Thursday, October 23, 2008

DK mechanics too clunky for PvP?


Edit: Follow up post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


JD_Fin said...

Diseases do seem a little clunky to me, but I wasn't able to get into the beta so I wouldn't know. Anyways I was wondering if I could get you to look at an idea for a build I had for a more casting centric play style.

Thanks a ton in advance.

Adelin said...

Diseases are indeed hard to keep upp on your target in pvp, if not impossible sometimes. However regarding pvp i see three big issues for the DK.

1. Your very easy to kite. You always have to make a choise. USE COI to close in on your target and lose DPS.

2. Plague Strike is so hard to hit with while runing. Problem here is when u finaly catch up your target, you first has to cast PS and then do some dmg. By this time they have dispelled COI or its effect has faded some.

3. Plague Strike effect desecration (if you unholy) is to slow to get on the ground. So when you want a caster to "stay in range" and cast this, by the time its out they already more then 5yards from where you first used PS. This make this effect more or less useless. Its only good for Melee wich are in your face 24/7 anyway.

@JD_fine. Your specc seems to miss all big dmg abilities. As it is on the beta atm, ghouls to ALLOT of dmg (about 12-18%) of my dps. Gargoyle also do allot and is our big burst talent. So if you go for pvp this is a important one. You also miss all good survival abilities like rune tap, boneshield and so on. Necrosis and impurity are not that good, atleast not the first one (only do about 1-2% of my totalt DPS).

Its a interesting idé tho, but i doubt it work

Sorry for my bad english, but hope you understand the points.

Mani said...

Those are my same thoughts after hours of arena on the dk. I was asking myself last night whether I'm just not used to this class after a week or so of arena or whether it's the class being overly complex. I tried rogue a bit and concluded that infact DK pvp is complex.

To give an example of the complexity I'm talking about, when you start a match and start attacking ur target, I'll always start with IT and PS then start hitting with my hard hitters. The moment I run into an opponent that runs away and had to COI, that's it, my whole rotation is gone bad and I either go for PS then SS etc or blow blood tap early in the game and lose it for the next 1 min. Sometimes I'd go for a forst build (although I like unholy a lot better) just so I can use COI in IT's place and keep the rune.

This is also apparent when the fight drags or takes longer than expected, sometimes I find myself using Empower Rune Weapon just so I get back into rotation even though I could have saved it for later, esp when we are going for a kill.

And what makes this way worse is when you are agains a pala or a pri, and before dmg becomes heavy (5-10 sec in the game) they are just spamming dispell and screwing over your rotations completely, and by the time they are forced into just healing, you've already lost your runes.

Cristobal said...

If they only changed abilities like chains to blood runes and have them proc death runes it would be a lot nicer and leave unholy and frost to dps runes.
even if they buffed bloodstrike it is still preatty crappy and the nerf on ebon plage is too so im not sure where this is going, what im trying to say is that all abilities that help up get close or defend ourselfs use dps runes per say so it is very hard to dps and protect your self.

losthero said...

wow this was an amazing post jayde! completly aggree with your concerns!

i just can hope, that it WONT take blizzard another 1-2 years until they recognize it and change something like it took them with the pallys (ret and prot and holy!).

i really PRAY that we will see a lot of little updates onece every few weeks after release, instead of one big one every half year....

maybe they should boost the 30% dispell protection to at least 60% to "bandaid" diseasedependencies in pvp a little bit...

JD_Fin said...

Makes sense my basic idea for the spec was in the first rotation to get up my diseases then turn the blood runes into death runes so that on the next rotation I could get off three howling blasts assuming that frost fever stayed up and then dump the runic power into death coils, using lichborne to heal as needed. And Necrosis was just kinda filler that seemed decent with a DW for more Killing Machine procs. This was all running off of having no idea what max HP looks like at 80 and rumors that HB can hit for 5k w/o impurity and possibly cinderglacier. I was hoping that the increased IBF off of GoG would help with survivability along with lichborne and Unbreakable Armor.

