Warlock Suggestions

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Giant2005
Posts: 81

Warlock Suggestions

Post#1 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:46 am

Firstly, I don't want this post coming off at all critical, because otherwise a list of proposed changes would absolutely do that by its very nature, so I'd like to take the time to gush a little bit about the Warlock love that has already been implemented.
Everything that has been done so far for the Warlocks has been awesome and I appreciate all of it. Especially the Pit Fiend, I am a huge fan of his and will always back him up when someone tries to say that the Lich is better. I haven't actually tried the other option available at level 12 yet even though that was what I had first planned for my Warlock, I just became too obsessed with the Pit Fiend to really try the other option. Having options however, is something I absolutely love, so the mere fact that it exists is something I endorse whole-heartedly. I also love the improvements to Word of Changing, even though it gets me killed more often than not due to my inability to drink potions while using it. I'll happily take a few extra deaths if I get to be an otherwise functional Demon while doing so. I also appreciate the combination of all of the little tweaks to their AC and such, designed to make them a viable option in the first place.

Now on to the actual suggestions:

Uncanny Dodge: Warlocks are already locked in to taking Hellfire Warlock as one of their classes. Having to throw a Cleric dip (or some other dip to get UD) in the mix locks up a third class, only leaving a single class for warlocks to play with. The more classes one is forced to take in order to fill that classes minimum requirements to function, the less build diversity is possible. Build diversity should be promoted, so I think Warlocks should get Uncanny Dodge in their natural level progression, just like what was done for Monks.

The Greater Chasuble of Fell Power: This amulet is of key importance for the Warlock, to the same extent that a a Fighter likes to collect damage bonuses on their weapons. But due to how Kaedrin scripted the thing (and how RoT needs to flag items as ER 1 only), if you take it to a forge higher than the Hell Forge, that property breaks. It also doesn't carry over when using Word of Changing.
My proposed solution is to add that enchant as an option for amulets at the Underdark Forge, or if it is easier: just have that Forge apply the Greater Chasuble's Flag to every single amulet that gets forged there. Giving the enchantment for free would just save a few gold and gold is meaningless anyway. This would also alleviate the issue of having to choose between the Chasuble and their Set Item Amulet. If for whatever reason this isn't implemented, then another possible solution would be to add a scaling Natural Armor buff to one of the Warlock's spells, so that he can achieve 12 Natural Armor while wearing a less enchanted Chasuble.
As for it not carrying over to Word of Changing, I don't know how easily that could be fixed due to the weird way that the Chasuble is scripted. If it can be done however, it really should be fixed, especially considering my next two suggestions are to expand that weird Chasuble script, so they would be broken while using word of Changing too.

The Set Items: Having to choose between the Chasuble and the Set Amulet really contradicts good set design. No other class's Set Items actively reduces their damage output like the Warlock's does and this really needs to be fixed. The Amulet Set Item could just be moved to the Cloak slot, but that would remove access to the Improved Combat Expertise Cloaks, which I am sure a lot of people would complain about. The solution: Add Improved Combat Expertise to it too! Or just add the Greater Chasuble's +damage flag to the Set Item Amulet, or make that property forgeable at the Underdark Forge.
The other issue regarding the Set Items is one I am less qualified to talk about as I haven't experienced it myself, but everyone else complains about it so I would be doing them a disservice if I did not mention it: the damage set bonus. Such a bonus has no value to a Warlock which uses its Eldritch Blasts as damage. If it can use whatever system Kaedrin used for the Chasuble to add that damage to the Eldritch Blast (or even a reduced bonus to the EB), that would obviously be much, much better. But for all I know, that damage already applies to the EB and everyone (like me now) that has been complaining about it is very uninformed.

Legendary Metals: I'm happy enough to stick these things on my armor if necessary, but if the above two suggestions are taken in to account, making the Chasuble's flag craftable and perhaps even extending it to include the damage bonus of the Warlock's Set Items, then that same system could be adapted to include the damage bonuses of the Legendary Metals. Forge them on the amulet and get their damage bonuses added to your Eldritch Blast. If the system Kaedrin used to add to EB damage on the Chasuble isn't elaborate enough to add varying damage types, just adding basic EB damage like the Chasuable does would be a fair compromise. Or just ignore this suggestion entirely as it is the one I am least enthusiastic about - it is the one suggestion that wouldn't just bring Warlocks in line with the other casters, but actually push them out ahead, which is not something that should be encouraged. It would be cool though for Warlocks to be able to use their Legendary Metals offensively like the weapon users do and the system seems to already exist to make that possible, I'd just like to see the other casters receive the ability to use their Legendary Metals offensively too if it were to happen.

