It seems to be a common thing to write out your thoughts of a spec or class so people have a set place to come and view your opinions and such, figured it might be a decent idea to do. Since I’ve played Demonology the most out of any of the three Warlock specs I figured I’d start here.
Shadowy Inspiration: This is, in my opinion the strongest talent on this tier, especially for early progression and leveling. It enables you to essentially have a secondary movement spell outside of Doom and guarantees that for every Empowerment you will have +1 Soul Shard no matter what.
Shadowflame: Shadowflame is just a remake of the old Hand of Gul’dan, has 2 charges and is best used in the same ‘stacking’ style as Hand of Gul’dan is now. The exception being that you can make Shadowflame stack a 3rd time instead of being capped at 2, further increasing it’s damage. This talent also provides with a ton of mobility options but since it is best used in the same way Hand of Gul’dan is now if you use it and only get the damage roll of 1 stack it’s not really that great in terms of damage, however it gives you another option for tons of movement. Due to the annoyance of how this spell is used I don’t forsee it being taken in many situations, especially with pet management being a huge thing for Demonology.
Demonic Calling: I believe this talent will overtake Shadowy Inspiration in the long term when it comes to raiding, it essentially frees up two Soul Shards every 15s to give you even bigger Fel Imp armies to supplement Thal’kiel’s Consumption.
Final thoughts: Take Shadowy Inspiration for leveling/early progression or early gear levels and Demonic Calling for later into progression once you have more gear. Shadowflame is too much of a hassle to maintain properly especially with 3 stacks being the best way to use it.
Impending Doom: This talent will likely be the go-to talent for anything that is sustained AoE, as long as your Doom is able to tick. That caveat is actually the worst part about this talent since it pigeonholes you into knowing if adds will live past the point of Doom expiring since it would lose all effectiveness if they died prior to that point.
Improved Dreadstalkers: Our single target option in this talent tier is a great option in terms of general DPS since Thal’kiel’s Consumption increases in output per pet we have, and this just gives us 2 more pets.
Implosion: The primo talent of the Beta so far, it can do everything! For leveling, dungeons, raids it is the best talent in this row by far BUT that is because the damage tuning is not quite set right for this talent yet. In the future after balancing I can still see this talent being a great option for leveling and for any burst AoE situation. Making your Imps suicide into a mob is a great feeling and is funny to watch them rush over to the target just to explode. A very fun talent overall.
Final thoughts: In the current Beta build Implosion is the only thing to look at however come launch time after tuning I believe each talent will have its place between sustained AoE, single target and burst AoE. That is the direction Blizzard is taking for a number of talent rows for multiple classes to give you always the option of what to take.
Demon Skin: This is certainly the most potent of talents in this tier by a large margin, on top of gaining Soul Leech shield by attacking you also will gain the shield passively on top of that while simultaneously boosting your shield from 15% maximum health to 20%. This talent is massive for survivability and I don’t see anyone taking anything else in this tier.
Mortal Coil: Mortal Coil has been a not so great option ever since they removed the ability for it to heal you when you use it on targets which are immune to the horrify effect (so any boss).
Shadowfury: With the addition of a cast time to Shadowfury this talent also loses a ton of functionality that we otherwise have had for a long time. A 1.5s cast time for a 4s stun is lackluster and not a talent I forsee being taken for much of anything except maybe PvP.
Final thoughts: This tier is a no brainer, Demon Skin is hands down the best option and will always be the talent taken for basically anything aside from potentially PvP.
Hand of Doom: The sustained AoE talent for this row is a talent that is best taken in conjunction with a couple other talents (Summon Darkglare most notably but pairs well with Impending Doom as well) since it applies Doom through the use of Hand of Gul’dan. It will have particularly great synergy with Darkglare since Darkglare does damage to every target with Doom on it, which this talent supplies quite handily. I can also see this talent being a good option for leveling, but not the best.
Power Trip: I’m certain this ability is meant to be the more single target oriented talent for this row but I’m not sure where it fits in outside of leveling. Even without this talent you are swimming in Soul Shards 90% of the time. It’s a fantastic option for leveling but outside of that I don’t see much use for it.