Would something more along the lines of be effective?

Anonymous said...

kinda like mut rogues having to keep poisons up?

Mani said...

No, it isn't like muti rogues needing to keep poisons up, it's like a rogue who has 30% of his bar as mana, 30% of his bar as rage, 30% of his bar as energy, and his finishers like evis/KS need 15% of mana+energy+rage, but shiv takes 20% of let's say; rage.

Yeah sure, you still have mana and energy left after a shiv, but they are not enough to do the finishers if you don't have the rage as well.

Anonymous said...

The pvp concern seems valid enough to me, but please, for the love of all that is holy, dont dumb the class down in a pve setting, working with a rotation actually adds some sort of IQ test to the class, something that personally would be much appreciated

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the solution is to bake the diseases into DK auto-attacks and keep the current disease strikes as a way to apply one disease at a time if it falls off. Make it a PPM system that has 100% chance for weapon 3.5 speed or above so it doesn't massively favor DW.

Mani said...

jd_fin, what are you trying to do with that build?

That build lacks major utility for pvp and it lacks burst. Also, like most heavy builds you'll find yourself relying mainly on Obliterate as your 1F1U attack for pve, and relying on Obliterate spam without Annihilation won't work.

Mani said...

*heavy frost builds.

edenscancer said...

Death knights are a hero class people, they should be hard to play. I actually think this class should be harder to play.

As a rogue I have had to deal with the same type of poison control the deathknights will have to deal with, via diseases. some of our talents do higher overall dps to poisoned targets and any "good" rogue can tell you if you don't know how to manage your poisons, you don't know how to play your rogue.

Even if you haven't speeced to do more damage versus poisoned opponents you still need to know rotation to get the max damage. I myself have gone so far as to break combat to change out poisons to get a different effect.

I also have tanked as a rogue, (yes you skeptics there is such a thing) every single heroic in outlands and a full karazhan by multipoisoning targets for threat and using the new talent trees killing spree for aoe damage (much like a pally consecrate). Also my gear for tanking has incredibly high dodge.

I think those people that say the Death knight layout is clunky and hard to use, will be surprised when a rogue gets behind one of those bad boys. I have had ZERO issue playing one, nor do I think the rune system or disease system should be changed. It's absolutely perfect the way it is now.

It is possible to rotate multiple targets inflicting a ridiculous amount of damage, and hold aggro all at the same time.

as for PvP concerns these guys will shine in their debuffs and aoe's. You wont have to do soooo much melee damage or spell damage because you will be overloading your opponents with debuffs. As with a rogue "again" your DoT abilities are what kill people, why can't people understand this?
Deathknights are caster rogues in plate, TY BLIZZ!

JW said...

Jayde - Can you tell me what music tracks were used in your duel school video?

Thanks! (Sorry I know its off topic but your music selection is great and I must have those songs!)

- JW

Mani said...

edenscancer, you completely missed the point with rogue poisons and the resource required to apply them vs the dk and the resources required to apply their "poisons". Re-read my previous post about this a couple of posts up, maybe you'll understand the difference.

JD_Fin said...

The idea behind that build is to be more of a cster/melee hybrid, I know that it wouldn't be nearly as good as a more traditional build but was wondering if it could be viable for PvP, no necessarily arena.

The way I'd feature it working is starting out in unholy presence, running up to a guy and icy touch on your way in then a plague strike followed by two blood strikes to make deathrunes then a howling blast. Then you'd need to stay on the target while your runes refresh maybe deathcoil or save the runic power for gargoyle then when your runes are back up let loose three howling blasts assuming your in range and frost fever is up if not then death grip followed by chains of ice then two howling blasts. With Lichbourne you'd be able to heal yourself with deathcoil and Icebound Fortitude seems like it would offer good enough survivability.

