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Aff/Destro Warlock DPS Woes (Help Requested)

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Hi everyone, I'll be honest: I need some help with my DPS. I've struggled with the majority of HFC, and don't really know where else to turn.

For Aff, I'm going GoSac/SB:H

For Destro, I'm going GoSac/CR


I am the only lock in the raid, named Penguin

Here are my most recent logs for Heroic Iron Reaver: (Affliction)



H Kormok: (Affliction)



H Hellfire High Council: (Affliction) 



H Kilrogg: (Destro)



H Gorefiend: (Destro)



A couple comments for each of the fights:

Iron Reaver: I was testing out a couple /stopcasting macros which kinda screwed up my Dot uptimes, so I'm not sure how accurate this fight will be in comparison to most pulls. Other than that, plus some buff misalignments/not potting a second time, it was a fairly normal pull.


Kormok: Now, here is where I'm getting a little lost. Given that I don't have the Fragment of the Dark Star trinket, I'm avoiding going Destro as much as I can. However, even with a 4pc, I'm only in the 16th percent of my bracket. My lowest uptime for my dots was UA at 93%, which could certainly be higher, but I don't feel that would cost me THAT much in performance. I noticed my buff alignment/Haunting Spirits was messy towards the end, but that seems to generally happen regardless of what I try to do. Suggestions?


Council: Basically the same as Kormok, though i feel I did better. In fact,I had significantly higher uptimes on my dots and was only 19th in my bracket. What gives? 


Kilrogg: Now, with Destro i've always felt weak, and with an immolate uptime of 58% and only 10 shadowburns, I can more or less understand this number. Yet, I don't really understand how to improve outside of getting these two numbers up (only using shadowburns for sniping adds, of course) so help there would be appreciated. Would improving these two numbers result in the crazy high numbers that even those who don't go in the portal see?


Gorefiend: Same as Kilogg, though I feel I did significantly better with Shadowburns (Immolate was terrible, and while there are more things to Shadowburn, my use of a mouse over macro was as efficient as I could be). 


TL;DR- I feel like I'm doing well but I'm not compared to other warlocks, help?




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Could I get a armory link so i can look at your gear/trinks/chants too? Although i can tell that you dont have DSI by looking at your buff uptimes and if you do then you should be using it as its a permanent fixture.

From what i can tell though for the fights you played affliction you could do better eith haunting spirits uptime - this is a bit of RNG but you should always plan ahead by looking at how much time you have left on the buff. (For ex: If you have 20 secs left on spirits and 2 shards, save them unless you get a 3rd shard. Spirits > one sole haunt).

I cant really go into a lot of detail right now though. I could help out when i get home. As for your destro spec you may want to ask someone else. As im Aff/Demo.

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Hello Penguin!


Thank you for posting in here and I hope this advice helps.


As far as your Affliction logs go, I've read through your concerns and looked over the logs. You tend to mention buff alignments a lot. By this I assume you mean trinket procs? If so, then your buff alignment will mean literally nothing. You can't control RPPM trinkets, so don't try to. Also you said something about avoiding Destro due to your lack of a class trinket. I only would suggest taking class trinket for Destro on single target fights-- the fights you should play Affliction on. A better choice for Destro is a Mythic Goren Soul Repository if you can get your hands on one.


Looking over your logs it seems that that you pop one Dark Soul with heroism quite Consistently but the other charges do not line up with anything else. Instead, try doing a double Dark Soul on hero (one right after the other). You will get the maximum benefit out of the heroism. From that point on, only Dark Soul when Nithramus is up, that way you get your fat damage buff.


On Kormrok, it seems you popped Doomguard and Second Potion at very random times. Instead, try to line them both up with Nithramus and Dark Soul as close to execute range as you can. This way your Doomguard gets the Nithramus buff, potion buff, DS buff, AND execute buff all at once. He will hit like a Mack Truck.


Looking at your Destruction performance, I would love to see more Havoc Shadowburns out of you. In fact, I can't see any in these logs. In case you don't know, if you were to Havoc a target like Gorefiend, then cast Shadowburn on an add, it would take only one charge of Havoc and deal damage to both. This means you have the potential to do 600k damage in three and a half globals. If you look at my last Gorefiend kill, you can see I cast Shadowburn 43 times, but it hit 68 times. This means I essentially got 25 free Shadowburns. Havoc is your best friend as Destruction and something you should definitely practice using.


Just out of curiosity, which trinkets do you have available to you?

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Don't beat yourself up so much about your ranking or percentile - even within your iLvl bracket.  So many factors go into that which are largely out of your control.  Entire raid groups go out of their way to get people high ranks and it skews the percentiles and rankings quite heavily.  


