Monday, March 9, 2009

The State of Warlocks

I mentioned a few things in my blurb about soul shards that I'd like to expand upon regarding the perception of the warlock as it stands in the current iteration of WoW.

First of all, there seems to be a perception that locks aren't capable of being the dps chart toppers they were in BC and Vanilla WoW and that frustrated locks are jumping ship/switching to Death Knights. Now, as I don't have access to Blizzard's internal dps numbers, I do know what I've seen raiding as a DK: locks are doing just fine. I always see warlocks in the top 5 spots for 25-man and the top 3 for 10-man runs. I think the idea that their damage has somehow gone down relative to other dps'ers is due to two things: one is that all the other dps specs have been buffed as of the first 3.0 patch to be close to equal to the olde dps guard of Hunter, Rogue, Warlock and Mage. I don't see this as a problem, but it does change how these four classes appear next to the others. Whereas there used to not be a comparison, now, with the right gear and skill, what used to be a non-raiding spec (moonkin, I'm looking at you) is now not only viable, but can top the charts. This scares the pure dps classes because they worry they will be left sitting in Dalaran twiddling their thumbs while an army of owl-bears starfires Naxx into the ground. The logic behind this fear being that if a Druid can output the same dps as a warlock and can heal, rez and tank, why bring a warlock? Especially when dual-specs roll out in 3.1! For me, I just don't see that happening. First of all, everyone wants at least one warlock in the raid for a Soul Stone, Health Stones and to summon stragglers (or people too mind-bogglingly cheap to buy a flying mount). Even with the ability to switch roles wherever and nearly whenever they want, I don't see this making too much difference besides speeding up the raiding process. Right now, if the raid loses a tank and has a moonkin, the moonkin may be asked to respec. The only thing that's changed is that now they don't have to go back to town and be summoned back to do it.

The second thing I wanted to discuss was Soul Fire. I have only used that spell once or twice in my entire career as a warlock. It looks cool, I suppose, but is impractical to use because of it's cast time/damage ratio is too high to keep it in a dps rotation and it also costs a soul shard, which are hard to come by when raiding (and wiping). However, all this will change with patch 3.1 with the addition of a Destruction talent that, on a proc I believe, will reduce the cast time of Soul Fire and remove the shard cost. All of a sudden, warlocks have another button to press! Yay! Gone are the days of sitting there pressing the shadow bolt key with a sacrificed demon and topping the charts. Now destro locks will be using mostly fire damage and have a refurbished tool to use. I have to say that when this change is made, one of my dual-specs will be destro. The developers have done so much to make that tree fun again, I don't think I can pass it up.

All in all, I'm happy with the state of warlocks. I think that a lot of the problems are imagined or are just the normal complaining from the vocal minority who both hate it when things change and hate when they stay the same.

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