Friday, March 6, 2009

Soul Shards in 3.1

It looks like with the new 3.1 patch that the developers are starting to address some of the Warlock issues that have not only been present since the beginning of WotLK, but since the inception of the game. The biggest of these, in my mind, is the issue of soul shards. soul shards are what truly make Warlocks unique from every other class in the game. As many have surmised, without soul shards we're a shadow mage, which in high-end BC content was true anyway, as many warlocks would sacrifice their demon (another semi-unique feature locks have) for a little extra shadow power so they could spam shadow bolt. Whee. But, for better or worse (mostly worse), soul shards have been an integral part of the warlock experience. What better way to fill a bag slot that with reagents? Just ask hunters!

In recent times the developers has been trying to streamline the system by giving us more effective ways do do things. They added summoning stones outside of instances so that locks would not be required to personally summon every single member, then they gave us cookie jars for health stones and, most recently, our very own demonic armoire that, once in place, can be used by any party member to summon the rest of the raid. Now with the upcoming patch, they are changing the way we can collect and store shards altogether.

The latest notes say that our channeled shard collecting spell, Drain Soul, which does some slight dps but has no other purpose besides creating shards, will now give one shard per tick of channeling, which would overload our bags very quickly is they had not also imposed another change: that we can no longer carry more that 32 shards at once, which is the maximum capacity of the largest shard-only bag currently in-game.

While there are some warlocks I've heard complaining about this, the change (which the devs have said is a temporary fix with a more in-depth look at the whole system incoming "soon") is a positive one. With the previous system, a shard would only proc if you had drain soul on a mob when it died. This way, you can create them whenever you might need them, like say after having used them all on a boss wipe-fest. Since we use the shards for demons, aggro-wiping, and (with another change to soul fire that will make us actually use it) for some high damage abilities, a quick way to replenish our stock without blowing out our inventory space will be most welcome.

The main complaints I've heard are that some locks want to be able to carry more shards and other are concerned that have to drain soul will hurt their dps. To the first, I've never carried more shards on me than will fit in my shard-only bag anyway, so that's not a big deal for me. I've never understood locks who show up to raids with no shards OR those who show up with all their bags bursting with them. One shows lack of planning and the other lack of faith in your raiding partners. As for the dps, I suppose we'll have to wait and see how it plays out on the live realms, but I'd have to think that with an easier way to get them, I wouldn't be so reticent to spend my purple zirconium whenever the need arose for fear of a wipe fest with no mobs I could farm more from.

Over all, I'm happy with the change and think this is a positive step in making warlocks even more fun to play.

1 comment:

  1. < Unprepared lock. I seriously keep about 6 shards, which is why I'm so stingy about them. The fact that I'm not going to have to take out mobs to get them however might help change that. I can't really have pure laziness as an excuse if I no longer have to put effort into collecting the things. And, I have never owned a soul bag. =D