demonology in the alpha and beta i can say "RIP Affliction" if blizzard dont change the spec in the current beta.