Monday, September 21, 2009

Warlock survivability build

Well with all the whining going on about warlock survivability and even cataclysm promising no hope when it comes to upscaling the survivability of the warlock I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

Quite frankly since I did my best to complain about various warlock problems whenever I had the chance I thought it fair to take a look at the situation and come up with some kind of build that should be able to withstand a bit of a beating.

The build, how else could it be, is hardly what anyone would consider a standard warlock build, it's not highest in DPS, it's a pretty lousy instancing build and odds are you'll get kicked out a raid the second you even try raiding with it.

It's about cold hard survivability: letting go of all those lovely damage oriented skills and supplanting them with the few mediocre survivability talents a warlock has.

In the end my primary concern was to create a warlock build that would allow the warlock to take the battle to the enemy in a bg setting rather than spending the entire bg waiting on healer rez timers (aka the warlock watercooler).

Before we dive into the why lets take a quick look at the build I am proposing:

Or alternatively dropping the 10% physical damage mitigation for a lot more room in the affliction tree:

Clearly this is nothing like the average cookie cutter spec. We dig deep fairly deep into both affliction and demonology to pick up a few key survivability talents and then top it off with a little more damage reduction from the destruction side.

A quick look at the build will identify the focus areas: Mobility through instant cast dots, draining capability through various drain talent enhancers, boosted survivability through voidwalker sacrifice, improved shielding, master demonologist (in case of the first build) and molten skin.

We're completely ignoring the high tier options from the various trees because they generally add very little to survivability and whilst increasing the damage output is good it is not what we're looking for with this build.

The additional issue with some of the high tier talents is that they require you to stand still to cast which, as a warlock, is most likely the last thing you want.

Destruction apart from nether protection, molten skin and shadowfury stun offers very little in terms of protection so we take what we can get in this case and spend the 8 points to top off molten skin.

Playing the build

The build focusses on mobility and generally relies on having a voidwalker available. While the voidwalker himself adds very little to the battle (other than a good way to occupy people's pets) his primary purpuse is to be sacrificed. Demonic brutality will ensure that you get the benefit of a 10k damage absorption shield every minute which is something even a discipline priest wouldn't scoff at and your voidwalker makes an excellent dump for soul link damage. Try not to lose him, you'll miss him when he's gone (or are voidwalkers female? hmmm).

The trick is to stay mobile. Drop your demonic circle on a ledge, preferably somewhere elevated and focus your combat around your circle. If the battle moves away from your circle the first thing you should do is move your circle. Not having a teleport available when things get too tricky is what causes most warlocks to die.
Dropping your circle on top of a wall means you'll have a nice place to return to to lick your wounds... leave the dying to the lesser mortals.

Spread your dots around, don't worry about trying to kill single targets, instead spread the corruption, use your curse of exhaustion and even throw in the occasional seed of corruption. Non-instant cast spells can be used occasionally but don't focus on trying to spread those around unless you have a lot of breathing room.

You're not a single target combatant but you have the potential to be worse than any catapult in large groups. If you do get caught out on your lonesome use your fear liberally, drain and bubble up as much as you can, you'll be amazed how frustratingly hard to kill you can be and sooner or later someone always comes by and saves the warlock.

Last but not least remember that drains are your friend. People often say draining is a lousy way to dps but personally I think doing damage while getting a bunch of hitpoints for free which can easily be converted to mana is priceless.

On stats

There's not much to say about stats. As a caster you get very little choice in the stat department and whilst I would love to say stack up on armor it's really not an option for us. Instead focus on stamina and spellpower like an ordinary warlock.
The choice between crit, haste and spirit is a bit of a toss up. Haste clearly does nothing for you except lower some GCD's which is nice but hardly crucial. Spirit vs crit is a debate in itself and I simply put to you to go with what you appreciate more. Personally I have a tendency to run with fel armor 99% of the time and spirit translates very nicely to spellpower in that way but as said crit vs. spirit is not a debate I am willing to take on.

Resilience as always is a good choice for any bg'ing warlock. 500 of it should be easy to obtain but you'll really start to feel the difference resilience can make once you get above 700.

All in all I have to say I am quite pleased with the builds. The second build was my attempt to irk out just that more damage without sacrificing too much mitigation and it seems to be working out well so far. While the damage still remains lackluster the combined effort of my pvp trinket, the demonic circle, a much needed defensive proc with the voidwalker sacrifice and the healthstone means that I can survive the initial burst of most of anything.

In the end these builds gave me what I wanted most out of the battlegrounds: The ability to /smile at a rogue and mean it.

That's something isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon this looking through google. Very interesting idea, and I appreciate that while it may not be competitive, it will give me a better chance of actually getting to have some fun in a BG.
Thanks for the read.

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