Why Warlocks are Least Played Class in WoW

85 Undead Warlock
6125
Warlocks this expansion have seen quite a significant drop in our playerbase. Here are some reasons, among many, why there are far fewer active Warlock mains today than ever before.

PvE

Warlocks were pretty much top dogs in tier 11 due to multi dotting and lower gear levels. Affliction earned quite a reputation for rocking the charts. However, as more content and gear became available, we began to fall by the DPS wayside. We’re at a point now where a shadow priest can inarguably out-dot affliction, out-burst Destruction, and, with a single keybind, consistently out-AOE Demonology, save for us blowing Demon Soul, Meta, Felstorm, Immolation Aura, and trinkets, I.E. all our cooldowns. They can essentially put all three of our specs’ individual niches to shame with one well-designed and streamlined spec; for Boomkins, it’s nearly the same situation.

Demonology is widely regarded as the hardest spec to master in the game. We are required to be in melee range at all times, as a “ranged” dps. Our rotation doesn’t follow any logical, fluid order and there’s no method of finding out how to maximize DPS without referring to a third-party website to find out all the little ‘tricks’ necessary to remain competitive (Take pet-twisting for example, how many players out there do you think would independently come to the conclusion that its best to SUMMON a pet mid fight, blow CDs, then instantly re-summon the one we just had out moments before, to maximize DPS?) We have thirteen damage-dealing keybinds ALONE, not to mention the plethora of other spells we must have bound, as compared to six or seven damage dealing keybinds, at most, of any other damage dealing spec in the game. All this, and we aren’t even close to Mages, competent Hunters, or the majority of Melee in dps unless we have an orange stick (and yes, I’m aware that all casters were balanced around having one, which is completely idiotic given how long they take to acquire. So before you start spamming raidbots links, take into consideration that all of those parses show casters with DTR and double DS trinkets, which are a nightmare in themselves to acquire. The main issue here is that our quality of life is not remotely quality at all.)
85 Undead Warlock
6125
PvP

In PvP, Warlocks are seen in the highest echelons of 3v3 arena play. We’re on nearly every top 3’s team. This can be attributed solely to the current state of the broken dispel system and the fact that fear ruins positioning. With our 30% healing bonus on demon armor and the fact that we possess two of the most EXTREMELY SITUATIONALLY powerful abilities in the game, we pay a heavy price in user-friendliness and solo-PvP play because we can’t possess threatening burst for fear of making the top .5% of warlocks overpowered in a single facet of PvP. This goes directly against what Blizzard has stated in the recent past about not balancing around the Elite. For 99.5% (not a number I pulled out of my !@#$%^-*!; compare how many 2200+ warlocks there are to how many warlocks are played regularly, and you will see a very similar number) of the Warlock Playerbase who don’t play at high rated arena levels, this is the very definition of alienation by design. In RBGs, Warlocks do well, with significant peels. If one melee decides to sit on the warlock in an RBG, we will do very minimal damage without a lot of friendly heals and peels; this is effectively distracting and making less effective 2-3 of your teammates by sticking a single rogue/DK on the ‘lock.

In 2v2, Locks are nearly completely unviable in any spec. (inb4 2v2 doesn’t matter.
It’s a main way of attaining points for many casual PvP’ers.)

The problem compounds when you consider the fact that Destruction happens to be non-viable in any type of competitive PvP, seemingly by no accident. I say ‘Seemingly by no accident’ because we’ve been petitioning for over a year and a half, for an indispellable (See: DK diseases) immolate, which is the keystone to nearly all our damage. Destruction’s direct damage-dealing spells make up less than half of our overall damage, in a 6-years historically burst-centric spec. To add insult to injury, chaos bolt is the biggest joke of an end-talent since before Earthquake was buffed, and even then it was definitely in the running for worst talent in the game. With the spell making up less than 3% of Destruction’s overall damage in PvE, there was absolutely NO reason for it not to be buffed to make destruction actually have burst even 3/4ths of what a frost mage with one thousand less spell power can accomplish. I have a frost mage, with ruthless gear, and the difference between it and Destruction is completely comical.

