Trying to salvage the warlock as an actual damage-dealing striker

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After a year of trying to mess with the warlock class, and anxiously waiting for Arcane Power only to walk away disappointed, I have to conclude that the warlock-as-striker is a failure as a class. Now this is where you'll get five guys jumping up to defend the warlock's existential worth as a single-target controller, but what I'm really looking for here is a striker, not a controller. If I wanted a controller, we'd have put controller in his role description.

As an infernal scourge warlock, I'm supposed to be doing "damage and lots of it". The ranger, barbarian, sorcerer...heck, just about every other striker laughs at my pathetic efforts. Do folks out there have tips for fixing a warlock up to deal competitive striker damage at all levels of play? I'm going to guess there's probably very little that I haven't seen in that regard, but hopefully, there's something I've missed.

Maybe it would be more fruitful to discuss what the developers could do to fix the warlock up so that it's an actual striker. One possible method is to do what the wizard does with flaming sphere, ball lightning, Mord's guardian hound. Offer a series of daily conjurations that do a second attack as a minor action- this would certainly even the damage-dealing scales.

The infernal warlock even gets one of these at level 29, the Forbiddance of the Ninth, which creates a wall that belchs out blasts of fire. A series of these powers would make an actual striker out the warlock, so I'm suggesting that more of these be made...

Also, something that never carried over into 4e are the 3.5e warlock's eldritch blast modifiers. Perhaps a feat chain to allow eldritch blasts to chain hits (eldritch chain), or a blast (eldritch blast) would also create some parity.

Warlocks are the gimpiest strikers in the game. Somebody needs to do something with them to increase their damage, else the developers should just change the name of their role.
In a nutshell, you are right.

We have had a Warlock in our party over a year and we joke that when he crits he finally does striker damage (i.e. the damage he does is equivalent to a striker's normal hit). They simply are underpowered when it comes to doing damage. WotC failed when making the Warlock, and the Wizard too, though at least Arcane Power helps the Wizard.

If you want an Arcane Striker, play a Sorcerer. They do just fine.
As I understand it:

A warlock lays his curse, and does 1d6/2d6/3d6 extra damage once per round.

A sorceror does +stat (dex or str), which is going to be around +3 at first level, climbing +1 every 4 levels, additionally he gets a tier bonus of +0/+2/+4, correct?
So:
level 1:
warlock +1d6, sorceror +3, advantage warlock by 0.5

Level 4:
warlock +1d6, sorceror +4, advantage sorceror by 0.5

Level 8:
warlock +1d6, sorceror +5, advantage sorceror by 1.5

Level 11:
Warlock +2d6, sorceror +7, advantage warlock by 0.5
12: advantage sorceror by 0.5
16: advantage sorceror by 1.5
20: advantage sorceror by 2.5
21: advantage warlock by 0.5
24: sorceror by 1.5
28: sorceror by 2.5

The thing that sucks, I think, is that the warlock can't pick up a feat to boost his curse damage to d8s. Instead he has to pick up a rod to do so. So that's a 1 feat solution to the problem of slightly lower bonus striker damage.

So, any remaining problems come down to the available powers. Not having looked closely at these: is it a problem? Do warlock powers do consistently less damage than the powers of the sorcerer? Forget about barbarians and rangers for now: rangers are busted because multi-attacks are busted. Barbarians to the best of my knowledge are just fine...
One thing I did with my Tiefling Infernal Warlock was work with the DM to figure out some "on fire" rules.

Why?

Because my Tiefling would set him self on fire (5 ongoing fire damage), then Hellish Rebuke everyone.

With curse, this worked out to roughly 3d6 + (Con x 2) + (Feats x 2) with an At-Will.

i.e. 18 Con + Implement Focus + Hellfire Blood = 3d6 + 12, an average of 22.5 points of damage with an At-Will.

This is comparable to a Greatbow using Ranger with Twin Strike and Weapon Focus:
2d12 + 2 (Feat) + 1d6 (Quarry) = 20.5 points of damage with an At-Will.

---

Of course, this only really works with Tieflings, since they soak the ongoing Fire damage anyway.
As I understand it:

A warlock lays his curse, and does 1d6/2d6/3d6 extra damage once per round.

A sorceror does +stat (dex or str), which is going to be around +3 at first level, climbing +1 every 4 levels, additionally he gets a tier bonus of +0/+2/+4, correct?

Not quite. Most Sorcerers that I build always start with a +4 in the second stat. It bumps a NAD (Ref or Fort), your AC, and your damage. Your second stat as a Sorcerer is only slightly less important than your primary stat. So it will be +4 at first level and scale from there.

The main difference is a Sorcerer adds his secondary stat to all enemies he hits with Arcane powers, while the Warlock only gets his curse once per round. So at level 1, a Sorcerer's damage (with no feat enhancements nor magic items) will look like this

Burning Spray
1D8 + 8 per enemy he hits, which is usually two, for an average damage of 25 damage per round (times his hit percentage)

While a Warlock's damage will look like this

Eldritch Blast
1D10 + 1D6 + 4 for an average of 13 damage per round (times his hit percentage)

And Sorcerer's have much better feats to improve damage. Dragonborn Sorcerer + Implement Proficiency (Rod) + Rod of the Dragonborn + Draconic Spellcaster gives you an insane amount of attack bonuses, which drastically increases your DPR.

Sorcerer's are actually the Kings of At-Will DPR.
The biggest gap seperating Warlocks from Rangers, Rogues, and Barbarians (and to some extent, Sorcerers), is feat support. Weapon using, and martial classes, have lots of great feats that stack on damage. Coupled with the large number of magic items that add damage for those weapon wielding classe, Warlocks just don't have the tool box to compete.
Not that I regret playing my Infernalock up to 10th. Still, my at will crits at 21+2d6 (Pact Mordenkrad, Eldritch Strike), which barely registers on the striker scale.

