Blood Pact: Warlock class intentions in Legion
As part of my quest to understand where Warlocks sit among casters and ranged DPS — not to mention, making sure we are distinct from those filthy Fire Mages — I’ve rolled several other classes in the Legion alpha. Although none of the class halls are entirely complete yet, I’ve started to grow jealous of how much fuller some of the other class halls feel. Even though many NPCs in class halls are still generically named — Sun Priest, Tirigarde Apprentice, or Argus Purifier — the fact that they are full of people from Azeroth makes them seem fuller, more friendly, and overall more closeknit than the Warlock class hall does.
Again, the Legion alpha class halls are far from finished, but the stark absence of many major Warlock NPCs has me wondering about what makes up our class identity.
The main counterargument to why the Warlock class hall feels empty is that there simply are no Warlock protagonist NPCs out there. Most of our Warlock “heroes” are villains, like Gul’dan. We currently have talents named for Archimonde, Kil’jaeden, and Mannoroth, all of whom are major lore antagonists allied with the Burning Legion. In Legion, one of our specs will wield the weapon of Sargeras, the biggest Burning Legion baddie around.
Even some half-Warlock figures are claimed by other classes. There are two major things that Warlocks are known for: demons and blood sacrifices. Ner’zhul was a Shaman who later became the Lich King, a Death Knight-like figure, despite trading in a blood pact with Kil’jaeden. Medivh is typically claimed as a Mage, despite being possessed (albeit unknowingly) by Sargeras himself. Meryl Felstorm majorly figures into the Mage class hall questline, despite his involvement with banishing and being possessed by a dreadlord of all things.
Is there another requirement to being considered a Warlock? Must the consorting with demons be entirely consensual? Even Meryl’s choice to contain Kathra’Natir was his choice; he meant to save Valeera Sanguinar by choosing to house and subdue the dreadlord with his stronger will. So, does a Warlock specifically go for the personal gain over a broader, greater good?
We successfully banished Kanrethad with the help of Jubeka during the green fire quest chain for Warlocks. He was a typical power-hungry Warlock who went a little too far, and we stopped him from unleashing his demonic madness on the world. We didn’t get any sort of world congratulations from that, just a whiff of relief at averting another Warlock-born disaster. Green fel fire is still gross to most of the world, and we Warlocks are still evil outcasts for it. Is it because we turned against one of our own class? Or is it because we pulled a little personal power out of Kanrethad at the end, effectively making it a personal gain?
Our relationship with demons
The relationship with demons that Legion so far portrays for Warlocks is a cold one — and one I don’t entirely agree with. We do sacrifice demons, and I’m sure every Warlock player has cursed a pet that pulled aggro or otherwise died in a corner for a stupid reason, so we don’t care about the safety of our demonic pets so much. We have a forced Soul Link between our pets, rather than the lovable Hunter’s deep Spirit Bond with their tamed pets. We also don’t choose our demons like Hunters do; when you learn Summon Felhunter for the first time (aside from randomly casting around for a reassignment), that’s the Felhunter you’re stuck with from now on.
It would be different, however, if our relationship with our pets was like the random ghouls that Death Knights summon. I suppose the idea is that the Death Knight is pulling up whatever corpse happens to be nearby, whether it was dead five seconds or five hundred years. But the Warlock personal and controllable pet that you summon is the same exact demon every time. My imp will always be Bizmir. Ormmon will always sit his blueberry void butt in between myself and a mob. Bheezhem is my one and only felpuppy, and even if I’ve sacrificed him over and over again since we first landed in Pandaria, I was completely torn up about his disappearance when a game bug caused another felhunter to show up in his place.
Our relationship with hordes of demons is certainly cold. It takes a lot of energy to forge a solid blood pact with a specific demon, and we just can’t do that all the time. When we summon a random Doomguard or Wild Imp we know it’s not for very long, and thus we won’t get too attached. It’s a random demon from the Twisting Nether, and we just need it to do our bidding for a few moments.
Our followers or our coven
The Warlock class hall quest involves slaying a pit lord to take over his Nether planet and felguard army. The player character Warlock is supposedly the leader now of the Dreadscar Rift, home to the Dreadscar felguards, but other than saluting you on your way to your artifact’s pedestal, the felguards don’t appear to do much for you. We have a few demons chained in our basement to act like training dummies, but that’s not quite the usual tradeoff of, “hey I’ll let you out of the Twisting Nether for a bit if you do a thing for me.”
I find it a little weird that our datamined class hall followers are fellow Warlocks. The definition of a Warlock includes some bit about having a demon to do your bidding, yes? Sure, we use each other to accomplish big goals like summoning pit lords or finding out Warlock secrets, and we reap benefits together, but it doesn’t quite work in a garrison-style One Commander kind of world. Warlocks gravitate to each other in covens of almost equals — c’mon, we distrust each other even if we collaborate. Interestingly enough, Mages also have a six-member council. Is our Council of the Black Harvest analogous? Does that make the player character a kind of Jaina or Khadgar, the lead Council member?
Calydus the kobold-like demon is eager to help us, including being our guide in our class hall and Artifact quest line. He might speak in simple language like an Azerothian kobold, but I’m not entirely convinced, since his appearance and eagerness to help is just a little too convenient. We have lesser Warlocks like Marez Cowl following us, though how she suspiciously got from the back of Stromgarde Keep to the Broken Isles is not revealed or confirmed. The Eredar Twins are also listed in the alpha as a Warlock follower, using Lady Sacrolash’s model; however, I’m not entirely convinced this isn’t a placeholder follower. Yes, her sister is Grand Warlock Alythess, and yes, the player character recently wielded a weapon of ridiculous demonic power and slew a pit lord, but the inclusion of the Eredar Twins as followers — demons who were once involved with resummoning Kil’jaeden the Deceiver in the Sunwell — prompts a question about Warlock intentions in Legion.
Though this be madness…
Initially, I thought we were rebuilding the Council of the Black Harvest, which was made to discover demonic secrets and use them to our advantage, to work together as a class while we aid our respective factions in conflicts with common enemies. We might’ve failed arcane mastery or we might’ve had a personality clash with the elementals — whatever our history, we turned to trying to summon demons to help with our goals, and since the rest of the world thinks we’re evil and doesn’t want to help us, we have to help ourselves. That’s fair.
But consider our class hall — it’s not our usual dingy basement with a bonfire below the capital city. Unlike where previous Warlocks trainers have been found, we didn’t take a space that reflected our previous selves — somewhere abandoned, full of darkness. We slew a pit lord and usurped his army and mini planet from him. Most class halls involve inviting the esteemed player character to the class’s gathering spot in order to be part of a larger, established group. Warlocks instead conquer a place to call their own.
Are Warlocks setting out to help defeat the Burning Legion with the rest of the world? Or is this road trip to get the gang back together really just an excuse to conquer the Legion for ourselves? I know that this is speculation on an unfinished alpha, and besides, skepticism and distrust are natural attributes of being a Warlock. However, the circumstances of our class hall wig me out about what we Warlocks are really doing here in Legion.
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