|December 02, 2010, 11:29 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Guide to Demonology
<em>Thanks to Fizboz and the Warlock's Den for letting me post this guide here. This is a copy of my own 'master' version at How to Demo’lock Soul Fired which is still very much a work in progress, and any changes are likely to appear there first. All the best in Cataclysm, folks, now get out there and punch Deathwing in the face!</em>
<strong>Starting a 'lock?</strong>
If you're thinking of starting a warlock, congratulations! We've had our ups and downs more than many but have never not been fun to play. From our beginnings as a utility class in vanilla, there to give out Soulstones, Healthstones and free HKs to others, through The Burning Crusade where SL/SL made us unkillable gods of PvP and Demo-Sacrifice/Ruin gave us a way to top meters by spamming one button (arcane mages are years behind the curve), to Wrath of the Lich King where we've become a model of good design with three well differentiated and excellently balanced specs. Cata is looking good, giving us incremental improvements to polish three very fun playstyles and the potential to do excellently in all aspects of the game.
For endgame PvE Demo gives the potential for very competitive dps and the challenge to make doing so both demanding and rewarding. It uses a large number of spells, demands high awareness of multiple procs that result in changes to rotation, and rewards strategic thinking about the timing of long cooldowns and range changes when maximising the close-quarters potential of your demon form. Add in issues of DoT timers and pet management and it should be obvious that you'll have plenty to think about as a Demo lock.
More obvious benefits include the ability to do a great Illidan impression, an awesomely good pet, several of the game's best buffs, the ability to pump out ridiculously high levels of AoE damage, and the fun of an execute phase.
<strong>Levelling as Demo.</strong>
From starting with your Imp and getting used to warlock staples like Shadow Bolt and Corruption, getting the Felguard at level 10 will change your world entirely. Think of it as having your own personal warrior (without the usual warrior limitation of having to choose between arms and prot). For solo/quest play you will be sending in your Felguard to gain aggro while you hang back and choose how you'll kill this particular unfortunate.
Tip for levelling - You get Soul Harvest at level 12. It's an awesome self heal, use it ALL the time.
Here's a suggested talent path for levelling a Demo lock (and please bear in mind I've yet to do this myself - I did level as Demo as it happens, but in the old-skool clunky way. Ah, the days of jumper cabling my sacrificed succubus back to life!)
Tier 1 (levels 10-17).
2/2 Fel Synergy. While you'll be able to act as healer to your Felguard's tank from level 12 via Health Funnel, you'll still need to do damage to mobs to claim a kill (you can't let fluffy do ALL the work). This talent lets you be healer to your pocket tank by doing dps! Cool eh? Early in the Demo tree a lot of your ability to kill things will depend on your pet, so keeping it alive is incredibly important, and this is an awesome talent for doing just that.
3/3 Dark Arts. "Kill them faster, minion!"
Tier 2 (levels 19-27). A boring, boring tier. Take comfort in the fact that while you won't notice much difference right now, it will all count later.
2/2 Mana Feed. A downtime reduction, this will make you need to life tap less and stop you having to wait for fluffy to get his mana back.
3/3 Demonic Embrace. Time to get that stam boost, if only because your stats affect fluffy's and this will beef him up a bit.
Glyphs! Around now you get your first round of glyphs. Here's my recommendations:
Prime: Glyph of Felguard. More dps, more aggro on pet.
Major: Glyph of Fear. Makes your main CC ability safer to use.
Minor: Unending Breath. Meh, why not. You'll probably need to swim at some point.
Tier 3 (levels 29-37).
1/1 Demonic Empowerment. You'll spec out of this at endgame, but while levelling there's plenty of mobs that can snare fluffy. Not no more! Let fluffy be free!
3/3 Impending Doom. This will proc more of those cute little Ebon Imps. Time to say "Woot" in a tired, disaffected 'whatever' tone of voice. Another one banked for later - once you have Meta, this talent will be awesome.
1/2 Improved Health Funnel. This will help you take on some pretty fierce critters. Part of the fun of Demo lies in it's excellence at extreme soloing. Laugh in the face of elite mobs higher level than you! Then probably die. But this will help a lot.
Tier 4 (levels 39-47). Thank you for your patience. After three tiers of utter boredom and feeling significantly less capable than your supposed minion, you get a good dps ability. You also get tantalized by the fantastic Molten Core talent which remains utterly useless until you get Incinerate at level 64 (talent trees are currently NOT designed for levelling).
1/1 Hand of Gul'dan. Oh yeah.
2/2 Aura of Foreboding. Be mean with snares and stuns.
2/2 Improved Health Funnel. Take on even badder things.
1/2 Demonic Aegis. A small boost to armor, but it will get more useful once you get Fel Armor with it's self heal later.
