Illidan’s a beast! Wait, no, that’s a warlock tank

1 Apr

Oh, yeah, I said it – Warlock tanking. I was let into the Mists of Pandaria Beta this last Saturday and picked my warlock as the first class I wanted to explore. Picking the Demonology tree first as I wanted to see the new demons in action, I discovered the tanking glyph. It’s not even a talent that lets you tank, but a glyph.

Alright, I thought, let’s try this out and see how it works. Filling out my talents, gems, enchants and glyphs with everything else that would assist me the best when tanking, I ran around the Jade Forest and killed stuff, hoping I’d run into an elite mob and could test how well I really was doing as a tank. I found shit. Apparently there are few elite mobs in the first part of the starting zone.

Really needing an accurate test, I hopped into an instance and talked the tank and healer into letting me be be the tank. For whatever reason they agreed and we took on Jade Serpent Temple together. Even though I wasn’t entirely sure what the hell I was doing, I was a successful tank. Not the best tank, since I couldn’t get my hands on how best to fill my fury bar and work AoE tanking down until the end, but I did my job and the only people who died stood in shit they shouldn’t have. Fire’s bad, mmkay? (and so is water now)

Coming out of the instance I was psyched! I ran around kicking random mob ass and telling everyone I could how great warlock tanking was. There was only one thing left to do: tell all of you about it too.

So how does Warlock tanking work? Well, once you have your Glyph of Demon Hunting you morph into your new Threatening Presence which looks exactly like Metamorphasis, except it’s blue:

Threatening Presence (now known as Tank Form)

Metamorphosis (now known as DPS form)

Now, besides wishing that the forms looked different, most of your spells and abilities have morphed into new spells that require Demonic Fury instead of mana or generate Demonic Fury when cast on an enemy.  For instance, your curses turn into temporary auras, Soulshatter turns into a taunt, and Fear turns into Sleep which works like Succubus Charm.

Abilities work similar to other tanks with several cool downs (listed on the right) which prevent damage, restore health, and just in general save your ass when it’s getting kicked by a boss or multiple mobs. Only one of these abilities changes when you shift forms (Fury Ward) and the rest are talents that any warlock can pick up if they choose.

This is why I believe warlocks are going to be over powered in PvP. My tank did a descent amount of damage (enough to make any Blood Deathknight proud) and just wouldn’t die. A hunter stumbled upon me taking all the screen shots for this blog and attempted to kill me. As I was busy, he got my health down to 15% before I was able to retaliate. After popping all my cool downs, I took him down from 100% to zero while my own health remained at 10%. Simply put, it’s broken, but for once I have to say there’s not much that can be done about if Blizzard actually wants to make Warlocks viable tanks they won’t be able to fix this without making it so the Glyph of Demon Hunting is disabled in Rated Battle Grounds. In my opinion, balance would be easy to maintain if the abilities/glyphs/talents that were disabled for rated PvP matches was expanded, but that’s a whole other topic for a whole other blog.

Back to explaining how Warlock tanking works. So now that you have all your cooldowns, you need to hold threat. You do this with the Demonic Fury bar which is the same in either the DPS or tanking forms. The difference between the two is how it’s used. In tanking form it’s static like a rage bar, going up as you use certain abilities and going down when you use others. Unlike a Warrior’s fury bar, it doesn’t increase via damage done and it doesn’t decay when not in combat. In DPS form, it decays a static amount every six seconds.

Most abilities require Fury and do not generate it, so Warlocks do have some trouble with initial threat. Fortunately, they do have a taunt button and the DPS cooldown that summons imps to attack your target has the fireballs the imps cast increase you Demonic Fury very quickly. So with an initial ranged pull with Bane of Doom, followed by a taunt, then the imps, any boss will be a synch to keep a hole of, even with those idiotic hunters who like to keep threat abilities on their pets.

AoE tanking is another story, or so I thought until I logged on today to get a better look at all my spells. When talented into Shadowfury, warlock tanks have two abilities that do not cost anything to cast, one that costs a little Fury, and one that costs a lot. Shadowfury and Hand of Gul’dan are free to cast, the restrictions on the spells being a long cooldown on the first and regenerating charges on the second. Both spells are cast on a circular area and give beneficial effects that will make then essential for tanking. Shadowfury is still an AoE stun and Hand of Gul’dan increases Fury when used on mobs that do not have the Hand of Gul’dan debuff.

The other two spells are Shadowflame and Hellfire. Shadowflame is the same, putting on a DOT and costs a little bit of Fury. I put it in my main rotation to help hold threat. Hellfire is very, very expensive but it does a ton of damage to any mobs in an area around you. This is a great spell to pick up quick threat on mobs (unlike with Paladins and Warriors), but it has a down side leaving you with a minimum of only half Fury.

I, for one, am very, very psyched about getting a new use for Warlocks, but I will play my own devil’s advocate and point out three reasons I can’t disagree with for why Warlocks should not be tanks, even though I love this idea. First off, there are already many tanks in the game and this just adds another when raids only need two and, occasionally, three. Secondly, this doesn’t fit the lore. While it does if warlocks were Demon Hunters, they are not Demon Hunters so it doesn’t make any sense. It would if Blizzard released a mini story discussing how the Warlocks have evolved their magic over the years, but the lore so far does not support this or even Metamorphosis at all. The final reason is that frankly this class is over powered as fuck and that’s just self explanitory.

Even still, I simply had fun tanking as a Warlock which is something I never experienced when I was tanking back in 4.1 on my Paladin. Of course, I have heard a lot of people who are very upset about this addition to World of Warcraft. For those who are against Warlock tanking, I ask you to ask yourself these questions:

1) How is this hurting the Warlock class? DPS as a Demonology Warlock is still viable.

2) How is this hurting the tanking classes? The other classes still exist and they are still just as viable.

3) Lastly, what’s wrong with it? I hear a lot of people saying “I don’t like it” without being able to say why. Holding an opinion without a reason makes no sense to me and suggests you need to think a bit deeper.

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2 Responses to “Illidan’s a beast! Wait, no, that’s a warlock tank”

  1. Xpiatio April 2, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    I’ve heard of mage tanking, I personally witnessed rogue tanking in BC, interesting that ‘lock tanking be an option in some aspect of MOP?

    • janaelle April 2, 2012 at 6:03 am #

      As it is implemented now, it’s not the same thing as it was in BC. Mage tanks, warlock tanks and rogue tanks then were tanks for specific bosses to get around one particular spell/ability. Same with Wrath warlock/boomkin tanks. As implemented, they are viable tanks which could tank raids/dungeons and handle whatever is thrown at them like, say, a protection paladin. Ghostcrawler has said they want them to be more like pocket tanks (how they were when Metamophosis was originally implemented) where they can pop over, taunt, clutch tank until the main tank is battle rezed or that last 1% health is gone similar to a frost/unholy deathknight popping into blood presence and taunting. I’m hoping they allow lock tanking to stand as is.

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