An affliction warlock's damage is based on several spells with very high damage per cast time which do damage over time instead of having a cooldown.
Shadow Bolt and Drain Soul are used as filler spells in between those DoTs.
Our interest is damage, and lots of it. While surviving is important in raids, it is usually based on what you do rather than what your equip is like as long as you are not the tank. The stats that influence your damage output are:
As of patch 4.0, spirit has no significant influence on warlock dps anymore.
For BiS (Best in slot) Gear and default spec, the stat-to-dps ratios are:
[table]Stat | SimCraft | This guide's analysis
Intellect | 4.1835 |
Spell Power | 3.0770 |
Hit Rating | 5.0114 |
Mastery Rating | 2.6345 |
Haste Rating | 3.2885 |
Crit Rating | 2.0733 |
As always, take them with a grain of salt, especially right after a patch.
Hit Rating has always been the most important stat, now followed by Intellect. Spell Power is mainly provided by Intellect, only a few exceptions like weapons, trinkets and socket bonuses exist. Haste rating ist still preferable to crit as well as to the new mastery rating.
A short note on hit rating: A miss will not only cost you considerable damage, it will also screw up your spell priorities. Reaching the hit cap is highly recommended. As you see above, it is the best dps stat anyway, so there is no reason not to be near the or slightly over the cap. As the value of hit becomes zero when reaching the cap, don't waste any item points after you reached it.
The most important talents of affliction specs are covered here. Talents that are no clear or significant DPS increase are marked as OPTIONAL.
1|Doom and Gloom|Decent boost to your banes.
1|Improved Corruption| Decent boost to Corruption.
1|Improved Life Tap| Reduces the time needed for mana regeneration. OPTIONAL.
2|Jinx|Applies CoE (Curse of Elements) to all nearby targets when cast. OPTIONAL.
2|Soul Siphon|Significant improvement to your finishing spell.
2|Siphon Life|Increases Selfhealing. OPTIONAL.
3|Curse of Exhaustion|Utility Curse. OPTIONAL.
3|Improved Fear|Feared targets are slowed after the Fear. OPTIONAL.
3|Eradication|Decent haste proc.
4|Improved Howl of Terror|OPTIONAL.
4|Soul Swap| Helps switching targets. OPTIONAL.
4|Shadow Embrace|As ~50% of your damage comes from dots, this one is definitely worth it.
5|Death's Embrace|+12% damage for roughly one third of the fight, so about 4% overall damage for three talent points. While this seems mediocre, one shouldn't underestimate that the sub 35% phase is most often the crucial phase of a fight and your dps in this phase will be higher anyway because of Drain Soul, giving this Talent another edge.
5|Nightfall|Saves some time on your filler spell.
5|SoulBurn: Seed of Corruption| An AoE-Cooldown. OPTIONAL.
6|Everlasting Affliction| Refreshing Corruption on main targets.
6|Pandemic|Reduces Banes and Curses to 1s and eases the rotation (which also results in a dps increase) in the finishing phase.
===Demonology and Destruction===
1|Dark Arts|Increases Pet DPS. OPTIONAL.
1|Bane|Reduces filler cast time.
1|Shadow and Flame|An important raid boss debuff as well as a boost to our filler.
This spec covers every non-optional talent in the affliction tree. Choosing 3/3 Shadow and Flame is actually a slight dps loss over 3/3 Bane but enables you to safely garant the boss debuff in the finishing phase. As Warlocomotif already pointed out, optional talents are, well, optional.
To include [spell]Soul Burn: Seed of Corruption[/spell] into your spec (which comes in quite handy on add fights) you have to sacrifice one point in a non-optional talent. A good choice is Nightfall which contributes only minimal DPS.
==Pets and Guardians==
The usual DPS pet is the Succubus which does slightly more damage than the Fel Hunter (~10%) when glyphed (and currently, there is no alternative glyph).
