Friday, August 29, 2008

25 man vs 10 man raids: What's your pick?

Coming from someone who doesn't like 25 man raids (I hated 40 with a passion), I am pretty excited to see that there's going to be less emphasis on which class you actually bring, and more on letting more classes be swappable, letting you bring your friends.

A buddy of mine (Cham, who played a mage) had a big problem with class stacking issues, and was always complaining about how useless he felt compared to my warlock. He had inferior damage, no summons or health stones, mana gems can't be passed out, and my lock had curse of shadows/elements. So what was he there for, then? Food? Heh. I couldn't help but agree with him, and it (among other things, like him watching me take on 3 people at once in a BG as SL/SL) eventually led him to getting burnt out on WoW via class envy. I can't really say I blame him, either. Playing a mage has never really tickled my fancy. I played a Wizard in EQ for far too long, and downtime is something that I absolutely loathe with a passion.

But getting back to the raiding issue: I also remember a lot of times we'd have to pass up someone who was more deserving of the raid slot that night (hunter), just so we could take a class that we really needed instead (shadow priest). Now, we won't have to make that choice. I like the fact that shadow priests no longer have the monopoly on raid mana regen.

I like where they are taking things, but again (and this is key), this is coming from someone who prefers 10 mans over 25 mans. And to be honest, I think that's where the eventual focus of raiding is inevitably going to fall when wow progresses past Wrath of the Lich King. I predict a big exodus of people from 25 man raids over to 10 mans, simply because it's simply a much bigger headache to lead and organize and satisfy 25 people than it is 10.

I really, honestly believe that 10 man raiding is going to completely overshadow 25 mans, as far as popularity goes. That's what's going to please most raiding customers, and I have a feeling that Blizzard is going to cater to them even more in the future after they see just how lopsided the preferrence really is.

So for me, I couldn't be happier. I can spend equal amounts of time doing PvP and PvE, without having to worry about running out of content after we finish 10 man Naxxramas, which will be our new entry-level Karazhan. No, I won't be able to pursue the uber 25 man trinkets to supplement my arena gear, nor will I be able to seek Frostmourne, as it will surely be a 25 man drop or quest line. However, I'll be able to comfortably enjoy both aspects of the game, without worrying about having to drop Player A, for a less deserving but ultimately more needed Player B.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm really excited for this expansion to hit. I have no doubt, from what I've seen this far, that Blizzard will nail it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blood Tap / Empower Rune Weapon:

As far as blood tap goes, Is this being used the way it was originally intended? It seems rather pointless and redundant with all the new death rune talents in each tree now.

Might be more useful if it was made into an emergency RP boost instead, sort of like blood rage.

Also, I kind of feel that empower rune weapon doesn't really cut it for a 5 min cooldown. I often have to do a double take to make sure I've actually got the rune setup that I want before I pop it (i.e. I have 2Death 2Frost 2Unholy for 3x death strike or oblit spam), and the 25 RP it gives, while nice, doesn't really help me pop off a 51 pointer on demand, which is what would be really nice.

Perhaps Blood tap needs to boost RP at the cost of some health on the 1 m cooldown it has (like blood rage), and then have Empower Rune Weapon activate all runes (as death runes?), lower the cooldown a bit (3 mins?), and take off the RP generation.

It would be nice to have one ability for RP on demand needs, and another for rune burst on demand needs.

Right now Empower Rune Weapon serves both roles on one cooldown, but you typically only need one boost or the other. Not both. That, and it pays the price for this dual role with a hefty 5 min cooldown, which I'm not fond of.

On an unrelated topic, I had to disable anonymous comments on this site because a couple individuals ruined the fun for everyone.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tanking Feedback from Strath run.

Build used - (no annihilation because oblit isn't worth using as any spec, which is a big problem)

Video part 1:;11609495;/fileinfo.html
Video part 2:;11609912;/fileinfo.html

Note: A lot of the damage output in this video is skewed by the serpent sting bug from hunters. I often end up doing twice as much damage as I normally would, as does the rest of the group.

Synopsis of the instance run:

"This isn't a fast run or speed clear by any means (which I tend to enjoy more). This was all of our first attempts at this instance, and it was just a pug. I went with a warlock buddy from Tich, Socio, and we just joined up with 3 random dudes.

You can see the disparity between tanking spell casting bosses and hard hitting bosses. The first boss was actually the toughest, mostly because he randomly shoots these chains at someone and stuns them for the duration. This makes the first boss fight much too reliant on having a resto druid healer (basically someone that can keep heals going while CCed). The chains effect is physical, so grounding totems don't work. It is rather funny to watch, though, since after I died, the other DK ressed me as a ghoul. I then ended up killing the boss like that. =]

The second boss was a pushover, as I could mitigate a ton of his damage.

I'm not really sure what the third boss did, but it didn't seem too bad.

The last boss lays out a lot of AOE magic damage, and randomly mind blasts/sleeps a target other than the tank. Acclimation is a huge boon here. In fact, I'm more inclined at this point to prefer acclimation over Anti-Magic Zone. As I've stated before in an earlier alpha synopsis, acclimation requires no runes, no global cooldowns, and is constantly being refreshed on you and your raid. It's fantastic, and it stacks with frost aura."

First thing's first:

My mitigation when defensive cooldowns aren't up could be a bit better, as you can plainly see against the first boss. This might be skewed, however, due to a slightly over-tuned first boss in the instance (he hits noticeably harder than the other 3, and can completely stun your only healer for several seconds, leading to certain death without a resto druid.

One thing I've noticed, is that on single targets, my threat is really great. Then I began to wonder while tanking things... I realized that there were several situations I ran into where I gladly would have given up a frost strike or death coil or two, to have some sort of RP drain that boosts my defensive stats for a while, at least while my healer(s) get CC'd or silenced somehow. Even if it only lasted for 5-10 seconds or so, that would be great. Perhaps something that could be used to drain RP and boost parry chance greatly while it's active? I dunno. Maybe each tree could have something of it's own flavor.

