Warlock changes... and there's a lot of warlock changes in 3.1 to come so lets take a quick look at what I would consider one of the more aggressive changes to the warlock class. A lot of stuff has been removed or seen their talent point cost reduced which should give warlocks a little more room to breathe in terms of point distribution.
Let's dispense with the pleasantries and dive right into the sarcasm (for a full list of changes simply scroll past my endless dribble till you see the word 'warlocks' come by).
Blizzard decided to radically solve out soul shard problem by not allowing us to have more than 32 which is likewise compensated by drain soul now creating shards when fighting non-gray mobs. Considering I reguarly go out to solo instances of the low level variant and I remember burning through shards in pvp like nuts I have a few doubts about this change but this change is undoubtedly easier than making the suckers stack (*caugh*).
Curse of recklessness and siphon life go to the trash bin, one dissapearing alltogether and siphon life being rolled into corruption. The change to siphon life will change how warlock rotations look and should definitely simplify things... that is if 40% of corruption damage is about what siphon life returned in the first place at any rate and our damage doesn't go down the drain over losing siphon life (not likely). Curse of recklessness... well I won't miss it now considering they already removed the ability to control our fear with it.
With the masses of demons in northrend all those lovely changes to enslave demon will undoubtedly pass most warlocks by unnoticed, I'd wager good money that enslaving a demon will never make it past the level of novelty spell in the next 2-600 expansions.
The extra damage for curse of elements is taken out of malediction leaving affliction warlocks not really feeling the difference but now having to decide if malediction is still worth the effort.
Pandemic will make affliction warlocks a bit crit happier and went on a diet now saving us 2 points. Beyond that affliction now seems to benefit shadow more and we will probably see immolate drop out of our rotation due to not getting any benefits from talents anymore.
Demonology also got slimmed down a bit losing demonic empathy and 2 points from mana feed which can be re-invested into a new talent called nemesis reducing cooldowns on some interesting demo talents. Decimation may put soulfire back on the map as useable by reducing it's cast time and removing the reagent cost. Failing that it'll completely invalidate nemesis and soulfire will remain the absolute poorest choice for a warlock to do some damage.
I'll leave destruction to the destruction enthusiasts to comment on but it looks like the tree got tightened a little by bumping bonusses on the less used talents and shaping it to be what I would call a more pvp oriented tree. Lets hope the bump in survivability via molten skin will mean we won't have to scrape our precious warlock off the floor after each arena match... then again he better not use any soul shards anymore or start draining a little soul now and then.
Overall some interesting changes but the cleanup to affliction's rotation will definitely be felt (and if not implemented too poorly) welcomed by what few warlocks haven't switched to dk's yet.
• Curse of the Elements (Rank 5) : Increased to 13% spell damage, up from 10%.
• Curse of Recklessness has been removed.
• Curse of Weakness: Now also reduces the armor of the target by 5%.
• Drain Soul: Each time Drain Soul deals damage to a target which can grant experience, it now has a chance to generate a Soul Shard.
• Enslave Demon: Spell haste penalty reduced by 10%, Melee haste penalty reduced by 10%.
• Warlocks now innately have an increased 10% spell hit chance on the Enslave Demon spell.
• Fire Shield (Imp): You can now cast this ability on raid members, rather than party members.
• Soul Shard: This item now has a maximum count of 32 in inventory.
• Ritual of Summoning: The summoning of the initial portal is now instant cast, down from 5 seconds.
• Eradication re-designed: When you deal damage with Corruption, you have a 2/4/6% chance to gain the Eradication effect. The Eradication effect increases the critical strike chance of your Shadow Bolt spell by 30%. Each critical strike reduces the critical strike bonus by 10%. Lasts 30 sec.
• Haunt : Now only increases your shadow damage-over-time on the target. (No longer includes non-Shadow damage over time spells.)
• Malediction - No longer increases the effect of Curse of the Elements.
• Pandemic: This talent has been reduced to a 1-point talent, now grants your Corruption and Unstable Affliction the capability to critically hit.
• Shadow Embrace: Now only increases the damage done by your shadow damage periodic spells.
• Siphon Life: The Siphon Life spell has been removed. Siphon Life now causes your Corruption spell to instantly heal you for 40% of the damage done.
• Suppression: Now increases spell hit for all of your spells.
• Demonic Empathy has been removed.
• Demonic Empowerment: This talent spell now has a unique spell effect and sound.
• Demonic Sacrifice: This talent has been removed.
• Fel Synergy has been moved to tier-1. No longer increases Intellect, Stamina and damage of your summoned demon.
• Improved Enslave Demon talent removed.
• Mana Feed: This talent is now a 1-point talent, down from 3-points. Now is the 21-point talent in Demonology. Now grants 100% mana return to your pet, up from 33/66/100%
• Master Conjuror: Increased from 15/30% up to 150/300%.
• New Talent: Decimation: When you Shadowbolt or Incinerate a target that is at or below 35% health, your next Soulfire cast time is reduced by 30/60% and costs no shard. Lasts 10 sec.
• New Talent: Nemesis: Reduces the cooldown of your Demonic Empowerment, Metamorphosis, Soulstone and Fel Domination spells by 10/20/30%.
• Aftermath re-designed: Increases the periodic damage done by your Immolate by 3/6%, and your Conflagrate has a 50/100% chance to daze the target for 5 sec.
• Backlash has been moved up to tier-5, up from tier-7. Now requires Intensity (pre-req).
• Cataclysm: Now reduces the mana cost of Destruction spells by 4/7/10%. No longer increases the chance to hit.
• Conflagrate: Spell now works similar to Swiftmend, consuming an Immolate or Shadowflame effect on the target and dealing damage based on the strength of that effect. Reduced to a single rank.
• Improved Immolate: Now increases the damage done by your Immolate by 10/20/30%, rather than just the direct damage.
• Improved Shadow Bolt: Now increases the damage done by your Shadow Bolt spell by 1/2/3/4/5%, and causes your target to be vulnerable to spell damage, increasing spell critical strike chance against that target by 1/2/3/4/5%. Effect lasts 30 sec.
• Improved Soul Leech: Now has a 50/100% chance to proc Replenishment.
• Molten Core: This talent has been moved to Demonology (Tier 8).
• New Talent: Molten Skin: Reduces all damage taken by 2/4/6%.
• Pyroclasm re-designed: Now increases your Shadow and Fire spell power by 2/4/6% when you critically hit with Searing Pain or Conflagrate. Lasts 10 sec. Also moved down to tier 7, down from tier-5.