This post is part of the Escaping the Crowds series, which focuses on escape mechanism for PvP.

There are times, when all appears lost. You are overwhelmed by enemy forces, surrounding all directions. There is no place to run, nor place to hide. Your adversaries seem to have covered all the exists.

At such times, you shouldn’t hide your body, but rather hide your soul.

What am I talking about?

Just a slight teaser to the new (my own invention) Warlock ability that would help them escape in dire days. Wouldn’t it fit if the masters of demons and souls could project their own self someplace else? Wouldn’t it be proper for those who drain life to transfer their own into others? Wouldn’t it be totally wicked if Warlocks could act as possessive demons?

What if they could? Introducing the new skill Possession.



Still feel in control? I dare you to follow the link (*evil laugh*).


(Instant, 3 min cooldown) The caster projects his soul into the enemy target, controlling its mind, but increases the time between attacks by 25%. While the effect lasts, the caster is incorporeal and immune to all effects. When the effect is over, he materializes next to the target. Lasts up to 5 seconds.

What the Hell is this About?

It took me three sessions to pass the information that Warlocks are in need of an escape mechanism in PvP, so they can stand a better chance against enemies such as Rogues and Warriors. I hope I made myself clear enough when informing that Warlocks have a high health pool, and several skills to keep themselves healthy, but once caught in close range, their survival drops significantly. They do not have a Blink or an instant Psychic Scream to gain some distance on their pursuers.

They do not have a way to physically escape. They will use the path of the souls instead.

This new skill, when used, will remove the Warlock from the war-zone. He will be controlling the target instead. For 5 seconds, his body will be gone while he is possessing someone(thing) else. After 5 seconds, his body will reappear at the target’s feet.

What Sort of Infernal Buff is this?

Today, when a Warlock finds himself toe-to-toe with a melee enemy, he has very little options. Every Warlock can use Death Coil to gain some time, and every spec has one more tool to deal with the situation (Improved Howl of Terror, Felguard’s Intercept and Shadowfury). When the above are on cooldown, it normally means the Warlock is stuck in close range for a little while.

Possession to the rescue.

I’d like to clarify, this isn’t a win button. It cannot be spammed to escape. The purpose of this new skill is to provide a way to fly away, in a clever manner.

Basically, it is another panic button to compensate the Warlock for his complete lack of escapism skills.

The next time a Warrior (for example) manages to reach the Warlock, there is no need to panic! The Warlock could either possess his enemy to gain some time (but ultimately stay in melee range with him), or project his soul into another enemy, which is standing further away, thus gaining distance.

It’s a two-in-one deal as it also provides a short duration crowd control while the target is mind-controlled. Additionally, it has the potential to wreak havoc within the enemy’s structure by moving someone around (e.g. placing the healer outside line of sight).

Score: 9/10

Because a Blink coupled with half a Mind Control isn’t something to sneeze at.

Demons Scream of too much Power!

Would demons, trolls and other kinds claim this is overpowered?

One should always be careful when granting an ability that condenses different functionality into one. Possession is a mix of Blink (projection to the target), Divine Shield (being incorporeal for the duration) and Mind Control, which makes it pretty strong.

But, it has a long cooldown at 3 minutes.

Additionally, it does have some drawbacks. First, the Warlock cannot cast spells while he is possessing someone else (while mind controlling, only auto-attack is available). Second, all helpful effects on the Warlock (such as heals over time) have no effect while the ability is used (as he is immune to all effects). Third, while the incorporeal Warlock cannot be attacked by his enemies, his allies cannot attack the possessed target either (as it is considered an ally for the duration).

Taking the above into account, I don’t think it comes any close to being an I.W.I.N button.

[New] Edit: It seems, that due to the Warlock’s charming aura, I “forgot” to address an important issue.

Using Possession in combination with other skills.

Warlocks are already notorious for their use of a Death Coil + Fear combination, which can keep a target CCed and taking damage for some time. This is really frustrating for the target (to make this clear, Fear is about the only CC at the moment which renders the target completely hopeless, but does not break on damage). Giving Warlocks another skill to use before/after the Fear might add to this frustration. Now, as Dionadar has mentioned, Possession could be classified under the same diminishing returns as Fear, thus minimizing the time one could be controlled in such a way. It isn’t perfect, but it is somewhat of a solution.

Taking this new edit into account, a dangerous combination could be used: Death Coil, Fear, Possess a target that stands farther away, just to land another Fear. It could be deadly, so I’m changing the score.

Score: 6/10 8/10

Because an ability with a long cooldown, that basically grants survivability at the cost of dealing damage is something everyone is entitled to have. [New] But since it could be used as part of a deadly combination, we cannot let it pass under the radar so easily.

Cursed Environment

How useful can this skill be in PvE?

If you can’t beat them, join them

But this isn’t always possible. While being part of Hogger‘s gang must be rather wicked, there are some mobs that simply cannot be possessed. The rule of thumb is pretty simple – if it cannot be mind-controlled, it cannot be possessed.

Which makes this spell available only vs. non-elites while soloing, and some instance trash mobs.

While adventuring alone, this could be of some use when fighting several mobs at once. Since the enemies will turn on the mind-controlled target, it will still be damaged. The downside is the Warlock appearing 5 seconds later in the midst of the fight, and one no-longer-controlled mob with her friends aren’t going to be very hospitable.

While instancing, this could be used as a panic button to save someone who pulled aggro on trash mobs. The Warlock would control the pulled mob for 5 seconds, which might be just enough for the tank to reorganize and catch it as it regains control.

