Azael on 5.4: "I was able to get back into the swing of things quickly"

Posted 20th of Oct 2013 by Zachary Diaz

 Isaac "Azael" Cummings-Bentley is one of the most prolific competitive World of Warcraft players in the games' history. Having been a part of Evil Geniuses since World of Warcraft was a competitive esport, he's seen dozens of patches come and go. Now he has a chance to review the latest 5.4 patch changes. There have been slight tweaks to some classes, major overhauls to others, and even the PvP arenas have been tweaked themselves. Rulesets, abilities, and team compositions aside, every patch brings about an reinvigorated PvP scene and we jumped on the chance to talk to one of the most veteran competitive WoW players around.

  • Zachary Diaz

    How was the move to your new place? Beautiful view out the back of your window, what is that a view of?

  • Azael

    The move went quite well!  My Mom is actually an interior decorator and does house renovations, setup, design etc etc for a living so she basically just told me what I need for everything which made shopping for and setting up everything a breeze!  Would've been a huge pain without her, but besides a hiccup or two with the internet coming slow and things like that everything was great.  I absolutely love it here.

  • Zachary Diaz

    Since your recent move you have been streaming more and more lately, do you have a current schedule? Do you plan to continue this for a while?

  • Azael

    Yep, I'm streaming a ton and basically will be streaming every day starting at 10 AM EST.  I've found having a set schedule for myself helps me be way more productive, so for now every day it's up at 8 AM, go to the gym then stream by 10 so that even if I stream quite a long time I still have time to do other things in the evening.  I can hang out with friends, chat with family, do chores / errands before stores close and so on.  I'm not planning on stopping anytime soon, so you can plan on catching me daily unless otherwise stated on my Twitter!

  • Zachary Diaz

    What changes occurring in 5.4 made the most significant impact on the Warlock class? Do you feel any of the shifts were unnecessary?

  • Azael

    Losing run cast, 10% passive damage reduction on fel armor, and the much larger cooldown on Demonic Gateway, as well as 10% damage from DoTs on the 4 piece set bonus were the big changes, but overall I'm OK with them.  I think run casting really dumbs down the game a lot, and I've wanted a weaker version of gateway in exchange for a stronger version of some of our defensive's for a while and that's basically what we ended up getting with the new Soul Link, and PvP Trinket Resilience set bonus etc.

  • Zachary Diaz

    Demonic Gateway has been a popular topic in balancing for the past few months, how do you feel about the current state of it? Do you think the buff/nerfs were needed?

  • Azael

    I think that Demonic Gateway is a fickle thing, because in certain match ups or against certain classes it was incredibly strong, but on the other hand when fighting classes with extreme mobility such as Feral Druids and Warriors it really doesn't do enough for you at all IMO.  Warriors Heroic Leap is a shorter CD than Gateway is now so they're back on top of you before you're even out the other side at this point which is kinda silly.  I like that it's no longer able to be targetted because I think in general it was kind of a stupid mini-game to have people constantly killing off / resummoning gates.  Overall I think the state of gateway is fine now though, and if anything should be adjusted it's the mobility or lack thereof of the various classes.

  • Zachary Diaz

    In 5.4 what is the speccing order for Warlock? What makes it so? 

  • Azael

    In my opinion it's Affliction > Destro > Demo at the moment, because without run casting it's just so hard for Destro warlocks to really get their burst off consistently, as that's a class that really requires slow casting (Chaos Bolt) combined with Demon Soul to be very effective, and at the moment people are just finding it too easy to shut down.  Demonology on the other hand was actually pretty decent at the release of 5.4, but unfortunately because it was so strong in PvE the spec got absolutely gutted with Imp Swarm being changed to spawn one less imp, as well as overall Imp damage going down 30%.  Affliction has been hit by some nerfs due to PvE as well, but it's just the spec with the most consistency and flexibility overall, so it's pretty fun to play usually.

  • Zachary Diaz

    How much time is it going to take you to get accustomed to the change to Archimonde’s Vengeance?

  • Azael

    Honestly I thought that it'd take me quite a while, but I was pretty comfortable playing with it even during the first day.  I've played the class for so many years now that it's just kind of muscle memory and I was able to get right back into the old swing of things very quickly.

  • Zachary Diaz

    Any other changes you’d like to discuss that are not being talked about enough?

  • Azael

    I think that honestly with how dependent Warlocks are on Soul Link and thus their pet to survive, we need a stronger health funnel or survivability mechanic for our pets, because at the moment they're kind of just a joke as basically every single team is just tunneling pets and killing them instantly these days.  It's not very fun to play against, and it's somewhat of a silly thing to be so viable as there's nothing you can really do to stop it most of the time, and you're pretty well required to have Soul Link to live against many of the teams which are capable of doing it.

  • Zachary Diaz

    How do you feel about the new Arena system? Who is this going to benefit/hurt the most?

  • Azael

    I think that it hurts a lot of people who used to be able to play with their friends and now are just too worried about ruining their stats, ratings etc.  In the past people would just team hop and have one high or "serious" team or whatever then many people would help their friends get rating, or just play for fun etc.  Now though many people are just too concerned with messing up their ladder rating so they don't really want to play with anyone except their most serious team.  As far as who benefits from it, I guess people with set teams do the most since it does give us a lot faster queues and sitting in long queues has always been the worst thing about high rated arena.

  • Zachary Diaz

    Looking at all of the classes, where do you feel the most significant changes were made that will have an impact on the upcoming arena season?

  • Azael

    Warriors are incredibly strong, Mages are massively on the rise as well, and just Melee cleave in general seems to have gotten way way better.  I fight sooooo many Warrior teams it's insane, I'd bet that 80% of the teams I fight or more at times have a Warrior on them, so you'd have to say the changes to that class had the biggest impact on the season overall.  They're just pretty easy to play honestly, and have no massive weaknesses so they basically work well in every comp, and against every comp making them incredibly popular.

  • Zachary Diaz

    We’ve heard you’re competing alongside Mes, one of the worlds highest rated Death Knights. How has that been?

  • Azael

    Absolutely great.  He's an amazing player, and always is ridiculously positive about everything which makes him a pleasure to play with whether we're winning or losing.  He's just an all around great guy and friend so you can't really ask for anything more than that.

  • Zachary Diaz

    Are there any teams compositions or players in particular you are worried about playing against this season?

  • Azael

    Nah, I don't think so I welcome the challenge of fighting all the different setups and players, and am not too concerned who I'm facing honestly.  It's just fun to play a variety of setups and be able to queue arena all the time!

  • Zachary Diaz

    Anything else you’d like to add? Any shout outs or thank yous?

  • Azael

    I'd like to shout out my EU homies, Trille, Baten, Flubbah who I've been playing with a ton and of course my teammates Cdew & Mes.  I'd also like to thank EG and all our wonderful sponsors for allowing us to do what we love.  Last but certainly not least I have to thank all my fans and viewers who tune in day in and day out, because they're really the ones who make it all worthwhile.

About the Author: Zachary Diaz

Zachary Diaz is a veteran of the competitive gaming scene, having grown up in Southern California during the rise of Quake and Counter-Strike. After having spent many years playing different RTS, FPS, and MMO games, he has focused his attention on the journalistic side of the growing esports community. He currently resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a graduate of LSU and is a Display Artist at Urban Outfitters!

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