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Blood Pact: Do a double take in your spellbook


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill decides that she actually might miss Searing Pain in Mists of Pandaria.

All three specs of the warlock class have been reworked -- and yet there are still familiar things lying around. We can still Fear and Banish and Enslave Demon. We still have Unending Breath. We still sacrifice our health to get mana back or to dump threat. We still have pets and guardians to summon.

But while everyone's still focused on the new things -- the resource changes or the new abilities -- some familiar things are different. Same name, even same icon as before, but they're actually a little different. Some are obvious and important, and some you won't notice or care about.

All the same, I think you should know a few of the smaller changes to our class abilities.

Dark Intent: Not just for crit chickens anymore

I don't see it too often in Cataclysm now, since so many levelers take to the dungeons instead of questing, but trading buffs used to be a thing friendly players did if they passed by while questing. Particularly, higher-level players will pass on a purple paw print or a Fort buff to lower-level players. As a thank-you, the buffed player would offer a buff back.

I always felt bad being a warlock with no real buff to give. Sometimes people would zoom off before I could type out a "thank you!" So I gave them Unending Breath, even though most had no use for it. Unending Breath would also become a joke buff for raiders who insisted they were still missing a buff.

Blood Pact Do a doubletake in your spellbook MON
In Cataclysm, we got Dark Intent, which is a symbiotic buff between the warlock and one other player. It wasn't a great thank-you for the warrior who just tanked the quest elite for you, but we got a useful buff to give out. It provided a benefit to damage dealers and some healers, so it was largely useful in raiding or PvP, unlike Unending Breath. Unfortunately, it was too useful. It was so useful that some DPS specs would balance their gear around whether they had it or not.

Warlocks also couldn't share a player to buff, so we had to work out the logistics of whose Dark Intent went to whom if there were multiple warlocks in the raid. You better hope there are enough shadow priests or moonkin to go around. And if there were less warlocks than prime targets to buff, there'd usually be some annoying whispers back and forth over who was clearly more deserving of the warlock buff.

In Mists of Pandaria, we still have Dark Intent. Fortunately, it's no longer the headache that it's been for us this past expansion. Dark Intent is now a group buff, and it's a pure spellpower buff. A 10% spellpower for everyone! In Mists, we return to our old scrooge selves of not caring if our buffee dies mid-combat and loses the buff we gave them. If they die, it's their problem.

Specifically, it'll be a druid problem.

Quality-of-life changes that rock

Someone always asks in raid for warlock cookies. So we start up the ritual and then proceed to stand there, not able to do anything else, while everyone finishes their feast and then someone finally decides "Fiiiiiiiiine, I'll click the portal." Thankfully, my current raid has been trained that if there is a portal in their face, or even on top of the feast, they should click it before the warlock decides that nobody will get any cookies.

In Mists, that'll be gone. It's the same Ritual of Souls icon, but it now says Create Soulwell, and that's just what it does. A 3-second cast with absolutely no portal clicking required and poof! There's a cookie jar for everybody.

Unfortunately, you still need two other people for summoning a 'lock box, despite the fact that you only need one other to summon other people. Maybe this expansion people will finally learn that it still takes not two but three people to make a 'lock box, since we'll be doing it all the time.
Blood Pact Do a doubletake in your spellbook MON
Soulstones saw an upgrade for Mists. The base resurrection value is now 60% health, up from Cataclysm's 30%. The glyph got upgraded, too; the glyph is a 100% resurrection, up from 70%. (Oddly, the druid battle rez is still stuck at an undesirable level of health.) The health upgrade will be great for raiding, but that's not the best part, I think.

There's no more being called upon mid-combat to battle rez someone only to realize you forgot to make the Soulstone before the pull. You don't need to clutter up your action bars with both both Create Soulstone and the actual item. You can still cast it on someone before they die, but Soulstone is simply a spell in the next expansion.

The Healthstone changed only a little. Now your 'lock rock has three charges or uses before it disappears from your bags if you don't log out for 15 minutes. I think it would have more impact on PvP things -- less time conjuring, more time pew-pewing! -- than it would on raiding. The glyph is also different but similar. The major glyph still improves what you personally get from a Healthstone, but you receive the healing over 10 seconds instead of all at once.

Better blueberries ... and felguard tanks?

There's a minor addition to the spellbook: Command Demon. At first I thought it was odd, since we also have Control Demon. However, Control is our passive that says we're a pet class, while Command is an actual ability that changes based on the pet you have out. Instead of having macro for all the situational pet special abilities, Blizzard gave us an ability for it. It even upgrades itself if you chose Grimoire of Supremacy for your level 75 talent.

But while most of the baseline pets didn't change, the Voidwalker got redone a bit in his abilities. He's a better tank that he is now. On live realms at 85, he barely holds the attention of Problim for me unless I give him my soul, but on beta at level 90, he easily holds mobs' attentions for me while we're out questing.

Blood Pact Do a doubletake in your spellbook MON
He's now got actual defensive abilities that, when on auto-cast, he'll use semi-intelligently. The Voidwalker still has Suffering and Torment to help him hold aggro, but I think the real deal breaker is Threatening Presence.

Why? Because the Felguard also has this skill, oddly enough. It might be a glitch, since Threatening Presence is so far categorized everywhere under the Voidwalker's abilities and not under the Felguard's. Or it might not be a glitch, since plenty of Felguards have tanked as well as DPSed alongside their demonologist masters. It's not outlandish (but it's possibly Outlandish) to imagine a Felguard tank.

Not many people will DPS with the blueberry in dungeons, I'd think, but the Felguard will certainly see some action, so be aware of this ability he's sneaked in. My tank for heroic Scarlet Monastery got annoyed when my Felguard kept yanking mobs off him, so doublecheck your felguard in Mists, just in case Threatening Presence makes it through.
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through tier 13 set bonuses.

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