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)


Using this build: http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=j0eMacZZfMGhbbkrxqRfouu

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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Which presence is best for pvp?

In case some of you are still wondering, I've already been through this argument here. :)

Q u o t e:
If we stick to the target we can BS/BB and RP dump and repeat.

This is key. I underlined the most important word in that sentence.

Q u o t e:
Blood presence = more damage

This is only true if you can stick to the target for the vast majority of the fight.

Q u o t e:
Blood presence = bigger burst

Actually, unholy presence is. You even already outlined how and why:

Q u o t e:
Unholy presence - 1 GCD
IT or Chains - 1 second
Plague Strike - 2 seconds
SS/Obliterate - 3 seconds

Blood presence - 1.5 GCD
IT or Chains - 1.5
Plague Strike - 3.0
SS/Obliterate - 4.5

Your auto attack damage is the same, since 15% more auto attack damage = 15% faster auto attack speed. Your specials are doing 15% more damage in blood presence, yes. However, you are spending your runes and doing specials 33% faster (which yields a bigger burst potential).

Let's use your own example, using some static numbers. And let's also assume that you don't even need to use chains, and you're not getting kited, which plays in favor of blood presence.

Blood presence:

IT = 575 damage (500 *1.15)
Plague strike = 575 damage (500 *1.15)
Obliterate = 1150 damage (1000 * 1.15) = 2300 damage in 4.5s This is a burst DPS of 511.


Unholy presence:

IT = 500 damage
Plague strike = 500 damage
Obliterate = 1000 damage = 2000 damage in 3s. This is a burst DPS of 666.

Again, auto attack damage per second (not damage per hit) is the same, so it's a nil factor.
Once you factor in that as a melee class, you will spend a considerable amount of time chasing the target, the fact that unholy presence also offers a tool to aide in this by providing a 15% run speed tips it more in the favor of being the pvp presence.

Unholy presence is better burst damage in pvp, and better mobility. Not to mention, there also is the intangible bonus of being much less likely caught in GCD when you need to hit IBF, bone armor, or strangulate. It has defensive purposes as well, in this light, that blood presence cannot provide, due to the GCD barrier.

Edit: Fixed Math Errors.

Wow, where do I begin?

So while I was at work today, I came across this thread. I felt very compelled to get my piece in on this, since Unholy Blight has always bothered me as a 51 point talent, for several reasons.

Here's the short story (which just about everyone agreed with I think), and if you're so inclined, the long story as well. Keep in mind, I also bring up the argument that not only do we have to spend several GCDs to gain AOE threat, and have to deal with the target cap of pestilence, but we're the only tanking class without access to an AOE taunt. This means that it's DOUBLY important to let every single spec have access to essential and effective AOE tanking tools, tools that unholy blight was holding the monopoly on in the AOE threat department.

If you take some time to look over the thread and my arguments, I think you'll agree. Apparently, the devs agree as well.

In fact, it looks like they'll be implementing several of my suggestions for future changes very shortly. Here is the main list of things coming.

Things that I've been harping for especiallly lately, with factual and informed posts to back them up include:

-- Death Coil, Frost Strike, Death and Decay damage increased. (Look at any of my recent damage tests and feedback posts, including the UB thread, as well as posts on this blog)

-- Bloody Strikes and Scent of Blood swapped places. (feedback source) (This is so that other trees like frost can access it for better RP generation via tanking, for more Frost strikes)

-- Double rune abilities damage increased: Obliterate, Howling Blast, Scourge Strike, Death Strike. (feedback source)

-- Unholy Blight no longer causes Blood Plague, but had its cooldown removed. (feedback source)

-- Pestilence has no target limit. (It still has a radius limit.) Pesilence glyph now increases area. (feedback source)

-- Frost Presence now grants 10% total health in addition to its current bonuses. (feedback source)

Among others that I'm sure we'll see implemented soon. :) The rest of the changes that are coming are just gravy.

