An Argument for Warlock Tanks

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EDIT: Ghostcrawler has further elaborated on the design of the Demon Hunting glyph:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4253968049?page=2#25

As some of you have pointed out, the glyph of Demon Hunting in your beta build doesn't deliver on what I described above as the design. The newer version of the glyph, hopefully available in the next beta build, allows a warlock to toggle in and out of the off-tank / survival mode, more like the druid going Bear or the warrior going Defensive.

The new shapeshift granted by the glyph is called Threatening Presence (PH) and adds Taunt and Fury Ward to the normal Metamorphosis toolkit. You still get the damage reduction from mastery instead of the damage boost from mastery while in this form. You can also choose to go into normal Metamorphosis even if you have the glyph. Let us know how it feels.

We appreciate all the feedback and passion on this topic. We expected this glyph would serve a pretty niche community and were surprised at how many players were excited about it. We are still in beta and are still very much experimenting with what kind of gamplay we can deliver in glyphs.


While this addresses the issue of the "emergency" design mentioned by GC in his original post, it still doesn't address just how fleshed out the spec actually is, along with all the other reasons given below. As he said though, it's still early in the beta, so maybe there is hope for the future. I still believe that there is only a small gap between what is on the current beta build, and a viable balanced tanking spec.

ORIGINAL POST: Just recently, the idea of Warlock tanks was shot down by Ghostcrawler on the beta forums:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4253968049#12

Just to make our intent clear, the Glyph of Demon Hunting isn't intended to turn Demonology warlocks into a tanking spec. You won't be able to queue as a tank for Dungeon Finder for instance and won't have the survivability or tools of say a Protection paladin.

Historically, warlocks felt tankier than other casters and could even off-tank some encounters. We have made an effort in Mists to recapture some of that flavor. A warlock with this glyph should feel like they are about as effective tanking as an Arms warrior who pulls out a shield and swaps to Defensive Stance, or a Feral druid who goes into Bear form. You might be able to off-tank adds or pick up an actual boss for a short period of time if the tank goes down.

To make warlocks an actual tank would take more significant changes. For example, we want tanks to have to pick up separate tanking gear than their DPS gear (this is even true of druids) and want tanks to have to give up some of their DPS potential in exchange for their survivability. In short, it needs to be a commitment, and that's the sort of thing that needs larger gameplay changes than just a glyph.

That shouldn't stop the glyph of Demon Hunting from being fun though. As you can probably tell, we are trying to make even the major glyphs more about character customization and fun.


Now, there are a couple of problems I have with the reasons given in this quote:

1. A Demo tank in the beta already has the survivability AND tools of a protection paladin. Properly specced, a warlock has access to:
  • Enough damage mitigation to tank. This comes from the Demonic Fury bonus stated in the glyph, which scales with the warlock's gear. The warlock also has 600% more armor (making his or her armor one of the highest out of all the tanks). Warlocks in the beta can currently solo current tier raid bosses. That's not to say such abilities are balanced, but it clearly shows that they do indeed have survivability.
  • A standard taunt (which is a real taunt, it puts you at the top of the aggro table and replaces your threat with whoever was top).
  • A permanent way to stay in Meta and still be able to use abilities, by using Demonic Slash (which is a spammable filler spell) to generate Demonic Fury.
  • A standard tank threat bonus.
  • Melee crit immunity.
  • A cooldown called Fury Ward that sets up a proper mitigation rotation, something that has been stated is an intended goal for all proper tanks in MoP. Demonic Fury is built up using the Demo tank's skills, and then spent on Fury Ward when the time is right.
  • A proper interrupt in the form of Carrion Swarm.
  • Mobility in the form of Demonic Leap.
  • An aura that reduces Physical damage done by trash/adds by 30%, and bosses by 10%, called Aura of Enfeeblement (equivalent to Weakened Blows on bosses).
  • Undending Resolve, a 50% damage reduction cooldown.
  • Dark Soul:Knowledge, a mastery increasing cooldown, which would massively increase the Warlock's mitigation while it's up.
  • A choice between Dark Regeneration and Harvest Life, one of which provides a powerful buff on healing done to the warlock, and another which could be used situationally as a powerful self heal.
  • A choice between Soul Link, Sacrificial Pact, or Dark Bargain. Soul Link would provide even more mitigation for the lock. Sacrificial Pact is the most interesting ability of these three, and would turn the warlock's pet into essentially a Health Battery, providing strong bubbles at the cost of pet health (but would still work without a pet). Dark Bargain would provide a straight bubble for 10 seconds, with the damage received during that time coming slowly afterwards (which would be incredibly powerful in some situations).
  • A choice between Grimoire of Supremacy or Grimoire of Sacrifice. Supremacy would let your demon have even more health, making Sacrificial Pact or Soul Link more useful. Sacrifice would increase your own health, which is amazing for tanks for obvious reasons, but would change the way you would use some of your abilities, like Soul Link and Sacrificial Pact.
  • Archimonde's Vengeance, a passive damage reflection ability, with a powerful active effect the returns even more damage to your enemies. This of course would be incredibly useful for tanking DPS and threat.
  • Synergy with glyphs such as Demon Training, which would increase the health of your Voidwalker/Voidlord (making Sacrificial Pact give even stronger bubbles).
  • It seems to me that Warlocks have actually more tanking tools and cooldowns than Protection Paladins have. I'm not saying that this what needs to make it to live, but it shows that the framework is there to make Warlocks a completely capable tank.

