D&D (2024) Will Pact Magic survive?

Warlock utility magic tends to be invocation based but I struggled to get mileage from at will silent image. Fun but rarely useful.
silent imagine is weird cause they can take minor illusion as a cantrip... but I use that cantrip a lot (maybe 3rd or 4th most used cantrip) but the other at wills

Entire novel series and movies are written where the protagonist has 1 power... and its speak with dead or speak with animals at will

When playing D&D we forget that not every fantasy power is 'blow stuff up' the fact that warlocks can get at will utility powers and 2/sr blow stuff up seems to be such a problem.

What it comes down to is people tolerating a badly designed mechanic for the sake of its novelty. But I think we can reach some consensus on the pros and cons at least

Pro:
  • Unique mechanic distinguishes it from other casters
  • Limited spell slots encourage creative use
  • Big nova potential

Cons:
  • Unique mechanic can be complicated to move to/from other casters, especially for new players
  • Doesn't play nice with multi-classing, including abusive uses of other classes features
  • Limited uses at max power discourages utility magic or nonscaling effects and guides towards nova use
  • Highly dependent on DM giving short rests, so much so their power level fluctuates wildly depending on how often you get them.
I agree with none of this

to me the pros are
a fun class
more complex then fighter less complex then wizard or cleric
more powerful and versatile then fighter less powerful and versatile then wizard or cleric
Very many builds that are not onl;y viable but fun and powerful
Hard to maximize to nova potential
Hard to mistakenly build too weak a character

COns
multi classing can lead to power plays
some DMs think short rests are the devil...


For me, none of the pros outweigh the cons.
for me it being the most fun class means OTHER classes should be made more like warlock
 

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Undrave

Legend
Maybe if they can fix pact magic so that it's more intuitive for new players,
I'm not sure how it's more un-intuitive than the other casters??
Limited uses at max power discourages utility magic or nonscaling effects and guides towards nova use
And, again, I think this 'issue' is because you view the Warlock through the lens of other casters. Your image of what a 'Spellcaster' IS is clearly based on what the Cleric, Druid and Wizard can do... and I think, by design, the Warlock is not meant to be the same as those three. It's why there's an invocation to get Rituals, it's why there's all these invocations to do utility magic (AT WILL!). The Warlock is not a Wizard and slapping the same ol' spell system on them just turns them into a discount Wizard. Why even have the class if that's the case? Just take the Pact Magic stuff and make a Wizard Subclass at that point.

I’ve played with Warlocks who had no problem using their spell slots for utility once we were back in town and other environment where fights were unlikely. But even if a fight DID break out, Eldritch Blast damage and At-will abilities are still solid enough to handle a fight with no spell slots left. Using ‘Fly’ on the Barbarian during certain fights was also seen as an optimal use of a spell slot.
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
What it comes down to is people tolerating a badly designed mechanic for the sake of its novelty. But I think we can reach some consensus on the pros and cons at least

Pro:
  • Unique mechanic distinguishes it from other casters
  • Limited spell slots encourage creative use
  • Big nova potential

Cons:
  • Unique mechanic can be complicated to move to/from other casters, especially for new players
  • Doesn't play nice with multi-classing, including abusive uses of other classes features
  • Limited uses at max power discourages utility magic or nonscaling effects and guides towards nova use
  • Highly dependent on DM giving short rests, so much so their power level fluctuates wildly depending on how often you get them.
A couple points:

1) I don't think nova potential is in any way a pro of pact casting. Full casters have just as many top level slots from levels 1-10. Warlocks have one more 5th level slot from 11-20, but dropping 5th level slots isn't exactly a nova for Tiers 3 and 4.
Now, a hypothetical "long rest pact caster", with 6 slots per LR, would be WAY too good at nova. But that would be a lazy change to make them long rest, not a well-thought out one.

2) I don't think pact casters are really meant to be utility casters, outside of invocations. Whether that's a bad mechanic or the intent of the design is a matter of perspective.

3) There aren't optimized builds abusing short rest slots outside of coffeelock, which really requires RAW stretching to function. No one is recommending Pal 2/Warlock X to get sweet short rest smites, or Sorcerer 3/Warlock X for all the extra short rest sorcery points. People dip warlock to get EB+AB or for Hexblade Cha to melee. Getting some extra short rest smites or sorcery points is just a bonus. The exact same multiclass builds would be optimal if warlock was a standard caster.

4) I feel like you generally don't like short rest recharge. I don't love them either (they should be shorter and limited to 2/LR), but that's because short rests are poorly designed, not short rest resources. Long rests are just as subject to DM fiat, after all...you can get 1 encounter per LR, or 10, or anywhere in between, and that has a far more widespread impact on class balance than short rest recharge does.
 

I'm not convinced that making warlocks even more like sorcerers by giving them the same casting mechanics is a good idea.

Their class stories are already nearly identical, and their subclasses all share the same themes. Sorcerers can already be formed via a pact with a powerful entity... which is a warlock.

Why not merge the two classes?
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I have mixed feelings on this. I honestly feel that Warlocks are boring (most Warlock players that I've played with do almost nothing other than Eldritch Blast every. single. round.) and sadly overused as a dip (you sold your soul for that?). AND I'd like to see short rests dropped to 10 minutes, which they don't jive well with.

BUT... they're different. I can see why people enjoy something that's different. And they're popular. I hate to see anything that divides the community or turns these forums into an angry rant-fest. Messing too much with the Warlock will do THAT for sure.
 

