Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

It’s a running joke in our guild that the warlock “position” is like the Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher.

When I joined, we had a warlock. He left in a fit of pique after his performance was called into question. I’m not going to share any more dirt than that, though. The end result was one down!

We found a replacement warlock who was pretty impressed with his own importance. More importantly, he never signed up for raids on time. When he was called on this, he left citing “personality differences.” Two warlocks gone.

Our third warlock was actually a hunter who switched to play his warlock. As a casualty, this was the first one I can take semi-credit for because we had some conflicts, he and I, after I assumed guild leadership. By that time he was playing a shaman, but I think he played his warlock for the longest, so in my mind it counts. Third warlock, gonzo.

Our fourth warlock started out as a warrior DPS and switched to give us greater access to ranged players. He was there for our H LK kill, but switched to playing his DK at the beginning of Cata (and ultimately stopped raiding). Goodbye, ex-warlock the fourth.

Finally, our most recent warlock, who is an all-around great guy and fit in really well, has reached the end of his WoW career and decided to hang up his hat. I can’t do anything but respect his wishes, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to see him go. He was like the dream warlock. I should have known it was too good to be true!

So that’s five warlocks, all of whom lasted either a short while before leaving, or switching characters, or switching characters and then leaving.

What I want to know is, what is it about warlocks? I grant you that mine is anecdotal evidence, but there’s no single class with higher turnover in the guild than warlocks. We’ve had the same mage(s) for almost two years. Our shaman is rock-steady, as is our druid, and even folks who stopped playing still stayed for a really long while with the same character.

I have a few crackpot theories.

Have you seen me?

Crackpot Theory #1: People playing warlocks have often been playing them for a long time.

As one of the original classes that seems to have always done good DPS, many warlocks have played since Vanilla. This was a reason cited by our recent warlock – seven years of playtime (in one game) is a lot. You’re bound to get tired of it eventually, right?

Crackpot Theory #2: All the warlocks became DKs.

This was a joke, but I’ve definitely seen a correlation between people who play DKs and Warlocks. Either warlocks have DK alts, or they switched to DKs when Wrath came out, or vice versa. Maybe it’s not that warlocks don’t last, it’s just that they all become plate-wearing pet-commanding disease-wielding deathmongers instead? (100% less fel).

Crackpot Theory #3: Something about our guild is repellant to warlocks.

Maybe we have too many Draenei. Maybe the anti-warlock sentiment is too strong, or maybe they just sense our inherent mageliness and think, “Nah, I’m out of here.” I’m not actually sure what it is, or if there’s any correlation to anything at all. But there has to be something, because we just can’t seem to hang onto a warlock!

What do you think? Is your guild stuffed full of warlocks? Have you seen a dwindling of the warlock population? Do I need to try and find a “Care and feeding of your warlock” manual so that I can hang onto the next one (if we can find him or her?) I welcome any and all warlock conspiracy theories.

p.s. – You may have guessed this from the post content, but we’re looking for a warlock. A balance druid or a shadow priest would also be welcome!

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Comments on: "Why Do Warlocks Never Last?" (23)

  1. Love my disc priest though I do, if I COULD raid with you guys, I’d power her up to 85 and spec her shadow in a heartbeat.

    But, y’know, working from 5pm-midnight EST most nights makes raiding hard. ^^;; See: my attempts to raid with the Effers. Best of luck to you, though!

  2. Crackpot Theory #2 is not so crackpotty.

    One of our resident death knights played a warlock for YEARS and then swapped in Wrath to the DK. Loves it. Excels at it.

    I saw him talking in Trade the other day, someone was like “lol all dks are bad rets”

    He responded: “Bad DKs are those who re-rolled from ret paladins or rogues. Good DKs are those who re-rolled from warlocks.”

    From my limited experience, I totally agree! haha!

    My warlocks (I have three at the moment) consist of:

    1) T, who has played her warlock since before I rolled my hunter. She hasn’t raided the whole time (stopped around BT in BC and missed most Wrath raiding), but her warlock is pretty firmly her main.

    2) K, who has played her warlock since Burning Crusade. Didn’t get to raid much in Wrath, but absolutely loves her class.

    3) X, who has played a variety of characters, but has settled in on his warlock for this expansion.

