Patch 3.3 – Warlock Changes

Patch 3.3 raid builds

Courtesy Dominic Hobbs of

This post will be updated as the patch notes are updated.

Fun! Excitement! Amazement! All this and more! You will ooh, you will aah, you will scream and you will faint… Ladies and gentlement, your minds will be blown and your very grasp of reality will be shaken! For you have never seen the likes of these, the three-point-three patch notes!
Okay so they’re not that amazing, but still, let’s dive in.
  • Create Soulstone: The cooldown on this spell and duration of its buff have been lowered from 30 minutes down to 15 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.

I’ve always felt that the cooldown on this ability was rather long, and it’s nice to see it’s being shortened to bring it in line with the fact that instances these days are much shorter and faster than they used to be. More wipe recovery is good, no?


  • Improved Drain Soul: This talent now reduces threat by 10%/20%, up from 5%/10%.

There have always been issues with Warlock threat, whatever Blizzard have said, and hopefully this will address some of them. The main problem is often that we can’t simply just let our dps drop to 0 to prevent any threat being generated, as our DoTs will continue to tick. Obviously this problem is therefore especially apparent with Affliction, which relies heavily upon DoTs, and so 20% less threat from two points in this talent will help out the spec quite a bit.

  • Improved Felhunter: This talent now also reduces the cooldown on the felhunter’s Shadow Bite ability by 2/4 seconds.

The developers are pushing quite hard for the Felhunter to be viable again (so Affliction will use it instead of the Succubus or mana battery Imp) and allowing the puppy’s main attack to hit more often – leading to increased damage – is a good way of doing it.

  • Shadow Mastery: This talent now also increases the damage done by the felhunter’s Shadow Bite ability by 3/6/9/12/15%.

As above – the more damage done by the pet, the better. Whether or not we’ll see the Felhunter become the de facto Affliction pet again I’m unsure, but it’s certainly going to be more of an option.


  • Decimation: Redesigned. When Shadowbolt, Incinerate or Soul Fire hit a target that is at or below 35% health, the cast time of Soul Fire is reduced by 20/40% for 8 seconds. Soul Fires cast under the effect of Decimation cost no shards.

Right, wowee, some major changes happening here. So the current effect needs SB or Incinerate to hit a target at 35% health or less to activate it. This will be the same with the new effect, except Soul Fire will also proc it, which is nice. However, the current effect will reduce the cast time of the next Soul Fire by 60% (assuming two points), whereas the new effect will reduce the cast time of the spell by 40% for 8 seconds.

What this means is you’ll be able to cast more SF spells per proc – the number depends on your haste – meaning more dps per proc, despite the relatively slower casting times compared to the current effect. I would also assume that casting SF then refreshes the effect, so you can just keep going and spamming it, providing you don’t have to move or do anything else for more than 8 seconds. I haven’t tested this on the PTR, but if correct, we can say goodbye to the weaving technique of mixing SB and SF, and hello to constant SF spam under 35%. It’s simpler, but less interesting. Of course, we still don’t get charged any shards for Decimated SF spells.

  • Demonic Pact: This talent now also increases the warlock’s spell damage by 1/2/3/4/5%.

A simple buff to give us some more damage, since we Demo Warlocks are often bullied into speccing into this by our raid leaders for the bonus to raid dps, and it’s only right we should have some personal gain.

  • Molten Core: Redesigned. This talent now increases the duration of Immolate by 3/6/9 seconds and provides a 4/8/12% chance to gain the Molten Core effect when Corruption deals damage. The Molten Core effect empowers the next 3 Incinerate or Soul Fire spells cast within 15 seconds (Incinerate: increases damage done by 6/12/18% and reduces cast time by 10/20/30%; Soul Fire: increases damage done by 6/12/18% and increases critical strike chance by 5/10/15%). Molten Core now has a new spell effect.

Another pretty large change to dissect. The effect today (with 3 points) gives our Shadow and DoT spells a 15% chance to increase the damage of our Fire spells by 10% for 12 seconds. Lots of numbers there, but lots more coming up. So the new effect is firstly going to give our Immolate spell a longer duration – this is nice; more dps for less mana usage and less time casting. The next part of the redesigned effect will give our Corruption spell a 12% chance to trigger MC; we therefore have less chance of proccing it, as it can only be from one spell and the % chance is less, although admittedly it’s a spell we should all have up anyway.

When we do trigger it, instead of a bonus to Fire damage, we’re going to get a reduced cast time and more damage on the next three Incinerate spells cast in 15 seconds. Alternatively, we get more damage and crit chance on the next three SF spells within 15 seconds. Obviously you can cast either spell and get the respective effect, up to three times. What this change means for you in terms of dps depends on the fight really, but I suspect in general it will be a dps increase when the effect procs – the downside could be its chance to proc, which is less than it is now, as mentioned. It does definitely mean that we need Corruption up when we’re Decimating under 35% however, for the SF bonuses.


  • Conflagrate: Redesigned. This talent now consumes an Immolate or Shadowflame effect on the enemy target to instantly deal damage equal to 9 seconds of Immolate or 8 seconds of Shadowflame, and causes additional damage over 3 seconds equal to 3 seconds of Immolate or 2 seconds of Shadowflame. In addition, the periodic damage of Conflagrate is capable of critically striking the afflicted target.

This is a nerf unfortunately, but let’s be fair, Conflagrate was getting pretty crazy, especially in PvP. The fact that the DoT damage (which only lasts 2-3 seconds) is a slight relief, but it looks like you Destruction folks will just have to spec Demo live with it.

