My BFA Demo Warlock Experience

Warlock
TLDR is located at Final Thoughts
STLDR located at the bottom.

First, I’d like to start by thanking Blizzard for finally listening to the players of this spec and transforming it into the marvel it is now. It plays well, it flows well, and leaves options open to focus on single or AoE damage as the specialty.

However…

I would also like to discuss my experience of leveling from 110-120 as demonology, and then what happened at 120.

The 110-115 Experience

This went pretty well. I was able to hold my own, my Felguard wasn’t dying just by being looked at, my stats were holding pretty well. I didn’t worry about my damage too much in instances due to the fact that all normal BFA dungeons are open to anyone in the 110-120 range, but I was at where I expected to be. I was next to the bottom or at the bottom when dealing with higher level groups, but could reach third or second on DPS in even level or slightly higher level groups.

- The Demon AI Issue -

The only thing of concern that started here and persists to current is the stupidity of the demon AI. My demons both primary and secondary will only attack any target that I’ve directly attacked myself. This does not include AoE effects. That entire group I hit with my Hand of Gul’dan? Guess what? The attack only applies to the target that I sent the hand down on. If I don’t target another enemy in that group and directly attack them, then when the initial target being attacked dies, my demons will wander back over to me and wait until I directly attack something else.

The only slight saving grace is that the primary demon obeys the pet attack command and can be sent to a new target. This is not so for the secondary demons. Let me tell you, nothing is more frustrating than getting control lost from your character (i.e. polymorphed into a slime, stunned and wrapped up in vines) and being unable to send the secondary demons to another target. They just stand there right next to your crowd controlled body and do nothing until you attack again. That’s a serious damage loss when our secondary demons aren’t attacking.

Other than this, I didn’t see any other glaring issues. Then, I hit 115 and everything went to hell from there.

The 115-120 Experience

- The Diminishing Returns on Gear Stat Value -

I noticed that the diminishing returns on stats while leveling from 115-120 was ridiculous. From 115-120 I had higher stat values than when I was 110-115, but was receiving less benefit from them. This effect took a heavy toll on my haste. But before we talk about that…

- Felguard Appears To Have Diminished Regeneration -

For whatever reason between these levels, and even currently at 120, I notice that my Felguard’s health regenerates incredibly slowly after it’s out of combat. It’s so slow that its often better to summon a fresh Felguard than wait for the existing one to regen. I’m not sure if this is a stat thing or not, but it is a headache to deal with and watch out for. It adds nothing positive to the gameplay experience.

- Low haste = Increased Ramp Up Time & Horrible Movement Potential -

It’s no secret that unless it’s a talent or a proc, every single demonology DPS spell is a hard cast. Due to the way the demonology spec is built, its damage doesn’t even start to kick in until imps are out from a Hand of Gul’dan and dreastalkers have been called.

Example: From 115-120 my Shadowbolt and Call Dreadstalker cast times were 1.8 seconds, Hand of Gul’dan was 1.3 seconds, and Demonbolt was 4.1 seconds.

I start with 3 out of 5 soul shards for the opening attack.

For the time it takes to fire out two shadowbolts (to get to 5 shards to allow for Dreadstalkers and a Hand of Gul’dan) and unleash the dreadstalkers and drop the hand…all of the targets are already half way dead. By this time it’s too late to call out the Demonic Tyrant, and there won’t be enough time to target someone and cast another shadowbolt, because the target will be dead before the cast is complete. So the only alternative is implosion.

That’s only FIVE direct attacks minimum that get to be made against a group of targets.

Now, imagine the same example when starting out with no shards. The minimum attack goes down even further.

For a spec that suffers from such a horrible ramp up time, I find it funny that there’s not only just one talent (Power Siphon) that can be taken to soften that time up, but it also has a 30 second cooldown. But that’s not all! Taking Power Siphon requires having at least one imp out before it can be used. That means taking another talent (Inner Demons) in order to allow Power Siphon to function correctly as a ramp up softener during opening. AND the player needs to make sure that BOTH imps are present in order to get the maximum benefit of from Power Siphon.

