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[4E] So, seriously, does the Warlock need help?

AilphanG

Eventually you'll be dead
Validated User
So, I've been hearing for a while that the Warlock is the weakest class in the PHB.

I'm inclined to agree based on what I've seen in play. Our Tiefling feylock has pretty much spent the entire game failing to hit stuff, and not doing anything interesting when she does. (Eyebite's secondary effect is rather unnecessary given that our warlock already has concealment, teleportation, and three melee charactersin the party.) I feel her pain as a Melee Cleric ("hooray, lower chance to hit than any other melee class!"), but at least when I don't whiff my attacks do cool Leader-y stuff and I've always got healing.

Now, I certainly feel that a big part of that is because my group is, basically, stupid. Their basic modus operandi is to split up as much as possible in hopes of never accidentally flanking an enemy or concentrating fire, and we'd be have a daily TPK if it wasn't for the good-natured cheating of the Wizard (in the sense that he tends to read things in the sense most favorable to him until it's made clear that, hey, Bigby's Icy Grasp doesn't work that way) and the monstrous raw power of even the crappiest ranger. And the fact that every fight is conveniently placed such that we can get 24 hours of rest before the next one.

Now, I was wont to assume that my compatriot was playing her Warlock poorly because it did seem to be a much more complex class than the others at the table -- a glass ninja made of debuff is an odd thing for a Striker to be, so maybe she's just doing it wrong. But reading more D&D threads, I'm starting to sense that her basic problems (not hitting, not doing much when she does hit, being basically survival-oriented without much actual Strikeryness) seem to be problems with the class, not the player.

So what's the deal? Are Warlocks crappy Strikers? Are they just plain crappy? Is it just the Fey pact? Are they slightly suboptimal but fatally hampered by my stupid group in a way that the Fighter and Ranger (*shudders in awe of the Ranger's awesome might*) just aren't? Is our Warlock just an idiot? What's the consensus these days?

-A.

Addendum: The Warlock's player has a hilarious point that gets brought up from time to time, to the effect of this: "why is it that everyone who multiclasses to Warlock is now a better striker than I am?" (She refers to the fact that the Half-Elf Rogue we used to have took Eyebite with an implement that gave the invisibility effect an extra turn of duration, turning him into a Sneak Attack machine, and the Fighter's starlock crossclassing had some explosive effects the first fight it was brought out.) I share this mainly for lulz.
 
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James Gillen

Smuggler
Now, I certainly feel that a big part of that is because my group is, basically, stupid. Their basic modus operandi is to split up as much as possible in hopes of never accidentally flanking an enemy or concentrating fire, and we'd be have a daily TPK if it wasn't for the good-natured cheating of the Wizard (in the sense that he tends to read things in the sense most favorable to him until it's made clear that, hey, Bigby's Icy Grasp doesn't work that way) and the monstrous raw power of even the crappiest ranger. And the fact that every fight is conveniently placed such that we can get 24 hours of rest before the next one.
Y'know, I'd say this is a big issue. :) The classes are a bit more "soloable" than they were in prior editions, in that arcane spellcasters aren't as wimpy as they used to be, but at the same time, team synergy is a lot more important. It even says that, in some cases, e.g. Rogues usually work best with a Fighter/defender nearby to soak up the hits that they can't. Your role as Warlock is to throw hex/debuff effects on people, not so much direct damage. For that you want the Wizard. (It's one reason I'm confused that they class Warlock as Striker and Wizard as Controller, given that typical builds are usually more the other way around.)

JG
 

Codename: Omega

New member
Banned
I'm playing a "feylock" too and I am finding him a bit on the ineffective side. In part though that's because my dice just refused to roll anything above a 10 (said dice have now been "retired" and new d20s purchased, which after one session seem to be willing to spend more some time in the heady realms of the 11-20 range). Still, he's got Cha 18 so he's about as good as he can be there, rolling Cha vs (stuff) for his attacks so he gets +4 for his stat (and the +2 for the Pact Blade that he was given to start with).

I find Eldritch Blast to be the default "attack" he uses, just the basic "zap and do damage" spell. He also has Eyebite but it's pretty useless given its poor damage and the fact he has Shadow Walk too (he's never used Eyebite, actually). The Witchfire encounter power and Curse of the Dark Dream are pretty good though, at least when they work (especially Witchfire's -ve penalty to hit rolls, bumped by Int for a feylock).

