We all have one, and we all definitely know one. Most of our guilds have them too, and quite often we use their services for mobility within Azeroth.
Mages. Evil mage spies, pesky mages, bluey blue blue blues with their little blue pew pews, keepers of the Dalaran Sanctuary…Mages. Some like to think that their is an overarching secret battle occurring between Mages and Warlocks, and some of the humorous banter I’ve read between those on either side has been frankly very riveting. But I don’t think there is currently any cause for concern fellow warlocks.
You see, although we share the same dps style, with both mages and locks being excellent caster dps roles, we fundamentally have very different roles, play styles and utilities. I find that which I miss on my warlock is on my mage, and vice versa.
To be brutally honest I originally only made a mage because my husband has one and we wanted to be able to have one on both accounts to teleport our toons to places. I don’t play my mage as often as I should, and sometimes I find it boring. I tried PvP with it, and although it was fun, I was still inherently squishy, and noobish. But I like mages. They are versatile and have some great tricks in that little magic hat of theirs.
My point of the day, after all that fluffing about, reminds me of a discussion I had with this fellow mage of mine regarding toons. He was always of the opinion that to complete your arsenal of wow toons you really only need one tank, one healer, and one dps. It took me a really long time to explain that fundamentally, although on the surface many toons appear to have relatively similar attributes, particularly from low level perspectives, they are all significantly different. He has never had a warlock., so doesn’t understand dot mechanics, multi-dotting, or the advantage of being able to move and cast (not often, but sometimes), particularly with the power of procs. He also didn’t understand how it used to be with timing rotations correctly for maximum dps and how that was important. (ticking off?!) He plays an arcane mage to this day, not a lot required for maximum burst dps output. And although mages have a fire spec option which allows them to have a more ‘warlocky’ feel of play with dots and such, he has never played it. Even with the changes to warlock specs in patches following Cataclysm, warlocks didn’t focus solely on rotations; in fact, I do recall a post from Blizzard making this change for all toons, so that people weren’t stuck in rotation-land spamming the same thing over and over.
The thing is, yes you may have two casters, but they are completely different in their play style and abilities.
WRONG! Yes, it is wrong to assume that mages and warlocks are the same. We even found, this fellow mage and I, that although we were both cloth wearers, with similar HP and mana pools, he always died before I died. To this day we don’t know why, but maybe that is something a fellow mage may be able to enlighten me on.
Of late, because this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for eons, I have found that PvPing on my mage has been fantastic. More than fantastic, superior! I decided I would have a bit of fun just PvPing for the sake of it the other day, and I was doing immensely well…in PvE gear…and arcane spec….(ssshhhh….don’t tell Pixie Lock)…maybe I will find a use for the mage after all.
But back to it. Warlocks can be incredibly tricky to play…as are all classes. It’s not so simple just to power level one and expect to learn all the tricks of the trade shortly thereafter. Without getting too technical, warlockery used to be enshrouded in mechanics, dots ticking over, timing, and huge amounts of spell power. Much has changed since those pre Cata days, so much so that in fact whilst it is still important to maintain a rotation, it is super important to understand why you are running that rotation and what purpose it serves. I find that the demo spec these days has little in terms of dots, and dots don’t feel as effective as burst damage does in this spec. I also see many affliction pve locks not running with Curse of Elements, but some that do. This irritates me somewhat, but I may leave that for another post.
Back in the day, it used to be really important to clip your dots as a lock. Meaning, that just as the last second approached of the dot coming off the target, you had to recast it. Not many people got it right, and things such as lag and encounter would affect that clip. Since the launch of Cata though, Blizzard dropped the notion of ‘clipping’ dots and instead you’ll find that alot of text on the world wide web of warlockery post Cata doesn’t enforce this once tricky rule. I in fact, am in the habit of recasting just after it goes off, and this has not affected my dps at all.
Where locks differ, fundamentally, is in the ability to be mobile whilst dotting, and this can be great for starting off your dps run when commencing a boss fight. Dotting works well on mobs too, with a pet out (or without, but much better with), a warlock is able to dot and tab and dot and tab and dot and tab until finally you make it back to your first target and see your imp has been burning it up! It works well when attacking mobs that do an aoe ability, such as a stun or aoe fire/frost/nature whatever damage, because you can keep moving around and out of it while still doing damage to it. Warlocks will never do the burst damage that mages do, because warlocks are not that type of caster class. Even playing as a frost mage provides with a lot of burst and utility damage as opposed to dotting. If looking at classes that would be similar, only a shadow priest and potentially a fire mage have the ability to dot like a warlock does, but as a whole, the warlock is the only class where dots remain the primary point of the class, on all specs. Dotting is not just a play style or mechanic, but a finely tuned art that only the uberest of locks can master.
Once I get the spells and abilities page up though, I will link and explain a little more on some of these mechanics and maybe even how they’ve changed throughout their WoW life.