Monday, December 1, 2008

Q&A around the forums:

Just thought I'd point out a couple of these posts to tide you over, as I won't be able to post for a while.

Question about Runic Power Mastery answered.

Question about Chillblains answered.

Finally, for those of you who might have some trouble with rogues, just remember this tip:

Plague strike will reapply blood plague even if a rogue has cloak of shadows up. As soon as you see a rogue cloak, try and land a new plague strike on them asap.

Plague strike, like serpent sting (which can be used by hunters to accomplish the same thing), doesn't roll a spell-based hit check, and thus isn't affected by the 90% resist rate. As long as you don't get parried/dodged, and the strike lands, the dot will be reapplied, preventing them from utilizing a lengthy vanish.

Post here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The easiest quest there is: Onyxia

Need gold? Just do this every three days. It only takes about 15 minutes from taking the portal down there, to the hearth out after you drop the beast.

It's not a bad deal, either. Vendor loot, 146 gold, and some gems/bags.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just a few ganking clips:

Though they were at or near full health, and within 1 level of me (above or below), I feel pretty overpowered against just about any opponent I run into with my current spec. I'm simply unkillable 1vs1 so far. I think only a very well-played frost mage would give me a tough fight at this point, or another DK with a similar spec.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Video link from wsg post below:


Deathknights in PvP:


Just from a random wsg I was queued into in the 70-79 range. (I was 76 here)

Also something interesting to note: If you click off your Shadow of Death ghouls bug when you die and come back as a ghoul, it doesn't count as a 'death' in BGs. Probably just a bug.

In case anyone is wondering, I'm currently running this spec.

I'm just messing around with talents right now, trying to get a good feel for them on live. I'm pretty much convinced at this point that mark of blood is really only good in some 2v2 scenarios or in duels. I'm probably going to drop it, and the subsequent points required to get it, for more points in unholy.

I will be uploading the fraps footage of this BG just for kicks as well later today.

On a final note, is seems that no one on the live forums cares to hear what you have to say unless you're complaining about something. Figures.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Almost there...

Er, even better: :)

Creation to 68 with 336/375 mining in 18 hours.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Early PvP spec(ulation) for talent build:

I'll probably be gravitating towards something like that. I'm not sure if ravenous dead will be worth it over outbreak, considering how fragile he is. I'm also not to keen on getting RoR due to it creating more dependency on Blood plague being on the targets. I'd rather have stronger baseline talents than have to rely on diseases being on the target due to the cleanse issue.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Leveling Spec:

I'll probably be going with a template like this tomorrow.

For leveling, the self-sufficiency of blood is a must, and the mobility and pet options from unholy are equally important. I'm not really sure at this point whether Imp Rune Tap or Vendetta will be better. Rune Tap is better for elites and single pulls, while Vendetta is great for when you need or want to pull a large AOE pack. I'm probably leaning towards Rune Tap at this point, and grabbing health pots to supplement any healing I may need in addition to it and Death Strike.

From this point on, I'll probably end up fleshing out the rest of unholy for more DPS upgrades. The finisher of choice until you can get scourge strike will probably be Death Strike.

I also recommend leveling with Sword Shattering, as it's a great way to mitigate damage. Between 2% dodge, sword shattering, and 3/5 Blade Barrier, you're going to be rocking and additional 12% mitigation most of the time, which is nothing to scoff at.

If I find myself too abundant with heals and overheals, I might just end up going deep unholy and skip going for self-sufficiency for now. It's really going to depend on how the flow of combat is going to feel, as I haven't leveled a new DK in about 4 months since beta started.

I still haven't decided on a name at this point, either. Jayde is taken on Tichondrius, so I'm still debating what to name myself. (I hate special characters)

At this point, I'm thinking between these:

Impulsenine (Give all weapons cheat in quake 1)

Ah, well.. What sounds best?

For anyone who needs the Wotlk Installer now, rather than waiting:

Mostly for those of you overseas that don't have access to a midnight release store who are having someone get you a key. :)


Also, if you already have your WotLK key, you can upgrade your account here.

Update: Link to the official Blizzard Downloader:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ok, I lied: One final lock idea:

One of things I liked about playing a necro in EQ way back in the day, was their "lich" line of spells.

Would it be possible to see some sort of glyph or talent to change lifetap into a drain health into mana gradually over time (until cancelled), rather than having to mash the button 10,000 times a day?

Alternatively, it could also be used as a way to spice up dark pact, draining the pets mana to you over time instead.

In addition, it would also make talents such as Soul Leech more "fluid" and thus more fun to use.

Just an idea. =]

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stick a fork in the beta, 'cuz it's done.

I know, old news. I've been out of town. =]

I am unable to post on the live forums, so this brings my public feedback to an end. I'm pretty sure everyone is pretty well-informed about DKs by now. My services are no longer required. =]

Hope to bump into some of you guys on live. I'll be on Bloodlust. I hope this blog helped all of you as much as it did me. Keep in touch!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For those curious about DK leveling:

I just finished the entire DK quest chain again (for the billionth time), and this is to show you just how far into 57 you get before turning in the part in orgrimmar or stormwind.

Also, it takes roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes to run through these quests.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Current DK wishlist:

In light of some recent discussions regarding DK talents and mechanics, I decided to sit down and do a little bit of brainstorming to help come up with some interesting solutions to shape this class up a bit more.

Here is a brief list of some of the things I came up with, sort of as a "wish list" of changes I'd like to see happen:


Baseline changes:

Blood strike now acts as a method to congeal or coagulate the victims blood, and melds any diseases currently afflicting the target to their flesh, making them (the diseases) temporarily undispellable until worn out or renewed.

Reason: It's easy to see why a change like this will probably be need to be made, by following this thread:
This wouldn't make ALL diseases that the death knight spreads undispelable. You still have a chance to do so in pvp before blood strikes hit. In addition, diseases spread via pestilence would not be "sealed in" and undispelable until they are struck with a blood strike. This let's the DK focus on keeping a single target debuffed for the purpose of disease synergy, while not making diseases completely uncounterable.

Finally, this would actually make blood strike feel like it has an actual purpose (and one that makes sense), and be more fun and engaging to use. Abilities that have a clearly defined purpose always make for more interesting gameplay. In addition, it would give epidemic actual value in a PvP environment, as extra duration on dispelable diseases is rather underwhelming to say the least.

Edit: Perhaps the disease/blood strike change is too strong, and perhaps it isn't.

Perhaps the diseases should get harder and harder to dispel with each blood strike applied to the diseased target. Say, 35%/70% for every 1/2 blood strikes. This, combined with virulence, would give 100% undispelable, but ONLY on targets that you've performed blood strike on twice.

I really like the idea of blood strike causing the targets' blood to coagulate when diseased, though.

Talent changes:

Scent of blood: In adition to it's current effects, it now also reduces the RP cost of all offensive RP abilities by 5/10/15%.

Reason: Many people do not like this talent simply because it's only useful for tanking, where RP abilities aren't as huge of a concern as maintaining rune rotations. This would allow people to get use out of the talent even when not taking hits, while at the same time making things like hungering cold, DRW, gargoyle, death coil, and unholy blight easier to squeeze in for any situation.

Vendetta: In additon to it's current effects, Vendetta now also gives the DK a 10% damage boost for 20 seconds if their ghoul is prematurely slain in battle.

Reason: The idea here is to spice up this talent a bit, while at the same time encouraging players to bust the ghoul out even in environments where it might get killed off via AOE pretty easily, as blood DKs have no way of resummoning a ghoul very quickly. You must avenge poor Brainsnatcher. :)


Baseline changes:

Horn of winter now lasts 5 minutes, but now costs 30 RP. Please.

Talent changes:

Glacier rot and Endless winter have swapped places.

Reason: This one is pretty obvious. Glacier rot does nothing for deep blood and deep unholy specs. Endless winter, on the other hand, would be a great talent that any sub-spec would be interested in picking up, including any build interested in PvP. This, combined with the blood strike baseline change would go to solve a lot of mechanical issues players are having with fighting the DK resource system. Chains of ice is still dispelable, so I don't see this as being OP.

Killing Machine: KM procs now also automatically refresh the duration of Horn of Winter.

Reason: Quality of life issue that would be a perk to frost. Frost is more RP hungry than any other tree, and would benefit more from this change than blood or unholy.


Talent changes:

Anticipation: Now also reduces the RP cost of your Rune Strike by 25/50%.