    So there’s my data point for you! Hope you find a new caster DPS soon! :)

  3. […] real quick to spread the word – Vidyala (of Manalicious fame) and her guild Business Time are down yet another Warlock. They’re a 10s guild who’s been around for a while, and they’re a great group of […]

  4. Pretty damn sound theories. I’ve played my warlock since day 1 (though I’m not tired of him). My second max character was a DK. I avoid alliance guilds because warlocks don’t belong in the alliance (my person position)

  5. My guild at the moment only has one dedicated warlock, played by my husband, and I’ve definitely noticed a dwindling in the warlock population! Specifically, I’ve felt the shortage of delicious green fel cookies in dungeons and raids :(

    As for conspiracy theories, I think the mages are keeping them in captivity. Those aren’t really mirror images! Those are poor, captive warlocks forced to wear a disguise.

  6. Technophobia said:

    Frito has played a warlock since early vanilla. Forever’n’ever. She has a DK alt that she levels a bit now and then, but she tends to prefer ranged pet classes, it seems. Hence why her other major alt is a hunter. :)

  7. Yes, my DK is the only other toon I’ve gotten to level cap. That’s kinda eerie that it’s a trend you’ve noticed. <.<

    Warlocks and Rogues are the two least represented classes in the game. We trade off the crown in the censuses, but despite the competition between us, I really feel for my Rogue comrades-in-arms. (Shamans round out the unpopular trio, but usually have a point or two on the pure DPS.)

    Warlock numbers have declined since the start of Cataclysm. There have been some substantial changes to our mechanics that put off a lot of long-term locks. Improved Soul Fire for Afflocks, Succy/Felhunter as the demon of choice for Demo, multidot damage causing single target dps problems, major nerfs to self healing through Siphon Life, Fel Armor, and Drain Life, the clusterfuck of Dark Intent, adding Shadow spells to Destro's rotation, and – let us bow our heads for a moment – the removal of Drain Mana from the game.

    And that's just off the top of my head.

    The feeling is that you have to work substantially harder at great DPS on a Warlock than other classes. You can't miss a cast or let a buff fall off or your DPS tanks. Keeping 3 stacks of Shadow Embrace rolling on two targets AND full dot loads is no easy feat.

    All the while, Shadow Priests appear to be better Afflocks than Afflocks, Frost Mages come out with huge burst and control, and Warriors/DKs absolutely blow people up in PvP.

    Yeah. I've considered rerolling this xpac. Not gonna lie.

    DK is an attractive alt class to warlock because they rely upon dots to enable other abilities, they have complicated priority systems (like warlocks) and the have DEATH COIL. What's not to like?

    So when Warlock players get tired of the changes, yeah, I can see the appeal of the DK.

    I don't think there's something wrong with your guild, Vid. There's enough external reasons to explain why warlocks aren't sticking around.

    Good luck on finding a replacement lock!

    • Yeah, the spell additions to the destro rotation are one of the reasons I kind of left my warlock behind. It feels too….wonky now. I used to be able to play destro by feel and put up good DPS, but I’ve had a hard time adjusting to the changes. So I tried going back to affliction, but had similar problems there. It felt pretty much like I knew nothing about warlocks anymore. But these things happen i suppose.

  8. @Technophobia: There are three ranged pet classes (/specs): Hunter, Warlock, and Frost Mage. I love them all.

  9. I’m gonna go with crackpot theory #4: All of the above.

    #1 is true because if you do something often enough for long enough it will inevitably become commonplace and boring. This applies to playing a warlock the same way that it applies to driving fast, beautiful sunsets on the beach, and eating pie. Now I’m not claiming that playing a warlock will make you excited and thrilled, peaceful and relaxed, or satisfied and full. In fact, it has been known to have the exact opposite effects…but you get my point, right?

    #2 is true because several of those those warlocks who became tired of warlocking rolled a DK. And thrived as one. And never went back.

    #3 must be true because we can never get a ‘lock to stick around. As to what is repelling them? I’m not sure. I’d ask them but every time I go up to one they run away from me screaming their head off. One day I’m gonna sneak up on one and hold him down while he answers all my questions!

    Sincerely,
    The Crying Gnome Who Wants A Gnomish Warlock Buddy To Make Fun Of The Spacegoats With And Will Share His Cake With And Will Make Special Portals To Stormwind For After Everyone Else Went To Theramore.

  10. Having just started a Lock for primarily PvP reasons*, I was kind of hoping that Cyn or Cass would leave a comment.

    I can’t compare what Locks had before and after Cata, since I wasn’t playing a Lock then, but I have observed that in both the Horde and Ally guilds I’m in there are several Locks who continue to play. I also think that they do go raiding, so they don’t restrict themselves to PvP either.