Warlocks are definitely Strikers though IMO, given that right now (at level 3 anyway) he's got absolutely nothing that can do anything to more than one creature - not that he can't have anything like that, but powers that affect more than one creature seem to be rare.

I've noticed that a lot of the fey powers seem to be about teleporting all over the place - I'm guessing it's so that you can keep your distance and snipe with your spells (Otherwind Stride is a prime example of that - a burst attack that for some reason also allows you to port yourself five or more squares away?).
 

Victim

Registered User
Validated User
I think Feylock is the worst of all warlocks. Its at will doesn't offer much needed damage boost. Many of the powers are rather gimicky and situational like Bewitching Whispers. The focus on defensive buffs and teleportation doesn't help the class do much when it gets there. The default PP for Fey isn't very good either. They work well with Divine Oracle, but neither of the feylocks I've seen played so far went that route.

It's sort of like the 3.0 monk: for people who like to have something that can avoid trouble and escape at the cost of not accomplishing very much.
 

Yakk

Registered User
Validated User
As a Warlock, your job isn't "don't get hit". It is "get hit, but with such advantages, I don't really care".

If you are staying "behind the line" all of the time, you aren't using your ability to move around enough. You are not a Wizard who needs protection. You are a teleporting, shadow-cloaked, pain dealing machine.

You are also more controler-y than most other strikers. You should be spreading your curse around, and try using some area powers to get two or more chances to roll on your striker dice.
 

Beri

Only One
I agree. I almost see the Warlock as a defender/striker, especially with the Infernal Pact's temporary HP. The Wizard wants to be at long range, the Fighter at close range, but the Warlock wants to dance around mid-range; far enough to avoid being locked into melee with an enemy, but close enough to choose her targets and occasionally benefit from Prime Shot. Remember that the Warlock gets concealment if she moves three spaces; use that to your advantage. Shoot and move, and let your foes tire themselves out chasing you down.
 

Whitemage of DOOM

New member
Banned
(It's one reason I'm confused that they class Warlock as Striker and Wizard as Controller, given that typical builds are usually more the other way around.)
Well for one AoE damage is as much part of the controllers shtick as control effects.
But debuffs != control effects, control effects reduce enemy options instead of "just" messing with the numbers.(Do not underestimate the power of messing with the numbers however.)

So yeah, the wizards you see might focus on the AoE stuff. The wizards some other guy sees might focus on the controlly stuff. and I'd assume wotc wanted you to cherry pick a bit of both to fulfill both sides of your role. dealing with minions as well as layering control effects on solos and elites.

---------------------

Oh and yeah, your team needs to learn to work together. The warlock is a striker, thats one part damage but it's also one part "be mobile and put the smackdown on important targets." The thing is the warlock focuses on debuffing said important targets more so that simply slapping big numbers on them despite being a striker, you need a good team for tactical advanteges to show there full worth.(Though the warlock may still be a bit gimp even then, that doesn't change the fact it needs a cooperative team just like the warlord does.)
 
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Jet Bastard

Active member
Validated User
In the off-week paragon game I run, most of the PC's are very effective, but our Feylock is terrifying. He curses a minion, kills it, rod-of-corruptions everything he can get his greedy mitts on, then proceeds to teleport around the map, slaughtering minions and reaping his pact boons like a crazed Nightcrawler (y'know, X-Men) spitting razorblades and crapping awesome.

Once the minions are good and chewed up, he can chuck encounters at the big guys with impunity, cos all he has to do is cut himself a little if he misses and the encounter power sticks around.

Admittedly, he rarely uses at-wills (except to start the chain of minion destruction), but he's a holy terror in most combats.

Then again, my players are big on teamwork and love nothing better than the flank the hell out of a critter and stack dailies on it.

OP, 'locks really do need backup. A bit of teamwork and some less-crappy rolling will probably put her quite a bit higher in the DPS ranking than her current record.
 

Codename: Omega

New member
Banned
Isn't the idea that the Wizard should be taking out the minions en masse (with stuff like Flaming Sphere) while the Warlock should be concentrating on the big guys? It seems a waste of the lock's powers to me to focus on minions.
 

jasin

New member
Banned
Warlocks get benefits when they kill people they've cursed. So killing a cursed minion or three with something cheap might be a good way to get some buffs before you turn to the big guys.

On the other hand, spending too much of your time killing minions means that 1) the others are forced to handle the big guys on their own; 2) you don't have much to do with your buffs, since the big guys have mostly been handled by now.

My experience is still relatively limited, but it seems warlocks are more demanding than average in terms of prioritizing like that.
 
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