Reason: This is the only early tanking talent that we get that doesn't offer an ancillary effect that's beneficial in PvP. Blade barrier has the side effect of not only providing 10% physical mitigation, but also increases the proc chance of rune strike by 10%. Tougness increases armor, but also reduces snare effects. Anticipation is just a flat 5% dodge. Useful, but not exciting. This change would allow DKs who enjoy both PvE and PvP a reason to be excited about picking up a tanking talent, and not feeling "bad" about it when not tanking.

Corpse Explosion: Additional effect: Targets affected by corpse explosion are now dazed for 8 seconds, and take an additional 10% shadow damage while dazed. In addition, all diseases on affected targets are now refreshed to their maximum duration.

Reason: The idea here is that players don't like weaving CE into their rotations, not because of the damage it does or doesn't do, but because it costs players an unholy rune that could/should be used to refresh desecration instead. It simply doesn't "do" enough or warrant enough reason for use. If CE dazed targets and increased the shadow damage they take, you'd somewhat make up for the loss of a desecration on your next rotation, feel rewarded for using CE (which is VERY situational at best anyways), and would make players actually look forward to using the ability. In addition, refreshing the diseases on affected targets means that using CE creates the opportunity of using blood boil more, which encourages picking up talents such as outbreak and reaping. This would be a great synergy change, and rightfully so, as again it's a very situational ability at best.

Unholy Blight: Additional Effect: Now heals the Death knight for 50% of the damage done.

Reason: Simply put? Flavor.

If you want more reasons, follow these posts: &

Thursday, October 23, 2008

DK mechanics too clunky for PvP?


Edit: Follow up post.

Blizzard games have always traditionally been about the "Easy to play, hard to master" mentality. Unfortunately, I don't think the DK quite falls into the "easy to play" part just yet.

It is a rather complicated class, and the mechanics can get a little clunky sometimes when things don't quite fall into place. It can be a lot of work for a new DK to not only learn how to manage multiple resources instead of one like they're probably used to, but to also be required to do their moves in specific orders, so as to get the most bang for their GCD spent.

Is that a good thing? For the sake of keeping things interesting, I suppose. But from a competitive standpoint, I'm not so sure. I'll give examples of why down below.

If you were to ask me (and I'm probably going to catch a ton of flak for saying this), I would suspect that the single biggest culprit of the challenge of playing the class properly, is the over-dependence of having diseases up on the target to do maximum damage with most of your strikes. It's a cool mechanic, until you start running into situations where rotations simply aren't feasable (I'm looking mostly at pvp here).

I have this suspicion that, if anything, this is the department that will probably need to be looked at going into the future, if things prove too difficult or DK DPS is too inconsistent depending on the opponents they face.

One example of a class that was probably too hard to play well in TBC (if you chose to forgo the way of mods, macros and a G15 keyboard), was the hunter. Not only were they arguably the most difficult class to play well in the arena for a myriad of reasons, but they were also the most difficult class to properly DPS with in raids. One tiny, simply fix to alleviate their huge learning curve, was to remove auto shot clipping. Bam, much easier to play, and now will also be easier to dish out the damage in pvp without worrying about clipping shots while you're constantly repositioning yourself.

Also, try to sit back for a second and imagine for a second if rogue DPS strikes like Sinister strike and Hemo (or even eviscerate), were balanced around the assumption that to do max damage, you HAD to have some sort of deadly or other poison up at all times, otherwise you'd take a pretty huge DPS hit. On top of keeping up SnD, managing combo points, possible positional requirements, cooldowns, and keeping enough energy in reserves to kick/etc, you'd also cringe everytime your poisons got cleansed.

Not only would rogues be frustrated that their "MS" and snare poisons would fall off, but their hemo/SS damage would be less as well.

Fortunately for rogues, this isn't the case. They can do all their high damage moves without worrying about this, with the exception of mutliate. However, as in mutliate's case, it isn't so bad, since Assassination specs have typically have their target poisoned the vast majority of the time, if not by auto attacks alone, but also easy access to shiv which is essentially on demand, and doesn't run them the risk of screwing up any "rotations".

I guess what I'm trying to say is, is that I probably wouldn't rule out the possibility that DKs might end up needing some sort of disease dependency rework in the future. Would it dumb things down? Yeah, but if Blizzard has learned anything from TBC PvP, it should have been that overly complex classes that take more effort to play well fight an uphill battle against classes that are at least as effective with far less effort.

That, and I guess I'm trying to say that our strikes and abilities should provide strong incentive to use on their own, and not require us to use X, Y abilities before we can even think about using ability Z. If anything comes along to screw up that pattern, then everything gets a little out of whack, and the whole process just feels very much out of place. Whenever that happens, I always sit there and think to myself, "Well Gee, do I just start my whole rotation over because A) My disease got cleansed, or B) I had to use chains of ice instead of apply frost fever via icy touch? Or do I just go ahead and blow a 1F1U ability that does subpar damage?" It's a double whammy. Not only is our utility/damaging disease removed, but our subsequent strike damage that would have followed suite also do less damage unless those diseases are reapplied.

It's... frustrating, to say the least. While learning how to pvp with this class, I'd often run into situations like the above stated, and just try and figure out in my head if it's worth it to just spam disease applicators and get as many quick strikes in? Or just forget about keeping diseases up and try to get those hard hitters off anyways, even if they do less damage.

After a while, I started to go with the second option, but even then, that doesn't work with an ability like howling blast, as it's damage is absolutely laughable without frost fever up. It struck me odd that what was once an excellent burst ability has now become a real pain to get working right in a competitive PvP environment.

I don't want to sit here and go into the frustrations I have with each individual strike or ability that suffers from this problem, as you can probably see where I'm going with this anyway. I just wanted to bring up the overall point that I'm trying to make, which is that the heavy disease dependencies are more frustrating than fun in pvp, and that our "rotations" don't apply themselves well in pvp, once we start needing to apply chains of ice as often as is required.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Warlock Destro Suggestion:

So I was reviewing the destro changes for locks lately after the ruin/devastation change, and did some thinking.

It seems that PVE locks are just fine with ruin being a 5 point talent, as it helps with their stat (crit) scaling for raids. It's a better 5 point investment as an 11-15 point talent sink than just 5% crit (which is the current 21 pointer). This leads me to believe that, assuming most people will end up going at least 51 demo or 51 affliction before going destro, that the current 21 pointer in destro could stand to be changed to help destro warlocks where they need it most right now: PvP viability.

So my idea is to basically get rid of the 5% crit talent, melt that lost DPS elsewhere into the tree, and replace it with something that would actually change a warlocks playstyle.

You wanted to give warlocks a different type of CC and make them less reliant on fear. That was the whole idea for introducing cripple, was it not? Well, why not give destro warlocks a chance at squeezing some sort of new CC in that would solve some of their issues (mobility and survivability), but NOT reintroduce cripple.

The first thing that came to mind was aflame wreath type ability, similar to the Shade of Aran in Karazhan, even if only a single target version with a moderate (30s or so) cooldown. Think chains of ice that locks you into place for a short duration via chains of fire, preventing movement for 2 seconds, but allows you to move after that, at your own risk: Any target who attempts to move out of the wreath explodes, dealing damage to all around them, and also burns away Y resources (lose a bit of rage/energy/RP/mana). I think that could be pretty cool.

To make up for the loss of 5% crit via devastation, you can simply melt that into the tree elsewhere.

The only other thing I was thinking of, was introducing a new "armor" for locks, to match more of a destro play-style.

Mages have Molten armor for fire specs, frost armor for frost, and mage armor for arcane (although the other armors can still be useful for arcane, too).

Warlocks basically have a PVE armor and a PvP armor... And to be honest: I really don't like demon armor at all unless I know I'll be catching a ton of heals. The 2% health regen and extra spell power is clearly superior for double DPS 2s, triple DPS 3s, and any small scale combat when you're not being followed/spam healed by a pocket healer, and/or being focused. When I do BGs, I almost always prefer fel armor.

I really think Demon armor could use a little boost, either with the physical damage duration reductions, or something along those lines. I at least think Demon armor needs to have it's flat armor increase # scale with another stat, such as spell power.

Alpha Nostolgia Pictures:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hunter Explosive Shot Feedback:


Explosive shot seems to have been over-nerfed, simply because it was (like many other talents introduced this expansion) trying to do too many cool things at once, and was summarily nerfed pretty badly.

I don't really see how it was balanced to have an arcane shot that ticked in an AOE that did 3x the damage of arcane shot per GCD used. It was high damage move that could be used completely on the move. The result? It obviously got nerfed.