Glyphs! Round two. More recommendations:
Prime: Glyph of Immolate
Major: Fairly open choice with nothing special standing out. If you do a lot of instance runs, Shadow Bolt is probably the way to go. Shadowflame if you BG/PvP a lot.
Minor: Ritual of Souls. Probably.
Tier 5 (levels 49-57).
1/1 Inferno. Run around with Hellfire up. This is fun.
2/2 Decimation. This won't make a whole lot of difference to damage until much later when you get Emberstorm, but at least you get to do something different every so often.
2/3 Molten Core. Go ahead and grind your teeth in frustration, proccing a boost to a spell you can't learn yet! Then calm down by looking at it as investing for a brighter future.
Tier 6 (levels 59-67).
1/1 Demonic Pact. A great buff.
2/2 Cremation. More damage from Hellfire, more utility for HoG.
3/3 Molten Core. You finally learned Incinerate last level, so now put it to good use.
2/2 Demonic Aegis. Now you've got Fel Armor, this gives a nifty boost to the self-healing.
Tier 7 (level 69).
1/1 Metamorphosis. Congratulations, you're a proper Demo 'lock now. This is the biggest game-changer since getting the Felguard. Use it as often as possible.
Destro tier 1 (levels 71-79).
3/3 Bane. A significant dps boost for your Shadow Bolt.
Glyphs! Last round. Get Glyph of Metamorphosis as your Prime. Whatever you like for the others.
2/3 Shadow and Flame. More boost for nukes. The Improved Immolate talent is a very viable alternative should you prefer it.
Destro tier 2 (levels 81-85). Until now we've been getting a point every other level, now it's a point every level.
2/2 Emberstorm. This will greatly boost your execute damage from Decimation
2/2 Improved Soul Fire.
Then respec to your endgame spec.
Demo is one of those specs (like BM hunters, feral druids and prot pallies) that can take on some very challenging circumstances with no other help and win. This can be dealing with packs of higher level enemies, taking on elites that would usually require a group, or heading into older dungeon or raid instances by yourself.
A lot of talents are very helpful, most of which should be found in all Demo specs (Fel Synergy, Demonic Embrace, Mana Feed, Demonic Aegis) but the key talent for extreme soloing is Improved Health Funnel. You'll be casting HF a lot, so the efficiency gain is welcome, but the real value is in the 30% damage reduction to your Demon. This is like getting a major tanking cooldown and heal combined and on demand with no cooldown. The other talent that doesn't appear in standard PvE specs but is very helpful here is Demonic Empowerment.
The basic idea is to have your pet tank the target(s) while you focus on keeping it healed and staying under it's threat. Typically most of the damage you do to targets will be via DoTs Drain Life or AoE auras. The spell you'll be casting most is Health Funnel (if it isn't, then whatever you're doing doesn't count as extreme).
Your pet of choice against a single target will usually be the Voidwalker as it can take a beating better than the Felguard. Use the Glyph of Voidwalker to give it 20% extra stamina and remember that Demonic Empowerment gives it a tanking cooldown (20% extra health plus threat boost) on a 1 minute CD.
The only things that can limit what you're able to take on are the following:
Incoming Damage. This is the main one - as long as you can outheal the damage being done to your pet it you should be able to get the kill (though it might take a while). Health Funnel depletes your own health, so you'll need some way of regaining it (Healthstone, Potion, Drain Life, even speccing your off-tree to affli to get Siphon Life, Demonic Aegis, bandage, etc) and enough time to do so (remember the Demonic Empowerment CD every minute if things are tight).
Unhittable target. If you're trying to take down targets of much higher level you can run up against the wall of unhitability. Unfortunately even auras like Immo Aura can miss now so I'm struggling to see a way around this one.
Mechanics. Some encounters may involve awkward mechanics that break the standard pattern. This is where more creative solutions are needed. Demonic Circle is a powerful tool if mobility or positioning is an issue, particularly if there are terrain features that can help. CC options can help tie up adds, and stuns can often be used to interrupt.
Here's a taster:
<strong>The endgame as Demo.</strong>
Most of the following is based on what I know from post 4.0.1 at 80, but to try and make it relevant to 85 I've included the relevant new spells, a level 85 talent build and any changes from level 80 priorities are based on napkin maths to work out DPET values, etc. It might be the case that when I hit 85 I'll find stuff to change, but I'm expecting this to be pretty accurate.
The Demo playstyle - what you can expect.</strong>
Demo is in a peculiar situation of being a ranged caster spec with enhanced melee-range caster abilities. When you're your usual, dress-wearing self, you want to be safely far away from potential danger, but the moment you change into demon form, you become much more potent close up to the target. Demonology shares some of affliction's focus on dots and debuffs yet often feels more like destro owing to the emphasis on 4 different nukes.
