Hello American Community,
Where to begin... I've put a lot of effort to be able to post here : I am a french player, and finding a way to be allowed to post on american forums is hard. I bought an american licence in the end. :[ I initially wanted to post on the US beta forums, but it is restricted... Again. There's no way I can post on these so I'll just post here.
This post is very long but I hope you'll read it. It sums up 6 years of tanking with my warlock. It was worth the 20$ and the 5 hours it costed me, I hope. ;-)
– I – Story of the Void Walkeuse
I began WoW in 2006, around september maybe, a few weeks before burning crusade. My first character was Nymph, a warlock. My favorite pet was, as soon as I had it, the void walker. I loved this little djinn as soon as I've seen it – it reminded me of Athkatla in Baldur's Gate 2, for some reasons.
It was maybe a coincidence – but most probably my way to deal with things : from the level 10 or 15, I started thinking my warlock as a tank. Why ? Because it was freaking fun. Because I liked the idea of this clothed gird, slightly psychotic and cynical-depressive, talking to her voidwalker all day – it reminded me of myself, and I even named my personnal blog after it. (http://voidwalkeuse.blogspot.fr/ in french - there's mostly wow and leonard cohen in it) (to be honnest, making games is my job and I named a lot of skills around that in my own games too ^_^)
The social pressure when you play something different is something remarkable. It can be worst than the worst social pressures you can experiment in real life. You're h0m0seksual ? HAHAH, doesn't matter, you've been WARLOCK TANK IN WOW ! h0m0seksuality is really nothing compared to buying armor staves with a warlock. I wouldn't have guessed.
I've got hacked recently, for the first time, and honnestly, I nearly cried. Not because I lost my 4.2 gear, no, but because all my engineer googles from 6 years ago disappeared, along with my warden staff I spent HOURS farming and finally spend all my gold into at level 40... (http://www.wowhead.com/item=943) I noticed too late and wasn't able to recover them.
I reached level 60 just after BC release, and I continued to 70. Karazhan began with my very casual guild of 35-years old salarymen. People were insulting me for just « asking for a right to roll on Moroes Watch if nobody wanted it ». Even though I was the highest DPS (while I had lower iLvL), it was a reason to ban someone from a guild – and I was forced to quit a few guild because of that, though I never stole a loot in any way, or been offensive in any way.
I tried to pay a big guild to help me get my Wildfury Greatstaff ( http://www.wowhead.com/item=30021 ) and even though it was a gold run, they refused. Open-mind is not cheap on videogames...
I never surrendered ; I had my void walker, my soul link and my searing pain ; I endured everything, and I spent all BC trying to get my gear. I only got blue and a very few violets - and a lot of insults ; but I had fun so it was 'k. One day, finally, a tank left in shadow labyrinth, before the first boss. I asked my teammates if I could tank ; I took my tanking gear, my tanking spec, and I tanked everything until the end. We were 4, undergeared, but we did it easily. I was so happy I would have cried.
You have no idea how many times I did the demonic event to obtain the tenacity badge (http://www.wowhead.com/item=32658) – after several weeks, I had enough money to buy it from the AH... But it never dropped. Cursed warlock tank is cursed.
Some weeks before the release of the Lich King, my guild accepted to let me tank karazhan, but they had too much DPS and I couldn't keep threat with searing pain spamming – too much spell interuptions even with the PvP gloves. Even though, they admitted I wasn't taking that much damage for a Warlock with blue / green items.
Then Lich King arrived, with the metamorphosis, and I was crazy happy. There was a ton of possibilities, and I managed to get a way better gear – but Death Knights were released, and they looked like warlock tanks except that it was, you know, kinda supported. So I rerolled DK. At least this time I would be able to tank with my guild, even if it's just a warlock-placebo.
I love my DK and I had ton of fun with her, but it was not nearly as fun as warlock tanking. Warlock tanking was nearly a viable tanking spec in lich king. especially at the 3.3 - 3.3 was AWESOME for warlock tanking, and I had a ton of pleasure with my warlock tank in Icecrown – I tanked raid boss with my guild, they loved me, I loved them, everything was wooooow and I was super happy.