The Doomguard (single target) and Infernal (AoE) have now become Guardians which can (and should) be active next to your pet. Think of them as damage cooldowns (which actually means that we finally HAVE a damage cooldown). The guardians take a snapshot of your stats when summoned, so optimize that moment with trinket procs etc. Furthermore, both can be buffed, so ideally summon them right before a heroism. Both of the pets will only directly attack targets that have a bane spell, so make sure one is active before summoning them. They share a 10min CD.
Pet buff food increases the pet's dps only very slightly and does not affect your own dps. However, when you want to squeeze out every point of dps possible, use it.
In a normal tank and spank scenario these spells will be used:
- Haunt (A very important debuff and a Corruption refresh)
- Shadow Bolt (filling the gaps when everything else is applied)
- Drain Soul (same as Shadow Bolt when the target is below 25% hp)
- Corruption (bread and butter dot)
- Unstable Affliction (dot)
- Life tap (Mana regeneration)
- Bane of Agony
- Curse of Weakness, Elements, Tongues (depending on the raid situation)
- Summon Doomguard, Summon Inferno (Guardians)
- Soul Burn (Situational spell buff)
==How does item comparison work?==
Take as an example. Ignoring weapon damage and stamina (no dps increase), it has the following stats:
- +63 Crit Rating
- +63 Haste Rating
- +992 spell power
There are two problems about this model:
- The ratings for the equipment are affected by the equipment. However, these effects are small, e.g. the value of spell power increases by less than eight percent for a whole tier of gear and all of the ratings know only one way: up! Every upgrade of the equipment increases the stat values. As all of them increase roughly by the same percentage, this effect can be ignored. However, there is one exception, spell hit, which changes to a zero value when you reach the cap.
- It's just a model. However, even an easy to understand model will be more accurate than using no model at all.
I did only include epic quality gems and metas. First of all, if you socket low quality gems into epic raid gear, you should die in a fire. Second, if the epic spell power gem is better than the epic crit gem, the same is true for the lower quality ones.
I did not include gems that make no sense for warlocks.
===Chaotic Skyflare Diamond===
The 's special effect increases the damage coefficients for critical hits from 150%/200% to 154.5%/209%. This also affects DoT crits, increasing our DPS bya large amount (more than 500 DPS). So, the effect itself completely outdamages every other Meta Gem, making CSD a clear choice.
The runspeed Meta Gem is no alternative: It does not stack with the boot enchant and even the special effect of the CSD gives a lot more dps than the whole boot enchant does, so if you want runspeed, put it on your shoes.
Yellow | ,
Orange | ,
As a meta gem, use the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond.
If you want to match the socket colors...
Red slot: or .
Blue slot: or .
Yellow slot: or .
===When to break the socket color?===
Red colored sockets should never be broken, use s all the way. When it comes to blue sockets, try to break as few of them as you can, using s. When you reach the hit cap, switch to , no socket bonus is good enough to compensate for 10 Intellect. Yellow slots loose roughly 9 DPS (~3 Spell Power) over Red Slots, so a yellow slot must result in at least 3 bonus Spell Power per slot, otherwise use again.
Just some Lootrank-Links according to the Stat Scaling:
Lootrank using Simcraft-RatiosLoot Rank
Same ignoring hit:Loot Rank
Empty sockets are expected to be filled with the best gem available, even socketing the wrong color if the result gives more dps. As long as your meta is still activated, that's fine.
Set bonuses are not included. There is a dps estimation about the set bonuses in the math part.
Meta Gems are not included. Just ignore head pieces without meta slot, they are not good.
Reforging lowers a secondary stat (anything but Intellect and Stamina) by 40% and increases another secondary stat not yet present on the item by this amount. Example: has 63 crit rating. By reforging, 40% of this (which would be 25 crit rating) could be switched to Mastery. As the weapon already has Haste Rating, it is not possible add more Haste Rating to it.
According to the Stat-Ratios, the Reforging Strategy should be:
Reforge Spirit to Hit when below cap after gemming, otherwise to Haste Rating if possible, otherwise to Mastery Rating.
