In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.
Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Demonology Warlock rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).
We will first list the most important changes to the Demonology Warlock Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.
Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.
Removed Abilities and MechanicsMany abilities from the Affliction and Destruction specialisations have been removed. Most of those that remain are not available to Demonology Warlocks in Mists of Pandaria: Bane of Agony, Bane of Doom, Curse of Tongues, Curse of Weakness, Death Coil, Drain Soul, Immolate, Incinerate, Rain of Fire, Searing Pain, Seed of Corruption, and Soul Swap.
In addition, many Demonology-specific talents, abilities, and mechanics have been removed: Demon Armor, Demonic Empowerment, Infernal Awakening, Aura of Foreboding, Cremation, Fel Synergy, Mana Feed, and Shadow and Flame.
Changed Abilities and MechanicsThere have been a number of minor changes, such as:
- Twilight Ward replacing Shadow Ward, and absorbing Shadow and Holy damage (instead of only Shadow damage);
- Ritual of Souls being renamed to Create Soulwell, or Create Soulstone being renamed to Soulstone;
- Fel Armor being a passive skill, increasing Stamina and Armor, and increasing healing generated through your own spells and effects;
- Howl of Terror now being a Tier 2 talent and having been slightly redesigned (as we will see in the talent section);
- Enslave Demon increasing the time between the target's attacks by 50% and reducing the target's casting speed by 50%;
- Curse of the Elements now only increasing magic damage taken by 5% and no longer inflicting a magic resistance reduction;
- Soul Harvest now being a passive ability that makes you regenerate health out of combat (previously, it had to be cast, while out of combat, to regenerate health and Soul Shards, which are now an Affliction-specific resource);
- Demonic Rebirth now having a 20-second duration, up from 10;
- Dark Intent now being a raid-wide buff providing +10% spell power.
- Soul Fire still has a 4-second cast, but each cast now has a 100% chance to be a critical strike and the damage of the spell is increased by your critical strike chance.
- Demonic Leap used to only be available during Metamorphosis and used to stun and damage enemies around the landing area. In Mists of Pandaria, this ability activates Metamorphosis and it can only be used to move a short distance. It no longer damages or stuns the enemies.
- Hellfire can now be channelled while moving. Previously this was granted by your Inferno talent.
- Hand of Gul'dan no longer increases the chance that Warlock demons will critically hit against the target. Instead, it applies Shadowflame, which deals damage over 6 seconds, reduces the enemy's speed by 30%. Hand of Gul'dan no longer has a cooldown. Instead, it uses a system of charges. Using Hand of Gul'dan consumes a charge and you need at least 1 charge to use this spell. Every 15 seconds, you regenerate a charge, up to 2 charges.
- Molten Core no longer affects the damage and the cast time of Incinerate, which is now a Destruction-only spell. Instead, it reduces the cast time and the mana cost of your next Soul Fire by 50%.
- Molten Core has an 8% chance to proc when Shadowflame or a Wild Imp (a new ability, see next section) deals damage.
- Decimation, in a similar manner as the old talent of the same name, is a passive ability that causes your Soul Fire and Shadow Bolt to have a 100% chance to grant you Molten Core when cast on a target below 25% health.
- Dark Soul: Knowledge is a new DPS cooldown that is specific to Demonology Warlocks and that grants +12516 Mastery Rating for 20 seconds on a 2-minute cooldown. Other Warlock specialisations have their own variant of the spell.
- Unending Resolve provides 50% damage reduction for 12 seconds, on a 3-minute cooldown.
- Demonic Gateway is your level 87 spell. It is an extremely interesting ability, the usefulness of which will soon be very obvious to you. It creates a gateway between your current location and the location that you click (the maximum distance seems to be about 100 yards). The gateway initially has 0 charges and will generate a new charge every 15 seconds, up to a maximum of 5 charges. A charge is consumed every time someone steps in the gateway (on either end). Stepping through the gateway, on either end, will transport you to the other end. It will also apply a buff to you, which prevents you from using the gateway for the next 15 seconds and reduces your threat for 15 seconds.