Score: Limited+

Because I can’t pinpoint a general case where this could be used, but the clever could still benefit from it.

Nerfs & Corruption

Ultimately, everything corrupts and decays. The same happens to abilities, only it is called nerfing.

Could Possession be corrupted? Might it be nerfed?
Let’s consider a few options.

  1. Cooldown increase. Possibly to 5 minutes. Would have a minimal effect on the ability’s power, since as it is, it cannot be chain-used anyways. 2 more minutes would be a hindrance, but not much more.
  2. Range reduction. This will cripple the spell’s use significantly, as it would limit to which targets the Warlock could project himself. A range too short would completely nullify the Blink effect. [New] On the other hand, as it is, the spell allows blinking much farther than any other class. I suppose it should have been shorter in the first place, maybe 15-20 yards.
  3. Apply a magical debuff on the possessed target, allowing it to be cleansed from the effect. This way, the enemy would still have a mean to counter it. This could be tricky design-wise, since a controlled target is no longer an ally, so technically it cannot be cleansed. I suppose Blizzard’s developers will have to work extra-hours on this.

If I was forced to choose, I’d go for what is behind curtain number 3. In general, giving the opponent a way to counter something in a step forward in balancing, although it could be rather frustrating for the spell’s user.

If asked for my opinion though, I’d say that 5 seconds every 3 minutes is not something worthy nerf and corruption.

[New] If I was to consider feedback, I’d realize that I was a bit mislead (by my own self). Possession is a bit too strong as it currently is. Thus, nerf number 2 is important if we want to give melee opponents a better chance (30 yards was outside Intercept range, so it was a bit too far).

The Lore of the Afflicted

Does it make sense for Warlocks to be able to possess other living creatures?

I could give you an answer, or redirect you to an article on possession. I think the latter would save me some time (*grin*).

Having Sadistic Fun

There is fun in possession, although not for the possessed.

Since it is a bit like Mind Control, this forum post details how it could be used for enjoyment. Do note that the Warlock only have 5 seconds to do the deed, so at best it would be a short fun.

Since it requires a hostile target to use, it does not have any party tricks applications. But Warlocks don’t party much anyways, they rather sit in a dark an gloomy room.


/target Paedolos
/cast Possession
/say What was missing has been given.
/cancelaura Possession

And now, that I feel control over myself once again, I wonder why I wrote all that I did (*head scratch*).

I guess this is a good time to stop then.

Possession. Never proved nor disproved. There are many who still believe it is the simplest excuse to not taking responsibility for one’s actions.
— Doctor Johan Ackrobus


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6 Responses to “Possession”

  1. dionadar Says:


    Warlocks are already being wailed about because of their deathcoil + fear combo… giving them another option to get you back out of meelee-range which makes them invulnerable for 5 seconds…


    The only thing to remember is that Charm and Fear effects are on the same diminishing returns timer – although that is a sorry excuse for everyone having suffered the dreaded fear-lock.

  2. paedolos Says:

    Point noted, and I have modified the entry accordingly (search for the [New] flags).

    Do note though, that *if* (and that is a big if) some of those skills were to be implemented, other classes would be balanced with skills of their own.

    I have covered in the past some of the tricks melee classes have to chase down “escapers” (posts called Relentless Chase), and I intend in the future to come up with new skills to help them in this area.

    In any case, thanks for the heads up, and feel free to give any further feedback 🙂

  3. dionadar Says:

    The problem is not that meelees might not get close to the warlock anymore (I hate those pokey-pokey kind of people goddamnit!), but rather that this skill can be used against all classes as a god-shield kind of thing.

    Imagine you are playing Healer DD against warlock druid (one of the more common warlock combos today). First the Warlock just uses Fear & Deathcoil to get rid of your DD while having fun hurting everyone through Dots & Manaleech.

    Then your DD gets Fear Immune – usually this would be the time, where the Warlock hat to swap targets – with this spell, he could just possess the healer and essentially be invulnerable for 5 seconds. 5 Seconds of complete invulnerability would allow the Fear diminishing returns timer to go back a whole lot – and depending upon where your DD ends up after the last fear runs out, it might even be long enough, that the timer will run out soon enough – and your dd might start running away again very soon after the possession breaks.

  4. paedolos Says:

    Obviously, it is hard to design an ability without any tests, so it’s good you brought up these points.

    Regarding the immunity, if it proves to be too strong, here’s an alternative – While incorporeal, all damage done to the Warlock is reduced by X% (50% comes to mind). This way, the Warlock has to make a tradeoff – a full Possession where he still suffers some damage while he is unable to dash out more of it, or a shortened duration (by manually removing the buff) only for the purpose of the “blink”.

    Ultimately, it is possible that this is simply too strong, and could never get into the game (hypothetically of course, I don’t work for Blizzard or anything like that). The initial concept was to come up with something Warlocky (hence Possession), then figure out how it would work.

  5. dionadar Says:

    What then about simply switching places with your demon?
    If you place it correctly (i.e. send it to attack the enemy healer) it could give you breathing space, seems warlocky to me and should not be so endangered by becoming overpowered.

    Just because you brought up “Blink” 😉

  6. paedolos Says:

    This isn’t a bad concept (I think Hunters came up with this idea on the forums once…), but since a new Warlock spell in Wrath of the Lich King is going to be Demonic Circle (a teleport of sorts), I tried to come up with something a little different.

    It doesn’t matter much anyways, it seems Blizzard has come up with a Warlock escape trick, whether we like it or not 🙂

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