MMORPG: The mechanic says summoning a replacement puppet gives you a stacking damage buff up to a 100% bonus damage. In practical terms, will I be summoning five soul puppets then resummoning to keep the damage buff up?
CM: Practically, players can only have one Soul Puppet at a time. The damage buff is applied if the player already has one active and then would summon a new Soul Puppet. For most players this damage buff will only activate in rare cases, but for a Damnation Warlock, getting this buff maxed out for as much time as possible is a very important part of their gameplay. The buff is refreshed each time it activates.
MMORPG: Moving on to Temptation, can you give me an example of how playing a support Warlock might differ from another support-specced class in the game?
CM: Playing a support Warlock is fundamentally different than playing a Support Cleric. Support Warlocks are a far more aggressive playstyle that thrives on solid positioning and still putting out impressive damage. Their healing is directly linked to their Life Steal, so the more effective they can be at dealing damage, the more they can heal their allies for. Couple this with the myriad of buffs and debuffs they can apply from powers like Blades of Vanquished Armies and Wraith’s Shadow as well as their Auras and they become a very potent support for any party.
MMORPG: Are you seeing players choose one more than another?
CM: So far it seems to have been a fairly even distribution.
MMORPG: Scourge Wizards seem to have a lot of abilities that offset the typical “glass cannon” spell-caster paradigm. How do you balance damage/support capability with survivability? Is that survivability dependent on skillful play or are they inherently more survivable by design?
CM: Scourge Warlocks have 3 large tools for making them more survivable, but they take a substantial hit to their ability to deal damage. Vampiric Embrace offers a very potent way to steal health from a target, while Warlock’s Bargain actually allows the Warlock to redirect some of his incoming damage to a foe at the cost of a chunk of his own health. Finally a Warlock can stat heavily into Life Steal which provides a solid buffer of incoming healing at the cost of being able to have far more offensively geared stats. We have seen a number of different Warlock builds with varying levels of survivability and are pretty happy with the overall variety that has emerged.
MMORPG: Tell us about the Warlock’s paragon path, Hellbringer. What makes it unique compared to comparable paths in other classes?
CM: The Hellbringer is very focused on bringing even more damage to the table via buffs and the incredible damage of Gates of Hell.
MMORPG: Gates of Hell can damage other players. Is there any concern about griefing or abusing this power?
CM: Gates of Hell has a very long windup as well as a large and dangerous looking effect. While it deals substantive damage, it is quite difficult to land on players, so we aren’t very worried about it being used for griefing.
MMORPG: Thematically – lorewise – what separates out the Warlock’s equipment from the other classes?
CM: Warlocks use Pact Blades as their primary weapon. Unlike the daggers that say, a Rogue uses, Pact Blades are largely used as spell casting implements, much like how Control Wizards use Orbs and Devoted Clerics use their Holy Symbols. They are designed as focus for their spellcasting, though they could still be used as a standard weapon, being that they are still sharp, pointy blades and all.
MMORPG: So there are Pact Blades but also Dark Leather armor. How will this new equipment play into the economy, loot drops, rewards, craftable gear, etc?
CM: It will work similarly to the other classes in the game, and it will be rolled into the game much like how Hunter Ranger equipment was added into the mix when they were added to the game. Since Neverwinter has a mix of very randomized drops from various enemies in the world and bosses in dungeons, and also has rewards that are targeted at an individual player from quest chests, dungeon chests, and Professions, this allows us to introduce new classes worth of equipment while having minimal impact on the overall feel of drop rates for any given character.
MMORPG: Lastly, will there be any narrative or unique story for Scourge Warlocks? Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition says that they are often beholden to devils or horrors from the Far Realm. We can definitely see that in their abilities but it’s easy to see how some great stories could come out of such a relationship.
CM: Scourge Warlocks have a unique class quest line that fills you in on their backstory, and where their power comes from. We definitely had fun creating this quest line, and being able to interact with Belial makes for some interesting character development.
We’d like to thank Chris Matz and Cryptic Studios for taking the time to chat with us around their latest update. Now we throw it to you, reader. What do you think of the Scourge Warlock? Will you be playing one? Let us know what you think in the comments below!