Like all warlocks it has excellent CC options with Fear (which can now be glyphed to root targets to the spot - no more feared runners pulling adds), Banish (bring on the Elementals!), Enslave Demon (which I doubt will see much use in the coming expansion), a range of stuns (Demon Leap, Summon Infernal, Axe Toss and Aura of Foreboding), plus the ability to pet tank in anything but the highest levels of content.
The recent changes have done much to boost the burst capabilities of both affliction and demo as well as removed demo's appalling inefficiency issues, and my overriding feeling now is of a very strong caster spec with no apparent weaknesses. While a reliance on long-cast nukes certainly makes the spec far stronger as a static "turret" there are now more options than ever in terms of instants to cast on the move, and even a moving, channelled aoe. Mobility used to be a weakness for demo, but mechanics changes and the availability at 81 of Fel Flame now make demo highly dangerous when mobile.
Most of all though, Demo remains a cooldown class. For all the power promised by Demon Soul, and the ability to bring an Infernal or Doomguard into the fight, the king of demo cooldowns remains Metamorphosis and as Mastery becomes more prevalent the power of Meta will only increase. The Demon form is insanely good, and particularly post 4.0.1 is great fun to play with.
<strong>The raiding talent spec</strong>
<img src="http://soulfired.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/spec.png" alt="" title="85 Raid Spec" width="468" height="394" class="size-full wp-image-107" /></a>
I'll explain in terms of talents NOT taken - I find 2/3 Demonic Embrace more than enough (at 80 it's putting me around 52k raid buffed health, which is around the top end of the range for dps), Health Funnel is unessecary as the pet doesn't tank raids. Aura of Foreboding is a flat out liability in a raid enironment - a snared mob will attack the nearest enemy, not the one with highest threat, so all this talent does is annoy tanks by snaring mobs they might want to move, and kill melee by making the snared mobs switch targets. I've seen a lot of Demo locks use or recommend AoF in a raiding spec and happen to think they're all fools.
Improved Immolate is an excellent talent, with the potential to add 3-4% to your dps. There are 2 circumstances where taking it in preference to another Destro talent is a good idea. First, if someone else in the raid is providing the +5% spell crit debuff (such as an affliction 'lock or fire mage), in which case drop S&F. Second is if the 15% haste bonus from Improved Soul Fire takes you to just under one of the Immolate tick points (making a HoG refresh of Immolate hard or impossible, as explained below) and this can't be fixed by gearing/reforging, in which case drop Imp-SF.
As for glyphs, primes should be Metamorphosis and Immolate, with a choice of either Incinerate or Felguard as the third. I'm seeing good results with Felguard at the moment, and it also syncs nicely with my Orcish 5% pet damage bonus, but others perfer Incinerate. Get Shadow Bolt as a major, and your pick of remaining majors and minors.
<strong>Many eyes needed.</strong>
There's a lot of things to watch for as Demo. I happen to use TellMeWhen as it does all of it, but others prefer mixtures of DotTimer, Forte, Power Auras etc. Go with your personal preference, but make sure it monitors the following:
Metamorphosis - Available, duration remaining, cooldown remaining
Hand of Gul'dan - Available, cooldown remaining
Immolate - Duration remaining
Bane of Doom - Duration remaining
Corruption - Duration remaining
Curses (Elements, Weakness, Tongues, including curses and equivalent debuffs cast by others, if possible) - Duration remaining
Molten Core - Available, duration remaining, charges remaining
Decimate - Available, duration remaining
Improved Soul Fire - Duration remaining
Shadow Mastery (and equivalent +5% crit debuffs cast by others if possible) - Duration remaining
Soul Burn - Available
Summon Guardian - Available, cooldown remaining
Demon Soul - Available, cooldown remaining
Demonic Rebirth - Available, duration remaining
Shadowflame - Available
Immolation Aura - Available
Axe Toss - Available
<a href="http://soulfired.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/tmw1.png"><img src="http://soulfired.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/tmw1.png" alt="" title="TellMeWhen" width="545" height="371" class="size-full wp-image-113" /></a>
I also configure TMW to show specific boss debuffs, (ie. Instability, Combustion, etc.) and relevant trinket/tier procs (ie. DFO's Surging Power, t10 4-pc Devious Minds).
Optimal raid DPS combat start sequence.</strong>
Flask, Food, Fel Armor, Soul Link, Dark Intent, Pet food, Pet scroll, 3 Soul Shards, all CDs available.
5 seconds to combat...
-> Soul Burn (starts a 10 second buff)
-> Soul Harvest to regain the shard
-> Bane of Doom
-> Soul Fire (instant, consuming the Soul Burn buff, procs Imp-SF buff)
The above trick sneaks in the equivalent of a 4th Soul Shard. Sneaky warlock is sneaky.
Basic raid DPS priority flowchart</strong>
The following is as basic as it gets. It's assuming a single target, Patchwerk style fight and doesn't get into use of Meta or other long CDs at all. This represents the core pattern around which a lot of cool stuff gets woven.
