The Decline and Fall of Warlocks in Cataclysm

Warlock
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No, the paladin is correct. /clenches death violently.

lol jk, but seriously, you are.

I joined this game with my friends. They knew I like casters and suggested a mage, a priest, or a warlock.

They told me mages teleport everywhere and use arcane/fire/frost magic. I was like, "Hmmm, cool. But boring. I play a "mage" class in every standard RPG. I like evil."

They showed me Spriest. Shadow, darkness, a very innate connection to the void. But with two "light" based specs. Instant no.

Then they showed me the warlock. They !@#$%ed. They moaned. They cried about nerfs and about how agonizing it is to play one. Then I saw my imp. My very first imp, Karfip. Then THulgore the voidwalker. Ellerrah the Succy. Orikashak the Felguard. Maathun the felpuppy. Albeit I renamed by imp to Jubjub (so lucky on that).

I fell in love. Why?

I jokingly (sorta) call myself the devil incarnate. I'm a hedonist. I love drugs, sex, alcohol. Sin and vice are my strong suits. I love dark literature, de Sade, Nietzsche, etc. NO I AM NOT GOTH OR PUNK OR EMO. I'm actually super preppy. Head of theater club and all that jazz. I just love evil. And I secretly practice Qabbalah and Qliphoth. Jewish mysticism about demons/angels and summoning them.

So I made a warlock.

The more I leveled it, the more I fell in love. Setting my enemies on fire, sending the wrath of my very soul in a physical manifestation, sending a wave of flame to ignite my enemies, having my demons tear and slash and ignite my enemies, how the demonic circle is actually copy pasta from this one Occult book, how our spells actually have LORE basis (Hand of Gul'dan <3 ). I could turn into a demon FFS!

And on top of that, I love a challenge. I have a pally. He's cute. He's boring. Dynamically opposing a demonology warlock. It appeals to me but... eh. It's too simple.

My warlock has about almost 30 macros. I use all of them between PVP and PVE.

And I love it.

Call it masochism, sure, but I will play this class until kingdom come. Though, I would PREFER they quit with the nerfs simply because I can do 12k more than the arcane mage in my raid, and I do 500,000 more damage than the next person (always top three) in any battleground I'm in.

I'm sorry, I know how to play my class. So I deserve to be kicked in the balls? No. ^-*! you.
This proved to be an amazing read and I'm just going to copy pasta this paragraph because it is entirely true.

I think a lot of this is because the rotations are unforgiving – if the Warlock player makes a single mistake, they’ll lose a substantial portion of their DPS. Players in the top raid tier are excellent players – they don’t make those small mistakes the majority of the playerbase makes. They time their refreshes to procs, they can juggle 13 debuffs across 3 mobs. That’s pretty damn impressive! But it means that if the class is balanced around those players, the small mistakes the majority of players make will add up. And if the class is competing against classes who can AoE or multidot with 2 buttons and no debuff tracking … well, then we have a real problem.

I would also agree that the Warlock does amazing at end game rated pvp. However since they seem to be balanced around end game group content, random battlegrounds solo make Warlocks very sad and so does world pvp.

There is a bright side to this though. Warlocks who do world pvp and do random battlegrounds by themselves must learn to play smarter then the other classes. They start to see openings of opportunity for themselves. Heres what I mean, when I play random battlegrounds I am ALWAYS looking for a cliff and I try position myself near it as I am moving around the battleground. Why? So I can instant summon a succubus and knock that pesky melee off the edge. Warlocks are playing smarter, they are paying attention to their surroundings and paying attention to their opponents, pet swapping where appropriate. People who play/played warlocks take these skills and apply them to other classes.

All of this high skill cap, more effort for no extra reward has turned us into smarter players. Players who played warlocks to endgame or who are currently playing them now most likely play better on their mains (if you have an 85 warlock alt) or alts (if you have an 85 warlock) and I salute my fellow warlocks for playing smarter then any other class (most of you anyway =D).

