State of the Art: Warlock

[u]State of the Art: Warlock[/u]

This is a thread focusing on problems of Warlock as a class. We all know some classes perform better than other and most of us would call Defiler as the absolute underdog. Meanwhile, due to new classes and changes introduced in AoM many other classes are in the decline of sorts. Warlock is one of them.

Masteries and basic synergy

Warlock is a mix of Arcanist and Occultist.

Arcanist is well known for it’s utility things - %oa, %crit, Maiven’s Sphere, Mirror. But for some reason it’s rarely mentioned that it’s core damage skills are pretty bad. I’ll be that guy and say it – most Arcanist casters so far were carried by Devastation. PRM and CT are just weak and serve mostly as proc tools. AAR should technically be strong, but I saw claims that with the love DE and FoI got it’s been left behind. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Worst thing about the Arcanist is it can’t have any stackable resistance reduction on anything but OFF, so it’ll only affect the target for the duration of Freeze. No freeze – no RR.

Occultist is also well known for it’s utility things and pets. He’s probably better as a caster, but his spells are mostly acid or vitality. Given that there are different classes that support these damage types rather well it’s obviously not optimal to go Warlock, even though DEE Warlock was popularized during early vanilla days.

Obvious synergy between Arcanist and Occultist is chaos (tainted ray) and elemental (due to Curse of Frailty).

Known builds and concepts

  • PRM Warlock – no. Back in vanilla Occultist was the only class with -% elemental RR, so the idea of elemental PRM was present, even though it was rather weak. Nowadays Shaman and Inquisitor also provide -%elemental RR so Occultist lost it’s unique status, so the concept is currently marginal.
  • TSS Warlock – also existed in vanilla for the same reasons, but with Shaman now having access to -% cold and lightning RR this concept is also marginal.
  • CT Warlock – there’s a Conduit which converts aether to chaos on CT so you could have a fire/chaos CT. Chthon did a a build like that. Main problem is like I said before CT is inherently weak, so it needs to rely on powerful procs. Traditionally CT builds are aether builds and they use Agrivix’s Malice to boost damage output, with it’s chaos part being converted by one or two Albrecht’s Duality rings. It’s incredibly more difficult to convert the other way around, so chaos suffers here. Moreover while aether CT concept received a buff in RR department due to necromancer, chaos CT warlock will suffer from RR shortage. Ironically, chaos CT concept would probably work better on a Sorcerer.
  • AAR Warlock – one of the two current Warlock’s signature builds, because it’s supported by the Black Flame set. Right now the set favours Inquisitor classes. Tainted Flame Deceivers became amazing after the changes to the set (which is good), but the Warlock using this set would be left without much needed chaos RR. For Tainted Ray I’d actually choose a Mage Hunter using this set, since this way I get better staying power due to Inquisitor Seal and better chaos RR due to Death Sentence and skill mod to Word of Pain.
  • Clairvoyant Warlock – the second Warlock’s signature build that existed since early in vanilla. In AoM it received some minor Necromancer support so due to Necromancer’s superior aether RR it’s now more of the aether Cabalist or Spellbinder set rather than Warlock.
  • Aether Tremor Warlock – legacy concept that existed in vanilla. It’s an extension of Clairvoyant Warlock which used Obsidian Juggernaut. With Mythical Obsidian Juggernaut receiving a chaos RR modifier to CoF converting to aether no longer makes any sense.
  • Melee/Ranged elemental Warlock – legacy concept that existed in vanilla. It used Shard of Beronath, which in an era of everything being supercharged by skill modifiers was left behind. Also concept was based on the idea that Occultist was the only class with -% elemental RR, which is no longer true. If Shard of Beronath is to receive an uplift it’ll benefit Mage Hunter first.


Currently if you decide on Warlock it’s probably just for the class name. There are no gameplay reasons to play this class because whatever he could do another class will do better. The lack of RR makes one prefer other classes even for sets that were originally for Warlock.

I can only agree with this, the only warlock builds I have are indeed a vanilla legacy DEE build and a black flame build that I never played past 75 since, well, AAR is terrible. The DEE build only uses arcanist for the utility skills just like you said.

It’s a tough one. It’s not just warlock. I’d suggest that Pyro (Demo/Occultist) is overshadowed in most ways, as well. Inquis class just brings soo much on all fronts…that I’m not even sure it is a good baseline comparison for the other combos.

Another poor combo seems to be Defiler (Demo/Necro)…even more at odds than Warlock.

I personally think that Occultist suffers in a non-pet build due to the large amount of %health reduction in many of its skills. But as you said, it is good for pets.

Balance is subjective though, as probably most everything can run the Campaign, I’d expect.

What is your baseline for the combo to be considered a success?

Pyromancer has one of the best Chaos builds in the game, so i wouldn’t say it’s overshadowed “in many ways”.

^that is 100% due to one specific set and items. Without those, it is not.

Implying itemization is not an important factor. It’s nigh impossible to have every mastery balanced on its own, a lot of the times itemization has to pick up the slack because that’s how it is.

So yes, Pyromancer still has one of the best chaos builds in the game and it doesn’t matter if it’s any item.

Also implying non-pet Occultist builds can’t be great. Oh right, Ravenous Earth/Bloody Pox Cabalist, Radaggan Deciever and poison DEE and DW Acid Witch Hunter, Blade Arc Witchblade, Cadence Witchblade, Ultos Conjurer and other builds. Don’t know where you are getting this “Occultists are not good outside of pets”. This honestly just screams of someone that hasn’t played the game for long.

