Xoja
3 months ago
Affliction Warlock Feedback
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.
Edited by Xoja 04/25/2018 01:45 AM
Seph
3 months ago
Affliction Warlock Feedback
Before going into some individual points of feedback, I wanted to state that there have been several version of Affliction over the years, and even in this thread people have different opinions on what version they like, and what parts they don’t. In general, almost everything has pros and cons, and it’s good to think and weigh those pros and cons when discussing which direction to take Affliction (or any spec) in the future.
04/24/2018 04:37 PMPosted by Xoja
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.
04/27/2018 05:34 PMPosted by Xon
I'm not sure there really has been that much discussion on how the rotation as a whole "feels". Mostly people have been complaining that they dislike Shadow Bolt for a variety of reasons (though technically it doesn't really change much about the rotation), and discussing shard generation rates.

You've said that the Affliction rotation is "mechanically boring", but it's actually a step up from live (as Shadow Bolt—like it or not—requires more interaction and timing than Drain Soul), so I'm not sure I understand this complaint.

I don't mean to come across as snarky; just tossing in my own two cents' worth.
This has been one of the two biggest Affliction debates internally: Drain Soul vs. Shadow Bolt as the filler. For most of Legion development, I was in favor of Drain Soul, and argued for it over Shadow Bolt. I thought the thematics of draining on a DoT spec felt more appropriate than Shadow Bolt, which is also already Demonology’s filler. Over time, I enjoyed playing with Drain Soul less. When all your DoTs are up, filling in with a 6-sec (reduced by Haste) channeled spell and potentially not pushing a button for 4-5 sec felt a little boring at times. There isn’t much tension or drama to filling with an instant-startup, channeled spell with really no cost to finishing early, and no real concept of having to cancel a cast before it goes off, because you had to move. It’s easy, it’s powerful, and it works. In fact, any channeled version of a cast-time spell is inherently stronger if it does the same DPS in a stationary situation, because the damage isn’t completely backoaded at the time of cast complete.

That all said, I think it’s clear that enough people enjoy Drain Soul’s feel, thematics, mechanics, or visuals that it was worth keeping around. Drain Soul will return as a talent (in the currently empty lvl 90 slot), that replaces Shadow Bolt as your filler. It will deal bonus damage against targets below 20% health and generates a Soul Shard if the target dies while you’re draining it. It didn’t seem right to have all 3 of Shadow Bolt, Drain Life, and Drain Soul simultaneously, as Drain Soul overlaps with both of the other ones a bit, so that’s one of the reasons why it replaces Shadow Bolt.
04/24/2018 05:34 PMPosted by Xoja
I don't understand why we still have UA stacking as our primary Soul Shard spender
This has been the second of the two biggest Affliction debates internally: How should Affliction interact with the Soul Shard as a DPS resource mechanic (if at all), and how exactly should Unstable Afflictions be cast and work. I’ll again say that we went into 8.0 development thinking we were going to go back to Unstable Affliction having no cooldown, but being Limit 1 per target (as essentially all other DoTs are), and Soul Shards doing something entirely different from being a resource to spend Unstable Affliction/Seed of Corruption with.

When we started to go down that road, we got some difficult to ignore feedback that Unstable Affliction being able to stack up multiple times on the same target was good uniqueness and flexibility, and that flexibility provided power in a way that was special to Affliction. For much of the spec’s history, it wasn’t good at burst damage or single-target damage, and being able to stack up to 5 Unstable Afflictions on the same target was actually a decent way to fix that.

Additionally, with Unstable Affliction now having the Contagion effect baked in (You deal 10% increased damage to targets with Unstable Affliction), the natural and intended way to play is to maintain Unstable Affliction at 100% uptime on 1 target, but still giving you the flexibility of saving up multiple Soul Shards and putting out some focused burst damage into a single target, which Affliction for a long time couldn’t do as well.

Note: Agony’s Soul Shard generation rate has been increased by 15% in a single-target situation compared to Legion (not sure this has been mentioned anywhere), and that the spec is intended to be able to maintain Unstable Affliction in a single-target situation with 100% uptime.
04/24/2018 07:09 PMPosted by Rockford
The Drain Soul mechanic which incorporated self healing into base rotation really needed to go.
We agree here – this is pretty important to point out. Drain Soul is coming back as a talent without any healing component whatsoever. One of the big reasons Affliction self-healing got so out of hand in Legion, as I’m sure many have noticed, is that it replaced Drain Life as the spec’s self-healing button. However, Drain Life is allowed to have its strong healing because it’s a damage loss to use it over your filler – you’re actively giving up damage to get slightly overpowered healing, which was okay. Drain Soul being your only filler and also healing for Drain Life amounts or more, was too much and became a problem. In 8.0, you can talent into Drain Soul and have both it and Drain Life, but only Drain Life will heal.
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. I don't see any situation where this can even be remotely useful.
This is fair. We’ll look at changing Command Demon: Succubus to be Whiplash (snare) instead. You, the Warlock with Grimoire of Sacrifice: Succubus channeling a long CC doesn’t make that much sense. We wanted to make all Grim Sac spells the same as your Command Demon spell, but this one seems like it should be changed.
Doomguard and Infernal - Gone. Seriously, damage cooldowns, give us something baseline.
We agree - sorry it took this long. I feel bad because Affliction was worked on early in 8.0 development and brought about 2/3 of the way to complete (based on our 8.0 plans), then left in that incomplete state for a while, which both didn't look great and probably terrified a lot of players because they thought the spec would ship in that state. Maybe a lesson in messaging, scheduling, or communication here.

