So this Sunday, I gave in to the temptation.
While I should have been working on the numerous goals on my agenda – and I still am – there had been a thought, on a number of occasions, to TR Varjek Lorebringer, my dwarf Pale Master necromancer. Mostly because I wasn’t satisfied with his life as a caster.. big surprise, coming from myself. However, every time the notion came up, I kept pushing it aside, since he was an “arcane” character and I made lousy arcanes.
But the fact he was sitting there stuck at 20, with no real plans to go anywhere, was bothering me.
Enter the Warlock class.
Socks and I had recently partaken in a “slum night,” whereby we hop to another server (where we both have plenty of character slots) and roll up some crazy toon ideas. Half of it is to experiment, half of it is to blow off steam, and half of it is to just enjoy the game without any real obligations. And yes, that’s three halves. Three halves can make a whole; clearly you’ve never heard of Manbearpig, if you think otherwise.
It was during this slum night that I decided to goof off with a Warlock. I’d been enamored with the idea of one, ever since the idea of forming a blood pact with a Pit Fiend became known as an option. I imagine the conversation between myself and the character generation screen went something like this:
“Now, you must select your pact! Choose wisely, for this will affect every aspect of your character from here on out, and –”
“You can choose that, or –”
“But there are two other – “
“Pit fiend, already!”
“Are you sure….”
“I’m going to stab you if you keep talking.”
“Right, then, definitely pit fiend.. you were in Slytherin, weren’t you?”
“I suppose the Hat can’t always be right..”
In any case, this little Soul Eater/Pit Fiend warlock – with no gear other than the default Morninglord at 15 – went about and decimated everything. Nothing was left in its wake. Anything that could have posed a threat was Consumed and Strickened and crumpled to ashen dust in seconds. And yes, that was on Elite. Under-leveled, even, with no real gear to speak of.
With that memory nagging on my brain for days, I looked at Varjek on the login screen, was reminded of my sizeable stash of Tokens of the Twelve just waiting in the bank to be used, and minutes later, Varjek was reborn as a Warlock.
Yes, he’s still a dwarf. DUH. And yes, he’s still Charisma based. Because, reasons. #stumpy4life
A few minutes later, he was flinging Eldritch Blasts and fireballs all over K-town. With the exception of a few points splashed into Tainted Scholar for Strong Pact (+1d4 Pact Damage Die each), some extra spell points, and the most important part – Eldritch Blast Shape: Chain – everything else was spent in Soul Eater. Because there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of LITERALLY EATING YOUR OPPONENT’S SOUL TO HEAL. Nom nom nom! I mean, let’s get this straight – I get to 1) debuff you, 2) jack you up, 3) cause a DOT effect, and 4) heal myself, all without costing a single spell point? Oh me, oh my, this is my kind of arcane.
It’s like they were reading my mind to create the Soul Eater tree. Straight up my alley, and Varjek’s as well – after all, what better way for a mediocre Necromancer to restart his career as, other than a traitor to every mortal in Eberron, empowered by the Kings of the Devils who wish to murder and enslave everyone? Check, check, and Czech. This was a no-brainer, really, as it fit my whims to TR Varjek, the desire to play a Warlock for real, and in fitting with his biographical lore. So much win!
If you’re still reading my mind, Turbine, get on with making the dwarforged, already!
But I digress, back to the playstyle as a whole. If you dislike evokers, then the Warlock probably isn’t for you. Varjek’s build, at least, is a terrifyingly powerful deliverer of mass pain and death; he streaked all the way through from creation through Waterworks and level 4.1, solo, Elite, no hire, with only a handful of potions to deal with hit point attrition. The idea of attempting a similar feat with a sorcerer or wizard class makes me want to consider ritual vasectomy. As it is, he’s standing at 5.2 and waiting with bated breath until I can get home, log on, and lay down some more pain.
As for later levels, I’m not terribly concerned with scaling to higher Heroic content; as it was, the level 15 Morninglord Warlock, first life, no gear, with whacked-out feats (as it was, I didn’t know what I was doing, and may or may not have been highly inebriated during the creation process) was still gleefully underleveling through level 17 content.
Epic, on the other hand, may be an issue. There exists a dramatic rift between what you can get away with in Heroic, and what works in Epic. This becomes exponentially more true with the schism between Epic Hard and Epic Elite. I honestly have no idea whether the damage scaling will be enough to make a Warlock viable as a DPS machine then; however, not being tied to a spell point pool as more “traditional” nukers are will be dramatically beneficial – or, at least on paper.
Of course, I still have to get Varjek to 20. For the most part, the gear he currently has is less than useful, as he was a repository of purely necromantic gear, which won’t come into play in any way, shape, or form until level 12 at the bare minimum (when Finger of Death becomes an SLA [!!!]). In the meantime, he’s going to have to troll about for things that would be more beneficial.
Some things of note, regarding the class, however: first and foremost, the Eldritch Blast does not track like Magic Missiles or rune arm blasts. You aim, you fire, and the blast travels in a somewhat slow speed in the direction you were aiming in. If the enemy has moved since then, they’ll probably be out of reach, but it can do some “splash damage” (so to speak) as it passes by, even if its not a direct hit. On the other hand, you can use this to lead shots on, firing them off so the enemy’s pathing takes them straight into it. It takes some creative maneuvering and a little bit of getting used to, but once you do, is well worth the chaos that ensues.
Also, your pact determines some of the spells that are available to you; for example, Rage is automatically granted as part of the Fiend pact, as is Command. I’m not entirely certain whether I’m enamored with this aspect or not, yet, but we’ll see how things go. Thus far, the low-level Warlock spell selection seems to be more oriented towards debuffs and defense, although I seem to recall a fair number of utility spells available at later levels. For the most part, this seems to offset the Warlock’s rather skimpy spell point pool, since there really isn’t that much to cast, and most of your offense is focused on the Eldritch Blast, anyway.
In short, I, for one, am having a bleeding beached whale of a time devastating the masses of Stormreach, and enjoying Varjek’s move from “unplayable character” to “Arriatrikos’ Avatar of Destruction.” I can’t wait to see what the rest of Heroic brings.