Affliction MG Changes - Some Transparency?

Class Development
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04/19/2017 08:42 PMPosted by Alzrian
Yes, that's an additional problem: Haunt doesn't scale with Mastery. Drain Soul gets buffed by Ulthalesh, but Haunt is just kind of...there.


I think this brings us back to the problem of the Warlock specs lacking holistic focus. Let's take Affliction as an example.

The Mastery is highly specialized, the rotation lacks procs beyond SS, and the cooldowns are non-interactive. This makes it hard to make the talents feel like an organic part of the rotation because the rotation lacks good hooks for talents to latch onto.

The emergent playstyle for Afflic is "all in on Unstable Afflcition." Anything that buffs UA or gives us more UA is good. Anything that doesn't buff UA or consumes SS that could have been used to cast UA is bad. That's why there's only one talent build widely used and so many talents are never taken.

I want to consider alternative talents like Haunt and Phantom Singularity, but how could I? They don't benefit from Mastery, they don't benefit from most Artifact traits, and they don't synergistically interact with other talents.

I'll pull out an example I used before. With my Frost DK I can pick a talent build that emphasizes auto-attacks; the talents either give me more auto-attacks or give me good things when I auto-attack. They have synergy with each other and clearly raise the value of Haste as a stat. Or I could not take any of those talents and go for a much more Crit heavy build.

There's very little of that on offer with my Affliction Warlock. I take SC for my UA and MG for bigger UA and that's as far as it goes. No, wait, I also take Grim of Sup to free up SS for more UA. See how one-note it is?

Now I understand the impulse to want to create more talent diversity. But the thing is, the current setup works. The performance level is good and, at least for me, I find the "pool then burn" gameplay stimulating. So please. Be very, very sure before you kill it off. I don't want to be forced to crowd my bar with lots of extra buttons, I don't want a bunch of "meh" abilities that don't feel satisfying to use, and I don't want to be stuck in a multi-dotting niche when council fights are a real rarity and adds don't live long enough to justify the GCD.
I just want UA to stop being the be-all end-all of our damage, and go back to being just one of our dots. Oh, and for it to last more than eight seconds, and to do its job of making people actually THINK about removing it.

Like, oh, I dunno, it had since it was introduced, until y'all reworked it into the abomination it is now for Legion.
04/19/2017 08:54 PMPosted by Aeriul
so can we re work the the 42nd trait then? Like you don't want us to sit still yet our 42nd trait and t20 is all about drain soul. I feel like this is a bad dream and we're all about to wake up.


What does rend souls have to do with malefic grasp? None of the t15 talents (by themselves) change how much you channel drain soul.

I am glad to hear it is a goal for affliction to be less of a pure single target tunnel spec, where multidotting is a dps loss. After years of playing dot specs it just felt so wrong. The t15 row coming down in potency and the spec buffed baseline sounds correct.

I still think warlocks have too much "this is a pure single target talent" and "this is an aoe/cleave talent", now pick one. Other classes/specs have much more focused talent rows. All 3 warlock specs have multiple rows of 5+% swings on each. Stuff like Sow the Seeds is a ridiculous aoe buff (still, even after your first attempt to fix it in 7.1.5).

I don't like soul effigy at all. Even if you don't mind the concept of making everything a multidot fight, soul effigy isn't good because you get more damage multidotting. It's only good for the extra shards you get by having another agony up. The damage is negligible and not worth casting for unless you have perma corruption as well.

04/19/2017 08:26 PMPosted by Keltacrunch
If it scaled with all our traits and mastery, then it's current tuning would probably be fine.


The direct damage portion is not the main benefit. The +damage taken debuff it leaves is, and it increases everything that scales with mastery and such.
04/19/2017 09:12 PMPosted by Crancht
I just want UA to stop being the be-all end-all of our damage, and go back to being just one of our dots. Oh, and for it to last more than eight seconds, and to do its job of making people actually THINK about removing it.

Like, oh, I dunno, it had since it was introduced, until y'all reworked it into the abomination it is now for Legion.


Agreed. Affliction feels like a pool/dump/burst spec right now on live, rather than a steady rot spec.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dntaKKdKPik Yipz sums how I feel about this. :/ He knows what he is talking about and should be considered.
04/19/2017 06:25 PMPosted by Seph


Hi Affliction Warlocks. Thanks for the posts and feedback so far. I'd like to talk a bit about the change to Malefic Grasp. In general, we agree that communication is warranted since we changed/nerfed a widely taken talent.


Thanks for the comment Seph, can you clarify whether Affliction will be receiving the nerf to Soul Conduit or not? The notes said only demo was excluded from the SC nerf however on PTR the talent remains 20% for Aff (the tooltip at least, I have not tested the actual %).
Based on our numbers, 1) this 15% damage buff negates the 70%->25% reduction to Malefic Grasp, coming out as neutral change DPS-wise for Affliction Warlocks using Malefic Grasp going from 7.2->7.2.5 and 2) brings the relative balance of the Level 15 talent tier much closer to each other.