If the item has no Spirit, reforge Crit Rating to Haste Rating if possible, otherwise to Mastery Rating.
If the item has neither Spirit nor Crit Rating, reforge Haste to Hit if you are unable to reach the hit cap otherwise.
If the item has neither Spirit nor Crit Rating nor Haste Rating but Mastery Rating, you actually missed the Cataclysm.
If none of the cases above applies (which is very unlikely), don't reforge at all.
There are only 4 Prime Glyphs of Interest for Affliction warlocks. Simulations show that Glyph of Corruption gives the smallest DPS increase. Among the major glyphs, Shadow Bolt and Life Tap give very slight DPS increases but are not obligatory while Glyph of Soul Swap is quite strong on target switches. Among the Minor Glyphs there is no DPS increasing Glyph at all.
Shoulders: Master's Inscription of the Storm ,
Cloak: Lightweave Embroidery, Enchant Cloak - Greater Speed
Chest: Enchant Chest - Powerful Stats
Wrist: Enchant Bracers - Superior Spellpower
Gloves: Enchant Gloves - Exceptional Spellpower
Legs: Sapphire Spellthread
Boots: Enchant Boots - Icewalker, Enchant Boots - Tuskarr's Vitality
Weapon: Enchant Staff - Greater Spellpower, Enchant Weapon - Mighty Spellpower, Enchant Weapon - Black Magic*
*It is rather unclear whether Black Magic is better than Mighty Spellpower.
Mixology will increase the spell power gained from your Flask of the Frost Wyrm by 47. Additionally, you are able to use Crazy Alchemist's Potion which can have any potion effect (from +500 haste to +1200 armor ...) and your flasks/elixiers will be active twice as long.
Blacksmiths can socket Bracers and Gloves with an extra gem slot, giving 2x20 Intellect (if that is your gem of choice).
Enchanters can improve both of their rings with Greater Spellpower, giving 2x23 spell power.
Engineers can improve their Gloves with Hyperspeed Accelerators.
which is an average +48 Haste Rating.
They also get Springy Arachnoweave and a boost device for your boots, increasing survivability. As the Currently, the Engineering enchants do not overwrite the normal enchants anymore.
Herbalism offers Lifeblood, offering a Haste CD on a 2 minute timer, averaging 40 Haste Rating.
Inscribers/Inscriptors/Inscription-Users get an own Shoulder Enchant that is definitely better (46 more spell power) than the epic one from the Sons of Hodir.
Jewelcrafter can socket three times, which is 3x14=42 Intellect more than the rare quality gems would give.
Leatherworkers gain Fur Lining instead. This is 47 more spell power than the best possible enchant.
Miners are pretty tough, but this does not really help when raiding as a warlock.
Skinners become Masters of Anatomy. 40 crit rating is of course weaker than the "usual" 47/48 spell power from other professions.
Tailors can enchant their cloaks with Lightweave Embroidery.
Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting are far superior now, followed by Engineering. The rest of the professions are close to one another or identical, with the exception of the mediocre Skinning and the still useless Mining.
While everybody wants BiS lists, gearing up is more important than being geared, so don't miss good available upgrades because you wait for the BiS item you might never get. I suggest using the Lootrank lists instead of BiS lists when deciding whether an item is worth it. Furthermore, the Hit Cap always plays a role, therefore I gave both a non-hit and a hit Lootlink.
=General playing tips=
==How much hit rating is best?==
The hit cap for casters is exactly 17% against a raid boss, equal to 446 Hit Rating. There are no sources for Hit or Hit rating except your gear, so you have to reach 446 rating on your gear to stop any cast misses on boss level mobs.
As many classes, we do not have a rotation but a priority system. There is no fixed sequence because of different timers, some of them having random elements (like haste procs, Nightfall etc.). The general rule of thumb is: Highest DPCT first. Almost no matter what your equip looks like, your DPCT list will always look like this:
- Unstable Affliction
- Bane of Agony
- Drain Soul @ <25% HP
- Shadow Bolt
Of course Haunt actually has the lowest DPCT, but casting haunt reapplies Corruption. So consider Haunt as "I'm reapplying Corruption and do some direct damage and apply / refresh two very important debuffs", making it the best DPCT spell.