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

The main difference is a Sorcerer adds his secondary stat to all enemies he hits with Arcane powers, while the Warlock only gets his curse once per round. So at level 1, a Sorcerer's damage (with no feat enhancements nor magic items) will look like this

... and that's a controller thing, not a striker. You said striker stuff only.
Burning Spray
1D8 + 8 per enemy he hits, which is usually two, for an average damage of 25 damage per round (times his hit percentage)

Average of 12.5 to a single target.
While a Warlock's damage will look like this

Eldritch Blast
1D10 + 1D6 + 4 for an average of 13 damage per round (times his hit percentage)

Yeah, but eldritch blast is sitting as a basic attack, chewing up some of it's potential.

There's a decent chance that unless you're hiding at the back of the party, you'll take some damage. That makes hellish rebuke deal 2d6 + 4 + 1d6 + 4, which is significantly more striker-like. Alternately dire radiance can be manipulated by a party to get it's damage off (or alternately make a foe waste a turn, which is potentially better).

Like the rogue and combat advantage, cooperation is key.
And Sorcerer's have much better feats to improve damage. Dragonborn Sorcerer + Implement Proficiency (Rod) + Rod of the Dragonborn + Draconic Spellcaster gives you an insane amount of attack bonuses, which drastically increases your DPR.

Sorcerer's are actually the Kings of At-Will DPR.

This is true: I indicated before that the warlock would be well served by a d6->d8 upgrade feat like all the other dice-based strikers have. Arcane power (like martial power before it) suffers from a lack of generally-useful feats for the power source as a whole: instead concentrating on niche feats and items with limited classes etc etc, making the entire book far less useful than it might otherwise be.
Jesus. While I understand a lot of the pieces and parts available to a 'Lock make him more of a Controller than a Striker, I seriously just think you guys aren't really trying all that hard. 'Locks are just as nasty as Sorcerers with the right Build; they just hit less targets. They do deal less damage in specific cases, but allow me to explain.

Curse damage is not inferior. If you're getting +4 extra at 1st level with your Sorcerer, it's only with a very specific Race, and that's not an argument you can win against a Warlock, because a Half-Elf 'Lock with Versatile Master can easily out-damage you with his new "At-Will." I use Howling Charge and a Fullblade, myself, and 2d12+9d6+35 damage with that kind of attack is simply atrocious. The average there is 83, and I'm just using a Reckless Fullblade; a Bloodclaw would put that in the 90s.

The real problem is that Warlock Powers are more Control-based in many instances. I mean, just look at Feylock Powers! They can deal massive damage, simply via causing tons of enemies to wail away at each other; however, yes, that really is a Controller-type-thing. I play a Starlock, however, and have tried a Darlock, and they both have great damage potential. Really, though, you can get almost all of the Static Bonuses that a Sorcerer can get, with the substitution of Curse damage rather than Stat damage. Dual Implement Spellcaster, TWF, Weapon Focus, Staff of Ruin, Subtle Weapons; all of these are perfectly available to a 'Lock, and the only thing you can't really use are some of the good Wizard Feats for AoE Spell damage like Destructive Wizardry and the like. However, 'Locks do have Prime Shot, so Called Shot should be used at all times.

Really, I think this is a bogus argument, and I've Built plenty of Strikers. Maybe I'm wrong, but I kind of doubt it.
Resident Logic Cannon
Crimson, I don't think the half elf charger is really that superior. A dragonborn cold sorc has a +38 to hit on charge and deals 2d8 + 3d6 + 56 + pushes several squares. That is without taking any ac penalty (AC is 44) or using any conditional bonuses (bloodied, mounted, taking hp damage, etc). Plus, I can also (at will) Burning Spray - Close Blast 3 with +37 to hit for 2d8+46; if it hits 2 enemies averages around 110 damage, 165 or so if I can get 3 enemies, which I frequently can. Plus, all of my encounter and daily cold powers are +46 to damage as well.

With that build, my AC is probably a fair amount higher than the 'lock and my bonus to hit is at least 3 points higher in all probability. Again, that's without combat advantage or other conditional modifiers. Plus, with the burning spray, if any of the targets hits me with a melee attack before the end of their next turn, they take another 23 damage. Wintercheeze after the first round will give me another +5 damage on either attack which is already factored in to the 23 points from attacking me after being hit with burning spray. (I've admixtured burning spray to cold damage).
The striker's role is to neutralize the priority target as efficiently as possible. Warlocks fulfill that role primarily through control effects, rather than primarily through damage. They're still effective as strikers, so long as they're played properly to their strengths.

t~
I did not mean to imply that they are not effective strikers. I have never played a warlock at higher levels. But, crunching numbers in the character builder, they do not seem to be as effective at dealing direct damage.
Really, I think this is a bogus argument, and I've Built plenty of Strikers. Maybe I'm wrong, but I kind of doubt it.

No. Sorry. You are wrong. Let me explain why warlocks suck.

1) Warlocks get no item support. Other strikers get Iron Armbands of Power and Bracers of Archery; warlocks get Gloves of Eldritch Admixture. Woo, hoo. Sorcerers get Staff or Ruin, rogues get Bloodiron Daggers, barbarians and avengers get two handed bloodclaw weapons; warlocks get wands and rods which tend to have woefully lackluster properties.

2) Warlocks get no feat support. Other strikers get to take a Superior Weapon feat to improve the die sizes on all of their attacks; warlocks don’t. Other strikers get Weapon Focus which gives a constant damage boost to all their attacks; warlocks get feats that only apply to a selection of their powers and have harsh prerequisites that eat into your stat points (like Dark Fury’s 13 wisdom).

3) Curse damage bonus is vastly inferior to Sneak Attack, Quarry, and the Sorcerer bonus. Sorry, it is. They don’t get a feat to boost it to d8s. They don’t get to apply it more than once like sorcerers can. And they don’t get it as reliably as rangers since rangers get two attacks a round at least and warlocks only get one. If they don’t get curse damage in a turn, then unless they spend an action point, they won’t get it that round.

