6.0.3 Demonology Guide by Zagam
This will be an ever-changing guide as improvements are made. This guide is live for 6.0.3 with the buffs from 11/25 in effect.
1. Specialization Overview / What Has Changed
In 6.0, Demonology received numerous changes that departs from the 5.4 model. Those changes include:
- Pandemic effect reduced from 50% to 30%. This effect is now baseline for all classes with HoTs and DoTs.
- Void Ray, Carrion Swarm, and Twilight Ward have been removed.
- Fel Flame has been removed.
- Snapshotting has been removed.
- Mastery: Master Demonologist has been reworked.
- DoTs no longer have traditional breakpoints; instead, they deal partial ticks
- Grimoire of Sacrifice has been removed and replaced with Grimoire of Synergy.
- Shadow Bolt and Soul Fire have had their damage coefficients modified.
- Summon Doomguard and Summon Infernal have had their damage coefficients increased.
- Hand of Gul'dan and Shadowflame damage coefficients have increased.
What this all translates from is Blizzard's mass removal of many abilities as well incorporating a "stat-squish" which vastly reduces the size of numbers in World of Warcraft's combat experience.
Pandemic used to be a Warlock exclusive ability that enabled them to freely cast their Damage-Over-Time effects (DoTs) within a larger window without losing DPS. This effect has been reduced to Warlocks and gained by all other classes in regards to DoT-type mechanics in that you can apply DoT and HoT (healing-over-time) spells to refresh the duration and add up to 30% of the original duration of the spell to the DoT time remaining. In 5.4, Doom had the ability to gain up to 30 additional seconds on the total duration. In 6.0, Doom will only be able to gain up to 18 additional seconds, for a total of 78, down from 90. Corruption will be reduced in the same manner dropping from 27 seconds in 5.4 to 23.4 seconds in 6.0. This means that Doom's application should happen only when the remaining time of Doom is below 18 seconds and Corruption's application should happen only when the remaining time of Corruption reads less than 6 seconds in 6.0.
The removal of snapshotting will impact Demonology on a rather large scale in terms of gameplay. Snapshotting Doom will no longer be a part of gameplay. Corruption was never snapshotted before, so this will be of little change. The major snapshotting change comes from how Hand of Gul'dan was snapshotted in 5.4, affectionately referred to as "HoG Weaving" which dealt with casting Hand of Gul'dan and then activating Metamorphosis to snapshot bonus damage. This no longer works with the re-working to Mastery: Master Demonologist. You will still, however, want to maximize a 2-stack of Shadowflame, the DoT that results from Hand of Gul'dan.
Partial Ticks & Haste
DoTs and Haste ratings have always had a reliable relationship. Certain Haste levels gained access to new ticks because of how Haste worked with DoT durations. In 5.4, gaining a certain amount of Haste lowered the duration of a DoT until it was reduced by the amount equal to the tick interval which gave an additional tick. In 6.0, the DoT duration will remain exactly the same as the tooltip says with a partial tick coming at the end of the duration. This removes the complication of finding certain Haste thresholds which is nice with the removal of Reforging.
To clarify more on partial ticks, in 5.4, a small amount of Haste might reduce the duration of Doom down to 56 seconds from 60 seconds. Instead of ticking 4 times every 15 seconds, Doom would tick 4 times every 14 seconds. However, when you got enough Haste that Doom would last 48 seconds, Doom would reset to a 60 second duration and include an additional tick thus ticking 5 times in 60 seconds. The benefit of hitting this breakpoint was two-fold: DoTs ticked for longer and ticked more often. The penalty for not achieving a threshold, however, was that you had to apply your DoTs more frequently, such as every 56 seconds in our example. In 6.0, with the same amount of Haste in 5.4, Doom would continue to tick for 60 seconds but would do it with the interval calculated in 5.4, every 14 seconds. When Doom has it's 4th tick in 6.0, it will deal full damage and have 4 seconds left on its remaining time. If Doom is not refreshed, Doom will tick for damage equivalent to the amount of time remaining. In this example, the amount of time remaining would be divided by the tick interval of 14 seconds, or 4/14. This would result in a partial tick equal to 28.57% of a normal tick. Partial ticks give all the bonus of hitting Haste thresholds without the penalties of not achieving a Haste breakpoint.
Dynamic updates to Haste effects will be of little worry since there's essentially nothing to control. If you have Haste procs up, the tick interval of your DoT will speed up giving you more ticks within that Haste proc's duration. If a DoT expires with a Haste proc up, the partial tick calculation would be the same as described above.
