Thoughts on the MoP destruction warlock

As I mentioned in my last post I’m now in the MoP beta. I almost instantly jumped in to my warlock and tried out the new destruction (only pausing to log into my pre-made 85 monk because it transferred faster) and all its now fanciness. So now its time to lay on some commentary and analysis now that I’ve had a chance to actually play around with it.Mana mana everywhere, but not a drop to cast with?
As it stands right now we have barely enough mana to build up one ember, and by the time I cast my first soul fire, our ember dump, and mana regen spell, I’m only back up to 20k mana out of 100k. It takes almost a full minute to completely regen a full mana bar, thats a stupid amount of time.

According to what we’ve seen from blue posts this isn’t quiet like how destruction should play, soul fire should allow us to regen far more mana, which just isn’t happening right now. Luckily this can be mostly put down to an apparent bug, as last patch we had much more MP5. Hopefully this will be fixed soon enough.

Soul fire for mana regen? WHY GOD WHY :|
So lets talk about soul fires place in the rotation. As it stands currently we cast immolate on a target, followed up my a series of conflagrates, incinerates and fel flames to build up burning embers, which we then use to cast a free soul fire which allows our mana to build back up while we’re casting it.

The rotation works our rather well, except for the last bit. The rotation works in concept, spend mana to build up embers, which you then dump into soul fire which lets us get our mana back.Soul fires 4 second cast time here works better than it does for cataclysms ISF, however it still feels far-the-fuck-too-long.

But if we shorten it would it be possible to have it return enough mana to let us continue casting? Hell, even if it stays at 4 seconds I have my doubts about it letting us regen enough mana to continue. So how about tacking on some mana return to soul fire in addition to a shorter cast time? This would add further incentives to casting soul fire, without having it have to kill us to get us to use them.

The curious dissonance of destruction’s burning embers
Burning embers? As currently implemented? Ignoring the mana issue that’s (apparently) a bug? Suck somewhat. My main problem is caused by almost a dissonance in how we can/should/are encouraged to use them.

On one hand you are incentive for carrying more than one ember, either through the cool graphic (Hey look ma! I’m on fire!), the on demand burst or the on demand heals and pet resurrections. However. At the same time your told to play hot potatoes with it, either by the dot you put on yourself or by your healers when they attempt to reach through their computer screens to strangle you because they have to baby sit you.

Lets look at this from a PvP stand point. Why would you put a dot on yourself only so you can heal yourself later?Sure we can hold onto a ember for a while

Now lets take a look at this from a PvE standpoint. We can see that this gives us some utility, on demand heals and the such, which is great on healing intensive encounters, or so we would hope. However the whole killing yourself slowly so you can heal yourself later thing once again comes back to bite us in the ass. Its likely that we would only want to heal our-self’s on the most healing intensive fights, which is exactly when we wouldn’t want to put a dot on ourselves.

In a lot of ways we can draw parallels between this and seal of blood/Martyr, the old paladin DPS seal of choice. If it was a bad idea back then why is it a good idea now? Sure we might not be cut from raids for our self damage, but whats the point in a resource system if there’s no choice in what we do with that resource because we have to burn the resource straight away so our healers don’t strangle us for it.

As it stands now its highly unlikely that we’ll use embers for anything but soul fires, and perhaps the very occasional heal. However we won’t have the choice and option to build them up for extra burst or extra healing when we need it. The key (I feel) to a good resource system is a choice on what to use the resource on, which we don’t/won’t have here.Auto wand!
Destruction also appears to be the first class to receive auto wand. The implications of this are somewhat interesting. If destruction is no longer GCD capped then a not insignificant amount of damage could come from your wand. But wands are no longer something every warlock will have, in a similar way to how not every warlock has a staff.

Will we have a replacement for auto wand if we have another type of weapon equipped, or will all the bad destruction warlocks not have wands?

This seems like a interesting, but somewhat bad direction, for destruction, and not just because I don’t want to be lumped into a box with hunters of classes who “can’t stop DPS reliably on demand and pull bosses stupidly”.

In conclusion
The new destruction looks cool, plays cool, but its still a little rough around the edges, or even a lot of rough all over. But the direction is cool. Right now burning embers almost feel like a burden rather than something cool. Beef up soul fire, take away the dot, then burning embers can start to approach something cool and awesome.

Burning embers shouldn’t be a hot potato when you get one, something you want to get rid of straight away. They should be a flaming ball of awesome and win, that we’re excited about, that we want to use to bring about the apocalypse, at least on a small scale for one person.