Is +5% crit debuff present? -> NO -> Cast Shadow Bolt
Is Immolate on the target? -> NO -> Cast Immolate
Is Hand of Gul'dan off cooldown? -> YES -> Cast Hand of Gul'Dan
Does Bane of Doom have more than 2 seconds left on the target? -> NO -> Cast Bane of Doom
Is Improved Soul Fire buff up? -> NO -> Cast Soul Fire (using Soul Burn to make instant if available)
Does Corruption have more than 2 seconds left on the target? -> NO -> Cast Corruption
Is Decimate up? -> YES -> Cast Soul Fire
Is Molten Core up -> YES -> Cast Incinerate
Is Mana less than 50% and Health greater than 70%? -> YES -> Cast Life Tap
Cast Shadow Bolt
Few fights are like Patchwerk (pretty much just Patchwerk) so while the above priority list gives a general idea of how to maximise dps, most of the time I keep in mind a different kind of priority queue, based on how badly something can screw up dps.
1. No hesitancy. Nothing screws up your dps like hesitancy. Making the wrong decision and still casting something is better than making no decision and casting nothing. The new queueing system is doing away with the necessity to key spam to the same extent, but you still need to get the next cast queued with zero delay. 90% of folks who aren't maximising their dps are just not getting enough casts off (that statistic is 100% invented, though probably true).
2. HoG on cooldown. Maintaining as close to 100% immolate uptime as possible without recasting it gives a whopping boost to dps over having it fall off and need recasting. If you're in a place where you can stand and cast and it comes off cooldown, this is the top priority.
3. Make the most of movement. Most fights have moments when you have to move around. Get used to strafing as this can often keep dps opportunities open where turning and running can't, as well as potentially allowing you to move faster. Use these times of movement to cast all the instants you can - Soul Burned Soul Fire, refreshing Corruption and BoD, Fel Flame (once available), Life Tap, Meta, Shadowflame, etc. Even Hellfire, if it suits the circumstances. With the new no-clip mechanics for DoTs I favour recasting Corruption and BoD early if moving - this is a good use of GCDs that may otherwise be hard to take advantage of, and means more CGDs of standing still are available for casting nukes.
4. Just use Meta. Unless you have a definite reason for holding back, cast this a.s.a.p. once it's available. If you can get in melee range (with the approval of your raid leader), do it.
5. When switching to short-lived adds (e.g Blood Beasts, Valks) cast Immolate first, then just nuke. Remember Axe Toss is available, and off your GCD - it's often a very useful ability on this type of add.
Meta has been subject to one of the more subtle but far-reaching of the recent changes, brought about by the Impending Doom talent, as well as "nerfs" to Decimate.
Pre 4.0.1 Meta was a strong dps cooldown on a fixed timer, but by far the biggest talent for Demo was Decimate, which saw as much damage being done in the execute phase as done in the rest of the entire fight. This meant Meta was used strategically to tie into (ideally) an early Bloodlust, and again during the Decimate execute phase. Now, with Decimate being less OP (to the extent that without the Emberstorm talent at 80, it's dps gain is barely noticeable), Meta made much stronger through the effect of Mastery, and it's cooldown reduceable through the effect of Impending Doom, the strategy has changed.
Now it should be cast on cooldown without a reason to hold on to it (imminent Bloodlust, air-phase, spawning of something that needs killing quick etc) and the strategy is in how to maximise it's increased power, which mostly invovles trying to get into melee range. Between casts spamming as many Shadow Bolts as possible to proc Impending Doom will shorted the cooldown dramatically - Meta is available far more often these days, and I'm often finding fights where I can spend 30% of my time in demon form.
Its still worth knowing when to expect the big cooldowns though. Holding Meta at the start of a fight if you know that Bloodlust is coming, or waiting until Demon Soul becomes available should both be worthwhile, though I've yet to get a feel for quite how long is worth waiting.
If you're forced to stay at range for reasons of strategy, you should continue with the basic priority list. You'll still be doing a minimum of 20% more damage during Meta, depending on your Mastery score. If you're able to close with the target, however, you can push this much higher.
<strong>Things to do in Meta.</strong>
One of the reworked meta abilities is Demon Leap, which replaces the old Demonic Charge. Unlike it's previous incarnation though, this one is worth using as it does a decent amount of AoE damage and a 2 second stun (5 yards). Unlike a charge, it doesn't take you to a target, but instead jumps directly forwards around 20 yards (with a cool animation). Where before demo locks would run in while casting instants, this is now the better way to close distance if the fight allows it.
Immolation Aura is the main reason for wanting to get in close. It has one of the highest DPET values in the game and well maintained use should add 5% or more to a 'lock's total damage for a single target fight. It's available on a 30 second cooldown, which means that as Glyph of Metamorphosis adds 6 seconds to Meta, this should optimally be cast as soon as meta is popped, and again after 30 seconds to catch the last 6 seconds worth of meta.
