V’Ming Chew at WoWInsider has a post up asking Why People Hate Warlocks. In the post, he identifies four possible reasons:
- PvP Dominance?
- Easy Mode?
- Warlocks don't provide goodies?
- Warlocks are evil?
While these reasons may contribute to the negative emotional responses to warlocks, I think they miss the mark. In my opinion the real reason warlocks are disliked is that:
Warlocks have no obvious weaknesses.
Class-based design requires classes to have specific weaknesses as well as strengths. That’s what allows classes to work together, to complement each other. In PvP, it’s what allows you to come up with a strategy to defeat the other class. Classes which have no weaknesses are just as broken as classes that have no strengths.
Let’s compare warlocks to the other DPS classes. Mages have several obvious weaknesses. They’re fragile. They rely heavily on mana and are very vulnerable when they run out. They have good crowd control, but Polymorph breaks on damage and even heals the target. Rogues are somewhat fragile and require melee range. Hunters require being at range. Getting into melee with a hunter is a good strategy.
So what are the warlock’s obvious weaknesses? They’re not fragile, you can’t run them out of mana, they’re good at range, they can Fear--or even Drain Tank--when people get too close. They can kill you slowly with DoTs, or they can blast you down with Shadowbolts.
I think that warlocks were originally designed to be a “control” class. Their weakness was they dealt damage slowly, but could control the fight until their opponent died. However, Shadowbolt allows a warlock to blast like a mage, while still retaining their original control. I think it’s telling that the major high end spec is 0/21/40 which spams Shadowbolts.
I think that Shadowbolt needs to be reigned in. I think that Blizzard should knock the coefficient down a few percent. Shadowbolt scales too well, and doesn’t really fit the whole “control” aspect of the warlock, negating their required weakness.