I think that the main issue with explosive shot, from my perspective, is that it was trying to replace the wrong skill to give hunters that big damage boost. Hunters already have mobile damage. Since when do they need (massive) mobile AOE damage? And if they do (for pve), how is big mobile AOE damage balanced for PVP? It would be like giving mages instant cast targetable flame strikes and arcane explosions. The answer: It isn't, and wasn't. The result? Now you have a weak damage component, but keep the mobility factor as an instant shot.

Instead, I see myself wanting explosive shot to do nice, big damage, but at a cost: Mobility. Why isn't explosive shot a replacement for steady shot instead? Reinstate it's damage, but give it a cast time, not much different from having to cast shadowbolts and fireballs. If it had a cast time, the devs could afford to bump it's damage back up quite considerably, as well as sever the shared cooldown between it and arcane shot.

Chew on that in your mind and try to visualize how that would play out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Necrosis, pvp burst, unholy presence, etc:


The thing I hate about necrosis, is that it only really boosts white damage, which is unappealing to me for two main (PvE and PvP) reasons:

1) Auto attacking things to death isn't fun (which is why I personally hated the retadin playstyle prior to WotLK), and talents that boost that type of mechanic I look down upon. Mechanics that exist simply to boost white damage hold very little appeal to any DK not planning on dual wielding. This is directly contradictory to staple, spec-defining talents that you get later in the tree, such as scourge strike, which screams 2hander.

2) In PvP, talents that focus mainly on boosting auto attack damage aren't highly sought after at all, unless those same talents also boost instant strike damage as well. A good example would be dual wield spec for rogues. By itself, it's fairly unappealing to rogues that care about what matters in pvp: Burst damage. Where it DOES become appealing, is how it affects mutilate burst damage. That extra burst damage coming from your offhand dagger on this big crit mutilates is a huge attraction for pvpers. Necrosis does nothing of the sort. It's a small, flat boost of white damage. That's it. It's an interesting concept, but doesn't really change the way a deathknight will use his or her active abilities, and thus I consider it to be a rather boring talent.

To along with this, look at a different example of how this affected another class:

BM hunters were, by far, the most damaging spec they could be: In PvE. Why? Because a lot of their damage was off GCD via the pet, and they had a very balanced shot rotation via steady-auto rotations. However, to do this sort of rotation, you essentially had to sacrifice ALL mobility, as steady shot is a "cast time" ability, meaning you can't move while you use it.

So, what was the supreme "DPS" spec in pve, failed miserably in Competitive PvP (arena), turned out to be pretty bad when mobility and burst is suddenly king. Marks was their best bet, since it relied heavily on front-loaded damage, and you could reposition yourself between front-loaded burst cooldowns, or use that time to drop traps, wingclip and reposition, etc.

Now, given that context, I also feel that our "pvp presence" of unholy presence fails to make up for the loss of damage gained in blood presence, since Auto attack damage is NOT an acceptable replacement for 15% overall damage lost. You could argue that the extra 7% movement speed of being in unholy presence vs having some sort of run speed enchant could somehow theoretically make up for whatever the increased auto attack damage doesn't cover, but I doubt it. Though, I cannot prove this point at this time.

Necrosis falls in the same category, and will probably end up being regulated into a pure pve spec, and probably only for dual-wield specs.

Hungering Cold Love:

I still think hungering cold could benefit from a new, additional mechanic to give it more flavor in more situations.

Hungering cold doesn't always feel rewarding to use in the situations you'd want to use it. I think part of the problem stems from the fact that it not only doesn't provide a DPS increase at all, but actually hurts your dps by consuming RP that could have been used on frost strikes instead.

A pvper can sometimes look past the above issue due to the fact that it's essentially our only real CC option. At the very least, it can force a trinket or two. Sadly, I think that is the role that it will be dwindled down to in PvP.

But Jayde! You can potentially hit 5 targets with it at once in a 5v5! Yeah, and if you manage to hit all five of your opponents with it, since it's a PBAOE, you're probably fighting people that are extremely bad and have no real sense of positioning.

As a matter of fact, as arena fights become more and more scripted, it will become very apparent that you're fighting a frost death knight (chains applying frost fever is a dead giveaway), and all it takes is a little coordination for your healer to stay away from the DK or DPSer so as to not eat a HC. Going with this, as these fights get more scripted in the arena, it will become painfully obvious when a death knight is going to want to use hungering cold, much in the same way that you know that you'll eat a blind as soon as you trinket X move, or you'll eat a hasty follow-up fear or deathcoil into a fear as soon as the first fear is trinketed. The problem with this scenario? The death knight has to run, or crawl, over to the target they want to CC, which is more than likely NOT going to be the target that they have been DPSing, who's going to typically have more then just disease debuffs on them in any group environment.

Hungering cold as a pvp-only ability certainly has it's flaws, as you can see. I haven't even mentioned just how expensive it is to use as a "snap" ability, because at this point it doesn't really matter.

Here are the issues with hungering cold:

1) It's only usable on trash in PVE. Great, but other people in the group are going to be doing CC already, as is. Besides, if you need HC to clear an instance, then the instance probably needs to be retuned. Not to mention, if you need HC to do every pull, then the one minute cooldown becomes a thorn in everyone's side. An ability that really only helps on trash is far from exciting, at least for me, for a 51 pointer.

2) It's very, very situational in pvp, and will have counters as people learn how to effectively CC/control DKs from getting it off at key moments. Yes, you might be surprising people in the arena right now with it, since they probably A) don't expect it, or B) Don't know what they're fighting against. I promise you, this won't last. It isn't really that difficult to avoid if you're a smart player.

3) It's a very large drain on resources, without actually providing a boost in damage. This is because it provides an element of CC. However, given the two points stated above, this isn't a very good trade off at the moment.

Now here comes the inevitable part where I toss some ham-handed suggestion(s) out. Get ready to cringe!

I have a few thoughts towards this talent, some of which I've held since the beginning of alpha.

1) I've always wanted it to provide an additional debuff of some sort, that is unique to the talent, and not simple be an additional way to spread frost fever. That's pestilences job. I don't want a 51 pointer that basically does the same thing. Pestilence should have always spread FF to unlimited targets, and now that it does, this point needs to be reevaluated. There are many ideas to go with this, such as :

  • A) Increasing the affected targets susceptibility to being crit. They are thawing out, thus might share some of the similar portions of being weak to "shatter" type combos.
    B) Provide an additional "slow" effect for people that are thawing out from the freeze portion of the spell, even after the freeze wears off, similar to an AOE chains of ice
    C) The lazy way: Increase the amount of damage affected targets take for X seconds by Y%. Let this debuff work even on bosses, so that it would give us an excuse to be usable on bosses, or on targets that we are DPSing in pvp if we optimal CC positioning simply isn't an option.

  • 2) The only other thing that I've tossed around in my mind about HC, was that perhaps it's just not fit for a 51 point talent, but for a 31 point instead. Going with this, people would be more psyched about going 51 + frost if their 51 pointer was a nice damage ability. My suggestion would probably be to potentially swap howling blast (and increasing it's damage to make it feel more like a 51 pointer), and making HC the 31 pointer.

    Why? How many people actually only go 31 deep in frost for howling blast, and then go down another tree? I'd argue slim-to-none. That's because to make Howling blast good, you really have to press on deep further down the tree to make it arguably worth using. Going 31 deep to HB doesn't really do much, at least not the same way you can go down 31 into arms and get MS. MS starts hitting hard for warriors at 31 points in. Howling blast doesn't start hitting "hard" until you're down to around GoG, Tundra stalker levels. This is beside the fact that you need blood of the north to get the most out of it in rotations.

    Even then, howling blast takes arguably more "prep work" than any other talent we have. You've gotta get frost fever up, spread it around via pestilence, and then do it as a 1F1U ability. It's the added requirement of pestilence that really makes howling blast feel awkward. It's damage is very lackluster compared to oblit on single targets every single time. It actually feels like our most expensive ability to use. It requires, at the very minimum, 4 runes to use optimally, and I say optimally because any time you are on a single target, you simply won't even think about using HB. Frost fever not up first? Don't even think about using howling blast. In an AOE? Yeah, you can get by with not using pestilence, but why would you? The damage difference is so significant on the off targets if they don't have frost fever up first, that you absolutely feel compelled to use pestilence first.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I had it my way, I'd like to see:

    1) Howling blast and Hungering cold swap places
    2) Howling blast have the FF dependency completely dropped, and do frost-fever type damage all the time. Even with frost fever up, it's still less damage than oblit on single targets. I suppose I'm ok with that, but if it becomes a 51 pointer, I'd actually rather see HB become the better choice between the two for single target damage.