I love Blizzard. They actually listen if you have a good argument.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Current List of DK Concerns:

As I listed in this post:

With the expansion just under a couple of months away, I wanted go ahead and put together a list of concerns that I, and others, have with this class at this point in time:

1) Runeforging.
We already have a blue thread on this, but hopefully this perk to the class will end up being more fun and exciting than just another set of enchants. This particular mechanic had so much potential, but this is the one area that I firmly believe didn't receive enough planning from the get-go. I really liked Hadassa's post about runeforging (found here:http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=8202576984&postId=82017104353&sid=2000#0). I really wish Blizzard would be able to find the way to implement something like this in the future, if right now it's simply not possible.

2) The Ongoing debate between 2H vs DW. Personal bias aside, it would be wonderful if these two could coexist peacefully and always be equally viable at every step of gear generation. Unfortunately, given the history of gear progression with classes that have the option to dual wield, I see this being a very difficult thing to balance with regards to making both equally viable at all times. While it's normal for some specs' relative power to fluxuate as gear and encounters progress and change, usually one spec or playstyle ultimately wins out in the end. That, I believe, is the main concern on everyone's mind: In the end, which style is going to produce the higher DPS? Few are really concerned with how things are performing right now, but more concerned with how things will be performing in the future when the class's mechanics are in a much more fixed state, in relation to class balance in all aspects of PvE and PvP (where it's much more difficult to change class fundamentals if things don't work out to be balanced for 2h vs dw in the end).

3) Tanking viability. This one is pretty huge, and probably will get overall more visibility than any other issue (and rightfully so). There is a fairly large concern that I see popping up over this forum, as well as others that I follow, that DK tanks are not quite up to par with the others as of yet. As of right now, the threat seems fairly low, which essentially has everything to do with our DPS reductions, as we rely on far fewer innate bonus threat modifying abilities to generate and hold agro (with the exception of D&D). But I have to ask: As far as D&D is concerned, should it really be that way? Are imaginary inflated numbers more fun to use than actually doing more damage? Of course not. Ideally, all tanks would be more fun to play if they did generated more threat via doing more damage, rather than spamming buttons that apply debuffs that generate invisible +threat numbers to build hate that you can only see via 3rd party addons (Example: Sunder Armor vs Devastate). Doing damage is always more fun. That seems to be one of the main philosophy shifts that this expansion brings to tanking, and one that I welcome with open arms.

However, getting back to the main point, DKs seem to have lower armor than most other tanks, as well as a smaller health pool, in addition to relying heavily on avoidance without having fall-back talents such as ones that grant crit immunity early on (such as the talents druids can spec into, for example). This means that the damage we take between cooldowns and avoidance RNG procs is actually pretty high, and hurts undergeared DKs more than any of the other tanks. However, while think DKs might have some issues of tanking viability early on, I think that they might actually end up scaling with gear well enough in the later stages of content to at least be equal with the other tanks. This is mostly in part to things such as ridiculous amounts of STR on tanking gear now (thank you!), coupled with core abilities such as forceful deflection (another suggestion implemented via feedback here). Also, when our damage is balanced (raised a bit in relation to others right now, or have everyone else's lowered), our threat will be too. I'm not too concerned with threat right now, as our threat ties directly into the damage we do.

4) PvE DPS viability. I won't say a lot on this topic, as the numbers (and to a lesser degree, the talents) are still in a state of flux right now. I'm not sure where the final numbers will land, along with our place on the DPS meters, but hopefully they won't be too much lower than the pure DPS classes. Do I expect to do as much or more DPS than a destro warlock, hunter, or rogue on single fights? Or as much damage as a mage on AOE fights? Of course not. Right now I'm hoping that I can pick the playstyle of DK that I like and be at least as competitive as a DPS warrior or enhancement shaman, however. Blood DK's seem to have excellent single target DPS potential, while Unholy DKs seem to bring a lot of AOE potential. In fact, Unholy DKs seem to be the premier support class for helping your magic-users AOE down trash that much faster due to ebon plague + unholy blight. However, I'm wondering then how useful those unholy (or frost, for that matter) DKs will be on single target (i.e. boss) encounters will be. Frost, on the other hand, is just doing too little damage right now. Both Howling blast and Frost Strike are doing roughly 33% of the damage they did a couple patches ago.

5) PvP viability. I already wrote up a pretty lengthy post about this here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=9336502308&sid=2000, and my position hasn't really changed much on this issue at all. While the damage/dps numbers have changed since then, the actually mechanics really have not. Thus, my opinion still holds.

