Monday, May 11, 2009

Managing Your Minions - the Felhunter

This is the 4th article in this Warlock series about the care and feeding of one's summoned minions. For previous articles, see the Imp, the Voidwalker, and the Succubus.

Welcome to your 30th season, young instrument of doom! This is when your ability to summon the adorable Felhunter blooms. The minion of choice for Affliction Warlocks, the Felpuppy is really handy to have around in most situations. Upon visiting your trainer, you'll receive the quest to speak to Strahad Farsan in Ratchet. Luckily for you, you can also train for your mount at this level so that will save you a bit of time in completing Strahad's tasks.

Your shiny new minion arrives with the Devour Magic ability. Remember how I said that every Warlock needed to have macros for 3 of her minions' abilities? Devour Magic is macro #2.

Unlike a Shaman's Purge, Devour can remove good stuff from bad people AND bad stuff from good people. Where does this come in handy? Well, your 'puppy enjoys a rich diet of enemy HoTs, Polymorphs, Entangling Roots, and other Magic effects. He turns up his nose at curses and poisons, so it's important to get a good grasp of what type of mechanic each effect is. The easiest way to do this is just to mouse over the buff / debuff icon and check it out.

What you're looking for is the word, "Magic," in the upper right-hand corner. Now that looks yummy to him! Go ahead and target the player wearing the effect, then click the button to activate his ability. Poof - polymorph dissipates. This, my darling, is why Mages hate you. There are other reasons, too, but we'll get to those later.

That seemed easy enough - so why do we have to macro it? What if you're dpsing away on a mob, and your party member gets poly'd? Without a macro, you'd have to A) target the party member, B) Click the Devour Magic ability, and then C) regain your primary dps target again. Not only is that cumbersome, but it causes considerable delay in your response which lowers the dps and utility of both you and your afflicted party member.

Your macro will look different based on whether you're a keyer or a clicker. For instance, a simple "clicker's" macro could look like this:

/cast [button:2,target=player] Devour Magic; Devour Magic

Left-clicking the macro (Left-click is Button 1 on a mouse) will cause the Fel to Devour from your existing target, while right-clicking (that's Button 2) will ask him to Devour from you, the player. Easy enough, right? If you prefer to keybind your abilities, you can get a lot more functionality from a Mouseover macro. Look at this:

/cast [target=mouseover] Devour Magic

Mousing over your intended Devour target (whether that's yourself, your party member, an enemy player, mob, or just some guy next to you in Wintergrasp) and then hitting the key to which that macro is bound will allow your minion to target and cast independent of your own targeting! You've just eliminated all that cumbersome action from our original scenario. You don't have to mouseover the actual avatar; you can just mouseover the party-panel portrait. Note that those who must click their spells cannot, by definition, use Mouseover macros. It is possible to create a clickable macro using modifier buttons like Shift or Ctrl to give a few more options, but it's still more complicated and cumbersome with less functionality.

While the spell is designed to heal your Fel with each effect devouring, you can appropriate those heals for yourself by using the Glyph of Felhunter. If your focus is on PvP, you may choose that glyph and set the ability to auto-cast. Your Fel will probably find plenty of Magic to eat on his own, keeping you topped up, but the 8-second cool down will also probably keep you from having it at your disposal when you really want it. For all other uses, leave Devour Magic off of auto-cast so that you have it when you need it.

Fel Intelligence: Gained at level 32, this buff effectively replaces the Priest's duties in parties while providing some synergy with your own Life Tap and the Fel Armor you'll get at level 62. This ability should be set as "always on."

Level 36 brings access to Spell Lock, which is 'required Warlock-minion macro #3.' If the ability to Devour a Mage's poly didn't provide you with a sufficient supply of delicious tears, then adding a silence effect certainly will. Facing a Mage in the Battleground? Start casting an Immolate: if you're lucky, she will decide that you're Destro-specced and Counterspell it in hopes that she'll lock you out of your preferred school. Now she's confident that she has the upper hand and will hopefully go for her own major school. When you Spell Lock that - and you can, because it's your Fel's ability, not your own - you're now back on an even playing field and able to Death Coil, wind up a Fear, and start DoTting. She will not just hate you, but HATE you.

Here - have a straw.

Your basic Spell Lock macro for keyers and clickers looks like this:

#showtooltip Spell Lock
/cast Spell Lock

/y Silence! I kill you!

I'm compelled to yell the final line along with my 'Lock in my best 'Achmed the Dead Terrorist' voice. You can, however, take that part of the command out if you'd rather. If you're a keybinder AND situationally-aware enough that you notice some Mage in the back of the pack casting, you always use the Mouseover macro above, edited for the correct spell.

Finally, Shadow Bite becomes available at level 42. This is your 'Puppy's additonal dps ability. Mind you, it's still not great and won't come close to out-dpsing a Succubus, talented Imp, or FelGuard. I'm of the opinion that a Warlock is her own best dps-provider and minions are just there for the extra utility and the company. That having been said, extra dps IS extra dps so go ahead and leave that ability set to "auto-cast."

One interesting thing about Shadow Bite is that it contributes bonus dps based on how many DoTs you currently have ticking on your target. This is why the Improved Felhunter talent is in the Afffliction tree, and why he's the best minion for that spec.

This part of the series took some twists and turns, touching on some limited PvP strats, glyphing, keybinding and macros. The higher you level, the more you will find yourself needing this additional information and the more opportunities you will have to try out some of the cooler abilities. Be sure to check back often; the next part of this series discusses the Felguard, Infernal, and Doomguard!!

**Many thanks to Caitlynn of [Goddess of the Horde] for allowing me to test mouseover macros on her. She wouldn't accept payment for her time, so I gave her a Duel-icious achievement instead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very cool post. Reminds me of when I did arena as a Lock back in Season 2 and had a totem killer macro for my puppy. =D