I doubt with this build I'd use obliterate often since as far as I know it hits with mainhand weapon damage and not both weapons and I'd be dual wielding for more Killing Machine procs. So it seems like Howling Blast would be better damage. Dual wielding cinderglacier would also be a big plus to damage. With something like like a mainhand, the damage is low but it has great stam and crit and has spellpower without having any intellect or mp5.

As I'm not in the beta I don't know exactly how much damage this could put out but it seems like in optimal conditons three howling blasts and a deathcoil or two could be decent burst.


Mani said...

Without COI you won't be able to stay on the target at all but I guess it ain't that bad with a frost build cince your COI also applies FF.

Waiting for your runes to come back up to start hitting for real is an eternity in PvP, you usually don't have that luxry as melee. HB is also not spammable (6 sec CD) and it doesn't hit as heavy as Obliterate. However, since you are going with DW, I can't comment on how much Obliterate will hit (I didn't try DW, there is very little reason to to go DW for DK atm).

Naman said...

Friend of mine let me use his beta account and I started a DK yesterday, though I've been reading everything for months.

I found a few things that are right along the lines of your thoughts here.

1. There seems to be a lot of overlap in the function of the skills. Basically Plague Strike, Blood Strike and Icy Touch are all the same kind of attack (other than Icy being ranged) They have slightly different damage and slightly different disease components but other wise it really feels similar to use say the 3 Shaman shocks. However, the 3 shocks all have very different components, one is a DOT, one has slow components and one has a spell interrupt. Also, the DPS between the 3 are fairly similar. For the DK though, it seems like the 3 strikes have a vastly different amount of DPS between the 3 and all 3 are on cooldowns.

Coming from an enhancement Shaman I'm used to having stormstrike on a 10 second cooldown. But ALL the DK standard abilities are on 10 second cooldowns.

I guess it would drastically change how the DK works, but if you look at like the Stormstrike debuff, it only adds 10% DPS, so even if you don't have it up, your shocks and spells still work. If there was a way to have diseases either be changed to a debuff say more of a bleed effect or have they way they do damage reworked or have more talents that had a chance to reapply diseases/ or refresh their cooldowns.

The closest class that i can think of which operates to the DK is a shadow priest, where they have debuffs that boost their DPS that are on timers. However their timers are much longer and they have many base skill that refresh the timers and even if you don't have the timers up, they still do ok DPS.

Jd_Fin said...

Oh wow, glad I talked to some one about this, somehow I glanced over the cooldown on Howling Blast, that build is utter crap then. Thanks for pointing all of those things out to me though =D

Flexxxo said...

Ok so about the disease removing having a big impact on pvp, i have been thinking about this forever now, desperately hoping someone would bring it out in the open.. So THANKS!

Anyway, i thought about a PHYSICAL debuff "Recently diseased" that goes from 1-4, lasts 15 sec and renewned everytime you put a disease on the target. This way the dispells of diseases WILL remove the damage dot, but the physical debuff will apply to our strikes to keep the damage and thus we wont be so horrible gimped in PvP as we are sure to be now..

Flexxxo said...

On second thought im not sure 15 sec is enough actually, in PvP and especially the DK you are going to get kited A LOT.. Maybe 30 sec is more right?

Adelin said...

Well if your Unholy your mainattack is not PHYSICAL si it would help there. I think their should been some skill involving playing DK. Adding a debuff that cant be dispelled is like having Glyph Of Scourge Strike a 50% apply rate. Thats just plain OP.

Its better to solve the problem with kiting and the applying of disease and dispelling will not be that big issue anymore. If they go for a dispell they cant heal and so on.

Anonymous said...

maso has been temp banned on the beta forums :/

i really wish blizzard would give our class(warlock) the same ammount of love they give druids and mages :(

Anonymous said...

Your point is well made but disease dependence seems embedded in the DK mechanics with players both loving and hating that aspect of the class.