Summed Up

Cataclysm brought a new style of play for Warlocks which, as the number of active Warlock mains at the end of this expansion shows, was not well received, or widely enjoyed by the playerbase. With overly redundant rotations (three different fillers for demonology, all dealing nearly the same amount of damage, but all necessary to use depending on proccs), a VERY non-user friendly PvP experience save for the veteran hardcore PvP’ers in picture-perfect situations, and poorly thought out and designed mechanics and toolkits, one can begin to realize why Warlocks reside at just over one out of twenty players in this game, despite there being only ten classes.

http://www.warcraftrealms.com/census.php?serverid=-1&factionid=-1&minlevel=85&maxlevel=85&servertypeid=-1
Edited by Audersi on 3/10/2012 12:28 PM PST
90 Dwarf Rogue
16965
warlocks are least played because the style of people who fit their main audience tend to play a mage, just because it's the simpler archtype class.

It actually has less to do with staying power, and more to do with the fact that it's a niche class to pick up in the first place.
90 Dwarf Hunter
16835
Why play a Warlock and deal with the clunkiness and unnecessary complexity, not to mention the complete and total lack of spec identity, when I could just play a Mage that cuts down on the complexity by 90%, does the same or better DPS, uses the same gear as a Warlock, and has much better spec variety?

This is why no one plays a Lock.
90 Tauren Shaman
7365
warlocks are least played because the style of people who fit their main audience tend to play a mage, just because it's the simpler archtype class.

It actually has less to do with staying power, and more to do with the fact that it's a niche class to pick up in the first place.


Not to mention the number of things to manage makes them rather aggravating to play after awhile.

Or that the shadowpriest is like a lesser warlock (a AFFL/DESTRO lock hybrid really), and yet it is significantly more fun to play as since they don't have nearly as much crap to watch, among other things.
Edited by Zyliros on 3/10/2012 1:02 PM PST
lol warlock i have one hes 71 but damn it it clunky. rng of fire>rng and improved soul fire by FAR
1 Gnome Mage
0
03/10/2012 12:46 PMPosted by Bullettime
Why play a Warlock and deal with the clunkiness and unnecessary complexity


So you can come to the forums and feel superior to other players because you press more buttons, obviously.
90 Dwarf Hunter
16835
Can't wait to main my lock again in MoP! Blizzard has me sold on the new Destruction.
I try and level Warlocks, but they are just so boring.

Why is each spec reduced to spamming Shadowbolt all day.

They also have an annoyingly awkward leveling path.
Why do I not get Incinerate until level 66 when I can spec into it's talents much earlier?

85 Human Death Knight
1475
Why play a lock when a mage is 20 times easier.
I try and level Warlocks, but they are just so boring.

Why is each spec reduced to spamming Shadowbolt all day.

They also have an annoyingly awkward leveling path.
Why do I not get Incinerate until level 66 when I can spec into it's talents much earlier?


I don't remember spamming many single target nukes leveling, all I did was let the felgaurd pick up aggro on 6-8 mobs at once, tell him to blade storm while I dropped Rain of Fire on the pack. Healed pet, and repeated.

Yes but, All specs rely on Shadowbolt as there primary attack.

If there is one thing that Mages have over Warlocks its that our specs get separate nukes.
90 Blood Elf Hunter
9040
Just made myself a lock, She's only level 13 but its alot of fun.

I went affliction, i pop Unstable affliction, curruption, that curse(not sure of the name), then start life drain while my pets finish up the mobs

with more than one target, curroption on everything, then drainlife on the one with most health left....i've had 7 level 12's on me and survived with about 85% health....no problem
69 Undead Warlock
0

Yes but, All specs rely on Shadowbolt as there primary attack.

If there is one thing that Mages have over Warlocks its that our specs get separate nukes.


I think we're still talking about leveling here, in which case who cares?

If we are talking about playing at max level then this is completely false.

This is one of my Warlocks,I would be fine if we had a Shadowbolt of a different color and element.

