Last week, we began the investigating implications of affliction spells and the purposes behind these methods of mayhem. This week will continue the analysis of affliction's torturous methods. So, without further ado...
While shadow bolt and corruption are the basic, go-to spells for all warlocks (at least pre-pandaria), Affliction has some specific spells that play true to the idea behind this spec:
Unstable Affliction: This particular pain is all that corruption has (though the connotative meaning of corruption suggests an internal struggle while affliction implies a struggle forced upon a person) with one fun additional component: punishment. With corruption, if the target has the moral fortitude (read: priest) or divine protection (read: paladin), then it is a cinch to remove the doubts that would lead a person down the garden path to an opposing stance, but for everyone else, it is a struggle to maintain identity while being assailed by doubts. Add in a punishment aspect - that of pain should you successfully rid yourself of these doubts - and you have a perfect Pavlovian Catch-22.
Agony: In previous incarnations, this spell was the Warlock's bane (Ha! Puns.) - you had to let it run to the very last second before refreshing it lest you lose the largest portion of your damage. That concept (of a buildup of pain that culminates in a large burst of light-blinding torture) was very much in the Warlock's wheelhouse and very true to the design of the Affliction 'Lock. Pandaria's revamp of this spell, at least for me, has taken a somewhat clunky (albeit great) idea and streamlined the mechanical aspect to reflect the ideology. Now, this spell peaks with a nigh-crippling amount of pain and stays there, constantly wracking the target with sheer, unadulterated torment.
Haunt: The icon for this particular spell makes the most sense, at least compared to the other dots. I mean, really. Look at Agony up there - what the heck? Is that an electric shield? A pimple? What's going on? At least with the Haunt, it is obvious that you are chunking a blue fish that stinks really bad (see the green waves of the smell coming off of it?), and that would haunt anybody. This spell has had a few different incarnations over the past expansions. Previously, it was a nice little self-heal, but now the whole concept behind it has changed to a self buff increasing damage from the warlock by 25%. This makes sense, since sending in a haunting apparition that will create a pathway for all the deep, dark, insidious insinuations that make up the other warlock spells can only lead to good things. For the Warlock, that is. It stinks for the target.
Well, in looking at these spells, it seems that the concept of the Affliction Warlock is rooted in sadism - the intense enjoyment in the pain of others. While the other aspects of a Warlock utilize pain, the Afflock takes this one step further and actually heals him/herself via the transfer of pain to pleasure. This makes what poor Ving Rhames went through look like something Grumpy Bear thought up.
Next week, we'll discuss the opposite side of the spectrum that is the Warlock class. I hope this exploration of the darker side of Affliction has brightened your wonderful, merry Christmas, and may all your kills grant cookies!