Tl;DR Playing a warlock makes the player smarter, no matter what class you currently play.

I would also like to say just because I am proud of it that I did get the Battlemaster title playing random battlegrounds by myself in Cataclysm before all the Battlemaster nerfs. If that's not a feat of Strength for a Warlock, I don't know what is.

Troll Warlock out!
The problem with getting to the heart of why a class is or isn't popular is that a lot of it comes down to personal taste and opinion, and those are things not easily quantified. Just feeling it out with hand waving good and evil psychobabble answers doesn't really get you anywhere though. What it will do however is give you license to disregard population data as an indicator of anything, and while it shouldn't be the rule by which all things are judged, it should be taken into consideration.

The reality is that data doesn't have bias in it - people bring their bias to the data, and having it to help illustrate the lay of the land is a good tool to have on hand. I'm more likely to use data to form an opinion than I am to invest much attention in nebulous, philosophical magic bullet answers.
My first toon was a druid back in 2006. I remembered when everyone saw how feral druids were so 'OP' in the beginning of BC, only to have the nerf bat smashed in their face.

I decided to play a warlock during Cata since I like utility/hybrid classes. You could say I'm used to horrible nerfs, but there's always some sort of viable play in the darkest of times.
My first toon past level 11 was my warlock. I loved it, I couldn't get enough. When I got to 80, I immidiately dove into raiding. TOC, ICC, anything I could get. Within a matter of weeks of hitting 80 I was raiding Heroic ICC and while I wasn't topping charts, I wasn't even close to being last. The spec wasn't easy, there was a fair bit to keep track of, but it was rewarding. I was hooked.

Then the cataclysm happened, and the world wasn't the only thing that was broken. My class and my spec had become even more complicated, to which I immidiately thought "That's fine, so long as it still does good dps for the effort involved". But it didn't. Then I talked to my friend about his Frost DK, and how he had all of 3 buttons to press to outdo my dps.

If anything between the end of wrath and the start of raiding cata content, I felt like my skill at my class had increased, how could it not I say, since more time = more practice. But I was hitting no where near what I used to compared to other classes. No one likes to feel nerfed or weak (well some people do but that's a discussion for a whole different kind of forum).

In the end though, it wasn't this that made me stop playing my warlock. It was my new role as my guilds raid leader. I found it impossible to raid lead effectively, while having to perform such a complicated rotation.
I WILL QQQQ x10000 REALLY BECUZ ITS ALL TRUE TALK. SO YOU ACT LIKE LOCKS DONT HAVE A PROBLEM WHEN INFACT THEY DO? WARLOCKS ARE SO SLOW, NOT STRONG AND CANT STAY ALIVE FOR LONG.
whoa.
That was a good read, although I think it has much less to do with the complexity of the class versus reward and more to do with the way the class is played and the fact that it is considered a "support class".

I'll quote another post I just made about how warlocks were weak again.

Warlocks could use some work.... My warlock was my main for a long time up until cata, and I've done my fair share of pvp around 2200 and a little over. I'm not saying I'm the best pvp'er, but I'm by far not a bad player and know how to play the class. I'm going to throw out some troll bait here, but this is definitely what the problem is:

Warlocks (especially aff) suck at 1v1.

"OMG, did he just say warlocks are broken because they suck 1v1"
"What a scrub, L2P"
"Noob, the game isn't balanced around 1v1"

Yea yea, I know. Doesn't change the fact that this really is the problem.

The game shouldn't be completely balanced around 1v1. But there shouldn't be ANY classes that are so easily trained by nearly EVERY other class in the game 1v1. The problem is warlocks are TOO reliant on being in a good group. This is why there is a lot of complaining about warlocks, because 80% of the people playing may know how to play decently, but don't play in well coordinated groups or in groups at all.

