Yet Another Warlock Nerf

Hey Shatner, how do I hurl bolts of lightning?

I’m not feeling the magic (and I’m not alone)

As all diehard Warlocks know, the future of Warlocks in Wotlk is rather bleak. Our core class issues haven’t been addressed, and, with two months left, we wonder if they ever will be addressed. I, for one, am terrible disheartened as I am a loyal Warlock.

Since the days of Vanilla WoW, I’ve played a Warlock. It was the first class I played at launch and it’s the class whose playstyle I enjoy the most. I’ve tried the other classes. Nothing really does it for me, especially melee (I can’t just hack and slash things to death). I recall that when BC details began to leak, I was excited. It was clear then that Blizzard wanted to address the Warlock class, which, prior to BC, was a joke. The talents trees and spells felt new. The Warlock playstyle was revamped and made into a damned fun, exhilarating experience.

This was the case for all classes; there was something new for everyone. There was something to pull players into the expansion and be excited to play WoW. However, with Wotlk on the horizon, I’m just not feeling it.

I am not alone in my dispair. A topic appeared in the Warlock forums yesterday that epitomized my feelings. You can find it here.

The topic’s poster, Maso, uses a quote from Ghostcrawler on the Warrior beta forums:

It’s a BAD thing if someone logs into Lich King, plays for a few hours, is unimpressed with the changes to their class and decides not to go explore Northrend. That is not something we want to happen. On the other hand, it’s also a bad thing if you are totally dominated or shown up by other classes. But when you think about it from our perspective, we really do want everyone to be excited about their class.

I wonder if anyone is truly excited for Warlocks in the expansion. I’ve said it before—I’m not.

The Community Responds

After reading through the 5 pages of post (as of my time of writing), I’ve come across some interesting quotes that I will highlight here:

Socio writes:

…we’re literally FORCED to spec Meta for good PvP survivability and that is terrible. I don’t want that, and I’m pretty sure any PvP lock that cares about actual viability wants that. Give us real survivability tools.”

In regards to Destruction, Flyingpie writes:

Nothing creative besides back draft and Chaotic Mind [which has been removed]. I’ve revised my thoughts on the destro talents and i’m actually looking at destro pvp specs in which i do not pick up anything from the last two tiers of the tree.”

Typhiswolf writes:

I’m more excited about my rogue changes than my warlock changes. I played my warlock on the PTR and within 10 minutes lost the “new nad exciting!” feel. I’m sure northrend and the new trainable abilities would have a much longer appeal, but in comparison to what my rogue is getting, my warlock seems extremely lackluster.”

Rethasz writes:

I don’t see much happening to fix the loss of class identity, which has been on the decline for some time now. At the advent of TBC we had 3 viable trees, each with a unique playstyle. If you wanted a change, paying the respec fee was almost as good as rerolling in terms of variety.

Since then it’s been like the Death of a Thousand Cuts, resulting in 1 boring cookie cutter spec for PVP and another boring cookie cutter spec for PVE. If you don’t like spamming shadowbolts in raids, too bad. Demo isn’t what it should be (despite countless testimonials by the player base) and affliction DPS is non-competitive period. Arena PVP revolves around being propped up by a healer and spamming drain life instead of shadowbolt. Wheee!

Who is driving the bus?”

Ahglock writes:

I primarily PVE and its really casual on this character, but im not excited at all about the changes, well except maybe for corruption being instant. Haunt may do good damage but its really lame sounding, and a cast time for a 12 second effect kind of sucks. Make our 51 a curse of doom that works on players. Make our dots contagious. give us enough affliction effects that we dont use shadowbolt. let us put multiple curses on one target since apparently our curses are no better to weaker than lots of other classes effects.

to make me the slightest bit excited i think they have to make some from the ground up fundamental changes to the lock class.”

Sixsixsix writes:

“Why are we not being buffed in places where we need it. Why are we mostly free hk again for other characters. Why are the developers not doing their job when it comes to the warlock class? Why are several other classes overpowered, why are several other classes underpowered - so much.

Why is Blizzard failing us?

This is not how I remember this company.