Blade Barrier: This is kind of a big one for me. I really like this talent when it's up, but it seems like a pain to get going and even keep going sometimes. A lot of GCDs need to be spent on other things very often, and I normally don't want to blow through my runes as soon as possible. I often found that it's not even active very often, whereas my other first tier tanking talents are always going. While it's a fun and interesting concept, I've found that it's often too unreliable to have it going all the time, or even when you need to. If it falls off, I might have to completely jack with my rotations a bunch just to get blade barrier back up, which means I'm spending weird rune combos and wasting GCDS that might be needed for other things to get it (re)activated. In the end, I'd rather see this just become more friendly to use, as well as have the buff last longer, or just give me 10% parry chance flat out.

AOE threat for the most part was fantastic. It didn't help that I ran with another howling blast friendly pug DK, but it worked out very well other than that.

Another thing that's notable to mention: DK tanking, when I'm not getting torn in half by meathook, is FUN! Lots and lots and lots of fun. This is, by far, the most fun I've ever had on a tanking class. I can dish out of ton of damage, and can handle AOE pulls very well. That, to me, is perfect. Personally, I'm not a fan of really complicated pulls that take a lot of coordination to set up in 5man runs (MGT?). In raids, I can understand it (still don't prefer it, but I understand the reason for it). I'm the kind of person who likes to go in and pull as much as I can, really try to push the player skill of the group, and come out on top at the end. The DK really makes that possible with it's AOE agro holding and emergency mitigation capabilities. I really like that a LOT. I cannot possible stress that enough. I'm having more fun with this class than any other that I can remember in a very long time, and that's saying a lot.

AMS feels great vs caster bosses now. I really feel like an anti magic boss tank now. It seems like you guys took my old post very seriously (

Some other issues I have:

Blood of the North: I love this talent and I hate it. I don't think it's serving it's original purpose well at all, simply because obliterate is really, really lackluster right now. That, and death strike as frost is just terrible. :( I feel compelled to take it, though, because it will give me more frost and unholy runes (mostly frost that I care about for icy touch spam). Actually, I take it because it lets me basically get rid of blood runes for my next rotation. I might be alone, but I'm simply underwhelmed by both blood strike and obliterate. Every time I go through the double blood strike part of my rotations, I feel like I'm just doing it to go through the motions and get to the fun stuff. Blood strike and obliterate just aren't fun. That's really what it boils down to. Blood strike is one of my most used and required abilities for rotations, yet it's also one of the least fun. The only reason I really care about having a blood rune is for strangulate in PvP, and I say in PvP, because bosses are typically immune to strangulate in PvE.

Unbreakable Armor: I'd like to see this boring skill become a little more fun. Up the parry chance to 20% or so, and also give it a new, interesting mechanic. Such as: Enemies who strike you while active become frozen for 5 seconds, and are afflicted with frost fever (Howling blast and chillblains synergy anyone?). You know, make it fun! Right now it's just really boring to use, and I can't even tell if it's working all that well. I already have enough spell damage mitigation as frost from frost aura/presence, acclimation, and AMS. I'm OK with Unbreakable not working against spell damage, as long as it becomes more fun to use against melee.

Army of the Dead: I think the coolest part of this spell is the animation. :) Seriously though, it's obvious that it needs more tweaking. I don't like the channeling aspect, and I'm still unsure if I like the fact that they taunt things and just die in one hit. I also don't like the fact that they have about 3,600 HP and die to a single AOE. Could use some work.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Couple more screenies:

Frost DK tanking + Stratholme with Arthas + Army of the Dead?

Build used. (Obliterate sucks)

Part 1.

Part 2.

For what it's worth,

This isn't a fast run or speed clear by any means (which I tend to enjoy more). This was all of our first attempts at this instance, and it was just a pug. I went with a warlock buddy from Tich, Socio, and we just joined up with 3 random dudes.

You can see the disparity between tanking spell casting bosses and hard hitting bosses. The first boss was actually the toughest, mostly because he randomly shoots these chains at someone and stuns them for the duration. This makes the first boss fight much too reliant on having a resto druid healer (basically someone that can keep heals going while CCed). The chains effect is physical, so grounding totems don't work. It is rather funny to watch, though, since after I died, the other DK ressed me as a ghoul. I then ended up killing the boss like that. =]

The second boss was a pushover, as I could mitigate a ton of his damage.

I'm not really sure what the third boss did, but it didn't seem too bad.

The last boss lays out a lot of AOE magic damage, and randomly mind blasts/sleeps a target other than the tank. Acclimation is a huge boon here. In fact, I'm more inclined at this point to prefer acclimation over Anti-Magic Zone. As I've stated before in an earlier alpha synopsis, acclimation requires no runes, no global cooldowns, and is constantly being refreshed on you and your raid. It's fantastic, and it stacks with frost aura.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Frost DK grinding, Part 2!

It didn't work out so well in terokkar without vendetta, but with it..

Oh man, do I LOVE this build for grinding mobs. :)

Watch, and be amazed.

Just for kicks, I'm adding a second video using the same build, but in unholy presence for faster rune consumption. You can see where the bigger up front burst of using unholy presence can come in handy, especially for PvP. :)

The second video is a bit longer, but is probably a better watch.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Latest build = Lack of updates. :)

Been way too busy actually playing/testing stuff to have time to do any updates. Only one more level to go..

Anyways, on with the feedback from the latest build.

First up is my thoughts on frost at this point. It's definitely a lot better, but nothing is ever perfect.

Here are some examples of why.

Also, if you liked that music I uploaded in my previous post, here is the entire MP3 Collection of northrend music up to this point.

Edit: God DAMN i love this Zul'Drak music. Eight hours straight looping it so far. Wow. I'm typically not a Derek Duke fan, but this stuff is amazing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Storm peaks music = Massive Win, Blizzard.

Here's a sample of the fantastic new music that Blizzard has created for us in the latest zone: Storm Peaks.

I absolutely love it.

