@GhostCrawler: LockTank Itemzation & Gameplay

TL;DR : go to the part V.

Hello again, GhostCrawler,
Hello again, Community,

I posted a very long thread about my 6 years tanking with my warlock, you can find it here :

The thread was already long, so I prefered to create another one for specific theorycraft and ideas.

Summary :
– I – Introduction
– II – Problems
– III – Fury Ward Rework
– IV – Intel & Dodge
– V – Further Ideas


Since the release of WoW, there is a tanking mechanic that was never fully exploited (only recently by DK with Undead Army) : the fact that you can't dodge nor parry nor block while spellcasting.

This is what a caster tank is all about. This is what warlock tanks could be all about. I will continue this idea ; in this thread, I will propose ideas for the Warlock Tank, based on my long experience and on other posts I've read in the last weeks.

On a side note, I remember GhostCrawler saying « it has to be a commitment ». I want to answer « we have always been dedicated ». If you think you could tank Karazhan with DPS gear, you never tried. I tanked Karazhan, after MONTHES of gear farming, and I assure you no DPS gear could have done what my specific gear did.

Any way you put it, you will never have a tanking spec that can use DPS gear. It's not POSSIBLE. It will always be a commitment, because you can't swap enchant, gems, etc. every time you want to swap presence. Let alone trinkets and such.

But fine : I have ideas so that it is even more a commitment.



So the basic real time choice should be : should I drain life, or should I dodge?

There is a second choice that could be cool, though I don't like it (it's a choice anyway = it's cool) : should I hold more threat, or should I survive? (I treat this in the second idea of part V)

There is 8 different problems to solve with the overal warlock tanking right now, and I will show how to solve them all at once :
- we don't have any real ability that consume fury
- we don't have any real thoughtful tanking active button like death strike
- we lack itemization choices
- tanking should be a REAL commitment
- we don't use at all the dodge/drain mechanism, because we lack dodge, so we just drain and drain
- we are slightly OP because we are full-mitigation with no avoidance (I'm fine with it though, it's an interesting singularity – but I think this singularity is not healthy for the warlock tank)
- Ward Fury is not fun to use, and kinda look like a second drain life
- we deal too much damage

In short : we need an active tanking button that increase dodge and emphasize avoidance, reduce our damage, consume fury, is thoughtful, increase itemization choices (if possible solve them!) and increase commitment...

It is possible with just ONE thing : Rework Fury Ward.

(cut because of 5000 characters limit)

First, if we want to decrease damage + increase commitment while still increasing itemization choices, we need to find a good rating that is useless for Warlock DPS. We are lucky, there is one : SPIRIT. Spirit actually makes a lot of sense. Healer gear seems quite logical for a cloth tank. It's kinda like the « dark side of healing ». If our mechanic scalle heavily on spirit, we will be forced to take spirit – it will nerf heavily our damage, increase our commitment and we will have a lot of itemization choices. Spirit-scalling is PERFECT.

We need an active tanking button, something that we can push often. It has to consume fury, which is OK, because you quite expect it to consume fury in the first place, if it rewards you with what you want – tanking ability.

We want to emphasize on dodge – why not simply increasing dodge ? Sounds good to me. Let's say it increases dodge depending on how many spirit you have – efficient and simple.

Last thing : it needs to be thoughtful. It is dodge-based, so it has to make you think « it will not synergize with lifedrain », for example. It has to cost a lot of fury, so you can't just spamm it. It shouldn't be repetitive like Death Strike : if you can cast 5 each minutes, you should be able to cast 1 every 12 seconds, or all in a 5 second windows.

Now that we know that... How about that ?

Instant cast, No cooldown, Cost 150 Fury
Shield you with a ward that increase your dodge rating by 100% of your spirit for 10 seconds. This effect can stack multiple times. (but each stack has its own duration which can't be refreshed)

Animation of this could be pretty simple : there is one particle floating in circle around you per charge.

What's the point of this ?

1) If you spend almost all your times building fury, you should be able to keep one stack up 100% of the time, which means that all your spirit rating is converted in dodge rating, and even a little more than that due to buffs, etc. (cata-wisely, it's 15 to 30% dodge before DR, depending on your gear) This is enough to let you think that YES, spirit is truly the best rating in the world.