    The one thing that I’ve found really hard to get used to is the waiting game. I’m sure Locks take a beating on their inherent ‘lazyness’, but it’s actually difficult trying to balance threat from DoTs in instances with the need to DPS down enemies. It’s also very hard to sit there, knowing the only instants you have (assuming a Talent didn’t proc) are DoTs, which take enemies out over time. You don’t have an attack you can just launch at people (ala Mages) or lots of melee attacks you can draw upon (Pallys/Warriors/DKs/Rogues). You also don’t have any inherent healing for yourself outside of the cookies (unlike Priests/Druids/Shamans), so if someone barrels down on you in PvP it’s often curtains if you can’t get a Fear cast in time.

    With all of that background, I’d say that it takes a certain mindset to want to play a Lock. In instances, you pretty much have to keep all of the DoTs up and running all the time, which takes an extreme amount of micromanagement that I don’t see on either my Mage or Pally(s). People who are attracted to that sort of micromanagement may not take to kindly to certain kinds of guilds and guild leadership. I can see how some Locks would have a high opinion of themselves, managing all of this input, and that they might bristle at others in a guild telling them they need to up their DPS.

    Now, one other item of note is that if you come from a role playing background, you might not take too kindly to the presence of Locks in general. The concept of a totally unrepentant evil toon kind of tends to clash with the overall goals of most of the rest of the WoW classes.

    *Well, there is the attraction of balancing a goody-good Pally with… EVIL!!!

    • @Redbeard: It’s interesting that you have the impression that warlocks are a lazy class. Now that you’ve said it, I can totally see where it comes from (cast dots and profit), but I find that I am casting every single second of a fight. Once the dots are ticking, it’s either filler spells (PvE), drains, or Fel Flame/Life Tap time. Even before you get Fel Flame there are a lot of things that you can do on the run to keep your pressure high. Short cast time spells (Hello, SEARING PAIN!) are your friend, no matter what spec you’re running.

      There is a problem with rampup time – it’s hard to get trash down fast with dots. No doubt there. You’re better off with Shadowflame or Soulburned Seed and then dot with UA, or respeccing to Demo for trash. But once you get things rolling, you can execute with the best of them.

      Self-healing depends on the spec. You get some back from Fel Armor, Afflocks get some back from Siphon Life, Destro gets some from Soul Leech, and Demo gets some through Demonic Aegis. (And there’s Drain Life and Death Coil, too.) It’s not as much as it was in Wrath, but it’s there. Warlocks should be tough to kill.

      I think you’re on to something with the RP element, by the way. I personally didn’t want to play an eeeevil character (so I play lawful vicious instead), but this is the class which clicked with me. *shrug*

      Hopefully Vid will indulge me in trotting out two things which I think are somewhat topical: first, The Warlock Way, which was in response to someone saying that Warlocks were terrible and he was ready to delete his.

      The second: Dusk’s How to BG, the Tao Te Ching of Warlock PVP.

      • @Cyn– Well, until I started playing one, I used to think they were lazy. I was also referencing Vid’s occasional depiction of Locks as lazy; it’s a Mage vs. Lock thing, I believe.

        Yeah, I’d forgotten about Drain Life, but I think that’s mainly because you can’t use it on the run. Well, that and when you’re being targeted by a Hunter, Drain Life and Siphon Life can’t keep up at all. (My Lock is L30 right now; and Hunters seem to absolutely love hitting him.) In PvE space, however, Drain Life does come in awfully handy –after a burst of Life Tap and re-upping all the DoTs, switch to Drain Life instead of Drain Soul to restore some health– but it’s more of a filler at this stage of the game. I’ve no doubt it’ll become more potent the more I level, but you’re still utterly dependent on a healer to save you. (Assuming you didn’t piss the healer off by excessive Life Tapping or threat generation, that is.) When you come from a scenario where you can either bubble (Pally or Mage) or cast an instant heal (the healing classes), the Lock feels incredibly exposed.

        I believe it’s just a matter of dealing with the cards you’re dealt, however, and a recognition that what works for the other classes won’t work for a Lock. (Well, except Shadow Priests.)

        (Oh, and thanks for the links! I loved this quote about Zergs: “SoC. Find someplace safe and out of sight and ride this button like it is a vintage Harley-Davidson.”)

  11. Locktart said:

    Speaking as a semi-retired ‘lock (hung up the robes an letting the demons go free for a bit), I’ve jumped guilds mostly due to drama that was starting to tear the guild apart, guilds that had poor raiding schedules, and just feeling burnt out for whatever reason.