4) Their power suck. There is no other way to describe it. Aside from their level 15 dailies which are very impressive, most of the time it is a power that does 2d8 or 3d8 to a single target even at upper paragon. Several of their powers don’t even do any damage at all.

5) Their attacks are mostly once-per-round single-target. Rangers get two attacks a round so they can double all their bonuses. Sorcerers get AoE that can double or even triple their bonuses. Barbarians get free charges, rampage attacks, close bursts, multiattacks, and opportunity actions that let them deal their damage far more than the number of rounds in a fight. Avengers and rogues have extraordinary bonuses to hit that almost ensure that they are hitting every round. Warlocks get one single attack each round, which runs at least a 50% chance of missing and then they just have to sit around till the next turn. There are only a small handful of attacks in the entire warlock repertoire that can hit more than one target, and most are level 15 dailies.

6) Arcane power was a wasteland. It offered almost nothing. Dark Rain of Mutoz Vot and Rain of Frogs were the only new powers that really caught the eye. The feats were not just bad, they were downright insulting. Empowering Shadows? Really? A situational +1 damage that doesn’t scale? WIE? 17 charisma AND 17 con so you can crit on a 19, when bow rangers don’t need anything? The list goes on and on, and out all of those multitude of new feats, Dual Implement was the only one that wasn’t a slap in the face, and even that further abused warlocks with a 13 dex requirement to compliment that 13 wisdom they had to take so they could use dark fury.

7) Warlocks get little to no racial support. Elves make incredible rangers and avengers, with endless synergy. Dragonborn and drow all have the stats to make incredible sorcerers. Goliaths make great barbarians, Halflings and changelings make great rogues…. All other strikers have races that perfectly compliment their abilities. But not warlocks. Of all the races only half-elves, gnomes, changelings, and tieflings have ideal stats for a warlock. Changeling’s power requires them to be in melee, so that is a bust. Tieflings are supposed to be great warlocks, but seeing as how warlocks are supposed to be safely in the back, and their racial power requires them to be in the action, their power becomes either unusable or, at the very least, unreliable as to when can you can choose to use it. Half-elves have potential but require far too much feat support to work; first you need a feat to use the implement or weapon associated with your dilettante, then you need expertise, then wait till level 11 to spend yet one more feat so you can blow 3 feats on a single at-will. Gnomes are actually okay since they have a built in way to escape melee if they get hit, which is nice, but not anything resembling the synergy of an elven ranger or a goliath barbarian. This argument is more an issue of optimization, but still deserves mentioning.

8) Single-target control does not work. When you want a controller in the party the reason is that you want someone who can control enemy tactics and affect the entire battle in a profound way that impedes the DM’s tactics. It is impossible to do this with single-target powers. It is impressive on a one-on-one comparison, but when you realize that there are 5 monsters and 5 allies, inconveniencing a single enemy for a single turn will have absolutely no effect on the tactics, positioning, or overall macro of the battle the way that a stinking cloud or even a well-timed scorching burst will. It is nice to drop status effects, but to call a warlock a controller when they are ultimately having no lasting effect on how the DM is running his monsters is erroneous.
On top of that, other strikers have that too. Disruptive Strike and Confounding Arrows are devastating powers that can completely incapacitate a monster for at least one turn. Rogues even have a level 1 area attack that blinds. Warlocks can’t compete with that.

Perhaps a better case is anecdotal. A have played a warlock in a weekly game since 4e came out. I am now 21st level. As the OP said, when I crit with an encounter power my damage is about the same as the ranger in the party does with a regular non-crit twin strike. When I use an at-will, it is even less. From level 1 all through the 20 levels to follow my damage remained at about half that of the ranger.
The reasons are most of those laid above. He gets d8s for his quarry, and gets it every turn. If he happens to miss with twin-strike somehow, he just uses arrow of vengeance, disrupting strike, or other immediate interrupts he has to still get his quarry damage for the turn. He has bracers of archery offering 4-12 extra damage a round. He has a d12 greatbow compared to the d6s of most of my powers. He also has two daily powers that have an almost certainty of stunning the target for one or more turns. He not only doubles my damage, as he has for all of the last 21 levels, but he has very good single-target control as well.

Warlocks are an unmitigated failure.
There is something wrong with weapon strikers compared to non-weapon strikers. I can build a first level dwarf warlock that does better damage swinging his warhammer with basic attacks, than using his class at-will powers. Or at second level he'll be doing even better with a Mordenkrad. That's pretty absurd.

I'm not entirely sure if it's the implements that are to blame, or the weapons. Perhaps, and I say this with reservation, Superior Implements in AV2 will bring things to a more level playing ground.

The other culprit in the discrepancy is the multiple attack powers. With static modifiers, ranger's twin strike grows leaps and bounds ahead of any remedies a warlock might be able to gain to keep up.

Despite starting with an 18 stat and having expertise, the 5th level star pact warlock in my game misses more than anyone else I think, and when she does hit, she is relying on some big variance dice on damage. On average she is doing 13-14 damage (depending on which power she uses). In another game she plays a rogue (4th level currently), who has almost no trouble gaining combat advantage or hitting, and she does 20+ damage each hit. And that character started with a 16 main stat and doesn't have expertise yet. Both characters sport good survivability. The difference in performance is quite puzzling.

I'm wondering if part of the blame is for party support. It's much easier to support a rogue, than it is to support a warlock. If the rogue can't get combat advantage on her own, the party can usually do something to help out. If she misses with an attack, the warlord can give her another shot. With the Warlock, the only help the party can provide is to kill her curse targets so she benefits from the boon more often, but that's easier said than done.

