Battle for Azeroth Community Opinions: State of Affliction Warlocks



We’re back with another Community Opinions article. This week, we’ve decided to take another look at the state of Affliction Warlocks, as they recently received large changes on the Battle for Azeroth Beta.

We reached out to the Affliction Warlock community to give their thoughts and opinions on the changes and the current state of Affliction.

Make sure to check out our comprehensive list of class changes which is updated after every build. Here are the Community Opinion articles we’ve done in the past:

Members of the Affliction Warlock community have come together to give you a perspective of the current state of Affliction. Make sure to check out the Council of the Black Harvest Discord server.

  • Terryn: Former Affliction Warlock guide author for WoWhead, MMO-Champion, Lock One Stop Shop, and sh**poster at Council of Black Harvest. Former raider / raid leader in <Crisp> on Baelgun, and now Mythic+ runner and spending a lot of time on Beta investigating things.
  • Gahddo: One of the 3 Illuminati at Council of the Black Harvest and eater of mangos, Gahddo manages a lot of the SimCraft APLs, and helps organize and run all of those wonderful trinket sims that you find on Lock One Stop Shop
  • Xyronic: You can find him chilling in Limit, and maintaining the Affliction guide for Wowhead. Also watch him at the Mythic Dungeon Invitational.

General Warlock Changes

Spells

  • REMOVED Summon Doomguard Summons a Doomguard for 25 sec to assault the target with its Doom Bolts.
  • REMOVED Unending Breath Allows an ally to breathe underwater and increases swim speed by 20% for 10 min.
  • Banish Banishes an enemy Demon, Aberration, or Elemental, preventing any action for 30 sec. Limit 1. Casting Banish again on the target will cancel the effect.
    Cost changed from 2.5% of base mana to 1.5% of base mana
  • Command Demon Commands your demon to perform its most powerful ability. This spell will transform based on your active pet.
    Imp: Singe Magic
    Voidwalker: Suffering
    Succubus: Seduction
    Felhunter: Spell Lock
    Felguard: Felstorm
    Doomguard: Shadow Lock
    Infernal: Meteor StrikeFelguard: Axe Toss
    Felhunter: Spell Lock
    Voidwalker: Shadow Bulwark
    Succubus: Seduction
    Imp: Singe Magic
  • Create Healthstone Creates a Healthstone that can be consumed to restore 25%25% health.
    Cost changed from 5.0% of base mana to 2.0% of base mana
  • Create Soulwell Creates a Soulwell for 2 min. Party and raid members can use the Soulwell to acquire a Healthstone.
    Cost changed from 10.0% of base mana to 5.0% of base mana
  • Demonic Gateway Creates a demonic gateway between two locations. Activating the gateway transports the user to the other gateway. Each player can use a Demonic Gateway only once per 1.50 min.
    Cost changed from 10.0% of base mana to 3.0% of base mana
    Cast Time changed from 3 sec cast to 2 sec cast
  • Enslave Demon Enslaves the target demon up to level 57, forcing it to do your bidding for 5 min.
    Cost changed from 5.0% of base mana to 2.0% of base mana
  • Eye of Kilrogg Summons an Eye of Kilrogg and binds your vision to it. The eye is stealthed and moves quickly but is very fragile.
    Cost changed from 4.0% of base mana to 3.0% of base mana
  • Fear Strikes fear in the enemy, disorienting for 20 sec. Damage may cancel the effect. Limit 1.
    Cost changed from 10.0% of base mana to 5.0% of base mana
  • Ritual of Summoning Begins a ritual to create a summoning portal, requiring the caster and 2 allies to complete. This portal can be used to summon party and raid members.
    Cost changed from 4.0% of base mana to 5.0% of base mana
  • Soul Shards Soul Shards and Soul Shard Fragments are generated by some of your spells and consumed to cast your most powerful spells and summon demons to serve you.
    While out of combat you regenerate up to 3 Soul Shards.10 Soul Shard Fragments make up 1 Soul Shard.
    While out of combat you regenerate up to 3 Soul Shards.
  • Soulstone Stores the soul of the target party or raid member, allowing resurrection upon death.
    Affliction and Demonology and Destruction (Level 70)
    Also castable to resurrect a dead target
    Targets resurrect with 100%60% health and 20% mana.
  • Summon Infernal Summons an Infernal from the Twisting Nether, impacting for (100% of Spell power) Fire damage and stunning all enemy targetsenemies in the area for 2 sec. Thesec.
    The Infernal will serve you for 25 sec, dealing strong area-of-effect damage.30 sec, dealing (50% of Spell power) damage to all nearby enemies every 2 sec and generating 1 Soul Shard Fragment every 0.5 sec.
    No longer Affliction/Demonology
  • NEW Shadowfury Stuns all enemies within 8 yds for 43 sec.
    Now baseline
    Range changed from 30 yd range to 35 yd range
    Cooldown changed from 30 sec cooldown to 1 min cooldown
  • Unending Resolve Hardens your skin, reducing all damage you take by 40% and granting immunity to interrupt and silence effects for 8 sec.
    Cost changed from 10.0% of base mana to 2.0% of base mana

Talents
Removed

  • REMOVED Demonic Circle Summons a Demonic Circle for 15 min. allowing you to cast it againCast Demonic Circle: Teleport to teleport to its location and remove all movement slowing effects.Limit 1.
    Changed spell ID
  • REMOVED Grimoire of Service Summons a second demon which fights for you for 25 sec and deals 100% increased damage. 1.5 min cooldown. The demon will immediately use one of its special abilities when summoned.

New

  • NEW Darkfury Reduces the cooldown of Shadowfury by 15 sec.
    Tier 5 Talent
  • NEW Summons a Demonic Circle for 15 min. Cast Demonic Circle: Teleport to teleport to its location and remove all movement slowing effects.
    You also learn: Demonic Circle – Teleport
    Teleports you to your Demonic Circle and removes all movement slowing effects.
    New version

Swapped Positions

  • Burning Rush Increases your movement speed by 50%, but also damages you for 4% of your maximum health every 1 sec. Movement impairing effects may not reduce you below 100% of normal movement speed. Lasts until cancelled.
    Tier 3 Talent
  • Dark Pact Sacrifices 20% of your current health to shield you for 400%250% of the sacrificed health for 20 sec. Usable while suffering from control impairing effects.
    Tier 3 Talent
  • Demon Skin Your Soul Leech absorption now passively recharges at a rate of 1%0.5% of maximum health every 1 sec, and may now absorb up to 20%15% of maximum health.
    Tier 3 Talent
  • Demonic Circle Summons a Demonic Circle for 15 min, allowing you to cast it again to teleport to its location and remove all movement slowing effects. Limit 1.
    Tier 5 Talent
    Cost changed from 5.0% of base mana to 2.0% of base mana
  • Mortal Coil Horrifies an enemy target into fleeing, incapacitating for 3 sec and healing you for 20% of maximum health.
    Tier 5 Talent
    Cost changed from 6.0% of base mana to 2.0% of base mana

Changed

  • Soul Conduit Every Soul Shard you spend has a 20%15% chance to be refunded.

Azerite General

  • NEW   While below 50% health, your Drain Life heals for an additional 77 health each 1 sec.
  • NEW   When you use a Healthstone, gain 88 Leech for 20 sec

Affliction Warlock Specific Changes

Specialization

  • Affliction Warlock Apply Aura: Modifies Damage/Healing Done by 14% 25%.
  • REMOVED Shadow Bite Your Felhunter’s Shadow Bite deals 50% increased damage for each of your Affliction damage over time effects on the target.
  • NEWSummon Darkglare   Summons a Darkglarefrom the Twisting Nether that extends the duration of your damage over time effects on all enemies by 8 sec.
    The Darkglare will serve you for 20 sec, blasting its target for (40% of Spell power) Shadow damage, increased by 10% for every damage over time effect you have active on any target.
  • Agony Inflicts increasing agony on the target, causing up to 31.86%7.2% of Spell power) * 6] Shadow damage over 18 sec. Damage starts low and increases over the duration. Refreshing Agony maintains its current damage level.
    Agony damage sometimes generates 1 Soul Shard.
    Cost changed from 3.0% of base mana to 1.0% of base mana
  • Corruption Corrupts the target, causing (226.8%63% of Spell power) Shadow damage over 14 sec.
    Cost changed from 3.0% of base mana to 1.0% of base mana
  • Life Tap Restores 30% of your maximum manaGrants 1 Soul Shard at the cost of 10%15% of your maximum health.
    Now available to all specs
    Now requires Level 20, up from 8
    Cooldown changed from None to 30 sec recharge
    Charges changed from None to 3 Charges
  • Mastery: Potent Afflictions Increases damage done by Agony, Corruption, Siphon Life, Phantom Singularity, Vile Taint, and Unstable Affliction by 25%)20.0%.
  • Seed of Corruption Embeds a demon seed in the enemy target that will explode after 18 sec, dealing (172%12 sec, dealing (20% of Spell power) Shadow damage to all enemies within 10 yards and applying Corruption to them.
    The seed will detonate early if the target is hit by other detonations, or takes (Spell power * 30050 / 100) damage from your spells.
  • Shadow Bolt Sends a shadowy bolt at the enemy, causing (160%45% of Spell power) Shadow damage.
    Cost changed from 6.0% of base mana to 2.0% of base mana
  • Unstable Affliction Afflicts the target with (370.8%64% of Spell power) Shadow damage over 8 sec. You may afflict a target with up to 5 Unstable Afflictions at once.
    If dispelled, deals You deal 10% increased damage to targets affected by your Unstable Affliction.
    If dispelled, deals of Spell power) * 400 / 100] damage to the dispeller and silences them for 4 sec.
    Affliction (Level 26)
    Refunds 1 Soul Shard if the target dies while afflicted.

Talents

Removed

  • REMOVED Contagion You deal 15%10% increased damage to targets affected by your Unstable Affliction.
  • REMOVED Death’s Embrace Agony, Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Seed of Corruption, and Shadow Bolt deal up to 50%40% increased damage on targets below 35% health. Damage increase is higher against lower health targets.
  • REMOVED Empowered Life Tap Life Tap increases your damage dealt by 10% for 20 sec.
  • REMOVED Grimoire of Service Summons a second demon which fights for you for 25 sec and deals 100% increased damage. 1.5 min cooldown. The demon will immediately use one of its special abilities when summoned:
  • REMOVED Howl of Terror Let loose a terrifying howl, causing 5 enemies within 10 yds to flee in fear, disorienting them for 20 sec. Damage may cancel the effect.
  • REMOVED Malefic Grasp While channeling Drain Soul, your damage over time effects deal 25%20% increased damage to the target.
  • REMOVED Soul Harvest Increases your damage and your pets’ damage by 20%. Lasts 12 sec, increased by 4 sec for each target afflicted by your Agony up to a maximum of 36 sec.

New

  • NEW Creeping Death Your Agony, Corruption, Siphon Life, and Unstable Affliction deal their full damage 15% faster.
    Tier 7 Talent
    Inspired by the legendary Hood of Eternal Disdain
  • NEW Dark Soul: Misery   Infuses your soul with the misery of fallen foes, increasing haste by 30% for 20 sec.
    Tier 7 Talent
  • NEW Deathbolt Launches a bolt of death at the target, dealing 40% of the total remaining damage of your damage over time effects on the target.
    Tier 1 Talent
  • NEW Shadow Embrace Drain Soul, Shadow Bolt applies Shadow Embrace, increasing your damage dealt to the target by 3% for 10 sec. Stacks up to 3 times.
    Tier 6 Talent
  • NEW Vile Taint   Erupts a vile pool at the target location, dealing (75% of Spell power) Shadow damage over 10 sec to all enemies within 10 yds and reducing their movement speed by 30%.
    Tier 4 Talent

Changed

  • Absolute Corruption Corruption is now permanent and deals 25% increased damage. Duration15% increased damage.
    Duration reduced to 24 sec against players.
  • Drain Soul   Drains the target’s soul, causing (90%75% of Spell power) Shadow damage over 5 sec.
    Damage is increased by 100% against enemies below 20% health.
    Generates 1 Soul Shard if the target dies during this effect.
    Tier 1 Talent
  • Grimoire of Sacrifice SacrificeSacrifices your demon pet for power, gaining its command demon ability, and 15% increased damage done.
    Lasts 1 hour or until you summon a demon pet.causing your spells to sometimes also deal (35% of Spell power) additional Shadow damage.
    Lasts 1 hour or until you summon a demon pet.
  • Haunt A ghostly soul haunts the target, dealing (500%55% of Spell power) Shadow damage and increasing your damage dealt to the target by 15% for 10 sec. If10% for 15 sec.
    If the target dies, Haunt’s cooldown is reset.
    Tier 6 Talent, cost changed from 5.0% of base mana to 2.0% of base mana, cooldown changed from 25 sec to 15 sec cooldown
  • Nightfall   Corruption damage has a chance to cause your next Shadow Bolt to be instant and deal 25% increased damage.
    Tier 1 Talent
  • Phantom Singularity Places a phantom singularity above the target, which consumes the life of all enemies within 15 yards, dealing 180%18% of Spell power)] damage over 16 sec, healing you for 20%25% of the damage done.
    Cooldown changed from 40 sec to 45 sec
  • Siphon Life Siphons the target’s life essence, dealing 25 Shadow damage over 15 sec and healing you for 60%30% of the damage done.
    Tier 2 Talent
  • Sow the Seeds Seed of Corruption will now embednow embeds a demon seed in 2 additional nearby enemies.into 1 additional nearby enemy.
  • Writhe in Agony Agony’s damage may now ramp up to 15 stacks.
    Tier 2 Talent

