Latest info shows a few buffs to ret. Apparently Blizzard noticed that PvE damage got hit hard by the nerfs, so they want to balance that out. I really do think they're trying to balance us, but they're still using the old ways of thinking, the ones that failed for the past few years.
To be fair they have changed their views on the utility penalty. We used to lose 25-30% damage because of our utility. If I remember correctly, now it's intended to be something like 5-10%. Combine that with utility and you're going to want a hybrid over a pure DPS for the first spot but the second spot is going to a pure. That's a nice balance idea, if they can pull it off.
We're still based on supposed durability and burst damage. This is a strange combination. One favors short fights, the other long fights. It's a contradiction of design. In practice it doesn't work out that way, since our durability is... plate, heals, and bubble.
The plate does nothing against casters. They happen to be our toughest enemies since they kite us. We do zero damage outside of 10 yards, excluding HoW (but how are you going to get them to 20%?), avenger's shield, and 30 yard judgements. Maybe you've noticed that this is about ret and not prot or holy? But back to plate. It helps us against melee, most of which will be wearing plate or thick skin in WotLK (DK, bears, warriors, paladins vs. rogues and shamans). But Blizzard intends for warriors and DKs to stand up to us in melee, so DS got nerfed. So much for holy damage bypassing plate and giving us at least one area in which we're strong. Rock-paper-mushrooms?
Heals are an area in which ret has gained a lot. Sheath makes them worth something and Art of War and the change to pushback means we can actually cast them. But with the nerf to JotW, we're going to be lacking mana just for damage, let alone mana-intensive heals. I fully admit that I think we were starting to show signs of the warlock problem (lifetap for mana, drain for health, last forever), but this is excessive.
Bubbles are nice, but against whom are they truly effective? Ranged should be staying at range and a few seconds at 115% runspeed aren't going to close that gap. Melee are hurt a bit more. But rogues can vanish to get out. Druids and shamans have speed boosts, though JoJ does nullify those. Warriors and Death Knights have the armor and health to take some hits. Warriors can intervene teammates if they really want out. This is group PvP, right? Even if we do catch up to ranged, mages can use their own impostor bubble and priests... don't make me say those words.
So people are outliving our bursts and bubbles, now what? Currently we can keep going thanks to JotW allowing us to cast some heals. That's going to go away. What do we do after the fight goes past 12 seconds? As fun as it can be to tear someone apart in five seconds, I've played a warlock, affliction, before BC and the many changes. I know exactly how fun it is to know that you won because you took control and kept control. Proper management of fear, seduce, deathcoil, my own trinket, and perhaps a nifty stopwatch... that was a sort of tactical fun that a 10k burst can never top.
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