A few things wrong here. This change propels Haunt so much further ahead of the other talents it's not even funny. Makes Effigy Mandatory, Soul Conduit and Phantom Singularity completely useless, as well as force people into Haunt which in turn makes Effigy Mandatory due to using extra shards. Also and of course the part you guys missed is when you buff affliction across the board by 15% it does Three things that seem to be overlooked.

Buffs WiA
Buffs Haunt
Buffs Multi-DoT

a 25% MG is going to fall far behind a 15 stack Agony and 30% Haunt because while Haunt does cost a Soul Shard, it does the following over 25% MG:

Much higher Uptime(laughable in comparison. 45s per min vs. MG not even hitting 30s per min)
More damage
More Burst
Synergizes with Effigy much better.

It's still a dead talent and so is the playstyle.
I just wish for once that they would actively engage with us here and have a discussion before making these changes rather than making changes then have to explain themselves or backtrack later on.

What would be the harm in taking an active role in discussing the class with the players and keeping their finger on the pulse so to speak.
Honestly? The fact that we actually know the class better than they do, and we've proven it before. THAT would be the harm.
04/19/2017 06:25 PMPosted by Seph
Separately, we want to allow Haunt to be a viable Soul Shard spender talent.


Thanks for the clarity, but the above point is not correct as already stated by others. We're not sure where you received this feedback from because it certainly was not from the community. Perhaps the communication you received was muddled up in that, yes, the community would have liked to have Haunt back on how it functioned in the past, but most certainly not as a shard spender. Remove the shard cost and Haunt might have a chance.
please make WiA start Agony out at full stacks as well as increase the total damage of it, for things like M+ things just die to quick and MG is the only thing giving us ANY "burst"

also please make Sacrifice not useless + give us spell lock back when we take it.
DON'T FORCE US INTO SOUL EFFIGY
04/19/2017 06:25 PMPosted by Seph
Hi Affliction Warlocks. Thanks for the posts and feedback so far. I'd like to talk a bit about the change to Malefic Grasp. In general, we agree that communication is warranted since we changed/nerfed a widely taken talent.

Malefic Grasp is very powerful on live. With the current state of Affliction, the talent is taken on virtually every situation in Nighthold, from single-target to sustained multi-target boss fights. There are things about Affliction that we’re not entirely happy with, many of which the community has echoed, and the current feel of Affliction being a single-target spec that focuses its damage into one target rather than spreads its damage out over many targets more evenly, is generally one of them. Malefic Grasp at a high tuning value is a heavy contributor to that. It’s not ideal that even on a sustained multi-target fight right now, Malefic Grasp wins out over Writhe in Agony on the same row, when at first glance Writhe in Agony looks like it should be the go-to talent for sustained multi-target since its benefit scales up uniformly per additional target whereas Malefic Grasp reads as a single-target talent.

Separately, we want to allow Haunt to be a viable Soul Shard spender talent. We’ve heard this from players and also want a Soul Shard spender other than Unstable Affliction in single-target situations. Ways to make Haunt as a Soul Shard spender competitive with a Malefic Grasp at the live value of 70% include dramatically increasing its instant nuke damage, drastically increasing its damage bonus %, or reducing its cooldown further – none of which would feel right on Affliction for a variety of reasons.

Lastly, Affliction’s first talent tier is a really high-power talent tier compared to most talent tiers we have, with Malefic Grasp being over a 20% DPS increase as a single talent. Generally, we aim for talent tiers to be more in the 5-10% range. Very high values can both have distortive effects on the spec and make it hard to balance other talents on the same tier.

That all said, in the next PTR patch, changes you should see are:
  • All Affliction damage done increased by 15%
  • Malefic Grasp will go down to a +25% damage increase (down from +70% on live)
  • Writhe in Agony will be reduced to increase Agony’s max stacks by +5 (down from +10 on live)
  • Haunt will stay as it currently is on PTR

Based on our numbers, 1) this 15% damage buff negates the 70%->25% reduction to Malefic Grasp, coming out as neutral change DPS-wise for Affliction Warlocks using Malefic Grasp going from 7.2->7.2.5 and 2) brings the relative balance of the Level 15 talent tier much closer to each other. As usual, the numbers may change during PTR according to further playtesting and feedback.

As a footnote, the most recent PTR patch with the current reduction to Malefic Grasp from 70%->40% that came with no other explanation or indication that further changes (compensatory buffs to the baseline spec, further relevant talent adjustments) were coming wasn’t ideal and we’ll try to be more mindful of that in future PTR cycles.


Appreciate the transparency but if you truly want to be transparent you should perhaps give more details on how you arrived at your numbers. Specifically that buffing all damage by 15% would make up for the MG/WIA nerfs. More DPS is tied to a MG nerf from 70% to 25% than 15%. I agree that is a problem but why nerf it to the point that it becomes nearly useless? On top of that you nerf WIA. Who in the world did you guys hire to test this stuff do you even have a dedicated person to this?

