1) DoTs and you
Multi-dotting is not only beneficial, but it's preferred to boost your damage and increase Nightfall procs with multiple Corruptions up. Take note of the macro I suggest (listed here again for convenience) to spread DoTs everywhere.
#showtooltip Soul Swap
/cast Soul Swap
Maintaining your uptime on your three DoTs is of utmost priority and takes priority over all other actions. If there is a target that doesn't have your DoTs on it, apply them.
2) Affliction's feel
Affliction feels amazing now! You actually feel like a Warlock. Curse, 3 DoTs, then you *feel* like you're draining your enemy's soul, but what you're actually doing is making your DoTs hit like crazy. Affliction plays in that it maintains its 3 DoTs and you use one of two fillers: Malefic Grasp or Drain Soul. Use Malefic Grasp on targets above 20% HP and Drain Soul on targets below 20% HP.
3) Haunt and Nightfall procs
RNG finds its way from Demonology into Affliction. Affliction DPS can be really good one time and pretty good the next, and it's all tied into your Nightfall procs. Nightfall generates a Soul Shard which allows you to cast Haunt again. You theoretically are obliged to want to keep Haunt as close to 100% uptime as you can, especially if you played Affliction in the past, but that's simply unattainable anymore. However, I did notice some streaks where I had too many Soul Shards and kept Haunt up 100% of the time for darn near a minute. Haunt uptime should be at least 35% and with good RNG can get up to 60%. Try to use Soul Shards to apply Haunt, but don't hesitate to use your Soulburn macro to apply DoTs to benefit from empowered buffs such as trinkets and profession procs.
4) Affliction opener and Soul Shard management
Affliction's opener should be like this:
Curse of Elements -> Dark Soul -> Soulburn: Soul Swap -> Haunt -> Malefic Grasp until all procs up -> SB: Soul Swap -> MG spam
Pretty sweet, eh? No more spamming the crap out of DoTs and slowly climbing back into the meters. You get your damage right off the bat, and it has some pretty neat bursting capabilities.
My general rule of thumb is this: (I have the Glyph of Soul Shards, so 4 max)
1) Boss HP > 20% AND 4 Soul Shards --> Reapply DoTs with Soulburn macro. This is useful because you save yourself 2 global cooldowns to instantly apply your DoTs.
2) Boss HP > 20% AND 3 or less Soul Shards --> Manually reapply DoTs with priority going to Agony (do not let stacks fall)
3) Boss HP < 20% --> Keep Haunt to 100% uptime, reapply DoTs with Soulburn macro, and Drain Soul until 2 Soul Shards are regenerated. As soon as you have 2 Soul Shards, reapply DoTs, Haunt, and Drain Soul again. During execute phase, you can do the following:
1) Boss hits 20% --> Apply DoTs then Haunt and Drain Soul. Use SB:SS if you had 2 shards when boss hit 20% life; otherwise, apply manually
2) When Drain Soul has ticked FOUR times, you'll have AT LEAST 2 shards. If you have 2 shards, then reapply DoTs with SB:SS, Haunt, and Drain Soul again until it has ticked 4 times.
3) When Drain Soul has ticked 4 times and you have at least 3 Soul Shards, then you will reapply DoTs with SB:SS, Haunt, Haunt again, then Drain Soul. Haunt hits for a ton and you'll want to use Haunt when Haunt is already applied to the boss for a major hit.
If you get comfortable with this rotation, you can follow my golden rule during execute phase. It goes like this....
-Do my DoTs have at least 10 seconds left on their duration? If so, I skip reapplying DoTs, Haunt, and go back to Drain Souling. If not, reapply DoTs, Haunt, then Drain Soul. 10 seconds is my magic number (4 ticks of Drain Soul end at 8.2 seconds for me).
After you open your rotation, just pay attention to your DoTs, but pay the most attention to Agony. Letting Agony fall off of its 10 stack is a horrible DPS loss. If you have to choose between which DoT to refresh first, ALWAYS choose Agony. Agony hits like a TRUCK, and you don't want to miss out on it. My top 3 damage dealt was always Agony, Corruption, and Unstable Affliction. Agony was ticking for 36k at a 10 stack at level 85 but only 3k at a 1 stack. Here would be the DPS loss if you let Agony fall off:
Letting Agony fall off and refreshing after:
Stack 1 = 3k
Stack 2 = 6k
Stack 3 = 9k
Stack 10 = 36k
Total = 234k damage
Reapplying Agony to make sure it doesn't fall off
Stack 10 = 36k * 10 = 360k damage
Pretty clear here to see that focusing Agony and making sure it doesn't fall off will optimize your performance. This impact will be much higher at level 90 (EDIT: it IS much higher at level 90. Don't let this fall off) and should be a priority in all situations.
