Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fear and loathing in WoW

Since my first adventure into the wilds with my little warlock,
the different specs seemed to have their own, distinct flavors.  I'm not referring to the rotations, damage dealt, or even focus of each spec; those were present, too, but this difference was its own entity.  Rather, each style had a unique aura that I felt while playing it, as if the goal was different for each player.  The closest class that I can align this idea to is the rogue: a combat rogue is a tavern brawler, a thug who loves to ambush people in plain sight; a subtlety rogue is more of the street thief who is not terribly interested in attacking if (s)he can steal and get away; an assassin rogue is a ninja - kill quickly and by any means.  For the warlock, each of the different styles had a similar spirit, but there was a little something that made it more... sinister.

What have I done!?! Oh, yeah... cookies.
While doing anything vicariously, I often have issues comprehending exactly what is happening.  I often complain to my students that, while sky diving would be fun, I'm afraid that it would feel like a t.v. show that is in really good hi-def.  The ills of technology, I suppose.  This problem crept into WoW from the very moment when I picked up my lock, already at level 40. I chose affliction because it was the only viable leveling spec (it was early Wrath) for the self-heals, multi-dotting, and mana management factors;  Destro went oom too often, and Demo was a little weak. It's weird, though, because now I'm wondering precisely what happened to all those monsters (and people) that I dotted up, which caused me to ponder upon the spells that I used to destroy these mobs, both then and now.

For this and subsequent articles, we'll delve into two old school spells that have been with warlocks since the beginning: Shadow Bolt and Corruption.

Shadow Bolt

Spell shadow shadowbolt.png  A blob of.. well.. shadow.  Ok.  Well, historically, the dark has been seen as chocked full of "evil" things.  So, this is the embodiment of the dark hurtling at you. What happens when it hits?  What, exactly, is the "X Shadow damage" being done?  If the dark has traditionally been seen as the unknown, and man fears the unknown, then it stands to reason that this fear, being weaponized, could hurt a target, especially since a culmination of fear can (and often does) damage a person up to and including bodily harm; so, does this mean that, when characters are hit by a shadow bolt, not only is their psyche damaged, but their body revolts against itself?  The Sha would suggest so.


Spell shadow abominationexplosion.png The act of corrupting something is to degrade its integrity; if metal is corrupted, it rusts. If wood is corrupted, it rots.  If a person is corrupted, his or her moral compass is sent askew.  In DnD parlance, corrupted souls swing the gamut from LG to CE.  This creates a synergy with the shadow bolt: if the person is being assaulted by his or her fears, then it is easy to make them change their beliefs in anything, including reality.  A person who has a strong conscience would find themselves not caring about consequences, which would cause confusion, stress, and eventual physical pain.  The same could be said for a person of the chaotic evil bent being forced to see their actions as right or wrong.

Next week, we'll explore more of an afflock's spells to determine the real meaning of this specialty.

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