Damage Scaling: This is a lot more controversial, but Eldritch Blast just doesn't keep up with damage. It scales every second Caster Level while the offensive spells of every other caster scale every level. This forces the Warlock to get his hands on as many Epic Eldritch Blast feats as possible in an impossible-to-achieve hope of closing the gap. Even if they got their hands on all 10 of the feats, that just gives a level 40 character 40 1:1 levels worth of scaling, which is something the other casters get without investing a massive 10 Epic Feats in to. Some would argue that +50% damage from Eldritch Master and +30% damage from Hellfire Warlock is enough to close the gap, but those bonuses don't close anything as they just keep parity with the +50% Empower, +20% Epic Explosive Damage, the Inexorabilis Rune, as well as whatever damage benefits they get from their chosen PRCs.
The solution is simple: give Warlocks the same 1 die 1 level scaling that all of the other casters get. That however would cause issues when stacked with the Epic Eldritch Blast Feats as well as the multiple attacks of Eldritch Glaive. Simply getting rid of the Epic Eldritch Blast feats is an easy fix to the former issue, but I'm sure there would be plenty of complaints if Eldritch Glaive went away in the same manner. I however would be perfectly okay with throwing away Glaive if it meant the rest of the class actually kept up as it should. I'd rather have a fully functional class without Glaive, than a class that was only really functional while using Glaive. However, if you want to keep Glaive while properly having the Warlock's damage scale as well as everyone else's, you can implement a more complicated script where the Eldritch Blast's base damage is divided by the number of attacks Glaive is making and only the extra damage of the Chasuble (and the Set Items, and the Legendary Metals if those suggestions are implemented) is added more than once per casting. That would still give Glaive a use, without it getting out of control on a properly scaled Warlock.

Fast Casting: This is just a quality of life suggestion which the other casters already benefit from: Made the Fast Casting Rods compatible with Warlock Invocations. Constantly reapplying all of those buffs the old fashioned way is maddening. Although I assume that if it were possible to add invocation compatibility to those rods, it would have already happened, so here is the actual suggestion: Create new Invocations that combine the effects of the lower invocations. It would result in an overall net loss of power, but if there was a Greater Invocation that had the combined effects of all of those Least Invocation buffs, I would absolutely use it. Reducing my buff routine to a still annoying, but much less-so 18 seconds would be well worth the price. Scratch all of that. It turns out that Warlocks can use the Metaprep Rod!

Imbue Item: This is more of a bug report than an actual suggestion, but that class feat doesn't actually work as described. I don't think it does much of anything, but making it so the 25% discount actually applies would be welcomed. While you are at it, you can add the Warlock to the list of classes (Bard/Rogue) that are capable of Class Emulation. Use Magic Device is supposed to be the Warlock's thing, even more-so than the two classes that do have Class emulation allowed. If any of the three should be capable of doing it, Warlock should absolutely be the one.

Brumm
Posts: 2439

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#2 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:54 am

Thanks for your report. I'll come back later to you in detail when I get the time. Just a few quick notes for now:

Uncanny Dodge
Adding uncanny dodge to Warlocks is nothing I would be very happy about. While I totally agree with your point about build variety I am not a fan of adding "essential" feats to every class. There are already a lot of sources for uncanny dodge already and if you get the runes - yes they are very expensive - you can even get it on an item.

The Greater Chasuble of Fell Power
I can take a look at how that is scripted.

Set Items
I didn't make the set and don't even know it's bonuses. If I recall that correctly it was planned to rework it though because of the pointless damage bonus. Will probably be done in the near future.

Legendary Materials
Well, Warlocks are casters and casters don't get a damage bonus from legendary materials. That was the deal before. We could change that of course but I really don't see a point in it. The damage of casters does not need to be further increased in my opinion.

Damage Scaling
You might be right about the Damage Scaling being too feat based but I don't think we should change that at this point. FIrst of all people already designed their builds with the current rules in mind. Forcing them into a relvel (again) and completely redesign their characters (again) is nothing we should do easily. Furthermore I don't think that the damage of Warlocks is low. It is pretty high acutally. And if we further increase the damage of Warlocks it shouldn't be for all warlocks in my opinion but just for invoker path warlocks because they are the weaker ones at the moment.

Greetings
Brumm

Giant2005
Posts: 81

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#3 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:22 am

Brumm wrote:Uncanny Dodge
Adding uncanny dodge to Warlocks is nothing I would be very happy about. While I totally agree with your point about build variety I am not a fan of adding "essential" feats to every class. There are already a lot of sources for uncanny dodge already and if you get the runes - yes they are very expensive - you can even get it on an item.

