Thursday, June 9, 2011

Coming to Terms With My Outer Darkness

As has been well documented, I play several Paladins.  You know, the Goody Two Shoes of the WoW world.*  While the other ostensibly "good" class that draws power from Holy Light --the Priest-- has a Shadow Spec, the Paladin is free of any direct taint of Darkness.  They are the rigidly Lawful Good characters who embody what Roland, Saladin, and Perceval strove for.**  Not only pure of heart and mind, but able to kick some serious ass.

And they're also cloying.  The constant preaching of the Argent Crusade and from those who hang out in the Cathedral of Light can be grating on people.  Paladins have a reputation of being the sort of person that would stand side-by-side with you in a fight, but are too self-righteous to go hang with you at the World's End Tavern afterward.

So naturally it follows that I've started a Warlock toon.

If you thought that Paladins were on the uber-good end of the class listing, Warlocks have to be on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Whereas the Death Knight's intro story pretty much sets up their redemption at the Battle of Light's Hope Chapel, there isn't anything so warm and fuzzy about a class that revels in wielding "true power" and "secret knowledge".

The entire concept of the Warlock as a playable class kind of flies in the face of the current World of Warcraft setting.  With Guldan and the Shadow Council no longer in charge of the Horde, Warlocks would be persona-non-grata in official Horde circles.  Yes, there is still an undercurrent of approval and "those were the good old days" in the Horde, but all that time spent fighting against the Burning Legion in Outland would have driven that sentiment deeper underground.  The only official place --Cataclysm Era-- where the philosophy of "I don't care where it came from but I'm going to throw it all against you" would find a home is in Sylvanas' camp.

As for the Alliance, there's even less of a reason why a Warlock is a playable class.  The Alliance fought not only the Burning Legion but the old Horde, and if there's any class that the Alliance would despise more than the Warlock, I'm not sure what it would be.  Yes, I know that there are always people who are tempted by power, but when WoW tries to set your toon up as a hero, a Warlock is typically not what the general populace has in mind.

Considering all that, I felt distinctly uncomfortable when Genn Greymane and Co. would call my new toon an 'old friend' and a 'hero' during the Gilneas starting zone.  "Hello?  Can't you see the Imp following along behind me?  Doesn't that make you just a WEE bit uneasy, Your Majesty?"

Dominating members of the Burning Legion like a Warlock does is splitting hairs.  Really.  You can't look at the Warcraft universe and say "well, they may be demons, but they're on our side."  To paraphrase Azrael from the movie Dogma, "But they're f@$#-ing demons!"  Warlocks are playing with the worst kind of fire, WoW-verse speaking, and I am surprised that Blizz doesn't tweak things a bit so that they are more obviously shunned a bit more.***

In spite of all that, Warlocks are a bit refreshing.  Most people --virtual or real-- tend to hide their dark secrets.  Locks put their own Darkness right out on display.  Hell, they'd probably charge admission if they thought they could get away with it, in their own Ray Bradbury-esque dark circus.

So playing a Warlock --especially in an RP environment-- is all about power and domination.


Of course, that's not the reason why everybody plays a Lock.  Some of us are in it for the DoTs.

If you've ever been in a BG, you know what it's like to have someone out of melee range dump several DoTs on you, then sit back and laugh --or maybe cast a Fear-- while you bleed to death.  If you're lucky and you're playing a class that can dispel those DoTs, you'll end up wasting time dispelling them while there's a Warrior or Kitty Druid beating on you.  Having been on the receiving end of that tactic enough times, I finally decided that I'd had enough and I want some of that too.  After all, how hard could it be?


If you come from a melee or Hunter/Mage background, harder than you think.

The hardest thing I had to deal with during the Worgen intro zone was the waiting.  Your direct attacks aren't that powerful, so you have to wait for the accumulation of those DoTs to have the desired impact.  I suppose I could run around, kiting the enemy, but that could be disastrous if I ran in the wrong direction.  So there you are, clad in cloth armor, watching some enemy wail on you.  It's only when you finally get a Voidwalker minion that you have a viable mini-tank to take the pressure off.

But that leads into the second hardest thing as a Lock, and that's the accumulation of threat from all those DoTs.  Threat spikes have always been the bane of DPS, but you can mitigate some of the danger of threat spikes by slowing down your rotation.  With DoTs, however, you don't have any sort of control once you cast your spell; your only option is to determine whether or not to cast that DoT in the first place.  Finding a way to control threat in this back handed manner is probably where a lot of Locks fall down in instances.

So, what's up for the little furball of Evil now?

I'm going to keep him questing through Darkshore, and now that he's high enough level to queue for Ragefire Chasm, I'm going to find out how Warlock dynamics work in an instance setting.

Oh, and of course I'll queue up for Warsong Gulch.  I can't resist giving the old DoT/Fear trick a whirl!

*Blood Knights notwithstanding.  And Lady Liadrin, the Blood Knight Matriarch, has since corrected things during her audience with A'dal in Shattrath City.

**Yes, I know that Roland is the chief paladin of Charlemagne's court, that Perceval was a literary construct, and Saladin was more complex than his Medieval admirers believed.  Give a guy a break, will ya?

***Even though it's not in the WoW-verse, there ought to be a chance, however small, that the demon would break free from your control and turn on you.  I'd tweak it such that the likelihood of a demon breaking free from your control goes up when you get into a fight; after all, your toon is under increased pressure, so naturally something bound against its will would try to break free when you're distracted.

EtA:  Warlocks are a class, not race.   That'll teach me to not write and edit early in the morning.


  1. I keep trying to make warlock characters, because it seems as if I *should* like them. They are cloth-wearing. They cast spells. I have one of all the other similar classes, yet I've probably deleted more warlocks than any other character. My last one made it to level twenty before she met the delete button. I just can't get into them, and I don't know if it's a roleplaying background or what, but they feel wrong to me. I've always admired people who can play them in roleplay (and walking around with your demon in Stormwind is a surefire way to cause RP repercussions) but I think I'm just not meant to be one.

    Cynwise gave me a castsequence macro that had me mowing down zones effortlessly! I should ask him if he's ever posted his 'beginner warlocks' macros on his blog, because they were dead useful!

  2. @Vid-- Considering you're such a Draenei fan, I can see why you'd have a hard time liking Warlocks. They stand on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Draenei: totally into power, utterly unrepentant about it, and willing to work with/dominate members of the Burning Legion to get it. In a way, they are the embodiment of what the Aldor believe about the Scryers.

  3. Locks are my second favorite toon after rogues. About the paladins though, I took a screenshot of a paladin the other day while inspecting him in a random dungeon run which made the inner rp voice excited... The spec was Shadow Paladin.

  4. @Inno--

    Shadow Paladin? How would that work? Is that kind of like a Shockadin, but with Prot/Ret combos?

  5. No idea. Something been amiss with my ability to inspect other people since cata came out.

  6. The only paladins I've ever played have been blood elves, so I've never experienced them as 'goody two-shoes'.

    I don't work for the Light - the Light works for ME.

  7. @Anonymous (who sounds suspiciously like Rades)-- Oh, I thought the same thing, until I reached the end of BC. Turns out we'd been wielding the Light the old fashioned way all along.