Friday, March 14, 2008

In Soviet Russia, Party Help You! Warlock Edition

I was planning on doing a post on my Kara raid this weekend, but for reasons beyond my or my guild's control, I'm not going to be able to raid this weekend. Instead, I bring you the first of what I hope to be a series of posts on what classes/specs help your character do what it needs to do, and what your character brings to its party.

Since I've been giving Paladins all the attention recently, I'm switching gears a bit and starting with my first love in WoW, the Warlock. Now, to be honest, I don't really know anything about raiding as a Demonology Warlock, so what I'm writing here is primarily intended to cover Affliction and Destruction Warlocks.

Finally, I'm only covering classes/specs that help you by being in your party. This does not include, for an example, a Retribution Paladin who has Improved Seal of the Crusader, since, while this does help Warlocks, especially Destruction Warlocks, the Retribution Paladin does not have to be in your party in order to benefit you.

Classes/Specs that Help Warlocks:

Balance Druids (Boomkin) - A Boomkin in your party gives you a simple yet powerful buff: 5% increase to you spell crit chance. This is especially, and obviously, beneficial to Destruction Warlocks with the Ruin talent, which any Destruction Warlock should have. Affliction Warlocks, however, also gain a less obvious benefit from the Boomkin aura. Though dots, the Affliction Warlock's bread and butter, cannot crit, Affliction Warlocks do spend a decent amount of time casting Shadow Bolt, which can crit, and, with talents, increase shadow damage dealt to a target for up to 12 seconds.

Retribution Paladins - Although the Retribution spec only Sanctity Aura only increases holy damage done by members of the Paladin's party, and I can't seem to find any spells on my Warlock that deal holy damage, the improved version of the talent increases any Warlock's damage done by 2%.

Shadow Priests - The caster's best friend. Since Shadow Priests both heal and return mana to their party by doing damage, and since Warlocks can sacrifice health for mana via Life Tap, a Warlock with a Shadow Priest in their party will pretty much never run out of mana. Destruction Warlocks will probably get more out of a Shadow Priest, since they will not have Dark Pact, like most Affliction Warlocks do, and thus have more need for mana. To my fellow Affliction Warlocks, I'm sorry to say that we probably won't be grouped with a Shadow Priest all that often, unless no one else needs them, since we're already nearly perpetual mana machines.

Shamans - Since all Shamans have, for the most part, the same totems, you can get the same benefit from being partied with any of the three specs, depending on what totems they've decided to use for any particular fight. Healing Stream, Mana Spring, and Wrath of Air are all benefits to your dps, and some to your survivability. Some totems, however, are dependent on the Shaman's spec, and it is these that Warlocks should value the most.

Elemental Shamans - The Totem of Wrath is your friend when you are partied with an Elemental Shaman. It gives a similar spell crit benefit that the Boomkin aura does, with the added bonus of 3% spell hit. Destruction Warlocks should aim to be in an Elemental Shaman's party, since this is probably the best buff for your spec, which values spell hit and spell crit highly. While this certainly does help Affliction Warlocks, it's not quite as good as it is for your direct damage brethren.

Restoration Shamans - While a Restoration Shaman's Mana Tide Totem is very nice, returning 24% of your mana to you in only 12 seconds, it is on a five minute cooldown, and is probably the weakest of the listed classes/specs that help Warlocks. I'm not telling you to turn the Shaman's offer of free mana down, however, and you should always politely thank them for fueling your casting and life tap addiction.

How Warlocks Help their Party:

Sadly, Warlocks don't bring much to the table in terms of party buffs. While Warlocks, especially Affliction Warlocks, do bring buffs to a raid (which will be covered in a later post), the only party buff offered is the Imp's Blood Pact, which can be further improved with talents in the first tier of the Demonology tree.

I hope this is of help to all Warlocks out there, as well as raid leaders who may not know much about Warlocks and how to help their damage.

For the Horde and the Naaru!


Logan said...

I wouldn't underestimate the party bonus of Blood Pact. Take a boss like Naj'entus in Black Temple. Every raid member has to be at AT LEAST 8500 HP before someone throws the spine at him, or that person will die. An extra 700-900 HP added to some of the less health-heavy classes (priests immediately come to mind) can make a huge difference. Likewise, blood pact in the tank group can be that little extra bit of HP the tank needs to stay alive on big-hitting bosses.

The downside to the usefulness of this buff is that I, as an affliction lock, usually get stuck in the tank group. At best we get a shaman, and he's usually dropping his windfury or grace of air totem, so my DPS suffers. But, my DPS is irrelevant if the tank is dead, so I go along with it. :)

Nilum said...

I agree that every bit of health is important to the tank, especially since Blood Pact is a stam buff and is thus affected by BoKings.

I was under the impression, however, that most locks go destro by BT to improve their damage output. Since some of the best destro builds involve sacrificing your imp or succubus for fire or shadow damage, wouldn't keeping your imp out greatly hurt your damage output (by about 15%)?

Also, since squishier classes, such as mages or priests, can't always depend on having a lock willing to keep their imp out, I feel that it's more their responsiblity to have a stam set ready for fights that require a minimum of health.

Messyah said...

How Warlocks Help their Party: