A lot of stuff up in the talent calculator right now is very rough. Many classes have entries that are obviously copy pasted from existing talents without updates. However, the Warlock section is noticeably more polished, so I don’t think it’s early to try and picture what the new rotations will be like.
The new Affliction setup seems positively spartan compared to previous requirements. There are three DoTs to keep up; Corruption, Unstable Affliction, and Bane of Agony (now with a 1 minute duration). Once all three are you up channel Malefic Grasp, which does some damage on its own and increases the frequency of the DoT ticks by 100%. As far as the basic rotation goes, that’s it. Three DoTs and channel.
For complications, that only significant one I can see if Nightfull. Its new design procs from Corruption or Drain Life ticks, which makes your next MG apply its full damage instantly and leave the boosted DoT effect up for 9 seconds. In other words, it gives you a 9 second window to do other things without losing the part of MG that actually matters. I imagine it’ll be useful for renewing DoTs, channeling Drain Soul to refill Soul Shards, or maybe even throwing out a Soul Fire or two.
It’s hard to say beyond that. Drain Soul still does double damage to targets in execute range, but we can’t say yet if that’s a DPS gain over MG. It’s also clear that we don’t have a complete list of what Soulburn is capable of. One of the Dev chats mentioned an AoE application of curses, which isn’t there. And speaking of curses, I only see two. Good old Curse of Elements, and Curse of Enfeeblement which combines Weakness with Tongues. I don’t even see Curse of Exhaustion anywhere. Are they really cutting it down to just an offensive and a defensive one? Could be.
Things also seem streamlined with the new Destruction. Two DoTs, Corruption and Immolate, for the less DoT focused spec. Spam Incinerate on an Immolated target to build Infernal Embers, cast Conflagration or Soul Fire to consume the Embers for an empowered attack. That seems to be the core of the setup. Conflag is still instant cast with a 10 second cooldown, though it no longer requires an Immolate on the target to use. The new passive ability Destructive Influence builds a buff every time your demon attacks that reduces the cast time of Soul Fire, and should make it instant cast if you wait long enough. The big question is the relative weight of Conflag vs Soul Fire and which it’s better to use your Embers with. Will we be waiting on Conflag’s cooldown to blow the Embers, or will we throwing Soul Fires with reduced but non-instant cast times when we have a good Ember stack?
What excites me a bit more is what Destro’s AoE promises. Rain of Fire will do 50% extra damage to Immolated targets, and the Aftermath ability say it removes the channeled requirement. I presume this would make it like Flamestrike or Earthquake. There’s also Fire & Brimstone, a 10 second cooldown that makes your next single target fire spell hit everything in 15 yards. Try this on for size. F&B to Immolate everything, drop a RoF on the group, throw some Incins to build Embers, renew RoF, F&B for an empowered Conflag. That sounds like some serious multi-target damage to me.
I have to admit that I’m far less certain of how Demonology is going to work. Yes, the basic outline is clear. Your two DoTs are Corruption and Bane of Doom, Shadow Bolt is your filler attack, you build Demonic Fury until you transform and then consume it for improved abilities. It’s the specifics of the specialized spells that are unclear to me. Perhaps because we don’t understand enough about how Demonic Fury works yet, perhaps because they’re newer and less finished still. A lot of the feel of the spec will likely depend on how quickly DF builds up and how long the Metamorphed Demon form lasts for.
Outside the core rotation, both Hand of Gul’dan and the new Wild Imps seem to be significant DF generators, but the current entries are very confusing. Decimation gives you instant cast Soul Fire as long as you don’t hit anything above 25% health. Right now Soul Fire isn’t listed as generating DF, so if that holds up it may be a choice between quick execute damage and trying to build to another transformation. Like Afflic and Soulburn, the list of Demon form abilities seems very incomplete at the moment.
With many changes obviously still to come, and important aspects like Glyphs entirely untouched, no one can put any hard numbers to these previews yet Still, it has me itching for the Beta test. I can’t wait to get on and try out all three specs before deciding which I’ll adopt for primary use. I think this is the most significant overhaul of the Warlock class since I started playing back in Burning Crusade.