Also if you guys want to push Haunt so bad to make people take it WHY in the world would you give it a shard cost...Think about it if you are forced to cast it every 20 seconds AND it costs a shard there is no way you can pool all the shards needed to do a UA +Haunt damage dump. Perhaps no shard cost and 25/30 seconds would make more sense giving players more time to pool souls/shards. I really do not understand who is testing this for you and thinks it is a good idea.

Last comment I wanted to make was about the tier 20 warlock set bonus. You guys seem to want to move warlock damage to be more focused with DOT damage than the channeled damage from drain soul. If that is the case WHY make the tier set bonus so channel spell heavy... it is one of the worst if not the worst set bonus of all classes... please try and take some time and come up with something better like perhaps now that you nerfed WIA you could make one of the 2/4 set let your Agony stack 5 more times or non instant spells proc something (UA/Drain soul etc).

TL;DR-
*15% increased damage does not neutralize MG nerf/other nerfs
*If you want to push Haunt REMOVE the shard cost
*Tier 20 set bonus horrible (gave ideas in longer version)
*Remember warlock also pvp don't make them hit like wet noodles bc of the pve nerfs
What does rend souls have to do with malefic grasp? None of the t15 talents (by themselves) change how much you channel drain soul.
Hard casting Haunt means less channeling.
the community has almost universally said they don't like effigy, please work on replacing it. i have not seen any posts for people asking for more things to spend shards on it (ie haunt)
Thanks for the response, Seph. It's REALLY nice to finally hear what the Devs want Affliction to look like. With that said, I do have some concerns:

1) I get why WiA will have its max stacks reduced but I would really keep an eye on this as it's basically only taken on Botanist atm. As others have said, I don't see a lot of AffLocks taking haunt simply because it's going to cost us a very valuable Soul Shard.

2) Effigy is superior to SC in terms of pure shard generation, so the nerf to SC doesn't really make a lot of sense. Given the current state of the game it should come down to is the fight movement heavy, in which case I'll take less overall shards for greater mobility; or is it something I can reliably stay in range of a my SE, in which case I'll take more shards for a little extra maintenance in my part.

3) PS isn't worth addressing unless you're willing to make Siphon Life baseline (why is a dot class having to talent into a dot in the first place?), and give us an on-demand AoE alternative to StS. The initial nerf to StS, and making SoC cost a shard was kind of harsh considering it has a cast time and a time/damage requirement to actually inflict damage. I can't tell you how annoying it is when I try to get a StS cast off only to have the target get nuked out of existence by another class. Wasted time, Wasted dps.

I get that you have a vision Affliction and I'm glad you finally comumicated that to us. I'm also hopeful that we won't have to continuously re-invent ourselves to be viable. I would still like to see Effigy see some QoL improvements. I'd love to see some of the changes to GoServ that others have suggested (not having a dps cooldown cost a shard) without also nerfing GoSup. I think GoSac would see a lot more use if we actually got some utility based on the pet we sacrificed.

Obviously I have a lot of thoughts about the state of Affliction and what if like to see. But rather than ramble on any further, I'll end by saying I really really hope you are looking at these changes in the context of how they will impact our performance in ToS, rather than how well the top tier of AffLocks are performing in farm content in NH. Thanks again for the feedback.
One thing that's important to be cognizant of is its very hard to completely separate spec performance from how fun or good the mechanics of the spec feel.

Affliction is in a good place right now damage wise, and that is just going to naturally skew people's perception of the spec to be "everything is mostly good."
04/19/2017 09:19 PMPosted by Virus
I just wish for once that they would actively engage with us here and have a discussion before making these changes rather than making changes then have to explain themselves or backtrack later on.

What would be the harm in taking an active role in discussing the class with the players and keeping their finger on the pulse so to speak.


For 1. Most importantly, They are paid to do this and are professionals and 2. If you asked people in the 19th century how they want to commute faster, they would've suggested faster horses. (In other words, yes players generally don't know what they want.)
04/19/2017 09:12 PMPosted by Crancht
I just want UA to stop being the be-all end-all of our damage, and go back to being just one of our dots. Oh, and for it to last more than eight seconds, and to do its job of making people actually THINK about removing it.

Like, oh, I dunno, it had since it was introduced, until y'all reworked it into the abomination it is now for Legion.


I disagree completely. I think the current version of UA is a much more interesting version of the ability compared to just dot juggling. I understand that this is entirely a preference thing, and I respect your view on the topic. Just letting you know there's another perspective out there I guess.
04/19/2017 07:11 PMPosted by Cîaran
What I'm really concerned about still is that the Tomb of Sargeras tier sets heavily favor the use of Malefic Grasp, regardless of any reworks/buffs to WiA or Haunt.

Will there be any changes planned for the sets, or should we expect that to remain the same?

[/quote]

Im fearful they wont do squat.

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