An Argument For Warlock Tanks #2

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The first thread capped out. Let's keep all our thoughts consolidated into one thread guys, and let's keep it constructive. We'll get more respect and perhaps garner better communication with the Devs this way.

The original post: (Thanks Killercaitie) http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4253968977

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
    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4253968977

    Link to part one of this, in case anyone missed the thread.
    Thanks. I added that in there. :)

    Also, let's also throw our support in for fel (green) fire. Fel fire was shot down by a Blue in the EU forums. http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2986309301?page=4#73
    Remember, Warlock tanking is optional. I will say though that I've been beginning to see more and more warlocks around on the forums.
    I think a big part of this debate boils down to the idea that a glyph can change a spec as much as this one is. Should a glyph be able to do that? Should it be unique to this situation only? What is the point of glyphs in the end, anyways?

    A lot of the opposition to warlock tanking is coming from people thinking that having multiple roles for one spec will break the spec entirely.

    I myself just think it shows the true power of the new talent system that Blizzard has come up with.
    Even if they say i can't tank I'm going to do it anyway just to prove i can.

    Maybe they'll eventually learn the error of their ways...
    Dissapoint. First the changes to the glyph, GC post.. and now the Green fire 'hope' is snuffed?

    ...I feel like I'm being stabbed in the heart.
    Thanks. I added that in there. :)

    Also, let's also throw our support in for fel (green) fire.


    I of course do want green fire.
    TBH I think that every class should have the ability to tank.
    Warlocks would have unlimited time on demo form with more threat and less damage.
    Mages would have some sort of fire molten form with some absorbs, more threat, and less damage.
    Priests would produce a holy shield to wield and be all priest like with the usual tank stuff.
    Rogues would have a far less effective cloak of shadows while dodging and parrying with weapons and have the usual tanky things.
    Hunters would just beef out a bear pet or something.
    Shamans would go earth like and such.

    I know this will never happen in WoW but, i think it sounds rather fun and interesting.
    I hope they eventually give warlocks a tanking spec, then they give hunters/mages/rogues a tanking or healing spec and let the whole antiquated concept of pure classes DIAF. Good luck, locks.
    TBH I think that every class should have the ability to tank.
    Warlocks would have unlimited time on demo form with more threat and less damage.
    Mages would have some sort of fire molten form with some absorbs, more threat, and less damage.
    Priests would produce a holy shield to wield and be all priest like with the usual tank stuff.
    Rogues would have a far less effective cloak of shadows while dodging and parrying with weapons and have the usual tanky things.
    Hunters would just beef out a bear pet or something.
    Shamans would go earth like and such.

    I know this will never happen in WoW but, i think it sounds rather fun and interesting.


    Thank god you're not designing the games i play
    I think a big part of this debate boils down to the idea that a glyph can change a spec as much as this one is. Should a glyph be able to do that? Should it be unique to this situation only? What is the point of glyphs in the end, anyways?

    A lot of the opposition to warlock tanking is coming from people thinking that having multiple roles for one spec will break the spec entirely.

    I myself just think it shows the true power of the new talent system that Blizzard has come up with.


    This is a great point. Blizzard has said that glyphs are designed to bring flavor and variety. Well here they actually do so - so much so that the way a class is played - in one tree - can be changed. However, pull the glyph out, and you can DPS as demo just fine. This opens up many different possibilities.

    Blizzard has perhaps hit a gold mine and not even known it.

    Now for those arguing that this would not impact queue times, that's obvious. Tanking is a mindset, regardless of class or spec. Yet, introducing more varieties of tanks cannot be a bad thing in and of itself, and especially when the newest variety revolves around the least played class.

    On that note, Blizzard has stated they want to "fix" warlocks, and have stated that locks have the greatest overhaul out of all the classes. Perfect time to introduce a tanking glyph.
    03/27/2012 01:50 PMPosted by Shadowprof
    Blizzard has perhaps hit a gold mine and not even known it.


    Yes, it's very interesting. The thought of using a glyph (or group of glyphs) to change a spec's toolkit so much that it changes the role of the spec has the possibility for some very deep gameplay.

    I think this could have interesting applications for other "pure" classes as well. Like for mages, it could make fire spec able to heal, and frost able to melee (battle mage style).

    I'm not necessarily advocating those particular ideas, but the thought that glyphs actually change the way you play your spec is very intriguing.
    03/27/2012 01:57 PMPosted by Emelle
    Blizzard has perhaps hit a gold mine and not even known it.


    Yes, it's very interesting. The thought of using a glyph (or group of glyphs) to change a spec's toolkit so much that it changes the role of the spec has the possibility for some very deep gameplay.

    I think this could have interesting applications for other "pure" classes as well. Like for mages, it could make fire spec able to heal, and frost able to melee (battle mage style).

    I'm not necessarily advocating those particular ideas, but the thought that glyphs actually change the way you play your spec is very intriguing.


    Exactly... and it could be completely optional. Don't want to play a demo tank? Don't take the glyph. Don't want to be a battlemage (using your example) - don't take the glyph. It could add much flavor and depth to WoW.