Shadowflame also does excellent damage in a short range, with a DPET better than any of the nukes even on a single target. It's on a 25 second cooldown so can be used twice during each meta. In fact, if it's possible to stay within 10 yards of the target for the whole fight, this should be cast on CD whether in meta or not (slotting into the priority list between Corruption and Decimate-boosted Soul Fire) as it's capable of doing around 7% of the 'lock's total damage.
Use other cooldowns. The 20%+ damage bonus from Meta will affect your guardians, so make sure to only summon these when Meta is up. As stacking CDs multiplies their value, if you have any triggered CDs (like Orcish Blood Fury) or trinkets, macro them to Meta to make it an outrageous boost to dps. Try to make sure that Meta and Demon Soul coincide.
Of slightly less practical value, but fun nonetheless...
Speak demonic. Everything you /say in Meta form comes out as Demonic, including DBM warnings!
Fly. Well sadly not really fly, but if you get Levitated by a priest, you'll hover in the air, flapping your wings.
<strong>When not to use Meta</strong>
While the general rule is to use Meta as often as you can, there are some circumstances where you might want to wait.
Waiting to stack big cooldowns. If you're seconds away from Bloodlust being cast, or Demon Soul or Summon Guardian coming off cooldown, it's worth waiting.
Waiting for a boss CC effect. If a boss is capable of taking someone out of the action (Mind Control, Unchained Magic, getting chased by gas, silenced, stunned or otherwise rendered useless) it will happen to you during meta. If you know one of these kind of events is imminent, wait until it picks on someone else before doing the demon thing. A rare exception to this is if you actually want to be taken out - it's a great way to ensure that you get picked up by valks during the LK fight (and by freeing everyone else to dps the LK while you do the portal thing you gain way more advantage to the raid than you would by having someone else picked up and saving your meta).
A last point about Meta, durations of stuns and snares on you are halved, you're uncrittable, and your armor is boosted by 600%. If this last fact is ever important (i.e. you're trying to take a pounding) make sure to switch to Demon Armor as this gives you a generous armor bonus (as well as boosting any heals you get by up to 40%), further modified by the Demonic Aegis talent - you should be able to approach tank-ish levels of armor that way (but still feel kind of squishy if it's Fel Armor that's up). Despite this defensive utility, never think of Meta as a defensive CD while raiding (depending on who you group with for 5 mans, you may want to there).
Demo probably has more options for AoE than any other spec in the game. but which to use?
We have two 'aura' style AoE abilities, Immolation Aura (only during Meta) and Hellfire. We are free to move during both, but have to keep channelling Hellfire - with Immo Aura we can fire and forget, just cast the instant then keep casting other spells. The radius of Immolation Aura is 8 yards, so you need to stay pretty close to the target. For Hellfire (with the Cremation talent) it's 13 yards, which is further than the graphic shows (be aware of this or you might be surprised by pulling adds that you thought you'd miss).
Because Immo Aura is fire and forget, it should be cast as much as possible as long as you can spend time in range of the target, even on single target fights as it just adds to your usual single target rotation.
Assuming circumstances where all targets are in range, Hellfire is Demo's most powerful AoE. It has the potential drawback of damaging the warlock's own health, so shouldn't be used when low on health (unless you want to die/wipe, as dying to Hellfire doesn not cause durability loss). With decent levels of health (which Demo should have) the self-damage should rarely be a problem.
Immo Aura and Hellfire stack, which leads to ridiculous amounts of damage, threat and fun.
Also, Hellfire lets us easily get past locked doors - just Life Tap quicky down to very low health, then Hellfire until dead. Corpse run and res on the other side of the door. No need to get nekkid, as there's no durability loss. Rogues pick the lock, Blacksmiths use keys, Engineers use explosives, and Warlocks burn themselves to death in the flames of Hell. Cool eh?
Cast on target AoE:
Seed of Corruption is a 2 second cast direct to your current target (40 yard range) that places a DoT effect. Once the target takes the full DoT worth of damage, either from the DoT completing it's 18 second duration or from any other source the seed will explode, instantly damaging all enemies within 15 yards of the target. While the dps isn't quite as high as Hellfire for Demo these days, it's close, making this the best AoE to use on targets at range.
The thing to be careful of is that recasting SoC on the same target will just refresh the DoT and delay the explosion. If your target is taking significant amounts of damage (i.e. the main target for the raid), then seeds will explode before you complete the next cast, and it can be safely spammed on one target. If the target is not being focus-fired a seed is less likely to explode before your next cast, so you should select (or tab target) fresh targets with each cast. It's very easy for a Warlock to spam SoC like crazy and end up doing almost no damage because of this DoT refreshing mechanic, so it pays to be careful and switch targets if there's any doubt.
