Guide To Being A Successfull Warlock Tank
This guide was created by Obviousman of the EQ2 Forums. All credit for this guide goes to him. To see the original posting of this guide click here.
This isn't a guide for tanks about how to deal with the warlock's aggro issues. No, this is a guide about how warlocks can take on enemies toe to toe without needing an instant Rescue to survive. Now, why would any Warlock want to do this? Usually only a few more hits will end up finishing the warlock, and you will be sacrificing a bit of DPS to become a bit more durable. So let's ask, who wants to be a Warlocktank?
- The soloing/doing Warlock: Basically, anyone who doesn't mind having a non-optimal DPS in raid situations. If you spend most of your time alone or with another person, the warlocktank method may be the way to go.
- The mega-squishy: Having loads of power and spell damage means nothing when you're dead. If you hate how enemies paste you every time aggro slips into your hands, then maybe you may want to consider this.
- The PvP Warlock: Player vs Player takes survival to an entirely new element. Most players have abilities that can wipe the floor with Warlocks, and most of them will be surprised to see you still standing, until you deliver the finishing blow first.
- The deeply concerned player: Yeah, death is essentially meaningless now, not that I want anything changed with it. However, many people still care about their characters, and they don't want to die. This method will surely help anyone out with a few tricks to keep themselves alive.
If you are one of these people, or maybe you just want to find out how to be an effective soloer/tank/survivor, etc. Behold the guide of the Warlocktank.
TANKING: AN OVERVIEW
The purpose of taking the Warlocktank route is to raise your mitigation and defenses high enough so that you can continue to pour your DPS into your opponent while preventing the monster from taking out giant pieces of your health. As in the case of battling any monster, you want to know how much damage they are capable of so you can compare yourself and find out if you are capable of taking them out. I will provide you with a list of ranges of unmitigated damage (shown from absorbed stoneskin attacks) that different mobs hit for [Taken from level 72-74 range on a level 75 warlock]:
Solo pre-ROK mobs: Weaksauce (Seriously, once you hit ROK and get some quest gear, these mobs are a cakewalk)
Solo ROK mobs: 900's-1200's
Heroic pre-ROK mobs: 1700's-2200's
Heroic ROK mobs: 3500's-4000's
What this means, unfortunately, is that warlocks will not be able to tank ROK dungeons any time soon. Seriously, don't try it. Real tanks have enough problems with these mobs as it is, a good warlocktank might last 3-4 hits before keeling over. Take your warlock any other place, however, and with the right group, you can handle leading any group material. You're going to need a lot of practice before trying anything like this, though, so I am going to give you some hints about the physical progression that is tanking:
THE ART OF PULLING:
Pulling is the act of grabbing a monster's attention so that you can beat on it with any method you please. On an open field, it can simply be a matter of casting a few spells and weakening it significantly before it comes to you. Unfortunately, monsters like to help the comrade that's getting beat upon, so in most cases, you need to be extremely careful in the way you provoke a monster so that you don't bring along unexpected company. Here are some methods in which you can pull monsters safely and reliably:
This isn't just limited to those pearly guys in plate armor. Now that you have the right defenses to call yourself a warlocktank, you can engage in peeling monsters off with nothing but your presence. The key to body pulling is to get close enough to the mob that one of them will get ready to attack you (the way to note this is either its head turning towards you or its body shaping into attack mode), and then back away to make sure that only that mob is ready to fight. Once you get back far enough, fire away with your damage spells until you finish off the mob, then move up and start the process all over again. There are two main things you want to keep an eye out for when body pulling:
1) WATCH YOUR SPACING! If it means walking one inch at a time, then by all means, do it. Especially when you're fighting heroic mobs in a dungeon, keeping sure that you're fighting one encounter at a time could often make the difference between life and death. Spacing is critical to your survival as a tank.
2) Make sure you back away carefully. Not only does this ensure that you indeed are fighting only one encounter, but this means that you can freely cast your spells without the danger of monsters aggroing from the surrounding area. Again, your body can only handle so many hits, make sure they're only coming from one source!
While on the topic of body pulling, now is the time to bring up another feature of body pulling that you can use.