I think it goes without saying that it’s not cool when certain talents become mandatory in order for a spec to perform in a beneficial way to the group. I could easily not take those talents and spec the way I want to spec. But that turns into a major problem when the group sees that both the tank and the discipline priest are doing more damage than the warlock, who’s supposed to be a damage dealer.

This also extends into solo PvE where it means the warlock takes longer to kill a target and must take on less targets at a time, lest the warlock wants to see their felguard get dropped (because the warlock is taking forever to cast stuff) and all target’s eyes fall on the warlock.

And finally, the long cast times really become an issue during any fight that requires movement. Remember, the only non-talented proc demonology has for an instant attack (Demonic Core) is dependent on either the dreadstalkers fading out, or one of the imps from Hand of Gul’dan expiring. Dreadstalkers is the only 100% chance on fade to offer the proc. This means that if the warlock is moving, no Shadowbolt, Hand of Gul’dan, Call Dreadstalkers (unless talented, but whoops it also requires you to be attacking something to proc), Demonbolt, Summon Demonic Tyrant, Summon Vilefiend (talent), or Nether Portal (talent) can be used. That’s ALL of the warlock’s direct damage attacks that can’t be used, unless they talent into Bilescourge Bombers, Doom, or Grimoire of Felguard. Grimoire of Felguard and Bilescourge Bombers are both instant, but require 2 soul shards be on hand to use, and Doom requires 30 seconds before it will do its damage.

Now I hoped, HOPED that once I got to 120 and got my gearscore high enough to enter heroic dungeons (and eventually mythics) that I would be able to get some gear to get my haste to a respectable level. A visit to the PTR told me otherwise, which leads us into…

The 120 Experience

- PTR Says: Get Used To Those Long Cast Times -

I know the PTR isn’t exact like the live realms are, but they’re a good place to check/test things out to get a rough idea of what to expect once you get the macked out gear. I was so disappointed to find out that even in the macked out, highest level, haste heavy gear, my haste was only able to reach 20%. Sounds awesome right? Wrong. My 1.8 second Shadowbolt cast time is now down to an amazing 1.7 second cast time! Hand of Gul’dan is still (somehow) at a 1.3 cast time, and Demonbolt is now a 4 second cast. I’m essentially no better off than I was before.

Final Thoughts (TLDR)

This is the most fun I’ve had with demonology since metamorphosis and dark apotheosis were our new jams. This is what the spec should’ve looked like in legion and I’m glad to finally see it back in the good space it’s in. However, the “must be stationary in order to attack effectively” appears to be what Blizzard is dead set on the spec being. I sincerely hope this changes as this approach is not only frustrating to the player, it is frustrating to the groups they participate in. Since Blizzard is currently looking at ways to help the spec, this would be the fine tuning advice I’d offer, while trying to keep in mind their stationary vision.

- Doom Made a Baseline Ability –

This would help very much when it comes to movement. The spell is instant cast and can be spread, but 30 seconds is a long time to see a benefit when most mobs get melted in much less time than that. Shorten that window from 30 seconds to 15 seconds, and allow the talent to give Doom it’s ability to split its full damage into two hits against the target. Once in the middle of the spell and again at the end of the spell. If the damage is split, then each strike would have a 50% chance to return a soul shard. Also, the 5% chance to summon the doomguard would be updated to occur when Doom does damage, instead of Doom having to deal the killing blow, and the summon chance would be upped to 15%.

- Hand of Gul’dan Regaining Its DoT Component -

Currently this is an ability on azerite armor with a 15% chance to proc. Allow the azerite ability to extend the DoT duration from 10-18 seconds. The restored DoT component to Hand of Gul’dan would effect all the targets in its AoE range, and would not stack, but get refreshed if other hands are dropped.