Edit: Blue response.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sorry for the lack of updates..

But there's really been nothing new to report on. I feel as if I've said just about everything I've wanted to up to this point. All I can do now is keep an eye on changes that are coming down the pipe, play with them when they come, and give further feedback.

Things are just rather slow right now, so I've spent some time over the past week playing the Warhammer online beta. It's pretty amazing how much more polished Blizzard products are, even in testing stages. Everytime I try a new MMO that hits the market, I'm always reminded just how good wow really is. The only thing I wish I could change about WoW that warhammer has, is letting people level up and gain exp/money from killing other players. The nicest thing about Warhammer is the fact that PvP yields a large amount of experience gained in their battlegrounds (called scenarios), keep battles, or just plain world pvp. It was a nice touch to actually level up off of killing another player. And while this is a nice feature, I'm not really convinced that Warhammer is going to have the staying power or the content to keep people interested in the long run. It feels very unpolished as of right now, and as a result, the gameplay feels often rushed.

In the mean time, I'll probably be mixing my time between playing warhammer between beta updates (when I can get some new things to test), until wrath is released. I'll probably just end up staying as alliance on Sargeras, which is my original home server. Tichondrius is great, but honestly it seems rather overrated. There are fantastic players there, don't get me wrong, but I kind of liked it better when each server had sort of their own cream of the crop. Now it seems that everyone and their mom moves to Tich, either because they are good, or because they know someone who is, or they want to try and improve. That's great, but what about those of us who just want to play the game to enjoy it? I really don't care for 10 minute BG queues, lengthy server login queues, or long waits on getting into the arena, either.

On that note, I'll probably be looking for a few more solid players to bolster the ranks of my guild on Sargeras in the near future. If you're interested and play there, or just interested in general, please send me an ingame mail to my druid "Mayah" on Sargeras alliance. The Tich thing just isn't working out for me very well, yet. It's been awfully hard to find a solid group of players who is looking forward to doing PvP as much as they are the new 10 man raids. Maybe I've just been looking in the wrong places.

Edit: I've also re-enabled anonymous comments.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jayde has been immortalized once again..

Thanks to some friends over at DK Info, they've discovered that there is a new quest in Icecrown that calls upon none other than yours truly for help, as well as Munch and his newly risen ghoul, Melt. :) (Thanks, Hex!)

I had to run down for myself and check it out! =]

If you don't know what this is all about, you might want to look up The Deathknights of Acherus.

If anyone at Blizzard Entertainment is reading this, thank you. I am truly honored. :)

Best. Quest. Ever.

New Rune Strike sucks, As does the new Fel Armor:

Here, and here.

Seems like a lot of people are unhappy with this patch. Hopefully the pendulum of balance will swing back the other way, as a lot of peoples' damage right now feels awfully low. It's the polar opposite of how things were at level 60 when Blizzard introduced the new level 70 talents. Hm, which I wonder: Perhaps why they are keeping it like this for now. The damage to survivability ratio on live right now is already at a pretty uneven balance. It's nothing like season 2 was at all. Perhaps they are afraid of repeating the same mistakes they made just before TBC was released, when hunters and rogues were running around killing people in 3 seconds flat.

Hopefully I'm right, because it's a little funny watching two people with 22k hp take 3 years to kill each other on the beta right now.

Edit: More rune strike feedback here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lake Wintergrasp, Warhammer beta.

I know I haven't touched much on this, because I honestly haven't done it very much. I gave it my first real attempt (outside of sitting in the keep a couple weeks ago alt tabbed "farming" honor and arena points) a couple nights ago, and the first impression was not a good one. It has potential, but if I had to sum it up in one word right now it would be "confusion".

I mean, I know what the end goal is, because i sat in the keep: Use siege vehicles to knock down the keep door inside. But I guess it just gets confusing for a new player to understand how you actually accomplish that. There doesn't really seem to be a set stream of clearly defined objectives and goals. When I went to the zone a couple nights ago, I ran up to what looked like a point of interest, which was a big building that looked somewhat important.

Ok, cool. Then I proceeded to get gangraped by about 50 alliance, and get stuck in a never ending cycle of being graveyard camped by 50 more people and siege weapons. Not so cool. I saw that you're going to change the GYs to be higher up in elevation, and then hopefully flying mounts will be completed disabled in that zone.