Soul Harvest: We have been given back another cooldown that has been sorely missed. This will very likely be the go-to talent for raiding, the power boost it gives you is simply too good to miss out on. It will give us some of the biggest Thal’kiel’s Consumptions and pairs nicely with multi-target fights as well. I’d say a good average duration will be something like 14-18s giving us more than enough time to have the buff for 1 round of Dreadstalkers, a full duration of Doomguard, multiple Imp rounds (probably 2 rounds of Imps) and a huge Thal’kiel’s Consumption. Much enjoy having this talent as an option.
Final thoughts: For leveling you’re more than likely to use Power Trip than instantly forget about that talent for dungeons and raiding and opt for the better solution of taking Hand of Doom or Soul Harvest depending on your other talent combinations.
Demonic Circle: Should be usable in raids as a movement option when you need to go from point A to point B and back and forth, just like it’s used now. The worst part about this talent is that it is very cumbersome to use as it’s a 1 button talent as opposed to a 2 button ability. You’re forced to use a macro that cancels the buff in order for you to place your Circle in another location, which I think defeats the whole purpose of the talent in the first place.
Burning Rush: Status quo with this talent, solid option for movement overall.
Dark Pact: A seemingly awkward place for a damage absorption talent but most people don’t realize that absorption is a form of movement, but it simply allows you to not move instead of actually moving (which is lazy). It will still definitely see use on a fight by fight basis.
Final thoughts: This tier will be absolutely interchangeable depending on the type of fight you’re encountering but in general I would say Demonic Circle or Dark Pact will be the go-to for progress, with Burning Rush left with farm and likely leveling (gotta go fast!).
Grimoire of Supremacy: I’m not sure how much use there will be for Supremacy outside of leveling (Infernal is very good at not dying or needing healing while tanking all the mobs), it eliminates 1 total pet you could have for Thal’kiel’s Consumption and if you use it forces you to play with either Infernal or Doomguard.
Grimoire of Service: This grimoire however will likely be the go-to for this tier as it not only provides you with second pet for Consumption but allows you to have really hard burst AoE with a second Felguard and is a short cooldown for a relatively long activity time (90s cooldown with 25s activity). It is also a very solid option in terms of leveling for the same reason but will force you to pay more attention to your primary Felguard for healing (and yes, Health Funnel is ridiculously good so it’s worth saving the pet with it).
Grimoire of Synergy: Our once defacto talent is now a former shade of itself, it’s still a good passive option and can be used without worry but won’t be the min/max king of the raid using it since it is still an RPPM proc (roughly 2 procs per minute) and can’t be used on command like Service with trinkets, it’s widely thought of as just another trinket proc in terms of usage.
Final thoughts: Overall I think it’s a fairly well balanced tier right now, Supremacy is a decent option if you don’t want to press more buttons, same as Synergy but gives you the disadvantage of having an actual cooldown to press (if you don’t have Soul Harvest) while still being a solid option overall. Service however is just a stronger choice in basically all cases, not only does it buff the damage of your Thal’kiel’s Consumption but it’s also an on demand damage button that is very desirable. Service will be the best option when it comes to raiding (right now at least).
Summon Darkglare: Our AoE talent of the tier summons a Darkglare to attack all enemies with Doom (this is where Hand of Doom will come in handy!). It’s a very sustainable source of AoE damage and that’s exactly where the niche of the talent wants to be. Anything that is sustainable AoE this will be the talent to take (….along with Hand of Doom).
Demonbolt: Functions in a similar way that Thal’kiel’s Consumption does in that it’s buffed per pet we have out, it has great synergy with a number of talents and will very likely be the go-to talent for anything that’s not sustained AoE.
Soul Conduit: I’m not sure where this talent will fit into the mix, perhaps it will shine on Council type fights with 3-4 targets or maybe it will just be stuck in the leveling role like a few other talents. For now, while leveling it is a fabulous option since you want to have as many Soul Shards as possible at all times. We’ll have to see where this talent ends up being in the long run.
Final thoughts: Overall I really like having the options available to me for this talent tier, it doesn’t have too much bloat or overflow while still providing you with some very solid options to choose from for a variety of scenarios. Long term I believe it will be Demonbolt all the way, but that could always change.
In closing I’d just like to say that these are just a few of my thoughts regarding the talents for Demo currently and where they sit in terms of raiding and leveling. As always things are subject to change (both talents and opinions!) and any further discussion about it all would be great. If you made it this far you should be proud, I thought this was going to be a lot shorter than it’s turned out to be, sorry for that!