For the beginning of the fight or a new target, see below.
===When should I recast my DoTs?===
Unstable Affliction and Bane of Agony can now be refreshed by themselves, meaning that if you hit a target with UA that already is afflicted by UA, the new UA will start right after the next tick of the old UA. For example if an (unhasted) UA has 7 seconds left, it would deal damage after 1, 4 and 7 seconds. If your new UA spell hits when UA has 7 seconds left, the duration would be increased to 16 seconds, thus consuming the last two ticks but NOT the next tick. Therefore, the best moment to recast UA is just so that it hits before the very last tick. This way, no ticks are consumed and the uptime is 100%.
Not complicated enough? Bane of Agony makes it even worse as it ticks very fast and the last ticks are stronger than the first ones of the newly applied BoA, so it is rather unclear if "precasting" it is actually a dps increase.
===I could cast a Shadow Bolt, but BoA has only 2s left, what to do?===
Situations like that will happen all the time during fights. The general rule is: You should always be casting. Always. If you are able to fill gaps like that with a clever Life Tap, fine. But there is nothing wrong about dots ticking for the last time while you are casting a shadow bolt. Remember that while the dots have very high DPCT, they don't have high dps. Applying them a second later won't hurt. Not casting anything for one second will reduce your damage by the dps of Shadow Bolt.
===What about temporary buffs/debuffs and dots?===
DoTs now scale immediately with all buffs you have and debuffs the target has, so there is no "rolling" of crit ratings or modifiers anymore. I do not yet have any reliable data about damage-increasing debuffs on the player (like Lady Lanathel's Bite).
===What is the optimal start?===
The optimal starting sequence is now Corruption->Unstable Affliction->Bane of Agony->Haunt->Shadow Bolt, just according to the priority list (starting with Haunt makes no sense as there are no DoTs benefiting from it yet).
Starting with Shadow Bolt just for the sake of the Shadow Embrace debuff makes no sense: An early Corruption will provide two or three more ticks, an early Shadow Embrace will increase two or three ticks by 15%, which is obviously weaker.
However, if you don't have to move into the combat and are able to precast, starting with a perfectly timed Shadow Bolt (which will launch the moment the Raid leader says "go") is the best option if you trust in your tanks.
==Can I have too much haste?==
The reason for this question being asked many times by affliction warlocks is the following: Most of your spells (all of them except shadow bolt and drain soul) have a 1.5s casting time or are instant casts, meaning they have a 1.5s global cooldown following the cast. Haste reduces both in the same way. But there is a hard cap, neither the casting time of a spell nor the GCD can be reduced below 1s (In fact, the casting time can be reduced below 1s, but this triggers a short GCD, extending it to 1s). This means that the majority of your spells won't benefit from haste anymore (regarding their cast time) if you reach this cap.
The first question should be: Can I actually reach that cap with "normal" gear?
The formula for is:
Real Casting Time = Original Casting time /(1+Haste in percent).
As an example, 100% haste would change a two second cast to a one second cast ("100% faster").
To reduce a 1.5s cast to 1s, you would need 50% haste.
There are different sources of haste, one of them being your haste rating. Different sources of haste are multiplicative, not additive.
In a raid situation, there are probably an elemental totem (+5% haste) and a moonkin aura or a retribution aura (+3% haste) present. Those multiply up to 1.05*1.03=1.0815 -> 8.15%. To get 50% haste, you would need 1.50/1.0815 = 1.387 -> 38.7% haste from haste rating, which would be 1268.97 rating points. This is quite reachable in ICC gear.
Furthermore, there are effects like Bloodlust/Heroism and Eradication increasing your haste by a large amount.
When Eradication procs, you would only need 1.50/(1.0815*1.20) -> 15.6% haste or 511.5 haste rating. I would consider this to be the "very soft" cap.