Kormrok is a perfect example - especially for Affliction and especially since Bloodlust is usually cast at or near the start of the encounter.  Basically, this is a recipe for Affliction to do really well if it's a super short fight.  And your kill time of 5:41 is not that.  I look at other 703 locks that ranked high on heroic Kormrok and their kill times are more along the lines of 2:30-3:00.  So they're able to get a great opening burst that's sustained during a very short encounter.  Even if you had the most amazing opening burst in the history of WoW it would be impossible for that to carry through another 5 minutes.  I will also note that almost all the high ranking Affliction parses for your iLvl are playing with Cataclysm and whoring DPS on the hands.


Council is another one.  Look at the #1 and #2 parses for Affliction locks in your iLvl bracket:  encounter lengths of 3:22 and 3:48 compared to your 6:21.  You have to understand... the shorter the fight the more "stretched out" your buffs and procs become which essentially just means much greater uptimes.  So while you're casting Dark Soul 5 times for 27% uptime, they're using it 3 times for 41% uptime.  Sure, you can do better (especially with Haunting Spirits uptime), but do not discount the fact that a 703 lock killed heroic high council in a mythic raiding group and skewed the iLvl bracket percentiles for good.  I should also say that this fight also has a mechanic that's pure luck which really throws off the rankings.


Kilrogg you will not see any type of these "crazy high numbers" you speak of unless you go into Visions and come out with all your cooldowns + a ring and Bloodlust just for you.


I'll let others break down how you can improve your actions/casts to do a bit more DPS.  I guess all I'm here to say is you shouldn't be looking at iLvl bracket, percentiles or rankings to judge your performance or success.  Just keep up with your guildies and kill bosses, you'll be fine.

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On the one hand, I heartily agree with Axxym... there are so many more factors that weigh in on rankings, one of them being fight length.  There is a lot of increased responsibility too, some of which can affect DPS.  And then, there are heavy damage buffs that can happen (Focused during council is huge) or damage killers (get targeted a lot with fire, winds, chakram in Iskar?) So many factors....


On the other hand, I have known a couple who use that to say rankings don't matter at all, they don't care, and don't mean anything.  That also, is not quite true.  Those ones who have screamed the loudest that I have heard, tend to be in the < 10% bracket.  It doesn't work that way though... and you are also not in that bracket.  smile.png  You seem to pull a pretty solid average.  But, who wants to be average?  biggrin.png


That being said....


Iron Reaver: Only one potion use, that can be big.  Lose pre-pot due to someone doing an early pull or forget second?  One is under your control, the other is not.  On a semi decent pull, you can chain a lot together in this pull, and end up having a lot of uptime on the combo of all dots, haunting spirits, haunt, potion, doomguard and drain soul.  If you have the 4 set, you can do stupid damage on P1 in this pull and phase.  Just line it up.  I will usually end up with something like this:  pre pot, pre SB:Haunt, dots, doomguard, DS then drain soul.   Nothing odd there.  But, in this fight, with BL on pull, trinkets, etc, I often end up with 4 shards right away.  Conventional wisdom is not sit on shards (very much like dest not sit on embers) but in this case, a bit different.  It seems to make no sense to spend the shards if haunting spirits longer than 10 - 15 seconds, and haunt still up (which it would be with drain soul and 4 set).  Typically, by the time Dark Soul wears off, I have another 5 seconds or so of haunting spirits buff, and 10 seconds of haunt.  And full shards by that point in time.  I'll let haunting drop off for 3 - 5 seconds, with about 3 left on haunt, then use those shards to SB:Haunt again, refreshing HS for 30 seconds and haunt for another 10.  When haunt is down to about 3 seconds, time to fire off the AD Dark Soul, and extend that one, along with the haunting spirits still rolling, and doomguard still up.  Roll the 2nd pot in this phase, with doomguard, haunt, etc... big damage.  Depending on push, you might get another DS (and ring) in before air phase.  However, depending on group/comp/difficulty you might need to save those CD's for 2nd ground phase, etc... I am not sure I would take this approach though if the boss has more than 1 air phase, and comes out of 2nd air phase with > 10 - 15% life. :/ 


Would love to hear from some other locks on this, just the approach I have been taking on this particular fight.


@Axxym I would not necessarily say Aff using Cata on Kormok is whoring DPS from adds.  If group is timing ring and that damage gets copied to the Kormok, then it's a pretty valid use of mechanics.  I have never done that myself, and the few I know who did, did not use that tactic in mythic.  *shrug* But in that regard, it's using mechanics in their favor, and not just cheesing aoe dps.  *shrug*

Edited by Zilthy

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Few minor points to raise regarding your approach to Iron Reaver Zilthy.


Back to back Dark Souls is fine, although be careful of using your second pot immediately. It has a 1 minute cooldown and bloodlust only runs for 40 seconds. If you get good procs of the T18 4pc you can sometime prolong DS for the duration, however most of the time you want to use them back to back ASAP to they overlap with bloodlust as much as possible. Save the potion for DS + Ring + Execute phase unless you'll kill the boss too fast.