Preliminary Frost DPS results

Keep in mind the mob is below 35% pretty much the entire time, so that greatly skews the results. The results aren't that much different than what blood was getting last patch, if you take away some of the skewed DPS due to the mob being under 35% the entire test run. It just seems really powerful due to the big burst hits, I think.

Frost Feedback Consolidation Post:

Warning, this initial post is not for the squeamish. =]
Frost has issuez, I may has answerz.

Dig it.

New WotLK Cinematic!

For those of you who want to see it in high quality, without having to use the Blizzard downloader, I have uploaded it to filefront for your viewing pleasure.

It really must be seen this way to be truly appreciated.


Proposed Icy Touch Fix:


Base ability: Icy Touch applies 60% of your weapon damage as frost damage, and afflicts the target with frost fever. (No functionality change from how it works now, just scales different, and by different I mean better)

It really sucks that as I get better and better weapons, I see my icy touch still hitting for the same old crappy 500 damage, which is barely over a single disease tick of damage, whereas my heart strikes and frost strikes are doing boat loads of damage.

Imp Icy touch = Your icy touch deals 10/20/30% more damage, and slows for an additional 1/3/5%. (Same as it is now, but actually is more attractive due to better base ability scaling)

Horrible spell damage scaling problem solved (IT will scale off of weapon damage instead.) No good spammable single frost rune damage ability problem solved. (Helps RP generation in frost)

Add it to guile of gorefiend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Current Wishlist of Changes for the DK:

Here it is.

This will be updated and modified as changes roll out, and changes are made. Three of my unholy wishes have already been granted!

DPS screenshots for forum discussion purposes :)

There you go. Heart strike DPS using deathstrike for DRM with another DK. That's 4 diseases up, and 6 with both DRW out.

2200 DPS in green gear is nothing to sneeze at. That's average DPS, not burst. While using DRW, i'd say that it was roughly 3000 DPS for that window while it's out (while burning hyseteria), depending on how well my rune rotations were lined up.

Edit: This post is going to end up a new screen shot repository over the next week or two, so it will be updated constantly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blood Plague will be useful against HoT classes:

Looks like Blizzard liked my idea.

Here's the official response.

Sounds like Unholy Blight (since it spreads blood plague around) will finally have a lot of PvP use. =]

If i'm not mistaken, this is going to be in addition to the initial removal of one hot or stack of lifeblooms on the initial plague/scourge strike. Update: Looks like it will be. (in addition)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tanking Drak Keep as Unholy:

So how easy is it to tank Drak'Theron Keep as unholy? This easy.

Here was my build. As you can see, it's pretty easy to hold AOE agro as unholy, which is the way I like it.

I absolutely hate single target pulling, as it seems to make instances drag on for way longer than necessary. That's why I love to tank as unholy. So many juicy AOE talents. Unfortunately, Corpse Explosion is bugged and wouldn't let me use it on nearby undead corpses via auto target, and manually targeting corpses with 7 mobs in your face is a pain in the ass.

Overall I like it a lot. I had about 12% parry, 8% dodge, 16k armor, and 3 oh shit buttons with Lichborne, IBF, and Bone armor.

Combine that way multiple ways to grab and hold onto AOE agro, and instances get cleared very quickly.

Also I might note: I was doing roughly 1500 DPS the entire instance, while in frost presence. Granted, that probably has to do with the hunter serpent sting bug (targets take a ton more damage with serpent sting up right now for some reason). However, I was still #1 on damage with another 77 DK who was blood, a 75 hunter, and a 76 warlock with me. The paladin was holy.

It's also quite possibly the most gorgeous instance in the game thus far.

The music you hear is just some of Matt Uelmen's work from Naxx. Too bad he's no longer with the company. :/

Edit: Forgot to mention something. I tanked this instance using full green/blue DPS gear. Not one piece of defense gear was used. =]

Three new threads that hopefully get looked at:

Issues with early frost talents:
Blood attack rotations:
Runeforging issues and concerns:

Probably too much to post here, so I just tossed up the links. If you can't access the links, I'll probably put each topic in it's own blog entry at request.

I realize some of you are accessing this stuff while working, and thus you might not have access to the wow forums. =]

Not that I ever do that..

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Blood @ 77.

Towards the end of the video, I take on a 3man quest elite mob that's pretty rough. General Abbendis of the Scarlet Onslaught in New Hearthglen.

I love blood. It's just about perfect.

Edit: Sorry, this was the build.

It was as of the latest build, 8788

Friday, August 15, 2008

Latest beef: Frost is weak, blood is too strong:

It's way, way too much feedback to write up on a single blog post.

If you're interested in reading, I humbly recommend you simply go follow this thread.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blood worms feedback:

They just haven't worked well since alpha. Their pathing and AI sucks. You obviously aren't going to give us a pet bar for them and let us control them. They're weak to AOE damage, minimally useful in coordinated pvp, useless while tanking, and mildly useful (but ultimately low on priority) for raiding. You're better off skipping them to min/max for raiding.

From what I've noticed, the only thing that they are REALLY good for is soloing elite quests. That's really it, and it's a pretty poor end game use.

So just scrap 'em.

Give us a new talent that would be more universally useful in more situations, and not just for leveling.

What about something like an improved death strike?

3/3 points: Every time you score a critical strike, you have a 33% chance to gain imp. death strike buff (whatever you want to call it). This makes your next two death strikes cost no runes.

There you go. Similar healing, useful without poor pathing and AI, controllable, no blood worms running around getting themselves killed and pulling adds.

Get crazy creative with the proc method, but it might be time to just scrap the little worm guys and turn a new useful ability (the new deathstrike) into something more useful via a mid blood talent. This would also share wonderful synergy with death rune mastery, and set up for some nice burst.

They're just currently pretty "meh" once you get capped out in levels, and start assuming end game roles.