I think there are some tricks that can be used to increase the warlock's hit ratio and damage potential, but compared to the easy button twin strike, the methods a warlock has to use are down right convoluted, feat intensive, and are likely to still make the warlock feel like he is always a step or three behind.
Crimson, I don't think the half elf charger is really that superior. A dragonborn cold sorc has a +38 to hit on charge and deals 2d8 + 3d6 + 56 + pushes several squares. That is without taking any ac penalty (AC is 44) or using any conditional bonuses (bloodied, mounted, taking hp damage, etc). Plus, I can also (at will) Burning Spray - Close Blast 3 with +37 to hit for 2d8+46; if it hits 2 enemies averages around 110 damage, 165 or so if I can get 3 enemies, which I frequently can. Plus, all of my encounter and daily cold powers are +46 to damage as well.

My AC is 48 at max, 50 with Shadow Walk, and 52 with the Feat that gives me a +2 to all defenses against Cursed Targets. It's called Agile Scale Armor, because I play a Gish, and with fairly low HP, I need to not get hit as much as possible. My Charge can also hit on a +38 with Combat Advantage, and while it's definitely harder to get it than your Winter/Frost guy, I'm not really very far behind with Prime Punisher, Reckless Curse, and Charging.

No. Sorry. You are wrong. Let me explain why warlocks suck.

1) Warlocks get no item support. Other strikers get Iron Armbands of Power and Bracers of Archery; warlocks get Gloves of Eldritch Admixture. Woo, hoo. Sorcerers get Staff or Ruin, rogues get Bloodiron Daggers, barbarians and avengers get two handed bloodclaw weapons; warlocks get wands and rods which tend to have woefully lackluster properties.

Arcane Implement Prof FTW. You are now exactly as good as the Sorc with Items.

2) Warlocks get no feat support. Other strikers get to take a Superior Weapon feat to improve the die sizes on all of their attacks; warlocks don’t. Other strikers get Weapon Focus which gives a constant damage boost to all their attacks; warlocks get feats that only apply to a selection of their powers and have harsh prerequisites that eat into your stat points (like Dark Fury’s 13 wisdom).

Warlocks can use Weapon Focus, as well as EVERY other Feat a Sorcerer can, with the exception of the two or so Feats that boost AoE damage, and those are Wizard Feats.

3) Curse damage bonus is vastly inferior to Sneak Attack, Quarry, and the Sorcerer bonus. Sorry, it is. They don’t get a feat to boost it to d8s. They don’t get to apply it more than once like sorcerers can. And they don’t get it as reliably as rangers since rangers get two attacks a round at least and warlocks only get one. If they don’t get curse damage in a turn, then unless they spend an action point, they won’t get it that round.

It's actually BETTER than a Sorcerer's Bonus Damage? Because it CAN be much higher?? Duh? And even 5 points doesn't make it "vastly" inferior to even Sneak Attack, because there ARE no conditions for dealing Curse damage, whereas you MUST have CA to deal SA damage.

Really, though, the only Striker 'Locks should be being compared to is Sorcerers, because the only reason a Sorc can approach other Striker's damage thresholds is via cheesey combos dealing with Chaos Orb or Winter/Frost abuse.

4) Their power suck. There is no other way to describe it. Aside from their level 15 dailies which are very impressive, most of the time it is a power that does 2d8 or 3d8 to a single target even at upper paragon. Several of their powers don’t even do any damage at all.

First of all, DOMINATE does not mean a Power sucks. Second of all, Otherwind Stride/Hunger of Hadar deals as much damage as many 19th-level Powers, and it can be done at 5th level. Lastly, Crown of Stars can Blind an enemy at 1st level.

Wrath of Acamar deals mediocre damage, but also removes a target from play. That's an incredible Power. Strand of Fate can combo with a bunch of Readied Actions to deal hundreds of extra damage. Doom of Delban is the single most damaging Power in the game.

If you think 'Lock Powers suck, you aren't trying hard enough.

5) Their attacks are mostly once-per-round single-target. Rangers get two attacks a round so they can double all their bonuses. Sorcerers get AoE that can double or even triple their bonuses. Barbarians get free charges, rampage attacks, close bursts, multiattacks, and opportunity actions that let them deal their damage far more than the number of rounds in a fight. Avengers and rogues have extraordinary bonuses to hit that almost ensure that they are hitting every round. Warlocks get one single attack each round, which runs at least a 50% chance of missing and then they just have to sit around till the next turn. There are only a small handful of attacks in the entire warlock repertoire that can hit more than one target, and most are level 15 dailies.

Warlocks actually have a few available Encounter Powers that are Burst or Blast, and all of them have excellent Status Effects attached (Daze, Immobilize, etc). Also, stop trying to compare them to Melee Classes. Sorcerers SUCK at single-target damage compared to Melee Classes unless you use some of the super-cheese combos, because they mostly function on AoE Powers with EFFECTS. A Sorcerer's Effects aren't as good as a Warlock's, but they deal better damage. It's a trade-off.

6) Arcane power was a wasteland. It offered almost nothing. Dark Rain of Mutoz Vot and Rain of Frogs were the only new powers that really caught the eye. The feats were not just bad, they were downright insulting. Empowering Shadows? Really? A situational +1 damage that doesn’t scale? WIE? 17 charisma AND 17 con so you can crit on a 19, when bow rangers don’t need anything? The list goes on and on, and out all of those multitude of new feats, Dual Implement was the only one that wasn’t a slap in the face, and even that further abused warlocks with a 13 dex requirement to compliment that 13 wisdom they had to take so they could use dark fury.

NO ONE USES DARK FURY, GUY. If you really want extra damage, use a Pact Blade or Implement Prof and use Weapon Focus; stop trying to Strawman your way to Victory. Reckless Curse, right off the top of my head. All the Sand, All the Stars, Sprite War Call, Crackling Fire, Hero's Defense, Racing Fires of Ulban; these were all great Powers, and those are just the ones my Character can make good use of.