    Why? Because oblit has nice crit chance via rime and subversion. It's a "spikier" move to use. Howling Blast is also riskier to use in situations where breaking CC isn't the best option. You have to make a choice, based on player skill, as to when howling blast would be best used over obliterate, even if HB did more damage.

    Also, sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Been extremely busy. :)

    Edit: Typos and such. It's late. :(

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Warlock Idea:

    I posted this on the forums here.

    Demon armor: Now also reduces the duration of physical effects on the caster by 30%.

    What does this include? Here's a short list:

    Cheap shot
    Kidney shot
    Intercept stun
    Deadly throw snare
    Wing clip
    Mortal Strike
    Aimed shot
    Garrote (both the silence and the dot)
    Expose armor
    Sunder armor
    Piercing howl

    I'm not too worried about diseases, dots, and rogue poisons, simply because it's possible to cleanse or remove them in some form or fashion. They have counters. The abilities above, however, do not. Most classes can deal with the abilities listed above for various reasons. Warlocks, on the other hand, seem to be designed around the fact that they are best dealt with by having melee sit on top of them the whole fight.

    Making fel armor and demon armor undispelable was a good start, but it might be necessary going forward to give demon armor even more passive defense against effects that they really have no other way of getting rid of.

    If you're going to design warlock abilities based on the assumption that they are meant to "tank" melee in pvp, then you will probably find that they will need a buff to core abilities and mechanics to help them fulfill this role. This would also make demonic aegis a lot more attractive.

    In addition:

    I'd really like to see Demon Armor's armor value scale off of another stat, such as spell power. I.e. static number + 20% of spell power or something along those lines.

    I don't think it would be a good idea to scale the armor value off of another defensive stat, such as resilience or stamina. I'd hate to see encouraging locks to be competitive by simply stacking a bunch of defensive stats. It's ultimately less fun in the long run, and fun is what the game is all about.

    Sunday, October 5, 2008

    Team Fortress 2 Analysis (not wow related. please ignore for now)

    Last year, Valve dropped a bombshell on the first-person shooter market with their latest and greatest hit: Team Fortress 2.

    "TF2", as it's commonly known by its many adoring fans around the world, is the much anticipated sequel to a very popular quake 1 mod (or modification), aptly known as Team Fortress. Many of TF2's features, mechanics, and team-based gameplay goals reflect the original in several ways.


    Much like the original Team Fortress, TF2 is focused on two competing teams fighting over goals or objectives that vary depending on the map currently in rotation. These vary from capture-and-hold control point style objectives, to the more classic capture-the-flag (Team Fortress 2 uses "intelligence" instead of flags). More recently, Valve has introduced several new gameplay objective modes. One of these revolves around one team pushing a hilariously designed "bomb cart" with comical writings on the front, while the defending team does all they can to prevent the attackers from reaching their checkpoints with said cart.

    Players can choose between one of nine classes to play at any given time, and barring any server-side restrictions, have the option to change their current class at any time. To do this, they must return to the starting safe-zone. Each class has their own strengths and weaknesses, and some create wonderful synergies with each other, such as the Heavy and the Medic. It's a sort of rock-paper-scissors approach to class balance that, when combined with the ability to change classes relatively often, can create a very fun and dynamic combat flow with classes being introduced to counter others non-stop. More advanced players will often find that simply sticking with the same class will put them at a disadvantage, as the opposing team will react to this by simply choosing the counter class(es). This is a great way to prevent player burnout; by simply offering many different roles for you to play at any given time. Using this method, Valve manages to keep the gameplay fresh without actually changing the game. This gives each scenario a large amount of replay value, because you never end up playing a map the same way twice.


    There are nine different classes for players to choose from. In no specific order, they are: The Soldier, The Pyro, The Demoman, The Sniper, The Spy, The Heavy, The Medic, The Engineer, and The Scout.

    The broad selection of classes and roles to assume really opens up many different playstyles that players can use to reach their objectives.

    For example: A player with steady aim might find themselves best suited to suppress the advancing forces with well-placed sniper fire, while another might find it more suitable to sneak behind the enemy lines and backstab all of the attackers with the spy instead.

    A more strategic player might find themselves thoroughly enjoying the engineer, as he can lay down tactical placements of deadly auto-aiming turrets, as well as teleporter pads for teammates to use, and places to heal up and restock supplies. Meanwhile, a more bloodthirsty friend (or foe) might enjoy getting behind the mini chaingun of the heavy, lumbering slowly towards their foes, and ripping their enemies to shreds.

    Design Fun and Flaws:

    All in all, the game is a lot of fun. There is a very strong emphasis on teamwork in TF2, which means that there's really nothing better than getting a few buddies together and jumping on a server and simply wreaking havoc wherever you go. Few things are more satisfying than exercising a concerted effort to render an opposing teams' defenses useless with deadly precision. The gameplay possibilities are seemingly endless, because you never really know just what's going to be around the corner.

    Albeit few and far between, there are some frustrating things about the game. For starters, the game can feel awfully frustrating for a player who joins up on a server by himself where people aren't playing very well as a team. When you have a game that strongly emphasizes teamwork, and your team isn't working together, it's very easy to find yourself running into counter classes that eat you for lunch, or sacrificing yourself for the team only to see them go the other way. This game is really meant to be played with well-coordinated teammates, and not doing so will often lead to frustration.

    Another flaw would be the fact that the game simply does not allow the ability to inflict damage on your teammates. While this would normally be a good approach to prevent griefing, it greatly diminishes the viability for one of the nine classes in TF2, the spy. The spy's role is to cloak past the front lines, and disguise themselves as enemy players. Thus, a common tactic is to shoot any suspicious looking teammate, just to make sure it isn't a lurking spy. This can cause endless frustration for players learning how to pick up the spy class, simply because your enemies will shoot anyone, friend or foe, before you even have the chance to do your job. When punishment for friendly fire is removed in the name of grief prevention, you also encourage the enemy to shoot at any teammate they can, since there's absolutely no detriment for doing so. I find it difficult to view this game as being truly competitive on the same level that Counterstrike or Quake ever was, simply because you're rewarded for bad gameplay (shooting at your teammates). In addition, sometimes it's just nice to have the ability to put your teammates in their place.

    From a design standpoint, the game is almost perfect. It keeps people entertained for hours on end, and is packed full of comical flavor. Valve's art direction and design is unique for an FPS game, although it bears some resemblance to the older but popular "No one lives forever" PC spy game. Valve has put a tremendous amount of effort into bringing each of the nine character classes to life with their own unique, and very well done voice-overs. Combined with the wonderful, cartoony art direction inspired by the likes of Norman Rockwell, Valve has created a near flawless rendition of what is likely to remain one of the most popular team-based FPS games of all time.

    Saturday, October 4, 2008

    Lack of updates again:

    Things are starting to slow down for me in the feedback department. I know I haven't been around to post much in the past week or so, but I've been really busy with some important things that have cropped up lately. Blizzcon is fast approaching, and I have a few things to take care of before I go.

    If all goes well, I may be moving to California soon. =]

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Tanking mitigation thoughts:

    What do you guys think?

    IBF is both a blessing and a curse, although it is a far cry better than what it was in alpha (45% armor increase and stun immunity). However, it has since created nothing but problems for both us, and other classes.

    It's a blessing in that it's essentially shield wall on a 1 minute cooldown that also grants stun immunity for a dirt cheap RP cost.

    It's a curse because our total mitigation package seems to be balanced that it's used almost every time it cools down, which as many have pointed out, is not always ideal.

    Emergency cooldowns should be for emergencies. From what I have seen from other people's math and theorycrafting on these forums, however, it seems that IBF is not balanced as an emergency button, but part of our total mitigation package.

    It's a great cooldown, for sure. I just seem to be gathering that most people would rather have a flat damage reduction increase across the board at the cost of IBF mitigation, making damage intake less spikey as a whole.

    And to be honest, I'd almost argue that IBF is probably too good in PvP as well, as Zeth and myself have pointed out on a few occasions. The fact that we had a 15S cooldown AMS (plus access to 1 min IBF), both of which could be used for extreme magic damage mitigation, made us pretty OP in PvP. I believe the wrong step was taken to correct this, without first properly addressing the PvE side of the issue.

    I'd argue that IBF should probably go back to being a less essential, less game-breakingly good ability on such an OP cooldown (where it's only really OP in PvP). IBF needs to be toned down, base mitigation needs to come up (probably in frost presence), and AMS needs to be available more often.

    Perhaps I'm alone on this, but I believe it's not good for the class as a whole to leave IBF as it currently stands. I'd rather see it going back to being a big armor increase + stun immunity, and drastically drop the cooldown of AMS for magic damage mitigation (which is more fun to use anyways, as well as what we need more of in PvP). Then, I would argue that in frost presence, our base mitigation of armor and magic damage mitigation needs to be raised by 10%.