6) Mastery, Haste, & Crit
Crit sucks. Reforge out of it the best you can. Let's just get that out of the way.
A deeper understanding of Haste and Mastery is needed, I feel, from the responses in the community. Let me make something vividly clear: HASTE AND MASTERY ARE GOOD AND VERY CLOSE TO EACH OTHER IN VALUE. This means that the two work well together and you can't shove all of your secondary stats into one and expect a huge DPS gain. If your DPS is lacking, it's not your secondary stats that are holding you back.
The majority of Warlocks out there right now are getting Simulation numbers where Haste = 2.1 and Mastery = 2.07. This does NOT mean that you reforge out of Mastery into Haste...this means that the difference you would get between both stats is so small that you need to look at the bigger picture. Haste and Mastery are both beneficial in their own way, but more magical is the way they act together. As you accumulate gear and it becomes easier to reach haste thresholds, these are what you should follow:
Haste breakpoints and their resulting extra ticks
1) 3043 Rating (+1 Corruption, +1 UA, +2 Agony) (ideal for ilvl 463-475)
2) 4717 Rating (+ 2 Corruption, +1 UA, +2 Agony) (ideal for ilvl 476-489)
3) 6637 Rating (+ 2 Corruption, +2 UA, +3 Agony) (ideal for ilvl 490+)
1) 2592 Rating
2) 4249 Rating
3) 6151 Rating
After you hit these thresholds, keep your Haste value as close as possible to the value of your Mastery. While the difference in DPS is small and a majority of the missing DPS comes from incorrect playstyle, I felt it necessary to clarify these values for people.
7) Dark Soul
Dark Soul:Misery is now Bloodlust/Timewarp for 20 seconds with a 2 minute CD. 30% Haste is an incredible cooldown. Use it often and love it. Try to time it before applying DoTs so that they benefit from the increased Haste thresholds. If you already have DoTs applied, reapply them. With Pandemic, you'll receive the bonus damage from the DoTs while extending the duration.
**4 piece Tier 14 set bonus reduces cooldown of Dark Soul by 40 seconds. This increases your Dark Soul uptime from 20/120 (16%) to 20/80 (25%). This is a huge DPS gain and your tier bonus should not be avoided at any cost.
8) Execution phase
Execute phase: Affliction Warlocks got an even better execute than they had before. During execute phase (20% or less), you will replace Malefic Grasp with Drain Soul. Drain Soul no longer refreshes your DoTs, but that's ok because every time it ticks, it makes all of your DoTs do an additional tick at 125% of their base power at that instant while increasing your Drain Soul damage by 100%. Also, by performing Drain Soul, you'll have more Soul Shards than you'll know what to do with. Basically, your execute phase should be Haunt, refresh Agony, Corr, and UA with your Soulburn Soul Swap macro, then hit Drain Soul. After Drain Soul ticks 4 times, reapply Haunt, refresh DoTs, and back to Drain Soul. You'll enjoy monster crits.
9) Seed of Corruption and AoE
Seed of Corruption change: SoC is no longer triggered by your allies. Gone are the days where you could spam one target with SoC and watch the explosions happen. Now, you can set up some amazing AoE. Seed of Corruption only blows up after YOU do damage to it, not raid wide damage. Simply apply a Soulburn:Seed of Corruption to one target and fire a Haunt at the same target. This should trigger the explosion and put Corruption on all targets. After applying a Soulburned: Seed of Corruption to put Corruption on all targets, simply tab and put Seed of Corruption on as many enemies as you can. The Corruption on each will do enough damage to trigger a Seed which will explode and trigger all the other seeds. For prolonged AoE, maintain the Soulburn:Seed of Corruption part of your rotation once every 16 seconds. For 4-6 targets, after doing this, just use your Soulburn:Soul Swap macro to put more DoTs on 4 targets and Malefic Grasp one of them. Use Drain Soul to replenish shards for more DoTs.