Cast on ground AoE:
We still have Rain of Fire available, though it's rarely used. It gives a targetting reticule on the ground and will damage everything in that area. It does the weakest damage of all our AoE spells, but in certain circumstances it's worth casting.
The limited area of the reticule/graphic effect is it's saving grace. If you have a static tank in a spread-out bunch of enemies including some casters, it can easily happen that while the tank is building aggro on the melee mobs, there's very little on the casters. SoC can easily risk pulling aggro on those caster mobs, as they are in your AoE blast radius but not the tank's threat radius. To avoid aggro you can cast RoF and only hit the ones that the tank has generated high threat on. The 8 yard radius is the same as that of Consecrate and Death and Decay, so you can feel free to drop RoF directly over those effects.
Of course, this advice should only be of value to folks who find themselves in groups with novice tanks. This doesn't happen in Nephilim raids, except on the trash before LDW, and sometimes the trash between LDW and Gunship, and occasionally the entrance hall trash, or at the valks in the middle when folks don't group up enough, and possibly the groups at the door to Plague wing when everything gets pulled at once, which can also happen on the trash to Vali..
We have two AoE capable pets, and both can be out at the same time. The Felguard has his nifty, figure skating inspired Felstorm move on a 45 second cooldown, and the Infernal (on a 10 minute CD) pulses with it's own Immolation Aura. Both do some pretty capable AoE damage. The Felguard will Felstorm everything in melee range of it's currently assigned target, while the Infernal will attack whatever you've currently got Bane of Doom on.
To maximise AoE then, should you be crazy enough to want to try, you should ideally be in Meta form and melee range, with the Hand of Gul'dan debuff on the target, channelling Hellfire with Immolation Aura up, your Felguard Felstorming and your Infernal pulsing away. I think it's fair to say that the limiting factor for Demo's AoE damage is threat. There's always a way to push it further, until you're dead. If anyone beats you on the meters on an AoE pull, it's because you're holding something back.
Minions are important for us, and being in control of your felguard should be a point of pride (as well as a prerequisite for good dps) for anyone calling themselves a demonologist.
All minions have three modes; aggressive, defensive and passive. You can toggle between these on the pet action bar, or macro them to keybinds.
This is the most rarely used mode, but still has it's place. The demon will attack anything flagged as an enemy within it's aggro radius. Used inappropriately, this can lead to fluffy heading off on an aggro rampage as he charges away to find new things to annoy until finally reaching his range limit from you and disappearing, to leave you facing a multitude of irate mobs. Another risk, and personal speciality, is boss pulling (hello ICC plague wing). The message from this is to always remember to take aggressive mode off once you're done with it - most of the time the screw ups happen when this is forgotten.
Don't let fear stop you using it though - here's some examples where I've found it handy. Camping a spawn while levelling: You know when crowds gather inside some grotty hovel to 'take turns' tagging the whoosit so you can collect a macguffin, so everyone stands around all twitchy hoping they have the fastest reactions? Well, fluffy has the fastest reactions - he has a nose for spawns before they even show on your screen and will typically start swinging away at empty air, tagging the whoosit for you as it appears. Smacking pesky stealthers in PvP is a bit like this. If you're defending a flag (well done, you weirdo - it's a lonely path you're on but at least you'll have plenty of spare time to /facepalm everyone else as they fight on the road) you'll typically want to be as alert as possible, so set fluffy to be alert too (just be sure to control his wandering tendencies once folks catch on). Lastly, there are times when stuff is just too much work, so you might as well let your minion do the menial stuff. I do this in the corridor leading to Professor Putricide, when all the bugs start swarming in (did I mention pet-pulling plague wing bosses is a personal speciality? Do remember to switch it off).
This is a bit safer. 80% of the time I'll have this on. The minion will only attack when either an enemy damages the minion or me, or I tag an enemy (note that this isn't when I start casting at an enemy, or when the enemy takes damage but when a spell lands). This is really the lazy-mode, as it saves you having to micromanage the pet by giving it a moderately sane ruleset to follow. Be careful though as this simple bit of automation may not always be what you want - it likely will be for most levelling and questing, and a surprising amount of PvE, but it's pretty lousy in PvP and you should never believe that it means you don't have to pay attention to what your pet is up to.
The pet won't take any initiative at all, and will only do exactly what you command. It's good to remember that this doesn't mean the pet will be passive - it will still attack what you tell it to, it just means it only does what you tell it to. The passive just refers to the automation of decision making. When you want to take more control of your pet, this is the mode to use. It's the best choice for PvP, and any encounter where you need to take particular care. Using the /petpassive command while a pet in passive (or any) mode is attacking something will stop it attacking and return it to your side (or to the selected "move to" location if that is set).
Using the controls.