Every class should have a few classes that they are pretty commanding over, a few that are a good match, and a few that you definitely need to have some skill to be able to beat. Following this model wouldn't make group balancing or 3v3 balancing impossible, or even hard, but would keep the average player from feeling jilted when trying to play their warlock solo.

Who likes feeling like they can't stand on their own and feel like they have to rely on someone else to be useful. You can re-roll mage and wipe the floor with nearly every class 1v1 AND still be in several top ranked comps.

Warlocks can still be a "support class" while standing a little better on their own. Blizz even seems to address this with working in Malefic Grasp as a single target nuke in MoP. I think there are other things that need addressed like locks crappy kiting ability (we will see about the casting while running talent) or being so vulnerable to lock outs (which is why I stopped playing my warlock pretty much throughout all of cata, not to mention getting hit ridiculously hard), but it at least looks like locks are headed in the right direction in MoP. Just have to wait and see when it's released. You never know.

As far as the whole "look at arena representation 2200+, warlocks are obviously not broken" argument... I'm not going to go so far as to say that warlocks are being carried by RLS and MLS... but, I'll just say if mages and rogues weren't so OP through Cata, warlock representation above 2200 wouldn't be near what it is right now. But that even kind of agrees with my whole argument. Obviously 3's teams above 2200 are a skilled and coordinated group, which is mandatory for a lock to be able to perform well.
It seems a common theme in this thread is that warlock are too complex and the margin for error is small. A lot of players are asking that they be given a more forgiving PVE rotation (where messing up a gcd or two doesn't cost you 10% or more of your potential DPS) and more survivability/escapes in PVP or even more burst.

The interesting thing is a lot of the posters saying this will quickly acknowledge that the class is incredibly potent when played to potential but they fail to make a simple connection. We're OP as is and if you give us any more of anything top tier players will become even more godmode and move from being in a good place to broken-overpowered.

I hate turning constructive threads into "l2p" but really the class has everything in the toolkit you can ask for in PVE. In PVP everything begins and ends with affliction but the spec is absolutely amazing. Other than a very brief period in Wrath this class has never had pvp burst. We've always been about dot, drain, fear, outlast, and outsmart.

In a lot of ways the class and its' playstyle have not changed that much over the years. I think a lot is that vetran players have left and newer players never really grasped our class's history or place in the game.
We're OP as is and if you give us any more of anything top tier players will become even more godmode and move from being in a good place to broken-overpowered.


We're OP?
http://www.worldoflogs.com/rankings/players/Dragon_Soul/dps/
Go over to the 10 and 25m Heroic

No, we're not OP. We're far from broken, but we're not OP.
Nice read. It's good to see some other opinions regarding the class followed with empirical evidence. Had my warlock as a main since Wrath, currently stuck trying to pull tendon numbers out of my !@#.
Other than a very brief period in Wrath this class has never had pvp burst. We've always been about dot, drain, fear, outlast, and outsmart.


We've been about dot, drain, fear and outlast when we could kite. Back then it was easy because every other class didn't have 3 gap closers to our 1 gap opener. Our CoEx wasn't nerfed to 30%. That's why we are too reliant on groups now, because we are supposed to be a drain and outlast playstyle but we don't have the tools to kite anymore. That's why all the top comps are MLS or RLS, because the rogue and mage can peel so the warlock can actually play (not to mention their ridiculous burst).

This isn't just about giving warlocks more. It's about the fact that they aren't balanced correctly and aren't appealing to the average player. Which believe it or not, the game wasn't made for the top 1% super competitive elitists. That's not where Blizz makes their money.

No they don't need to be able to burst, kite, control and tank damage all at the same time. But the combination of skills and play style they have now isn't appealing (or working unless your in a well coordinated group).

You should be able to play any class decently solo if that's they way you would like to play. Great against some, decent against some, and badly against some. Not horrible against everyone when by yourself.