Most often, it is mobs of the scout archetype that can see through your invisibility; the other mobs will simply stand there, watching you threateningly. This can bring some problems, such as a random mob in a pasture will see through your invis and attack you while you are standing near other mobs who could not see you before. In dungeons or associated mob camps, usually the sentries or other roamers will be the main mobs that can see you and attack you on sight. Invisi-Body Pulling requires a new set of guidelines to fit with those outstanding from the regular body pulling segment:
1) If two mobs are cluttered together, and one can see through your invisibility and the other cannot; make yourself invisible, get the attention of the mob that can see you, and run like heck away from the other mob. As long as you aren't right next to the assaulting mob, you should keep your invisibility until you get away from the other mob enough that you won't get attacked by that one as well.
2) LET ROAMERS COME TO YOU! Especially when there are other monsters in the vicinity. Survival is all about proper placement- place yourself in a spot where you know other mobs won't get to you, and just stand there and let the unintelligent mob pathing system bring the roamer to you. You want to fight on your terms as much as possible, and after you defeat the roamer, just cast your invisibility on the spot and continue on your path unharmed.
There is a third type of pulling that can bring monster's attention toward you and can be used with some degree of safety:
This is using the spell Concussive to pull a monster into you. What is it about this spell that makes it able to cast and pull? This spell is a complete deaggro, it does nothing else to the mob. As long as the mob is not damaged in any way, it will not call for help and send surrounding monsters into you. This spell is indispensible in dungeons, where you want to peel a specific mob out of a group of monsters and body pulling is too dangerous. There is one MAJOR warning about using this ability: This spell, like any other hostile spell, has a chance to proc damage from an effect that you are wearing. If you have any of these pieces of armor (and ROK has a shedful of them) and it procs on Concussive, then it is treated like a regular spell and you may get social agro. I'll repeat: Have this spell proc when you pull with it and you may be screwed!
There are endless amounts of situations where you have to decide how to bring a monster toward you while keeping yourself safe from adds. All it takes is a combination of quick thinking, awareness to surroundings, and proper use of warlock abilities and you can walk away from almost any situation without any unplanned surprises. I may have been talking about confronting the mob face-to-face, but remember, there is nothing wrong with rooting and nuking. In fact, with the extra protection to help you when the root breaks, rooting and nuking is made safer by traveling the warlocktank journey. Just follow the basic rules of rooting and nuking (No damage over time spells, watch the surrounding area, apply both roots if necessary) and you can take on monsters other classes can only wish they can solo. To give one last bit of advice on this matter, keep your maintained spells window up with Alt+M, this is crucial as it tells you how long every spell will remain on your mob, especially roots and the fear effect it causes when it breaks. When you see the root change into fear, cancel your spell, stun the mob or just press the root button as fast as possible!
Now that we all know how to fight like a warlocktank, let's venture into what you have to do to make yourself a warlocktank.
The Sorcerer Build does hold a few nice methods that can help you survive in dire situations. The Warlock Tree, however, is really where Warlocks shine over Wizards in survival. Both these trees, including the end abilities, provide excellent ways to keep yourself alive. Let's take a look at my personal preferences for the Achievement system:
STA Line: This has warlocktank all over it. Stamina increases your overall health, which is essential in keeping alive against hard-hitting monsters. Your third ability- Battlemage armor, provides an excellent 700-800 additional mitigation to all physical attacks- that may be an additional 1/3 mitigation! Under no circumstances should any warlocktank not have this ability maxxed out. The next line, although not as essential, also provides excellent help. This ability- Battlemage's Fervor, increases Focus, Subjugation, Disruption and Ordination of the caster. Focus prevents the Warlock from being interrupted while getting beat upon; Subjugation improves your root as well as lowers the resistability of your stuns; and Disruption improves the amount of damage your own spells give. This is another line you should consider raising to at least 5/6 points.
Oh yes, the final ability- Manashield. Being mages loaded with Intelligence, all warlocks will have more power than health, and unless you're soloing Heroic monsters, you usually have enough power to constantly pull several monsters in a row without having power issues. In case you have an unfortunate add coming to you or if you just pulled a heroic monster toward you, this is the tank ability. Once activated, instead of losing health, it drains 2 points of power for every 3 points of health you would have lost. Near the endgame, where Warlocks have around 7-9k power, this could go up over 12k points of damage you can mitigate! Of course, this is no reason to be foolish, as enemies hit you hard and they can deplete your power before you can finish them off, and once that happens, you can only pray the tank has Rescue up and running. Use it wisely, however, and you can finish off any unwanted monster with your health still allright and enough power so you can get away and rest for a bit. If you want an effective warlocktank, Manashield and the STA line is the way to go.