Blood worms are like the new vendetta (and they've made vendetta basically obsolete), but a lot better, and don't require a KB. That's great, but I just don't see these guys being all that useful later on. It certainly does add a lot of flavor to the class, don't get me wrong. I love the blood worms when I'm farming, leveling, or taking on elite mobs. Heck, they're even OP in 1v1.

I just think that you could get a lot better use out of free death strikes (which would become free blood runes via DRM, which do fantastic damage via heart strike, which would become free crit death coils via sudden doom, which would become free bloody vengeance procs). That kind of synergy is really hard to overlook, and would provide far more use for end game scenarios in just about any situation.

Again, just my opinion.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Virulence needs a change:


Edit: Scratch that. Blizzard fixed the problem a completely different way.

"As far as a PvP- snare ability goes, we are going to try something like removing the cooldown and root from Chains of Ice. It will drop the target's movement to zero, and the target will regain 5% movement speed per sec for 20 sec (10 in PvP). It's a physical debuff that cannot be dispelled and isn't subject to diminishing returns. Let us know how it goes. If it's too spammy now, we can put a cooldown back on it."

Plague and Scourge Strike Idea:


Pretty self-explanatory.

Update: Looks like this change might happen.

New death strike doesn't mesh well in pvp rotations:

It's really, realy rare that I can get a decent deathstrike off on someone in pvp as it is right now due to the rune costs on top of the disease dependencies.

It costs 1 frost and 1 unholy rune right off the bat to get both diseases going, and death strike costs another 1 frost 1 unholy rune. This means that in a 10 second rotation in pvp, I can either:

1) Apply both diseases and get a death strike off, or
2) Keep my enemy snared via chains of ice (no frost fever) and actually have another unholy rune available for things like bone armor, AMS, or another plague strike to deal with a HoT.

If I use icy touch > plague strike, and death strike at some point in that rotation, I won't be able to use chains of ice (not an option in pvp). If I open with chains of ice, I can't apply frost fever and use death strike in the same rotation. If I open with chains of ice and death strike, the heal is pretty damn weak, so I feel compelled to get frost fever on, but then I can't use death strike at all. It's very frustrating.

I can't use my pvp abilities in the same rotation and expect to use death strike, simply because of the overlapping rune costs. It's simply too costly, which sucks, because I was really looking forward to being able to use death strike in a pvp scenario.

For these reasons, and those listed in the post, I'd really, really like to see death strike be swappable with blood strike in a standard rotation (1 blood rune). You have the option to do extra damage, or to heal yourself. Seems more reasonable that way, especially if you unhinge the OP blood worms from death strike in blood.

There are simply too many dependencies to make it worth while, and then when you get to that point, you won't have the runes if you also need to keep your target snared (which is obviously a must in pvp). The frost rune cost on death strike, if anything, really needs to go. I say blood rune is a good candidate because I often really don't care about using blood strike that much in pvp.

You can watch that pvp video I linked and see how many times I was able to get a decent death strike off. (read: Zero)

The deathstrike (and obliterate, for that matter) rotations work well in PVE because you don't have to worry about using chains of ice all the time, or another unholy rune ability (which a lot of pvp abilities tend to be), simply because those fights aren't as dynamic as PvP fights. You don't have to worry about mobs running away from you (chains of ice), catching Hots (plague/scourge strike), or bursting you down (AMS/Bone Shield/AMZ).

Please fix this.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bit of PvP with the new BG:

It was ok I guess. Here's the link. Not sure If I dig the new BG or not. You can get in this machine that runs faster than everyone and AOE fireblasts people for 3k a pop, 2 second cooldown, and the machine has about 50k health, immune to snares, etc. It's alright I guess, but it is a bit cheesy to be in an intense and heated moment of PvP just to get blown up by some random fireball from 100 yards away.

This battleground also introduces a new element of PvD, or player vs door. You have to pelt these doors along the way with the machines about 10 times each or so. Yes, you HAVE to use one of those vehicles. I'd almost prefer being able to DPS my way through the door, similar to how it's done in WC3.

Ah well. Blood DKs aren't doing too badly overall. Here is a screenshot of my final damage/KBs.

If you're wondering how I feel about the overall state of our performance in the BG's, I've summed it up here.

Initial patch thoughts:

As a quick summary of my issues with this patch:

Unholy Rune Consumption/Demand is still way, way too high. Half of those abilities are reactives, and I simply don't have the runes for them half of the time:

Bone Armor
Scourge/Plague strike
Death Strike
Anti Magic Shell
Anti Magic zone

Help! :( That's not even counting Corpse Explosion, which I simply never take.

If anything, blood of the north (or a talent like it) needs to be in unholy, not frost (especially now that frost strike uses RP, and too much of it IMO).

Frost damage output is pretty lackluster. I think this mostly revolves around how horrible RP generation is and the fact that frost strike is doing far less damage than excepted. You dared to say it, Ghostcrawler, but Frost strike isn't fun to use quite yet. :P

RP generation is low, while RP consumption is high. Solo grinding mobs is one thing, but in a more dynamic and less fluid environment, I find myself struggling with my RP abilities and Unholy Rune abilities.

I still don't like how restrictive it is to use things like hungering cold and dancing rune weapon in a dynamic (pvp) environment. I have to either run around with 100 RP the whole time waiting for a chance to use these abilities to their fullest, or hope the fight lasts 20-30 seconds so that I can build up a ton of RP (which involves 2 rotations, minimum), and A) hope the target is still alive, B) Hope that I'm still alive, and C) Still have a need to pull out, say, a DRW. By then, either the target or I am usually dead, or the target is low enough that I don't need DRW anymore.

DRW and hungering cold are simply too cumbersome to use reliably. They take way too much planning and reservation to use, which is odd, since they have such a low cooldown. You think you'd be using them all the time. Unfortunately, this is a scenario where what's on paper doesn't live up to practice.

DRW and hungering cold are only good in situations where it's OK to never have a need to blow RP on anything other than those abilities most of the time. It simply takes too long to generate the RP needed to make these abilities truly effective.