    The problem is IBF doing too much, too often. This hurts the dev's ability to balance our minimum mitigation without making us OP tanks in PvE with an IBF on a 1 minute cooldown. It also makes balancing our mitigation in PvP hard, since IBF steps on the toes of the role of AMS to a large degree, as it also provides a ton of magic damage mitigation. Shouldn't we have one cooldown for mitigating physical damage for emergencies, and another for magical mitigation? To compensate for the loss of the 1 minute shield wall, reinstate it to what it used to do, and provide high levels of physical mitigation via increased armor (and parry + dodge for use with the new rune strike?) + stun immunity. Raise the base mitigation via armor another 10% or so. Remember. We cannot block. It should be OK that our armor is higher than warriors. It shouldn't be a nightmare for healers to heal DKs through extremely spikey damage. Base mitigation is key. IBF as it currently stands is ruining this for us.

    AMS needs to have it's cooldown brought down significantly (20-25s), as well as possibly reducing the damage it absorbs to around 50% or so untalented. In addition, our base magic mitigation in frost presence needs to be raised another 10% to make up for the loss of mitigation on IBF.

    Thus, we'd have better PvP balance, and be more viable PvE tanks as well.

    If anyone disagrees, please feel free to say why.

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Is unholy still too good? Probably.


    Q u o t e:
    I play (amongst other classes) a hunter & this is the class I have raided for most of BC with. Obvious similarities aside I can't help but feel that Unholy is to DKs what BM was to Hunters - the superior spec for most situations.

    The testing I've done has shown that Unholy does better DPS for levelling - better DPS for instancing, arguably more powerful in PvP, too. It has less healing capability than Blood certainly but DS does good enough for me that downtime is not an issue. Unholy gives exceptionally superior AoE DPS - primarily through talents like wandering plague - but this is the only class/spec (other than prot paladin) where I've noticed my DPS rise substantially if I deliberately pull more than 1 mob - and climb quite fast the more mobs are added.

    I'll freely admit that I tend to min/max somewhat but unholy really does just seem much further ahead in just about every aspect of the game - so my questions are these:

    Is there any outstanding benefit to speccing anything else other than an unholy?
    Do other specs (primary focus either blood/frost) start to catch up to unholy at 80?

    I'd like to note that I'm not asking or suggesting that unholy be nerfed & I understand that heart strike isn't doing the damage it should be. I'm just finding a moderate disparity between unholy in any situation (PvP/PvE instancing/soloing) and either other spec.

    All valid concerns.

    Unholy seems to have quite the monopoly still on most major aspects of the game. As far as tanking goes, it's quite clear that bone shield is technically superior to it's counter parts in just about every way possible, save for the possible exception of vampiric blood in pvp with a druid rolling hots on you constantly.

    Unholy also seems to have the best abilities for scaling towards large encounters, as well as good single target threat (damage).

    Unholy has access to AMZ, which now with it's new scaling mechanic, will probably be seen as the superior raid AOE magic damage mitigation tool when compared to acclimation, as acclimation no longer seems to stack with frost aura, and is too RNG-based for most to appreciate (self included).

    Desecration fills the role of providing a very handy "frost trap on demand" for pvp scenarios, as well as keeping a tight leash on mobs, which again lends itself very well to multi-mob tanking and AOE scenarios.

    I'm also troubled that a passive talent such as wandering plague can keep up with damage/threat scaling in multi-mob scenarios about as well as the damage frost DKs gain via speccing into howling blast, which is an active 1F1U ability. Clearly this means that howling blast should be doing more damage than it is, considering it costs so many runes to use effectively.

    In addition, it seems that scourge strike is also the most spammable single-target big hitter any spec gets, as you can squeeze in 3 scourge strikes per rotation, thanks to epidemic rotations. Not only is it the most spammable, but scourge strike (thanks to all the synergies of the tree) is also the hardest hitting 1F1U ability any single tree gets. This fact requires the use of the cinderglacier rune forge, however.

    To top all of this off, unholy also has virulence and unholy command, both of which seem as required for pvp as things like vile poisons, improved stings, and improved intercept (on live right now). Death grip is too good to not talent a lower cooldown, and our disease dependency screams getting virulence against 3 out of the 4 healers (which any team is almost surely to have at least one of). And again, let's not forget how valuable desecration is now that chains is dispelable.

    TLDR version: Unholy has the best AOE damage/threat via mostly passive or easy-to-use abilities such as unholy blight (which is great for spreading Ebon Plague, which makes all the other AOE abilities scream in joys of synergy). Unholy also enjoys access to the best on-demand physical AND magical mitigation tools in the form of bone shield, magic suppression, and AMZ, in addition to our highest damage single target hitter. Unholy also enjoys the monopoly on some of our best pvp talents.

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    PvP feedback on the changes (nerfs):

    As far as chains goes, it's just a little bit frustrating having both dispels and freedom counter the snare, and without putting 1 point into chillblains, I can't cover the snare with other debuffs the way frost mages can cover nova/sheeps with winters chill, locks can cover fears with more dots, rogues can cover one poison with another, etc.

    There were essentially 3 things that really made chains of ice really strong:

    1. Undispelable.
    2. Incredible range for an instant root/snare.
    3. The amount it snares (as it's technically a root at first without DR)

    When you combine them, it's over the top. I'm guessing because if you went with changing either point 2 or 3, you'd end up with just another hamstring, which is effective, but boring. Class homogenization sucks, but then again, so does getting kited. I hope this isn't going to be the final implementation.

    Perhaps our PvP gloves should probably updated with a new bonus. Perhaps one that grants either an additional cooldown reduction on death grip (which is incredibly good when combined with chains), or a buff to the undispelable chance for chains instead.

    A five second reduction off a 2 minute cooldown on strangulate (which is a nerf that I think was a bit overdone) has suddenly lost a lot of appeal. :)

    Also, I feel like AMS is just another psuedo Cloak of Shadows now. The thing about AMS was that it was great to use to absorb damage, which filled RP, which could then be used for different purposes.

    Can we just get the immunity to CC effects removed, and have the cooldown significantly lowered? I don't want to be immune to magic classes, but merely take less damage from them. Being immune to binary spells is what realy made the ability stupid. I'd be more than OK at this point if I could simply get feared/polied when it's up.

    Using AMS to negate damage in pvp and pve was cool, especially when it had this neat mechanic that let you charge RP while getting kited by someone nuking you. Even if you lowered the amount that it absorbed, that would be fine. A 1 minute cooldown AMS feels pretty gimmicky right now, and it really takes a lot of the fun factor out. Make it less effective than before, but available more often.

    It's a fun ability, but no one wants it to be overpowered (especially non DKs), and DKs want to actually be able to use it.

    I don't think AMS should make DKs immune to CC and damage (or mitigate most of it) at the same time.

    Look at zerker rage for warriors. Fear immunity every for 1/3 of the match, at least. Can you imagine how people would feel if it made you immune to both fear AND an entire line of damage (magical or physical)? People would be saying the same thing about zerker rage if it was like that. You can't have both. It's just not fair or balanced.

    It really needs to be one or the other, and being immune or having high mitigation to magical CC just doesn't translate as well to PvE, nor does it work well with that whole 'absorb-damage-to-charge-RP' thing.

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Completely not wow related at all, but:

    If anyone's wondering what's really going on with the U.S.'s economy right now, you might start looking here.

    I sincerely hope anyone who even remotely cares to watch it. You even might learn a thing or two.

    Latest build thoughts:

    I had time to mess around with the changes a bit last night, and I wanted to bring up a few things. Some of these things have been around and still need looking at.


    Subversion: Now that blood strike has seen more love (and obliterate will soon, if I'm not mistaken), this is an even better talent.

    Scent of blood: still only works against melee and ranged, and not against application of spells. Now that AMS cooldown has been pushed back considerably (which I often used for RP generation vs spells), is it possible to have this affect spell applications as well? Would this talent be overpowered if it procced off of auto attack damage as well? It's pretty useless right now if you're on the offense and noone is hitting you back.

    Vendetta: One of the best grinding talents we have, but ultimately useless at 80. Unholy has necrosis for auto attack damage. Can't this provide an ancilary benefit via additional lifeleech via auto attacks only, or something else to make it more attractive at end game?

    Blood aura: Out of the 3 auras, this one is the most underwhelming. 2% healing sounds nice, but it isn't exactly going to keep your rogues alive and topped off through AOE damage in raids and such. Also consider that unlike frost and unholy aura, not everyone in your raid will even really benefit from this aura. It only helps those that are dealing damage. Frost and Unholy aura, on the other hand, help everyone. Please consider buffing this talent.