When Bloodlust hits, it's only 1.50/(1.0815*1.30) -> 6.7% haste or 219.3 haste rating. Obviously, when both hit at the same time, you'll need nothing: 1.50/(1.0815*1.30*1.20) -> -11.1%, so you're already way over the cap.
Does this mean we're haste capped? In fact, we are haste soft capped. But most of the damage haste brings comes from casting faster shadow bolts and Drain Souls, not from casting faster DoTs. In fact, even after reaching 1s spells, the DoTs still scale with haste in their tick frequency. So, after all, haste will always be among the best secondary stats, no matter what amount you reach.
==The proper use of Drain Soul==
First of all, Drain Soul does not "recheck" the percentage of the target. This means that if you start casting it when the mob is at 26%, you won't get the 4x damage bonus for the whole casting time. If the mob heals itself after you applied drain soul, it WILL do 4x the damage for the whole casting time. So start casting when the mob is definitely below 25%.
Keep in mind that your DoTs and the Haunt debuff are still the most important source of damage and furthermore increase the amount of damage Drain Soul does, so clipping Drain Soul to recast BoA or Haunt as soon as they fall of is a significant damage optimization. The best moment to clip DS is right after a tick, of course.
Haunt itself has an 8s cd while the debuff(s) it applies last(s) for 12s. This leads to the idea of delaying Haunt (which has very poor DPCT itself) until the last possible moment. However, Haunt has a very long flight time and under normal circumstances you are not able to hit the exact moment to recast it, and losing the debuff for a few DoT ticks will cost more DPS than you win by delaying Haunt, so use this with care or don't use it at all.
==Using Soul Swap==
The unglyphed Soul Swap takes two GCDs to transfer a maximum of three DoTs to another target. As long as the old target still lives, this is in fact a DPS loss because simply applying the DoTs to the new target in the classic way would not stop the old ones from ticking. However, the changes Soul Swap to a very strong CD on add fights that should be used on every given opportunity.
On a two- or three-targets fight, using a glyphed Soul Swap and alternating Shadow Bolts and Haunt to apply Shadow Embrace and the Haunt debuff should give the best results. More than three targets usually justify AoE. Applying Corruption on many targets by Soul Burn: Seed of Corruption delivers very high DPS on multi-target fights like Saurfang or Arthas.
==Short fights and adds==
->Needs some love<-
==Is movement speed worth it?==
First of all, the crit meta gem effect gives just too much dps to ignore, so unless you simply cannot use it for some very strange reason, we're talking about the boot enchant here, the meta is untouchable.
Obviously, if you stand still from start to finish, movement speed is useless. But most encounters force you to move, at least from time to time. To get a dps estimation of movement speed, I just calculated how much dps I would loose when casting half a second less shadow bolts within a whole minute (dots still ticking). The result is ~100 dps. While this is not game breaking, it is actually pretty much for a boot enchant, and saving half a second per minute seems to be a reasonable, small value - on some encounters, the enchant will probably bring a lot more dps as you move "all the time" - and don't underestimate the added survival, either. For many high-rated players, the added survival alone justifies this enchant.
Timers, Raid Announcements, Warning sounds. Many ways to configure each and every aspect.
Most of the provided information is not important enough to be on your screen in my opinion (like a ritual of summoning mod for example), but there are some nice ones.
Graphical effects and timers for all kinds of events (spell cooldowns, talent procs, debuff timers and so on). Although a very small part of the functionally made it baseline in the Blizzard UI, this is still a bread-and-butter addon for raiders.
Offers a sound and raidwarning when the target reaches the 25% mark and a sound warning every time Drain Soul ticks, making the clipping a little easier. Every aspect can be turned off for itself. Definitely a helpful and light-weighted addon.
the damage model has not been fully updated yet, I'm working on it.
In this part, the stat weights used above are calculated by an easy to understand yet hopefully accurate damage model.