My personal preference is to use my mouse scroll wheel for pet control. I like having my camera default to max distance and rarely zoom (the default mouse wheel function) so am happy to use my PageUp and PageDown keys for camera zooms when I need to. On the other hand, I use pet commands all the time, so having them right on the mouse is important. Wheel forward is set to /petattack, wheel backward is set to /petpassive and wheel middle click is set to /petdefensive. I use aggressive mode so rarely that I'm happy to just click on the pet action bar. Unless pet control is set up to be used in a simple and accessible way (doesn't have to be the mouse wheel approach, but it must be just as easy) then you probably won't learn to master your pet.
Follow and Move To.
The old "stay" command has been replaced by "Move to" and is now wonderful. Having your pet follow you is the default, and very familiar, but now you can select Move To and place the small reticule wherever (with some sensible restrictions) you like and your minion will jog on over and wait there for further instructions. Being given a move-to command with an invisible pet with a knockback is a gift to anyone who enjoys the view from the Arathi Lumber Mill. You can use this to gather mobs with your pet and then move them around (out of the way of a patrol, for example), or have your pet always return to a spawn point on leaving combat. Its one of those great little tools that gives a ton of flexibility, and it's just fun to play with it and see what you can do.
All pets have special abilities. Right-clicking on them on the pet action bar will toggle whether the pet uses them automatically or not (some, like Felstorm or Axe Toss, can't be automated). All the pets have at least one ability that you'll want to take direct control of. For my Felguard I leave Legion Strike on automatic, have Axe Toss keybound so I cast it manually, and macro Felstorm to my Hand of Gul'dan key (the macro for that can be found later in the guide). Because HoG is a long cast spell, tapping it and stopping casting (or tapping it while moving) can be used to trigger Felstorm with no requirement to complete the HoG cast, and I've found this useful on occasion. The main reason the two are macro'd together is because I've run out of keys/fingers.
Now we can visit a demon trainer and for 50g they will destroy your old minion and provide a new, identical one with a different random name. Don't do it, it's like lottery scratchcards and one-armed bandits - you'll just get addicted to seeing if the next name is better than the rubbish one you currently have, but (particularly for Felguards) there are no good names. It's an endless money sink. Just a friendly warning from someone who's flushed 8,000g down that particular toilet.
<strong>Stats for Demo.</strong>
The new dot mechanics are currently making all stat weightings a little suspect right now, as the value of haste is far from linear. A general policy of balanced stats will serve excellently, as different stats shine in different kinds of fight (i.e. Mastery becomes better the more you can maximise damage during Meta, but if you have to stay at range, Crit is likely to be more valuable). There are two stats that benefit from planning though as in different ways they both have caps, of a kind.
Hit is the most valuable stat, up to the hard cap of 17% (1,742 rating at 85). Below this cap, reforge to hit, above this cap, reforge from hit.
Haste is odd, and more than a little complex, owing to how it affects the duration of Immolate. This is of particular importance to Demo as we want to have immolate automatically refreshed by Hand of Gul'dan to save us wasting time recasting it if it drops off. Unfortunately there's little leeway between the 15 second duration of Immolate and the 12 second cooldown, plus 3 second cast time, plus 1 second travel time of HoG. Of these numbers, the HoG cooldown and travel time are unaffected by haste, but the cast time, and the duration of Immo, are affected.
Haste acts to reduce the duration between ticks and therefore the total duration. Immolate is made up of 5 ticks at 3 second intervals over 15 seconds. Assuming 9% haste, that makes 5 ticks at (3 / 1.09) 2.75 second intervals over 13.75 seconds. There's just no way that HoG can refresh an immolate of 13.76 second duration when it takes 13 + 2.75 = 15.73 seconds minimum before it can land.
But durations don't just get shorter indefinitely. At certain points they get extra ticks. In fact they can't get less than half a tick below the unhasted duration before another tick is added.
Assuming 10% haste, Immolate would be made up of ticks at (3 / 1.1) 2.727 second intervals. Five such ticks would last 13.635 seconds - that's 1.365 seconds (half a tick) under the unhasted 15 second duration. Woot, an extra tick is gained, and Immolate ticks six times at 2.727 second intervals for a 16.36 second duration. Now we've got some room to play with - Immolate's 16.36 second duration gives time for HoG's 13 + 2.727 = 15.727 second action to refresh it. That's a over half a second to play with, minus any lag of course (you might have heard that the Demo rotation can be tight and unforgiving).
Any further haste over this point will act to start reducing the Immolate duration again until once more it drops to impossible levels, but further ticks are gained at 30% and 50% haste, making it manageable again, and each progressively easier as that long 3 second cast for HoG is reduced (to the extent where past 50% there are no more "problem" patches of impossible timings)
This makes it important to stack haste to match one of these windows of opportunity where HoG and Immolate synchronise. This haste will come from gear, the raidwide haste buff and the 15% haste bonus of Improved Soul Fire. It's important to get to a level of haste where you can comfortably maintain immolate by refreshing with HoG, then stay within that comfort level as stacking haste further can risk making this important timing issue ever harder to pull off.