Bruscha writes:

“There’s very little that I’m excited about in the expansion….The weeks go by and such review remains unmentioned, abilities keep getting nerfed, and the developer’s continue to respond to none of the well-written feed-back posts. The developer’s are also talking in past tense about talents/abilities being in flux. They are also actively discussing dps balancing; something they said they wouldn’t do until all the talents were set. These are not good indicators for me.

To be honest. At this point I don’t intend to buy the expansion”

Brolyx writes:

Let’s see… I’m excited for…. flying carpets. Yes, that’ll be cool for a few minutes. As far as being excited for this toon [Priest] or my main lock in the xpac? LOL!”

Felthas writes:

I remember reading about the Cripple DoT and drooling on myself quite happily. Now we have Haunt, a 1.5 second new spell that will tell us:

You can’t cast that while stunned
You can’t cast that while stunned
You can’t cast that while stunned
You are dead. Please reroll a Death Knight. okthxbubye”

Aeka writes:

Even affliction is all gimmick and no substance. I’m excited.. About the UNHOLY DK SPEC, which was everything affliction ever wanted. the snare aura, the use of diseases instead of magic effects (awesome.. SO much fewer ways to remove it!), etc.”

Granpa writes:

“Not excited at all. I see all these other classes get these amazing new 51 point talents and we get what amounts to another shadowbolt, a costume change, and another searing pain that amplifies our dots and has no PVP utility.

It just seemed to me that Blizzard forgot that locks do PVP as well. Our only improvements have been to PVE, which we never complained about in the first place.”

Out of the current 88 posts in the topic, one person is excited for the expansion. Does Blizzard not see that this is a problem? Do the cries of the Warlock community fall upon def ears?

No Cause for Excitement

The only thing I was truly excited about in the expansion was Demonic Circle. However, after seeing it in action, I realize that it’s nothing more than a more directional Blink. Yet, this level 20 spell is far superior to our level 80 spell because Blink “frees the caster of stuns and bonds.”

I expected a lot more from Demonic Circle. I do recall a blue post several months ago that hinted at Demonic Circle. The post also said something about a buff for standing in the circle (a reduction in pet-summoning time was the example). I wanted the Demonic Circle to be an new, important part of the Warlock playstyle. I wanted the circle to be to Warlocks what Totems are to Shamans.

Besides Demonic Circle, we’ve got our other new spell, Shadowflame. Look at that tooltip carefully: 363 to 397 shadow damage and 212 fire damage over 8 seconds. Note that this is Rank 2, obtained at level 75. Compare this to Rank 5 of Cone of Cold: 335 to 365 frost damage and a 50% movement speed reduction. Cone of Cold (Rank 5) is learned at level 58. Interesting, isn’t it?

Best of all, these new spells aren’t new at all. These mechanics existed before. Demonic Circle is Blink, Shadowflame is Cone of Cold. There’s nothing new about them. In fact, they’re inferior to their old copies.

Distraught and Disheartened

The appeal of Wotlk Warlocks is virtually non-existent. Best of all, this isn’t a new development. Blizzard is aware of our unaddressed concerns, but chooses not to respond. The Warlock beta forum is a wasteland compared to that of other classes (if you don’t believe me, check out MMO-Champion’s Blue Tracker). Yet, what bothers me most of all is that Blizzard would rather repond to ignorant trolls than intelligent players.

This doesn’t make sense to me at all. The Warlock community has no idea what Blizzard intends to do with the class. The future of the Warlock class is grim.

The Grass is Greener

I’m confident that intelligent players of other classes can tell you why they’re excited for Wotlk. Hell, I can tell you why: Mirror Image, Typhoon, Beast Mastery, Arcane Barrage, Dispersion, Divine Hymn, Nourish, Freezing Arrow, Master’s Call, Frostfire Bolt, Living Bomb, Deep Freeze, Sacred Shield, Diving Storm, Army of the Dead…the list goes on. These abilities have flavor. The establish their respective classes’ identity. Warlocks just don’t feel like Warlocks anymore. BC is proof of that.