[TABLE]Stat | ICC BiS
Spell Power | 1412
Hit Chance | 16%
Haste Percent | 35%
Crit Percent | 35%
Intellect | 1827
Note that this is without Spell Power from Intellect.
An optimal raid setup (and almost all setups are nearly optimal now) gives you:
- +3% damage (Communion, Ferocious Inspiration, Arcane Tactics)
- +5% Crit chance (Leader of the Pack, Elemental Oath, Rampage, Honor among Thieves)
- +5% Spell Haste (Wrath of Air Totem, Moonkin Form, Shadow Form)
- +10% Spell Power (Totemic Wrath, Demonic Pact)
- Stat multiplier 105% (Blessing of Kings, Mark of the Wild)
- Fel Armor: 250 Spell Power
- Flask of the Frostwyrm +125 spell power
- Good food gives 46 spell power.
- Professions: Two "good" professions will give about 48 spell power each, so this is another 96 spell power.
- +8%damage taken by spells (Curse of Elements, Earth & Moon, http://www.wowhead.com/spell=51160, Master Poisoner)
- +5% spell crit chance (Critical Mass, Shadow and Flame)
This changes the stats fully raid-buffed to:
[TABLE]Stat | ICC BiS
Spell Power | 3956
Hit Chance | 16%
Haste Percent | 43%
Crit Percent | 46%
Intellect | 2014
This model uses a static fight scenario. Does DPS on vacuum Patchwerk matter? It does. When you can't deal damage in a Tank&Spank scenario, you won't deal damage anywhere else. The opposite might not be true, but that depends on you, not your class or talents. How much DPS will you loose when moving? I honestly don't know. I don't care. You will lose dps when moving, so minimize your moving while surviving to maximize your dps, and that is all you need to know.
I assume Glyphs according to the actual cookie cutter spec given in the Talent section - Haunt, Bane of Agony and Lash of Pain.
The 4pT10 bonus is included in the final DPS as a static damage modifier.
==Haste and the number of DoT ticks==
All DoT tick intervals (except Bane of Doom) are affected by haste now. The interval between two ticks is reduced in the same way as spell cast time, e.g. a DoT with an interval of 3s will become a DoT with an interval of 2s at 50% haste (3s / (1 + 0.50) = 2). The duration of the DoT, however, does not decrease like that (as that would lead to very short durations). Instead, the DoT simply ticks often enough to reach the original duration +- half of the actual interval length. For example, a DoT with an original duration of 18s and a shortened tick interval of 2.2s would tick 8 times and fade after 17.6s while a tick interval of 2.1s would lead to 9 ticks and a 18.9s duration.
==Damage model for each spell==
Base tick: 150
Base # of ticks: 6
Spell Power coefficient: 0.2 per tick
Damage increased by: Shadow Mastery, Potent Afflictions, Death's Embrace, Shadow Embrace, Haunt.
Base tick: 200
Base # of ticks: 5
Spell Power coefficient: 0.2 per tick
Damage increased by: Shadow Mastery, Potent Afflictions, Death's Embrace, Shadow Embrace, Haunt
===Bane of Agony===
Base tick: 65 * n (where n starts at 1 and increases every 4 ticks)
Spell Power coefficient: 0.1 per tick
Damage increased by Shadow Mastery, Potent Afflictions, Death's Embrace, Shadow Embrace, Haunt.
Base damage: 635
Spell Power coefficient: 0.429
Damage increased by: Shadow Mastery, Death's Embrace, Shadow Embrace.
Base tick: 78
Base # of ticks: 5
Spell Power coefficient: 0.42856 per tick
Damage increased by: Shadow Mastery, Potent Afflictions, Death's Embrace, Shadow Embrace, Haunt and Soul Siphon.
Base damage: 573 to 639
Spell Power coefficient: 0.8571
Damage increased by: Shadow Mastery, Shadow and Flame, Death's Embrace.
Chaotic Skyflare diamond changed to 206%? Needs testing.
Simulation regarding haste soft cap.