DRW is especially annoying to use in a fast-paced environment too, as you feel rushed to simply push it out before it's ready. Rushing to build full RP means that your runes and strikes will be on cooldown, so you shouldn't bring it out then, either. It's incredibly frustrating. Great for solo PVE, but a pain in the you know what for pvp, again, especially if you want to be using other things like death coil, death pact, IBF, etc.

Please, please, PLEASE give DRW and HC a fixed duration and RP cost. They are 51 point talents. Make them friendly to use.

Death Strike is fantastic, and is pretty much what I was wishing it to be. I hope this doesn't get changed. It's our anti-mortal strike. The damage on it is actually quite low, but the healing can be fantastic. I especially like how vampiric blood can negate mortal strike on us. Pretty cool. =]

It also seems that scourge strike, while doing roughly 58% weapon damage as shadow, is doing MORE damage than frost strike, which is supposed to be doing 100% weapon damage as frost. \O_o/

Scourge strike is doing 1400 damage non crit, 4450ish on a crit.
Frost strike is doing slightly less, but for 50RP instead of a single rune? What? :(

New Blood DK vs 74 Elite with 104,000 HP.

A patch ago, this guy would wipe the floor with me. I watched in awe as a feral druid soloed him down.

Now, it was my turn.

The self-sustainability of a blood DK right now with the deathstrike + blood worms change is pretty phenomenal. As long as the target isn't hitting me for 1/3 of my life per swing, I can tank something indefinitely, sort of like a warlock. =]

This was my spec.

Friday, August 8, 2008

New Patch Inc. =]

Good times.

Fantastical Use of Death Grip:

You're going to enjoy this.

Also, this 77 rogue who decided to show up and counter gank me ended up sampling dirt from all over hellfire peninsula.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Unholy presence concern:

Posted here.

Sorry for the slower posting lately. I just started a new IT contract job so I haven't had as much free time lately.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Latest ideas to improve the DK:


Most people seem to be pretty receptive to these. Let's see what Blizzard thinks.

Friday, August 1, 2008

PvP is an unholy rune hog:

Here are my ideal fixes as of this writing to help balance this issue out, making the DK a much more fluid and viable PvP class.

This was my final pvp feedback from the alpha:

So many of us on the Lich King realm took part in a friendly PvP session consisting of a lot of duels and some 3v3 matches near the nagrand arena. It was a lot of fun, but also educational as far as class mechanics stand right now.

I went with a 0/34/32 build with Unbreakable armor, chillblains, howling blast, deathchill, frigid dreadplate, and down to anti magic zone/bone armor in unholy.

The Good:

Anti Magic Zone is incredibly useful. Yes, I can still be afflicted by magical CC's, but if I'm getting hammered by lots of spells, it's a VERY useful safehaven to retreat into while I wait for runes to recharge, or to counter big incoming spell cooldowns, such as a PoM Pyro. I can see this single talent being the sole reason to spec unholy for pvp, purely for the sake of going against casters. This is THE single best anti caster ability in the game right now. Wow. Incredible. It eats any incoming magical damage cast on me until the 30s duration is up, or it eats 10,000 magic damage, whichever comes first.

Lichborne is fantastic, and got the changes it needed. I can use it to break out of fear AND deathcoil, (since it technically makes you undead, and undead are immune to deathcoil), and it's off the gcd and costs no runes. That means you can actually use it as an emergency, on demand ability as it should be. Fantastic talent. The risks associated with being shackled/turn evil should be a fine counter. You trade being immune to a couple types of CC to being vulnerable to another. I.e. A deathknight who breaks out of a shadowpriests new horror effect "fear" bomb with lichborne now runs the risk of then being shackled by a skilled priest that drops shadowform. Seems fair. Given the trade off, though, it might need a lower cooldown to 3 minutes. 5 minutes is a bit much. If there was no downside to using the ability, 5 minutes would be more acceptable.

Chillblains makes my icy touch do what chains of ice should do: Snare the target so I can actually catch people for just long enough for me to do meaningful damage sometimes. Both Chains of Ice and Chillblains will be rather useless vs druids, though. Any non-spammable snare really is. Chillblains with icy touch is arguably better than chains of ice would be even with the shorter duration. Why? Because it does damage in addition to snaring, and it slows their attack/casting speeds, and it can crit, and it doesn't have a ridiculous 20 second cooldown. Even if the proposed Chains of Ice to 1 rune change goes in, I would still say that Chillblains with icy touch is far better. However, neither of those really solve the issue of keeping someone snared that can shapeshift, or dispel themselves. I still feel incredibly kitable even with chillblains, and it sucks. As a side note: I noticed that if you dispel chains of ice off yourself, it will THEN apply the snare debuff, so to get rid of chains of ice while rooted, you will have to dispel yourself twice to regain movement speed. Not sure if that's working as intended.

Frigid Dreadplate + Unbreakable Armor is absolutely fantastic vs warriors. I'm in greens and I can take down my fully geared s3 geared warrior buddy, who's dual wielding season 3 2hand weapons no problem. Between my great melee mitigation and combination of strikes + spell damage that cuts through armor, taking down warriors really isn't that difficult at all. This was probably my easiest fight.

The Bad:

Bone Armor needs some work. I really love the concept of this ability: In theory, it's great against things that hit slow and hard. What comes to mind when I think of that besides warriors? Mages and warlocks. It cuts dot damage nearly in half, which is very useful, and it cuts those big mage bolts in nearly half. So what's the problem, you ask? It's dispelable and spell stealable. I figured I had the one up on an arcane mage I was fighting by popping this up as he put up arcane power, thinking I'd be able to negate a lot of damage on his next spells. Not the case, sadly. He simply spell stole it, and it made me have a much harder time killing him. Warlocks simply devour it off of me within 1s of the start of the fight. This really needs to be a physical buff. Also, I have to wonder. Why does this have a double rune cost, but something that's obviously MUCH more powerful like anti magic zone, simply costs 1 unholy (which I like, btw). 1 frost 1 unholy for 40% reduction on the next 4 hits vs 1 unholy for 10,000 magic damage reduction for everyone under my safe bubble? Definitely doesn't seem proportionate.

