Tuesday, 26 November 2013


I might be a casual gamer, who incidentally clocks up a few hours in front of a computer screen, but I do play a lot of classes. This gives me a fairly unique view of how the classes stack up against each other. I am not talking about cutting edge top iLevel gear and the raiding experience, I am talking about the ease of being able to use a certain class.

We all have our favourite playstyle, some like to go to go toe-to-toe, others like to stab their prey from behind, others like to hurl fireballs for a safe distance. From the point of view of a casual altoholic I want ease of use, many refer to Hunter as, "easy to play difficult to master". This is the kind of design that I am looking for. I struggle with my Blood Death Knight when I have not played her for a few weeks, but a Mage or Hunter I can knock out the damage without thinking about it. It might be muscle memory or just ease of use.

Traditionally I have always struggled with melee, in particular Rogue and Warrior, and for some reason I have never got on with my Warlock. Warlocks got into a right state in Cataclysm and the decline in popularity was so marked that Blizzard made it a priority to overhaul the class and all 3 specs, which had lost their definitions. If you have forgotten what state Warlocks got themselves into I have included a link to the excellent work provided by Cynwise.

When you play 10 classes and several specs, it is difficult to spend the time learning an additional one. The result is that always play BM Hunter and Frost Mage. I have tried but the results are terrible. The thought of having to relearn a new spec when levelling my Warlock filled me with dread. In the end this was the last character I levelled, and for solo play I was amazed at the ease and the power of the newly designed Warlock. I traditionally played as Demonology, but on researching the specs I chose Destruction. I cannot even remember the reason why, but I think it was based on a comment from R.

Out of curiosity I found the comment from R on the 7th August 2013, in summary it looks like this:

"Warlock - Go Destro for leveling, use the Void Lord (Supremacy talent) for a tank pet and think Elemental Shammy for rotation. Immolate instead of Flame Shock, Combustion (Conflagrate) instead of Lava Burst and Incinerate instead of Lightning Bolt. That'll get you most of the way to an end-game rotation and will blow up quest mobs quite impressively."

The key was Elemental Shammy rotation, that was something concrete and tangible that I could work with. No need to learn new rotation, simply substitute the ideas of playing Elemental directly to my setup for Destruction and voila, easy peasy.

My Warlock was a little late to the Timeless Isle party, but I am now sporting iLevel 495 and in comparison my Druid is iLevel 508. The Gnomey Warlock can blast a Great Turtle before the spin cycle and my Druid needs to turn and flee. I believe I am playing both classes reasonably well, and one of them is significantly better geared, but I do not feel connected to the druid class anymore. It used to be so overpowered and now it appears to be a joke, with it's stupid swinging barometer between night and day.

The Warlock on the otherhand is an absolute joy to play. If you have not played one for a few expansions, I can heartily recommend. A class canon with a pet, what could be better. Now I just need to that green fire questline.


  1. The problem with the druid is you run from it when it spins, don't. Run into it when it spins. Be a bear, let it hit you, maul the crap out of it.

    I am like you, I do not like melee, but if I am going to play a melee class I play a tank. It is the only way to be and I believe the only person that should ever be that close to a mob is the tank. Rogues are just asking to die. Wearing leather and going toe to toe with a mob? Yeah, this is the sign of someone that has obviously taken way to many blows to the head.

    Locks were a surprise for most. After my 14 button rotation in wrath and my 9 button rotation in cataclysm going to the 3 button rotation in mists was a pleasure. But don't let yourself be fooled, that 3 button rotation is great for leveling and soloing stuff, but there are still a lot more buttons when it comes to doing the right thing in group content.

    However I really like the new warlock design because it is closer to how things should be designed. All classes should have a nice and simple 3 buttons to kill everything rotation.

    As a hunter I am just upset that the lock minion has more survivability than my pet even when I am glyphed for it specifically and their comes natural and their pet generates and hold aggro better than a hunter pet ever could. There is something seriously wrong with that. At least hunters still have MD. Add all that to lock rocks, summoning stone, teleporting and the top DPS in game and you wonder why any raid team would ever take a hunter when compared to a lock. The made them too good.

  2. Did I really say Combustion in the original comment? Must have played my mage that day... should be Conflagrate, of course.

    Yeah, I'm capable of picking up and playing all 11 classes, one of the primary reasons is that when I level toons I come up with synergies like the Destro/Elemental one... I kind of map the new class onto one that I already know, both mentally and literally in terms of keybinds. It won't get you to WoL rankings but especially when just soloing, good enough is absolutely good enough. A surprising number of dps classes/specs (especially ranged ones but can be stretched to almost all melee classes as well with the exception of DKs and warriors) map well to the "A DoT, A Nuke And A Filler" (DNF(tm)) style with minor variations in rotation so I usually aim to coerce a new class/spec into that mould when I'm learning it and tweak from there.

    I've seen similar comments about druids (especially boomkins) in MoP and it mirrors my own situation. I kind of liked (but didn't love) boomkin in Cat and thought the changes they were making would be positive changes (they addressed some of my perceived weaknesses) but now my druid just feels ... ineffective. I never feel like I have the right tools for any fight... single target, cleave, AoE, you name it. I see others tear shit up so I know it's POSSIBLE, it just hasn't worked for me.

    @Grumpy - if it was possible to guarantee that every LFR player was doing a proper 3-button rotation, regardless of class, it'd be a much better place. Even at that level of group play I'm fine with someone using a cut-back rotation, not using Cinders will cost them some dps but not enough that I'd probably notice and of course once someone is comfy with that rotation they can start to introduce other buttons as well.

    1. The is the basis of learning a rotation, start small and add. Most people do not even try to do that any longer and that is why they end up being so bad.

      There is only one class that can basically get away with hitting anything and doing okay right now and that is a hunter. Because of button bloat most of the abilities hit almost the same amount, damage wise, so no matter what you hit you will do "okay". The sad part, really sad part, is that there are still some hunters that just do not get it.

      Yesterday, first boss MV, the three dogs, my brand new hunter, 491 item level, just timeless crap, not gemmed, not enchanted, I did 136, just hitting anything, a hunter whos lowest item level piece was 536, and upgrade LFR piece, was a 135. So somehow people still mess it up when hunters should, in theory, be the easiest class to do "decent" at.

  3. I am not sure, I like the idea of playing part time boomkin - part time bear. It would seem to suggest a design flaw in the game.

    Thanks for the tip anyway I will try it for a few days and see if the style grows on me.

    1. Next expansion it will be easier with how gear will work.

      I didn't even consider you were boomkin, not sure why but I don't even think of a druid as a boomkin. Just doesn't compute.