- Curse of Enfeeblement reduces the physical damage done by your target by 20% and increases the casting time of all its spells by 50%.
- Wild Imps is a passive ability that causes your Shadow Bolt, Soul Fire, and Touch of Chaos abilities to summon a Wild Imp that will cast 10 Firebolt before disappearing. This effect has a 20 seconds cooldown.
- Pandemic is your level 90 ability. It causes the remaining duration of your DoTs to be added to the new duration when you refresh them, up to 50% of the base duration.
Finally, you get many new abilities that are only available after using Metamorphosis, as we will see in the next section.
Demonic Fury and MetamorphosisDemonic Fury is your new resource in Mists of Pandaria. It will greatly influence your play style as you will build Demonic Fury with your damaging abilities before using Metamorphosis to gain access to abilities that will consume your Demonic Fury.
Your bar of Demonic Fury has a maximum capacity of 1000. Out of combat, you will rapidly regenerate up to 200 Demonic Fury. Additional Demonic Fury must be generated during combat by using your abilities (all your offensive abilities generate Demonic Fury). In demon form, Demonic Fury decays at a fixed rate of approximately 6 Demonic Fury per second. In addition, many of your abilities are transformed into Demonic Fury-consuming abilities.
When your amount of Demonic Fury reaches below 40, your demon form will automatically be removed. Independently of your amount of Demonic Fury, you can cancel your demon form at any time by using Metamorphosis again.
In Cataclysm, Metamorphosis was only granting you Demonic Leap and Immolation Aura.
In Mists of Pandaria, Metamorphosis transforms some of your abilities. Hover over the tooltips to see how much Demonic Fury each ability generates/consumes.
- Hand of Gul'dan becomes Chaos Wave, which damages all enemies within 6 yards of your target (reducing their movement speed by 30% for 6 seconds) and has a 100% chance to trigger Molten Core.
- Curse of the Elements becomes Aura of the Elements, which applies Curse of the Elements to all targets within 20 yards of your target (or of yourself, if you have no target).
- Curse of Enfeeblement becomes Aura of Enfeeblement, which applies Curse of Enfeeblement to all targets within 20 yards of your target (or of yourself if you have no target).
- Corruption becomes Doom, which deals a large amount of damage over time and summon a Wild Imp every time a tick critically hits.
- Hellfire becomes Immolation Aura, which, once activated, will grant you the same AoE damage as Hellfire, just that it does not need to be channeled (i.e., you can do other things while it is pulsing) and it no longer deals damage to you.
- Shadow Bolt becomes Touch of Chaos, which deals slightly less damage than Shadow Bolt, but is instant-cast and adds 6 seconds to the duration of your Corruption DoT, to a maximum of 27 seconds (18 seconds + 50%).
- Fel Flame becomes Void Ray, which deals damage to enemies in a 20-yard line in front of you and extends the duration of Corruption DoT, in the same manner as Touch of Chaos.
Casting another ability than those mentioned above while in demon form will cancel demon form.
DemonsBy default, you can summon one of five demons to help you fight your foes.
- The Felguard will be your demon of choice for raiding. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Legion Strike and Pursuit. It can also cast Felstorm and Axe Toss.
- The Imp may have its uses for raiding, though it does not do as much damage as the Felguard. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Firebolt, Singe Magic, and Blood Pact. It can also cast Flee if you instruct it to.
- The Succubus may have its uses for raiding, though it does not do as much damage as the Felguard. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Lash of Pain, Seduction, and Lesser Invisibility. It can also cast Whiplash if you instruct it to.
- The Voidwalker will be your demon of choice while leveling up. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Shadow Bulwark, Suffering, and Torment. It can also cast Disarm if you instruct it to.
- The Felhunter will be your demon of choice for PvP, though its spell can have some use in PvE. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Devour Magic and Shadow Bite. It can also cast Spell Lock if you instruct it to.
