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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Soul Shards for Dummies

Patch 4.0.1 which launched a little less then a month ago, brought a whole lot of changes to the way most classes work. As we were promised on Blizzcon 09', the talent trees became more streamlined and whether or not you are happy with these changes, if you want to continue playing your class you better get used to them.

Personally, I'm very happy with (almost all) the changes that have been made to the Warlock class. I was super-exited when a few of them were announced back at Blizzcon 09' and i munched up any kind of information that Blizzard released on them ever since.
Now i know not everyone thinks they need to be up to date on any little piece of information that is released about their class, but i get great joy out of religiously checking MMO-champion and WoWinsider multiple times a day to see if anything has been datamined, or possibly leaked.
However, i did think that everyone at least took a look at their class' section of the patch notes, especially if it's a major game-changing patch like this one.
Apparently i was wrong.

A few nights ago, I was pugging ICC10 normal. And there was another Warlock in the raid. Now, this guy wasn't horribly geared, his gems and enchants were just fine and his dps wasn't bad either. But shortly after we downed Marrowgar he whispered me, saying:
"Hey, do you understand all this new Soul Shard stuff ?"
I replied: "Yeah, it's awesome, right ?" then he told me that he really didn't understand what it's use was. I asked him if he had read a guide anywhere yet, or the patch notes. To which he replied 'no'.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't going to be a rant about how people should read their patch notes and all that bla bla bla.
I didn't get mad at the guy or started to cuss him out or anything. Instead i told him in a very simple manner  what it was that had changed, he understood and was very grateful for what i had told him. Remember, not everyone's English is on the same level and the wording in patch notes can sometimes be confusing if English isn't your native language.
The point of this little story is that it got me thinking, I bet there are a lot more people who skim over the patch notes because they either don't have the time to read them or maybe because they simply don't understand the wording. So i am going to try to give you guys a very simple explenation of what the use of our Soul Shards is after 4.0.1

The very, very basics.

So, how did Soul Shards used to work ? Soul Shards used to be a reagent that you got through channeling Drain Soul on an enemy while it died. They were put in a separate bag  and were used for summoning Demons and creating various sorts of magical stones. The big drag about them was that during a raid night you needed a lot of Soul Shards, especially back in Vanilla days but I won't go in to that now. You could only get shards of creatures that would give you experience or honor, in other words creatures that were at least of 'green' level. And since your Shards had to be put in a bag you also lost a bagslot.

Blizzard tried various things to make the Soul Shard mechanic more enjoyable, spells like the Soulwell and the new and improved Ritual of Summoning (aka: perverted demon closet) made a huge impact. But the mechanic itself was flawed and out dated. So Blizzard came up with a new one. This one, and i like it very much indeed.

So, right now we have 3 Souls Shards which we can use during an encounter and 3 spells that interact with them. Let's have a look at how this works.


This spell is basically what it's all about. Its the only spell that will consume your Soul Shards. Summoning Demons, making Health- or Soulstones and all other spells that used to require a Soul Shard as a reagent are now free. In their place is this new Soulburn mechanic and it works like this.

Each time u cast Soulburn one of your Soul Shards will be consumed, there are ways to recover them, we'll be getting to that shortly, once you've cast Soulburn you will receive a buff ( also called Soulburn) and it empowers the next spell you cast that is on that list. Each spell behaves differently then normal when empowered, the effects are:

  • Summon Demon : Instant cast
  • Drain life : Decreases cast time by 60%
  • Demonic Circle : Increases movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds after teleporting
  •  Unstable Affliction : Instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its effect
  • Soul Fire : Instant cast
  • Healthstone : Increases your total health by 20% for 8 seconds
  • Searing Pain : Increases your crit chance with searing pain by 100% for the first cast, and 50% for Searing pain casts after that, lasts 6 seconds.
  • (Affliction only) Seed of Corruption: When Seed of Corruption detonates all enemies who were hit will be afflicted by Corruption and you will get your Soul Shard back  
You use Soulburn a bit like a trinket, it's a dps cooldown and it should not be considered a vital part of your rotation. However it is really fun to play with, especially in PvP, that's where it really shines in my opinion.

Drain Soul and Soul Harvest

I bet you're asking yourself: "But how do i get my Soul Shards back ?" Good question: there are two ways to get your Soul Shards back. Remember that old Drain Soul spell ? It' still around and it works mostly like before, but instead of granting you one Soul Shard if the mob dies while you're channeling, it will give you 3!
There's also a new spell called Soul Harvest. You can only cast this spell out of combat and it will regenerate all 3 of your Soul Shards over 9 seconds. It's a bit like a mage's evocation, only cooler.

And that's about it, that's our new Soul Shard system. It's really not that hard to adapt to, and i personally rather enjoy throwing around instant Soulfires. There's just one more thing i would like to add. This has nothing to do with Soul Shards, but its something i have been reminding a few Warlocks of ever since 4.0.1 dropped.
Your Infernal and Doomguard are now no longer in the same category as your other demons, they're 'Guardians' what this means is that you can have both your summoned Demon and your Guardian Demon up at the same time, very nice dps indeed.
But that's not all, if you are a Demonology 'Lock you could run around Stormwind as your own mini Demon-Squad and that, my friends, is pure awesomeness!


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