Fair enough. I am aware of the Rune and will probably even make use of it eventually. I think I disagree with your philosophy on "essentials" as I believe that every class should have the essentials it needs to function. PRCs and such should be there to add flavour and build diversity, not to fill holes in a class to make it functional.
I won't press the issue however, as this isn't the hill to die on and I don't think a difference of opinion in fundamental design philosophy is something that can be resolved anyway.

Brumm wrote:Legendary Materials
Well, Warlocks are casters and casters don't get a damage bonus from legendary materials. That was the deal before. We could change that of course but I really don't see a point in it. The damage of casters does not need to be further increased in my opinion.

I fully agree with you there. I don't think a change to the Legendary Metals is actually necessary, I just threw that idea in there for the "Cool factor" and the sake of completeness, more than anything.

Brumm wrote:Damage Scaling
You might be right about the Damage Scaling being too feat based but I don't think we should change that at this point. FIrst of all people already designed their builds with the current rules in mind. Forcing them into a relvel (again) and completely redesign their characters (again) is nothing we should do easily. Furthermore I don't think that the damage of Warlocks is low. It is pretty high acutally. And if we further increase the damage of Warlocks it shouldn't be for all warlocks in my opinion but just for invoker path warlocks because they are the weaker ones at the moment.

I have to disagree pretty heavily on this one however, although I think that is more due to my phrasing than anything else.
You are right in that Warlock damage is perfectly okay, but that is only after they have spent 10 Epic feats t get the same 1 die per 1 level scaling that the other caster's get for free. So if it helps any, we could consider the issue to be a "Epic Feat Scaling" issue rather than a damage one, and consider Warlock damage to be fine, but the fact that they get 10 Epic Feats less than everyone else to be less than fine. Rather than scale their damage, scale their Epic Feats so that they have the same amount (after having spent the 10 feats required to close the gap with the other casters that already get 1:1 scaling) as the other casters.
Although to be honest, even if you rephrase the issue as the Warlock having less feats, the damage issue would still exist as the 10 Epic Feats only close the gap to level 40, it doesn't take in to account the extra caster levels from Epic Relevels. A level 40 Warlock with a 1.25 caster level from Epic Relevels gets 25 dice from his Warlock levels plus 20 more from his 10 Epic feats. Other level 40 casters with 1.25 caster level ER modifiers get 50 dice from their Caster Levels, meaning that even if you just considered the Warlock's issue to be 10 less Epic Feats, they are still coming up 5 dice short after that.
As for releveling, I can certainly sympathise with having to do an extra relevel on something like a Sorcerer, but Warlock releveling is a relatively quick and easy process. I don't think anyone would be too off-put by having to spend 10 minutes releveling their character.

Either way, I really appreciate the response.

kc2345
Posts: 849

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#4 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 3:16 am

One way (which I suggested before in the ROT Discord) is to give warlocks increased CL based scaling, but hit their multipliers in Hellfire Warlock and Eldritch Master so that damage at the top end stays the same.

For example:
Current formula:
+1d10 per 2 caster levels base scaling
+2d10 per Epic Blast Dice Feat
+50% Eldritch Master
+30% Hellfire Warlock (10% per HfW level)

At CL 50 and 10 Epic Blast Dice, this yields:
(25+20)d10 x 1.3 x 1.5 = 482.625 average damage (damage per glaive hit w/o Instill or Spot Weakness)

If we change it to the following:
+1d10 per caster level base scaling
+2d10 per Epic Blast Dice Feat
+8% Eldritch Master
+15% Hellfire Warlock (5% per HfW level)

At CL50 and 10 Epic Blast Dice, we would get:
(50+20)d10 x 1.08 x 1.15 = 478.17 damage, which is virtually identical (difference is only 1%).

The 2nd formula will greatly benefit lower level locks due to the increased CL scaling, but keep the top end closely the same without significantly affecting the hierarchy of warlock damage output.