Honor Talents

  • Curse of Fragility   Reduces the target’s maximum health by 20%up to 15% for 10 sec.
  • Essence Drain   Whenever you heal yourself with Drain Soul/DrainDrain Life, the enemy target deals 5% reduced damage to you for 6 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.
  • Nether Ward   Surrounds the caster with a shield that lasts 53 sec, reflecting all harmful spells cast on you.
  • Rot and Decay   Each time your Drain SoulLife deals damage, it increases the duration of your Unstable Affliction, Corruption and Agony on the target by 1 sec.
  • Soulshatter   Consumes all of your damage over time effects on the 5 nearest enemies within 40 yards, dealing up to 10% of their totalmaximum health in Shadow damage.
    For each enemy hit by Soulshatter, you gain 1 Soul Shard and 10% Haste for 8 sec.

Azerite Traits

  • NEW   Casting Unstable Affliction on a target affected by your Unstable Affliction increases your Haste by 208 for 15 sec
  • NEW   Unstable Affliction deals 100 additional damage, and casting Unstable Affliction reduce the cooldown of Summon Darkglare by 3 sec.
  • NEW   Damaging an enemy with Corruption increases the damage of your next Drain Life by 4. This effect stacks up to 100 times.
  • NEW   Agony deals up to an additional 144 damage and starts with 4 stacks.
  • NEW Wracking Brilliance   Every other Soul Shard your Agony generates also increases your Intellect by 63 for 6 sec.

Changes from Legion

General Game Play:

  • Removal of Drain as our filler, addition of Shadow Bolt
  • Drain Soul is no longer baseline. Drain Life has had its damage significantly reduced, with the intent of being a non-cooldown defensive.
  • Life Tap has been removed, and now your mana pool is irrelevant.
  • Removal of Infernal / Doomguard, addition of new Cooldown: Summon Darkglare. Summon Darkglare extends the duration of all dots when he is summoned by 8 seconds, and deals damage to one target based on the total number of dots that are out.
  • Mastery now effects basically all spells EXCEPT Shadow Bolt.
  • Artifact is gone.
  • Shadowfury is back and is baseline (with a cast time).
  • Removal of legendaries (a few make their return in talents)
  • Death’s Embrace has been removed, and replaced with a much less powerful execute in Drain Soul.

How does the spec feel now?

The removal of the artifact and the souls component is definitely noticed, especially with the loss of Soul Flame and Wrath of Consumption. Losing this makes Affliction feel weak and inefficient on quickly dying targets. While in Affliction could at least turn small add damage into bonus boss damage, we don’t even have that around any more. Since the Affliction spec was designed entirely around the artifact in legion, we have gotten a much needed talent rework, and a soft overhaul of some key points. The new Summon Darkglare cooldown feels really solid, with a lot of potential for burst at the start of a fight and during damage amp phases, such as during the Curator fight in Upper Karazhan. The change in our filler was definitely needed, the spec had entirely too much self heal, and could just sit in mechanics and not die in many encounters. AOE as a whole has been reduced going into BFA for most specs, and our AOE has been shifted from just raw Seed of Corruption spam to maintaining multiple dots, which feels like a healthier route for the spec to go.

Overall the baseline toolkit feels like it is missing out on small add fights, such as the Mythic Varimathras adds, or the Argus Modules. The changes that have come since the start of the beta have solved some initial concerns with a lack of a built in cooldown, and some general talent confusion. There’s a lot of concern about tuning of affliction, but we hope that these will issues will be resolved during the tuning phase over the next few months.

Talents:
Tier 15: The choice between Drain Soul, Nightfall and Deathbolt feels very interesting. You have a talent that completely alters your playstyle in Deathbolt. There’s a talent to give you both and execute and a way to gain damage off of small add fights in Drain Soul. Nightfall just gives you a passive talent and a large increase in mobility. The playstyle with Deathbolt lends itself to using Deathbolt during a massive Unstable Affliction stack, and feels really good when you can combo 4 Unstable Affliction + Summon Darkglare before hand.

