Monday, April 27, 2009

Managing Your Minions - the Voidwalker

The first part of this series can be found here, where we talked about the Imp and when to have a minion set on Aggressive, Defensive, and Passive.

The void. Big Blue. The Blueberry. Pocket tank. I call mine "Mack." However you refer to him, your Voidwalker becomes your questing sidekick at level 10. Most of the complaints about him concern his low damage and difficulty in holding aggro. My answer to the first is that, like most tanks, he's not designed to generate huge amounts of damage. That's your job. My answer to the second is a bit more complex.

Your Void is 'born' with the ability to taunt a single mob in the form of Torment. For any occasion where your Void is the minion o'choice, you can leave this ability on auto-cast. He'll use it when he needs it - the only danger is that he may pop it right at the beginning of a pull and then not have it available when you pull aggro from him. For most fights this isn't going to be much of a problem since you're the least squishy of the cloth-wearing classes and are perfectly able to take a couple of hits.

At level 16 your Voidwalker gains an ability called Sacrifice. This ability can be very useful when you've bitten off more than you can chew. You can sacrifice your void while running away, which will keep you from getting dazed and allow you to gain some distance. Because your spell casting won't be interrupted, you can also choose this technique to finish off a particularly difficult enemy; you should have time to fire off a couple of Shadow Bolts and a Fear. You could also use this window of opportunity to summon another Voidwalker or any other pet. This ability is always "use when needed" and cannot be set to auto-cast.

Consume Shadows, learned at level 18, is the Voidwalker's self-healing ability. As part of the changes that came with WotLK, this ability now also increases stealth-detection. Experienced Warlocks will remember that as part of the Felhunter's repertoire. In my opinion, putting this ability on the least-PvP useful pet is a waste, but you should at least be aware that it's available. Because this ability can only be used out of combat, you will have to trigger it yourself instead of having it auto-cast.

The Void's last ability is an AoE-taunt, Suffering. The first rank of this spell is available to you at level 24. The difference between this and Torment is the number of mobs that can be affected by it. For that reason, you want to keep this ability off of auto-cast so that it's available to you when you need it.

At level 12, you will learn the Health Funnel ability. This spell works on all your minions, including Enslaved Demons. Vastly improved over early incarnations of the spell, you can channel a heal to your minion while in combat. When combined with just a dot or two, you can effectively solo elite mobs at level. Keep in mind that the Funnel does generate some aggro, although it's not extreme, so you should let your minion get a few swipes in before you start dotting. Also, remember to just use one or two high-damage DoTs at a time, do not use any DD (direct-damage) spells, and start funneling early. If you wait until your Void is below 50%, you probably won't be able to keep up with him. If it looks like you're going to lose him, go ahead and start summoning a fresh incarnation.

In short, your Voidwalker is probably the easiest minion to manage. Since he will rarely be out in group situations, you can count on his being set to Defensive, with only the Torment ability set to auto-cast. Remember to let him get a few swipes in before you start wailing on your target, and use the Funnel and Shadows to keep him topped off. He can be bandaged in a pinch, but if his health is that low it may be worth the time and mana to simply spend your shard and trade him in for a healthier model.

Next time: dancing Night Elves got nothin' on this broad; your Succubus! Do you wish you could turn off her emotes? There may be a way...

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