STR Line: Not only do you have to keep yourself ready to get hit, you have to make sure you can deal out the damage as well. Using the final ability is a bit dicey, as you don't really want to give up almost a fifth of your health while mobs are beating on you. However, you will feel more than safe taking the other abilities on the line:
Deflecting Staff- the third ability: Allows you to parry up to 8% of monster's attacks. Mages are remarkably average in avoiding monster's attacks- around 30-35% with base only. With this ability, you can reach over 40% avoidance- almost equal to scout's avoidance. What better way to keep yourself alive than to not get hit at all. The next ability- Spell Expertise, increases the chance for the warlock to achieve critical damage with his/her spells- up almost 12%. Critical hits turns your spells into damage machines, and with gear adding to critical hit chances, you can run your chances quite high. There is no reason not to have both these abilities maxxed out if possible.
Catalyst is the end ability of this line, and it basically allows the warlock to critically damage the opponent with his/her next spell. This is most useful for decimating groups with Apocalypse, or taking out a large hit with the Distortion Line. There are too many possibilities you can have with a critical hit in your fingertips. Again, though, be careful if you are taking this line, as there's a health cost!
INT Line: The De-aggro line. While the Anti-Rescue ability at the end seems indulging, you want to be able to handle the hits, and finishing the STR Line and getting criticals is more important. However, the second ability provides a very nice deaggro that can help send the monster's attention elsewhere, even with only 4 points. What you do want to do is to max out the next ability: Kinetic Evasion. This ability increases your total Defense, which helps hugely in avoiding other attacks. Avoidance and mitigation are the keys to tanking well, so have this ability maxxed out.
Now, this is not, by all means, the only option. The Wisdom Line increases your spells' damage and reduces their power cost, and the Agility Line shortens your casting and recasting times. I recommend the above lines because the other lines have abilities that will improve your avoidance and defense as well as having sick endline abilities. If you want to solo using other lines, go ahead. Share with us how these abilities go, other opinions go a long way to building the perfect warlock.
Thanks to a visit with the nerfbat, Propagations is no longer a viable spell line for a soloing warlock. I truly feel upset with this change.
Hastenings Line: All of your soloing, single-target spells, just waiting to be improved. You have the points, max out every, and I mean every spell in this line. The Freeze ability shortens the time of your single-target stun down to 22.5 seconds. Your two DoT's will have their durations decreased, allowing them to run their full course after you complete a Heroic Opportunity. The Distortion ability shortens the cast time and reuse of your major single-target spell.
But now, let's talk about Focused Casting. Once you reach this, this is the other "Let's get serious!" ability. With it, not only can you cast and recast your spells twice as fast, you will also never get interrupted throughout the duration! This is the way to produce sick DPS when you need to get a mob down fast, because if the mob is not down, most likely you will be. Get this ability at all costs.
Protection Line: Yes, any raiding warlock will tell you that this is a waste of an endline ability because it won't bring you uber amounts of DPS. However, if you're soloing, this really isn't a concern, and when 10 out of the required 15 points are going to be spent here anyway, you might as well finish off the line.
Since the endline ability is nothing too fancy, I'll talk about it first. Vacuous increases the hate gain or hate loss of your and your group's abilities by 20%. Soloing, this means nothing, but in a group, this is a great way to make sure that hate transfers will keep the aggro on the tank. A little protection goes a long way in preventing aggro going elsewhere and wiping the group.
This line also contains the Concussive and Vulian Interference abilities. Vulian Interference will increase the duration of the daze (up to a whopping 3.2 seconds of you not getting hit by auto-attack) while reducing its recast time; Concussive will increase the effectiveness of its de-aggroing abilities. You should be using these after your big attacks and criticals anyway, so why not make them better off for you?
Enhance: Magi's Shielding- Every warlock will use it, only the most dedicated warlocktanks will max it out. 10 points is a lot to ask, but with it maxxed, you can have a replenishing ward for over 500 damage (at level 70). This is huge. This is very huge. Over the course of a battle, it will replenish itself, and you will get warded more than once. This also is the foundation of being a successful warlocktank.
Removals Line: Curse of Null helps to reduce enemy damage (lower STR and INT), and casting it twice as fast and adding 40% more debuff has a noticable effect. The same is true of the Max health/power debuff. It's difficult to tell because it doesn't change the percentage of health/power, only the total health/power pool of the mob. But after casting this, the mob will die with less total damage. Cutting its casting time from 2 s to 1 s and adding 40% more debuff is very useful. Oh, and having loads of Nil Crystals isn't bad either, although they kind of have no useful purpose in this game at all.