    2. The next point against Warlock tanks is that this glyph would give the Warlock the chance to offtank in an emergency. This logic however is somewhat flawed, as the Warlock would need to give up a significant portion of his damage in order to use the glyph in the first place.
      The glyph removes the damage increasing component of Demonic Fury from the Demo lock's arsenal, nerfing his damage considerably. There is no emergency reglyphing in a boss fight. No Warlock (or raid leader) in his or her right mind would significantly nerf a DPS' damage permanently "just in case" a tank dies on a boss fight. - Addressed by GC. See the EDIT at the start of this post.


    3. The argument above further states that in order to tank, Warlocks should use different gear than their DPS counterparts. I would argue that in some ways, they would.
      A Warlock tank would want Mastery on every piece of gear if at all possible, and their reforging and gemming requirements would be entirely different from a DPS lock. They would also probably find many tanking trinkets to be more preferable over their caster trinket counterparts.


    4. Ghostcrawler states that they would want Warlock tanks to give up DPS for survivability. But they already do.
      The Glyph of Demon Hunting forces warlocks to sacrifice the damage increasing ability of their Demonic Fury, which is already a significant DPS nerf. This number could be tweaked quite a bit until the Warlock is sitting with the other tanks on the DPS charts (by making a "normal" Demo lock's DPS rely more upon his Demonic Fury).


    I believe that's every point that was made against Warlock tanks, and they all have answers that already exist in the beta. All that remains to be done to make Warlocks a true tanking class is a little balance, which is already true of every other spec in the beta.

    I think the best argument however for Warlock tanks is simply the excitement it generated within the community. This was a single possible change that got people extremely excited for MoP, not only to actually play their Warlocks again, but to even roll new ones (as players who never wanted to play a Warlock before). I think it would be a shame to let such a possibility go to waste, when it is just a few minor steps from becoming a reality. As pointed out above, all the pieces are there. With just a nudge of balance, they can come together and make something great in the game. Or, they can be ignored, and almost never be seen on live at all. That would be a big potential loss for the game.

    If you'd like to read more, please see my posts in the previous gigantic Warlock tanking thread that garnered so much excitement:
    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4246995300?page=4#79
    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4246995300?page=15#299
    Awesome post. Hear our call blizz, warlocks want to tank.
    My counterargument is:

    Ghostcrawler is the Lead Designer. If he says that he doesn't want Warlocks main tanking, BROTHER, THEY AIN'T TANKING.


    The fact that they can tank currently doesn't support the notion that they should. It supports the notion that they would need to be adjusted to fit their intended design.
    03/26/2012 08:02 PMPosted by Cronumic
    Awesome post. Hear our call blizz, warlocks want to tank.