Also, you have the Command Demon ability, which, if put on your action bar, will change with the demon you are using. For the Voidwalker, the Felhunter, and the Succubus, this ability will cast their manual ability. For the Felguard, it will cast Felstorm. For the Imp, it will cast Cauterize Master, which does not seem to be otherwise available.
Grimoire of Supremacy is a Tier 5 talent that improves your demons with better abilities.
- The Felguard becomes a Wrathguard. Legion Strike is replaced by Mortal Cleave and Felstorm is replaced by Wrathstorm.
- The Imp becomes a Fel Imp. Firebolt is replaced by Felbolt and Singe Magic is replaced by Sear Magic.
- The Succubus becomes a Shivarra. Lash of Pain is replaced by Bladedance, Seduction by Mesmerize, and Whiplash by Fellash.
- The Voidwalker becomes a Voidlord. Shadow Bulwark is replaced by Threatening Presence.
- The Felhunter becomes an Observer. Devour Magic is replaced by Clone Magic, Shadow Bite by Tongue Lash, and Spell Lock by Optical Blast.
Your demon DPS cooldowns are replaced by more powerful versions: a Terrorguard ( Summon Terrorguard) for single-target damage or an Abyssal ( Summon Abyssal) for AoE damage.
Your Command Demon ability will cast the manual ability of your demon, except for the Fel Imp, for which it casts Cauterize Master (as it does for the Imp).
RotationYour rotation has undergone drastic chances since Cataclysm. You will have two rotations, one for building up Demonic Fury, another one for spending Demonic Fury.
To build Demonic Fury, use the following rotation.
- Keep Corruption up.
- Cast Hand of Gul'dan when you have a charge and Hand of Gul'dan is not already applied on the target.
- Cast Soul Fire when Molten Core occurs.
- Cast Shadow Bolt as a filler.
When you reach 1000 Demonic Fury, you should cast Metamorphosis to enter your demon form. Then, use the following rotation until you run out of Demonic Fury.
- Keep Doom up.
- Cast Chaos Wave whenever you have a charge, unless you have 2 unused procs of Molten Core.
- Cast Soul Fire when Molten Core procs.
- Cast Touch of Chaos as a filler.
If you are in melee range of your target, you can also activate Immolation Aura.
CooldownsIn Mists of Pandaria, you will gain a number of cooldowns (offensive and defensive), the majority of which are obtained through your choices of talents (as we explain in our talent section).
Your offensive cooldowns should be used as often as possible and combining them will usually grant you an increased effect:
- Dark Soul: Knowledge;
- Summon Doomguard and Summon Infernal or Summon Terrorguard and Summon Abyssal, depending on your choice of Tier 5 talent;
- Grimoire of Service (Tier 5 talent);
- Grimoire of Sacrifice (Tier 5 talent);
- Archimonde's Vengeance (Tier 6 talent);
- Kil'jaeden's Cunning (Tier 6 talent).
AoE RotationYour AoE rotation will change according to the number of enemies, just like it did in Cataclysm. You can follow these rough guidelines.
Against 2 or 3 enemies, stick to your normal rotation and keep Corruption up on all targets. Additionally, use Command Demon to make your Felguard cast Felstorm.
Against 4 or more enemies, keep channeling Hellfire, all the while applying and refreshing Corruption on 3 or 4 enemies.
In Demon Form, apply Doom on as many enemies as possible, cast Chaos Wave as often as possible, and activate Immolation Aura. In addition, cast Void Ray to refresh Corruption, which you will have previously applied on as many targets as possible. Finally, you can use Carrion Swarm if knocking back the enemies is not going to be a problem.
TalentsTier 1 talents give you the choice between self-healing talents.
- Dark Regeneration is a 3-minute cooldown that restores some of your life and increases healing received for 12 seconds.
- Soul Leech is a passive ability that grants self-healing capabilities to your three most important offensive abilities.