Grimoire of Sacrifice has made sense for other Warlock specializations, but hardly ever made sense for Demonology. For Demonology Warlocks, Grimoire of Sacrifice has been removed and been replaced with Grimoire of Synergy. This new talent works similarly to the Warlock T16 2 piece bonus.
Shadow Bolt, Soul Fire, Hand of Gul'dan, Corruption, Doom, and Shadowflame have all had their damage coefficients modified. These abilities will be tuned appropriately to make Demonology a balanced specialization.
Fel Flame has been removed which severely hurts Warlocks' mobility from 5.4 to 6.0. However, Demonology still has Touch of Chaos, Corruption, Doom, Hand of Gul'dan, Chaos Wave, and Life Tap, all of which can be cast on the move.
Demonology Warlocks will still focus on the optimized building and spending of Demonic Fury, maximizing Metamorphosis uptime, and maximizing Shadowflame uptime while maintaining 100% uptime on Doom and Corruption.
2. Racial Perks Evaluated
Racials have been modified in 6.0 to become more balanced going forward. Alliance Warlocks can be 1 of 4 races while Horde have access to 5 different Warlock races. Offensive perks are analyzed as follows:
These racial perks have been Simulated using Simcraft and show as follows:
Level 90 Demonology Horde
1. Goblin - 17,716
2. Orc - 17,694
3. Troll - 17,674
4. Undead - 17,666
5. Blood Elf - 17,579
*assume error of 0.25%
In complete seriousness, your race doesn't matter. They all give you something that is relatively the same and it comes down to preference. To give you an idea of scale, the difference between #1 and #5 is 0.77%. With offensive balance looking solid, take in consideration the bonus perks such as the Goblin Rocket Jump, Blood Elf's Arcane Torrent, or Orc's Hardiness. If that fails, take what looks the best.
Level 90 Demonology Alliance
1. Human - 17,793
2. Dwarf - 17,775
3. Worgen - 17,741
4. Gnome - 17,734
*assume error of 0.25%
Just as with Horde, the DPS variance here is so minimal that choosing one based on DPS performance is impossible. Consider the defensive traits such as Human's Every Man For Himself, Dwarf's Stoneform, Worgen's Darkflight, or the Gnome's Escape ability.
For fun, I've simulated the level 100 racial effect. The top is Gnome at 42,325 and the worst is Blood Elf at 41,879 for a difference of 446 DPS, or 1%.
In all honesty, the racial decision has been removed based on offensive power. They all have their own flavor which essentially lets you pick based on how you want to play, not what you are forced to play. Blizzard has done a great job balancing racials and balancing secondary stats to the point you can pick a gameplay style without affecting your DPS by more than a percentage point.
3. Talents & Glyphs Explained
Tier 1 - Defensive Tier
Soul Leech is going to be very strong for encounters with residual, constant raid damage. Harvest Life requires dropping from your optimal DPS rotation to heal which may be useful in Mythic level raiding. Dark Regeneration has a very potent heal, but its long cooldown makes it a choice for when burst damage comes less often. This talent is increased in efficency with the Glyph of Healthstone.
As a default, use Soul Leech. Exceptions can be made for the other two talents, but those will be unique situations.
Tier 2 - The CC Tier
Howl of Terror is somewhat useful against a pack of mobs but usually has limited usefulness in raids due to the scattering of mobs. Mortal Coil provides a very helpful heal on a 45 second cooldown which could prove to be very useful during periodic bursts of damage. Shadowfury is very useful when stunning adds. For fights without adds or the need for stuns, Mortal Coil will be the default selection.
For PvE, default to Mortal Coil unless stunning adds is beneficial to your raid group through Shadowfury.
Tier 3 - The Mitigation Tier
Soul Link proves to be very valuable as Demonology due to your pet being a reliable 20% damage reducing shield that works well in synergy with Soul Leech. On top of the damage reducing mechanic, you are also healed for 3% of the total damage done which is a great passive healing tool. Sacrificial Pact is superior for massive damage bursts that Soul Link can't mitigate as well. Dark Bargain usually has some unique places that it can be used, but the long cooldown makes Soul Link and Sacrificial Pact more valuable as a defensive survival talent.
For low to gradual raid damage, take Soul Link. For predictable spike damage, take Sacrificial Pact.
Tier 4 - The Utility Tier
Blood Horror has very little PvE implications since it requires a target to melee you. If adds are hitting you, something isn't going right with the encounter. If a boss is hitting you, something REALLY isn't going right with the encounter. Burning Rush is a very useful toggle ability that increases your speed by a whopping 50% at the cost of 4% of your HP per second. Use this sparingly but always when quick movement is called for. Burning Rush has been altered slightly from it's 5.4 version to where it will now go through absorption effects before consuming your HP which further values absorption effects. Unbound Will is useful in encounters where a Magic debuff will be applied to you and others putting a dispelling bind on healers. More often than not, your healers will handle dispels.