BUT... they're different. I can see why people enjoy something that's different. And they're popular. I hate to see anything that divides the community or turns these forums into an angry rant-fest. Messing too much with the Warlock will do THAT for sure.
Yup.

When you're doing a new version or new edition of the game, and virtually all your classes have issues of various kinds (which is certainly the case with 5E), if you make massive changes to only some classes, and leave others virtually untouched, unless you're just buffing classes or fixing classes widely regarded as underpowered or mechanically borked, you're going to cause absolute havoc in your playerbase.

We've seen this over and over and over in games.

It would be an extremely bad idea to make major changes to Warlock.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Yup.

When you're doing a new version or new edition of the game, and virtually all your classes have issues of various kinds (which is certainly the case with 5E), if you make massive changes to only some classes, and leave others virtually untouched, unless you're just buffing classes or fixing classes widely regarded as underpowered or mechanically borked, you're going to cause absolute havoc in your playerbase.

We've seen this over and over and over in games.

It would be an extremely bad idea to make major changes to Warlock.
I think that seal has been broken. The changes to wild shape, bard and ranger spellcasting and cleric domains shows they are willing to change elements of a class to make it easier or better.

I admit that replacing pact magic will be a big change, but even now spells known is being removed for prepping, the warlock list is merged into the arcane list, and short rest recharge class features is going the way of the dodo. They have to change pact magic regardless of whether they replace it with regular casting or not. There isn't a whole lot of the system left except for them only having a small amount of spell slots and only ever having their highest level ones. I just don't think that's worth keeping when a perfectly fine, if boring, alternative exists.
 

I think that seal has been broken. The changes to wild shape, bard and ranger spellcasting and cleric domains shows they are willing to change elements of a class to make it easier or better.
I don't really agree.

Clerics and Bards saw relatively minor changes, and got buffs in some ways. Thus they weren't very divisive.

Whereas the Wild Shape changes were a huge, bizarre and very videogame-ish nerf, which were hugely divisive.

short rest recharge class features is going the way of the dodo
This is just a claim made in error.

It's simply not true.

I wish it was true, but it isn't. Almost all the Short Rest-recharge features have been retained so far, across all the classes we've seen. Easily 80%. So no, that's no happening. Further, Short Rests were clarified to still be 1hr long in the most recent packet.

Is that dumb as hell? Yes. But it's the way it is. And there's no excuse for changing Warlocks on that basis.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I'm not sure how it's more un-intuitive than the other casters??

And, again, I think this 'issue' is because you view the Warlock through the lens of other casters. Your image of what a 'Spellcaster' IS is clearly based on what the Cleric, Druid and Wizard can do... and I think, by design, the Warlock is not meant to be the same as those three. It's why there's an invocation to get Rituals, it's why there's all these invocations to do utility magic (AT WILL!). The Warlock is not a Wizard and slapping the same ol' spell system on them just turns them into a discount Wizard. Why even have the class if that's the case? Just take the Pact Magic stuff and make a Wizard Subclass at that point.

I’ve played with Warlocks who had no problem using their spell slots for utility once we were back in town and other environment where fights were unlikely. But even if a fight DID break out, Eldritch Blast damage and At-will abilities are still solid enough to handle a fight with no spell slots left. Using ‘Fly’ on the Barbarian during certain fights was also seen as an optimal use of a spell slot.
It's unintuitive because once you learn spellcasting on a wizard, you know spellcasting for clerics, druids, sorcerers, paladins, rangers, and I'm assuming arcane tricksters and eldritch knights. Then the warlock comes in with a different spell progression, recharge schedule and upcasting.

And I view the warlock as a caster because it tries to be one. It gets 9th level spells. It's frequently lumped in with wizards and sorcerers. If it was only about invocations and Eb (like hit 3.5 warlock was) I'd be more likely to view it as a monk or a magical rogue, but it says it's a caster and it should be able to replace a caster in the same role.

(Honestly, WotC should have made the Expert classes monk, rogue and warlock. They are the major striker/skirmisher classes, have d8 HD and high Dex, and have quirky at-will abilities. Bard would go with arcane as a full caster and ranger go to warrior. But that's a tangent for another day).
 

Undrave

Legend
I don't think nova potential is in any way a pro of pact casting. Full casters have just as many top level slots from levels 1-10. Warlocks have one more 5th level slot from 11-20, but dropping 5th level slots isn't exactly a nova for Tiers 3 and 4.
Now, a hypothetical "long rest pact caster", with 6 slots per LR, would be WAY too good at nova. But that would be a lazy change to make them long rest, not a well-thought out one.
To say nothing of the fact that a similar level Wizard still has 4 level 1 slots and 3 level 2 slots to make use of when going Nova. The Warlock is hardly a nova class IMO.

It's unintuitive because once you learn spellcasting on a wizard, you know spellcasting for clerics, druids, sorcerers, paladins, rangers, and I'm assuming arcane tricksters and eldritch knights. Then the warlock comes in with a different spell progression, recharge schedule and upcasting.
Okay but if you start with the Warlock? And Wizards have their Book things, the Clerics, Druids and Paladins have access to their entire spell list at rest, and the Bard, Sorcerer, and Rangers can't change their known spells.

Honestly, that detail feels more random than the Warlock "These guys all work the same, except the nthey don't" is more unintuitive than "These guys all work the same, but this one guy is totally different"
 

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