But it is such a bore right now.
90 Worgen Warlock
18570
Blizzard has built in escalating complexity and negative quality of life for reasons that only make sense to them for 2x expansions. What is most frustrating is how easily alot of this could have been fixed at any point with less than the effort they have put into other classes mid expansion. Its as if they truly expect anyone who would play a lock to be an advanced player, have and/or be capable of dealing with multiple complex addons, and have done extensive research outside the framework of the blizzard gaming experience just to play the class in pve. PVP seems to be a top .5% club where the entire community is tuned around that smallest of fractions. Hint, for .5% by its very definition is an escalating and moving target for the "l2p" naysayers.

As was pointed out pets and the AI behind them are never a positive factor. There is at least 1 fight per tier where having a pet is a complete liability and anytime there is a gimmick fight (some super buff or effect) pets don't scale. Al'akir p3 is still not compadible with lock pets and that problem was evident from beta, through content, up to today. How about alysrazor where shadowy apparitions can fly, a shadowfiend can fly, but lock pets despawn. I think the class impact (esp demo) if losing our dps cd, 20-25% mitigation, 15-40% of our damage, and critical utility abilities slightly outweighs shadowpriest meter padding or mana regen. That really says "you are a less valued aspect of the customer base" when devs can fix spriests but not locks like that. Not only that but even if a lock pet DID fly on alysrazor it wouldn't scale with the flight buffs. Those are big raid moments but there are daily frequent bugs impacting nealry every grouping of daily quest and day to day activity. So from the most casual 85 doing daily's to a HC raider its a universal problem to the class.

Of the 2x least played classes (rogues and warlocks) rogues were given the easiest legendaries to build yet (10K gold vs 25 embers, etc). Not only that but their damage was tuned to such an absurd level the fotm reroll tide choked LFR, bgs, etc. Statements from blizz like "we want rogue damage to continue to be top tier" yet its okay for locks to be midpack at best...in fact it seems very very intended. Again, not so much a complaint as a valid reason why people don't play that aspect of blizzard's product.

Warlocks are still "balanced" around a DTR and really have but 1 other viable weapon (h.lightning rod). We can't use stuff off madness and still hitcap since we can't convert spirit to hit and those weapons lack the hit we need to cap in DS bis gear. Not to mention by "balanced" locks are generally midpack at best if not near the very bottom. H.hagara locks are 3 of the 5 worst possible specs which includes pvp and non raid viable specs. We are either carried or the buff bot for h.spine. Even on h.morchok (the least relevant heroic fight) locks can't top when abusing 15% free spellcleave (plus a bit on top of that from BoH double dipping elements) nobody else can do.

The level of complexity and skill required to play a lock to even "pug/LFR" competancy is vastly higher compared to nearly any other spec in the game. Its not bragging, its not fun, its WHY alot of people don't play locks. You can be an elite player and get stomped by bads in less gear. Does that sound like fun?

PVP experience of getting into pvp is downright brutal. Until you are well past 4K resilience your life is miserable. Going into a bg or 2's match (where alot of people try to get into pvp) life is not fun even with the best of gear. You need too much babysitting in terms of heals, peels, and gear to be something someone WANTS to play in non organized or casual pvp. Yeah sure elite few or in the right circumstance but that is NOT the majority of the customer base. Locks have had exactly 1 spec for pvp all expansion so regardless of what skill level you pvp at its been a very boring time.

Specs don't really feel that different. Not in the same way different specs of other classes, even pures, feel different. Everything is about stacking up tons of buffs on yourself, even more debuffs on the target, and coordinating dots+nukes+pet in some "Rube Goldberg DPS Machine" of a gameplay experience. Demo largely feels like aff w' weaker dots and a better CD. Destro hasn't had a nuke based identity this whole expansion. Its just different ways of already bloated complexity for complexity's sake. The percentages of where your dmg done comes from jump around spec to spec but its still lots of the same stuff.


90 Orc Shaman
14345
03/10/2012 12:24 PMPosted by Audersi
We have thirteen damage-dealing keybinds ALONE, not to mention the plethora of other spells we must have bound


I think Enhancement in WotLK had 14. I don't envy you your position.
90 Troll Priest
10575
Wow, wall of text crits for over 9000
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