7) Warlocks get little to no racial support. Elves make incredible rangers and avengers, with endless synergy. Dragonborn and drow all have the stats to make incredible sorcerers. Goliaths make great barbarians, Halflings and changelings make great rogues…. All other strikers have races that perfectly compliment their abilities. But not warlocks. Of all the races only half-elves, gnomes, changelings, and tieflings have ideal stats for a warlock. Changeling’s power requires them to be in melee, so that is a bust. Tieflings are supposed to be great warlocks, but seeing as how warlocks are supposed to be safely in the back, and their racial power requires them to be in the action, their power becomes either unusable or, at the very least, unreliable as to when can you can choose to use it. Half-elves have potential but require far too much feat support to work; first you need a feat to use the implement or weapon associated with your dilettante, then you need expertise, then wait till level 11 to spend yet one more feat so you can blow 3 feats on a single at-will. Gnomes are actually okay since they have a built in way to escape melee if they get hit, which is nice, but not anything resembling the synergy of an elven ranger or a goliath barbarian. This argument is more an issue of optimization, but still deserves mentioning.

Again, Reckless Curse, and also, you underestimate Dilettante by a massive amount. Twin Strike with Implement Prof, TWF, DIS, and alllll the bonuses you'd normally associate with Twin Strike, and BAM; Ranger At-Will DPR - 3 because you don't have Lethal Hunter. Oh, the horror.

8) Single-target control does not work. When you want a controller in the party the reason is that you want someone who can control enemy tactics and affect the entire battle in a profound way that impedes the DM’s tactics. It is impossible to do this with single-target powers. It is impressive on a one-on-one comparison, but when you realize that there are 5 monsters and 5 allies, inconveniencing a single enemy for a single turn will have absolutely no effect on the tactics, positioning, or overall macro of the battle the way that a stinking cloud or even a well-timed scorching burst will. It is nice to drop status effects, but to call a warlock a controller when they are ultimately having no lasting effect on how the DM is running his monsters is erroneous.
On top of that, other strikers have that too. Disruptive Strike and Confounding Arrows are devastating powers that can completely incapacitate a monster for at least one turn. Rogues even have a level 1 area attack that blinds. Warlocks can’t compete with that.

Yes they can; again, Crown of Stars can Blind an enemy, and then allow you to get extra damage for the rest of the entire Encounter. I've been playing a Warlock for almost a year now; single-target Control in the form of Targeted Removal works just fine. Rogues do it all the time with their Powers that completely incapacitate a single enemy. However, they don't have Powers that completely remove a target from play, and they certainly don't have the Ranged Single-Target death weapons a 'Lock can boast.

Perhaps a better case is anecdotal. A have played a warlock in a weekly game since 4e came out. I am now 21st level. As the OP said, when I crit with an encounter power my damage is about the same as the ranger in the party does with a regular non-crit twin strike. When I use an at-will, it is even less. From level 1 all through the 20 levels to follow my damage remained at about half that of the ranger.
The reasons are most of those laid above. He gets d8s for his quarry, and gets it every turn. If he happens to miss with twin-strike somehow, he just uses arrow of vengeance, disrupting strike, or other immediate interrupts he has to still get his quarry damage for the turn. He has bracers of archery offering 4-12 extra damage a round. He has a d12 greatbow compared to the d6s of most of my powers. He also has two daily powers that have an almost certainty of stunning the target for one or more turns. He not only doubles my damage, as he has for all of the last 21 levels, but he has very good single-target control as well.

Warlocks are an unmitigated failure.

Your Build seems to be the failure here. "Sounds like a Personal Problem," and all that jazz. I've been playing a Warlock for almost a year now, and though the Ranger and the Sorcerer can, indeed, do GREAT damage, not only can I generally keep up, I can do things they cannot, the first and best one being my Mobility. I move around where they cannot, I have better Defenses, I have equal-or-better Attack Bonuses, and my damage is perhaps 3/4ths of theirs, maybe 1/2 if I'm using an Attack that does really nasty Effects instead.

One of our DMs plays a Feylock when he's not DMing, and Dominate-style Powers left and right with excellent Mobility tacked on can make a massive difference in most battles. Dominate is an excellent example of good single-target control.
Resident Logic Cannon
Your normal paragon infernal warlock routine includes landing a called shot hellish rebuke in the enemy face for 1d6+Con+5+2d6+2xEnhancement that provokes an AoO which is soaked by your temp hp, probably gives your defender an interrupt attack and also burns your target with another 1d6+Con+2xEnh., another Con mod in damage from White Lotus Riposte and another attack for 1d6+Con+5+2xEnh. from your White Lotus Master Riposte.

I fail to see how 5d6+4xCon+10+6xEnch and making sure that your defender puts his immediate interrupt to use is vastly inferior to what an archer ranger can do with his twin strike...

You don't have to try to "salvage" the warlock, you just have to try to play it for its strengths. Yes, its less "point and shoot" type of a striker and it requires more cooperation, tactics, you know... THINKING.
Let's cool it with the insults and personal jabs, Crimson. I just read through the link in your sig, it's a pretty valuable post. The important thing to remember is that, at it's core, we are debating how well fake elves shoot fake fire at fake enemies, so for fake's sake, keep it friendly. ;)
You don't have to try to "salvage" the warlock, you just have to try to play it for its strengths. Yes, its less "point and shoot" type of a striker and it requires more cooperation, tactics, you know... THINKING.

Agreed. It's one of the only Classes that pretty much requires System Mastery to be good at what it's supposed to be good at. :S

Let's cool it with the insults and personal jabs, Crimson. I just read through the link in your sig, it's a pretty valuable post. The important thing to remember is that, at it's core, we are debating how well fake elves shoot fake fire at fake enemies, so for fake's sake, keep it friendly. ;)

I will attempt to, and should probably go back and read that Link (again! :S), as well as Edit my post. However, Blanket Statements disguised as Facts are the hallmark of arrogant n00bs, and (as you can probably tell) that's a huge Pet Peeve of mine.
Resident Logic Cannon
I will attempt to, and should probably go back and read that Link (again! :S), as well as Edit my post. However, Blanket Statements disguised as Facts are the hallmark of arrogant n00bs, and (as you can probably tell) that's a huge Pet Peeve of mine.