The sad thing is – everything pretty much ended at cataclysm. Here again, there was a ton of new exciting things, but the problem was that basically you could now be crit (the talent that removed crit disappeared from the talent tree), so it was kind of too hard to bear. Of course I continued to warlock-tank, but my DK began to be my main again. When our casual guild went second of the server in the heroic raiding progression, thanks to a painful Maloriak HM kill, I decided to stop.
Nymph (now renamed Raharu because FLCL rocks, but I'll go back to the Nymph name one day) is still my favorite character. I had a psychopath DK tank, a nourrish-spamming er*tic may 68 druid, a disc DPS priest – but my little warlock remains my favorite. Every year, every patch, I hope for new tanking possibilities. Cataclysm was by far the extension I played the less, mostly because it was nearly impossible to tank with my warlock. And believe me, I probably did more theorycraft on this than anyone - and I got banned twice from elitistjerks for less than that. I spent DAYS inventoring the best items for every extension. I could have wrote ten guides about it.
Why do I tell you all this ? To prove you that Warlock tanking is not just a fashion, something people will get bored in a few monthes - there are people like me that just tanked vanilla + 3 extensions with their warlock. And believe me, it was never easy - sometimes it was really, really, really depressive and frustrating. It forced me to leave a lot of guild. But that's what "dedicated" means. And that's the proof that Warlock Tanking is just something strong enough to deserve a development.
– II – History of Demotank TheoryCraft
It's pretty much simple. For tanking, you need 3 things :
- threat (TPS) and specific threat (Taunts)
- overall damage reduction (armor, HP, etc.)
- specific damage reduction (crit, crushing, damage spikes...)
In Burning Crusade, you had :
- an average threat generation thanks to searing pain spam + pvp gloves, but no taunt
- a very powerful armor thanks to PvP gear, armor spell, armor trinkets, armor staves, etc. scalling VERY nicely with soul link + master demonologist, and a very good HP pool thanks to PvP and talents.
- an immunity to crit but tons of crushing blows, and only one defensive CD, pretty poor. (void walker shield sacrified the demon, way back when - you could only use it once per 15 min or you had to hard-summon the voidwalker)
No lie – it was hard. Crushing blows where devastating though rare, threat was terrible... But well, it was a time where people watched carefully their threat and stopped DPS when it was too high. The lack of defensive cooldown wasn't so much of a problem because the others tanks had few too.
As I used to say, a good-geared warlock was a bad-geared druid. An ilevel T5/T6 warlock could tank karazhan like a green-geared druid – it was very hard, but it was ok.
Then came Wrath of the Lich King, and it was awesome :
- We had a taunt on a long CD, but still a taunt. (I was never able to say if it was a real taunt or just a mockery) Thanks to threat redirection from rogues and hunters, we had no more threat problems.
- Our defensive armor spells were combined : it now granted armor AND heal increase (permanent 26% !!!!), which was awesome. Diminishing returns appeared, which was good because warlock didn't care at all but others tanks did.
- Crushing blows were removed and we were still immune to crit. The new void walker shield was totally awesome. The teleport allowed new kiting strategies. The new demon form was giving more mitigation than ANYTHING in the game – a warlock tank under demon form was taking FAR less damage than a druid.
Sadly additive armor stopped being multiplied by demon form quickly after the release – our beautiful 85+% mitigation disappeared. (multiplicative 75%cap+masterdemo+soullink+talents)
I tanked all of WOTLK with my warlock tank and it was awesome. You were a druid 14 or 21 iLevel late ; meaning you could pretty much tank naxxramas with ECC gear like if you were naxx geared. The best part was ICC : the debuff of 20% dodge didn't affect warlock at all.
In ICC, you were a random druid with a lot less threat, a little less mitigation, and more magical rez and more panic buttons. You could basically ask the offtank role for a raid against a boss that wasn't fallen yet and your guild would accept because well, you were often taking less damage than the other tanks and your threat didn't always matter. Tanking the first few boss of ICC was maybe the funniest thing I did in wow. I could have tanked others, but I didn't have the time to farm the gear.