    In any case, warlocks are perfect for this experiment.
    The least played class.
    The largest overhaul.
    Demo Lock tanking is being done, and it's being done in beta where it can be refined. It needs tweaks, but it's beta.

    To throw the whole idea away is a shame.
    I think if you are going to make Warlocks tanks, it cannot be because of a glyph. A glyph should not have the power to change so much. As stated by the design team, they are intended to add flavor and flare. A new role is more than just flavor and flare.

    Alternatively, I think you if Warlocks truly want to gain a tanking role, look no further than the Druid changes as a precedent. Druids, as of MoP, will have 4 specs to choose from. Why not Warlocks too? Make a concrete difference between Demonology (which based on the English language would imply the study of demons, a good name for one which focuses on improving your pet) and the tanking spec (I think a name like Possession or something similar to a demon taking control of the Warlock would work well) so that they are both unique.

    If you are lucky and push hard enough, maybe the developers will try and implement this before MoP but to be honest it is highly unlikely considering the beta is almost in full swing
    03/27/2012 02:02 PMPosted by Shadowprof
    Exactly... and it could be completely optional. Don't want to play a demo tank? Don't take the glyph. Don't want to be a battlemage (using your example) - don't take the glyph. It could add much flavor and depth to WoW.


    It would also make the inscriptor's life much more interesting :D
    I think if you are going to make Warlocks tanks, it cannot be because of a glyph. A glyph should not have the power to change so much. As stated by the design team, they are intended to add flavor and flare. A new role is more than just flavor and flare.

    Alternatively, I think you if Warlocks truly want to gain a tanking role, look no further than the Druid changes as a precedent. Druids, as of MoP, will have 4 specs to choose from. Why not Warlocks too? Make a concrete deference between Demonology (which based on the English language would imply the study of demons, a good name for one which focuses on improving your pet) and the tanking spec (I think a name like Possession or something similar to a demon taking control of the Warlock would work well) so that they are both unique.

    If you are lucky and push hard enough, maybe the developers will try and implement this before MoP but to be honest it is highly unlikely considering the beta is almost in full swing.


    Thanks for the input.

    I don't think people would be opposed to a 4th spec, However, there is no real need for it: the Beta is in full swing, Demo lock tanking is on the beta and it's working.

    There is no need to reinvent (or throw away) the wheel now, so to speak.

    Also, I think that glyphs could be used in such a manner to alter a tree - it opens the door to many possibilities.
    I just think it's a good idea all around. It would add a lot of flavor to the warlock class and like people have said the tools are there they just need to be tuned correctly.

    Tanking raid bosses might be a little intense.. but why not let us at least queue for 5 mans as a tank? Would be a great change of pace from my normal role.
    Well this is a disconcerting state of events.

    For one thing, I think that Warlock tanking was a very good idea because it was something different and something really unexpected. When all the information was compiled, I really thought the devs had some work of art at hand. I was really excited to do something different.

    Should have guessed that assuming would make things more of a disappointment though. One thing is for certain--the player base (a lot of people) want this. The developers have the power to make this happen.

    I understand that a glyph should not make that much of a change. Perhaps "baking it in" would be a great start to changing things. The other issue is that tank gear should be different than DPS gear and that is understandable (though druids hardly ever follow that rule in the first place which may change in MoP). So, change the stat weights to intel>haste>crit>mastery for the DPS as it is for two of the specs and make mastery the tanking weight. I already have to build another set to go Destruction/Demonology anyway.

    I have read so many posts where developers want to try new things--here is your chance. With you saying, "We can't" all we players hear is, "We won't". Please reconsider--this was an awesome way to get people interested in the class again.

    It seemed like you guys had something in mind instead of free floating between mages and demon hunters (which you won't implement into the game either but there is time). The idea seemed coherent which was such a drastic change from the usual, "Nerf bat--these guys are insane and we don't know what to do with this class because they just keep finding ways around things".

    Why do warlocks always look for work arounds? Because the idea of being a warlock in this game just seems so convoluted. This would give a direction.
    03/27/2012 01:43 PMPosted by Emelle
    I think a big part of this debate boils down to the idea that a glyph can change a spec as much as this one is. Should a glyph be able to do that? Should it be unique to this situation only? What is the point of glyphs in the end, anyways?


    This is ultimately why I'm so in favour of this idea. I don't like tanking myself (though a true caster tank is something I'd like to try), but I'm just really intrigued by being able to make such a big change with a single, elegant glyph. Glyphs have always been somewhat boring and never really lived up to the promise of being interesting playstyle choices. The original glyph of demon hunting finally provided that; it completely changes the class around.

    Plus, it allows people like me to still have our beloved demo DPS, while still letting those who want demo tanks have their wishes fulfilled.

    03/27/2012 01:57 PMPosted by Emelle
    I think this could have interesting applications for other "pure" classes as well. Like for mages, it could make fire spec able to heal, and frost able to melee (battle mage style).


    ...Spreading HoTs with impact would be pretty awesome, you have to admit.

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