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Blood Pact: Destruction, my guilty pleasure

Zach Yonzon

If you've been reading my Blood Pact posts in the past, you might already be of the idea that I'm not a big fan of Destruction. I'll be the first to admit that it just doesn't suit my playing style. I really enjoy DoTs because I like being able to move around, which is why I was a huge fan of SL/SL before Patch 3.0.2 broke it. I like Demonology, too, because it takes a bit of strategy to play well if you choose to go the route of utility. But I've never liked Destruction. Spamming nukes and not having a pet out -- I raided with 0/21/40 before Echoes of Doom -- didn't feel right. I felt like a Mage in Warlock's clothing.

But let's get this out of the way before I get (Shadow)flamed. I understand that some of you enjoy Destruction. I know that some of you like playing with Fire and Shadow. That's cool. I want to play with it, too. So I did. This whole week, all I did was muck around with a full Destruction build that went all the way up to Chaos Bolt, casting alien-like nukes, jets of fire, and burning things up. So how did it go? I surprised myself... because I actually had fun.

Here's the thing. Destruction isn't something I could test on a target dummy. For one thing, my stupid Imp wouldn't attack it. I'd press CTRL-1, he'd toss out his usual smart-ass remark, but continue to stand there doing nothing. I mean, I could theoretically toss out Chaos Bolts and stuff, but with Rupjub parking his lazy demon ass, I would never see Empowered Imp proc. So forget theory. This hotrod had to be taken out for a test drive on the streets. By streets I mean the Battlegrounds, daily quests, and the occasional instance.

For testing purposes -- and I say this with the guiltiest pleasure because I'm having so much fun I think I might keep this build for about another week before going back to Affliction -- I used a pretty standard 0/3/58. Three points in Improved Imp and pretty much all the necessary PvE DPS talents, opting for Shadowburn instead of Shadowfury. I also skipped most of the stun and daze effects since I wasn't primarily going to PvP with this build. I know, me of all people skipping PvP talents. Go figure.

It didn't matter, though. I forewent survivability and mobility for pure, unadulterated damage. Indulge me a little bit, as this is my first time to go all out nukes. Alright, that's not quite true. I hopped on the 0/21/40 bandwagon for a while but it made me feel so dirty that I needed to bathe twice and scrub hard with Axe Snake Peel. I swore off Destruction after that, but Echoes of Doom is a whole new ball game. It's as good an excuse as any to spec *cough* Mage-wannabe.

My problem with Destruction right now is that I can't seem to settle on a proper rotation. I usually try to start things off with Curse of Agony, a 24-second DoT that can proc Molten Core. I follow this with Immolate which I consume immediately with Conflagrate to proc Backdraft. Then I cast Chaos Bolt -- mmmmm, sweet, delicious Chaos Bolt -- followed by Immolate, then several Incinerates until Immolate has less than 5 ticks left, then unleash Conflagrate again. Rinse and repeat. I cast Chaos Bolt whenever it's available and refresh CoA as well as insert Corruption somewhere in between.

Was that kind of confusing? Yes, it was. But it's a hell of a lot more engaging than getting repetitive stress disorder from pressing my Shadow Bolt button. The great thing is, my Imp actually attacks with me instead of staying self-banished to act as a mana battery, or worse, dead. The drawback is that Rupjub keeps on dying in PvP. I mean, seriously, the little bugger dies every darned time. Stupid Alliance keep picking on the little guy! Bladestorm. Dead. Divine Storm. Dead. Chain Lightning. Dead.

Fine, so maybe having my Imp out and attacking in the Battlegrounds isn't the brightest thing. Cut me some slack, I'm, uh, testing the spec. It's crazy fun when I manage to stay in the back and blast my enemies to hell. In PvP, I skip Curse of Agony and start off with Immolate, followed by Chaos Bolt, Incinerate and finish with Conflagrate or even Shadowburn. I don't normally get thrills from huge numbers floating up my screen, but boy... it can sure be fun.

That's really the key word to the new Destruction. It's incredibly fun. I didn't hit top DPS in the few instances I did, falling behind my cousin's Beast Mastery Hunter, but in my defense I was too busy playing around with all the different buttons I could push now. Watching Immolate tick down is my new mini-game. I need the guys who wrote Necrosis to get a deep, demonic voice to yell "Conflagrate!" whenever Immolate is at 5 seconds just for kicks.

It's such crazy fun to cast all sorts of things now that it's really easy to miss all the buffs that can go up. Molten Core, Empowered Imp, and Backlash all just pop up and it's pretty cool to have all those pretty icons on top while I'm making things explode. Speaking of explode, Chaos Bolt does exactly that. Just how fun is it to blow up a Priest with Power Word: Shield up for an unmitigated 5k damage? That's right, a whole lot.

With the increased coefficients to Corruption and Immolate, we pretty much need to keep both debuffs on at all times. It increases Destruction DPS by a pretty good margin. Aside from my Imp's Blood Pact, Destruction doesn't bring any raidwide buffs like the other specs -- particularly Demonology -- but really, I'm just there to blow things up. I blow things up so good that one of my dilemmas with this spec is that I keep running out of Soul Shards. I mean, it's just not instinctive to cast Drain Soul anymore.

As Affliction, Drain Soul is pretty much part of the rotation. DoT, DoT, Haunt, DoT, tap feet, then cast Drain Soul. It's natural, you just go with the flow. On the other hand, with Destruction, you develop some sort of insane bloodthirst that it becomes an obsessive compulsion to destroy / burn / crush your opponents with a Chaos Bolt, Shadowburn, or even a well-timed Conflagrate. That stupid, sinister laughter from Necrosis doesn't help, either.

Sure, the big crits and numerous killing blows are nice but I don't have solid numbers. At this point, really, it's kind of irrelevant. We have ten more levels to gain, ten more talent points to invest, and an entirely new itemization to look forward to in Northrend. We won't be seeing firm raid numbers until a month or two past November 13. Right now, whoever tops the damage meters in Karazhan or Sunwell won't necessarily be the same guys topping Naxxramas. Enjoy the game just like I've been guiltily enjoying it. So there. I can see where you Destro guys are coming from. Destruction is like crack. I have to get go into detox before this whole fiery obsession burns me up.

Right, so Zach is kind of caught up with blowing things into oblivion. Do you have the same unhealthy addiction? Do your armpits smell like sulfur? Well, Blood Pact is the column for you. Read Zach's thoughts on Affliction and Demonology when the patch came out, before he was hot on Destruction.

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