We're OP?
http://www.worldoflogs.com/rankings/players/Dragon_Soul/dps/
Go over to the 10 and 25m Heroic


And you recognize that parsing data after progression is over is utterly meaningless right? None of the top parses are reflective of simply playing a class but are reflective of buff stacking and manipulation for people obsessed with parsing.

You see the number 3 overall on the Morchok list? That rogue had my DI. A shadow priest or boomkin would give better rdps (and personal dps for me) but Yan wanted to parse on the fight so I gave it to him. I've had several guildees parse world top five on every fight on that list at one point or another and it's all about tweaking the buffs to them and even altering strategy and fight execution for those numbers.

World of Logs gives valid data about class and spec performance on a given encounter up to about three weeks past a world first kill. During that time guilds are simply focused on maximizing the raid's performance and getting kills. Once stuff is to farm everything is about who can stroke their epeen the most adn it usually involves buff stacking and players getting to disregard anything other than tunneling the boss or spreading damage to adds for extra meter padding. After maybe the first week of January for Heroic DS you really aren't getting valid data.

04/04/2012 10:14 AMPosted by Ruflok
we don't have the tools to kite anymore.


A 45 yard ranged slow, a teleport, a 45 second CD sprint, and two instant fears alone give you the tools you need to create and get distance. Managing it is very situational to the environment, your oppoonet, and vis a vis your opponet's cooldowns. The nerf on CoEx (pre 4.1 but early s9 if I recall correctly) was needed because it was overpowered.

the game wasn't made for the top 1% super competitive elitists.


Being a statistical outlier and high-performer does not make someone an elititst. And the reality is for the game to play properly you have to balance around the assumption that all players can maximize performance.

You should be able to play any class decently solo if that's they way you would like to play. Great against some, decent against some, and badly against some. Not horrible against everyone when by yourself.


The only pvp environment where you chose to play solo are duels and world pvp. Everything else is group based. If you find yourself in one on one situations in battlegrounds a lot that isn't a class situation that's a failure to understand the basic strategies of battlegrounds.

World pvp is about who gets the jump. You don't /wave to the red nameplate and have both of you take time getting buffed and ready to go. You strike when your target isn't expecting it and isn't ready for it. Balance is mutually exclusive to the concept of spontaneous pvp combat.

If you're talking duels we dominate mages, shadow priests, boomkins, and hunters with ease. The only classes you arguably are going to be hopeless against are ferals and rogues. But the thing is duels are pointless. They are just diversions and never will be more.
You're missing the entire point of this post and arguing pretty irrefutable points. If there weren't obviously issues, Blizz wouldn't already be COMPLETELY overhauling warlocks in MoP. We are getting not one.... but TWO additional kiting abilities. (Kiljaeden's Cunning and Demonic Gateway in case you hadn't kept up), getting a single target nuke (Malefic Grasp), and basically just getting some cool new talents to help us be more proficient SOLO.
A 45 yard ranged slow, a teleport, a 45 second CD sprint, and two instant fears alone give you the tools you need to create and get distance. Managing it is very situational to the environment, your oppoonet, and vis a vis your opponet's cooldowns. The nerf on CoEx (pre 4.1 but early s9 if I recall correctly) was needed because it was overpowered.
- Everyone else has a slow that is twice as effective
- A teleport. Fantastic... what do you do about their other two gap closers? Avg number per class is 2, most have 3.
- Fear breaks so easy, and many classes have an out, its not THAT dependable 1v1. I'm not saying its bad, but its not the be all end all cc.
Being a statistical outlier and high-performer does not make someone an elititst. And the reality is for the game to play properly you have to balance around the assumption that all players can maximize performance.
Like I had already said before... this has nothing to do with players not "maximizing" their performance. No matter how well you play, against a player with equal skill and gear 1v1, most other classes will trounce a warlock. Again, warlock are TOO reliant on good groups. It shouldn't be like this.
The only pvp environment where you chose to play solo are duels and world pvp. Everything else is group based. If you find yourself in one on one situations in battlegrounds a lot that isn't a class situation that's a failure to understand the basic strategies of battlegrounds.
So 3v3 arena matches never ever end up being a 1v1 in the end? No one has EVER gotten the last man standing achievement? When fighting in bgs if you're assaulting a base or flag carrier everyone always has reinforcements and it never comes down to 1v1? Never get jumped by an @sshole rogue or druid after spawning and trying to get back to the battle? No one ever joins random bgs by themselves and gets ignored by the heals (if there are any)?

