For many of you who’ve reached level 85 and gotten yourself a good set of gear, Heroics were the obvious next step. A greater level of challenge, some new boss mechanics, and all around good gear to help you push your way through into the raid content. And I, like many of you, dove headfirst into Heroics as soon as I was ready. There were some hiccups at first, but through perseverance and a healthy dose of reading Wowpedia, I grew to know the Heroic fights, if even on a basic level.
I was comfortable with my role by this point. I could manoeuvre around most of the fights, knew the mechanics and how I, as a Demonology Warlock fit into them. I was good to go. Or so I thought.
Oh hey, you look familiar...
So, imagine my surprise when I zoned in after the customary half a bloody hour wait. Blackrock Caverns! Why, I hadn’t seen this place in weeks, and not since normal mode. I gave the bosses a quick read through and remembered most of how it went, so I figured I was good to go. And off the PuG went. Our Warrior was tanking, our Shaman was healing, the Shadow Priest and I were blasting, and the Death Knight was slashing things to pieces.
In no time, Rom’Ogg Bonecrusher was dead. The Death Knight got dangerously low on health during the fight, but surely he knew his class and this dungeon. He was putting out a good portion of DPS, after all. And I think he dodged Skullcracker. I think. It’s okay, we can do this.
A few more trash fights, and over the ledge to Corla we went. I re-summoned my Felguard, we cleared out the trash, and we were ready. The tank made sure everyone knew the fight: stand in the beams, switch out to let the debuff fall off, burn down Corla. We were good to go.
Then I noobed. You see, in my foolish complacency, I neglected to read some of the mechanic. Yes, stand in the beams. Yes, move out of them to let the debuff fall off. But when? So I switched out early, and once that happened, it was over. There was no way to avoid having the Zealot evolve, and when it happened I knew we were screwed. But then something odd happened: a different Zealot evolved first. I couldn’t figure out why, wasn’t I the one who got the mechanic wrong?
As predicted, after this wipe, the tank bid us all farewell with a pleasant ‘u r all bads’, and with him went the healer and the Death Knight. While the queue searched for new party members, I did some reading and discovered exactly what had gone wrong (and learned what I did wrong: 75-80 stacks is apparently the move point). Corla’s fear caught one of the other beam guards just as they were about to step back in to their spot, and the Zealot evolved.
A thought struck me. “Self,” I said, “why did no one interrupt her cast? Surely the Warrior had the ability to, at the very least!” I shrugged it off, and waited for the new group to assemble. Once this was done, beam guards were assigned and we moved in once more. This time we had a rogue to replace the Death Knight, so I knew for sure that interrupts were coming!
Which, of course, is why I got feared in the beam, evolved, and killed the party.
I hate you. So much.
Now down to my lonesome, I sat in the queue and pondered. The tank had an interrupt. The rogue had an interrupt. Why wasn’t she being interrupted successfully? Maybe they were just bad players?
Then the new party (my third — I’m very patient) zoned in, and the tank asked who would be interrupting. And then it struck me: I had a Felhunter. I could help interrupt. So I immediately Soulburned, pulled that sucker out, and volunteered to help interrupt. The new Death Knight and Mage both said they’d do it as well, beam assignments were handed out, and off we went.
My DPS suffered. There was no way I was optimised for using my Felhunter for damage: my glyphs and talents weren’t optimised for it; my rotation didn’t take it into account; I don’t usually use it; the Demon Soul isn’t the haste I usually expect; etc. But you better believe that no matter what else I was doing, I was mashing that Spell Lock button the second Corla started casting.
And you know what? We won the fight with no casualties. Not a single Zealot evolved, Corla took it to the face, refused to drop the god damn wand I wanted and we all continued along the dungeon and beat it with no problems.
The Point Is?
It’s very simple, fellow Warlocks: It doesn’t matter what spec you are. Affliction, Demonology, Destruction, whatever. It doesn’t matter if you need those Imp procs for the ‘mad deeps’. If you are pugging, the only thing you can control is you, and by god you are a utility caster. Your pets make you a veritable Swiss Army Knife of effects and abilities, and your utilising them to their fullest can mean the difference between a wipe and a successful dungeon run.
Yes, it should be the healer’s responsibility to purge Asaad’s Static Cling if someone was unable to make the jump. But your Imp can also purge the debuff and ensure that at least one person is accounted for, even if only yourself so the healer has less of a burden.
And sometimes, your CC isn’t quite enough, and you could use a little extra help from your Succubus on some of the Humanoids beating the snot out of your tank.
The next time you find yourself struggling through a Heroic PuG, ask yourself: Is there any possible utility I could be bringing to the table that might help this group, if even a little? Go through your spellbook, summon your pets one by one and read their abilities carefully, check your talents and glyphs. Because you’d be surprised what even a little utility can do to smooth out your playing experience.