Perhaps removing the disease component from strikes is not the solution but making the removal of the disease give us the ability to cast an ability which reapplies that disease at the cost of no runes and or runic power.

In essence a talent like virulence would now grant us a "clearcasting" type state when a disease is removed so that our rotations are not completely destroyed by a dispel in addition to its current effect.

Jayde said...

I never said diseases should be removed, I said disease dependencies should be removed or greatly lessened. Big difference.

Hans said...

looks like DK is not the class for you. maybe you should reroll a RET?

seems like RET is the right class for your skill level :)

Anonymous said...

I think my suggestion was misunderstood due to my poor wording. I agree that diseases should not be removed and my wording was convoluted when I said the disease component of strikes granted that strikes produce certain diseases. What I meant to say was the disease dependence of strikes to do there increased damage are an essential part of death knights as I see it.

Essentially we have a system which includes both rage and combo points in the form of runes and rp. Warriors and rogues both have mechanisms to deal with misses etc that cause no rage or combo points to be consumed if an ability is resisted.

For PVE I think a similar ability could be useful although I don't forsee it being to big of a problem if you are properly hit capped, expertise, whatever you want so you don't miss attacks in PVE. However we have 3 rune types and missing a certain attack could gimp attacks which rely on that rune type. I propose something in the next paragraph which I think could be useful.

In PVP dispels become the problem. Passive dispell resistance is always boring. I'd much rather have something active like UA. Why not build that in to virulence except instead of silencing target grant us increased rp or refresh certain runes on our weapon/cause all active runes to become death runes, or something else along those lines. This could allow our rotations to be adapted more easily if a disease is cleansed or an attack is missed.

Anonymous said...

Replace Unholy Blight with a new 51pt talent.

Plagued Runeweapon
40 runic power
2 min cooldown
Your runeweapon festers with plague. All strikes performed for the next 20sec act as if the target is infected with 2 additional diseases.

Cooldown, duration and rp would of course need some tuning but this would give us burst in pvp and pve, remove the disease dependance of strikes to do max dmg, give us back the additional disease Unholy Blight used to add and remove the damage component of Unholy Blight. All in all a fair trade in my opinion.

Singultus said...

I posted the following on the beta forums on August 10th.
"This goes back to my concerns over the fundamental consequences of having a 4 part resource system. When it comes down to it, sometimes you need to be able to spam an ability in PvP (think hamstring). With DK's that's just not possible. We get 2 shots, that's it. And because of the idea of having a core rotation, to do things right we often only get 1 shot.

This is a big problem when we need to do more than one task, and I often find myself dying because I just don't have the runes I need for ability B, since I just used them on ability A, which I also needed."

I don't articulate it as well as Jayde does here, but I have seen this problem coming for a long time. It's similar to rogues having to redo combo points on a new target when they switch. However, it's more difficult than that, because the "combo points" can be cleansed, and they use up a resource that's needed for other abilities. And you need a certain order of application to get good returns.

This is all further complicated that abilities don't have a rune cost, they have a specific rune cost. It's not like a rogue's energy regen. A rogue who HAS to have crip up can spam shiv. They can do that until their energy bar runs dry if they need to. A DK can do it twice, which misses out on their disease for further damage, every 10 seconds. In making the class complex, Blizzard has removed their ability to spam even the most simple attacks. This is a serious problem for anyone who knows how PvP works.

The quote comes from:

Anonymous said...

Hey Jade! This Is Violencé an eu dknight. Can't tell you how frustrating it is not being able to post on the US beta forums as on the Eu forums it never feels like anything is being heard.
Anyway I just wanted to say keep up the pressure on Unholy blight, IMO its a rubbish talent and needs a change.
Did you notice how Gc dodged all questions about it? feels to me like they are already concerned about it internally but don't want to express this to us as they don't feel like they have time to develop a new talent and balance it before release. at the same time they don't want to tell us the end talent is rubbish and then release it like that.