Courtesy of Horns

Courtesy of Horns

It’s clear that Blizzard does want each class to feel special. Take a look at Ghostcrawler’s review of Mirror Image:

I like to think of Mirror Image as a case where the process just worked. There were some cool talents in the mage trees.There were some nice damage mechanics, like Hot Streak, that felt interesting and different. But LK mages weren’t getting anything that felt cool and exciting except for easy ports to Dalaran. And the mages felt it. And they told us. And we went back to work. It was a really hard spell to implement from a technical standpoint, but totally worth it. So I’m glad Mirror Image worked out. It’s fun. It’s a little unpredictable. It changes the game for everyone, not just mages. We had a mirror image run up and melee Patchwerk last night. Dumb image.

I think it’s very cute how the Mage community came together over Mirror Image. It’s positively sweet; touching, really. At least we know Blizzard is capable of love. We’re just not getting it. I’ve said it before: this is why we can’t have nice things.

Blizzard, I’m not feeling the magic and I’m not alone.

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About the author

This post was written by Smatter, who contributed 16 posts on Yet Another Warlock Nerf.
You can read a short bio and find all posts by Smatter by clicking his name.


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13 responses to “I’m not feeling the magic (and I’m not alone)”

  1. Nil says:

    So far Blizzard has been bloody embarrassing with Warlocks. It’s a completely new Expansion, a time for motivation, a time for new and unique ideas, and so far all what’s been served up is utter disappointment.

    I don’t understand what the problem is. The overall creativity is lacking, and while some ideas may or may not have issues, numbers can always be tweaked. It’s saddening for Blizzard to wind up a new product only to see this is the best they can do for Warlocks. This is all they can come up with. Granted, things are slated for change in the few weeks, however we are at a month at best for any drastic changes.

    Maybe it’s a cruel surprise where Warlocks are being balanced last since PvP apparently rotates around them. Or maybe they don’t have a clue what the hell they want to do with the class. What I do know is the time we have for change is brief, and if it isn’t anything that we the Warlocks need or even “like” a lot of people will be rerolling or not buying the expansion.

  2. Maso says:

    It’s unfortunate when you have a 6 page thread of people describing how little the expansion excites them. It’s not exactly the most bias-free or statistically sound information, but hopefully it’ll give the devs an idea.

  3. fb says:

    yeah um, no one is going to be using nourish. just for the record.

    point mostly being, most classes are as disgruntled as warlocks, 25 page thread on the druid forum that is very similar in the whole “what the hell direction is this going”

    /just sayin

  4. hpavc says:

    I look at a big red kitty video and wonder where the hell that comes from? (answer: what happens in vegas stays in vegas i assume) Then you see that the guy can volley and he can autoshoot. Then you see that the dude’s pet has an aoe threat attack on a 7-10second timer. And at level 74 the guys pet crits in the 2k range on aoe attacks, that attack also stuns and does threat. In addition to the actual talents for the pet which I don’t even want to look at they are so depressing.

    The issues for warlock really come down to pve versus pvp and how wow views that balance versus class to class balance independently in a test tube. WoW traditionally balances this by resting on the side of looking at the population and keeping the classes balanced by the numbers of /played versus the actual playing.

    I think affliction is out best tree, only because metamorphosis is the ye’ ole lightwell of talents points. I mean seriously, I am surprised it doesn’t cost a shard and kill you when its over. Maybe it does in practice, who knows.

    If all dots/drains had the chance to crit, I would shut my mouth.

    If demonology had the scaled up doomguard ‘pet’ for the 51 point talent. Deep or midway into the the tree I would like to see an improved voidwalker that could be nearly uncrushable. I would like to see the succubus have essentially the rogue shadowstep / shadow dance spell that made her just attack and disappear, attack and disappear and pretty much get a first / surprise attack when she does attack. I would like the imps blood pact to have an regeneration or effect. I think the felhunter got some really good buff ideas, not sure they are all that valuable though, I think blizz held off.

    I think destruction is pretty mage-like right now. Frankly I never really got into destruction it was a learn2mage sort of thing. But its a play style thing I guess. Just don’t try and compare yourself to mage or rogue dps please. Its just not going to happen ilevel to ilevel.