Anyways, Summon Darkglare will be the spec’s new baseline ultimate:
  • 3 min cooldown, costs 1 Soul Shard
  • Summons a Darkglare from the Twisting Nether that extends the duration of your damage over time effects on all enemies [within 60 yds, not tooltipped] by 8 sec. The Darkglare will serve you for 20 sec, blasting its target for Shadow damage, increased by 10% for every damage over time effect you have active on any target.

Darkglare felt more appropriate as a different and better ultimate summon for Affliction, providing a unique DoT-extension mechanic for the spec, compared to an alternative like Infernal for Destruction, which feels more fitting as a fiery burning ultimate for that spec.
04/27/2018 05:43 AMPosted by Xoja
Having to cast several UAs feels like a waste of time when we have to start refreshing shortly after and throw in Shadow Bolts between all of that. Multi-dotting doesn’t feel terrible on beta because it obviously has rewarding damage, but single target feels weak and overly tedious.

I don’t know what else to say about it. It felt okay in Legion because it was highly rewarding to stack UA. Perhaps Azerite Armor will make it feel better but right now it feels like garbage.
We haven’t been focusing too much on damage tuning, especially tuning of spell vs. other spells on the same spec, since that usually comes later, after design changes have been more solidified. However, looking at our data, Unstable Affliction damage seems to have fallen off a bit on single-target, so I’ve given it a 25% bump up. In general, we don’t want to be spending too much time tuning things like this (unless something is way out of band) while it’s still early enough to be making design changes/improvements, but this is still great feedback to receive.
05/07/2018 08:43 AMPosted by Xoja
They clearly had Deathbolt working with UA stacks in mind, but... I want Agony fresh at full stacks, I want Corruption fresh, I want Siphon Life fresh, I want several UAs up, but no matter what I’m just not satisfied when I fire off that Deathbolt because it feels like there is too much to manage.

I’m sure when it’s time to theorycraft we will know exactly the best setup for a Deathbolt to get the most efficiency and damage, but it might still not be a fun rotation.
The idea with Deathbolt is that you could have your usual DoTs rolling/at high duration on the target, load up on a few UAs, then payoff with a high amount of burst damage with Deathbolt. We realize in practice this doesn’t work as well with targets that don’t live a long time. The more concerning feedback is that Deathbolt isn’t satisfying because it doesn’t feel like you fully maximized it, because by nature of having to refresh one DoT, you’re letting another DoT tick down its duration – unsure if this is psychology players will overcome or not. Another concern is that you don’t know how much damage Deathbolt will do because its tooltip doesn’t tell you. The thinking there was – after casting it a few times, you’d get a feel for its damage potential.

We’re going to try Deathbolt being Instant Cast with less % damage (as its damage was accounting for its 2-sec cast time), and keep an eye on this talent moving forward.

I wanted to point out that Deathbolt calculates its damage at time of cast, not time of its missile landing. This was to be nice to the player and not penalize for travel times of its missile equating to damage lost from DoTs ticking down, and necessitating standing at point blank range. Thinking about that more, we can probably make its damage calculate at time of missile cast and at time of missile land, and take the greater of the two, so if you go to refresh a DoT after casting Deathbolt, you don’t miss out either way. Also, Deathbolt synergizes with the new Summon Darkglare baseline ultimate quite a bit.

Some additional things to come along with some mentioned above:
  • Dark Soul: Misery is coming back as a talent (similar to Destruction’s Dark Soul talent), granting 30% haste for 20 sec n a 2 min cooldown
  • New 15-sec cooldown Soul Shard spender AOE damage talent that also snares, replacing Soul Harvest

Overall, thanks for all the feedback.
Edited by Seph 05/15/2018 04:58 AM
Seph
2 months ago
Affliction Warlock Feedback
We're going to swap Haunt (was lvl 15, now lvl 90) with Deathbolt (was lvl 90, now lvl 15) in the talent tree in the next build. This fulfills a desire (mentioned several times here) to be able to play a Nightfall + Haunt or Drain Soul + Haunt build, which a lot of players think is fun (and is fair feedback).

The reason we made the last round of talent swaps, which saw Nightfall and Drain Soul move to level 15, and Shadow Embrace and Haunt move to level 90, was to satisfy a different desire (as players mentioned even in this thread) to allow Drain Soul and Grimoire of Sacrifice to be taken together, as both are identity, feel, and greatly gameplay changing. That also seemed reasonable.

Separately, that also had the benefit of allowing Nightfall and Drain Soul to be acquirable earlier at lvl 15, since they are both great leveling talents and good to have early.

To make room for Nightfall and Drain Soul on the lvl 15 row, we chose to move Shadow Embrace and Deathbolt together (as opposed to Shadow Embrace and Haunt) because Shadow Embrace and Haunt are pretty similar - they both provide a damage taken debuff with or near 100% uptime. That's still true, but it seems better overall to live with that, look for opportunities to improve/replace Shadow Embrace in the future, and support a Nightfall + Haunt build.

So the new layout looks like:
Row 15: Nightfall, Drain Soul, Deathbolt
Row 90: Shadow Embrace, Haunt, Grimoire of Sacrifice

On the topic of talent tree layouts in general for all specs - it's always a list of competing, sometimes contradictory desires, all of which are valid to some varying degrees:
  • "All talents on a row should be equal"
  • "Some talents should better in some situations"
  • "Talents on the same row shouldn't clearly be better in single target or AOE vs other talents on the same row"
  • "Difficult to use talents should be a little more rewarding than easy to use talents"
  • "Talents shouldn't be too similar to each other"
  • "Players should be allowed to pick whatever talent they find the most fun"
  • "The strongest talent should probably be the most fun one"
And so on. It’s often not possible to satisfy all requirements, so it becomes sort of finding the best configuration that satisfies as many desires as possible, and iterating on improvements for the future.

As usual, we're always open to feedback.
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