Hey, I'm with ya, during the worst of the Edition in-fighting I had to go to a different forum to keep from pulling my hair out. We all lose it sometimes.
I use Howling Charge and a Fullblade, myself, and 2d12+9d6+35 damage with that kind of attack is simply atrocious. The average there is 83, and I'm just using a Reckless Fullblade; a Bloodclaw would put that in the 90s.

Could you post your build here? I'd love to see it.

Thanks.
Part of the perceived weakness of Warlocks is driven by encounter design. Warlocks are a resilient class that work at range with significant debuffs. You have to build encounters to a warlock’s strengths and part of this includes making it much more difficult for melee classes to roam, gain CA and attack at will. Terrain effects, monster selection and positioning can be a big help in this.

The MM2 contains some heroic tier monsters (I’ve not played any higher yet) that seem designed to make life more difficult for melee classes. Fell Taints gave our melee ranger a really hard time, he was chain dazed/immobilised/knock prone (his will defence is not great) and the giant ant hive queen has aura that was knocking off a third of his hps per round. So, if your looking for improvements to the warlock class, maybe you should be looking here rather than in AP.

Twin Strike is also grossely over powered but tends to set the benchmark for strikers. It totally distorts the argument.
Curse damage is not inferior. If you're getting +4 extra at 1st level with your Sorcerer, it's only with a very specific Race, and that's not an argument you can win against a Warlock, because a Half-Elf 'Lock with Versatile Master can easily out-damage you with his new "At-Will." I use Howling Charge and a Fullblade, myself, and 2d12+9d6+35 damage with that kind of attack is simply atrocious. The average there is 83, and I'm just using a Reckless Fullblade; a Bloodclaw would put that in the 90s.

And my Cold Sorcerer does an average of 181 DPR with its At-Will. It also does 134 DPR per enemy it hits At-Will with Burning Spray.

So that is over double your Warlock's damage.
I've been playing a tiefling feylock for about 2 months now, and I have to say that I'm really disappointed with the damage output. Seriously, I get outdamaged by the party cleric (wielding a mordenkrad) most of the time. I realize that feylocks are the least strikery of the warlock builds, but is it really so bad to expect damage from a striker? I really have no idea why WotC didn't give warlocks a die increase for curse damage. I just boggles my mind. Did they think it would be overpowered to give the weakest striker a feat that was equivalent to what rangers and rogues get? I love my character concept, but I feel totally useless most of the time. My feylock does less damage than the cleric, and doesn't control as well as the wizard. It's like a bastardized hybrid of controller and striker, which totally sucks at both!
... and that's a controller thing, not a striker. You said striker stuff only.

What? Doing more damage to more targets is a controller thing? That makes no sense. Minion sweeping is a controller thing, but minions don't care about increased damage.

Adding your striker damage (i.e. Quarry, Curse, Sorcerer power) to every attack in a round, instead of once per round, is not a controller thing. Your comment makes no sense.

Average of 12.5 to a single target.

Yes, but Sorcerer's rarely only hit one target. They hit a minimum of two most of the time.

Yeah, but eldritch blast is sitting as a basic attack, chewing up some of it's potential.

Sorcerer's have Acid Orb, which is the same as Eldritch Blast, and since it is a Sorcerer power, I will do more damage with it over my career than you will do with your Eldritch Blast.
Something along the lines of bumping die size and/or bump damage by +1dX on paragon and up powers would help tremendously.


And every power that does no damage? Give 1d4 so that locks can add curse damage too.

I'm sad that the highest feylock spell is lvl 19.
And my Cold Sorcerer does an average of 181 DPR with its At-Will. It also does 134 DPR per enemy it hits At-Will with Burning Spray.

So that is over double your Warlock's damage.

With enough Cheese, anything is possible, Sticks. That's one single Build, and it's the best of the best. There are very, very few Sorcerer Builds that can beat a Ranger at DPR, and all of them that I've seen rely on abusing Melee Attack Stacking Bonuses.

My Warlock is Optimized within the parameters of his Character Concept; do you really think I couldn't deal more if I sacrificed a huge chunk of his personality? You know I actually have Empowered Shadows in that Build, because it fits?

I'll post it later, but the point remains that, using actual Spells at Range against a single target, no Class has double the damage a Warlock can deal, because ALL of the DPR Builds rely on stacking Bonuses, and a Warlock has just as much access to those as any other Class.
Resident Logic Cannon
With enough Cheese, anything is possible, Sticks. That's one single Build, and it's the best of the best. There are very, very few Sorcerer Builds that can beat a Ranger at DPR, and all of them that I've seen rely on abusing Melee Attack Stacking Bonuses.

My Warlock is Optimized within the parameters of his Character Concept; do you really think I couldn't deal more if I sacrificed a huge chunk of his personality? You know I actually have Empowered Shadows in that Build, because it fits?

I'll post it later, but the point remains that, using actual Spells at Range against a single target, no Class has double the damage a Warlock can deal, because ALL of the DPR Builds rely on stacking Bonuses, and a Warlock has just as much access to those as any other Class.

If you think that you can deal a ton more, then prove it. I would love to see a warlock build that can challenge another optimized striker, or even an optimized fighter.
With enough Cheese, anything is possible, Sticks. That's one single Build, and it's the best of the best. There are very, very few Sorcerer Builds that can beat a Ranger at DPR, and all of them that I've seen rely on abusing Melee Attack Stacking Bonuses.

My Warlock is Optimized within the parameters of his Character Concept; do you really think I couldn't deal more if I sacrificed a huge chunk of his personality? You know I actually have Empowered Shadows in that Build, because it fits?

I'll post it later, but the point remains that, using actual Spells at Range against a single target, no Class has double the damage a Warlock can deal, because ALL of the DPR Builds rely on stacking Bonuses, and a Warlock has just as much access to those as any other Class.

