Shards Announcement Incoming

August 19, 2009 at 8:52 am (Warlock)

So, as Blizzcon is imminent, so too is (supposedly) some announcement of the upcoming changes to soul shards.

And a few other announcements too, of course.

I gave my own thoughts on soul shards and their problems.  What I can’t tell, at this point, is whether Ghostcrawler is overselling a cosmetic change, or whether soul shards are going to be essentially unrecognizable at the end of this revamp.  Because to live up to what Ghostcrawler’s selling, we’re talking about the need to create an entirely new resource-system and slap the name “soul shards” on it.  And I find myself, despite myself, growing excited at what this may mean.  Which suggests there’s a danger here – if we’re talking about a tweak (They now stack!  They’re now in the currency tab!  They’re now green!), I’m going to be severely disappointed (even if I’m happy to have my bag space back).  Unless we’re talking an entirely new system, GC has simply oversold the incoming change, and is going to get a pretty severe backlash.

One thing I’ve noticed, as I’ve been playing my mage (now level 71, and proving ridiculously fun – mages have more “sexy” abilities than warlocks could ever dream of, which is a source of massive, festering resentment (for me), and a topic for another column), is that warlocks have far fewer fun  cooldowns than my frost mage has.  Think of the decisions a frost mage makes as to when to summon their elemental, when to pop Icy Veins, Cold Snap, and so forth.  It gives the feel that frost mages have a degree of “reserve” power, where you can draw on it when really necessary.  This actually makes the class feel more powerful as a whole.  Demo has a couple of cooldown-type abilities (Metamorphosis being the primary one), but Affliction and Destruction do not (Death Coil’s on a cooldown, but it’s not the same thing – that’s about getting out of a jam, not boosting personal power in some way.)  My trinkets have all “On Equip” effects, so I have no trinkets to pop.  So, in a raid, when raid leaders call out “okay, hitting X%, pop all your cooldowns and trinkets”, I tend to do exactly the same thing I was doing before – I have nothing else to do.  My only cooldown is Soulshatter, which is no fun at all (mages, on the other hand, even get a fun aggro-dump!)  So my guess would be that consuming shards will give a similar cooldown-popping feel.  Consume a soul for a 10% spellpower increase for 15 seconds, or something similar.  3 minute cooldown.

Which means there’s a nerf incoming.  Because they don’t want to buff us overall (we – well, two of our trees – don’t really need it, at least in PvE), so our performance without using the new SS mechanics will be knocked down a peg.   We’re about to get more complicated, which intrigues me.  But we’re also about to enter that buff-nerf cycle that happens whenever a class’s equilibrium is disrupted.  Buckle your seatbelts.



  1. D said,

    I hear ya about lack of cooldowns to burn – shadow priests have nothing to up our damage at specific times unless you count our shadowfiend (which I do not).

    I do not play a warlock (my highest is level 41, which I hardly play) but I could see how the soul shards thing could be super annoying – it’s even worse than how hunters used to have to deal with their ammo. I do hope warlocks get a solution, though, that satisfies them – warlocks don’t need any nerfs, from what I can see, even if they change the soul shard system. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    • Kahleena said,

      Great point re: shadow priests, they’re in the same boat (I just started playing my shadow priest a bit more – I expect I’ll take to her more happily when I finally get out of Howling Fjord, a zone I’m really not all that crazy about – any future Northrend toons are getting leveled in BT).

      Getting warlocks together to talk about soul shards can be interesting, because different specs have such completely different experiences with them. Affliction warlocks, generally, will respond with “What’s the big deal?”, because farming them is positively trivial for an affliction lock. I certainly did, right up until I specced Destro. It would be as though Marksmanship hunters regenerated ammo with Arcane shot, and then can’t figure out why non-Marksmanship hunters were complaining about ammo. Oh yeah, and let’s assume they stopped selling ammo at vendors.

      Also, I never had shard issues until I started raiding, because that’s where you start consuming them like mad (to give people healthstones, soulstone your healers, resummon demons every wipe, soulshatter when you pull aggro, etc.)

      • Elathan said,

        I have to admit I too am a little excited with anticipation to see what the changes are going to be, but also a little reserved because of the aforementioned uncertainty. Also Kahl, I too have started playing my mage again, and probably for about the same reason. He is more “fun”. Of course mine is specced fire, so I am now happily nuking along and just holding my breath for that lovely message “Hot Streak!” to pop up so I can unleash my wonderous instant Pyro of DOOM! LOL As opposed to my Afflic Lock…. Cast: Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Haunt, Curse of elements, Life tap to regain mana used, health returned by corruption through the siphon life talent and also haunt…… Rinse, repeat……… (yawn) of course there is the nightfall proc for the instant cast shadow bolt, but thats just not the same as a HUGE firey ball of death instantly hurling towards your enemy to burn them to a crisp 😀 So we shall wait and see the forthcoming changes and either cheer or throw proverbial demon feces at the lock devs for blizz and wonder what the heck they were smoking yet again.

      • Kahleena said,

        El! How you doing?

        My mage’s second spec is fire – still getting used to it, but not as big a fan as I am of Frost. And yeah, I actually paid for dual-spec for my level 71 mage. I have to admit, I’m a dual-spec addict, having just bought it for my fifth toon….with the druid (level 46 kitty/resto), priest (71 shadow/holy) and paladin (80 ret/prot), it made sense. The warlock and the mage, though, it was just an indulgence.

  2. Soul Shards Are Dead, Long Live Soul Shards « Fel Deeds Awake! said,

    […] blog is a bit cryptic, but to the extent I can discern what Blizzard announced re: soul shards, I was largely right, I think.  It sounds like soul shards will largely resemble runes as a resource, and they will be […]

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