Well, we obviously have different opinions on what makes a class interesting. Imho, if there is only one choas build simply due to a set that every player must find to achieve this, then …so much for class variety.

In any case, I’d suggest that one set does not define a combo.

Other wise, the solution is to throw a set at Warlock and another at Defiler and wash our hands of it. let’s not forget that pets also exist in this game, and with the changes to pet skills, pet warlocks have become very powerful.

This goes for the vast majority of class combos, frankly. Warder is shit without Avenger set, for instance, but Avenger Warder is considered one of the best builds in the game. Death Knights are incredibly lacking without the Krieg or Blood Knight sets.

On the other hand, something like Saboteur is actually tremendously synergetic despite the existing Saboteur sets not doing anything to complement that synergy.

Grim Dawn’s itemization system enables the vast majority of builds. This is offputting to new players because it does mean that many builds require X gear, but on the other hand, this means that a vast number of builds are theoretically possible due to gearing alterations.

Warlock has the Black Flame set, but that is unfortunately it and, even then, the Black Flame set is not spectacular because it focuses on a skill archetype that is itself nothing to write home about mechanically (AAR).

Implying this doesn’t happen to a majority of the builds. Most builds have a very specific items they look for. Itemization MATTERS and it’s a big factor to how a lot of builds are made and you are trying to write off as not mattering.

It’s not an opinion, that’s how it is.

Pyromancer is ok. Darkblaze set makes it rival Purifier. It’s also a class that has no shortage of RR. It’s only problem is being relatively frail.

I mentioned Defiler in a foreword. It was discussed over and over. The point of this thread is to bring attention to another underplayed class.

No, Occultist isn’t only for pets, it’s a great support mastery or as a vitality caster. Phys Witchblade, Darkblaze Pyromancer, FoI or Radaggan deceiver, Ultos or vitality conjurer, many non-pet cabalists (suprisingly diverse class, dunno why ppl focus only see him as pets). It’s wrong to assume that Occultist is meh just because of Warlock. It’s like assuming Necromancer is meh just because of Defiler.

I wouldn’t if certain “sneaky” pet players were posting their builds instead of dropping tidbits how they have super strong builds that destroy content. Heck, it was a shocking revelation when I was told that he’s for real an expert on pet builds.

Alright, well there are 2 ways to adjust balance: skills and gear.

Although I’m of the first camp, I understand that skills may have too much interweaving for dev time to make sense.

The OP kind of just said this and this isn’t great together and seemed to me to say “what can we do?”

If your conclusion is that a set will fix this, then I’d say propose what you think would be an appropriate set.

Then the discussion can focus on the set and maybe the devs could have some ideas if they decide to stick something in.

(I did read the history of the dakrblaze a while ago and it apparently wasn’t originally great and eventually got tweaked).

I’m also in the first camp, but I agree with Ceno here. If you try to balance everything with skills all masteries will be a mess and lose identity.

The thread was mostly to increase community awareness that Warlock could use some help and to see if there are people who actually play it and know the class in-depth. Consider this the groundworks for suggestions. I have some but they need some polishing :rolleyes:

what is FoI ? There are more acronyms than regular words xD

Flames of Ignaffar.

Problem with Warlock is lack of DA and %DMG reduction sources on both classes that force them intro suboptimal devotions or akward itemisation.
TSS or cold devastation warlock is the only okay choice for this class, others skills wont carry our poor spellcaster.
For aether - both battlemage and sorc outperformed warlocks in vanilla. Chaos is the worst dmg type in the game, so it never worked at all.

I haven’t played my Clairvoyant AAR Warlock since the addon, which is why I can only give limited feedback and it is more of a personal feeling.

The damage type of the skills don’t really match if you compare Arcanist and Occultist. This means, you try to choose one main class and use the other one as supporting class. That is certainly fine but it would feel better if one could bring some havoc with both classes.

The lack of some Aether or Chaos RR is also a bit disappointing. Iirc monsters have lower resistances against chaos and aether damage compared to other damage types. So it makes sense but you still feel like you are missing something out.

well, CT has inferno, TSS has frozen core, the highest Burn and Frostburn sources respectively. (Assuming CT is transmuted ofc) Add to that the 90% conversion from elemental to acid (which converts the above two to poison) from two easy to get items that you can find anytime close to your level during leveling, so you aren’t excluded from playing it if you’re a new player, I’d say there is an opportunity for poison play here, if you focus your sources:

DEE transmuted - Highest poison
Frozen Core from TSS- Highest frostburn
CT inferno, transmuted - Highest burn, almost twice as high as DEE transmuted.
There is also bloody pox’s black death, but it is most likely not worth having.
OA, Crit% from arcanist, some -DA and RR from occultist.

Level with DEE + Noxious Poison Bomb until you’re done with Log, Get putrid necklace from elite primordian, get ugdenbog venomlauncher from veteran act 5, and you are set to go.

This is a myth. It might had been like that before, but nowadays aether and chaos are fairly normal in this regard. Flesh Hulks for example have 98% aether resistance @level 100. Chthonian Harbringers have 118% chaos resistance @level 100. Reaper of the Lost has both aether and chaos at 94%+. Strongish yellow aetherial and chthonian enemies tend to have about 45% of aether/chaos respectively. In fact I think some other damage types are much less resisted than aether and chaos.

Interesting idea, actually.