10) Hit capping
Hit capping is an option up for debate. Currently at lower item levels, hit does not have as high a weight as Haste does, so a lot of Warlocks are pushing Mastery and Haste over Hit. This is acceptable and does simulate higher. However, hit capping removes a lot of human error and judgment and allows you to focus on other things in a fight such as the mechanics and phase transitions. You can choose one of two priorities:
1) Mastery > Haste > Hit > Crit
2) Hit (to 5100) > Mastery > Haste > Crit
If you decide to hit cap, reforge first out of all your Crit, then your Haste. If you still need more and can't reforge anymore, remember that you can reforge into Expertise and benefit the same as if it were Hit rating. For example, if your legs have Hit and Crit, you can reforge the Crit into Expertise.
11) Empowered DoTs and maximizing your Warlock (for the elite player)
There is a lot of complexity to maximizing Affliction's DPS. It's all about knowing what trinkets are proc'd, what buffs are currently on you, and what debuffs are on the boss. To simplify everything, I prioritize keeping my DoTs up with minimal effort which is what SB:SS does. Obviously RNG plays into your Haunt uptime, but a rule of thumb is to never overwrite a powerful DoT (applied during Bloodlust, Dark Soul, or a potion) with a lesser DoT. Sounds simple, but it's not.
Take these scenarios for example:
Let's say you don't have any trinkets on. You can test this at your local test target. Apply some DoTs. They will tick for the same damage at the same time interval all the time. The only modifier to their damage will be critical hits. Let's say (these numbers are SO wrong, but I'm using for simplicity) you have 3 DoTs running.
Corruption ticks for 10 damage and has 14 seconds left
Agony ticks for 15 damage and has 22 seconds left
UA ticks for 12 damage and has 6 seconds left
With no buffs present on these adds, they will continue ticking for that damage and only the time left matters. Feel free to extend these DoT durations whenever you see fit. Reapplying UA will make UA continue to tick for 12 damage but now the duration will be 20 seconds (14+6, because 6 is less than the maximum allowed to be added to 14 via Pandemic, which would be 7).
Now let's say you're a tailor or engineer and you use Synapse Springs or have your Lightweave proc. If you do NOT reapply DoTs, your DoTs will continue to tick for the same damage. However, let's say you're alerted to one of these procs and you reapply your DoTs. Again, remember these numbers are made up for simplicity, but you see the effect...
Corruption ticks for 13 damage for 24 seconds (16 + 8)
Agony ticks for 18 damage for 36 seconds (24 + 12)
UA ticks for 15 damage for 20 seconds (14+6)
Now we have empowered DoTs ticking for their maximum duration! Let's JUST look at Agony. Let's say Synapse Springs lasts for 10 seconds (not sure, not an engineer). So at that point, you'd have Agony ticking for 18 damage with 26 seconds left on its timer. If you were to reapply Agony at 18 seconds to get back up to 36 seconds, you would LOSE the empowered DoT. You'd go back to Agony ticking for 15 damage for 36 seconds. In this scenario, it's better to NOT reapply DoTs until your empowered DoTs are about to wear off. Follow?
Now let's add trinkets to the mess. At the beginning of the fight, you will have all of your procs line up. Lightweave, a potion, Dark Soul, two trinkets...I call this the "works." You won't get the "works" at any other point in the fight because of different timers. However, you can use knowledge of internal cooldowns on trinkets to see if you can line up things you can control, such as a potion or Dark Soul. If you set up some auras or classtimers (I do this with TukUI) to notify you of stuff procing, you can use that moment to reapply DoTs for a bigger effect. You can also see when Dark Soul or a trinket has 4 seconds left on its buff, you could reapply DoTs again benefitting from Pandemic AND receiving the damage buff for the extended duration. At the beginning of the fight when you apply your DoTs, they are going to be mega DoTs. Now, I'm using Light of the Cosmos and the Relic of Yu'lon, so both are proc trinkets. I'm also a Tailor and I use a lot of potions. At the beginning of a fight, I'll see my static raid buffed Spell Power of 22500 soar up to 39850. THIS is when I pop my DoTs. I think Lightweave wears off after 15 seconds, Relic of Yu'lon after 15 seconds, Cosmos in 20 seconds, and Dark Soul at 20 seconds. Basically I open my rotation with Curse, SB:SS to get my DoTs up, Haunt, and Malefic Grasp. By the time MG channels twice, all my stuff has proc'd. I then reapply all of my DoTs one by one to get maximum duration, Haunt, and MG again. When Lightweave and Yu'lon are about to expire, I reapply DoTs again to get maximum durations. Then I just MG and Haunt on procs until my DoTs are about to wear off. I do NOT reapply DoTs again until they are almost gone because reapplying them early would put up 23k spell power DoTs instead of 39k spell power DoTs. This is what Pandemic is designed for. Affliction is as good as you make your DoTs last, but if you want to excel, learn to REALLY understand that empowered DoTs remain empowered throughout their duration even after your buffs wear off. Take advantage of this and see your numbers skyrocket.