You are right, using an actual spell (all I use is actual spells, I never do non-spell attacks) at range against a single target, my Sorcerer does not double your damage. It is merely about 195% of your damage. That same link has an At-Will ranged version which does about 161 DPR, compared to your 83.

And yes, that is an optimized build, but there is not much cheese involved in it. Most of the damage just comes from using the standard Sorcerer stuff.

And yes, Sorcerer's do have access to better damage dealing feats.

Echoes of Thunder - The highest damaging feat in the game when done right. Yes, a Warlock could technically use it but since none of the Warlocks powers do Thunder, you would have to Arcane Admixture each spell, which does not bode well for your feats.

Dual Implement Caster - Again Warlocks can use this, but it requires Dex, something Warlocks would not use otherwise, where Sorcerers already want Dex.

Weapon Focus - Standard Warlocks can't get this.

Draconic Spellcaster - Sorcerer only and adds up to +3 to attack, massively increasing DPR.

Two-Weapon feats - Sorcerer can use these, Warlocks can't.

Daggermaster - Massively increases DPR. I think a Pact Blade Warlock can do this, but that is one very specific weapon. Any Sorcerer can pick this up.

Fury of the Storm - Maximizes crit damage. Massively increases DPR. Warlock's can't take this.

Ruthless Spellfury - Free attacks. Warlocks can't take this.

So as you can see, Sorcerer's have a lot more tools available to them. It is a lack of these tools that keep Warlocks down, imo.
I think that Warlocks lack damage because WotC decided to try to make a Striker/Controller or a Striker that was vastly different from the others. I also agree that with a feat to improve the Curse damage and hopefully some useful feats in Arcane Power 2, Warlocks can come much closer. I doubt that they will ever equal other strikers, simply because they generally have better defenses, and CON based locks will have more HP too, and frankly it's cool to make your whole team invisible to one baddy for a turn, even at the cost of damage.
I think that Warlocks lack damage because WotC decided to try to make a Striker/Controller or a Striker that was vastly different from the others. I also agree that with a feat to improve the Curse damage and hopefully some useful feats in Arcane Power 2, Warlocks can come much closer. I doubt that they will ever equal other strikers, simply because they generally have better defenses, and CON based locks will have more HP too, and frankly it's cool to make your whole team invisible to one baddy for a turn, even at the cost of damage.

Yeah, I don't think anyone thinks they will match other strikers in damage, but if they were at least in the ballpark, then their controller-ish aspects could close the gap.

The main issue right now is they do less damage than the Battle Cleric and control worse than a Bard.
I agree. I want my feylock to outdamage the party cleric, dammit!
I find it hilarious how the argument tends to be "Unoptimized Warlocks" vs. "Stormwarden and Twinked Sorcerer"

Try dealing with an optimized Warlock. I played a level 25 Warlock/Wizard in an delve a month or so ago. I accidentally one-hit K.O.'d a standard monster. RPG Delve. One Shot Kill. On accident.

Doomsayer is your friend.
I am a: Lawful Good Dragonborn Paladin
There have been numerous posts along these lines over the last year. AP was an opportunity to increase warlock damage output but it was not taken (they certainly used it to fix issues with swordmages and wizards).

Unfortunely the designers don't seem to post so it's impossible to get their position on this, you can only assume they regard it as too minor an issue to be worth bothering with or even if it's an issue at all to them. Some people rate dpr more highly than others after all.
I find it hilarious how the argument tends to be "Unoptimized Warlocks" vs. "Stormwarden and Twinked Sorcerer"

Try dealing with an optimized Warlock. I played a level 25 Warlock/Wizard in an delve a month or so ago. I accidentally one-hit K.O.'d a standard monster. RPG Delve. One Shot Kill. On accident.

Doomsayer is your friend.

This is very vague and gives no evidence to help one side of the argument or another. My unoptimized Fighter (pre-erratas) one-shoted a standard monster at level 12 on its own turn. That doesn't mean jack because it was a fluke that happened one time.

I posted a list earlier of many tools other strikers have (in the case of that list, the Sorcerer) that the Warlock does not have access too, or at least not good access. If you wish to add something to the thread, why don't you make a similar list and present it.

And if you wish to participate in a discussion, do yourself a favor and don't just cherry pick examples and attempt to offer them as evidence. For each time you accidentally one-shoted an enemy, I can point to hundreds of times where the Warlock does less damage than Defenders or even Leaders.
This is very vague and gives no evidence to help one side of the argument or another. My unoptimized Fighter (pre-erratas) one-shoted a standard monster at level 12 on its own turn. That doesn't mean jack because it was a fluke that happened one time.

I posted a list earlier of many tools other strikers have (in the case of that list, the Sorcerer) that the Warlock does not have access too, or at least not good access. If you wish to add something to the thread, why don't you make a similar list and present it.

And if you wish to participate in a discussion, do yourself a favor and don't just cherry pick examples and attempt to offer them as evidence. For each time you accidentally one-shoted an enemy, I can point to hundreds of times where the Warlock does less damage than Defenders or even Leaders.

Level 25 Warlock/Wizard/Doomsayer/Sage of Ages +5 Cunning Weapon, Paragon Phenric Crow, Spellfocus. Delivers a static -7 on (save ends) effects with wizard powers. All fear based powers need to have all successful saves rerolled and take the lower. Prismatic Burst has the fear keyword. Heavily optimized for for to-hit bonuses (+28 on most his powers) I was trying to take down a hydra (which didn't work). I accidentally caught a rock elemental in the burst. The target had a 3/200 chance of saving against any of three effects, Slowed, Stunned, and 15 ongoing fire. I melted the thing. I took a monster out of the fight with a single power.

Also, I have a slightly different version of the build with Archmage that can recharge any daily power up to 3 times, without the Archmage cap. This includes both Prismatic Burst and Caiphon's Abominable Melody. No one-hit flukes or quirks of chance. It is only a well-tooled character.