    2 Handed Weapon Spec: Very similar to the warrior talent, but ultimately not as useful per point spent. Why? Because a lot of our damage, even if using 2 handed weaponry, does not come from strikes (even as blood spec). A lot of our damage also comes from diseases, icy touch, deathcoils, a ghoul, or other abilities if going down another tree. Initially looks attractive for frost strike users, but ultimately turns out to be under-budgeted for that type of build due to so much of deep frost/unholy's damage coming from non-strike damage. Could be deeper in a bit for more emphasis on blood builds, or buffed a hair.

    Death Rune Mastery: Great talent! I like this one a lot. It's good for just about any build, really. The death rune concept, while useful in altering rotations in pve, is probably 4x more useful for pvp uses and applications. Being able to switch your rune config around to allow for using chains of ice x4, or multiple blood strikes, blood boils, etc is insanely useful in any scenario that doesn't allow for standard rotations to be used (PvP). I am heavily biased to pick up any death rune talents in pvp builds for that reason alone. If I had any wish, it would be to have DRM switch places with 2H weapon spec in the blood tree, making this death rune talent easier to access for something like frost (which also uses heavy amounts of obliterate). In addition, it isn't rare for unholy users to death strike, and any unholy pvper would benefit greatly from this talent as well.

    Strangulate: 2 minute cooldown? I get one ranged silence, maybe two per fight now. This makes using it more skill-based, and makes it less spammy, I understand. But 2 minutes seems pretty over the top.


    Killing Machine: Not really digging this talent anymore, at least not at my current gear level (which is probably the problem). My auto attack crit % is pretty low (13% chance without dark conviction?). This means that, assuming max hit rating, I have at best a 6.5% chance for this talent to proc. When you factor in things such as resilience and other crit chance reducing abilities (Molten armor, demonic resilience, etc), I have somewhere around a 1-4% chance for this talent to proc, which is pretty awful.

    Yes, this talent becomes more attractive as my crit chance increases. If I can assume to have 34% crit chance in end-game gear, that gives me a 17% proc rate off of auto attacks (again, assuming max hit rating). Better, but it's still only a 17% proc rate to do double damage on one of my main frost attacks. What's the problem with that you ask? Well..

    Subversion + rime = 24% extra crit chance on obliterate, before gear. Factor in just my base crit chance of 13% right now, and it becomes 37%. Add annihilation and it's 40%. So the fact that obliterate has an innately high crit chance via good supporting talent picks makes killing machine less desirable.

    Rime = Icy touch will have a very crit chance as well (can't see my char sheet for spell crit right now, so I can't give the math).

    Howling blast = Damage is disappointing, so unless I'm AOEing something, I'd rather blow a killing machine proc on something else anyways, such as frost strike.

    Frost strike = Damage is about equal to obliterate right now. This is where killing machine procs are best spent.

    So, what does that mean? Killing machine, although available early in the tree, isn't really useful unless you're deep frost and want something to boost frost strike damage. Anyone who doesn't go deep in the tree, will skip killing machine, as their icy touch damage isn't amazing. People who go deep in the tree for howling blast, would probably rather use the proc on obliterate anyway, since it does more damage. People who go deep enough for frost strike will just only use it on frost strike when available.

    For these reasons, it feels expensive for the 5 points, the placement feels wrong in the tree, and the fact that it only works off of auto attack crit chance makes it unattractive for pvpers.

    Howling Blast: Damage is underwhelming. To be useful in AOE rotations, the actual cost essentially requires a blood rune, making this technically a 3 rune cost ability to be used for the damage it's balanced around. The damage is underwhelming if the extra targets do not have frost fever. This ability also feels a bit awkward to use in rotations as well, because of the pestilence requirement to make the most out of this. It really just feels like a 3 rune ability. You only use it when AoEing, because the single target damage is always less than that of obliterate, especially if frost fever isn't up on the target. If you use it without spreading frost fever first, the damage is just bad (500 damage at 80 with 2400 AP).

    Also, it's worth noting that this talent can probably be skipped for pvp, as it has a huge diseases dependency, and you're better off using obliterate instead every time. If you want to blast a single target, obliterate is better, diseases up or not. You're not going to AOE a group of players down when it's doing 2250 damage on a crit when frost fever is up.

    I almost wish this ability was swapped with hungering cold, did significantly more damage with a higher cooldown (back to 10 seconds), and had it's disease dependency tweaked.

    The old howling blast we had felt more like a 51 point talent than hungering ever has.

    Rime: Doesn't feel like a good talent because howling blast feels pretty weak, for reasons already stated.

    Hungering Cold: I still personally think that hungering cold would have been better served as a 1F1U talent. An emergency CC should be used with a more readily available resource. The problem, then, is it interferes with the so many other 1F1U abilities we have as frost.

    This talent is OK. I've used it in a few arena matches, mostly to end up forcing a trinket. It's useful, but certainly doesn't "wow" me. You also only get one shot with it per minute.

    Blood of the North: Doesn't need to be a 5 point talent again, does it? Feels too expensive.

    Chains of Ice: Now that this is dispelable, can we please just have it apply frost fever at the core level now? The fact that it doesn't already screws with pvp rotations right off the bat. Players don't need to dispel anything to screw with our "standard" rotations. The fact that Chains doesn't do this by default mimicks this problem already, as it puts this 3rd frost rune requirement in. We can't chains, and apply frost fever, and do a 1F1U ability in the same rotation. We have to pick one, and not using chains is often not an option. Please consider fixing this, and reworking endless winter.

    I'll get to unholy later.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    DK Changes from today's patch thus far:

    I haven't been able to compile a complete list, as I'm still at work. However, here is a sneak peak at what's changed for us this patch (not a complete list):

    Damage Buffs:
    • frost strike buffed back to 60%
    • obliterate bonus damage increased by around 35%
    • death coil damage tripled
    • plague strike bonus damage tripled
    • icy touch damage doubled
    • blood strike bonus damage tripled
    Survivability Nerfs:

    • Anti-Magic Shell has a 1 minute cooldown
    • Strangulate has a 2 minute cooldown
    Survivability Buffs:
    • AMZ buffed to 14k

    So, who saw these coming? =]

    I'll update this later as I get time to test things out. Overall? Looks great. Our damage sucked, and our survivability was over the top. This is a nice shift of focus.

    Thoughts on the chains of ice changes:

    Everyone is up in arms about this. What most people don't realize, however, is how much better chains is than it used to be, even with it being dispelable now.

    It used to have a 20 second cooldown, and cost 2 frost runes. Now it has half the cost, with no cooldown. It's fine, but I want to bring up a few points.

    First let me state, as I did in this thread here, that it's current iteration is really, really overpowered.

    Here's why it will be fine:

    • The mere fact that we can apply snares (that are almost a root), instantly, that will often stick even if dispelable is more than enough to make it workable.
    • Where are all the people that were just saying we shouldn't be balanced around 1vs1?
    • Chains of ice, in it's current iteration, is hands down the single best snare in the game, BY FAR. Nothing else even comes remotely close to it's effectiveness.
    • It's like imp hamstring 100% of the time, and can be applied from 20-30 yards away.
    • If you're grouping with other people, they can help cover the fact that it's dispelable with debuffs of their own, or putting DPS pressure on the snared target.
    • Like I said earlier in another thread, you have to make a choice: Dispel, or heal. You can't always do both, especially if the DPS pressure is being poured on hard.

    And, as I list here, it's actually going to be more balanced than you think.

    Here's why:

    Shiv: (with crip poison)
    1) Dispelable with a 30% dispel resist rate via vile poisons
    2) Quick and cheap to apply
    3) Melee range
    4) Builds a combo point to be used for burst or utility

    Chains of ice:
    1) Dispelable, with a 30% resist rate via virulence
    2) Quick to apply, though slightly more costly, relatively speaking
    3) can be applied from 20-30 yards away, and is a better initial snare than any other for the first part of the duration
    4) builds runic power to be used for burst or utility

    So the difference? One incurs slightly more of a DPS penalty (chains, due to rotations and FU burst), but can be applied from a much further range.

    The damage loss, however, can be made up for in other areas. This is an extreme example, but imagine if death coil suddenly did 10x more damage. You'd really start caring about building up RP quickly, and wouldn't care which runes were expelled to do so, would you not? Chew on that for a while. There's more than one way to skin a rogue.

