Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hungering Cold Love:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the issues with hungering cold:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Arkasi said...

    Been reading this blog for a while and I have to say you've illuminated quite a bit of the Deathknight class for me.

    I agree with a lot of the points you made particularly the pvp ones. My first impression of Hungering Cold was that I would rush the other team and freeze them in the first few seconds of the match. My second, yep that tactic will last all of a week.

    I think your changes would be nice, but I wonder if there is another option. Right now I think the biggest flaw to the ability is that it is an AoE. As such it can't be made too powerful or else become the beat-all-end-all of talents for the tree. In it's current implementation it also doesn't have a lot of room to grow in further expansions.

    Solution? Make it a single target ability with a 30 yd range(I figure most people will have icy reach anyway), the target is frozen and applies a light to moderate siphon life effect. Think of it as a ice block/polymorph/siphon life hybrid. Essentially an obvious play on the "Hungering" and "Cold" title.

    This would provide a much needed cc for Deathknights while not fundamentally changing the pvp or pve game. The drain effect could be made to persist through the breaking of the frozen effect giving frost a way of gaining life that is weaker but comparable to unholy and blood. Finally it could still be useful against raid bosses where the frozen effect is immune but the drain effect persists.

    Runic power cost could stay the same while the cooldown for it could be set at 30 to 40 seconds without feeling terribly overpowered.

    A single target ability like this has much more room to grow in further expansions and become a hallmark of the class, even growing into and AoE, rather than a talent that is lackluster now and potentially skipped as the class progresses from expansion to expansion.


    Mani said...

    I've been doing a lot of pvp on the DK lately (my new main, I love this class), and I have to disagree with you on HC's role in pvp. Imo, people are just not creative enough in using it.

    You don't have to run to people to use, you can pull them and use it (it's very deadly with a glyph'd DG). Using this ability on a healer who's already trinketed guarantees a kill (esp. if you are running some sort of cleave team).

    My only gripe with HC though is it's RP requirement. To make matters worse, it is placed in a tree that promotes spamming a talent that is RP-based as opposed to run-based (I'm looking at you FS).

    My suggestion would be to leave HC as is (and maybe even nerf the FF debuff it puts) but remove the RP requirement. That way, you are encouraged to use it every time it's off the CD when the opportunity arises as opposed to thinking twice whether using the RP for dmg would be a better trade off.

    Sypherous said...

    A lot of people seem to lose sight that the 51 point talents were designed to be situational (not directed at Jayde, but a lot of posts I've seen). It isn't something that should be used ob every cooldown, or even every fight. I think this has a little to do with the Unholy Blight nerf.

    However, I do very strongly agree that Hungering Cold is a very, very weak ability for a 51 point talent. As Blood I use Dancing Rune Weapon rather often, and as Unholy there isn't any reason not to use UB. However, as Frost (my personal favorite) I have yet to actually use Hungering Cold for anything other than show. I can see it's potential usefulness in a 5 man, but that is almost always at the beginning of a pull. The 60 RP cost is just to high to rely on it as such.

    One potential fix for this ability would be to change the target. Instead of "Purge the ground around the Death Knight of all heat," purge the ground around the target, or the selected area, of all heat. This would make it a lot more viable in all situations (boss fights aside?). However, even then I feel the RP cost is too significant.

    sijmister said...

    I have to repeat what Sypherous said about the 51 point talents. QQing about shadow priests again, just like my last post, but Shadow Priests have been complaining for a long time that our 51 Point talent, is extremely situational, and even in situations where you would like to use it, it can prove to be ineffective, although it has its moments.
    We have also been pushing to have this talent point moved to our 31 pt slot, and to have something that would provide a DPS increase for our 51 pt talent. I really don't think it's gonna happen for DKs, and if it does, Blizzard will never hear the end of it from Shadow Priests, and likely Frost Mages too (Although Deep Freeze has screwed me over quite a few times).

    Warrior Guide said...

    Well at least Blizzard still does changes instead of just throwing in more abilities/classes/stuff like other devs do.

    Take LoL for example - you get a new character about every week... and guess what the balancing looks like?

    Anyhow, I agree with the OP.