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.
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.
Update: 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.