This combined with the Doom revamp would allow for damage to still be done during movement fights, even if it’s not with the non-proc major hitters.

- Demonic Calling Made Baseline With From The Shadows Talent Buff -

I know, I know. I should’ve said Call Dreadstalkers should be instant cast. But remember, I’m trying to stick with Blizzard’s philosophy. If we have to stand still so much, we should see a benefit, right? And a 20% additional shadowflame bonus is icing on top of the instant cast/1shard cost proc. Plus, this could still help out in movement fights, granted the RNG gods are on the nice side.

The Demonic Calling talent could be revamped to allow for an extra dreadstalker, or for the two dreadstalkers to be mounted by imps a la Legion.

The From The Shadows talent could be revamped to cause the 20% shadowflame debuff to spread to all targets within 8 yards of the target the dreadstalkers are summoned upon.

- Summon Vilefiend & Nether Portal Talents are Instant Cast –

Here’s direct help in the movement department for those who talent it. Both are spam protected due to their cooldowns, and still require some standstill setup due to their shard cost. Reduce the 45 second Vilefiend cooldown to 30 seconds.

Also, with the recent changes being made to Nether Portal, it’s time to make the demon’s get summoned per shard spent versus when shards are spent. A maximum number of demon’s summoned, such as up to 10 at a time, would be an acceptable restriction to put on the spell, as long as the Demonic Tyrant can continue to extend their stay

(STLDR)
I believe these things, or something like them, would help the spec a lot. If we HAVE to be stationary and suffer from movement, having a spread debuff and our DoTs back to assist our demons would help in covering our tails until we can get situated and start casting again.

And improve the demon AI! Please!

So in closing, thank you Blizzard for finally getting demonology to the good place it is in now. But please, PLEASE, consider these issues and things mentioned that demonology warlock players face not just in solo play, but group play as well.
I approve of all changes.
Nix doom and give us the HoG dot
I used to love this spec more than any other spec in the game now i die a little inside when i play it.

Glad you are enjoying the revamp OP hope you get what you want.
Honestly a lot of people !@#$% about movement and then ask for instant dogs and tyrant. Blizzard clearly isn't intending on anything if the nature considering it's packed into DC talent and the PvP talent who's name escapes me.

I think a more likely bid is to ask for Soul Strike to be made baseline as it adds a healthy amount of movement, redirect power to our main pet, and doesn't appear to be a pivotal part of the Demo that blizzard envisions.

Just my 2c
The inability to control secondary pets is what kills this spec for me.

I know there are other important issues with the spec, but looking at wild imps doing whatever they want and locking me in combat forever shows that Blizzard doesn't know/want to fix REALLY OLD unacceptable bugs.

On the other hand, I agree with the OP and prefer the current iteration of demonology. Being a master summoner is more compatible with the spec than transforming into a thing that you're supposed to control.
11/11/2018 04:26 PMPosted by Raegon
I approve of all changes.

My thanks to you. Now, if only Blizzard had the same kind of mind.

11/11/2018 06:04 PMPosted by Raathe
Nix doom and give us the HoG dot

I can understand your wanting to nix Doom completely given the way it works now on live. Any demonology warlock using that talent didn't take it for its damage. They took it because they discovered it possesses a hidden quality of life benefit. Just placing Doom on a target is considered a direct damage attack by the primary & secondary demons. DoT'ing up the group with Doom insures that they keep attacking the group should crowd control
or movement happen.

11/12/2018 12:46 AMPosted by Kulrülk
I used to love this spec more than any other spec in the game now i die a little inside when i play it.
Glad you are enjoying the revamp OP hope you get what you want.


I know that pain. I died a lot inside every time I played from the "we'd rather you not play demonology" remark until BFA.

11/12/2018 08:31 AMPosted by Lostlegion
Honestly a lot of people !@#$% about movement and then ask for instant dogs and tyrant. Blizzard clearly isn't intending on anything if the nature considering it's packed into DC talent and the PvP talent who's name escapes me.