Example 1: 30ER2 lock with 2 Epic Blast Dice:
Old: (16+4)d10 x 1.3 x 1.5 = 214.5
New: (33+4)d10 x 1.08 x 1.15 = 252.747 (about +18% more damage than before)

Example 2: 28 lock with no Epic Blast Dice:
Old: 14d10 x 1.3 x 1.5 = 150.15
New: 28d10 x 1.08 x 1.15 = 191.268 (about +27% more damage than before)

Example 3: 40 lock with 6 Epic Blast Dice
Old: (25+12)d10 x 1.3 x 1.5 = 396.825
New: (50+12)d10 x 1.08 x 1.15 = 423.522 (about +6.7% more damage than before)

EDIT: Corrected the 1.5 from HfW to 1.3 and adjusted EM/HfW %s to match
EDIT2: Added some more examples
Last edited by kc2345 on Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

Giant2005
Posts: 81

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#5 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:38 am

kc2345 wrote:Current formula:
+1d10 per 2 caster levels base scaling
+2d10 per Epic Blast Dice Feat
+50% Eldritch Master
+30% Hellfire Warlock (10% per HfW level)

At CL 50 and 10 Epic Blast Dice, this yields:
(25+20)d10 x 1.5 x 1.5 = 556.875 average damage (damage per glaive hit w/o Instill or Spot Weakness)

It looks to me like you goofed there. You listed Hellfire as +30% damage but then listed it as a 1.5 multiplier in the calculation. Unless there is something weird going on to make that 30% damage increase to 50, the equation should be:
(25+20)d10 x 1.5 x 1.3 = 482.625 average damage, which would obviously require your proposed numbers changing quite a bit to keep the damage relatively the same.
But I don't think comparing Warlocks to one another is the way to go, because that is accepting the premise that their damage is okay in the first place. Outside of Glaive, it isn't and Warlocks should be allowed to be more than just Glaive spammers.
Consider that build above (which is effectively Warlock 37/Hellfire 3) using any other blast it has (in this case let's go with its other top single target damage in Spear, which I believe doubles the damage). That Spear would do double that 482.625 up there, resulting in a seemingly impressive 965.25 damage.
However compare that to a similar arcane build of Sorcerer 37/Arcane Scholar 3 and the damage of his Polar Ray, you get this equation:
6d6 + 50(2d10+1) x 1.5 (Empower) x 1.2 (Epic Explosive) = 1,117.8 average damage.
The Sorcerer is inflicting way more damage with one class ability, two general feats, and one epic feat, than the Warlock is with one class ability (that also harms the Warlock just for using it) and an absurd eleven epic feats.
The Warlock is investing a hell of a lot more, only to come up with a result that pales in comparison. And Polar Ray isn't even that great a spell; it isn't Avasculate or something else that would make the Warlock squee with envy. Nor is it taking in to account extra caster levels from outside sources, even though those outside sources far favour the traditional casters due to their better scaling. It takes the Warlock his set bonus and four general feats just to get a further 2d10 x 1.5 x1.3 (21.45 average damage from the investment) from the five caster levels that a traditional caster gets just from a single Rune; those five caster levels bringing a much more significant 5(2d10+1) x 1.5 x 1.2 (108 average) damage.
Sure the Warlock can do better if he manages to get his BAB high enough for 3 or more attacks on Eldritch Glaive, but a Warlock isn't defined by his Glaive. He should be allowed to compete outside of that one ability and if that ability is preventing him from being able to do so, then that ability is the thing that needs to be toned down. It is better for the Warlock's baseline to be brought up to the standards of the other casters and Glaive to be brought down to the baseline of his other abilities, so all of his abilities are balanced with the other classes, rather than just one of them.

kc2345
Posts: 849

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#6 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:01 am

Noted on the calculation error. The %s of EM and HfW can be adjusted downward to something like 8%/15% to compensate.

Spear adds +50% to Blast Damage, and there is up to another +50% if you cast Instill Vulnerability.

I don't think using Empowered Polar Ray is a fair comparison at all.

It requires a specific, rarely taken PRC, and consumes a level 9 spell slot per cast, of which a max level Sorc/Wizard only has about 18-26 casts of. It also has terrible range.

Instead, a typical arcane's direct damage mainstays are (Empowered/Maximized) Scorching Ray, Flame Arrow, Chain Lightning, K Orb and Arc of Cold/Lightning. Compared to those, a warlock's Eldritch Spear is pretty much in line at max level. Arguments might be made about Chain/Doom/Cone being too weak, but I don't see Spear as an issue - it's about right for what it is.

Their damage at 40 is okay. I have played both arcanes and warlocks at 40, and both are close enough in terms of single target firepower. Arcane wins on AoE/Crowd Control, but warlock wins in terms of being able to go on continuously without resting and being able to easily replace fallen summons with hellhounds/heal summons.

Giant2005
Posts: 81

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#7 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:19 am

kc2345 wrote:Noted on the calculation error. The %s of EM and HfW can be adjusted downward to something like 8%/15% to compensate.

Spear adds +50% to that, and there is up to another +50% if you cast Instill Vulnerability.

