Destruction Warlock Resource Changes in 7.2.5

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Game Designer
#1 - April 7, 2017, 9:19 p.m.
Blizzard Post
As we've mentioned before, we’re making a number of changes to the resource model for Destruction Warlocks in the next patch. The goal is to create smoother, more granular, less random Soul Shard generation and make Chaos Bolt casts feel more impactful.

First, for Destruction Warlocks, Soul Shards are being split into parts of 10, which we’re currently calling Soul Shard Fragments. Mechanically, this will be similar to the Mists of Pandaria resource system of Burning Embers, except we want to go with a consistent Soul Shard visual, updated Soul Shard UI (work in progress), and name for the resource across all 3 Warlock specs. Some relevant spell changes:
  • Incinerate generates 1 Soul Shard Fragment. Doubled on critical strikes. Fire and Brimstone (talent) will cause Incinerate to generate 1 Soul Shard Fragment per target hit, also doubled on critical strikes.
  • Immolate periodic damage has a 50% chance to generate 1 Soul Shard Fragment. 100% chance on critical strikes.
  • Conflagrate generates 6 Soul Shard Fragments.
  • Dimensional Rift (artifact active) generates 3 Soul Shard Fragments.

The net result of these changes is that every baseline rotational damage spell will contribute to Soul Shard generation, pushing your resource forward at a steady pace.

Second, Soul Shard generation/refund rate is being reduced overall, mainly for the single-target rotation. However, this is coupled with major damage increases to both Soul Shard spenders - Chaos Bolt and Rain of Fire. Combined, this means that Chaos Bolts will be cast less frequently, but they will hit much harder:
  • Soul Shard refund chance of Soul Conduit (talent) reduced to 12%. Soulsnatcher (artifact bronze trait) reduced to 3% per point.
  • Chaos Bolt damage increased by 40%. Rain of Fire damage increased by 25%.

For the AOE rotation, Fire and Brimstone (talent) will cause Incinerate to generate Soul Shard Fragments per target hit, which would largely push Immolate out of the AOE rotation with enough targets. Alternately, if you want to go down the route of maintaining Immolate on all targets in a clumped AOE situation, Cataclysm (talent) will have reduced cooldown (30 sec) and slightly reduced cast time, making it easier for you to do so.

As usual, everything discussed here will continue to be iterated on during 7.2.5 PTR and may change based on further playtesting and feedback.
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Game Designer
#22 - April 7, 2017, 10:22 p.m.
Blizzard Post
04/07/2017 02:37 PMPosted by Keltacrunch
Any chance you can tell us whats happening with Wreak Havoc?

It's probably holding destro back more than almost anything else. It has way too much power in it.

We generally agree with this.

In 7.2.5, Wreak Havoc will no longer remove the cooldown of Havoc - it will only increase Havoc's duration to 20 sec. Havoc baseline will have a 10 sec duration, 45 sec cooldown (subject to tuning).

Havoc's cooldown has gradually crept down over the years, resulting in very high uptime, and culminating in 100% uptime via Wreak Havoc. This has made Havoc a pretty forgettable button in a multi-target situation. You take Wreak Havoc, apply Havoc once every 20 seconds, then go about your single-target rotation as usual. Instead of being an important actual cooldown that you planned your casts around, it became a button you always had to just apply first, in order to start doing your rotation.

With Havoc not having 100% uptime, gameplay-wise Destruction will care more about when you generate Soul Shards, how you bank them, and how you prepare to spend them with Havoc coming off cooldown. Additionally, with Chaos Bolt casts becoming relatively rarer but dealing more damage, those times when you do have Havoc available will be even more meaningful.

Despite these changes to Havoc, I want to state that we still want Destruction to stay among the top several 2-target specs. Destruction has a clear niche of being great at 2-targets, especially 2-target spread out (which some specs can't handle as well) and we don't intend to disrupt that.