    But if you want a real reason, I haven’t felt like warlocks are all that wanted on raids anymore. The only thing I’ve done in raids has been distribute ‘fel cookies’. There’s no demons to banish/enslave, fears usually end up with a druid or somebody else CCing them, and it feels like most buffs/debuffs we can put on something are now used by at least two other classes.

    Granted, most guilds/raids I’ve been with only have a need for one warlock. If they haven’t had one in a long time, everybody seems to forget about them and we’re just told to DoT stuff up.

    So I guess where I’m going with this is, lack of love for us. Sure, we may consort with demons and some of us might want to see the world burn, but all we really want is somebody to like us and not make us feel like even more of a monster. After that, we’ll stick to a guild like green on fel magicks.

    • The funny thing is, I loved our latest warlock! It had been so long since I had cookies, or summons, or other magical ‘lock things like Curse of Elements. It’s true to say that we didn’t necessarily know or understand the capacity of our ‘lock, though. (And as his reason for leaving is game burnout and not guild burnout or drama, I think we treated him well).

      I guess it’s more tongue in cheek than anything, although I am finding the responses to be fascinating! Definitely we haven’t had any drama and our schedule has stayed the same three-night schedule forever now. Those seem like good general “leaving” reasons.

  12. I’ve only been playing for two years, but my ‘lock is my first character and my main and I still love her to death. My primary alt is a protection paladin; I rolled a DK once, got her through the starting zone and promptly got bored with her. I keep thinking I should try again, but… haven’t, yet. And I think Business Time sounds like a pretty awesome group, aside from being Alliance. Nobody’s perfect. ;-)

    We used to have two full-time ‘locks in Nocturne, but Afen wandered away around the time Cata came out. And I miss him, but I don’t really mind being in a class by myself…!

    I know a lot of people dislike warlock for the DOT/pet management aspects being too fiddly. Heck, a recent article on choosing your first class (I want to say it was on the main Blizzard site, but it might have been WoW Insider) *discouraged* new players from choosing warlock because it’s “too difficult” for someone new to the game. It’s a complexity that appeals to me, but I can see how it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea…!

  13. I recently rerolled to from a healer to a warlock, so warlocks are an endangered species yet. However, my purpose was to use him for pvp. I regularly heard about how warlocks were the hardest to pvp on and I wanted to test it out. Turns out it is mostly true. =) It makes me chuckle, because you guys want the classes that I play and I would join you in a heartbeat, but my schedule doesn’t permit me to.

    The reason I rerolled was similar to the reason your Warlock quit, burnout. Being only able to PUG raids and such made it quite frustrating as a healer. Yes, more healing could’ve saved the rogue, but he took 22% of the damage that fight, most of it avoidable…AND YOU BLAME ME FOR LETTING HIM DIE? It just gets frustrating after awhile, and I couldnt put up with it anymore.

    To sum up this rambling comment, I just wanted to say that there are warlocks out there and you will find yours…preferably not a Snape though ;)

  14. Apologies, I missed a typo in the above post. I meant to say that warlocks are NOT and endangered species.

  15. I have two mages and a hunter as my ranged crew. There are times I’d kill for a lock – the haste buff is so sexy for resto druids. But I love my ranged folks!

    We have like two max level locks in guild. One runs in the other raid and the other is the guildmaster’s alt, and our GM likes to level alts and not raid on them :)

  16. My guild’s warlock is pretty stable, loves being a warlock, and can’t imagine anything else. On the other hand, we’ve chewed through a lot of ret paladins and mages… The current duo have been with us for a couple months or so. I think if they stay past Firelands I can call our curse broken. >_>

  17. My warlock was my first toon, and is still the one I level first, but even after only 3.5 years I’m getting burned out on the class. And if I didn’t have friends over here on Stormrage that I played on him with, I’d consider going to help you guys out. :)

    As for your crackpot theories, number one could be true of any class, thats what happened with me and locks, and now pallies, and a little bit with DKs. Number two is actually pretty true in my experience. I know quite a few warlocks (and rogues for that matter) who dropped the class to go play death knights at the start of wrath. And for number 3? It’s probably because Draenei smell funny. Oh don’t look at me like that, they do! Just don’t tell my shaman, or my priest, or one of paladins, or my mage, or…well, a lot of my characters are Draenei, so just don’t mention to them that I told you that. :P

  18. Have you been allowing the locks to start with a fresh clean slate or is each lock compared to the last soul thief? I’ve found it irritating when joining a guild to be compared to the last toon type that I am replacing. Lot of social pressure to fill that last players shoes.

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