So after finally managing to run my corpse away from the zerg, and go back to my body and res, I hearthed out. That was pretty much the extent of my experience.

On another note, I've been playing the Warhammer online beta quite a bit since Sunday, and while the PvE content and much of the game is very unpolished, I must say that I absolutely love the fact that you can level up at a pretty decent rate completely via pvp and battlegrounds (called scenarios in their terms). You can pick up a bunch of repeatable quests, queue from anywhere you are via a button on the minimap, and fight the scenario for each little zone you quest in.

It's cool because in between queues you are doing quests in PvP zones, and you gain experience, money, and loot from killing players, as well as being rewarded for doing quests in those areas. Then, when the queue pops, you get to go play out a 10 minute battleground where you earn even more experience, money, and loot.

The public quest system in the game is pretty cool too. I'm not sure how familiar you are with the mechanics in that game, but it scores a ton of points in my book by putting heavy emphasis on not just letting, but rewarding players for heavy participation in world pvp and battlegrounds while they level. It doesn't interrupt the leveling process, because killing players nets you the same thing killing mobs would. You don't actually loot the players' items, but you at least are rewarded in several ways for pvping.

As an example: I logged out monday night after almost reaching level 12. I log in last night, start running to the next, higher level area, and on the way, I get jumped by someone my level. I turn around and slit his throat (I'm playing a witch elf), and it was a decent enough chunk of exp to level me up. I gained a level, by killing another player. How freaking cool is that??

The PvE content obviously will never touch WoWs, but their PvP system does honestly deserve a glance. It would totally kick ass if wow had a system like that, because I enjoy wow's combat better than I do Warhammers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Have chains of ice apply frost fever?

Discussion here:

1) Even with the damage out of whack as frost right now, I honestly prefer pvp as frost simply due to endless winter. Having chains of ice apply frost fever helps tremendously with pvp rotations as a whole. As either blood or unholy, I have to basically go through a whole extra rotation before I can even think about using a 1F1U rune ability. This also makes death strike annoying to use as any spec other than frost (even where it's less effective), simply because I have to do chains > plague > icy touch > blood runes > wait for 3rd frost rune to come back > death strike. It just doesn't flow very smoothly. This is, of course, assuming that all of my diseases stick on the target. This is also another reason why I wish death strike simply gave 100% healing done, and 50% extra per diseases. (rather than none + 100% per disease). Death strike is another of those abilities that I think would do well to have less disease dependencies.

2) This leads me to this point, because of that situation, having to use 3 frost runes per rotation in pvp really messes up my rotations in pvp as essentially any spec wanting to "finish" with a 1F1U strike. This is because chains of ice doesn't apply frost fever at the core level. If this one change was made, I'd be a lot more comfortable pvping on the dk, and it would feel infinitely "smoother" to play.

3) If Icy touch damage is going to stay low as it is, I see no reason to not have chains of ice be our "go to" frost fever application spell for rotations. This one change alone could be made without breaking the overall rotation philosophy. It would also lend itself well to tanks that need to snare a mob (forfeiting icy touch that rotation), without forcing them to screw up their rotations.

4) The chillblains > endless winter talent feels bloated as is already anyway. I feel like I have to basically spend 5 extra talent points in the frost tree if I'm going frost spec if I want to pvp without it being a headache. That's not fun, because I feel cheated out of cool other talents because I feel compelled to pick up something that mechanically feels mandatory. I think you could do well to make chillblains 2/2 for 15/30%, and roll endless winter in with it to make mind freeze cost 10/20 RP less. That would feel much better speccing into.

Just some thoughts. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Latest blood/unholy test.

After discovering that the boss target dummy in orgrimmar has no armor (some boss he is!), I decided to head to dalaran after the servers became stable again and do another test, using a supposedly higher dps build of http://talent.mmo-champion.com/?deathknight=2305320530000305201150213510000000000000000000000000000230200305003100000000000000000

The results of this higher DPS build on a target dummy with armor?


As you can see, this is substantially lower (and rightfully so, since this target has armor).

Notice the overall make up of damage. It's mostly necrosis + white damage. What does this tell you? Kiss 2hand viability good bye, unless things change considerably for the better with regards to 2h scaling.

