I can say one thing about Warlock – it is a well rounded caster, good at everything, master of none.
First and foremost the Eldricht blast is decent enough DPS – in Heroic it scales well with your spell power and the combination of pact and enhancement damage (such as say Sonic for Fey and Force for the basic blast) adds enough DPS to deal with most issues.
Tainted scholar adds the ‘chain’ attack where you aim and fire at one and it ‘chains’ to up to 2 others. Souleater adds a cone shape and the last enhancement tree adds an aura that either ticks or can be burst.
These costs no resources and can be fired repeatedly over and over. With that there are a number of SLAs, either outright spells (such as burning blood and command) or specific to Warlock. Some are regular spells that abide by regular costs and metas (such as Otto’s disco ball, blind etc) or special spells, such as silence creature and the black tentacle one.
One noticeable difference is that Warlocks pick from less spells and can only have 2 from each of the 6 tiers available. That makes each choice harder. There are also a number of spells provided dependent on the pact you pick.
Fey seems to be your average CC pact, where as the others provide a number of different ‘schools of thought’. Currently I’m running Fey since I like the use of Otto’s disco ball (not a choice among the regular tiers, you have to get Fey and at least 18 Warlock levels in order to get it).
I’ve played a lot of the level 15-20 content lately with several different builds, much to the fact that Turbine have released not only new classes, but redone several enhancement trees. So safe to say I compared most of my experience by noticing the main difference from one type of quest to another.
It was also the first time I tried out many different chains, as suppose to run a bunch of quests – leveling pretty much entirely one level per chain.
First, I ran one Lordmarch quest just to get the feel. Figured I didn’t want to run an entire chain just to blunder through stuff. This way I could get my finger dexterity down and change stuff I didn’t care for.
This is how I figured out that the Black Tentacles spell was nice and expensive to use – allowing me to drop down a quick AOE type CC spell that added blunt damage and then follow up with a chained Eldricht blast. The combination is delicious.
Next I hit Gianthold – the main quests are 16 on Elite but the alternative ones are 15 – all in all you can easily hit a level doing them all and they’re all doable solo except one.
Here the combination of black tentacles in narrow spaces and the chained Eldricht blast did wonders. I even decided for the option that adds a 10% chance to slow an opponent as suppose to piercing damage (piercing damage is more or less untyped). Force and sonic worked fine. This was true even in POP, where the black tentacles held the orange named bosses and the chained blast mopped everything up.
I was surprised how well it worked in all the different quests. With this chain done I hit 16 and moved onto next.
This time I did Necro 4. Now Fleshmakers can be problematic if you can’t keep the air elementals down long enough until you coordinate hirelings and such to press all the runes – this is fixed in the Epic version with longer time before expiring. But not heroic.
However this never became much of an issue and I managed to get this done in one attempt. What didn’t work so well was dropping down to battle the flesh golems in the pit for the possible shield piece. Yeah, the healer was more busy doing melee than keeping my guy up. So that was a bust. After 2 cakes I gave up – I was not desperate enough for a chance of a shield piece to waste more resources.
My greatest challenge was to survive the traps in Temple of Vol, but once I got past that (after a few deaths) the rest was less problematic.
My next chain after hitting 17 was the Wheelon plus the 3 pre-wheelon quests. I hit 18 after finishing the last one and went onto Vale.
Vale is an oddball. Great XP, 5 diverse quests, all with their ‘specifics’ – some that can be challenging to certain classes (like sleeping dust and cleaving melee) – some are short and sweet but still a pain (Running), others longer but less specialized (Coal chamber – it’s a pain to go up and down but most of it is one slayer area after another).
Warlocks are not particularly diverse, but what they do know seem to cover most bases. They have a solid pew pew attack that damages most different monsters and they have ‘enough’ different other spells to fill out some gaps. They’re not Wizards or Clerics with spellbooks that covers the entire kitchen sink and they don’t have the spell points to burn tons of spells, but they don’t need it.
The few spells they do have are in addition to the main attack and the main attack is good enough as a universal DPS against all.
This is important especially in areas like sleeping where you kinda have to be very careful and only kill Ogres. Particularly if you’re not lucky in hitting the upper area book right away. Considering that only 1 dead spider will most likely spell doom I ended up having to redo the quest once. I don’t know what killed it, but sure enough – 4 more to go and I felt that it was pointless to see it all through since the book wasn’t at the first 2 spots I checked (out of 3).
Another is Running, moreso than Rainbow – Running have a lot of really painful guys and I’ve had issues with them on pretty much all different toons and classes. Not so on the Warlock. Sure – they still hurt – all that light damage is painful on Elite. But the combination of Warlock main attack, particularly the chain together with the other spells work.
I did die once because of stacking light damage, but that was minor compared to how many times I generally die in that quest.
BTW, the blast attack (piercing damage) works wonderful on Clay Golems. Sure – the sonic damage is reduced (Fey Pact) but piercing being untyped works like a charm.
So here I am – level 19 and I have lots of content left to run to hit 20. My current 3 choices are both of the harper chains and then the thunderholme Mountain one. I doubt that I will have to run all 3 chains to hit 20.
Gear wise I suggest one stick (or something) with Impulse. Here the Sage bracers (for Kinetic lore) is nice. I also used the hammer from Gianthold with sonic spell power and lore alongside an Elite orb that I pulled from one of the Gianthold quests. That also boosts void spell power and I put a impulse (force and untyped) augment in it.
That have worked fairly okay from level 15 and onward but I do notice that the spell damage from the blast is trailing. So finding a good 90 impulse/Void/Sonic item at this stage seems like a good strategy. In that case there’s always the Wizard’s Orb, Impulse that’ll boost spell DC and spell pen (ML 16 -18). There’s also Shadowmail – a medium armor that (provided you pick the enhancement feature) works nicely with Warlock. Both can be used to boost different features of the Warlock pact. Old ones add acid and Fiend, fire.
The only downside is that very few things boosts sonic (unless you find a good random stick or use an agument) but this is less of a problem since you only really need to boost a few spell powers unlike if you want to be an effective caster in a lot of different spells. And the stuff you do boost, say in this case impulse (for force and untyped) works well on almost everything.
All in all Warlocks are not one trick phony’s per say but they are un-glamorous generalists and masters of Heroic Elite..