All the ghoul talents = worthless for arena/duels. I could see them being midly entertaining in the battlegrounds. That's about it. I really feel like these need some work. They're still way too much of a pain in the rump to keep around, and I don't feel like wasting 8 points in unholy to make them worthwhile, if they're still going to be 100% useless in arenas/raids. That makes those 8 talent points not fun. If you're going to keep ghouls non arena/raid friendly, then those talents that buff the ghouls REALLY need to give great secondary benefits as well. I don't consider 5% strength to be worth 5 talent points at all in situations where I can't use the ghoul. 10%? Maybe, but still doubtful, especially when you consider how useful the other talents (such as unholy command) are in the context of something like the arena.

Shadow of Death I still don't like. 1% to all stats is a little deceiving. It's really just 1% to str/stam/agility. Nothing to really get excited over. Fun talent to use a few times, but the passive bonus is just very unexciting.

Corpse Explosion: Same thing here. Absolutely useless in arenas. I would probably never pick this up. That's really 3 talent points to make it decent that do nothing in competitive pvp. Fun for 5mans, though. Gets a nice "wow" factor when you use it in groups that haven't seen it. Pain in the ass to target corpses still, too. Too frustrating and situational for me to convince myself to pick up.

Also, I feel like the early tiers of blood really don't have much to offer for pvp utility. It's a bunch of nice passives that increase your crit, parry, or AP. That's great I suppose. But, it's not nearly as useful as things like Anti magic zone, chillblains, unbreakable armor, so I feel like those early blood talents just don't have enough to compete. In addition, speccing deep into blood makes you even easier to kite, so I tend to just shy away from the blood tree completely for pvp. It has way too many passives, some of which are very situational, and a lot of which require on scoring a KB, which are obviously useless in the arena. Talents such as vendetta and butchery that are must-haves for leveling, suddenly become obsolete and you never look at them again.

I still FIRMLY believe that death grip needs to cost a fixed amount of runic power instead of using an unholy rune. I find myself chasing after enemies often with a bunch of runic power saved up, and I try my best to save my unholy runes for a well-timed bone armor, a degeneration (If it worked. I'll get to that), plague strike.. I am going to plead with you devs and ask that you consider playing around with DG using RP instead. I REALLY hate how it uses an unholy rune in PVE even more than PvP. I pull a loose mob back to me, but every lost unholy rune is lost dps, and lost ability to apply diseases that I could then spread with a blood rune for a blood boil. I feel as if it really limits my dps/tanking rotation for the next 10 seconds once that unholy rune is down.

Degeneration appears to be broken, as it's currently not negating the effect of any druid hots I tried countering when fighting a balance druid.

Anti Magic Shell: I must say, this ability is pretty underwhelming. It only grants 11 runic power when it absorbs a spell? Really? That's kind of a let down. It doesn't stop any magical CC's. This ability is best used as a reactive ability to incoming cast-time nukes. I always have to keep an unholy rune handy just in case I manage to catch or counter a spell coming at me. Eh, I dunno. It's ok. It's not nearly as cool as I thought it was going to be. It holds no candle to anti magic zone, which is understandable I suppose.. But Anti Magic Shell just feels underwhelming at the moment. You spend an unholy rune for 5s worth of protection from some magical abilities (not all), and the amount of RP you absorb feels pathetic. This ability seems merely gimmicky at the moment. It pales in comparison to warrior shield reflect, which only costs 25 rage (easily gained with stuff beating the crap out of you and nuking you while you hit things), has only a 10 second cooldown, is technically 100% spell damage reduction, and it reflects (obviously) the spell back at the caster. Seriously. What the hell? Warriors base anti magic ability is far superior to anti magic shell in nearly ever way. Why? Oh, and spell reflect DOES stop magical CCs, in addition to spells. Not only that, but it reflects them. It's a very valid tactic to have warriors time it to reflect sheep back at mages. Sigh. Pretty disappointed with this ability so far.

Finally, I'm going to bring up something I've mentioned in another thread, but I feel as if it needs to be repeated and re-emphasized: Annihilation talent in frost needs to be moved to unholy.
There are a few reasons for this, so please hear me out:

First, a great tactic for deep frost builds is to lay into someone with a bunch of spells and strikes (this includes disease-based strikes), obliterate to remove the diseases, and then pop hungering cold. Then you can let your runes charge up while your target is frozen, pop a deathchill + howling blast + more strikes for great burst. This doesn't work, however, if you take annihilation. In addition, beyond combos like this, deep frost builds typically don't/won't use obliterate much. Finally, I find myself not wanting to use those big damage obliterates while specced deep unholy, simply because I hate losing all those debuffs I worked so hard at putting up, ESPECIALLY while specced for ebon plague bringer. If you are specced EP at the moment, you simply should not obliterate ever, even though obliterate is designed to best be used on heavy disease-afflicted targets. Is using obliterate and wiping those diseases + stat loss + 9% increased magic damage taken on the target worth snagging 800 more damage off of an obliterate vs another strike? No, of course not.

It's for these reasons that I firmly believe that annihilation would be a talent best served in the unholy tree.

I think that about wraps things up for feedback for this build. Hope this is useful to someone

And even more:

1) Presences:

My primary concern is going to mostly be blood vs unholy, since frost is essentially for tanking. My biggest concern is how valuable the 0.5s gcd is going to be vs 15% damage caused via blood presence, which is just absolutely huge.

Your auto attack DPS will be the same, (15% extra haste = 15% extra damage), so the real question lies in the 15% damage via your specials vs the ability to pump out those specials quicker. It's too early to tell right now just how valuable that faster gcd will be, but I can definitely see the benefits. Sure, your first plague strike might do 15% more damage in blood presence, but your second one is going to take 50% longer to hit (1.5s gcd vs 1.0s) the target. In addition, it can be pretty game-breaking to be caught mid-gcd and unable to interrupt that game-winning heal because you were in blood presence instead of unholy. Time will tell, but obviously not many people will be using unholy presence just yet, as pvp is all but dead right now on the alpha servers. There's just no point to using unholy aura right now, so it isn't going to get the testing and feedback it needs just yet.