That is what an effective warlock can do.
I am a: Lawful Good Dragonborn Paladin
Ya I love how Sticks comes on and tries to convert people to his view by spouting his fully optimized daggermaster/sorceror. Is it a good build? sure, but why does it have to be the benchmark for other strikers? My build is very similar to Crimson's so i know how good his is. Not to mention the power curve on the build starts nice and low. I'm not quite into epic levels, but I'm pretty sure that I could be keeping up pretty nicely with this build by restoring encounter powers and dishing out 8 attacks at 2d6+44 dmg per attack, half damage on a miss using only paragon items. 12d6+44 on a howling strike at will. And this doesn't even consider if you could use a bloodclaw spiked gauntlet cheese.... but regardless of the number crunchin, which we would lose by a little bit, the warlock does other cool stuff that more than makes up for this. Like status effects, the best utilities in the game, teleport at will 3+ squares as a move action, etc, etc. Crimson wasn't saying warlocks were the best, he was saying they are easily fantastic if you know what you are doing. They can even be great using only ranged attacks... again you just need to be good at picking up features that synergize well with one another. nuff said.
i believe dark pact would be able to do "striker" damage. I don't get why everyone is focused on a damage dealing only warlock. That isn't their flavor. Their flavor is to jack you up and get you off rhythm and to pi5$ you off if you are their enemy.
I just want people to understand that the warlock class should not be based on damage it can do, it should be based on what it can do for your party.
You want to fight a solo warlock? I put my money on a feylock against whatever you can throw. Want to have a peeing contest on who can kill who? Good luck! Have fun, build something and let someone run it. That isn't the point here.
The point is, no matter what pact you are, whatever spell you cast, you have an effect on the enemy. Those effects help your team. Negatives, losing turns, negating attacks, making enemies attack enemies, stuns, dazes, I can go on and on and on.
My question for you is if you have all these great abilities to pretty much negate the existence of the enemy, why are you worried about damage? You think that if you complain enough wizards will read it like they did with fighters and magically make you a high DPR striker? if they did the class would be broken and OP. There has to be a balance. If I had to chose between shutting down the bad guy or doing lots of damage I pick the first one. Who cares how much damage you can do if the bad guy can take it and kill you? Really?

edit- on another note, the developers don't want to mix flavors. thats why you have a pact and kickbacks for said pacts. instead of orbs and stuff. The pacts give great bonuses. Hell, I could make a lock with 2 fold pact and gain both kickbacks for certain spells. You just need to learn to optimize it to what you want to do.
Weapon Focus - Standard Warlocks can't get this.

Two-Weapon feats - Sorcerer can use these, Warlocks can't.

Daggermaster - Massively increases DPR. I think a Pact Blade Warlock can do this, but that is one very specific weapon. Any Sorcerer can pick this up.

... I'm pretty sure that any warlock can take implement proficiency and benefit from all of these.

Most of the other feats are, like I said before, tragic victims of idiot designers who feel compelled to write a specific class on their feats and items, in direct contravention of the original design concepts of 4e.
I have to go to Kenjutsu, but I'll be back in a bit with the Build and all.

One thing I'd like to point out is how you guys consider it perfectly fine that that Sorcerer Build is almost half Rogue, but don't think any Warlock looking for massive DPR couldn't just Multiclass Rogue himself or, OMFG!! Multiclass Sorcerer!
Resident Logic Cannon
Actually, I can shed some light on the "why" of Warlock damage levels.

I am, at present, working on a Leader guide, not so much a strategy guide or "which powers are good powers" but a philosophical breakdown of the leader class, what to look for in an overall build and how different pieces fit together. As I started working on this I started to notice something:
There is a principal divide between Ranged and Melee in how they interact with leaders that requires the ranged characters to either be very close to the melee to benefit, or else settle for few, if any, accuracy buffs and fewer damage buffs. From a design standpoint this means that the designers consider the ability to participate in a fight at a range greater than 5 squares to be a significant advantage worth the loss of scaling or targeted bonuses, while a range greater than 10 is worth the loss of almost all bonuses. As a personal note, there is merit to this, as I've seen a bow Ranger go from 0 xp to level 2 without taking a single point of damage.

Warlocks are an extremely defensive class. All Warlocks get Shadow Walk and the original three Pact powers all have a defensive slant to them. Of the original Pact Boons, Dark One's Blessing is undoubtedly defensive, while Misty Step straddles a line. Only Fate of the Void has no defensive application. Somewhere along the line it was decided that the Warlock's defensive advantage and their debuffs were worth a significant trade off in damage.

Now, note that this isn't me saying "Warlocks are fine, l2p." My evaluation of it approaches from a Leader perspective, where I see that unless I'm a Laser Cleric who only spams at-will attacks, buffing Ranged attackers is much harder than buffing Melee attackers. If the advantages of having Range are worth a trade-off in access to Leader buffs, then presumably they consider the Warlock's defensive attributes worth additional trade offs.

Personally I don't entirely agree with them. I think with the Warlock they traded off a bit too much, but only a bit, and that bit has been further aggravated by the superior support given elsewhere. There have been so many "here, you'll need this because you're in melee" bones handed out (armbands of power, superior weapons, &c.) that melee can outfit themselves entirely in bones they've been thrown (feats and gear). The answer isn't so much a rebuilding of the Warlock class, stripped to the bones and compared the Warlock does fine, but better support, like the Artificer's egalitarian approach to hitting things in the face.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

Could someone show me an optimized Warlock...any build...that puts their average dmg per round over 100. I've seen optimized builds for every other striker class that claims these numbers easily. In fact, each striker class appears to have multiple ones. However, I have yet to find a warlock build that does the same. Hell, go ahead and multiclass, just use lock primary.

The OP was talking about the problem warlocks have with damage, and there is really no argument that Warlocks are not even in the same realm as other strikers in that area. The OP considers this a problem, as do I. If there is a way to fix that, please let us know. Stop mentioning control effects, and get back to damage.
jeddite you are missing the point. the class has less damage in general for the trade off for the crazy effects