12) Pandemic and Fel Flame and Doomguard...OH MY!
Fel Flame should not be used to refresh DoTs, period. It should ONLY be used if you're moving, don't need to Life Tap, and Agony is not about to fall off. Felflame costs a non-trivial amount of mana and only adds 6 seconds to two of your DoTs. I don't think everyone understands how Pandemic works. Instead of embracing the ability, people are trying to weave Felflame into their rotation which is actually a major DPS loss. Blizzard makes it easy for us and the player base goes out of their way to make it more difficult.
When you refresh your DoTs with Felflame, they automatically update and add 6 seconds to Corruption and Unstable Affliction. Let's take a look at this situation.
Current DoTs on target (seconds remaining)
Unstable Affliction (2)
Casting Fel Flame would result in...
Unstable Affliction (7)
You would have gained a total of 12 seconds worth of DoTs for 1 global + a noticable amount of mana.
Casting Unstable Affliction and Corruption separately would result in...
Unstable Affliction (15)
For two globals, you now gained over 24 seconds worth of DoTs for a trivial amount of mana.
Now, we've done all of that without really looking at Pandemic. With Pandemic, it states that when you refresh a DoT, up to 50% of the maximum duration will be added to the current casting DoT. Maybe it sounds confusing, so I'll lay it out here.
Unstable Affliction = 14 second base duration with a tick speed of 2 seconds. With Pandemic, you can add up to 7 seconds of your previous remaining time to a new cast. Let's look at some reapplying methods and timings for emphasis:
Refresh UA at 2 seconds left --> UA with 16 second duration
Refresh UA at 5 seconds left --> UA with 19 second duration
Refresh UA at 7 seconds left --> UA with 21 second duration
Refresh UA at 10 seconds left --> UA with 21 second duration
Refresh UA at 14 seconds left --> UA with 21 second duration
As you can see, the optimal time to refresh UA is ANYTIME below 7 seconds remaining. If you do this, you gain the maximum duration via Pandemic. Hopefully here you can see using Felflame to up your duration is a complete waste of time and should be avoided at all costs.
Using Pandemic and stat snapshots is what separates Warlocks who do 60k and 80k in raid gear. Knowing how Pandemic and snapshot for stats works, you can monitor many things. The way I work my DoT application is based off of trinket procs. For example, right before Dark Soul:Misery wears off, I reapply DoTs no matter how much time is left on them to get the maximum benefit of additional ticks with the 30% spell haste buff. This is importat at the start because all of your trinkets and enchants would have proc'd as well. Typically the way the stars align, right as my Dark Soul is about to wear off (3 seconds left), my trinkets are about to fall off as well. With 3 seconds left, I refresh UA, Corruption, and Agony. Now, for the full duration of these DoTs, I will NOT refresh them. They are super powerful DoTs that if refreshed would revert back to your current stats which are nowhere close to what you were just under the effect of. If, however, you were to use Fel Flame before Dark Soul or your trinkets wore off, you'd gain a measly amount of time for a lot more mana. Cast your DoTs. Cast your DoTs. Cast your DoTs.
For the Doomguard, he doesn't do a whole lot more damage when he's under execute phase. Execute phases are typically shorter than the minute duration you get him for so when the boss dies, you'd likely be standing there next to your big friend and he has nothing to target. This means you wasted potential DPS. Your Doomguard also benefits from snapshot stats. I prefer to use my Doomguard at the beginning when my static spell power of 22,508 soars to 39,895. While I haven't done the math on it, I know I get full uptime with super mega stats that likely won't be nice enough to align when the boss hits 20% for optimal use. It is, however, to note that your Doomguard should be used on any part of the fight that requires an extra push (Elegon 100%-85% to only have 2 Celestial Defenders).