  5. Gell says:

    well i thought meta was a really kool idea, it just the way they made it, it really is just a light well(just looks kooler lol)

    and why the F### cant chaos bolt go through immunities? would that really make locks that OP if 1 out of 9 classes could attack a mage/pally while invincible? and thats only if the warlock is speced into it

  6. Revan says:

    Well I’m an affliction lock and I think the new tree is pretty wicked for just pure damage output and some survivablity (I mean cmon, now full tier affliction locks can have soul link as well, drools), its depressing on the creativity front however. The other trees are pretty pathetic in general, but many classes are bitching about certain trees in their own class so hopefully Blizz will listen to user responce and start implementing some newer, fresher ideas.

  7. Caronome says:

    Naturally, I am very disappointed with Wotlk. I have a 0/21/40 shadow. I was curious as to your PvP demonology comment. I assumed that of the 3 meh talent trees, demon/felguard would be the way to level? What do you see as the recommended PVE leveling build?

  8. Gell says:

    i peronally am going to level for a while as demonology fpr pure survivability on a pvp server, but will probably go afflicion for levels 76-80 when you need to be gearing out for raiding,

    pve ftw

  9. Gell says:

    spell check: for*

  10. Cesarous says:

    You’re not alone and you are 100% right!, i saw the other classes new talents specially the mages and i was like “WOW”
    Is there’s any change for Blizzard to hear from us? and improve our locks with new stuff?

  11. Udat says:

    I’ve just got to say, as someone who played a warlock, then lost interest over it in favor of other classes, I’m actually looking forward to the class. It’s no longer just a ‘mage with a pet’, it’s got a more utilitarian style to it that the mage cannot match. I’m sure in PvP it’s hurting, but for myself, on the PvE side of the world, it’s quite fun. The improvements might not rest in new talents or skills, but there is certainly a large jump in various aspects of the warlock that lie in the standard skills.
    Instant-cast corruption without talent points is a big one. Now it spikes more damage overall.
    The demonology tree on a whole is fantastic and brings in stronger pets than ever.
    They fixed our Infernals to be level 70, not 60. Doomguard too.
    The voidwalker can actually do its job of holding aggro for soloing mobs, and does it rather well.
    The Destro tree is what it was meant to be, no more shadowbolt spam but full on shadow and fire for a big punch.
    Affliction is very strong for supplementing raid damage with enough steady DoTs to DPS fairly well.

    I don’t need a new shiny, I like the buffing and solidarity that comes with refining what is already there.

    …and to be honest, my mage isn’t really as impressive as it once was anymore.

  12. Mageborn says:

    WOW Holy QQ fest.
    I’ve never felt the need to post on this site before but I have to say:
    Locks are fine and I’m excited about WOTLK.

    I’ve been playing destro pvp since 3.0 with an almost complete S4 felweave set and I am competitive in duels with all classes (even full assasination rogues), and generally can beat anyone.
    Taking on 2-3 people in battlegrounds is not uncommon.

    As for PvE, DPS concerns have been addressed in the form of a 6% dps buff to locks in 3.03, and post 3.0 DPS is higher than pre-3.0 DPS in all three trees.

    The new abilities at 75 and 80 are exciting, particularly for destro pvp, and the new rank of Drain Soul at 77 is effectively an execute that goes through pillars for affliction warlocks. Cast Rank 6 drain soul on someone at 25% hp, and they die on your first drain soul tick (in 3 seconds) if your cast isn’t stopped or if they don’t get heals. At level 70 rank 6 drain soul would tick for about 5000-6000 in PvP if you have haunt up, far more hp than any player has when they have 20% hp left.

    There are dozens of positive class changes and feeding the QQ fest is not something I enjoy watching. At all.

    The ONLY concern I have about warlocks is the quality of life issues not addressed by the lack of attention to the shard system.

  13. Smatter says:

    Okay, Mageborn. Perhaps things have gotten better since the time of this post. The intention was to be as QQ as possible.

    The issue I have is not with effectiveness in PvP and PvE–it’s fun. That’s what the game’s about. We really received nothing new and exciting, just reiterations of abilities we already have seen.