I always say ironically that Warlock have the advantage of being the most forseenable tank of the game : they don't dodge, they don't parry, they don't block, they only evade : you always know when they will take damage, because they, heh, take pretty much everything.
Then came Cataclysm and it was over.
- The taunt was removed, the threat was nerfed
- Half of the great talents that were increasing survival disappeared
- You were no more immune to crit except while in demon form, and you couldn't keep demon form up.
I was worst than in Burning Crusade because you had no threat, no special immunity, but on top of that you were pretty much easy to kill. Agility was no longer giving armor and all your spells where casting state spells, so you had less possible itemization.
Conclusion ? Tanking is not easy. You need a lot of things to make it work, but most importantly, if you want it to be FUN, you have to be able to generate THREAT Not because threat is interesting : it's boring. (Blizzard took years to understand that tanking need to be fun because of tanking, and not because of fake-DPSing...) But when you lose threat, it's just boring for everyone, because it's just a 0/I mechanic. You can't be « average at threat ». You're good and you keep it or you're bad and you don't keep it and you wipe. There's nothing between.
The sad thing is, it's not threat that makes fun. It's all these cooldown, this position skill, and the fact that you feel SO STRONK because a gigantic thing is slamming you and you're still not dead.
Either you have a fun tank that is frustrating because he doesn't hold threat
Or you have this useless and not-so-fun tank that at least is not boring because he hold threat.
– III – Warlock Tanking in Pandaria
It just look AWESOME. If we can :
- have demon form up all times, it's a huge boost of our mitigation which pop a lot of stars in my eyes, you have no idea how many they are.
- And now we have a TAUNT ! We have a TAUNT ! I am so happy *___* I hope it won't be a 3-minutes cooldown though...
- And we have VENGEANCE ! Archimonde's Vengeance is just another way to put « vengeance » on the table. That is very nice, because the use allow you to take a huge boost of threat when you want it. (maybe at the beginning of a fight, or maybe when a big burst is incoming)
- the healing received from fel armor was our dodge stat. It was nerfed a lot, but since mastery is now giving us damage reduction, it's quite the same overall (except it scales on a DPS stat which is niiiiice)
- If we have an instant cast close ability, it means that we will be able to take dodge/agility items and dodge reforge, which is AWESOME. It's also interesting because we'll have to chose between drain life and instant-cast each second (you don't drain life when you're under a dodge trinket for example, but it's a good idea to do it in high magic damage situations).
- we have a lot of defensive cooldown to manage ! A LOT !
Let's count them :
- We still have teleport, which is a good evade tool in case you are let's say, at 10% HP. It also allows crazy boss strategies.
- But now we have also Unending Resolve, 50% reduction every 3 min (12 sec), which is basically the same as the others tanks.
- We still have our Void Walker Sacrifice (and our Void Walker %miss debuff)
- Our shadow ward is still here but now it absorb all magic @___@
- Dark Regeneration (T1), an awesome panic button (50% heal + 20% healing inc for 20 sec / 3 min)
- Mortal Coil (T2) is a 25% heal every 45 sec ! You can also respec out of this for AOE fights.
- (T3) had 3 awesome tanking talents, Soul Link is cool, Dark Bargain is OP, but Sacrificial is the best : it's a potential 200% life shield every minute.
- (T4) is a second « all man for himself »
This is just the most awesome thing in the world. We have nearly every tool we need to tank. (except maybe threat, we'll see)
Two trinkets, a lot of items mastery+xxxx where you reforge xxxx in dodge, +jewelry dodge/stamina/mastery... And we will rock ! *__*
We just need to be sure to have threat tools and it will be more awesome than everything I did in this game !
– CONCLUSION –
Please continue to support the warlock tank in pandaria !
You tried to do this a lot, at each extension, and each time something hold you back ! Please not this time !
Give us this long awaited role and I'll stop playing LoL, I'll stop wait Guild Wars 2 and Diablo 3 and I will play again pandaria for sure !
I waited this 6 years !
It will be christmas every day from now *__*
Nymph, The Void Walkeuse