2) But it's interesting to note that you can pretty much manage when you want this dodge. Most of the time, you won't want to build it linearly. You probably want some spiky dodge, burn all your Fury, then once there is no fury left, you can either build it again with demonic slash (which is fast), or build it slower with life drain. (and you can't dodge while draining) There is TON OF CHOICES to make. Since you can't dodge while draining, you don't want to drain while your fury ward is active, so you have to chose carefully. Depending on fights, it can vary a lot.

3) Depending on your gameplay, you might chose to take more spirit or more mastery. If you're a 10-man raider, maybe you want to drain life more, and spirit will be slightly less useful. If you're a 25-man raider, maybe drain life is less important than your overall avoidance – focusing on spirit is your priority.

This is very close to the interest of Death Strike. Spammable, Core, Thoughtful. In my opinion, it's even better, because it's not repetitive.

With this, your basic gameplay would be complete : Demonic Slash to build fury, Fury Ward to spend it, Drain life to build it slower while regaining life, at the cost of dodge. Every battle is now up to you : when will you slash ? When will you drain ? When will you ward ? How will you manage the three ?

We are nearly done. The last thing me need is to balance all this.

(cut again because of 5000 words limit)

Balancing is hard if you don't have the right tools in the gameplay or in the core rules.

We should use something simple, close to the other tanks. We should also use a system that reduces further the damage of our Tank, because demonic damage are very high for a tank, and spirit+tank itemization could be not enough.

Close to the other tanks ? Each one has some avoidance scalling on their main stat, which makes them easier to balance.

It is important to note that over 6 years of tanking with my warlock, I always ended up refering myself to the druid. Warlocks Tank have always been very close to druids ; and they are closest than they ever were now that demon form is permanent.

So how about increasing our dodge depending on our main stat – intelligence ? Our new fury ward isn't enough to cover all the dodge role. You could imagine a new passive, « Devil Agility », that gives you dodge rating depending on your intelligence.

But, better, you could say somethings like that :

« DEVIL AGILITY – Passive (Glyph ? Threatening Presence ? ...)
Decreases your Intelligence by 50%, but 100% of the remaining is gain as dodged rating. »

It could be a major or prime glyph. It could be tied to Threatening Presence. I think it's better if it's something you are forced to take to tank – doesn't matter how.

What does it means ? It means that you lose a BIG chunk of your ability to deal damage, but you gain 50% of your intelligence as dodge rating.

Druids gain 75% of their agility as dodge rating ; you gain 60% of your agility as dodge rating ; other tanks gain 27% of their strength as parry rating.

So why not ? It is a slightly worse agility, which give you some damage, at half the rate of a DPS warlock. It's VERY close to all the tank main stats.

This would help solve four problems :
- balancing would be easier, with scalling on intelligence being close to druids scalling on agility
- itemization : you would not look too much on agi items because Intel items are nice too.
- you would have a better base dodge, definitely getting dodge into warlock tanking.
- you would deal a lot less damage and be a lot more tankier.

Of course, you still need to tweak numbers a lot. I can't balance something I don't even know really. But with all these tools, I think rough-balancing warlocks would just be a question of 3 digit numbers - something really simple and straightforward.

(cut again because of 5000 characters...)

Let's sum it up :
- Warlock Tanks have to chose in real time between spellcasting state and dodging state. (lifedrain / slash-or-ward )
- Warlock Tanks gain dodge from intelligence, but do less damage
- Warlock Tanks have a « Fury Ward » ability that increase dodge from spirit and cost Fury.
- Warlock Tanks look for Healer items (Spirit Cloth) and some Tank items (Trinkets and sometimes cloack, rings, weapons, amulets...).
- Warlock best ratings are approx : Spirit > Dodge = Mastery = Stamina > Agility > Intelligence

Now that we have defined these basic ideas, we can go further and imagine what other improvements could be done on top of that :

1) Miss. Miss is an interesting mechanics if used properly, because you can drain life and still be missed. If you only miss, it's not thoughtful, but if you can chose this state, it can be interesting. The, what about this :
When you are in Threatening Presence, the « Suffering » of your Void Walker and VoidLord  becomes « Master Suffering ». « Master Suffering » has a 2 min cooldown and cost 50 energy. When casted, all the dodge of his Master is transformed into miss chance for 10 seconds and the master gain 10% bonus miss ; however, the master is immobilized for the duration of the spell.
Note : unlike dodge, you can still « be missed » while spellcasting.