2) PvP:

As someone who held a 3v3 team on BG9 with some notable players with a 2300+ rating in season 2, and had several other teams that were 2200+ in 2v2 and 5v5, I take this area very seriously.

First and foremost, let's talk about mobility:

Unholy aura seems like a fantastic talent, but it's position in the tree makes it mutually exclusive to several other builds/trees. 10% Extra run speed for the group that will stack with your run speed enchant seems almost required, especially in a tree that has such amazing pvp talents such as bone armor, anti magic zone, unholy command (yes, 10s lower cooldown on death's grip is huge), on a pale horse, and lichborne. The initial problem with ret paladins was their issue of getting kited all over the place. This was solved in part due to the pursuit of justice talent relatively early in ret (even though I think more paladins than ret could really use this talent in pvp, especially holy). This talent would also be an assassination rogues' best friend, granting them a total of 25% movement speed increase.

Next we have chillblains, which seems required for one basic reason: Chains of ice has way too many drawbacks. Deathknights have 0 dispel protection for their frost abilities right now, and with chains of ice being so ridiculously expensive to use, in addition to its 20s cooldown (why?), I just don't see any frost build being successful in pvp without chillblains. This is essentially the frost tree's version of unholy aura, except it isn't really active 100% of the time. Once you factor in how ridiculously easy a lot of classes will be able to cleanse it, not to mention you can't exactly trinket out of getting chased by someone faster than you (as you would be faster than most with unholy aura), this talent becomes less attractive for your hardcore pvper, and even less so for your pver.

Death's grip will act as a wonderful "get back over here" type of ability, once our target makes his/her escape.. but as of right now, it's a little lackluster, as the target that was kiting me right before using it can typically run right back away, especially if I'm still snared. I wish this ability had a 1-2s root tacked onto it as well. There seems to be some lag when Using it. when I use it on pvp players, it takes them a few seconds to get pulled back to me as they fly through the air, and sometimes they land next to me out of melee range. Without unholy aura, using this ability in its current form does me absolutely zero good sometimes.

Speaking of death's grip, I would rather have this ability use 10 runic power instead of an unholy rune. I mean it's an ability that's essentially used in a situation like intercept, where you need to get back on your target, yes? So you more than likely already have a bunch of runic power to spend, and nothing really good to spend it on. I think DG would be an excellent ability to have use RP. Right now, all I really use it for is deathcoil spam, and I find myself wishing I had more interesting abilities to use it on. Not to mention, this would save an unholy rune and allow me to use my bone armor/anti magic shell/diseases more often. Wouldn't it make sense to use an unholy rune to eat that incoming spell via anti magic shell, which would charge your runic power, and use that RP to pull the caster towards you? Seems more logical to me to do it that way, rather than to spend an unholy rune eating that spell, and another to pull the caster towards you, and then use all that runic power on..... a deathcoil? And then not have any unholy runes available to bone armor/disease.. Please consider this change.

Chains of ice I won't really touch on that much, as I feel this ability has too many restrictions placed on it. Double rune cost, 20 second cooldown, and absolutely 0 dispel protection make this ability a lot weaker in practice than it looks on paper. Even if it only cost 1 frost rune, and had 0 cooldown, I could still see a lot of classes simply trinketing out, or dispelling it off of themselves or their teammates. Is it really so OP to have so many restrictions? If anything, I think this is another one of those abilities that would probably be better off using a discreet amount of runic power, rather than runes.

3) Runic Power PvP Utility:

I can't stress this enough. Death knights have essentially ZERO utility via runic power for pvp builds right now, other than deathcoil spam and the occasional icebound fortitude. Ok, so as an anti caster, I have one single ability (which is essentially pummel), that uses runic power. That's it. I feel like our control/utility type abilities of chains of ice and death's grip would be much better off if they used discreet amounts of runic power. It feels incredibly boring to only really have deathcoil and the occasional mind freeze as your only option to use runic power on vs casters.

Use the 51 point talents you say? I could see possibly hungering cold be useful in pvp, but definitely not unholy blight. Dancing rune blade would be fun to use, if it weren't for the fact that deep blood builds (51+) have access to neither chillblains, nor unholy aura. Deep blood spec DKs will be the most easily kited melee class/spec in the game.

Even still, those 51 pointers are on lengthy cooldowns. Where is the utility between? I'm beginning to feel like that, vs casters, my runic power bar is essentially my deathcoil charging bar. At least vs melee, I have the option to use icebound fortitude every minute (which is still rather lengthy, considering the lack of variety of RP abilities).

Further early alpha feedback:

I think I'm beginning to like the DK less and less the more I play it.

The more I realize how limited the rune/runic power mechanic is, the less fun it becomes, which is a pretty big red flag that something is wrong. I wish I could talk to you on vent about it sometime, eh but I know you're busy. Ah well, it is still early in the process.

Someone made some pretty valid points here that I gotta say I've noticed as well. And to tell the truth, with as much time as I spend simply chasing after my balance druid buddy that I duel all the time, I really really wish I had more ranged silences than strangulate which is on a 30s cooldown and needs all runic power to be worth a damn.

I also find myself wishing I simply had a single target CC of some sort... like.. an incapacitate, or a knock back, or a single target freeze, or something. Something frost based (but only if chains of ice was 1 rune cost, darnit!).

One last thing is, I feel like... I dunno... I don't have a big nuke or burst damage ability other than a death's chill + howling blast which is technically 3s and not on demand. You know? I mean I don't have this big scary mortal strike attack that I could bust out on someone, which is weird cause I keep seeing talents for this thing called "obliterate" but I have no idea what it is. I'm hoping that would address the issue. I feel like once I get close to chox (the druid), I just can't do enough damage in those few seconds between when I'm getting rooted to put any fear of death into him, while I get kited around and die to dots + nukes between strangulate.