  • Destructive Reach: This talent now reduces threat by 10%/20%, up from 5%/10%.

Similar to the threat reduction given to Affliction really.

  • Ruin: This talent now also increases the critical strike damage bonus of the imp’s Firebolt spell by 100%.

More dps from the pet favoured by most Destro Warlocks in PvE, whilst not increasing damage in PvP too much. This is simply balancing.


  • Avoidance (passive): Now reduces the damage your pets take from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.

More balancing of PvE with PvP – your pets will die far less often to those nasty bosses, but still will be killable by those nasty players.

  • Doomguard/Infernal: These pets now innately have Avoidance like all other warlock pets.

Again, just a balance to bring these pets on par with the regular ones.

  • Inferno: The cooldown on this summoning spell has been reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.

Good for those few of us who use this pet to finish a fight with, or for if you need a really quick AoE stun, as we can now use it more often.

  • Shadow Bite: This pet ability now does 15% increased damage for each of the warlock’s damage-over-time effects on the target.
  • Summon Imp: This ability is now available from the trainer for level 1 warlocks and no longer requires a quest to learn.


  • Glyph of Life Tap: The effect of this glyph now has a chance of activating when Dark Pact is used.

While you should always be proccing this with Life Tap, because it’s frankly better and doesn’t prevent your pet doing damage, it will be nice to proc it “by accident” when you do use Dark Pact. I’m struggling to find any solid numbers on this, but I’ll give a more in-depth explanation.

Right now, the max level Dark Pact ability takes 1200 mana from your pet and gives it to you. Life Tap takes 1490 (modified by Spirit) of your own health, and gives you an equivalent amount of mana. Unless for some reason you have a negative amount of Spirit, Life Tap will therefore always return more mana than Dark Pact, so it really depends on your health and your pet’s mana as to which spell you use. With the new changes to the Felhunter and its Shadow Bite ability (which returns mana to the Felhunter if talented), the issue of draining this pet’s mana won’t be so much of an issue as it can keep doing damage, so if it does become the major Affliction pet, we could see Dark Pact become more prevalent than it is now. If you’re using another pet however, I would still recommend Life Tap to proc this effect; it’s also worth noting that Dark Pact only has a chance (numbers to follow) of activating the effect whereas Life Tap activates it 100% of the time.

  • Glyph of Quick Decay: This glyph allows for the warlock’s haste to reduce the time between periodic damage effects of Corruption.

A thrilling new glyph which looks set to help Affliction back up from the bottom of the spec pile, having this will allow your Corruption to tick faster according to haste, so while the effect will run out faster and require renewing, your dps should increase as it literally is more damage per second. Expect to need to make some changes to your Affliction rotation to allow for more regular refreshing of this spell.

Bug fixes

And to finish, a whole swathe of bug fixes…

  • Conflagrate: This spell will no longer benefit inconsistently from the talents Emberstorm and Improved Immolate, as well as the Glyph of Immolate and Tier 9 set bonus. Just as for Immolate, all stacking percentage increases will be applied additively instead of multiplicatively (+10% and +20% make +30% instead of +32%). In addition, Conflagrate used with Shadowflame will now scale properly from spell power.
  • Curse of the Elements: Rank 4 has been increased to 11%, up from 10%.
  • Drain Soul: This spell now deals 4 times the normal damage for all ranks. Previously it was only ranks 6 and above.
  • Glyph of Conflagrate: Now updates the tooltip of Conflagrate to remove reference to Conflagrate removing an Immolate or Shadowflame effect on the target.
  • Glyph of Siphon Life: This glyph will now modify the tooltip on Siphon Life correctly.
  • Glyph of Unending Breath: Now updates the tooltip on Unending Breath to indicate it increases swim speed.
  • Hellfire: Dealing damage to another player with this ability will now put the Warlock in combat.
  • Improved Shadow Bolt: This talent no longer causes a bug that removes all resilience from pets.
  • Soul Link: Damage transferred via this ability can now be prevented by damage absorption effects.
  • Suffering (Voidwalker): Ranks 5-8 had the incorrect taunt radius of 5 yards and have all been adjusted to a 10-yard radius.

Overall, it’s pretty good, and where it’s bad, it’s needed for balancing. I’m looking forward to testing the new Demonology changes in particular, and expect a report once 3.3 hits as to how everything is working. For detailed information on how the different raiding specs will perform with these changes, see the article here.

Feel free to comment on anything I’ve missed or gotten wrong with regard to the changes. Also, what are you looking forward to most?



4 Responses to “Patch 3.3 – Warlock Changes”

  1. Paul Says:

    Great summary of the 3.3 Warlock changes. Changes, I for one, are very excited about (especially the Affliction buffs).

    Your one section on Life Tap being better than Dark Pact might need updating, however. Please see the posts on this particular comparison of spells.

    Again, thanks for the great post!

  2. Inert Says:


    Great website, So im new back to lockys now, so with this new glyph do we look at spell power and Haste or still old school hit and spell power. what should we look at now ?

    • Veliaf Says:

      Hi Inert,

      Generally, Hit is the most important stat for you until you’re capped for it, because nothing else provides as much of a DPS increase – you don’t do any damage if you miss!

      Once you’re hit capped it depends on your spec as to what exactly you concentrate on, but if you’re using the Quick Decay glyph I’m going to assume you’re playing Affliction, in which case you definitely want to take Haste and Spell Power as your main stats.

      Glad you’re finding the blog and I useful – feel free to ask anything else you’re not sure of 🙂


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