    So as I said, there brings up the point: What about our damage? Do we have to rely on others to force GCD options between dispelling and healing? Right now, I would say absolutely. Should it be this way? Not if Blizzard wants us to be viable melee classes on our own without relying on burst or damage from others to put enough pressure on healers to ignore our debuffs (including chains). That's up to them, but I personally feel as if our burst is lacking.

    If you want a more in depth example, please referrence this post.

    I'll paste it here:

    Q u o t e:

    I never said chains of ice isn't powerful. But with ALL nefs combined, we will be laughable. It might be the strongest root in the game, fine, nerf it so it doesn't have the initial 0% movement speed. Just don't make it dispellable. Its not like we can spam it. It's twice every 10 seconds, unless you have deathrunes. Then you're nefring your dmg.

    90% of the time I agree with you Jayde, this time I think we got hit too hard PvP wise. I've said this before, LAST thing I want is to be the ret pally of BC, which had to wait 1.5 years to get any sort of buff because Blizz finally figured out they suck in every single arena bracket.

    To be honest, I don't think we put out enough damage to warrant a tough choice between healing through it and dispelling things off. That's the bigger problem.

    Look at it from the other side of the coin. If you have a rogue beating on you as a druid, you have several choices, depending on how much damage you're taking and how quickly.

    You can:

    A) Try to CC the rogue off first.
    B) put up abolish poison first
    C) Bark skin first
    D) Start spamming lifeblooms + rejuv first
    E) NS + HT yourself up quickly.

    Depending on how much damage you take, you might start with option a and b first, to mitigate future damage if the stream of damage you're taking isn't too bad. This lets you be more efficient with mana spent on healing.

    The more damage you are taking, the quicker the later choices start becoming more attractive. The slower and more steady the damage comes, the more attractive the earlier choices become, letting you be more efficient.

    How does this directly apply to DKS? Well, it's simple. We don't put out the same scary damage to warrant needing to choose between dispelling yourself and healing yourself through emergency DK Burst damage, simply because we have zero ability to put that kind of burst pressure on people.

    Global cooldowns are the most precious resource in any competitive PvP encounter, and how you choose to use them is what separates a good player from a bad one.

    If the class you are using, however, has no way of forcing the victim of choosing between survival methods, then it becomes very easy to counter and is hardly considered a threat.

    Warriors get around this by not only being able to stick to their target very well with hamstring, but also put artificial pressure on the target through mortal strike, which forces the target to take defensive action sooner rather than later. A skilled player who sees an opportunity of escape vs a warrior, will wait out the pressure (if possible) that the warrior is putting on them, get them CC'd, let MS fall off, and then make more efficient use of mana for heals.

    My point is: Death knight's dont have the option of putting enough pressure on enemies like the example above, purely because the damage comes slowly and steady enough that the DK's damage can be ignored for the most part, and any side effects such as chains of ice and diseases can be dealt with in a timely and non-emergency fashion.

    We don't force GCD panick the way many other classes can. The problem lies not from chains being dispelable, but not being able to simultaneously being able to put other sorts of pressure (such as damage) on the target as well.

    The only thing we're good at right now is making people waste magic and dps cooldowns on us only if they go for us, since our mitigation and survivability mechanics are so great.

    Unfortunately, that sort of 'reverse pressure' doesn't work in arenas, or you'd see nothing but a bunch of healer + prot warrior type teams dominating.

    Just for kicks.

    A buddy of mine grabbed my video and did a bit of editing to make things more hilarious, paying some nice homage to the world of roguecraft series. :)

    Pretty funny.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    New Changes Coming Soon:

    Source for some of them.

    The rest can be found looking over the new talent calculator, namely blood of the north and endless winter/chillblains.

    Here they are, for the most part:

    -- The ghoul is doing too much damage. He is receiving 100% of death knight strength, which is much higher than most pets.
    -- Chains of Ice is going back to be being dispellable. It is probably the best snare in the game at the moment, for a class that already has Death Grip.
    -- The same is true of both Strangulate and Mind Freeze. Strangulate's cooldown is going to go up. Mind Freeze remains the quick interrupt.
    -- We're increasing the cooldown on Anti-Magic Shell. We don't think this will hurt DKs in PvE much, and it still leaves you with Icebound Fortitude to use often.

    What GC forgot to mention was this:

    Chillblains and endless winter have swapped places. Remember this thread? (maybe, maybe not. :)

    Blood of the north has been updated (or will be soon) to make blood strike more attractive. Derived from here. (which is also why you see pestilence on botn as well, now)

    In addition, I know we at least have this to look forward to as well.

    Death Coil's coefficient was increased. We more recently changed the base points, say from 390 to 440 at rank 5. You probably don't have this last change yet. If you used a Death Coil every rotation, that's a lot of extra damage.

    And, don't forget this, either!

    We found that the real problem, IMO, was Death Coil and Frost Strike weren't hitting hard enough relative to other DK abilities, so they didn't feel like they were worth the button push, and subsequently, building up runic power didn't feel like a big deal. Both Death Coil and Frost Strike received serious buffs.

    All in all, these are steps in the right direction.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    DK 1vs1 Survivability vs Damage.

    So what's it like in a duel situation against a lot of classes?

    Watch, and find out.

    Spec used.

    Track listing:
    DT8 Project Feat Andrea Britton - Winter (Original Vocal Mix)
    Emjay - So Clear (Stimulate) (Dogzilla Depth Charge remix)
    Karen Overton - Forgot the name of the song. >_>

    This is what happens when you can cherry pick so many over-budgeted talents like this. It's also easy to see how depressing the DK's damage is, especially once the ghoul goes down.

    Watching this isn't necessarily a good way to visit class balance, but it is a good way to identify the issues that DKs are having in PvP.

    And as far as not using unholy presence, I'm going to eat my words and say it's not worth it for this type of palystyle at all.

    With unholy aura, and a real lack of ability to deal out burst damage at all, and not needing to worry about being caught in GCD, there's really no reason to use unholy presence given those factors in pvp, or anywhere, right now.

    AMS, Death grip, mind freeze, ghoul stun via master of ghouls, and IBF are all off the GCD. The only other important ability that isn't is strangulate, which you can often cover by other interrupts. Unholy aura grants 15% movement speed. Being able to spam blood boil, death strike, plague strike, and icy touch 33% faster via the lower gcd, really doesn't yield any scary burst for anyone to worry about. The only ability that you'd want to burst in quickly is scourge strike, which is bugged, or obliterate, which is laughable burst without MoM or GoG.

    Thus, unholy presence is actually not ideal in the long run in many situations for pvp, it seems, which is a pretty big let down. Most of our key abilities are off the gcd, making one of the big draws of unholy presence yielding you to be less likely to be caught in the gcd less valuable by a large margin.

    I'll let everyone reach their own conclusions after watching it.

    By the way: This spec vs holy paladin = never ending fight. We can't kill each other, and we can't die. Ever. I dueled one and finally just gave up after 30 minutes straight.

    So I tried this spec in the arena. Here's what I get:

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Another video

    Of this spec in action.


    Track list:
    Junkie XL feat. Saffron - Beauty Never Fades
    Junkie XL - Mushroom
    John B Mix (dont remember title)

    And yet another, this time with a prot warrior for 2s fun.

    Video #2
    Coldplay - Talk Remix (Think it was gabriel and dresden?)

    At this point, I'm going to go ahead and say something selfish: It sure does feel nice to play a class that shits all over rogues for once.

    Someone asked me some pretty good questions after watching that second video. Here's my response if you're so inclined.

    Q u o t e:
    Just a few questions for you Jayde.

    Do you plan on taking SS once it gets fixed? (Think its a bug, unless GC confirmed its intended)
    And Wandering Plague when its fixed?

    Maybe. We'll see how good they end up being.

    Q u o t e:
    I'm also assuming you're taking the death runes to get either more CoI's up or get 2 Death Strikes in a row.

    Correct, among other things. It's really just to open up flexibility for what I can do. Multiple chains, blood boils, plague strikes to strip hots or charge night of the dead, death strikes, etc. It makes pvping with the current rune system feel more dynamic and less restrictive, which is hard to quantify over a straight DPS talent. At times, it doesn't do any good. At other times, it's completely invaluable having a stack of death runes to pull off abnormal combos.

    Q u o t e:
    Would you still take these talents if you were running DK/Healer?

    Doubt it. I always shake up my builds depending on my role and who I'm playing with. This is optimal for double DPS, though.

    DK survivability is way too good in pvp. I don't care what anyone says. It needs to be toned down without affecting our ability to tank in PvE, and our damage/burst needs to come up.