Burning Rush will be your default choice unless a unique situation calls for Unbound Will.
Tier 5 - Pet Tier
Grimoire of Supremacy will empower your default pet of a Felguard and turn him into a dual-wielding badass Wrathguard. This Wrathguard will do 20% more damage and generate 20% more Demonic Fury through his attacks. Grimoire of Service will grant the Warlock a cooldown with the ability to summon an Imp, Felhunter, Succubus, Voidwalker, or Felguard who will instantly use his or her signature attack and remain attacking its target for 20 seconds generating Demonic Fury as well. Grimoire of Synergy gives you and your pet a chance to proc Demonic Synergy which will give the other a 15% damage increase for 15 seconds. Grimoire of Synergy simulates at a 34% uptime and is currently tied with Grimoire of Supremacy.
Simulated Grimoire Choices
Single Target Normal GoSynergy = 30,038
Single Target Normal GoSupremacy = 30,038
Single Target Normal GoService = 29,068
Single Target Mythic GoSynergy = 42,296
Single Target Mythic GoSupremacy = 42,217
Single Target Mythic GoService = 40,876
For 2 Target and 3 Target, Grimoire of Supremacy pulls ahead of Synergy by 1,800 DPS with 2 targets and 3,700 DPS with 3 targets. Wrathguard seems to be hitting very hard with Mortal Cleave being your 3rd highest source of damage. Bring on the Armageddon wielding Wrathguards!
Tier 6 - The Enhancement Tier
Archimonde's Darkness grants an additional charge of Dark Soul: Knowledge. For Demonology Warlocks, this means an extra use of a 30% damage bonus. However, the charge system works like Hand of Gul'dan where each charge does not recharge independently. This means that you get 1 additional use of Dark Soul: Knowledge per fight meaning the longer the fight lasts, the lesser the value of Archimonde's Darkness. Kil'jaeden's Cunning grants full mobility while casting for 8 seconds on a 60 second cooldown. This ability has been nerfed significantly from its 5.4 cousin, but still could provide some useful DPS while moving on an encounter that has strict moving requirements. Mannoroth's Fury increases the radius and damage of Hellfire and Immolation Aura by a significant amount. The radius is increased by 500% and the damage is increased by 100%. This effect lasts for 10 seconds on a 60 second cooldown. This talent will prove to be very useful on fights with any amount of AoE. Even when a fight has minimal AoE, Mannoroth's Fury will still be a potent selection in a fight that is lengthy and has little movement requirements.
This talent selection will be on a fight by fight basis depending on the encounter's needs.
Tier 7 - The Destruction Tier
The level 100 talents provide a huge DPS boost to Demonology Warlocks in 3 different flavors. Demonbolt is a very potent spell that consumes Demonic Fury in a stacking fashion to deal high burst damage. Cataclysm is a large AoE ability that deals significant damage and applies Corruption ( Doom if in Metamorphosis) to all targets hit on a 60 second cooldown. Demonic Servitude makes your Doomguard, Terrorguard, Infernal, and Abyssal summonable as permanent pets.
Currently, Demonbolt is the clear winning talent in terms of additional DPS gained at level 100. This spell will have an impact on how Demonology is played because of the additional spell.
Talent selection is by and large a fight-by-fight decision. More information will be given on which talents to select on each fight in the encounter-specific guide made for Tier 17.
4. Stat Analysis
In 6.0, Hit and Expertise were removed leaving only Mastery, Crit, and Haste from 5.4. However, two new stats were added in 6.0 called Versatility and Multistrike. There have also been extra stats called Tertiary Stats that can be found on gear with similar frequency as seeing Warforged gear in 5.4. In 6.0, Demonology Warlocks also gain the passive ability Demonic Tactics, which is an attunement statistic added which gives 5% more Mastery from all sources.
Haste is the secondary that that makes everything go faster, namely spell casts and DoT tick speeds. For Demonology, Haste decreases the cast time of Soul Fire and Shadow Bolt while increasing the DoT tick speed of Hellfire, Immolation Aura, Doom, Corruption, and Hand of Gul'dan. Haste also decreases the global cooldown (GCD) of Touch of Chaos and Hand of Gul'dan. Haste also increases the attack speed of your pets.