Volatility- This is the final ability of the removals line, and this adds 20% range and removes 20% range from the mob. Having increased range is excellent for adding an additional spell on the pull, but this ability brings another purpose entirely- defeating spellcasters (Especially named ones). Using the standard range of 35 meters, this means that opponent spellcasters can only attack from 28 meters, while you can cast from 42 meters away. Finding a comfortable amount of space to pull this off may be difficult, but essentially, you'll be able to root a spellcaster and fire away with no worries about them firing back.
Phew, that was exhausting. You have 140 AP's and you can use every single one of them to become a better warlock and a better survivor. Unfortunately, this is only half the battle.
Now let's get to placing the right things on the warlock.
For this section, I will place a few recommendations for the right pieces of gear to use. For a tanking warlock, the best gear to obtain is those that have a lot of +STA and +health to go along with +INT. Also be wary of mitigation and resists, as they go a long way in determining how hard you're going to get hit. The equipment I have listed you can either get very easily quested or you can buy it for a very affordable price (unless listed otherwise). Feel free to contribute other pieces of gear if I had missed any.
Mastercrafted Equipment (Tiers 1-7), switches to tranquil mastercrafted at tier 8: Thanks to a certain amount of ridiculous low-level armor and a certain economic policy called mudflation, mastercrafted armor has been given a boost to the point where it's virtually broken. Harvest those roots and get the rare component, or just bite the bullet and buy the set one piece at a time. Most of the time, you will be able to get all of the pieces without too much of a hassle. The benefits of getting this kind of mastercrafted gear over the other pieces is that it grants STA as well as INT, and with the best stats of any armor in its tier (with the possible exception of tiers 7 and 8), mastercrafted is simply the way to go.
Raiment of the SkyWatcher (Level 60): This is the piece to have before you can get better robes, as it gives a chance to deaggro for 600 for any spell you cast. This can add up pretty nicely.
Shield of the Koala'Dal (Level 62): A very obtainable symbol you can get solo. Not only does it add 25 STA to your person, it also gives a very nice ward that stacks well with your Magi's Shielding AP Ability.
Espelled Vultak Eye (Level 64): Another symbol with a nice ward effect. This is available for a nice price or you can even make it yourself as long as you can craft and you can take down the named NPC's in the Nest of the Great Egg without too much problem.
X'haviz' Gown of Glory (Level 64): Don't let the Fabled Tag fool you, this is very easily obtainable from the end boss inside the Nest of the Great Egg, an instance people can solo now. This is the third piece that can give a ward effect, add it with your two symbols and you can easily ward upwards of 1000 damage!
Bone-Claspsed Girdle (Level 64): Until you reach level 72, this may be the best belt at your disposal. While you only have two spells that this would have any effect on (dev love for the wizzerds evident here), the proc is a nice touch.
Grizzfazzle's Walking Stick (Level 65): Ahh, Grizzfazzle, you walk in, kill a few bugs, complete an instance and walk out with one of the best non-raiding wands you can have. More procs = awesome. Simple as that.
Signet of Light From Darkness (Level 68): Okay, this is a tough one to get, as it is a rare drop inside the Obelisk of Blight. Once you get it, though, you'll wonder how you lived without it (I'm still wondering why I haven't had it yet). Every time you get hit (and you are solo-tanking, after all), it has a chance to essentially life-tap the enemy- up to 1000 damage to the enemy and a heal to you for 500. You want this.
Sash of Nensthar (Level 72): You can put the Bone-Clasped Girdle away. You can buy this for around 2 plat, or about a few quests and sold items in RoK. What's all this effort for? Stoneskin. That's right, you now have your own personal stoneskin. Of course, this will come at different times as it is a proc, but you can block 500 damage, 1,000, I've been lucky enough to block 2,000 points of damage! Apparently, someone prayed to the devs to give mages a chance to be better defensively, because I honestly don't see a better way to do it than this item here. [The Runic Bracers of Diffusion have this effect too, but this is off an instance mob and is very expensive. There is a third stoneskin item that comes from gaining enough faction in Kunzar Jungle, but again, this is very time-consuming.]
Any other advice? From here on in, it's just the usual: Upgrade your spells, watch your surroundings, use every ability you have to the fullest. I will be periodically updating this guide from suggestions you send out, for no guide is perfect, at least without the support of Everquest's fighting warlocks. You can find me on the Permafrost server, so if you have any questions, stop by, say hello, and enjoy your hunting.