One side effect of having these thresholds is that you need to be wary of haste procs (e.g. Black Magic enchant). For the sake of (an extreme) example, someone with 400 constant haste plus the BM enchant would be taken to 650 haste when it procs - the effect of this would be to go from a tricky 15.28 second Immolate duration to an impossible 14.3 second duration. For this reason, I'd recommend taking great care when acquiring haste procs as opposed to constant haste values. Most of the time you're likely to be fine, but it's worth bearing in mind.
<strong>Thresholds at which Immolate gives extra ticks.</strong>
The thresholds occur at 10%, 30%, 50%, etc. Spell cast times can be calculated with the formula below, which assumes the +5% haste raid buff (if this isn't present, ignore the 1.05 multiplier):
For level 80.
(standard cast time) / (( 1 + ( haste rating / 3279 )) * 1.05 )
With the +5% haste raid buff the corresponding haste ratings are (without 5% buff in parentheses):
10% - 157 (328)
30% - 781 (984)
50% - 1406 (1640)
70% - 2030 (2296)
For level 85.
Of course, once we get Improved Soul Fire we can count on a constant (as long as we maintain the buff) +15% haste. For level 85 that gives the following equation, assuming 3% haste from Dark Intent, the 5% raid haste buff, and 15% haste buff from Improved Soul Fire:
(standard cast time) / (( 1 + ( haste rating / 12806 )) * 1.05 * 1.15 * 1.03)
Note that at 85 it takes 128.06 points of haste rating to give 1% haste instead of the 32.79 points at 80. Working out the ratings needed for the thresholds then gives (figures in parentheses are without raid buff):
30% - 580 (1249)
50% - 2639 (3411)
As long as we can maintain the Imp Soul Fire buff, reaching the 30% threshold is fairly trivial, and the 50% well out of reach (at least for early tiers).
Here are some sample macros that can be useful for Demo. I tend to make a lot of use of the Alt modifier, and most of my keys are dual use so that's reflected here. That can always be stripped out though if you prefer.
A one-button Meta macro:
/cast [mod:alt,form:2]Demon Leap
/cast [nomodifier,form:2]Immolation Aura
Tap once to cast Meta, tapping it again while in Meta form will trigger Immolation Aura, tapping it with Alt held while in meta form will cast Demon Leap.
A handy Hellfire toggle:
<code>#showtooltip [mod:alt] Summon Infernal; Hellfire
/cancelaura [channeling,nomodifier] Hellfire
/cast [nochanneling,nomodifier] Hellfire
/cast [mod:alt] Summon Infernal
Hellfire is hard to stop. Trying to cast something else doesn't work (except Life Tap, for some odd reason), Escape doesn't work... this does. Tap it to cast Hellfire, tap again to stop. And if you hold down Alt it summons an Infernal instead.
#showtooltip [mod:alt] Immolate; Hand of Gul'dan
/cast [mod:alt] Immolate
/cast [nomodifier,@pettarget,exists] Felstorm
/cast [nomodifier] Hand of Gul'dan
The Felguard won't autocast Felstorm, it must be cast manually. I'm not fussed about manually casting Felstorm so I macro it to my Hand of Gul'dan cast.
|April 22, 2011, 12:51 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Re: Guide to Demonology
Great post, I would only change 1 thing. . .we can no longer get to Improved Soul Fire.
|December 31, 2011, 02:46 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Re: Guide to Demonology
Just to reopen this thread, is Wormskull still around to update this or has he left WoW? If he's left, is there anyone that can see a significant change in what he has posted since this was last updated 22 April 2011.
|January 03, 2012, 06:05 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Re: Guide to Demonology
There are significant changes made to end-game demo locks, including how to properly start a fight as well as only using and glyphing Shadow Bolt if you're going to be applying ISB to multiple targets as Incinerate is our only nuke now.
Also macroing HoG to Felstorm is a bad idea as his whirlwind will be over by the time HoG lands to provide the pet crit debuff.
New.Cast.Time = Normal.Cast.Time / ((1 + (Haste.Rating / 12805)) * 5%.Aura * Dark.Intent)
30% Haste is 2589, not 580
Last edited by Teon; January 03, 2012 at 06:50 PM..
|January 04, 2012, 03:36 AM||#5 (permalink)|
85 Human Warlock
Shattrath Euro PvE
Profile: Blizzard Armory
Talent Tree: Demonology
Re: Guide to Demonology
To make a long answer short: Don't take it as a guide anymore, due to some changes it just serves as 'historical document'. ;)
There are more dead ends than patch surviving facts in there, so stay away. ;)
If privacy is called criminal, only criminals will enjoy privacy.
|January 04, 2012, 10:10 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Re: Guide to Demonology
A living Warlock = a dead everybody else