Critical Strike (Crit) is the stat that gives you a percentage chance to deal 100% bonus damage to your target. All damage done by Demonology Warlocks is capable of dealing a Critical Strike. On top of dealing extra damage, Critical Strike plays an important role for 2 abilities: Soul Fire and Doom. When Doom critically strikes, a Wild Imp will be created which will deal damage and generate 50 Demonic Fury over 10 casts. Soul Fire's damage is always a Critical Strike and Critical Strike percentage further increases Soul Fire's damage.
Mastery: Master Demonologist is the stat that gives you a bonus percentage to you and your pet. Your Mastery stat also further increases damage of certain abilities while in Metamorphosis. Increasing Mastery increases your overall damage.
Multistrike is a new stat in 6.0 that gives you and your pet a percentage chance to deal 1 to 2 additional strikes that deal 30% of the original damage dealt. For example, if your Shadow Bolt hits for 10,000 damage, a Multistrike Shadow Bolt will hit for 3,000 additional damage. For each spell hit, your Multistrike chance is used to calculate whether or not a Multistrike hit is delivered. This happens twice per cast. Multistrike hits are capable of Critical Strikes even if the original ability did not Critically Strike. Similarly, Critical Strikes of the original spell do not guarantee Critical Strikes of the Multistrike hits. It is yet to be proven if Multistrike hits generate Demonic Fury.
Versatility is a new stat in 6.0 that gives you bonus damage and bonus damage mitigation. Point for point, it's a relatively weak stat compared to the rest, but it still has value as it's a flat DPS gain and a flat damage taken reduction.
Overall, the secondary stats in 6.0.3 are much closer in value to each other than they have ever been before. The balance between secondary stats has been a goal of Blizzard's and it's been done well. Simulationcraft stat weights show very little variance between builds which lends itself to playstyle variances. Early simulated values show Haste and Crit having high values followed closely by Mastery, Versatility, and Multistrike. With Demonbolt, Haste will play a strong part in building Demonic Fury quickly enough to have the amount required for burst windows but you don't need much more than 10%. This allows for ample building, even with moderate movement, in order to get to your next burn phase. Crit will empower Soul Fires and increase Demonic Fury generation via Wild Imps. These two stats will work together in harmony to give a good feel for Demonology. Multistrike, Versatility, and Mastery will be for DPS gains. Once you have enough Haste to create enough Demonic Fury for burn phases, the stats to go for will be Crit and everything else.
TL;DR - Mastery >= Haste (to about 10%) > Crit = Multistrike > Haste = Versatility
5. Gear Acquisition and Tier 17 Bonuses
Gear acquisition will come at the speed of content you and your guild are able to clear. There are many ways to collect gear and with secondary stats being moderately close in value, you'll traditionally want anything that is higher item level due to the higher amount of stats on the piece of gear. Warlock's Tier 17 gear is called Shadow Council.
Helm - Shadow Council's Hood
Shoulders - Shadow Council's Mantle
Chest - Shadow Council's Robes
Legs - Shadow Council's Leggings
Gloves - Shadow Council's Gloves
T17 2pc Bonus
The Item - Warlock T17 Demonology 2P Bonus states that Hand of Gul'dan will have an additional charge and Corruption will have a 2% chance to generate a charge of Hand of Gul'dan on each tick. This set bonus will greatly increase your Shadowflame uptime, give you an additional charge on an ability you can cast while moving, and increases the number of times you can cast Chaos Wave for burst AoE. Once this set bonus is acquired, be prepared to never let your Hand of Gul'dan charges get to 2 so that you don't waste a Corruption tick proc. Treat Hand of Gul'dan the same and you'll get additional Shadowflame uptime because of it.
T17 4pc Bonus
The Item - Warlock T17 Demonology 4P Bonus states that Hand of Gul'dan has a 50% chance to unleash your inner demon. What this translates to is that you get a new guardian pet type that comes out, fires out some Soul Fires, and then disappears. This passive damage is being tuned, but it currently presents about 1-2% of a DPS gain. The Soul Fires that this extra demon guardian do not generate Demonic Fury.
All in all, it is recommended to acquire both the 2pc and 4pc bonuses as both are significant DPS gains. The 2pc, however, is much more powerful than the 4pc bonus while the 4pc bonus is simply a passive DPS gain with no other effect.
6. Trinket Breakdown
There are 4 trinkets in Tier 17 that include 3 RPPM trinkets and 2 on-use trinkets. Just as before with 5.4, trinket procs and base values are calculated with the slightly confusing formula: P(ilvl) = P(665) * 1.15 ^ ((ilvl - 665)/15). To solve for a proc or base value, simply plug in the item level you're curious about. For example...
P(665) = 220 * 1.15 ^ ((665 - 665)/15) = 220. The 220 here is given with the 665 item level.