I think a more likely bid is to ask for Soul Strike to be made baseline as it adds a healthy amount of movement, redirect power to our main pet, and doesn't appear to be a pivotal part of the Demo that blizzard envisions.

Just my 2c

Interesting idea. If they were to increase the damage on it, and allow for 2 shards to be returned, it could function pretty well as a way to build shards on the move while putting out some damage.

11/12/2018 09:26 AMPosted by Phobos
The inability to control secondary pets is what kills this spec for me.
I know there are other important issues with the spec, but looking at wild imps doing whatever they want and locking me in combat forever shows that Blizzard doesn't know/want to fix REALLY OLD unacceptable bugs.

On the other hand, I agree with the OP and prefer the current iteration of demonology. Being a master summoner is more compatible with the spec than transforming into a thing that you're supposed to control.

That is the thing isn't it? The secondary demon thing IS a very old bug that should've been fixed ages ago, especially when they based a class off the playstyle.

It's true that I do miss the days of metamorphosis and dark apotheosis. But I miss dark apotheosis more. It wasn't for everybody, but I thought it was one of the most unique things in the game being a caster who could choose to be a DPS machine, or switch it up and be a very effective tank in pre-raid level encounters.

Thanks to all who've replied so far. I wanted to post this on the BFA classes section, but it was way over the character limit. Hopefully Blizzard does pass by the warlock forums every now and again and sees this and other posts trying to help show them de way.
Just bring back Metamorphosis....
11/12/2018 07:19 PMPosted by Pepino
Just bring back Metamorphosis....


it's so much better now. so much more fun. imo. i've been demo since i made this lock in cata and this is the most fun it's ever been. i thought it was really fun in legion too but bfa just made it off the chain.
MoP was my fav, I’m a Demo Main, while yes BFA is better, but still not as good as it was back in the day!...
After patch demo may be ok pve. Its getting a buff in dmg if I'm not mistaken. It still needs some work though. It would be nice not to be pigeon holed into felguard as your only main pet as hunters get many options. I doubt they would ever put in the work though to make upgraded succubus/void/imp/felhunter pets for demo as they are in need of a rework and some mobility. Also doom should either be like 25% or if it dies under the effects of.

In pvp I would stick with the other 2 specs... especially after patch with the demon armor becoming available to aff/destruction. Your imps are easily kited during burst and they prevent you from getting out of combat which is annoying. Your heal is channeled so its not worth casting. Its better just to cast a new pet when he is dead but if your getting tunneled they can stun you near the end to prevent it. The felguard also has a problem with sticking on to people and often stops attacking especially if they are pillar kiting so its super frustrating. If you want to play a pet class pvp I'd suggest a bm hunter even if they aren't that good really.
I'm not sure if the new 10% health + 125% armor will make affliction and destruction on par with demonology 20% damage reduction passive.

Remember that soul link protects against every kind of damage, while the armor only protects against physical damage.

Nowadays, probably only warriors deal pure physical damage.
My demo experience:

Want to play demo because aff is terrible on mobs in M+ until like +13 which I dont do since I have no friends to play with, always get shrine of the storm, then have to either pay a stupid amount of gold to switch traits/spec or sacrifice dps by taking suboptimal talents so I can use felhunter interrupt.
I love the new fantasy for demonology. The master summoner idea had made this spec a blast to play. OP had an idea with Doom. Make it baseline and the chance to summon doomgaurd increased and when dealing damage. For pvp concerns keep it 30 seconds, but maybe have it affected more by haste than other spells? There needs to be something done to increase our damage as a whole. I like that Blizzard is still making tweeks, but they need to try something other than increasing numbers and timers.
I fell in love with the new demo the moment i saw that i had like 20 demons out at once...doing my bidding! <insert crescendo of evil laugh>. I didn't even care if i did less damage. Hearing all the fire bolts zipping by just gave me this content feeling.

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