I certainly don't feel like much of an anti caster at this point other than an Anti HoTer, since degeneration is splendid at countering hots. (kudos there!)

Part of being anti caster (who excels at ranged combat obviously) is either being able to constantly close the distance to them like a warrior or rogue, or have lots of ranged interrupts and ranged damage to match or scare them into thinking twice about standing there and nuking (ala hunter).

At this point, I'd also gladly give up mind freeze for earth shock, as the range on mind freeze is just pathetic.

I would also kill to have more runic power type abilities that were effective and weren't totally dependent on having a full bar to be worth it, as I find myself holding onto a full bar (wasting future RP generation) just for the right time for when I need to blow a strangulate, as it's on a 30s cooldown.

Developer response:

"Yeah, there are some valid points. It’s definitely still a possibility to change runic power abilities to use discreet amounts of power.

Aside from that, we do plan to get chains of ice down to 1 frost rune (possibly frost/unholy though)."

Early frost feedback from alpha:

You may notice, after glancing over this, that several of these changes were indeed made:

1) There's still not enough synergy with frozen targets. We currently only have 3 ways to freeze a target. Random proc from mind freeze/icy touch, random proc from frost strike, and using our 1min cooldown hungering cold which requires 51 points in for the only guaranteed way to do it. So we get 2 random abilities that use up frost runes that MAY have a slight chance to freeze the target, and a long cooldown on demand one.

2) Once the target is frozen via mind freeze/icy touch/frost strike... then what? It lasts for maybe 3 seconds at best, and if you just used your last frost run, half of the time you can't even howling blast them before it wears off due it breaking on damage, no runes are available, and/or howling blast is on cooldown anyways. Soooo most of the time I see the target get frozen and say "neat", and that's about it, as I don't have enough tools to take advantage of it.

3) Hungering cold is fantastic. I really like this ability, I just wish I could use it more often. It's so strong, that I typically don't even need full runic power to use. I wish we had a single target version of this ability as a base ability.

4) Death's Chill needs to be off the global cooldown. So does Blood tap. It's beyond frustrating to find my target gets frozen and I wan't to pop a crit howling blast, but by the time I've waited for the gcd so I can howling blast, it's already broken. Same thing with needing an emergency frost rune via blood tap. It just takes too long to react to the situation due to GCD. I have to basically spend 3 seconds to get that emergency situation combo off, and by then, the situation is typically gone! Don't like it.

5) Howling blast is amazing, but I wish I had more tools that took advantage of a frozen target in someway. Doesn't have to be tripple damage to frozen targets ability, but something. Could be even single target. Also, it would be really nice if we had a runic power ability that could fill this role. It seems that most of the abilities that build up to the frozen target scenario (with the exception of hungering cold) require frost runes. It would be fantastic if we had the choice of doing rune-ability > runic power and vice versa to build our frozen target combos. Options are great, depending on the situation.

6) Icy talons needs to reduce gcd by the proper amount, since it's technically spell haste. I know someone already mentioned this, but it needs to happen.

7) Killing machine and unbreakable armor feel too bloated. Please consider 3/3 versions.

8) Endless winter feels like too weak of a talent. Perhaps if more talents were included to make it feel stronger, such as increasing the duration of your mind freeze interrupt/lockout, as well as making the effect of death's chill last a couple seconds longer to buy you time for another frost rune to perhaps recharge. Perhaps make this a 3/3 talent. Also needs to affect chillblains sorely.

9) New talent needed: Winters Reach: Increases the range of all frost spells and abilities by 10/20% Mind freeze especially needs this, but would also be a boost to the core ability of icy touch to the frost tree. Extra range on hungering cold/howling blast would be fantastic as well.

10) Frost Rune Mastery feels extremely week, and only really procs when you use hungering cold, meaning this talent doesn't really see a whole lot of benefit unless you're 51+ points in. Please change this.

11) One final thing: I really hate how hungering cold breaks on disease damage. Frost and Unholy don't get along very well. While level, we're taught that keeping diseases on as many targets as possible is a good thing. It allows us to blood boil when needed, and its a lot of extra threat. Now, once you train Hungering Cold from 51 frost, you're taught the opposite: Just in case you need to use it. I really find myself conflicted. Should I spread my diseases around (Ok, I probably could have worded that better), or should I not in case I need to pull an emergency HC out of my ass? I dunno. Feels counter productive, frustrating and more importantly: Not fun.

Early Deathknight Design Philosophies.

Some of you have expressed interest in the thought process that goes into decisions when creating or refining classes. I thought I'd share some of those with you today from the early alpha period from a few months back. I'm going to cover some developer thoughts in regards to some aspects of the death knight. Here are some:

"The reason the presences cost runes to switch is because their effects are so dramatic (more than pally auras) I wouldn’t want players twisting presences while they fight (ie: between swings) to maximize effects. That would feel like shitty required gameplay (and I wouldn’t want to put them on the same gcd as normal abilities).

As far as unholy goes, faster gcd does also equate to a dps boost, your runes will come back sooner since you’ll have spent them faster. Also, you gain the intangibles of not being in gcd when you need to interrupt, etc. If it still feels like too much of a dps loss it’s not hard to adjust the attack speed increase more to offset it.

We considered having unholy presence speed up rune regen, but we didn’t want to balance “more damage” from blood against “more fun” from unholy. Also, the issue of waiting on runes to cool up is easy to adjust too. First, we’re tweaking rune costs to see if that does it, but if we need to we can always make the cooldown on runes 8s instead of 10s, it changes the feel a lot.

Btw we found in our testing that 10s rune cooldowns feels more like a warrior pace, 8s feels like a rogue pace. We felt like DK should in theory feel more like the warrior’s pace.

We’ve also made a few changes to rune costs on various abilities that should have you spending a bit less time waiting for runes to cool up. Also totally agree that we need to start you off with a bunch of flight points (or all)."