To solve for P(680), plug the value in...
P(680) = 220 * 1.15 ^ ((680-665)/15) = 253.
This value is listed as the 680 version of the RPPM trinkets which verifies that the baseline calculation for item levels is 665. If you can't follow this, don't sweat it - I break it down for you.
Darmac's Unstable Talisman
DUT is baseline Intellect with a Haste proc for 10 seconds with an RPPM value of 0.92. The Haste value and baseline Intellect scale with item level. This trinket will have the feel of Tempus Repit with a sizeable Haste proc being worth 65% of Bloodlust at the 665 item level and being worth almost Bloodlust at 695.
- 665 = 220 Intellect, 19.13% Haste
- 680 = 253 Intellect, 22.00% Haste
- 695 = 291 Intellect, 25.30% Haste
- 701 (Warforged) = 308 Intellect, 26.75% Haste
The Haste proc is called Instability with Spell ID = 177052.
Blackiron Micro Crucible
BMC is baseline Intellect with a Multistrike proc for 10 seconds that scales every 0.5 seconds and stacks 20 times. This trinket has an RPPM value of 0.92. With a rapidly building Multistrike value, this trinket will start off with little value but grow quickly into giving a burst spike of damage towards the end of the proc.
- 665 = 220 Intellect, 131 - 2620 Multistrike
- 680 = 253 Intellect, 150 - 3000 Multistrike
- 695 = 291 Intellect, 173 - 3460 Multistrike
- 701 (Warforged) = 308 Intellect, 183-3664 Multistrike
The Multistrike proc is called Molten Metal with Spell ID = 177085.
Goren Soul Repository
GSR is the 3rd of the RPPM trinkets with a value of 0.92 that works exactly as DUT except instead of Haste, the proc is Crit which lasts for 10 seconds.
- 665 = 220 Intellect, 1913 Crit Rating
- 680 = 253 Intellect, 2200 Crit Rating
- 695 = 291 Intellect, 2530 Crit Rating
- 701 (Warforged) = 308 Intellect, 2675 Crit Rating
The Crit proc is called Howling Soul with Spell ID = 177047.
CC is a trinket with an on-use proc that lasts for 20 seconds and has a 120 second CD. This trinket has obvious value in that you can control when it procs and has a proc length and CD equal to Dark Soul.
- 665 = 220 Intellect, 1467 Spell Power on use
- 680 = 253 Intellect, 1687 Spell Power on use
- 695 = 291 Intellect, 1940 Spell Power on use
- 701 (Warforged) = 308 Intellect, 2052 Spell Power on use
The Spell Power proc is called Sudden Clarity with Spell ID = 177594.
Shards of Nothing
SoN is a baseline Intellect trinket with a Haste on use that lasts for 20 seconds and has a 120 second CD.
- 655 = 201 Intellect, 13.37% Haste on use
- 670 = 231 Intellect, 15.38% Haste on use
- 685 = 266 Intellect, 17.68% Haste on use
- 691 (Warforged) = 281 Intellect, 18.70% Haste on use
The Haste proc is called Void Shards with Spell ID = 176875.
Without simulating the trinkets, the top two from a theoretical point would be 1 of the RPPM trinkets and CC. CC's value comes from being a dependable 2 minute cooldown with a 20 second duration making it ideal to line up with Dark Soul. For Demonology, the Haste proc is highly valuable and ensures higher DPS on a consistent basis since the Haste proc will affect 100% of your spells while under its effect. The Crit and Multistrike trinkets have some RNG within them that could underperform or overperform depending purely on RNG in terms of how many spells are effected from the trinket proc.
Simulated values show the RPPM trinkets with an average uptime of 18% at the 665 item level. CC would be up for 20 seconds every 120 seconds, so its uptime is calculated abetween 16.7% and 23%. For those of you who used BBoY and KTT in 5.4, you'll remember how good or how bad some of your trinket uptimes could be with RPPM proc rates. Remember this as you may see variance in individual pulls with the RPPM trinkets.
Simulated Trinket Values
665 Item Level
680 Item Level
695 Item Level
The first thing that should jump off the page of these numbers is how close they are. The clear winner is Copeland's Clarity with Goren Soul Repository and Darmac's Unstable Talisman in a close 2nd. My advice is to always use the highest item level of these three trinkets that you have. If you use Goren Soul Repository, you'll have lots of Crit damage. If you use Darmac's Unstable Talisman, you'll have some Haste procs that will help you build and spend DF. As a rule of thumb, always use the two highest item level trinkets you have, regardless of what they are. Even Shards of Nothing isn't that far behind, but the value of the trinket is a bit lower because of the lower item level.