Tier 30: All 3 of these talents modify how we are handling multi dotting. In general, Siphon Life will be go to for pure ST, while Absolute Corruption / Writhe in Agony will be the go to during various multi target fights, depending on how much cheesing you can do with Absolute Corruption. It would be nice if Absolute Corruption would also provide the Sacrolash’s Dark Strike effect from legion, giving it some utility, or if there was any way for us to gain this effect; It was a really nice bit of utility during legion and it would be nice to see it return.

Tier 45: This tier has not changed since Legion, but has swapped places with Tier 75, and is a choice between two different improved survivability traits and mobility. One note Soul Leech has been drastically reduced in its effectiveness, only providing an 8% total life shield, and generates much slower due to the lack of the artifact traits. So Demon Skin is a significantly stronger talent in comparison to what it provided in legion.

Tier 60: Right off the bat, Sow the Seeds has been dropped from 3 to 2 targets. This is partially to reduce our reliance on Seed of Corruption spam for AOE, and partially to go with the general AOE reductions across the board. Soul Harvest has been removed, and Vile Taint has taken its place, which is basically an AOE Unstable Affliction. The slow on Vile Taint is incredibly useful in Mythic+, and a great alternative to Seed of Corruption spam. This feels like a very healthy option to go against Sow the Seeds for AoE situations. Phantom Singularity is still a viable button for single target, and provides some general “Splash damage” for when your primary job is not AOE, but there is still some help you can provide.

Tier 75: This tier has swapped places with Tier 45, and has had only a few changes; Howl of Terror has been removed for a new talent, Darkfury, which reduces the cooldown on Shadowfury, and Demonic Circle has been reverted back to 2 buttons. You can put your cancel aura macros away everyone!

Tier 90: This tier doesn’t make that much sense with the changes announced on Tuesday. Swapping Haunt into this row brings back this issue of having 2 “maintenance debuffs” choices in the same row and is incredibly frustrating. If that is a style you’re trying to avoid, you now are only given one option. on the bright side, Grimoire of Sacrifice lets you get to keep your Command Demon ability again, which is a huge improvement on what it used to do and allows you to still use your interrupt in M+ as well as a defensive (Shadow Bulwark).

Tier 100: Soul conduit is still alive, and it feels like the only point of it is to amp Deathbolt. At this point you have the choice between Dark Soul: Misery and Creeping Death, which are both incredible talents. Creeping Death makes the spec feel much busier, as it reduces the duration of dots as well as their tick period Dark Soul: Misery gives you a massive haste cool down to pair up with Summon Darkglare, but keep in mind it’s on the GCD.

Heart of Azeroth Traits:

The Heart of Azeroth is a replacement of both the Legion Artifact, and tier sets. Unfortunately most of the announced Azerite traits are incredibly lacking in both flavor and power. A lot of traits across the board are Intelligence procs. Dreadful Calling is an interesting trait, which lets you get more Darkglares out. Inevitable Demise is an incredibly confusing trait, because Drain Life is very rare that you can sit down and channel for 5 seconds strait. Sudden Onset is the last “interesting” trait, and it is really appealing, letting you get your larger agony stacks out quicker.

Changes Recommended Before Tuning:

  1. Make Shadow Embrace baseline. Currently Shadow Bolt does nothing but damage, and all fillers in the other 2 specs do SOMETHING other than damage. This will provide some flavor and give the base spec some extra decision making in multi dot situations.
  2. In Shadow Embrace place: Grimoire trait that makes Shadow Bolt / Drain reduce the duration of Summon Darkglare. There’s some tuning but something along the lines of 2 seconds / 1 second split, or even 1 second / .5 seconds, pending on the balance. This will give the spec an option to speed things up on pure single target, and makes this talent less useful in multi target, where having multiple Summon Darkglares would become increasingly strong. This also allows the spec to provide some further use to Shadow Bolt. Really something that allows shadowbolt to lightly modify pure single target damage makes the most sense here
  3. Shadow Embrace needs to last for 12 seconds. A lot of the testing we’ve done and one extra GCD will really help solve a lot of issues with trying to maintain this on even 2 targets. Another note is Shadow Embrace used to be 12 seconds duration in Cataclysm, so it would make some sense to return to that duration.
  4. Provide a way to give the Sacrolash’s Dark Strike effect. It feels really bad to lose this utility, and it would be nice to be able to specialize Absolute Corruption into this.



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