Overall, I'm simply underwhelmed with the damage I am putting out right now.

In case you were wondering what all those screen shots were for

They were for this. :)

Here is the feedback, as follows:

Wahhh I can't kill players in 2 shots anymore! :P

In all seriousness, here are some screenshots of my dps vs raid boss target dummy.

A few things to keep in mind:

1) I'm in mostly PvP gear.
2) My hit rating is absolutely horrible.
3) I'm not 100% PVE dps spec, but close.
4) Obliterate in DRM and MoM is great, and just what the doctor ordered.
5) Rune Strike damage adds up be higher than even oblit. This would be a nice knob to turn for tweaking damage. And personally, I think it's fun to use. And no, I don't macro it.
6) You can't see it in the screen shots, but I had blood worms specced, and they added up to be about only 75DPS with 3/3.

NOTE: Recount, the DPS mod I'm using to record all of these tests is slightly bugged on the beta right now. Where it has "glancing" listed, it's actually "crit" data. Please keep this in mind when you review these screen shots.


Build used: http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=jfmGqI00Vs0tkAo0ghzhZf

Edit: I'll add some more to this in a second.

I haven't done any instancing yet, so I can't say how good our threat is right now, so I can't/won't comment on D&D just yet.

Edit 2:

Retest with better PVE spec:

DPS results:

Overall Preliminary Analysis:

I'm not liking this trend. Even while carrying a big, massive 2hander, my white dps is becoming to be a much bigger chunk of my overall DPS, which is only going to lead to DW being the dominant "option" (if you can really call it that) in the future.

Yes, this is partly because I take icy talons, but if you look at my other options, I don't really have a better choice.

Let me explain:

With the emphasis taken off our yellow damage so much, these early modifiers for yellow attacks are killing my yellow damage for blood spec.

This includes: Imp icy touch, black ice, glacier rot (which was a bad subspec talent before, but now is many times worse), and morbidity (only useful for tanking now).

I now have come to feel like I'm being punished by taking those talents, simply so I can get to good ones like annihilation and icy talons (which I actually don't like being forced into as blood, as it puts too much emphasis on white damage, which tips the scales in favor of Dual Wield).

I feel as if deathcoil and icy touch were over nerfed, a lot, and need to come back up in base damage.

I also feel like one of my old favorite talents, Sudden Doom, is now pretty terrible, simply because of the state of deathcoil's damage output right now.

Another thing I've noticed, is that most of my RP ends up getting used on rune strike. For 10 RP, I'm doing anywhere between 1900-5000 damage, and it's off the GCD. Death coil, on the other hand, is my only DPS RP Dump as blood outside of the lengthy cooldown DRW, and it does far, far less damage. Seriously. Even with sudden doom, it's putting out 2.9% of my over all damage. That's with 5/5 Black ice.

This means that I end up not even caring if I'm sitting at full RP and I have heart strikes to burn and shoot me over max RP, because spending a GCD isn't even worth it on death coil right now unless I absolutely have nothing else to spend that GCD on. That's not fun.

Please keep in mind that as much as I love my toon, I'm trying to keep this as objective as I possibly can. I'm just shooting straight with you about what I've noticed so far, and how it's making me feel.

Take it for what it's worth.

Edit3: Frost Damage

As you can see, howling blast is broken right now, and definitely not doing it's intended damage.

I used a very unrealistic spec to try and squeeze out as much possible damage as I could, and frost still falls embarrassingly short of being a good DPS option right now.

Here's what I used: http://talent.mmo-champion.com/?deathknight=2305000500000000000000000003202505033502110201203101350230100000000000000000000000000

So yeah, as you can see, that's a very unrealistic spec. (No hungering cold, lichborne, merciless combat since it doesn't apply to these tests, etc)

As far as a rune enchant, I used Razorice, if that matters.

There's not really a whole lot to say about frost right now, other than it's really underwhelming. A lot of it has to do with how poor of a performer icy touch is right now. Even with maxed out talents supporting it, it's doing maybe 600 damage right now. That's downright awful. Then, you have to factor in that howling blast is broken.

However, it would take those two skills to be bumped up significantly to make up for the damage loss. I'm really starting to wonder if howling blast even needs a cooldown right now. It just feels clunky with this arbitrary 6 second cooldown.