This would be interesting because it's really a strategic skill. You want to use it to conserve your dodge while spellcasting, for a short period. The immobilization is interesting because it means something : you have to carefully plan when you want to enter this « turret of pain » mode.

2) Threat versus Survive. If think Demonic Fury does quite a good job about that, paired with the new Fury Ward : keep Fury bar high, and you'll have few mitigation, but lot of threat. Keep it low, and you'll have lot of mitigation, but fewer threat. However, the numbers don't scale very well. How about that ?
In threatening Presence, you don't gain increases damage from Fury, but you gain increased Threat at 5 times the rate of increased damage.
Would makes sense, isn't it ?

3) more ideas to come...

That's all for now. Please share your thoughts on this. Do you like it ? Do you have other ideas ?

The Void Walkeuse
(saved for further ideas)
i would just be happy if my bars didnt light up for Conflagrate on other warlocks Immolation. havent played destro in a while, but i hope it remains fixed for Shadowflame too.
Well thought out, nice. However, I will have to disagree with you on the point of stat conversions. Losing half our int is a massive price to pay for some dodge, and it means we might see threat issues. Currently on beta, the glyph should kill the damage benefit from DF, replacing it with flat mitigation, effectively neutering our dps. However, it is currently bugged and is increasing our damage done instead of decreasing it. Although, a standing 50% int -> dodge conversion would do the job nicely.

Cloth gear has 5 secondary stats available to it.


The first three are unavoidable, and need useful functions. The last two are either-or, and I'm going to have to lean towards hit because it's already sort of useful.

So, we just need to find out what benefits each stat has for us, and make changes where necessary.

Haste: We gain DF when our demons attack, more Haste means faster demons, which means happier warlocks. Useful, but only just. May need a conversion to Dodge.

Mastery: Currently our favourite stat. This needs no buffs, and it might even be deserving of a nerf. We'll probably stack as much as possible, with mastery on all our gems.

Crit: This stat separates plate tank gear from plate dps gear. However, we can't avoid it entirely, so let's make it useful. A stat conversion comes to mind, although I do have a more fun idea. Something like
Fel Insight
Your critical strikes grant you insight into your foe's movements, causing you to parry your foe's next ability.

Dark Satisfaction
Your critical strikes cause you to be healed for X% of damage dealt. (Heal percentage modified by Critical Strike Rating)

Hit: Tanks like a modicum of it, because misses are bad for threat. Whether we lean towards this or spirit will depend on what happens with spirit.

Spirit: Currently useless for everyone but healers. A stat conversion would be needed here, although we could just avoid it.

We would also need Parry, so that we don't have to ignore red socket bonuses.
Spirit: Currently useless for everyone but healers. A stat conversion would be needed here, although we could just avoid it.

We would also need Parry, so that we don't have to ignore red socket bonuses.

Put these 2 together and you get %50 Spirit = Parry

Very nice thread OP
So many great ideas, blizzard should pool these and make this tank idea a reality and stop pulling our legs. Hearing locks would be able to tank in MoP is what brought me back >.> I'm sure that I'm not the only one who feels this way.


Did and Done!!!!
In answer to the avoidance issue, I always thought that demons wouldn't be the ones dodging anything. They're huge fel powerhouses. I always pictured them ignoring weapons coming towards them as those weapons couldn't possibly do enough damage to them. Or better yet, batting them away, annoyed, so that they didn't get in the way while the demon was ripping the other's face off.

So I guess what I'm saying is that it would be interesting to make the avoidance stat parry, rather than dodge. It would lend warlocks a small amount of flavour and would make them slightly unique in tanking terms. (Warr, Pally - block, parry, dodge. DK - parry, dodge. Druid, monk - dodge. Warlock - parry)

Something like : Demonic Parry (Allows you to parry weapon blows with your "hands" assuming that you're in meta, grants 75% of haste as parry). Of course, this doesn't allow for multiple gear sets. (As it would them make haste your second best stat, something that is pretty true of most casters now.)