I'm sorry I could have swore a few of these situations had happened to someone somewhere before....
World pvp is about who gets the jump. You don't /wave to the red nameplate and have both of you take time getting buffed and ready to go. You strike when your target isn't expecting it and isn't ready for it. Balance is mutually exclusive to the concept of spontaneous pvp combat.
That's a broken statement right there. So rogues are the all time kings of world pvp since they get the jump on everyone? They never lose? I know rogues are good and all. Even considering other classes.... it not just always who strikes first.Regardless, like I said, this isn't about maximizing performance. People don't like the play style of the current warlocks, so they are changing them. Hopefully for the best.
"The Incline and Rise of Warlocks in mists of pandaria"

a-teeheehee
My Warlock was the first of now 8 max level toons. I still consider it to be my main due to the achievement points and mounts/pets. Those factors are some of the only ones that have kept me playing my warlock this whole time.

When account wide pets/mounts/achievements were hinted at I became incredibly excited/nostalgic at the same time. While I think it will be great for the game, it also means that I would likely put this guy on the shelf for a long time. I can spend 5 minutes looking up a quick spec/rotation for my hunter/warrior/druid/rogue/paladin/DK and pull some decent numbers in dungeons and LFR, whereas it takes some intentional though and experience doing so with my warlock.

I'm cautiously optimistic about MoP, but I will be holding my breath at the moment.
I'll have to be a voice of dissent against the general tone of this thread and the articles linked.

Considering I spend most of my time these days on my DK so I can tank for my raid group, I keep up very well. It's unusual that I get outdone by someone of the same gear level of any class. In that event, it's because they are an exceptional player.

I have 6 classes at 85 and most of my friends in game have several classes at max level as well. If locks were "broken," then a friend could swap to a "faceroll" class and beat me. Instead, if they are a better player they beat me on whatever class they've mastered. There has never been a situation where someone performed worse than me on (x) class and switched to the flavor of the month class or any random class and suddenly jumped ahead.

There are moments and situations where that may happen, but over the course of entire tiers or expansions my lock has excelled even while played semi-casually. This has been the case even as my pally and DK outgear my lock due to a shortage of good tanks.

I'll agree that there are hiccups here and there and some quality of life issues. Our soul fire mechanic was my chief complaint and that looks fixed in MoP. Even ignoring ISF entirely, I was competitive with or exceeded others in my same gear level, experience level, and perceived skill level.

As for our general complexity, people need to stop crying about it. If you want a simpler rotation then go play another class. A lot of us LIKE that our class is like driving a manual shift car. I get into an automatic and think, "well, this sure is boring." I'll agree that there needs to be elegance to some of our mechanics, but I disagree that "we are too complex." We are just right. Given the diversity of the classes, it's great that there are different types for different players.

What I'm getting at is that we need to separate the QQ from the discussion of elegance. Despite the protests in this thread that it's not about QQ, there are too many posts, "I do (x) amount less as a lock than I do as a (class). This isn't the fault of the class. It's noone's fault really. We don't need to overhaul this class, and therefore every class, just because some players don't get along as well with them. That's partly why there are multiple classes. Don't ruin the fun for those of us that enjoy them just so you can have the rotation of an arcane mage (most of which aren't even good at that simple rotation, btw). In my experience, even given the simpler rotation you'll still get outdone by better players no matter the class.

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