Another thing I've noticed, is that since I'm less inclined to use icy touch as much anymore, my RP generation has taken a nose dive since last patch. I often find myself with JUST enough RP to get by, which might be OK for DPS in PVE, but as soon as you run into situations where you have to weave in AMS, IBF, and Hungering Cold, you'll have some big problems with RP generation.

As a matter of fact, my RP feels so starved as frost, that I feel as if it's my limiting factor for DPS right now. I'm constantly empty. Compare this to blood, where I'm frequently topped off in RP, although I think that has more to do with the fact that blood simply doesn't have any good RP dumps outside of rune strike and DRW. That's because death coil isn't worth the GCD.

There are a lot of factors that play into this.

1) Howling blast is my main damage dealer that's in chill of the grave, yet it's on a cooldown.
2) The addition of Rune Strike adds to my RP strain.
3) Same with Horn of winter, albeit less frequently.
4) Icy touch isn't worth the GCD except to apply frost fever, thus it being in chill of the grave isn't that big of a deal.
5) Frost strike eats up anything that's left.
6) Hungering cold still feels too expensive, given it's 60 RP cost, due to all of the above.
Conclusions thus far:

Things I like:

I'm actually liking the fact that my blood strikes and other such abilities that have disease requirements don't rely as much on diseases up to do the same damage. It's nice if diseases fall off, or get cleansed, or a debuff limit gets reached, or whatever. I like this change a lot.

However, the one ability that I think was overlooked in this department was Death Strike. I'd like to see death strike heal for 100% of the damage done without any diseases, and add 50% more per disease, to follow this same trend.

Other Suggestions:

Howling blast's cooldown needs to go.
Icy Touch needs it's base damage raised by 50% at least.
Deathcoil needs it's base damage raised significantly as well.
Obliterate needs to be added into chill of the grave, making it grant 20 RP per use.

Will add more later after more tests.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

My biggest problem I have with Death Knights:

The fact that after I get done going through all that super cool new DK content, I have to go trudge off to outland, almost arbitrarily, all by myself.

If the main fight has shifted to northrend, why am I going to outland, other than to "just level"? There seems to be this huge disconnect of purpose there. I just broke free of the Lich King's will, so my first order of business is to... go to outland? Wait, what? At first I was too excited to start playing and testing the class, I didn't even notice or care. But from a design standpoint, it just doesn't make sense, and it just doesn't feel right.

I know it's too late, but If I had to make any recommendations right now, it would be that you start at 68 or 70 instead of 55. Is this some sort of way to just keep outland somewhat alive and not totally forgotten?

I'm not really sure I'm going to be super psyched about this aspect of the expansion when it does go live, simply because as all my friends and guildies are going to be off going to fight the fight in northrend, here I go trudging my way through outland by myself, for no apparent reason other than to gain levels, so I can get to the rest of the new content.

Leveling up new races I can understand. But this particular aspect of playing the death knight certainly does not feel very "heroic". It feels very out of place and disconnected from the theme and focus of wrath of the lich king.

I'm certainly not the only one that feels this way, am I?

Right now I feel like there just has to be some sort of super compelling quest/reason/purpose that would explain why we were started at a level that would make us have a desire to go to outland, other than to simply gain levels.

There is one thing I overlooked, though.

Remember, there are going to be hundreds of thousands of newbie death knights running around for the first few days/weeks/months.

If they could jump into northrend immediately, would you really want all these characters who might have been made with the intention of never even reaching level 71 competing with you for your quest mobs in the new northrend zones?

Eh, anyways, that being the case... I feel like there should probably be a pretty big final quest to send you to your faction or racial leader where you pledge your allegiance to them, get a big super fat XP bonus (since you still currently fall about 15% short of dinging 58 going through the starter quest line). Then, have them tell you to grow more powerful while bolstering the now abandoned forces in outland where you will hone your skills against Arthas's minions.

Something. There just needs to be something to fill that disconnect. A new player that may have had a 55, but never anything beyond still might not know to head to outland. I don't really seem to recall a quest line leading you from the major cities to blasted lands to clue people in, since it was the major focal point of the last expansion anyway. There didn't need to be one.