I do like the idea of using spirit as the secondary stat. Spirit is useless to a dps caster, and has been for a very long time. You can reforge to it if a piece doesn't have it on, and spirit cloth is only being used by one class at the moment. I still don't like the idea of demons dodging, but I do like the idea of increasing the miss chance instead. (once again, it adds flavour to the class)

Possibly something similar to Spiritual dissonance (The stress that you've put your soul through to fuse with a demonic body becomes evident to all around you, making it hard to stand even looking at you. While in Meta, you gain 100% spirit as miss chance.) This of course would introduce a completely new mechanic to tanking (adding miss chance instead of dodge) which may be horribly overpowered. It may be better to just stick to increasing either dodge or parry.

Thank you for keeping up on this topic and not letting it fade away, at least until Blizzard gives an answer. Very nice post.
should be mentioned that game mechanics would need another change as you cannot dodge/block/parry while casting
though xpacks are the time to do so, since they are changing block anyhow
should be mentioned that game mechanics would need another change as you cannot dodge/block/parry while casting
though xpacks are the time to do so, since they are changing block anyhow

Why bother changing them? Currently, all our spells in Meta are instant, except for Fury Ward.

Spirit: Currently useless for everyone but healers. A stat conversion would be needed here, although we could just avoid it.

We would also need Parry, so that we don't have to ignore red socket bonuses.

Put these 2 together and you get %50 Spirit = Parry

Very nice thread OP

I'd thought of a spirit conversion, and it does tie everything together nicely, but we'd also need a source of hit. Perhaps a 50% Spirit > Parry conversion and a 50% Spirit > Hit conversion?

Keep in mind, when I said we need Parry, I meant the mechanic. We currently have a base 5% dodge, and no parry/block. Block is impossible without shields (Yes, I thought about shields, but it's not really helpful. We can already cap out on armor without them, and we can compensate for lack of block), so we need Parry.

I have a feeling that our gems would be like:
Yellow socket: Flat Mastery (Fractured Amberjewel)
Red socket: Mastery/Parry ( Fine Ember Topaz)
Blue socket: Mastery/Stam or Mastery/Spirit ( Puissant Dream Emerald or Zen Dream Emerald)
Parry? Eh... Dodge makes more sense to me.

Swordmages parry. Demon Hunters dodge. If anything, we're the latter.

Not that it's a bad concept, mind. If I recall correctly, the guy I saw in this video was holding his weapon in Threatening Presence, so it could technically be used to parry attacks:


As far as Spirit conversion, while I like the idea, in the end they may just end up putting tanking stats on our gear without any stat conversion necessary. If an Arms warrior can swap to Prot and tank the Pandaria leveling dungeons in Arms gear, than a Demo lock ( Or Demon Hunter lock, or whatever it ends up being called ) shouldn't have a problem tanking in his or her DPS gear. Just reforge all non-Mastery stats to Mastery and hey presto! Non-raid tanking gear achieved.

Given that they use the avoidance-doesn't-matter-yet approach for plate leveling gear, they'll probably adopt it for leather-wearers too, which means there's no reason not to do the same with cloth.

At lower levels, avoidance doesn't matter at all. The armor increase as it stands should be enough to keep us from squishing, but we may need to see our HP buffed a little when in Threatening Presence/Demon Hunter Form ( 15% or so should be enough ).

We won't need actual avoidance stats on our gear until we get into level 90 heroic dungeons, which is about when a warrior who levels as Arms is going to start getting his avoidance gear too.

The number of cloth items that would need Dodge/Parry would be about the same as the number of Plate pieces that need Int/Spirit, so it wouldn't be that difficult to distribute them appropriately. Tier is a slightly different matter, but as long as it has Mastery on it, it shouldn't be a problem ( set bonuses can be fun, but they're not exactly necessary - see our tier 12 2-piece bonus [and I can't even remember what the t11 bonuses did, so they can't have been that great] ).
04/05/2012 03:29 PMPosted by Derrek

Sweet mother of god that was beatiful.

Though I see no weapon.

Though... we're giant scaley demons with claws. Pretty sure we can grab swords with our bare hands :P
Aren't Monks going to start as Clothies and become Leather users later.
They have a Tank spec so wouldn't that mean, at least at low levels, there will be Cloth Tank gear?
I'm gonna spec for tanking regardless. No matter how much Gemming, Enchanting and Reforging I must do I will tank as a Lock. Come hell or High Water, It will be so.

Even if they never give me the Tank option to click on I will enter the Random Dungeons and tell the Tank, "Take a Break man, get a coffee, I got this."
I really hope the crab is reading this and giving it some deep thought

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