Newbie guide to Affliction in 4.1

Those of you that know me know that I am not exactly big on guides. I wrote one a long time ago about leveling up a warlock. For the most part it still works with the changed leveling from 4.0, but I should probably update it. A little back story on this post today!

Cynwise was on twitter yesterday asking if anyone knew of an Affliction guide for 4.1 for newbies.  He had gotten an email from a brand new warlock and since he isn’t big on PvE (he is the king of PvP though) he wanted to direct this person to someone who could help them.

After some research we found that there wasn’t a guide for newbies.  There are several that are more advanced, but those wouldn’t really work.  I asked Cyn to forward me the email and I sent a write up explaining how to Aff lock as it were.  I was quite proud of my reply and asked Cyn if he thought it would work for a newbie guide.  He told me yes and so I decided to share it with you all!

First of all here is my warlock – Lyssianna

What will help you is some kind of dot tracker. I personally use Need to Know. It is fairly simple to set up and can be used to track all sorts of things.

I am not big on macros, so I don’t have any tips on how to use those. What I will give you is the basics.

Boss fights:

Curse of the Elements
Demon Soul: Felhunter (this means you should be running with the felhunter aka the fel puppy)
Haunt
Unstable Affliction
Corruption
Bane of Agony
Shadow bolt (spam this until you need to refresh your dots)

Ideally you want to have 3 stacks of Shadow Embrace up at all times (something to have on your tracker). Shadow bolt and haunt put this debuff up on your target. Each stack increases your shadow damage by 5% for a max of 15%. Since you will be spamming Shadow Bolt as a filler this is very easy to keep up.

When haunt reaches about 4-5 seconds left you will want to start recasting it. You want to have this spell up at all times. Haunt also refreshes Corruption.

The majority of the time will be spent refreshing your dots (don’t clip them!) and spamming shadow bolt.  Just in case you didn’t know, “clipping” means reapplying the DoT before the duration wears off.

You will want to use your Doomguard ideally when bloodlust (or heroism if you are Alliance) is cast. BUT you need to make sure you will have 45 seconds available for him to dps.  Until you learn the fights this might take a bit to get right, but you will eventually learn when the right time is each fight.  Since this has a 10 min cooldown you will want to make sure you use it each time it is available.

When the boss reaches under 25% health you will need to switch to drain soul. This spell will automatically refresh your Unstable Affliction and Corruption. You will continuously channel this spell until Haunt reaches about 4-5 seconds left or when Bane of Agony falls off. The Haunt application will keep up your Shadow Embrace. The under 25% damage is your largest source of dps/damage. I currently use a power aura (only that one) to pop up a warning whenever my targeted mob is at 25% or less health. You might want to set up something similar to help you. I don’t know about you but I have a hell of time figuring out when the mob has hit 25% so this has helped me immensely.  If you aren’t big on using add ons then changing the health bars to show percentages can make this MUCH easier.

Trash mobs:

I try to find the mob that will be killed last and stick Curse of the Elements on them. Then I load up all my dots on the first marked target (haunt, UA, Cor, BoA) then with a glyphed Soul Swap I pop UA, Cor and BoA to the next marked target. I then find the 3rd target and load that one up with dots. By that point haunt is off cooldown and you can reapply it. I essentially tab target through the mobs and refresh my dots as needed until they all die.

If you are in a place with non-elites and just need to AoE spam then use Soulburn: Seed of Corruption and start spamming Seed. The Soulburn will not only refresh your shard once it explodes, but it will also put Corruption up on every target in the area. It is a ton of fun!

Going OOM:

This should NEVER happen with a warlock. Being that you are affliction you have the best passive healing out of almost every class. This is how I typically life tap.

Once I reach about 60-75% mana I life tap once or twice (I currently get 24k mana each tap unbuffed). I try to time this right before haunt comes back. This way I get healed by haunt and the healer doesn’t have to waste mana on me. Assuming you have corruption rolling on your target at all times, the healing from Siphon life will keep you with a steady stream of health.

If you are still having trouble with remembering to life tap, just put it into your rotation. After you put up a full stack of dots, life tap. That way you are constantly full for mana and your haunt will heal you each time.

Glyphs & Talents:

The spec that Lyssi has is pretty much the standard one.  There isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room if you are focusing primarily on PvE.

With Glyphs there are several options.  What you choose will largely depend on your playstyle and what you are planning on doing.

Must Haves:

Options for other slots:

 

Crowd Control aka CC:

Warlocks are Kings and Queens of CC.  Thanks to the lovely Glyph of Fear (EVERY warlock should have this glyph, there is no excuse!) we can now manage several types of mobs.

You have 4 types of CC – Fear, Banish, Enslave Demon and Seduction.

How I handle keeping track of my CC target is to make the mob my focus.  I know that several people have come up with nifty macros for CCing and changing your target and focus.  I keep it simple.  Right click the target’s frame, set focus.  Then I can easily watch the duration of my CC.

**BIG TIP!**

Keep your pet on passive if you are going to CC a target.  Once your target is CC’d then send your pet to the kill target.  This will stop you from accidentally breaking your own CC.

Here is a breakdown on each CC:

  • Fear – This will be your staple CC.  It works on most mobs in Cata dungeons.  This better be glyphed or you will have mobs running everywhere and pulling their friends with them.  GLYPH THIS!  This can be broken by damage.  You do not have to wait for the timer to finish before you refresh this.  I usually refresh when the duration is about half gone.
  • Banish – This works on elementals and demons.  The best part about this method is the mob becomes immune to all damage.  You cannot refresh this very easily.  This can be taken off by recasting it on the mob.  If you want the mob to stay CC’d then wait for this to fall off then recast it on them.
  • Enslave Demon – This one will replace your current pet with whichever demon you enslave.  This cannot be broken by damage because they become your pet.  While that demon is under your control you can use their special abilities.  Once this wears off (or you dismiss it) you will have to fight the demon you enslaved.  I don’t use this method much.
  • Seduction – Your Succubus channels this spell.  This means you have to run with her.  Since you should be running with your Felpuppy you won’t have this ability as readily as the others.  This can be broken by damage (very easily I might add) and takes a bit more of micro managing than the others.  I usually do not use this ability unless I need more than fear on humanoid targets.

 

Conclusion:

The only way to get good at affliction is to practice your rotation.  Affliction has one of the more difficult rotations to master.  The best tip I can give you is to spend a lot of time on the test dummies.  Once you can go through your rotation with ease (muscle memory for the win!) your dps/damage will go up big time.  Affliction’s main damage comes when the mob is under 25% and we are using drain soul.  Don’t get caught up in your rotation and forget to switch over.

Affliction has always been my favorite spec.  Please feel free to leave any questions you might have in the comments and I will do my best to help you.

Once you progress beyond the “newbie” stage there are LOTS of sites out there with advanced techniques and ideas.  Just think of this as a jumping off point.

Good luck and happy dotting!