- How simple the baseline rotation can be. Just from a learning perspective, it’s nice to be able to go into a brand new dungeon, pick passive talents, and focus mostly on dungeon mechanics rather than a complicated rotation. Different from most opinions, but I also like Shear with no cooldown. I really hate tracking small cooldowns and I like having a button to press when I don’t have anything else to do, and not having to waste eye movements on checking if the cooldown is up.
- Talents that complicate the rotation. There are a lot of them, and they each change the rotation in huge ways. I’ll talk about talents a bit more in the “Talent” section below.
- Infernal Strike. It’s such a cool ability. You can use it to avoid stuff or jump over rivers or pull, and it looks and feels so great when used.
- Sigils. Using them properly is incredibly fulfilling. Sigil of Flame is great for pulling a large group that’s spread out, or nailing threat on that archer that refuses to stay in melee. Silence is what I’ve always dreamed of as a tank — pulling a caster without having to target it. Chains for the occasional kiting and mob management. Misery for powerful AoE CC.
- Theme: Blizzard found a way to make self-healing aggressive! Lots of soul-ripping and cleaving. The only skill that passively does something is Demon Spikes, and that looks pretty aggressive so it gets a free pass.
- I really like that talents on a tier do hugely different things or fill different niches. None of that “this tier increases resource generation, so there’s really one right answer that can be mathed out” business. Choosing a build for every difficult boss fight is like a minigame itself, as you’re trying to find the perfect configuration to make you the best at countering whatever it is you need.
- Immolation Aura visual. There’s a balance of visual noise to utility, but right now I can’t tell how big the area of effect is. Rushing Jade Wind felt great because you can tell just how far away you need to be to get the enemy, whereas Immolation Aura is a bit of a guessing game.
- I wish Demon Spikes had an extra charge, because 2 feels so confining. I get that it’s not supposed to be our strong suit, but it limits our ability to pool our only damage reduction ability. I think an extra charge would help shore up low soul fragment procs. For example, if I go for a long time without fragments proccing, I can react by using a few demon spikes in a row. If I get a lucky string of soul fragments, then I can hold off on using demon spikes and let a couple recharges come in.
- Soul Fragments appear at such a slow rate baseline. Talents help control it, and artifact traits increase the proc, but if you’re just jumping in your major mechanic seems so minor because you hardly ever see it. At 110 with a more fleshed out artifact, I enjoy the amount of control I have over them, but it was rough starting out and it’s going to be a similar feeling to specs that suck without a certain level of crit.
- Big Piles of Soul Fragments. Sometimes you get lucky and proc a lot of fragments when you don’t need them. You can either a) Soul Cleave and most go to overheal, b) wait, getting an even larger pile and hoping you’ll need the healing soon, or c) invest one with Spirit Bomb, still leaving you with a big pile minus one. With the artifact and certain talents, you have some really good uses for Soul Fragments even if they aren’t healing you, but it feels like a waste until you unlock those.
- With Fracture and Feed the Demon, a whole new playstyle of damage reduction focused AM opens up. Instead of using pain on Soul Cleave, you can spend almost all on Fracture, generate lots of orbs, consume those orbs (via the occasional Soul Cleave) and reduce the cd on Demon Spikes significantly.
- Soul Fragments are a big deal.
- Proc from:
- Benefits from consuming:
I use Abyssal Strike for trivial content because I like it, though it’s super niche for non-trivial content. I think that’s okay, though, because Fracture is a great ability that works best in non-trivial content. Blade Turning is super boring so I rarely use it, though it undoubtedly is going to be the strongest AoE tanking contender, especially in good gear with lots of crit/parry and a filled out artifact.
I like Quickened Sigils, but I rarely use it because the benefit doesn’t feel as tangible as Agonizing Flames, and they’re both AoE-type talents. Quickened Sigils clearly leans more toward AoE control, but not enough for me to use it often. Fel Eruption does such a different thing (single target dps) that it has a clear niche and useful situations, but I find myself always choosing Agonizing Flames in AoE fights.
If I am new to a fight or scared of something the boss does, I pick Last Resort. Otherwise, I pick Felblade. I love Felblade for what it does, but I like opting into that complexity when I’m ready for it and I think it’s paired well with Last Resort. I feel like Soul Barrier will be useful in high-end content where I might be at full health often, but that’s so rare in what I’ve seen so far (just 5 mans) that I can’t really get a feel for the talent itself.
Spirit Bomb: I like the idea, but in practice it often feels like I just wasted a fragment because nothing procced. I tend to use it in single target fights, but I’m still at a learning phase where I always forget to cast it or I don’t have the spare fragments to risk sacrificing one. I like Etched in Blood for AoE packs, just because it’s easy to use and it lets me cast my fancy sigils more often. Soul Rending is something I use for single target fights where I also have Last Resort specced, because it’s easy to use and pretty powerful, as long as Meta is used often. I think it will be a cool talent when Fueled by Pain is in effect.
I almost always use Feast of Souls here. It’s easy and clearly powerful in all content. I get the idea of Burning Alive, but I just don’t need a slow-building AoE cooldown that often. It feels a little risky to me, since I don’t know how well it spreads and how long it will stay up if the spread happens forever. I’d rather have something dependable and concrete, like Feast of Souls. Concentrated Sigils is odd for me, since I love using Sigils as ranged control tools and this talent removes that. I have been using it on trivial content like world quests where I get a little pack on top of me and AoE it down.
I like this tier and switch it around a lot. Brand of the Hunt is fun on single target, though I wish it was more effective as a dps cooldown, maybe with a shorter duration with a bigger damage increase. I like the teleport, though it’s weird with it’s 30s cooldown and 1 minute duration; I guess I can just use it twice. Sigil of Misery is a really powerful AoE cc tool and I take it on dangerous trash packs, either to CC something that doesn’t want to come into the pack or to quickly CC the pack on me for a brief period. Razer Spikes opens up an interesting dps rotation, so I use it on trivial content or when I don’t want to add extra rotational complexity. I haven’t picked it yet specifically for the snare, though the snare is a little unwieldy but that’s not really our strong point anyway and it’s nice to have a talent for it.
My favorite is Fel Devastation because it looks so cool and I love the healing. It’s a really strong dps and survival cooldown in AoE. Feed the Demon I use when I don’t want extra complexity, though what’s interesting about this talent is that it adds a huge amount of complexity if you want it to. Combined with Fracture and maybe Spirit Bomb and some artifact traits, and this talent can completely morph our rotation. The potential there is scary, though it’s interesting how well this talent synergizes with other talent choices to make us a very AM-focused tank. I worry that this talent will be either very weak without Fracture or strong enough with it that both talents are required for most content. I rarely use Nether Bond, not that it’s weak or anything, but because having to target an ally for a defensive cooldown is awkward without addons, and it doesn’t seem like a good idea to use it with pugs. I should probably make a mouseover macro for it.
If you made it this far, I’ve also started working on my Vengeance (and Brewmaster) guides. They’re in the left-hand menu and also starting here: Why Play Vengeance
They’re still in progress, obviously. I’ll be refining the content and display right up until release, and probably long after that too.