    Q u o t e:
    And wtf do you do if you face a lock that loves their fear button? No Lichborne means you rely on your trinket and AMS. Also skipping Icy Reach hurts too.

    You'll see, soon enough. I'm in the middle of compiling a pretty good dueling video right now. Locks of ANY spec do not stand a chance. So what if I get feared? What are they going to do? Kill me? Heh. No my friend, they can't. It's literally impossible unless I simply go AFK. Besides, you have combos that you can setup such as mind freeze > strangulate > AMS. That's a very long time being unable to do jack. And by then, mind freeze is back, you still have ghoul stun, AMS is almost up again. Lichborne is simply overkill vs locks, and is completely unnecessary. You'll see what I mean.

    As far as icy reach, I wouldn't get too comfortable with a 30 yard range on it. I'm not sure how long it's range is going to last. It needs to come down to at least 15 yards, if anything.

    Q u o t e:
    I find your build interesting, I watched yoru vid, its kinda scary how well you can survive and how long you last. I can see why for 2dps teams, but healer/dps, I'd think getting few more talents in Frost and less talents in Blood would work. Dunno, just speculation. I just honestly think you've sacrificed too many talents just to get MoB. yes its nice, especially against rogues if you're running 2dps.

    Mark of blood is underrated at the moment. It's actually effective given the cooldown now, and it's not dispelable (or at least rogues can't cloak it off). It's actually more handy to put it on targets that are beating on my partner, since I only need it in dire circumstances.

    I feel like the new SL/SL lock without a counter. No single player can kill me as this spec in pvp. Nothing.

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    New PvP video (unholy);11847596;/fileinfo.html

    Using this build:

    Ok, so while you watch this, please keep a close eye on how much damage I'm doing, vs how much damage my ghoul is doing. It's pretty hard to tell the difference.

    My first thoughts when I saw the latest patch notes was "yay! I'm going to have a strong pet as unholy now!" Then I realized that his damage probably came out of my own, to stay within budget. This is a problem.

    There are really only a few main points I wanted to bring up by showing this:

    1) First thing's first: The damage. My damage is pretty low. I'm blood striking for 450-500 damage, about 1k on crits. My plague strikes and icy touches are hitting for about 250 or so. My diseases are ticking for around 300 damage. Scourge strike is bugged, so I took it off my bar. Obliterate does around 1k-2.45k damage. Death coil hits for 500 damage. It feels like most of my damage ends up coming from my ghoul, or my gargoyle when I can pull it out.

    Unholy blight is ticking for 48 or so damage, and makes my blood strikes hit a wee bit harder. I'm still underwhelmed with this ability. At least it has a nice graphic. :)

    A smart team can/should kill off my ghoul immediately, and my damage is practically cut in half.

    Overall my individual damage feels pathetic. Most of my yellow damage comes out to be what socio's dot's tick for. That's sad. Not only do we lack a comparative healing debuff (blood plague is a unique snowflake), but we also lack burst, big time. The burst we do have is also too reliant on diseases, which in turn, are too reliant in a lot of cases on RNG-Dispel factors and the almost-required virulence. To set up burst, I have to go through several GCDs to set up this optimal situation of diseases being up and then bursting. It's too much.

    2) Survivability. It's over the top. Really.

    AMS: AMS is like a CloS that has a 15s cooldown. I can't recall ever needing it every 15 seconds, so I could actually see this being pushed back to give casters a better chance. No it doesn't remove debuffs, but it's also off the gcd. I'm not sure a 5s duration is necessary if it's off the gcd. It also has a very cheap cost. The fact that it charges RP if it absorbs magical damage is just icing on the cake.

    Icebound fortitude: I bet warriors cream over this ability daily. It's too good for pvp. 50% damage reduction and stun immunity with no detriment at all except a meager 20RP loss. The problem I have with this ability, is that unlike warriors who have to board up and switch to defensive stance, cutting off the capability to use many of their skills, as well as dropping their damage, I just press a button and keep going at full speed. No damage reduction, nothing. It's just an easy mode I-win button. My gut feeling is that it's too good in it's current state.

    Using IBF probably needs to incur a 20% or so damage loss for the duration. This would have an effect on pve threat, so you'd probably have to bake in more bonus threat to frost presence for compensation.

    Bone Shield: Icebound fortitude part deux. All of the above apply as well, except for the stun immunity. Not only that, but using it actually increases your damage as well? Ok.

    Imp Rune tap: Amazing. I can see this being almost required for pvp specs, and is probably better left to deeper blood specs. It's healing me for 4200ish right now, every 30 seconds. Works wonders with my healthstone-conjuring friend, when combined with AMS, Bone shield, and IBF.

    Shadow of Death: My gut instinct says that this is too good. You just spent forever killing me, and now you get to do it again. I get a kidney shot, my ghoul (if alive) gets to remain with me, and I feel like I get to start all over again. The sad thing is? My damage actually seems to go UP in ghoul form. What the hell?

    3) Runic Power abilities.

    Death coil: Still weak, and not worth casting unless you absolutely have a spare gcd and you're topped off anyways.

    Unholy Blight: Hardly useful except to prevent rogues from vanishing, I suppose. Not worth the 60 RP in PvP at all. Very boring and underwhelming ability.

    AMS: Obviously worth it, but probably too cheap.

    IBF: Same.

    Gargoyle: Feels like just another weak disease that drains RP (that isn't being used on deathcoil anyway) instead. Damage needs to come up substantially, especially for a 3 minute cooldown. It really just feels like a slightly stronger blood plague right now that uses a different mechanic to do it's damage.

    RP offensive abilities feel way too weak. For something that takes so much effort to build up, I expect more of a result. Offensive RP abilities cost 2-3x more RP than defensive abilities, but are comparatively 2-3 times weaker. That doesn't add up.

    IBF for 20 RP gives 12 seconds base of 50% damage reduction and stun immunity.
    Deathcoil for 40 RP grants 500 offensive damage. What? *scratches head*

    There needs to be a bigger choice between blowing RP on offensive vs defensive abilities. I'd actually prefer to see more 'burst' come out of our RP abilities, since it takes more effort to build up, requires you to be in melee range (which can't happen if you get kited), and can't be used as frequently in general compared to our strikes and diseases. It just makes sense to have things like death coil, DRW, frost strike, and gargoyle do big damage in that regard.

    I also recommend increasing the cost on the defensive ones as well.
    Players should have to make a choice. Do big burst damage with my saved RP? Or use it to survive? This is not too dissimilar to warriors choosing to stay on their target while taking heavy damage and trying to burn all those big hits with all that rage, or dump it by going to defensive stance and boarding up.

    3) Utility (chains and death grip)

    Death grip is living up to it's expectations as a great peel ability to keep things off of socio. It's a rogue's worst nightmare. Then again, It's probably even worse for a warlock facing the possibility of being death gripped into a bunch of melee. I obviously like this ability a lot. I'd probably give it a 5 second immunity debuff to prevent people getting tossed around in BGs and world pvp, though by multiple DKs. We ALL know it's going to happen, and we ALL know the forums are going to be flooded about it. It is going to happen.

    Chains of Ice: I honestly think it's a bit too good right now. The 20 yard range is what really makes it too good. Yes, using it cuts our damage back and screws some of our rotations a bit, but it's not nearly as bad as what it can do to the victim. It's a 20 yard range physical root/snare that doesn't have the DR of a root. Let's face it, 0% movement speed, even if only for a second or two, is a root. Being able to do it from range is over the top. If you manage to get away from a DK, and his death grip is on cooldown, AND he/she is running at 15% faster speed due to unholy presence, you shouldn't have to worry about getting rooted/snared from 20 or even 30 yards away again (with icy reach). Nerf the range. In a group environment, this snare is just stupidly good now. Cut this sucker back to at least an 8-10 yard range. Part of the victory of getting away from melee is that they can't snare you again. Chains of ice isn't playing nicely with that rule.

    TLDR version: Damage without the ghoul is too low, ghoul damage is too high. Survivability is too high while keeping the same damage going. "Boarding up" on a DK doesn't incur any sort of damage penalty whatsoever. Not enough 'choice' between going blowing RP on offensive vs defensive abilities. Offensive abilities are far too weak for the cost, and defensive abilties are far too good for the cost.

    Good commentsso far. As I stated later in the thread, adding a damage reduction to IBF would only be a bad thing all around. I regret even thinking that statement, let alone stating it. :)

    Hopefully with the damage pass, Death coil will once again be worth using. 550 or so damage at level 80 in this gear is just insulting. That's a tick of corruption, not an RP dump.

    I also cleaned up my build and went with something more offensive, while still keeping all of my super over-budgeted survivability talents: This.