I don't think using Empowered Polar Ray is a fair comparison at all.

It requires a specific, rarely taken PRC, and consumes a level 9 spell slot per cast, of which a max level Sorc/Wizard only has about 18-26 casts of. It also has terrible range.

Instead, a typical arcane's direct damage mainstays are (Empowered/Maximized) Scorching Ray, Flame Arrow, Chain Lightning, K Orb and Arc of Cold/Lightning. Compared to those, a warlock's Eldritch Spear is pretty much in line at max level. Arguments might be made about Chain/Doom/Cone being too weak, but I don't see Spear as an issue - it's about right for what it is.

I actually thought Spear was +100% damage, not +50%, if it is only +50 then the Spear's average damage is 723.9375 and it isn't like Polar Ray is some kind of outlier. If you want to compare it to a Maximized Chain Lightning, then a stock-standard Sorc with no PRC at all would inflict 50 x 16 x 1.2 = 960 average damage which does fall shy of the Polar Ray, but not by much and Chain Lightning is AOE. Even if there is only a single target, that Chain Lightning still far outperforms the Eldritch Spear and costs only one epic feat and two generals, vs the Warlock's eleven epic feats investment. Even without Metamagic at all, the Sorcerer's Chain Lightning is inflicting an average of 600 damage to the primary target, which is far closer to the Warlock's baseline after their eleven epic feat investment, than the Warlock is to the Sorcerer's Maximized version.
Obviously the Sorcerer's dominance is further enhanced if we actually compare it to the Warlock equivalent (Eldritch Chain) which inflicts far less damage than the Spear I was comparing it to.
But if the damage is where you want it, then fair enough. I don't mind it either. Just give those eleven epic feats back that it took to get to comparable levels to the baseline Sorcerer.
Penalize the Warlock on damage or epic feats, both at once is overkill.

kc2345
Posts: 849

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#8 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:22 am

Chain Lightning/Arcs/Flame Arrow have a reflex save for 1/2, and are seriously hampered by Evasion/Improved Evasion - which is moderately common in higher level zones. Higher difficulty/EX enemies will make that save fairly regularly. They also don't have the secondary essence effect of a blind/confusion/daze that an Eldritch Blast has. This isn't really an apples to apples comparison.

Instead, the K Orbs/Scorching Rays are the most appropriate benchmarks, as these spells are direct damage on a single target with no save, and even then aren't exactly equal.

Giant2005
Posts: 81

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#9 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:58 am

kc2345 wrote:Chain Lightning/Arcs/Flame Arrow have a reflex save for 1/2, and are seriously hampered by Evasion/Improved Evasion - which is moderately common in higher level zones. Higher difficulty/EX enemies will make that save fairly regularly. They also don't have the secondary essence effect of a blind/confusion/daze that an Eldritch Blast has. This isn't really an apples to apples comparison.

Instead, the K Orbs/Scorching Rays are the most appropriate benchmarks, as these spells are direct damage on a single target with no save, and even then aren't exactly equal.

I'd disagree with those being appropriate benchmarks at all. We are talking about a Warlock going balls to the wall, spending eleven epic feats and taking a PRC that literally causes him damage when he casts his spells, just to inflict as much as possible; versus a baseline Sorcerer using low level spells. Spells weak enough that I didn't even bother taking a single one of them on my Sorcerer. Just the fact that you are having to lower the bar that far to try and get an outcome favourable to the Warlock is perfect evidence that the Warlock is underperforming.
The best comparison was the Polar Ray. That represents a Sorcerer that is actually trying.
Still, just for the point of throwing the numbers up there, a Maximized K's Orb of whatever inflicts 24 + (50 x 8) x 1.2 damage for an average of 508.8 damage. The Warlock finally won one, but considering the Warlock is going balls to the wall with PRCs and Epic Feats and the Sorcerer isn't even trying, can it really be considered all that much of a win?

kc2345
Posts: 849

Re: Warlock Suggestions

Post#10 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:03 am

You're forgetting the feats used to quicken for the arcane.

Most sorcerers also spend 8-10 feats on quicken, automatic quicken IX, and another 3 on the Epic Purist feats. If you omit those, you're comparing a sorcerer casting 1 spell/round vs a warlock that can cast 2/round, which is pretty far off.

You need 10 quicken feats just to AQ an empowered Polar Ray.

If you'd like, I can demonstrate the power level of both classes at 40 in an event server zone - warlocks are hardly weak at max level.

That said, I do think Doom/Cone could use a significant boost. I hardly use those shapes on my warlock.

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