    [citation needed]
    Please Blizz, Locks are the least played class in the game, do not act like you dont have the resources to do this. You got our hopes up, don't crush them, if you want make a demon hunting spec, but please dont remove warlock tanking.
    My counterargument is:

    Ghostcrawler is the Lead Designer. If he says that he doesn't want Warlocks main tanking, BROTHER, THEY AIN'T TANKING.


    The fact that they can tank currently doesn't support the notion that they should. It supports the notion that they would need to be adjusted to fit their intended design.


    The problem is that the intended design, as described by the Crab, doesn't functionally work. No DPS, warlock or otherwise, is going to voluntarily give up 50% or more of their DPS capacity on the off chance that they might need to hold aggro for a few seconds when a tank goes down. It's just not reasonable, and I can't think of anyone, even on my bass ackwards server, who'd think doing so would be a good idea.
    03/26/2012 08:02 PMPosted by Cronumic
    Awesome post. Hear our call blizz, warlocks want to tank.
    The glyph is kind of a weird design, since they think you'll be like an arms/fury warrior tossing on a shield going defensive or a kitty druid going bear, but you can't swap glyphs mid-combat while you can shapeshift or stance dance.

    I doubt they're going to give you 1 tree for 2 roles though after they already separated the druids, and I really doubt they're going to rework Demonology into a tanking tree after 7 and a half years. You could always ask for a 4th tree and see how that goes =P
    Huzzah for constructive feedback!
    As soon as I saw this Glyph I got excited. One of the greatest things I heard about MoP. Was going to hands down be my favorite aspect of the expansion. Then Ghostcrawler drops that bombshell and all my anticipation and excitement goes down the drain in an instant. Tanking Warlock can happen, and it should happen. Go all the way with this!
    Warlocks will never tank. With MoP we will currently have 5 tank specs and only 2-3 can be used in a raid encounter.

    Theirs already more tanks then can be used. This is wishful thinking, just stop while your ahead. No matter how you word it this isn't going to happen
    The glyph is kind of a weird design, since they think you'll be like an arms/fury warrior tossing on a shield going defensive or a kitty druid going bear, but you can't swap glyphs mid-combat while you can shapeshift or stance dance.

    I doubt they're going to give you 1 tree for 2 roles though after they already separated the druids, and I really doubt they're going to rework Demonology into a tanking tree after 7 and a half years. You could always ask for a 4th tree and see how that goes =P


    I'm not arguing against turning the glyph into a fourth tree, but the problem is that everything already works so well as it is in beta (other than balancing issues). A Warlock tank already shares in and uses a lot of the Demo arsenal (most notably Meta form). It would be quite strange to share so many abilities across a 4th specialization. There is little change that needs to be done exactly the way it is now.
    Feel free to up-vote the OP :)
    03/26/2012 08:11 PMPosted by Seiru
    I'm not arguing against turning the glyph into a fourth tree, but the problem is that everything already works so well as it is in beta (other than balancing issues). A Warlock tank already shares in and uses a lot of the Demo arsenal (most notably Meta form). It would be quite strange to share so many abilities across a 4th specialization. There is little change that needs to be done exactly the way it is now.


    That's not working as intended in beta. The only reason its working so well is because of the mastery bug
    The glyph is kind of a weird design, since they think you'll be like an arms/fury warrior tossing on a shield going defensive or a kitty druid going bear, but you can't swap glyphs mid-combat while you can shapeshift or stance dance.

    I doubt they're going to give you 1 tree for 2 roles though after they already separated the druids, and I really doubt they're going to rework Demonology into a tanking tree after 7 and a half years. You could always ask for a 4th tree and see how that goes =P


    I'm not arguing against turning the glyph into a fourth tree, but the problem is that everything already works so well as it is in beta (other than balancing issues). A Warlock tank already shares in and uses a lot of the Demo arsenal (most notable Meta form). It would be quite strange to share so many abilities across a 4th specialization. There is little change that needs to be done exactly the way it is now.


    However they already have made it 100% clear they don't want one spec fulfilling 2 roles. That is why the Druids now have 4 specs. I doubt after that they would turn around and think it's okay for the Warlocks to do it.
    This could definitely revive the Warlock class, and actually make it a class that people really care about. I support this.

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