**There has been some studies on the Doomguard in the Warlock community and after several tests, we have found that the Doomguard is NOT benefiting from the haste given by Bloodlust in any shape or form. Until this is bugged, only use your Doomguard when the enemy is BELOW 20%.
All of our talents have some fight dependency and can be flexed in and out. Have plenty of Tome of the Clear Mind so that you can easily swap in a beneficial talent. I've included recommended talents per fight in my raid guides, so here is just a general useful application of each talent for Affliction.
Dark Regeneration - defensive cooldown that heals you and increases healing received. Typically only needed to recover from heavy damage that your healers need assistance with. Inferior to Soul Leech in most situations.
Soul Leech - passive continuous healing that will provide a majority of the healing done to your Warlock. So powerful that you will often heal yourself for MORE than your healers will heal you. This should be your staple raiding talent.
Harvest Life - lackluster AoE talent that doesn't provide a whole lot of power. If you require AoE for a fight, consider Demonology.
Howl of Terror - generally inefficient in raiding situations.
Mortal Coil - 15% of max HP heal every 45 seconds? Incredible. This should be your staple raiding talent. Use liberally when taking damage during events like Force and Verve.
Shadowfury - great when you need a stun on adds. Otherwise, extremely lackluster.
Soul Link - Provides 20% extra HP when combined with Grimoire of Sacrifice. This is substantial in that all of our healing is based on percent of max HP. Higher HP = higher healing.
Sacrificial Pact - you won't be using this because you're sacrificing your pet.
Dark Bargain - This can be used on some fights if you alert your healers to it. Sure, not taking any damage from a Force and Verve is great for 8 seconds, but for the next 8 seconds, you'll take 50% of the TOTAL damage you would have taken during Dark Bargain PLUS any additional damage you might incur. If you can safely use it to avoid a mechanic and alert a healer you'll need a little extra TLC when the effect expires, then it might have its uses.
Blood Fear - pointless for PvE
Burning Rush - has its potential to be useful on fights where an on demand sprint can boost DPS. So far, I've only seen it effective on Blade Lord Ta'yak to get down the hallway faster. Note that you will suffer 4% of your max HP per second that this is active which is a pretty pricey sprint. If combined with Dark Regeneration, you can negate a majority of this, but this typically isn't worth it.
Unbinding Will - staple raiding talent. You can use this to instantly break out of magic effects such as the petrification effect by trash in Mogu'shan Vaults or the Amber Prison on Wind Lord in Heart of Fear. Use liberally and alert your healers they can use their dispels in other places.
Grimoire of Supremacy - neat souped up minions from hell. Too bad they serve us better being sacrificed.
Grimoire of Service - mediocre demon with an additional mediocre demon for a short period of time.
Grimoire of Sacrifice - the bread and butter of Affliction Grimoires. This will sacrifice your pet, give you a cooldown associated with your pet, regenerate 2% of your max HP every 5 seconds, and empower your Malefic Grasp, Fel Flame, and Drain Soul by 25%. If you use Soul Link, your max HP will also go up 20%. Typically, you'll want to sacrifice your Void Walker to gain the Shadow Bulwark CD, which increases your max HP by 30% for a whopping 20 seconds. If interrupts are needed, you can sacrifice your Felhunter.
Archimonde's Vengeance - neat concept. Dull in execution.
Kil'jaeden's Cunning - pre 5.1, this was rather lame. 5.1 brings a wonderful, wonderful change to the Warlock's ability to DPS while moving...at NO CASTING PENALTY! This means you don't have to break Malefic Grasp channels to move out of fire, avoid a Wind Bomb, or while dealing with Pheramones on Garalon! You can freely do all casting while on the move at 70% of your initial movement speed. This should always, always be used as your Tier 6 talent unless no movement is required. There is no boss in Tier 14 that requires no movement. Take KJC.
Mannoroth's Fury - boosts the area of AoE abilities by 500%. The radius is increased by a factor of about 2.27 so while your reticle won't look that much bigger, it is actually covering 5x the original area. This is usually unimportant, but it may come in handy some day..
http://www.icy-veins...ehensive-guide/ World of Logs Guide. Useful for helping you understand how to read World of Logs.
EDITED: 03/04/2013 (Patch 5.2)
Edited by Zagam, 29 April 2013 - 01:33 PM.