- Harvest Life is an improvement over Drain Life, which it replaces. It deals AoE damage and regenerates more health, between 3% and 4.5% maximum health per second, depending on the number of enemies.
Tier 2 talents offer crowd control abilities.
- Howl of Terror used to be an ability available by default to all Warlocks. Its effect has not been changed.
- Mortal Coil is the new name of Death Coil.
- Shadowfury used to be only accessible to Destruction Warlocks.
Tier 3 talents offer damage reduction mechanics.
- Soul Link causes the damage you and your demon take to be shared. However, your demon's health is reduced by 50%.
- Sacrificial Pact is on a 1-minute cooldown and causes your demon to sacrifice half of its current health to give you a shield for 200% of the sacrificed health. If you do not have a demon out, your health is sacrificed instead.
- Dark Bargain is on a 3-minute cooldown and prevents all damage for 10 seconds. After the 10 seconds are up, the damage prevented is dealt over 20 seconds.
Tier 4 talents offer crowd control and utility abilities.
- Blood Fear is an improvement over Fear, which it replaces. It is instant cast and no longer has a mana cost. Instead, it costs 10% of your maximum health.
- Burning Rush sacrifices health and increases your movement speed.
- Unbound Will removes all magic and movement-impairing effects, as well as effects that cause loss of control of your character. It costs 20% of your health.
Tier 5 talents provide various modifications to your demons.
- Grimoire of Supremacy replaces your minions by more powerful demons that deal 20% more damage.
- Grimoire of Service is a 2-minute cooldown that enables you to summon a second demon for 20 seconds.
- Grimoire of Sacrifice sacrifices your demon to increase spell damage by 30% to 50% (depending on the specialisation) and to regenerate 2% of maximum health every 5 seconds. Resummoning a demon cancels the effect. Finally, you gain one of your demon's abilities:
- Imp: Singe Magic;
- Voidwalker: Shadow Bulwark;
- Felhunter: Spell Lock;
- Succubus: Seduction;
- Felguard: Pursuit.
Tier 6 talents provide various means of increasing your DPS.
- Archimonde's Vengeance is a 1-minute cooldown that causes the enemy to suffer 50% of all damage you take for 12 seconds. When Archimonde's Vengeance is not on cooldown, enemies who attack you suffer 10% of all damage they deal to you.
- Kil'jaeden's Cunning is a 1-minute cooldown that enables you to cast and channel while moving for 6 seconds. When Kil'Jaeden's Cunning is not on cooldown, you can cast and channel while moving, but at the expense of a 50% casting speed reduction and a 20% movement speed reduction.
- Mannoroth's Fury increases the area of your AoE spells by 500%.
GlyphsThe following major glyphs will be useful to Demonology Warlocks:
- Glyph of Dark Soul, which should be used when you want to transform the effect of Dark Soul: Knowledge into a less powerful, but passive bonus;
- Glyph of Siphon Life, which causes your Corruption to heal you for 20% of the damage it does, allowing you to use Life Tap more often;
- Glyph of Life Tap, which converts healing done to you into mana instead of converting your life;
- Glyph of Imp Swarm, which teaches you Imp Swarm, an ability that gives you control over your Wild Imps passive ability;
- Glyph of Shadowflame, which can be useful if you need the increased slow effect.
Tanking as a Demonology WarlockGlyph of Demon Hunting is a major glyph that turns your Demonology Warlock into a decent backup tank.
This glyph teaches you Dark Apotheosis, which is a battle stance that grants you damage reduction and increased threat generation. The damage reduction is further enhanced by your Mastery. In addition, you gain access to your demon spells just as if you had cast Metamorphosis.
Finally, some of your spells are replaced.
- Soulshatter is replaced by Provocation, a taunt.
- Fear is replaced by Sleep.
- Touch of Chaos is replaced by Demonic Slash, whose charge system will contribute to significantly lower your DPS.
- Twilight Ward becomes Fury Ward.
This concludes our Demonology Warlock preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!