I'm curious why you actively choose to allow Haunting Spirits to fall off the boss? With Bloodlust and DS up your DoTs are ticking fast, having 3-4 seconds of no damage buff is a DPS loss. Are you aware that Haunting Spirits benefits from Pandemic? You can safely cast haunt at around 8 seconds left and not lose any uptime.


Similarly you can be a bit cleverer with your Soul Shards. Whilst I am not sure if bleeding off a Haunt is better than a few ticks of Drain Soul, you still have Soulburn, Soul Swap, and the combination of both at your disposal. Iron Reaver has adds, so you can Soul Swap: Inhale and store your DoTs until bombs are thrown (1 banked shard), you can then Soul Burn (2 banked shards) and regenerate some shards. Soul Swap: Exhale onto bombs and don't forget to Haunt when Haunting Spirits reaches the Pandemic window.


If you are still finding an overflow of shards, just Soulburn: Soul Swap to apply DoTs. On a bloodlusted pull with class trinket you may as well apply all 3 DoTs in one global and can probably do it again during the initial 40s. 


Regarding Cataclysm on Kormrok, I held the rank 1 Affliction parse for about 3 weeks back in August / September. Do I think this is the most efficient way to play Warlock / Affliction on this boss? No, but myself and my guild wanted me to beat my friend's parse and allowed me and a warrior to solo the hands. It wasn't whoring because that was my job, and I also topped the boss damage, but Demonology would have done much more. If you play Affliction with Cataclysm and your raid explodes hands anyway, then you're not really being as effective as you could be and certainly would be whoring if it was progression.

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Thanks Liquid, I will keep that in mind for when running that boss again.   I was thinking of things purely from the point of trying to get longest haunt uptime, but yeah, missing 2 - 3 seconds of haunting spirits or dark soul during lust would certainly cancel out that and be a loss. 

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Maybe I was a bit liberal with the term "whoring dps". I'm certainly aware of tactics that call for 1-2 players on the hands and everyone else single target the boss. In that case I would argue you'd play demo but Affliction is actually a nice compromise. That said, I'd have to look into the logs and some math whether Cataclysm on hands during ring would net more boss damage than Haunting Spirits. My gut says 'no way in hell' but I'm actually interested to check it out now.


Edit:  Ok, here are some logs I looked at quick:


I like this one because it has Furty playing Cata and Not playing HS

-Furty did more damage overall 18.81M compared to Not's 15.66M

-Not did more boss damage 15.66M compared to Furty's 12.89M

-Furty's Nithramus hit for 947k


This one also has Rasensa playing Cata and Astaliscious playing HS

-Rasensa did more damage overall 19.32M compared to Astaliscious' 15.26M

-Astaliscious did more boss damage 15.26M compared to Rasensa's 14.22M

-Rasensa's Nithramus hit for 1.63M


Here's the top parse Affliction right now

-Did not use Cata

-Nithramus hit for 1.55M


Anyway, I'm pretty convinced that if you want to do boss damage, you're not going to take Cataclysm because Nithramus will outweigh Haunting Spirits.

Edited by Axxym

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I'm definitely with Axxym here. People come to these forums for information on how to play their class better and how to progress in a raid at a higher level of playing. That being said, when I look a post, I always respond in a progression-minded manner. I would never tell someone to take Demo-Cata on Kormrok, let alone Aff-Cata. There are other classes much more accustomed to massive AoE like that (Warriors, I'm looking at you). So, in my opinion, taking talents like that is solely for the purpose of ranking highly. Anyone looking to rank in the 99th percentile will probably not need basic "how to make my dps go up advice".

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I'm not 100% in agreement with your statement Curinir, though perhaps I just dislike the use of 'never'.


My old guild killed Kormrok on day 2 of Mythic progression and we had 2 Warlocks and 1 Warrior. We assigned myself as Demonology and the other as Affliction. 


The Warrior and Me bursted the hands whilst the rest of the raid pushed single target. There was no ring yet and many of us were still sporting T17.


It really comes down to what your own individual task is on a given encounter.


Similarly I challenge the notion that a Warrior is more accustomed to burst AoE than a Demonology Warlock. Take a look at Demonology's usage on Mythic Mannoroth; Cataclysm + Chaos Wave + Felstorm is king on controlling and bursting the Imps.

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The reason why I say the warrior is more accustomed to AoE is because they lose a lot less single target damage, whereas with Demo-Cata you will have nowhere near the priority damage you could potentially have with Aff. It is certainly more fun than Affliction, but not optimal in a raid setting where you have plenty of other people to deal with the hands.


However, if for some reason there is no one in your raid group that will be able to knock down the hands, then yeah, Demo would be great. Unfortunately groups like that are quite rare.

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